Hello, TCav, mtngal & JPMac13!
In the first place, please forgive me for not answering you earlier but we had some visitors over the weekend.
Regarding my recent post, please allow me to thank you for your very informative and kind suggestions and recommendations.
In the meantime, I made up my mind and decided to definitely go for the Nikon D 80
plus the Nikkor 18 - 200 mm VR lens which indeed seems to be a nearly unbeatable combination.
Once again, thank you very much and good luck to all of you!!