HAVING HAD the opportunity to visit Wieliczka twice in the 1980s, I was interested to read your article on the famous Polish salt mine [Side Orders, Jan. 2]. However, I would like to point out that your map shows Krakow and Wieliczka in the wrong place. It appears your mapmakers confused Wroclaw with Krakow. Krakow is much farther to the east than your map depicts it, residing north of Slovakia, not the Czech Republic.
Our map did indeed locate Krakow incorrectly. We regret the error.
I ENJOYED reading Gary Lee's article on Alaska's St. Paul Island ["Arctic Cycles,"Jan. 2]. For those contemplating a trip there, I recommend Sumner MacLeish's book, "Seven Words for Wind" (Epicenter Press, Fairbanks/Seattle, 1997). The author, daughter of journalist Rod MacLeish, lived in the Pribilofs, married to an Aleut, for several years. Her book is almost poetry. It puts a face on the islands and adds heart to their stern landscape and weather. I wouldn't dream of traveling there without having read this.
I COMMEND Isa Engleberg, who won Extreme Travel Trivia's Contest 12 ["Mystery Isle," Dec. 19] by identifying Tasmania as the mystery island. Because of the southwestern tilt of Tassie in the puzzle, I couldn't identify the island that I called home for four months this year. But that was not enough to dupe Isa, who enjoyed multiple visits to that spectacular place!
The Real England
I HAD an interesting experience on my just-completed visit to England.
When traveling, I like to include a close look at the people and how they live, and not just the usual castles and monuments. So when someone described Blackpool as the place where Andy Capp spends his vacations, that was where I headed.
It's a large resort town on the Irish Sea, about an hour's drive north from Liverpool. Tourists are its sole industry, and it features a long seafront promenade, any number of eating facilities all offering fish and chips (none earning any Michelin stars), junk shops full of souvenirs too hideous to describe, modest-looking B&Bs, and hordes of visitors wearing funny hats and T-shirts with text such as "Kiss Me, I'm Terrific." Donkey rides are available on the beach, and three long piers extend into the sea. Loudspeakers play the hits of the '40s and '50s, and what a shock it was to discover that I still know the words to every one of them!
The visitors are mostly families with children, and senior citizens. The younger or singles crowd is conspicuously absent. So are casinos or other gambling establishments. Missing also are foreign tourists, including Americans. This is a strictly British, nay Midlands, scene. The general effect is of a time capsule: This is what working-class England must have been 50 years ago.
That description may conjure up Atlantic City minus the casinos, but it is more. This is a piece of England, and a section of the British population, that most American visitors seldom get to see. Which is unfortunate, because no visitor's view of England is complete without that.
Though fish and chips is not my idea of gourmandism, the day I spent in Blackpool was one of the most enjoyable I have spent in a very long time.
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