Monday, November 24, 2014

Additional Comments
France Trip 2014 
with Darrell & India Mount


1.  The Pullman Hotel was fantastic! It was especially nice to have croissants for the early departure  to the airport on our last day. Patricia 
2.  Agree - the Pullman was a fabulous hotel as was the setting of the hotel in Tours. Also the tour guide was so kind, sweet, and knowledgeable - taking us to some out the way places and knowing about them in such detail.  Rebecca

3.  The Libourne hotel was not the greatest!  But the Chateau Belmont was ***********.

4.  Bill agrees with #3.  And: Pullman was very nice. Chateau Belmont was fantastic.  Best meal was at Chateau Belmont.  Don't go to Chennonceau on a weekend - crowded.  Don't go to Louvre or Orsay on Mon or Tues - too crowded.  Free Louvre on Thurs night was great. Instead of 200, there were 20 people in the room to see the Mona Lisa.  Hotel Mercure had crowded rooms.  Others were okay.  Chezanne's workshop was mediocre. We should have included the Matisse Museum near Nice.  ALL IN ALL AN EXCELLENT TOUR.

5.  Good chaperone - Marie Claire.  Good museum guides - Xenia?  Good drivers - Guiseppi and Rafaello.  We were very well escorted.  Thank you.  Sharon

Dear Darrell and India,

Merci, merci for the most wonderful trip through France! You prepared us so well with your fabulous classes on the history and art of France before we ever left. 

When we arrived in Nice there you were at the airport to welcome us.  From there you guided us for the next fourteen days through wonderful marche’s in Nice (oh the flowers), and Mougins, with its white tents and the home to Picasso for 11 years, to Aix-en-Provence (oh the lavender), and Sarlat (oh the chocolate!)   There were the museums –Marc Chagall’s whimsical paintings of the Old Testament, so full of joy; the Toulouse Lautrec Musee in Albi; the mind-blowing impressionistic art at the Musee d’Orsay, and of course the Louvre with its “Winged Victory” and “Venus de Milo” and the “Mona Lisa” and 35,000 other works of art.

On we went, with you shepherding us through castles and chapels and cathedrals, like the Matisse Chapel in Vence, with its brilliant stained glass windows; and the Sainte Cecile Cathedral in Albi, with its massive rounded buttresses, to the Chartres Cathedral where the famous Malcolm Miller opened our eyes to the symbolism, history, and architecture of this amazing place.  A metro ride from our Hotel Pullman to Sacre Coeur at the top of Montmartre, with crowds of people outside on the steps listening to a man play his guitar and sing songs of John Denver in English, a little “Rocky Mountain High” in Paris.  The cathedral of all cathedrals might be Notre Dame on Ile de la Cite.  We can’t forget our visits to the “maisons” of Renoir in Cagnes sur Mer, and Cezanne in Aix, and Arles, the town of Van Gogh. Even though the Yellow House is no longer there, we did see the famous cafĂ© that he painted and a first-century Roman amphitheater. 

Speaking of homes, we stayed in our own Chateau Belmont in Tours and visited the Chateau de Chenonceau, built by King Henry II for his wife, Catherine de Medici, and –oh yes- for his beautiful sweet smelling mistress, Diane de Poitier.  Along the way we visited the colorful town of Cassis and took a boat ride on the Mediterranean to view the cliffs, the amazing Caves of Lascaux, the walled city of Carcassonne, and a float down the Dordogne River.

And oh, the food and the wine were tres magnifique.  As it is said, “A day without wine is like a day without sunshine!” We had sunshine every day! :-)  We even toured the winery and vineyards of Chateau Soutard in the St. Emilion region. There was the delicious dinner in Eze, lunch on the benches in Albi that we bought at the large covered market, a gourmet lunch at La Petite Tonnelle in the hill town of Beynac, and who will forget our festive farewell dinner in Paris.

Oh, Paris, Paris, the city of light, with its Eiffel Tower right outside our hotel, and the parks, gardens, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, and the romantic Seine River that runs through the heart of the city. 

So, Darrell and India, for all of this and so much more, a thousand thanks. It was TRES BIEN from beginning to end!!!     May all your days be blessed with sunshine (and a little wine) and if rain should come your way, may it be like April in Paris! 

With love from all your French amis, 2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Additional Comments
France Trip with Darrell and India Mount
October 2014

From India Mount:  Carol took this photo (above) in Mougin at the food festival.  It shows Dr. Carl W., Darrell and me.
Dear Darrell and India:  A big thank you for a wonderful, magical experience in France.  It was all great--great weather, great people, great sights, great food, great wine, great art.  You did so much to make the trip memorable.  With gratitude and Love, ML

Hi Susie:  Attached is the photo we spoke of (below).  It was made in Mougin at the Festival International de la Grastonomie.  Jean-Paul, the chef, is the owner of a one star Michelin restaurant in Geneve, Switzerland.  He welcomed me any time.  He is quite charming and great fun to converse with--even having our language challenges..smiles say much...I love European men!--Patricia

Monday, October 27, 2014

Peru Trip
October 2014

Margo:  What a great trip!  So many wonderful images and memories.
Nancy:  Must say that I do love knowing there is a travel experience ahead of me.  Peru met all my expectations and then some!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Darrell and India Mount France Trip

Here is a photo of a "perky French woman" from the France trip.  More comments coming soon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Preparation for Darrell & India Mount's France Trip
Trip:  Sept 17 to Oct 1, 2014

Twenty-seven people are going on an art and culture trip to France with Darrell & India Mount.  The photos are from a packing demonstration at a pre-trip get-together at Art of Travel this week.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Luna Convento at Amalfi Coast

Susie,  Ah thank you! We meant to email you when we got back. Luna Convento was WONDERFUL. We were so glad that we went with the Deluxe room. We had the most incredible views. Two balconies...the left one provided water on water on water. The right one gave us the most gorgeous view of the harbor and ton of Amalfi. The pool was fantastic. Breakfast was delicious. We really couldn't have asked for a better experience. We just wish we had had more days there. Thank you for your fantastic hotel recommendation!
As far as transportation, the car rental option worked fine for us. The roads were a little treacherous haha, but we made it!  Also, the Austria/Prague portion of our trip was amazing as well. Thanks!--Margo


Monday, June 16, 2014

Japan Trip

Just returned last night and had a fabulous time.  We had the best guide in Osaka/Kyoto. Miho Asano.
Please pass our appreciation to the Japanese partner that put it all together.  Thanks. Balan

...  Thank you so much for a beautiful week in Maui!  The villas were so comfortable and met all of our needs so well.  We enjoyed everything and appreciated the care and attention to detail that Tropical Villas provided.   We look forward to coming back again in the future.  Aloha and Mahalo!  Carol

Friday, June 6, 2014

Susie Mammel

Susie recently returned from a fascinating trip that included Indonesia, Malaysia and Bali.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Columbia River Cruise

Recently, Susie Mammel and friends enjoyed a fun, informative and scenic cruise on the Columbia River.

Monday, May 12, 2014

South America

....It was an awesome trip.  Alex posted a picture of her feet with her Chaca shoes on with Machu Picchu in the background.  Anyway, the Chaca company picked this picture up and it went viral over the internet!...We look forward to our trip to Scotland and Ireland.  I can't wait until we plan it.  I have a long wish list....  Thanks for all you did to make our trips so special.  Best regards, John & Amy

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Charleston, SC &
Savannah, GA

Mercer Williams House--Savannah

Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina

Hi Dee,
We are back as of last Thursday evening. What a great trip we had! Everything went as planned. In Charleston, we walked our legs off—didn’t drive anywhere except to go out to Middleton Plantation. The history walk was great. Edmonston-Alston house was good and then we toured the Nathaniel Russell home-even better than Edmonston. Fort Sumter tour was good, took in the Marion Park Farmers Mkt and then went on Charlotte St home tour—so interesting. On Sunday, we spent 5 hours at Middleton Plantation—carriage ride, walked to all exhibits, toured the home, and ate lunch there! Then walked the King Street Second Sunday street fair. Back roads to Savannah on Monday: Beaufort was pretty/ate lunch by the water; Bluffton was the perfect laid back, rural S.C. town. Savannah: Trolley tour on Tuesday a.m. and then in the afternoon, we walked to Owens Thomas House, Davenport House and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist and toured all of them. On Wednesday, we went to 3 art museums and toured the Mercer Williams house. On Thursday, drove to Ft. Pulaski and Tybee Island (light house and lunch there) and then drove to the airport. We walked so much and saw so much in both cities—it was wonderful! Never went to Lady and Sons or Mrs. Wilkes, but ate at some great restaurants in both cities. Thank you for all of your help in planning our trip. The condo in Charleston turned out to be perfect—right in the heart of everything and a well-appointed place. The Hampton Inn in the historic district in Savannah was a great location and good hotel.
We appreciate everything you did for our trip.
Sorry to be so long-winded, but just couldn’t help it!
Thanks again!
Sandy and John

Thursday, March 20, 2014

South America - Chile, Peru, Uruguay

                                                Inkaterra Machu Pichu Pueblo Hotel

Inkaterra was perfect.  We like places like that.  The staff was awesome.  all 3 of us are nature nuts so it was perfect.  After seeing it, we were so happy that we did not stay at the hotel right by MP.  Carol & Johnny

Friday, February 21, 2014

South America Cruise on Holland America
From Rio to Santiago

This was the best vacation ever.  Saw the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.  The weather was sunny and perfectly clear.  In fact, the weather was unbelievable most of the time.  Couldn't have asked for anything better.  Every place we went was excellent!  We couldn't have asked for anything better.--John, Raylene, Charlotte and Ella

Monday, February 17, 2014


The accommodations of the Big Five were wonderful and service of the hotels excellent.  The driver was superb and the guide adequate.  I strongly suspect that the guide got kickbacks from the stores he took us which is part of their culture so the prices at one store in particular were higher than I would have liked. The quality of the goods were excellent though.  The guide and driver were always punctual and polite. I like Tauck better because kickbacks are not tolerated in their organization and the guides constantly superior. As far as India is concerned, the culture is toxic to women, it is customary to take advantage of a tourist; the dirt and poverty extreme.The temples beautiful, the people we encountered were very friendly and the women colorful and for the most part beautifully dressed. I can not prove the kickback theory so I would strongly prefer it not mentioned to Collin as I do not want to be unfair to the guide  It is customary practice in India but I find it abhorrent. But you may want to let your other customers know if they decide to go with the Big Five as a guide to India and spending money.

I hope you and Dee are doing well. Cheers!  Karen