Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY, COOK’S HANDBOOK to the Health Resorts of the South of France, Riviera and Pyrenees offered advice, albeit most appropriate for the year of its publication, 1905. Today, in Part 2, Cook’s continues with information about where to stay and what to do.

Where to Stay. The Handbook offers a densely packed 22-page list of hotels accepting Cook’s Coupons of one sort or another. It also contains 56 pages of ads, primarily hotels, with a few Swiss watchmakers included to keep us on time.

I know Reid’s Hotel on Madeira after having visited there to drive the BMW 2.8-liter Z3. As I noted back in “Have Some Madiera, M’Dear,” it was a memorable experience: “Little did I know that the adventure would include a poetry recital to BMW’s charming PR lady at a local wine cellar.” 

Reid’s Hotel. Madeira is known for its artful tilework.

I’ve also had several great adventures in Northern Italy. One included a stay in Stresa at the Grand Hotel et des Iles Borromées

I agree, Stresa is “The Beauty Spot on Lake Maggiore.”  Also, it’s only a short boat ride to Isola dei Pescatori and its charming Albergo Verbano.

I agree with the ad (see “Venezia“), the Hotel Danieli is “Absolutely First-class.”

Here’s the Danieli in 1993. Image by the author.

Venice always reminds me of Robert Benchley’s famous telegram upon arrival: “Streets filled with water. Advise.”

If traveling by motor car (not in Venice, mind!) and you happen to be in the vicinity of Landeck, Tyrol, the Post Hotel comes with recommendation from “all first-class Automobile Clubs.”

 As the name suggests, a town’s post hotel is a distribution point in the mail coach network as well as a station for public diligences. Post hotels are also known for more than acceptable cuisine. 

In Jules Massenet’s opera Manon (and also in Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut), the opening scene involves a coach arriving at such an establishment. There, young Manon Lescaut, on her way to a convent, falls in love with a guy who takes her to Paris instead.

Each opera ends unhappily (Puccini’s in a desert near New Orleans!).

On several European adventures, I’ve enjoyed post hotels and their cuisines with no such goings-on, at least not on my part.

What To Do. Among recommended diversions while regaining one’s health, Cook’s writes, “Visitors to Nice have now an opportunity of visiting an Ostrich Farm. It has been started by an Englishman, Mr. Edward Cawston, whose experiments have disproved the theory that ostriches can only thrive in South Africa. At the end of 1905 there were about 150 ostriches on the farm, and their number is constantly increasing. There is also a sale room with a choice of ostrich feathers, boas, and fans. Admission to the farm, 1 fr.”

Nice though Nice is (quaint wording, eh?), I don’t have to go all that way to visit an ostrich farm. Ostrichland USA is just off the 101 on the way into Solvang, California. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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