Tourists and locals alike park at either end of the road bridge over the Tarcoles River in order to walk along the narrow footpaths on either side to peer down at these monsters on the river banks. These crocodiles are huge - the ones we saw were 10-15 feet in length.
If you are planning to visit Johnson Space Center but don't have a car or want to pay through the nose for a cab (over $50 one-way from Houston city centre), then there is a good public transport option. The 246 and 249 buses both go directly to the front door of Space Center Houston, which is the public visitor centre and entry point for tours of the Johnson Space Center. We caught the 249 from near the Downtown Transit Center (one block away from the corner of Main and Pierce streets) for $2. Our return was on the 246, which leaves from the same stop outside the Space Center, for $4.50. Not sure why the prices are different, the driver said it was just due to it being a different bus line. Timetables for the buses do not appear at the bus stops so it is best to look these up online before you travel.
This place really is a fantastic find though I spent only one night there (sadly). The guesthouse (and restaurant) is set in the rolling hills outside Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road with superb views over the surrounding countryside. The room I had was decorated in a warm, comfortable and charming country style without any hint of chintz. The house has typical Australian wide verandahs all around and rooms open directly on to this. The food is something else - beautifully cooked from fresh ingredients grown two minutes' walk away in their own organic gardens. Everything they can't grow themselves is sourced locally.
This is a really interesting museum in a stunning Frank Gehry-designed building. The music section was far more comprehensive than the sci-fi and had permanent displays including our favourite: interviews with a wide range of music industry types from musicians to those behind the scenes, which you could choose at your leisure while sitting at one of several computers. There was a good interactive section and two great temporary exhibitions on at the time we went of Jimi Hendrix's life and influences and Supremes costumes. The Sci Fi collection is smaller but has some impressive stuff including the only model of the Star Wars Death Star, and Charlton Heston's Planet of the Apes costume. My personal favourite was the original robot from the TV series Lost in Space - Danger Will Robinson, Danger!
We did this 3-hour tour with a naturalist guide in April 2010 and it was well worth it. Not only was he very informative, but he spotted animals and birds that we would not have had any hope of finding on our own. Even when he had pointed them out to us and trained his telescope on them we still sometimes had difficulty seeing them due to their excellent camouflage. We ended our visit with a swim on one of the lovely beaches there, accompanied by iguanas and hermit crabs.
We did one of these 90-minute boat tours in August 2010 and it was fascinating. The tour guide was excellent; informative and entertaining, and it's a great way to see the city. There is a great range of beautiful buildings to see and it's also quite a nice way to spend (part of) a sunny day!
This superb museum has as its focus the mummified bodies of three young children known as the 'Llullaillaco Children', named after a nearby volcano where they were found. There was only one mummified child on display when we visited and I understand that this is done so as to help preserve their bodies. I found the display very touching and done in a sensitive manner. The artefacts that have been discovered with the children's bodies are exquisite in their workmanship. This is one of the best museums I have visited.
Mitre 77 (4400) Salta, Argentina
T +54 387 437 0499
Google map: tinyurl.com/2w92hf9
We spent six nights in this hostel in April 2010 and enjoyed every moment of our stay. After staying in numerous different places this year on our world trip, this hostel stands out as one of the best. I suspect our experience was also made better by the fact that we had a room at the back of the hostel and not overlooking the interior courtyards which could get a bit busy. Anyway, our room was large, clean and very comfortable, with a partial view of the sea (which is a couple of kms away) and ensuite bathroom. The breakfasts were generous and they also provided an option to purchase extras such as freshly squeezed juice, at good prices. The hostel is near a large shopping centre (including cinemas) and the centre of town. There were no cooking facilities though that didn't stop us purchasing fresh food daily and enjoying it in the courtyard at the hostel. The staff were all really helpful and friendly and we would happily recommend this place to anyone.
We had the misfortune to spend one night at this hostel in Belo Horizonte. If you have ever tried to find budget accommodation in this city you might understand how we ended up here as there is nothing available in the budget price range. I won't go in to the long list of reasons why you shouldn't stay here other than to say that in 8 months of travelling and staying in over 105 places to date, this is the only accommodation we regret! Our needs are fairly undemanding; that our accommodation be clean and safe (and hopefully cheap and central as well, but you can't have everything). O Sorriso Logarto's only saving grace was that it was near the most fabulous sushi bar I have come across EVER and that it had a balcony meaning we could avoid spending time indoors...
We had a fantastic romantic break for three nights in Moy House in August 2009. The house has been beautifully restored and our room was large with lovely antique furniture and a wonderful view over the sea. We were lucky to have calm, sunny weather interspersed with some great Atlantic storms which we enjoyed from the warmth and cosiness of our room. We had dinner in the restaurant one night which was excellent and the breakfasts were also very good and hearty. Brid and the other staff made us feel very welcome and we do hope we get the chance to go back some day. Moy House is on the outskirts of a small village called Lahinch which has basic shops and a couple of good restaurants. It is a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher and other interesting spots along the west coast.
We had been warned not to flag cabs down in the street but to book one through our hotel. Nevertheless as we were miles from our hotel on a hot day and already well on the way to La Boca, we flagged down an official taxi to take us there. Things were going fine until, driving down an eerily empty street, the driver stopped for no apparent reason and a young guy came to the front passenger window. Words were exchanged between the driver and the man and the driver handed over a small amount of money. The guy then stuck his head through my window looking around the car (our bags were on the floor at our feet and we were not wearing jewellry etc) and demanded something from us in Spanish. Thinking he was asking for money, I told him in no uncertain terms (in English but am sure my intention was clear!) where to go. The man then left us. Meanwhile, mysteriously, our taxi meter had switched itself off (or been switched off?). Luckily I had glanced at it just before this happened so the heated exchange we then had with the driver when we got to La Boca was able to be sorted out fairly quickly with us still feeling we had given him a fair price. Things got more interesting when we returned to central Buenos Aires. We decided to take a bus and while heading back through the same deserted streets we came across a taxi stopped at an intersection and being swarmed over by people who were literally reaching in to the car and removing cameras and bags from the hapless tourists inside. Fortunately we were not the only ones shocked to see this happening right under our noses as the locals on the bus were horrified too. So, it seems the buses are safer in some instances and we would definitely be a bit more careful in future about taking taxis in Buenos Aires, particularly to an area like La Boca. Having said all of that, the taxis that we took from the official stands at the airports, and that were booked through our hotels were all absolutely fine (probably just proving the point to try and avoid flagging them down off the street!).
We spent six nights in this hotel in 2008. It is in a great location in Sultanahmet near the Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque (which you have a great view of from the rooftop breakfast room) and Aya Sofia, as well as being a few steps from the tram that takes you across town. Our room was spacious and clean and we could hear the call to prayer, though luckily not enough for it disrupt our sleep! In any case, being able to hear the call to prayer adds to the experience of being in such a fascinating city. We loved our visit to Istanbul and would like to go again. If we do we plan to stay at Hotel Nena again.
Valle Fértil is a really charming small town north of San Juan in northern Argentina. It was our base for visiting the nearby parks of Ischigualasto and Talampaya, both of which are impressive. The town is compact with some good restaurants and shops. The town square was very much where the action took place with locals promenading around it in the warm evenings while children played until late in the night. The town generally has a very safe and inviting atmosphere and we much preferred it to the larger and soulless San Juan. Our stay however was really made by the accommodation we chose at the Hotel Rustico Cerro de Valle. The owners Mario and Marisa could not have made us feel more welcome. The hotel is very comfortable and clean and they have a spotlessly clean pool, which we much appreciated in the hot weather! For those who like to stay in touch electronically, it is worth noting that there are two or three internet cafes in the town however the connection is pretty slow. The bus service from San Juan was very good. It took around two hours with a toilet/snack stop midway. Connections onwards leave at fairly inhospitable hours so we went back to San Juan in order to continue our trip north.
We thought that the hostel itself was pretty good. We had a private room with ensuite bathroom and both were clean and spacious. The noise however was something else. The room we had overlooked the main drag, which seems to be the centre of the town's entertainment each evening as cars cruise the street with music blaring and engines revving. Sounds a bit tame when I write it here but really, words cannot describe it. On top of this, noise from the reception area of the hostel and the music from the shop below the room was overwhelming. Having said all of that, if you have no problems at all with noise then this is the place for you. It's cheap, central, good atmosphere and rooms, along with a communal kitchen/eating area. The staff were really helpful and the price was great.
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