Report Cards

From London, ENGLAND, Jan. 12, 2007. . .

• I took the Caledonian sleeper train ( from Edinburgh, Scotland, to London, England, on Jan. 11, 2007. The price was $210.

I decided to splurge for first class. It was wonderful! The compartment was larger than I had expected and included a sink and a bag of toiletries.

Breakfast was delivered in the morning, and I was allowed to linger for an hour after we arrived at Euston Station.

— Lori Gauthier, Grants Pass, OR

From Dublin, IRELAND, Jan. 8, 2007. . .

Drury Court Hotel (28 Lower Stephens St.; e-mail or visit

I found this great hotel in an area near all of Dublin’s major attractions.

The rooms are spacious and clean. The bathrooms are modern, each with a large shower and tub and plenty of hot water. Best price we found anywhere: €99 (near $130) per night, double, with full breakfast. There’s an elevator.

Highly recommend. Book early.

— Herb Ring, Newport Beach, CA

From Paris, FRANCE, Nov. 27, 2006. . .

• While in Paris, my wife, Emily, and I stayed four nights at Hotel Ferrandi (92 rue du Cherche Midi, Paris; phone 01-42-22-97-40 or e-mail in the sixth arrondissement.

This is close to several Métro stations and neighborhood shops, brasseries and cafés. It also is within a half-hour walk of Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, Hotel Invalides, Musée Rodin, the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, etc.

The hotel has a 3-star rating and features a nicely decorated lobby and sitting room. We stayed on the second floor (third floor, by American standards), which was quiet and away from the street noise. Rue du Cherche-Midi is not a busy street anyway.

The entire staff was friendly and helpful, especially Coulette. We went in late November and had numerous experiences of friendly, helpful and outgoing Parisians. They really spoiled their reputation for being rude!

We booked our room over the Internet and paid €75 (less than $100) a night.

• One other tip — buy a museum pass. They’re good at all of the major museums, and you can bypass the ticket-purchase lines.

The passes are issued in 2-, 4- or 6-day increments. We each bought a 4-day pass for €45 ($59) at the first museum we went to, the d’Orsay, and visited another seven museums (that’s all we had time for).

— Craig Parker, Grand Junction, CO

On AUSTRALIA, November-December ’06. . .

• The Sydney Bridge Climb (5 Cumberland St., The Rocks, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia; phone 61-2-8274-7777) was a fun and unique experience.

It was not really very taxing, and they give you lots of time to rest, so it takes three hours. (I could have done it in half the time.) You practice climbing beforehand.

It’s somewhat difficult to find; give yourself plenty of time to get there.

FunJet (Hobart Airport, Hobart, Australia; phone 1-300-38-65-38, mobile 0415-889-048 or visit

From the Hobart airport, you can fly with a USMC (Marine) pilot in a 2-seat (side-by-side) British jet trainer. An exciting ride. High-speed maneuvers — loops just for starters. Hold the stick!

The price was Aus$1,700 (about US$1,360). An optional CD cost about US$100-plus.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

— Neal J. Pollack, Arlington, VA