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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: Italy

Question:
We are travelling with our children this summer to Italy. We are trying to find hotels that offer 2 double or queen size beds so we can stay in one room. Our children are 11 and 14. Specifically I am searching for accommodations in the Cinque Terre area, San Gimignano area, and Amalfi area. Do you have any recommendations on places that are condusive to families?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Apr 5, 2011]


Answer:
Although, we do see most of the guestrooms available on a research trip, we don't detail all the information about the specific rooms in our editorial.  Many of the properties we recommend do have rooms with bedding that can accommodate a family.  I would recommend that you select the properties that sound best to you for all the other reasons and then contact them to explain your needs and ask what they might have available.  You might also want to take note of the fact that we do identify (with the use of an icon both in our books and on our website) properties that say they welcome children, and bed & breakfasts tend to be more relaxed, more casual and often offer less formal dining. Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Not really a question but I am not clever enough to sort out the computer to report on Casa de Carmona where we recently stayed. Totally totally not your fault after all your/our guide is 1999 and our spanish friend stayed there 15 years ago! but you should know what a very sad travesty of a hotel it is now. Dona Marta Medina is no longer there only the gorgeous Felipe who floats around in a great suit but..... there is a chef from Brazil who is also the handyman, plant waterer, bringer of radiators when the central heating fails and. sadly, supplier of terrible breakfast bread and tragic scrambled eggs. However, a hard working charmer. There is Eleanora at reception who has known Felipe for ever but has 2 very small babies so can only do so much and there is a very sweet assistant from Italy who is learning. There was no record of our bookings - not that it mattered as there was only one other couple. Such a Wonderful palace and a sweet town and an EXCELLENT restaurent La Yedra, C/General Freire, 6, 41410 Carmona, it just seems a shame for it to fail - as it surely is. Love the guides, have used the French version extensively. best wishes Sally Bird
Asked by Sally Bird [Apr 2, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Sally,

I just came across your email - it somehow got filed away as answered!  I am so sorry for the tardy response as we very much appreciate the time travelers take to share their experiences.  I am glad to note that we removed the Casa de Carmona a few editions ago based on our own visit!  I am sorry you experienced it based on an earlier recommendation.  However, I chuckled when I read your description of the current situation and characters - sounds a bit like a soap opera! Never hesitate to contact us if you are using an earlier guide and question if it is a property we continue to recommend.  Do I have  your permission to publish your restaurant recommendation?  I would love to have other Karen Brown Travelers go there and help them succeed.  I would just need to know if you would like it published anonymously or  using your name.

Thank you for using our guides!
Kindest regards,

Karen

 

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Category: General

Question:
Your website was very highly recommended by friends who have used many of your itineraries and stayed at many of your recommended hotels. I have just taken out membership and selected the itineraries we want. I would like to combine a few of them, and add more destinations at the start and end. Is there an easy way to get them into the trip planner eg is it possible to "load" your itinerary into the trip planner, or do I enter each town and attraction individually? Thanks. Ann
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Mar 24, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Ann,

Please thank your friends for recommending us! Personal referrals are so important to us and very flattering!  Thank you also for becoming a Karen Brown Member-welcome!

To answer your question, this is the first time someone has requested this and so, at the moment the ability does not exist. We have it so that you can overlay our itinerary so our suggested route serves as a background outline, but we had not thought to be able to import it and then adjust the route to your personal preference.  I think it is an excellent idea and hopefully a function we can incorporate in the near future. But, for the moment, it is necessary to add your destinations.

Again, welcome to the Karen Brown World. I am researching at the moment, but, do have access to internet should you have any additional questions or wonderful suggestions!

Kindest regards,

Karen

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Category: France

Question:
In your book, you recommended La Pastourelle in Saint Lormel in Brittany. I cannot find it on your website in order to make reservations for a trip this June. Do you have a way to contact them? thank you. Paula Cormalleth
Asked by Paula Cormalleth [Mar 21, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Pam,

They have opted not to be featured on our website (there is no charge to be in our guides as we don't want anything to influence our selection or editorial, but we do have a nominal fee to cover the website administrative costs). If they did you could simply link right through for reservation and additional information!  We have chosen not to publish emails in our guides as they change too frequently and so our books are often perceived as having incorrect information!  However, the email I show as their current contact is:  la-pastourelle.stlormel@wanadoo.fr.  We show that they currently do not have a website.

Hope you enjoy your travels in France!  

Best, Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Hi, I am interested in travelling the Dordogne Region in France particularly the cave paintings - what airport would I fly into - flying from London and what is the availability of public transport?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Mar 17, 2011]


Answer:
I would suggest Bordeaux as the most convenient airport from which to explore the region. The Dordogne River runs west from Bordeaux and Les Eyzies, the caves at Font de Gaume, Les Combarelles, the prehistoric village of La Roque Saint Christophe are located right along the river. Lescaux II is further north.  In terms of transportation, trains are extremely limited; I am certain there are probably local buses (I would ask the hotel/B&B where you are staying for local bus schedules if you decide to travel by bus), but, the best and easiest way to rent a car. This is a beautiful region with gorgeous towns and scenery-you want the luxury and convenience of being able to explore freely! Our Dordogne & Lot River Valleys Itinerary details all the sightseeing information. It is published in our guides to France and is also available for purchase as a downloadable PDF file from our website store.Enjoy your travels in France!Karen Best replica watches Replica rolex Replica omega Replica cartier Replica breitling

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Category: Austria

Question:
We are considering renting a car in Austria. One option is a "green" car with diesel. Are diesel stations readily available in Austria? Thank you, Martha Rambaud
Asked by Martha Rambaud [Mar 11, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Martha,

I just double checked with our wonderful resource agents at AutoEurope to confirm that diesel is in fact more readily available in Europe than it is in the United States. It is definitely more economical in terms of cost and fuel efficiency and often diesel cars are less expensive to rent.  Just make sure when you are at the pump that you know which is the diesel and which is regular!  When it comes time to make your car reservation, we highly recommend AutoEurope. They do not have their own fleet of cars but, rather "shop" the best deal based on your preference through most car rental agencies.  Their telephone number is 800-223-5555 and use KB Id number 99006187 to secure a discount.

Have a wonderful trip! Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Karen, my 17 yr. old daughter and I will be traveling to France in July 2011 and plan to rent a car and follow 5-6 of your itineraries. Is it safe for us to travel alone and stay in the hotels/B&Bs you suggest? Are there any areas we should avoid? Which beaches are prettiest and safest? Also, we are interested in cooking classes (a couple of hours to 2 days long), but the ones on your site don't seem to be offered in July. Any suggestions? Do you know of any cheese tours? If I buy the French gift set, is that the latest versions? Thanks, I LOVE you info and site. Pam
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Mar 9, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Pam,

Thank you first for your praise of our site!!! It is so nice to get positive feedback.  Now to address your many questions:

1) I think it is very safe to travel in France and most especially if you are traveling by car as you can completely determine your own schedule. As it is any where in the world, you want to be cautious and on the alert and I think it is always safer to travel by day than at night.

2) The hotels and bed & breakfasts we recommend are also intimate in size and personally run and managed - so they will "know" you as their guests and can assist you with any special needs or concerns. They will take care of you!

3) I can't think of anywhere that we suggest that you should avoid.  There are definitely areas in any large city where you want to be careful, but, rarely in the countryside!

4) In terms of beaches.....it is a bit hard to recommend since I don't know where you are traveling, but, there are beautiful long stretches of white sand beach in Normandy; dramatic rugged coastline and beaches in Brittany; the beaches along the Atlantic, most especially near the Spanish border are lovely; the Riviera beaches are very popular and the place to see and be seen but, surprisingly they are often rocky-not my first choice for a true beach vacation.

5)  In terms of cooking classes and cheese classes many of the properties on our website might actually offer them but have not promoted them.  I would suggest contacting the places you want to stay and ask them for their recommendations.  Sometimes they will offer a class based on demand or a personal request or they might know someone in the village who can provide what you need.  Also, Marie of Elegant Europe is fantastic with helping travelers in France with specific arrangements and special requests.  She is also a contributing author to our French guides and so she is familiar with the properties we recommend. She might prove to be a valuable resource for your trip!  She is wonderful.  Her website is www.elegant-europe.com or you can email her at marie@elegant-europe.com.

6) Our French Gift set is a great value: our Hotel and B&B guides as well as the overview map for France and yes, the guides are the most current available-they are a 2010/2011 edition.

Thank you so much again for using our recommendations and our website!!!! It means alot!

Bon Voyage! Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
I have purchased the Guide to Italy. It was very useful on our last trip 5 years ago. Now we are returning to complete the Southern portion of Italy. I haven't been able to locate a recommended pacing guide for Sicily. Am I overlooking it? Or is it just not there? Please let me know how many days we should plan to be in Sicily to fully see most all of it. We have plenty of time. Thanks
Asked by Judy Calhoun [Mar 8, 2011]


Answer:

In our itinerary, "Exploring the Wonders of Sicily" (not sure now how many years ago this itinerary was added but, it is relatively new), "We recommend a minimum of a week to follow this itinerary. If you are passionate about archaeolology, you could stay in Siciliy for a month or more to delve in depth with is many glorious sites. Plan to spend two nights in Taormina (one of Sicily's most attractive cities), two nights in Argigento to see the incredible temples in the Valle dei Templi, and then three nights in northwest Sicily (Palermo or another hub) to visit Palermo, Segesta, Monreale and Erice."

If you are using an older edition, I am concerned that you might also be selecting from places to stay that we might no longer recommend....I am not as concerned that you will miss out on our new discoveries, again, just that you might choose one that is not up to previous standards.  You can always purchase a new edition or reference our website for places to stay.  If you want just the Sicily itinerary it is available for purchase as a downloadable PDF itinerary on our website and provides a link to all the properties we recommend along the itinerary.

Hope this serves of some help! Enjoy your trip and thank you for using our guides!
Best, Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Good day. We have a small problem, we have not been able to find "la Bergerie" of Aragon as listed in your B&B book. We would like an email contact if possible, or would like to avail ourselves for you to make our reservations. We would like a a double bed room for 2 for 3 nights arriving on June 22 and leaving on June 25. Thank you. Barbara Adams
Asked by Barbara Adams [Mar 2, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Barbara,

They have chosen not to have a website presence on www.karenbrown.com for which we have an administrative fee which is why you do not find them on our website. To facilitate contacting them, their email is: info@labereriearagon.com. (We don't publish the email addresses in the book since they keep changing them!)

Let me know if you have any other issues and I would be happy to try to help. I love this little hotel and town!

Best, Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Karen, Do you have any information reqarding Corsica, France? What is the best way to get there? Thank you, Martha Rambaud
Asked by Martha Rambaud [Feb 26, 2011]


Answer:

Dear Martha,

Unfortunately, we have yet to research Corsica. If you go, we would love to have you share your discoveries!

Thank you!

Karen

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