Letters: Australian drivers worse than Italy's

Driven to despair

As a regular visitor to Europe, I reject Carolyn Butler's complaints about Italian drivers (Traveller Letters, January 19-20). They are faster than us but infinitely more skilful in both road craft and car control, more tolerant of necessary actions by others but highly intolerant of gross stupidity. I have never seen examples of the bullying tactics so often seen in Australia, no closing the gap to prevent merging, no hogging the overtaking lanes, no accelerating to prevent an overtaking move. They do not run over pedestrians on crossings, nor do they stop and issue invitations to cross; equally, pedestrians do not walk blindly onto the road but ensure that they have caught the driver's eye before stepping out. It works to both parties' advantage. Parking is creative. I much prefer driving with Europeans than Australians. It is far safer.

- Michael Lane

Spreading the word

I recently had my Canon camera stolen by a pickpocket on my first day in Hanoi, Vietnam. I bought a new one, which failed after five days. I was informed by the camera store manager that a replacement warranty only applies for two days from the date of purchase. After a long taxi ride to head office on the outskirts of Hanoi, by which time it was 8pm on a Saturday (but the office was still open), I was ably assisted by an employee who spoke little English but cleverly suggested we communicate via her computer's "translator" program. After a 30-minute discussion via the translator, she agreed to instruct the store to replace the camera. I found the use of the translator ingenious. The downside of this episode is that Canon insists any future repairs be done in the country of purchase. The good news: computer translators are very useful. More bad news: you may have very limited warranty protection if buying an item overseas.

- Horst Kopp

Amazing Americas

After reading Traveller, my wife and I planned a visit to Cuba, Nicaragua and Panama. The trip was a great success and the people in those countries were exceptionally friendly. We never saw so much as a gun or a soldier for the entire trip. Nicaragua was our favourite; Granada, in western Nicaragua, won us over completely with its town-square markets, wonderful Spanish architecture and decorated horses-and-carts. We travelled in a group of six in Cuba, plus guide and driver, and we made good friends. We travelled alone in the other two countries, and again had wonderful guides and drivers. We are both in our mid-70s and we had a ball.

- Bill Reeves


Stars in stripes

After visiting many national parks in India attempting to see the elusive Bengal tiger, I agree with writer Anthony Dennis ("Eye on the tiger", Traveller, January 19-20) that Bandhavgarh is the park most likely to provide that experience. On a jungle drive there, we transferred from a jeep to elephant back and saw two tigers very close by. Another wonderful experience was had at nearby Kanha National Park. We stayed at Kipling Camp (kiplingcamp.com) and rode on an elephant to the river, helping to bathe her and watching her clean between her toes with a stick. Quite magical.

- Jenny Latimer

Drawing a Blanc

My husband and I are looking at climbing the least technical route of Europe's Mont Blanc in 2014. We have not been able to find an insurance policy for Australian nationals that covers this type of mountaineering. Any suggestions?

- Yasmin Hogan


The article "The spirit rekindled" (Traveller, January 12-13) should have stated that 35 per cent of the indigenous employees at the Voyages Ayers Rock Resort are members of the Anangu people, which includes members of the Mutitjulu community at Uluru.

We welcome your travel-related opinions, experiences and letters. Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Email us at travellerletters@fairfax.com.au including name, address and phone number.