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
Walk around the Mission District, the heart of the Latino district. Eat at any place (I miss the food so much), and go into a few supermarkets for special treats. At night there are many good bars (Divas for their mojitos), movie theatres and clubs. Check out the area during the day first to familiar yourself with the streets if you are the easily-scared type. Some people think the area is a bit unsafe. This petite female never had any problems.
Around Valencia, 16th and 24th streets;
There's no less than three months of great beach weather in this spa town tucked between historic Gdansk and modern Gdynia.
It should only set you back around £40 for a return ticket fom London Luton or Stansted.
Around 20km from Gdansk Airport.
Small simple elegant hostel/hotel. Spotless with impeccable wooden floors everywhere. Very close to the action and with a tiny park in front - used by winos, but the police station is next door. On the bus route to the airport and close to the central station. Very reasonably priced. A real snip!
The Cocker is a recently opened boutique hotel in San Telmo. It is located on Av. Juan de Garai between Defensa and Bolivar, one block from Parque Lezama (and the wonderful Bar Britanico - as seen in The Motorcycle Diaries!) It's perfectly placed for trips to the local antiques market in Plaza Dorego (2 blocks) and is truly in the heart of all that historic San Telmo has to offer (parilla, tango, bars, cafes). The hotel itself is beautiful - restored from a complete wreck by its two proprietors over the course of 18 months. It's stylish and modern but sensitive to the building's original character. We stayed in a room with a private roof terrace ($80 per night) which proved a fantastic place to spend a soothing evening drinking a Quilmes (or two!) listening to the heartbeat of city life. Aidan and Ian (the owners) were extremely helpful, arranging transport for us - even a trip to Uruguay! The name (in case you were wondering) stems from Rocco - their pet cocker spaniel.
458 Av. Juan de Garai, San Telmo
Lovely piece of fried dough (looks like a large flattened doughnut) best served with sour cream (tejföl), cheese (sajt) and garlic (fokhagyma). Perfect Hungarian street food.
At any of the markets in Budapest - Feny Utca market near Moszkva tér, Lehel tér market etc. Just look for stall with a Langos sign
Vegetarium is a great vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the heart of the city. A wonderful restaurant: great atmosphere, very helpful staff, and the food is excellent. A great choice of dishes, both vegetarian and vegan, many of these are from Hungarian cuisine. They have menus available in English. The place doesn't have the feeling of abstinence that many vegetarian restaurants seem to have in Europe - very warm and inviting.
Vegetarium, 5, Cukor Utca 5; tel: 1 48 40 848
A huge covered food market, open Monday-Saturday 7am-2pm, also Saturday 4pm-8pm.
More fabulous Italian food than you can poke a stick at - and infinitely better priced than those “Tuscan specialty” shops pitched at tourists. If you plan to drag home your own body weight in formaggi, porcini, salsicce, lenticche and vino then this is the place for you. Also a few sit-down places for a super-cheap lunch - mind the pigeons though.
A recently opened, value for money, daytime haunt for office workers. As you would expect they specialise in tasty, made-on-the-premises soups such as tomato and basil, cream of cauliflower, carrot and coriander and minestrone, starting at £1.95. They also do a fine line in doorstop sandwiches using lovely seeded breads- including carrot and hummus, ham and salad and tuna- from £2.50.
There’s a weekly, daily changing menu of hot main courses (for both carnivores and vegetarians).
All this can be washed down with fruit juices, canned drinks, coffee (soya milk available) or tea (including fruit teas). Delicious home-made puddings like chocolate fudge cake and carrot cake for those who can find the space.
Punters sit at cafeteria-style tables and benches as well as barstool seating with a view out of the windows- or if you prefer they do everything to take away.
Owned by the same folks that have the wonderful Bay Horse pub just down the road on Thomas Street.
31-33 Spear Street (off Stevenson Square), Northern Quarter, M1 1DF; tel:0161 236 5100; www.soup-kitchen.co.uk
Fantastic Samuel Smith’s pub on Fleet Street. Great Sam Smith's ales - Old Brewery Bitter etc - one of the cheapest brews in London, but still great quality. Friendly staff, good food in 'chop room' and from the bar. The building is fantastic – don’t make the mistake of standing in the small bar at the entrance - there's a whole warren of bars and rooms all over the pub - the basement is particularly good.
145 Fleet Street - look for the illuminated cube sign outside then go up the little alley to the door; nearest tube: City Thameslink.
Come here for a really excellent Thai meal for around £6 for a main course. You'll get reliably good food at a bargain price, good beer brought to your table and a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. I've been going here for years and it's never let me down. It's best to phone and book a table.
119 Kensington Church Street, London, W8; tel: 0207 792 1246
Danhostel Copenhagen have opened a designer youth hostel in one of the city’s few tall buildings. Every room has a stunning view and the shared rooms aimed at backpackers start at about 10 pounds. Budget rooms with more privacy are available, too.
H.C. Andersens Boulevard 50
Tel: (+45) 3311 8585
An atmospheric, bohemian, budget, boutique hotel.
It's a little bit out of the centre of Paris, but the Metro is 5 minutes away and it's within walking distance of Pigalle & Montmarte. Loads of bars, bistros and cafes near by.
18, rue des Dames, Paris 75017, France
The Dragon is the symbol of Ljubljana, appearing on the city’s coat of arms.
When the Zmajski Most was built in 1901, dragons were incorporated into the design and now stand on guard at both sides of the bridge.
It was the intention that the bridge should be built to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef’s reign and the bridge was named after him. However, who can compete with dragons and over the years the bridge’s original name has been discarded and its informal name adopted.
Legend has it that the dragons wag their tails every time a virgin crosses the bridge! I wouldn't like to say!
This is a one-off fantastic place, just two stops from Alexander Platz in the lovely Prenzlauer Berg area (which is full of other great bars and cafes too). This place has no name, just a sign outside with a wine bottle drawn on it. It looks awful in daylight - covered with graffiti - but at night, it fills up with Berlin's hip and bohemian crowd.
It works like this: you go in, throw one euro into a small fountain at the door, then help yourself from bottles of wine on the large table - or juice, or hot drinks. Then you can also help yourself to the homemade and wholesome (delicious) food laid out on a sideboard in the back room (salads and a thai-style green chicken curry when we were there, plus still-warm bread). You can have as much as you like - we had seconds!
When you leave, there's no bill, you just 'pay what you feel like paying' (as one of the staff said) in a big vase beside the wine bottles. It is furnished with gorgeous shabby-chic bits and bobs, and fairy lights, and has a unique, laid-back atmosphere.
They put tables and chairs out under the trees at night and it creates a buzz in the whole street. (The Prinz Albert Hotel bar opposite and down a bit is fab on a Sunday - when we were there they had a live jazz band and a fantastic BBQ. The staff are very cheery too!
There's also a tiny, wee retro cafe round the corner which serves ice- cream sundaes and beers. It's got a big Babycham deer inside and there's 1950s pastel-painted tables and chairs outside, with pots of scarlet geraniums. Very pretty. Try the hot kirsch sundae!
The bar with no name and Prinz Albert are on Veteranenstrasse. Best bet would be to get off the underground at Rosenthaler Platz and walk up - it's on the top of the street on the corner. Or you could get off at Senefelder Platz and walk up and round - you'll pass the retro ice cream parlour then.
A funky, chilled out bar/restaurant along the jazzy Southbank. The waiters and waitresses drift around clad in uniforms of black, white and tattoos. Great people-watching views from the balcony and a varied and cheap menu to boot.
1st floor, Western end Southgate Phone: 9696 0111 Station: Flinder's St. 7am - 1am
You've not experienced Quito until you've taken a ride on a city bus. The brightly coloured buses in various states of disrepair trundle cheerfully along the Quito streets with salsa music playing and the conductor leaning out the door reeling off a long list of destinations. There are few bus stops; most of the time you can simply flag down the bus as it passes and get off where and when you please.
Once inside you'll be able to buy everything you need, and many items you really don't need, as travelling vendors will continually jump on and off in the slow city traffic. From toasted maize and iced lollies to Sponge Bob stickers, ponchos and even giant foam feet, you want it, they'll have it.
Finding a route map can be something of a challenge, but if you have a couple of hours to kill then it's hardly necessary. Simply jump aboard and enjoy an authentic tour of the city for just 25¢. Make sure you take the correct change though: if there's one thing that winds a bus conductor up it's a gringo trying to pay the bus fare with a $5 bill.
Major roads (eg. Av. America, Av. Rio Amazonas)
The original lyrics were written by Vinicius de Moraes in a restaurant/bar, past which the eponymous Ipanema-ista walked. Today, it's unpretentious and you can still sit by the pavement and watch the pedestrians. They serve a great steak + papas fritas and sell the best Rio souvenir - a T-Shirt bearing the opening bars of the famous song. By the way, the bar is on Vinicius de Moraes Street (in Ipanema). But when you fly in or out of Rio, you will pass through Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. That's the guy who wrote the music.
Calle Vinicius de Moraes, Ipanema
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