LETTER OF THE WEEK
Boy, am I glad to read that LAN has upgraded its inflight meals to ham and cheese focaccia instead of ham and cheese sandwiches (Flight Test, August 10)! We were on the Big South America tour a couple of years ago, with 15 legs of flights provided by LAN. This meant 15 ham and cheese sandwich snacks on board. At the end of the trip our return flight from Santiago to Sydney was delayed overnight. After lots of not-so-gentle persuasion, LAN accommodated us in the very posh Sheraton in Vina del Mar, Chile, where the hotel staff had prepared an after-midnight snack of ham and cheese sandwiches for us weary, unfed travellers. We had to check out of the hotel in the morning before the hotel kitchen opened for breakfast to catch our now-repaired plane, but LAN took care of us again: we received a voucher for a free ham and cheese sandwich at the airport cafe. No change of order allowed, but we talked the staff into toasting it for us. Yum!
SMOOTH AS SILK
Thanks to Cathy Jarratt's letter (Letters, August 4, 2012) about her trip to Central Asia with Uzbek Journeys (uzbekjourneys.com), we organised a tour to Uzbekistan with Penelope Price. Along with the awesome architectural highlights of the Silk Road, we treasured the interaction with traditional artisans, the hospitality of local families, and the range of options, including a scrub and massage in a 16th-century hammam.
NOT A VILLAGE, PEOPLE
I'm not sure how the citizens of Siena would react to having their glorious city dating from Etruscan times described as "a village outside Florence" (Welcome from the Editor, Traveller, August 31). Siena is an archbishopric and a university city and the capital of the province of Siena. It retains much of its mediaeval and Renaissance glory, one of the world's great cathedrals (the black-and-white marble never to be forgotten), countless artistic treasures and mediaeval monuments - one could go on.
TOURS OF DUTY
After having travelled on our own for many years and as we have grown older, we looked forward to doing organised tours. However, we find that most tour companies try to cram in so many cities that you spend your time packing and unpacking and just skimming the surface of the main tourist sites. When will tour companies realise that there are some people who would like to do a tour of just four or five centres in any particular country over 14 to 19 nights with, say, a minimum of three nights in each and spend a bit of time enjoying the ambience of the place visited?
I flew to Cairns with Qantas, and the check-in and the service were excellent. We were served a delicious lunch, and then to my shock when I went to butter my roll I saw that we had been served Lurpak butter, which is a product of Denmark. Surely they should support the Australian dairy industry. It was the same on the return flight, and in the business lounge. I was so disappointed that a leading Australian airline should do this.