Vivid memories of my childhood in Libya—imposing Roman ruins, horse-drawn buggies, palm tree-lined boulevards—resurfaced as I read Sean Rocha's piece in the August issue [Update: “Inside Libya”].

My father was stationed at Wheelus Air Force Base in Tripoli from 1955 to 1957, and my younger brother was born there. We lived in the city itself, where a local herdsman, with his gaggle of bell-clanging goats, would go door-to-door selling fresh milk. For the equivalent of a quarter a week, a man named Mohammed would guard my parents' car at night—my earliest ambition, as a six-year-old, was to grow up to be just like him. Rocha reminded me of the precious opportunity I'd had to experience a culture that for so many years has been inaccessible to Americans.

Cubans Libre

Highlighting the cubano sandwich at Miami's Latin American Cafeteria [“Summer of Sandwiches”, August], Francine Maroukian asserts that Cuban professionals fleeing Castro's rule 50 years ago “brought their money with them.” The vast majority of immigrants had very little income; instead, they brought their education, their culture, and their will to overcome adversity. Many had no choice but to work in factories, as maids or busboys, or even on farms picking tomatoes. Some eventually started their own businesses or returned to college. Ms. Maroukian is nonetheless correct in writing that we did not suffer from the “customary outsider mentality.” In fact, we are used to thinking we are the center of the universe—and that this positive attitude will take you places!

Sicilian Flavor

After reading Shane Mitchell's feature in May [“The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Schools”], I spent three days with Anna Tasca Lanza at Regaleali, a breathtaking country estate and vineyard in rural Sicily. The experience was a dream come true: the ultimate combination of travel, culture, and history, all amplified by delicious food and wine. Sicilian cooking is defined by local seasonal ingredients, and I will never forget the quality of the butter, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, pistachios, and ricotta cheese that we watched being prepared and that we cooked with later that night. Doing all of this with Anna and her husband was a joy.

World Reception

I loved Gini Alhadeff's article on chain hotels in the June issue [“Chain Reaction”]. My husband and I spent two weeks in Prague and Budapest in May. Because I was concerned about the language barrier, I booked a room at the Hilton in each city. What a wonderful experience: both hotels had a welcoming, English-speaking staff, and we enjoyed having a familiar place to come home to each night. I never thought I'd stay at an American hotel in Europe, but I'm very glad we did.

READER'S FIND New Hampshire
I was all smiles reading Peter Jon Lindberg's “20 Reasons to Love New Hampshire” [August]. As a 10-year resident of Milford, I'd like to add a local treasure to the list: Creative Genius at Home Day Trips [603/673-6715;]. Tour director Carol Bonow organizes visits to area businesses and artists' studios. Touring with Bonow last fall, I stopped at a mill where wooden Shaker boxes are hand-crafted for the Smithsonian, enjoyed a gourmet lunch at a nearby B&B, and was led by a sculptor through the woods where he played as a child and where he now gets inspiration for his works—which include the furniture in his own home. It is an intimate glimpse into New Hampshire's artisanal culture.

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