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Not the Tauck I have known for many years

Someone fell asleep and scheduled A Week in Spain May 12-19,2024. We had one full day on May 18 with scheduled visit to Prado as a group and with guides. May 18 is the perennial International Museum Day which does not allow group visitors. Therefore our group of 35 was left to go on our own. I personally decided not to fight the crowd and spend hours waiting on line to enter Prado. Without the guide just isn’t the same experience. Tauck messed up big time and didn’t offer to make it up. This mishap doesn’t fall in the unexpected category which we were asked to expect. It’s human error and totally inexcusable. After 13 trips with Tauck, my trust in the company has completely tarnished.

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    In 13 tours with Tauck if you've never had an itinerary impacted by local events you've been lucky. I've had it happen several times over the past 10 years. The fact that tour dates are set a year or more doesn't help. However, I do think they should have made a better alteration in the itinerary than you got. This forum can't help you but Tauck customer service can. Call and select the option of recently returned from a tour.

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    There is a website that you can use, when planning/deciding on when to take a tour, to help identify holidays and observances in various countries that might impact a tour's itinerary (this wouldn't have helped in Alice's case above, but it helps sometimes).

    https://timeanddate.com/holidays/

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    I've checked holidays before booking most of our tours- I was especially concerned about Ramadan during Jordan and Egypt, but for our just completed Spirit of the Desert, National Parks of the Southwest tour, I totally forgot. A little research a few months before departure revealed that Memorial Day and that weekend were the busiest of the year for most of the parks in the SW.

    As it turned out, on Saturday, 25 May, Day 3 we did our float trip on the Colorado River just outside Moab in the morning and visited Canyonlands NP in the afternoon; on Sunday, 26 May, Day 4 we flew to Bryce Canyon NP, where upon arrival in the afternoon and guided by our TD, we walked the rim trail for our first view of Bryce's hoodoos. The next morning, Monday, 27 May,(Memorial Day), Day 5, we had time to explore Bryce's trails on our own before we traveled by coach to Zion NP. We arrived after lunch and a short, but comfortable, bus tour of the valley.(the park tram was out of service). On Tuesday morning, Day 6, quite a few visitors remained so we encountered significant numbers of people during the second half/on the way back from our early morning guided tour of the Virgin River canyon.

    The bottom line: the itinerary (timing and order, but not the events) was slightly different (was intentionally modified?) from what was previously published and possibly, because of that, we generally avoided the Memorial Day crowds described in many of the articles.

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    Alice, I do not blame you for being upset. That is a very quick trip and the Prado for me was the highlight of Madrid. The funny thing is that the only painting I specifically remember is the "Las Meninas" by Velasquez, and I would probably wait in line for 2 hours to see it again. But you are correct, what made it great was the tour guide.

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    While looking at the itinerary, it appears as if there is one day scheduled for the Madrid experience and the other days are in other cities. I honestly don't know what expectations should be. Tauck seems to consistently schedule the departures on either a Sunday or Wednesday. So sadly the luck of the draw applied.The first time I took a European tour we arrived in Paris when the Louve was closed. Broke my heart but it was a closed day, not much I could expect the tour provider to do. Tauck can do many things but they don't control these sites.

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    SmilingSam - There is a website that you can use, when planning/deciding on when to take a tour, to help identify holidays and observances in various countries that might impact a tour's itinerary (this wouldn't have helped in Alice's case above, but it helps sometimes).

    https://timeanddate.com/holidays/

    Thanks. That's a good suggestion.

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    Rick Steves website and guide books also list festivals by country. Not sure where an International Museum day would be listed. On our Normandy/Brittany tour we were supposed to go to Mont St Michaels on a Sat when admission was free to the French. Also beautiful weather predicted. Part of our group did took a ferry to St Malo and a self guided tour of it.

    The other thing to check in Europe is which itinerary days are on Sunday when only museums and restaurants are open or Mon when museums are often closed.

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    I’ve thought about this a bit cuz I don’t like negative and this has been a subject of one of the reviews. Palace, then the Prado, then tapas walk. The palace and the Prado offered very few places to sit down, and we were on our feet for hours. All of the sites were interesting, but we were way too tired for the tapas walk. We went to our favorite bistro for a casual dinner. Quite frankly, I would have preferred to skip the Prado and do the tapas walk.

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