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BlogTravel storiesA global citizen goes guided in Eastern Europe
Travel stories

A global citizen goes guided in Eastern Europe

Jan 29, 2020 by Jamie Mc Laughlin

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Traveler Carole is no stranger to the life-changing magic of seeing the world. She’s lived in France, studied in Egypt, worked in the American Embassy in India, and joined the Peace Corps in Armenia. Yet her very first guided tour, Highlights of Eastern Europe, truly wowed her. “I loved everything about it,” she said. “I met the most wonderful, like-minded people.”

It was those people who Carole reminisced about again and again, and who showed her that going on tour as a solo traveler doesn’t mean you’ll be alone. “I was the only one on the tour who didn’t know anybody else, and everybody was so sweet to me,” she said. “They took me under their wing and looked out for me. I never ate alone, and when we had free time, they always invited me to come with them. It was like a close-knit family.”

ImgGroup picture in wonderful Warsaw. We attended a fabulous Chopin concert and had a delicious dinner there.

Carole’s group members-turned-friends shine in her memory, and the experts who made her journey so eye opening were the cherry on top. “Our Tour Director, Constantine, was exceptional.” she reflected. “He was compassionate and helped us in every way. He was so knowledgeable about every country and spoke several languages. I loved hearing the in-depth history of each place and filled a whole notebook with notes on history, culture, and music. Go Ahead Tours really is Education First. Your tours are structured in such a way that you learn so many interesting things.”

One of the things Carole loved learning about—and listening to!—was the region’s music. “We listened to a Chopin concert in Warsaw, Poland, and it was absolutely marvelous,” she said. “The pianist’s fingers were flying across the keyboard. We also went to a Mozart concert in Vienna, and it made me feel close to my grandma, who was German. I wished that I could have seen her.”

Despite all the beautiful things Carole experienced on tour, one city truly stole her heart: “I’m in love with Budapest,” she said. "We went on a boat ride on the river at night, and there was wonderful food, and you could see all the city lights. It was so beautiful.”

ImgOur wonderful Tour Director Constantine and our local guide in Budapest

When Carole and her group weren’t out enjoying concerts and nighttime boat rides, they were enjoying A+ accommodations. “We stayed in excellent hotels and had delicious food,” she said. “When I came back home, the food tasted so ordinary after what we’d eaten in Eastern Europe. In every city, there was a huge, huge breakfast—you cannot imagine all the different dishes they served for breakfast. Each hotel was very modern and comfortable, and had excellent food. You really have excellent choice of hotels in each place.”

From the history to the food to the new friends she made along the way, Carole’s journey in Eastern Europe left her in awe. “Each place was magical and the tour was so well organized,” she said. “I think back on it, and it’s like a wonderful dream. I wish I could always be in a setting like that.”

ImgBeautiful Budapest, which I loved.

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Traveler stories
About the author | Jamie Mc Laughlin
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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