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Travel letters: Santa Barbara's wonderful wine country

Plus, dropping U.S. restrictions on Cuba travel, the horrors of Rome's airport and unfriendly immigration officials at LAX.

October 21, 2012

I am a subscriber and an online reader. I look forward to the Travel section. Seriously, it is one of the first sections I dive into. Today's write-up about Santa Barbara is wonderful, and I got lost in it like a good book ["It's Ripening on the Vine" by Christopher Reynolds, Oct. 7]. As fall finally arrives, it will be a short trip by rail from San Diego County.

I appreciate the great writing and am considering a weekend trip there.

Christopher Carmichael

Santee, Calif.

After reading Reynolds' description of the inns in the Los Olivos area, I feel compelled to put in a word for the ForFriends Inn. My husband and I stayed there for a getaway weekend last month and found the property and rooms beautiful and the innkeepers wonderfully friendly and charming. The casual music on the patio in the evenings and the opportunities for conversation (or privacy if you prefer) that ForFriends offers is perfect. We loved the rosemary popovers at breakfast and the inn dog Smitty too.

Jan and Jared Stallones

Corona

Lift restrictions on travel to Cuba

It is ironic that for all U.S. Sen Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) preaching about freedom, the U.S. is the only country whose citizens face endless restrictions on visiting Cuba ["Backlog for Cuba Permits Eases" by Christopher Reynolds, Oct. 7]. Why shouldn't we be free to travel and to spend our own money in that country if we so choose?

Walter Davison

Valley Village

Rome's uncivilized airport

I recently made a trip to Croatia and Italy and had to change flights through Rome. What a nightmare. Its airport must be one of the most mismanaged on this planet. I have traveled in Third World countries and the Fiumicino Airport is beyond belief.

The arrival area is dirty, the bathroom facilities unclean and the immigration officers rude and spend a lot of time talking to each other.

The holding area for passengers trying to clear immigration was like a pen for cattle, no crowd control and about 500 people trying to merge into three lines prior to getting to the window. We were waiting more than an hour in a holding area that was over 90 degrees, with no ventilation, women with babies in arms, children on the floor and many elderly with no relief from standing for that length of time. It was a riot in the making, but fortunately the crowd was more civilized than the immigration officers who could care less.

Love Rome but hate the airport.

Pat Palmer

Long Beach

Less-than-welcoming return to the U.S.

I returned from Italy on Oct. 5 of this year. I am a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Mexico. I presented my passport to the control officer and upon receiving it, he asked me whether I had a driver's license. I said yes, and he demanded that I show it to him. I asked why, and he aggressively demanded it. I had to search for the license and showed it to him, and then he asked whether I had ever been arrested. Is this going to be a routine series of questions from our immigration officers at LAX?

Roberto Rodriguez

Long Beach

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