Report Cards for Aug '04
On GREECE, June ’04. . .
• Vitro Greek Taverna (27, Makrigiani St., Athens, Greece; phone 30 210/923 8124) — a pleasant neighborhood restaurant with sidewalk seating when the weather is good.
The food was tasty and relatively inexpensive (for Greece, where it’s fairly expensive). Not a large menu, but it offers traditional Greek food. Also a small, fixed-price menu at about €10-€12 for a main course; the à la carte prices are higher. Live music from about 7:45 p.m.
• Loukoulos Mediterranean Tastes (Korai 5, Iraklion, Crete, Greece; phone 2810/224 435).
This place has a most agreeable ambiance, both outdoors (walled garden) and indoors (former home) with background music and nice linens.
Large variety of Mediterranean food on the menu (not traditional Greek). The food was very good. Decent portions without overdoing it. Dinner for two including wine and salad (à la carte) was €51 (about $64).
— Pat Minami, Rockville, MD
On NORTHERN IRELAND, May ’04. . .
While doing genealogical research in Belfast and environs, we had excellent accommodations at the following three places in Carrickfergus and Ballyclare, which are within about eight miles of each other. It’s an easy drive (or bus or train) to Belfast from Carrickfergus. Prices at these places were £35-£38 (about $65-$70) double.
1. Parklands B&B (320 Upper Rd., Trooperslane, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland; phone Mrs. Eunice Sherratt at 28 9336 2528).
2. Beechgrove Farm B&B (412 Upper Rd., Trooperslane, Carrickfergus; phone Mrs. John Barron at 28 9336 3304).
3. Rui-Wai Farm (149 Templepatrick Rd., Ballyclare, Northern Ireland; phone Mrs. Annie Hunter at 28 9335 2417) — in a Belfast suburb.
Eunice, Mrs. Barron and Annie all were gracious, welcoming and most helpful.
• The Central Bar. The Central Bar is just that: central in Carrickfergus, across from the Carrickfergus Castle (the castle is well worth a visit). The Central Bar is a step above pub grub (think TGI Friday’s) and very family friendly. Dine with the locals! £3-£20 ($5-$35).
• Brown Cow Bistro (Woodburn Rd., Carrickfergus; phone 28 9336 4815) — excellent. For a splurge, well worth it. £15-£35 ($25-$65). Their steak and fresh salmon are real treats, prepared to order. Reservations are recommended but not always required.
• Craigalappin Country House (26 Craigalappin Rd.; Bushmills, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland; phone 28 2073 2027) — a 2-minute drive from the beach at White Park Bay. Excellent location for touring the Northern Ireland seacoast, including Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills. This B&B is handicapped friendly. £38 ($70) double.
— Nan & John Roose, Lancaster, PA
On BRAZIL, May 14, ’04. . .
• Took a tour of Brazil with Brazil Nuts (e-mail Catrina Bachmann at firstname.lastname@example.org), May 6-16.
The price, $2,100 per person, included round-trip airfare from Detroit and throughout Brazil, all meals at the lodge and all breakfasts in Rio and Iguazú. We paid extra for the evening tours we took in Rio and the tour in Iguazú from the Argentine side plus the helicopter ride over the falls, which was worth the price of the whole trip!
They did everything promised. All of our individual guides were wonderful (except the city guide in Manaus). Hotels, food, travel venues, etc., were as scheduled.
We stayed at Juma Lodge in Amazonas — very primitive, but the food was good. There was a horrible resident monkey, the only wildlife we had, but we did see pink, freshwater dolphins as well as caimans in the water. Iguazú Falls were tremendous.
We got our visas through the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago; it cost $150 per person and took two weeks.
— Edith Nelson, Bloomfield Hills, MI
From Paris, FRANCE, May 12, ’04. . .
• Restaurant La Pierrade (93, rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris; phone 01 42 54 08 31) — in the Montmartre area near the Abbesses Métro stop.
Very Parisienne scene with oilcloth table covers. Friendly service.
The lunch “menu” was €9.80 (about $11.75) for one dejeuner plat. I chose French onion soup (very good), white fish in herb cream sauce (excellent) and chocolate mousse (small). The house vin blanc cost €6.20 ($7.40) for half a liter, and café noisette was €1.80 ($2.15). The total was around $21.30.
— Monet Lion, Kent, WA
On TURKEY, May ’04. . .
• Haci Abdullah (Agacami, Sakizagaci Cad. No. 17, Istanbul, Turkey; phone 0212/293 8561 or e-mail email@example.com) — off the tourist trail, across from Aga Mosque.
This is a very fine restaurant with inviting decor and a NONSMOKING room, something not readily found in Turkey.
Having first-class cuisine at very reasonable rates was such a pleasure. The cost was about $35 for two — an excellent value. I particularly enjoyed the hunkar begendi (ask for the begendi if no hunkar is available), which is sliced veal with mashed eggplant. They have a wonderful fruit dessert (quince, kiwi, banana, strawberries with syrup) that can easily serve two.
— Pat Minami, Rockville, MD
From Bruges, BELGIUM, May 7, ’04. . .
• Dined at the Charles Quint (Katelijnestraat 80, 8000 Bruge; phone 050 334613).
Good value and good food. For four people, a meal of soup, salad, entrée, wine and dessert cost €73 (near $89). Served by two delightful young women. Well worth a visit.
— Valerie Lambertson, South San Francisco, CA
On FRANCE & GERMANY, April ’04. . .
• In Steinach, Germany, a small village between Freiburg and Baden-Baden in the Black Forest area, we stayed at Gasthaus Guhr (Badenerstrasse 28, Steinach, Germany), which has clean rooms above the Gasthaus. We paid €33 (near $40), including breakfast. Marianne Guhr, who speaks no English, was a delightful hostess and gave us a gift bottle of schnapps upon our departure.
• In the Alsace area of France we stayed in Eguisheim, a darling village on the wine road. There are many inexpensive chambres available there (€33 for a room plus €11 for two breakfasts). Storks nest on the rooftops.
• In Ancemont, near Verdun, France, we stayed in the “blue room” at Château de Labessière (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org), as suggested by a couple in the December ’03 issue, page 43.
It was charming, and the meals prepared by the lady of the manse, Marie, were “to die for.” The cost for drinks, dinner, room and breakfast was €60 ($73) each. It’s a special place.
• We spent the first week of our trip on the Viking Burgundy sailing the Rhône and Saône rivers in France. We took the same itinerary that was written up in the June ’04 issue, page 6.
Viking River Cruises (Woodland Hills, CA; phone 877/668-4546) has a wonderful operation. Their boats are in top condition, the whole crew is very friendly and helpful, and the food is crème de la crème!
— Arlene & Lon Hamann, Laguna Beach, CA