Untours Cafe

Featured Blog Posts (85)

2007 Eslinger Heartland Untour

Switzerland Vacation – Aug/Sept – 2007

By Bob & Barbara Eslinger – Phoenix, AZ

This was our sixth trip to Switzerland with our first trip ten years ago. We have taken Untours to other countries as well, but always come back to Switzerland. This time we had the normal two week

Heartland Untour followed by a week on our own.

We like to fly into Zurich…


Added by robesl on September 14, 2007 at 3:37pm — 7 Comments

Fooding Spain Part II

During the next few days, Emily and I continue to visit the sights, explore the neighborhoods (we are especially struck by the architecture and colors of Madrid de los Austrias--the Austrian, or old, quarter)

(here's a map that tells you the location of the Austrian Quarter, where we have some apartments for the Madrid Untour)

and, of course, sample the food. We sample churros y chocolat,…


Added by Lotta Rao on September 12, 2007 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Matterhorn Memories....a wonderful portrait of a trip!

Vance Roy's video narration is 49 minutes, I must admit I felt daunted when I saw that length.

But I was very delightfully surprised.

I HIGHLY recommend braving that long-sounding time; Vance is a great, great narrator. The videos are casual, the humor is good, and he has done a terrific job of informing you about what a trip to Zermatt entails (from the touristy parts, to the neat little backstreets where the tourists don't go, to the pristine… Continue

Added by Marilee Taussig on September 9, 2007 at 5:30pm — 2 Comments

Transforming a photograph into canvas art

I recently turned some of my very favorite travel photos into canvas wall art, and I was so pleased with the results. Perhaps someone here is interested!

I struggle with what to do with my photos after a trip. I love to make scrapbooks and albums, but I don't thumb through the finished products all that often. This solution is great, though - I now have some nice artwork on my walls, I get to see two of my favorite places in the world every day, and everytime I see them I remember…


Added by Liss Poulson Small on September 6, 2007 at 6:42pm — 7 Comments

A Few Structural Changes around the Cafe

We relocated the "what we're reading" list of articles to the New Stuff page. It's been planned for a while to reduce the busy-ness on the site, but I just hadn't figured out a good place to put it.

It's very gratifying that some of you have written blog posts inspired by those articles, and feel free to send me any suggestions or link to articles that we can add to the "what we're reading" list!

Also, we have switched over the… Continue

Added by Powen Shiah on September 4, 2007 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Paris 2001 - Part 1

Hello dear readers....it was recently suggested to me by someone named Brian (he left a comment on my Blogger.com blog) that I post my 10-part saga of our 2001 Paris trip here on the Untours Cafe. Thank you Brian, for tipping me off about the Untours Cafe! Being a brand new Blogger as of June 2007, my first choice of what to write about was our 2001 trip to Paris...more explanation is below. I hope you enjoy our story....thanks for stopping by, and anyone is welcome to… Continue

Added by Sara and Christopher on September 8, 2007 at 11:54am — 5 Comments

Fooding Spain

It's been ten years since last I was in Spain. That time I was passing through quickly on my way to Africa. I have hazy memories of wide open spaces, one grand building, and the small hostel my friend Eliza and I stayed at in Madrid. Oh, and I remember the overnight train rides.

It's evening when I begin my trip from the Philadelphia airport to Madrid. I'm excited and nervous. I don't like take offs and landings so I'm trying to keep my…

Added by Lotta Rao on August 31, 2007 at 8:01am — 8 Comments

The Joy of Fly-Fishing

It was so enjoyable reading the Cafe staff recommended article in the New York Times about fly-fishing in Greece. Just hope the fishing is still good there, in view of the terrible fires they are having. The article brought back wonderful memories of many hours spent with youngest son, Jim, trying to perfect the art of attracting a fish to the fly, and thought I'd share a few photos of these efforts.

The photo above…


Added by Mary Lou Grier on August 29, 2007 at 6:27am — 8 Comments

Ana Ginotti and My Prayer Card

(This blog was written in answer to Mary Lou Grier’s request to know more about the landlady of the Ada Teresa.)

In Tuscany South near the towns of Buonconvento and Montalcino is the Ginotti vineyards and winery. The Ginotti’s host several Untours apartments on their farm. In…


Added by Marlene Hench on August 24, 2007 at 7:37pm — 9 Comments

How a student exchange program led to the birth of Untours

This discussion about exchange students reminds me that there would be no Untours if it weren't for the fact that, in 1963-64, our family hosted an exchange student, a certain Hartmut Helmchen, a high school student from Berlin who lived with our family for a year--the same year that the person who dreamed up"Untours Café,"

my daughter Marilee, was in the 5th grade.

Some of you may know about Jane Helmchen,Hartmut's…


Added by Hal Taussig on August 20, 2007 at 4:15pm — 4 Comments

Best of the Cafe lately....

.....along with Bill Kover's excellent series "In My Grandfather's Footsteps" which I lauded earlier, I would highly recommend:

In written word, Mary Lou Grier's praise of student exchange progrmas is a good read, and elicited some responsesl.

In the video department, I recommend the Chilean Patagonian Short and (not so humbly) my video of the harp concert in Paris.

It was a GREAT week for photos; so far I can't figure out how to put other people's photos into a blog,… Continue

Added by Marilee Taussig on August 20, 2007 at 2:07pm — No Comments

When you travel, are there good crowds and bad?

I don't know about you but when I am travelling, there are some crowds that I experience that are just awful....make me almost not like travelling when I end up in a tourist trap and people are crawling all over a place in a frenzy of buying and picture taking. Then there are other times that it is quite different...

Good crowd?

Find more videos like this on Untours… Continue

Added by Marilee Taussig on August 20, 2007 at 1:15pm — No Comments

The Joy of Exchange Students

My daughter, Bonnie, who lives in the "compound" with me in the Texas Hill Country, has hosted a number of exchange students, mainly from Italy and Germany, who keep coming back to visit over and over again, or we visit with them in their home area.

This is Federica "Fede" Amati, whose home is in Bologna and who is now studying to be a Notary at Bologna after attendingt the University in Rome. A Notary in Italy is not like ours in the States. They must first finish college with a law…


Added by Mary Lou Grier on August 15, 2007 at 9:39pm — 4 Comments

Roman Holiday

When we heard Untours was adding Rome to its list of programs, we couldn't wait to go. We had visited the Eternal City twice before, but the opportunity to live there Idyll-style was just irresistible! October 2005 found us and our adult daughter Cindy settled into an large apartment overlooking via Ottaviano in the Prati district. We were delighted to be just a four-block walk from Vatican City . (That became a regular after-dinner walk for… Continue

Added by Sue PVE on August 11, 2007 at 11:48pm — 3 Comments

ALSACE FOR THE SWISS LOVER...and the history lover too

Alsace may surprise you. It's not just pretty little villages. It's also mountains worth exploring and trails worth hiking high in the Vosges Mountains.

We're hikers at heart and after exploring a few of those pretty little Alsatian villages, we felt a need to get up into some hiking country. Luckily, it's not far at all from Beblenheim to the Vosges...and the maps are good!…


Added by Doris M on August 10, 2007 at 9:25pm — 8 Comments

A slight adjustment; we are taking the "entry page" down, and getting you to the good stuff faster...

When we started the cafe, we were worried that people would find it confusing, so we created an entry page

But as more and more members join, we have come to the conclusion that most of you dive right in, without much confusion at all. So we are going to eliminate that first entry page.

From now on, when you enter the cafe (by going to www.untourscafe.com ) you will see our Main Page…


Added by Marilee Taussig on August 10, 2007 at 7:16am — No Comments


Doris M's pictures and text of Alsace constitute the final bit of evidence--as if we needed it--that Untours Cafe constitutes a unique format for travel reports.

Speaking personally, her combination of skillful writing and photography have brought me to a decision: my absence from this part of Europe is no longer tolerable. ( I think it's been four years since my last visit.) The way village life merges with rural landscape is unequaled in any area of Europe--perhaps the world.… Continue

Added by Hal Taussig on August 9, 2007 at 3:55am — 3 Comments

Slowing down on an Alsace Untour...

After eight wonderful Untours, we're finally learning to do what Idyll has always wanted for all us Untourists. We're beginning to take the time to remain in our own special little village for a while and soak in the feeling of living in a place rather than just using our apartment as a springboard for all those other exciting new places we feel we need to explore. So often we'd come back home after an Untour and realize we had explored most every place we had on our list - except for our…


Added by Doris M on August 6, 2007 at 11:44am — 5 Comments

Video-blogging from Paris

This is our temporary abode; we are trying to bear up under the strain of sacrificing for our friends.

While we are here, my goal is to narrate the experience of "living like a local" by using all the tools in the Untours Cafe. I hope to weave together words, pictures and videos in a way that any Cafe member with a computer, a DSL line and a digital camera can do.

You… Continue

Added by Marilee Taussig on August 5, 2007 at 10:02am — 5 Comments

Surviving and Thriving in Paris

I'd like to pass along a few tips that have helped make our Paris stays such travel high points. First of all is a book, the Michelin Paris Atlas. This slim, pocket-size guide was part of the pretrip materials for our Paris Untour in April, 2000. (Merci beaucoup, Untours!) It's become a Bible for us, and is one travel book I never lend out! Every street in all 20 arrondissements is listed, with a page number and map key. And because of its… Continue

Added by Sue PVE on August 1, 2007 at 1:26pm — 4 Comments


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