Better value found overseas
Yes, Rob McCormack (Traveller Letters, November 3-4), anyone with a spare bedroom can charge $300-$400 for a one-night B&B stay. A recent supplement in this newspaper produced lists of B&Bs with an average $300-a-night price tag. These tariffs are astronomical when you consider Europe is readily travelled at $100 to $140 a night a couple, and many Asian hotels are available for less than that.
I understand four-star price tags for city hotel rooms with bells and whistles, but paying the same for a rural setting, chocolates on the pillow and a bowl of potpourri is over the top. What Australians want is value for their money. Many Australian hospitality businesses are suffering for lack of trade and overpricing is a big factor.
Rob McCormack's letter reminded me of our quality three-bedroom French stone cottage rentals in Auvergne, Loire and Ariege (all with a fridge full of food and wine to begin our stay), none of which cost any more than $800 a week. When planning a driving holiday along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, we were quoted $300 a night and when I queried this cost I was told I would receive "a sumptuous breakfast"!
All quiet on the Egyptian front
I have just got back from Egypt, where I had a great and safe time. I have been there before and this time stayed mainly in Cairo, at the Sara Inn, and was saddened by the empty markets and other tourist areas. The Egyptians are, mostly, very friendly and welcoming and need the tourists to survive. Also at about £E6 to the dollar (it was £E4 on my last visit), there are bargains to be had with shopping, accommodation, etc. There were no big crowds at the pyramids, Khan el-Khalili market, the museum and so on ... now is a good time to go.
A big hand for happy landings
Why do we not applaud the landing of a flight any more these days? It occurred to me, while returning from Dublin recently, that the clapping for the pilot's smooth and safe landing is never done now. We used to do it every time. I'm not sure when it stopped, but I haven't heard it for years. Bring it back, I say.
Falling for the falls
We heartily agree with Peter King regarding Iguazu Falls (Traveller Letters, October 27). We have just returned from a South American trip that included Iguazu Falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. Both are spectacular and impressive in their own ways and neither side should be missed if you can help it.
Also, a stay at Hotel das Cataratas in the national park on the Brazilian side of the falls offers the opportunity to walk to the falls and enjoy them in solitude before the national park opens, with only agouti, coati and monkeys for company. An expensive option but worth every cent.
Michele and Dale Rattle
A380s still come with baggage
You welcomed the birthday of the Airbus A380 (Traveller, October 27-28) but one aspect you didn't mention is the capacity of an airport to deal with hundreds of passengers at once. We recently arrived at Melbourne Airport in the evening and while Immigration and Customs coped fine, baggage handling was abysmal. Bags filled the carousel three deep, making it almost impossible to retrieve many bags and dangerous to retrieve some. Even a baggage handler to stand cases up would have helped; passengers tried to help one another but a system capable of handling the volume of luggage that comes with an A380 is needed. Do other airports do it better?
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