When the sun comes out, and it doesn't often in these parts, the biergarten at the historic Rheinhotel is the place to go. With a dramatic view over the castles dotting Siebengebirge hills, a daily barbecue and a trampoline for the kinder, it's just the ticket to kick back and quaff a tranquil glass of Weissbier. Just forget the fact that this is where Chamberlain met Hitler to arrange the Munich conference.
Not to say that the 'New' Summer Palace isn't worth seeing - it is - but escape the crowds here at the 1709 original. Left in ruins by a joint act of vandalism by British and French troops (the English disease was alive and well, even in 1860), a lot still survives. You'll certainly be surprised at the mock Grecian architecture, evidence that even during the Qing Dynasty China did sometimes look out to the world.
Qinghua Xilu 28, Wudaokou.
For a comprehensive view of Chinese history encompassing its trinity of influential philosophies, take an afternoon to visit Beijing’s Taoist and Confucian temples, finishing up at the Buddhist Lamasery. Far more enlightening than a tiresome push and shove round the Forbidden City or the Great Wall at Badaling.
Best itinerary is to take a taxi to Baiyun Guan (White Cloud Tao Temple) on Baiyun Guan Lu. Then taxi it to Kong Miao (Confucian Temple) and finally cross the road to Yonghe Gong (Tibetan Lamasery) - both are on Yonghe Gong Dajie, close to Yonghe Gong Metro.
Face it - you might think you're going to visit every far-flung corner of the Middle Kingdom but if you're only in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, forget it. Instead head for this Tibetan Lamasery. The largest of its kind outside the real deal, with its aroma of incense and yak butter, it’s a brief taste of the roof of the world.
Yonghe Gong Dajie 12
Yonghe Gong Metro Station
There aren't too many hostels in China, and you can be sure that this one is going to be fully booked by August. Still, worth a shot. Nestling among the hutongs - the traditional Chinese streets that are now all but gone - the Far East Hostel has some English-speaking staff, a range of facilities and is dirt cheap. What's more, it's within walking distance of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City - and if you venture up Nanxinhua St you'll find a fantastic Peking Duck restaurant that's far less pricey than the overrated Hepingmen.
If dreadlocks, piercing and tribal tattoos are your style, there’s Soundgarden. It boasts a surprisingly civilized terrace overlooking the daily ebb and flow of boats and barges, but the inside is almost painstakingly run-down and graffitied, with a buckled pool table and a dartboard pocked with scars. Not as intimidating as it sounds, but hardly appropriate for the blue-rinse brigade. Grungy DJs and live music three times a week.
Marnixstraat 164-166, out west near Rozentheater
+31 (0)20 620 28 53
Yes, I know that Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, not Ethiopia, but this little eatery specialises in Ethiopian-style dishes - and you can hold the predictable jokes too.
There's a limited but great-value repertoire here, and on an empty stomach the all-in get-your-hands-dirty dishes are to die for. If there's a group of you, order a variety of mains (all served on a stodgy bed of pancakes) and you can pull off a massive dinner for under 15 Euros per head.
+31 20 6223485
Bus no.22 from Centraal Station
Situated close to the centre of McCleod Ganj, yet far enough away from the backpacker ghetto for you to feel a sense of solitude, this is a very friendly family-run place.
Ghulam will bend over backwards to help you out, and also has a line in Kashmir tours too.
Food isn't so great, though when it's quiet you may be able to negotiate a discount on your immaculate room.
Everyone knows about the Vietcong complex at Cu Chi near Ho Chi Minh City, but less celebrated are these equally fascinating tunnels that lead on to the beach.
Moreover, they are a little taller and wider than Cu Chi, so somewhat less claustrophobic. A particular highlight is the 'hospital', little more than a cubby hole where women came to give birth.
Best bet is via the many tourist offices in Hue - wherever you go, you'll probably end up with a Sinh Cafe tour anyway so might as well book direct.
Something of an Amsterdam institution, when summer comes the city swarms with the cheery red hire bikes from this company's seemingly bottomless supply.
The bikes are all pretty new, well-maintained, and the basic 'granny' style will set you back just 8.50 Euros per day.
The ideal way to get around Amsterdam, do be warned that the old centre literally crawls with stoned frat boys who'll step right in front of you without warning. Master those backbrakes fast, and watch out for tram tracks too. Take it from me, they're a killer.
At Central Station and at other locations around town
+31 20 620 09 85
Take either a credit card or a passport and 50 Euros for the deposit.
Well, you've missed it for 2007, but it'll surely be back in early August 2008. It's a gay pride carnival and then some, the outrageous floats quite literally that - decorated boats floating along the Prinsengracht canal and Amstel river all afternoon in a riot of noise, colour and campness.
In fact, Canal Pride is a three-day festival to rival The Netherlands' other big weekends during Karnaval in February and Queensday in April - but with more chance of good weather.
Perhaps one of the only restaurants of its type in Europe, this intimate little eatery serves up piping hot Japanese pancakes - imagine a big potato pie stuffed with fillings - and boasts a stunning location in the picturesque Jordaan. Mains from around 13 Euros: check out the 'dancing fish flakes' for added entertainment.
Tweede Eglantiersdwarsstraat 24a (a side street off Eglantiersgracht perpendicular to the west side of Prinsengracht)
+31 20 320 4447
This is one of those country pubs where, upon first entering after a long day's hike, you wonder whether you've mistakenly barged into someone's front room. Sure enough, you do have to keep the house rules in mind: live music only (no jukebox); make an effort to chat with the regulars; and number one, real ales only. Anyone asking for a lager top or a snowball or something will be greeted with a disdainful stare that could dry up Lake Coniston...
But play the game at this very independent family-run venue and your reward will be a fine selection of beers at rock-bottom prices and a genuinely hospitable local atmosphere, where the folks know everything about the area and will give you far more tips than this site ever can. Lastly - if you're lucky - beyond the usual bar meals at lunchtime, plates of free pub nosh have been known to come out from time to time to help soak up the ale.
Foxfield, Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6BX
Tel: 01229 716238
Off the A5092 or opposite Foxfield station
The King's Head serves an array of Jennings ales and, in a county with more pubs than you could care to mention, is loaded with character. For a start, it's haunted - weird noises late at night have often been reported, and a couple of Australians staying there recently were so spooked they left town.
The pub was built in 1640, and as recently as 2003 refurbishments turned up a deep well in the corner of the main bar, now covered over with a glass plate. There's a beer garden and a bowling green, formerly the stables and paddock from when this was a coaching inn. There are four rooms with shared bath too (£25), a great place to start or finish the Cumbria Way.
14 Queen's Street, Ulverston
Tel: 01229 588064
(not to be confused with The King's Arms on King Street)
A bit slow, and a little pricey, the World Peace Cafe is still a must for the altruistic or the plain curious. Run by the Manjushri Buddhists from nearby Conishead Priory, from 11.30 to 2.30 it serves only organic, fair-trade vegetarian food (mains £5.00, sandwiches £4), cakes and a selection of teas from Earl Grey to Ayurvedic.
The cafe also offers evening sessions in its very own meditation room (cost £9.50) - there's even a lunchtime guided meditation (£4.50) followed by soup of the day...
5 Cavendish Street, Ulverston
What's the unlikeliest thing you'd expect to come across in sleepy coastal Cumbria? A world-class Grand Prix track, perhaps? A herd of wild rhinoceros? How about the European headquarters of Manjushri Mahayana Buddhism?
The Conishead Priory became just that in 1976 when the New Kadampa Tradition sect took over a 19th century mansion and made it their base. As well as the formidable old buildings and picturesque grounds, squatting beneath the Lake District scenery is a huge Buddhist temple.
Guided tours are available only during the summer, though the grounds and temple are open all year round - check the website for more details, or ask at the World Peace Cafe on Cavendish Street in Ulverston.
Ulverston is where Cumbria begins. Located just outside the Lake District national park it's best known as the starting point of the Cumbrian Way hike, but in its own right is also a historic market town with more than enough to keep the visitor going for a couple of days.
There's an unexpected side to Ulverston too. Not just a throwback to the Industrial Revolution, it fancies itself as a centre of the arts and holds the most festivals of any town in England; it gave birth to one of the world's most famous characters - Stan Laurel; and is the base of an international religious sect.
You probably wouldn't associate the usually serious and austere city of The Hague with unfettered summer hedonism, but at the adjacent resort of Schevingen is the Dutch answer to Blackpool beach.
Check out Crazy Pianos, for example, for an irrevent mix of live music, comedy and the drunken teenage antics you know oh-so-well from back home. Frankly, it's just a great bit of harmless fun in an otherwise slightly dull part of the world.
Strandweg 21-29, Scheveningen
Something like the Dutch answer to Wetherspoons, this Eetcafe on the Spui enjoys a fair variety of Belgian beers and bar snacks. In the summer, sit out on the covered terrace and observe the daily battle between the trams and the cyclists - like watching a pack of sharks taking on a school of darting fish.
(0031) 20 6225110
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