EVEN IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING SOLO YOU DON'T NEED TO BE ALONE -- Hermail.net is a directory of women willing to help other women travelling to their part of the world. Read how editor Evelyn Hannon spent her birthday with two locals in the Indian city of Chennai. Click here and enjoy some fun photos as well.
1800 TURKISH PRODUCTS UNDER ONE ROOF -- writes Zoe in Lake Constance, Switzerland -- Istanbul Atatürk Airport boasts one of the world's biggest duty free shops. There's a Grand Bazaar complete with arches and pillars in which a range of 1,800 Turkish products including olives, sweet pastries, and of course Turkish delight are sold. And when you're flying out of Istanbul Atatürk, there are eight different airport lounges where your relaxation is their top priority. It's not a hardship if your plane is delayed. Now, that's my kind of airport!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Heading off to Turkey, check this article on Turkish Hamams. Click here and enjoy.
MONTHLY ARTS MARKET IN NEW ORLEANS -- writes Susan in New Orleans, USA -- As a local I recommend that visitors to our city check out the monthly Arts Market of New Orleans. It's held on the last Saturday of every month in Palmer Park (corner of S. Clariborne Ave. and S. Carrollton Ave). From the French Quarter or Central Business District you can take the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar and get a view of the Garden District and Uptown mansions as you travel. The market features items of all prices created by 100 local artists. There's art, clothing, house & garden decor, jewelry, handmade soaps, as well as local cuisine and music. This is an absolutely perfect place to pick up gifts for friends back home. For more information visit this link or call 504-523-1465.
A TWO STAR HOTEL AND HOSTEL IN ROME -- writes Debbie in Hamilton, Canada -- On a budget? A few years ago I stayed at an inexpensive little place called Papa Germano's in Rome. While this place was pretty basic and somewhat away from many of the tourist attractions, it had lots to offer at a low price. You could stay in the hotel section or the hostel dormitory; an internet connection was available by the main desk and, a nice buffet breakfast was included. And down at the end of the street was a very inexpensive little pizza restaurant (sorry can't remember the name) which served yummy food. What I liked most about that restaurant is that it was frequented by locals and you got a true sense of what the neighbourhood was about. Papa Germano's is located close to Roma Termini central train station; it's the main departure point for reaching the city’s major tourist attractions and historical monuments. Website: www.hotelpapagermano.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There's oodles of info about Rome from a woman's point of view if you click here.
A SUPER JOURNEYWOMAN RECOMMENDATION FOR MADRID -- writes Lois in Denver, USA -- I just returned from a trip to Spain. I'm grateful I took the advice of another Journeywoman called Tanya who lives in Spain and who advised travellers to stay at the Hostal Jaen in Madrid. It was everything that all the reviews said it would be. Great location, clean, quiet (overall), good value, secure, a short walk to both Puerta de Sol and Prado museum. The owners don't speak English, but their daughter does. They were so accommodating in making shuttle reservations and helping me with other needs. The rooms are small but if you truly want a place to get a good nights sleep and possibly take a siesta, then it is perfect. Website: http://www.hjaen.com P.S. They also have furnished apartments so if you're a few couples or a family you probably would be more comfortable in those.
A WONDERFUL RESTAURANT IN CAPE TOWN -- writes Jane in Lakewood, USA -- I have a wonderful Cape Town restaurant to recommend. Run, do not walk to the Africa Cafe at this address (108 Shortmarket St., Cape Town, 8001) and expect an exquisite dinner. They offer an amazing assortment of traditional dishes from around Africa; you will not be disappointed in the experience. There are so many offerings and so many courses that while I had a chance for seconds, I was absolutely stuffed after the first round. Website: www.africacafe.co.za Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR'S NOTE: Even if you're not going to Cape Town, I suggest you log on to Cafe Africa's website. It's one of the nicest, most welcoming sites we've seen.
SATURDAY IS USUALLY WEDDING DAY SO BRING YOUR CAMERA -- writes Meg in Andover, USA -- The next time I go to Tokyo I want to revisit the Meiji Shrine on Saturday morning and video the Shinto weddings and processions. On my last visit I discovered Saturday is a special day for weddings at that location. I probably saw ten wedding processions that morning and the photo opportunities were plentiful. And, in Granada, Spain Saturday afternoons seem to be the time for both weddings as well as bachelor and bachelorette celebrations. One day in Granada I had the chance to dance in the street with a groom-to-be who was celebrating his bachelor party in a flamenco dress. Great fun!
A GREAT GUIDE IN VIET NAM -- writes Beth Marie in Saskatoon, Canada -- For the last two years I have used a guide from Da Lat to see the Central Highlands where it's necessary to have a Vietnamese guide (in order to get into some of the minority villages, etc). This man's name is Tin, the owner of the Groovy Gecko tour company. Tin is very knowledgeable and a perfect gentleman, fun to travel with and someone who knows good and inexpensive hotels and places to eat. In the three days we were with him we spent less than $10 USD on food and what we had was more than enough and very tasty. I could not recommend him more highly. Email: email@example.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Need more Viet Nam information? Check out '25 Things a Woman Should Know About Ho Chi Minh City'
Choose inexpensive jewelry as you travel...
traveling I like to buy mementos at each destination
and find that my favorites are inexpensive necklaces
and earrings. Purchased
away from home (and sometimes at flea markets), they
have exotic designs, styles and colors. When travelling
with a tour group, I only pack a basic black dress,
two pairs of slacks (drip dry) and a few blouses. With
dozens of striking (but inexpensive) necklaces from
all over the world, no one ever notices that I'm wearing
the same clothes day after day. If I lose or break a
piece I don't ever fret. It just gives me an excuse
to buy more. Take note, ladies!
Buy children's books as you travel...
For the children on my gift list, I like to buy story books by local authors in the countries I visit. There are often English translations available. When you arrive home you can share your travel experience with the children through these stories. For example: I bought a book in Alaska, "The Salmon Princess", a beautifully illustrated fairy tale set in Alaska. Likewise I bought a book about the circus in Sarasota, Florida at the Ringling Museum. Museum gift shops are a wonderful source of beautiful, different gifts for yourself and others at home. If you're a teacher you can often find enriching books and games that your pupils will love in these shops around the world. P.S. Keep an eye out for children's books illustrated by award-winning artist and single mom, Barbara Lavallee. A resident of Anchorage, Ms. Lavallee won special attention for her work in 'Mama, Do You Love Me?' written by Barbara M. Joosse.
If you'd like more hints about shopping for children
we suggest the article, 25
Tips for Shopping Abroad for Kids.