Subject: London & Paris
Good Afternoon, I just returned from London & Paris and wanted to share my experience. We took my 2 step-children, ages 13 & 17, for Spring Break.

Paris was wonderful. It was my second trip to Paris and despite the cooler weather it was not too cold. We did as much walking as we did 2 years ago in the summer time. I was surprised, however, to see so many tourist from the US, including teen groups. The Franc was alot closer to our currency than London's sterlings. We stayed at a pleasant hotel for it's location, The Warwick at the Champs Elysees. I went through Expedia and was able to secure 2 rooms for 200.00 each per night. My husband and I enjoy red wine and was always pleased with every selection during our stay and very reasonably priced.

London was a totally different experience. The word, unpleasant, is being very very kind. It was extremely cold and although the sun is out every morning you can count on rain every day. We did learn quickly (after the 1st day) to dress wearing multiple layers of clothing. I went through a Canadian company to secure accomodations and we stayed at a Somerset apartment facility just a 5 min. walk from Gloucester Station, a perfect location. However, we were very disappointed, our apt had 2 bedrooms UPSTAIRS and 1 bathroom

DOWNSTAIRS. The kitchen was not a true kitchen, more of a hotel type kitchenette with a very small refrig/cooler. They had indicated a washer &dryer in our apartment, however, this wasn't entirely accurate. There was 2 washers &2 dryers in the basement for the entire apartment complex. It took us 4+ hours to complete our laundry on one night. This facility cost us as much as the 2 hotel rooms with 2 bathrooms in Paris. The cost for EVERYTHING was almost twice as much. Our children were shocked at ordering a 15+ dollar hamburger, much less a 30+ dollar pizza. The service at each restaurant is unacceptable. We actually walked out of one very nice restaurant which had quite a few tables vacant. At another restaurant the waitress refused to provide me with a side of ranch dressing and then proceeded to call my husband a foreigner that expected...., etc....Nothing is without a price, i.e., chips & salsa, bread, water before your meal. We bought travel/rail passes for 3 days, they were supposed to go for 24 hours from the time of purchase, however, for some unknown reason our tickets expired sooner and the station employees agreed with us but did nothing so we paid more to get to the train station that would take us to the airport.

So, in ending, we are so very thankful to be home in our good old USA and have been reminded how blessed we are to live here.

Happy travels, Charla McKernan