From its stunning beaches (one of them being the famous Zlatni Rat) to its great, laid-back nightlife, this was our favourite place in Croatia. We camped in the grounds of the monastry, a beautiful building that overlooked the sea on both sides. It was exceptionally cheap (accommodation in Croatia on the cheap is limited if you don't have a tent) and we woke every morning with a dip in the turquoise sea that was a 1 min walk away. Heaven!
Get a ferry from Split to Supetar on the island of Brac. From there, get a bus to the other side of the island where you'll find Bol.
If you're looking for inexpensive and advantageously located accommodation in Budapest, try Buro Panzio. This is a small hotel, only about l0 rooms, located just off Moszkva Ter, a major subway/tram/bus stop on the Buda side and therefore convenient to almost anything of interest. The rooms are clean, comfortable and air-conditioned, a rarity in any small hotel there. The young staff could not be more friendly and helpful. There is a good Hungarian restaurant next door and a local vegetable/fruit/bread/meat market just across the street. All this equals great value for money at about 60 euros/night. I could not have been more pleased with my stay there.
1024 Budapest II
Dekan U 3
+361 21 22929
If the Belfort stands guard over the Markt in Bruges then the The Stadhuis or Town Hall is sentinel of the Burg.
This magnificent Gothic building was built between 1376 and 1420 and renovated in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the first floor is the restored Gothic Hall, which can be visited for an entrance fee of 2.50 euros (price includes a very informative audio guide).
What strikes you first about the Gothic Hall is the vibrant colours with which it is decorated. The brown, gold, red and burgundy of the arched ceiling and the large, multi-coloured wall frescos. The latter were commissioned towards the end of the 19th century and show scenes from the history of Belgium and Bruges such as the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. Where the ceiling arches meet are small keystones showing scenes from the New Testament and around the perimeter of the hall, where the arches touch the wall, are small frescos representing the months and seasons.
A small room leading off from the hall contains a number of historical artefacts including an interesting and detailed map of the city.
Tucked away in the middle of Split's old town, Cafe Nabeel is a curious but brilliant little local hangout where tourists also seem welcome. The kitchen rustles up hefty pies, best shared, and you can also fill up on toast. Late at night the cafe morphs into a lively night spot where the genial Nabeel can be seen showing off his 'bungra' dance moves - join in for a discount! Perhaps best of all is the decor - a bizarre mixture of local crafts and pieces of Star Wars Lego. An unmissable local oddity.
Head down Zadarska, off Narodni Trg central square in Split's old town.
This restaurant is a true Roman restaurant. Its pasta is the best you will ever find. It’s a loud hustle and bustle kinda place - great for quick yet delicious dinners. I go to Rome every year and I have to tell you that if we stay for six days, we eat as Da Francesco on at least four of them. It’s truly great – trust me!
Piazza del Fico, No. 29, just off the Piazza Navonna, down the street from Piazza della Pace; tel. 66864009. No credit cards
Haha, you don't believe me?
Oh yes, we have got everything here in Edinburgh, and these ruins of a very curious attempt can still be seen behind the emergency exit of the library in Morningside.
Unfortunately, the owners are quite protective of the old cinema, which is not open to the public.
Entry via Springvalley Gardens;
Pics and article: blog.fempages.org/wp/?p=197
One of the most loved places for hippies, lefties, backpackers and young artists: the Forest Cafe, run by a DIY collective of artists, is the best place in Edinburgh to hang out in a non-capitalist fashion and meet like-minded people.
With free internet access, an art gallery, vegan and vegetarian food and stunning entertainment and events during and outside of the festival, this is the craziest place in town for dissidents and thinkers.
No matter if you want to watch films, read the latest protesting leaflets, or drop off your clothes and old books in the free shop, the Forest is the space for you. Just around from the university, it constantly changes.
It’s usually open from about 11am -11pm, licensed - sometimes with bring-your-own bottle - and during August it’s open till 3am. Also, it sells famous organic heather ale and seaweed beer.
3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY;
tel: 0131 220 4538;
bus stop: 2, 42
La Camargue is a French brasserie in Leith not too far from the Royal Yacht Britannia. A large lobster hangs over the door which does give you a clue that it is very much seafood orientated. What do you expect? Leith is a port after all! It does however cater for meat eaters as well, so fear not.
A two course of starter and main costs £16 and is good value. Starters include lobster soup, mussels, oysters and salmon. Mains range from fish such as Dover sole and halibut to meat such as venison and steak. Check out the website for the menu, but for £16 it allowed me to try things I have never tried before such as oysters. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The bar next door, Cameo bar, is worth a visit as well.
23 Commercial Street, Leith; tel: 0131 554 9999;
Transport: take the (very frequent) bus 22 from Princes street to get to Commercial Street;
Great pub on Edinburgh's Grassmarket. Can I say anymore? Well, ok, I will. Few of the pubs on the Grassmarket are worth recommending but this is definitely one. Staff are friendly and the food is good, and at very good prices. A lunch here would not put a dent in your pocket and leave plenty of cash for drink. I have recommended this pub to many folk around the world and they have not been disappointed.
74 Grassmarket, EH1 2JR;
tel: 0131 225 4851
What can I say? Appearances are deceptive. When you walk into this place you think its just a dark bar with some pool tables. OK, it is but there's more to it. It serves great food at really great prices. Menu ranges from sandwiches, salads and burgers to goulash, cous cous and lamb in flatbread with hummus. Ideal as a pit stop for anybody looking for good food at good prices.
19 Blair street, in the old town (just off Royal Mile a few doors down from the IBIS hotel, behind the Tron);
tel: 0131 220 0125
A lovely out-of-town place with a wonderful pub, The Cramond Inn, which has a big beer garden and parking space, and serves loads of good and traditional food for really good prices and has also drinks from a small, independent brewery Scintilla and spectacular beers and ales.
Its near the wonderful seaside promenade, with about 45 min if walked in full.
The path to Cramond Island is only walkable when the tide is out, so take some water with you in case you'll get trapped there with the tide rushing in.
Nice for doggies, kiddies and their owners as there is a big beach, too.
Take bus no 41 directly to Cramond or 42 to first walk the seaside promenade to Cramond;
Cramond Inn: 30 Cramond Glebe Road, EH4 6NP;
tel: 0131 336 2035;
Make a stop at the Scott's Deli en route to the Meadows Walk. It's a simple deli - top value snacks, cheap and fresh coffee - smiling staff and an array of fresh pastries til' late on in the day. That do not come from a chain shop.
10, Gillespie Place, EH10 4HS (by Bruntsfield Place, opposite pitch & putt links course and next to The Meadows;
tel: 0131 228 5200
Many of these are not noted for their singing quartets, or even any evidence of a pair of scissors. Worth knowing that plenty of them have back rooms for a little more (less?) than your average 'short, back and sides'.
If you go to a hairdresser's that actually does cut your hair, chances are you will get your hair washed, your scalp massaged very nicely and a decent haircut. If it's 30 rmb for a bloke's haircut and wash, all in, then that's pricy. It's a bit of luxury, but allow about an hour. Otherwise, pay 3 to 5 rmb at a cheap (genuine barber) place on the street, and it will be much quicker.
All over town
Parkgate is either part of Neston, or just next to it. Nice to walk along the front there, even if there is a chill wind. A couple of nice pubs down there, chippies, too, great bird life (and a brass plaque with info on birdies and the view over to Wales), as well as delicious home-made ice cream from Nichols. Can't miss it - nearly always a queue there.
Short walk from Neston, not far from Chester, or take the train or bus from Liverpool.
Set up by two Sudanese brothers, the Nile Valley Cafe may not have the best decor in Edinburgh, but the food is fantastic and the prices are cheap. Sudanese food includes a lot of Middle East staples such as falafel, hummus, babba ganoush etc as well as things you've probably never heard of or tried before but are really worth a try. And if you're in a hurry between shows they do great takeaway filled flatbreads and pittas.
9 Chapel Street
0131 667 8200
Nothing sums up 'Gallus' Glasgow better than a Saturday morning trip to the Barras. Here, Glasgow's answers to Del boy and Rodney make their Southern cousins look like shy introverts, as they sell anything not bolted down, from fur coats to football strips and computers to car parts.
The market has expanded from its humble beginnings to include hundreds of stalls and shops selling everything and anything. Barras are rented out on a daily basis, meaning an ever-changing stock and providing an ad-hoc sales channel for anyone with stuff to shift.
Never one to miss a trick, the Barras has evolved with the times, reflecting the changing needs of a varied clientele. Nowadays, Maggie's original fruit barra has evolved into a farmers' market, which takes place on the last Saturday in every month from 8 am (but get there quick, because stock sells out by lunchtime), and the modern market does a roaring trade in computer software of perhaps dubious origin. Never mind, it's all yours for a tenner.
The Barras was there long before Versace and the Italian Centre, and despite constant raids from overworked and frankly exasperated trading standards officials, it will still be there a long time after they're gone too. Margaret Russell would be proud.
Near Bell Street
A couple of RMB/yuan for entrance to the gallery up the stairs. Art book shop downstairs, and art supplies on sale in the lobby. Occasional visits from international artists/exhibitors.
From TianFu Square, standing at the base of the Mao statue, facing Mao, turn left (west) and after a stroll of just over 500 metres, you will see the gallery on your right.
One of the pleasant surprises about visiting San Francisco is that it has fantastic food. Not indigenous US food, but the food-culture imported by its immigrants from south of the border. Taquerias provides authentic, very tasty, cheap Mexican-style food to locals everywhere - especially in The Mission District. The best one is El Toro Taqueria on Valencia St. It is vegetarian-friendly (ie: it definitely doesn't cook beans in lard).
El Toro Taqueria: 598 Valencia St;
tel: (415) 431-2535;
Here's a photo: www.flickr.com/photos/bryceedwards/134769479/
San Francisco has some fantastic graffiti. The best is possibly found in the Mission District, and is normally quite political. Just wander around and you'll see a fair bit of it.
This is one of the photos I've taken of SF graffiti:
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