Honest Ed’s is more than just a store – it’s a Toronto landmark that locals have shopped in at least once and where tourists must visit before they leave the city.
It is named after its founder, Ed Mirvish, who opened the store in 1948 and ran operations until his death in 2007. Running the length of an entire block, this building can be seen several metres away: the exterior is covered with thousands of huge red and yellow signs lit up like a theatre marquee, advertising the name of the store. There are also several slogans covering the exterior, with puns such as, “Our prices are for the birds – they’re cheap, cheap.”
The 160,000 square foot place sells all sorts of kitsch, as well as low-priced goods ranging from clothing, kitchenware, hardware, toys, furniture and appliances, grocery and pharmaceutical items.
The walls of the very modest interior are crammed with autographed photos of personalities such as Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Lauren Bacall, and many others. There are also posters and photos from old film and stage productions from theatres that Mirvish owned in Toronto and London.
Once you’re done looking and buying, the surrounding neighbourhood, called Mirvish Village, has unique boutiques, book stores, antique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Recommended for anyone looking for a flavour of the older Boracay before it developed into a more tourist-y focused Asian resort. Situated just to the back of Station 3, Melinda's is a selection of authentic Filipino nipa cottages set in a delightful tropical garden. Each cottage has its own verandah and hammock where you can relax after a hard day sipping the San Miguel beers on the famous White Beach. Run by the very hospitable German, Horst - one of the original Boracay adventurers of the 1980s - this is an ideal spot to find a little peace in an increasingly busy tourist environment. Very reasonable prices, too.
This was the best value hotel we found for our recent stay in Lyon. Rooms were small but the rooms were clean.
Seems to be part of a budget chain in France though we paid £50 per night via a well known hotel booking website which was the cheapest we found and yet not what we would automatically call 'cheap'.
Excellent strength free Wi-FI.
Location was fairly central - the only 'issue' was that while it is situated on the south of Presqu'ile (central area) it could be quite confusing getting to the north of Presqu'ile due to the mass of motorways and train lines crossing the Presqu'ile forming an almost impenetrable Berlin Wall. The easiest way was to go through the Perrache train station which may not appeal to all, especially at night.
24, quai Perrache, 69002 Lyon
+33 4 78 37 16 64
Google map: bit.ly/nyroGg
London Road is home to probably the most diverse range of eateries in the city. Along it you will find pretty much everything from Chinese to Indian to Thai to Italian to Vietnamese to Japanese and to Turkish and a few more I'm sure. Take a wander up and choose one that takes your fancy. Zeugma (Turkish) and Royal Orchid (Thai) are my two favourites at present. Prices are generally budget friendly. Afterward, drop in to The Cremorne pub for a nightcap.
London Road, from the city centre to Woodhead Road. Bookended by Baan Thai at the bottom and Wasabisabi at the top.
185 London Road, Sheffield S2 4LH
+44(0)114 250 9974
Google map: bit.ly/p88rhq
This Chinese Restaurant is in North Point, a stone's throw from Wing Hing Street and the public toilet and refuse tip, but don't let that put you off. It's in a side street and under a bridge and doesn't look much from the outside, but the food is terrific and cheap too. They serve decent wine that's not expensive and is full of locals. Try the beef with peppers and onions in black bean sauce.
9 Tsing Fung St Tin Hau
+ (852) 2571 0913
Google map: bit.ly/pg1D5Q
This little unpretentious bar which also serves good simple seafood is run by a one-time bullfighter. Most of the seating is outside on the street. We paid €29 for starters/mains and two drinks.
Located in the old fishermen's quarter Barrio de La Vina where many of the streets are populated with bars and restaurants.
Not surprisingly considering the previous occupation of the owner, the bar is full of bull fighting memorabilia.
Calle San Félix, 2 Barrio La Viña, Cadiz, Spain
+34 956 220 838
The Leicester Square Box Office is a small theatre ticket box office tucked away in Leicester Square.
I recently bought tickets to Lion King:The Musical, and the tickets were a lot cheaper than anywhere else! You can't argue with that.
This is a 2 star hotel in a historical Ottoman building. It has air conditioning, pool and B&B plus wi-fi all for 30 Euros a night. Ibrahim the manager is very helpful and accommodating.
Fans of Vietnamese food may want to try Pho Vietnam in Prague 2. Located a stone’s throw from Jiriho z Podebrad metro station, this tiny restaurant offers a small outside seating area but mainly offers takeaway meals. Their menu includes some delicious pho (Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga)), which is absolutely packed with fresh spring onions and corrainder, for around 80 CZK.
Pho Vietnam also offers Vietnamese curry dishes with rice, and some sushi.
A basic restaurant but a great quick and healthy option for food in a hurry.
Slavikova 1, 120 00 Prague 2
+420 774 167 786
Nearest Metro: Jiřího z Poděbrad
Nearest Tram: Jiřího z Poděbrad (11), Vinohradska Vodarna (10 and 16)
Google map: bit.ly/oatzRk
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
This little place on the lake shore - opposite the huge Overlanders place - is quiet and pretty with room for camping as well as the huts. Each of these is perfectly comfortable, even though the shower is more like standing under a dripping tap! But it's the staff that make this place - young, friendly and with Ronald cooking delicious food. Try the crayfish curry. The lake is stunning, especially from the top of the hill, the 29 islands seeming to float on its surface.
P.O Box 242,, Kabale, Uganda
Google map: bit.ly/nktzRQ
Prefect place to stay on a tight budget. We spent four nights in August. Very good location at Plac Nowy, center of Krakow's Kazimierz. Friendly atmosphere, clean basic rooms, plenty of showers and toilets. Lot of hot water. Kitchen well equipped, breakfast rather basic but very tasty. Staff, specially Karolina very helpful, she gave us very good tips where to eat or what to see. Location is perfect for exploring Krakow, not too commercial area plenty of cheap places to eat. We recommend for all.
If you're looking for paradise, this is as close as you'll ever get. Unspoiled, uninhabited islands where you can camp under the stars, snorkel in pristine waters and marvel at what a beautiful world we live in.
It's a little deceptive, as there are no yachts and no club. There is however a lovely big shaded grassy area to swing a hammock or pitch a tent (as we did). There are also showers and toilets - bring a torch though. The great thing about the yacht club is it's probably the cheapest place in town to stay. The caretaker will charge a couple of dollars and he even looked after our bags. The beach and restaurants are just a short stroll. For the budget conscious this place can't be beaten. It's the perfect base from which to chill out or to return to after the rigors of a few days on the trails in Corcovado NP.
Corner of Aeropuerto Este and Parrot Acces. From the Boat Pier turn left walk 100m, the junction is in front of you, Yacht Club marked by a small house.
+506 2735 5051
Google map: bit.ly/pp7l6R
This is a great YHA hostel, in the southern bit of Stockholm. It's set in parkland, next to some great allotments. We walked past one morning and a plot holder showed us round their plot and summer house. The hostel is easy to get to from public transport and the area has some good local restaurants.
The hotel room was simple but good, and affordable.
Zinkens väg 20, 11741 Stockholm
+46 8 6168100
Google map: bit.ly/quehyY
Zinkens väg 20
Tel. 46 8 6168100
Fax. 46 8 6168120
An eclectic mix of sights and smells that is lively and gives great views across to the Vancouver skyline. The market is full of great stalls and colours and is a dream for fruit and vegetables. The varied eating places in the market allow all members of the group to eat what appeals at the time. Take a trip down the harbour in the little tug boats to see the diversity of Vancouver. A great place to spend up to three hours.
Wherever you go in the world on your gap year, my advice would be to not just flit from place to place but to stay in the places you enjoy the most for as long as you can to really get a sense of the people and place - you'll appreciate it way more. You can do this by finding a job in the local community that can fund your stay and future travels. If you speak English, then teaching is the obvious option, or work on a farm or whatever you like (see organizations like WWOOF, or meet locals by coach surfing). Also, take one set of smart clothes for when you're away, you never know what you might be invited to (I was invited to a wedding in India by the headmaster at the school I was working in). Finally, avoid the agencies if you can, organizing it independently is cheaper and gives far more options and freedom.
Shane Henwood and his beautiful family run the local YHA hostel in this little hidden gem of a fishing town. Shane runs a super cheap tour which includes surfing with his surf champ brother in law, cliff jumping, bush walking and sailing- finishing up with a proper Aussie barbie of course. Total highlight of my gap year in Oz - Yamba is not very well known, but all the better for it!
26 Coldstream Street, Yamba, NSW Australia 2464
(+612) 6646 3997
Google map: bit.ly/o15yJp
This is the 'remotest bunkhouse' on the west coast of Scotland situated in a beautiful bay at Ardintigh on the south shore of Loch Nevis with a fantastic view over the sea to the Cuillin mountains and across to the remote peninsula of Knoydart. It is only accessible by walking or by sea and our party arrived by various methods including walking, boat taxi and canoeing via Loch Morar (deepest loch on the UK mainland). It is a wonderful place for adventure or just chilling out. We spent a long weekend canoeing and walking and thinking about swimming! The accommodation is in small wooden bunkhouses scattered around the bay with plenty space for campers too. We cooked in the large bunkhouse by the beach (showers and toilet block under the kitchen and dining room) We went as a small party of 11 but the site sleeps up to 24 (plus extras camping). You can go as a group or as individual at £15 per night for the bunkbed (take your own sleeping bag).
The sunsets are wonderful and the last night we watched the sun go down not long before midnight after a beach barbecue. I almost forgot to mention the whale ...
Skye is renowned for its wacky geology, and the northern peninsula of Trotternish boasts an array of bewildering natural weirdness; from a massive rock needle to an enchanting 'Faerie Glen'. The most bizarre place, however, must be inside the mind of the eccentric curator of this one-roomed 'exhibition' tucked away on the peninsula's west coast. Upon entering, the first impression is of nothing more than a collection of junk recovered from the beach, but a closer look reveals a surreal and often very humorous story or proverb attached to each artifact ("Life is like the wind- it's not there when there isn't any" is a personal favourite.)
Just outside of the village of Kilmuir on the A885 road north-west of Portree. The exhibition is signposted, but the road itself has no name (towards Bornesketaig on some maps). The exhibition is in a green-roofed shack about half a mile down the road towards the small bay.
Google map: bit.ly/qtW7ab
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