I've had a couple of days to reflect on the benefits of my trip to France.
Alice Isabella survived the trip and despite the story of me losing the note book… it was just that….. a story. It's still safe in my bag.
As you can see she was influenced by the trip too and is now in a Monet's garden phase.
Let me say…. I've been on a number of organised tours.
I've chaperoned some and I will say categorically that if you go on a Jim West Quilt tour, or one I'm involved in, you will be well looked after.
On this tour, the group bonded (as you normally do) if you tour and eat together…we had a wonderful time sharing breakfasts, touring on the bus and the 4 special dinners.
If you are contemplating a tour… here are a few things to check.
You need a tour leader who is hands on…. someone who will handle your paperwork and tickets through their company and will supply you with a folder of everything you need.
Tickets, passports, accommodation, shuttles, entrance fees etc.
You are going on tour with a group. I think it's important to know if your group is going to do things together or will you arrive at your destination and go it alone?
What is the aim of the tour?
What will you learn?
Will you have tour guides in the country?
What will you take home as inspiration?
I don't think you need to be in each others pockets and there should be considerable amount of time when you have your own space, but particularly on a cruise, dinner together is a wonderful event.
I went on a cruise once and the tour organiser decided not to set a dinner time…. the entire group was fragmented and barely saw each other…. we had information on quilt things we could see on shore given to us in an email… but nothing was organised or discussed as a group because we never got together as a group.
Other cruises I went on… we had a wonderful time dressing up and being served at a beautiful meal as we shared the days events with each other.
Quilt tours should be just that.
Learning about the textiles of that country, visiting museums, taking bus tours together and sharing ideas and experiences.
So if you are considering one of the many quilt tours advertised… do a little homework.
I learned the hard way.
Mark Carwardine on what makes a good tour guide.
"A guide can make or break a holiday. As well as knowing a phenomenal amount, being very practical and organised, guides also have to understand people. They can be with a group all day, over a long period of time, and under some intense conditions. It never ceases to amaze me how extraordinary some of these people are.
They are the people who can give insight and understanding to an experience. You can read the facts on an ipad and in a book, but it is the guide who can add a huge amount extra that inspires you to come back, to think about conservation and this can't be replaced by any guide book."