Albatross Tours European Holidays for 2018 & 2019

Albatross Tours European Holidays for 2018 & 2019


– So excited. We’ve had a fun couple of
days just talking about, everything Europe. – Everything Europe. – I have with me the man with the mo’. And that’s, it is Euan
from Albatross Tours. And he’s come to us specially today all the way from Brisbane via Scandinavia. Kind of. – No, via Newcastle airport, actually. – Via Newcastle airport, there we go. – Scandinavia’s, uh, yeah. – Oh, sorry about that, yeah, so. – Yeah, long way away. – Well am sure he’ll explain to you what. Cause that’s what is home. – It’s on my mind. – It’s what he did tell me so, Euan is the. – I’m the managing director
of Albatross Tours, but I’m also what’s more my passion, I’m a tour designer. I’m the person that
puts together the tours, and the joy of it is I have to go and investigate the places first. And so what we have to talk about today are the results of many, many months of practical investigation. And also chatting with people like Narelle to see what people actually
want to go and see and do, as opposed to what you’re
told to go and see and do. – And we’re thrilled because
we had the opportunity to experience that this year. – We did. – With Italy. And Gary, that was with Doug and I. And then Garry went to
Switzerland, I think – Alpine Adventure. – Yeah, Alpine Adventure so, so we’ve got firsthand experience and we love the tours, and everybody on the
trip had a fabulous time, which happens. So tell us a little bit about
what you’d like to share with. – Well, we have so much to share, I mean, this is our
summer brochure right now, and you probably see it. But you can’t grab it right now, so do come in to see Narelle, and she’s got lots of
these brochures here. But if you turn it to page 30, this is actually a new
programme for this year. And it’s called Through
Bohemia and Saxony. It really should be called
Through Eastern Germany and Glorious Czech Republic. When creating this programme, it was clear to me that
people did a bit of this or a bit of that or
quite often they visited parts of Germany, particularly
for the American market. But our tours are just for
Australians and New Zealanders. And so we design our programmes, I design them to make sure
that when you go there you have three nights here
and three nights there. And you don’t rush through, ’cause it’s a long way to go
to the other side of the world. And so my concept was looking at a map, and you possibly can’t see it, but starting in Berlin, you
pick off the main cities, like Berlin, three nights,
and Prague, three nights. And, of course, you got Cesky Krumlov, beautiful Cesky further
down for two nights, and ending in Salzburg. But when we went across
there it was also about what else there is. And I’d never been to Dresden
before, it blew me away. Prague is amazing, Prague is fantastic. Prague is also full of tourists. Dresden is amazing, Dresden is fantastic. And there weren’t any tourists. – That’s what we like. – It was absolutely glorious, and I could remember being
in front of the Frauenkirche, the big, rebuilt church. In Dresden, like Berlin, the
buildings that are really old are actually brand new. ‘Cause they got flattened in the war. And the buildings that are
a bit old, looking younger, are the older ones. – Oh, really? – So, it’s that very curious
way of looking at it. You go to Dresden, the
Frauenkirche bathed in sunlight, and this huge square. And there’s all the
cafes around the outside, and we are gonna have, we
have three nights there. Rather than having two hours. Three nights, it’s that good. And you’re sitting
there, having an aperitif with the evening sun coming down. And there was this guy, he was bald. He was sleeveless, he had
biceps the size of my legs. I’ve got big legs. I’ve got no tattoos on
my legs, but he did, and he danced as he
played this white piano. And this white piano, he
was a busker, it had wheels. So, we sat in this bar,
and there were no tourists, and we listened to classical
music in this gorgeous square. And then when he finished, and
he moved on to the next cafe. – You did too. – We did, too. (Narelle giggling) – And that, to me, is, there’s pleasure in leisure. And we have programmes
that have three nights, three nights, three nights. But near Dresden, there’s,
like, Colditz Castle, which most people avoid. And Colditz is a fantastic visit. This is the castle that so many
books and films are made of. And there’s a museum
there, you can go and see all the escape kit, it’s all there. With the tour, you see the tunnels. You even go up to the attic
where they built a glider. Which they never launched,
because the war ended. They’ve since rebuilt it and launched it, and it actually worked. We go to areas to the east of Dresden, like Saxon Switzerland
and Bohemian Switzerland for the walks. For the Bastei Bridge,
for Konigstein Castle, which was impregnable. Yet, all these places, they are so close, but if you don’t have
time, you just don’t do it. And we do it. – And that’s just one tour. – That’s just one part.
– That’s one. – That’s just one part,
that’s five days of one tour. You have Spreewald, you
have other discoveries, you have Trebon, which
is near Cesky Krumlov, which is just ancient. – So, we have Italy, we
have France, we have, you– – We have about four
different tours of Italy. Two of France, two of Spain,
Spain, Portugal Pyrenees. We, of course, do Britain, we do Ireland. We tend to pick on a destination, say this is how it should be
done, that is the programme. Normally about 17, 18 days. That’s what it is, and we spend longer, and we always include all the activities. And we also include one other
thing, which is unusual. We include my time, what
we call my time, free time. And the free time, we think, is essential. Like I was talking in Dresden, you’re there enjoying it, you shouldn’t have to look at your watch to rush to jump on a coach. – But what we found with our free time, is that our tour manager
really helped us to plan that. So, it wasn’t like she had the day off, she was organising ferries
and transport, and buses. So, everybody was going in
completely different directions for different things that
they were interested in, and she put it all together,
it was just so easy. So, the free time was still time exploring and doing wonderful things, but all that legwork that
you find, all that planning, she just had it all in her head. She just knew exactly where we had to go and what we had to do. And I’m sure that’s exactly
the same on all the tours, with all the tour managers. – Absolutely all the way through. You have the continuity and the friendship and the closeness of a group. You have the economies
of being with the group, but you have that my time,
which we will never take away, to be able to say, I
wanna go to that museum. I would like to go on that riverboat. I would like to do that. And they enable you to do
it, but they’re not options. They’re not sold to you,
it’s what you want to do and you do it yourself,
you have that time. We will not, we will
not allow any options, which really are a different way. – Well, everything that’s
in here is included. There’s not an extra cost for that. So, it’s just on your free time, if you want to do the
bus, you catch the bus. If you wanna do the
ferry, you get the ferry. – So, the tours are very full, but you also have that free time. – Yes, but when you’re
talking about tours very full, we’re talking, what, tell us about the numbers. – Oh, I was meaning the
itineraries are very full. – Oh, they are! – No, the numbers, we have what we call on our summer programme, our small group programme. The maximum is 28 people,
but it averages 22. Now, we use full size coaches, so that means on an average group, which, of course, is most of our groups, everyone gets a window seat, if you want. And so, therefore, if you got
a window seat, if you want, you can have a spare seat. So, you have so much more
personal space on board to stretch out, move around, go around. And also getting on and off
the coaches is much quicker. – That’s what I was gonna say. – Front door, side door. – That’s right, half the time. You waste a lot of time
getting on and off the coach. – Ten out the back, ten out the front. – That’s right, and we’re off. Off to see the sights. – And if someone’s standing getting his things out of
the rack, go the other way. – That’s exactly right, so,
that was our experience of that. So, certainly by all means, come in and get the new brochure. Some of the tours are
already full, I know that. – We’re having a great year. And also don’t forget,
depending on what time of year, come and get the brochure off Narelle, and depending on the time
of year, there are specials. There’s significant amounts of money off, depending on your timings. Plan ahead, you will benefit. You will benefit because
you’ll get money off, but you’ll also benefit ’cause
there’s space on the coach, ’cause some are full. – That’s exactly right, I had to move some
dates around for people, because we couldn’t them
all on one particular date. – But they moved around,
’cause they wanted the tour. – That’s exactly right, we figured it in and we made some other adjustments. That was the tour they wanted,
and we stuck with that. – And they are willing. – And we’re getting very close
to 2018, so by all means, don’t leave it much later. So, we’re going to move on to Christmas, and we’ve got Santa here with us today. So, la la, welcome,
Santa, so, over to you. – First thing I’m gonna say
is this is where we started. This is where 23 years ago we
started with a Christmas tour. I had the idea that there are
these Christmas market things going on. And let’s go across and
enjoy Europe at wintertime, or Christmas time, when
the festive season’s aglow, when Christmas markets are there. And the best time to visit’s
the end of the afternoon, when children are coming home from school with their woollen hats on and their
mittens and pink noses. And chestnuts are sizzling on open fires, there’s mulled wine,
there’s a smell of cinnamon. There’s ginger biscuits
crumbling everywhere. – Very different from Christmas here. – Yeah, very different. No prawns. (laughing) No stomach upsets. – No, that’s true. – But you’ve got a whole
festive feeling of music and the Germans, forgive my pronunciation, (speaks foreign language). That warm, fuzzy ambience, that feeling that you are nourishing, being nourished by the Christmas spirit. So, we put together tours
whereby we have that longer stay, which is what we have
in our summer programme. That’s where the formula came from. So, we start at cities and
we escape to the mountains for Christmas. We’ll stay in 800-year-old village inns and things like that. Always first class. And just settle in and enjoy what you’ve travelled so far to see. – Well, it’s already
snowing in Europe, isn’t it? – It is. – So, and we had four of our
team going for Christmas, they’re leaving us here. So, Doug and Hayley are off to the UK, and Josh and Brie are off
to France and Germany. So, they’re gonna be enjoying that tour. – And the beauty to a coach tour like this is someone else is driving. – Especially with, in those roads. – With big, heavy snow
tyres on the coaches. It’s safety, it’s also enjoyment. – And then when you get there
you’ve got the activities. – And just to give you
an idea of activity. Guess what I’m gonna
be on in 46 days’ time? Swiss Winter Wonderland. These are tours that
actually go after Christmas, after New Year. In that time when the snow is deeper and the mountains are just alive. – And it’s crisp, the day is crisp. – Crisp, blue skies,
snug as a bug in a rug. Good food. – I wish I was going this
year, but maybe another year. But that’s not all, because
you’re already looking now, that’s for 2018. So make sure you come
in, send us a message, and we’ll give you the information or by all means call into the store for the brochures on that. And the team will discuss that with you because we’re very
familiar with everything that Albatross has to offer,
and we love Albatross. But 2019 we’re looking at. And you’ve just come back, and that’s where I was getting
before at the beginning, that you’d come back from Scandinavia. So, you really have recently
come back from Scandinavia. And we may or may not see this, but yeah, we’re going to
explain what you’re up to. – In order to put the
programmes together, I can, you can quite easily do it
by joining dots on an atlas or a map, looking on the Internet. But you actually have
to research it to know which hotel’s got the right service, what else you can do. And so I went across
and we’ve created two, it took a couple of
months, two new programmes. One’s Scandinavia and one
is Sardinia and Corsica. Now, the way I approached Scandinavia was I looked at what must be done, and of course we’re gonna do that. I looked at what can be done, and of course we’re gonna do that. But I looked at what I didn’t know, and I found some amazing things. In actual fact, I would suggest there’s a, you won’t be able to see
detail in this flyer, but here’s a flyer which
Narelle’s gonna have copies of. So, just give her a call and get it, and there’s a small map there. But if you have a look at
it, when you have a look, you’ll see that there are no
one night stops, as usual. But the highlights of the whole programme are not the classic places
like Stockholm and Bergen. The highlights are not,
well, the highlights are places like Geiranger Fjord. – Oh, Geiranger is amazing. – Gorgeous! But, you know, the thing is we can go up the Dalsnibba pass is one,
we go over the Trolls pass (mumbles), we do them all. But then, for instance, we
go to a place called Molde, M-O-L-D-E, and from there, we do a drive along a road
called the Atlantic Highway. And most people don’t know where that is. Well, it’s there. You can’t see it, but
look it up on the web, Atlantic Highway, go to Google Images. And just sit back with a cup
of tea and just look and enjoy. It’s amazingly, no one goes
there or promotes to go there ’cause it’s inconvenient,
it’s out of the way. But the Norwegians, this
is a series of islands interlinked by sweeping bridges. And in the early 2000s, the Norwegians, who are famous for
architecture, were asked to vote on their greatest
architectural achievement of the entire 20th century, and that won. It also got voted the most
scenic drive in the world. – Really? Okay! – Now, no one goes there. Why? – Except Albatross. – Except Al, did you hear that? (laughing) Sorry. It’s because it’s not convenient. Well, we’ll go and stay
there and enjoy it. We also go to a place
called Bud, spelled B-U-D. Where you can go down inside
the old German gunning places, ’cause that was where the
Atlantic Wall was built by Hitler. It still exists. But that drive along the Atlantic Highway is eyewateringly beautiful. And you can see that on the web. Another one also is further up
in this place called Lofoten. Now, it’s actually
pronounced Loo, Loo-fow-tuh. And Scandinavian words are difficult, but it’s L-O-F-O-T-E-N. L-O-F-O-T-E-N. Have a look at that on the web. And when you look up and you
see these fishermen’s houses on stilts over this crystal
clear water beside the fjords, know that we stay in them for three days. And it is beautiful. – And I just wanted to get back
to something you said before because a lot of people that
wanna do their own thing when they travel. What they do is they go
online, find a hotel, check the reviews, it’s only what someone
else has said online. Could be true, could not, whatever. But you actually go and investigate that. And that’s something that’s
invaluable for your holiday. That you know in advance
that that’s there. You’ve met the owners, you’ve got that. And you’ve thought well enough for that to send people there. So, that’s just something you count on, along with all the
inclusions and the transport, and your tour manager
who has amazing stories and information about the places. So, that’s just something
worth to think about. And that’s just such a valuable thing, that it’s just not
available on the Internet. When we’re doing, when people
are doing that at home, with it, so, yeah. – And thinking about that, it’s a really good point, actually. Our business is groups, but that’s ’cause I have a full belief that’s the best way to
do it, not everything. But the distances there are vast. Your timings are limited. If you’re doing it yourself
and you’re going to a place and you’ve got one night, oh dear, I should have spent
three, but you’re moving on, you’ve missed out. If you’ve got that one night and you eat in the wrong restaurant, oh dear, I’ve made a mistake. If you go with a group and he
says, no, you need two nights, you actually need to eat there. But what you don’t know is there’s a picnic up the
top of that mountain. It’s organised, and it’s a surprise. That is what travel should be about. It’s that voyage of discovery, but it’s all been planned for you. So, it’s a contradiction in terms. But if you do it by yourself,
if you make a mistake, tough, you’ll have to go back, and
it’s a long way to go back. – Yes, and you know,
the opportunity for us to go back to some of these places is– – Honestly, mistakes happen. We get people all the time coming, yeah. – That’s true. So, you’re going to tell us
a little bit about Sardinia. – And Corsica. Again, here is a beautiful flyer, and Narelle has copies of these. The idea is I went to Sardinia and Cor, I’d never been to Sardinia
and Corsica before. So, it was on my bucket list. And what struck me, the hardest thing before
planning to go there, was that I decided we’d go there, and we’d planned a tour
about nine days long. Because that seemed to me for that scope how long it should be. The tour is 16 days long. And the reason I thought
I could do it in less time was there’s no Eiffel Towers, there’s no Leaning Tower of Pisas, there’s no Roman Forums, there’s no vast historical sweeping sagas to chase and follow. It’s just earthy Sardinia
and earthy Corsica. It is Italy down south
and France in the north. They are two independent-thinking islands. Independent of their
nations and of each other. And as you go through Sardinia, from the south is a town called Cagliari, and my pronunciation’s awful. And that is like Sicily or Naples. You go further up to
reverse the map to the west, there’s a place called Ajaccio. And Ajaccio is where they, it’s in Spanish. In actual fact, they speak Catalan and they have their own flag. To the opposite side you’ve
got a place called Su Gologone. And Narelle, one day you’re
gonna have to go there. ‘Cause I almost well up with tears thinking about the hotel and the food. And it’s gorgeous, I have to go back. So, we spent three nights there. This hotel developed as a shepherd’s hut. And people came for the food, so they had to build accommodation. Now, it’s a four star hotel. Scatters up a mountain with
bougainvillaea everywhere. – Oh, take me there now. – Terraces are wishes,
terraces are dreams. They put telescopes up
to look at the stars, we go on four wheel drives
into the Gennargentu mountains, where the bandits are. We have a shepherd’s picnic up there. We go to Orgosolo. Orgosolo, I never get it right! And this town, the sign going
in has got shotgun holes in, that’s where the bandits were. And you go in and all the buildings are painted with murals of not only old ones, but
modern revolution ones. There’s Gandhi there, there’s
Saddam Hussein’s statue being ripped down. The whole town is painted. – But we have to wait till 2019. – But half of the waiting
is the excitement. – That’s exactly right,
and we can register now. – And the planning, yeah. The point is there’s going to be, of the Sardinia and Corsica,
we are not going there in end of June, July, or August. – It’s too hot. – It’s too hot, and it’s too crowded. And if you go there at the
end of April, early May, that’s when all the wildflowers
are out in the mountains. And that’s when the weather’s
right than any other time. In September, the people have gone. Again, for Scandinavia,
we have six departures that are going right through the season. But if you go in July and August, it’s just as beautiful, but it’s really crowded. We do have departures going then, ’cause people will wanna go. But think outside of those
seasons when it’s less busy. When you get better
service in the restaurants, when the hoteliers have more time for you. Think broader. – And Australians love to
travel in spring and in autumn, so that’s what we find. – They go for a long time. – That’s right, they start that way– – So, they can register now through you. You come in or phone Narelle
up, or anywhere here. And just say I wanna do this. Narelle will register with us, and then first, the team will. And then when the first information’s out, they get first cab off the rank, first dibs on the date, first
dibs on the availability. And so therefore– – And the earlybird for being earlybird come out for that tour next year. – And they’ll be the first
ones to be educated on it. – So, we’re just gonna
quickly mention Oberammergau. – Oberammergau, the Passion Play. Once every ten years, the
little village of Oberammergau in Bavaria starts holding this passion
play, the Passion of Christ. There are four performances
every week for six months. And accommodation comes with the tickets, and with that we are
providing, once again, a whole series of tours. You’ll either love it or you won’t. The thing is, it’s a passion
play that goes on for six hours split in half. It is in German, there are no subtitles. But here’s me being a
little bit irreverent. You all know the story,
you know the ending. It is about 2,000 actors
being on stage in the village. Making it an incredibly scenic affair. The stage, there’s
seating for about 4,000. But the stage is across,
it’s a massive stage. And when they pull back
the roof on the evenings you can see the mountains behind. So, it’s a re-enactment with passion. And that’s why they call
it the passion play. – Yes. And that’s just something
that anyone that’s interested will know about that. If you’re not, we can give
you some more information. But it’s only every ten years,
and it’s coming up quite fast and there’ll be limited space. – All first class seats which
we got are sold out now. Already, two years away. We have over 1,000 of them. And that means there is
a limited availability. We did it last ten years
ago and we sold out. And we will sell out again this time. – So, I have some information on that, so are you taking bookings or
registrations at this stage? – You are taking
registrations, we are not. – I’m taking registrations, okay. – Yes, and so they register through you and again when the information comes out, this is a photocopy of a
flyer that’s coming out with the preliminary itineraries. In August a full brochure is coming out. – So, we will get that and we’ll
be able to distribute that. And if you get our newsletter
then that information gets out because I send something out every Friday about everything that’s new, including what I’ve done,
I’ve sent some information about Albatross a few times. ‘Cause you’re always bringing
out wonderful new things. – We are wonderful at that. (laughing) – Oh, you are! And our customers love Albatross Tours because of those three-night stops. – Four-night stops. – Four-night stops. – Even five. – Five-night stops. So, now that one stops along the way, and then who knows where you’ve stopped and where you’ve stayed. You really get to immerse in the cities and enjoy the culture and
just be able to people watch and also check out all the entertainment. – And sit in the Italian
cafe and have your lunch and not have to look at your watch. – No, because you’re not
waiting for the coach to go on to the next stop, because you know your hotel
is just around the corner. (speaks foreign language) That’s right. So, thanks for listening,
we’ll post this up, it’ll be on our web site if
you like to listen to it again I’ll keep it here on Facebook. Send me a message if you’d
like some information. Call in and see the team. – Holiday World. – Holiday World, so Holiday World TV. So, thank you very much, and we enjoy working with you, and we’re looking forward
to getting you on tour soon. – My pleasure, thank you. – Thanks.

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