| Testimonials
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Greece, 2015:

"WHydra Marinae wanted to thank you for organizing the amazing trip we just had in Greece. We had a wonderful time. The experience of seeing sites from the Acropolis in Athens, to the village of Fiskardo to the beaches of Koufinisi, to Hrdra, to the mountain resort of Milia, was exhilarating. We fell in love with Greece and look forward to returning. We don’t have a favourite place as we liked so many places we visited. All the ruins we saw were so interesting, the beaches so lovely and different. Our accommodations were varied and good – always a new experience or learning curve.
We so appreciate the time that went into the planning of a venture like this. Everything went well. The group of people we were with made the trip. We felt like a family within a day – a wonderful group. We feel so fortunate to have met them all.
I would have enjoyed more time in Hydra, Naxos, Achania but then we may have missed somewhere else due to timing. Sometimes it’s best to leave a place while wishing you could stay longer.
Thanks again, Don, for organizing this amazing trip."

Glynda & Don Matheson, Kincardine, ON

Turkey, 2014:

"What an incredible tour I had to Turkey in September 2014. The trip was organised by Donald Smith. Don was excellent. He was very familiar with the topics, very organised and all the time took care of his group. He taught us about the county, the culture and the history. Our small group made for making new friends and exchanging travel information. All the people on our trip were experienced travellers and really took care of each other during the trip. Cappadocia is truly a special place. Just magical and quite unbelievable, Hot air balloon ride was incredible!! Definitely a highlight of my trip. I can say that this had been one of my best vacations! Thank You Don “

Annette Garabadian, Melboune Australia

“Last fall I enjoyed a wonderful exploration of Turkey with Don and a small group of fellow explorers. From our arrival to departure every detail was carefully thought out and planned and still there was time for serendipitous fun and delight. We saw much of the best that Turkey has to offer. Our days were full of varied experiences from hikes to museums to delicious food and entrancing hotels. And through it all we were guided by Don’s contagious enthusiasm and energy. I can truthfully say any trip with him is an adventure not to be missed.”

Susan Magee, Toronto, ON

“This was my second adventure with Don. Wow, what a fantastic journey through Turkey using a slew of transportation. We sailed the Aegean Sea for days exploring various coasts and towns, swam daily and ate fresh seafood. The motto on the sea was “eat, drink, swim, sleep, and repeat.” We biked to the Chimera under the full moon and then were mesmerized by the magic of the fires. Hot air ballooning over Cappadocia was so breathtakingly beautiful. There were so many other highlights like visiting the underground cities, trekking through the mountains and valleys, smoking a hookah, seeing whirling dervishes, shopping the bazaars, experiencing an authentic hammam bath, and a first hand taste of the vast history and antiquities literally littered throughout this diverse country. Count me in for future adventures with you Don! “ Click to Enlarge

Carol Z., Toronto, ON

“This past October a band of twelve of us set off on a Turkish adventure of ancient and historic sites across the western half of Turkey. The trip covered the ancient Hellenistic, Roman, Ottoman and present day … time frames. While all of the ancient sites were amazing like Ephesus, Cappadocia, Chimera, Didyma, etc, my favourite part of the trip was the 100 foot long Turkish Gulet sail boat ( ketch) we spent five blissful days on… The gulet is the traditional way of getting around Turkey’s incredibly beautiful coast. Our wooden yacht had two tall masts and …. was spacious enough for all twelve of us without feeling cramped...There were 6 state rooms all beautifully appointed in rich mahogany and teak along with ensuite private bathroom ….The crew of 4, captain, 2 mates and cook, took care of our needs expertly. The best meals we had in Turkey were on that boat. What made it so magical was the fact that for 5 days we did not have to pack and move hotels or be in a vehicle for long periods of time. On the boat the scenery goes by as you relax and enjoy the breezes ...The coastline ...from Bodrum south to Fethiyeand Kas is dotted with rugged beauty and historic sites. Each day we anchored in a different bay, inlet or lee of an island to enjoy swimming in the clear blue waters and drinks on deck. Our cook lovingly made the most spectacular Turkish meals consisting of mezes and fresh fish grilled by our captain. The mood was relaxed and everyone enjoyed themselves very much. At night we would listen to great Turkish music and dance the night away under the majesty of the heavens and fresh sea breezes. Many of our clan of twelve opted to sleep up on deck at the stern where there was a beautiful divan of padded cushions and bolsters. Life was very good aboard our Turkish gulet”

Geoff Hogarth, Burlington, ON

Testimonials  Morocco 2013:

 
“The trip was truly amazing! The diverse itinerary guarantees a magical experience to places only frequent and experienced visitors are able to locate. This trip is for anyone looking to taste a unique mix of urban, rural, and remote areas in the Sahara. I truly did not appreciate the magnitude of sand dunes and the vastness of an oasis until experiencing it first hand. Don’s attention to details impeccable-guaranteed not to disappoint.”

Carol Z, Toronto, ON

“I had always wanted to go to Morocco and this trip met my expectations from start to finish. The diversity of the country, its’ people, and its’ landscape made for a truly exotic holiday. Great weather, accommodations, and a well-informed leader topped off the adventure.”

Mary Wheeler, Toronto, ONMorocco - Kasbah of Tifoultout

 “Morocco was a truly magical experience. It is a country that is an artistic display of design and colour, whether one is in the Imperial cities, hiking in the Atlas Mountains, riding a camel in the Sahara, or having a tea in one of the many souks we visited. Don’s love of Morocco is evident in the trip that was planned: beautiful hotels, excellent food, a vast knowledge of the diversity, history, and culture of the country and its’ people. The “call to prayer” still resonates for me...I’ll return.” Janet Guy-Hamilton, Boston, MA “

It was a delight to be part of a small group led by Don Smith in Morocco in October 2013. We saw the remarkably diverse terrain of the country and stayed in unique, charming and comfortable hotels in the desert, the oasis, the High Atlas Mountains, the busy medinas, and on the Atlantic coast. Local guides gave us interesting historical and cultural tours in most of the cities and towns in which we stayed and we still had time to shop for treasures. Don is a caring guide and a thorough researcher. He has a fondness for Morocco and wanted to immerse us in all the delicious exoticness of the country-he succeeded! I would definitely go on another trip led by Don. Is there perhaps a trip in the planning stages to India or Ethiopia, Don?”

Truth Dunlop, London, ON

More...
Testimonial 1:

In October 2012, I ventured to Morocco for 16 days of sightseeing and cultural immersion. I have always been interested in Moorish architecture, and Moroccan-style artifacts. The trip was being organised by a good friend (Don Smith) who I know is a stickler for details and researches everything down to the last minute detail…I knew I would be in good hands…Experiencing the country with other like-minded travellers seemed a good fit to me. We arrived direct from Montreal to Casablanca … which saved ourselves a great deal of time and aggravation.

The trip took in the sights of Casablanca the first day including the Grand Mosque (a must see). Then on to Fès which blows your mind as it takes you back to biblical times with the sights, sounds, and smells of the ancient medinas of the past. The beautiful riads are… one of the best aspects of this ancient city. After Fès, we ventured into the desert at Erfoud but not before passing through the spectacular Valley of the Ziz with its wonderful date palm oases, a sight to behold from the upper edge of the valley. Once out in the desert we had an awesome experience riding a camel caravan to our over-night camp…The real Morocco of Bedouin and Berber past… These people are very gentle, warm and welcoming…Spending the night under the stars and in traditional Moroccan tents with the camaraderie of the camp fire was one of the best parts of our trip for me…We travelled to the beautiful city of Tinerhir and the spectacular Todra gorge with its towering rock walls and mountain-fed cataracts ...

Then on to Zagora and a beautiful oasis hotel with lush gardens and private villas …. We travelled over the High Atlas mountains into Marrakech… spectacular with its beautiful cityscapes, narrow streets and amazing public square “the Jemaa el Fna” where every kind of old world wonder can be witnessed, from snake charmers, to fortune tellers, to Moroccan buskers. The medina in Marrakech is a shopper’s paradise. You will want to spend some time here and experience….this exotic city.
 
After Marrakech we travelled back up into the High Atlas ..to a Berber village called Imlil….I loved the place we stayed in, an old village home converted into a small inn. Roof decks allowed us to view the spectacular mountain peaks all around us. We did a three hour hike with some of the most stunning scenery of our trip. This was a time to truly relax and take in the local mountain village flavour. It was especially memorable as we were there during the festival of “Eid”. This was at the end of our Moroccan journey and I have to say it was a wondrous and memorable experience….

Don’s choice of itinerary…along with his choice of hotels and restaurants were more than comfortable and hospitable. The only difficulty I would say is the occasional upset stomach if one is not careful about what one ingests…If you take the proper precautions relating to hygiene and food, you can have the most marvellous and memorable time in Morocco.

Geoff Hogarth, Mississauga, On

Testimonial 2:


"I read in the Globe and Mail Travel about a Culinary/Cultural tour to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I called Don Smith and the travel adventure followed.Cafe-San Miguel
It was a small group, just 6 of us, including Don. Don's style of organization is seamless, everything from the deluxe accommodation to transportation to our restaurants was flawlessly arranged. He is an excellent communicator; he listened to our individual needs and respected them. His ability to talk with each of us, as well as the whole group, made this a very wonderful trip. We had time on our own, but always something to look forward to with the group. You can anticipate seeing and experiencing the culture of the country you visit.
Don is fun, intelligent, and has a wealth of travel experience."

Marcia Ordway, West Vancouver

Testimonial 3:

"I wanted to thank you for a fabulous trip. The itinerary and timing was very well planned and your hand picked local guides provided tons of interesting information on the various cities. I particularly enjoyed hearing the legends the guides related as part of their commentary. The cooking classes were great. I learned so much about the various chilies and how to cook with them.
I hope you continue to offer this trip because other people should take the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of Mexico."

Linda Keill, Toronto

Testimonial 4:

Aegistri Island
"A trip that is far from the ordinary with activities and scenery that are off the beaten path. There are opportunities to see the history as well as learn its origins. (Don's knowledge of the country is amazing), dine in eateries that treat you to authentic cuisine and time to relax by the beautiful Mediterranean. The time I spent in Greece with Don was wonderful; He allowed me time to experience what I wanted, was considerate of my needs and above all made me feel like I was living in the Greek culture, not just visiting it. ..."

Lynn Bos, Kincardine, On (Greece 2007)

Testimonial 5:

"I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed our recent trip to Mexico. Your attention to detail, and the research you put into every aspect of the trip was obvious-and very much appreciated. There seemed to be just the right balance of planned activities and free time-I suspect because you were so attuned to our needs.... The boutique accommodations you selected were exquisite, and the restaurants and meals were excellent. The cooking classes were great...I don`t think you could have found better guides-they
really did manage to make the history come alive with their storytelling. On the one hand I was sorry I hadn`t done more research on the history before we left, but now anything I hear about Mexico is so much more compelling, knowing the things I do from our trip. The vacation far exceeded my expectations, and everyone I`ve told about it is completely envious. Thanks again for a fabulous time, and memories that will last forever."

Lyn Wilson, London, Ontario

Testimonial 6:

"This is my second trip with Don Smith and once again  it was memorable in a very good way. A small group of 8 people, we saw a lot of Morocco and its' history from Casablanca to the Sahara. It is exotic from the medinas which are very old and I think represent Morocco very well, to the High Atlas Mountains, to small oasis towns where, as we drove through we saw a wedding procession right outside our van window. We had many types of transportation, from our van which was extremely comfortable for the long ride across the mountains. San Miguel SightsWe had walking tours and 4-wheel drives in the desert. Guides were excellent, all arranged by Don in advance. We had wonderful dinners on terraces overlooking the cities and small intimate dinners in tented camps. The southern part of our journey exposed us to a very different way of life.  The Sahara is magnificent as were the small towns we stayed in. I never felt unsafe. And then there were the camels, who were gentle and took very good care of us riding in the desert.

Don knows Morocco well and his organizational skills and sense of humour are superb. ...... Can't wait until he does another tour." 

Marcia Ordway, Vancouver, B.C.

Testimonial 7:

"My 2012 trip to Morocco arranged by Donald Smith, was one of my most exciting and adventurous vacations taken during the past 5 years. (which have consisted of visits to India, Peru,  many areas in Europe, Asia, South America, etc.) I have never experienced the privilege of travelling with such a small group of people who felt so comfortable and special after meeting on the first day in Casablanca. That feeling remained thoughout the whole remarkable journey. Each day offered a new experience of tastes, visions, and sounds that will be remembered fondly forever."

Carol Thomas, Burlington, ON

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