We had a trememndous stay at this B&B in a 'real' neighbourhood. The energetic owners are qualified city guides and they completely transformed our holiday. They regularly organise all kinds of tailor-made itineries at very reasonable prices, from hiking in the forest to beach trips and city/cultural tours. Amazing.
10-15 minute walk from Botafogo beach
Tel: 55 21 2554 8980
In August 2006 I was traveling from Rakwana to Aluthgama when I realised that I wouldn’t make the coast by night fall. My friend Lahiru lives in the Bulatsinhala area and he introduced me to the Field View Inn.
The rooms at the Field View Inn are clean and comfortable, they have attached shower room, fan and mosquito net (which I didn’t need).
Good food and drink is available in the large bar-restaurant up to 11pm. We had an excellent dinner of fried rice, with several cool lagers served by the friendly but incessantly polite staff. Next morning coffee was brought to our room and we took a walk through the friendly little town of Bulatsinhala before breakfast. The final bill came as a pleasant surprise, I couldn’t really ask for more.
This is not a tourist area, I was the only foreigner staying at the hotel, the other customers in the bar were all Sinhalese. However the decor suggests it might occasionally be busy with local wedding parties so it might be as well to telephone ahead and reserve your room. Tel: 034-2283021
From Colombo, it's about an hour drive to Horana where you can pick up direct and frequent buses to Bulatsinhala. Alternatively you can take a bus from Aluthgama to Matugama and pick up the Bulatsinhala bus there.
Dias Rest (AKA the White Monkey Guest House) is maybe not the most accessible of places but it is an ideal base for the independent traveller and for anyone who really wants to get away from it all, this has become my favourite Rest House in Sri Lanka and if I had a book to write I would write it here.
Due to a derailment I arrived at the Guesthouse quite late but I had telephoned ahead and Dias was waiting with the warmest of welcomes and dinner was ready. Because I arrived in the dark I was totally unprepared for the sight that hit me when I emerged from my room on that first morning. I like my superlatives but I was honestly lost for words to describe the views from this place.
There is a cottage with two double beds and a lived-in feel to it, I preferred the simply furnished family rooms (also two double beds) all have bathrooms with shower and toilet. It is incredible value for money - I questioned the bill because I thought Dias had simply not charged me enough.
It's not the Ritz and the mountainside position makes access difficult for anyone with heavy luggage or mobility problems but I cannot speak highly enough about this place.
Tell them Mark sent you!
Clinging to a steep mountainside 3km outside the hill town of Haputale, if you are travelling light the walk from Haputale is worth the effort, otherwise a three wheeler from the town will cost around Rs 200.
This modern Indian restaurant is tucked away on Rose Street North between Princes and George Street. Not a salubrious location but well worth seeking out. The food is sublime, tasty, imaginative, well presented and unlike any Indian food I have ever been offered. Both food and wine prices very reasonable.
70 Rose Street North Lane, Edinburgh. Tel 0131 225 1233
A picturesque fishing port on the border of Spain and Portugal, at the far western end of the Costa de la Luz. Great for seafood, golf, bowling, kitesurfing, sailing ... phew!
Nearby Isla Canela is where the Spaniards go for THEIR holidays, but the rest of Europe seems to have missed it!
The best damn hamburgers in town, this place is an Austin institution. The decor is quirky diner with mementos from the restaurants 50+ years of service on the walls, seriously though, for a piece of genuine American culture, this is the only place to go.
The malts are awesome too...
6th st, 2 blocks down from Lamar, (you can walk from Whole Foods Market).
Described as 'the finest Indian cuisine on planet earth', this restaurant, part of the Sheraton hotel in New Delhi, is truly fantastic. The menu focuses mainly on North Indian cuisine, with an open kitchen so you can see the chefs at work.
Bill Clinton has dined here, (there is a dish named after him - a mixed Indian platter he apparently said was exquisite), and it is often frequented by Indian celebrities. Having said that, the prices are not too steep (compared to an equivalent meal in a similar setting in Europe or the US, it truly is a bargain), and it is certainly worth a visit.
Hotel Sheraton, Diplomatic Enclave, Sadar Patel Marg, New Delhi 110 021
Tel: 91 11 2611 2233
Fax: 91 11 26113333
When departing Budapest by air (and presumably when arriving too), don't bother with the various taxi/minibus services. The public transport alternative is efficient, perfectly easy to use and far, far cheaper (about £1 each way, as opposed to £6ish for the shuttle service).
From the town centre (Deak Ter) to the airport, simply take the blue metro line to the end of the line, then jump onto the clearly signposted no: 200 bus (complete with little aeroplane logo and English announcements). It goes to Terminal 1 first, then Terminal 2, and the entire journey to Terminal 1 takes about half an hour.
You need to validate one single ticket on the metro, and then another on the bus (or vice versa if arriving). True, ticket staff don't speak much English, but they are quite keen to help, and "2 single tickets" is widely understood (if various options are proffered, single tickets are the little flimsy orange ones with perforations).
Sited on that increasingly buzzing area, the South Bank, this reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is a refreshing change from the theatre district of the West End. It's an opportunity to see great plays performed by superb actors in the setting in which they are meant to be seen; oh, and the only way to see it is as a 'groundling' standing in the open area in front of the stage - where else can you get a good night's entertainment for a fiver?!!
Watch out for other events as well, as the Globe has been used in the past for musical events and the London venue for a certain Mr Billy Connolly on his 'World Tour'.
21 New Globe Walk
The Spaghetti Factory is a quirky restaurant that is excellent value for money - a loaf of freshly baked sour dough bread, free refill soft drinks, starter, ice cream and tea and coffee, are included with the price of your main course. Fantastic for feeding a whole family!
The restaurant itself is a treasure trove of Tiffany glass panels and lights, mismatched furniture means you may be seated on a grand wooden throne or inside a reclaimed streetcar, and should you glance up check out the many artefacts and trinkets that adds to the family atmosphere.
#54 The Esplanade
Parking available; Meter & pay parking
As an Aussie who lived in Manchester for 5 years, the only answer to the prepackaged lunch ordeal had to be, Shlurp!
Tucked away on Brazennose Street, opposite the town hall, Shlurp offers wonderful homemade soups, tasty salads and wonderful wraps - all made on the premises daily. It also serves the best coffee in Manchester - coming from a Melbourne-born coffee snob, that title is not lightly bestowed!
Lucy, who owns and runs Shlurp is passionate about food and people - what a combination!
The food is affordable and fresh, give Shlurp a go and say hi to Lucy from Claudine!
Unit 2, Brazennose House
East Brazennose Street
Manchester, M2 5BP
A nice restaurant with good food and good service, nice steak + lyonnese potatoes for $10, and everything else is cheaper than that. Great choice of main dishes, desserts, sandwiches and drinks. Friendly waiters.
In Miraflores, Larco Mar, end of 2nd floor row, if you sit outside you get a nice view of the sea.
Re-vamped greasy spoon located just off Oldham Street. The food is really good and (especially the soup) reasonably priced, not sure it will stay as cheap forever. Choice is pretty simplistic - one main and one vegetarian main per day, with soup and paninis to choose from, but it's decent fare. Just re-opened and there is a bit of a buzz about the place, with the old regulars sitting side by side with the new lot (and getting hacked off that it's now a no smoking gaff). Can't miss it now either as that Doodlebug crowd have covered the windows in graffiti. I think they were asked to, mind.....
21 Hilton Street
Tel: 0161 228 1484
Kabana is a simple curry house very clean situated near the Northern Quarter. It is only open Monday-Friday from 12pm till 5pm but serves some amazing cheap food mainly for nearby workers and it's always full of Asian people which is the best sign of good authentic food. The Channa Dhall was wonderful, you get free jugs of water and you can't spend more than £6 a head. I believe their tandoori chicken and shish kebab are very tasty as there were many people eating these (can't comment because I'm vegetarian!) - also their chapatis are huge and made freshly all the time, yoghurt suce wonderful - this is a great bargain and superb value, the staff are friendly. I've tried a few places around this area of Manchester but for me its the best because they just focus on the food which is what counts.
Back Turner Street, Manchester M4 1FP
The best no frills curry cafe in the city centre. Rice, 3 vegetable curies and naan for under £4. The food is always freshly cooked and delicious. Follow it with a drink at the Odd Bar or Bay Horse further along the street.
Thomas Street, city centre
Amazing views, incredible food and great hospitality - we ate at the villa 5 of the 7 nights we stayed, loved the antipasta and David's deserts were fabulous. In fact my partner is a vegetarian and the menu was better than most restaurants. Had the most relaxing holiday, in fact we were chilled out within half an hour of arriving. This region of the Marche is still relatively undiscovered and long may it stay that way. Prices for eating out are unbelievable - 3 course meals around 35 euro and great local wines as well.
Villa Sibillini's bed and breakfast rates are just 85 euro a night and the breakfasts are a delight, fresh fruits and many home-made jams.
Couldn't praise it enough, Pam and David have just the right touch - friendly and welcoming, it was like staying with friends. Will certainly be back.
Contrada Collalto 10, San Ginesio, Macerata 62026, Le Marche, Italy
nearest station - Tolentino
Destan is one of the very best restaurants in an area with plenty of them. It's just a few doors away from the better known Mangal, but better value. It specialises in lamb, chicken and fish grilled on the ocakbasi charcoal grill. Along with your main course you will be served delicious freshly prepared salads, grilled onions with parsley and pomegranate syrup and warm Turkish bread. Free tea and coffee is always offered by the owner Hassan and his friendly staff. An added bonus is that you can bring your own wine.
14 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XN
Tel: 020 7275 0109
Three room B&B (single, twin and family room for up to 4) in 1906 house in quiet street 10 mins walk from centre of Verona, so ideal for the opera. Also 5 mins from superb public playground at the end of the old brigde over the river. Manuela speaks fluent English and is very happy with children running about and playing with her toy cars. Breakfast is served out in the back garden terrace and she is very keen on organic/quality food. Rooms have ceiling fans with remote control, so expect your kids to enjoy playing with it. She is also the local World Wildlife Fund rep.
Close enough to Venice to allow a long day trip so you avoid the high prices. Family room for 4 plus breakfast was 100 Euros per night in August 2006.
Il Piccolo Principe B&B
Viale del Risorgimento 10
+39 045 914110
Nearest station Verona Porta Nuova and then 10 mins by bus (just off main core bus routes so very frequent).
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