Travelers' Intercom

Old Town Hall in Bamberg, northern Bavaria, Germany. Photos by David Anderson

My wife and I took a wonderful cruise-tour, “Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat,” and I want to share some of the things that made it such a great trip.

Our cruise aboard the ms Esprit, June 2-17, 2019, was with Tauck (Wilton, CT; 800/788-7885,, and, excluding trip insurance and international airfare, it cost $22,680 for the two of us.

I know that makes the trip expensive, but in my view many of the things provided by Tauck made the journey...


In 2012, as a way to celebrate my granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah, my wife and I took our immediate family to Israel. Five years later, it was my grandson’s turn to celebrate, so as his Bar Mitzvah approached, my wife and I told him we would take him and the family anyplace he chose. Jake chose Italy, much to everyone’s delight.

In my immediate family there are seven of us, spanning three generations. At the time of our 2017 trip, my wife and I were healthy and fit 70-...


Despite the fact that it houses not a single original painting by Johannes Vermeer, the Vermeer Centrum Delft (Voldersgracht 21, Voldersgracht 21, 2611 EV Delft, Netherlands; phone +31 15 2138588,, in Delft, offers a fine experience to visitors. My wife, Kathy, and I visited on Aug. 2, 2018, during a visit to the Netherlands.

The center’s ticket office, gift shop and café are on the ground floor. Entry costs €9 (near $10) per adult, and the viewing...


For our trip to Armenia in May 2019, my wife and I hired Hayk Avagyan (phone +374 93 57 22 66, as our driver and guide. He turned out to be one of the best guides we’ve ever had.

From our initial contact with him at his website through the end of our four days in Armenia, Hayk (pronounced “hike”) was engaging and very informative. He responded quickly to my emails, and we soon had our 4-day itinerary set.

We paid him $1,025 for his guide...


To find guides and drivers local to destinations outside the US, I have usually used While I have had some luck with this website, it can sometimes be overly expensive, so be careful.

With ToursByLocals, it’s possible to contact individual guides and get custom quotes until you find someone willing to take you where you want to go for a reasonable price.

This spring, while planning a trip to Prague, I Googled “Prague local tours,” and a...


This is in response to the subscriber’s request for websites that list private guides and drivers, either throughout the world or in specific areas (April ’19, pg. 17).

I successfully used in Milan, Italy, and Marseille, France, in May 2019.

After picking the city you will be arriving in, the website has you fill out a questionnaire indicating your interests for sightseeing. The greeters are usually retired individuals, and the organization tries...


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-...