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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: General

Question:
What does it mean when a hotel is listed in your website but not in the 2009 edition of your hotel guide. Does it mean that you are no longer recommending it? Specifically Hotel Regina in Milan which is not listed in the 2009 Karen Brown's Italy Hotels but is listed on the web. Thanks very much
Asked by Carol Manning [Feb 28, 2009]


Answer:
The Hotel Regina, although classified a hotel, is actually recommended in our Bed & Breakfast guide to Italy. I know this is a bit confusing, but in the cities (as opposed to the countryside) we often include the more reasonably priced, smaller hotels in our B&B guide when we have not been able to find sufficient numbers of "true" bed & breakfasts to recommend. I am sorry for any confusion, but know that we do still proudly recommend the Hotel Regina. Thank you for using our recommendations! Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Hi Karen, My husband & I, in celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, are wanting to do a driving vacation between Nice, France and Portofino, Italy. I was wondering if you could make some recommendations for sites and lodging that would make this a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime trip! Thanks so much, Joyce Bone
Asked by Joyce Bone [Feb 15, 2009]


Answer:
You will love the coastal hills above the French Riviera. There are a number of charming villages-perchees - medieval villages perched and tucked in the coastal hills. I don't know how much time you have, but I would recommend at least four nights (three full days) to explore the coastal villages as well as the hilltowns. St. Paul de Vence makes for a convenient base from which to explore the region. Refer to our itinerary, the Hillsides of the French Riviera for pacing and highlights. As you cross the border from France - you will continue following the contours of the coast south to Portofino. Portofino is wonderful and very picturesque. It is also crowded at the height of the season and hotels tend to be priced accordingly. We have other recommendations in neighboring towns that are more reasonable in price but the towns are not as picturesque. For this region, refer to our itinerary, Rome to Milan via the Italian Riviera. Thank you for using our recommendations and guides and Happy, Happy Anniversary! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
We adore your travel books!Am flying into Venice April 3( get there at 9:30 am) and leaving from Rome April 11. Have booked, your recommendation, Inn at the Roman Forum for Rome..last three nights. AM DYING TO VISIT Verona...after ONE night in Venice and then on to Florence. TRAIN: If we do the train to Verona, can you go on to Florence from Verona? or do you have to go back to Venice and then to Florence? Should we just do a day visit to Verona? where do i find train times? Thanks, Jerri so, Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome ( three nights in Florence and three in Rome...) suggestions for beginning? venice/verona? in between?? would you recommend 2 nights in Venice with a day trip to Verona? please help! :)
Asked by Jerri Blanton [Feb 15, 2009]


Answer:
Dear Friends, Apologies for not being more prompt with a reply - I have been traveling myself. In terms of rail travel, yes, you can travel from Venice to Verona and then on to Florence without backtracking. In fact, there are direct trains between each city. For train times and even the ability to make reservations online go to our website, click on TRAVEL TOOLS and then select TRAIN RESERVATIONS. You can then go to their area TICKETS, TRAINS AND PASSES and select the option I KNOW THE CITIES WHERE I WANT TO TRAVEL. At this point just simply type in the cities and the dates you desire and their website will generate schedules. If you choose not to make reservations in advance, I would recommend printing the schedule so you have it to refer to and you can then also closer to the time ask your hotel concierge to help you with reservations - and it helps to know which train you want! Hope this information reaches you in time. Karen

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Category: General

Question:
In your UK travel book, you referred to a train ride from Dingwall, Scotland to Kyle of Lochalsh in the description for The Dower House accommodation. If we take this train ride, will it be possible to leave our rental car in Dingwall and pick up a new rental car in Kyle of Lochalsh?
Asked by Linda Pohl [Feb 15, 2009]


Answer:
Car rental options and fees vary depending on the rental company. I would recommend you contact AutoEurope as they represent many companies and can help you select the one best suited for your needs and budget. I am honestly not certain that you can drop a car in a town as small and remote as Kyle of Lochalsh without a substantial drop off fee. I did attempt to get the information directly from AutoEurope on your behalf, but they said they would need all your details and dates inorder to research your options. They can be reached at 1-800-223-5555. Be sure to identify yourself as a Karen Brown Traveler as they extend a discount to the readers of our guides and website. Kindest regards, Karen

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Category: France

Question:
Travel from Colmar -- let me ask a different question: Is the drive better from Colmar down thru France to Geneve, or from Colmar to Basel to Bern and on south. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Asked by Peter Brautigam [Feb 12, 2009]


Answer:
As autoroutes are available taking either direction and facilitating the drive, I think it is more a question of time. It is faster to drive via Basel - and you could excerpt parts from our itinerary Geneva to Zurich via Medieval Jewels for sightseeing recommendations. If you choose the longer route, your journey would take you through Burgundy and the French Alps - two lovely regions and again, you could refer to our itineraries for sightseeing guidelines. I hope this proves of some help! Thank you, Karen

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Category: France

Question:
We are traveling to France March '09. From Colmar we need to drive south to Yvoire on the southside of Lake Geneva, about 30km north of Geneva. Do you have recommendations on a "best drive" from Colmar to Yvoire, places to see/stop, etc. We have been thru the area of Montreux and Gruyeres before. In suggested best of the best would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! And we love your books -- we have all of the western Europe ones.
Asked by Peter Brautigam [Feb 12, 2009]


Answer:
In order to best answer your question, I need to know how much time you want to commit to traveling the distance between Colmar in Alsace and Yvoire on the shores of Lake Geneva. If you simply want an efficient route, I would say use the autoroute to Mulhouse, to Basel and then south to Lausanne and on to Geneva. You could feasibly cover this distance in a day's travel or you could break your journey and overnight enroute. If you are asking to extend your trip to include another region, I would recommend traveling to the Burgundy wine region (span the distance by autoroute between Mulhouse and Dijon) and selecting a place there to stay for a minimum of two nights to explore the region - so different from Alsace, but also gorgeous. Then from the southern region of Burgundy, I would travel east from Macon to Geneva. Again, if you want to expand your journey and explore a bit of the French Alps, I would recommend an overnight in Vieux Perouges, Talloires or Megeve. It is then an easy journey on to Yvoire - which, I personally love! Thank you for your kind words about our guides. Kindest regards Karen

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Category: General

Question:
My mother and mother-in-law will be celebrating their 70th birthdays this summer and would very much like to visit the Amalfi Coast with myself, my sister and sister-in-law. We have already found flights and are looking for a small and friendly hotel somewhere on the coast but with a swimming pool as well as a lovely view. My mother has stayed in one of your recommended hotels in Spain and loved it so I was hoping you may be able to recommend somewhere for us? Our visit would be 4th to 7th July and we would be looking for 2 twin rooms and 1 single in a hotel or garden cottage or similar. I eagerly await your response!
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Feb 11, 2009]


Answer:
What a wonderful place to go to celebrate your 70th birthdays! The Amalfi Coast is gorgeous and I agree, you want one with a pool and lovely views, so the hotel can be a destination in its own right and a place just to settle in and enjoy the setting. There are two properties that come to mind that aren't outrageous in price: La Fenice which is located outside the town of Positano - great setting, views, pool - but not quite ideal as it is not right in town. You will need to ask them if they have rooms that meet your requirements and I would definitely hope that they would be the ones with a terrace. The other is Casa Cosenza a lovely bed & breakfast that offers two suites behind the main house which can accommodate three to four persons. As I honestly do not know your budget or true preference in terms of location or decor, I would recommend that you use our website to research all properties we have in the area (some from our hotel guide and some from the Bed & Breakfast guide). Simply select the destination, ITALY, and then further focus your search by selecting the region, CAMPANIA and then use the map by zooming in and out to determine (by all the icons) where we have properties that we recommend. You can then click on the property icons for further information and then even click through to their own website for complete information. Use the CONTACT PROPERTY button to access an email form that then allows you to contact them for further details - by using the form, it also identifies you as a Karen Brown Traveler and the properties we recommend take special care of our readers! Sending sincere wishes for very special and memorable birthdays! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Is the Karen Brown "blog" the same thing as the "newsletter"? And am I "subscribed" for the e-mail? It doesn't seem like I've been getting anything. Please check this out. Also, I plan to renew my membership, so please send reminder. Thanks. Ginny A. I love your books--and plan to order more as soon as I have time.
Asked by Ginny Archambeau [Feb 8, 2009]


Answer:
Thank you for saying you love our books - it means alot! In terms of "blog" and "newsletter" - yes they are different. We are slowly beginning to add to our inventory of "blogs" which we hope will prove informative and a vehicle to address some more specific and timely issues that aren't necessarily suited for a printed guide. We send out newsletters direct to our Karen Brown Travelers who have requested to receive them. Their regularity varies. We try to send them monthly, but the reality is they seem to go out every few months and do offer tips and specials only available to newsletter subscribers. In the future we might include some of the information published in the newsletters as a blog, but have not done so to date. As per your request, I checked your membership status (and THANK YOU for signing up again for a renewed membership!) and it seems you have NOT subscribed to receive newsletters. You can access your account information and change to "subscribe" or, I would be happy to do so for you, given your permission. Thank you so much again for using our recommendations and for joining the world of Karen Brown through your membership. All the best, Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Dear Karen, I am a huge fan of yours! My husband and I have your travel book on France and have used it on of our previous trips to France. All the places you recommended were perfect I'm looking for a small town/village in Provence that might offer french classes for myself and cycling opportunities for my husband. Are you aware of any places in Provence that might offer both? Thank you, Colleen Trainor
Asked by Colleen Trainor [Jan 31, 2009]


Answer:
Dear Friends, I am so glad you have so far enjoyed the places we recommend - we must have the same preferences for accommodation! In terms of finding a place in Provence that offers cycling opportunities - because of the gorgeous countryside almost anywhere you select will have scenic roads to beckon your husband for cycling adventures. That being said, a property located in either a small village or better yet, set in the countryside outside even the remotest village will be the easiest to navigate to and from. In terms of cooking courses, there are some properties that offer formal classes and programs and others that simply will offer cooking classes based on demand. We have published a cooking icon for the properties that have told us they offer cooking classes. You will need to contact the properties directly to better understand the extent of the program they offer. I used our website and by clicking on a number of the properties we recommend found some and will list them below as a launch to your own research: Hostellerie le Crillon le Brave Hotel Le Phebus Le Mas de Cante Perdrix La Grange de Jusalem Villa Velleron La Maison sur la Sorgue.....to list just a few! Hope this serves as some help. Thank you again for your kind words and using our recommendations! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Our family of 4 adults is beginning to plan a trip to France and England this June. I just ordered the guide book for France, and we've already spent several hours looking over different places to stay. We would like to include a short (2-3 night)cruise in the Loire Valley the weekend of June 20th. Any suggestions you might have would be welcome. Your company was very helpful in planning a trip to Europe for us in 2001 and we're looking forward to using your recommendations again.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jan 20, 2009]


Answer:
Dear Friends, Although, barging through France is high on my list of "want to dos for research", I sadly have yet to experience a voyage. However, I have only heard wonderful things about traveling by barge and it most certainly affords a very leisurely and relaxed way to explore a region. Based on my own research for you for possible barge companies and options, I kept coming across a particular vessel, The Nymphea that looks lovely and can accommodate up to six guests (www.bargecompany.com/CIOAOFranceloirevalley.htm) But, I am also familiar with a few companies that have an excellent reputation and vessels that travel in the Loire Valley: French Country Waterways www.fcw.com and European Waterways www.gobarging.com I hope you have a wonderful trip and I would welcome feedback on your adventure! Karen

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