Tuesday Travel Trouble: That’ll be extra…

Last week I wrote about our visit to Normandy.  It was truly a wonderful add-on to our adventures in France.  But it sure started out rocky!  First there was the car rental snafu, but once we made it out of Paris in the rental, we figured we were home free.  If only we’d known at the time what awaited us at our “hotel.”

I’ve generally had good experiences with the various online travel agencies when it comes to hotels.  As far as the big names go, I’ve used Expedia, Travelocity, and Hotels.com several times.  I’ve even gone with some of the lesser-known (to Americans) online sites such as Booking.com (very good coverage, especially in Europe) and Venere.  And of course we’ve promoted the value of vacation rentals in the past from HomeAway and Airbnb—just as long as you know what you’re getting. Read more

Tent Camp

Tuesday Travel Trouble: Out with the friendly warthogs

When I was a kid, my grandparents spent three years on a small island in the Indian Ocean called La Réunion (a French overseas department).  While they were there, my parents planned a family trip for us to see them, with amazing experiences in Egypt and Kenya on the way.  In my recollection, everything went pretty smoothly in Egypt (except for an incident with my brother’s low blood sugar in Cairo), and our Kenyan safari was spectacular.  Where we ran into trouble was the overnight stay in Nairobi just before heading into the brush. Read more

Hooligans waiting for the next train

Adventures in Paris: European living

It’s been just over a week in Paris and we’re settling into our big-city lifestyle.  Our apartment certainly is European—a mix of tile and wood floors, small ancient bathrooms, tiny kitchen, no air conditioning, no dryer.  On one of the early days we did a load of laundry in the small washing machine that sits in the corner of a bathroom.  But like I said, there is no dryer, so we had clothes hanging in the two bathrooms and all around the apartment to dry.  Read more