1. AUTHENTIC BURMESE FOOD IN OTTAWA, CANADA -- writes Iwona in Ottawa, Canada -- You may not be able to travel to an exotic destination this year but if chilly Ottawa is on your itinerary this winter, you could at least taste something out of the ordinary. The Rangoon restaurant is an unassuming tiny spot tucked away in the city's downtown. One of only a handful of Burmese restaurants around the world, this homey place offers authentic cuisine, warm welcome and low prices. If you are like me, the flavours will wow you!
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more about food and travel, check 'She Eats Around the World.' Click!
2. EAT LIKE A LOCAL IN AMSTERDAM -- writes Donna in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -- To taste traditional Dutch food in a gezellig (cozy) atmosphere, my favorite restaurant in Amsterdam is MOEDER'S (Mother's in Dutch). Indeed, mothers are everywhere. Photos of patrons' moms cover every wall, vintage sepia studio shots to casual snaps. Bring one of your own mom and they'll add it to the wall. Next, notice the mismatched dishware. When Moeder's opened, first-nighters were asked to bring a dish, a glass and cutlery. That delightful mismatched collection is still in use today. The food is pure Dutch, with a creative twist. The traditional Dutch pea soup is my favorite dish, thick with a cut-up sausage, bits of bacon and rich pea flavor. Served with a basket of fresh bread and hummus, it makes a great light meal by itself. If you're hungrier, choose one of the three-course meals: starter, main dish, dessert. There are three price points and all are good value for what you get. In nice weather, there's a row of tables outside facing the canal. Lunch is served only on weekends; dinner the rest of the week. Open until midnight. Reservations are suggested, but I've always gotten a table without one. Website: www.moeders.com/en/home
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more insider's tips on The Netherlands click here.
3. LISTEN TO FADO MUSIC IN COIMBRA, PORTUGAL -- writes Julie in Coimbra, Portugal -- Coimbra has its very own version of the traditional fado music that Portugal is renowned for. Accompanied by the unique Portuguese guitar, odes to student life, the city and, of course, love are sung by men cloaked in black student capes. Fado ao Centro is a cultural center in the historical heart of Coimbra. It's no tourist trap; everyone involved is deeply passionate about promoting and preserving their beloved Coimbra fado. Daily performances include a short presentation and a series of instrumental and vocal numbers in an intimate setting. The walls are lined with photos of the founders as well as other local fado singers and guitarists and visitors have the opportunity to chat to the musicians after the show over a glass of port wine. A moving and memorable experience.
4. GLUTEN FREE IN SAN DIEGO, USA -- writes Bethany in Midland, USA -- Here's a few gluten free gems I found for travelers heading this way. (1) In San Diego proper, by Mission Bay (and just downhill from the La Quinta on De Soto!) is a place called Muscle Mill. My friends and I split a steak wrap in a gluten-free tortilla with roasted sweet potatoes. Yum! (2) And, in the San Diego airport is a place called The Counter (it apparently has locations all over the place). It's in Terminal 1, gates 1-10. The fries (and sweet potato fries) were gluten-free, they have burgers, turkey burgers, and veggie burgers. A bit expensive, but it's real food in an airport. They don't offer their full menu at this location but this will give a bit of an idea. www.thecounterburger.com.
5. REVIEW YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY BEFORE YOU LEAVE ON YOUR TRIP -- writes Betty in Toronto, Canada -- From painful experience, I urge all Journeywoman travelers to read their travel interruption & cancellation insurance policy and their travel medical insurance manuals. Nearly all insurance companies have the same clauses. What is your coverage for lost luggage? Do you have all your receipts for your luggage contents to prove a claim? What is your coverage if part of a country has a 'no travel advisory' where you were/are staying but the rest of the country is ok? What constitutes not honouring your policy if you are injured doing 'sports'? What is or isn't included in 'sports.' What is included in cancellation of your travel insurance due to 'civil unrest, strikes, lock outs, terrorism'? What constitutes a prior health concern when filling out your medical questions for medical insurance? Highlight the areas of the policy of concern, question your insurer and get clarification in writing before you leave.
6. RESTAURANT SUGGESTIONS FOR MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- writes Meena in Melbourne, Australia -- For female-friendly eating spots in my city I think that Red Spice Road is delish (they do Asian fusion and a great lunch deal for groups). Also Mamasita is great Mexican food (lots of New Mexican places have opened in Melbourne). Grossi Florentino Cellar Door is yummy as yet cheaper than the main Grossi restaurant next door. But, from my point of view check out Queen Victoria Market and try the bureks for an inexpensive lunch. They are the best!
7. A BUENOS AIRES OPERA HOUSE BECOMES A BOOK STORE -- writes Helen in Buenos Aires, Argentina -- I believe that the world's most beautiful bookshop is the one in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It's called El Ateneo Grand Splendid, and although El Ateneo is a chain, this branch is one of a kind. 100 years ago this was an opera house, but it wasn't being used. So instead of following the usual North American route and replacing it with condos, they kept the building almost exactly as it was and turned it into a bookshop. When you go inside, you feel as if you are still in an opera house, until you look more closely at the balconies and realize that instead of seats there are rows and rows of books! I saw customers sitting in the private boxes, reading. They kept the stage intact, and it is now a full-service cafe where you can get everything from a coffee to a full cooked lunch with wine. You can take your book selections up with you and look over them while sipping your coffee. Then decide which ones to buy! Don't leave Buenos Aires without seeing this lovely spot. Av. Santa Fe 1860, 1123, Cdad. Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more bookstores around the world, click here and browse. P.S. We are reviewing our bookstore section and we need your help. Please write to tell us if a shop has closed or moved. If you know of a bookstore that isn't already listed, please advise us about that, too. Describe the shop in a few sentences and add a website URL or their address. Remember to include your first name and the city you live in. Thank you.
8. EXCELLENT DEAL IN CANADIAN CAR RENTALS -- writes Mary Ellen In Toronto, Canada -- Discount Car Rental has one of the best deals going. Rent for two three day weekends (must include a Saturday night) and the third three day weekend is free. Daily rental rate is reasonable (often less than $20 in off peak times) and they will often upgrade you to a larger vehicle. Plus, they pick you up and drop you off! Details here. P.S. Not applicable in the province of Quebec.
9. MY FRIEND IS A TOUR GUIDE IN JAPAN -- writes Heidi in Chagrin Falls, USA -- My dear friend, Sandy Isaka definitely inspires women to travel. She is an amazing, fun, knowledgeable cultural tour leader in Tokyo. She is happily married to a Japanese man and has lived the past 25 years in Japan. You can check out her tours that she offers throughout Tokyo: 'Cultural Excursions in Japan.' Her Facebook link is: facebook.com/pages/Cultural-Excursions-in-Japan/1820525704754802
EDITOR'S NOTE: I did visit Sandy's Facebook page and she offers this professional tip...
10. TRAVELLING TO JAPAN? -- Now is the time to visit Ibaraki Prefecture's giant standing Buddha, one of the tallest statues in the world. Located in the city of Ushiku, this Daibutsu is only about an hour outside of Tokyo (depending on traffic). Currently, beautiful cosmos flowers are in bloom at his feet. Sightseeing Bonus - *You have to climb up within most giant statues in Japan, but the Ushiku Daibutsu has an elevator!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Read about Journeywoman's adventures in Japan. Click here.
11. DOWNLOAD THIS FREE APP AND EXPLORE PHILADELPHIA'S OUTDOOR SCULPTURES -- writes Michelle in Toronto, Canada -- Sculpture peepers can download the free Museum Without Walls: audiomobile app to learn about more than 65 outdoor sculptures in Philly, including Robert Indiana's LOVE statue, Remington's Cowboy, Claes Oldenburg's Clothespin (often compared to Brâncusi's The Kiss at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and others located around Center City, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and in Fairmount Park. (215) 399-9000, museumwithoutwallsaudio.org
EDITOR'S NOTE: For a first-timer's guide to Philadelphia, click here.
12. AN AMSTERDAM HOTEL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION -- writes Evelyn in Toronto, Canada -- I took my teenage granddaughter to Amsterdam. A first time visit to Europe deserves full-on sensory stimulation so I chose a 3-star hotel smack dab in the middle of the action. Rho Hotel is small, modest, and beautifully located on a tiny, quiet street right off Dam Square. It's close to trams, a big supermarket, and within walking distance to the main Central train station, the Anne Frank House, and the Wax Museum. It was perfect for our planned itinerary. Big breakfasts were included in the hotel rate, we had a fridge in our room, free WIFI, and the staff was kind and thoughtful (one evening even offering dishes from the kitchen so we could eat our store bought supper on real plates). The room furnishings were simple, the bathroom modern enough and during that week we had only one complaint. There was no air-conditioning; we had only a fan in the room and the ability to open windows. I imagine that during a heat wave that could be a real problem. We were fine. Address: Nes 05-23, 1012 KC, Amsterdam, Website: www.rhohotel.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't miss these 14 spots in Holland that have been declared teenage-friendly. Click!
STOP HIDING AND SEND US A TIP -- Even if you are not traveling at the moment we know that you know your own hometown. Where do you meet your friends for lunch? Where do you take visitors to dinner? Tell us about one moderately priced place that is your favorite and we'll include the appropriate tips in our travel tip section. Don't forget to give us your first name and the city you live in. Put the words, My Fav Resto in the subject line. Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reading your advice. Now stop hiding:)
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