BALTIC OF APPROVAL
We recently spent a "white" Christmas in Vilnius, Lithuania. I was a little dubious; we were taking a budget carrier, Air Baltic, to Riga from Abu Dhabi (direct flight) and then driving to Vilnius. Our car from a budget rental turned out be a blessing; we were dropping the car in Vienna and there was minimal charge for the company to drive back to Riga compared with some of the bigger rental companies.
Air Baltic turned out to be very reliable, with excellent service and on time. Meals had to be ordered beforehand; you could order on the plane but euros were needed (which we didn't have and their credit card machine was not working).
Riga is an amazing city and one of the best and most authentic Christmas markets I have experienced, although being on the euro it wasn't as cheap as I thought. Vilnius is a small city and we were lucky to go on the free walking tour of the city, seeing the old Jewish ghetto and the Republic of Uzunius. This was a highlight. We then spent New Year's Eve in Poland and onto Bratislava, which I feel is completely underrated.
Poland was extremely cheap on the zloty and definitely a foodie destination. Would love to return in summer.
Amanda Maxwell, Huskisson, NSW
Carmel Liddell's letter regarding her stay on the Ile St Louis (Tip-o-meter, January 21) brought back happy memories of our recent trip to Paris. However we stayed at the Hotel Lutece, which is run by the same company, so just as good.
We chose the Hotel Lutece as it was only a couple of doors from our favourite restaurant, Aux Anysetiers du Roi. We have been going to this restaurant for many years, including three out of four nights on that trip, and it never fails to impress us with its menu of simple classic French cuisine cooked to perfection.
Julie Jester, Lane Cove, NSW
In response to "Once Bitten" (Tip-o-meter, January 21), Gordon Bell take some responsibility for your own actions. Breaking a tooth on a hard piece of chocolate is hardly (pun intended) a valid case. You would be able to feel the condition of the chocolate when picking it up. Had you damaged your tooth by biting into a foreign body in your bread roll or meal, then yes, you would have a case. Good on you Singapore Airlines for not caving in to such nonsense.
G. Engleitner, Abu Dhabi, UAE
On a recent trip to Tokyo the family caught the monorail to Haneda Airport. It was the best experience; we watched the traffic jam below from up above on the suspended track. It cost about $7 per person, took 15 minutes from Hamamatsucho station and when we stepped out of the carriage we were literally at the open doors of the airport. It was one of those "wow, how easy was that" moments.
Lesley Wardman, Greenwich, NSW
TAKES THE CAKE
For anyone keen to celebrate a milestone birthday in style, I would recommend the Ritz Carlton Millenia, Singapore.
Having always travelled in the middle lane, I decided to do something different for my 60th birthday. I booked a Club Kallang room at this hotel, which was their cheapest in the Club category.
When they learnt it was my 60th birthday, they surprised me with a celebration I could never have imagined even in my wildest dreams.
With an upgrade to a suite beautifully decorated for the occasion and blessed with breathtaking views of the Marina Bay, they baked a delicious cake for me and had two birthday cards signed by staff members and a rose petal bubble bath waiting for my arrival.
Furthermore, every staff member on the Club level personally greeted me by name – some people the following day when they turned up for their shift.
Not having celebrated a birthday in my entire life, I am eternally grateful for all the efforts they put in to make it a very special day. I am glad I made the right choice.
Sriyani Perera, Southbank, VIC
WAKE UP CALL
I was appalled when I reached the end of the article on Spain to find the comment from a British visitor about the times the Spanish prefer to eat in the evenings (Traveller on Sunday, January 14). Would she like the UK to change their dining hours to suit visitors from other countries? The whole pleasure of travel is seeing how people in other countries live. I have never had a problem.
Jehanne Lambourne, Rozelle, NSW