Gorgeous old town, pedestrian friendly and good to explore. Quality shops, markets and restaurants/cafes; good beer and delicious ice creams.
Efficient buses and trains follow the coast to Split and Dubrovnik, while ferries are fun. Airport easily reached.
A highly recommended holiday destination with good sunshine, crystal clear seas, friendly and hospitable people and nearly everyone speaks English.
A huge area of forested parkland riddled with pathways, the Parc de Collserola is a great place to escape the crowds in Barcelona.
(To the northwest of the city)
Tourist information centre:
Carretera Església 92
08017 Barcelona, Spain
932 803 552
A cultural niche within the city of Miami, Little Havana, or Calle Ocho, is THE place to people watch in this fascinating city.
A combination of older gentlemen rolling their (lovely) Cuban cigars and hip youngsters hanging out outside the McDonalds, this is the sort of place that needs to be seen to be believed.
Soak up the culture further by enjoying a specialty Cuban cocktail and a ‘media noche’ sandwich (pork, ham, cheese, pickle and mustard – tastier than it sounds!) at one of the bodegas.
Southwest 8th Street, Miami, FL
Learn about traditional Thai massage techniques as applied to oil massage. We did this very well put together one-day course and apart from having a fun day, came away feeling relaxed and happy together.
Boulogne is right on the edge of the 'true' Paris, bordering the 16th arrondissement. It's very easy to reach by the usual Paris buses and trains, and offers a welcome escape from the usual city noise and masses. It's in a nice trouble-free area, where you can relax on grass fields. There are sightings of kingfishers, and in one of the ponds live terrapins and coypu, which is fun for both adults and children.
3, rue des Victoires
Hog Island Oyster Company is about 10 miles north of the town of Point Reyes on Highway 1. There are tables and grills where you can shuck your own oysters at the edge of Tomales Bay. In Pt. Reyes, you can buy a baguette at the Bovine Bakery, some local cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery and some wine or beer.
Then drive north to Hog Island. The ocean fog often burns off in the late afternoon. A marvelous way to induce a sense of wellbeing.
It's the best chill-out place I have been to. Don't expect lots of tourists or great luxury as most things are pretty basic but just go with the flow. Try some Jack Iron rum but be ready with some water, follow how the locals drink it.
A beautiful Japanese garden which opens to the public for a short period (April - June) and is free. The Japanese Garden is not the only attraction, as Clingendael Park itself is impressive and well worth an afternoon if you're looking for tranquility and nature within the Hague. Child-friendly and a great place for a picnic. Accessible by public transport from Central Station.
Norwich cathedral (well worth a look in itself - second tallest spire in the England) sits in a very lovely and quiet "close", with grassy areas dotted with trees and a rich mix of architecture in the surrounding buildings - an oasis so close to the city centre.
Turn left with the main (west) door behind you or walk straight ahead from St Ethelberts Gate and take the path away from the city centre, straight down to the river Wensum. You'll reach the picturesque spot known as Pulls Ferry. Then turn left to walk beside the river for a few minutes to Bishop Bridge and the Red Lion pub (outdoor seats by river). Keep to the river walk that diverts briefly behind the pub, to reach Cow Tower, (ruined 14th century fortification) and continue by the river for a short while until the pathway forks. Take the left fork, away from the river to reach the Adam and Eve - oldest pub in Norwich (also has outdoor seating but not much of a view).
Reaching the road just beyond, turn right and follow it until you reach the junction with Whitefriars and Palace St. Keep left along Palace St and you'll find the Erpingham Gate leading to the cathedral just inside.
A pretty and restful walk just a few minutes from the market. It takes only 30-40 minutes - without pub stops!
Starting from Norwich Cathedral, NR1
There are several boats a week that travel along the Rio Paraguay, a long and sultry river which begins in the Pantanal of Brasil and ends at the border with Argentina in the south.
The passenger boat called the Aquidaban seems best avoided because of the crowds but the weekly journey of the Guarani, a freighter is a real treat. I say treat as it is far from comfortable or reliable but if you want an authentic, no frills view of life on the river then this is it.
The majority of the boat is taken up with all kinds of goods for the small towns and villages along the river. Food, furniture, oil, motorcycles and a huge load of gravel we collected en-route were part of the cargo. For a negotiated price of about $20 we secured a rough dark cabin above the engine.
There are no real comforts but food can be taken with the crew and the few locals who take the boat between villages. Sitting up on the tin roof watching the river go by and observing the comings and goings as the boat gets caught on sandbanks, loads and unloads and the crew get on with the tasks of running the boat. Fishing off the back of the boat in their spare time to have the old lady cook up the catch in the evening.
The passage takes roughly 2 to 3 days depending on all of the above. It is a working freighter so as such the passengers are the last concern of the crew but having said that we never felt unwelcome or in the way.
Small towns such as Puerto Pinasco and Puerto Vallemi slowly pass by. There is a huge chest freezer with beers in to help pass the time and a really ancient looking giant tv showing a constant stream of football and Paraguayan soap operas by the kitchen area at the back of the boat. The toilet and the shower are one in the same being just a hole in the floor to stand over and a shower head directly above it. All very basic and in no way designed for tourists expecting comfort or service. Brilliant. Take a good book and let the river slowly pass by.
The weather went from sweltering airless heat to heavy rain and strong wind so be warned. The end of our ride came after three days at Isla Margerita which is at the border with Brazil, we arrived at midnight and with Brasil on the far bank of the river we quickly found some cheap lodging right next to where we had disembarked. The owner of the room also happened to own a boat so for a small fee took us across the river the next day. We had arrived in Brazil.
None of the towns have a real port or dock so the boat just ties up on the riverbank. Concepcion is a major town by Paraguayan standards and can easily be reached by bus from Asunción. Find the river and the Guarani leaves sometime on a Tuesday. Speak with the captain to negotiate your passage. Timings and days vary so prepare to be very patient.
This is the biggest park in the city and has millions of visitors a year. That said, it always seems like a tranquil place to be with many people strolling through the various gardens. A number of people go to Amsterdam, and never get to the Vondelpark ... don't make this mistake!
Try to catch one of the outdoor plays, as they really are a magical experience. The park also houses a fascinating museum, The Filmmuseum which is well worth a visit.
Both the museum and the outdoor plays, have great facilities for children.
Absolutely amazing place. Ulpotha is an experience that can never really be described. In summary, if a five-star beach resort with evening gin and tonics and home-from-home luxuries is your preferred destination, or if you like extreme hardship and want to eat bugs for breakfast, then Ulpotha isn’t for you and you wouldn’t fit in anyway. But if you genuinely want to get away from it all, in a warm, engaging and totally relaxing environment, but with a more minimalist lifestyle, where you can challenge your perception of just how important a hairdryer is, then you will have the most amazing time.
These two cafes are open air. They give you a good introduction to the atmosphere of Brighton and Hove. They're inexpensive, the food's certainly not gourmet, but they're good places to meet up with friends, and do what Brighton does best - people watch!
The Pavilion Gardens Cafe is bang in the centre of town next to the Royal Pavilion and performers often stop by - well recommended for a free and impromptu show.
Relax those feet and be pampered!
With tired feet and an afternoon plane to catch, we decided to spend our final day indulging ourselves at the local Spa, Bagni di Pisa. It is located in the sumptious converted residence of the (ex) Duke of Tuscany.
We took a taxi from Pisa to the Bagni di Pisa spa (€20), had a soak in their warm water thermal pool, followed by a 'Thai foot massage' for me and a facial treatment 'Silk Thermal' for my friend.
Upon arrival we were given bathrobes and plastic shoes to wear.
We found the place welcoming and atmospheric, the staff are professional and definitely know their stuff. We left feeling fantastic, soothed and relaxed. A nice way to end our holiday.
We then took the train back to Pisa (the train station is a five-minute walk from the spa - €1.60 each, 9 minutes' journey), changed trains in Pisa Centrale for the five-minute journey to the airport, Pisa Aeroporto, for our late afternoon flight home.
Note: Bagni di Pisa also is a four-star hotel.
Bagni di Pisa Natural Spa Resort
Largo Shelley 18
56017 San Giuliano Terme,
Tel Spa: 0039 (0)50 8850432
Phone hotel switchboard: 0039 (0)50 88501
Nearest railway station:
San Giuliano Terme (on the web its: S. Giuliano Terme) - on the main Pisa - Lucca railway line
Note: there is no ticket office at S. Giuliano Terme - one buys the tickets from the ticket conductor on board.
I know a lot of people in the UK are still nervous about visiting Egyptian resorts, but I'd highly recommend it. Sharm El Sheikh is perhaps the best-known diving town, but it is not the only option. Hurghada is also an excellent place to visit.
The town is growing quickly and is becoming more and more popular from year to year. A lot of building work is also going on in the town and it is becoming a popular area for people looking for property investments. I'd recommend visiting.
Orsom is a sail catamaran that does trips up the Barcelona shoreline. A great way to see the city. But best of all are their sunset cruises with live jazz and chillout music. They've got a bar on board so get yourself a glass of cava and enjoy.
The port at the bottom of the Ramblas near the Columbus statue.
I came to the Boghill Centre to do a yoga weekend retreat earlier in the year. They offer residential workshops all year round including yoga, creative energy, tribal drumming, singing, native American sweat lodges, traditional Irish music, ceramics, cookery (veggie) and a whole range of cool holistic therapies.
As far as I'm aware they rent the place for visiting tutors so, naturally, the programme varies. These are just examples from when I looked at the website, but some are regular or annual events (drumming, Irish music and yoga).
Anyway, I found it a really relaxing place to just chill and unwind. It is run as an eco community with help from WWOOFers, the people there are lovely and very welcoming and friendly. Quite an international collection!
The best thing I found was the completely natural and homely atmosphere, and also the scrumptious homegrown organic veggie food, all served up there in such a beautiful secluded setting.
There is a stone circle, tonnes of walks in their own land or on the neighbouring Burren landscape (unique apparently and certainly very bizarre and fairytale like), and the coast and beaches are great for surfing too! They are a hostel/B&B too.
It is just in between Lisdoonvarna and Kilfenora. They're tiny villages but are both on the map for local events. I got a bus from Ennis to Lisdoonvarna, they are frequent in the summer but I can't remember how often, twice a day I think! See Bus Eirann website if you're planning to get there green-ways!
The Boghill Centre
Tel - +00353 (0)657074644
Email - email@example.com
Website - www.boghill.com
Cold day in Nha Trang? Why not go and get completely covered in hot mud? We did and decided it was a very good plan indeed. Hot mud, hot pools and budget massages - perfect should you find yourself in Nha Trang in the rainy season!
It's the other side of town from the main hotels area, but its quite easy to organise a taxi + I think there are buses too.
Simply the most beautiful place on earth! Unspoilt beach, clear and warm waters, nice restaurants nearby, not crowded. If you want to relax, enjoy a nice afternoon with sun, beach and peace, try Cotovelo beach. It is about 15 minutes from Natal town centre.
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