Letters: Ethiopia a walk in the park

I was amused by Bruce Elder's description of Ethiopia as "a hotbed of lawlessness and disorder" where a walk in the mountains, "stopping to swim in rivers and pools and pausing to lunch in a grove of trees", was a thing of the past (In Ethiopia with a mule, Armchair Journey, Traveller, September 1-2). My wife and I did just that for five weeks last year, journeying slowly from the northern tip of this peaceful, gentle country to its southern border with Kenya.

If Bruce is looking for a safe but world-class travelling experience, try walking in the mountains of Ethiopia, where he can chat with villagers under a grove of trees and swim in the rivers. Locals can be relied on to mind his valuables while he swims.

- Michael Foster

Off the beaten track

With regard to Tim Green's criticisms of holidaying in Australia (Home turf fails to impress, Traveller Letters, September 1-2), swap the Volvo for a LandCruiser and take the kids to the Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island, up the Birdsville Track, or anywhere else off the beaten track that lets them to experience Australia.

- Robert Rigby

Paris match

Well said, Tim Green. In Paris, we stay in a modern, well-equipped flat about a three-kilometre walk from Notre Dame for $24 less a night than we have paid to stay at a very ordinary, poorly equipped B&B in Victoria. The cost of accommodation in Australia, particularly for B&Bs and self-catering stays, is exorbitant and unwarranted; the level of service often diffident and slapdash.

- Trish de Visser

Home and away

My wife and I travel abroad each year and within Australia, too. In every Australian town there's attentive, knowledgable and passionate tourist information officers. We can't recommend in-country travel highly enough.

- Jim Kable

Much to do in Delhi

In response to Susan Braddock's request for exciting activities in Delhi (Indian adventure, Traveller Letters, September 1-2), read Alex von Tunzelmann's Indian Summer for an accessible account of the politics, personalities and passions that have shaped the city's recent history. Hire a car and driver-guide, book a tour at Lutyens' Presidential Palace, visit the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, walk in the Lodi Gardens, or explore the Jantar Mantar - an extraordinary Mogul astronomical construction - and hire an on-site guide to explain it. Visit the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, shop in the boutiques of Hauz Khas and relax afterwards in the old lakeside madrasa at the end of the village. Shop in Connaught Place, Khan Market, and in the chaos of old Delhi's Chandni Chowk. Tackle the traffic to N Block, Greater Kailash, to visit Fabindia's three stores. Have lunch on the terrace of the raj-era Imperial hotel on Janpath, and shop at the nearby government crafts emporium. Plan a sunset visit to Humayun's Tomb, the precursor of the Taj Mahal. And, yes, visit the Red Fort.

- Sandra Alexander

Climb a minaret ...

If visiting Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque, climb the narrow staircase in the southern minaret for a terrific view. Use Delhi's new metro system - it's exciting and quicker than travelling the streets. Delhi has an interesting railway museum in a garden at Chanakyapuri housing what is believed to be the world's only steam monorail. Last, a visit on foot to the lanes to the south of Chandni Chowk is remarkably free of tourist hassles.

- Warren Miller

... and follow the food trail

I recommend Delhi Food Tours. The owners take you on a culinary journey, sampling regional food. I had a blast. It was safe, clean and the price included hotel pick-up and drop-off. If you love food, the tour is a must. See delhifoodtours.com.

- Paula Jops

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