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This item appears on page 74 of the October 2009 issue.
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From FRANKFURT, Germany, July 18, 2009…

Albatros Airport Hotel (Nord­endstr. 12, Morfelden-Walldorf 64546, Germany; phone 011 49 6105 70100, fax 6105 75295 or e-mail info@albatroshotel.de) — a 15-minute ride from the Frankfurt airport.

In my opinion, this is a 2-star hotel, but I would rate it a “good bang for the buck.” Very clean but sparse on amenities. All they give you is liquid soap in the shower and at the bathroom sink.

The hotel is not air-conditioned, so try to stay away from the top floor in the summer. My room did have a fan and a refrigerator.

My single room cost $83, booked through www.booking.com. A nice breakfast buffet was included.

The charge for the airport shuttle bus was $6 each way. You have to call the hotel upon arrival at the airport. Make sure to get clear directions as to where the bus will pick you up; from the arrival terminal, I had to go upstairs to the departure level.

— Deanna Palic´, Contributing Editor

From BUDVA, Montenegro, July 8, 2009…

• At the pier in Kotor, Montenegro, two of us hired a taxi for about two hours to visit Budva, about 30 minutes away. It cost €50 (near $71) and included about one hour’s waiting time in Budva.

Our driver/guide was Dejan Vuković (phone, from the US, 011 382 69 044 760), an excellent driver who knows his country well. He gave us an interesting comparison between life under Yugoslavia (up to January 2003), life when the country was Serbia & Montenegro (to June 2006) and life there today in the independent country.

Dejan did not guide us in the Old City of Budva, as we preferred to stroll around on our own. By the way, some of the James Bond film “Casino Royale” was filmed in Budva.

— Deanna Palic´, Contributing Editor

From LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, July 3, 2009…

Hotel Slon (Slovenska cesta 34, Ljubljana, Slovenia; phone 011 386 1 470 11 00, fax 386 1 251 71 64, www.hotelslon.com) — part of the Best Western Premier chain.

This first-class hotel is very conveniently located. Old Town is one block behind the hotel. The deluxe Nama department store and the post office are across the street. I was able to walk to both the train station and bus station, though I don’t recommend it if your luggage is cumbersome. By taxi, it cost $3.75 to reach the station.

A FULL breakfast buffet is included in the price. Booking online, I paid $135 for my single room. In the closet was an umbrella for courtesy use during my stay.

• While visiting Slovenia’s lovely capital, I was fortunate to have Urban Logar as my private guide for a walking tour of the Old City. He was assigned to me as a courtesy by the Zavod za Turizem Ljubljana, or Ljubljana Tourist Board (Krekov trg 10, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; phone +386 [0] 1 306 45 83, fax 306 45 94, www.visitljubljana.si), but you can specify him as the guide you would like. His charge for two hours was $15.

Urban’s English and Spanish both are perfect. He knows his city exceptionally well and was able to impart interesting tidbits. He met me at the hotel.

Urban did ask if I had any special interests. Such arrangements should be made beforehand to see if it alters the price. I selected the general touristic sights: Mestni Trg Square, Cankarjevo Nabre’je embankment, Cobblers’ Bridge, University Library, Pleçnik’s Colonnades at the Central Market and St. Nicholas Church.

— Deanna Palic´, Contributing Editor

On FRANCE, July ’09…

My cousin and I had a spectacular trip to the south of France, partly to see a few stages of the Tour de France. Along the way we had two serendipitous experiences.

Hôtel Restaurant Le Sainte-Anne (3 av Michel de l’Hospital, 11130 Sigean, France; phone 0033 [0] 4 68 48 24 38), of Logis de France (www.logis-de-france.fr).

It’s run by a charming young couple with a toddler daughter who was fun to meet.

Single room, €65 ($93). Great A/C. Shower excellent for people with limited mobility.

You’ll need to check with the hotel, but the night we were there, there was all-you-can-eat mussels and frites for €15.50 per person.

Bistrot du Paradou (Chez Jean Louis, 57 Avenue de la Vallée des Baux, Paradou) — in a lovely old stone building.

Friday’s set menu — a classic aioli salad (platter of snails, cod and veggies, with aioli, of course) plus a cheese platter and dessert — cost €37 (near $53) per person.

We added wine at €6 per person. They put the bottle on the table — drink what you want.

I think we spent 2½ hours there. Food — superb. Ambience — ditto.

— Kathleen W. Parnell, Liverpool, NY

On ITALY, May ’09…

• In Palermo, Sicily, we stayed at the 3-star Hotel Joli (Via Michele Amari, 11 90139 Palermo; phone +39 091 61 11765, www.hoteljoli.com) for a little over $100 per night for the small room. The larger rooms are more expensive. Wi-Fi is free.

There is another hotel with almost the same name. The one we stayed in is in a small, beautifully renovated old building. The area is convenient, and parking is available in the area.

We had taken the airport bus into town ($8 and 45 minutes) and walked the three blocks from Piazza Politeama, where we got off the bus. I downloaded a Google map, so I knew where we were going.

— Harriet S. Hughes, Alexandria, VA

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From FRANKFURT, Germany, July 18, 2009…

Albatros Airport Hotel (Nord­endstr. 12, Morfelden-Walldorf 64546, Germany; phone 011 49 6105 70100, fax 6105 75295 or e-mail info@albatroshotel.de) — a 15-minute ride from the Frankfurt airport.

In my opinion, this is a 2-star hotel, but I would rate it a “good bang for the buck.” Very clean but sparse on amenities. All they give you is liquid soap in the shower and at the bathroom sink.

The hotel is not air-conditioned, so try to stay away from the top floor in the summer. My room did have a fan and a refrigerator.

My single room cost $83, booked through www.booking.com. A nice breakfast buffet was included.

The charge for the airport shuttle bus was $6 each way. You have to call the hotel upon arrival at the airport. Make sure to get clear directions as to where the bus will pick you up; from the arrival terminal, I had to go upstairs to the departure level.

— Deanna Palic´, Contributing Editor

From BUDVA, Montenegro, July 8, 2009…

• At the pier in Kotor, Montenegro, two of us hired a taxi for about two hours to visit Budva, about 30 minutes away. It cost €50 (near $71) and included about one hour’s waiting time in Budva.

Our driver/guide was Dejan Vuković (phone, from the US, 011 382 69 044 760), an excellent driver who knows his country well. He gave us an interesting comparison between life under Yugoslavia (up to January 2003), life when the country was Serbia & Montenegro (to June 2006) and life there today in the independent country.

Dejan did not guide us in the Old City of Budva, as we preferred to stroll around on our own. By the way, some of the James Bond film “Casino Royale” was filmed in Budva.

— Deanna Palic´, Contributing Editor

From LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, July 3, 2009…

Hotel Slon (Slovenska cesta 34, Ljubljana, Slovenia; phone 011 386 1 470 11 00, fax 386 1 251 71 64, www.hotelslon.com) — part of the Best Western Premier chain.

This first-class hotel is very conveniently located. Old Town is one block behind the hotel. The deluxe Nama department store and the post office are across the street. I was able to walk to both the train station and bus station, though I don’t recommend it if your luggage is cumbersome. By taxi, it cost $3.75 to reach the station.

A FULL breakfast buffet is included in the price. Booking online, I paid $135 for my single room. In the closet was an umbrella for courtesy use during my stay.

• While visiting Slovenia’s lovely capital, I was fortunate to have Urban Logar as my private guide for a walking tour of the Old City. He was assigned to me as a courtesy by the Zavod za Turizem Ljubljana, or Ljubljana Tourist Board (Krekov trg 10, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; phone +386 [0] 1 306 45 83, fax 306 45 94, www.visitljubljana.si), but you can specify him as the guide you would like. His charge for two hours was $15.

Urban’s English and Spanish both are perfect. He knows his city exceptionally well and was able to impart interesting tidbits. He met me at the hotel.

Urban did ask if I had any special interests. Such arrangements should be made beforehand to see if it alters the price. I selected the general touristic sights: Mestni Trg Square, Cankarjevo Nabre’je embankment, Cobblers’ Bridge, University Library, Pleçnik’s Colonnades at the Central Market and St. Nicholas Church.

— Deanna Palic´, Contributing Editor

On FRANCE, July ’09…

My cousin and I had a spectacular trip to the south of France, partly to see a few stages of the Tour de France. Along the way we had two serendipitous experiences.

Hôtel Restaurant Le Sainte-Anne (3 av Michel de l’Hospital, 11130 Sigean, France; phone 0033 [0] 4 68 48 24 38), of Logis de France (www.logis-de-france.fr).

It’s run by a charming young couple with a toddler daughter who was fun to meet.

Single room, €65 ($93). Great A/C. Shower excellent for people with limited mobility.

You’ll need to check with the hotel, but the night we were there, there was all-you-can-eat mussels and frites for €15.50 per person.

Bistrot du Paradou (Chez Jean Louis, 57 Avenue de la Vallée des Baux, Paradou) — in a lovely old stone building.

Friday’s set menu — a classic aioli salad (platter of snails, cod and veggies, with aioli, of course) plus a cheese platter and dessert — cost €37 (near $53) per person.

We added wine at €6 per person. They put the bottle on the table — drink what you want.

I think we spent 2½ hours there. Food — superb. Ambience — ditto.

— Kathleen W. Parnell, Liverpool, NY

On ITALY, May ’09…

• In Palermo, Sicily, we stayed at the 3-star Hotel Joli (Via Michele Amari, 11 90139 Palermo; phone +39 091 61 11765, www.hoteljoli.com) for a little over $100 per night for the small room. The larger rooms are more expensive. Wi-Fi is free.

There is another hotel with almost the same name. The one we stayed in is in a small, beautifully renovated old building. The area is convenient, and parking is available in the area.

We had taken the airport bus into town ($8 and 45 minutes) and walked the three blocks from Piazza Politeama, where we got off the bus. I downloaded a Google map, so I knew where we were going.

— Harriet S. Hughes, Alexandria, VA