A good little travel article on Bratislava, Slovakia, by Alice Short ["Cultural Blender," April 29]. The cafe Presburg honors the original name of the city. It would have been nice if she had mentioned the great composer-pianist J.N. Hummel, who was born there. I also enjoyed the city; my main reason for stopping was Hummel's house/museum.
Santa Fe, N.M.
I enjoyed the article on Bratislava, which evoked my appreciation for a similar city. It's an outpost of lively Austro-Hungarian culture (with a Slavic overlayer) with beautiful architecture, festive riverbanks, marvelous food, great beer and friendly people, all in an eminently walkable space. It's also the compact capital of its small country and has the same where-the-heck-is-that mystery. Throw in the enigma of pronunciation, and you have Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Thank you, Alice Short, for taking us back to a wonderful visit we enjoyed in Bratislava. We were on a wonderful road trip from Athens to Copenhagen to attend our son's wedding.
We didn't know much about Bratislava, but some friends warned us that there was no there there. Luckily, we ignored their advice. We loved the city. The public art. The free Sunday opera recital. The lovely restaurants.
I must admit that we didn't try the local Mexican restaurant, but we did find its website entertaining. In any event, thank you for bringing back those wonderful memories. We look forward to getting back to Bratislava soon.
Bill and Eleni Darrough
Recommendations for Budapest
We just returned from a trip to Prague, Czech Republic, Vienna and Budapest, Hungary, so we were delighted to relive our trip through your April 29 coverage of the region. But Daniel Robinson's article ["The Gold Standard in Cafes"] did not mention the amazing and heartwarming Tree of Life memorial in the rear courtyard of the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest — a metal weeping willow sculpted to sway in the breeze like a real tree, whose leaves hold the names of thousands of Hungarian Jews who died in the Holocaust. It alone is worth the trip.
We would also like to recommend the Hotel Victoria, a wonderful small hotel on the Buda side of the river with sweeping views overlooking the Danube, the Chain Bridge and the magnificent Parliament Building — a sight to behold, especially at night. The cost was about $125 a night with breakfast. The room was large and bright, the food was excellent, and the staff was attentive and helpful.
Last but not least, we recommend a performance by Rajko, a band of musicians appearing regularly at the city's beautiful Koncert Hall. Selections range from classical to gypsy folk, and a CD or DVD you can buy, taped in concert at the synagogue, also features "Kol Nidre" and "My Yiddische Mama."
Paniolos and more in Kau, Hawaii
I live in Kau, Hawaii, and we have plenty of paniolos (cowboys) here as well as a couple of prime farmers markets and a great one in Hilo town.
We have accurately and historically correct murals in the area by local artists with the help of children. Want to see sea turtles and whales? We got 'em too.