Swimming With Manatees

LAURENCE Roy Stains did not teach his daughter a very good lesson by taking her to swim with manatees and dolphins ["Fin-Off: Sea Cows vs. Flipper," Nov. 10]. Swim-with programs teach children that it is acceptable to exploit and abuse animals for their own amusement. I am glad Stains pointed out that these programs are controversial -- even cruel -- but I'm disgusted that he did not refrain from participating.

If people truly care about marine mammals, swim-with programs and aquariums should not be part of their travel plans.

Heather Moore


Churchill's Training Ground

BLENHEIM PALACE, England, is well worth visiting [The Unbeaten Path, Nov. 10]. But you omitted one highlight, delightful particularly for children. In a lower-level room, there is a large set-up of miniature lead (not toy!) soldiers, arranged in battle lines so as to depict the actual battle of Blenheim. It is said that Winston Churchill used to arrange these soldiers in battle when he was young, and that his lifetime interest and success in battle matters originated on this battlefield. (A minor cavil: Blenheim is about nine miles from Oxford, on crowded roads.)

Claude Kacser


Hey, Santa Fe

HATS OFF to Gary Lee for his piece on Santa Fe ["Santa Fe Soul," Oct. 20]. My wife and I spent the following week there with my sister, who has had a timeshare there for many years. All the restaurants and sights were on my sister's list of things-to-do (and we did them!). Incidentally, the O'Keeffe Museum does not participate in the $15 four-day pass.

John A. Sexton


Euro Conversions, Cont'd

I DON'T understand why euro traveler's checks would not be acceptable in Spain [Message Center, Nov. 10], but I visited six EU countries in September and found traveler's checks to be unnecessary. I carried several hundred dollars in euros, used credit cards freely even for small purchases, and ATMs are everywhere.

Richard Schmidt


London Lodging Tip

ONE MORE source for accommodations in London: A Better Way to Stay (www.abetterwaytostay.com), a San Francisco agency that rents London apartments and flats, mostly by the week, for less than comparable hotels. It has more than 170 properties in London, several of which are disabled-accessible.

Courtenay Welton


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