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 Niamey, (Africa), Morocco, (Africa), Sittingbourne, (UK), London, (England) and Riyadh, (Saudi Arabia) what follows are this issue's top twelve travelling tips. Enjoy, everybody
1. IF YOU LIKE PROVENCE IN FRANCE -- writes Maren in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- Last year I came across a wonderful series by author, Martin Walker about Bruno, the police chief in a small town in Provence, France. The flavor of the series is similar to that of 'A Year in Provence.' Bruno grows his own food, cooks, hunts, organizes the parades, festivities and firework displays. He also registers births and deaths and, of course, fights any crime threatening his town. The series provides a real feeling for life in this part of France. The first book is entitled, 'Bruno Chief of Police.'
2. EXCELLENT FEMALE-FRIENDLY GUIDE IN ATHENS, GREECE -- writes Peggy in Montreal, Canada -- While I was in Athens my hotel concierge recommended a driver to me. I was, indeed, fortunate to meet Thomas Fetsis of Experience Taxi whom I found to be courteous and efficient and who quickly became aware of my travel needs. Being on my own in Athens the following day, I engaged him for a 5-hour drive/guide tour and could not have been more pleased with his expertise, professionalism and his anticipation of my comfort. He made my first day in Athens delightful and I would highly recommend him to any visitors requiring a guide and/or driver. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +30 698 698 1213
3. MY IPAD BECOMES MY MIRROR -- writes Candy in Sittingbourne, UK. -- I think we've all been in this hotel or B&B situation at some point. We need to dry our hair but our travel partner is showering in the bathroom. Yes, there are mirrors in the room but often not in a convenient location to access a mirror. I have solved this problem by creating my own mirror using my iPad in the 'selfie camera mode.' This way I can see on the tablet to dry and style my hair.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Read about another 24 household items that will make travel easier. Click!
4. TIPS FOR VISITORS TO SAN FRANCISCO, USA -- writes Julie in Fort Collins, USA -- I recently spent a weekend touristing in San Francisco. Thought I'd share a couple of helpful tips. I thoroughly enjoyed (1) The San Francisco Maritime Museum at Fisherman's Wharf -- a delightful and FREE little museum, which highlights the lives and stories of those that made a life on the water. (2) Afterward, walk the block to Ghiradelli Square for your free chocolate sample/s. (3) Bypass the line to ride the cable car at the Aquatic Park near Fishermans' Wharf by walking up the hill a block and hopping on when the cable car comes to a natural stop at the intersection. The car is never loaded to capacity at the turntable to allow for this. But, be quick. And have your fare ($7 last month) ready. Enjoy, everybody!
5. FREE FEMALE GUIDE IN TOKYO, JAPAN -- writes Ellen in San Diego, USA -- Before traveling to Japan recently, we came across the web site, globalgreeternetwork.info which offers free native guides in certain select international cities. Happily, we were paired with Hiroko, a retired 54 year old woman, who met us at our hotel on two successive mornings and showed us some of the sights we requested (via email prior to our arrival). This not only gave us the chance to visit the fish market, Imperial Palace and the Ginza district but she also taught us how to navigate the metro subway when we would be on our own. But best of all in this arrangement was the wonderful opportunity to meet and make friends with Hiroko!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ready to tour Japan within a group? I recommend you read this. Click!
6. RECOMMENDED RESTAURANT IN NIAMEY, AFRICA -- writes Sue in Niamey, Africa -- I know that Niamey is off the beaten track but amongst our Journeywoman Network there will be some coming through this part of the world. I wanted to recommend Le Pilier, (near the American Cultural Center) a 'must' in Niamey. They serve Italian, African and continental fare. It is open for lunch and dinner 7 days/wk. It's run by the family of Vittorio Gioni, un vero romano. The menu is varied enough that there is something for everyone: pasta; fish; meat; poultry; etc. Their signature dish is Nile perch in creamed spinach (Capitaine a la crème d'epinard). Good appetizers. Sometimes I get their eggplant parmigiana (flan d'aubergine) as a main course. Always one or two Tuareg/African dishes (sort of stews) on the menu. Much of the pasta is homemade. All the ice cream is homemade. You can sit indoors (air-conditioned) or outdoors (on the patio or in the garden). Bonus: There is a list of translations into English of dishes on the menu. Credit cards are not accepted but I think you can pay with euros, as well as with cfa (Niger's currency).
7. LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTER MYSTERY WRITER IN SOUTHWEST, USA -- writes Linda in Victoria, Canada -- Fans of Tony Hillerman will be thrilled to learn that since his death, his daughter Anne Hillerman, has taken up writing mystery novels set in Arizona and New Mexico, featuring the same main characters developed by Tony. 'Spider Woman's Daughter' and 'Rock With Wings' are the first two in the renewed series, and they are every bit as skillfully written, combining beautifully evocative descriptions of the landscape, excellent characters, background on local history and culture, with intriguing plot twists. Fun to read before and during a visit to the South West of the United States.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I am always happy to recommend these female authors who also include a travel experience when you read their work. Click!
8. EXCELLENT HOTEL IN ISTANBUL -- writes Virginia in Washington, DC, USA -- Based on a recommendation I found on your site, I stayed at Hotel Djem in Istanbul. What a treat! Not only is this tiny, 11-room hotel centrally located (less than 10 min walk from Hippodrome), but it is cozy and beautifully appointed with gorgeous art and tapestries in the lobby and the rooms. The family that owns the hotel has supplied fabric and decorative items to Turkish hotels for years and decided to open their own. The room was very clean and the bathroom was modern and spotless. The staff could not have been more gracious. I had the hotel arrange for transportation to and from the airport, and now I see that most westerners (and many others) do this. When I returned to my room after sightseeing, I was invited to visit the family's shop - and I encourage anyone who stays there to ask to do this. It is just a few doors down from the hotel. You will see a wide variety of items of the highest quality - all made with kilim fabrics (shoes, handbags, wallets and, of course, rugs). I did most of my holiday shopping there. Prices were quite reasonable for the gorgeous designs and quality (if you want more tourist-type gifts, this is not the place) and, in the Turkish tradition, buying more gives you a bit more flexibility in the prices you pay.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are heading to Istanbul this article is full of excellent tips. Click!
9. WHERE TO FIND GOOD COFFEE IN PARIS -- writes Cynthia in Denver, USA -- Ah, coffee! Somewhere along the way, I have become a coffee snob. I like my cortados and cappuccinos done right. And a Paris cafe isn't always the place for that. My advice: NEVER order a cappuccino in a traditional Paris cafe. It will be large and expensive, and will even perhaps come with a straw. A STRAW! Yes, this happened to me. OY! When you feel like exploring a bit and having a good coffee, check out Good Coffee in Paris. I use this web site to discover new cafés and to explore new to me streets. I'll choose a café from the site and head there, enjoying all the surprises along the way. Some of my favorites include The Broken Arm, Strada, Lockwood and Le Caféotheque. Get your freshly roasted, ground and brewed coffee here: goodcoffeeinParis.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you'd rather have Tea in Paris, click here!
10. AFFORDABLE BRASSERIE IN LONDON -- writes Deborah in London, England -- I'd like to recommend Brassereie Zedel serving French cuisine near Picadilly Circus. I've found the set menu is excellent value (they also offer a la carte), and the decor is great (it's worthwhile going in just for the Beaux Arts/Art Deco styling). Brassereie Zedel is a grand place for an early evening meal after shopping/museums/galleries or even before theatre. P.S. They also have a bar. Address: 20 Sherwood Street. Website: www.brasseriezedel.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Read about what other British JourneyWomen say is the best shopping in London. Click!
11. HELPFUL ADDITION TO A TRAVEL WARDROBE -- writes Patricia in Whitehorse, Yukon Territority, Canada -- I've just returned from two months travel in Ireland, Wales and England. I enjoyed wonderful sightseeing, cycling and hiking. One of the best items I included in my pack was a super lightweight down vest (800 series by North Face) that scrunched into its own small pocket for carrying. It was a welcome addition under my lightweight travel jacket and it was a super pillow. It was invaluable on the ferry from Dublin over to Holyhead, Wales. If you are travelling in cooler temps, take one!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Not sure what to pack? Check out the A.B.C. of 'What Should I Wear, Where?' Click!
12. RENT YOUR CLOTHES FROM THRIFT SHOPS -- writes Susan in London, England -- Pack light and save money. The last couple of times I've visited London over the winter holidays, I shopped at charity shops for winter clothes to flesh out my meager cold weather wardrobe. I have been living in Africa for seven years and owned the basics of a gortex and fleece jackets and a few long sleeved shirts. However, that was not enough nor the right kind of clothes for three weeks of cold, damp temperatures. In London I was able to find warm dresses, jumpers/cardigans and a coat for about £25.00 (about US$38). When I left three weeks later I donated them back to the shops as I did not have a need for them any more. It was good fun shopping and 'renting' the clothes.
PAST LINKS -- 'Best Tips for December' CLICK HERE or 'Best Tips for November' CLICK HERE
For oodles of more travel tips