Travel: A Gift the Family Will Always Remember

Posted by Mary-Frances Walsh on 10/23/2014
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Family Travel, Tauck

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I had the pleasure of speaking with Robert (“Bud”) Frame about his family’s Tauck Bridges experience in Italy. The trip was the culmination of two years of planning, the time it took to get 25 Frame family members aligned and ready to head to Rome as a single group last April. “Just finding the time to meet to talk about the trip took a long time,” shared Bud.
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Nonetheless Bud and Peggy Frame (aka “Pamp” and “Maudie” to their family) didn’t let go of their vision of a whole lot of fun: “getting everyone together, outside of the country.” The Frames invited their three adult sons (ages 60, 58 and 50), daughter-in-laws, 10 grandchildren, the grandchildren’s significant others, and 1 great-grandchild (a mere five months old) to join them on Tauck’s The Sweet Life: Rome & Sorrento. No one in the family was excluded, based on advice the Frames took from their sons. And in hindsight, shared Bud, “It was so terrific for us to get to know everyone during this great trip, which was absolutely 24/7!”

“Going someplace new-to-everyone made such a difference. It was a wonderful family time, a time when the glue goes into sticking a family together.” Bud says that throughout the 7-day tour, there were no tears, no arguments – no moments of tension that sometimes arise when family members with different expectations gather together. Even the five-month old was a happy camper, enjoying being passed around from family member to family member like a pro. (Bud thinks he may grow up to be a maitre d’ in a great restaurant!)

Bud rates the family trip “top-drawer, all the way,” so I asked him for his thoughts about what made it that way:

  • Dropping our bags off at the airport in Rochester for travel through New York to Rome, leaving the hassle of luggage handling to Tauck throughout the trip; it was like magic.

  • Meeting up for cocktails at Rome’s Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa, an incredibly wonderful place to stay; we had the good fortune of feeling like the place was ours alone.

  • Renting bicycles for an outing in the Villa Borghese Park (Rome’s largest public park, just across the street from the hotel). The kids loved it and the gardens, fountains and lake were a feast for the senses for the adults.

  • Watching the landscape “fly” by aboard a high-speed train from Rome to Naples; the electronic signs at each end of our first-class train car indicated speeds of up to 160 miles per hour.

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  • Arriving at the Vatican during Holy Week. It was like being in Grand Central Station and heading to a Yankees’ World Series game; the people! This was one of the few weeks of the year that Tauck could not secure an after-hours visit to the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel. So a private morning visit was arranged instead; despite the crowds, our Tauck Director located our guide by cell phone within minutes of our arrival and the visit went like clockwork. There were people before us and people behind us, but we did not feel rushed.

  • Having all the dots connected by our Tauck Director. She was wonderful; Barbara Hartman could not be stumped and had all the answers for us. When Peg inadvertently needed medical attention on the final day of the tour, she accompanied us to help smooth the way in a Sorrento hospital and then got on the phone with the Tauck office in Connecticut to nail down our change of post-stay plans. In no time, we had business class tickets home for the following day; the cost of the change was completely paid for by the Guest Protection Plan which we had purchased through Tauck for everyone in the group.
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  • Learning from exemplary guides. Our guide in Pompeii was particularly good and when I later recognized her in a square in the town of Positano, I called out her name. She came running over and gave me a big hug. As a foreigner, her heartfelt warmth is a very special memory.

  • Sharing the pleasures of custom-made sandals for each of our granddaughters in Capri; they’re still talking about it and showing them off at parties!

  • Giving everyone in the family something they’ll always remember. The kids were taken by seeing Italy’s ancient sites in person, the spectacular views from the chairlift ride above the island of Capri, seeing how olive oil is produced and the fun of gladiator “training.” The adults loved the beauty of the Amalfi Coast and the coastal town of Positano, where graceful streets and pastel-shaded houses appear to scale the rocky ledges above the sea.

  • Connecting with the locals. One evening I found Tauck’s local contact in Sorrento, Claudio Mollo, unexpectedly waiting for me in the bar at our hotel. After introducing himself, he invited Peg and me to join him for dinner. We accepted, and along with our Tauck Director, found ourselves welcomed into a beautiful, upscale restaurant by the owner and great friend of Claudio’s.

  • Not having to worry about tipping! There were so many situations that call for a tip, but knowing how much is always a struggle in an unfamiliar city. Having Tauck take care of them all – with the exception of two dinners on our own, put Peg and me completely at ease.

  • Writing two checks: one for the tour and one for the airfare – the last time I had to put my hand in my pocket (except for the 2 dinners on our own). That kind of “all-included” is very special.

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  • Trying not to cry after receiving a thank you letter when we came home from Alissa (Peg and Bud’s youngest granddaughter), who summed up the trip as an “amazing lifetime experience you gave to 25 family members. It is a true gift, one that if you’re lucky, you experience once.”


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