The Italian Government Travel Office has published an 86-page booklet packed with helpful information for the traveler. Tips on apartment/villa rentals, hostels, camping, customs regulations, flea markets (in Lombardia, Liguria, Emilia-Romagnon, Toscani, Umbria, Lazio, Campana, Calabria, Sicily). Details on papal audiences/visits to the Vatican City. Other sections devoted to sightseeing/guide services, art galleries/museums/festivals, sports, transportation (air, bus, steamer, hydrofoil). The book gives a breakdown on driving distances between principal cities/towns (Assisi to Venice), along with names, telephone numbers of motels serving these routes. Rail passes are listed along with a table of fares (a second-class ticket between Rome and Venice is indexed at $32, $49 for first-class). In the back of the book, you’ll find a list of dozens of tourist information offices throughout Italy that provide assistance to travelers.
For a free copy of “General Information for Travelers to Italy,” write to the Italian Government Travel Office, 360 Post St., Suite 801, San Francisco 94108.
Chateaux: Another catalogue worth writing for contains 90 pages of color photographs and text that spotlight dozens of chateaux in France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Italy. A total of 127 properties ranging from Renaissance castles to hunting lodges where overnight guests are welcomed by the owners. Rates (based on a minimum of two nights) start at $70 per night, including breakfast/taxes. Dinners average $30 extra. In Portugal, Casa das Torres (dates from the era of King D. Joao V) overlooks northern Portugal’s lush Lima Valley. Near Geel, Belgium, the imposing Chateaux de Waterloo rises on the ruins of a Roman castle surrounded by centuries-old trees. In the South of France, the handsome 18th-Century Chateaux de Saint-Martin stands on the site of a priory along the famous Route du Vins. Endless choices in this slick giveaway. For a free copy of “Chateaux 1991,” write to B&D; de Vogue Travel Services, P.O. Box 1998, Visalia, Calif. 93279, (800) 727-4748.
A Pitch to Learn French: An opportunity to learn competitive baseball and to speak French will be offered students ages 15-21 this summer in France. The coaching team will be led by Bob Flint, a scout for the Houston Astros who coaches at Irvine High School. Accommodations/French lessons at a 17th-Century country home in the South of France. Students will spend the first four nights in Paris, followed by excursions to Thimes (a remote mountain village in the South of France), Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, St. Maximin-la-Ste. Beaume, Cassis, Nimes, Valgorge, Avignon, Arles and France’s haunting Camargue region. Other visits to Les Baux, Montpellier, Annonay, St. Cirques-en-Montagne. Students will look in on a painted cave, Roman ruins, medieval fortresses. Picnicking, swimming, bicycling, canoeing, hiking. Theatrical/operatic performances in a Renaissance castle, a Roman arena, the Pope’s palace in Avignon. Cost, including air fare (LAX-Paris-LAX) figures out to a little more than $100 a day, July 16 to Aug. 15.
Details from Bob Flint at (213) 431-4190 or coordinator Andree Penney, 18 Mandrake Way, Irvine 92715, (714) 786-7701.
The Big Apple: An “Insider’s Guide” to Manhattan lists nearly 150 public services/sights, dozens of helpful telephone numbers. Tells the best places to hail a cab, get your shoes shined, find 24-hour newsstands. Pages of tips/trivia (Fifth Avenue is the dividing line between East/West). The cost of a cab from Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport averages $30/$40. Other pages provide addresses/telephone numbers for the 34th Street Heliport, ferry services, museums, Rockefeller Center, car rental agencies, bookstores, clerical help. The pocket-size guide will lead you to Manhattan’s only 24-hour pharmacy, or the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For copies of the guide, send a Size 10 envelope with 52 cents in stamps to Nine to Five, Manhattan East Suite Hotels, 505 E. 75th St., New York 10021-3103.
Lodging on a Shoestring: A 76-page guide to accommodations at 100 universities in the United States/Canada/Mexico and overseas costs a hefty $13, but it could mean big savings to the summer traveler. More than 700 campuses with guest lodging ranging from $12 to $24 a night. Accommodations vary from single/double rooms to apartments with kitchens. Opportunities in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Africa, the Caribbean. Makes it possible to save in a night several times the cost of the guide. Most colleges provide dining/parking services. Activities: tennis, golf, swimming, films, theater, concerts. Cities listed include London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam. In addition to universities, the guide names nearly 100 YMCAs and 42 agencies offering free travel materials. Besides universities, the guide provides information on European home/farm stays for as little as $8 a night. Toll-free telephone numbers for airlines, car rental agencies, U.S./foreign tourist offices. Other listings for home exchanges, state and national park camping, freighter cruising. Readers are told how to obtain a free currency guide, a list of English-speaking doctors worldwide, discount coupons. In a section titled “Travel Bargains for Those Under 30,” the guide makes mention of room-rental opportunities in London for under $40 a week. Other pages devoted to the “over-60 crowd.”
Copies of the U.S. & Worldwide Travel Accommodations Guide ($13) from Campus Travel Service, P.O. Box 8355, Newport Beach 92660. Enclose $1.50 extra for first-class postage.
Bush Country: C.J. of Azusa asks for the name of a “grand inn” in President Bush’s vacation town of Kennebunkport, Me. My vote goes to The Captain Lord Mansion. Sixteen guest rooms with private baths. King/queen beds plus two rooms with doubles. These are four-posters, some with lace canopies. The Captain Lord is furnished wall to wall with antiques. Rooms (period wallpaper) are reached by spiral staircase. The Captain Lord rated four diamonds by AAA, three stars by Mobil. Hosts provide afternoon tea/sweets, free walking/New England road maps. Fourteen working fireplaces makes The Captain Lord Mansion a cozy spot to hole up on a wintry afternoon. The three-story inn is surrounded by gardens, trees. The breakfast menu lists freshly baked muffins/breads, fruit, French vanilla yogurt, cereals, eggs, cream cheese, coffee, herbal teas. Host Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield are a husband-wife team who gave up the stressful corporate world of advertising to play hosts to travelers in George Bush’s favorite town. I spent a night at The Captain Lord Mansion several years ago, have had nothing but high praise from other visitors since then.
The Captain Lord Mansion, P.O. Box 800, Kennebunkport, Me. 04046, (207) 967-3141. Rates: $110/$195.
Alaska--Hank and Marg Weldon, Valley View: “Lost Chord B&B;, 2200 Fritz Cove Road, Juneau 99801. View rooms, great hosts. Rates: $40/$65.”
Hawaii--Mr. and Mrs. Di Rienz, Oxnard: Enjoyed Beverly’s Bed & Breakfast, 601 Kumukahi Place, Honolulu. Two rooms with private patios/entrances: $50 single or double.
Canada--Mrs. Iris Barnett, Burnaby, British Columbia: “B&B; of Elva B. Russell, 2806 Linden Drive S.W., Calgary, Alberta T3E 6C2. Rates: $33 U.S. single, $55 double. I am sure your readers would enjoy their stay at this friendly location.”
Australia--Audrey Suer, Rancho Palos Verdes: “Highly recommend the waterfront home of John Comport B&B;, P.O. Box 723, Tweed Heads NSW2485. Rates: $40 for two persons.”
New Zealand--Jim and Linda Fletcher, Whittier: “A delightful farm on the South Island operated by June and Murray Stratford, Progress Valley, RD1, Tokanui, South Island. Rates for two: $54 U.S. includes dinner and breakfast.”
England--Bill Wanker, Long Beach: “Seaways Hotel, 30 Sands Road, Paignton, Devon TQ4 6EJ. A delightful hotel overlooking the ocean. Double room with full breakfast: $30/$40 nightly with full four-course dinner optional for $12.”
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