Valognes is a small town with a lot of character, good, small hotels and restaurants, and a market on Friday mornings. The town's heyday was in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, when some spectacular buildings dominated the place, such as the wonderful Hotel de Beaumont. However, like most towns in Normandy, the weeks following D-Day devastated most of Valognes and what remains is a tribute to the determination of the people who survived that time and rebuilt their town. Valognes is worth a stay for its own sake, because it lies at the centre of an interesting region, and for the fact that it is close to the ferry port at Cherbourg but retains its own distinctive and attractive character.
18km south of Cherbourg; signs for Valognes, off the N13.
Quite the most delicious meal I have ever had. Goats' cheese with cous cous and figs; seared tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes.
The atmosphere was relaxing. Although there was a terrace, we ate in as the evening was cool. Efficient, warm and friendly service.
Off the main pedestrian shopping street. Steinbachgasslein 34.
If you like to relax with a good glass of wine then you must stop by Andy's Wine Bar and Restaurant in Nha Trang.
Go upstairs and nab one of the cozy balcony seats - you'll have a bird's eye view of street life below.
The wine bar has a very special ambience with its cathedral-like ceilings and large open windows overlooking the neighbouring church yard.
If you're not a wine drinker and just want a relaxing place to eat, they have some really tasty Vietnamese dishes (at very resonable prices too).
Restaurant is owned and managed by two local brothers, who generously provide tips on travel around Vietnam. You may even be lucky enough to join them on one of their bike tours into the Nha Trang countryside.
Andy's Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1G Hung Vuong street, Nha Trang.
Fish & chips, bangers & mash, pasties, pies, ... in Banglamphu!
A clean, airy place. Away from the sewer smells, noise and pollution. Oh My Cod! has seating in cubicles, each with flat-screen TV (you've been warned), outside where you can watch the koi carp, or you can sit at a normal 'cafe' table inside.
Pies and pasties are homemade. Warning: the pasty is big. Don't eat if you plan to walk around the palaces.
Oh yeah they have wifi too.
Located down Soi Rambuttri, turn down the alley near 7-Eleven.
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A relaxed and informal French restaurant that serves traditional fare. Oysters from Cancale, creme brulee, pate, steak, duck and great gratin dauphinois were some of the very reasonably priced dishes enjoyed. It has a huge wine list and staff bring you menus chalked up on blackboards. Booking is recommended as it gets very busy. Good for dinner or lunch.
La Robe et le Palais
13 rue des Lavandières St-Opportune, 1er
Great French restaurant serving tasty steaks, matchstick frites and a huge selection of wines. Atmospheric lighting, vintage cigarette posters, good service and really low prices given the quality of the food. Stays open late too.
Schutzenstrasse 5, Mitte, www.entrecote.de
Venice Cream is a gelato shop located right on the canal between the Arsenale boat stop and San Marco square. You should avoid this shop at all costs.
I requested a taste of the gelato & was handed "chocolate" gelato that was terrible. When I requested a different flavor, the owner became obviously upset, and very reluctantly gave me my taste of mint gelato. Just as I was about to have a taste, I glanced in the case & noticed numerous bugs & flies on the front edge of the cooler. When I pointed them out to him, he became angry & began to yell at me in Italian. I was amazed that he would be angry with me when his shop clearly had major cleanliness issues. Nonetheless, he continued to yell and waved me out of his shop, still yelling as I walked away.
For cleanliness sake, I would avail myself of one of the dozens of other gelato shops around Venice. So many of them are wonderful (and CLEAN) and the people are very friendly. Unfortunately, Venice Cream is not one of them.
On the canal between Arsenale boat stop & San Marco square, near the Metropole Hotel.
Don leathers and leave behind the elegant, quintessential Englishness of Chester (built to keep the Welsh out), gradually ascend and ride the switchback of the dramatic Horseshoe Pass, an early natural rollercoaster, and glide (pausing awhile at the Ponderosa for refreshments) under the clouds into One Hundred Years of Solitude, or the Welsh Dee Valley, at Llangollen overlooked by the brooding magnificence of Castell Dinas Bran
Go in July and catch the International Eisteddfod, the epicentre of grass roots world music for a week. This year, acts range from Joan Baez to Jose Carreras but the true stars are from Iraq, China and the west coast of Africa!
The best Welsh brewed real ales are at Gales in the high street and for Welsh contemporary "tapas", try the stunningly located Cornmill on the banks of the swirling Dee.
Simply the place to get the most fantastic fresh fish and seafood, Malliag is a proper fishing port rather than a tourist destination. Most people arrive there and stay only briefly on their way to Skye, Rhum or Knoydart but the excellence of the food, served in a harbourside setting, is such that it is worth organising an overnight stop on your way to these places. The service is helpful, friendly and unpretentious and the helpings more than generous.
Right on the harbour near the ferry terminal.
It's a favourite haunt. It does a really nice buffet with a good variety. Plenty of nice vegetables. Polite and pleasant staff. The 'meat' dishes look and taste authentic. We took some devoted-meat-eating friends there a few months back and bundled them in without their seeing the word 'vegan' on the outside. They didn't believe us when we confessed they'd just heartily enjoyed a vegan meal!! Great! A recommended evening would be to go there for the main and then over Soho Square to Soho Street and Govinda's for desert (very yummy!), though the latter closes at 8pm.
Old Compton Street, Soho.
I did the Great Glen Way (a five-day walk) a couple of years ago and had a memorable meal at a place we discovered on the way. Basically, it's a barge moored at Laggan Locks, the end of day two of the walk. Having been told about it the previous night in Gairlochy we called to book, told the bloke what food we liked and arrived to the most ridiculous oversized feast of local seafood and other nice stuff, all for a pitifully small sum. The whole experience was totally, if pleasingly, bonkers – a man, his dog, only two customers, a barge full of odd historical memorabilia and a lot of good food.
The walk, by the way, was pretty good but frustratingly, a lot of the walking route followed the same path as the cycle route and I felt that we wouldn't have lost much, and would have got to Inverness a lot quicker, if we'd been on bikes.
South Laggan PH34 9EA
f: 01320 340210
An old inn full of character perfectly perched over Loch Gairloch at Badachro Bay. Sit outside on the deck or in the conservatory with its open fire and enjoy fresh seafood or delicious homemade burgers. You might even be visited by a curious seal.
Gairloch, Ross-shire, Scotland IV21 2AA
Tel: 01445 741255
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