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“Southern Italy/Sicily - dull, dull,dull. May 7 -19 2013”

Written on: 21/05/2013

This tour begins in Naples with an overnight in Caserta forty kilometres north.The hotel was fine but the area is not. The included hotel dinner that night was appallingly bad. Unfortunately there was nowhere else to eat as the area is a veritable industrial wasteland and becomes dangerous after dark with lots of hookers and their customers driving round.
It is a mystery why Saga uses this property as it is way off the tour path which is all south of Naples.
The Alberobello hotel la Chiusa di Chietri was all round excellent.
The Hotel Barbieri in Altomonte was also very good but beware that it has the hardest most uncomfortable single beds you will ever find. The owner and family are involved in all the regular hotel operations and were the most hospitable people you could hope for.
The Hotel Nettuno in Catania is basically a convention hotel and very busy. Nice rooms and many of them overlook the parking lot of a supermarket and some apartment buildings. There were many complaints about lack of seaview romms for Saga and some people got moved.
Excellent breakfast buffet and acceptable if not ordinary dinners. Almost all staff encountered were barely civil and some were plain rude. The feeling was Saga guests were really second class patrons and just a nuisance. The location is good but a good one hour walk to the center of town or 15 euros in a taxi. The local bus runs about once an hour and cost two and a half euros for a day pass. This ticket must be purchased at the Tabacchi shop close by the bus stop and must be validated on the bus each time its used.
This was my first coach trip and will never be repeated. Just not my thing. Many lovely people in the group especially the gang from Hartlepool.
Very knowledgeable and efficient tour manager with no sense of humour and almost never smiled. He is also homophobic. He could barely maintain eye contact and was distinctly unfriendly towards me and my buddy who are both gay.
I consider this trip an expensive lesson learned as I travelled from Canada for it. Saga is fine for those who are unable or unwilling to travel independently but why oh why di it have to be so dull and boring.

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