Travelers' Intercom

About five weeks after my husband, Steve, and I returned home from a June 2018 trip to the Scottish isles (June ’19, pg. 6), we got an unwelcome letter in our mailbox.

While waiting for the ferry from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, we had parked in a pay lot so we could get a bite of lunch. The automated machine used to pay for parking only took coins, so I had to ask a woman in the ferry office if she could change a £5 bill. She did so, handing me ten 50-pence coins.

When I...

Grote Kerk in the Grote Markt pedestrian area of Haarlem. Photos by Diane Harrison

My parents and I spent six days in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in May 2019. Before our vacation, we ordered Amsterdam attraction and travel passes and discovered that the I amsterdam City Card ( includes attractions outside of Amsterdam, most notably in the nearby city of Haarlem.

A 24-hour card costs €60 (near $68) per person, with prices going up from there, depending on the number of hours. We were in the area for six days, so we each purchased one 24-...


According to a Brazilian legend, a rich land owner’s favorite boi (ox) was slain by a farmer whose pregnant wife had a craving for beef tongue. This led to a feud between families rich and poor, and the farmer was to be sent to jail, but a pajé (shaman) revived the boi and the farmer was forgiven, leading to a celebration.

Various versions of that story are manifested by sets of dancers every last weekend in June at the 3-day Boi Bumbá Festival, held in Parintins, northern...


My son, Bret (then 54), and I (82) took the tour “Highlights of Madagascar,” Sept. 1-13, 2018, run by G Adventures (Toronto, Ont., Canada;

Our group stayed at nine hotels and one guest house and, at one location, in separate dormitories for men and women. Other than at the dormitories, Bret and I shared rooms.

Our accommodations were awful. Depending on the hotel, we had no elevator, and our room would have no hot water (lukewarm if it ran for...

Reflections (including Al and Emily Moore’s) in Leisee Lake at Sunnegga. Photo by Ken Sanner

So you’d like to visit Switzerland and experience those towering Alps, but health problems make it seem unlikely. You can’t walk a great distance and never uphill. Your energy is limited and your balance is a bit of a problem. Well, take heart. You can still see those Alps.

My husband, Al, and I have traveled extensively, including to all seven continents, but we’ve been to Switzerland 12 times, last in August 2015 (June ’17, pg. 50). It’s our...


The subscriber’s letter titled “An Assessment of Costsaver’s ‘Cossack Explorer’” (July ’19, pg. 24) reminded me of a practice from which I’ve never deviated during my years of international travel.

Some tour companies have two categories of tours, including one that ostensibly has a considerably lower price tag. (In the editor’s note following the above-mentioned letter, a Costsaver representative noted that “Costsaver is a...


In the article “Spectacular Scotland (June ’19, pg. 6), the author referred to the St. Ola Hotel in Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, and wrote, “I would not recommend this hotel,” but I would have to strongly disagree. I would recommend this hotel, which was in a great location and had a great staff.

My wife and I stayed in the St. Ola Hotel for three nights (Sunday-Tuesday), Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2018. Our room — on the second floor, toward the front of the...


I was in India with a group on a surgical mission in May 2019. We would catch a flight from New Delhi’s airport at 3 a.m., meanwhile we were dropped off at Connaught Place to shop and then to eat dinner at the Punjab Grill (, located across the street from lots of tourist shops and a big open area with stands and shops.

To reach the restaurant, we had to cross a road with a median strip. Five of us began crossing the street, weaving in between vehicles, and I...