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
Several S-Bahn (a suburban rail network complementing the U-Bahn) routes run parallel throught the city centre. It's a cheap way of sightseeing and a good way of getting a feel for the city and the lie of the land.
A suggested route could be from Warschauer Strasse in the East to Zoologischer Garten in the West. This takes in some of Berlin's most famous addresses, including Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrasse and Hackescher Markt. There are also 'panoramic' S-Bahn trips in specially adapted trains giving even better views (www.s-bahn-berlin.de).
S-Bahn routes S5, S7/S75 and S9 all run along the above route.
For many tourists, the way to see the West Bank temples and tombs appears to be the highly priced offerings from their tour company.
Typical costs are £39 per person for a visit to the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepshut's temple and the Valley of the Queens. Included in this price are the ticket prices (approximately £9.50 per person).
To hire an air-conditioned minibus and a guide, and to visit temples and tombs that you wish to see, will cost at most 200LE (£20) for up to six people (total price), so adding the cost of the tickets, the trip will probably cost an individual in this situation about £12.
The other plus of this is that you can actually spend as long as you wish at a site, and not have to rush back to take in the obligatory visit to an alabaster or papyrus shop, for which the tour leader on the coach can make up to 50% of your purchase price in commission.
In the heart of China Town there is an oasis. The Chinese gardens are the biggest replica outside of China (I think) and are beautifully kept.
In the summer you can see turtles floating in the ponds and the flowers are stunning.
The guided tours are free and really interesting.
Well worth popping into especially if you happen to be in China town.
578 Carrall Street;
tel: 604 662 3207;
Main Street south of 49th avenue to about 55th is lined with shops selling wonderful Indian fabrics, foods and jewelery. Fabrics are beautiful, authentic and extremely reasonably priced, and the clothes are unique and beautiful.
Farther north on Main is also lovely, but quite different. Between about 33rd and 16th it has plenty of antique shops, second hand stores and cute little stores selling home furnishings and accessories (no chain stores). Between 16th and Seventh it's more eclectic, with some very good second-hand stores (the Salvation Army is on 12th just east of Main) and cafes. Urban Source, at 16th and Main, is a fantastic resource for craft supplies: they recycle industrial leftovers, and the results and the offerings are irresistable.
The strange triangle between Fraser, Main and Broadway is known as Dysfunction Junction, and hosts 2 outstanding second-hand bookstores, literary cafe Our Town, a pool hall, a neon art cafe, and several hole-in-the-wall galleries and restaurants. The Jem gallery is a particular gem; a recent exhibit featured the work of I.Braineater, an outstanding local artist.
Farther north again, Loomis arts and crafts superstore is an awesome place for paper junkies. Just to the west is the Seawall; you can go on the south side all the way to Kitsilano, or you can take the north side and go up to Yaletown, English Bay, and Stanley Park. If you know some tricks you can connect with Portside Road and skate all the way from Science World (near Loomis) to Stanley Park and back to the foot of Main street, a loop of about ten miles if you don't also skate around the park itself. And it's all on the Seawall, away from traffic, except for a mile along Portside Road.
North along Main is Chinatown, and then at the very foot of Main street is the Viaduct which will give you a fantastic view of the mountains, North Vancouver, and Downtown. It will also take you to Crab Park (closed after 10pm) which is the only beach on the Downtown Eastside, and features nesting eagles and hawks, seals in the water, and a marvelous break from city noise.
Nearby, on Alexander just west of Main is the Alibi Room, a very arty place with a very hot crowd, very good food, and very original (and tasty) cocktails. Open late, and for great Saturday brunch, but the DJ might be a bit loud if you're hungover. Not that I would know what that's like.
It's the second-largest Chinatown outside of China, and perfectly authentic. It's a living, breathing cultural artefact. Go in the daytime, as everything shuts at six pm, unless it's a Friday or Saturday; the street market is on then in the summer.
See the Sun Yat-Sen garden and park, the Chinese Cultural Centre, and Pender Street between Carrall and Gore. Keefer Street is also Chinatown, between Columbia and Gore, and in the summer (late May-September) on Friday and Saturday nights it's closed to host the street market. This features entertainment, games, children's rides (dinky ones, but fun) and lots of bargains along the cheap bag/sunglasses/clothing line.
Good restaurants include Goldstone on Keefer (closes early), Hon's on Keefer, and Gain Wah on Keefer, which is open late. Great groceries are to be had at many of the local stores, or the local Asian supermarket, T&T, on Keefer near the Stadium Skytrain station.
After the street market (which runs till nine or so) walk over to La Casa Gelato on Venables and get one of their 200+ flavours of ice cream: rocky road, yes, but also durian, basil and pernod, or gorgonzola.
East Pender street between Carrall and Gore, Keefer Street between Columbia and Gore, East Georgia Street between Main and Gore. North-south axis is Main Street.
A beautiful complex designed by Moshe Safdi (he designed Habitat in Montreal). The courtyard is a great place to grab a snack and sit. There is a calendar of readings/performances, etc.
350 West Georgia Street;
tel: 604 331 3603;
If you are staying in or near the Latin Quarter and are looking for a budget restaurant, with great atmosphere serving really excellent food, then look no futher than Le Petit Prince.
It is very popular with the locals so booking is pretty essential. I ate there on a wet Tuesday evening in February: by 8:30 the place was full and I saw a number of disappointed people turned away.
The fixed-price menu is imaginative, using quality ingredients, and the food is beautifully presented. For a good, reasonably priced bottle of wine, search the 'Coup de Coeur' section of the list.
The only slight drawback with the restaurant is that some of the tables are very close together which may bother those who like a bit of privacy - but, being France, everyone else just minds their own business and concentrates on enjoying the good food and drink!
Rue de Lanneau, off Rue St Jacques, near the Sorbonne.
Nearest Metro station is Maubert Mutualite.
Bling Bling is a hostel in Krakow that we had the misfortune to book whilst in Warsaw. By the far the worst hostel I've ever stayed in - and there's been a few rough ones...The name might tempt you (a bit wacky, crazy) but don't be fooled. All I'll say is bed bugs and gloom. Right next door is a lovely, clean spacious hostel called Dizzy Daisy's. Go there for a good time in Krakow, but a MUST is the Jewish quarter. Very bohemian and friendly with a shocking history, but a truly beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Get away from the crowds.
Bling Bling: ul. Pędzichów 7;
Tel: 12 634 05 32
Dizzy Daisy’s: ul. Krakowska 7;
Tel: 12 292 22 11;
Siem Reap's premier restaurant. For a taste of what the colonial lifestyle might have been like before the guns started firing take a pew on the veranda in this old French villa . The menu is extensive, tasty and not that expensive, and Angelina Jolie can't be wrong about the cocktails (they even named one after her).
If you really like it, there's a guesthouse too.
No. 341, 50 m north-west of the Old Market, Svay Dangkom, Mondul I;
In spring and autumn, when the sun comes out but there's still a nip in the air, there's no better place for an al-fresco lunchbreak. En Zo serves a variety of home-made soups in weird and wonderful flavours (for example spicy peanut or spinach and cream) at prices from about 3 Euros - ideal for a hearty but healthy meal.
Jodenbreestraat 94A, near Waterlooplein and opposite Albert Hijn supermarket;
tel: 020-422 22 43;
Nathan's Villa was one of the highlights of my voyage around Eastern Europe. Within walking distance of the sites, friendly staff, sociable and next door to a delicious Polish restaurant - it's easily the pick of Krakow's hostels.
From the outside Wawel Hill, upon which stands the Castle, Cathedral and other buildings, looks like an imposing - but not unattractve - fortress.
Inside the fortifications the very attractive grounds and courtyards create a sense of space that is rather unexpected. Some of the views, particularly towards the Cathedral, have an almost fairytale aspect.
The outside vista of Wawel Hill does not really prepare you for its internal character. Like so much of Krakow it was a delightful discovery.
For inquiries and booking contact the Tourist Service Office (BOT), Wawel 5;
Tel: 12 422 51 55 ext. 291;
One of Lyon's few non-smoking bars, the Cafe 100 Tabac (say it out loud - you'll get the joke even with schoolboy French) is in a busy little side street off the main Rue de La Republique. It serves reasonable wine and beer at low prices, often has interesting and enthusiastic staff, and can provide a simple meal at lunch or dinner.
The big selling point is the intimate and friendly atmosphere, the art on the walls, and the traditional Lyonnais style of the building, with exposed stone, wooded beams and a little mezzanine accessed by a tiny spiral staircase. As with so many Lyon bars, space is at a premium, but it's rarely crowded and the small scale means that it's easy to strike up a conversation with your neighbour.
Smokers should try the Cafe 203 (another French-language gag) next door, which is run by the same people.
23, Rue de l'Arbre Sec, Lyon 69001;
tel: 04 78 27 29 14;
Chlopskie Jadlo (Peasant Food) is a chain of restaurants serving good traditional food in large portions at very low prices. Three branches in Krakow.
Pod Aniolami (Under The Angels) serves traditional and contemporary Polish food at reasonable prices, in a tasteful restored cellar. The wild boar with cranberries is excellent.
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
Great new hotel in Chamonix with shop for kit rental, beer garden with it's own climbing wall and a cool bar and restaurant downstairs. Open year round with regular events/parties in the bar.
964 Routes Des Gaillands, on the South side of Chamonix by the lake and climbing wall. www.verthotel.com
Tel +33 0450 531 358
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