>xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo > Elderhostel Notebook #79 January 2001 >oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox > >Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, the e-zine where hostelers >compare notes on elderhostel programs. > >EN is an independent project, appreciative of but not associated >with Elderhostel Inc. http://www.elderhostel.org > >EN has a WWW site at >http://homepage.mac.com/jimolson/EHnotebook > >To subscribe to the e-mail edition and/or to submit reviews of >programs taken send an e-mail to the editor, Jim >Olson, at EHnotebook@aol.com > >Please keep all correspondence in simple e-mail text format. > >################################################ > From the Editor's Notebook >################################################ > >This is our first issue for 2001 (purists say for the millenium) >and represents five years of posting reports on Elderhostel >program experiences. > >In this past month I have had several communications from readers >who disagreed with one or another of the archive reports of a >particular program or program site. If you feel a site or >program isn't fairly represented in the archives, the solution is >to write a report of your own describing your experience at that >program and your report will be there in the archives along with >the one you disagree with and readers can read both. Often >programs change and problems at a particular time are remedied in >later offerings of that program. > >Generally my experience with program reports has been that >readers are very reluctant to make negative comments and often do >so only in guarded and often coded terms. This somewhat defeats >one of the purposes of the notebook which is to give readers some >idea of which are the better programs and which ones they might >want to avoid. > >This issue continues to carry the Comment and Query section, but >I am considering discontinuing it somewhere down the line and >urge readers to use the SeniorNet Roundtables discussion on >Elderhosteling instead. It is free and available to anyone with >an internet connection. I have put a link to it along with some >basic instructions on the Notebook web page. I won't discontinue >the Comment and Query section until I see how that alternative >works out. > >################################################ > Comments and Queries >################################################ > >From: "Robert J. Levine"
> > >This an answer I received inquiring about the effect of altitude >when going to Tibet. I think many of your readers will be >interested in the reply. > >Bob Levine > > >In our group of 25 people, only one woman suffered severe >altitude sickness: nausea, vomiting, etc. There was a doctor at >the hospital who treated her, and she was out with the group in >less than 24 hours. Some of the others had headaches of varying >severity. Climbing stairs (of which there are many at the Potala >Palace and other sites) did leave everyone breathless >momentarily, but we had been cautioned to walk and climb slowly, >and we were fine (I am 70 years old, and was fine; I am >accustomed to a great deal of walking). > >Overall, everyone felt that whatever discomforts they experienced >were small price to pay for a truly marvelous experience! > >Enjoy!! > >_______________ > > >From: DorryToo@aol.com > > >I am going to New Mexico March 11 thru March 30 . Doing Galluop, >Santa Fe and Taos. Sugestions for clothing and things to do. >Dorry > >Nancy Jones > >__________ > > >Subj: proposed trip > >From: email@example.com > > >We have done several wonderful Elderhostel programs in Italy all >coordinated by Trinity College. One of the best was in Mondello, >Sicily with the great team of Giovanni and Marcella as >coordinators. Now we are thinking about a relatively new offering >in Sicily. I have learned that it is not run by Trinity but by >ETrav in Newton, Mass. The program is situated in Taormina and >has a culinary focus. In the ElderHostel catalogue it is listed >as Sicily-Cucina Mediterraneao, Program #18017-0601. I think >about four programs have already been given. The one we are >interested in begins June/1/'01. Can anyone offer some feedback, >evaluation of site and of program? Thank you in advance; CIAO for >now, > >firstname.lastname@example.org > >___________________ > > >Subj: Query about Adventures Afloat > >From: ELNUNZ@aol.com > > >We have just made a reservation for Hawaii by Sea. Has anyone >had any recent experiences with this program? Would be >especially interested in hearing about the hotel on Maui. > >___________________ > > >Subj: San Antonio > >From: TONKINSON@prodigy.net > > >We are interested in an Elderhostel in San Antonio. There are >several different classes available. We would appreciate any >information about these classes. > >Thanks, >Jamie Tonkinson >Longmont, CO >___________________ > > >Subj: Wild Africa Elderhostel > >From: email@example.com > > >I've just discovered your Notebook, and would like to know if >anyone has recently taken the Wild Africa Elderhostel in >Botswana/Zambia. We would appreciate any information regarding >this trip. It will be our first visit to Africa. We have >friends in their 80s who are wondering if it would be too >strenuous for them. Anyone out there with an answer? > >Thanks for this opportunity. > > > > >################################################ > Program Reviews >################################################ > > After the Fall (Eastern Europe) > Elderhostel 'train trek' through Alaska > Discover Thomas Jefferson at Monticello > LaPaz, California Baja Sur > Geronimo Educational Foundation > New Orleans Jewish Community Center > Southwestern Oregon Community College/Off Campus > >_______________ > >After the Fall >firstname.lastname@example.org >Three week trip to the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. >December 2000 > >Spent a week each in Prague, Vienna (St Polten), and Budapest. >The theme was the history of each country with emphasis on the >time after WWII and the communist period when the Soviets >controlled the area. Lectures were by local activists who did in >general a fantastic job of explaining their political and social >systems. > >Personally we also enjoyed 12 musical events in 20 days, both >scheduled, optional and additional. Saw ballet, opera, folk, >marionette shows and chamber concerts. Quality was first rate for >these events. > >Only 13 EH showed up (vs 30 LY) so we had a closed group with a >lot for staff to guide us. > >Prague: fell in love with this city. Vibrant and young with >activity going on all the time. The history of the area is >interesting and to have the locals tell of the period when they >lived under Soviet domination and how little they knew of the >outside world was difficult for us westerners to comprehend. >Accommodations were excellent and like most non US places travel >on the local tram and subway system was easy. Food on the high >side for quality, but heavy into sauces as is this entire area. >Of course potatoes were special in all these countries. Local >leaders excellent. > >Vienna: disappointing in the they house you in St Polten, which >while a comfortable hostel type facility (with private bath) was >located 50 km from Vienna so it was difficulty to partake of >Vienna at night. Feel this is a bad choice and caused us to spend >over 15 hours on the bus just going back and forth to Vienna. >Food moderately good but not exciting and in Prague and Budapest. >Some of the lectures in the area were not prepared and others >excellent. Did not get a good impression of Austria as a result. > >Budapest: interesting, excellent lecturers, good food and >comfortable facilities. City is easy to get around in on the >public system and went to a musical event almost every night, >with excellent quality. > >Weather: seasonal, overcast all days and in the 40's with only >one day of rain. > >Highly recommend this trip. >_____________________ > > > >Elderhostel 'train trek' through Alaska >University of Alaska >Magland@aol.com > >This program was a very nice experience. It was not the "Ritz" >but then I did not PAY for the "Ritz". It was 3 stamps in the >passport...one in Seward where we studied at the Research Center >which is a result of the Exxon Oil Spill. In Denali National >Park, we stayed in the cabins in Elderhostel Park!! The food was >terrible, but then, it was being prepared by a couple of the >20,000 young people imported during the summer to work the >"tourist season". (I could stand NOT eating for a few days :-) >We stayed in a hotel in Fairbanks but I understand the groups >after us would stay in the dormitory at UAF. I forgot, we stayed >in the dorm at UAA (Anchorage) and these were first class rooms >and new! > >We had very busy days and nights on this trip. I had to play >hooky one night and just sleep. The train trip was spectacular!! > The sights, the views, the Glaciers!! I went to the Arctic >Circle which was an extra fee after Elderhostel ended. In >Anchorage, before the trip began, I took a "bear sighting" >flight. That was expensive, but I am glad I did it. I did not >see bears anyplace else. I heard that some of the people who >took the bear sighting trip before, DID not see bears! I suspect >it is a gamble. I recommend that anyone interested take this or >a similar trip because Alaska is rapidly changing. The Burger >Kings, Holiday Inn's, McDonalds, etc. etc. are built as fast as >construction can go. The gravel oil pipeline road is being paved >across the state so all the other touristy things will follow. > >I am anxious to pick my next trip to England, Ireland and >Scotland. If anyone has been there , it would be nice to hear >from you. > >_________________ > > > > >Discover Thomas Jefferson at Monticello >Virginia Commenwealth U >Charlottesville, VA. >email@example.com > >The organizers did a fantastic job of making everyone feel >comfortable and welcome. > >The opening reception was an opportunity for people to meet each >other, and all of the participants were gracious and interesting. > >We had 9 lectures on Monticello and Jefferson. They covered >Architecture, collections, gardens, archaeology, education, >political life, plantation life and UVA architecture. All of the >speakers except one were professors from UVA. They were well >organized, and had excellent slides and information to share. >They were respectful to the audiences questions, even if >seemingly stupid questions, they were taken seriously. I MUST >ADMIT THOUGH, most of the questions were fascinating, and >reflected the plethora of scholarship of the elderhostelers. I >learned an enormous amount about Jefferson and Monticello -- in a >well balanced way. The professors did not sugar coat the man, >but also told the human side. > >The accomodations were in a Best Western, which was old but >adequate. The rooms were large and had TV's and microwaves and >refrigerators. The food was served buffet style, and for the >most part was excellent. > >We took two planned tours: One to Monticello where we had the >VIP treatment which included rooms which are off limits to most >tourists. Especially interesting was the dome room. The other >tour was of UVA. We were able to tour with the preservationist >who was wonderful and informative. We also went to Michie Tavern >and the Monticello Visitor Center. Entertainment included >Scottish dancers and music, and a Musician/storyteller. Both >were fun. We had a free afternoon to do as we wanted, and a hike >of the roundabouts at Monticello with a naturalist was also >offered for that afternoon. I chose to go to Montpelier with >some others. We also had dinner out one evening after a book >signing by Joseph Ellis author of Founding Brothers. > >Overall, a great program. > >___________________ > > > LaPaz, California Baja Sur >The Baja Natural History and Human Culture >November 25-December 2, 2000 > >We arrived by AeroMexico in LaPaz and took a taxi to the hotel >LaPosada de Engelbert. This hotel is a large spread-out one >level modern hotel with a private beach on the Sea of Cortez with >casita-style rooms spread throughout the property. It was very >private and security was provided day and night. Our spacious >room included a king-size bed with a private bath. The dining >room overlooked a pool surrounded by beautiful flowers and >greenery. This was once a favorite retreat for movie stars in >the 60s and 70s who flew into LaPaz in small private planes >before the roads were accessible to this hotel. The food was >outstanding, with Mexican-style dishes served at each meal and >was not too highly seasoned for those unaccustomed to spicy >cuisine. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style and dinner >was formal with waiters serving the meals. The weather was warm >with clear blue skies. > >Lecture topics centered on the marine ecosystems in the area, >fish and invertebrates, sea birds, marine mammals and the human >history of the area. Two excursions enriched the classroom >lectures: A full-day bus trip through the desert ended at Cabo >San Lucas and was culminated with a ride out through the famous >arches on a glass bottom boat. A two-hour boat ride to Espiritu >Santo Island, which is a sea lion preserve, also provided >opportunities for snorkeling and swimming. A picnic lunch was >enjoyed while viewing large sea lions in their natural habitat. >Field trips included an anthropology museum, a whale museum, and >a snake museum. A special project to save sea lions damaged by >fishermens net was filmed in the area by our instructor and >shared with us. We were fortunate to attend an evening cultural >event; a Ballet Folklorico, performed by local children in >colorful native costumes. > >I would highly recommend this program. The hotel accommodations >and the food were excellent. The lectures, field trips, and >excursions were very informative. The location and beautiful >weather also contributed to this memorable learning adventure. > >______________ > > >Geronimo Educational Foundation >firstname.lastname@example.org >December 2000 > >I just thought I would give my opinion on a Elderhostel Program I >just attended. I have attended fifteen Elderhostels and many >people have asked me what I have liked and have not liked. The >stock answer is all Elderhostels are so different it is difficult >to separate one from the other as to good or bad. > >I now have an Elderhostel program that I can say is the worst I >have ever attended. It was sponsored by the Geronimo Educational >Foundation. > >The charge was $512.00 per person. For $1024.00 we received a >$25.85 room, three useless hours of free time most every >afternoon, plus a full afternoon and evening of free time as a >bonus. The food was about as poor as any food I have ever had at >an Elderhostel. > >The staff was good and knowledgeable, especially a Mr. John Rose. >I have seen many caves and the Kartchner Caverns are the most >over rated caverns I have had the privilege to tour. I would not >recommend touring these caverns to anyone. > >Just a passing thought, one of the Elderhostelers received a >bonus, they had mouse or small rat as a companion in their motel >room. > >If this type of over priced programs is what the future of >Elderhostel holds I an afraid I will quit attending my usual four >programs a year. It is starting to appear to me that >Elderhostel's prices are rising fast and the quality of the >programs is in decline. > >I had planed to attend several other programs sponsored by the >Geronimo Educational Foundation but after this experience I will >never attend any other program sponsored buy this group and would >advise anyone else not to waste their time and money on any of >their programs. > >Bob Wieser >email@example.com > >editors note: From personal expereince I can note that this time >of the year in Arizona the desert rodents do make an attempt to >get indoors and often do in spite of the best efforts to keep >them out. > >________________ > > > > > New Orleans Jewish Community Center, > Dec. 10-15, 2000. > Ronarizona@AOL.COM > >The topics were the History of New Orleans, the History of the >New Orleans Jewish Community and New Orleans Music. The faculty >was uniformly excellent, Lester Sullivan (Xavier University), >Irwin Lachoff (Xavier University) and John H. Baron (Tulane >University). All lectures were at the Brent House Hotel except >one, which was at the J. C. C. The Hotel was a good class well >maintained commercial hotel with daily maid service and a >restaurant-cafeteria of moderate quality (breakfast was okay). >All lunches and dinners were included and most were at very, very >good eating places in the French Quarter and elsewhere. > >Transportation was by very comfortable bus. Museums, plantations, >a river cruise and other attractions were included. The J. C. C. >staff was pleasant and efficient. A most enjoyable and >educational Elderhostel, highly recommended. > >Ron and Diane Weintraub. > >_________ > > > >Southwestern Oregon Community College/Off Campus >Date: Dec 10-16,2000 >Program # 37675-1210--01 >firstname.lastname@example.org > > >Price $457.00 for 6 nights-including all meals and field trips >every day in 1st class motor coach. transportation. Horizon air >flys into North Bend. It is affiliated with Northwest Airlines. I >drove and took I-5 interstate to Eugene,Ore and turned towards >coast from there.good roads. no mountain passes.no snow. Having >attended EH in all parts of the U.S., of my 16 attended this was >the best organized and presented. All credited to a very >competent young lady named Sally Hampton. Location-Pony Village >Lodge located across from Pony Village Mall in North >Bend,Ore.(adjacent to Coos Bay,Ore.) accommodations were >fine-hotel is being remodeled as was sold to Ramada Inn, however, >it did not effect any of our rooms or hotel usage. > >We did not have the best weather but Sally was great at adjusting >changes to fit in with the weather. Bus driver took us right to >the door in case of rain. We started off at registration by being >offered canned salmon,oysters,shrimp or tuna and an assortment of >local made jams and jellys. Welcome dinner and nicely presented >orientation. Our group of 22 were one of the most compatible I >have seen. We all came prepared for rain and no complaints made >at any time. It was a hardy group out for a good time before >Christmas. > > >2nd day Lecture on Climate,Geology and Beaches at the hotel Lunch >at Oregon Institute of Marine Biology- Boy can those ladies put >on a feast.Beach combing at Simpson Reef Dinner at Lodge. Evening >trip to Shore Acres to view 250,000 Christmas lights in the >beautiful gardens A sight to remember. > > >3rd day Field trip to Coquille River Lighthouse,Bandon Historical >Society Museum,Lunch at restaurant overlooking the beautiful >coast,then visit to "Free Flight"Bird and Mammal >Rehabilitation.We saw owls,hawks,even a Bald Eagle that were all >injured and no longer able to be returned to the wild. Any animal >that could be returned we were not allowed to see so they would >not get used to people. Next explore Old Town Bandon,candy >factory,cheese factory dinner at lodge. > >4th day Field trip to Hallmark Fisheries and a wonderful tour >watching the arrival and progessing of Dungeness Crab.Lunch at >College and tour of facilities.This is a nice modern college. In >summer the accommodations are at the college and they were very >nice. No Dorms - All apartments afternoon - visit to Myrtle wood >factory,Coos Bay artifacts, Oregon Wine Cellar, Dinner at Oregon >Institute of Marine Biology. It was a feast of fresh >crab,shrimp,huge salad bar, fried oysters,baked tuna(and Turkey >if you were not a seafood eater) and out of this world desserts. >Another offer to see Shore Acres Lights > >5th day Trip to Reedsport and Umpqua Discovery Center,Dean Creek >Roosevelt Elk Viewing(yes they were out there). Lunch at >Winchester Bay and out to Sand Dunes Discovery. Dinner at Lodge. > >6th Day Welcome to U.S.Coast Guard Air Station at North Bend. >Greeted by the Captain and then the "Dolphin" Helicopter pilot >and the rescue Swimmer/Emergency Medical Technician showed us >"How its Done" So interesting. Lunch at College, Then to Bureau >of Land Management(BLM) for story and film on the shipwreck 2 >years ago of the "New Carissa" just off Coos Bay. Continued on to >Coos Bay Museum Historical Maritime Collection and lastly a >Harbor Tour on the boat Rendezvous. Enclosed or top deck >available. It was a nice night. Dinner at Lodge with music. Sally >gave us a wonderful send off. She was quite an organized lady >with great ideas.Was with us all days and invited many of the >personnel that showed us around to have lunch or dinner with >us.The manager of the hotel even came to our final dinner and >thanked us for staying with them. Look for other programs put on >my this college. You too will have a wonderful 6 days. > >Sincerely, >Marion Peck >email@example.com >_________________ > > > > > >University of Arkansas - Fayetteville >Program # 04576-1129 - "The Edge of Conflict" >firstname.lastname@example.org > >This Civil War themed program ran from Wednesday to Monday >because of the weekend reenactments at Prairie Grove State Park >Battlefield. It was one of the best EH's we have attended (out >of 21), extremely well organized and with nice facilities. We >were transported everywhere in a U. of Arkansas bus with a >razorback on the sides! > >The first night we had a short orientation/introduction time and >then were driven downtown to see the main square of Fayetteville >lit with thousands of white Christmas lights, spectacular. We >toured Pea Ridge National Battlefield with a ranger as guide, >visited the antebellum homes of Fayetteville, explored the U. Of >A. campus, saw and discussed "The Red Badge of Courage", and >watched several excellent videos on the war in Arkansas. One >thousand reenactors, including artillery and cavalry, fought >battles on Saturday and Sunday. We spent hours exploring the >encampments and talking to the "soldiers". The Ozark Dulcimer >Society performed for us and included Civil War songs in keeping >with our theme. > >Our coordinator, Gloria Young, thought of everything,including a >catered meal in a school building near the battlefield. The >logistics of this week had to be difficult to work out and >everything was done to make our visit pleasant and memorable. It >was VERY cold much of the time, but that was beyond anyone's >control.