More Flak for Florhof

I have been a subscriber to your travel letter for several years and thought I would pass on a few comments, particularly in view of an article in your February, 1997, issue.

My wife and I have recently returned from a skiing vacation in Zermatt - our 9th year. We spent our first day/night in Stein am Rhein (just the cure for the first day's jet lag) and two nights in Zürich before going to Zermatt. In Stein, we stayed at the Adler (more than adequate) since our preferred choice, the Rheinfels, had not yet opened.

In Zürich, the Florhof has been our choice in the past but two incidents during this most recent visit have prompted us to look elsewhere for future visits. Without elaborating greatly, one incident involved a lack of concern in follow-up regarding a request I had made for a room with bath (vice shower) and the other involved erroneous extras appearing on our bill.

Neither of these is really significant, but the lack of concern or attention by the staff, in my opinion, is unbecoming for the type of hotel the Florhof is supposed to be and for the price one pays. We have always enjoyed the tranquility of the Florhof but it is no longer the warm experience that we knew with Herr Schilter and his staff. Your February issue arrived after we returned and it was interesting to read the letter from Ms. Kanuch regarding this hotel. I would now have to agree with her. At other times we have stayed at the Kindli, the Rütli and the Züricherhof. All were reasonable but we will continue to look for the "right" one now that the Florhof has lost its appeal.

John C. Eller

Coronado CA

Bamberg, Regensburg Report

My wife and I spent a week in Bamberg last October, followed by a week in Regensburg. We followed many of your suggestions in Gemütlichkeit. Both are delightful cities, spared by most of WWII devastations and worthy of at least three or four days each. In Bamberg, we stayed at Hotel Residenzschloss ($185/night double). Very pleasant hotel, well located and quiet. Highly recommend Messerschmitt for dinner (225 DM/$132 for three, wine included). Pleasant local atmosphere and value at Gastätte Hofbräu (104 DM/$61 for two, including wine). Great atmosphere but somewhat touristy at Brauereiausschank Schlenkerla. Lunch at Hotel-Restaurant Nepomuk highly recommended (93 DM/$55 for two, including wine).

In Regensburg you were exactly right about Park Hotel Maximilian (238 DM/$140 double) beautiful location and exterior, inside rundown, dark and gloomy. Bischofshof, on the other hand, was charming. A suite (beautiful, roomy and quiet) was 290 DM/$171. Wonderful gourmet meal at Don Juan (Fischgasse 4) 70 DM/$41 for two, wine included, for lunch. Not to be missed: Historische Wurstküche at the bridge, have Wurst where Karl der Grosse did!

Good daytrip via train from Bamberg was Veste Coburg...great art and armor collection and Martin Luther Apartments.

Hotel Anker was excellent as always.

Chaney Aderholt

Birmingham, AL

France Warning

As a subscriber to your fine publication I wish to pass on a couple of bits of information to you and the other readers. One about a hotel in Munich, the second a word of caution for anyone venturing west out of Germany into France.

While in Munich in November of last year we found the Europischer Hof (Bayerstrasse 31, 80335 München, tel. 089/ 551510, fax 089/55151222), literally across the street from the main train station. If one is brave enough to jaywalk the hotel entrance is directly across the street from the Bayerstrasse entrance to the station. If not, it is a short distance to the corner crosswalk.

In the finest German tradition it is exceptionally clean, well maintained and operated. The front desk staff is courteous, and while reserved, helpful as well as efficient. Particular mention needs to be made of a young man from Sri Lanka. In the morning he helps out in the breakfast room and during the day he is the porter. He is always smiling and wanting to be of service. An excellent breakfast buffet is served with more choices than the typical selections of fruit, meats and cheeses, etc.

We paid around $110 for a standard double room outfitted with contemporary wood furniture, a large bed with a split mattress and individual duvets, and a large window that opens onto an interior courtyard. There is also a pleasant reading/sitting room on the first floor for the use of guests.

It is certainly not a small, quaint country inn, but for a city hotel it has everything we look for and more.

In several French cities, primarily in the area just south of the Alsace-Lorraine and in the Champagne region, many banks refused to accept $100 denominated bills to change into French Francs. Apparently they have had a serious problem with counterfeit $100 bills and have adopted a policy of not accepting any. Other denominations were not a problem.

Ronald E. Null

Sandpoint ID

Rheingau Discovery

I always like to spend the first night in the Frankfurt area in the Rheingau. My preference has always been the Oestrich-Winkel area. This locality is not terribly touristy as is Rudesheim but good accommodations have always been scarce.

This past October while on my way to the Hotel Ruthman which leaves something to be desired, I noticed an old Weingut had a hotel sign outside. The building has been there as long as I can remember but had been improved on the outside. I decided to check it out. When entering the reception area you are struck by the beauty of 200-year-old wood lovingly restored to its original light grain. There is a small bar in the large dining-reception area and a nice open terrace on the Rhine side of the building.

The floor above offers eight double rooms of which five have Rhine view. The floors in all rooms and the hallway are spotless white tile. All rooms have Dusche/WC/Radio and TV. There is an ample parking facility on the grounds and they have a ramp where you can park your car and bring your baggage into the reception area. Double rooms were from 130 DM ($76) for streetside accommodations and 150 DM ($88) for river view with balcony. Rooms are large and cheerful.

The breakfast is great and the restaurant offers small local dishes mostly light fare that goes well with wine. The night we stayed there they were catering a wedding. There was an entertainer for the affair and all the restaurant guests were able to take advantage of the music. In the course of the evening a number of locals were seated at our table. The owners made sure to tell each one that we spoke English. Nice touch.

The wine served in the restaurant is their own and typical of the fine Rieslings in the area. Food and drink prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is great. When we checked out, Frau Schonleber presented us with a free bottle of the house wine. This was a first for me in fifteen years of staying in this area. I heartily recommend the Hotel F.B. Schonleber (D-65375 Oestrich-Winkel, Stadtteil Mittelheim Obere Roppelsgasse 1, tel. 06723/3475, fax 06723/4759).

Anyone who enjoys good German home cooking might want to visit the Gasthaus Distelfink a few blocks from the Schonleber hotel. This small restaurant is run by a husband and wife. Maria and Helmut Thum, the owners speak no English and there is never any tourist crowd here. They offer the typical Schwein dishes but the portions are huge even for Germany. We always order the senior portion and can barely finish it. The prices will make you think it's 1983 all over again. That is the Gasthof Distelfink, An Der Basilika 6. 65375 Oestrich-Winkel, tel. 06723/2459

Gemütlichkeit is still the best newsletter for Europe that can be found. Keep up the good work.

Don & Betty Schaaf

Largo FL

Hotel Near Coburg

While traveling in Germany last fall we stumbled upon the Hotel Bauer in Kronach, 32 kilometers east of Coburg and 58 kilometers north and slightly east of Bamberg.

We arrived late after finding nowhere to stay in the small town we intended to visit the next day. We were directed to the Hotel Bauer (Kulmbacher Str. 7, D-96317, tel. 09261/94058, fax 09261/52298) by a young fellow that we stopped in the street.

Kronach is a well-preserved town with small, winding cobbled streets. It is dominated by a castle built in the 1600s during the Thirty Years' war that is still well-preserved and worth a visit.

The Bauer was the find of our trip. It had a recently constructed separate guest house set in the back yard of the property. Bed and breakfast were 126 DM ($74 ) per night.

The restaurant was first rate. It featured two daily chef's menus plus a full al a carte menu. The local Franken wine was a great accompaniment to the fabulous food.

The staff and the people at the Bauer, of course, made the experience. When we arrived the first evening, we caught the staff off guard because our German and their English were equally poor. To the rescue came the chef who not only showed us the room, but also personally waited on us with the help of the other serving staff.

One of our traveling companions described to the chef a cold plate that he often ordered when in Germany. He inquired if it was still available because he hadn't seen it on any menus. The chef explained what it was and described how he prepared it.

We had originally intended to spend only one night in Kronach, but were so impressed by the Bauer that we decided to stay another night. We left the next morning to do some shopping at the many porcelain outlets nearby. We returned to the hotel rather late and went to the dining room for dinner.

The chef was off that evening so we were served by the regular staff. Communication was difficult, but interesting. We were all looking forward to the meal, each of us having decided to try a different item from the menu. As usual we were served a complimentary appetizer. Then the waitress started to remove the table centre and most of the items on the table. At no time were we given menus.

This seemed a little strange, but we thought perhaps they were busy and that we would be looked after when they had a minute. After a short while, the waitress returned bearing a slate platter on which was arrayed the most wonderful cold plate, just as the chef had described it the night before. He had gone to the trouble to prepare it and to surprise us with it.

Surprised we were and delighted. It was delicious. We slowly and deliberately tried to eat it all, but even four of us couldn't finish it.

Things like this are the highlight of any trip.

Ken & Shelby Love

Regina Saskatchewan

(U.S. Dollar prices quoted in this issue of Gemütlichkeit may be inaccurate for these reasons:

* Prices in local currency have not been updated since the date of publication of this newsletter, and...

* The dollar prices shown were obtained by using exchange rates in effect at the time of publication.)

April 1997