I was astonished to read the Nov. 25 Travel section and discover what some people call "Travel Turkeys." According to those standards, my entire bumbling jaunt through Europe several years ago, which I thought was a blast, was actually a disaster.
We arrived in Brussels, validated our Eurailpasses and discovered the trains were on strike. Undaunted, we hitchhiked to Paris, spent two hours looking for the tourist office and two more hours looking for our hotel.
Our stay in Paris was calm, but upon leaving we misread the train schedule and had to spend the night in the train station before heading for the Alps. From there, we boarded a train for Rome but quickly learned that it was a private train -- our Eurailpasses were no good. We got off the train -- along with all our gear and a very long loaf of bread -- in a small Swiss village. There we got our tickets and were relieved to find our train still waiting. Safely back in our seats, we missed the loaf of bread just as the ticket agent ran up to hand it to us through the window, to the cheers of the other passengers.
On the Greek island of Corfu we rented mopeds and were soon zipping along the treacherous mountain roads. I wrecked my bike in a monastery parking lot. The moped was only slightly dented and a little bent; my foot, however, swelled to twice its normal size and turned greenish-black. We spent the next day on a ferry to the mainland of Greece and my foot had a nice rest.
The rest of our trip went smoothly, although we found out belatedly that the locals on Santorini, where we spent five glorious days, were not swimming in the sea because they thought it had been contaiminated by the Chernobyl accident, which had happened a few weeks earlier.
I returned home believing I'd had a successful journey. I went on believing that until I read your Turkeys, when it dawned on me that many people would have considered it a disastrous trip. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Lynn Seuffert Charlottesville
I found the "Turkey" about Tunisia in the Nov. 25 Travel section to be a gross misrepresentation of the Tunisia I know well.
I lived in Tunis from 1982 to 1986. One of my responsibilities was meeting visitors to the country. I would be the first to confess that the airport was often jammed with tourists. However, I never encountered vegetable carts or animals anywhere near the terminal complex.
Sidi Bou Said recalls sharp images to my mind. I kept my sailboat in the neat little marina at the base of the cliffs. The beach here is not littered, although the water in the Bay of Tunis suffers from the pollution that is common to much of the Mediterranean basin. Tunisia is a member of the association of Mediterranean states that has launched a crusade against further contamination of this great sea.
Hotels in Tunisia run the gamut from ultra-luxurious to simple and adequate. I have stayed in many, from one- to five-star facilities. Cleanliness and comfort are universal.
As to the cuisine, Tunisian cooking is influenced by the French, with a savory addition of spices and vegetables. It is unfair to paint a picture of inadequate or unsavory food in a country that justly prides itself on its cuisine.
The Tunisian people are among the most hospitable in the world. To the traveler who wants to experience the exotic and the fun of a seaside vacation, I unreservedly recommend Tunisia. John W. Simmonds Jr. Arlington