Travelers' Intercom

In July-August ’03, my friend Carol and I traveled in Uganda and Ethiopia with arrangements we had found on the Internet and booked by e-mail. Making the arrangements was a real pleasure, especially remembering the difficulties of arranging travel to Africa even a few years ago using slow mail and poor phone/fax connections.

This came about because we were going to be in Ethiopia on a medical tour for two weeks in August anyway, so we decided to do some additional traveling on our own...

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I found Istanbul as interesting as ever on my eighth trip to my favorite city. Istanbul is all about the people in the streets, both past and present. If you are not too timid, you should stay where the Turkish people are — bustling about the streets in the Sirkeci district (pronounced Sirkajee). From there you can walk anywhere you would want to visit.

If you go off-season (October through April) you will have a choice of hotels with no need to make reservations. May and November...

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My husband, my parents and I departed on Dec. 16, ’02, for an 18-day trip to Egypt that included sightseeing around Islamic and Coptic Cairo; the Sakkara necropolis; the Giza pyramids; several days in Luxor to visit the temples and West Bank; a cruise down the Nile; the Aswan area; Abu Simbel, and diving in the Red Sea.

As we travel, we are always interested in local culture, history, art, unusual architecture, religion, geography and native plants and animals. Egypt does not...

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My husband and I spent a week in Tuscany with our family group in June ’03. One feature of our stay was a guided tour of parts of the Chianti wine region not normally visited by tourists.

We used the services of an independent tour guide, Dario Castagna (phone 011-039-0337-706-958 or e-mail rasna@dada.it), who is based in Siena. I had read favorable comments about him in the “Travel Talk” forum of Fodor’s website. The tour he gave us was outstanding.

Born in Great Britain to...

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My wife and I spent four days in Romania with a local guide at the end of October ’03. In addition to seeing Bucharest, we traveled into the mountains and saw the wonders of Sighisoara, Brasov and Sinaia, plus some wonderful villages still not overrun with tourists.

Our guide found us fantastic lodgings in bed-and-breakfast homes which averaged about $14 per night. Romania is still one of the cheapest places on Earth. Great meals could be had in Bucharest for under $20 a couple,...

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In a letter in the December ’03 issue, page 78, a reader was “shocked” to learn of Turkey’s $100 visa fee and thought to cancel her trip when she did learn of it. It is truly “penny wise and pound foolish” to miss a trip to one of the world’s interesting countries, one with nice people, because of $100.

The reader might consider how much the U.S. charges citizens of Turkey to enter our country. Yes, that’s right: $100!

Moreover, Turkey is not alone in this. Chile, for example,...

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In Dan Gifford’s article on South Africa (Oct. ’03, pg. 29), I was interested to read about the radios used by tour guides on safaris. We were shocked when we learned, ourselves, that this was an accepted routine on all safaris.

We took an excellent trip in Kenya offered by Micato Safaris (New York, NY; phone 800/642-2861 or visit www.micato.com) in April 2000. Throughout the week, Abercrombie & Kent’s vehicles were alongside ours, “chasing” to get to the animals spotted by their...

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