I was delighted to see the French village of Belcastel in the September issue ["Introducing Aveyron"]. During the summer months, I live and work there. Writer Marcelle Clements is right: Bras’s Michelin-starred restaurant alone is worth the visit, but travelers should also stop by the hilltop castle. With six galleries, it is an art-lover’s dream. There is an outdoor sculpture garden, a hall of original armor, and a fresco of Mary Magdalene in a ninth-century chapel, as well as one of Europe’s few operational freshwater moat systems. —Heidi Leigh, Irvington, N.Y.
Dreaming of Tbilisi
Georgia has always intrigued me, but I’d thought of it as an unrealistic travel destination. Melik Kaylan’s "Georgia in the Time of Misha" [September] made the country seem more approachable. I hope now to see a dance at one of Tbilisi’s historic theaters and shop in the outdoor markets. Unlike Kaylan, though, I doubt that I’ll bring a bearskin rug home with me. —Pattie Leonardis, Phoenix, Ariz.
Loka Brunn, in Sweden ["The Swede Life," August], was a great find. It is relatively unknown, even among the Swedes. The cottages were spacious, with balconies overlooking pine trees and a peaceful lake. Dinners, all chef-selected tasting menus, were delicious. One note: reserve a massage in advance. The spa was so popular that many treatments were sold out when we arrived. —Mike Abraham, Milwaukee, Wis.
Ready for Rapids
Jeff Wise made the landscape throughout Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico soulfully appealing to a city girl like me ["American Beauty," September]. His white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River was so alluring that I would have no inhibitions about getting soaked in a rubber boat to capture the thrill— as long as I got one of those LaStone massages on the rocks afterward! —Leah Brown, South Hadley, Mass.
I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro carrying the Olympus 770 camera that you recommended for exactly that trip ["Photography 101," August]. The pictures turned out well, and the camera survived some trying conditions on the trail—nasty weather, and bouncing around in my pants pocket while I climbed (and sometimes fell). I’ve attached a shot (see below). This is my team at the very top of Kilimanjaro, 19,340 feet above sea level. —Jon R. Stark, San Jose, Calif.
Reader’s Find: Mexico
I just came back from a beautiful new resort in Ixtapa: Loma del Mar [Paseo Colina Playa Hermosa; (866) 496-1082; http://www.lomadelmar.com; doubles from $613]. The property has 16 units, each with its own open-air garden and terrace, and is ideally situated: surrounded by mountains, within walking distance of the beach, and close to two golf courses—including Palma Real, considered by ecologists to resemble an environmental preserve. And the food, especially at La Luna de Shiva, was excellent. —Dan Popescu, Sacramento, Calif.