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First-Time Flaws

July 10, 1994

The column by B. Beyer and E. Rabey titled "There's Always a First Time" (June 12) is replete with whimsical parodies and trivia, but somewhat short on meaningful advice for the first-time traveler to Europe. Despite their claims of "living in Europe for five years and returning several times" they show a remarkable dissatisfaction for the conveniences in modern European hotels.

(They complain about) inadequate bedside illumination, saying that 5- or 10- watt bulbs are used. I have stayed in about 100 European hotels in the past 10 years without finding reason to examine the bulbs--and I am an habitual bedtime reader. Secondly, they claim that the cold and hot water flows in showers are totally unregulated. This is absolutely untrue in hotel chains such as the Best Western and equivalent. Generally one can expect the same standard of quality as in comparable hotels in the U.S. The only significant difference: One should expect the price to be about 100% more in Europe.

Finally, it cannot be over-emphasized that detailed planning is the best way to avoid disappointments and "culture shocks." Planning requires time and thought, but for me the anticipation has always been a part of the enjoyment.

NORMAN F. BATES, Dana Point

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