Traveller letters: Paying to go to the toilet is the scourge of travel

FAIR GO I

It is surprising that travel associations throughout the world have not been more proactive in attempting to get rid of that scourge of all travellers – pay toilets – and it is time that this came to a complete stop.

In recent years most unforgettable experiences have occurred at London's Paddington Station, Tyne Cot War Cemetery at Passchendaele and Como Railway Station in Northern Italy. In the latter case, before deciding to take the 45 minute walk from the Como Railway Station to my hotel, I was asked for a euro coin to visit, with a "no coin, no go" explanation.

Fortunately, as circumstances turned out, Lake Como did not become the only viable alternative. Providing and maintaining toilets in any place is an ordinary cost of doing business - well it is at my place.

ANDREW TRAILL, NEWCASTLE WEST, NSW

FAIR GO II

I was delighted to read your article on Chillon Castle (Traveller, January 18). it brought back memories of a beautifully calm clear autumn day in Montreux when I explored the castle many years ago. You did not mention one aspect that intrigued me. The walk through the castle led through a long narrow room overhanging the water, with a bench under the windows. When I looked at it more closely I realised that the bench had six or seven circular holes in it – a classic communal loo with a long drop to the lake in real outback style. What a wonderful place for the castle's inhabitants to socialise.

JANICE MCADAM, ROSEVILLE, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK: THRIVE AND SURVIVE

In November last I spent a month in Sri Lanka visiting my Australian-Sri Lankan family,   six months after the 2019 Easter bombings in Colombo. My three young Australian-Sri Lankan grandsons were living safely down south, but were old enough to feel alarm at this news – asking their Sri Lankan mother if they too might be killed. Six months later their daily lives have resumed their normal routine. They are laughing and playing with their friends, their cousins, their school mates. 

As a result of the bombings there was, understandably, a huge drop in tourism. Only a few months earlier, anyone who could afford to  had Sri Lanka on their "must do" travel list. The country was booming. This was my ninth visit to Sri Lanka and this time I travelled further north, safely and securely, driving up  from Colombo to the lovely hill towns of Kandy (pictured), famous for the Temple of the Tooth, and the hills tea plantation areas of Nuwara Eliya and Ella. 

I'm glad to say that the tourists are returning, if not yet quite in droves. Sri Lanka, this beautiful and diverse tiny island of some 20 million people, continues to thrive and survive. "Mum," my daughter-in-law said to me me with a smile, "we have survived a long civil war, we've lived through a tsunami, and now we've come through this year's Easter bombings. We will be OK."

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GLORIA MELTZER, CHEWTON, VIC

HIRE POWER

Jeff Lipshutz (Traveller letters, January 25) needs to promptly abandon any loyalty to Avis. I recently booked on earthcarhire.com a car for nine days in Italy for $358. Avis quoted $550. There is no reason to book any car rental direct. Use a specialised Australian car rental agency where you will always get cheaper rates, many inclusions, customer service and a person to negotiate any issues. Thank you Vanden. An agent has more clout than one-off customers emailing Avis.

LINDSAY SOMERVILLE, LINDFIELD, NSW

OFF WE GO

Thanks to James Lafferty's article on Ibiza, my wife said "let's give it a go". So after a dozen visits to Spain we are booking our first to Ibiza. We already have all the Café del Mar CDs.

JOHN SIMMONDS, COLLINGWOOD, VIC

RISING FROM THE ASHES I

I read your cover story on the ways travel can aid bushfire recovery (Traveller, January 25) with great interest. My husband and I have been travelling around Australia for many years and have visited so many amazing places that we are losing track of them all. I read both Traveller sections each week looking for new ideas but am conscious of the fact that the vast majority of your pages are taken up by overseas travel.

If we are to see more of Australia be it bushfire stricken areas or others, we need you to highlight destinations of interest with full page stories in a much larger proportion than you are doing now.

HELEN BURKETT, BUDGEWOI, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE Our website, traveller.com.au, is home to as many as 7000 articles and guides on Australian destinations. Traveller is planning to increase its domestic travel coverage in coming weeks in view of the bushfires and drought crises. We also recently published a special all-Australian edition of our sister title, Traveller on Sunday.

RISING FROM THE ASHES II

Traveller is the first section of the weekend papers I read and I loved your cover story on 50 ways travel can aid the bushfire recovery. All Australians are feeling a sense of helplessness in knowing how to help.

MARLENE LAWRENCE, BUNDOORA, VIC

CHEAP AS CHIPS

My partner and I recently travelled to Forster, NSW, with very minimal sign of bushfires other than a thank you sign to the firies. We swam at a beautiful beach called Shelly Beach, with crystal clear water and few people. We stayed at a motel in Forster for the $110 (and it was in the school holidays). On the way home we went to Woy Woy for fish and chips, swam at Killcare beach and visited Ettalong and Umina. What more do you want from a holiday ?

K. WEDLOCK MOSMAN, NSW

PUSSIES GALORE

Ross MacPherson's letter on the Roman cemetery cats (Traveller letters, January 25) sparked memory of my visit to the Acattolica cemetery in Rome three years ago. I noted the plethora of cats among the graves of noteworthy sojourners at Rome who included Australian novelist Martin Boyd and Australian writer and dramatist, BR ("Bertie") Whiting, who is elsewhere commemorated by his widow Lorri Whiting's generous gift of a studio in Rome for use of Australian writers and artists. The cats that inhabit the area around the pyramidal tomb of Caius Cestius are cared for by a group of women volunteers who see to their food and health.

MICHAEL SHARKEY, CASTLEMAINE, VIC

EDITOR'S NOTE The location of Cimitero Acattolico of Rome, mentioned in the original letter, should have been Via Caio Cestio.

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