Letters: World's worst drivers? Try China

Maybe we're all bad drivers

If Nikki Keene thinks that drivers in Belgium are "truly appalling" (Traveller Letters, February 2-3), she should visit China, in particular northern Sichuan Province. Drivers use the centre of the road to pass on bends, reverse on bends and practise all manner of unthinkable driving habits.

- Wayne Stinson

Planes? Trains? No, automobiles

William Tuck suggests travelling in Italy by plane or train (Traveller Letters, February 9-10). I respectfully disagree. We lease small cars whenever visiting Europe. The advantages include door-to-door transport; staying at B&Bs or inexpensive country hotels; and taking scenic routes with little traffic. For about $40 a day we lease a Renault Clio for six weeks, complete with GPS, full insurance and unlimited kilometres. Add about $800 for diesel and we are set for 8000 kilometres of comfortable, easy travel through Europe. One hint: never travel during the expensive European summer holidays.

- Keith de Jong

Gooood eatin', Vietnam

A highlight of a recent trip to Vietnam was undertaking a five-hour food tour in Hoi An (tasteofhoian.com). Our host was knowledgeable and personable and the hands-on tour taken included a market, street stalls and restaurants, as well as more tastings at the tour company's headquarters. We made confident food choices for the rest of our holiday.

- Claudette Earl

Each to their own path

Maxine Hardinge correctly notes that travel on Europe's Camino is for reflection and mindfulness, not merely reaching a destination (Traveller Letters, February 9-10). The world has diversified since early pilgrims started walking: people seek experiences to match their own frame of reference and capacity, not just to be "authentic" to ancient intentions. You can walk any distance, alone or in groups, take a bike or wheelchair along some sections of the Camino. The chance to be mindful or clear the mind, walking in a beautiful ancient setting, should not be restricted to those fit or robust enough to do it the hard or ancient way.

- Deborah Rhodes

Check your pilgrimage privilege

My husband and I walked the final 120 kilometres of the Camino, from Sarria to Santiago di Compostela. At 72, we're a bit past "privation" and "stripping one's life down to essential needs" (Traveller Letters, February 9-10), so, yes, we used small hotels and had our luggage transported for us. That said, we were always mindful of our journey and the thousands of pilgrims in whose footsteps we were walking. We made new friends and enjoyed meeting like-minded people from all over the world. I wonder what Maxine Hardinge thought of the lycra-clad cyclists roaring along the Camino.

- Wendy Brophy

Frothing at oversight

As a parent who has travelled with young children in Asia, I enjoyed Lesley Holden's account of a visit to Myanmar with her 10-year-old son. ("Boy's own adventure", Traveller, January 26-27). But when I read of their enjoyment at "being smothered by 30 affectionate cats" at Inle, I was more than concerned. Rabies, a killer disease in Asia, is transmitted to humans through bites and scratches from infected mammals. Dogs are the main culprit, but bats, monkeys and cats are also culpable. I still recall the advice of our travel doctor, who warned my children: the best way to avoid rabies is to avoid all contact with animals.

- Owen Hugh

Something to mull over

I enjoyed the article by Sheriden Rhodes about Liverpool, Britain (Traveller, February 9-10), particularly as I intend visiting the city in a couple of months. I note, however, that while the Isle of Mull scallops Rhodes enjoys at a Liverpool restaurant sound delicious, the Mull of Kintyre Rhodes refers to is miles away to the south.

- John McLean

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