I took my final “student educational tour” in 1999. This trip was a bit different from my previous “student educational tours” in that it was designed as a performance tour for my band students and me. Leading up to the tour, I did a lot of planning and selected all the destinations. In my now famous “McGuffin tour style,” we stayed in some out-of-the-way locations, as well as visited big cities. In fact, the company handling my tour arrangements had never taken student groups to a few of our destinations. Although this tour was well planned, we still had to put up with mostly poor hotels and the usual tasteless dinners.
There were some memorable dining experiences in the small villages I had chosen. I remember the little family-run hotel in Rot-an-der-Rot with a basement bowling alley. The mom and pop chef team were happy to feed us and keep the second helpings coming until the pot was empty. The same was true with the hotel restaurant in Interlaken. However, beyond that, dining was disappointing.
I don’t have many “dining” photos from those early student tours. I did find this one of my son and his friends at a “nice” restaurant in a village on the Rhine River. Notice the plate of fries and breaded meat. On another occasion, I recall being taken to a Moroccan restaurant in Paris where we were served undercooked chicken and couscous. How can that be? We were in Paris, the gourmet capital of the world, and we were served, not escargot and steak frites, but Moroccan cuisine from another continent!
In contrast, here is a photo I snapped on one of my student tours a few years ago in Rome. The dinner consisted of three courses, the second being filet of beef, roasted potatoes, veggies, and a strawberry and chocolate garnish. Not only was the meal a dining experience, the ambiance and location was amazing. This dinner is at the Café Bernini on the very popular Piazza Navona. ROME: Dinner on the Piazza Navona
Here are some food-related comments from a recent tour. The question posed is, “In general, what did you think of the dining experiences [on your tour]?
“The food and wine were fantastic every night. The last time we went to Europe we didn’t eat nearly as good. It made the trip much more memorable being able to enjoy good food and not having to worry about trying to figure out what to order.”
– Paris to Rome Tour, June 2011
“What kind of question is this??? Haha. Almost always delicious, and I am a VERY picky eater, by American standards. Often, I wish there was some sort of choice for dinner, but perhaps that’s not the way things work over there. Also, I found the food in Switzerland to be subpar.” –Paris to Rome Tour, June 2011
If you would like to read more comments from my tour alumni, take a look at my tour comment page. Or, you can leave your own comments about “dining with David” right here!