Subject: Tuscany in Italy; Costa Blanca in Spain/Hotel LaQuerce in Chiusi
Hello, All

I'm a new member in Orlando, Fla, either retired or temporarily unemployed. I'm trying to travel before forced to go back to work! I saw Don& Linda's review of Hotel LaQuerce in Chiusi, Italy, after I had already booked that for a 9-day stay in October, 2001.

Chiusi seems great for day tripping but Hotel's website has map that on Zooming in, makes Hotel look like the train station in middle of busy train tracks and close highways. That is not the laidback farmhouse/hotel image I had. So, I would greatly appreciate feedback on: (1) whether this Hotel is noisy because of train or Autostrada, and (2)what car rental options might be most reasonable in Chiusi area. (We'll be arriving in Tuscany from a week in Spain, and probably will fly into Florence - would it be better to rent car in Florence, drive to Chiusi vs. taking train from Florence to Chiusi?)

My travel abroad has been limited - Bahamas, Caribbean, 2 weeks in Portugal in '97(and absolutely loved the country), and Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in '98.

This fall trip combines several goals and people: A friend has a connection to owners of a port vineyard in Duoro Valley, and we might get to stay there a few days for the grape crush; as I had a week timeshare available for exchange, we decided to fly in to Madrid, drive or train to Duoro (vineyard is in Pinhao), stay several days there, then get back to Madrid and either drive or train to Calpe, Spain where we'll have 1 week before some head home and some go on to Italy. Calpe is south of Valencia, north of Alicante, and we hear it is beautiful as well as interesting. There we'll use condo as base for daytrips - it's about 2 miles to beach, close to coastal railroad to get elsewhere, and we'll rent a car, also. Any suggestions for car sources, or must-sees would be appreciated.

For Italy another friend will join us - she's never been abroad, she & husband always wanted trip to Italy, and her Italian-heritage husband died last year. So one widow, one married woman, and one divorced woman are going to share 1 room/1bath at Hotel LaQuerce. We're negotiating bathroom get-ready time already! Our trip is early October, so we hope to avoid most of the crowds. We figure train trips to Rome &Florence, car elsewhere.

You travelers probably know this, already, but would suggest another website also:, click Travel, then can get into forums on various regions of the world. As I'm already planning a trip to visit friends in Mindinao, Phillipines sometime in 2002, I'm looking for all the resources I can find.

Thanks, fellow travelers

Pat Orlando, Florida