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A Special Invitation
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2020 Member Appreciation Info Night | AAA Amherst

Join Michelle Putnam, AAA Group Travel Manager, and learn more about this exclusive trip traveling with President/CEO Tony Spada of AAA Western and Central New York on this Member Appreciation sailing aboard AmaWaterw

2020 Member Appreciation Info Night | AAA Camillus

Join Michelle Putnam, AAA Group Travel Manager, and learn more about this exclusive trip traveling with President/CEO Tony Spada of AAA Western and Central New York on this Member Appreciation sailing aboard AmaWaterw


cinque terre

A Millennial Went on a Group Tour...

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I am your typical millennial - between the ages of 24-35 and, according to recent studies, the generation who takes the most trips during a given calendar year. By June of this year, I’ve already taken two major trips and I'm here to tell you about my most recent one: a small group tour to Cinque Terre. You might not think of "millennial" and "group tour" as going together, but I'll give you 4 reasons why this group tour is perfect for this generation.

The Scenery

The itinerary was full, with both scripted and unscripted adventures. We traveled by bike, boat, kayak, foot and train. Some of the best pictures, and opportunities to take in the views were from locations I would have never EVER been able to discover on my own.

In Lucca, we spent half our day on bikes, coasting on top of the ancient Roman City’s wall which stretches 4.2 km around the inner city. Biking the Levanto-Framura path was my favorite, which takes you for a ride through tunnels of century old rail lines. The Ligurian Sea on your left is filled with glimpses of surfers, and on your right, rolling hills filled with lemon trees, stunning castles and beautiful old colorful villages.

Zipping up and down the elevated steep roads, your senses become filled with scents of lavender and the sea. Throughout the trip we hiked over 15 km, only just a portion of the Cinque Terre trails. The tops of these mountains lead to impeccable views of thousands of acres of olive trees and the vibrant coastal scenery that this region is highly known for.

The Food

Nothing compares to authentic Italian food. Just the food alone makes the trip worthwhile. The simplest ingredients make some of the best and traditionally known dishes. Inland we dined on mainly meat-focused cuisines like Pasta Bolognese and Tordelli, fresh pasta filled with pork and beef and topped with a meat sauce.

Closer to the coast our menu incorporated more seafood: Spaghetti Alle Vongole (spaghetti with clams), Gnocchi ai Gamberi (dumpling potato pasta with shrimp) and my favorite, Pasta Fagioli e Patate al Pesto (pasta, green beans and potatoes with pesto). I often snacked on a typical delicacy- calamari that was probably caught fresh that morning. It’s served up in paper cones and filled with both rings and tentacles!

For dessert, of course I had gelato at least once a day. Though there are many flavors to try, my favorite is pistachio and I chose a new spot every time to compare the goodness.

The Culture

The most memorable part of my trip would have to be our local guide, Vinny. He wasn’t just a ‘tour guide’, but he made us all feel at ease and at home. I was able to practice on him the little bit of Italian I had learned growing up.

I often forgot he was our local guide and not just another friend I made on the trip. He was there to give us the insider's perspective on everything we saw or did, allowing us to experience everything like a local instead of a tourist.

The Friends

I made the most incredible memories and friendships on this trip. Club Adventures, the small tour operator of this trip- keeps group sizes small - no more than 16 people. Within just a few days you know everyone on a first name basis. I knew none of these people prior to this trip but many of them have become new friends. We all shared a love of travel and exploring new destinations.

The first and final nights we shared dinner together, both a welcoming and farewell evening. Our adventures were all geared towards our group and experiencing these moments together were the ice breakers. We liked traveling together so much that a few of us have already booked our next Club Adventures tour to Greece next year!

If this sounds like the type of trip you'd like to take, whether it's to Italy, or Costa Rica; Japan or the National Parks, contact a AAA Travel Consultant and ask about a Club Adventures tour.

The 2020 Member Appreciation Trip will be aboard the AmaLyra river cruise vessel.

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