Mastering the transport system early in a stay is a necessity to avoid too much foot-slogging. The Metro here appears, from the map, to have nearly as many lines and stations as the London underground. As with most cities a Tourist Card can be bought. Five days, about £15 and well worth it as it entitles you to free travel on all transport and discounts for museums etc.
But the Metro here is an aggressive one. Not the smoothness of Paris, nor the quaintness of Prague or Budapest, but instead, a hostile machine that only seconds before the doors close, sounds a peremptory signal. If by chance the safety device is triggered by a late-comer, the doors jerk open again with an angry hiss of hydraulics. There are no straps to hang onto and these trains stop and start violently.
It’s bad enough being in a crowded Metro in temperatures of 30 plus, but it’s your very worst nightmare come true when it grinds to a halt in the tunnel. Not an experience to be repeated. But it could happen in any Metro, London, Glasgow, Paris…
Lebanese restaurant. Gorgeous food - mezes, grills etc (must try fatoush). Great value, especially the set menu. Very friendly. Family run and therefore very welcoming toward young children. Top off your food with a hubba bubba pipe. Everyone we take loves it and takes their friends too.
44 Preston Street, Brighton;
tel: 01273 734 810
Joe's Grill is the one of the best breakfast/brunch places I've ever been too. The service is quick and friendly, the prices are cheap, the portions are big and most importantly, delicious!!
It's a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by, read the papers or eat away a hangover!!
1031 Davie St.
Tel: 604 682 3683
With a set menu at 19euros for 3 courses, the quality of this restaurant’s food is surprisingly good, with fresh ingredients and a lovely mix of herbs and sauces. Last night we went there. I had the salade landaise which comes with duck and mushrooms and a lovely seasoning and the lambchops as a main dish, seasoned with herbs. Dinner for 2, including a bottle of Buzet was a very reasonable 68euro. The service is incredibly good, fast and friendly. The clientele is a mix of locals and tourists but the food is authentic French.
If you can't stand small Parisian restaurants because there is no clear separation for smokers and non-smokers, this might not be the place for you. The perfect place to end an evening after having visited the Invalides or the Musee Rodin, both nearby. Oh, yes: make a reservation.
56, Boulevard de Latour-Maubourg, 7th arrondissement, close to les Invalides;
tel: 01 45 51 93 08;
Open every evening, closed Saturday and Sunday lunchtime
Last August my partner and I stayed at Piccola Perla, a charming one-bedroomed apartment in St. Antonin, located roughly midway between St Mark's Square and Arsenale.
It was quiet, tastefully decorated and it was great to come back in the evening after a long day's sightseeing and put our feet up in the little courtyard, together with a drink of Prosecco. Being on a budget, some evenings we cooked our own meals, so it was good to be a couple of bridges away from one of only two supermarkets I have come across in Venice.
Recommended as a romantic getaway for a couple or an inexpensive spot for a small family (there was a sofabed in the living room).
www.ourveniceapartment.com - Tel. (UK) 01242 243693. Nearest Vaporetto: San Zaccaria.
The appearance of this chain of restaurants can be a little off-putting to tourists looking for the 'authentic' Paris, but if you can get past the American-style decor and the packed tables you'll be pleasantly surprised. I can't vouch for all branches, but the restaurant in the Opera district was a real eye-opener; the quality of the food was excellent (the fantastic creme brulee is especially recommended). Very reasonable fixed-price 'menus' add to the appeal.
1 Blvd. des Capuchines, Metro: Opera
www.hippopotamus.fr/accueil/ (website content in French)
This hostel is so unexpectedly swish that you have to stay there once if only to realise that budget accomodation is not as bad as you
think. It's packed full of facilities, including a free all-you-can-eat breakfast, 24 hour reception and a ludicrously cheap,
buzzy bar - and it's only £10 a night. Not bad for a hostel slap bang in the middle of London (between Euston and Kings Cross).
The Generator, Compton Place (off 31 Tavistock Place), London, WC1H 9SE
020 7388 7666 www.generatorhostels.com/london/
Seven simple, elegant rooms with sea views in an 18th-century house which was once a Portuguese embassy. Lots of arty stuff going on downstairs in the arts club, like jazz nights and life-drawing classes. The Frog Fish cafe in the basement serves good local seafood and organic meat.
Accommodation starting at £35pp with the full English and is a great deal.
A B&B just to the south of Oxford city centre (a 10-15 minute walk). It’s clean, comfortable and decent value - all too rare in this city. It's not particular beautiful but it's close to the river, colleges, shops etc and does the job at a good price (singles from £40, doubles from £54).
118 Abingdon Road, Oxford, OX1 4PZ; tel: 01865 244725
A smart portside restaurant serving amazing value for money "menu del dia". There’s soup, a choice of starter and main, wine and water, dessert, coffee, digestive liqueur and sweets. All for the quite incredible price of 8.5 euros (and it tastes great as well).
A very large modern tapas bar popular with locals. Excellent place for a group to go out for a meal/night out. The best thing about it is the prices, second best is the staff - great craic. You can sit at the bar for a casual bite and a beer, pointing out what you want from the huge array of appetising Tapas on display on the bar, or sit down and order off the menu. A group of four of us sat down for a meal at about 9.30.
We left after 2am (last out of the place), with plenty of beers and about three-four tapa each on board. The cost was an astonishing 30 euro each including a tip on top of the included service charge, as the waiter was such a laugh. Highly recommended for a cheap and utterly cheerful night out. You may have to wait a little while for a table, but people are constantly coming and going, so don’t be put off by a queue.
Rambla Catalunya, 18; tel: 93 318 1997
We stayed at the Holiday Inn next to Casablanca's train station and then caught the train down to Marrakech. It was cheap and also really interesting. They run old French trains, which are in carriages for eight people, and we struck up conversation very easily.
Casablanca, Marrakech train stations
This casual place has a brilliant location right on the Esplanade. Downstairs is a self-service cafe; upstairs, the comfortable library bar and a restaurant serving Scandinavian/Continental food.
It's an agency that provides apartment rental in BA - well worth it if you are staying in the city for more than seven days. As with most capitals, hotels are expensive here and you get greater freedom having your own place, as well as it being more cost affective.
A sumptuous, cosy Mediterranean restaurant that serves mouthwatering lunches at an amazing price.
Impress your friends by taking them there for melt-in-your-mouth mousakka, tantalising halloumi or satisfying salad for starters.
Recommended mains include heavenly seafood spaghetti, Mediterranean chicken and beautiful burgers. Vegetarians can also enjoy a wide variety of appetising dishes.
Don't forget to book!
8 Theberton St, off Upper Street, Islington
Nearest tube: Angel
A vibrant nightlife district of Bangkok. However, amongst the shows, bars and endless offers of “DVD, VCD, sex,” there is a reminder of how the west abuses the east. There are some great bargains, though (in the clothes markets, I mean!)
This is for all the backpackers amongst you. Emre's is a tiny kebab shop next to Scruffy Murphys Irish Bar which is located just off George St. It does the greatest post-pub kebabs I have ever had. Chicken or meat with mountains of salad and loads of sauces to try. It just has to be done!
Goulburn St, Sydney
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