Melbourne, the culture capital of Australia, has a regular international film festival showing 300 films and over 100 shorts over 19 days at 5 or 6 different theatres. The film offerings are amazing - just go.
Various venues. For more information see www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au/2006Festival
This restaurant serves high-quality authentic Italian food and has an excellent wine list. It's open seven days a week - from 8am Monday to Saturday (Sunday opens later) and has tables outside, which is good if you have a dog! They are child friendly, service is of the highest standard and staff are super friendly. It was voted new best restaurant last year by The List and the interior is stunning.
103 George Street, next to Castle Street;
tel: 0131 225 1550;
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;
Take a walk about 10 minutes from the city centre to Fitzgeralds Park, a lovely park on the banks of the Lee. Here also you will find the Cork Museum with a riverside cafe in its recent extension. There are lovely views of the gardens of grand houses in the Sundays Well district, sweeping down to the banks of the river. And there’s a well-stocked playground for the kids.
Cork Public Museum, Fitzgeralds Park;
Tel: 021 4270679;
To get a real flavour of the celebratory nature of the locals and the town, it is a good idea to visit just before or at Christmas time, when the Christmas fair is on in the city centre. It brings alive the kid in you with a ferris wheel, a very enchanting fortune teller and other rides. Besides, you can gorge on mulled wine every evening and eat scrumptuous street food while you browse through local knick knacks at the German market or empty your purse at the high street big brand sales. Very memorable!
Various locations in the centre of Edinburgh;
The 56, or 'padesatsestka' or u Hlubka, as it is known locally, is sort of a bikers' pub, but is really just a fabulous local pub, with a great sense of commmunity, buzzing atmosphere, welcoming locals, top beer(s), good times. Immensely good times at weekends, helped by liberal opening hours ('whenever we like'). Beer garden furniture is made of chunky logs. Next to the pub is a cemetery with the graves of Russian military men who lost their lives in an air crash in the area. It's on the main road from Ostrava to Hlucin (road number 56), just on the left as you enter Hlucin, just after the sharp turn after the petrol station.
Buses run from Ostrava and should take around 15-20 minutes. The pub is well known, and is on Ostravska ulice (ulice = street), next to the Russian cemetery in Hlucin.
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.
This fantastic pub in Leith has spectacular views of the Firth of Forth (try and get an outside table for the best views) and the staff are really friendly. It is 'the' place in Leith to grab a drink or a quick meal (the lamb stew is the best dish). It's great for families as children are allowed in the conservatory upstairs.
Trinity Cres, Leith, Edinburgh
Tel: 0131 552 1233
Nice family place to stay for the night. Close to shopping centre, restaurants, beaches and Ostia Antica (ancient harbour city). I suggest you try it...
5km from Fiumicino Airport 5km
Around 45 minutes from the centre of Rome.
Via Monte Vies 4 Fiumicino (Rm)
Tivoli is a huge funfair on Djurgarden island, opposite the main Skansen entrance, with great views across to Gamla Stan and Sodermalm. The entry prices are a bit cheeky, as you pay to get in, only to find everything costs extra. If you have a Stockholm or Tourist card, however, initial entry is free. #
Tivoli isn't a particularly classy, or clean establishemnt but it makes for an exciting end to a Djurgarden day trip - a 180kr evening wristband gets you on all the decent rides between 7pm and midnight, when the park empties out and queues are short. Go on half a dozen rides, in particular the impressive Jetline, and it's value for money.
Get to Djurgarden via the 44 and 47 buses from Sergel Torg, the No. 7 tram from Ostermalm, or the ferry from Slussen. All journeys are free with the 72hr Tourist Card.
The huge hotel Westin St Francis on Union Square has five outside glass elevators that afford the most amazing views of the city. And it's all free! Walk through the lobby and take an elevator to the 32nd floor. Exhilarating.
Hotel Westin St Francis, at Union Square
Read more at:
Hotel Westin St Francis, at Union Square
See my photo: www.flickr.com/photos/bryceedwards/134703108/
Read more at www.sfcvb.org/travel_media/press.asp?rid=110&cid=5
Take a trip around the bay in a small boat. Walk along the seafront toawards the Golden Gate Bridge from Fishermans Wharf. Along the harbour there are many smaller ex-fishing boats. These are much better than the larger ferry-like boats available. Not only are they cheaper, the trip is longer and much more personal. You even get to go under the Golden Gate Bridge, which you don't in the larger ships.
Walk along Fishermans Wharf towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
The company Cruisin' Barcelona is run by a young couple who also cruise the streets as bike messengers. They offer personalised tours on ultra cool beach cruisers. Mahrou knows the city from A to Z and can tell you about the weirdest little ins and outs. They rent their bikes as well but it's just nice to hang out with them while cruising through the city...
tel: +34 605948469;
Housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, this hands-on science museum is ideal for families (or a cheap date). There is loads to see and do, and almost all of the exhibits are interactive.
3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco (in the Palace of Fine Arts);
tel: (415) 561 0399; www.exploratorium.edu
Great for dogs and humans alike. 360 degree view from this centrally located gem. Bring your walking shoes as you might be tempted to explore some more! It also overlooks the kid-friendly neighbourhood of Bernal Heights. I'll leave that up to you to check out.
1 Andover Street, San Francisco
Jam-packed full of famous writers, poets, novelists and journalists – plus some you’ve never heard of! Lovely, relaxed venue in Charlotte Square Gardens. If you love books, you’ll love this festival but be warned, the big names sell out quickly so get booking. Look out for Harold Pinter, Charley Boorman, Antonia Fraser, Andrew Motion, Owen Sheers, Stephen Venables and Sarah Waters among the 600 authors.
There is also a mix of ticketed events and free drop-in workshops and storytelling sessions for kids, as well as some great events for teenagers this year, including a debate on climate change with Joss Garman and Sandy Starr from the Manifesto Club.
12th to 28th August 2006, Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh; tel: 0845 373 5888;
Closest station: Edinburgh Waverley;
At the far end of the Royal Mile is the Outlook Tower, and inside is one of the most remarkable of inventions from the mid-nineteenth century, a Camera Obscura. To visit this is to fall in love with Victorian technology with its gleaming brass and polished mahogany.
Climb to the top of the tower and enter a darkened room with a white circular table in the middle. At the appointed hour a guide appears for the ritual. Above the table in the summit of the tower is a complex arrangement of ropes and pulleys that ingeniously manipulate a variety of lenses. The guide, by means of these, can make images of the streets below appear on the white table, complete with people and traffic. So clever is the system that it is possible to zoom in on individuals, who appear with the most startling clarity.
Visit the Camera Obscura and be captivated by its archaic charm. There is a fascination about this mechanism, which ensures that any subsequent visits to the city will include a return to the Outlook Tower.
And forget the camcorder.
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh;
tel: 0131 226 3709;
A great film by Judy Irving, a Sundance and Emmy Award winning filmmaker. It's about, well, the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. They are cherry-headed conures, also known as red-masked parakeets, an indigenous species from Peru. They have been also spotted farther east on Embarcadero Plaza.
For amazing gospel singing, inspirational speakers and just being in the presence of pure joy, acceptance and unconditional love, I recommend a celebration at Glide. Really beautiful. 9am and 11am on Sundays. Gets very busy so get there early if you want a seat downstairs. You'll come out uplifted and smiling.
330 Ellis Street (corner of Ellis and Taylor); www.glide.org
This is a small and perfectly formed pirate supplies shop down in the Mission District. More installation than retail, though you can buy glass eyes, wooden legs, doubloons, flags, eye patches, loaded dice and, er, lard. Treasure troves hide under the floorboards, there's an aquarium theatre and funny writings on the walls. You can barter drawings and poems for treasure, and buy the books of bartered drawings. It's actually the front for a literacy project and is the dreamchild of writer Dave Eggers. It's SO cool I could hardly breathe...
826 Valencia St (between 19th and 20th Sts) in the Mission District;
tel: (415) 642-5905;
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