If you are looking at visiting Kilwa, you will already know that these two islands nearby are home to a series of interesting historic sites. It is worth noting that both of the islands can be visited on a single day without undue pressure of time. If you charter a dhow and hire a guide, take a picnic lunch to enjoy on the trip between the two islands. If you are lucky it will be in a dhow under sail and lunches don't get much better scenery than this.
Ask your hotel/resort in Kilwa Masoko to make arrangements
Lurking in the hinterland that is Hack-Hack-Hackney, this little bit of east has most definitely missed out on the regeneration, but it's also missed out on the outlaw years of estates, grime and crime. It's a beautiful spot offering tranquillity amongst the sprawl, where you can stroll along the river, watch the wildlife scuttle by, catch a real odd (but truly unique) pint at the Hope and Anchor, or pick up a fry-up at the cafe opposite Lea Valley Marina. Beautiful, chilled and totally hidden.
The Howgills are an oft-ignored area, nestled between its larger cousins, the Lakes and the Dales. Great scenery, lovely walking. A nice base town at Sedbergh, with good food and pubs.
Take Junction for Kirby Lonsdale off M6 and then turn right following signs, or via A65
I've done a guide to the walk at www.seanliquorish.co.uk/blog/?p=11
It's a delightful surprise behind the hustle and bustle of The Strand with a beautiful courtyard for fountains or movies, a museum of Russian artifacts from St Petersburg (The Hermitage Rooms) and a wonderful collection of paintings and other pieces of artwork at the Courtauld Gallery. There is a basement cafe at the Gallery, or a terrace restaurant overlooking the Thames, or The Admiralty for finer dining.
Reached via cable-car, this mountain at the edge of Tirana gives an attractive break from the bustle (and traffic) of the city. There are some restaurants and amenities up here but it’s mainly about the view along the route and the scenery atop the mountain. Costs about 500 Lek for the trip.
I'm definitely more of an urban type and enjoy a regular matinee screening at the Barbican cinema followed by noodles in Smithfield.
Sometimes though, I enjoy a trip to Harrow-on-the-Hill, especially in the autumn.
My partner, who lives there, gave me a guided tour one weekend. We strolled upwards about 10 minutes from the tube (Metropolitan Line), past the famous Harrow school, to St Mary's Church on Church Hill. The atmospheric churchyard is where Lord Byron sought inspiration. We cut down a dark passage through the trees leading from the gravestones into an open area which had amazing views across London.
Another short walk back to the church and down the High Street and we were at The Castle Inn pub. We had lunch on the lovely garden terrace, where some windfall apples had fallen on the ground around our feet.
Castle Inn pub on 30 West Street (020 8422 3155)
The hidden gem that is the Regent's Canal goes from Angel right out to Limehouse.
The western end of the canal gives you Camden and Little Venice... the eastern end gives you London's industrial heritage, the amazing Victoria Park, Bow, a quick detour for the Colombia Road flower market on a Sunday and Broadway Market on a Saturday.
But now I'm having second thoughts about posting this because it's a rare treat and we don't want too many people bounding down the tow path...
Angel Tube, then turn down the street next to The York pub. Walk as far as you want...
A budget hotel in the old quarter with a stunning roof terrace - look out over the city and Giralda tower with a cold beer or two. In August the rooms are 68 euros, air-conditioned with modern bathrooms, and of course you're perfectly placed for exploring. Friendly young receptionists with solid insider knowledge and happy to share it.
Tel: (34) 954 53 94 13
Montsalvat is an eclectic collection of European-style buildings set in bushland in Eltham (a suburb of Melbourne).
Built in the '30s by Justus Jorgensen, it was a retreat for artists and sculptors. These days it's a nice place to visit on a quiet Sunday afternoon to view the various art exhibitions and sculptures (or in my case a celebration of a wedding in the Great Hall).
A daggy old longstanding hotel (robbed by bushrangers in the 19th century!), Milano's has gone through a renovation and rejuvenation
and today it has decent dining facilities (new bistro) and new function areas (for receptions or parties). The bay and city views from the upstairs function area is amazing.
In addition, Milano's is gaining a reputation as a great place for live music featuring local acts Dining and entertainment deals make this a great night out.
4 The Esplanade, Brighton Beach, Victoria, AUSTRALIA, 3186
Phone: (03) 9592 3555
Fax: (03) 9592 3619
next door to Brighton Beach railway station
Le Pilotis is a bar/restaurant on the Corniche with wonderful views of the sea. Le Corniche is a beach promenade 5km west of Casablanca.
Le Pilotis was a complete contrast to what we saw earlier in the day in the medina of Casablanca and would not look out of place in Marbella. It is where the 'beautiful people' of Casablanca come yet to our UK pockets was not that expensive. It's fascinating to watch these people and there's wine and mediterranean food as well as some good music.
Plenty of seafood restaurants out here in the Corniche but one place we'd recommend is Le Pilotis.
Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca
[5km west of the town]. Grab a red petit taxi which will set you back about 50 dirhams (c. £3.50).
The Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur on Boulevard Rachidi is an example of an art deco church. Designed in the 1930s, it is all the more remarkable when you consider that Casablanca is in an Islamic country.
Unfortunately when we went there the church looked like it had been long closed. On Avenue Hassan II there is an Art Deco post office where even the letterboxes are tiled.
Cathedral - on Boulevard Rachidi off Ave Hassan II
Post Office - Avenue Hassan II
The scenery at this inland version of Ha Long Bay is possibly even better. The same limestone karst structures rise up out of bright green rice paddies and you get rowed through on a little boat. It is quite touristy, but much less so than Ha Long Bay - make sure you get there first thing in the morning though, before the big coaches arrive. The best way to visit is to rent a bicycle in Ninh Binh and get them to show you the lovely backroads around the area.
Near Ninh Binh, about an hour south of Hanoi on main highway (buses will drop you there).
OK... the famous 1942 movie Casablanca wasn't filmed in Morocco but on a Hollywood set.
However this bar/restaurant was based on the original set designs and really makes you believe you are sitting where Bogart ran his 'gin joint'.
A former US diplomat Kathy Kriger is behind this enterprise.
And yes... the pianist does play 'As Times Goes By'!
248 Boulevard Sour Jdid
North-western edge of medina
Just outside medina walls - easiest way to get to Rick's is to walk the Boulevard des Almohades between the port and the medina walls.
One of the few restaurants in the medina that serves alcohol. The food was nice but to be honest the food in many of the places surrounding Djemma El Fna was equally nice and cheaper.
14 Derb J'did near Place Des Ferblantiers in Mellah area in the south of the medina.
Worthwhile checking out the old Jewish quarter in the Mellah area in the south of the medina. The number of Jews in the area now numbers about 260 compared to more than 15,000 at the turn of the century.
You can see the evidence with the occasional Star of David and Hebrew lettering on buildings. There are still three active synagogues out of nearly 30. For a few coins the local kids will show you where the working synagogues are.
Mellah area south of medina
For a totally different view of Marrakech not too far from the medina walls - this is a cafe serving coffee, tea, soft drinks and light snacks. As with most places within Marrakech this place does not serve alcohol.
The Hivernage is a neighbourhood of nice villas and five-star hotels so Café Extrablatt is an interesting contrast to the relative poverty of the medina. Watch as the customers pull up in their 4x4s dressed in their western fashions. Still not expensive from a western point of view but interesting to people-watch.
in the district of Hivernage at corner of Avenue Echouhada & Avenue El Qadissia. Not too far from Sofitel hotel just outside medina walls.
We don't normally go for city tour buses but this was definitely worth it. We paid 260 dirhams (about £18) for two tickets valid for 24 hours that allowed us to jump off/on the tour bus along the route.
The main reason why we recommend it was that one of the routes took us out to the Palmeraie area (palm trees, camels etc) which we would not otherwise have seen.
Red bus just off the Jemma El Fna square on Av. Mohamed V.
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