Compiled by Evelyn Hannon
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 Paris (France), Suzhou (China), Casablanca (Morocco) and Ubud (Bali) what follows are this issue's top twelve travelling tips. Enjoy, everybody!
1. A MINI CANADIAN - GERMAN - CHRISTMAS MARKET -- writes Karen in Calgary, Canada - For people who want to visit a Christmas Market in Europe but don't have the time or money I suggest that you consider the German Christmas Market in Quebec City, Canada. Yes, it's smaller but it's still so charming and it's closer and much cheaper to visit for people in Canada and the US (U.S. dollars will buy a lot more here). This small village of wooden kiosks and sparkling lights are an enchanting sight. However, most important is the fact that old Quebec City simply feels very much as if you're in Europe. Remember this tip in November-December of this year.
2. A LITTLE BIT OF FRANCE ON THE BEACH IN FORT LAUDERDALE -- writes Cary in North Carolina, USA -- Nanou French Bakery & Café boulangerie is owned and operated by a warm, friendly, family who recently arrived from Avignon, France. They feature high quality and delicious artisanal breads,croissants, brioche and pain au chocolate, which are baked on the premises daily. You can stop in for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner, as they have pastries, sandwiches/paninis, quiches and savory tarts. They also serve gelato and macarons (supplied by another vendor). The sandwiches and paninis are made to order and I choose the one called "Le Provencal," which is made with Bayonne ham, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes and pesto. Ooh la, la- tres bien! Not to be missed when in Fort Lauderdale. Website:
3. GOOD FOOD AND GOOD DEEDS IN UBUD, BALI -- writes Amit in Ubud, Bali -- I'd like to recommend the moderately priced restaurant, Fair Warung Bale. The offshoot of a Swiss-born owner's NGO called Fair Future Foundation, this buzzing venue overflows with taste and heart. Not only is the ambience vibrant, and the staff cheerfully exuberant, but a portion of all profits from this restaurant supports free public health programs and medical care in Bali - including the construction of a pediatric hospital slated to open next spring. Their motto is: Eat, Drink & Save Lives. I recommend the tuna with balsamic tomato sauce and vegetables. You can learn more at their website: www.fairfuturefoundation.org/fair-warung-bale
4. SOLO ON A NORWEGIAN COSTAL CRUISE -- writes Kathy in San Diego, USA -- I went solo on a Norwegian Coastal Cruise on the Hurtigruten MS Trollfjord in May and had a wonderful time. While I did have to pay a single supplement, I had a very nice (inside) cabin, where I (actually) spent very little time. I took the round-trip cruise from Bergen north along the Norwegian coast all the way to Kirkenes (very close to the Russian border) and back for 11 days. We had 24 hours of daylight after crossing the Arctic Circle near Bodo. Meals are open seating buffets at breakfast and lunch, which is a great opportunity to share a table with others from around the world. Dinner is at assigned tables and a set menu. I found the food very good. Most travelers were Norwegian, Swedish, Germany, American, Canadian or from the UK. The crew and many other passengers are fluent in English. These ships also serve as local ferries and freighters. Many of the stops were for only 15 minutes to unload or load passengers, cars, and freight. There are shore excursions available for an extra cost; some of which leave the ship at one port and meet it again at the next port. This cruise is really about the beautiful views from the ship as you travel through the islands and fjords of northern Norway. In the winter, people take this trip just to see the Northern Lights. No pool (but there is a hot-tub on many of the ships), casino or showroom, but I didn't miss any of those usual cruise ship features. The entertainment was primarily the gorgeous scenery, intriguing lighthouses seen along the shore, and learning about Norwegian history and culture. I combined this trip with two days in Bergen and four days in Oslo (taking the beautiful train from Oslo to Bergen and back), and stays in AirBnB accommodations in both cities. The Oslo Pass is a good deal for visitors to Oslo as it gives you free admission to all the museums as well as free transportation on all the excellent public transportation available in Oslo (buses, trolleys, subways, and boats).
5. A SOOTHING BREAKFAST SPOT IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO -- writes Anne-Laure in Casablanca -- I would like to recommend the restaurant La Sqala, Boulevard des Almohades, Casablanca (just say "Skala" to the taxi driver). The prices are moderate and you get really good Moroccan traditional food (tajines, couscous...) However, the best time to go is during the mornings. Then you're in for a treat. My favorite choice is the breakfast which costs less than 14 euros for two persons (less than 9 for one person) and it is enormous: an omelet with traditional meat, orange juice, yogurt, fruit salad, local doughnuts and crepes, bread, jam. It is located in a fortress behind thick walls and it's a respite from the stares of men which in Morocco can be rather annoying. You can see the venue here: restopro.ma/sqala/about.php. It is the best ambience you'll get in the city: calm, soothing, green.
6. A HOSTEL IN ATHENS, GREECE -- writes Joanne in Suzhou, China -- Anyone traveling to the heart of Athens, Greece that doesn't mind hostel life should check out City Circus. It is on a back street, but quiet and close to lots of eateries, shops and the metro. They are also very close to all the historical sites. This hostel treated me and my friend like actual guests instead of scruffy backpackers. It has a quaint, fun circus theme. They have a nice restaurant downstairs that was newly opened. The hostel desk personnel were spectacular. They offered planned activities for those guests staying with them. Their lovely rooftop patio allows a view of the Acropolis all lit up at night. City Circus has a lift/elevator and stairs. They serve a delicious breakfast-Greek style. They even have a cozy room off the dining area that you could sit and read in or have a quiet place to work on your computer. Website: www.citycircus.gr
7. RECOMMENDED HOTEL IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- writes Valerie in Mahone Bay, Canada -- My favourite place to stay in Johannesburg is the Balalaika Hotel on Maude Street in Sandton. It was built in 1949 when Sandton was in the country. Now it is a remnant of another era in the midst of the highrise, Afro-chic, financial heart of Johannesburg. Its swimming pool and peaceful old gardens are a great way to get over jet-lag, cool down, or have tea or a beer shandy on the veranda. I've stayed there three times and find it a moderately priced hotel in a safe area. It's a safe short walk to Nelson Mandela Square, one of the most sophisticated shopping centres in Africa, with excellent restaurants and galleries. The hotel concierge is very helpful and will organize the hotel van to take you to Nelson Mandela Square at night, arrange day tours or any other details. Take the Gautrain directly from OR Tambo Airport to Sandton, where the hotel is a quick walk from the train station or you can call a taxi. I felt very safe on the Gautrain with its high security, and many women travel on it alone. As in most major cities, I wouldn't walk alone at night, but I felt comfortable and safe during the day in Sandton. Tip: pick up some locally carved mementos from the Zimbabwean crafters along the sidewalk next to the hotel. balalaika.co.za
8. UPSCALE INDOOR MARKET IN TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- writes Marilyn in Montreal, Canada -- During my last visit to Tel Aviv, I discovered Sarona Market, Israel's largest indoor culinary market. Think fruits, veggies, nuts, breads, spices, (of course) and wine, etc. along with a large variety of cafés and restaurants. There are 91 shops and stalls in all located right in the heart of the city. It's open every day from 9am to 11pm (8-6 on Fridays). My favorites were Fiori Pasta (#92 on the map) where we purchased sweet potato ravioli and their tomato sauce mixed with a little cream sauce to make an excellent rose. Karlberg Delicatessen (#46 and 47) has great salads. Freestyle Ramen Bar is always packed and if you are in the mood for one of the best hamburgers I have ever had, check out the Meat Bar. However, be warned. It is noisy and chaotic at lunch time. We enjoyed the ambience at Sarona so much that we went back several times. Website: saronamarket.co.il
9. EXCELLENT STEAK RESTAURANT IN PARIS -- writes Rosemary in Paris, France -- The perfect way to start a Paris evening is to queue for one of my favourite restaurants, the Relais de Venise, at 6.45pm ready for doors to open at 7pm - the restaurant will fill up completely! There is a fixed menu of green salad with walnuts then a plate of Steak and Chips. After your salad starter, two thirds of your steak is brought to you, with one third held back to keep warm, so you can enjoy it at its best and is accompanied with more freshly prepared frites. That means that the only decision you need to make is how you want your steak cooked and which of the three choices of red wine to order. If you have space you can order dessert without any guilt, knowing you can walk it all off up Avenue de la Grande Armée to the Arc de Triomphe, just as Napoleon planned. Website: www.relaisdevenise.com
10. COZY WINTER COCOA IN PHILADELPHIA -- writes Michelle in Toronto, Canada -- Don't miss this creative cannoli bakery in the Italian Market. It's called Café Crema and it pays equal special attention to its mouth-watering drinks. Their hot chocolate bar is stocked with all manner of meltables-including red velvet, peppermint, peanut butter and other delicious flavours-ready to be combined for a customizable cup. A cool way to warm up during the winter months! 1205 S. 9th Street, (267) 928-4501, cafecremaphilly.com
11. EXCELLENT FEMALE-FRIENDLY GUIDE IN GREECE -- writes Karen in Cleveland Heights, USA -- If any of you travelin' women are going to Crete, Santorini or mainland Greece, and are looking for a way cool woman guide, I highly recommend Ioanna Kalyso Glypti. She has incredible wisdom on so many topics, including Greek history, archaeology, Divine Feminine, mythology... and the list goes on. Ioanna can be contacted thru her small boutique travel company she recently formed with a few colleagues called 1618Travel.com
12. CHARMING COFFEE SHOP IN MONTREAL -- writes Claire in Montreal, Canada -- Whatever my day's been like, I always enjoy a latte at Cafe Creme, a charming coffee shop at 357 Victoria Avenue, just off Montreal's Sherbrooke Street in Victoria Village. The coffee and other goodies, many of them homemade, are always delicious, the atmosphere inviting, and the staff friendly. Drop by and sample the Rimini, my favourite sandwich, a zesty combination of tuna and provolone on grilled Italian bread.
PAST LINKS -- 'Best Tips for January' CLICK HERE or 'Best Tips for December' CLICK HERE
For oodles of more travel tips