Report Cards

From Seoul, SOUTH KOREA, Sept. 12, ’05. . .

Hotel Incheon Airport. I made my reservation on the Internet after reading reviews of hotels close to the airport. I had a one-night layover. The cost of the room, $89, included airport pickup and dropoff.

The room was clean, comfortable, quiet and large, with a nice bathroom. The service was friendly and helpful. I’d stay here again.

My flight was the first one allowed to land after a typhoon (winds of 150 mph). The driver from the hotel told me it might take him a while to get to the airport because of the rain and wind. He told me where to wait for him, and within 15 minutes he walked across the driveway — in the rain and wind — to help me with my suitcases.

— Laura Scott, Portland, OR

From Broome, AUSTRALIA, Sept 11, ’05. . .

• We ate at Matso’s Broome Brewery (60 Hamersley St., Broome), in Western Australia. The restaurant has evolved over the years from a house of ill repute to a general store to a restaurant.

Food portions were large and hearty. We had Mango Beer Battered Barra, pan-fried white salmon with veggies and fries, two beers and a most generous “bowl” of ice cream with chocolate sauce for Aus$57 (near US$46).

There is seating inside at tables for four or communal dining (we recommend the latter in order to chat with other “Aussies”) or you can dine out on the terrace. Dress was very informal. Pleasant service.

— A.J. Goodhead, La Jolla, CA

On JAPAN, September ’05. . .

• We took the 2-week “Essential Honshu” tour, Sept. 12-28, with Inside Japan Tours, Ltd. (1 Calcott Rd., Bristol, England BS4 2HB; phone 0870-766-1044 or visit — $2,300, land only.

We enjoyed every bit of the tour. It gave us a good cross-section of Honshu and involved travel all by train and bus. The tour does involve considerable walking, and some Japanese train stations don’t have escalators.

Our tour buddy, Celia Green, who had studied in Japan, was available to aim us in the right direction to historic sights or interesting events, or we could go along with her on a scheduled tour.

Some of the highlights were the fish market in Tokyo, the temples and shrines in Kyoto, a walking tour of the geisha district of Kyoto, and the Old City of Takayama in central Honshu.

For those who want to mix with the people and see the country up close in a small-group environment, we recommend this tour company.

— Kay & John McMunn, Redlands, CA

On FRANCE, September ’05. . .

• Near Caen, we stayed with Jeannine Hemon (12, rue Marthe Gibrat, 14670 Le Mesnil de Bures; phone — found online at in a fantastic 400-year-old farmhouse. €65 (near $80).

Mme Hemon was a warm and wonderful hostess, a delightful person. We thoroughly enjoyed her French country cooking — marvelous meals. Dinners were $20 extra. The breakfast breads were fantastic!

The place is difficult to find, but she gives good directions.

— Kiti Laisure, Cathedral City, CA

On SWITZERLAND, September ’05. . .

• The restaurant Auberge des Santolines (rue des Artisans 20, 1299 Crans/Celigny, Switzerland) — near Geneva. Cozy atmosphere. Great food. Try the rack of lamb! CHF133 ($107) for three.

— Kiti Laisure, Cathedral City, CA

From Dartmouth, ENGLAND, Aug. 4, ’05. . .

As part of a shore excursion, we visited Dartmouth. The city is very touristy (mostly locals) but fun in a honky-tonk way.

• We were on our own for lunch, and after much looking we stumbled upon Taylor’s of Dartmouth. It’s located upstairs at 8 The Quay, across from the passenger river ferry station.

The food and service were quite good, and the ambiance provided a welcome, quiet oasis. It was not inexpensive, about £40 (near $70) for the two of us, but we thought it good value given the overall quality — especially with the weak dollar.

— Harvey Lampert, N. Bethesda, MD