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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: France

Question:
I received my three books – two on France. Thank you. But can you give me some specific advice? We are traveling to France in March 2009 for two weeks. We plan to travel by car from Paris ==> east to Colmar ==> SW to Bourg-en-Bresse (NE of Lyon) ==> NW to Verzaly (near Avalon) ==> return to Paris. We are looking to spend one or two nights at a farm-B&B – my daughter likes animals and we thought this would be a good experience. Do you have any recommendations for a nice farm B&B along that route that has animals (chickens, cows, pigs, horses, etc.)? Thank you.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Aug 18, 2008]


Answer:
To address your trip, I would first suggest that rather than driving from Paris to Colmar (unless you are set on exploring Champagne - which is not exceptional in terms of landscape, villages etc), and driving back into the city from Northern Burgundy, I would recommend taking the TGV from Paris to Strasbourg (you could then connect to Colmar or take a local train Paris to Colmar, albeit a longer journey) and renting a car once there (either Salzburg or Colmar-distances aren't great). I would then suggest you train from Avallon or Auxerre (both require connections, however, towns with direct trains are a drive from Vezelay - so I think although, a connection is never perfect, it is the best alternative) back into Paris. This way you avoid the hassle and frustration of navigating in and out of the big city and trains allow so much more freedom of movement, they have dining cars which add to the experience and "the kid in me" still loves travel by train! You just need to "shop" for a car rental agency that won't add a drop location fee. If you use AutoEurope - they are a broker for most car rental companies and can make the comparison for you. Also mention you are a Karen Brown Traveler for a preferred discount. In terms of where to stay, I agree staying on a farm with children is a great way to add to the enjoyment of the trip for them. We sometimes forget that they are not always interested in the museums we cover the distance to see! However, there just aren't many B&Bs that we recommend in Alsace - you will see that in the B&B book we actually reference a few small, inexpensive hotels as a result. So many of the B&Bs are just seasonal, full for the three months or so that they offer rooms for accommodation and and honestly aren't interested in being in a book that will bring them requests and phone calls for the rooms they have already filled - or for the months they aren't open. It is unique to Alsace! So I don't have a specific recommendation in terms of a farm B&B, but I would make the recommendation to stay in Riquewihr. The walled town is great to explore. It is safe to walk the cobbled streets as it is restricted to pedestrian traffic. It has lots of little restaurants and shops and is centrally located for exploring the region. With kids it is also nice once you have reached the overnight destination not to have to get into the car and drive for dinner, etc. While in Alsace - do not miss watching for the Storks - they migrate through the region in the spring and their king size beds nest on top of rooftops! In Burgundy, again, there are not many B&Bs that meet your requirements. But just outside Tournus is a family-chateaux-B&B, Chateau de Messey and they have horses (3 day old colts on my last visit), lots of pets and I believe some farm animals. They are also very receptive to children as I have seen their grandchildren visiting on many occasions! As you make the journey back towards Paris, a splurge but worth it is the Chateau de Vault de Lugny just outside of Avallon and convenient to Vezelay. This is a beautiful manor-chateaux, where peacocks roam the enclosed grounds. There is also a stream, lots of paths, a resident dog.....an absolutely gorgeous property! Thank you for using our guides, recommendations and website. Enjoy your travels in France, Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hello there, We live in Australia and have stayed in places you have recommended in England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Spain and have loved every one of them. We have recommended your properties to friends who have also been thrilled. We are now thinking of a trip to North America and are considering a train trip from either San Francisco or LA to Boston. What do you think? I am in contact with the website of Susan Branch (you may or may not know of her - she designs fabric, books etc) - in one of her emails she states that a train trip across America is most relaxing. To us it sounds wonderful, but I don't seem to be able to find much information on such a trip. Can you advise me? I already have several of your books which have been of great help in planning our trips over the last six years. Not one of your recommendations have failed to impress. I would love to have your opinion on what we plan to do. Many thanks.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Aug 15, 2008]


Answer:
Dear Friends, Train travel is wonderful but it is a long distance across the United States and sadly, our trains do not seem to run as efficiently as they do in Europe so it makes for a very long trip. It is also surprising that train travel is often more expensive than air. A suggestion would be to perhaps select some scenic stretches to travel by train (across the Rockies for example) and cover other less geographically interesting distances by air and a few segments with a rental car when you really want to have the flexibility for exploration. I am not sure what airfare is available to you in Australia, but I would recommend researching fares with Southwest Airlines, ATA, Jet Blue and Virgin America - they all offer great value if booked with a few week's notice. For train travel, I would research Amtrak's routes and fares via their website to select portions. Hope this is of some help! Thank you so much for your kind note and for using our guides! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
We are planning our first trip to Italy in October. We have airline tickets. We will need some hotel accommodations- particularly in Rome and Venice. We also need a rent car and tickets to museums, possible opera, symphony etc. It would also be helpful to speak with someone familiar with travel in Italy. We will have a number of questions. Can your service provide answers and guidance? Thanks.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Aug 12, 2008]


Answer:
Dear Karen Brown Traveler, October is a wonderful month to travel in Italy. Although, off-season for many destinations in Europe, there will still be quite a few travelers in Rome and Venice so I would encourage you to make reservations in advance. If you want help with all the arrangements, I would recommend Nicole Franchini of Hidden Treasures of Italy (tollfree 888-419-6700). She works with us on our guide to the B&Bs of Italy and is very reliable and knowledgeable. She does have a fee for service. However, I would encourage you to perhaps make the reservations yourself. No one knows better than you what you want and communicating with the properties directly is easy to do and I honestly feel once you start planning the anticipation of the trip begins! You can simply review the properties on our website and then click on either the CONTACT PROPERTY or REQUEST RESERVATION INFORMATION and you will be provided with an email form that facilitates your direct communication and identifies you as a Karen Brown Traveler! In terms of a car rental, we highly recommend AUTOEUROPE. They are a consolidator and so represent many car rental companies and so will honestly "shop" the best price for you. Be sure to mention you are a KB Traveler and they will extend a discount. For tickets etc. you might ask the hotel where you are staying for their assistance or most tickets are now available online. Nicole also might be able to help you with reservations, but again, she will have a service fee. Enjoy Italy! Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hi, I was searching for info., when I came across ur site, I've even subscribed to ur free newsletter, I'm thinking of visiting Prague, do u know anyone who could guide me a little about the place, would be grateful for ur help,
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Aug 8, 2008]


Answer:
Thank you for visiting our site. We do, indeed have information about and hotel recommendations for Prague on our website - it is a wonderful city. From our home page either use the search function for Prague - or select the Czech Republic from the drop down DESTINATION list or by simply clicking on the map. For your convenience, I have also copied below the direct link to our website page on Prague. For specific attractions or accommodations - use either the drop down lists or click on the appropriate icons on the map. Hope you have a wonderful trip. here is the direct link: http://www.karenbrown.com/Cities/Czechoslovakia/Czech_Republic/Prague/000000000003021.php Kindest regards, Karen

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Category: General

Question:
We are interested in accomodations in Toronto, Canada. When I search, I get info re Victoria, etc. Do you have any to recommend? Also, is there a Karen Brown Guide to Canada?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 14, 2008]


Answer:
Unfortunately, at the moment we only cross over into Canada on the west side and do not have recommendations in Toronto. However, we highly recommend a membership group of hotels called Select Registry. They meet high standards and must be both recommended and approved before they can belong. You can link to them from our website / Partners page – or simply www.selectregistry.com. One in particular that I have always wanted to stay at that also has a winery is The Inn on the Twenty (not in the city but in the countryside) – if you end up staying here, be sure to give my personal best to Helen Young! Thank you again for visiting our website. Safe travels,

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Category: General

Question:
I was trying to start and end my itinerary at the Milan airport but that is not a selection on your map. I am trying to figure out driving times as the books I bought from you do not indicate any estimates of distance as it relates to driving time.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 14, 2008]


Answer:
The Hotel Villa Malpensa is a five minute drive from the Milan Malpensa airport. If you are using another airport we do not have specific recommendations. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to give all of the different driving times to and from different locations. Your best source of information is to ask the hotels how long it would take to go from point A to point B. I hope this helps. Have a wonderful trip.

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Category: General

Question:
We're traveling to the Languedoc France region. We're looking for your recommendations for the Toulouse area. I don't seem to be able to do a Toulouse search on the site. Thanks.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 12, 2008]


Answer:
We don’t actually have a recommendation in Toulouse itself – but we do have some in the neighboring countryside. Check our recommended properties in the area: Hôtel Cuq en Terrasses in Cuq Toulza, Château de Garrevaques and Le Pavillon du Château both located in Garrevaques – all of these are WONDERFUL properties!

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Category: General

Question:
I am looking for a recommended Karen Brown hotel that is located close to the Rome airport. Can you recommend one?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 11, 2008]


Answer:
Unfortunately, we do not have any recommended properties located at either of the Rome airports. If you need to be nearby because of an early departure and just don't want to deal with the hassles on the last day I would probably recommend one of the larger chain hotels. Sorry, I couldn't be of more help. Please have a wonderful trip to Italy.

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Category: General

Question:
My friend and I are going to a cooking school in Italy . we would like to spend 2 or 3 nights in rome , for she has never seen Rome. We will be flying in and out of Rome and would like to Visit the spanish steps, the Vatican/Sistine chaple, Trevi Fountain. We will be going to Umbria by train and returning by train. Do you have a nice B&B that we could stay for a resonable price. We are aware our dollar is very low now. We really dont want to pay more tan 300 to 400 american dollars for a double room. Please contact me through email with info or you can call me at this number 912-5388261
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 11, 2008]


Answer:
If you go to our web site and choose Italy as a destination and then Lazio as the region yo will come to a page that shows Rome on the map. If you zoom in on the map the hotel icons will separate and you can see where the different properties are located. If you click on an icon you will be able to access more information about the property. For your purposes, I would recommend that when you are on the region page click on the green tab that says 'Accommodations' and then click on 'Accommodations in Lazio Region'. You will see a list of all the properties we recommend in that region. If you then click 'City' towards the top of the page the list will sort by city and you can scroll down to the list of properties we recommend in Rome. The list will also show a range of price ranges for each property. If you click on the property name you will go to the page with information on the property as well as a map of the property location. I hope this helps.Enjoy your trip to Italy!

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Category:

Question:
I have been trying for days to find a website for Anderson's Pea Soup -- there is none I can find. Fortunately I ran across your screen. I know I have been there a number of times and am wondering if there are other towns where they serve, have a restaurant. I also think I used to see it for sale in stores either in CT. or AZ. where I lived. Am I nuts?
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Jul 7, 2008]


Answer:
Thank you for your email. If you go to our page on Anderson's Split Pea you will find a link to their web site. If you don't see answers there you might try emailing them from their email link on their web site.
I hope this helps.

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