Report Cards

On FRANCE, July ’07. . .

• Do you love to try new wines in France? Head to the grocery stores and check out the wonderful selections that are available in half bottles (roughly two glasses per bottle). The prices range from €1.5 to €5 ($2-$7) for wines from all different regions. Grab some of that delicious French cheese and a baguette and, voila!, a picnic!

• When touring the château and grounds of Versailles*, France, be aware that you will be charged separately for everything! It’s € 9 (near $12) to go through the main palace, €13.50 ($18) to tour Marie Antoinette’s mansion and €6.50 ($9) to take the shuttle to get there.

The only things that I found truly impressive were the main gardens and the beautiful cottages with thatched roofs!

– Lori Gauthier, Grants Pass, OR

*There is an all-day pass to the entire museum, the grounds and Marie Antoinette’s estate available for €20 on weekdays and €25 on weekends that is sold on site. Contact Château de Versailles (RP 834, 78008 Versailles, France; phone [01] 3083 7800 or visit www.

On JAPAN, May-June ’07. . .

• Hotel Route Inn, formerly Sapporo Station Hotel (phone 011727-2111, fax 727-2115 or visit [in Japanese]

— across from main train station, north side, west gate.

Spent 10 nights here for a total of $530, including all taxes, breakfast, etc. Very clean and quiet. Also has free, 24-hour Internet terminals in the lounge.

– STANLEY OSUR, Hawthorne, NJ

From BUKHARA, Uzbekistan, May 10, ’07. . .

• With Zegrahm (Seattle, WA; 800/628-8747,, we took the tour “The Five ‘Stans,” May 8-25 (for 2008 priced at $9,980 per person, double). In Uzbekistan, touring around Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara, Zegrahm used the local operator Roxana Tour (128 Bld/8, Usmon Nosir Str., Tashkent 100059, Uzbekistan; phone [+99890] 175 86 78 or 247 60 17, fax [+99871] 137 10 14 or 137 47 31 or visit www.

I highly recommend Roxana Tour’s local guides. They had a good command of English and were very organized.

– Pat Long, Mercer Island, WA

From HASTINGS, N.I., New Zealand, May 1, 2007. . .

• The Sileni Estates Winery (2016 Maraekakaho Rd., Bridge PA, Hastings, North Island, New Zealand; phone 64-6-879-8768 or visit www. provided the best gourmet food and wine experience I have ever had!

In addition to a visit to the wine cellar, we had a 4-course meal under a grape arbor, looking at a vineyard backed by gorgeous green hills.

My lunch included an olive oil tasting, appetizer (Chicken Ballotine wrapped in prosciutto), venison (cooked rare) and a pine nut-andtreacle tart for dessert. Each of the four courses was served with one of the fine Sileni wines. The meal was included in the cost of the day tour. A wonderful splurge!

This winery was one stop of four on the day-long “Epicurean Delights” tour ($169 per person) offered on my Princess cruise aboard the Pacific Princess (800/774-6237, www. as it docked at Napier. The excursion included sightseeing, cider tasting, ice cream tasting and transportation for eight people in a minibus with driver/guide.

– Cynthia Rignanese, Lake Wales, FL

On GERMANY, May ’07. . .

• After completing an Alpine tour with Grand Circle, I went on my own to London for 10 days. Returning to Munich, in order to link up with my flight to Portland, Oregon, I stayed at the family-owned Hotel Regent (Wilhelmstr. 1, 85399 Hallbergmoos, Munich; phone 0811/5504-0, fax 5504-55 or visit, located eight minutes from the airport.

They offer a shuttle transfer service for € 6 each way, including tax. I called from the airport and the pickup was prompt.

My room was clean, roomy and well appointed. The cost for my single room, with breakfast, was €55. The total cost, including the transfers, was €67 (about $91).

The Reinhardt family runs a very good operation. At 4 a.m. they served

a complete Continental breakfast with cold cuts, cheese, breads, cereal, coffee, tea, milk and juices. At 5 a.m. the hotel laid on two vans to transfer guests to their airport terminals.

• When I arrived in Munich from London, in the afternoon, Lufthansa let me check my bags through to Portland for my flight the next day and I retained a small overnight bag.

– Theresa A. Lynam, Vancouver, WA

From SYDNEY, Australia, April 22, 2007. . .

Malaya Restaurant (39 Lime St., King Street Wharf, Sydney, NSW 2000; — overlooking Darling Harbor. Wonderful view!

Serves Southeastern Asian cuisine in a lovely atmosphere. Intimate feel, but seating for large or small groups.

À la carte or fixed menu. Great to order communally and share as our group of seven did. Prices for the set menu meals run from AU$40 (near US$32), with individual items at AU$12-$30 (US$10-$24). Attentive service.

– Cynthia Rignanese, Lake Wales, FL

From EUROPE, April, 18, ’07. . .

• My husband and I went on a cruise aboard the Monet, booked with INTRAV (St. Louis, MO; 800/4568100, We were on the “Azure Waters of the Dalmatian Coast” sailing — a well-planned itinerary. The cost was $3,890 each plus airfare.

It is a beautiful small ship (62 passengers). Friendly, capable crew. Delicious food.

– Anne Helms, Salinas, CA

On ARGENTINA, March ’07. . .

• To my ITN Report Card about Buenos Aires Walking Tours (Aug. ’07, pg. 94), I would add this contact information: phone, in B.A., [15] 5773 1001 or, from outside Argentina, [011 549] 5773 1001 or visit

There was a card at our hotel advertising the company. You don’t need to reserve ahead; we just showed up at the start of the tour, each about 2• hours long ($25 per person).

– Barbara Woltz, Greensboro, NC