A shared spirit of wonder
Lynn Lively's story of three friends celebrating 65th and 70th birthdays by backpacking to, over and down Mt. Whitney ("On Top of the World," May 9) would make the late Colin Fletcher, the backpacker and writer, smile. The narrator and her pals combine a grand sense of adventure with a goodly amount of planning. This is exactly the way Fletcher empowered a generation of young men and women to walk away from the car and the French fries and to carry what they could of their world of food and comfort into wild places with confidence and a spirit of wonder.
The piece also had enough detail (bear canisters and down versus synthetic jackets) to see that their six-day trip was not a lark.
It's no small detail that the three women had a wonderful time — and treated us to an exhilarating holiday, we who have trudged the mountains and those who haven't yet.
Tom Sloss, Fountain Valley
Keeping fee-free when abroad
Regarding "Stash the Cash" (On the Spot, May 9): You should have mentioned that the Capital One Visa has no foreign currency conversion fee (and dollars can be used to reimburse for certain air tickets, among other things). We have one to use just for our foreign travels.
J. Peter Rich, Los Angeles
One option the article failed to mention: Check to see if your bank has any agreements with banks in the countries you will be traveling to that would allow you to use those banks' ATMs without paying a fee.
This allows you to get cash as needed without those extra charges.
Gerald Kelly, Santa Monica
In tune for a G-rated flight
Regarding "Young Fliers and Violent Films" [Letters, April 25]: The next time you find yourself in a situation where your children are being exposed to adult or inappropriate material, fight back.
Bursting into a loud, lively chorus of "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" is sure to draw the attention of the cabin crew as well as other parents and kids on board. You can agree to quiet yourself and your children when the other passenger agrees to change the channel.
Chloe Reid, Lakewood
Kudos to cruise lines' response to volcano
We were cruising on the Viking Europe when the volcano erupted in Iceland. We were three days into our journey, and the news of no flights in or out of Europe was spreading fast.
Passengers were anxious about what to do when they disembarked. Viking River Cruises took the position that, if we could not fly out, it would transport us back to the Viking Europe, and we would begin the journey again (free). When the flights returned, it would bus us to the airport.
This was such a relief and helped all of us enjoy the rest of our cruise. We think Viking River Cruises made a very wise decision and eased the anxiety of its passengers. It deserves a big thank you.
Frank Yost and Lynn Mattice-Yost, Riverside
I must commend Grand Circle Small Ship Travel for its handling of problems caused by the Icelandic volcano. We weren't going to be able to get home, so they called the 120 or so passengers aboard the Rhapsody to explain the situation. The company kept us aboard ship in our original cabins, fed us gourmet meals and planned two optional trips to keep us occupied. The staff was constantly on the phones trying to get plane reservations changed and even get medications for those who did not bring enough for an extended stay. Ultimately, we were taken by bus to Amsterdam or Brussels for our flights. All of this and other amenities were provided at no charge to any passengers. This was my ninth trip with Grand Circle, and I would ask anyone seeking group travel to strongly consider this company.
Marilyn Van Aken, Los Angeles