- Visit the Hindu Temple in Varkala Town on a Sunday morning. Intimidating but interesting. You will receive a lot of attention.
- Take the cliffwalk south, past the shops and restaurants. It's very pretty
- Look into the Blue Water Beach Resort
- Book some spa treatments. Spas rated as Olive Leaf or Green Leaf by the Kerala Tourism Board are "legit"
- Just because beer isn't on the menu doesn't mean it isn't available.
- Eat at Cafe del Mar.
I waited outside this mosque for my male friend to finish looking around: having that morning met up with a woman who had been screamed at for being improperly dressed, I was reluctant to risk the same treatment for some perceived infraction.
This site is of religious importance so I was surprised be the subject of sexual harassment there. I actually conducted an experiment whereby I stood perfectly still and allowed the leering men to circle me ever-closer, in an effort to see just how close they would actually get right inside the busy compound of the mosque.
Before my experiment was really completed my companion returned, and so it only behoves me to say if you are female and visit this place do not be lulled into thinking you will be any less harassed once you get there. After living in Istanbul for one year I can honestly say it was the most dangerous place to be female I have ever been to.
If groups of dodgy-looking men jingling change in their pockets and calling 'How much? How much?' as you nip from your house round the corner to the supermarket in broad daylight on a busy street would bother you then you might want to give Istanbul a miss. If you would be annoyed at being ripped off for every item you try to purchase (forget taking a taxi anywhere), sexually harassed by every man at every opportunity or stopped by police to be relived of your passport and then receive demands of payment for it to be returned, then I'd thoroughly recommend you to go somewhere else. A huge pity, because the city itself is unforgettable.
As a family we have been going to Puerto Pollensa in Majorca for the last 15 years and every year enjoy it more and more. One thing I would recommend is that you book bus transfer from Palma airport beforehand, as a taxi from the airport can be quite expensive.
Get the NYC DOT bicycle map (download or free at bike shops). Also note DOT has information on bridge closings. Sometimes if a bridge is closed they have a free van service. Stick to the paths on the map, watch out for pedestrians, and car doors. Good luck.
www.bikeforums.net is a good source of info. See info on avoiding bike theft. Hint: get a strong U lock and take the seat post with you.
Consider buying a folding bicycle in NYC and returning with it. bfold.com, nycewheels.com and others have folding bikes. Strida would be a good bicycle for touring NYC. Dahon make very nice general purpose folding bikes. Folding bikes can usually be brought on the subway and trains. A bit iffy on crowded buses.
Vietnam Airlines, the state-owned airline, is the major carrier in Vietnam for domestic flights. A second domestic airline, Pacific Airlines, which is owned by Vietnam Airlines, also offers flights between Hanoi, HCMC and Danang.
Fares for domestic flights are fixed and determined by distance, although there are some discount fares for advance purchase (with restrictions), late night flights, and student and senior fares. Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines both offer similar levels of quality and safety, with Pacific Airlines offering slightly cheaper fares.
Neither Vietnam Airlines nor Pacific Airlines currently offer e-ticketing or online booking, although Vietnam Airlines has announced plans to start e-ticketing in early 2007.
A few tips for booking internal flights - book flights only once you are in Vietnam for cheaper prices, book online with Vietnam Airlines website, or their agents for savings.
Just a tip about buying a ticket and recognising the train. This site is ace for planning times reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/e.
Worth writing down the journey details and the Romanian for 'first-class ticket' and handing it over - no English spoken at the train station when I was there. But the Lonely Planet guide came to the rescue.
Once you have found the platform watch out. The noticeboard flagged two separate trains - one to Targa Mures and one to Bucharest. The Bucharest train stops at Sighisoara.
But the trains appear to arrive joined as one - late. So it can be confusing.
What seems to happen is that the first-class carriage is always carriage three.
If you are on the same train as me be prepared for 50 year-old rolling stock in first class.
The scenery is fantastic. Ranging from the awesome pollution of Copsa Mica to shepherds and their flocks.
Str. Garii 1-3
If you have problems with walking and mobility, avoid the big Metro interchanges as the distances between lignes can be vast - ie Chatelet, Republic etc. You can often change at a stop a bit further down. For wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs, the Metro remains almost completely inaccessible.
Paris taxi drivers seem to have a problem with carrying more than three people. We were surcharged for a family of three adults and one child with various excuses given, including an additional charge for luggage! Use the Metro whenever possible, and buy a carnet of 10 tickets for both adults and children (1/2 price).
If you are taking a short break to Paris and need to use the car to get to London (sadly we had to), Eurostar use NCP for the St Pancras station car park and this means a minimum £25.00 per day which can dampen the holiday spirit.
We used Lomax car park in Camden Town (15 minutes' walk) - very helpful staff, they will drive you to the station and pick you up on your return and, best of all, it's about £50 for four days.
Depending on where you have to travel to in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, then the time through AUH into town, or to "new" Dubai is much quicker than travelling to DXB airport. The time taken from touchdown to exiting the airport is much quicker.
Abu Dhabi International Airport, opposite Al Raha Beach (which happens to have a fine hotel, the AL Raha Beach Hotel)
Wetsuits for kids in Devon and Cornwall are cheap, they don't need top of the range (usually £35), just get the cheap ones (probably £10 or less). They give them sun protection, keep them warm if they are in and out of the water all day and give a bit of added buoyancy when they are learning to swim.
Get the ones with short arms and legs, you get more use out of them when they are growing fast, but remember to sun cream the lower arms and legs, or do like my kids do and wear a long UV sun suit underneath. Watch out if it's hot, especially if the kids are not going in the water much as they can get very hot with the black neoprene absorbing the heat.
They were the best things we ever bought, my daughter learned to swim in the sea when she was 4 in hers as she felt so confident.
You can buy them in surf shops (expensive), but also in most beach kiosks, bucket and spade shops in town and also in some supermarkets in beach towns. The ones from Decathlon in France are really good, and only 10 Euros.
Buenos Aires is one of the most remarkable places I have ever been. It's clean, classy, safe, and dirt cheap. The leather bags are at least 400 pounds cheaper than what you would buy on the high street.
Also they have miles and miles of shops on Florida and Avenida Santa Fe where you can buy anything for one third of the price in the US or UK.
We stayed at the art hotel in Recoleta which was a boutique hotel with contemporary art in the foyer, free internet access, great rooms and wet room bathrooms.
Beware the fake taxis in Buenos Aires. Because we'd been there for four days we realised that if they don't have a proper meter in the right hand corner and photographic id on the back of the driver's seat then don't get in. We used a taxi which charged us three times the price of a journey from the airport. We refused to pay and threatened to call the Policia!
If this happens to you get to your hotel and ask the concierge to translate... avoid at all costs.
Otherwise, BA is one of the safest cities in the world and the people are very nice. Palermo is great and so is Recoleta. Avoid San Telmo if you have to. Use taxis rather than buses as they are very cheap and the metro is great for getting around centrally. In taxis from the Newbery internal airport it should cost you no more than $14 and to the international around $50.
Try and go to the best steak restaurant in the Palermo area called La Cabrera, it's economical but BOOK AHEAD as it gets very busy.
Various.. please email me if you want any tips email@example.com(no spam)
Stay at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion if you like quaintness and history, stay at the g Hotel if you prefer hip and contemporary lodging.
Also, tour the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, eat at the Gurney Drive food stalls and sample everything.
Don't try to take out illegal CDs or DVDs. Read The Star. Visit Kek Lok Si temple. Take the cable car, but arrive early: the lines are awful. Walk the canopy walk. Buy a Makansutra food guide. Indulge in a MacWaffle at Red Garden.
Trip report, with photos, at www.travelmusings.net
Trip report, with photos, at www.travelmusings.net
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion:
g Hotel: www.ghotel.com.my/
If you are in a wheelchair visiting Sydney, getting into town is a breeze by using the subway from the airport to the centre of town.
Once downtown, buy a day or weekly pass. The rails are wheelchair friendly as are the Sydney Ferries. Using the ferries is a great way to explore the harbour and the city by getting off a various points. Some docks, like Neutral Bay, lead to steep hills up, so you may need to ask for a push, but if you smile, the Aussies will always help!
My recommendation is a visit to Manly.
North America's Disabled Adventurer.
Very disorganised, catered chalets. Poor food, phone bills and internet disconnected for 1/3 of the season, heating and hot water not available twice throughout season with no alternative offered.
Not ATOL or ABTA registered (be warned).
I am a 28-year-old female who has been forced to live in somewhere worse than a male university digs (and that's truly saying something! When doing a season, go self-catered (as Nielsons, Crystals, Thomson unfortunately do not do seasonal accommodation).
The last time I flew to Venice, an air hostess announced 'For those of you on the right-hand side of the plane you will shortly have a wonderful view of Venice in the sunset. For those of you on the left, you really should have sat on the right!'
If you are planning to spend time in Sharm el-Sheikh and will not be going anywhere other than the Aqaba coast or St. Catherine's monastery, you do not need an Egyptian visa for which you will spend a lot of time standing in line for to change money to buy it and then to get the actual visa.
Just go directly to passport control. I've been here a couple of times and I've seen everyone paying for these visas, when they have no intention to either leave the resort or the Aqaba coast. The Egyptians are very happy to let entire planeloads of tourists pay for a visa they will not need.
Why not get friendly on your trip by learning a few key Swahili words!
I visited prisons in Kenya in 2005 and addressed the prisoners there in regards to their human rights and court cases.
To cut the tension (which one will need in this current political climate) start your introduction with 'mambo vipi'! The prisoners loved it because they thought it was funny coming from a Mizungo (white man). Basically, it means 'whats up?', but it worked everytime and had them rolling on the ground!
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