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Journeywoman's Best Tips of 2003

An English publication in Milan, Italy -- writes Roberta from Milan -- If you plan to spend any time at all in Milan, the free monthly English-language newspaper 'Hello Milano' is well worth seeking out. Not that you have to go far: copies are available from the Tourist Information Centre (APT) in the cathedral square (Via Marconi 1), as well as from many hotels and consulates. This newspaper-format publication offers a wealth of information, including listings of events that a non-Italian speaker might enjoy. Meanwhile, the front-page piece allows the reader precious insights into topical news issues. Want to see what it's all about before you get here? Check out their website:

Tickle kids taste buds in New York City -- writes Ellen from New York, USA-- Pommes Frites (123 Second Avenue (7th St. and St. Marks Pl.) serves yummy hot crispy fries served in a paper cone. You have a choice of dozens of toppings (some of which are included in the price and some cost fifty cents). I recommend a combination of ketchup, mayonnaise-based "frites sauce" and chopped onions - all of which are free. Ed. note: Ellen Shapiro is the author of 'New York City for Kids.' You can read more of her tips at:

Shopping for leather gloves in Florence, Italy -- writes Evelyn from Toronto, Canada -- When in Florence where leather fashion abounds, it helps to get a referral if you plan on doing any buying. It was American JW reader, Nancy who met me for dinner one evening and showed off her latest Italian purchase -- funky, butter-soft black gloves with different color leather between each finger. What fun they were and very nicely made. The next day I, too, made my way to Roberta's, a tiny leather shop located on Borgo S. Jacapo 78r (a tiny street that runs parallel to the Arno between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte S. Trinita ) and owned by a sister-brother team. Their merchandise is impressive and prices were far better than those in the "tourist" part of town. Pick from unlined or lined (silk or cashmere) gloves in every colour of the rainbow. I bought the gifts for the important people in my life at Roberta's. They loved them and I stayed well within my budget. Website:

Here are my packing tips for Bali -- writes Tina from Australia -- To begin, I suggest packing lightweight T-shirts, shorts and summer dresses. However, if your budget allows, have some fun. Take very little with you and buy whatever you need for a fraction of what it would cost at home. Sarongs can be worn over shorts for temple visits and slip-on sandals are ideal -- easy to slip off before entering shops & places of worship. Don't forget to pack closed shoes for serious walking (tennis shoes etc.). A hat (foldup is perfect) is essential as it is very sunny and hot year round with temperatures hovering between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit or 24-33 degrees Celsius. It's also a good idea to take a long-sleeved sweater or shirt for slightly cooler evenings.

Last minute tickets at the Royal Opera House in London, England -- writes Julie from San Francisco, USA -- Want last minute tickets to the opera? 'Sold Out' may not necessarily mean you can't see the show. It is possible, especially if you are a woman traveling alone (and needing only a single seat) to get tickets for popular, sold out performances. Just go to the box office around 6pm (not later), ask if any season subscribers have turned in their tickets (not uncommon), and you're likely to get into the performance. This was the method I used and I saw the Royal Ballet's last performance of the season on Friday and the Royal Opera's sold-out "Magic Flute" the next evening. When you arrive in London, call the Box Office for more information about what time they release their seats. Their number is 020 7304 4000.

Backpackers take note -- writes Kerry from Minneapolis, USA -- The brand, "Smartwool" makes great, comfy, breathable socks. They're a bit expensive, but they dry quickly, will save you blisters and they last for years. Buy black silk liner socks for your European city wear, then use them as liners inside your cushier socks for hiking, etc. An added thought - it's frequently colder in hostels so if that's where you will be staying, bring those little running and tennis footies to wear in bed. They make a world of difference.




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