Report Cards

This item appears on page 90 of the November 2008 issue.

From FRANKFURT, Germany, Sept. 12, 2008. . .

For our layover in Frankfurt, we selected Hotel Concorde (Karlstrasse 9, 60329 Frankfurt; It is conveniently located across the street from the main train station and within easy access of the center of town either by foot or public transit.

The hotel is decorated in a very attractive modern style. Our room, with a bathroom en suite, had a queen-sized bed, a small sofa, a coffee table and a small desk. The room also had coffee/tea-making facilities, a mini-bar, a TV and a hair dryer.

We booked directly through their website and got an early-booking discount, resulting in a rate of €83 ($122) for the night. Included in the price of was an extensive breakfast buffet, served in the basement dining room.

There was a small lobby bar, although we did not use it.

The staff was friendly and helpful and spoke excellent English. They provided umbrellas for us to use on our rainy afternoon in Frankfurt.

— Neil Johnson, San Jose, CA

From LA PAZ, Bolivia, Sept. 4

We had a superb dining experience at the Aransaya Restaurant (Arce Avenida 2177, La Paz; phone 591 2 244 111, e-mail radisson@ — on the 15th floor of the Radisson Hotel and open 3-11 p.m.

Its setting is one of the most spectacular I have seen, commanding views of the hill in three directions. In the evening it appears the hills are lit by thousands of lights as the dwellings come to life. The staff allows visitors to go outside on a walkway to take pictures so the glare of the floor-to-ceiling cantilevered windows will not interfere.

The dining pleasure was so memorable, we returned several times in nine days.

Our first dinner cost 236 bolivianos ($34) for two, including wine. One of us had soup, chicken (pan-fried with grated coconut and a delicate barbecue sauce), vegetables and, for dessert, Magic Cake (a perfect combination of chocolate sponge cake, condensed milk and lime). The other had soup and a prawn dish with rice, potatoes and vegetables plus Copabella Elena (pears cooked with wine sauce, served with ice cream).

— Bernard Goodhead, La Jolla, CA

On IRELAND, September ’08…

Dublin airport is undergoing major reconstruction, and it took us almost an hour to locate the auto return spots. Signage was poor to nil. When we complained to the auto rental desk, we were told the route inside the airport grounds changes weekly and they themselves can’t keep up with it, so allow plenty of time.

— Linda Beuret, Santa Barbara, CA

On PARIS, France, September

Beware of this panhandlers’ scam in Paris.

On the streets around the Louvre, a man will approach tourists and act like he sees something on the ground. He’ll bend down and pick up a good men’s wedding band, show you the engraving, tell you it is gold and must be worth something, then say, “Take it, please.”

As you stand holding it in your hand, he’ll say, “I don’t want it, but could you give me money for coffee.”

These are worthless reproductions. My husband, Peter, and I were approached four times while walking in the area.

— Linda Beuret, Santa Barbara, CA

From PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Aug. 31, 2008. . .

We rented an updated, spacious apartment across the street from Miss Sophies Hostel/Hotel (Melounova 3, Prague 2; phone +420-296 303 530, — located in New Town and very close to the trams and metro. Also near a Tesco, for groceries.

It cost approximately $134 per night for our apartment, Aug. 25-31. There was 24-hour front desk service at the hostel. The staff was very helpful and provided maps, metro tickets, etc.

We highly recommend this hostel and would return again.

— Nylah Chilton, McMinnville, OR

From TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, Aug. 30, 2008. . .

We flew on Aeroflot Russian Airlines in economy class from London, England, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Aug. 30 at a price of $1,000 per person.

We were a bit skeptical about flying Aeroflot beforehand, but it turned out to be an excellent experience. In fact, it was much superior to our experience flying on United Airlines from San Francisco to London the day prior.

The Aeroflot staff were friendly and efficient in doing their jobs and spoke enough English to communicate with us. The food was, actually, quite good. We would not hesitate to fly on Aeroflot again.

— Neil Johnson, San Jose, CA

From LUCCA, Italy, June 26

La Romea B&B (Vicolo delle Ventaglie 2, 55100 Lucca, Italy; phone +39 0583 464175, was a jewel of a find for our stay in Lucca, June 20-26. The double room price was €130 ($192) per night.

The rooms in this restored 14th-century palazzo in the heart of town are large, lovely and air-conditioned. The hosts, Giulio and Gaia, have catered to our every need.

Two very special ladies, Simonetta and Giglia, prepared the best breakfast we’ve ever had overseas — with music! The ladies even came in early once when they found out we were leaving before breakfast for our Cinque Terre hike!

Our party of eight was sad to leave these nice people and this lovely town!

— John Scheleur, Annapolis, MD