How Swede It Was
I READ Gary Lee's recent story ["Summer Stockholm," Aug. 1] with some special and personal interest. I was fortunate to have spent four years living and working in Stockholm between 1996 and 2000. A fall 2004 trip took me back into this same Northern European region. Nice article!
Photo Journeys Abroad
YOU OVERLOOKED the lower fares that Independence Air offers to several cities in your Aug. 1 section ["Ferry Tales" in Coming & Going and "Charleston, by Night and Day"]. Fares to Rochester, N.Y., start at $128 round trip, while fares to Charleston, S.C., start at $138.
Although you won't find the fares on Travelocity, Orbitz, etc., they're easy to find/book at www.flyi.com.
Q&A and You
YOUR RESPONSE to the reader's inquiry about Finnish saunas [Travel Q&A, July 25] was most informative and concise. It omitted, however, the all-important "C" designation -- C for Celsius -- in quoting the recommended 80 to 100C temperature range in the heated sauna. That's 176 to 212 on the Fahrenheit scale.
Moreover, at 80 to 100F, a bather would barely experience the desired perspiration and might even suffer nausea or faintness, rather than the exhilerating and invigorating feeling a true sauna brings.
Sauna Society of America
PERSUANT to the question posed concerning the Major Bull Riding Competition, another option would be the Calgary Stampede (www.calgarystampede.com). It's a bull-riding rodeo competition held yearly in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Not only does it have top-rated bull riders, but many other facets of Wild West competition. Calgary is a wonderful town, with still some semblance of the Old West. It's in close proximity to the famous ski resort of Banff and also an easy ride to the Badlands, home to one of the largest dinosaur museums and "digs" in North America.
Richard L. Gaertner
I ENJOYED YOUR article on Bermuda ["The Beach Is Always Free . . .," July 25], and I hope it encourages others to visit. I lived there from 1961 to 1964 while my father was stationed at Kindley Air Force Base. It was a wonderful, almost magical time in my life, but I didn't return until 38 years later in July 2002.
Alas, from Memphis, there are no bargain flights, but, yes, it's possible to have a good vacation there without spending a fortune. I stayed at the Rosedon Hotel (www.rosedonbermuda.com) in Hamilton, convenient to the bus line and ferry system, and it provides free transportation to Elbow Beach. I can also recommend Bistro 12.
I suggest reading the "Bermuda Atlas & Gazetteer" by G. Daniel Blagg, which is an excellent source of info. Plus, the watercolor pictures and maps are awesome. It can be bought at Amazon.com; it's expensive but worth it.
Cinque Terre, Cont'd
ROBERT CAMUTO'S wonderful article about Cinque Terre ["Italy's Greatest Hit," June 27] landed on our doorstep 48 hours before our departure. He captured the region's beauty but also expressed dismay over the number of tourists. We had a different experience in little Vernazza, perhaps because, as Camuto notes, it lacks some of the amenities and the larger beach of Monterosso up the coast.
Yes, there were lots of tourists, but few tour groups. More importantly, the town was brimming with its own life -- old men and women on benches chatting and fussing over grandchildren, men hauling boats out of the little harbor when a storm kicked up.
Best of all were evening soccer matches on the beach. By the time we left we could compliment the ticket agent at the railway station on his stellar play in goal -- only to have his colleague (and teammate) interrupt to ask with a laugh why we were ignoring his two goals.
Buckingham Palace Tours
THE STATE rooms at Buckingham Palace will be open for tours through Sept. 26. The tours are self-paced audio and are available in several languages. The price is $23.60. Info is at www.royal.gov.uk. Parliament tours are available July 24-Sept. 4 and Sept. 18-Oct. 2. The tours are by guide and are also available in several languages. The price is $12.80 and you see the Queen's Robing Room, the House of Lords, Commons and some of the other back rooms. Info is at www.parliament.uk.
We took both tours last year and found both to be very interesting. The palace seems expensive, but if you ever wanted to go into it, this is the only chance most of us will get.
One Good Inn
DURING a recent visit to beautiful Costa Rica, my family and I had the great pleasure to visit Hotel La Finca Que Ama, "The Loving Estate," a small bed-and-breakfast country estate of casitas set in the mountains midway between San Jose and the popular Jaco Beach area on the central Pacific Coast.
The hoteliers have created an inviting and peaceful hideaway offering gracious hospitality, a glorious view and scrumptious fare. It is a perfect place to relax away from the tourist crowds yet close to the heart of Costa Rica, including Turu Ba-ri Parque Tropical, the largest tropical park in Central America. Details: www.costaricafinca.com.
Write us: Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Fax: 202-912-3609. E-mail: travel@ washpost.com. Letters are edited for length and clarity.