THOUGH I AGREE that you need to leave the cruise ship to see more in Egypt ["Beyond the Nile Cruise," Oct. 9], the article omitted a valuable source for Egypt travel, Misr Travel (800-223-4978, www.misrtravel.org). Eunice Roy is very helpful. We went to Egypt in January and were treated like royalty.
G. S. Shukla
Tipping the Maid, Cont'd
I ENJOYED Gary Lee's article about his day of housekeeping at the Ritz. Me, I'm a Super 8-Motel 6 kind of guy. Nonetheless, I leave a $2 tip every morning for the housekeeper in the ashtray on a pillow, so they know the money is meant for them. I recommend leaving a tip daily, instead of at the end of your stay, in case different housekeepers are taking care of you.
Although not the purpose of the tips, I find the housekeepers at my budget hotels make a special effort to leave an extra towel or two, and arrange my toiletries.
Richard E. Mattersdorff
El Paso, Tex.
Niagara Falls, Cont'd
I WAS DISMAYED, and a little distressed, to read that while many of your readers submitted Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, as a must-see stop, there was no mention of its raison d'etre, the Shaw Festival ["Taking Sides on Niagara Falls," Oct. 9]. This acclaimed repertory theater provides high-quality productions of both popular and obscure plays by George Bernard Shaw, as well as other modern playwrights. Each season (April to November) includes a major musical theater production.
While I agree that the shopping and wine give added value, the main reason for visiting is the Shaw Festival. Check it out online at www.shawfest.com.
IN THE NORTHEAST, Amtrak now requires reserved seats on all trains -- not just Acela and business class. Worse, if one's plans change and the original ticket was purchased with a discount (e.g., AAA), a new ticket is required and will be issued with money due. So far I have had ticket adjustments of $8 to $40 on the New York-to-D.C. leg. Also, changing the ticket (in New York) can take upwards of 20 minutes in line.
Archie M. Andrews III
Paris Metro Tip
I AM a frequent visitor to Paris, where I had a troubling experience recently. I was traveling from Charles de Gaulle to Etoile-La Defense on a Metro ticket but used an RER train, and while I was exiting the La Defense station the turnstyle blocked, with no add-fare machine in sight to bail me out. A security agent immediately approached me and demanded on the spot a 35-euro fine in cash. She took no pity despite my protests in French as an out-of-towner. Apparently the RER fare is higher than the Metro fare.
Moral: To avoid the fine or an arrest, prior to buying the ticket be sure of the correct rail system -- no easy feat for the close-in suburban points that are on both systems.
Manuel Lisandro Knight
THANKS FOR Andrea Sachs's piece on "Island Hopping by Boat and Bike" [June 26]. We followed her suggestions and had a great trip over Labor Day weekend. I urge you to feature more ideas for bike/train trips, for reasonably priced jaunts in not-too-distant locations.
MY WIFE and I just completed your recommended trip. Your recommendations were right on target, except for one thing. The drive both ways was well over six hours -- more like seven or seven and a half.
Other than the drive, we really enjoyed our trip. I typically read the Travel section to find interesting itineraries and ideas, and this was ideal for us.
WE DID it! We loved it! It is a perfect trip with a little bit of everything, and an adventure that we will never forget. We were apprehensive about the biking part, but we pulled it off and were both happy with our accomplishment. I have been telling everyone how wonderful it was and that they should do it.
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