Whitmel and Betty Swain, Untourists of the Week

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1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

We took a three week tour of Italy, in this order: Amalfi, Umbria and Tuscany. Our apartment in Amalfi was on the waterfront, with a balcony overlooking a delightfully Italianate traffic circle filled with life and a view of the sea. In Umbria, we were in a cottage rebuilt from an old hay barn and near the delightful town of Spello. In Tuscany we were in a ground floor apartment, part of the owner’s house and near the town of Buonconvento.

2. Why did you choose to go there?

We had not been to Amalfi before and it seemed the best way to start our three weeks. The steep cliffsides and the small villages clinging to them, the water sights; Capri etc. Umbria next, to return to an area we had traveled before but to see a different part of it. Lastly, Tuscany because we love that area and wanted to return to all it offered.

3. What is your favorite Untours memory?

There are several. One would be sitting outside our Tuscan farmhouse apartment, under the arbor in the evening, drinking some of the wine made by our landlord, overlooking the lush landscape and watching sheep being gathered in. Another would be wandering Florence or Siena or Portofino, etc. and knowing we did not have to rush home. Finally, finding a little town and a restaurant that was always welcoming and who accepted us readily, allowing us to become “regulars” for a short while.

4. How is taking an Untour different from other ways of travelling?

Il Fienile—where they stayed

We are closer to the real country we have come to see. The guidance provided by the Untours reps provide a strong basis for planning without steering us and by then letting us go our own way. But also knowing there was a strong support system should we ever need it. The freedom to pick and choose, where to go, when to go and how long to stay was our decision. No time limits, no schedule to follow, no bus, plane or train to catch.

5. If you could describe an Untour in just three words, what would they be?

Freedom of choice

6. Have you heard of our trailblazing Untours Foundation? What do you think of a company whose profits have gone to create jobs among vulnerable populations through loans to pioneering, green businesses?

A wonderful thing. More power to you.

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