Fish Nation serves the best fish and chips, pizzas and salads in Beijing. They also have English beers and ciders. What's more - it's on one of Beijing's oldest hutongs and their cute little roof terrace is perfect for eating good grub while viewing the old hutongs and soaking up the sun.
Our last trip to Marrakesh allowed us to get to know the city more and we are here now to share some of our tips we hope you'll find useful.
If you want to see more of the city, take the guided bus tours. These buses have just been introduced in recent years. They are red, double-deck buses and offer continuous tours throughout the day. Get a 24-hour hopper ticket and you can get off at major stops that take you to Djamaa Lfna, Menara, Saadieen Toms, Koutoubia, Bahia palace, Median, etc. The buses are equipped with recorded messages in multiple languages that provide major highlights of the bus route.
The horse carts might charge more, but have that leisurely stroll around town. May not cover as much of the city as the bus tours. You can however ask the cart person for a short tour that your bus did not cover.
As far as where to visit, start with Djemaa el-Fna or assembly place of the nobodies. This is the centre point of Marrakesh. It is a large square where many of the budget hotels and souks are located. In the evening, there are rows of open-air food stalls, jugglers, snake charmers, storytellers and magicians. Around the square there are rooftop cafes and restaurants with balconies, where you can watch the entire spectacle.
On the other side of the square outside Median walls is the Bahia Palace. It was built in the 19th century as a residence of the grand minister of one of the sultans. It has wonderful gardens, fountains and a shady courtyard. The walls are decorated with Moroccan mosaics, and hand-crafted artwork.
To the front of the square is the Koutoubia mosque. It is the tallest (70m) and most famous landmark in Marrakesh, and is visible for miles in any direction.
The bus tours will also tale you to the Menara garden, which is the most popular among the Marrakshis because it is peaceful and relaxing. It houses the oldest and best-preserved of the three most famous minarets, as well as the largest.
There are many other places we could not see such as The Saadian Tombs, Majorelle Gardens... but I recommend that you don't miss Ali Benmalah or what many call Chez Ali: an impressive memorable Fantasia Show, acrobat, traditional Moroccan folk dance and a dinner fit for a king. A traditional event, it includes an opportunity to see the Berber folklore, the jugglers' performance, the flying carpet, the belly dancing and finally the Fantasia show.
We had our hotel reservation made through www.asiarooms.com/ which we found offer very good deal on five-star hotels, just make sure you book way in advance.
The bus tour company does not have a site, but was recommended to us by hotel staff, you can't miss it if you ask, some hotels sell their tickets.
A stylish all purpose cafe-bar with good bar food, lovely cakes and pastries, excellent local brewed Beagle Ales, and low key jazz and other live entertainment.
It's all in a 100 year-old corrugated tin house on the dockfront crammed with prints and paraphernalia which tells the compelling history of the settlement.
This ancient city clings to the side of a mountain high in the hills inland from Finike, on the Lycian coast of Turkey.
It's known as the 'Turkish Delphi', but one of the great things about Arykanda is that it's right off the beaten track, so you don't get the huge crowds you do in Greece. The ruins and setting are equally beautiful and impressive.
We were lucky enough to go there with an archaeologist, Peter Sommer, who knew the site and truly brought it alive for us. We were on a gulet cruise, visiting ancient cities along the way. I had no idea there were so many ruins in Turkey - and so well preserved! But it was Arykanda that really shone out.
Visit the Aillwee Caves where bear remains dating back thousands of years were found. Fantastic up close stalactites and stalagmites that are continuously being formed and almost touch each other! The children will love the spookiness, the adults will be amazed by the timescales. Great coffee shop too.
Kimbilio Lodge is a very new lodge on the Kilwa Masoko Bay. Italian-run and has excellent Mediterannean cuisine. Simple and, at the same time, sophisticated eight bungalows with air conditioning.
The atmosphere is friendly and the managers always managed to fulfil my requirements. I had a great time and superb dives. They have the only diving centre in the area.
I was surprised at the things I was able to do in Kilwa in one week - diving, visiting the Kilwa Ruins, see hippos a short boat ride from the lodge.
I flew in from Dar es Salaam, it was about one hour's flight and drove back to Dar es Salaam, four hours trip on a good road going through beautiful scenery and small traditional villages. It could have been possible to stop at the Selus Game Reserve on the way, but I left it for next time. Overall a wonderful experience.
tel. + (255) 787211201
300 Km from Dar es Salaam, reachable by plane (Coastal aviation) or car; no need of 4x4
The new residential area in the historic inner city of Breda by architect Rem Koolhaas. You can also visit the Casino, The Chassé Theatre (one of the Netherlands' biggest theatres) and the Museum of Breda on the site.
Southern part of the city centre.
Your hotel will recommend a driver and guide (two separate people) for a hefty mark-up. I can recommend Nhep Sophea who's known as Tee for short. He's punctual, courteous and knows his way round all the temples. A car is much more comfortable than a tuk-tuk given the heat and dust and not a whole lot more expensive .
Just down the road from the mighty Shepherdess Cafe, towards Old St station and on the left-hand side of City Road, is a little street called Westland Place (there's a shop on the corner called Renaissance which sells gothic fireplaces).
This is the home of St. Jamie Oliver's original Fifteen restaurant but also featured in the execrable film, Closer. A door on the left-hand side of the street labelled Westland Place Studios, between the fireplace shop and an old piping company premises, was the Julia Roberts character's front door in the vacuous, self-regarding snorefest.
In this scene, Jude Law's character makes a reference to going to "the pub round the corner". He was talking about the Eagle, a pleasant old boozer behind the Shepherdess Cafe, that features, along with City Road, in a less well-known verse of the nursery rhyme, Pop Goes the Weasel.
It's the tower with the tree on top! One of the most recognisable landmarks within the walls of Lucca. Well worth the climb for views from the top.
Via S.Andrea – 55100 Lucca
Tel 0583 316846
Winter opening: daily 9.00 – 17.30
Summer opening: daily 9.00 – 20.00
October opening: daily 10.00 – 18.00
Lucca hotels - www.ahotelinitaly.com/italy/hotels/tuscany/lucca/lucca/
Who’d have thought that a graveyard could be so much fun. But one of the best free shows in Paris is to be had at the Père Lachaise cemetery. All the stars are here in this A-list of the deceased: from painters to poets, from Yves Montand to Marcel Marceau (who was interred here in 2007). It is yet to be seen whether admirers of the late mime artist will establish a tradition of holding a ‘two minutes noise’ at his graveside by way of tribute but a number of the cemetery’s more distinguished denizens already attract appropriate acts of homage from their disciples. Whether it be romantics of the Left placing their red roses on the grim Mur des Fédédés, where the heroic resistance of the Paris Commune came to its final bloody end; or the scarlet lipstick kisses, lovingly planted by gay pilgrims, that smother Epstein’s monument to Oscar Wilde. Whether it be the grungy little knots of Scandinavian teenagers, self-consciously puffing at their spliffs around the tomb of rock legend Jim Morrison; or the fans, of all ages, who make for the mighty marble slab that marks the last resting place of Edith Piaf – the Little Sparrow. I once threatened the French All-Comers record for the high jump when, standing at this spot in quiet contemplation, I was startled by a young woman behind me bursting into a full-throated rendition of ‘Je ne regrette rien’. At Marcel Proust’s grave it is customary to leave an apt votive offering: having no madeleine to hand I left a Jaffa Cake.
But a personal favourite is a memorial to a now, largely forgotten figure. Félix Faure was President of the Republic in the 1890s. Of course politicians back then suffered much less scrutiny of their private lives and Faure was very much a man of his time. Indeed he could be seen as an embodiment of fin de siècle hedonism making the most of what Paris had to offer the wealthy and the powerful (think can-can, think Toulouse-Lautrec).
But a dark shadow was cast over the latter days of his presidency by the bitterly divisive Dreyfus Affair. In an effort, perhaps, to take his mind off matters of state at this tense time Faure was wont to ‘entertain’ young women in the presidential chambers. Tragedy struck when, in the midst of one of these amorous encounters, the statesman’s heart, weakened by years of self-indulgence, gave way. Officials were alerted by the horrified screams of his companion and rushed in to find the stricken President stark naked on the carpet, the suddenness of his demise reflected in the rictus grin that illuminated his features and in – well – certain other physiological phenomena.
It was, so they say, three weeks before they could nail the coffin lid down.
Part of the Liverpool Cultural quarter,
William Brown Street is the only UK street to consist of only museums, galleries and libraries. The road consists of great neo-classical buildings and leads to the Steble fountain and Wellington Column. It also hosts World Museum Liverpool, the Walker Art Gallery and Liverpool Central Library.
William Brown Street, Liverpool. Nearest station - Liverpool Lime Street.
Photographer Edward Chambre Hardman and his wife lived and worked at 59 Rodney St, Liverpool from 1947 to 1988. Their gracious Georgian house is a time capsule of 1940s life - right down to the food in the cupboard!
59 Rodney Street, Liverpool (near the Anglican Cathedral)
From the shelter in the middle of the roundabout and onwards, most of the things mentioned in the Beatles' song are still there: the barbers, the bank, the fire station (slightly down the road). Penny Lane is the middle of one of Liverpool's suburban shopping areas and is well worth a visit for a taste of Liverpool as the Beatles knew it.
Catch the number 86 bus from town and get off at the Penny Lane bus shelter. It's all there.
A museum of everything red! See stuff from the start of Liverpool Football Club's history, funny old kit, a HUGE trophy room, a model of the first ground and pictures of the original Kop. See the Shankly Gates and be photographed by his statue, respect the Hillsborough memorial and see the ground (the tour guides are great). The ground won't be there much longer. Sit where Owen sat or kneel by Gerrard's seat in the changing rooms. Respect!
A true Red doesn't need to ask! Get a taxi or walk (about 40 minutess) from the city centre. Alternately, shout out "Anfield" and God will part the clouds and point to it for you!
Albert Dock is the heart and soul of Liverpool's waterfront, with so many cool bars and restaurants, PanAm, Blue, Est Est Est and Baby Cream. New places to eat like Vinea and Circo add to the already vibrant places to eat.
Tate Liverpool, the Site Gallery and many smaller art galleries offer the perfect mix of culture, right next door to the new Arena & Convention Centre. Now the famous Duck Tour and Shiverpool tours are great fun for a day out.
Albert Dock has seen Liverpool grow up in the last 20 years and will remain my favourite place to hang out on a sunny day on the quayside.
Very interesting and enthusiastically led by the guides, one of whom doubles up as custodian for John's house.
The custodian of Paul's house is a dead ringer for the man himself without the hair dye!
Try to go off season and late in the day to avoid the crowds.
One tour starts from Speke Hall well worth a visit in itself.
see National Trust website - www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-the_beatles.htm
The Escher Museum (Escher in het Paleis, Escher in the Palace) is a museum in The Hague, The Netherlands, featuring the works of the Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher. It opened on 16 November 2002.
The museum is housed in a former palace (Lange Voorhout Palace) dating from the 18th century, where Queen Emma lived until 1891. The museum features a large number of prints and sketches, as well as a multimedia journey through Escher's world (The Escher Experience).
Well worth a couple of hours!
Within walking distance of Mauritshaus and the Plein on Lange Voorhout
The tiny Tenement Museum in New York's Lower East Side is often overlooked by tourists in favour of the more 'glitzy' and well known museums such as the Natural History Museum or the Met. But in my opinion this beats them all hands down.
97 Orchard Street is a wonderful slice of NY history and it really helps you see past Macys and Banana Republic to the real New York - the urban working class immigrant families who built the city to the one we know today. The building itself was home to scores of families through the ages - each of whom lived in tiny cramped apartments. And it's these apartments you can visit, restored to how they would have looked in different eras.
The restorers have been really clever, and researched specific families to get an authentic version of their life, and there are real belongings and photos within the apartments. You can walk through the 1870s, 1890s, the 1930s and so on. And you really feel that you get to know the specific families, and can imagine how difficult it was to build a family and survive in such a tiny space.
It's absolutely magical, and worth every cent of the $17 it costs for the guided tour. In my opinion, this is a must-see venue in NYC, and it might take your mind off trying to find the ultimate cheap designer jeans. Suddenly shopping seems terribly unimportant in the face of such real poverty.
Once visited, this museum will leave an indelible mark on you, and you'll be recommending it to all your friends.
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