August 1999

Reader's Find
In the tiny village of Chassigny, my wife and I found the perfect place from which to explore the region's châteaux and gardens. Clairefontaine (33-5/49-98-97-80; doubles $125) is a farmhouse that has been beautifully restored as a two-room bed-and-breakfast. Proprietors Jacques and Rebecca Vitrè are superb hosts. Jacques, a chef who lived in the United States for 26 years, served as our guide; he showed us sights -- dolmens, churches, small-town markets -- that most visitors never even hear of. And his exquisite dinners (he also offers cooking classes) surpassed the meals we had in Paris restaurants.
David Krasner
King of Prussia, Pa.

In the Lofty Alps
It is true, as Jeff Wise writes in "Into Fresh Air" [May], that Gustav Mahler visited Altaussee, Austria. He spent the cold, rainy summer of 1899 there. The noise of a nearby band drove him crazy; he had to be polite to a lot of boring acquaintances; and he never returned. Richard Strauss, on the other hand, went back often. Other regulars of note: playwright Arthur Schnitzler; Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism; and Sigmund Freud.
John Kallir
Scarsdale, N.Y.

The Pink Lady or the Tiger?
I was surprised to read in "Hot Hotel Bars for Cool Cocktails" [After Dark, June] that a tiger was once shot in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It seems highly unlikely that a tiger would take the elevator or climb three flights of stairs to reach that bar. However, there was a tiger shot in 1902 under Raffles' ground-floor Bar & Billiard Room, which was then on stilts.
Larry Charles
Peoria, Ariz.

Portugal Rising
Sheila Glaser's portrait of Lisbon, "Brave Old World" [May], was a pleasure to read. Her crisp use of the active voice created a nice contrast to the heavy baroque style of the city. I liked the pictures, too. Growing up, I lived in Portugal for seven years, and later I spent a summer covering the country for the Let's Go guides. In those days, Lisbon's Museu do Chiado had not yet begun to rise out of the ashes; I'm glad to hear that the tide of urban decay has turned.
Joseph E. Mullin III
Rio de Janeiro

Have Mom, Will Travel
"Paradise at the Right Price" [April], Erik Torkells's article about touring Kauai with his mother, was one of the freshest and most amusing travel pieces I've ever read. It has inspired me to take my own mom on vacation next month!
Kyle C. Barnes
Glendale, Calif.

Monastic Bliss
Thanks to Gini Alhadeff's story on Kyoto in the March T&L, my husband and I stayed at the Myoken-ji temple in May. It was a remarkable experience that I would recommend to any adventurous traveler. (I showed a resident monk his picture in the magazine, but I'm not sure he understood what I was saying.) I hope you'll publish more descriptions of inexpensive, off-the-beaten-path places to stay.
Louella Steller
Houston, Tex.

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