Kibera is the largest slum in the whole of Africa. Do not go there by the local taxi because you won't see much of it. A local who lives in Kibera should be your tour guide, that's what I did when I visited it in August 2007. Kibera is definitely a fascinating place. I have lots of pics from inside Goma, Soweto and Kibera.
Brussels is a colourful, charismatic and stunning city, full of rewarding surprises, it is least of all “boring”.
Don’t bother with the slightly eccentric and haphazard metro system – just walk. Central Brussels is small enough to potter round in a day.
Aim for the splendid Place du Grand Sablon (where you can get the best chocolates in the world) then head downhill to La Bourse and Grand Place and west into the trendy St. Catherine and St. Géry areas.
Make sure you take in plenty of good food and drink along with the stunning Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings that populate so many streets.
The best thing about Bruxelles/Brussel and the bilingual-Belgians is that they know all this; they just don’t go shouting it from every corner of the Grand Place.
I can heartily recommend buying the finest cheeses, meats and bread, beer and chocolates from the above areas, getting back on the Eurostar and turning all the other passengers green with envy as you tuck-in. Brussels is nearer than Paris too!
Escape Brussels for a few hours and head 7.5km east to Tervuren.
A stroll in the expansive grounds of the Royal Museum for Central Africa is a joy in any season. You could describe a visit as quirky but it does give you a snapshot of Belgium's colonial past albeit from one side.
Then either continue by bus to the historic university town of Leuven or relax in a Tervuren bar or restaurant before catching the number 44 tram back to Montgomery where you connect with the Brussel's underground system.
My favourite café in Brussels is called 'L'Ultime Atome' 14 Rue St-Boniface, it serves the best tart tatin I have tasted.
After you’ve eaten it there’s then a great opportunity for a post-prandial walk around the more interesting bits of Ixelles.
Travel early in the season, when it is crowd-free and not too hot to walk miles in this most beautiful and relaxing of cities. When you can't walk anymore, take a horse drawn buggy ride, or boat trip along the canals.
If Amsterdam’s tourists and tack overwhelm you head for a little known doorway on the ‘Spui’ through which you can enter the Begijnhof’s little haven of medieval serenity.
It’s a court of almshouses clustered around a peaceful garden where devout women have been housed since 1475 and religious women continue to be housed.
If you miss the hidden doorway, the entrance is also through the Amsterdam Historical Museum, the former city orphanage on Kalverstraat.
The Chateau de Villandry and, especially, its gardens, are highly recommended if you are near Tours, or well worth going out of your way to visit if you are travelling through France.
The gardens in particular are delightful and anyone interested in growing vegetables as well as flowers will be thrilled by the extensive collections of plants set out in formal and ornamental beds surrounding this beautiful Loire chateau.
The buildings and gardens were rescued by Dr Joachim Carvallo in 1906 and have been in the care of his family ever since. Excellent shop and grounds with good access for people with mobility difficulties.
Chateau de Villandry, 37510 Villandry, near Tours, France. On route D7, some 14km west of Tours. www.chateauvillandry.com Ample free parking nearby.
Make sure that you know a certain amount of French and where your destination is because you will have to fend for yourself. Be very exact because certain places have similar names. Don't get tricked by taxi drivers.
Also, if you decide to go to Monaco, or any other city for that fact, please take the train because I took a very scenic six-hour walk there and my feet didn't thank me. Besides, you will see more than I did because I was on a tight schedule, but I still managed to see a reasonable amount.
For people who follow F1, if you want to visit David Coulthard's restaurant, it is called Knights of The Round Table at the Columbus Hotel. The Food is wonderfully exquisite and the prices are very very reasonable.
An excellent place to refuel before tackling the steep climb up Box Hill, the King William IV pub in Mickleham, near Dorking, has excellent roast dinners on Sunday.
The standard menu is also worth travelling for though (see their website), and as Saturday lunch is less crowded than Sunday, there's no need to limit yourself to one day of the weekend.
Parking can be a problem (the pub is up a narrow lane, but there is parking on the main road), but once you get there, there is a lovely beer garden, with stunning views over the Mole Valley. Named best pub in Surrey three years in a row.
Byttom Hill, Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6EL
Monday - Saturday 11am - 3pm & 6pm - 11pm.
Sunday 12noon - 3pm & 7pm - 10.30pm.
Take a break from the hustle of Paris streets and walk along the canals. A beautiful stretch of canals can be found not far from the Gare du Nord.
Watch as huge barges and pleasure boats negotiate the network of locks. See Paris from a different angle and work up a thirst for a café pit stop.
Walk from Ribeauville to Kaysersberg and back - about an hour each way. Take a picnic and eat it in a field on the way back or eat in one of the restaurants in Kaysersberg.
This offers a nice gentle walk, it is well sign-posted and you can see the Rhine in the distance.
Wander around Strasbourg and experience the local culture and cuisine.
August is the best time to visit for cultural events and street theatre.
As to getting familiar with the local cuisine, I came unstuck at trying their famous Alsace sauerkraut. They say you've got to try anything once, in the case of sauerkraut, once is enough in my lifetime no matter how many Michelin chefs prepare it.
Apart from that little hiccup I will recommend Strasbourg to anyone who'd like to experience the French/German melting pot.
Climb the Cathedral spire to achieve excellent views over the city and the Vosges mountains.
Visit the European Court of Justice, and end your day with an aperitif and meal at the Petite France Hotel on the balcony by the river.
Go hiking in the Black Forest - just a short distance away over the Rhine from Strasbourg.
No need for a car – there’s excellent public transport on tram-trains via Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe to Freudenstadt on a cheap day ticket or ‘Tageskarte’ that can also be used on regional German trains and rural buses.
Karlsruhe is worth a visit in its own right, for the Stats Baden-Wuerttemburg museum.
While in Germany, enjoy a reasonably-priced ‘Kaffe und Kuchen’ mid-afternoon, perhaps including a real Black Forest Gateau, quite different from what we get here.
Au Foyer des Pêcheurs is a wonderful fish and seafood restaurant, well off the beaten track but with excellent food and wine.
Getting there is a bit of an experience but well worth it: take tram A from the city centre to Illkirch-Graffenstaden (about 12 mins), get off by the university, walk down Chemin du Routier, under the road bridge, it may look like you are going nowhere but you find yourself on the edge of an amazing forest with tributaries of the river Rhine.
At the end of Chemin du Routier (about 5 mins walk) you find a detached house by a stream - the restaurant!
There are all kinds of fish, and there is a great family atmosphere, all for about 30 Euros.
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