Report Cards

From Paris, FRANCE, Dec. 5-10, ’03. . .

At the restaurant Léon de Bruxelles (63 Ave. des Champs-Elysées, 8e, Paris) we had good mussels and beer. The price of €45.50 ($55) for two, including tax and service, was good, considering the location on the Champs-Elysées.

For reasonably priced light meals of cheese, meat plates and desserts on the Place des Vosges, we ate at Nectarine (16, Place des Vosges, 4e, Paris). Our dinner for two cost €43.60 (including tip). The plat du jour was €10.50, with small salads for €5 and large salads for €7. English spoken.

If you want a crêpe, the Crêperie de Cluny (20, rue de la Harpe, 5e [Latin Quarter], Paris) is a reasonably priced, indoor, sit-down place. They have onion soup for €5 and galettes and crêpes for €5-€7. We had onion soup, two buckwheat dinner crêpes and a desert crêpe and beer for €31.40.

We stayed at the Paris la Villette Cité des Sciences – Ibis (31-35, quai de l’Oise, 75019, Paris). It is not in the center of Paris but near the Science Museum. It was a short walk from the Métro (line 7, Corentin C. Cariou station).

If you want to save euros, stay here. Typical small, modern Ibis room with buffet breakfast. We paid €59 ($70) for a double, weekdays (€62, high season).

— George Lauscher, Bohemia, NY

From Soufrière, ST. LUCIA, Nov. 18, ’03. . .

We stayed at the Ladera Resort in St. Lucia, Nov. 14-18. The trip was arranged by our travel agency, Travel Harmony, through Classic Custom Vacations. The cost was about $4,000, including first-class airfare, for the modified American meal plan and a deluxe room.

Our room had an open wall facing the gorgeous mountains and sea plus an in-room plunge pool. Not many bugs, but use the mosquito nets. This was a fantastic experience! So much to see and do. The personnel were wonderful.

We had gourmet meals at the Dasheene Restaurant at the resort. Great food, and the honeymoon package included wine!

— Neal Pollock, Arlington, VA

From Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE*, Nov. 22, ’03. . .

My mother, daughter, granddaughter and I did a 3-day visit to Victoria Falls. I found travel agent Ndaba Ncube (African Habitat Adventures, P.O. Box CT 498, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; e-mail or visit through the website.

Through e-mail correspondence, Mr. Ncube set up several activities for us during our stay. He offered us outstanding service while we were in Victoria Falls. We all were very impressed by the thorough attention he gave to detail and the excellent value for our money on the assorted activities. I have worked with many local agents all over the world, and Mr. Ncube, by far, provided the most thorough service I have ever received from any agent.

Don’t bypass Vic Falls if you are anywhere in Southern Africa. It still offers a great many activities and one of nature’s most beautiful sights, in spite of Zimbabwe’s woes.

— Andrea Funkhouser, Okemos, MI

*The Department of State has a warning on travel to Zimbabwe.

On ENGLAND, November ’03. . .

I stayed in an apartment in London, Nov. 23-27, that we found advertised in ITN’s classifieds in the section “Places to Stay.” We enjoyed this much more than a hotel.

Located in a nice neighborhood, this Chelsea apartment (with a 4-night minimum) was refurbished just a couple of years ago and is very nice. It includes a living room with kitchenette and a good-sized bedroom and bath. The bathroom has a heated towel rack!

The price was $150 per night for two (less for a single); the rate might be slightly higher in 2004. The owner accepts U.S. personal checks. They even provided a “loaner” cell phone.

Contact Francoise at 6 Tite St., London, SW3 4HY, U.K.; phone 011 44 20 7376 7646, fax 011 44 20 7376 3747 or e-mail wonderfulchelsea@

— Pam Ames, San Diego, CA

On GUATEMALA, November ’03. . .

In November I went to a language school in Quetzaltenago (Xela): La Hermandad Educativa/Proyecto Lingüístico Quetzalteco de Español, or PLQE (5 Calle, 2-40, Zona 1, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala; phone/fax +502 763 1061, e-mail or visit . . or the U.S. contact, Dane Johnson, at e-mail

It has been in operation for 15 years and is considered one of the best language schools in Central America. It is for students of all language abilities, including beginners!

The price of $140-$160 per week was all-inclusive of private room and board with a local family and five hours’ instruction per day with an individual instructor. Optional “field trips” are available to nearby sights of interest at minimal cost.

If you can be flexible about sanitary conditions that are less than what we are “used to” in the U.S., this is a wonderful opportunity to interact with local people and get wonderful insights into their culture.

— Dee Poujade, Portland, OR

On TURKEY, October ’03. . .

On our latest of many trips to Turkey we found a lovely, small hotel, Hotel Elvan (Istiklal Cad., Barbaraos, Hayrettin #11, Ürgüp, Cappadocia, Turkey; fax 341-3455). It is run by a charming couple, Tatma and Ahmet Bilir.

This place has three terraces, the upper one with a grill. The rooms are brand-new and spotless, all with facilities en suite. We paid $22 including breakfast.

— Homer & Alma Somers, Wallingford, VT

From Edinburgh, SCOTLAND, Aug. 13, ’03. . .

Balli’s Tandoori Restaurant (89 Hanover St., Edinburgh, EH 12 IEE, Scotland; phone 0131 226 3451 or 0131 225 4798) says it is “the true taste of India.” Immaculate tables and setting (also the kitchen; we looked in). Our meal included two curries, two piles of rice, raita and one beer and one wine for £20.10 (about $32).

You’ll always find good food by asking locals, police, department store workers, etc.

— Arlene J. Goodhead, La Jolla, CA