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ABTAATOLTravel Awards 2015

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Eric Vallance

Tour Manager

Date I joined GRJ

May 2010


Having spent my professional life as a career police officer, both in the UK and abroad, I believe the operational, organisational and managerial skills and abilities gained during that time (particularly in the fields of problem solving and decision-making) have adequately equipped me with the tools necessary to successfully undertake the role of a Tour Manager.

I have also, during my life, been fortunate enough to indulge my love of travel. On a personal note, therefore, undertaking the role of a Tour Manager not only affords me the opportunity of continuing that passion, but also of doing so whilst accompanying like-minded people who enjoy travelling both for its own sake and as a means of experiencing the beauty and splendour that the world has to offer.

Favourite rail journey

Although there are many rail journeys that feature highly on my list of preferences, I think my all-time favourite has to be the Glacier Express route between St Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland. Well known as 'the slowest express train in the world', throughout its eight hour duration it passes through a continually changing kaleidoscope of visually-stunning scenery comprising spectacular mountain views, beautiful alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks, tumbling waterfalls and, on the approach to Zermatt, a glimpse of one of the most iconic mountains in the world, the Matterhorn.

Winter or summer, this journey has something for everyone and never fails to impress.

Favourite GRJ tour

This one is very difficult. As a Tour Manager, I have been fortunate enough to travel on many Great Rail Journeys tours and I can honestly say that each one has had features which I consider to be among my favourites when measured against similar features on all the other tours.

That said, the USA Coast to Coast tour does stand out as my number one favourite. The sheer variety of towns, cities and locations of significant interest visited, guided tours of them and private time to explore is outstanding. Three time zones and several climatic regions, including the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast, the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Desert, are experienced and, finally, the incredible AMTRAK rail journey across the entire width of North America is amazing. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

One destination everyone should visit For me, this has got to be the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Surely the most awe-inspiring geographical location and geological feature in the world. Top traveller tips

As a Tour Manager, travelling light has got to be my top tip. Not just because of weight, but also because small and medium pieces of baggage will fit in all purpose-built storage racks on trains and also on most overhead racks, whereas large items of baggage frequently don't fit into either.


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