First Round of WSA 2011 tours under the belt!
Posted by Andy Steves in on February 23, 2011.
In the last 3 weekends I've had an awesome time showing students the locals' version of Gimmelwald, Prague and London. Thanks to Europe's incredible infrastructure, I'm able to hop around and meet my tour members in the cities for an exciting weekend exploring the hidden gems that each has to offer.
My weekend in Gimmelwald was tons of fun. I met 32 backpackers coming in from all over the place--Dublin, London and Rome to name a few--down at the train station in Interlaken. After everyone was accounted for, we went up the valley to find our home for the weekend, Pension Gimmelwald. By the time we reached out Swiss ski chalet, my tour members had used practically all forms of travel in existence: Bus, Train, Plane, Commuter Rail and even Cable Cars. Was it difficult and complicated? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Without a doubt! We enjoyed a Swiss Fondue dinner, spent afternoons in awe at the beautiful scenery, spent days on the slopes skiing or boarding, went on a midnight mountain hike and sledge ride and more. Some in the group even went skydiving and paragliding. I picked up groceries so everyone could pack a lunch and get as much time on the slopes as possible. We had booked out the entire Gimmelwald Pension so I figured why not have some music? I hired an old mountain man to come down and play some traditional tunes while we had dinner one evening. All in all, it was an incredible weekend that I'm sure students won't forget for a while.
The next weekend, I had a small group of students in Prague. We toured the city and enjoyed an afternoon with a prince, took a tour of a Czech micro-brewery, took walking tours of the Old Town, New Town, Jewish Quarter, Lesser Town and the Prague Castle. If it sounds like a busy weekend, it's because it was! The Prague weekend is one of my favorite because I can pack so much value into the tour.
London Followed the weekend after where I worked closely with my London guide, Matt, to set him up to take over running those tours from here out. We made some last minute adjustments to the hostel reservations, and once more, the weekend trip went quite smoothly. Tour guiding is hard work, but the reactions that we constantly get from our tour members make it endlessly rewarding so it's easy to keep going. I'd say a highlight from this weekend was the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London along with the secret Sunday markets that Matt seems to have a knack for finding.
And now I find myself in Paris ready to start the next tour tomorrow!
Bogi is a great guide. She was everything you could want in a guide plus more. She was fun, cool, and the best part- knowledgeable. She really made the trip great. We got to the hostel late and she was able to rearrange our schedule so everyone could go caving. After caving we were picked up by Bogi (thank goodness because figuring out Hungarian public transportation is really hard if you don't speak Hungarian). WSA made sure to include super cool things- caving, thermal baths, bus tickets, escape games and the hostel. I would definitely do this trip again. Bogi was fun and flexible, we didn't have to stick to a tight schedule and we were able to do things that we wanted to do like the Liberty Statue. She is great, WSA is lucky to have her.Cheyenne Hodur, Drake University ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015
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