Report Cards

From London, ENGLAND, Jan. 2, ’04. . .

• I had a wonderful meal at Trattoria Mondello (36 Goodge St., London), near Tottenham Court Road; the neighborhood is Bloomsbury. It’s located only a 4-minute walk from Goodge Street tube stop or a 12- to 15-minute walk from Russell Square tube stop.

Excellent value. My dinner was £25 (near $42). Pastas and individual pizzas are all £5-£7 and meat dishes £9-£10. They have decaf espresso and cappuccino, if that appeals.

They are apparently open for lunch and dinner, but I’m not sure about Sundays.

— Elaine Lavine, New York, NY

From ENGLAND, Dec. 4, ’03. . .

• The Radisson Edwardian Pastoria (3-6 St. Martin’s St., Leicester Square, WC2H 7HL, London, U.K.) has a great West End location. From Heathrow we took the tube directly to Leicester Square on Piccadilly Line.

Excellent service. Ask for a room at the back of the hotel — less noisy. No. 509 has two double beds and is a bit larger than other rooms. We paid £155 (near $277) for Thursday night and then £129 ($230) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, including VAT and full breakfasts.

St. Martins-in-the-Crypt Church (Trafalgar Square) has a dinner served cafeteria style for £8-£10 ($14-$18) on Thursday and Friday evenings.

• The National Portrait Gallery’s rooftop restaurant offers table service at £15 ($26) for the average meal. Excellent menus and service. Hearty English food. Self service also. Open every night. There is a gift shop open next to the cafeteria.

— Anita D. Taylor, Portland, OR

From Verona, ITALY, Dec. 13, ’03. . .

Ristorante Greppia (Vicolo Samaritana, 3 [Centro Storico], 37121 Verona, Italy; phone 0039-045-8004577 or e-mail — located off the main street of Via Cappello in the center of the original town (home of the legendary Romeo and Juliet and also the famous Roman poet Catullus).

A super-friendly, welcoming staff with a delightful hostess, Sara. Never rushed, so take your time and enjoy. Our meal for two with appetizer, dinner, wine and dessert cost €57 (near $67).

Although English is spoken in Verona, it is a good idea to carry a pocket translator for the city.

— Arlene J. Goodhead, La Jolla, CA

From GERMANY, December ’03. . .

• We flew from San Diego to Frankfurt with Delta for $550.50. If I cannot get a good fare on the Internet, we call Flight Coordinators (Santa Monica, CA; phone 800/544-3644 or visit; they are very prompt and efficient.

• We went to southern Germany, the Black Forest. You can get hotel rooms, holiday apartments or just a room in a house online at www.

• We stayed in a Gasthof in Buchenbach. This is a village outside of Freiburg. Freiburg is a university city — very old and interesting. At the Gasthof Adler (Hauptstr. 22, 79256 Buchenbach, Germany; phone 07667 4185 or fax 07661 3016) we had a double room with breakfast for €42 (near $50); if you stay longer than one night, the rate is €38.50. This is not a chain; it is run by the owners.

The area around there is very nice — many hiking trails. You can get a room at a farm very reasonably, with breakfast — lots of food.

— Gerlinde Martin, Vista, CA

On SPAIN, October-November ’03. . .

• Took the “Spanish Fiesta” tour with Globus & Cosmos (Littleton, CO; phone 800/942-3301), Oct. 25-Nov. 6, ’03. Every aspect of this tour was well planned and inclusive of the best of Spain. Meals and hotels were superior. Try to get Karin E. Hansen as your tour leader; you could not find a better one.

The cost was $1,279 land; air cost $696 from San Diego to Madrid.

— Barbara Mosely, La Jolla, CA