A TASTE OF MOROCCO
My family of three adults is visiting Morocco briefly next year. We fly in to Marrakesh on April 24 and out of Casablanca on the 29th. We would like to see the various sights and have a night in the desert. Can you recommend any companies that can tailor a tour to fit with this short schedule?
Start with Tempo Holidays (tempoholidays.com) or Adventure World (adventureworld.com.au).
These companies will work with you to construct an itinerary incorporating exactly the sights and sounds you wish to experience. You could start with a night in the former capital of Marrakesh and work your way through the maze of alley ways to the Place Jemaa el-Fnaa – the large square, to witness snake-charmers, donkey carts and potion sellers.
Casablanca, the main port and Morocco’s largest city, is great for wandering through the Frenchinspired architecture.
Include a stop at the Hassan II Mosque – its spire is 60 storeys high and the world’s tallest – plus the walls are made of handcrafted marble.
Then make your way to Fez, the largest living medieval city in the world. It too consists of alleyways full of shops, hawkers and small boys promising you amazing things.
It’s overwhelming and easy to get lost so stick with your guide.
HOTELS FOR CELEBRATION
In 2018, my wife and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. We will spend about four weeks on the east coast of America. We plan to stay and celebrate our anniversary at Niagara Falls. Is there a special hotel you could suggest on the Canadian side? We would also appreciate a suggestion for New York.
First, congratulations, and next, because it’s such a special occasion, you must stay where there’s a view of the falls.
How romantic, waking to that view? Here are a few properties to compare: The Radisson Fallsview (radisson.com), Crowne Plaza (niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com), Sheraton (sheratononthefalls.com) or the well-located Comfort Inn (comfortinnfallsview.ca) – all on the Canadian side.
While you’re there, here are some suggestions on how to make your visit even more special: Go for an early morning walk to beat the crowds, renew your vows at the Living Water Wayside Chapel, but don’t invite many friends – it only seats six – then book dinner in the revolving restaurant at the Skylon Tower. Finish with a stroll beside the illuminated falls.
In New York, the Edison Hotel (edisonhotelnyc.com) is well placed in the centre of Times Square.
The Hotel Beacon (beaconhotel.com) offers affordable views of Central Park, the Hudson River plus mid-town Manhattan, and the New York Edition (editionhotels.com) is luxury at a good price.
We are travelling to India next year independently so need to pay for transport and accommodation along the way. We will be travelling in cities and country locations. Are there restrictions regarding taking rupees into and out of the country?
You are correct. There is a penalty for carrying more than Rs 25,000 (almost $500) into or out of India.
And, anyone who still has a few 500 or 1000 rupee notes lying around for the next trip, can bin them.
They are now worthless, illegal and can only be exchanged at India’s Central Bank.
Since the scrapping of these notes (they represented 86 per cent of the currency), more places accept payment by debit and credit card.
Take your debit card and withdraw cash as you need from an ATM, then whittle it down towards the end and perhaps donate any leftovers when you leave.
AHOY SMALL CRUISES
We will be in Costa Rica during April and May next year and want to do small ship cruising in the Caribbean. Can you help?
Small ship cruising on yachts, sailing schooners and riverboats – while preferable because maximum passengers usually sit at about 300 – can be quite expensive.
You will pay for the luxury, lack of queues, personalised attention and access to smaller ports and locations, but if you can afford it – it’s worth it.
Windstar (windstarcruises.com) offer many departures during April and May, ranging from seven to 14 days.
Island Windjammers (islandwindjammers.com), referring to the collective name for old cargo ships, also have a good selection of itineraries on their tall ships over these months.
Or, if you would prefer to go it alone and charter your own private boat to explore at leisure, the Moorings (moorings.com.au) have a range of sail, power, crewed and skippered vessels available throughout the popular destinations of the Caribbean.
Boats of various size and cabin allocations can be hired in the British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, St Martin, Grenada, St Thomas and Puerto Rico.
We are starting a cruise in Venice. We normally look at pre-booked transfers to avoid hassles but we were stunned to be quoted more than $300 for the transfer from the airport to the hotel (Hilton).
Is there a better option?
You have a couple of choices.
A private water taxi with hostess and porter service is about $150 a person one way, or try it without the extras for about $80.
Make your reservations through the hotel (email@example.com).
Public boat transport is also available with Alilaguna (alilaguna.it).
They will stop at the Hilton Molino for a fare of about $25 a person, although the journey takes nearly two hours, compared to about 30 minutes by private transfer. Alternatively, you can travel by land with bus, taxi or private car.
One option is to jump in a taxi or the airport (ATVO) bus to Piazzale Roma (the main vehicle entry point to the historical centre) for about $55 (which takes about 15 minutes), then hop on a public boat ride to Palanca for about $10 a person – catch the westbound number two or 41.
When you exit the water taxi station, turn right and take the 10-minute walk along the waterfront to the hotel.
FEZ MEDINA In Morocco, wander the mysterious alleyways of Fez, the largest living medieval city in the world; get around Venice on a water taxi; and stay in a hotel with a view of the incredible Niagara Falls.