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My favorite city is Bucharest, Romania. From my 18th trip there, I have some wonderful hotels and restaurants to recommend.

May 1-5, 2013, I stayed at Hotel Scala (C.A. Rosetti nr. 19, 020011, Bucharest, RO; phone +40 31 104 11 11, fax 31 814 61 48), a beautiful boutique hotel in a former architect’s home in a location very handy to the center of the city.

It contains 11 lovely guest rooms with all the nicest amenities. The cost of $95 per day for one person included taxes and a wonderful buffet breakfast.

On my return to Bucharest from Transylvania, I stayed at the...


When, after an absence of several years, I walked into my favorite London restaurant, Denise’s (79 Southampton Row, London, Greater London, WC1B 4ET, U.K.; phone +44 20 7436 1562), I was warmly greeted by the owner, who never forgets a face!

Denise asked about my family and proceeded to insure that my daughter and I enjoyed our meals.

The cuisine is French, the ambiance is cozy and bistro-like, and the food is wonderful and reasonably priced. My daughter had pork chops, I had calf’s liver, and we both had wine and shared a dessert for a total cost of £60 (near $95). 



Every two years, hundreds of walkers gather for the International Volksmarching Convention. In 2013 the 4-day event took place June 25-29 in Val Gardena, Italy, located in the Dolomite Mountains several hours north of Venice.

According to the website of the International Volkssport Federation, Volkssports are “non-competitive, non-motorized sports such as walking (Volksmarching), biking, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, kayaking, in-line skating, etc.” Volkssports originated in Germany and were brought to the United States in 1976.

This was...


I was in Istanbul with three family members in September ’13. It was my third trip there, the first for the others. 

One of our group had trouble walking, so we had to use taxis several times. On two occasions, one of us, after giving the driver either a 50- or a 100-lira note, was handed back either a 5- or 20-lira note, far short of what we were owed, with the driver stating that that was the correct change. We couldn’t prove anything so ended up being cheated.

If I ever need to use another taxi in Istanbul, I will, upon paying the driver, say aloud, “I’m handing you 50...


We traveled in Bulgaria with a private guide, Patrick Peneff (phone +359 887 364 711), July 27-Aug. 9, 2013, and had a wonderful time. We discovered Patrick through an article in ITN (Jan. ’13, pg. 32).

We told Patrick we were primarily interested in history, literature and politics, and the itinerary he arranged, with certain museums and places of interest, reflected these priorities.

For our 14-day, 13-night trip (and including a 10% discount for early booking), we paid €2,620 (near $3,550) for accommodations, with breakfast; his services as a guide and driver; fuel, and...


My husband, Peter, and I had a fabulous guide while in Palermo, Sicily, Oct. 9-11, 2013. 

A Sicilian, Dr. Laura Lanza (phone 39 333 619 79 80 or email speaks perfect English and is very knowledgeable and witty. She showed us churches, museums, Monreale Cathedral and food markets (a particular interest of mine).

Her fees are €150 (near $204) for four hours or €245 for eight hours. Highly recommended!


Santa Barbara, CA

The stave church from Gol at the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, Norway, has been dated to at least AD 1212.

When in DENMARK, consider purchasing a Copenhagen Card (at tourist information centers and selected hotels, hostels and 7/11 stores in Copenhagen or online). 

On our September ’12 trip, my husband, David, and I each bought a 24-hour card to “get out of town.” That may sound strange, but the cards work on the regional trains as well as in the city and we wanted to see two castles that day: Frederiksborg (the “Danish Versailles”) and Kronborg (“Hamlet’s castle”). 

We paid DKK249 (then $42.20) each for the cards. (...


I would like to second the subscriber’s opinion in the letter “Found Easter Island ‘Beautiful’” (Aug. ’13, pg. 50). My husband and I spent three days on Rapa Nui in 2006 as part of a month-long visit to Chile. We had a wonderful experience exploring this fascinating island and enjoyed the people we met. 

The next year, we returned on a day visit from a cruise ship. We hiked to the island’s highest point, got soaked in a sudden shower and, at the bottom of the hill, found ladies offering us delicious pineapple-on-a-stick. They laughed at our being wet, but the pineapple was a gift!...



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