Report Cards

From PARIS, France, Oct. 10…

• We used Capitol Shuttle ( in Paris for airport/hotel transfers. Beware! We had a one-hour wait for pickup at the airport (“caught in traffic”). Pickup at our hotel was on time, but they attempted to drop us off at the wrong terminal! Then they dropped us off at correct terminal but at a definite no-stopping area, which brought airport security over in a flash to question us. I would avoid this company.

Hotel du Cadran (10 rue du Champ de Mars, 75005, Paris) — good location. A small hotel with the usual small rooms but good-sized bathrooms. €175 ($246) for a double. Kept clean. Very friendly, helpful desk staff. Would stay again.

• Used Air France for intra-Europe flights. Crowded A-320s with very little space. But they offered refreshment/snack service on a 53-minute flight.

— Jeff Banas, Terryville, CT

From AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Oct. 3, 2007. . .

Golden Tulip Hotel (Amsterdam Centre, Nieuwejdsolk 19, Amsterdam) — great location, clean rooms and friendly staff, but this was obviously no bargain: €225 (near $316) for a double.

• Flew the new Northwest Airlines nonstop from Hartford/Springfield (BDL) to Amsterdam (AMS). This route avoids the New York (JFK) or Boston (BOS) headaches. $743 round trip coach weekend — worth the few extra bucks. 757-200s on this route.

— Jeff Banas, Terryville, CT

From SHANGHAI, China, Oct. 3, 2007. . .

• My husband, Marty, and I took a tour of China and Tibet with ChinaPlus, Inc. (320 Decker Dr., Ste. 100, Irving, TX 75062; 888/868-8811,, Sept. 18-Oct. 3 — Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai plus Lhasa.

$7,400 for two. We used frequent-flyer miles to fly first class to/from China. All flights within the tour were coach and were covered.

A delightful trip, with a small group (19); a terrific tour leader; competent local guides and drivers; wonderful, deluxe hotel accommodations everywhere, and excellent timing and ease through airports, etc. Best of all was the flexibility to add or change plans when the group decided to veer off in another direction.

We were the only two in the group who had opted for a 14-day trip and did not join the others on their additional 5-day cruise. Therefore, we used taxis to and from the airport in Shanghai, and China Plus arranged a private tour guide and driver for us in Shanghai.

For additional info, e-mail us c/o ITN.

— Dawn Dimmerman, Philadelphia, PA

From LITTLEHAMPTON, U.K., Sept. 22, 2007. . .

• The B&B Racing Greens (70 South Terrace, Little­hampton, BN17 5LQ, U.K.; — very pleasant and convenient location along the seaside.

Good attention to details to make a stay enjoyable. Alan and Eileen Thomas were very hospitable and helpful hosts. £70 (near $141) per night plus 2% for credit card. Excellent breakfast, made to order.

Highly recommend this for a peaceful vacation.

• The B&B Number 29 (29 The Park, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1DG, U.K.; phone, in U.K., 01935 420046, The park setting is excellent for a stay in the small city of Yeovil.

Had a very pleasant, newly decorated room in this 1880s home. £70 per night. Host Angela was very attentive to making this a comfortable stay. She will call for you at the train station, if needed.

— Betty Ecklund, Tacoma, WA

From BLED, Slovenia, Sept. 21, 2007. . .

In most of CROATIA, it was difficult to find a single room for one night, but in Fazana and Cres I found what we would call RV parks that had a few rooms available.

• At Bi-Village Fazana I had a plain but comfortable room for $56. The price included use of the three outdoor unheated pools plus a dinner of pasta with shrimp and a beer at the nice waterfront restaurant. Breakfast was not included.

There also was a pizzeria, a small supermarket and laundry machines.

Camp Kovacine, in Cres, was not as nice but was comfortable. $45 included breakfast.

• Next door at Hotel Kimmel I had dinner, which was good. With a beer, it cost about €13 (near $18).

Apartment Kocijancic (Seiska 9, 4260 Bled, SLOVENIA; www. — within walking distance of downtown.

This is a great sobe (Slovenian for B&B). My modern, well-furnished room had a full bath. I booked a single room through the agency Kompas (Ljubljanska cesta 4, 4260 Bled, Slovenia; phone 00386 [0] 4 57 27 500, fax 4 574 15 18, late in the day when I couldn’t find a room. €27 (near $38) for one person.

Very quiet. Very good breakfast. The daughter spoke English well.

— Jack Hawker, Port Ludlow, WA

From ANTWERP, Belgium, Sept. 16, 2007. . .

• On a busy Sunday afternoon in Antwerp, Tabl’eau (Hoogstraat 71, 2000 Antwerpen; phone 0032 [0] 3 227 11 89 or e-mail tabl’ was a perfect place to relax and have a snack. Hoogstraat is a street of antique and used-furniture stores about a 10-minute walk from the Old Town center.

We could have sat at a sidewalk table and enjoyed the people-watching, but we opted for the cool, quiet interior with modern graphic art plus jazz on the sound system.

Three of us shared an antipasto plate (cheeses, olives, tapanade, Italian ham and salami, crackers, pickles and green herbs) for about €8 (near $11). Our bill also included two glasses of wine at €2.5 each and a dark Duvel (devil) beer, €3. The full menu was in Dutch and English.

This place is open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Thursday and is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The attentive service by a waiter who spoke impeccable English contributed to a pleasant, unhurried experience.

— Jane Albusche, ITN

From TIROL, Austria, Sept. 14, 2007. . .

While visiting Hall in Tirol, I wanted to get away from the city and highway noise, so I drove up the hill to the north of town looking for a Zimmer. I found only one and it was full. Then I saw the Gardenhotel Maria Theresia, which looked very nice (except for the church bell tower next door). Alas, they were full also. However, the man at the desk referred me to. . .

Hotel Gasthof Purner, farther up the hill, a very nice chalet-type hotel which happened to be run by his brother.

My single room was small but well equipped and very quiet. €68 (about $95). The hotel had the most elegant spa I have ever seen. It was huge, all in white tile and immaculate, with every type of spa equipment you could imagine. This was included in the room charge.

• For some reason, I decided to return to Gardenhotel Maria Theresia for dinner — a mistake, as service was slow; apparently, they were understaffed for a large party. I ordered Cordon Bleu, which was very tough, for about €14 (near $20).

However, the included breakfast at Hotel Purner the next morning was one of the best of my 2-week trip.

— Jack Hawker, Port Ludlow, WA

From DUBROVNIK, Croatia, Sept. 7, 2007. . .

• I think Dubrovnik is a real bore. Lots of hills and steps and not much to do or see. Every restaurant was the same: pizza - pasta - seafood. No Chinese, Thai, etc.

• Took a full-day tour to MONTENEGRO yesterday with Atlas Travel Agency (Vukovarska 19, Dubrovnik, 20000 Croatia; phone ++385 20 442900). Thought $80 was a bit high. Spent most of the time traveling from one place to another.

— Jerry Mendel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

From DUBROVNIK, Croatia, Sept. 5, 2007. . .

• On our trip to Croatia, the best accommodation we had was Apartment Panorama (Zagreba #269; ka 20 vis à vis, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia; phone ++385 20 411-372, mobile ++385 91 520-3663, www.

This is a one-bedroom apartment with a separate lounge, a small kitchen, a bathroom with laundry facilities and, best of all, a private balcony overlooking the Old Town. The owners live on the two lower levels of the building, with the apartment representing the attic space. There was parking.

The price is 850 kuna (near $164) per night in July and August and 600 kuna ($116) per night the rest of the year.

The owners were very helpful in providing information on Dubrovnik and included airport pickup and bus terminal dropoff with our stay.

— Neil Johnson, San Jose, CA

On FRANCE & BELGIUM, September ’07. . .

• My husband, Dick, had a knee replaced and we happened to take the handicap parking permit with us to France and Belgium. It got us parking so close to so many things, it was unbelievable!

I cannot promise how it will work for you, but it doesn’t weigh much and it really paid off for us. Several times we were not charged parking at all, and several times the rate was reduced. Bonne chance!

— Katie Coath, Winnetka, IL

On TURKEY, September ’07. . .

• We traveled with another couple and one of the most impressive guides we have ever been with in over 30 years of travel, Sept. 16-30. His name is Aydin Aygun (mobile phone +90 532 237 1396 or e-mail

Aydin has a master’s degree from Gonzaga University in Washington state and currently lives in Antalya, Turkey. His deep understanding of ancient history, religion and culture — and his ability to impart this knowledge — made this an extraordinary experience for us.

In addition, Aydin was funny, thoughtful and just a joy to travel with. As Aydin would put it, “It was like traveling with friends.” We would highly recommend him to anyone thinking about an in-depth tour of Turkey.

The cost for the 2-week trip, including two internal flights, all lodging, most meals, admissions and guiding with Aydin driving a comfortable Mercedes minivan, was $3,500 per person.

— Richard Goldman, Seattle, WA