Report Cards

From Rome, ITALY, Nov. 10, ’06. . .

Hotel Mozart (Via dei Greci 23/B, 00187 Rome; visit — great central location near the Spanish Steps, with the main lobby on a pedestrian-only street. Lots of restaurants and shopping in the general area.

We stayed in one of the Vivaldi Luxury Rooms, with Internet access in the room, a bathroom with separate shower and Jacuzzi tub, and plasma TV. €192 (about $245) included a large breakfast.

There were three grocery stores within a couple of blocks.

— Nancy Schwab, St. George, UT

On TURKEY, October-November ’06. . .

• The “Blue Voyage” land-and-cruise tour with Odysseys Unlimited (Watertown, MA; 888/370-6765), Oct. 18-Nov. 17, was a memorable small-group tour. Well-paced itinerary. Great hotels. A scenic 5-night Aegean cruise. Excellent food. Outstanding tour guide, Mr. Bahar.

The added Cappadocia extension made for truly remarkable tour to a beautiful, friendly country.

— Mike Zak, Missoula, MT

From Gdansk, POLAND, Sept. 19, 06. . .

Pierogarnia u Dzika (ul. Piwna 59/60, Gdansk; phone +48 [58] 3052676 or fax 3207995). This restaurant near St. Mary’s Church (Podkramarska 5) not only has great pierogies at a reasonable price, it has a good outdoor seating area that is great for people-watching.

— Gene Krueger, Salisbury, NC

On EUROPE, Sept. 6-Oct. 1, ’06. . .

Gasthaus zum Engel (Wesenplatz 6, 8416 Flaach, SWITZERLAND; phone +41 52 318 13 03, fax 318 19 74 or visit Freddy and Doris Staub, owners.

Lovely Gasthaus 12 miles from Zürich airport. Quiet in-the-country place with easy train and bus access.

Large room with split double bed and comforters, CHF160 (about $134).

• Lausanne is a very fashionable, expensive city. We stayed at Hotel Aulac (Place de la Navigation 4, 1000 Lausanne 6, Switzerland; phone +41 [21] 613 1500, fax 6131515 or visit on the waterfront for CHF265 ($222), Continental breakfast included. Clean room with a beautiful view. Mid-priced restaurant.

Hotel Alfa (Obere Mattenstrasse 18, CH-3920 Zermatt, Switzerland; visit A small, perfect place. From my split double bed, I had a perfect early-morning full view of the Matterhorn. CHF180 ($151) per night

Breakfast was served next door at the Metropol Hotel, which also had a sauna and pool for Alfa guests’ use.

• In Varenna, ITALY, on Lake Como, we stayed for two perfect nights at the Albergo Milano (Via XX Settembre, 29, 23829 Varenna [LC], Italy; phone +39 0341 830 298, e-mail or visit . . or, in the U.S., fax 781/634-0094).

We had a small but beautiful room with a balcony overlooking the lake. This was their annex, Casa Rossa. There were lots of stairs to the room, so we left most of our luggage in the car. €120 ($153) per night. Would/will do it again.

Gasthof Fraundorfer (Ludwigstr. 24, D-82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GERMANY; phone +49 [0] 8821 92 70, fax 92 799 or visit

A special place. Great German food plus music all evening.

Very clean and neat. The room was lovely, overlooking the street. €90 ($115) per night for two, with breakfast.

• In Maria Alm, AUSTRIA, we stayed at Landgasthof-Hotel Almerwirt (Dorf 23, 5761 Maria Alm, Austria; phone 06584 77 14 or visit for three nights with half board for €246 (near $313) — a genuine bargain and a genuine place to stay. They even provided laundry service.

• We stayed for a week at Haus Ballwein (Moosstrasse 69A, 5020 Salzburg, Austria; phone/fax +43 [0] 662 824029 or visit — on the outskirts of Salzburg. 10 minutes by bus from the center of town.

A splendid place at a great price. €48 ($60) per night, with breakfast. Marianne Ballwein is a perfect hostess.

— Doug Barnett, Ann Arbor, MI

On FRANCE, Sept. 15-30, ’06

Le Chalet de la Forêt (143, avenue Edouart Vaillant, 18100 Vierzon, FRANCE; phone 02 48 75 35 84, fax 02 48 71 59 36 or e-mail — conveniently located just a short distance toward town from the autoroute exit Vierzon-Nord.

Under new management for one year, this 11-room hotel, a member of the Logis de France association, makes one feel at home. A double room plus an excellent, expanded Continental breakfast cost €68 (about $86).

La Mangeoire (the Feeding Trough) — on Route Nationale 152 near Veuves, between Amboise and Blois, on the River Loire.

A country restaurant catering mostly to locals. Three-course set meals from €12 ($15) weekdays, €15 weekends. Our Sunday dinner for two plus a liter of sparkling water cost €33 ($42).

Hôtel Le Blason (11 place Richelieu, 37400 Amboise, France; phone +33 [0] 2 47 23 22 41, fax 47 57 56 18 or visit

A very welcoming hotel in an old half-timbered building on one of the squares near the center. A double room was €49 ($62). An expanded Continental breakfast was €6.40 ($8.25) each.

Le Laurencin (24 rue Saint-Jean, 69005 Lyon, France; phone 04 78 37 97 37 or fax 04 72 31 08 25).

In a house dating to 1528, this is a moderately priced “bouchon Lyonnais” restaurant open for lunch and dinner daily. The proprietor will explain and counsel pleasantly in French or English.

Our 3–course meal for two, with a half liter of Côtes du Rhone, cost €38.60 ($49) and was outstanding. Less and more expensive “menus” are also offered.

L’Auberge du Marronnier in Châteauneuf En Auxois cannot be recommended for its restaurant. Our dinner for two with wine, at €58.50 ($74), included appetizers and mains that were only acceptable, and the vegetables were steamed or boiled so long that they were unrecognizable to sight as well as to taste.

The dessert listed as “soufflé au marc de Bourgogne” turned out to be only an ice cream sundae. Upon complaint, the hostess had the gall to defend the deception.

Hôtel de la Poste (Place de la Libération, 21320 Pouilly-en-Auxois, France; phone 03 80 90 86 44 or fax 03 80 90 75 99) — on the main square of Pouilly-en-Auxois. Its restaurant makes a fine base for exploring Burgundy.

Our large double room cost €47 ($59). Breakfast cost €6 ($7.50) each.

Set meals were around €15 ($19). Our most expensive dinner for two cost €45.50 including wine. Although not truly outstanding, the cuisine is very good.

This family-run, 6-room hotel and restaurant are closed Sunday evening and Monday, except July-August.

— Peter Calingaert, Chapel Hill, NC