Credit: Dagmar Schwelle

Remembering Europe

I was completely charmed by Gini Alhadeff’s “Sailing the Blue Danube” [October]. While reading, I was mentally back in Europe, almost hearing the sounds of traffic on Nuremberg’s streets and feeling its chilly rain. I love Europe and am now inspired to revisit it. —Laura Rees, Westerville, Ohio

I’ve never taken a river cruise before, but thanks to “Sailing the Blue Danube,” I think the Danube will be my first trip. I long to see the river’s famous “blueness” and Budapest’s gorgeous buildings. That picture of Parliament has sold me! — member xjennyxclau73

Cheese Lover’s France

My, my, wouldn’t it be lovely if there really were a “fondue fountain of youth” as described in Adam Sachs’s “Did Someone Say Cheese?” [October]? I could have time to go to this wonderful French pocket of the world, drive through the mountains, listen to cowbells, and taste dishes like tartiflette with “blunt caloric force.” — member violettebrsh4

Looking East

Roxana Robinson nailed it in “A Different Nature” [October]. I attended a Buddhist seminary in Kyoto, Japan, and have been visiting there for more than 25 years. Few outsiders get it like she does, understanding the aesthetic qualities and, even more so, the ubiquitous “untold aspect” that pervades Kyoto. Surely, she had that sacred moment. Her own words echo the sentiment I’ve cherished for decades: “The sense of calm is deep and absolute: this whole space is sacred.” Therein lies the intrigue of Kyoto. It is absolute mystery cradled in the mists. —Don Prosser, Torrance, Calif.

Keeping It Secret

It’s a shame that Scott Spencer’s “Secret Slovenia” [July] missed Maribor, one of this year’s European Capitals of Culture as well as the home of the world’s oldest grapevine. It seems there are still many things in Slovenia to be explored. — member DiM

Reader’s Find: Country Cuisine

While visiting friends in Bollnäs, two hours north of Stockholm, my wife and I enjoyed lunch at Lehmanns kök på Renshammar ($$$), a restaurant set in a circa-1700 farmhouse (ask for a tour of the rooms) where chef Jörg Lehmann serves meals that include local gravlax and lingonberry cheesecake with a refined sense of flavor. I highly recommend it to anyone passing through the Swedish countryside. —Jim Corcoran, cedar rapids, iowa

Sounding Off: Street Smarts

What is America’s cleanest metropolis? Minneapolis/St. Paul, according to last year’s America’s Favorite Cities poll. A different debate heated up as readers of’s “America’s Dirtiest Cities” [October] rose to defend the “winners.” “Pittsburgh is an all-around gem,” said a recent visitor, “and Philadelphia is NOT dirty. It’s gorgeous, comparable with Toronto.” Rankings were also disputed. One reader commented, “I was expecting Detroit to be #1!” while another claimed Philly deserved the top spot. In an unexpected turn, some even lamented their own cities’ exclusion. From an indignant Clevelander: “I am personally offended that we didn’t end up on the list. We have our lion’s share of old factories and grime. Our river even caught on fire!” See America’s Favorite Cities 2012.