Traveller letters: Age, schmage! Outrage over ageism in cruising

CRUISING FOR A BRUISING

So disappointed to see decade-based age groups used as criteria for suggesting types of cruises (Traveller, October 8). Does your writer Brian Johnston still not get that there are adventurous spirits, lounge lizards, party creatures and solitary souls at every age and life stage.

I'm in my 60s and am outraged by a suggested cruise for "pretty landscapes, historic towns and cellar door visits". Blah! Ditto other age groups. This is unnecessary and uncomplimentary ageism at both ends of the life-line.

So many other criteria to choose: adventure level, activity, cultural interests, travelling solo, family or in a group, wanting to chill or wanting thrills. Age, schmage! Let's move on into a more inclusive world in all ways.

Sue Nelson, Cororooke, VIC

LETTER OF THE WEEK: SNAP POLL

We recently travelled to Tanzania to go on safari through the Serengeti where my travelling companions insisted on taking photographs of the locals trading, carrying goods on the heads, dressing in traditional clothing and other things of interest.

At several of the places we visited we were given permission to photograph the subjects, but these occasions were part of our tour and the subjects expected and received payment.

In many cases photographs serve to educate our children in the Australia as to how well off we are.

Some photos will always inadvertently contain the locals but I am concerned that targeted photos of particular individuals should not have been taken without the subjects consent.

I am interested in your readers' views.

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Ian Dunbar, Ringwood,VIC

SCHNITTY RESPONSE

No, no, no. There are no cranberries with tafelspitz in Austria (Traveller, September 30). Perhaps they commit such a crime in Germany.

But they also (shock horror) put a sauce on a wiener schnitzel, thus exposing themselves as an ignoramus foreigner.

Any Austrian putting any sauce on a wiener schnitzel will be stripped of his citizenship and deported to a culinary void, such as the Netherlands.

Gerhard Engleitner, Glen Waverley, VIC

CLEARING THE AIR

I read with interest the "Letter of the Week" ( September 30) regarding your reader's poor Airbnb experience. As both a host and guest of Airbnb (which, in fact, does have a competitor in the form of wimdu.com.au) I have had good and bad experiences.

I note her choice and praise of Mantra hotels at which I had a bad experience as my room was dirty and I certainly did not obtain an upgrade.

She complained that her review was not posted. I direct her to airbnbhell.com where there are many worse stories than hers and she can post bad reviews to her heart's content.

I doubt this letter will be published as Fairfax [publisher of Traveller and traveller.com.au], like all newspaper publishers, have and continue to lose influence and customers to the new media.

Tony Miller, Ulverstone TAS

Similarly to Marie Elliott, we had a terrible experience in London on the first night of our stay at an Airbnb property. We were awoken by a light being shone into our first floor apartment from the street.

Shortly after, a would-be thief was in the stairwell and was banging on our front door, trying to spring the lock open – at 2am. Only after we banged back from our side of the door, did he stop.

Despite the late hour, our Host-Assist came over and helped check that the thief had really left the property. But we could not go back to sleep, and were afraid to stay there any longer.

We asked for a refund from the owner, as we considered the property to be unsafe. But, after many emails through our Host-Assist and the Airbnb "resolution centre", the owner offered no refund and no compensation whatsoever.

It seems to us that safety should be non-negotiable. An enhancement to the Airbnb model would be a "security centre", to deal directly with situations where guest safety is at risk.

Barbara Yates, Killara, NSW

PISA OFFERING

David Whitley's Pisa guide's claim (Traveller, October 14) that without its tower Pisa would be just a relatively unsung university city downplays Pisa's connection to Galileo, who, if not songworthy is certainly noteworthy. Although whether he ever used the tower to conduct gravity experiments is open to question, it is a fact that Galileo was born in Pisa in 1564.

More remarkably, his birthplace, Casa Ammannati, is still standing today at 24 Via Giuseppe Giusti, an easy walk from the tower for any scientifically minded pilgrim.

Geoff Walker, Glebe NSW

PRICEY? AND HOWE

Dear Pat Schafer (Traveller letters, September 30), like you I was put off going to Lord Howe Island for many years by the exorbitant prices (wait til you investigate accommodation)

However I bit the bullet and went last summer, and loved it so much I'm going again this year. Just go, it will all make sense (and seem like good value) when you get there.

Robyn Hayes, Roseville Chase, NSW

Regarding Pat Schafer's dismay at the steep cost of flights to Lord Howe, there are at least two reasons for this being the case. The short runway is a constraint on aircraft size, hence the need for smaller craft and more frequent flights.

Additionally, sudden and unforeseen strong winds mean that small craft frequently cannot land, necessitating a return to the mainland city, with Qantas obliged to put on an extra flight and accommodate all passengers in a hotel overnight.

Even with the higher cost and possible delay, Lord Howe offers a unique and wondrous experience.

Gudrun Resnekov, Cremorne, NSW

TAKE YOUR TABLET

Since Qantas is a full service airline, when flying back from Gold Coast to Melbourne, I was surprised to see no seat-back entertainment was available (if I had known, I would have made sure I brought a book or iPad).

When I asked the flight attendant about this, her curt response was "bring your own iPads". Hence, don't assume when flying Qantas you will get seat-back entertainment.

Elaine Hoang, Surrey Hills, VIC

CONNOR JOB

I was delighted to see the picture of Mount Connor in the "Where?" item in Check-in (Traveller, October 7). On a trip to Alice Springs and Uluru in August, our coach driver, en route to Uluru, pointed out Mount Connor. According to him, travellers on the road see Mount Connor, think they've seen Uluru, decide there's no need to pay park fees to see it, turn round and go back to town. Well, that's what he claimed. He called it Mount Fooluru.

Merryn Parnell, Warriewood, NSW

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