What goes into a typical day with VBT? Exhilarating walks in dazzling locations. New people, places, and ideas to learn about. Fabulous meals. Pure relaxation. Plenty of laughs. How much or how little of each you want to partake of is up to you. Yes, we have a map with a destination that’s our end point for the day. But there’s no end to the pleasures you’ll find between here and there, because we always leave room for diversions and detours, rest and reflection. What goes into a typical day? Whatever you want.
“Top Marks for All Categories ... Our guides were very knowledgeable
about plant life, history, food, cultural events, and of course wine.”
- Cynthia H., The Amalfi Coast & Capri
8-10 am in Ireland’s West Country
Sun streams through the dining room window as Annette greets you with a pot of hot golden Barry’s tea. You’ve developed a taste for it, not to mention the hearty Irish breakfasts of bacon rashers, eggs baked with Irish cheddar and bangers, brown soda bread, oatmeal, and homemade jams. As your group gathers outside in the garden, one Trip Leader reviews the day’s highlights, while the other loads the van with supplies. Water bottle, directions, and map in hand, you choose the flat road along soft lakeside meadows, while your partner opts for the wooded path on higher ground.
10-12 pm in Amalfi Coast
After ferrying across the Bay of Naples, you come in sight of Capri, a beehive-like vision of lush tropical flora and limestone terraces. At the marina you board the funicular and ride up to the main square, La Piazzetta. Soon you all begin walking along a narrow winding path, with bushes of jasmine and bougainvillea tumbling down the hillsides. At the top of the trail lies Villa Jovis, the onetime palace of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Your Trip Leader regales you with wild tales of the intrigues that took place here, but the beauty of the island, with its sea views and iconic I Faraglioni rock pinnacles, is dramatic enough.
12-2 pm in Argentina
You’ve covered rugged ground this morning, riding alongside glacial lakes to an historic roadhouse, then taking a short walk along the Patagonian steppes to dramatic dunes. Now it’s time for more civilized pleasures in El Calafate, a busy adventure outpost on the Chilean border. Four of you set off to find a parilla restaurant you read about, and soon you’re tucking into platters of grilled trout, empanadas, a tangy pumpkin stew, and bottles of crisp white Torrontes wine. Then, you branch off down the Paseo de los Artesanos for some retail therapy. Beautiful silver bracelets, alpaca shawls, and leather goods catch your eye, but instead you choose to catch a nap back at the hotel.
3-5pm in Machu Picchu
Yesterday, you hiked the legendary Inca Trail to Intipunku, the Sun Gate. Today you slept in and caught the shuttle to the site, wandering at your own pace to Mandor Waterfalls, hooking up with fellow travelers here and there. Now, you sit on a ledge overlooking the Lost City, with Huayna Picchu behind it. It’s late in the afternoon, the last visitors are leaving, and you seem to have the place to yourself, save for the alpaca grazing on the terrace below you. It’s an unforgettable moment, sitting in peace, and contemplating the site in all its mystic grandeur.
5-10pm in the Italian Lakes—New for 2013
“Hullo!” your travel mates wave from the geranium-lined walkway, laden with packages from their market visit. You chose a massage instead, and afterwards must’ve dozed off on your balcony. Now it’s time for a group dinner on Isola dei Pescatori, a tiny island crisscrossed by lanes lined with inviting trattorie. As a bottle of sparkling prosecco is uncorked, the feast begins: scampi marinated in lemon, green apple, and celeriac … creamy ravioli… crisp grilled yellow perch fresh from the lake … pastries and local Bettlematt cheese drizzled with honey. It’s a warm night, and after this feast you’re happy to stroll the lakeshore. Back at your hotel you slip into the affinity pool and the stars come out above Monte Mottarone. In the moonlight, the Borromean islands shimmer and seem to go on forever, and you know your memories of this day will, too.
This schedule represents the general structure of a day with VBT. Times and activities will of course vary.
7:00 – 8:00 am