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Travel Questions Frequently Asked Karen

TRAVEL QUESTIONS FOR KAREN:

Dear Travelers,

I hope you will understand that because of the overwhelming number of questions received each day it is impossible for me to answer every one. I will select questions to answer based on what I believe will benefit and interest the greatest number of travelers. Also, please make your questions as specific as possible and know that I do not have the luxury of time to plan or detail personalized travel itineraries.

If your question is not selected, I sincerely apologize, as given the time, I would answer them all. If your question is selected you will be informed that it is published on our website as well as receive the answer by email.

Kindest regards,
Karen

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Category: Britain

Question:
In the Cotswold area, I have a couple who has been before to the area and is wanting to return but stay more in the Southern region and see Castle Combe, Lacock, Bath and Stonehenge. We’re looking for a small boutique hotel to stay 4 nights. They would prefer a boutique not a B & B and prefer it to be in the center of a town versus on the outskirts. I looked through all of your Q & A up to page 4 and didn't see any questions pertaining to this area so hopefully you will be able to respond to mine. Wondering if your website when looking at those itineraries are up to date? Thank you for your time.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Apr 6, 2015]


Answer:

Castle Combe, Lacock and Bath are included in our itinerary, Southwest England.  In all three towns we have places to stay that are located at the heart of town.  In terms of our itineraries, they are up to date. It is the places we recommend more than the "routes" that change year to year.

You can purchase through our online website store, downloadable PDF versions of our itineraries for just $2.99 each and they are packaged with the descriptions, photos and links to the properties we recommend in proximity to the route.

For ease of reference, below is the link to the Southwest England Itinerary:

 http://www.karenbrown.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=101_104&products_id=294  

Hope your clients have a wonderful trip!

Best, Karen  

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Category: General

Question:
Hi KB! Do you by chance have an itinerary for travel that includes flying into Barcelona, Spain then driving to Nice, France (or the other way around), and staying along the way? Thanks! Lynn
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Mar 24, 2015]


Answer:

Dear Lynn,

We do not have one itinerary that encompasses your entire desired itinerary.  However, you could link up Barcelona Highlights with a portion of Gorges du Tarn and Beyond (the "beyond"  is the section between the Spanish / French border and would take you north to Narbonne where you would then head east towards Nice and from there you could incorporate our Provence Itinerary and connect up with the Hilltowns of the French Riviera.

Hope this helps.  You can build your own itinerary on our website using TRIP PLANNER.

Thank you for using our recommendations.

Kindest regards,

Karen 

 

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Category: General

Question:
Do you still offer hard copy books for sale? I am interested in Spain and Portugal. E books are great, but would love to have your traditional books.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Mar 19, 2015]


Answer:

I am sorry we no longer have printed copies of either guide - I looked at the office hoping to find one or two for you but, all we have are the guides in electronic format.  I hope you will consider giving them a chance. They are great in that they have both internal and external links and are easy to navigate.

Thank you so much for your interest.

Kindest regards,

Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Do you know the situation in St. Petersburg, Russia as far as any negative feelings or safety toward American tourists? Thank you.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Mar 8, 2015]


Answer:

I haven't had any personal experience nor any feedback.  If I have concerns I always find the government site as well as local embassies a great source of information.  I will list them below:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/russia.html

http://moscow.usembassy.gov/warden.html 

St Petersburg is a BEAUTIFUL city!

Karen 

 

 

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Category: Netherlands

Question:
Hello, our family highly considering a visit to Amsterdam for the first time this coming late May 2015. My husband and I and our two college kids. Have never been, would love to go. Heard about you from a friend. We like to stay central to everything and are able to walk. We love tours etc. I've heard great things about the bike tours. There is much to see. Any information is appreciated, hotel stays etc. Kind regards, Donna Check
Asked by Donna Check [Mar 4, 2015]


Answer:

It has been years since I have been to Amsterdam but, it remains one of my favorite destinations. I am actually going back in advance of your visit (in April) and I am happy to share the hotel where we are staying but, I can't give you our review based on our stay quite yet!

You are also visiting at the end of Tulip time - so I would definitely consider a day trip out to see the nurseries and flower fields.

AMBASSADE HOTEL       

contact: Roos Bruyn
Herengracht 231
Amsterdam City Center
Amserdam, 1016 AZ, Netherlands
tel +31-2055 0222

The Ambassade is a small boutique hotel located in the Center of Amsterdam, overlooking a small canal. The hotel is comprised or 10 canal-side, 17th century houses. The series of small canals in the historic center of Amsterdam are designated a UNESCO site.

Here is a link to make reservations!

http://www.booking.com/hotel/nl/ambassadehotelam.en-us.html?aid=347339;sid=bcda056f299d07800856e96dfdc1389f;dcid=1;no_rooms=1;req_adults=2;req_children=0&

Hope you will consider sharing your discoveries based on your own adventures!

 

 

Best, Karen 

 

 

 

   

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Category: Spain

Question:
How many days do you recommend to complete your Old Castile and Cantabrian itinerary? We have just 8 days to visit Madrid, San Sebastian, and Bilboa. We would like to take 1 day to drive from Madrid to San Sebastian stopping at one or two towns along the way. We would also like to take a different route back to Madrid in one day again stopping at one or two towns. Do you have suggestions for which towns that would be interesting and not take us too far out of the way? Thanks Ralph Freidin
Asked by Ralph Freidin [Mar 3, 2015]


Answer:

Eight days should be ample time to leisurely explore the itinerary.  As published in the itinerary, we recommend:

PACING: After overnighting in Salamanca, drive north to the Picos de Europa to spend time soaking in the scenery before heading off for a couple of nights along the busy northern coast. Conclude this itinerary with at stay in Olite or Sos del Rey Católico before going to Madrid.

Our itinerary details what we consider the most scenic routes and interesting sights to see and towns to visit.

You can purchase a downloadable copy of our itinerary that marries our recommendations for places to stay that are in proximity and/or you can read the itinerary on our website.  I will provide the links below for your ease of access.

LINK TO THE ITINERARY ON OUR WEBSITE AND TO OUR STORE:

http://www.karenbrown.com/Trip_Planning_Itinerary/Spain/Old_Castile_and_the_Cantabrian_Coast/68.php

http://www.karenbrown.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=101_115&zenid=h5d64r796onn0p2eif3matvpq3

 

Enjoy your travels in Spain!  Thank you for using our recommendations.

Kindest regards,

Karen 

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Category: Italy

Question:
Hi KB! Wondering if you have any properties to recommend that are on the eastern coast of Italy, along the Adriatic, but to the east of Cortona (give or take). We're thinking of staying in one of your recommended Cortona properties for a few nights, then heading over to the eastern coast. So far I've only seen the properties you recommend in the Marches region, and all are very inland. Please let me know soon, if possible, as I have a lot to plan :-))) Thank you so much! Best Lynn
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Feb 20, 2015]


Answer:

Thank you for your interest in our recommendations!  In our Italy Hotel guide, we just have one property on the coast, northeast of Cortona in Montegridolfo - the Albergo Palazzo Viviani   

 

link:  http://www.karenbrown.com/Hotel_Guide/Italy/Emilia-Romagna/Montegridolfo/Albergo_Palazzo_Viviani/4307.php 

In our Italy Bed & Breakfast guide we have lots!  I will offer some suggestions below of ones in proximity to the coast:

Fano, Relais Villa Guilia - they do not participate on our website, but you will find them in our Ebook.

Monterado, Castello di Monteradoi 

link: http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Marches/Monterado/Castello_di_Monterado/792.php

 Sirolo, Relais Valcastagno

link: http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Marches/Sirolo/Relais_Valcastagno/3231.php

Sirolo, Novecamere Resort - they do not participate on our website, but you will find them in our Ebook.

Fermo, Palazzo Romani Adami

link:  http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Marches/Fermo/Palazzo_Romani_Adami/6301.php

Hope this helps with your travel plans!

Kindest regards,

Karen 

 

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Category: Ireland

Question:
We need a recommendation for a car with driver to follow our itinerary: Ireland, N. Ireland in 14 nights. We can roundtrip out of Shannon or Dublin. Thank you Marti
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jan 26, 2015]


Answer:

Dear Marti,

I don't have anyone personally to recommend, but, I think you will find the below both useful resources:

1) AutoEurope   If you simply want a driver this can be arranged through special services of AutoEurope.  Tel: 800-223-5555.  Be sure to tell them you are a Karen Brown Traveler (ID 99006187) and they will extend preferred discounts.  

2) If you want a guide and driver, although, you might want to investigate Tours by Locals.  We have found drivers and guides through their company for travels in Turkey and South America and have been very impressed.  The guides/drivers are independent operators who have been selected by Tours by Locals and offer their services under their company umbrella.  Guides submit "packaged" tours, information about themselves and reviews for your review and consideration.  In each case we selected a guide and then worked with him to customize our trip.  In some cases the guide was both the driver and guide, in others we had a guide and driver. Be sure to discuss options and pricing.

The direct link for Ireland is:

http://www.toursbylocals.com/find_guide®ion=39

Thank you for using our recommendations!
Karen 

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Category: Spain

Question:
Hi Karen, My wife and I have used your recommendations on several occasions over the years and all of them have been wonderful. We would like to travel to Spain this Autumn and have recently begun our research. We have a few questions. We have used your excellent hard copy books in the past, but I see that you now are just offering e-books. Are they up-to date? We've not been to Spain, so we are somewhat open. A few for sures at this point would be Madrid (since we'd probably fly there first), Granada, Barcelona, and Catalonia in general. We'd probably train down to the Granada area from Madrid and then rent a car and travel up the coast as much as possible into Catalonia. Your thoughts? Thanks so much! Phil
Asked by Phil Gottlieb [Dec 25, 2014]


Answer:

Dear Phil,

A revised edition of Spain will hopefully be available later this month as we launch a new website. It won't change too dramatically from the current edition but, mechanically will change a bit.  I will send to you a complimentary copy of our existing Ebook for you to review in the meantime.  I will need to send it via Google Drive as it is too large to send via email.  

In terms of recommendations, so much of it depends on how much time you have to explore and airports that are convenient from your home base city.

One just general recommendation would be to fly to Barcelona, then either train to Madrid or follow our itinerary, "Treasures off the Beaten Path" then follow "Moorish Memories" and then "Andalusian Andventures" on to Seville and from there fly home.  Seville is our favorite city in Spain.

Thank you for your kind email and for using our recommendations. Happy New Year!

Karen 

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Category: France

Question:
We're headed to Dordogne in January. Recognizing that many places are closed, do you have any suggestions on places to stay? Thanks!
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 6, 2014]


Answer:

 Many places in the region are closed in the winter - and some specifically the month of January.  However, I found a few that will hopefully be able to accommodate your stay.  I apologize in advance if the information they provided is not correct for the 2015 calendar but the following properties are all wonderful:

 LE VIEUS LOGIS ET SES LOGIS DES CHAMPS (a personal favorite) is located in Tremolat at the heart of the region along the Dordogne river.  THey were open all year for the 2014 season.

 

Link:  

http://www.karenbrown.com/Hotel_Guide/France/Aquitaine/Tremolat/Le_Vieux_Logis_et_Ses_Logis_des_Champs/5490.php

 

In the hillside village of Domme - perched above the river is the charming Hotel de L'Esplanade. For 2014 they were open December to January 16.

Link:  

http://www.karenbrown.com/Hotel_Guide/France/Aquitaine/Domme/H%C3%B4tel_de_lEsplanade/5044.php

 And finally south of the Dordogne is a wonderful bed & Breakfast, Domaine de Haut Baron. Open all year for the 2014 season.

Link:

http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/France/Aquitaine/Duravel_par_Puy_lEveque/Domaine_du_Haut_Baran/4766.php

 

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