Toto Tours hosted a small group of veteran travelers in September 2017 as we explored regions of Italy and France which are totally separate from the mainland—the gorgeous islands of Sardinia (Italy) and Corsica (France). This was no hurried exploration, as we spent almost two weeks journeying from the bottom of Sardinia, across a ferry, and on to the very top of Corsica. Sardinia is known for its ancient settlements of the Nuragic peoples, its Roman ruins, and countless beautiful beaches. Corsica is much greener and mountainous in the interior. It even has a wonderful train through the mountains, which we used to get from one destination to another. Perhaps its most famous resident was Napoleon Bonaparte, who was born on the island. This diverse and exciting tour, offering us a savory taste of two countries, concluded in style at a luxury hotel on the ramparts of Bastia.
This expansive tour wound through four Balkan countries formed after the break-up of Yugoslavia: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It attracted a large group (26 of us), and many international adventurers, including four Mexicans, two Australians, one Brit and one Italian! We whooped it up through an unexpected snowstorm crossing the mountains between Serbia and Montenegro, and shivered through unseasonably chilly and rainy weather during some of our outings. But nothing could dampen our spirits! The sun shone brightly as we toured fabulous Kotor and Dubrovnik, and we thrilled to see the capital cities Belgrade and Sarajevo.
Our tour of Nepal and Tibet in May 2017 was “breathtaking” in so many ways! We were a little worried visiting Nepal just two years after their devastating earthquake that the historic sites would still be in a state of great disrepair. However, a tremendous amount of work has been done to restore ancient temples, and those that sustained damage are shored up to protect them until restoration can be completed. A highlight was our visit to Pokhara, and the views of the high Himalayas at sunrise! There are not enough superlatives to describe Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world! Our tour to the countryside took us as high as 16,000 feet, and it was encouraging to witness ancient traditions being carried on in the remote monasteries and temples. We will be coming back to this gorgeous region in the future!