I am writing this to you from Córdoba in southern Spain. Bruno and I are scouting for our Othello 2021 Odyssey from Marrakech to Porto. The streets are certainly quiet! But this of all cities tells a historical lesson about what the world is going through and what may be ahead.
Córdoba’s history is fascinating – it was an Iberian village, a Roman colony, the greatest city in western Europe, the capital of the Moor’s conquest of Spain and home of it’s fiercest warrior Almanzor – as well as the greatest intellects of the Middle Ages. Then it crumbled into a provincial slum – but survived the Black Plague – it rose with the industrial age and it is now a highlight, not only of our tour but of any visit to Andalucia. Even it’s main attraction was originally a Roman temple, replaced by Visigoth church, replaced by the largest Mosque in Europe, come Christian Cathedral!
If history tells us anything it is that we are survivors and we adapt, change and overcome. The Coronavirus is not new, far from it. There have been recorded ‘pandemics’ for over 2500 years. One of the first was during the Peloponnesian Wars when intellectual and democratic Athenians fought the warlike Spartans – the war lasted 26 years, the virus only 1….
We haven’t rescheduled our trips yet, but in the next week we will confirm if this is required – we will be in contact directly with you regarding your tour. However, as I write this, Isabel and Nicky are hard at work in the Australian Office organising trips, events and keeping everything running smoothly! Alessandra our hotel manager is sorting accommodations from quarantine in Ivrea in northern Italy, Max is on his way to the B2B event in Bathurst and Bruno and I, of course, will continue our scout across Spain into Portugal! Our commitment remains the same to building unique exceptional cycling trips for you whether it be this year or in the future.
Your health and safety and that of our team and the communities we interact with is paramount and we are coordinating with Tourism Boards, the Adventure Trade Travel Association, as well as closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organization, Australian Government, U.S. State Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The situation is evolving quickly but we are focused on making the best decision with you our riders at the front of our mind.
Yes we have a cancellation policy in our Terms and Conditions, but we have never kept anyone´s deposit for needing to cancel their trip with us for any reason.
This has been in the past for sick animals, a change in life or work plans, upcoming weddings, expected grandkids and injuries. We want you to know that we understand and, if circumstances change, we are there for you.
If you are on any 2020 departure and decide that for any reason that it isn’t the right time or place to travel we’ll help you transfer your reservation to a future tour or refund you in full. The same goes if we have to cancel the trip. Just let us know in good time and we will sort it out.
Apart from making what we hope is good long term business sense, we treat our guests as we would like to be treated ourselves. For those who don´t know us yet, our guests become part of our extended family. We have friends now all around the world who we love to catch up with, on bikes or off.
So, if you are worried about COVID-19 and want to roll over your deposit to next year or get a refund now, either is absolutely fine with us. We will be in touch with all tour riders for 2020 next week, in the meantime, stay safe and keep riding – there is nothing better than the freedom of a bike ride in times like these!
Sam and Isabel