When I see readers' letters describing various rip-offs and bargains I'm reminded of two bowls of soup I purchased in recent years. A hearty bowl of lamb soup at a remote cafe in Iceland in 2018 cost me $28. An equally delicious and substantial bowl of borscht in Ukraine set me back $A0.80. Viva la difference.
Graham Meale, Boambee, NSW
THE PRICE IS FRIGHT
In reply to the letter by the hotelier (Traveller letters, November 7) under an apparent assumed name about people "demanding rooms for unfair and unreasonable rates", perhaps he could reflect on the exorbitant room charges that apply to bookings in hotels when demand is high due to special events. New Year's Eve, holiday weekends, major events like Vivid in Sydney and similar. They certainly "take advantage" of these prime times. It seems he wants the law of supply and demand to be selective in his and his fellow hoteliers' favour.
Rod Ralston, Clovelly, NSW
If you're looking to help out NSW's bushfire-ravaged South Coast by holidaying there, my advice is to take a half-sized Esky rather than a full one, as we struggled to find places open until mid-week, perhaps having worked all weekend. However, come Wednesdays, things liven up and of particular note is the Pelican Rocks Cafe in Greenwell Point where you'll enjoy world-class fresh seafood and wonderful service. Bookings are recommended as the queues are long, or eat your takeaway at the waterside park opposite. Be aware that the local pelicans make labradors look like amateur beggars, and they could also teach seagulls a thing or two about blatant thieving.
Shona Parker, Willoughby, NSW
Oh, Brian Johnston and Catherine Marshall - your contributions to the "Lost worlds" cover story (Traveller, November) evoked major fernweh (far-sickness) and tearful nostalgia as we too are desperate for mountains and enjoyed New Year 2020 in Austria's Arlberg. This is the first December in nine years that we're not heading off to magical Europe. We'd planned to hunt down the Northern Lights this year but instead we'll be grateful for our staycation in stunning Sydney and to enjoy some armchair travelling.
Rhoda Silber, Manly, NSW
HAIR OF THE DOG I
In response to Rosemary Macey's comment that "there are very few people who are allergic to pet hair" (Traveller letters, November 7), there are probably more than she thinks. My wife, for example, was allergic, but that did not prevent us from being owned by two cats. Personally I would find it quite disgusting if I found dog hair in the bedding; I once dumped a girlfriend because she insisted on allowing her dogs to sleep in the bed.
Dave Horsfall, North Gosford, NSW
HAIR OF THE DOG II
Rosemary Macey (Traveller letters, November 7) in her letter about pet hair made the inaccurate claim that very few people are allergic to pet hair. While this is a travel site, I am surprised that neither she nor the editors checked the accuracy of her claim. There is unfortunately a lack of scientific studies in this area. Around 20 per cent of Australians have a pet allergy, mostly to cats and dogs, and mainly to saliva on dander and hair. European estimates range from 10 to 56 per cent of citizens being sensitive to animal hair. Whichever way you look at it, these figures hardly represent "very few people".
Tim Lucas, Melbourne, VIC
HAIR OF THE DOG III
The Element Hotel Richmond, Melbourne, which opened last year, was mentioned in a recent edition of Traveller. Pets are welcome there but unfortunately our dog was just over the hotel's 20 kilogram limit. Nevertheless we decided to spend a night there. It is a beautiful modern hotel and tastefully decorated with lovely public places in which to sit and relax. The rooms were comfortable with everything you could want or need and the beds are heavenly. There was even a spa on the balcony that was very relaxing and pleasant to sit and chill overlooking expansive parklands. The staff were friendly, patient and accommodating with the location lending itself to interesting and wonderful walks along the Yarra River and around the trendy shopping strips of Swan Street and Bridge Road. Bicycles are available from the hotel and it is just a short tram ride to the city centre. Thank you Traveller for bringing this hidden gem to our attention.
Jennifer Richtman, East St Kilda, VIC
Early November a surprise email arrived from Cover-More stating that I may be eligible for a refund for a policy I took out for a single trip to Kyrgyzstan in August this year. Like all trips it had been cancelled. I applied for a refund and the same day the total premium amount ($703) was credited to my credit card. I am a happy customer.
Fiona Hainespettet, Pullenvale, QLD
Correspondents have been writing about certain travel insurers and credit cards (Traveller letters, October 31). I had an experience with Allianz that has left me wary and disappointed. For very many years I have been covered for travel insurance with an ANZ Platinum credit card. For many years they were underwritten by QBE insurance. QBE were fantastic when it came to covering pre-existing conditions, and there was opportunity to speak to somebody and there was nuance with details. Then Allianz took over, you can no longer talk to anybody, there is no nuance in the online questions and I am now written off for cover. Given that nothing in my history has changed, why will they now not cover conditions that QBE always did? This is a big loss for the consumer who may pay extra fees to be able to get insurance with their credit card.
Judy Hungerford, North Curl, NSW
Send us your travel-related tips, opinions and experiences
Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Preference will be given to letters of 50-100 words or less. Include your full name and suburb. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
See more: Traveller Letters