Elderhostel Notebook  #19, Nov. 24, 1997

Elderhostel Notebook  is a production of The Senior Group, an
informal group of older netizens.

It provides a place for elderhostlers to share information about
Elderhosteling and other learning experiences related to travel.

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    From the Editors Notebook

    Elderhostel Reviews


    Editor's Notebook
 My recovery from knee surgery is going well and I can once again
wend my way over to the university to use their scanner so I can
handle any photos you wish to send in along with a SASE to
illustrate elderhostel reports.

It is also helpful if the site you visit has a web page with
illustrations such as an upcoming report in our December Notebook
of an elderhostel at  Colonial Williamsburg where we will have on
the web page some Christmas scenes from colonial times from Williamsburg.

We continue to keep a data base of all reports whether published
in the notebooks or not that you can query by sending me a
keyword or two to search though my elderhostel folder on my hard
disk. It is a fast process taking only a minute or two for each
query as the GREP search program I use is very fast and puts the
results on my screen where they can be quickly inserted in an
e-mail response.

   Elderhostel Reviews

Centralia College "fire and Ice"  Aug l997

Excellent program.  For very active hostelers. lots of walking on
uneven surfaces, steep grades etc.  Sometimes down hills and or
mountains and of course back up! ( up to one and a half miles in
length) No classsrooms.  all teaching was done on bus and at
sites visited. Long days (8am untill 5 or 5:30 Pm)

Accomodations:  good.  shared baths but rooms fairly large with
built in sinks and drawers underneath.  Limited  private baths
available. Food:  Good  cafeteria styled with large breakfasts
and dinners. (Sack lunches which you packed yourself and were
eaten at picnic sites of the day) Location:  between Seattle and
Portland-out in the country at a CAtholic conference center.

POEM  written by one of my cotravelers

We came from around the 48;
And all had a time that was absolutly great!
We learned lots `bout volcanoes and glaciers, `twas nice`,
During this Elderhostel called "Fire and Ice".

We saw a lot and we all gave big raves,
>From St Helens to Ranier,Adams and even caves!
Bert, along with his easel and pen,
Made us see how things were `way back when`.

Now many came to beat the heat;
That didn't work but we sure did eat!
>From breakfasts huge, to self-made lunches,
The calories came by bunches and bunches!

Our home at St. Marys was fine--not a care,
Well, maybe a bit with bathrooms to share!
Daily rides were all fun, thanks to Bus Driver Tim,
Though sometimes I'm sure, he could've hung us from a limb!

Note:  Bert and Carla Woodward left the next monday for Hawaii to
teach for 2 years.  They are going to try to continue this
program during thier summer vacations.

Billie   BAHamm@webtv.net

Editors Note- This is one of the reports illustrated on the EN
web site.


Baltimore Hebrew University program

I have just returned from an elderhostel at Baltimore Hebrew
University.  The program was wonderful---one section about
Heifetz and Milstein, violinists who were students of Leopold
Auer, superb violinists who had an impact on contemporaries and
those who followed, taught by a man well versed in his subject;
one about the Arab/Israeli situation taught by the president of
BHU, who has had positions in the State Department and knows the
participants at Oslo; one about Jewish art taught by an
experienced, attractive teacher. This was my first Elderhostel.
People who had attended many said that they had never been so
impressed by the presenters as they were by the people at this

I had never visited  Baltimore before; the Elderhostel was within
walking distance of museums, and the inner harbor.  There were
two afternoon tours as offered for those who wanted to take
advantage of them.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. The hotel
where we were housed is an old one.  There are two elevators, and
it was rare when both of them were working at the same time!  The
food was good but not gourmet.  The temperature control was
erratic, but I was fortunate in the location of my room which was
comfortable at all times.  The hotel help was consistently
helpful and friendly, and made our stay pleasant.  Everyone
seemed to be having a good time,  and enjoying themselves.  I
would return again to this location.  If Elderhostels are like
this, I hope to share in many of them!



 A 3 week EH featuring 1 week each in Paris, Sarlat, and Albi
	Oct. 4 - 25, 1997 	Joy Rising

If you have ever dreamed of living in a chateau in France and
eating incredibly good food, this is the Elderhostel for you.
The first week we stayed in the Chateau de Meridon, 20 miles SW
of Paris amidst estate type grounds and next to a state forest
with miles of hiking and biking trails. This chateau was built
only 100 years ago as a hunting lodge at a time when most of the
elegance was on the exterior of the building.  And some of our
group lived in the Annex, a refurbished farmhouse. But we had a
spacious double room on the third floor, nicely furnished, with
big windows,  a sink in the room, showers and toilets down the
hall.  We even had a private balcony to look over the garden and
far across the rolling green countryside.

Each day the first week we were taken by a comfortable motorcoach
to special sights such as the Louvre, the d'Orsay Museum,
Fontainbleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Monet's home in Giverny, and the
world's biggest indoor market of Rungis.  Of course we had a bus
tour of Paris, and free time to eat and explore Paris.  In our
free time we took the boat tour on the Seine River, walked the
Left Bank, and explored the small town of Chevreuse where 'our'
chateau was located.

Our leader, Francis Ho Tham Kouie, is an intellectual who could
talk interestingly and effortlessly for hours even aboard a
swaying bus.  He thought every question important, and gave
considered answers.  Although it is usual that there is a local
site coordinator who changes with each site, Francis was with us
for the entire trip and he was the only lecturer.  We had local
guides occasionally. His being there is crucial to our high marks
for this trip.  He has worked with Elderhostel since 1982 and
sets up the entire trip.

The food was prepared by an excellent young chef who seemed to
effortlessly prepare delicious French food for 33 Elderhostelers
to be served by 6 young, lively Dutch and Norwegian volunteers
who also ate with us.  They cleaned the Chateau and our rooms
while we were away.

This first week was our favorite because the bus trips were
short, on good roads, and usually a couple of hours a day or in
the evening were given to classroom lectures on the history,
cultural, and social/political systems of France in a pleasant
classroom in the Chateau with tea and cake breaks.

All that changed for the next two weeks as we bused 8 hours
south, first to Sarlat.  There we stayed in an excellent,
recently updated hotel with private baths and elevator in the
center of a town of 10,000.  We were given a walking tour of the
interesting town, full of old buildings and many shops.   We ate
breakfast buffet style, and multi-course heavy dinners at the
hotel, and long lunches at restaurants on the road.  There was no
place for a classroom so all lecturing was done in the bus.

The Dordogne countryside is  beautiful, full of 12th century
castle forts high above the Dordogne River with small towns
nestled between the river and the heights.  There are planned
towns of the same era called Bastides. Each day we bused out for
long periods along the winding country roads while we listened to
the lectures - not a pleasant situation.  The towns, castles were
interesting, but very much the same.  No free time was scheduled
so it was necessary to skip one of the all day trips to have any
time for your own exploration or to do your laundry! A special
trip was to visit Lascaux II, a replica of a cave where 35,000
years people painted beautiful pictures of animals, and a tour of
the National Museum of Prehistory.

The final week was in Albi also in southern France.  The hotel
was a let down after the one in Sarlat, but we had private baths
and an elevator. Again there was no classroom; again the food was
superb, but heavy.  A swimming pool had been advertised in the
written materials and although it was pretty to look at from our
room, it was not heated and very cold.  At this time of year,
October, the weather was pleasant in all of our locations.  More
towns were visited, more long bus rides.  Interesting sights were
the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, the Goya Museum and the city of
Toulouse. A controversial visit to a farm where fois gras is
produced by force feeding ducks and geese to increase the size of
the liver, and then killing them to make the fois gras, produced
much discussion.  But most of us ate the superb fois gras served
at the farm dinner!

Our overall, opinionated impressions, of this Elderhostel were
that we appreciated the in depth lectures, the beauty of the
countryside, the historic towns, the incredible food, many of the
museums,  the time in Paris, the 3 star accommodations.  The trip
deviated from perfection in the second and third week:  almost
every day long bus tours (and we were encouraged not to use the
bus bathroom), the similarity of many of the castles and small
towns, and the long hours it took to eat the delicious meals.
Since this was our first Elderhostel abroad, we cannot compare
it. We understand that Francis is doing some Elderhostels in
other locations next year; we  recommend any that he does.

We wondered if the Elderhostelers on international Elderhostels
would be any different from the wonderful people we've met on our
many domestic Elderhostels.  The answer is a definite 'no'; the
international group is no richer, no better educated, just as
wonderful.  The difference is that they love Europe and prefer
international Elderhostels.

We would enjoy hearing from you with any comments or questions.
Joy Rising and Roman Stanley

Kaleidoscopic Beauty: Archaeology, History, Geology and Astronomy


Set in one of the most remote and intriguing parts of our
country, this Elderhostel deals with the geology and history of
the Big Bend area of Texas. There were also classroom sessions on
photography, astronomy and southwestern literature.  (The
astronomy session was scheduled for outdoors, but the weather
forced us to stay in.)  Because class days were usually very
long, Wednesday was set aside as a "free day" in which Hostelers
could participate in optional activities, go exploring on their
own, or just relax. Optional activities included a guided field
trip into Big Bend National Park, a trip across the Rio Grande to
Ojinaga, and a raft excursion down the Rio Grande.

Lodging and meals were at the "resort hotel" in Lajitas, TX --
actually, the ONLY hotel in Lajitas!  Accomodations were in the
"Cavalry Barracks" and were more than adequate, and meals, which
were served in the restaurant, were ample though not especially
creative.  The water at the resort comes directly from the Rio
Grande and though their filtration system is state approved, we
strongly recommend your first stop be at the Trading Post to buy
at least a few gallons of bottled water!  Many of the full-time
residents we spoke to said they avoid drinking the water.

The instructors were all residents of west Texas and, by
definition, are a breed apart.  Underneath its beauty, the Big
Bend area can be very harsh and unforgiving, and it takes a
special sort of person to be able to cope with the day-to-day
living there.

We did this Elderhostel in May and temperatures were beginning to
get rather warm (probably in excess of 100 deg. in some of the
canyons), so if you're not up to that type of heat, you would
best sign up for a cooler part of the year.

On a scale of 10.0, we would rate this 9.8.

Dick and Marion Steade Msteade@aol.com

Editor's note- this report reflects much the same evaluation as
that of Charlie Dolson cdolson@ipa.net

 Who adds this note to his report:

 By the way, if you have seasonal allergies, take your medication
with you. That nonsense about no allergic reaction in the desert
southwest is just that - nonsense. Not as bad as Arkansas but
something got to me on more than one occasion.


Subj:  Champ Challenge,Fl.

From:  RET1000 @aol.com

If you are looking for a great elderhostel, check your catalogs
for Camp Challenge in Florida. I live just 20 miles away. We did
one there last winter. The food was great, and the expert
teachers were interesting. The weather is mild and they have a
great nature trail to get your morning exercise walking. Since
the camp is basicly an Easter Seal camp for disabled children
during the regular season in the summer, every where is
wheelchair accessable also. The cabins are capable of either
being heated or air conditioned as the season may require. The
living conditions are good.


From: Roz Cole roz@gold.chem.hawaii.edu

We would like to attend an EH in the California coastal area from
south of San Francisco to San Simeon.

Can anyone tell me about EH experiences there?

Aloha, Roz


From: Lmhar@aol.com

Subject: possible elderhostel courses

I have never done an Elderhostel - I retired six years ago, and
since then have gone to Cambridge U. England to take courses
inthe summer. I do love to do this - dearly love the colleges at
Cambridge, and the city itself.  But I am somewhat uneasy about
traveling so far alone, at my age (72).

So I am very reluctantly saying goodby to Cambridge, and now
looking at Elderhostels - as I figure a major illness on my part
wouldn't create so many problems for my family, if I were in this
country, and not abroad.  I saw several courses quite a number,
as a matter of face, given by a group Called the Bay Area
Learning - located in Tiburon, which I think is north of San

Have any seniors had any experience with this group?  They don't
seem to be affiliated with any college - their base site,
according to Elderhostel news, is a hotel in Tiburon,near
Sausalito?  I'd appreciate comments from anybody who has attended
any of their courses.  Also, I have never been to New Mexico, and
I would love to take some courses related to indian culture, and
art there.  Is anybody familiar with these?

 Louise H.


Subj:  Re:Call the State Dept

From:  LPMullin@aol.com

I noticed that some Elderhostelers are thinking of a trip to
Egypt.  Before you go to Egypt or to any place overseas I highly
recommend that you phone the Department of State, Office of
Overseas Citizen Services at (202) 647-5225.  You can ask for
info on any are of the world and receive a fax or pamphlets sent
in the mail.  There is also a web site but I don't have the
address with me.  I'll post it later.  If you come to one of our
Foreign Service Elderhostels in D.C/Arlington (the next three are
in March)  you will learn about what the American Consuls can,
will and must do for you when you are abroad and when any
emergency or non-emergency problem arises.



My husband and I are interested in taking our first international
Elderhostel trip and like the looks of  a listing in the new
catalog called "Village Lifestyles of Greece".  It is offered
several times in Spring and Fall and includes visits to Karystos,
Delphi, Portaira, and Athens.

Do any readers have information about this elderhostel?

We have some fear of committing ourselves to the cost of an
international program and need any reassurance that we can get.

J. Creswick  TennMa@aol.com

editors note- that database has no info on this elderhostel but
readers report generally good experiences with elderhostels in


From: joy@shore.intercom.net

Re interesting modes of learning/traveling outside the
Elderhostel sphere.

Often the available opportunites are cost prohibitive for some of
us. But...I have found an extrodanairly affordable way to travel
and learn for small groups of people be they family, friends,
churches or community groups. Many of the larger Christian
churches national organiztions can identify mission programs
across our nation and the world that welcome small groups of
short-term volunteers for one or two weeks. Of course many would
also welcome long term commitments as well.

What a fine opportunity to learn, work and play with those you
already know in a different culture, a different locale. A
typical program provides housing, meals, organized activites and
exposure to the local culture in exchange for 30-40 hours of work
in a variety of settings with myriad jobs and about $150 cost for
each participant. Sometimes you will provide direct services to
residents in that area, sometimes you will be working "right on
campus" of the program.

For example, 10-12 of us from our small tidal water community on
the Eastern Shore of Maryland are planning a workteam week in
Frakes, Ky, at a cost of $100 group registration fee plus $130
each. In addition any costs for the project we choose to work on
will be raised by us ie paint. We will be working on the grounds
of this Applachian ministry where alcohol and tobacco aren't
welcome. We will be accommadated in a new dorm building in an
incredibly beautiful but impoverished area, fed well, supervised
by a workcamp leader and work from 8am to 4:30 four days. The
first night will feature a mission awareness program, the next
night will be an Applachian one where local people will talk to
us about the history and mountain culture, perhaps there will be
music. The third day is free for the either resting or for a
field trip of local communities and demonstrations of arts/crafts
and a hike. The fourth day ends with laughter as "skit night"
offers us all the possibility to share our experiences. Finally,
our last night there will be one of shared communion and a
closing ceremony. The Henderson Settlement is not fancy but it is
genuine, with caring people helping each other to reach father
than they could alone.

The contact person's name for information is Jerry or Betsy at
606-337-3613. Tell them Fritz from Bivalve, Md is touting their