About an hour south of Mombasa is Diani beach, with the usual white sand, clear water and palm trees.
Forty Thieves bar/restaurant is a popular haunt that opens right on to the beach and at night is an amazing place to sit and watch the ocean.
Food is good, particularly the crab. There is music later in the evenings and a pool table but there are quiet corners and comfy sofas to sit back on and enjoy where you are. Locals and tourists alike go there which tells you something.
Sad to hear from one reader that Lamu is 'a tip'. It was a long time ago, but I spent ten weeks there (out of five months in Africa) in the winter of '88-'89 and it was incredible.
I rented a house called Daramani in the old town - located down a maze of alleys, with an incredible carved wooden door and steps up to a roof terrace with views of the town and the ocean. One of those places that you wouldn't know was there.
Daily walks to the beach at Shela and the terrace of the Peponi hotel were wonderful, evenings spent at Petley's bar in town, or one of the many restaurants. You got there by bus on a dirt road from Malindi - I hear they have paved it since - followed by a dhow trip across the channel, although there were very expensive flights to a nearby island which only weekend visitors really used. Getting there, which took most of a day from Mombasa, was half the fun.
I also spent an evening at another rented house called Dareni, which was one of the most beautiful places I saw there. Definitely check to see if either of these places are still available for rent - it's worth it if you are staying a while. However, if the town has become an eyesore that is very sad indeed.
This cafe in Mohandeseen area has very good Egyptian food. The atmosphere is warm and decor upbeat and attractive.
You MUST meet the owner, Mahmoud. He is very colourful and has a great sense of humour. He makes you feel like a long lost brother. Enjoy!
#40 Kahn Younes Demesk St. which is off Shebab St. 1 block from Radio Shack
Decorated with an extravaganza of white subway tiles, this Lower East Side haunt snuggled up against the Rivington Hotel is a funky hybrid - think old skool diner meets Islington gastropub.
A great place for brunch, lunch or dinner, traditional dishes like stewed lamb meatballs and Schiller's steak frites hit the right notes.
131 Rivington St at Norfolk St Subway: Subway: F to Delancey St; J, M, Z to Delancey–Essex Sts Mon–Wed 11am–1am; Thu 11am–2am; Fri 11am–3am; Sat 10am–3am; Sun 10am–1am.
Fancy getting out of the city? Jump on the train for the 20 minute journey to Leuven - a gorgeous, peaceful town dominated by its ancient university and its brewery links.
Fantastic architecture, lovely people and a really chilled out vibe thanks to the student population and lovely microbreweries.
Top tip: Stella Artois may be brewed here, but locals don't touch the stuff - get tucked into Kriek or Trappist ales or something more specialist at Domus.
In the Rue du boucher there is a very small side road named the Schuddeveldgang.
If you walk that through you will see a very small alley at your left.
Walk it right till the end and you will come to one of the two entrances of Theatre Toone. This place consists out of several rooms and one is the theatre room where you can enjoy a traditional local puppet show.
If there are no plays performed then the whole establishment is open as pub.
The somewhat relaxed attitude towards life in general is clear: pubs open until the last customer standing is no more, the smoking ban having clearly missed Brussels, and the pleasant taxi drivers who are all too happy to tell you about their great city in approx 10mins (that’s how long it takes to get anywhere).
Yes, this city is not to be missed, with “Delirium” pub a must-see (and try!) with over 2000 beers offered, there really is something for everyone!
Take the travelator at Montparnasse station, "itself an adventure, as it travels at roughly the same speed as a Parisian bus".
Take the Metro to Raspail, and around the corner you will discover Montparnasse Cemetery, or "Cimiterie du Sud", an oasis, pilgrimage and sculpture park all in one. The resting place of the artistic community that included Baudelaire, Jean Paul Sartre, to name but two of the luminaries buried here.
After spending a couple of hours taking in the scenery, and the great and the good, and not so good, you could saunter out to The Cafe Raspail Vert, and partake of an existential cafe au lait, "one of Satre's favourite haunts."
If you like Belgium beer there's a great beer festival in September called the 'Brussels Beer Weekend' in the Grand Place.
There are numerous beers to try. The whole set-up is designed so that you can sample a wide variety as you buy tokens that can be exchanged at every beer stall.
The range of beers from Belgim is extraordinary, although a word of warning they often come in at around 8-12% proof so be careful!
You will get a literal high while touring the Brewery De Halve Maan. And that's not even from drinking the strong brew!
Before your tour begins, the friendly chap at the ticket counter will tell you gleefully that you need to climb more than 200 steep steps to the top after you hand him your 3.90 Euro for your tour.
Well, that's not such a bad deal, after all, the view of Bruges is indeed panoramic and more scenic than the one at the Belfry Tower.
Also, a cool beer (included in the price of your tour ticket ) is a rich reward if you do manage to climb down alive on those steep steps.
Brewery De Halve Maan is at Walplein 26 8000 Brugge.
Bruges has a quieter side with many friendly local bars. Worth checking out is the welcoming Cafe de Hollandse Vismijn.
Approached from the Burg down Blind Donkey Alley, the Hollandse is on the far side of the Vismarkt (fishmarket). There is a large heated terrace and six beers are served Van t' Vat (on draught).
If you are after food head one block down to the relaxed L'Estaminet bar opposite the charming Astrid Park. Again with a large terrace where a varied bar food menu is served to locals and visitors alike.
Den Djiver restaurant serves food as good as anything I've had in London, England or anywhere else. I had a four-course meal with a gorgeous well matched Belgian beer for each and at normal prices.
I'd go again just to go back to this place (and for the chocolates and lovely beer obviously).
Buy Around Bruges in 80 Beers. An excellent book featuring 80 different places to buy beer in Bruges, ranging from local taverns to posh restaurants to beer shops, even a boat; with a different beer suggested for each!
It's superbly produced in full colour with lengthy descriptions of each featured location. It's available from the bars featured, or you can buy it in advance direct from the author, Podge.
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