HERE ARE THIS MONTH’S TOP 12 JOURNEYWOMAN TRAVEL TIPS — As usual, your many female-friendly bits of advice from all over the world continue to inform, inspire and amuse. This time, from wonderful travelling women across the U.S. and Canada to those in Provence, (France), San Miguel, (Mexico), and Reykjavik, (Iceland) what follows are this issue’s top twelve travelling tips. Enjoy, everybody!
1. HOSTEL WITH A DIFFERENCE IN NEW YORK CITY — writes Patricia in Vancouver, Canada — I love visiting New York City and go as often as I can afford it. This time, November 2016, I tried something I’d never done before, stayed in a women’s dormitory at the Blue Moon Boutique 100 Orchard St. on the Lower East Side – 5 or six women to a room with its own bathroom with tub and shower. They also have regular hotel rooms. I recommend it. The room rate was $US76.60 per night including taxes. P.S. I read that these “hostel” type accommodations are now being opened in many cities. Look for them. If any are like this one the value is excellent.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read 26 Reasons a Woman Will Love New York City
2. INDONESIAN – DUTCH FOOD IN AMSTERDAM — writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada — Rijsttafel is a Dutch word for an Indonesian food specialty that means rice table. Each time I’m in Holland I have this meal at least once. It consists of white rice plus many, many small servings of traditional Indonesian foods designed to be shared. Some of my favourite tastes are the grilled satays (chicken, beef or pork) served on skewers and gado gado, a mix of veggies served in peanut sauce. This is definitely a test tasting treat that invariably inspires conversation around other ‘foods of the world’. Recommended choices are Sama Sebo, one of the oldest restaurants in Amsterdam and Puri Mas Budget Tip: Sama Sebo offers a set lunch menu that is less expensive than its dinner counterpart.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s an interesting list of 14 things a teenager will enjoy in Amsterdam. Click!
3. BEST BUDGET GREEK NEAR THE AIRPORT IN ATLANTA, USA — writes Debby in Atlanta, USA — My favourite restaurant is a small little dive near the Atlanta airport, and I mean that word affectionately. It’s not about the decor, it’s all about the food. Although the owner has expanded into franchising to other locations since 2010, the Hapeville restaurant is the original place. There are very few ethnic places in Atlanta, and Go Greek once a Week is the best Gyro in eighteen surrounding counties of Atlanta. For $5 and some change, you can go and get a yummy, meaty sandwich with dripping, finger-licking sauce. Living in Atlanta for 30 years, I can say with full confidence that this is the absolute best budget Greek meal. Closed on Sunday. 855 Virginia Ave, Hapeville, GA 30354
4. PACKING FOR A SOUTH AMERICAN CRUISE — writes Shari in Dallas, USA — When packing for any cruise read your brochure and itinerary very carefully. Our 14-night cruise — which began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, rounded Cape Horn, and ended in Valparaiso, Chile (Santiago area) — was filled with passengers who were not prepared for the weather. Many had mental images of endless onboard pool parties and the assurance that “it’s summertime in South America.” They packed for the Caribbean rather than for the land of glaciers and penguins. The ship’s gift shop did a brisk business selling sweatshirts, windbreakers, and hoodies. Our journey began in the balmy city of Buenos Aires, the mugginess making it feel hotter than the mid-eighties recorded by the thermometer. It rained every afternoon, making a hooded, waterproof windbreaker or a rain poncho a must for sightseeing. As we boarded the ship and headed south, it got cooler and cooler. Admittedly we had an early summer cruise, but we heard it was not unusual to experience snow or sleet throughout the season. We experienced it three times on this trip taken in mid-December. We were warned by the ship’s naturalist, albeit a bit late for some, to dress like an onion — in layers that could be put on or peeled off. Good advice! The well-prepared traveller packed clothing for very warm, very cold and very wet weather. I suggest you do the same. Ma Nature is fickle and you never know what she has up her sleeve.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out our Journeywoman archived section on cruising from a woman’s point of view.
5. HEADING TO REYKJAVIK, ICELAND AND WANT TO KNOW WHERE THE LOCALS EAT? — writes Lea in Reykjavik, Iceland — I know that if you are just passing through my city it’s hard to get a handle on where the locals hang out. My suggestion for a good basic meal is Kryddlegin Hjörtu (English translation is Seasoned Hearts). I personally love this vegetarian restaurant! It has a buffet with soups, salads, and incredible homemade bread with homemade hummus. Although meant to be veggie-focused, they still have some meat on the menu like their incredible lasagna or chicken soup. The address is Hverfisgata 33. For more information, visit their website at www.kryddleginhjortu.is/english
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s an interesting way for older, solo travellers to explore Iceland by themselves or with a young family member. Click!
6. GREEK FOOD IN ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA, USA — writes Joanne in Rochester, USA — Here in my hometown, there is a delightful Greek restaurant that is moderately priced and offers some very well known Greek dishes. It is called, Nupas. After living in Greece, this is my “go-to” place whenever I need to satisfy my Greek food cravings. Of course, they have gyros, pitas, and baklava! With a Greek community within our community, it is nice to see them serving authentic dishes. Nupas is a small restaurant with large windows and simple Greek island decorations. You can sit down and order off the menu or take your order to go. They always have cucumber water on hand (just ask for it). I, being a creature of habit, always seem to order my favourite appetizer — spicy feta cheese with pita chips. Simply delicious! Nupas is located 1035 Civic Center Drive, NW. Website: www.facebook.com/NupaExpress/
7. A GUEST HOUSE RUN BY NUNS IN ROME — writes Carina in New York City, USA — I have been reading your Journeywoman Newsletter for a few months now. I recently came back from my first trip to Rome, and want to recommend Casa Santa Sofia, a guest house run by Catholic nuns. For less than $US50 a night, I had a simple, but clean room with a single bed and private bathroom. A simple breakfast (coffee/hot chocolate/tea, juice, bread/rolls, pastries, spreadable cheese/butter/jam) and free wifi (slow, but it did work) were also included. The location can’t be beaten, only 500m from the Colosseum– you can see it down the street! A tip, the convent is located on the main square of the Monti district, the main gathering place of the neighbourhood at night. Nice atmosphere, but very noisy at night. If you are a light sleeper, definitely ask for a room at the back of the building. I loved the neighbourhood which had some great restaurants, gelaterias, and boutiques/vintage stores nearby. Also, if you travel during the spring/summer — there’s no air conditioning, although they do provide a fan. Travelling in the fall, I didn’t have a problem with the temperature. There are definitely some cons, but for the price and location, it can’t be beaten! P.S. The free walking tour by New Rome Free Tour was wonderful, a great way to be introduced to the historical center of Rome. My tour guide, Flaminia, was super informative and interesting and also pointed out good value restaurants to eat at in the normally pricey and touristy area. Highly recommend!
8. WILL YOU BE IN AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE? — writes Anne in Provence, France— Where do we send any friends who are spending a day in Aix en Provence? We recommend, Le Bouddoir, tucked beside a fountain in one of Aix’s most inviting squares. With three very-well-priced daily specials and an extensive menu, anything we’ve tried here has always been delicious. Reservations recommended – it’s always packed! Address: 28 Place des Tanneurs, Tel: +33 4 42 61 35 19 Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lebouddoir
9. LATIN STREET FOOD IN CHARLOTTE, USA — writes Gail in Charlotte, USA — My favourite restaurant here in Charlotte is a place called, Sabor. They serve what they call “Latin street food,” like empanadas, arepas, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and all kinds of beers to wash it all down with. The food is delicious. The atmosphere is laid back. The service is fast and friendly. The prices are quite modest – almost too low considering the quality of the food. There are three or four locations here in Charlotte. Check this link for a spot closest to where you will be staying. I think travellers will enjoy this spot.
10. BE SAVVY AND SAVE MONEY SIGHTSEEING IN VANCOUVER, CANADA — writes Cheryl in Surrey, Canada — Here’s a little secret for JourneyWoman readers. When visiting Vancouver, instead of spending $40 on a ticket to walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge to explore the trails on the other side, instead head to the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge – it’s free! And there are also lots of trails on the other side to explore. The two bridges are about 15 minutes’ drive apart and both are beautiful and fun but only the suspension bridge at Lynn Valley will help you to extend your travel budget. Check their website for photos of what you will be able to see when you visit: lynncanyon.ca/information/
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here are lots of other ways to save money while travelling. Click!
11. FEMALE OWNED BISTRO IN VACAVILLE, USA — writes Wendy in Vacaville, California — My favourite restaurant is the Backdoor Bistro. Why? The chef/owner buys from local farmers, cheesemakers, produce people, those who raise meat and poultry. We live in an area where this is possible and she takes full advantage of the wonderful availability. It’s good for the local growers…great for those of who dine here. Since we’re less than an hour from the San Francisco bay area, people travelling from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe often stop here. It’s reasonably priced and always delicious. I highly recommend Backdoor Bistro and Wine Bar. Website: www.backdoorbistro.com
12. WALKING THE CAMINO FROM PORTUGAL TO SPAIN — writes Ann in Vancouver, Canada — I have recently returned from a lovely Camino country walking tour that started in Oporto, Portugal and concluded in Santiago de Compostela in Spain over a period of just over a week. We were guided by a terrific support team from El Camino Tours, a Spanish agency that most ably caters on an individual-needs basis to smallish groups of travellers. Our group consisted of seven women aged from their twenties/thirties to sixties/seventies. This group was a very congenial set of women most of whom comfortably knew each other from the start, but the vast successes of the journey can largely be attributed to the planning and advance arrangements made by Ria, the owner of El Camino Tours with the support of Sol, an anthropologically knowledgeable companion, as well as the very thoughtful photographic contributions of Carlos. With our three dedicated guides and interpreters, we capitalized on their every effort so that we would experience local scenery along the gorgeous Portuguese coast and into north-western Spain. They organized the paths through the country-sides that took in local foods and wines of the different regions that we traversed. Ria arranged such exquisite accommodations as beautiful former monasteries and all three guides shared their appreciations of the cultural and linguistic variations along the route. I highly recommend Ria and the team Ria recruited to make our guided tour such a vast success. P.S. To add to the fun they made a lovely DVD for us of our antics as a memento of our enchanted journey together. Website: www.elcaminotours.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check the bottom of this older archived article for another tip on another recommended Camino guide. Click!
BONUS TIP: AN EXCELLENT DOCTOR IN SAN MIGUEL, MEXICO — writes Marilyn in San Miguel, Mexico — San Miguel is one of my favourite places to spend the winter months. At times I have had to seek medical help and discovered that the care is excellent. The doctor I have seen over the years is wonderful. Dr. Ricardo Gordillo Morath speaks English and German. If necessary he even makes house calls. His clinic is located at Hidalgo #28 and the telephone number is 415-154-9976.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Getting sick on the road is certainly not fun. Here are some suggestions that can be helpful when you are feeling under the weather as you travel. Click!