I thought I was having a very productive weekend until I saw what my wife had accomplished. Not to brag but I replaced fence posts, repaired fences, did some major tree trimming and repaired a bathtub faucet for my Mother-in-law. Not bad for a weekend’s work, right? Then I made the mistake of asking my Wife what she had accomplished.

Before I had even gotten up, she was taking a tour of Rome, complete with a private guide. While I was replacing the fence posts, she was taking a rickshaw tour in Japan. Just for good measure, while I was trimming trees she was on a guided tour of Florence Italy. Really, she showed me her pictures.

Maybe I should explain. Awhile back Amazon introduced me to their Amazon Explore. Pay your money, make a reservation and Amazon connects you with a private tour guide for the tour you’ve selected. I’ll admit, I found it interesting but it seemed expensive and way too much like all the Zoom meetings I was attending.

I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one because Amazon upped the ante and offered the first tour, up to $49, free for Prime members.  Now I was interested. Still not one to read the fine print, I thought these were group sessions so I signed my Wife up for the Rome tour. It seemed reasonable at the time, I’ve been to Rome and my Wife would enjoy it more than I would.

So right and yet so wrong. The tours are private sessions with a very knowledgeable guide. You are able to talk directly with your guide. This makes it easy to see the things that are of special interest to you. Want to point to something and ask your guide about it? Just point and click. The guide sees where you placed the cursor and can respond. Want to take pictures of what you’re seeing? Amazon provides an icon for that. Click on the icon and at the end of the tour you can download all your pictures.

Okay, this is not for those of you wanting to try out that incredible zoom lens, nor are you able to take selfies of yourself. You’re limited to the camera the guide is using. Good luck with shadows and direct sunlight.

The tours last 30 to 60 minutes with the duration posted clearly before you sign up. Since you’re doing a live tour, the time difference is very important. Carol was up at 2AM for the Rome tour. Most of the other time spots were already sold out. Apparently the Ancient Rome tour is very popular.

Amazon Explore isn’t limited to tours. Although there are animal sanctuary tours and shopping tours, there are also cooking sessions, astrology sessions and even winetasting sessions. The sessions change often as they fill up or new ones get offered. Right now, Amazon is offering a number of sessions at what I expect is an introductory price of ten dollars.

Ten dollars for an hour’s worth of history, culture or education. That’s a bargain, especially when you consider you have a private session. In Tokyo, my wife, being a gardener, was asking questions about some of the plants she was seeing. The guide did his best to tell her about the plants and then made it a point to introduce her to any of the interesting plants on their route. Try that with Google streetview.

In the words of my wife, all the guides have been terrific, knowledgeable and entertaining. She’s had one bad experience and that’s an Amazon issue. My wife loved the Ancient Rome tour. Her guide Federica, brought Rome alive for her but we can’t leave feedback saying how much she enjoyed the tour. Still waiting on Amazon to fix that. Meanwhile until Amazon gets its act together, credit where credit is due. Federica, your tour was fantastic, Carol had a great time.

Enough words, time to see some of her pictures.

Rome, Italy




Florence, Italy

You’re right, I could have arranged the pictures so you could see each one but in three tours, my wife took over 400 pictures. This way you get a taste of each tour and I encourage you to take your own tour. If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you have no excuse for not trying Amazon Explore out. If not, there’s a number of ten dollar tours that will let you see what they’re offering. Just try getting this kind of entertainment for less than ten dollars. If Amazon ever manages to link shopping to the tours, I’m sunk.

© 2021, Byron Seastrunk. All rights reserved.

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