The Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations is a monthly event that connects travellers with locals in 1:1 conversations at traditional Vienna coffeehouses, in English.
I am a native Viennese and love Vienna even more since I moved away, though I frequently visit my home town and family there. My dad used to chat with locals whenever we went on holidays abroad, and we made many friends all around Europe. I realised, though, that many travellers find it difficult to connect with residents.
I had the idea to run the Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations when I read about conversation meals held for locals in Vienna last year. They were so popular that they sold out, with more than 100 locals on the waiting list for the next events.
The Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations also enable travellers to re-invent the world-famous and UNESCO-recognised Vienna coffeehouse culture, echoing a time when Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt and Stefan Zweig met acquaintances in cafés to exchange ideas and debate.
The white water rafting on the Soca River is among the best in Europe. The mountain scenery is spectacular.
There are fast and furious stretches of the river, and other places where it is calm and the most beautiful turquoise colour, overlooked by summer meadows and snow-capped peaks.
Although most people use Bovec as a base, there is a better place to stay: Tolmin. It's friendly and cheap.
Kaliandra is the most fabulous place, 21 hectares of forest, paths and hidden statues with four different levels of accommodation. It runs social and environmental programmes and does tours to support its work. The people are charming, the food (Javanese) is great, there's a high ropes course and mountain bikes for hire, there are hiking trails - and you can round it all off with a massage. Or have a more relaxing time learning the gamelan, or batik, or yoga - it's a gem. It's actually about 12 kms from Tretes but pretty easy to get to - one and a half hours from Surabaya, an hour from Malang.
The sunken Scylla is the UK’s first artificial reef created in 2004 and a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to enjoy a dive there.
I dived with BSAC (the British Sub Aqua Club) after being recommended by a friend who told me that I could join BSAC no matter where or who I had originally trained with. After a few weekends in my local swimming pool refreshing my skills I finally was able two join my local BSAC branch who just happened to be planning their trip down to Plymouth a few weeks later.
The dive was great and it was such an enjoyable experience to spend a day with a group of active, adventurous people all around my own age and all on hand to support me with my dive.
Once in the sea the sunken Scylla was breathtaking. Although originally an artificial reef there is now an abundance of colourful, lively marine life at this site and I could have been entertained for hours. There was perfect visibility and I was able to spot sea urchins, reefs, corals, crabs and much much more. I’m not sure of all the correct names but it was definitely a bright and interesting show that was easily on par with the few dives I have done abroad in the past.
If you want more information on BSAC and diving in the UK it’s definitely worth visiting their website www.bsac.com I’ve been doing a bit of research and they literally have branches all over the country with the joining fee being from as little as £10 I think. A club well worth joining – especially if you want to try something new this Summer without having to even leave the country.
A tiny village in Snowdonia, easily accessible by train from the north of England with loads of charm and beautiful scenery. The area is dominated by outdoor activities, including mountainbiking, watersports and abseiling.
The centre of the village is dominated by a beautiful waterfall which runs under a high bridge into a deep pool - jump from the bridge if you're brave enough, but be warned; it's very, very cold in there...
Yuva is a family run eco holiday centre about 30 mins drive from Fethiye. It is set in 40 acres of pine forest and has direct access to the Mediterranean sea. It hosts a range of activity holidays from April to October for beginners and the more experienced including yoga, walking and chi gung, but you can also stay all year round without taking part in a course or activity to just relax and enjoy the beautiful natural environment.
Food is mainly delicious locally produced organic vegetarian and accommodation is in large traditionally built stone houses and wood cabins, all ensuite. Prices start from under £200 a week half board not including flight.
Yuva is a great place to relax, enjoy the sea, sunshine, and the natural environment and eat well and healthily at the same time!
Tel: 01760 755888
Forget the one-day trip to Finnish Lapland, with the promise of a sight of Santa and his elves. Instead take the option of a short break adventure holiday to the winter wonderland of Lapland.
A 2 1/2 hour flight to Stockholm from London and then 1 1/2 hours internal flight to Kiruna. Where daylight is at a minimum and snow at a premium.
At Christmas this was a perfect way to dream the dream - white snow, huskies, reindeer, snow mobiling and the chance to stay in the Hotel at the Edge of the world - the world famous Ice Hotel.
From harnessing the huskys and travelling through beautiful countryside, to snow mobiling across a frozen lake there is so much more to do given the time - ice sculpting, fishing (drilling through the ice to find some tasty morsel), snow shoeing, cross country skiing, fine dining or literally just chilling out.
Silver Mountain is also becoming a great area for those who don't like the mountain activities. This year Silver opened up a sledding/tubing hill for those not willing to strap on skis or a board. Silver also is opening a all year indoor waterpark in the very near future.
Puerto Escondido is a fabulous place to stay in Mexico, semi-tropical with miles of white beaches and some hidden paradises. One of the best activities to do is a visit to one of the nearby lagunas, such as Mazunte or Manialtepec. In the lagunas you will find delights such as a turtle sanctuary where baby sea-turtles crawl into your hand and you drink fresh coconut from the shell, mangrove forests filled with thousands of brightly coloured birds and crocodiles (best avoided wherever possible). Although we're not bird-watchers, we went on a tour guided by an ornatholagist and it was absolutely wonderful.
For eco-tours in Puerto Escondido see:
Wanaka, an hours drive north, was too much. Stories of less backpackers, chilled cafes and a very cool cinema, ‘Cinema Paradiso’, sounded just what the doctor ordered. There’s plenty to do even if you aren’t there to ski or board. Accommodation, as with everywhere in NZ, is affordable and comfortable. I’d recommend Puzzle World, the shooting range/mini golf; the airport, where you can parachute or go on a Red Bull stunt plane, or just watch others do crazy stuff. There are stables for horse trekking, which is a brilliant way to spend a day and really see the countryside. A paraglide from Treble Cone, the highest NZ is as close to perfection as you can get. For lazy days the many walks around Lake Wanaka are a must and the cinema... with great food, cool films, couches and an old car for seats is a unique way to spend an evening.
I was invited to visit the Marche region of Italy three years ago, by a friend I met at the opera and ever since I have been hooked. It has everything you need for a holiday – beautiful beaches, wonderful mountains, lots of cultural activities and amazing food. The southern area of the region is relatively unknown compared to Urbino and Loreto, but it is well worth a visit especially and thoroughly recommend it.
A trip to Whistler is seen as an almost compulsory part of visiting Vancouver. Having been in the city three months I decided it was really time I tried the famously beautiful ski resort for myself.
Having never skied or snowboarded (Salford never did get round to that ski resort...) I was confident that the 2days I was going to be there could be filled with other outdoorsy activities or maybe a beginners lesson on the slopes.
However, what the guide books forget to mention is the incredible cost of Whistler. This is seriously a rich mans playground. While hostels like the Shoestring Lodge provide reasonable accommodation and the bus to and from Vancouver is relatively cheap and regular, pretty much every other activity is shockingly overpriced.
When we did begrudgingly settle on paying $100 to go white water rafting, we were informed that there wasnt enough interested parties to make a group. So, instead, we settled for overpriced average sushi and an early bus back to Vancouver.
In Whistler, BC really does mean Bring Cash.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com