Travelers' Tales


From our February issue: Readers share anecdotes involving "natural" ice cream, and sardines in the can….

New Prize: All-inclusive Cancún
The best response we receive between February 1 and February 29, 2008, wins a three-night trip for two to Cancún from Continental Airlines Vacations. The prize includes round-trip airfare from any Continental gateway in the U.S. and three all-inclusive nights at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort.

How to enter or True Stories, Budget Travel, 530 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10018. For full contest guidelines, see

This month's winner!
The winners of this month's contest are Roger and Claudia Hirsch of Dundee, Ore. Their prize: a four-night trip to Jamaica from Air Jamaica, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, and the Jamaica Tourist Board.

A wonderful journey in Belgium went awry when we put regular gas in our diesel rental car. The mechanics at the auto shop laughed, shook their heads, and siphoned out the gas. When we asked about the bill, they indicated that we should wait, and made a phone call. Then a gentleman drove up--we assumed that he was the owner. He explained that during World War II, the Americans marched into his village to save it from the Nazis. He said he'd never forget, and for Americans, there would be no charge for the car repair. We were speechless.

And it was only $13 each!
I hoped to visit the Greek archaeological museum in Iráklion and the Minoan palace at Knossos while in Crete, but both sites were closed. Sensing my disappointment, my taxi driver, Stelios, offered to take my family and me on a tour across the island for only $100. I told him that my wife and daughter were just getting up and would be hungry. "Could you choose a place for breakfast and join us as our guest?" I asked. He gave me a quizzical look and nodded, then made a call on his cell phone. We later learned that Stelios had awakened his wife to inform her that he was bringing three Americans home for breakfast. His wife, Katerina, served us seven different homemade treats, and she even gave my wife and daughter some handmade lace. "No passengers ever asked me to eat with them," said Stelios. "How can I take them anywhere but to my own home?" Kevin R. Allison, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

But can he make a marinara?
While on a Caribbean cruise, my husband and I enjoyed watching sunsets with our friends. When I noted how refreshing it was to wear so little clothing, one friend agreed, even suggesting that man revert to the fashion trend set by Adam and Eve--"We should all just don a bay leaf," he said. I gave my sympathies to his girlfriend. My husband certainly would need the more standard fig leaf to do the job properly! Cindy Brewer, Ballwin, Mo.

Fishier and fishier
In Madrid, my husband, some friends, and I stopped in a tapas bar. A selection of whole sardines arrived with our drinks. Unaccustomed to the beady eyes, I hid the fish in a napkin to avoid appearing ungracious. The owner immediately filled our plate with more. I stashed them away, too. I carried the bundle to the bathroom and dropped the fish into the toilet. Unfortunately, the water pressure wasn't sufficient to remove them. I watched in horror as the fish simply floated in circles. Not wanting to leave them for the next guest, I kept flushing. Eventually, I tried flushing two at a time, and to my relief they went down. We left soon thereafter. Celia Gianoli, Reno, Nev.

Proof that lawyers are dogs
Last fall, my dad and I traveled to Nashville for his law-school reunion. When we pulled up to the hotel, we saw a number of people checking in with dogs, and we remarked how pet-friendly the hotel was. Upon entering our room, my dad raided the minibar for a snack to take with his medication. He mentioned later that the gingersnaps tasted funny. A look at the wrapper showed that what he'd eaten was a package of dog treats. Lantie Elisabeth Quinones, Jupiter, Fla.

Beware the banana split
After five days of vegetarian food at a meditation retreat in the Dordogne area of France, my husband, my three kids, and I were ready for our more usual fare--so when we read about a place where a nude waiter serves Baskin-Robbins ice cream, we couldn't resist. The next thing I knew, we were at Le Cap d'Agde, a large naturist village. Our server had swim trunks on, but we saw very few articles of clothing on anyone else. They were the most memorable ice cream cones we'd ever eaten! Rae Therrien, Laupahoehoe, Hawaii

A.K.A. the big queasy
At a café in La Paz, Bolivia, I was still a bit hungry after dinner and wanted to order a sandwich before the café closed. The sandwiches were all named after cities. I went with the New Orleans, which I ordered in Spanish. Two waiters came out with four bags. I'd ordered "nueve" (nine) Orleans instead of a "Nueva" (New) Orleans. Alison Peters, Denver, Colo.

Prize report
In November 2006, Bill and Linnea Boaz won four nights at The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Colorado for their efforts at re-creating a BT cover. "Highlights included two rounds of golf--one 9,200 feet above sea level--and two world-class massages," writes Bill. "And dinner at the Mirador restaurant was terrific. Thanks again!"

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