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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:
If you were going to spend 5 nights in Umbria, Italy which city would you base out of?
Asked by Marjorie Cushman [Jan 30, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Marjorie,

Some questions are truly a challenge!!!  This one qualifies as there are so many wonderful places that I could recommend as a base for exploration for Umbria-there are simply so many charming towns as well as incredible places to stay. That being said, I do think it is easier to come and go from a "base" that is located in a countryside town as opposed to a larger town or city. But, another consideration, since you want to use a property as a base for five nights, I would also assume that you would like a little bit of a town with restaurants and a few shops and not a property that is completely isolated on a country road removed from any urban center.  Therefore, I would recommend Assisi, Orvieto and or Spoleto as places that would make a good base and have more than one recommended property to select from.

Hope this helps!

Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
Dear Karen, I would like to present my B & B to you. How can I do it? Thanks & Best Regards, Monika Grahl La Valle B & B www.bedandbreakfastlavalle.asti.it info@bedandbreakfastlavalle.asti.it
Asked by Monika Grahl [Jan 29, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Monika,

Thank you so much for your interest in becoming a Karen Brown Recommendation. I will enter your information into our database so that an author will include your property on the list of "to sees" when next researching in your area.  In the meantime, with the launch of READER DISCOVERIES to our website, if you have a guest submit a review of your property - you can now be referenced on our website in advance of a true Karen Brown visit and write-up.   In a separate email I will forward the information about Reader Discoveries on to you. The properties featured as Reader Discoveries are receiving lots of traffic!  

Wishing you all the very best and thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Kindest regards,

Karen

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Category: California

Question:
HELP! I am looking for a nice place to send my son and wife for his birthday, preferably on Pacific ocean , no more than 4 hours from Sacramento that allows one well behaved dog!
Asked by Louise Halm [Jan 28, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Louise,

A wonderful and favorite property on the Mendocino coast that welcomes pets by special arrangement is the Stanford Inn by the Sea.  To faciliate your search, the direct link to their page on our website is:

http://www.karenbrown.com/Hotel_Guide/California/North_Coast/Mendocino/Stanford_Inn_by_the_Sea_&_Spa/83.php

Another thought would be to consider Carmel as it is known to be a dog friendly destination - many inns even welcome four-legged with a treats!

Happy birthday to your son!

Best,

Karen

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Category: Britain

Question:
I work for Janet and William Hutchings who own The Bell at Skenfrith a restaurant with rooms in one of Wales's prettiest historical villages. We were in contact with you some time ago and I don't think anyone was visiting this area. We just wanted to let you know that this year we shall be celebrating our 10th birthday and wondered whether you would like to come and celebrate this with us some time in 2010. Please don't hesitate to let us know if you are planning to be in Wales, we've got some fun events planned for our decade. Happy New Year Paula Snow
Asked by Paula Snow [Jan 19, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Paula,

Congratulations on celebrating your tenth year in business!  We definitely have your property on our list of "to sees" when we next research your area.  I apologize that we have not yet found our way to your doorstep!  However, with the launch of READER DISCOVERIES to our website, if you have a guest submit a review of your property - you can now be referenced on our website in advance of a true Karen Brown visit and write-up.   In a separate email I will forward the information about Reader Discoveries on to you. The properties featured as Reader Discoveries are receiving lots of traffic!  

Wishing you all the very best in this New Year and I sincerely thank you for your interest in being featured in our guide.

 Kindest regards,

Karen Brown Herbert

 

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Category: Italy

Question:
My husband and I are planning to take our son and grandson (age 11) to Italy for about 9 days in August. I was thinking of focusing on Rome, the Veneto and the Lake District. Your hotel selections are just what I want, but I wonder if any are appropriate to an 11 year old boy. Are there any destinations and accommodations that you feel would be particularly suited to him? Thank you, Jackie Frey
Asked by Jacqueline Frey [Jan 16, 2010]


Answer:

I THINK A 10 YEAR OLD BOY WOULD ENJOY ALL THREE.

ROME IS SO FULL OF HISTORY AND THERE ARE SO MANY HISTORIC PLACES HE WILL BE READING ABOUT IN HIS HISTORY CLASSES ETC.

THE VENETO: I DON'T THINK I WOULD DO THE COUNTRYSIDE AROUND VENICE, BUT STAYING FOR A FEW DAYS IN VENICE ITSELF IS TRULY MEMORABLE--EVEN FOR A CHILD. THE PROBLEM VENICE IS PACKED WITH PEOPLE, BUT IF YOU STAY THERE AND DO YOUR SIGHTSEEING ALWAYS EARLY IN THE MORNING, YOU CAN AVOID LOTS OF THE CROWDS THAT COME IN FOR DAY TRIPS. I THINK YOUR SON WOULD LOVE THE AL THE FERRY RIDES UP AND DOWN THE CANALS AND ALSO THE MANY TINY BRIDGES AND QUAINT LITTLE BACK ALLEYWASY TO EXPLORE.

THE LAKE DISTRICT: I THINK THIS MIGHT BE A FAVORITE FOR YOU SON SINCE HE WOULD PROBABLY ENJOY EXPLORING THE LAKES BY THE MANY FERRIES. I WOULD SUGGEST STAYING IN A HOTEL WITH A SWIMMING POOL SO THAT HE CAN ALSO HAVE A BRIEF RESPITE FROM SIGHTSEEING. I THINK I WOULD CHOOSE LAKE GARDA SINCE IT HAS EASIER ACCESS AND ALSO HAS THE SUPER CUTE TOWN OF SIRMIONE TO EXPLORE.

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Category: France

Question:
Hi, Karen, et al. -- it is the Nest Pest again! Thank you for your previous response. For our trip to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, I am conflicted on where to stay for our trip there in early February. It is between Le Saint Paul and Colombe d'Or. The website for Colombe d'Or doesn't really give any room descriptions or room photos, so I'm not quite sure of what to expect. We want warm (both have fireplaces), charming, typical of the area, but also certain comforts (we are, by the way, booked with Maison du Paradou per your recommendation), and we are considering also Villa Gallici in Aix (owned by the Baglioni group as is Le Saint Paul but do not see it in your book -- that also concerns me....). Do you have any further insights into these two properties that could help me make my decision. We will be staying in Saint Paul three nights. We are in our fifties; well traveled. Thank you for your time in advance, and I certainly understand if you are unable to answer. Kindest regards, Nancy
Asked by Nancy Seitz [Jan 8, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Nest Pest!

This is difficult question as I haven't personally visited the Hotel Le St Paul since it changed ownership. It has always been a favorite - but Colombe d'Or is truly, also wonderful - a bit more rustic and very cozy - which I truly love!  The one advantage to Colombe d'Or is that it sits right outside, at the entrance to the walled city - so, as a result, it is easier to come and go. 

I am pleased you have selected Maison du Paradou - an excellent choice and the Villa Gallici is beautiful!  We used to recommend it - and still would, except their marketing department said they weren't interested in being in our guide (absolutely crazy since there is no charge to be included in our guide and we visit many to select the few we do and, to be quite honest, it hurt a bit as I couldn't understand why.  Most properties tell us they so very much appreciate all the wonderful Karen Brown Travelers!!!) We had to honor their request and so it is no longer referenced, however, it is a gorgeous property! 

Hope this helps!

Karen

 

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Category: Portugal

Question:
We are planning to spend one week in Portugal in April. We've never been there before. I have bought your book, and am thinking perhaps the combined Alentejo and Medieval mountains loop would be lovely, but am having difficulty getting a sense of how much time it is reasonable to do that in. We don't want to be too rushed but would like to see as much as possible. What do you recommend? Or would you recommend something else entirely for a one week visit?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jan 8, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Dorit,

It is always a bit hard to recommend a time frame as everyone's preference for pacing is different. However, one week should be sufficient for combing the two itineraries...AND I would include a bit of the itinerary PORT to PORT and LISBON HIGHTLIGHTS as you navigate your loop back to Lisbon.

So, assuming Lisbon as the starting point, I would allow at least one night there in order to enjoy this lovely port city, then venture out on the path of EXPLORING THE ALENTEJO - allowing for at least two nights for the journey; connect up with Medieval Monuments and again allow two nights; spend a night in Obidos as you begin your journey south to Lisbon and possibly a final night in Sintra (located along the Lisbon Highlight route).

The combination would make for a wonderful first trip and introduction to Portugal - its beauty and its history!

Thank you  for using our guides and recommendations!

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: France

Question:
I purchased a copy of your 2009 France Hotels; it is well-worn and loved. We are leaving in a few weeks. We are planning on travelling to St-Paul-de-Vence and were hoping to stay at Le Saint Paul hotel, which was given a glowing review in your book. However, on your website, I do not see it anywhere now, but I do see Colombe d'Or, which was not in the 2009 volume. Before we reserve anything, can you give me in inside scoop as to why Le Saint Paul is no longer being recommended? Thank you so much, and Happy New Year!
Asked by Nancy Seitz [Jan 1, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Nancy,

Both properties are still recommended in our guide (Colombe d'Or is on page 353 of the 2009 edition). There is no charge to be featured in our guides as we don't want anything to influence our selection or editorial, but we do have a fee to cover our administrative costs if they want a featured page on our website.  The Hotel Le St Paul is under new ownership and did not opt for a presence on our website in 2009.  At the heart of the city it has long been a personal favorite, although, I have to admit I have not seen it since it has changed ownership to be able to relay any changes.

The Colombe D'Or is a lovely property and another recommendation would be Le Hameau.

Thank you for using our guides and recommendations and for your kind note! 

Wishing you all the best and wonderful travels in this New Year!

Karen

 

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Category: Germany

Question:
Hi Karen & Co I have been buying your guides for many years and have very much enjoyed following your suggestions and staying at places you have recommended in places as diverse as Paris, Bellagio (La Pergola) and across Sicily. My wife Gaye and I will be visiting Europe again this year and will be staying in Berlin. After that we want to go to Munich and then the Bavarian Alps country. I have your suggested route through that part of the world but with some time restrictions we will only have three nights there and it would be too rushed to attempt both the western and eastern ends of your itinerary in that time. IF like us you had to pick one or the other (that is, the Berchtesgaden or Garmisch-Partenkirchen "end") to give the best sample of this beautiful region which would it be? Many thanks Best wishes for 2010 Regards Keith Kessell
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Dec 31, 2009]


Answer:

Dear Keith,

I have just reread your question and am going to take the liberty of amending my answer to address more acurately what I now understand to be the true basis of your question....if I had just three nights I would spend them in the Munich and then Mad King Ludwig (western edge of our itinerary) as opposed to Berchtesgaden and the eastern edge. 

Original response:  I am going to attempt to answer your question assuming you have three nights available for the Bavaria portion of your trip after you leave Berlin.  If this assumption is correct, if I had three nights to devote to this area I would train from Berlin to the Munich Airport. (Munich is a large city and the Munich-downtown train station is right at its heart - it is not easy to navigate out of the city whereas it is easy to access the freeway and then country roads from the airport location.) I would then rent a car and spend two nights in proximity to Mad King Ludwig's castles (for example: Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, or Fussen) and then take a day to drive to the distance to Berchtesaden - the drive along country roads through the local towns will expose you to the beauty of the region.  Depending on the logistics of your travel arrangements, (not certain where you fly in or out of Germany and if you have another full day for explorations)  if it makes sense, I would then either overnight in Berchtesgaden which would afford you time to see Konigsee and possibly Hitler's Kehlstein (Eagle's Nest) or cross the border to Salzburg and spend your final night in one of my favorite cities. 

Hope the above recommendations help!

Thank you for using our guides and website!

Kindest regards,

Karen

 

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Category: Italy

Question:
I've planned ten outstanding trips to Italy using your excellent guides. I'm now in the process of planning an extended family trip to the town of Amalfi and had intended to stay in one of your Reader Discoveries. This place was listed on your web page about a month ago, is within walking distance to the town of Amalfi, and has apartments with great sea views. I didn't bookmark the webpage and now I can't find this place on your webpage or anywhere else. Could you please help salvage our vacation by sending me the name of this establishment? Thanks for any help you can give me. Michael Doucette
Asked by Michael Doucette [Dec 27, 2009]


Answer:

Dear Mr. Doucette,

Thank you for your very kind letter!!! It is nice to hear from such loyal Karen Brown Travelers and I am so pleased to know you have enjoyed our recommendations.

In terms of the Reader Discovery - could it possibly be the Villa Lara?  It is the only one I could find in our database for Amalfi.

They are still on our website, but after three months transition to a Reader Discovery list.  To see the list, you as the visitor need to click on Reader Discovery-list all (in the key box under the maps). If you actually click the box next to Reader Discovery this will identify your preference to have them appear on the maps and all lists.

The direct link to the Villa Lara on our website is:

 

http://www.karenbrown.com/Hotel_Guide/Italy/Campania/Amalfi/Villa_Lara/7417.php

 

Wishing you and your family safe travels and a very happy holiday season!
Kindest regards,

Karen

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