January Report Cards

FIRST, FAST & FURIOUS ? The following is a sampling of reports received from ITN readers around the globe. ITN invites you to join our corps of reporters ? just drop a card in the mail while the travel impressions are fresh in your mind. To obtain your ITN Report Cards, send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to ITN Report Cards, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. You will receive eight cards.

Readers who are computer savvy can click here to access access the online form. Pass along your hot travel tips!

From Siem Reap, CAMBODIA, Nov. 4, ’05. . .

Journeys Within Bed & Breakfast (visit www.journeys-within.com or, in the U.S., call 877/454-3672 in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) — owned and operated by an American family. They offer great tips and transportation; they even pick you up at the airport.

Delightfully furnished individual suites each with bathroom, hot water, air-conditioning and balcony. Definitely a 5-star rating. $50 single.

— Jean Tudor, Orange, CA

On GREECE, November ’05. . .

• We spent six days, Nov. 5-10, in Corfu. Flew there on Aegean Airlines (www.aegeanair.com) from Athens. Olympic Airways also flies this route.

• We stayed at the Arcadion Hotel (44 Kapodistriou Str., Corfu 491 00, Greece; phone +3 0661 0 30104, e-mail Attn: Yiannis Spingos at info@arcadionhotel.com or visit www.arcadionhotel.com), which is downtown with excellent views. We had room No. 604, with a balcony overlooking the square and Old Town Fortress. €63 ($75) per night included a nice Continental breakfast.

— Andrew McConnell, Medfield, MA

On FRANCE, November ’05. . .

Hôtel Flor Rivoli (13, rue des Deux Boules, 75001 Paris, France; phone +33 [0] 1 42 33 49 60 or visit www.hotel-paris-florrivoli.com) — in a great location at Métro Châtelet and within walking distance of the Seine, Louvre and Latin Quarter.

Rooms are small, the elevator is smaller (150 kilos max!), and the breakfast room in the basement is claustrophobic. But for location and price you can’t beat it: €80 ($96) per night, double. We were there Nov. 1-6.

— George Lauscher, Pocono Summit, PA

From Stirling, SCOTLAND, Oct. 31, ’05. . .

Castlecroft B&B (Ballengeich Road, Stirling, Stirlingshire FK8 1TN, U.K.; phone 01786 474933 or visit www.castlecroft-uk.com) — located at the base of Stirling Castle overlooking the valley. Commanding view from the lounge.

The hosts enjoy guests and go out of the way to make them comfortable. They talked us through the directions to a restaurant and the B&B as we drove on a dark and rainy night. Excellent car parking available.

Our very comfortable double room with facilities en suite cost £55 ($94) per night. Full Scottish breakfast was included with beans, egg, bacon, sausage and potato scone plus fresh fruit, cereal, toast, coffee, tea, etc. Highly recommended.

— Nylah Chilton, Citrus Heights, CA

From Southampton, ENGLAND, Oct. 6, ’05. . .

Banister House Hotel (11 Brighton Rd., SO15 2JJ; phone 023 8022 1279, fax 023 8022 6551 or e-mail info@banisterhotel.co.uk).

For those cruising out of Southampton, this is an ideal spot to rest up after a flight from the USA. Quiet and exceptionally clean. $65 single includes a hot, delicious breakfast.

Cab fare from the bus/train depot was about £5.

— Geo Steinmann, Salem, OR

On BRAZIL, October ’05. . .

• Round-trip Miami-São Paulo flight in business class on Varig Airlines (800/468-2744 or visit www.varig.com) — on time. Service has improved since our last trip in December ’04. Also flew Varig round trip from São Paulo to Curitiba in Paraná state — again, on time.

Pestana Hotel Curitiba (Rua Comendador Araújo 499 - Batel; phone +55 [0] 41 3317 9900 or visit http://4starbrazil.com/hotels.pestana-curitiba.html) — well located. Promotional price for this 4-star hotel was $75 including breakfast.

• No travelers will die of hunger in Curitiba. Most places are serving food by the kilo; you pay only for what you get. We recommend the restaurant Yu’s Cozinha Oriental (Praça Osório 485, Curitiba/PR; phone 55-41-232-3500 or visit www. yurestaurante.com.br) — Asian cuisine. Clean. Efficient. Good value. An average meal costs less than $10.

GOL Airlines (phone 0800 7012131 or visit www.voegol.com.br) is a small Brazilian company with affordable airfares. We flew round trip Curitiba-Pôrto Alegre and Curitiba-Maringá. All flights were pleasant and on time, with efficient wheelchair service.

• In Curitiba, we learned we still had no electricity at home because of the hurricane, so we bought a last-minute package to Bahia state with Creta Viagens (phone 41 3029 6060 or visit www.creta.com.br). It cost about $1,300 for a round-trip TAM Airlines flight from São Paulo, airport-hotel transfer and city tour plus seven nights and five breakfasts for two at a hotel on the beach in Porto Seguro. The Brisa da Praia Hôtel (phone 73 3288 8600 or visit www.brisadapraia.com.br) is a wonderful place to relax.

— Marie-Paule Terrier, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

On FRANCE, September ’05. . .

Grand Circle Travel’s (Boston, MA; 800/959-0405) “Rhone River Cruise” was excellent. The ship, m.s. Chardonnay, could not have been better. The food was wonderful, cabins were spacious and the personnel, fun and competent. It was a bit cool on the river, so enjoying the top deck wasn’t comfortable on several days. We enjoyed three days each in Paris and Nice.

Charles de Gaulle Airport is awful, but that’s not Grand Circle’s fault; they did a great job.

— Bob Becker, Moorestown, NJ