From Baja to Greece
Shane Mitchell's "The Best of Baja" [November] was one of the most comprehensive articles I've read about the region. Most magazines recommend places where the risk of unpleasant surprises is minimal. Indeed, Mitchell cites several hotels and restaurants that undoubtedly satisfy the most discriminating tastes, but I thought it was daring and insightful to include a roadside stand like Tacos Chilako's. Though this Todos Santos eatery might appear run-down, it is in fact a great place for a cheap meal and a chat with longtime residents. In 2001 I bought a rusted 4Runner and spent the winter in Baja; I now return regularly. It is a credit to T+L to have chosen a writer who could provide such a well-rounded experience.
—TIM WEISS, CHICAGO, ILL.
Spanish Taste Test
The balance between tradition and innovation examined in Anya von Bremzen's write-up of contemporary Spanish cuisine ["Spanish Revolution," December] is incredible, considering the inordinate amount of experimentation going on—ravioli that change color and the perfect duck liver DNA. In response to Bremzen's question "Does the future really belong to young Spaniards?" I second her sentiments with a confident "Yes."
—PAUL FEITH, SANTANDER, SPAIN
The New Ukraine
Alex Shoumatoff is not too well informed when he calls Ukraine Little Russia in his Driving piece about Saskatchewan ["Keeping the Faith," August], where many Ukrainians haveimmigrated. This Eastern European country was established long before Russia came into existence, and no Ukrainian would ever make that reference.
—VERY REV. A. HUPKA, EDMONTON, ALTA.
ALEX SHOUMATOFF REPLIES: As a colonized satellite of the Russian empire during the 19th-century czarist period, Ukraine was commonly referred to as Little Russia. I am delighted Ukraine has finally won its independence; the term Little Russia was intended historically.
It was with a dual sense of pleasure and melancholy—a word Daniel Mendelsohn uses to describe the Greek port town of Thessaloniki—that my wife and I read his feature "Revisitation Rites" [November]. We both grew up on Cyprus but met as college students in Thessaloniki. Over the next five years, we unmistakably fell in love with the place and with each other. Now, 15 years later, we frequently discuss returning to the haunting mosaic of the city, though we've had the same reservation as both Mendelsohn and the poet Cavafy: Will we regret doing so if it disturbs our beautiful, idealized memories?Your excellent article has convinced us that the city has followed us, too, for so long, that it's time to pay her a visit.
—COSTAS KOUMENIS, WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.
READER'S FIND ITALY
I had the best vacation of my life last summer, at a 14th-century castle north of Bologna called Castello di Galeazza [8585 Via Provanone, Galeazza di Crevalcore; 39-051/985-170; www.galeazza.com; doubles from $98]. Virginia-born Clark Lawrence manages the four-bedroom sanctuary and leads Reading Retreats in Rural Italy, a nonprofit association that began in 1996 as a quiet place to read more than 2,000 books on-site. It has since become a destination for classical music concerts and international art exhibitions. Lawrence's conviction that the castle is "not mine but ours" is what makes the experience so unusual. The morning I arrived, guests and day visitors had already volunteered to garden, gather firewood, clean floors, and cook. A little utopia is being created. I have already planned a trip for the annual New Year's Eve party.
—ANTONIA SOLARI, MENLO PARK, CALIF.
CORRECTION: Room prices at the One & Only Palmilla resort quoted in "Low Rates in High Season?" [Update, December] start at $275 per night through February 2, 2004, not December 2004.
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