Anya Von Bremzen’s guide to 37 affordable European restaurants [“37 Affordable European Restaurants,” December] was by far the most mouthwatering piece I read all month, and your timing couldn’t have been better. I am traveling to Paris with my fiancé this summer, and while we’d like to do some fine dining, we’d also like to get more bang for our weakening buck. Von Bremzen’s finds sound like real culinary treasures, and we’re especially excited by the fact that they won’t break the bank. —Abigail Feuer, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Andrew Solomon’s monthlong voyage to the Antarctic [“Adventures in Antarctica,” November]. Even if he never reached his final destination, his reporting and pictures did justice to what is, for me, one of the world’s most fascinating places —Jamie Burak, Potomac, MD.
I noticed that in the December issue you listed Oakland as one of the country’s 10 best airports for avoiding flight delays [“America’s Best and Worst Airports 2008”]. As a frequent flier who has been to airports all over the world, I must say that OAK’s lack of delays is countered by its extremely long waits for baggage. —Pam Heaton, Oakland, Calif.
Into the Wild
While there seems to be an underlying concern for the planet throughout the magazine, evidently, according to your Stylish Traveler 2008 Holiday Gift Guide [December], opting for “sporty and sleek in the Rockies” requires rabbit-fur mittens, a fox-fur vest, and a lapse in moral conscience. Wildlife preservation is part of the “green” equation, and that extends to what we wear. To feature animal-fur clothing on one page and an eco-hotel on another is just not consistent. —Barry Shapiro, Silverton, Oreg.
Home for the Holidays
I just read your Web article on the 10 best places to spend Christmas [December], and have another suggestion: the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (doubles from $399), in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. It has everything from caroling to sleigh rides to ice-skating on the glacial lake. Over the past 26 years, my wife and I have spent many merry Christmases there. —Roger Goppelt, Madison, Wis.
Reader’s Find: Italy
During a recent trip to Florence, my wife and I discovered a gem of a hotel: the Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo (doubles from $305, including breakfast), just steps from the Piazza del Duomo. Recently renovated and expanded with four new suites, the property was originally built as a mansion in 1532 and has been run as a hotel by the same family since 1879. Each of the 10 rooms retains elements of the palazzo’s past—ours had 20-foot beamed ceilings and 17th-century frescoed walls. During our stay, owners Filippo and Ginevra Niccolini arranged a private guided tour of the Tuscan countryside and, most important, made us feel right at home. —Jim Carson, Vienna, VA.
Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo
Recently renovated and expanded with four new suites, the property was originally built as a mansion in 1532 and has been run as a hotel by the same family since 1879. Each of the 10 rooms retains elements of the palazzo’s past—ours had 20-foot beamed ceilings and 17th-century frescoed walls. Owners Filippo and Ginevra Niccolini can arrange a private guided tour of the Tuscan countryside.