We stayed at the 79-year-old Brock Hotel that is now a Crown Plaza Hotel but it retains all the charm that it had back in the day when Marilyn Monroe stayed there while making the murder mystery," Niagara" with Joseph Cotton released back in 1953. Marilyn's room was in a back corner of the hotel for her privacy, but the view from that room is now blocked by the casino so we stayed in a room exactly like it on the same floor on the frontside of the hotel facing the falls.
I think it is the only hotel in town where the windows open so we enjoyed the sound of the falls all night long and even from our in room jacuzzi.
Before our trip we watched "Niagara" several times and during our three days there, we visited each of the filming locations and made a real adventure out of it. Kinda romantic, don't you think? It was our 30th wedding anniversary and we have always travelled to England or Ireland or the Continent so this was a big change for us.
Don't miss the bell tower! Try it... you will like it.
A stylish medieval town with Roman, Moor and Christian heritage. Great place to spend a few days enjoying the historic sites, local food (recommend Time Out for friendly atmosphere) and cafes (recommened Cafe 35- great patron; and Cafe Arcada- great pastries and 1950s atmosphere). Try the gelados at Gelateria Zoka.
Have fun discovering your own favourites: the old town is a rabbit warren of narrow streets that can easily be walked around, but make for some pretty extreme driving that's not for the faint hearted.
The whole place is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
About 1.5 hours east of Lisbon on the way to the Spanish border.
Ibn Tulun Mosque is the oldest mosque in Egypt and one of the oldest in the world (approx 1200 years old), most notable for its minaret based on the famous one at Saqqara. It's eerily deserted, something I did not expect, and is off the beaten track for tourists (though I went in July) - a must see.
A visit to the Monastery is a must. While a bit of a trek (set off early morning to avoid the heat of day), the route can be walked, or you can be taken up by Donkey.
Either way, it's well worth it, with a cave cafe opposite the Monastery to relax, take in the atmosphere and recharge your batteries
During this tour you are being guided around the city and told things by someone who has experienced it. Guides have not just read about whatever they are talking about in a textbook. This results in these tours being really good.
Learn about the history, society, architecture and what Hungarians are actually like.
Vörösmarty square M1 metro stop (in front of Gerbeaud café at the fountain)
Daily at 10.30.AM
Guides give frank and honest account of Budapest's history and recent developments (particularly the transition to post-Communism) - it really opens the eyes to the sentiments of the local people.
Sights of this interactive adventure include the 1956 uprising areas, the bronze bullet memorial, the flag with the hole and the eternal flame, the secret entrance of a military bunker, the last Communist memorial in the inner city and other symbols of "Soviet friendship". The most important communist relics will also be presented.
Vörösmarty square M1 metro stop (in front of Gerbeaud café at the fountain)
Every M, W, F at 3.30 PM
The old town was badly damaged when the Assad regime put down the uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, but what is left of it still retains plenty of charm. The noria are large waterwheels that used to lift water from the Orontes River into a system of aqueducts that supplied the city and adjacent farmland. The wheels themselves have been restored, even if the (now thoroughly cleaned up) remaining sections of aqueduct are no longer in use. They are very impressive, and there are lots of pleasant gardens where you can sit close to them and have a coffee or snack. All in all, a fascinating and unexpectedly beautiful sight.
Just head for the town centre.
Melbourne has retained a lot of its history, and no better way of seeing that is to stroll along the many arcades (almost all have now been restored) in the centre of the city and also take off down the small laneways and alleys branching off the main city streets and arcades.
The city's network of arcades is Australia's most extensive, with Block Arcade between Collins and Elizabeth streets, built in 1891, its crowning glory. Royal Arcade (between Bourke Street Mall and Little Collins Street), is Melbourne's oldest, built in 1869, and features Gaunt's clock and the two folklore giants of the ancient Britons, Gog and Magog, who strike the hour.
The various lanes and alleys in the city centre all hold their own interest and most have a specific history. The group of back alleys famous (or infamous) for having all Melbourne's brothels in the 1880s or the lanes either side of the Chinatown strip are a rich source of authentic Asian eateries. Hardware Lane, one of the first laneways to be restored in the 1980s, now has a fine collection of outdoor cafes and bars. The local interest in these lanes and alleys has recently seen one named in honour of one of our best known rock bands... AC/DC
Melbourne city centre
go to Flinders Street station and start from there or use the City Circle tram to get around
A very important archaeological World Heritage site, set in a National park surrounded by Lake Butrint.
Originally a Neolithic settlement, later developed by the Greeks, Illyrians, Romans and Venetians. Comprising ruins of 6CBC fortifications, 3CBC Hellenistic amphitheatre, acropolis, 4CBC Temple of Asklepios, Roman Baths, 5C Byzantine Baptistry and mosaics, 6C Basilica, impressive Venetian tower and fortress.
A protected site with excellent museum housing original artefacts. Outdoor stalls selling local handicrafts.
Set in beautiful woodland, reached from the south via a small chain ferry. Access now possible by day tour from Corfu and northern Greek resorts. Local currency is the Lek but Euro is accepted. Prices somewhat lower than in Greece. A rare opportunity.
Southern Albania,opposite the Greek island of Corfu, close to the Greek border in Epirus and the mainland resort of Parga.
One of the top-ten tourist sites in Japan offers a once-yearly evening festival where you can drink unlimited, locally produced sake for around a fiver.
Himeji castle itself was built in 1346 and was the first UNESCO site in Japan. What better way to spend a Saturday night than picknicking in its grounds?
Grab yourself a sake cup and some free senbe (Japanese crackers) and enjoy the Castle, the Moon and the company. Last year, I was told by a seasoned quaffer that the feeling of drinking sake can only be described as... "One, two, ten"... I wasn't sure what this meant, but I think it augured moderation, so take it easy.
Do however make sure that you try all of the sake on offer. It's all locally produced, is delicious and is ladelled out of wooden containers, rather than poured from the bottle.
The party starts when the sun goes down on October 3rd this year.
Travelling from Tokyo is a two-hour, direct Bullet Train ride (Himeji is also a good stop-off on the way to Hiroshima)
After that, it's ten Minutes on foot from Himeji JR Railway Station (central exit)
Cusworth Hall is an eighteenth century and grade 1 listed country house and museum with excellent informative exhibitions about the people who lived and worked in the house.
It is without doubt Doncaster's premiere beauty spot with loads of open space for picnics and walks allowing you to enjoy a wonderful view of Doncaster laid out before you
Cusworth Lane, Doncaster, DN5 7TU
Nearest train station is Bentley and the hall is well signposted on the A1(M) and in Doncaster itself
The Cantillon Brewery is the last of what were once plentiful Gueuze Breweries in Belgium. The family brewery makes Gueuze, a unique beer that depends entirely on windborn yeast to complete the beermaking process, introducing an element of luck that most brewmasters wouldn't dream of accepting. To use the wild yeast the brewery has a number of unique features that cannot be found in any other brewery.
The location is also ideal. Just a fifteen minute walk from Brussels' Grand Place, there is no problem with imbibing as much of this wonderful beer as you would like and then wondering how to get home. The metro public transport system makes this a wonderfully tasty and safe experience.
On the very occasional rainy day in Yorkshire there can be no better way to while away a few hours than a visit to the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham. At the "Shepherded" tour you will learn about the traditional brewing process in the warm and barley scented environment sets one up nicely for a sample of the ales.
I would recommend the Golden Sheep or perhaps the special Monty Python's Holy Grail (tempered over burning witches!). Best of all are the Bistro and Baa..r; wonderful food, huge portions in a lovely setting with views out over the Dales (when it's not raining that is). Puns are definitely the order of the day here but don't feel sheepish - it's a visit ewe won't regret.
The surrounding village of Masham is also worth exploring; there's a village square, a great little grocery and sweetshop and, if you haven't had quite enough beer yet, it is also home to Theakston's brewery with a visitor centre.
Black Sheep Brewery, Wellgarth, Masham HG4 4EN tel:01765 689227
Visitor car park
While each of these breweries might well give you a tour, each of them is so small you can see what’s going on while you taste their wares. The end of September is the Great American Beer Festival and the perfect excuse to wind through the autumnal mountains and deserts in search of a hearty brew.
The claim for Colorado’s first Microbrewery lies just north of Denver in the university town of Boulder. The Boulder Beer Company has its own huge range of beers with seasonal additions and everything from lemony wheat beers to deep dark porters. On the way up, you’ll pass Fort Collins where the large New Belgium Brewery lies and you’ll find these beers all over the country. You can tour this site to see just what care and attention goes into the production of these relatively small batches. Pick up an Onion to read on your travels and get into the vibe of this beer hunt.
Just west from Denver, in Golden, Miller has their Coors factory and a purpose built town to run the thing. The tour is free and gives you three half pints of beer to try at the end of your journey round one of the biggest breweries in the world. You’re here to see what NOT to do.
Heading down highway 70, you’ll hit Idaho Springs where the Tommyknockers brew their range of interesting beers. The food is just what you want from this backwoods hangout and the beer comes to take away in Growlers. While you’re here you can sample the waters in an amazing 60s throwback ‘spa’, and stroll the cowboy main street.
These being the Rockies, there’s a lot of thermal water about and Glenwood Springs, just the other side of a gorgeous canyon, about two hours from Idaho Springs, makes a great stop, the baths here are open air and lie right next to the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub. As well as beer, you’ll also often find mead on the menu, just to give your hopped out palette a rest.
From here you can hop on a train to Utah, and another home of small time brewery, Salt Lake City. You can learn all about the LDS or explore the ring of ski resorts that tower over the flat of the city. If you want to return east, you could get on the train, or in the land of the freeway, you’d be advised to head south and into Mesa Verde, and Durango before snaking your way through Colorado Springs and back to Denver.
Established in 1868 this wonderful brewery on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island produces a wide variety of tasty beers, from "summer" to "black". The local population boycotted its main rival's beer a few years ago when the brewery was threatened with closure, saving it!
The best part of the tour is at the end when, after already tasting all the beers, the guide leaves you in the bar and says "do what you like for 10 minutes....." It's amazing how much can be drunk in such a short time!!
corner Turamaha & Herbert Streets, Greymouth, www.monteiths.com/nz (03)7684149
The factory for the world famous beer is in Pilsen, Czech Republic and they do a fantastic tour - at the start of which they give you a glass and you fill it up so you have beer to take around the factory with you.
They take you and show you the old barrel cellars and the traditional brewing methods while you are drinking and from there onwards you can explore various other parts of the Factory campus which has a modern visitors centre where you can learn even more and wander round yourself after the guided tour. Good stuff. Lots of different language tours.
We then went for lunch at the great Pilsner restaurant - with a beer obviously - though you can choose to sit outside and eat, or just skip the eating bit and have a beer at the bar.
We stayed after that and had a game of giant chess (the pawns are beer bottles - of course) before getting a wee cheeky souveneir and heading back to the train station.
In Plzen, Czech Republic. We got a train from Prague central railway station - takes an hour or maybe two - and made a day trip of it. The lady at the station information didnt speak much English - but when we said "Pilsner" she knew exactly what we were after, gave us a map and directed us. Its a few minutes (5) walk from the station.
This typifies the magical world of British brewing. It tickles the sense buds of all things right about beer (never Lager - quite an insult to our guide for the day) brewed in the very traditional family way.
The Brewery stands in Bridport, as it has since 1794, and even before you go in, the delicious smell entices you in from the mash tun steaming off through the top of a large vent.
Tours start at 1100, as sharp as Dorset speed of life will allow, through the distribution house and thence past the ancient wooden fermentation vessels, only stopping to sample the yeast, the hops, the malt, and a way of doing things that haven’t really changed much for centuries.
I hadn’t heard of Palmers before as they don’t sell much out of the West Country. Lucky West! The USP of this brewery is the secure housing for the Head Brewer and their family, which is slap bang in the middle of the brewery, like a secret garden, sacrosanct, a delight of rose bushes and tended veg patch.
Palmers seem genuinely proud of what they do and what they stand for, including a few wets after! Go, sample, enjoy!
www.palmersbrewery.com 01308 427500
A series of tunnels dug under the city - the mines from which the stones for the city's construction were taken. The city is riddled with catacombs - normally the haunt of junkies and down and outs - but outside the city the catacombs operate as a museum.
These tunnels were used by partisans as a base to launch raids against the German and Romanian occupiers. The tunnels are dark and dank and still contain the personal belongings and equipment of the partisans who lived, fought and died there.
The walls are carved with graffiti that is either political or personal (and sentimental) and overall a visit is both a moving as well as interesting experience. It is only possible with a guided tour as the tunnels are confusing and it is easy to get lost.
Above ground is a rather down at heel museum with a few rusty weapons and some interesting, but faded, photographs. Sadly both the tour guide and museum captions are Russian language only.
The only way to get there is by an excursion bus from Odessa city centre. The buses leave at about 1000hrs from outside Odessa Railway Station - little old ladies in the square outside the station sell tickets and can be quite helpful (though generally they only speak Russian). The journey to the catacombs by minibus (included in the ticket price) takes about 40 minutes and the tour itself is about an hour.
A wonderful restaurant in the grounds of a Santorium along Fransuski Boulevard (take the number 5 tram towards Arcadia). An old summer residence of the rich and powerful that was incorporated into one of the many Soviet-era sanitoria in the city. Now it is renovated and operates as one of the best restaurants in Odessa.
The style is Csarist-era country house and the food is upmarket, fine dining versions of Russian/Ukrainian favourites such as borsch, pelmeni and shashlik. A perfect place to have a long summer lunch in the garden with friends - and don't forget their wonderful home made lemonade.
Francuski Boulevard, Odessa, Ukraine. Take the number 5 tram towards Arcadia and get off the tram near the 'Vash Sad' garden centre.
Only 10 minutes walk from the Gare du Midi, down a (frankly rather unprepossessing) street, is the Cantillon Brewery. This is an independent family-owned brewery producing lambic, one of Belgium's most authentic and original beers. You get a short and enthusiastic introduction, and can then follow the brewing process on your own.
What makes lambic beer unique is that it ferments spontaneously. The wort cools down in a shallow copper tray in the attic where it comes into contact with airborne wild yeasts.
You can wander through the barrel store, with its heady and musty aromas, where it will ferment for up to three years. Tasting is an education. You will be offered the slightly tart Gueuze, a blend of old and new lambics, and the sweeter Kriek beers, blended with fruit.
This is a fascinating and evocative museum, offering a rare insight into traditional brewing methods.
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