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Travel letters: World's fairs remain a universal delight

World's fairs are 'as relevant and popular as ever,' says @latimestravel reader

In talking about Expo 2015 in his article "Where to Head Next" [Dec. 28], Christopher Reynolds asserts that "world's fairs aren't the world-shaking spectacles they used to be." I respectfully disagree.

Universal expositions, which are held every five years, are as relevant and popular as ever. In fact, the last fair, in Shanghai in 2010, attracted 73 million people. Compare that with the number of people who attended the London 2012 Olympics — just over 9 million.

Because our country let its membership lapse in the Bureau of International Expositions — the equivalent of the Olympic Committee — and the fact that a fair hasn't happened in our country since 1984, Americans have largely forgotten about world's fairs.

That 147 nations are participating in Milan, Italy, proves that, indeed, bringing people together to showcase a country's people, industry and most of all, their ideals, remains relevant.

Todd Duncan

Aliso Viejo

London letdown

Good article on London at the holidays and accurate, but you owe it to your readers to warn them that London is stone dead around Christmas ["London Glows at Christmas" by Darren Loucaides, Dec. 21]. Many restaurants are closed, except at some of the larger hotels.

The streets are empty, and there are very few taxis to be found. No concerts.

We visited during Christmas years ago and stayed at a hotel near the American Embassy in Mayfair. Its only restaurant open had all the charm of your local Denny's, and the menu was pretty sparse.

So we rented a car, hit the back roads and had a blast. We pub-hopped in the small villages, and we were treated like celebrities. One pub owner had us drawing names out of a hat for its Christmas gift distribution. We wound up castle-touring in Wales where we met a young man making a try at the restaurant business. He treated us to dinner at one of his early restaurants. Name is Gordon Ramsay.

We wound up New Year's Eve in Winchester and were totally surprised that the custom there is to pub-hop dressed in elaborate costumes, like our Halloween. Crowded, friendly, noisy, drunk and hugely fun. Just get thee out of London at Christmas.

Harry & Jean Pope

Long Beach

Italy for lovers

In April 2001 my husband and I were driving through Erba on our way to Lake Como, lost in the countryside and with no reservations. Like a mirage in the late afternoon sunlight, Castello di Casiglio appeared in the distance like a dream. One room left. Here is what I wrote that evening:

Recipe for lovers in Italy:

1 driving adventure to Italian lakes countryside

1 discovery of genuine castello

1 skylight room

1 night with nothing between you, your love and the stars

1 bottle BV Coastal Estates Chardonnay (smuggled from California and saved for the perfect moment)

Mix all night!

Jade Kemble

San Diego

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