ROME to LONDON by train
April 16 - May 3, 2012 $6,199 approx., per person plus air tax
Same dates in 2013: April 16 - May 3, 2013
This detailed story about our Rome to London train trip gives you an accurate idea of what the experience is all about. It describes the events of each day as they happen, like a diary or scrapbook of the tour. During the past 18 years we have conducted this trip more than 30 times and have developed an ideal outline of events that take place each day, with a very efficient sequence of things that we see and do. Of course there are always minor variations in the daily routine described here, and there is some free time each day for you to pursue particular interests.
Tour price includes: round-trip air from Honolulu; rail tickets; transfers to and from airports and rail stations; hotels with breakfast everyday; all city tours and walking tours. Not included in tour price: lunch and dinner; tips; airline taxes; all admission charges, such as to museums or palaces; optional tours. If you are interested you can send in your $100 per person deposit (refundable until 100 days before departure) now to guarantee reservations. We are limiting the size of this group to about 28 people, so we expect it will fill up soon.
Further information call Dennis Callan at 528-4411
To reserve space on this tour
send a deposit of $100 to:
Callans’ Tours, 1011 Prospect St., #702,
Honolulu, HI 96822.
ROME to LONDON Summary of Itinerary
Day 1: departure. day 2: flying to Europe.
3: ROME land at 9:50am 11am hotel check-in. 12-4:00pm rest and lunch 4-6:00 pm orientation walking tour
4: ROME 9:00am-noon city tour w/ local guide. Afternoon suggestion: Vatican Museum
5: ROME 8:30-noon Walking tour in the historic center. Afternoon free for shopping or museums.
6: FLORENCE 11am arrival at hotel. Orientation walk. After lunch, walking tour with local guide. Visit the statue of David
7: FLORENCE Morning bus ride to panorama view of city; Pitti Palace, shops museums; optional bus trip to Siena.
8: VENICE Morning train to Venice. Orientation walk. After lunch, walking tour with our local guide.
9: VENICE 9am walking tour with your escort. Afternoon free options: boat ride to Murano. Accademia Museum.
10: train to LUCERNE scenic ride through the Swiss Alps. 4:30-6:00pm orientation walk in Lucerne.
11: LUCERNE morning option to the top of the Alps at Mount Titlis. Afternoon free: shopping or a boat ride. Optional train trip to Zurich.
12: to Paris on high-speed TGV train. Walking tour to Notre Dame and Left Bank.
13: PARIS 8:30-noon City tour on bus with local guide. Afternoon optional: Louvre Museum and the Orsay.
14: PARIS 8:30-noon optional visit to Versailles. Free afternoon. Evening boat ride on the Seine.
15: London morning train under the Channel to London. City Tour on bus w/local guide. 3-5pm orientation Walking tour.
16: LONDON morning walking tour of central London afternoon suggestions: National Gallery of Art, or British Museum. Theater.
17: LONDON morning at Tower of London. Free afternoon -- shopping and museums; or to Stonehenge and Bath. Evening Theater.
18: FLY HOME arriving same night.
You will find this tour is much different than a bus tour, for we take the time to see the sights properly, instead of rushing madly from one place to the next, changing cities every night the way typical group tours do. We have selected six of Europe’s most wonderful places and we stay for two or three nights in each of them to give you a good look around. About ten years ago we did conduct several bus tours throughout Europe and were very dissatisfied with that approach. The tour moved through these places too quickly, and the bus was just not very comfortable, especially when you had to sit in it for an average of six hours every day. We looked at other Europe tours and found they were all the same — stuck on the bus, changing cities every day, using hotels far from the center of town. The result was a very superficial tour that was extremely tiring, and really did not show you very much.
We worked hard to create a better way for a group to see Europe, and developed this unique alternative: Europe by Train. It has worked out amazingly well. Our travelers have really enjoyed this approach, as you can see from their comments in this brochure. Once we got rid of the bus, and replaced it with the deluxe comfort of Europe’s first-class train service, we found that everything changed. A whole new world of travel opened up for us. Now, we didn’t have to keep up with the frenzied bus schedule, and we could stay put for several days in each destination and really see the sights.
Bus tour operators, on the other hand, want to keep things moving, for they have spent a lot of money on the bus and driver, and want to get the most out of their investment by keeping that bus moving all the time. And they love to put you in those inexpensive hotels on the edge or outside of town, while we feel it is very important to use hotels in the historic centers of these great places so that you have better access to the sights. The trains of Europe provide comfort, luxury and a panoramic view, while traveling quickly to each destination during the daytime. For a detailed description of differences between bus and train tours, see our comparisons later in the story.
We really feel this train tour is the best way to see Europe. Even if you have been there before, our tour is so in-depth, it will show you many things you have missed the first time around. The end result is that our trip is educational and a lot of fun. You will get a lot out of it and have a feel for what Europe is all about by the time you get back home to Hawaii.
During the tour you will be learning about history, art, architecture, and how the Europeans live today. You will also have free time for personal activities like shopping. If you are not much of a shopper, your Hawaii escort is always there to suggest other touring activities and help you do things. We are there at all times to help you get the most out of this experience. So come along with us now and discover what this tour is all about.
Day 1 and 2: It does take a while to fly to Europe, but we have an excellent routing for you on United Airlines.
Day 3: We arrive in Rome about ten o’clock in the morning and transfer to our hotel for check-in and lunch. It feels great to shower, change clothes and rest for a while. We stay at the Hotel Tiziano, located in the midst of Rome’s historic center, just five minutes walk from the Piazza Navona and the Campo dei Fiore.
One of the main attractions of Rome is its incredible art history, rich in ancient architecture, impressive churches, great museums, renaissance paintings and sculpture. Modern Rome also offers a great deal for the visitor, with the many contemporary shops displaying fashion and design, and the world-famous restaurants. During our stay here you will have ample time to choose your own things to see, and we will also provide several walking tours and many suggestions to help you get the most out of your time.
Our first walking tour brings you to the Piazza Navona, with its picture-postcard perfect St. Agnese Church, and stunning Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini — an artist we will encounter several more times in Rome, for he was the greatest of all the Baroque sculptors and architects. This Piazza is considered one of the most beautiful and lively outdoor spaces in the city, and you will probably return here on your own, for it is interesting night and day, and just minutes away from our hotel.
From here we walk two short blocks to the best-preserved ancient building in Rome — the Pantheon. This is a perfect structure, still standing with its great dome intact after one thousand nine hundred years. It was the largest dome in the world until this century, and forms a spherical room. It was designed by the emperor Hadrian in A.D. 125, and has served a variety of historical functions over its many years. It is situated on the Piazza della Rotunda, which offers several outstanding cafes and restaurants, and a beautiful fountain with Egyptian obelisk. A fitting place for our first refreshment of the walk — perhaps some rich Italian ice cream around the corner at Giulitti’s, the city’s best gelateria, or have an espresso at Café D’Oro, reputedly the best in town.
We walk to another incredible church, St. Ignazio, with its illusionistic ceiling mural painted during the 17th century by Pozzo, in a three-dimensional perspective that will truly amaze your eyes with its vivid realistic depiction of the heavens opening above. Notice the stage-setting quality of its small piazza in front.
A few blocks away is the spectacular Trevi Fountain, made famous by the movies and arguably the world’s most beautiful fountain. We walk a few more blocks to the Spanish Steps and its lively piazza, to settle in for dinner in any of a dozen fine restaurants in this neighborhood. If you are still up for a walk we’ll stroll back to our hotel through the inviting evening lanes of the historic center, or if this day has caught up with you, just peel off and hop in a cab at any time during the walk and you’re home with no effort at all. Tonight you will probably sleep well and readjust your biological clock to European time.
Day 4: Our morning city tour will take you to some of the most important highlights of Rome, including the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and many other important landmarks, explaining their history and significance. In the afternoon we visit St. Peters, the most spectacular church in the world, and walk through it with your guide who will explain many of its features. During this tour you will have an optional chance to visit the Vatican Museum, or you can have the afternoon free to go shopping or pursue your own interests. For those going to the museum, you can have a convenient lunch right in the Vatican cafeteria, and then your Hawaii escort will guide you through this huge museum, bringing you to the most important art works. The grand climax here is the breathtaking ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by the greatest of all renaissance masters, Michelangelo.
This evening, after a rest at our hotel, step out for dinner, Roman style! Numerous trattorias abound in the side streets near the hotel, and after dinner take a walk in this colorful neighborhood for more great evening sights, and some further refreshments.
Day 5: Next morning we will take you on another walking tour of Rome that will show you some of the most fascinating and historic neighborhoods, and then later in the afternoon you can relax, and shop in the area near the hotel. The walk will begin at the Campo dei Fiore, a colorful market that has been in business for three hundred years. Its fruit and vegetable stands are quite popular with the local residents, and you will even find some clothing stalls and souvenirs scattered among the local wares. Nearby is the Palazzo Farnese, one of the most famous renaissance palaces of the city, currently housing the French Embassy. We visit these charming narrow streets along Via Giulia and experience the heart of historic Rome.
We then walk a few minutes to the Chiesa Nuova, elaborately decorated in the high baroque style, and then on to the Ponte Sant’Angelo, the lovely bridge across the Tiber with baroque angels carved by Bernini. Walking the cobblestone ancient lanes in this quiet neighborhood will be one of the most interesting experiences of our entire European tour. We will see artisans working in shops unchanged for centuries; fruit and flower stands for the local residents; many attractive restaurants; little fountain faces popping out of walls; stray cats prowling the alleys; ivy-covered brick walls 400 years old.
This afternoon is free for you to pursue your own interests — perhaps shop on the busy Via del Corso or visit another one of the many museums, or simply walk through the quiet lanes of this amazing place.
Day 6: We travel to Florence by train in the morning, enjoying a scenic 90-minute ride through the farmlands of Tuscany. You will find that traveling by train is a very comfortable way to go. Our first-class cars are air-conditioned, so they are cool and quiet, making for a most enjoyable ride. You can bring snacks on board, or eat in the dining car, or just relax and talk with your travel companions. The train is also a place to meet some local Europeans, most of whom speak enough English to communicate with you. The train goes faster than a bus, and doesn’t have to stop for traffic, or toilet breaks, so you arrive at your destination sooner and more refreshed. This is one of many differences between our approach and the standard bus tours.
We will explore this fine art capital and see many amazing and beautiful sights. You will see how Florence became the birthplace of the Renaissance and visit the places where these artistic developments happened in the late 15th century. Our is located in the middle of the city, making it very easy for us to explore the many historic attractions, shops and restaurants. After checking in and having lunch we will go on a walking tour with our local guide, covering many of the important sights.
We visit inside the great Duomo Cathedral, with the world’s third largest dome, completed by Brunelleschi in 1434, which many consider to be the event that began the Renaissance. After appreciating Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery, with its “Gates of Paradise” doors carved by Ghiberti, we walk the few short blocks to the Piazza della Signoria, with its many statues, and the noble architecture of the Palazzo Vecchio.
After the walking tour the group can see Michelangelo’s David. Yes, this one piece is worth the short walk over to the Accademia Gallery. He stands 18 feet tall, a perfect marble figure ready to strike down the giant. Again, we have learned that the lines during the day are too long, but the gallery is open late, so we time our arrival to walk right in without waiting.
The rest of the day will be free, perhaps for shopping, and the evening is free to relax and dine. The Straw Market is fun for shopping, as is the huge sidewalk market by the Church of San Lorenzo, just one block from our hotel! Across the Arno River you will find interesting old streets for walking, further away from the tourist center, with lots of antique shops and modern boutiques with the latest fashions.
Day 7: This morning we begin with a bus ride to Piazzale Michelangelo, a wonderful hillside attraction that offers stunning view across the city on the other side of the Arno River. This is the one of the world’s great panoramas, so it is worth it, and the bus ride getting there takes us through interesting residential neighborhoods. The vista takes in the full span of Florence, spreading below you in a sea of clay tile roofs, punctuated by many domes, towers, bridges and framed by hills in the background, with the commanding presence of the great Duomo rising above all. A full-size, bronze copy of Michelangelo’s David stands in the middle of the square, surrounded by a small army of vendors selling snacks, film, t-shirts and other souvenirs to the many visitors who will be sharing this popular view.
It only takes fifteen minutes to soak up the scene, but this brief expedition is most rewarding. When finished we take a very pleasant walk downhill that leads to quiet lanes along the river, and then to the Ponte Vecchio, which you can reach in fifteen minutes. This will lead us to an optional visit to the Pitti Palace, the former home of the Medici rulers. It was the largest palace in Europe before Versailles was built outside of Paris. In the afternoon you could enjoy an optional visit to the Uffizi Gallery, which contains the finest collection of Italian renaissance art, with masterpieces by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Bellini, Mantegna, Raphael, and so many more geniuses.
Another fascinating option is take a bus trip to nearby Siena, a grand Tuscan hill-town with a vast historic zone for pedestrians.
The streets of Florence will also keep you entertained, with their many colorful people, cheap sidewalk vendors, musicians, ancient buildings and many, many restaurants. The high quality leather stores will especially tempt you, with their designer shoes and handbags. Every corner you turn in Florence offers another glimpse of history. If you want to do some serious shopping, we can show you where the designer boutiques are located, and the jewelry shops. If you just want some small leather items, the numerous sidewalk stands have low prices on a variety of wallets, belts, lipstick holders, bags and souvenirs of all kinds.
VENICE The Most Serene Republic
Day 8: We take the morning train from Florence directly to Venice, arriving around noon. Venice is the city of canals and gondolas, city of dreams and music, city of cafes, with endless labyrinth of narrow alleys, classic ancient brick buildings, five hundred bridges, and a million tourists drawn by its compelling charms. We will get beyond the stage front of Piazza San Marco, to find glimpses of this unique city’s true character. Don’t worry about getting lost. Venice is a relatively small town, so just absorb the overwhelming beauty and enjoy yourself.
We will have two nights and days filled with magic here in the queen of the Adriatic, seemingly adrift at sea, yet anchored to a hundred little islands connected by marble masterpieces. Following check-in and lunch on this first afternoon we have an informative walking tour with our local guide, through the historic heart of the city, and ending up at the Piazza San Marco with a visit inside the 12th century Basilica. Later, you might consider a boat ride to the nearby islands of Lido, Murano, or San Giorgio.
Tonight is free, perhaps for a memorable dinner outdoors at a sidewalk café. You don’t have to order four courses -- you can save your budget and your waistline with a salad and entree. Afterwards, have a drink and listen to a string quartet at 250-year-old Café Florian in Piazza San Marco, so peaceful at night. If you would like to hear some classical music, you are in luck, for there is a concert nearly every night by a chamber orchestra in one of the town’s historic churches.
Day 9: We will lead you on another fascinating walking tour, through the Rialto, along a local shopping street, to the Frari. This is the best way to enjoy Venice, walking away from the main areas, experiencing the back streets, looking at building details, stopping at the top of little bridges and looking up and down the canals.
In the afternoon you are free to wander on your own, or come along on another walk to see some quiet residential areas, narrow canals, with more churches, palaces and museums. The shops of Venice offer a wide variety of top goods, famous for glassworks, lace, fashions, shoes, and souvenirs of all kinds. You will find that the center of Venice is one big shopping mall, but it’s more rewarding when you get away from the tourist shops and into the neighborhoods with local residents. This is easy for us because we spend two days in Venice, and have time to see it well.
You can get back and forth across the Grand Canal on the Accademia or the Rialto bridges, but a more interesting way is to cross on gondola ferries called traghettos, which only cost about 60 cents. If you are going from one side of town to the other, take the water-bus called the vaporetto. You buy the ticket for about $2 at the boat docks, which are scattered along the Grand Canal.
There are many fine small restaurants scattered around Venice. We will point out our favorites within a few blocks of the hotel and provide you with a handy map that shows their locations. As in all of our cities, the hotel is well-located so there are many excellent food choices nearby in a wide range of prices, from gourmet to cafeteria.
There could be no better way to cap off our visit than with a sunset gondola ride — a guaranteed peak experience that we can arrange for the group. Your gondolier rows this unique black boat through the little back canals to show you the peaceful neighborhoods where locals reside.
Most tourists who visit Venice miss out on the real authentic experience, because they are in such a rush to get back to their tour bus. All they see on their brief day-trip is the Piazza San Marco, and maybe a quick gondola ride, then they rush off to the next city on their hurried itinerary. They “saw” Venice, but missed the heart and soul of the place.
Our approach is totally different. We stay in Venice in a lovely hotel for two nights, and provide you the walking tours and tips for getting the most out of this precious jewel of a city. This typifies our procedure for the entire tour, where we give you enough time and assistance in each city to enable you to enjoy a rewarding experience.
Day 10: At the mid-point of our trip we travel from Venice to Lucerne, through the majestic Swiss Alps. We travel in our deluxe train all afternoon on one of the most scenic rail lines in Europe, into the heart of the Alps. Keep your eyes glued to the window, and watch for the little village and hilltop church we pass three different times as the train winds down the mountain.
We arrive in Lucerne and check in to our luxurious Hotel des Balances in the heart of the Old Town, on the river shore at the Weinmarkt Square. We have two nights and days in Lucerne, the most popular city in Switzerland, famous for its well-preserved Old Town, consisting of blocks of medieval buildings richly decorated with painted murals showing life in the old days. The banks of Lake Lucerne offer a most picturesque walk, through manicured gardens, past picnickers, swans, fishermen and bobbing boats. First up, we enjoy an afternoon walking tour through this historic town, including the famous Lion Monument.
In the heart of Lucerne is its major landmark, the 560-foot long Chapel Bridge, or Kapellbrucke, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, first built in 1333. Adjacent to the bridge is the 110-foot high Water Tower, also nearly 700 years old, the most photographed image in town. The Mill Bridge is a smaller covered bridge two hundred yards south along the river, built around 1408, which also served as part of the medieval fortifications surrounding the town. The old wall still survives from the Middle Ages, built around the same time as the two bridges, between 1350 and 1408. Called the Musegg Wall, it has nine towers, three of them open free to the public, offering great views looking down on the town.
We visit the Lion Monument, carved deeply into the sandstone cliff to commemorate the 1792 death of 786 Swiss mercenary soldiers that were trying to defend King Louis XVI in Paris. Completed in 1821, it depicts a mortally wounded lion, regal but dying from a spear thrust in the ribs, making a tragic statement of historic pride carved in stone. Mark Twain toured Lucerne and called this “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.”
As you stroll you will discover cobblestone lanes for pedestrians winding past ancient buildings with modern shops inside, spotlessly clean and well organized. This is the land of efficiency and charm, with very friendly people, offering the best of both worlds, old and new. The extensive pedestrian zone is filled with interesting shops and restaurants, street vendors and musicians, plazas, flea markets, and fine restaurants, especially along the Reuss River promenade.
Day 11: This morning we enjoy an optional excursion out of town is to Mount Titlis, where you get a chance to frolic in the snow in a glacier at the top of a mountain. We will take you on this scenic train ride through a beautiful Alpine valley to Engelberg, and there we transfer to a series of cable cars that take us to the top of a mountain covered with snow. It is not that cold, so you just need a light jacket to stay comfortable. You’ll enjoy beautiful views of the mountains, farms, and villages along the way.
We will be back in town by mid-afternoon so you can shop around or take an optional train ride to Zurich and explore the extensive Old Town. Or perhaps you’d like to stay and explore Lucerne, a town filled with interesting shops and things to see, you can easily fill your time just wandering its cobblestone streets, window-shopping for music boxes, chocolates, watches, cuckoo clocks, cowbells, beer steins, hand-carved wooden statues, costumed dolls, cheese, knives, embroidery, linens, music, and you can also find very good deals on clothing.
Day 12: Following a leisurely breakfast in Lucerne at our deluxe hotel on the lake, we board the train for a scenic ride to Paris, arriving on the high-speed TGV train in the late afternoon. This French TGV travels at speeds up to 165 mph, but you don’t realize you are going that fast as the ride is smooth and steady. We will stay in Paris for three nights, which gives us time to have a good look around at the most important sights. Our itinerary here is carefully planned so that you will get the most out of this opportunity to explore one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Our hotel is walking distance to many of the top attractions of the city.
After hotel check-in we will have a walking tour of some charming byways of the Latin Quarter, and enter the world’s most beloved Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame. We will also walk along the Ile St. Louis, a historic neighborhood on an island in the middle of the River Seine, with some of the oldest shops and mansions in the city. Here we can enjoy a refreshing snack at Bertillon, the most famous ice cream parlor in the city. The narrow old-fashioned streets of the Left Bank on the other side of the Seine are sure to please. These busy Latin Quarter streets of Paris, with their quiet neighborhood markets and charming tree-lined plazas, are terrific for people-watching and shopping.
Day 13: On our second morning in Paris you will have a guided motorcoach tour that will show many historic highlights of this great city, including the Place de la Concorde, the River Seine, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the center of town at the Place de l’Opera.
After the tour, come along on an optional visit to the Louvre Museum, the most holy shrine of the art world. Enter through the controversial new glass pyramid to spend several hours in admiration and contemplation of highlights from this immense collection that would take one year to see if you really studied the details. Your escort will bring you right to the most interesting and important pieces so you don’t get too lost in this million-plus assemblage of the world’s greatest creations. After the museum visit you are free to shop around in this center of fashion and design featuring many small boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and specialty shops of all kinds. Eating fine French food can be one of this world’s greatest pleasures, so if you value dining well, you are in the right city.
Day 14: Another full day in Paris, and we have big plans for you. We start with a visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower, then continue on a 30 minute train ride to Versailles, the extravagant 2,000 room palace famous for its “Hall of Mirrors” and classically landscaped formal gardens. Upon returning to town in the afternoon you are free to explore on your own, or come along with us to see one of the finest collection of impressionism at the Orsay Museum.
This evening we enjoy an optional boat ride on the River Seine, which shows many of the most famous monuments illuminated in the twilight, from the unusual angle of the Seine river including Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the old Conciergerie, and the Pont Neuf -- an impressive way to conclude our stay in Paris.
Day 15: In the morning we travel to London, going under the English Channel in the high-speed Eurostar train. London provides a grand climax to our experience for it is the favorite city of most American travelers in Europe. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel one block from Trafalgar Square in the heart of town, near Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. Your Hawaii escort will take you on an orientation walk to show you the attractions of this neighborhood around the hotel in the heart of London.
Leicester Square, just two blocks from the hotel, is one of the most exciting centers of London. We then walk a few blocks over to Covent Garden, filled with unique shops, restaurants, lots of sidewalk entertainment, marvelous buildings and vast pedestrian zones. Then we conclude our walk with a look at Soho, walking along Old Compton Street, and then through the small Chinatown and back to our hotel.
In the afternoon, following lunch, we have a panoramic city tour on a comfortable motorcoach, passing the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, St. Pauls, Tower Bridge and highlights of the West End. After the bus tour we visit the Tower of London, the huge castle on the Thames, which is the oldest building in London, dating back to 1078 when William the Conqueror began construction. It is a complete delight, not only for the Crown Jewels, but for the entire experience. The White Tower is the oldest building of the castle and has a spectacular, multi-level display that has just been completed after many years of renovation, featuring suits of armor and historic weapons, with informative signs and video displays.
This evening you could take in one of the hit musicals or comedies in the exciting theater district along Shaftesbury Avenue, just two blocks from our hotel. It is easy to get half-price tickets because the discount booth is near our hotel in Leicester Square. We are in the theater district, with about 40 plays going on at any one time in a six block-wide neighborhood called the West End. Comedies, musicals and dramas are available every night, so take advantage and go for it.
Day 16: This morning we have a comprehensive walking tour through some of the most interesting parts of town, visiting Piccadilly Circus, St. James, Chinatown, Soho, and ending with the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. This will bring us through grand examples of the finest urban architecture, and past many fine shops along the way.
We then arrive at the famous Changing the Guards ceremony. The pomp and circumstance of this ritual is great fun, with the redcoat soldiers in their tall black hats parading to the bouncy rhythm of a marching brass band. We get to St. James Palace for the first phase, then stroll through beautiful St. James Park to arrive at Buckingham Palace just in time for the climax of the event, watching the big marching band going by.
The afternoon is completely free. You will easily find many wonderful things to do in this great city. We shall lead art lovers in a visit to the National Gallery, one the world’s great art museums, one block from our hotel on the north side of Trafalgar Square. Even if you are not a major art fan, you would enjoy a look at the great masters.
Day 17: This morning we will lead another fascinating walking tour, covering downtown and two great churches – Westminster Abbey, a Gothic masterpiece, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, built by the great Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1708 in the Baroque style with many Renaissance influences. On the other hand, you could take an optional excursion out of town to visit Stonehenge and Bath.
This afternoon is free. Shoppers might want to visit Harrods — perhaps the world’s greatest department store. History buffs would enjoy a visit to the British Museum, one of the oldest museums in the world. It opened in 1759, and has just completed a major expansion with creation of the huge indoor Great Court and special exhibition galleries. The ancient Greek and Egyptian collections are the main treasures, especially the Elgin Marble statues from the Parthenon in Athens and the vast number of mummies, colossal statues and jewelry from the ancient civilization of the Nile.
Day 18: We fly home filled with memories of an incredible trip.
Our price of $5,599 includes: round-trip air from Honolulu; rail tickets; transfers to and from airports and rail stations; hotels with breakfast everyday; all city tours and walking tours. Not included in tour price: lunch and dinner; tips; airline taxes; all admission charges, such as to museums or palaces; optional tours. If you are interested you can send in your $100 per person deposit (refundable until 100 days before departure) now to guarantee reservations. We are limiting the size of each group to about 28 people, so we expect they will fill up soon. Mail deposit to"Callans' Tours. 1011 Prospect St., #702, Honolulu, HI 96822. For more information call Dennis Callan at 528-4411.
COMMENTS FROM OUR TRAVELERS:
“We will continue to recommend your Europe by Train tour to family and friends as we are very high on it. We will be talking for a long time about the best trip we ever took...the “best” tour in the whole world! We had a great time. We highly recommend you to our children and friends.” Jim & Reiko Fobel
“My purpose of the trip was to see the DaVincis’, Michelangelos’, the old Master painters, Impressionists, and old excavated artifacts, sculptor, and the history to go with them, so I was thoroughly satisfied.” Marilyn Tabata
“Travelling by train made my trip. Highlights were Trevi Fountain in Rome, the garment factories in Lucerne and cows with bells on their necks, statue of David, the gondola ride in Venice, Eifel tower, Venus de Milo, Westminster Abbey with organ music-I could go on and on. Traveling, which is usually tiring, was painless and most enjoyable. The size of the group was perfect. We got individualized attention. The location of hotels selected couldn’t have been better, for they were close to everything, making it easy to go shopping or doing things on your own during free time. We would definitely travel with you again.” Melvin and Lorraine Yuen
“I really enjoyed the walks, and they did help in orienting me. I felt I got to know places much better this time. I would certainly recommend your tours to my friends and relatives.” Gloria Young
“Now that we’re back into our usual routines...the tour seems much like a dream. Can now understand why people take the same trip twice. It was a marvelous way to see Europe. I’ve been putting my picture album together - brings back many happy memories.” Amelia Garcia
“We truly enjoyed all the cities we visited. This trip showed us a heck of a lot more than a bus tour would. With those bus tours you’ve got all those one-night stands where you get to a city late in the afternoon and leave the next morning. You don’t see anything that way-unlike your trip, which takes the time to really see these places. We appreciate you leading us through Europe, safe and sound, a little smarter and a little bit fatter.” Betty and Clarence Kawahigashi
“Enjoyed our first trip to Europe. Thanks for a great itinerary.” Joyce Low
“Liked the companionship and how everyone watched out for each other....Our guide was very knowledgeable about places we went and prepared us for different events.” Eleanor Lyden
“It is difficult to single out particular experiences that were the best because they were all very good....As a whole, the tour was most enjoyable. The small size of the group certainly added to our enjoyment as not only did we get to know each other, we could all be close enough to the guide to hear what was being said. The very convenient location of all of the hotels on the tour was most appreciated. But the biggest plus of the entire tour was the fact that we traveled by train and not by motor coach. This enabled us to spend more time in the cities and not on the motor coach. The train was very comfortable and punctual....All in all, we enjoyed the trip very much and would go along...again and even recommend it to others.” Rachel Sada
“My first trip abroad—what a wonderful experience.” Una Uchida
“Educational - good exposure to European history, arts and architecture. Excellent choice of hotels in terms of accommodations and locations. Travel by train was the way to go.” Gerald Sada
“Sugi and I really enjoyed the trip and very much appreciated your narratives and taking us off the beaten paths. Someday I would like to repeat the trip.” Bessie Sugimoto
“This trip was a wonderful way to broaden our horizons. We’re convinced that your tour format is the way to go! Walking, many times off the beaten track, was a great way to see each city. Your hints/suggestions for us to explore on our own were always on target. We appreciate all your efforts to make our experience in Europe educational and fun. Our heartfelt thanks to you. Howard and Betty Hayashi
“The memories from that first trip to Europe will last me a lifetime. I appreciate all of the hard work that goes into coordinating such a venture....I just want to express my mahalo to you for making it very memorable for me.” Ginger Wild
“Many thanks for the great tour of Europe - We enjoyed it immensely.” Ike and Nora Angora
“It was really exactly what I thought it would be. You carried it out exactly as presented in the brochure and travel show on tv. I loved our friendly caring group. We looked after each other and were always concerned about each other’s welfare.” Carol Franklin
“Thanks for a wonderful trip. Going by train and taking those walking tours were great! We appreciate the time and work you’ve put into making it one we will remember.” Norman and Alice Kong
“Thank you very much for an interesting and exciting tour. Very educational and worthwhile.” Eddie & Elsie Ching
“I enjoyed everyone’s company and thought it was a fantastic trip....It trip was a great experience for me. Even more so than my ’92 trip to Europe. Glad I did it.” Steve Hughes
“We would just like to say that we had a wonderful time for two and a half weeks traveling through Europe on your tour. It has been a memorable trip in that we’ve learned so much, saw so much, and made new friends. Your talks have been informative and so interesting....your helpfulness, warmth, and caring is so much appreciated. It was so much better than a bus tour.” Charlie, Aiko, & Adrianne Abe
“Thank you for such a wonderful trip. We certainly did see a lot of things....Thanks for being so patient and gracious with us. We are the first among our friends to go through the English Channel chunnel! The locations of all the hotels were good....Your walking tours of all the cities were the highlights of the general tour...Mixing with the local populations gave me a chance to feel that I was part of the area. The train rides were excellent-being on the fast train was a great satisfaction....Thank you for a wonderful and intimate experience.” Haru and Ruth Honma
“The leisure time provided was very good....Overall, the tour was very well planned and executed. The train rides between the cities were all that I expected them to be.” Stan Tabata
“The hotels were gorgeous and centrally located, making it very easy to get around. I have nothing but praise for the tour...and will recommend it to everyone I speak with.” Mimi Tabata
“It was great traveling via train and being able to see and walk through many places that would’ve been impossible had we traveled via motorcoach.” Katherine Akagi
“Thank you for helping make my first trip to Europe so special. I felt that the mix of things to do on the trip was nicely balanced between orientation walks, museums, and of course, shopping. Your expert knowledge & personal attention to details for each city and for each traveler in our group was greatly appreciated. I would not hesitate to go on another trip with you in the future.” Carol Keating
“Your flexibility helps to make the ‘group tour’ concept attractive even to independent types like us. I’m hoping to come with you on other trips in the future. It was a great time spent with good people.” Roz Young
“I had an exceptionally nice time. I appreciated the extra background info you gave us on each city & country - re architecture, history, art & culture. Plus you saved us a lot of hassling, time & effort from your experiences, to smooth our way. I learned a lot, and enjoyed doing it.” Pat Young
“Seeing Europe via train was a wonderful experience, and a fast and scenic way to get from one city to the next. Your informative comments about each city were educational and added more insight than covered by a couple of books we read of Europe prior to our trip. Our group was superb-fun loving, prompt, good walkers, looked out for one another....Everything we did and saw was an interesting experience....the Roman Colosseum; Vatican Museum; Sistine Chapel; the scenic train ride from Venice to Lucerne; Hotel des Balances; climb to Mount Titlis and having a chance to romp in the snow; the high speed ride on the Eurostar from Paris to London; and lastly to London to view the Changing of the Guards and take in a couple of shows in London’s theaterland.” Harry and Irene Toyomura
“What a trip that was! ‘Europe by Train’ was truly an exciting & a wonderful tour. Richard & I enjoyed it tremendously. It was certainly educational & a learning experience. Lots of fun too. The whole trip was a highlight. Just the realization that I was in Europe and got to see some of the works of the great artists written about in our history books. I feel very grateful to the Europeans for allowing us to ‘come into their lives’ to share their history, culture, food, and the scenic beauty of their country....I can hardly wait to go on another European tour.” Lani Isa
“It was the most enjoyable tour I have ever taken. The day to day schedule was full of good food and great informative walks. Everything was planned so well - you only had to enjoy. In the time frame we had we were able to take in so much in a short time. In my earlier travels, it would have taken me 3 months to experience all that I did in 18 days! Not to mention what I’ve learned about the histories and art. Highly enjoyable and a great learning experience!” Albert Chang
“It was a fabulous trip! You seemed to have a surprise every day: the gondola ride, the tram ride up Mt. Titlis, breakfast in bed in Paris, a full course breakfast aboard the Eurostar train to London....Your expertise in getting around the continent translated into huge savings in time for us, the net result being that we saw more of Europe with you than we could have on our own. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.” Barbara MacDonald
“We could not have asked for anything more. Dennis is very knowledgeable, patient, and understanding. He is a terrific tour guide. I don’t see how we could have packed more activities into the time we had. We were spared any bad experiences.” Jim MacDonald
“Overall, it was great! More than we had hoped for....Seeing St. Peters Cathedral inside was an awesome, unforgettable experience. We loved all the walking tours — no doubt the best way to experience the cities. Trains made the trips between the different cities a very nice experience. Top Notch!” Gerald Bluehdorn
“Your goal to walk and see the cities we visited was accomplished - The hotels were perfect as we could run out and walk around without worrying about catching a bus, subway or taxi. Great way to travel - we might not have seen some of the other sights as in a bus tour. Got to see and feel the cities better this way. Thank you for your tireless energy. You did more than an ordinary tour director would do. You are very knowledgeable about art history and I admire your informational background. Liked the flexibility, options given, undaunting spirit, the camaraderie of the leader and the group. Thank you for a great trip!” May Oshiro
“Very educational and entertaining. Tour leaders were very experienced and informative. Everything happened when it was supposed to happen. No snafus. Very well planned. Excellent services. Very professional.” Hugh Leslie
“Terrific tour - I enjoyed it tremendously because you were a “walking encyclopedia” on the art history/culture of each country we visited. It was a fantastic learning experience - intellectually, culturally, and also in human relationships. Excellent.” Margaret Tom
“Best experiences: Walking the back alleys and seeing everyday activities of people who lilve there. The outdoor market activities; buying olives, etc. The best was enjoying all of the trip with such a fantastic and compatible group! Nobody stayed home on optional activities afternoons because Dennis had so much to show us.” Rowena Liu
“I enjoyed every city because the lectures accompanying the places, pictures, statues, etc., were wonderful. Each one was a terrific educational experience. Listening to the historical background was something so different from the usual long bus ride tours.” Alice Yoshioka
“Everything was an experience. Highlights for me were Rome; David was the most; sitting in the gondola, thinking, is it really me - here!! We’re telling everyone about the trip, sort of re-living our experiences. Dennis’ enthusiasm about history, places, times, people, were so exciting that we were never bored. In fact we were incited to pay more attention to whatever facts were being shared. Everything was great.” Lillian and Ken Chang
“Trip highlights: Trip to the Alps - Mt. Titlis. Scenery was breathtaking. Lucerne was a really clean city. I enjoyed Rome...walking by the fruit and flower stands and seeing the local people was interesting. I was impressed by all the historical art and buildings. The Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Versailles were fascinating. Traveling by train was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was fast and comfortable. Our group was small and very congenial. I liked the fact that the hotels were clean, and centrally located so we could walk around by ourselves after dinner. The pace of the tour was comfortable and we had enough free time to shop. I felt that our guide did a great job.” Clara Ching
“Absolutely wonderful. Well organized and we really enjoyed the companionship and how we all helped and watched out for each other. Some highlights were the sunset gondola ride and listening to the singing gondolier, and the see the most incredible ancient architecture. We have gone on many tours (all buses) but nothing can beat your “train tour” where we were able to walk around on the train, and talk to our companions enroute to our destination. We have nothing but praise, and we will certainly recommend it to our friends. We are still dreaming about the wonderful trip. Many, many thanks for the most memorable tour of Europe!” George and Kay Maeda
“I absolutely loved every minute of it. You taught us so much about art and European life. I was very impressed with the attention you gave us. Even on our free time” you were so helpful getting us to where we wanted to go, either by taking us there or giving us all the info we need to go ourselves. “ Nancy Lee
“The magnificence of the artwork at all of the churches, museums, courtyards, etc. left me breathless. Photos and videos cannot do justice to these awesome sights. I am so happy I went. This trip thrilled me beyond my highest expectations and wildest dreams. I particularly enjoyed the ruins of Rome, the shopping in Florence, the romance of Venice, the beautiful scenery of Lucerne, the Palace of Versailles, the ice cream in Paris, and the big city excitement of London.” Tricia Kaeo
“Trip highlights: The awesomeness of the ancient ruins - the architecture, the splendor of artistic creations! The tranquility and quaintness of Venice and Lucerne, the delicate glassware and the intricate and delicate works of lace were just superb. The night boat ride on the Seine was just gorgeous! Going up the Eiffel Tower for a great view of Paris! In a word - AWESOME!!!” Agnes Haruguchi
“Trip highlights: Finally getting to see Art 101 come alive. The tour made me realize even more how young our country is in comparison. I would probably want to travel to more European countries as a result of this trip. It was an excellent introductory tour for a beginner covering each city’s highlights. We had a wonderful group of people on the tour from various backgrounds who really knew the meaning of ohana.” Lillian Sawai
I’ve never gone on an organized tour, but I enjoyed this one, especially the flexibility we had. Plus the cities we visited were great! How can you not help but have a good time? I thought you did an excellent job coordinating everything. You were organized, knowledgeable, yet flexible when planning activities, gauging the mood energy of the group. Craig Okino
Best experiences: Gondola ride in Venice w/ singer & guitarist - absolutely wonderful - hard to top that! “Miss Saigon” in London - Louvre in Paris. I had a great time! I admit I’m pretty spoiled when it comes to hotels -- I appreciate luxury & quality. All the hotels we stayed at passed the test. If my husband and I ever make it back to Europe I’ll be sure to give you a call! Laurie Taketa
The walking tours were excellent for me. The explanations were awesome to say the least. The many buildings that were constructed many, many years ago and how they got it up is something to talk about for a long, long time. The snow on top of the mountain was speechless. The weather was wonderful all the way. The trains that we rode, and the London Tube were just exciting and fun. The gang was really friendly and caring. To sum everything - is enough for me to last a life time - the many old structures, and paintings, and different kinds of food, and canals that I saw as a young child in school, now am seeing live in front of me. Aloha. Joe Ayau
It was a terrific trip. It was a learning experience and I’ve enjoyed the walking tour to the back streets of interesting places. Traveling by train was comfortable and fast, enjoyed the landscape of the country ride, and it made us spend more time in each country. I’ve seen and enjoyed many things in European countries that I don’t see in Hawaii. This is what traveling is all about - visiting historic sites, museums, places with different plants and flowers. Well planned. Thank you. Nancy Coelho
Wonderful experience. Will be hard to match. Especially liked hotel locations and walking tours. Liked being able to wander and explore without restrictions of bus guided tours. Much better “hands on feeling” of the cities by walking the streets and experiencing the people. Great photo opportunities. Like the “I’m a resident” feeling with enough information mixed in to make it very interesting. Good group of people -- fun to be with. Felt as if we were all old friends. Best experiences: Being able to leisurely walk the old Roman ruins. The view from the top of the Duomo in Florence. Wandering the streets of Venice and seeing St. Marks. Having tea at the hotel on Mt. Pilatus. The view of the Eiffel Tower at night and the experience of going to the top. The first sight of Parliament in London...many other things in between. Can think of no bad experiences. Leon Celmer