Elderhostel Notebook #94 November,  2001

Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, the e-zine where hostelers
compare notes on elderhostel programs.

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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
I wasn't able to include all available reports in this issue.
Will do another in two weeks.

   Comments and Queries

Safe in New York City. So far.
Monday, September 24, 2001 4:18:56 PM
From: 	rbranchor@juno.com

I was booked on United Airlines for a flight from La Guardia in
New York to O'Hare in Chicago, but not on Tuesday, the day it all
happened.  I'd reserved my flight a month ago, so that I could
attend the Bat Mitzvah of my granddaugher Robin, age 13.  And a
whole weekend of festivities had been planned  - with family
supposed to fly in from the west coast and the south as well as
New York.

Well, the festivities went on as planned - but not exactly - not
with the aunts and uncles and  grandparents who had hoped to
attend but couldn't .Still, our extended family feels fortunate.
Because our flights were'nt on Tuesday, the day it ll happened,
but two days later.And we didn't even have to cancel. The
airlines did.  Ruth PS Right now, I'm looking forward to my
annual trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving and I expect to  fly.  I
don't believe the terrorists will try the same terror again - the
element of surprise will be gone and hopefully the security will
be there.


Subj: 	Changes in EH

From: 	gsfarm@mailhost.netdot.com

We have noticed the gradual trend to higher levels of comfort,
appeal, and expense in some programs, and we would join with the
protest with this trend. We have 13 trips so far, two overseas,
in about eight years,and there have been some cases of shared
bath, moderate level of comfort, etc., but nothing severe. We
believe that the catalog descriptions, plus access to your
notebook and other sources, gives a mostly clear picture of each
session, and we do not hold with the "upgrading" of comforts and
expense with the loss of seeing new places as they are. If you
want to choose your level of comfort and expense, the travel
agents, etc., will be very glad to hear from you.

Grady and Virginia Singletary

From: WestWindow@aol.com

Subject: Comments on Elderhostel Travel

My husband and I attended an Elderhostel at the Eisenhower
Library in Abilene, Kansas 9/23-29 (given once a year in
September).  I won't attempt to describe it, except to say the
staff was EXCELLENT, the program on the 1940s SUPERB, and the
campus was BEAUTIFUL.

The travel was tough.  Since flights have been cancelled and
combined (due to fewer passengers), the planes were full.
 Security was tighter.  Our starting point was Logan Airport in
Boston (enough said), and we went through Chicago (four-hour
layover due to cancelled flight), arriving in Kansas City

On the return we got to KCI at 9:00AM for an 11:07 flight
(delayed) and got through security at 11:30AM.  Now THAT'S what I
call security.  Yes, it was hard, but we need to be safe when

We have not cancelled a single trip - we have planned one a month
through January, and no way are we giving up on travel.  As
"seasoned citizens", we have to support the travel industry!

So many trips, so little time.

Ellie Clark WestWindow@aol.com

Subj: 	Housing policy

To:   	IREG@Elderhostel.org

An email letter from Bill   Lee Longman to Elderhostel Notebook,
cited a new policy that facilities must have en suite
accommodations. If this is so, shame on you Elderhostel for
changing your policy and eliminating sites that do not have
private bathrooms.  My husband and I have attended 58 programs
over the past 18 years and have never found shared bathrooms a

As the Longman's suggest costs  have continued to increase which
is of course inevitable. But eliminating university sites (our
favorite) which are the most likely to have shared facilities,
certainly raised the average cost.

 When we were at Bellinter House for an outstanding  program
on Irish theater, that wonderful house and its history were worth
the price of the transatlantic fare. Are you also eliminating the
wonderful programs in Great Britain at their universities? Please
reconsider this ill-advised change.

Dinah Lindauer
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 06:54:43 EDT
From: Judykroon@aol.com

You asked for input on current travelers. My husband and I are
finishing up the Flavors of Spain trip which we started in Madrid
on the 1st of Oct. It has been a good trip, a bit heavy on the
wine for us but interesting and well done. More importantly,
there were no problems for any of the 23 who decided to come. The
Delta check in at JFK is weird in that they scan all luggage at
the door. That means that scissors that you packed in your
checked luggage get removed.

Then the check in person hikes back to the security place to
retrieve them and have you put them back in the luggage. The
Delta plane was about three quarters full on the way over.
British Air was wrapping ALL luggage and allowing only small
carry ons. That did delay one couple a bit. We really feel sorry
for the 11 who decided not to come, they missed a great time.
With a smaller group we spread out on the bus, had more room in
restaurants (which would have been way too crowded with 36) and
generally enjoyed having a more managable group.

Judy Kroon Rochester NY.

....off to Costa Rica and Panama for the Eco-tour in February

   Program Reviews


It was with some reluctance, considering the recent attack on the
World Trade Center, that I headed for the History of Broadway
Elderhostel at the West Side YMCA. I have never felt more at home
in New York due to the friendliness of everyone I met. The
director of the Y thanked us for coming, and doing something
positive to help the city on it's way to recovery.

I met several people who were willing to discuss their
experiences on September 11 and afterwards. I rode in the
elevator with a rescue worker coming off his shift and my
neighbor at the Metropolitan Opera shared her reaction to the
attack. If you have been considering an Elderhostel in New York,
do not hesitate! I have attended three other programs at this
site and found them exciting and enlightening. The location of
the Y, two blocks from Lincoln Center and a few steps to Central
Park, is ideal and the programs are well planned.

Once I was settled into my spartan but clean room I felt at home.
Except for the flags flying everywhere and the diminished crowds
in Times Square, it was the New York City I love. Theater tickets
were easy to get due to so many people staying away from the
city. Several members of our group elected to see the hotter than
hot Producers; but the group had been led to TKTS during our tour
of Times Square and so many chose less pricey offerings.

The walking tours were excellent; some highlights are the
Players, not open to the public, the New Amsterdam (home of the
Lion King), an off-Broadway theater. An acting class and panels
of actors and other theater people replaced formal lectures. I
have been going to the theater in New York for longer than I care
to admit, but I learned many things about acting, producing plays
and theaters then and now. My appreciation for this art form has
been expanded.  The food is simple and plentiful with many
options, and there is always a member of the group to eat with
during the convenient cafeteria hours.

Several lunches were eaten out including BBQ, Chinese and a new
favorite for me: O^ÒNeal^Òs. David the director was helpful and
steady and his friendly assistant Thomas led us in optional warm
up exercises every morning. I am sorry I have done all the
programs the Y offers; perhaps I will start over again!

Barbara Kaden   mailto:1barbka@home.com

Chautauqua Institution/Athenaeum, #32161-0923-01/21

I can't speak for all 170 attendees, but I'm sure that the "US
Foreign Policy For the 21st Century" was an educational and
exciting week for the large majority of Elderhostelers present.

The 5 lecturers were all retired Foreign Service Officers of
ambassadorial rank from the American Foreign Service Association,
which is the professional association of the Foreign Service
located in Washington, D.C.. They were all gifted speakers,
professional, knowledgeable, and open to any and all questions. A
nice touch was the fact that the 5 ambassadors, and their wives,
made themselves available during meals and free time for
continuation of dialog with the Elderhostelers.

The particular areas of the world covered in detail were Europe,
Middle East, Japan, and Latin/South America. Some of the
countries where the 5 served as ambassador were Cyprus, Ghana,
Chile, Columbia, Togo, Madagascar, and the UAR. Prior to
achieving ambassadorial rank, all had served on staff in many
countries of the world. Hence, all could speak to most any area
beyond the geographical areas specified for this particular week.
The events of 9/11/01, to various extent, were discussed by all 5

There were several "entire group" get togethers, but for the most
part, the 170 attendees were broken up into 4 groups of
approximately 40 each for the lectures.

Another nice touch was a one hour "Conversations with the
Ambassador's Wives". The 3 wives present related their
perspective of the Foreign Service and had their own "war
stories" about trying to maintain a home, be a hostess, and raise
and educate a family, often times under very difficult

The Athenaeum Hotel lived up to its "Grande Dame" designation.
Built in the late 1800s, it maintains its historic charm with
high ceilings, period furnishings(much of it very comfortable
wicker), and with undulating floors in the hallways, to boot. The
weather during the entire week was cold and rainy, so the broad
porch on the 2 sides of the hotel, overlooking Chautauqua Lake,
with it's many wicker rockers, did not get the "rocking and
chatting" activity it deserved.

I heard nothing but raves regarding the food. Apparently, the
Athenaeum kitchen is at least partially manned by culinary
students.  I might add that one meal included a
mushroom soup that I consider the best I've ever eaten. Ummm!

Most lectures were held in a building a pleasant 15 minute walk
from the hotel. Portal to portal bus transport was offered
throughout the week for non walkers.

All in all, it was a very satisfying and enjoyable week and I
think we all came away comfortable with the food, the
coordination, and the accommodations. Perhaps, more importantly,
we came away with the knowledge that if these gentlemen are the
type of people representing us in our countries overseas posts,
we can all sleep a little more peacefully at night.

Gene Groelle


Eisenhower Presidential Library - Abilene, Kansas
"Remembering the 1940's"
September 2001 - six-night program

Only one Elderhostel program is offered annually, and the Library
personnel enjoy the week as much as the participants.  Mack,
Linda, and Barbara have been involved in all 15 programs.

Lodging is in a good motel with attached restaurant.  Catered
meals at the Library were  varied and tasty.  Special dinners in
an old mansion and a popular chicken restaurant.  In addition to
lectures on so many aspects of the 1940's - World War II, radio
shows, music, movies, religion, women, and sports - President
Eisenhower's life and dedication to our country is detailed in
both lectures and visits to the museum, his home, and his resting
place.  Although Abilene's population is only 6500, its many
museums and attractions are woven throughout the week's
activities.  The Elderhostelers (42 from 14 states) were treated
to a 1940's fashion show, allowed to research in original source
materials in the library, enjoyed a theatrical performance,
laughed at "The More The Merrier", a 1943 movie, and had lunch
and a ride on a railroad excursion train.  A bus shuttle on our
free afternoon along with admission to local museums gave
everyone the opportunity to enjoy the town.

On Friday night the group proceeded to the library auditorium as
"Pomp and Circumstance" could be heard.  A great idea - "a
yearbook" was presented to each graduate with picture and
personal information about each Elderhosteler.

Participants ranged in age from 56 to 90, with their remembrances
of the 1940's adding to the overall congeniality of the group.

This experience, my fourth, rates a "five-star" grade, the same
as General Eisenhower!

Submitted by Diane Tanner, 305 West Lake Avenue, Peoria, IL

 Geneva Center (IN) Elderhostel

"Cruisin' Down Nostalgia Lane " is an Elderhostel that has been
offered before at the Geneva Center Conference Center, Rochester,
IN, but not the way we experienced it. A few days before the
scheduled October 14 start, we received an e-mail from the
director that "due to the events of September 11," the two
previous instructors would not be available, but other
instructors had been procured. It turned out that one of the
original leader's daughter worked in the WTC , and it was three
days after the attack before he found out she was all right.

I suppose he was too unnverved after that to undertake teaching a
lighthearted course. However, in their stead Vicki Driebelius
procured a pair from the Auburn-Cord-Deusenberg Museum. Jon Brill
is the archivist and he and Gregg Buttermore, the marketing
director, provided us with a real hands-on course that more than
met our expectations. We went to the museum, of course, but then
the museum came to us when Jon drove a 1931 Auburn 4-door sedan
to the Center and let us all ride in/drive /look at the motor,
etc., to our heart's content. In addition, each provided many
handouts during their lectures tracing the history of automobile
manufacturing in the U.S. in general and Indiana in particular.

We learned about famous auto makers and how advertising changed
over time, and of course how the automobile affected the American
way of life. We also visited the Studebaker Museum and saw
several videos. The men were enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but
unsure of their reception, since this was their first
introduction to Elderhostels. I think we made believers of them
-- Jon is already talking about looking into the program. They
did this on short notice, but if they had had a year to prepare,
it couldn't have been better.

The companion program, Quilting in the Civil War, attracted some
of the auto men's wives, while one brave man opted to take the
quilting class for the lectures about women's life in the Recent

We were surprised that so few attended -- 11 in the car class and
10 in the quilting. Vicki said a few had cancelled, but
apparently they weren't concerned about having so few. One fringe
benefit was that we all had a private bath instead of sharing
with another couple. (It is worth the money to get a private bath
there.) While we were there the Health Dept. found coliform
bacteria in the water system in a minute concentration, and as a
precaution we were given bottled drinking water. When the boiler
conked out on a cold morning, we were given space heaters. No one
complained about any of it. The food was excellent and included
fresh-baked bread daily.

Vicki was all we could ask for in a coordinator. One of the men
who has attended over 50 E'hostels made the statement that he had
never felt so cared for in his life. That was a good way to put
it. Several of the attendees had been there for courses before --
I can see why.

Don and Kay Cornelius, Huntsville, AL


Great Alpine Crossroads...

Our Swiss Elderhostel program "Great Alpine
Crossroads--Switzerland's Magnificent Railways" was scheduled to
end on September 13, so we were in Locarno on September 11.
Elderhostel (operated by Experiment in International Living in
Switzerland) and our hotels were most accommodating to us.  They
saw to it that we were fully informed through English versions of
CNN, and they did everything they could to make our extended stay
comfortable.  Because we and another couple from the group had to
stay almost an additional week before we could be rebooked on
SwissAir and Northwest, our EIL leaders and guide arranged for us
to stay--without charge--in a Swiss home (a homestay added on to
our Elderhostel program!).  Other than the obvious fact that we
were ready to go home, that was a delightful experience.

The railway program was everything we had expected it to be--and
more. We loved the entire country, and we learned to have great
appreciation for the Swiss transportation system.  Our guides
were always helpful, the lectures were interesting and
informative, and our lodgings were always well-located.  As you
can imagine, the scenery was superb.  And the trip allowed for
just enough extra time so that we could do some exploring on our
own in the six cities we visited.

The only Elderhostel trips we've ever taken are the international
ones, and we've never been disappointed.  It is so nice to have
everything planned and included in the price.  We know that some
of the international prices are more now than they used to be,
but we happen to prefer the en suite accommodations that are now
offered.  (A year ago we took another kind of tour and were
amazed at how many of the meals, excursions, gratuities, etc.
were not included in the price--thus making international
Elderhostels which even include transportation to and from home
seem quite affordable.)  It's also nice to stay in hotels that
are locally owned and operated--not cookie cutter copies of those
we find at home.

This trip did entail some extra walking and getting bags in and
out of railway stations.  Because of that we're glad we elected
to "pack light" by using the new Rick Steves wheeled bags that he
designed for just such European trips (see ricksteves.com).

We highly recommend this Swiss Elderhostel, and we wouldn't
hesitate to go again--in spite of the world situation.

Jim and Jean Wheeler


Irish Heritage and Culture
Sept. 5-19, 2001
Navan   Limerick, Ireland

This our 17th Elderhostel was our first one overseas and the best
so far. Before giving a short review, let me mention that we did
have two clouds hanging over us.  The first was the news about
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks which came at the halfway point in
our program. This of course made us numb and anxious even though
we continued to enjoy the remainder of our time in Ireland.  It
was so strange being abroad while news about the tragedy
unfolded.  Our group attended several memorial services. On the
Friday day of mourning Ireland was completely shut down with
crowds of people going to church.  The Irish people were most
sympathetic with many expressing their sorrow to us on the street
and in the shops.

The other smaller cloud was to learn that due to an Elderhostel
policy change we were the last Elderhostel group to be housed at
Bellinter House and at University of Limerick.  This is due to
shared baths in these facilities.  We think it is a mistake to
eliminate locations on such a basis and hope that many of you
will also write to object. (See accompanying article).

Yes, Ireland is as green as they say with wonderful scenery.  And
there is a rich heritage of myths and legends.  There were 40
participants in the Elderhostel on Irish Heritage and Culture.
Another couple and ourselves were four days beforehand in Dublin,
going to plays at the Abbey Theatre and Gate Theatre plus
sightseeing, traditional music in pubs, Evensong at Christ
Church. On Sunday we were engulfed in a huge crowd of fans
wearing Kerry green with Co. Kerry playing Co. Meath in Irish
football (very popular amateur sport).

Then on Sept. 5 we joined the group arriving in Dublin airport
for the trip some 30 miles north to Bellinter House which is a
large Palladium style house now used as a retreat center.
Lectures focused on pre-historic and Celtic history, also myths
and legends, with field trips to ancient passage graves at Knowth
and the Hill of Tara important to the high kings of Ireland, also
south of Dublin to Glendalough with its round tower and
Russborough House.  Noel French from the Navan area was our
superb tutor and tour guide.  We learned as well about the
turbulent Irish history and language.

Other lectures were on Anglo-Irish literature, writers such as
Jonathan Swift and W.B.Yeats, and on Irish art   architecture.  A
field trip to Dublin focused on the National Museum and Gallery
and on the free day in Dublin many saw the famed Book of Kells at
Trinity College and Kilmainham Jail.  Being together at Bellinter
was especially helpful as we received the shocking news from back
home. During our stay we enjoyed several evenings of traditional
Irish music.

The second half of the program was at University of Limerick over
on the western side where we were housed in dormitory rooms.  And
we shared baths here also with sinks in the rooms.  We were
priviledged to have a very knowledgeable lecturer, Mary Angela
Keane.  She took us to the Burren on which she has written a book
and was a guide for the Clinton party on their visit to that
mysterious area.  Also we saw the remarkable Cliffs of Moher and
visited Coole Park.  Going a different direction past Tipperary
another day we saw the Rock of Cashel plus Bru Boru Heritage
Centre.  Other field trips took in Craggaunowen and Bunratty
Castle   Folk Park plus going into Limerick.  Here at Limerick
also we had Irish music and dance to entertain us.

Meals at Bellinter were very tasty with a social hour beforehand
each evening.  We soon became good friends and sat with different
people each meal.  Entrees were beef, lamb, pork, fish, etc.  We
became accustomed to Irish soda bread.  Yes, we did tire of so
much potatoes and carrots.  But what wonderful soups and
desserts.  Breakfasts included porridge and Wheatbix and such.
At Limerick the dining room food was also quite good and on
occasion we dined at some nice hotel. For breakfasts there we ate
in the dorm units with supplies brought in.

Some in the group remained for extra travel as did we for three
days in Killarney.  One couple continued in a second Elderhostel
in Ireland after this one and several toured for a week more in
Co. Kerry.  There was anxiety about travel plans home, of course,
as we learned of disruptions and heard various rumors.  Here is
where the coordinator Beryl from the UK (who was with us both
weeks) was most helpful as she confirmed flights from Limerick
and allayed fears.

By the time we departed Ireland travel was back to normal with no
problems. We would not hesitate to seek out another international

Inquiries welcomed...Bill Longman, wlongman@yahoo.com.