We experienced our own version of 'Italy's Alpine Highs' [April] last fall in Tirano—an enchanting village, located at the end of the breathtaking Bernina Express train route, that lives life at a leisurely pace.


In restaurants more sophisticated than we had ever imagined, we sampled countless specialties from the Valtellina region. The fragrant soaps of Erboristeria Helleboro continue to delight, and I treasure my gold earrings from Federico Vitali, bought in Bormio years ago. Thank you for a wonderful article; it has inspired us to return to seek out everything we missed on previous trips.

Courage in Flight
George Gurley's article about his aviophobia spoke to me ["Air Time," April]. I, too, had flown for years without any twinge of anxiety, but the more I learned about planes, the more nervous I became. My phobia peaked on my honeymoon to Jamaica, when a hurricane delayed us for seven hours. My new husband and I camped out in the airport bar with the other passengers, trying to calm our growing nerves, but I ended up having a panic attack at 35,000 feet and was sick for the entire flight. The lesson of my story?I have not let my fear of plunging to my death stop me from traveling, and with each flight, I build more and more strength. Now I breathe deeply, imagine a calm place, and picture the airplane landing safely on the tarmac.

Over the Top in Bhutan
Normally the arrival of a new Travel + Leisure signifies a time to savor unique experiences, reap practical advice and suggestions, and add to my growing wish list of destinations, but not the February issue, with Guy Trebay's article on Bhutan ["A World Away"]. His report on Western-style development there and the influx of luxury hotels with all their excesses—vacationing Hollywood divas, pomegranate margaritas, "tubs as big as sarcophagi"—triggered revulsion; visitors to Bhutan should focus on the unique culture and spirit of this beautiful, pristine land. Why take such a cumbersome journey if you just want to experience L.A.?

Memory Lane
My parents were born on the island of Faial, and I spent many childhood vacations there, so I appreciated the article on the Azores by David Hochman ["Isles Apart," April]. Last year, my husband and I took our family to Faial and São Miguel. Although I loved the islands as a kid, it was only during this visit that I fully appreciated their natural beauty. The only letdown was our trip to the bank—you really take a hit cashing in U.S. dollars for euros.

During a recent trip to Portugal to visit my wife's family, I discovered Boca do Rio Resort [Mexilhoeira da Carregacão, Lagoa, Faro; 351-282/402-500; doubles from $86]. With its Ricardo Legorreta–esque design (a modern blend of open space, natural light, and color) and simple but elegant regional cooking, the hotel eschews the traditional Moorish style that tends to dominate the Algarve; it draws many Portuguese vacationers, rather than tourists on package trips. Located in a former sardine factory on the harbor, directly across from Portimão, this gem also plays host to a world-class instructional sailing program and yacht club.

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Boca do Rio Resort