Views on America

The treatment meted out by US Immigration to so many visitors these days is shocking. Perfectly innocent people are effectively locked up for hours on end and humiliated in the name of security. Short of forcing the likes of George Bush and Gordon Brown to submit to the same humiliating treatment that the rest of us enjoy, I suspect that the only effective way of getting the US government to treat visitors with more respect will be for us to stay away in droves.

In my few trips to the States I have been fortunate to pass through immigration without anything worse than having to stand in lengthy and slow-moving queues, but each time I have seen fellow passengers being hauled off, yelled at and questioned aggressively.

Does it have to be this way? Not long ago I flew to Stockholm, and I could not fail to notice how Swedish immigration officials managed to be both courteous and friendly, even cracking little jokes with their stressed-out arrivals. Richard Vale

Although I can see that America is a beautiful country, I have absolutely no wish to travel there. The description of "Secondary" merely confirmed that for me. Jenny Holden

Just a "thank you" to John Walsh. Almost 30 years ago I first saw the Grand Canyon. I have never been able to adequately describe that experience. John Walsh has done it for me – a brilliant exposé of my feelings of 30 years ago, which last to this day. I shall treasure the article. Barrie Smith

The interesting article by Margaret Campbell about Yosemite/Death Valley was a bit unfair about the public transport situation. Considering the American lack of love for public transport and the remoteness of Yosemite National Park, it is worth noting that Amtrak offers a combined Coach/Train ticket costing no more than $90 [£48] return, from the centre of either Los Angeles or San Francisco right to the lodging office of Yosemite, with at least two trips a day. The trip necessarily departs early to Yosemite and arrives late on return due to the distances and roads involved – but that does also mean you arrive at and leave Yosemite at sensible times. I found it to be extremely good value and a relaxing way to do the journey. Laurence Williams

Room service

The hotels that you mention in your articles are very often luxurious – possibly because these companies may have offered free holidays to the reviewer. However, when you give alternative addresses, these are usually of the "boutique" kind. There must be many other people who find both options expensive – in my case I am a widow, and must pay the full room rate myself. Please will you give alternatives that are central and clean but cheaper.

When I travel I spend very little time in the hotel because I am there to explore the locale, not to stay inside. Sue Brockbank

Simon Calder replies : "Point taken. Please look out for our Peru supplement next Saturday 9 February, which contains the Five Best Budget Hideaways – including an Amazonian treehouse for £8 a night."


In Frank Partridge's piece on the Olympics, he says that Barcelona's Olympic stadium is now the home ground of a lowly professional football team. In fact, the Montjuic in Barcelona is home to Espanyol de Barcelona, Spanish cup winners 2006, Uefa Cup finalists 2007, currently fifth in La Liga (the top Spanish league) and suppliers of three players to the last Spanish international squad. The last game I attended, in early December, drew just under 40,000, and the noise when Espanyol scored, coupled with flag-waving etc, will go down as one of those special life moments.

If in Barcelona, people could do worse than taking in a game and watching a good team and their talisman, Tamudo; tickets are easy to get as the stadium is huge. Duncan Smales, Wakefield Espanyol Supporters

Now that we've had The Complete Guide to Olympic Travel, what about an article on how to avoid the Olympics this summer – and we're going to need it even more in 2012! Jennifer Moore-Blunt