Do not go to Victoria without missing one of the central points of the city. This historic covered market offers a stunningly colourful display of fish, fruit, vegetables and souvenirs of the Seychelles. It is the place to go for presents for family and friends before you leave as you can pick up very cheaply lots of locally produced herbs and spices (cinnamon, saffron, vanilla), semi-precious stones, goods made from wood or coconut-based products and textiles. It closes at midday on Saturday so make sure you get there early if you have a Saturday evening flight home.
Centre of Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
Google map: bit.ly/mSZIoB
This beautiful hotel is situated on the west side of Praslin, directly on the Grande Anse beach. There is a small number of rooms, giving an intimate, family atmosphere. The rooms are situated in chalet-like, two up two down buildings all featuring a balcony or terrace. The decor is tasteful colonial style using local materials and textures. The bedrooms are spacious, equipped with a nice double shower feature, flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, safe and hair dryer. The hotel has a swimming pool, a beach side restaurant and organises a magnificent creole buffet and barbecue once a week. A free shuttle bus will take you to the Cote d'Or beach on the other side of the island if you wish. The strong points of this frankly excellent family hotel are the helpful and friendly staff (Richard the manager has put together a crack team of Seychellois staff), the restaurant (even the breakfast omlettes attain a mouth watering standard of perfection) and the stylish colonial decor. A fantastic base from which to discover Praslin.
Basic rules to respect - having seen those come a cropper who didn't ...
DO respect the sun - this is tropical microwaving and do not initially expose yourself until after 4pm. Factor 50 recommended. And cover your head with a good white hat if you don't want blinding headaches.
DO take a roll of small bin bags - at any time a tropical shower can start and your western waterproof bag will offer woefully inadequate protection for your mobile and video camera. Plastic bags of all kinds come in useful.
DO take a plastic mac and plastic beach shoes for the same reason.
DO take a pocket torch and keep it with you. Lots of Seychelles roads are unlit and you see tourists hopping around with twisted ankles after they've fallen over in the pitch black. And night falls at around 7pm.
DO fall into conversation with the Seychellois. They are utterly charming and always gratified to talk about their beautiful islands.
DON'T drink the water unless you have an iron constitution. Bottled water is cheap and good. Fight shy of non boiled tap water served in tea in beach huts.
For the end of your stay in Prague when money is getting tight. Budget but very well prepared Czech cuisine (try the Old Prague Duck with white and red cabbage). Themed art nouveau restaurant centred on the life of painter Alphonse Mucha, The restaurant staff take a real pride in giving good service and you can enjoy local dishes here without breaking the bank.
Just off the main old town square in a street called 'Kozi', this place is damn near perfect. Reasonably priced, central European gourmet food in designer surroundings and impeccable, white gloved service. Inexpensive fine dining in a serene white and silver decor with a laid back lounge atmosphere.
Just about the smartest thing you can do on arrival is to head to the central ticket office on the Leidseplein. So well signposted you can't miss it. They sell tickets for all the major museums (so you can sail past the queues at the van Gogh), concert halls and have a handy whiteboard of the day's events so you can see what's on. They also sell travel tickets and will answer almost any touristy question with a smile.
Google map: bit.ly/eNZ2O6
Budget week end in Amsterdam? Sorted. This place is basic but spotless. Old Dutch art nouveau house with an Anapurna of stairs to climb and no lift. Atmospheric old building literally over the road from the Rijksmuseum. Beautiful breakfast room and splendid breakfast. Catch the 197 bus from Schipol and it stops outside the door. Friendly, attentive staff. If you just need a place to sleep and enjoy the sights, this is the one. I'll be back.
According to locals this is one of the best in the city. Fabulous satay dishes, gado gado and top it off with a coffee and what can only translate as 'streaky cake'. You'll need to reserve or else standing room only at the bar which simply means you'll get into conversation with other diners. A great evening will ensue...
Simply the finest fish and chips in the country. If the fish were any fresher it would be flapping on your plate. The portions are massive, the mushy peas reassuringly green and you eat off real formica tables. Tea, bread and butter accompany your order. It doesn't get any better than this.
Marshall's, Tynemouth, North East of England.
Tynemouth is around 8 miles east of Newcastle
It may seem strange to recommend a French cafe-restaurant in Berlin, but this place is definately worth a mention.
Just off the Ku'Damm and down the road from the Hotel Bleibtreu (if you're checking out the other tips on this site) this restaurant serves classic French cuisine (the chef IS French, apparently) in an understated, yet stylish decor.
They do a few traditional Berlin dishes too. The cooking is excellent although the clientele can be a bit too trendy and bourgeois for its own good. Worth taking the risk for their food and wine list, though. Reasonable prices too. Advisable to reserve.
Lubitsch Restaurant und Café
Tel.: 030 / 882 37 56
Fax: 030 / 88 72 84 99
It used to be the case that the most interesting and hip bars and restaurants were to be found in East Berlin.
While the city's overwhelming architectural overhall has certainly changed the balance, there are one or two gems still hidden in the Eastern districts. Pasternak is a Russian restaurant (no surprise) steeped in atmosphere and tradition. You can almost hear revolutionaries muttering conspiracy theories into their vodka.
They do a mean Borschtsch and a host of other Russian classics. I've heard there are nights when live music is played but check this out when you reserve - and it is advisable to reserve as this place is very popular.
Metro line U2 Senefelder Platz
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