A memorable trek to Slovakia's Tatra Mountains

Memorable trek to Tatras

"Outdoor Crowd Treks to Slovakia," by John Henderson in the June 28 Travel section reminded me of a driving trip my wife and I took through that area in 2003.


There were very few cars on the road, and we never met any other Americans. As we were driving along, we came across a lovely old-world hotel in a town named Tatranska Lomnica and booked a room for the night.

Taking the advice of the concierge, we drove to a cable car nearby and took a long ride high up into the Tatra Mountains. Although it was mid-August, there was still lots of snow on the ground.

We played in the snow, drank hot chocolate from the snack bar and hiked around the area. Everything was clean and well organized, the views were spectacular and we were virtually alone on top of that mountain.

I'm glad to hear that nothing seems to have changed in 12 years. As Henderson wrote, "Bravo for planet Earth's little secrets."

Robert Carrelli

Thousand Oaks

Next time, eat the evidence

Regarding the folks who tried in vain to bring their Spanish ham through U.S. customs ["Welcome Home — So Sorry About the Ham," On the Spot, June 28, by Catharine Hamm], perhaps the bearers should have used the tactic Sophia Loren employed in "Lady Liberty" ["La Mortadella" in Italian], a 1971 movie in which she was trying to bring in from Italy a large mortadella [Italian spiced bologna] for her fiancé.

Denied entrance with the sausage, she refuses to leave customs, crying out to everyone something along these lines, "Why must you torment her? What has she done? She's a good mortadella!"

The problem was solved when she and the plane's pilot, who had become smitten with her, ate the whole thing before she waltzed through customs.

Too bad your readers didn't have that delectable Spanish ham for lunch on the plane with some good bread and cheese and sangria — a heck of a lot better than having it end up in the customs trash.

William Santoro

Santa Barbara

Laughing for eternity


One more epitaph, if I may. On Catalina, in the island's only cemetery, I read the following: "She gave and forgave, they got and forgot."

Could not stop laughing.

Cathy Gardikas


Oh, Amarillo ...

I hope you know that your article about Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch ["Sinking Your Teeth Into It All," by Ryan Ritchie, June 28] just won me a $100 bet with a friend.

I bet him that there was nowhere I could go and not see or hear a mention of either the song "Amarillo by Morning," the Big Texan or a combination of the two.

I have had to sing the song in customs at Ukraine's Boryspil International Airport near Kiev before the agent would stamp my passport. Never mind the 200 other fellow passengers waiting in line behind me. (This has happened all three trips, by the same agent.) She also asked about the Big Texan Steak Ranch, so I brought her a souvenir (a gen-yoo-wine Texas cow chip encased in resin, of course) with the Big Texan logo on the top.

My buddy made the bet Saturday before I left Amarillo to visit family in the Southland. I just emailed him the page link with an "invoice" for my $100.

Thanks for making my day.

Mike Yazbek

Amarillo, Texas