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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: Website

Question:
For recommendations on two new Inns do I enter it under Travelers Reviews? Or is there a separate section. Do you still take new Inns and Bed and Breakfasts?
Asked by patricia pegg [Jun 13, 2012]


Answer:
We most definitely welcome Travelers Reviews!  Some of our best leads come from travelers and also other travelers appreciate new recommendations!  To submit a review, go to the tab on our website title KB COMMUNITY and select the option, TRAVELER RECOMMENDATIONS. For your ease of reference I will include the direct link below! Thank you so much for sharing!Kindest regards,Karen http://www.karenbrown.com/user_discovery.php http://www.watchesbyus.com/breitling/bentley

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Category: General

Question:
Hi Karen, My friend and I are going to be in France and Italy. We have alot of good plans already, except a 4 day adventure from Paris to Livorno. We want to do a coastal route and thinking of renting a car. I think 2 Nights in Nice, with day tripping. Then headed to Livorno, where we will take the ferry to Sardinia. Where is a good stop on the Italian side along the way for 2 nights? I absolutely love your site and will appreciate the advise! Thanks Sandy
Asked by Sandy Watson [Jun 11, 2012]


Answer:
nice http://www.watchesbyus.com/breitling/navitimer

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Category: Italy

Question:
I need some help to determine the best locations to stay if we want to tour for about 2 weeks with NO CAR  We are 2 seniors in good shape for walking but I have not been able to zero in on 1 2 or maybe even 3 different locations  Bellagio, Maggiore, Lake Iseo???   Please help
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jun 7, 2012]


Answer:
After looking into public transportation options myself and finding them very limited, I then checked with Clare, who researches Italy. She confirmed that it is difficult to explore many of the lakes without a car as they are not serviced by train, only local bus routes. However, she recommended Lake Garda - which is beautiful and it is possible to travel by train to Desenzano, which is just a short distance from the lake.  From there you could taxi to a town of your choosing and use it as a base.  Once you select a town, there are lots of boats that travel the lake and cross over to other towns! She suggested Sirmione which is relatively close and it is also one of her favorite towns.  In terms of where to stay,  at the moment the only recommendation we have is for the Villa Cortina Palace - a splurge.  We used to recommend a more reasonably priced hotel, the Hotel Grifone - but we removed it after receiving complaints and have not had a chance to personally revisit for consideration - but you might want to research it on your own. There are other towns along the lake which you could use as a base and Clare recommends referring to our itinerary, Mountain & Lake Adventures for additional information.  For your ease of reference, the link to the itinerary on our website is: http://www.karenbrown.com/Trip_Planning_Itinerary/Italy/Mountain_and_Lake_Adventures/44.php Also, she did say that Lake Iseo is not as pretty as Lake Como or Lake Garda. From one senior to another - have a wonderful trip! Ciao, Karen http://repwatchestore.com

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Category: Italy

Question:
I am told that Venice, in August, can be hot and smelly. Can you advise if this is so and suggest how to manage it best. Thank you
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jun 2, 2012]


Answer:
August is typically the warmest summer month - all over Europe and cities tend to seem hotter with crowds and without the benefit of trees that provide natural shade and reprieve from the direct sun.  I would suggest reserving an air-conditioned hotel and taking advantage of the cooler mornings and explore early.  Rest mid-afternoon when the temperatures peak and dine late.  Enjoy Venice!  Karen http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=32

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Category: France

Question:
We are planning a trip to Paris, Normandy and the South of France from Sept 17 through the 29th or longer and need help. We want to stay in bed and breakfast places or a villa.....there will be 3 or 4 of us going.  The places we want to see are Nomandy (Mont Micheal) one day in Paris, Provence, St Remy,Ambroise/castles, St. Tropez Cassis (Calanquef)  We have 2 weeks to do this in. We are flying from Sacramento to and from Paris. We would rent a car. 
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jun 1, 2012]


Answer:
Thank you for your email but, unfortunately, we do not have enough time in our days to plan trips for individuals. It looks as though you need a good travel agent. We recommend a planner, Marie Notot of Elegant Europe, http://www.elegant-europe.com/. Marie has worked as an agent in the US and now in here native France. She has also worked a a researcher for Karen Brown's Guides so is familiar with many of the properties in the guides. There are charges associated with Marie's services so you would need to contact her regarding any charges. Please note that we are not affiliated with Marie's travel business and receive no compensation for recommending her but we feel she is excellent and very capable.  In terms of your trip, a suggestion you might consider based on logistics of where you want to travel would be to:1) fly all the way to Nice. (Usually not much more than a round-trip Paris). 2) Rent a car (small airport that is easy to get in and out of) and spend a few days exploring the hilltowns (Eze, Grasse, Roquebrune, La Turbie as examples of charming villages) of the Riviera;3) drive along the coast to St Tropez; journey on up to St Remy (I would also include Arles, Avignon, Les Baux, Gordes); 4) then travel by TGV from Avignon to Paris - the train station is right at the heart of downtown so it is then easy to cab to your hotel5) Spend at least two nights in Paris to enjoy at least one full day6) from Paris train out to Tours, rent a car and you are now at the heart of the Loire Valley and it is easy from here to explore Amboise, Chenonceaux, Azay le Rideau to name a few of my favorites!7) drive up to Normandy to Mont St Michel, continue on to the D-Day Beaches and then return to the Paris airport via Giverny and Monet's incredible home and gardens.  Depending on your departure time, you could stay near Giverny (at Vernon) and then drive to the airport in the morning; stay a bit closer at Othis OR spend your last night at the airport (the Sheraton is right in one of the terminals) which affords the luxury of returning your car the day before so you only have to deal with check in on the day of your departure. Hope the above helps you with your plans and itinerary.  If you want assistance with reservations and personal recommendations, again, I highly recommend Marie - travelers rave about how much she has contributed to their experience! Kindest regards,Karen http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=25

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Category: California

Question:
I plan on purchasing your San Francisco to LA itinerary. However, I am planning a coast trip (10) nights and (9) full days: beginning in San Francisco - going up to Sonoma and ending up in San Diego. There is no itinerary for that, and being that I am not that computer saavy, just not sure what to purchase or where to begin. How can I get some help? Your ideas seem wonderful and I need help in the planning of the suggested stops along the way. Thank you, Sherry
Asked by Sherry Shaw [May 24, 2012]


Answer:
Dear Sherry, You need to piece together a combination of our itineraries:Wandering the Wine CountryLeisurely loop of Southern Californiaand San Francisco to Los Angeles via the coast.Rather than purchase all three itineraries at $8.50 each I would suggest you take advantage of our incredible sale and purchase our guide to California for just $5.00 (normally $19.95)To help you, I would suggest:Night One: Arrive in San Francisco, take public transportation into the city to explore and enjoy for a few days without the burden of a car (parking is expensive)Night two and three: Then pick up a car when you are ready to leave the city and travel north to Sonoma (via Sausalito, Sonoma Coast) and settle there.Night four and five: Then retrace your steps south, travel pass San Francisco and explore Monterey and Carmel - minimum two nights, either town would make a great base for exploration. Night Six:  Travel south via Big Sur and overnight in Cambria if you want to visit Hearst Castle.Night Seven: Santa BarbaraNight Eight and Nine: San DiegoHope this helps!Thank you for your interest in our recommendations!Kindest regards,Karen http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=24

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Category: France

Question:
Visiting the Vimy memorial and interested in a B&B or hotel near Vimy or Arras for one night, July 15th, 2012. I can't seem to find a Karen Brown recommendation. Can you assist? Many thanks, Carol
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [May 23, 2012]


Answer:
Unfortunately, we do not have a recommendation in Arras or at Vimy. Our closest recommendation is in Montreuil (Chateau de Montreuil or Auberge d'Inxent). I would recommend searching via Trip Advisor and selecting based on traveler feedback.Thank you for your interest in our recommendations!Kindest regards,Karen http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=21

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Category: New England

Question:
Hello! I have used you so often through the years and am wondering if you can make suggestions for the below:  This is a surprise b-day trip for my sister-in-law, and the number is yet to be determined: perhaps 10 max (I shall confirm that later today).  Luckily, price is not an issue but luxury; private driver/guides; antique and funs shops; beautiful sights a must- 5 or 6 days in OCT (which I know is busy busy for FALL FOLIAGE, and of course we’d like to take advantage of this?  I have forgotten your commission structure for Travel Consultants or do you quote NET, and we add the fee? It‘s Fall Foliage time in the East, a place my sister-in-law, who is VERY well traveled, has wanted to see.  I have several ideas as I have spent an extensive amount of time in Maine- Bar Harbor (love Acadia Nat’l Park); Camden; Kennebunkport; etc.  She loves antique shops, and these quaint and lovely spots are just up her alley.  I also toy with Vermont and New Hampshire; the trip will total only 5 days- maybe 6…I want her to also feel pampered!!!  Thank you for your input and have a great day   
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [May 17, 2012]


Answer:
What a wonderful sister you are!  Since you sound so well traveled in Maine, I will offer some recommendations for some places in other New England states that will afford luxury, pampering as well as location for experiencing the fall colors and wonderful, towns and scenery.Mayflower Inn, Washington, CTHomestead Inn, Greenwich, CTPitcher Inn, Warren, VTTwin Farms, Barnard, VTThe Wauwinet on Nantucket Island, MA and.....in Maine, the lovely Lodge at Moosehead lake!Happy Birthday wishes!Karen   http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=20

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Category: Czech Republic

Question:
We are going to leave Berlin after a week's study with the University of Chicago, ready to move on the second week in October. What is the best way to plan a trip to Prague, Cesky Krumlov and Dresden when we really know nothing about that region. Do you have any itineraries or travel book recommendations so we'll know how long it takes to drive among the cities or possibly go to other regions in the Czech Republic? Can we make this trip by train and then fly back to Chicago from one of these three cities.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Apr 30, 2012]


Answer:
I would suggest traveling by train as it is an easy and relaxed way to travel and all your specified destinations are relatively easy to reach via available train routes. Also, it is a nuisance and expense to have a car in a city and train stations are usually convenient to the heart of town so transportation from the station to your hotel is not a great expense. I would suggest traveling first to Dresden - it is an easy trip from Berlin.  I would then back-track and take the train from Dresden to Prague.  From Prague you can then train on to Cesky Krumlov (changing trains in Ceske Budejovice).  At the end of your journey, you can either return to Prague and fly home, or I would suggest continuing on (again by train) to either Salzburg or Vienna (connecting back through Ceske Budejovicee and then Linz).  Both are wonderful cities and you might want to check flight schedules and prices back to Chicago from the different cities and factor those into your decision. We do include information on Berlin and Dresden in our itinerary, EXPLORING EASTERN GERMANY:link to the itinerary on our website and also available for purchase as a downloadable PDF file:http://www.karenbrown.com/Trip_Planning_Itinerary/Germany/Exploring_Eastern_Germany/37.php and Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna and Salzburg are featured on our itinerary, HIGHLIGHTS OF AUSTRIA:link to the itinerary on our website and also available for purchase as a downloadable PDF file:  http://www.karenbrown.com/Trip_Planning_Itinerary/Austria/Highlights_of_Austria_by_Train_and_Boat_-_or_Car/13.php Thank you for using our recommendations!  Kindest regards, Karen http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=18

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Category: Ireland

Question:
In the west region of Ireland, I am looking for a hotel/inn that is near the sea where icould lean/improve on painting watercolors of waves and sea. Other than Stella Maris, are there any places where this is featured or available even from a freelance teacher? This would be in early July. Thank you
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Apr 17, 2012]


Answer:
I am a bit confused by your question. Are you asking who offers watercolor classes or simply want a recommendation of a property with an inspiring setting?  I don't know that the Stella Maris offers classes, perhaps the icon that says there is a watercolor available of the property was misinterpreted.Happy to offer suggestions if I can better understand what you want. All the best, Karen http://repwatchestore.com/?cat=10

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