Ask T+L: Everest or Else, Lean Lisbon
My husband and I are planning a trip to Colorado for fishing and hiking. Can you recommend a beautiful hotel for less than $300 a night?
--K.H.B., Minneapolis, Minn.
a. If you're looking for adventure, high style, and good value, T+L assistant editor and Colorado native Elizabeth Garnsey suggests you try Aspen: "Fall is the best time to experience this otherwise glamorous ski resort. That's when it becomes a sleepy enclave where outdoors purists play." One of the best places to stay is the historic Hotel Jerome (330 E. Main St.; 800/331-7213 or 970/920-1000; doubles from $185), a gorgeous 1889 Victorian hotel.
Of the region's hiking areas, our favorites are Hunter Creek Trail, with its late-blooming wildflowers, and Conundrum Creek Trail, where a hot spring offers relief for aching feet after an eight-mile trek. The Roaring Fork River is the best place to cast a line for trout, but if you want to avoid fly-fishing crowds, find a quieter tributary like Snowmass and Lincoln creeks.
After reading Into Thin Air, I've taken Everest off my list of "things to do before I die." What are the highest peaks in other parts of the world?
--J.G.J., Los Angeles, Calif. While Mount Everest is the highest mountain on the planet, at 29,028 feet, each continent can lay claim to its own super summits. In North America, it's Mount McKinley, in Alaska's Denali National Park, at 20,320 feet. You'll find 22,834-foot Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes range, on the border between Chile and Argentina. Antarctica's Vinson Massif is a frosty 16,066 feet, while Mount Kosciusko in Australia seems like a molehill in comparison--it's only 7,310 feet. The 16,535-foot Puncak Jaya in Indonesia is also known as Mount Carstensz. Russia's Mount Elbrus, at 18,510 feet the highest point in Europe, is part of the Caucasus mountain range. Fina!lly, there's the majestic 19,341-foot Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Make the trek up all these slopes from the safety of your armchair with Seven Summits, a peak-by-peak excursion published this month by Bullfinch Press ($40).
I was charged more than $33 for a 10-minute call back home while on a recent trip to Italy. How can I avoid being ripped off when making international calls overseas?
--J.B., Tampa, Fla.
Your best bet is to use a calling card with a special international rate plan. Both MCI's Everyday International (800/444-4444) and AT&T's One Rate Global Plus (800/355-9651) charge up to $1 for the first minute and from 9 to 29 cents for each additional minute. Just because you have a calling card with either company, however, doesn't mean you're automatically enrolled in the international plans. You have to sign up for these programs, which cost $3 to $4 a month, before you travel.
Do I have to spend a fortune to stay in Lisbon?
--J.R., New Orleans, La.
We love the 38-room Hotel Veneza (189 Avda. da Liberdade; 351-21/352-2618; doubles from $118), a 19th-century town house not far from Marquês de Pombal Square and the city center. Its elaborate marble staircase is decorated with bold murals by Pedro Luiz Gomes. The sleek, modern Hotel Barcelona (10 Rua Laura Alves; 351-21/795-4280; doubles from $118) is steps away from the Campo Pequeno, a mosquelike red-brick bullfighting arena where concerts are sometimes held. The Hotel Barcelona is also near the Gulbenkian Foundation Museum, with its stunning collection of Egyptian and medieval art, Aubusson tapestries, Louis XV and XVI decorative furnishings, rare Lalique jewelry (the oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian was a friend of René Lalique), and Impressionist works by Corot, Manet, Monet, and Degas.