Subject: hotels in Florence and London
In 1997 I stayed at a place in Galluzo, just outside of the city limits of Florence, I think it was called la Fattoressa, or something like that. I found it in Karen Brown's book on Italian Country Bed And Breakfasts. It was quite nice, still a working farm, although incredibly close to the city, right on a bus line. We had a car, so we drove the 10 minutes into the city, and parked in a free parking place, where our hosts explained to us that we could leave our car for the entire day. The food at this place was amazing, and it was a great value. I also like staying in Fiesole, but my favorite spot has become very expensive over the last 10 years. I think that it is called Pensione Bencista, although I last stayed there in 1993 or 1994.

All in all, I have stayed in five or six places from the Karen Brown book, and find the book to be very accurate, and consider it my bible for Italian travel. I have the URLs for web sites specializing in Italian Agriturism if you are interested, as well as some other ones for Italian travel. email me directly if you want.

Also, for London, I have had good luck with placing my friends at the Rushmore Hotel in Earl's Court for nice budget accomodations. Also, Sally from this list has recommended the Swiss Cottages Hotel very highly, and I have heard very good things about it as well. I do not like Hotel 167, which is right next to the Swiss Cottages, and is recommended in many books. It is small and expensive. I have no clue why it has such a cult following. If you want to spend some $$$$ and stay in a small, beautiful, elegant, place, in a gorgeous area, I love Eleven Cadogen Gardens. It is timeless and elegant. All of the above recommendations are just a few minutes from major tube stops as well.

JM Chimene Chicago