On the Bayou

CONGRATULATIONS to Mike Tidwell for his fine article on the Bayou country of Louisiana ["On the Bayou," Aug. 22]. He has provided a vivid and respectful account of the daily lives of these hard-working watermen and of the extraordinary beauty of this region, and without a trace of the smugness often associated with The Post. Let's have more from this splendid writer.

Raymond L. Sphar

Washington

Path Ways

JOHN BURGESS mentioned taking a path marked "Private" on his hike through the Kent countryside in southern England ["Footloose & London-Free," Aug. 22]. He assured readers that "though the road is marked 'private,' it's fine to use it--an official walking route . . . runs along the road."

Your readers might be interested to know why hikers are entitled to walk along roads of this sort. The reason is that there is a network of "rights of way" throughout England and Wales. Public access is an inviolable right, even if the paths cross private land.

Rights of way over privately owned land have been recognized for centuries in England because the economic life of the countryside required that citizens be able to take the shortest route from A to B. However, it wasn't until 1949 that the network of pathways was properly mapped and access was fully established in law. As a result, every year, millions of locals and visitors alike enjoy the benefits of this unique resource across the length and breadth of the English countryside.

Fiona J. Mackintosh

Washington

Cleveland by Rail

CRAIG STOLTZ'S piece on Cleveland ["Cleveland Rolls,"Aug. 22], about how a visitor can see places of interest by using the city's rapid transit system rather than a rental car, was good reading. One place he overlooked is Cleveland's newly renovated Main Library, its recently opened (1997) Lewis Stokes Wing with the delightful Eastman Reading Garden. There is an excellent self-guided tour of the art, architecture and collections of the main library. These buildings are worth seeing for any visitor to Cleveland, not just library users.

Kathleen Jaschke

Arlington

THANKS FOR your fun article about Cleveland's resurgence as a travel destination. I especially appreciated the fact that you highlighted their rapid transit options. Since I travel to Cleveland often, I've used the transit system and prefer it to renting a car. The Baymont Inn (formerly the Budgetel) has served me well, and I have found the rooms and the service friendly, affordable and without the negative aspects you found in the downtown hotel.

One correction: On your map, Gund Arena and Jacobs Field were reversed.

I found it odd that you featured only MetroJet as the airline carrier. Southwest also flies direct to Cleveland for the same fare or for a lower fare. Continental Airlines also has good service, and because of Southwest's lead, their fares are also competitive.

Dianne J. Russell

Mount Rainier

HAVING JUST returned from Cleveland, I found the light rail system user-friendly and convenient. I especially like the option of purchasing tickets on board the train as well as from station attendants.

The only problem with the transit system is trying to download information from the RTA Web site that can be accessed from the Convention and Visitors Bureau site (www.travelcleveland.com).

Finally, one of the best views of the city occurs as you enter the city from the airport Red Line station to the Tower City station. The rails run parallel to the river that is connected by a series of bridges that are breathtaking. This view alone is worth the price of the fare.

Thomas Johnson

Baltimore

Same Old Isle

OCEAN ISLE, N.C., definitely gets our vote ["There You Go Again," Aug. 15]. My family and I have enjoyed it yearly since 1983. At first there were only five of us, but some years have included a grandmother, two new in-laws and two grandchildren. My parents make the yearly 15-hour drive down from Connecticut, and won't even consider any other beach. The water is amazing, the fishing is great, and the beach is never crowded.

Christine Williams

Reston

Volunteer Vacations, Cont'd.

AFTER READING "A Working Vacation" [Aug. 8], I thought your readers might be interested in volunteer opportunities abroad. My daughter has volunteered for three years in France during the summer, helping to restore old monuments, with an organization called Rempart (1 rue des Guillemites, 75004 Paris, France, www.rempart.com). She meets not only French volunteers but people from other countries. She has worked on a 19th-century hospital on an island south of Marseille, a 16th-century chapel in Provence and a 17th-century castle in Vendee.

There are many choices and the camps are usually in villages. There are side trips available on days off. Needless to mention, the food is quite good.

The fee is minimal. As a mother, I also appreciate that the group offers insurance for foreign volunteers in case they have to return home due to a medical emergency.

Annie Normand

Arlington

Tip Tips

TO ADD TO Travel Tip 109 on hotel clock radios ["Check That Clock Radio!," Aug. 15]: You should not only check if the alarm is already set on the clock radio, but also the following :

1. That the time is correct, making sure it's set to a.m. or p.m. as appropriate.

2. That the alarm works.

3. That the alarm is set for a.m. and not p.m. for the next morning.

I came close to missing a flight once because I had set the alarm for p.m. instead of a.m. And a couple weeks ago, at a motel in Philadelphia, when I tested the alarm it didn't work.

Leon Shieh

McLean

RE TRAVEL Tip 110 ["Bookmarked by the Pyramids," Aug. 22]: Have the admission tickets plasticized, like a real bookmark. You could put tickets from the same trip in the same bookmark.

William B. Tiep

Alexandria

Iceland, Cont'd.

I AGREE with Michael Lustig's response to Carol Vinzant's article on Iceland [Message Center, Aug. 22]. Having traveled to Iceland this spring, I can reply to his questions.

Icelandair Holidays to Iceland are wonderful, cost-effective packages, especially if you travel during the fall/spring or "value season." Icelandair flies directly to Reykjavik from BWI, a pleasant five-hour flight; the packages include transfers to and from your hotel and a full breakfast at the hotel.

I stayed at the Hotel Loftleidir, which had easy access to the city center either by public transportation or an easy one-mile walk. I did not rent a car, but took several tours, which can be arranged either through the hotel or the tourist center in town.

I found Icelanders to be extremely friendly and helpful, Reykjavik charming and very European, and the scenery magnificent and quite different from anything I had ever seen before or since.

Barbara Ranhand

Rockville

MY HUSBAND and I returned from Iceland three weeks ago after an enjoyable 10 days of travel. The impressions I have of Icelanders are that they are friendly, helpful and very proud of their island country.

One thing omitted from Vinzant's article is the many geological wonders one sees. This includes the tectonic plates that are separating from north to south and making up the North American rift. Iceland has miles of lava fields, but it also showcases beautiful green mountains and amazing waterfalls. Had Vinzant stayed longer or explored further, she would have seen the reforesting projects of the island.

Make the five-hour trip north and you will enjoy this wonderful country. It's a feast for the eyes.

Betty Porreca

Highland, Md.

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