SNORERS ANONYMOUS ONE
Perhaps those disturbed by snoring air travellers (Traveller letters, December 14) should adopt the suggestion of a Kiwi guide on New Zealand's Milford Track. In the days of sex segregated huts, a big kiss on the lips of the snorer was apparently a foolproof cure. I can't say I've tried it, though. Yet.
ROB VINES, POINT CLARE, NSW
SNORERS ANONYMOUS TWO
The solution by Lindsay Somerville (Traveller letters, December 14) to snorers in premium economy (wake them and ask politely if they could sleep quietly) would be as effective as asking those in wheelchairs to simply stand up and walk, or the blind to simply start seeing. Snoring isn't a choice - it's an affliction. Of course, it's hugely annoying to others but those others might consider earplugs over immaturity ("If I can't sleep then neither will you! Nyah, nyah!")
JOHN SCHLANK, GEELONG WEST, VIC
LETTER OF THE WEEK
I was disappointed in Brian Johnston's article on Gibraltar (Traveller, December 7). As one who knows Gibraltar well – my daughter has worked there and has lived over the border for 15 years, and I have visited many times – I know it is not a place to be understood in half a day, but only in the context of its history. It may have not world-class museums, cathedrals, palaces or Alhambras, but it has evidence of the oldest human settlement in Europe, has Roman ruins nearby, was the scene of the Moorish invasion of Europe in the 8th century, has been squabbled over by Moors, Spanish, and English for centuries, and had an army base carved within the Rock as the jumping off point for the North African invasion in World War II. It boasts a concert hall with perfect acoustics in a natural cave inside the Rock. And where else must you cross an international airport in order to enter the city? And how will it meet the post-Brexit threat from Spain? I would invite Brian to hurry back – against his present judgement – and spend a week there, absorbing the fascinating collision between geography, history and politics that is Gibraltar."
RICHARD MACK, DELORAINE, TAS
Your writer David Whitley (Traveller, December 14), and many Chicagoans, are ignorant about the one Chicago experience that's always ignored: the Blues Brothers tour. When I travelled there many years ago (pre Blue Brothers II) I assumed there would actually be an organised tour of the movie highlights such the elevated railway line passing over Elwood's apartment before Carrie Fisher bombed it. Aretha's soul food diner, Ray's music shop, the Cook County office where the nuns' outstanding land rates were paid, out of town the famous Lake Wasapamone concert hall where Cab Calloway danced and sang Minnie the Moocher,and the bar where they expected country and western (cue Rawhide). Alas, no. No local had heard of or cared about such a homage to Chicago, and the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture tour, while marking out other classic buildings and worthy of a mention if not a visit, was a poor substitute.
MEGAN STOYLES, AIREYS INLET, VIC
ABC OF AIRBNB
Having used Airbnbs in Venice, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hawaii and Australia, I need to point out the importance of fully checking details of the accommodation offered. Most importantly: access, position, transport, lift or no lift, bedrooms, bathroom, toilet, heating, cooling, kitchen facilities and appliances. Use the contacts on the Airbnb website to ask about these and to raise any other concerns that you might have before booking, and read the reviews. Apart from one accommodation in Amsterdam where the toilet and shower were under a staircase off the main common hallway entrance, (cramped) and with the added difficulty in drying towels, I have been successful in gaining good quality and value Airbnb stays through extra research. Most recently, two weeks in Barcelona where the host met us at the property, explained everything and even contacted us three days later to check everything was in order. Incidentally, Barcelona is a brilliant city to wander and explore and our Airbnb stay was just perfect for it.
RON PARKER, MOUNT WARRIGAL, NSW
DO DO KAKADU
Don't be discouraged from visiting Kakadu by the slightly sad tone of Julie Miller's cover story (Traveller, December 7). Okay, so the roads to the various waterfalls are rough and the food and accommodation are more expensive than in the city. But wow, what a treasure Kakadu is - a vast wilderness area that is beautiful, isolated and brimming with unique birds, animals and vegetation. I travelled there with my partner and one of our nieces (that is, two women in their 60s and one in her 40s). We flew to Darwin and hired a car to drive to Kakadu National Park, spending a few days at Litchfield National Park on the way, and visiting Katherine Gorge on the way back to Darwin. The roads between the national parks and Darwin were excellent, and our accommodation at Anbinik Lodge in Jabiru had all that we needed - air con, a small kitchen, and a good and affordable open-air Thai Restaurant on-site. Once in the park itself, we did a mixture of day tours and self driving to visit some of the extraordinary sites. We returned from this experience feeling enriched by the cultural and wildlife knowledget we had gained from the excellent guides and rangers; fit from having rock-hopped to Jim Jim Falls and Maguk.
SUSAN KABLE, CAMPERDOWN, NSW
The recent tragedy on New Zealand's White Island highlights the known and unknown dangers of travel. I recalled our visit to Mount Bromo, an active volcano in Indonesia spewing steam and gas. There is a safety fence about 75 metres along the rim that my wife and I ignored. We have photos of ourselves doing a star-jump on a two-metre wide ledge, one side is the caldera with hissing steam, the other a slippery slope down the outer rim. What were we thinking?
MICHAEL COPPING, OATLEY, NSW
I'm generally sceptical of insurance companies and have felt if they can find a way out, they will. On a recent trip to Vietnam my partner needed hospitalisation and an operation. On top of this, her Vietnamese mum passed away while she was in hospital. Covermore Insurance covered all associated costs including upgrades for both of us, flight cancellations and extended hotel stays. Above all that, though, they telephoned us every day to enquire about my partner's condition and recovery. Outstanding doesn't "cover" it.
PAUL SOANES, DONCASTER, VIC