Amsterdam itself is one of the most engaging and likeable cities in the world. A trip to the Rijksmuseum is alone worth boarding the Eurostar for.
But after your stay in Amsterdam, get yourself on one of the other best European train systems and make the trip to Maastricht. This is probably the most vibrant city of the Netherlands, likened to a miniature Paris with its cobbled streets and fantastic cuisine.
The city centre is excellent for the more contemporary shops while the older part of town contains high-class boutiques where the proprietors don't seem too fazed by the odd nose impression against the window.
After a hard day's shopping, fortify yourself with a coffee at one of the coffee shops (not that kind of coffee shop!) around the Wyck or Ceramique district before crossing the Hoge bridge and strolling around the Jekerkwartier area. Here you'll find romantic cobbled streets and a real sense of calm in this exciting city. But the best thing about Maastricht? You can get there easily from Bruges and Brussels too.
Apart from dodging all the bicycles that seem to come at you from every angle, down every street, a must see place is the Anne Frank House.
We visited Amsterdam as one of the destinations on our cruise, so a map was provided and one gets a great feel for the place just walking through the streets. The house is immediately visible as there’s usually a huge queue outside, but it’s worth the wait.
It’s fascinating, haunting and sad all at once. There are photos and mementoes everywhere. I’ve certainly never forgotten it.
Anne Frank's House is the most amazing experience in Amsterdam - a true piece of history. It is thought-provoking and emotive.
See where the family hid upstairs via a bookshelf, and even see their toilet - but get there early as there are always queues!
When visiting the Anne Frank Museum, get there early to avoid the queues, and have breakfast in the little coffee bar next door (facing the canal.) It has the best croissants in the city!
Many people get out of Lima as soon as possible, fearful of its poor reputation. Yes, Lima is big, dirty, grey-skied, and you need to keep your wits about you. But if you don't see anything of this capital city of 8 million people, you're missing out on an important part of Peru.
So don't be scared: Check out the colonial architecture around the Plaza de Armas, eat ceviche by the sea in Barranco, sit and enjoy a Pisco sour in the cafes around Parque Kennedy, and visit museums like the Museo de la Nacion for the best introduction to the archaeological sites you'll be visiting later in your trip.
Museo de la Nacion, Av. Javier Prado Este 2465 - San Borja. Teléfono: 476-9933 anexo 229 / 231
Open: Tues-Sun 9-6
Juanita the mummy is well worth a visit. She's over 400 years old, but doesn't look a day over 90!
Sit through the National Geographic documentary beforehand: it's very informative.
Just up the road is Convento de Santa Catalina. It's a small village within Arequipa where the nuns live. The vibrant building colours make it a must.
Both close to Plaza de Armas
At the excellent Hotel Fita (Jan Luykenstraat 37), comfort, a warm welcome and a scrumptious breakfast await.
The hotel is near the Van Gogh Musuem - handy if you arrive on a Friday evening, as it is open until 10pm and there are no queues, so you can explore and then enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Buy a strip of tram tickets when you arrive at Central station - you'll save money and hassle, and can hop on and off trams as you wish.
Check out Electric Ladyland: The First Museum of Fluorescent Art (Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, 1015 TB). There are glowing rocks, fluorescent objects, objects that you didn't know were fluorescent and a grotto that you are encouraged to play with via switches. Owner Nick Padalino explains all with reverential enthusiasm.
Fondation Vasarely - a little down on its luck, but so worth visiting -for the building and the art, and the shop. Just a short bus ride from central Aix, by the Bus 4 and 6 - stop Fondation Vasarely.
A restored tin/copper mine near the Geevor mine, but Levant has a working beam engine lovingly restored by volunteers which can be seen working on three days each week.
In one day you can visit one or both mines and the nearby Pendeen lighthouse. Very rewarding.
By the way, others have mentioned the Minack Theatre and Porthcurno beach. From the Minack you can climb down the cliff to Porthcurno - another combination you can do in a day.
Small informal cafe in the Old (German) Fort. Sit on the long museum verandah for a fine view over the city centre away from the crowds. Good selection of snacks and African meals. Interesting displays and history of independence.
Alte Feste, Robert Mugabe Ave. Windhoek. 5 mins walk from Independence Ave.
Info at www.namibia-travel.net/centralnamibia/windhoek.htm
Me and my girlfriend (we are a lesbian couple) traveled from Moscow to Ekaterinburg, and on to Volgograd. The trip was amazing. We were a bit worried about traveling without male company, but I must say Russia is one of the friendliest and untouristy places I've ever been.
It is a big advantage to know some Russian. Outside of Moscow we met nobody who spoke English. I found Moscow very stressful and expensive. It was the least pleasant city we visited. Our next stop was Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. I highly recommend Kazan. It's an old, beautiful and exotic city with a mix of Tatars and Russes living there. The atmosphere was far more relaxed than in Moscow.
Kazan offers great mosques, and is the Muslim centre of Russia. It's a great place to relax and stroll about. This city has some stunning sights, including the UNESCO listed Kreml.
Our next stop was Ekaterinburg. We were told that it was situated in the Ural mountains, but we never saw a glimpse of them. Nevertheless; Ekaterinburg is a very pleasant and chilled city. It has a very western feeling to it. It's easy to find western food, as there's plenty of Irish pubs there. I recommend going to the Altay building. There you can take a lift and see the city from the rooftop. It's quite stunning. There's plenty of theatres all around the city, and even though you don't understand Russian, don't miss the opportunity to catch local theatre-troops.
A great place (although hard to find) to stay is the guesthouse called Academy of Geology. It's peaceful and has beautiful rooms.
From Ekaterinburg we went south to Ufa. Ufa is the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Ufa was quite hard to get around, but it is still worth a visit. You can visit one of Lenin's homes and spot some unique architecture. The atmosphere in Ufa is, like in Kazan, very different from the Russian cities. I highly recommend the Azimut hotel (Bus stop Gore Moskva). It's a business hotel with great standards and a friendly staff.
On to Volgograd. Volgograd is probably one of the most beautiful cities I've been to. Situated on the banks of the Volga river with an almost tropical climate, it almost feels like you're in Greece. This is a city of history. The name Stalingrad might ring a bell. The most stunning thing to see in Volgograd is the huge Mother Russia statue. It's the highest statue in the world (72 m). It's an unbelievable sight when you compare it to a church that stands beside it. It looks more like a doll's church.
I also recommend the Stalingrad Battle museum, and the Volga river cruises. There are plenty of offers. Volgograd was really easy to get around in. The city centre is quite small, and it's easy to navigate because of the river. The Volgograd Hotel is cheap and amazing.
We had a wonderful time in Russia. My girlfriend knows some Russian and that came in extremely handy. We got quite used to people looking at us, but we never felt threatened or harassed. The most common comment we got from other women was that we were brave to travel by ourselves.
One thing that is difficult however, is buying train tickets. You will need to write down the information for the train you are going on, how many tickets you need, and what kind of cupee you want. And prepare for long lines. It might take hours to get your tickets. We always went in a 4-people compartment. It was a great way to travel. We shared compartments with so many different people, and it was a great way to get to know Russians. It's important to bring some food or beverage to share.
Girls; go to Russia. It is a fascinating place....
Chilean Naval museum with some interesting exhibits, a bit OTT nationalistic at times but aren't most military museums like that?
The scale models of the ships are cool and the building itself is quite interesting.
It costs about 50p to get in.
Cerro Artlilleria at the top of the Acsensor of the same name. Avoid the restaurant at the top of the funicular-not good...
Quite simply the most evocative industrial heritage site ever. Understand the privations and hardships endured by Cornishmen mining for tin through the centuries and decide whether this kind of work was better than the no-work that Cornishmen now suffer.
Many of the guides at Geevor were miners and engineers when the mine closed, they are always knowledgeable and keen to impart that knowledge. There is a museum, and a walk through the ore separating plant. There is also a trip down an 18th century mine adit.
Utterly fascinating and an immensely important project. Oh, also very good pasties in the cafe!
For the fit, you can walk to Pendeen lighthouse which has spectacular views and is very atmospheric, especially when there's a sea fret and all the long-dead-drowned-sailors come up out of the sea!
Geevor Tin Mine is located in the village of Pendeen, 7 miles west of Penzance. The mine is easily reached from Penzance, St Ives or Lands End by car or bus. There is a 10% discount for visitors who travel to Geevor by bus.
In the centre of Athens, a museum in a neoclassical villa with collections covering every period of Greek history.
Lots of interesting exhibit types you don't see in the more popular places; not particularly visited by tourists so good to spend time there.
Good little shop with quality souvenirs; cafe.
Admission worth €6 of anybody's money.
Closed Tuesday, Free Thursday and also if you are a family with more than three children - there is a toys and games collection.
Also other collections in annexes around town: for example, one of the most important collections of Islamic art outside the Islamic world. See the website.
1 Koumbari and Vas Sofias avenue (up side of Houses of Parliament just off Syntagma)
Visit Edinburgh in the middle of winter - at Christmas or at New Year...?
Yes, and I recommend it!
The locals are full of bonhomie; every pub or eatery with a fireplace is welcoming; and the locals, who act as tourist guides at the castle and other touristy places, are happy to see you and have a chat.
Crowds? No ... have have the castle and the whisky tours all to yourself.
You can even venture out of town and maybe have a hit at St Andrews ('cos there is noone else there playing).
There is also the added bonus of Scottish New Year celebrations. Something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime: Hogmanay.
Downside? It's cold - very cold; sleeting and snowing, but hey, nothing a couple of jackets, coats, mufflers, gloves and hats can't fix.
Seriously: go and visit in winter;
it is a different place.
Really worth a visit! The Royal Pavilion is in the centre of Brighton set in beautiful gardens. Built for The Prince Regent, the architect Nash turned in into the Indian style building that exists today from 1815-23. The entrance price includes an audio guide to tell the story of the lavish interiors and the parties that took place! The banqueting room is extraordinary! Children can take part in the 'Dragon Quest' during this summer holiday too and 'tame the dragons' - lots of fun for the family.
Royal Pavilion, Brighton BN1 1EE,
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