MY HUSBAND AND I WANT TO TRAVEL TO NEW YORK IN MARCH 2015 FOR TWO WEEKS. ARE THERE ANY REPUTABLE COMPANIES YOU CAN RECOMMEND THAT RENT APARTMENTS IN THE VILLAGE AREA, SINCE IT'S DIFFICULT TO FIND A DECENT HOTEL UNDER $250?
ALSO, ANY GREAT WALKING/FOOD TOURS TO AREAS SUCH AS HARLEM?
K. HICKEY, YARRAVILLE, VIC
At this price you're in Air bnb territory (airbnb.com.au), and there are plenty of apartments on their website within your price range.
Since you're renting for a relatively long term and well out of peak season, you should be able to broker a good deal. Look for a property with plenty of recent, favourable reviews and ask lots of questions; a diligent and responsive host is always a good sign.
Harem Heritage Tours (harlemheritage.com) might be just what you're after, and the Saturday-only Harlem Gospel Walking Tour looks like a winner, but New York has many specialty tours.
If you've fallen under the spell of Don Draper and Peggy Olson, the Mad Men Experience (madmentour.com) takes you through locations that feature in the show. Or how about a Five Boroughs Eating Tour with Famous Fat Dave (famousfatdave.com)? Pizza, pickles and pastrami loom large on this tour.
MY HUSBAND AND I ARE CONTEMPLATING A WALK IN BRITAIN IN SEPTEMBER. WE ARE TOSSING UP BETWEEN THE COAST TO COAST (WEMBURY TO LYNMOUTH) OR NORTH DOWNS WAY. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE OLD BUILDINGS AND CASTLES AS WELL AS NICE COUNTRYSIDE. WHICH WOULD BE THE BETTER CHOICE?
P. FORBES, BALGOWLAH
These are both classic British walks, but very different in character. Do you want postcard England or a walk on the wild side? The North Downs Way is a 246-kilometre ramble, mostly through the gentle and well manicured countryside of southern England. You need about 12 days for the full walk and it's easy going for the most part although some of the section between Guildford and Reigate will have you panting.
The Devon Coast to Coast Walk is 163 kilometres and it's also known as the Two Moors Way, since it takes in Dartmoor and Exmoor. It's a tough walk in places and some navigational skill is required when crossing the moors where waymarking is scarce. Jagged granite tors, mediaeval clapper bridges, wooded valleys and the contented farmland of mid-Devon are among its attractions. In its passage across Exmoor the trail crosses steep-sided river valleys, rounded grassy hills and ancient oak woodlands.
The North Downs Way is more popular; it travels through highly populated zones and you can expect more walkers, and it is also well supplied with places to overnight and dine. In either case you'd be well advised to book through a walking tour specialist such as Contours (contours.co.uk), who can arrange accommodation and gear transfers. The Devon Coast to Coast walk begins at Ivybridge; Wembury is about 18 kilometres to the south-west.
FOLLOWING A TOUR OF SPAIN AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER WE PLAN TO CATCH A TRAIN FROM BARCELONA TO PERPIGNAN. WE HAVE SIX DAYS TO DRIVE TO VERSAILLES VIA AMBOISE IN THE LOIRE VALLEY AND PUY DU FOU. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS WE CAN VISIT?
E. MORROW, COOGEE
Tough call but one possibility would be to first head west through the Languedoc, visiting castles associated with the Cathars. From Perpignan, take the D117 to Quillano then turn north through Limoux - try the local version of sparkling wine - to call in at the walled city of Carcassonne.
From there head for Mirepoix, a gorgeous little market town, then plot a route as close to the Pyrenees as possible to Biarritz where you can sample some really fabulous Basque seafood dishes. Head north from there but before you get to Bordeaux turn towards the coast to visit Arcachon, which has a lively market and a glorious setting. From there you're within easy striking distance of Puy du Fou and Amboise.
OVER TO YOU . . .
The question was: "Has the unrest in Thailand made you change your travel plans, and if so what's your alternative?"
"Why put off going to Thailand?" according to B. Stubbs. "My wife and I have just arrived back from Bangkok and we felt very safe. The curfew did not inhibit us in any way. This was our fifth visit and the only difference was that there were fewer people around. One shopkeeper said 'please tell the Australians that they should not be put off coming to Bangkok'."
T. Jamieson writes, "Best time to visit Thailand and Bangkok, hotels 50 per cent off, army in charge, but do stay away from any protests, in fact have just booked a holiday there".
From R. Cohen, "We are taking our family to Thailand for two weeks over Christmas and New Year. We had already booked a house at Pattaya when the trouble started and as we are only passing through Bangkok feel it will not affect us. Maybe with all the military it will make it safer. We were in Fiji when they had two coups and safety was not an issue."
M. Loupis writes, "We've just finished booking the last elements of our annual month-long trip to Thailand. We've stayed there during coups and volatile elections without any consequence except slower traffic. Stay out of the politics. Simple."
Next question: Seeing Australia sounds like a great idea, but has it becomes too expensive for you?
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