Dainty Kane Blog
Dainty Kane Guide to New Orleans March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a bucket list guide for New Orleans to help you explore this party destination filled with so much to do, see and eat!
Why go to New Orleans?
New Orleans is probably one of the coolest places on earth. The food, people, music, architecture, history and nightlife make it one for your bucket list!
Dainty Kane New Orleans Bucket-list
- Watch a live band, bands play at almost every bar in the french quarter daily. Follow the music, sit down, grab a drink and enjoy!
- Try out the local delicacies
- Go to comedy show
- Visit Louis Armstrong park
- Guided tour of the cemeteries or plantations
- Swamp tour
- Ghost Tour, go on the night slot to make it extra spooky.
- Sea plane over the city and swamp lands, this was amazing!
Where can I stay in New Orleans?
The Ritz Carlton
Where is good to eat Po Boys in New Orleans?
Killer Po Boys
- Po Score, 5/10
- Close to the french quarter
- Bit too much salad and the watery sauce made the bread soggy
- Healthier than most so if your looking for a typical New Orleans Po Boy packed with toppings try somewhere else
Mahoneys Po Boys
- Po Score, 9/10
- Delicious and fresh crispy shrimp
- The secret sauce was amazing
- Great atmosphere and friendly staff
- Po Score, 10/10
- Parkway Tavern is located on the outskirts of the city and takes a 15 minute taxi ride to get there but you won't be disappointed it is the best place in New Orleans for Po Boys
- You order at the window and collect when it is ready
- This place is so good even Obama visits!
Other foods to try in New Orleans
- Cajun stews
- Dirty rice
- Beignets @ Cafe Dumonde (Cafe Dumonde is busy from dusk to dawn but the queues are worth it just to sample their sugary crispy pastries)
Where is good to shop in New Orleans?
The French Quarter
- You can find homeware, gifts and art
The French Market
- Best for finding local food and spices, art & crafts, souvenirs and clothing
Dainty Kane Guide to Venice March 30 2019, 0 Comments
How can I get to Venice?
You can fly into Venice Marco Polo airport or you can also fly into Treviso airport if you are departing from another Italian or european city.
To reach Venice from the airport you can either get a water taxi which will take you directly into the centre on Venice or you can catch a bus which will take you to Venice's central bus terminal from here you can walk into the centre.
TOP TIP If you opt to take a water taxi it costs around 100euros from the airport to the centre. The cheapest option is not to pre-book but to catch one at the airport as they are competitive on pricing, the more people the cheaper it will be as you can split the costs.
The rail network in Italy is fantastic, we travelled from Naples to Venice by train. From the train station it was a ten minute walk to our hotel.
Where can I stay in Venice?
We stayed at the Antica Locanda Montin. It was located on a quiet side street next to the canal in a quiet residential area. It is only a 15 minute walk from the bus or train station to the hotel. What was great about the hotel was that it was family run and very traditionally decorated.
Its costs around £70-£100 per night to stay at the Antica Locanda Montin so it is budget compared to the opulent hotels available in Venice. (Although they come with very opulent price tags)
The hotel is family run, the brothers are keen fishermen so most days the specials at the hotel restaurant will be what was caught on the day. Surprisingly (for a hotel restaurant) it had a lot of charm, reasonable prices and was very popular with the locals.
You can check availability and book online here
How can I get around Venice?
There is no vehicle traffic as there are no roads in Venice which is quite refreshing. The best way to get around is by foot as there is so much to explore and each narrow alley is worth exploring.
The price of a Gondola ride in Venice varies depending on what time of day it is, who the driver is and where you have boarded the boat. Most Gondola rides are either 20 minutes or 40 minutes long.
TOP TIP - Board a gondola in one of the quieter parts of the city away from the canal grande and it will be much cheaper than catching one on the main drag.
I think this was a well timed photo... : )
You can also grab a water taxi if you fancy travelling on the water, there are also water buses and you will see the signs at the end of the little piers across the city.
What's good to do in Venice?
As silly and simple as it sounds walking around Venice is amazing in itself. The not knowing where you are but not feeling lost as you can follow the water is brilliant. Wander around the alleys, a few may take you to dead ends put that's all part of the fun.
See a show
Visit the basilica de San Marco
St Marks Square
Enjoy the street entertainment
What's good to eat in Venice?
CANNOLI'S and seafood. I never even knew what a cannoli was until I visited Venice and it really was one of those moments where you think WOW how did I not know until now that these existed?!They are a small croissant like pastry filled with either white chocolate or nutella.
There are small delis and pizza shops dotted around Venice so you can pick up a snack along your travels.
As for dining out in the evening there is plenty of choice. We chose to stay local to our hotel most evenings as there was a fantastic selection of rustic cosy restaurants in the area such as La Bitta and Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti which I would recommend.
What's good to buy in Venice?
Paintings, leather handbags and beautiful hand painted Venitian masks. You can barter for everything so if you see something you like but the price is a bit high return later in the day and they may gave you a discount.
Dainty Kane Guide to Lisbon March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a bucket list guide for Lisbon to help you explore this magical portugese city
Where is Lisbon?
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal which sits alongside the Atlantic coast.
It is a lively and bustling city that offers everything you could want from a holiday. - Beaches, arts, culture, great shopping, and vibrant bars. It isn't well known for it's food scene but if you are a foodie you will be pleasantly surprised with what's on offer.
How to get there?
Ryanair offer cheap flights to Lisbon from airports across the UK including Manchester, Edinburgh, London Stansted and Glasgow. The average flight time from the UK is 3 hours.
Lisbon airport has a great transport network you can reach the city centre in 15 minutes on the metro directly from the airport. To catch the metro from the airport exit the departure area to the right and head down towards the station the ticket machines will be on the left, tickets cost €3.50.
Alternatively there are taxis available too, from the airport to Lisbon city centre costs €20.00
Where to stay in Lisbon?
Accommodation prices are much lower than other popular European capitals such as Paris, Rome and Barcelona. If you are looking for something cheap and cheerful but in the middle of all the action I would recommend Lisbon city centre apartments . It cost £106 for us to stay for 3 nights. There was 3 bedrooms which accommodate up to 6 guests so this is a fantastic bargain!
The apartment was spacious, clean and safely located in a residential building next to the famous Tram 28. (The Tram stop is outside the front door...can't ask for much better than that)
What to eat in Lisbon?
A Valenciana, Lisbon
This restaurant is an absolute must visit. It is busy from as soon as the doors open until they closed. The locals flock here for the fresh seafood dishes, peri peri chicken and other Portuguese classics. There is a fantastic atmosphere in the restaurant and it is a great chance to really dine like a local. Dishes start at €7.00.
It is situated outside of the city centre in a local neighbourhood and can be quite hard to find so if you are walking enter the address into your sat nav. 'Rua Marques da Fronteira 157, Lisbon 1070-294, Portugal'
Time Out Market Lisbon
The Time Out Market in Lisbon is an upmarket food market which houses pop up restaurants from some of portugals best chefs. Here you can find many cuisines under one roof including Thai, Portuguese, Italian and many more cooked by Michelin star chefs at a fraction of the price you would pay in a restaurant.
Not the best food pic, apologies >
Campo de Ourique Market Lisbon
The campo de ourique market Lisbon is situated near the old cathedral. It is much more informal than the Time Out market and is also much cheaper. The vendors sell a selection of cuisines from portuguese, japanese to Italian. It is a great place to go hungry and try a few small dishes from several different stalls. There is entertainment here most evenings and it has a great atmosphere. The vendors here seemed to be very proud and passionate about of their produce and told us all about where it came from and their recommendations. -
If you are in Lisbon on a Sunday night they do a great quiz here too.
Belem - Pasteis de Belem
You can hop on a train from Lisbon central station that will take you straight to Belem. There is a tower which is worth a look but the main attraction here is the world famous custard tarts from Pasteis de Belem. It is on the main street in the town centre and you can't really miss it as there will no doubt be a queue outside.
TOP TIP - Most of the people queuing up outside are waiting for a takeaway or table but if you pass the queue and walk through to the back of the restaurant there is a second post were you can queue - and it is much smaller! - See picture for ref : )
Belem tarts are freshly main on-site in their huge ovens and it is extremely difficult to replicate their unique croissant like light and crispy base with sweet and creamy filling baked to perfection.
1-2 tarts each would probably be enough but it is worth buying a few to take home (which you can order from your table) as you will no doubt be wishing you had more later that evening!
I didn't know anything about Sintra until I watched a Rick Stein programme, it really is a bit of a hidden gem. It has medieval lanes, beautiful gardens filled with history and colourful castles high up in the hills.
You can reach Sintra directly by train from Lisbon, its costs about £8-£10 for a return ticket. When you arrive in Sintra train station you can grab a taxi or tuk tuk up to the main town or castles however we walked up to the main town which I would recommend as there was some fantastic street artists and markets along the way.
In Sintra town centre you will find a hub of small bars and cafes, they are all quite touristy serving standard burgers, pizzas, pasta etc and not much to write home but it's worth stopping for a beer and watch the traffic go by to and from the castles.
If you walk straight through sintra you will end up at the stunning 20th century residence Quinta da Regaleira Palace Gardens . This place is truly something to see, you can explore under waterfalls, caves,hidden tunnels and wells. - The best thing is it feels like there is no boundaries or restricted areas.
It is open between 10.00am - 8.00pm in the summer, average time spent here would be 2-3 hours.
Lisbon offers a vibrant nightlife and you will find a lot of hidden gems outside of the main centre. You will know you are about to enter the real party scene when you start walking on a pink pavement 'Rua Nova do Carvalho', this area is full of lively cheap bars and nightclubs that stay open until the wee hours.
Dainty Kane Guide to Marbella March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a bucket list guide to help you plan your stay in Marbella.
How can i get to Marbella?
Marbella is located on the coast of southern Spain just 40 minutes from Malaga airport.
You can reach Marbella from Malaga airport by:
- Taxi - Taxis from Malaga airport usually cost €60-70 euro's one way, before setting off agree a price or ask the taxi driver to turn on the meter to avoid any surprises when you reach your destination
- Bus- Either book privately for pick up from the airport or catch the public bus from Malaga bus station, buses run from the airport to Malaga bus station regularly
- Train - The train goes as far as Fuengirola where you can hop off to explore then catch a taxi or bus for the remainder of your journey
Where should i stay in Marbella?
Hotel El Fuerte Hotel
The Hotel El Fuerte Marbella is a charming family hotel in the centre of Marbella with sea views. This is the perfect base for a trip to Marbella, it is very central so you can walk from the hotel to the old town, main street, etc and there is a private walkway from the hotel pool directly to the beach.
The hotel has been a long standing favourite with visitors from Germany, United States and the UK for many years and many of the long standing staff make every guest feel very welcome.
The hotel has recently undergone a complete renovation yet managed to keep it's Spanish charm.
Sultan Club Hotel
The Sultan Club Hotel Marbella is a family friendly hotel that is located just a couple of minutes walk from the beach. The hotel offers spacious rooms and apartments so it is perfect for families or groups.
The apartment rooms comes with fully kitted out kitchens, living room and huge bedrooms with plenty of storage space. There is a supermarket at the corner of the pathway outside which is handy for stocking up the fridge. There is an indoor pool, beautiful outdoor pool, pool bar, onsite spa, restaurant, bar and room service available too.
The rooms are very clean and comfortable, room Rates are very reasonable compared to most hotels in the area. Rooms start at £140 per night and you can book online here
Marbella Club Hotel
If you are looking for somewhere a little bit extra special look no further than the luxurious Hotel Marbella Club Golf & Spa located on the beachfront. Marbella Club Hotel is one of the leading hotels of the world and was originally the private residence of Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, the founder of the hotel. Back in it's hey day the hotel hosted flamboyant parties for guests such as Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn.
It has retained it's old school glamour whilst being maintained immaculately and offers all the modern amenities you could ask for.
When you arrive at the gates you will find the main entrance, restaurant and hotel bar on the left. The suites and private villas line the pathway on route towards the private beach, pool and bar.
The hotel offers fabulous suites and private cottages starting at £490 per night. Book Online here
Where are the best places to eat in Marbella?
La Cuisine - The Old Town Marbella
La Cuisine is situated in the centre of Marbella old town. The food is very reasonably priced for the standard, most dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients and come in large portion sizes so if your visiting in the evening and you are not too hungry skip the starter. The menu offers a great selection of fresh seafood and other classics such as lasagne but I would recommend the duck, the restaurant has served the same duck dish for years and it never disappoints!
There is no need to book unless you are visiting in a large group, if you would like to book online contact the restaurant through here
Hong Kong de Marbella - On the beach Front
Affordable, delicious and great views. Hong Kong de Marbella is a family run restaurant situated on the beach front near the fountains, the restaurant has a great lively atmosphere and the staff are very attentive. Hong Kong de Marbella offers both indoor and outdoor seating which give you great views of the beach whilst you enjoy your meal.
The menu includes all the classics but also some great set menu options, the quality of the food itself is second to none. The restaurant decor is not glamorous but the food is 5 stars.
Valparaiso - Mijas
A bit out of town but worth the trip, The Valparaiso restaurant in Mijas gives you the rare opportunity to experience old school glamour that Marbella used to offer.
The restaurant walls are adorned with celebrities that have visited over the years such as David Beckham and Sean Connery. On arrival the the owner Raffaele and his staff give you a warm greeting and seat you in the terrace garden for a drink whilst you wait on your table. Raffaele is very passionate about his restaurant and is there on most nights.
In the summer months the dining area is outdoors high in the hills which offer fabulous views over Mijas. There is entertainment on most evenings so even after the meal is finished you feel inclined to stay a bit longer to enjoy the music.
The staff are very accommodating and there is no request to big, they can even create off the menu items but the existing menu offers a wide selection of dishes to choose.
Book a table online here
Arco Tapas Bar - The Old Town Marbella
Dishes at Arco Tapas in the heart of Old Town start at €4.50. They offer a wide range of tapas such as calamari, buffalo mozzarella and Iberian ham as well as daily specials such as mini burgers and prawn & chorizo skewers. Everything is made fresh daily using local ingredients.
Where are the best places to shop in Marbella?
Marbella High Street
Along the main high street you will find Spanish fashion chains such as Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear and Mango. The clothes in Spanish high streets stores such as Zara tend to be much cheaper here than countries outside of Spain so it is a great opportunity to grab a few bargains.
The Old Town
The old town is full of clothing boutiques, jewellers, shoe shops and homeware boutiques.
It is a good chance to find some unique pieces but shop around before making a purchase as some of the shops have similar items but if they have a more prime location they inflate the prices. - You will find a lot of linen boutiques, leather shops and art gallery in this area.
El Corte Ingles
El Corte Ingles is a large Spanish department store chain that house not only Spanish high street retailer but high end brands and small independents. There are two located close to the centre of Marbella, one is a five minute drive from Marbella towards Malaga (Recommended) or there is another in Puerto Banus.
The Puerto Banus Marina is lined with some of the world's most luxurious retailers from Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Towards the bottom of the Marina near Sinatras bar there are a few independent boutiques that offer unique finds for reasonable prices.
What is there to see and do in Marbella?
There is a boat trip that has been running from the Marbella marina directly to Puerto Banus marina since the early 90's and the same guy still sells the tickets!
It's a fun alternative to a taxi ride and offers great views of the golden mile from the sea.
Onboard you can enjoy the views whilst enjoying a drink from the bar, it usually takes 20-30minutes to reach Puerto Banus. They do return trips up until around 10pm. To purchase tickets visit the kiosk at the entrance of the marina in Marbella.
Enjoy a day trip out of town in the country horse riding followed by lunch with the 'Horse Riding Marbella' group. Trips start at €30 for a basic river ride up to two day trips €275 (This price includes food and accommodation.)
Book Online here
Fancy tasting all the local favourites and learn about the history of the area at the same time? Spend the evening with your very own tour guide who will bring you on a whistle stop tour of all the best tapas places in Marbella. Prices start at €100, book online here
Dainty Kane Guide to The Giants Causeway March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a guide to The Giants Causeway Northern Ireland to help you plan your trip to this amazing destination.
Where is the Giants Causeway?
Giants Causeway is located on the tip of Northern Ireland outside a small town called Bushmills in Country Antrim. On a clear day you can see Scotland from the causeway rocks!
Check out a full panoramic view here ... yes it definitely is one for your bucket list.
What is the Giants Causeway?
Many people argue that the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland is the eighth wonder of the world.
40,000 basalt steps create a startling and stunning landscape along the coast of the country. There are several explanations for the formation, you can choose which one to go with...
a) It was formed 50 million years ago by a volcanic eruption or you could believe the more exciting story that a Giant had something to do with it.
b) Legend says that an Irish giant named Finn McCool built it to bring his girlfriend over from Scotland
c)It was man made through hard labour
How can I get there?
The Giants Causeway is only two miles from Bush mills County Antrim which is 1hr 15minutes away from Belfast city centre
Rent a car
You can rent a car and drive up through the beautiful 'Causeway coastal route' to reach the giants causeway or avail of one of the many tour operators that can take you there.
You can catch a bus from the Europa bus station in Belfast city centre however the journey takes over 3 hours so for the sake of a few pounds it is definitely worth investing in a private bus tour.
The official Belfast sightseeing tour offer day trips to the Giants causeway and also stop at other points of interest on the way so is probably your best option if you want to see as much as you can in a short space of time. Book online here
When is the best time to visit the Giants Causeway?
Before reaching the Giants Causeway itself you will need to pass through a visitor centre which does get very busy in the afternoon so it is best to visit as early as possible to avoid the crowds. The centre is open from dawn to dusk, usually 9am to 7pm.
How much does it cost to see the Giants Causeway?
Adults - £10.50
Children - £5.25
Are there other things to see and do in the area?
If you are a fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones you cannot visit Northern Ireland without going on the official tour. Once you have your cloak and sword you will be taken to the secretive spots of natural beauty were the series was filmed.
From Belfast there are two Game of Thrones tours available.
The Iron Islands Game of Thrones Tour
Departs Belfast at 08:00. Visit Cushendun Caves, where Melisandre gave birth to a dark spirit, Renly’s camp in the Stormlands, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the Iron Islands beach where Theon dedicated his faith to the ‘Drowned God’, the Giant’s Causeway, photo stops at Dunluce castle and the Dark Hedges.
The Belfast Winterfell Game of Thrones Tour
Departs Belfast at 09:00. Ferry trip to Strangford. Morning trek at Old Castle Ward, aka Winterfell and Audley’s Castle, aka Walder Frey’s Twins. Inch Abbey, where Robb became King in the North. Afternoon trek in Tollymore Forest to the wildling pit and the bridge where the Starks found the direwolf pups.
Book Online here
Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland
Dunluce castle is situated just outside Bushmills village and is a must visit when you are in the area.
The 17th century castle is connected to the mainland by a foot bridge, the walk offers stunning views of the County Antrim coastline.
Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The dark hedges is a tunnel of atmospheric trees which were brought to fame in the HBO series Game Of Thrones. There are no access fees, it's basically a case of parking up along the roadside and walking down to view the trees. The area does get busy at lunchtime but if you go early in the morning you can more than likely have the whole road to yourself and plenty of opportunities to take some great photos without other tourists in the background.
The Giants Causeway foodie tour a unique opportunity to learn and enjoy local produce from the area. The Causeway Coast Foodie Tour group offer three different tours.
The Whiskey Lads cask & Sea -£250 per person
The tour begins with breakfast onboard fired up over whiskey barrel chipping followed by stops at two of the worlds best scotch distillers 'Ardbeg Distillery' and 'Laphraoig' where you will learn all about the history of whisky making and sample the produce along the way.
Coast and country tour - £55 per person
A tour across some of the coasts hidden culinary gems. There are five stops on the tour where you will have the chance to sample local delicacies from the area.
Catch and sea tour - Recommended - £50 per person
This tour offers the rare opportunity to catch your own breakfast at first light and enjoy the amazing views over Rathlin Island.
Find out more about Causeway coast foodie tours and book online here
Where can I stay near the Giants Causeway?
Bushmils Inn Hotel is nearby, cosy and also has a fantastic bar & restaurant.
Rooms start at £200 which is a bit expensive however it is close to all the action and they have been voted one of the UK's top 25 hotels in 2016 & 2017.
To view rates and book online visit their website.
Galgorm resort is a relaxing haven located 45 minutes from the Giants Causeway. The resort offers a world class spa and dining experience to make your trip to Northern Ireland extra special.
Rooms at the Galgorm Resort start at £375.00, book online directly with the hotel here.
Dainty Kane Guide to Seville March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a guide to Seville to help you plan your trip to this beautiful Spanish city steeped in history.
How can I get to Seville?
You can fly directly into Seville airport although it can be difficult to find departing airports that fly this route. Alternatively you can fly into Malaga airport then catch the train from Estacion de Malaga Maria Zambrano to Seville, Santa Justa station. The train journey takes around 2 and a half hours which goes through scenic Spanish countryside, before reaching Seville it stops in Cordoba so if you wish you could spend the day here before travelling to Seville.
Where should I stay in Seville?
We stayed in a fantastic city centre penthouse apartment which was a great sunspot.
The apartment had all the essentials plus little luxuries like a wide screen TV and an espresso coffee machine. The apartment is owned by a company called 'AT Sevilla Centro' who own several apartments around Seville. The apartment we stayed in was called the 'Deluxe Two Bedroom attic with Terrace- Plaza Magdalena, 3' which was located at the top of a residential building. On arrival a rep from AT Sevilla Centro greeted us with the keys and showed us around, he also gave us some great tips on things to do during our stay in Seville.
The apartment sleeps 4 and worked out at £114 per night.
You can get in touch and book via their website, http://apartamentosevillacentro.com
Where is good to eat in Seville?
There are lots of options in Seville, you can traditional Spanish restaurants, tapas bars (on almost every street), Italian restaurants and indian curry houses too.
Top Recommendations for traditional Spanish food and tapas are:
Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo
Charming, tasty tapas and good value for money
Tapas here start at €2.00 they have fresh meats, cheeses and much more. Read the full menu for Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo Seville here: http://antiguaabaceriadesanlorenzo.com/carta/
A must visit when in Seville.
This restaurant was founded in 1670 but still manages to bring in the crowds every day which says a lot. This restaurant is popular with Families, groups and couples too. You can sit indoors or outside on the square.
It is the perfect place to try real traditional Spanish cuisine, they have a fantastic selection of main dishes and tapas.
Read the full menu for El Rinconcillo Seville and book online here: http://www.elrinconcillo.es/carta-menus/
Looking for something a little different? For a unique dining experience try La Terrazzo Restaurante Panoramico de EME. They offer fantastic taster menus which give you the opportunity to taste a variety of gastronomic delights!
Read the La Terrazzo Restaurant Seville menu and book your visit here: http://restaurantepanoramicolaterraza.com/en/vanguardian-tasting-menu/
What are the best things to do and see in Seville?
Taking time to wander around the old cobble streets is a must. You will come across little wonders that maps just don't mark out. The must-see places include:
- Plaza de Espana, Seville (A huge park located outside of the city centre, which includes a boating lake, cafes,beautiful buildings and gardens).
- Seville's Gothic cathedral (located in the city centre, you can go on a full tour of the inside. It can get very busy so it is best to go early in the morning)
- Gerald Bell Tower (located in the city centre)
Andalusian cooking class Seville
If you want to learn to cook some of the local classics there is no better place than 'Taller andaluz de cocina' - cooking school. The class is located in the Triana food market (just over the Triana bridge).
I would recommend arriving early to explore the fresh food stalls and bars in the Triana market for some tapas, pinchos and live music. The stall at the Triana food market offer great local produce for a fraction of the price you would pay in the UK or US such as serrano ham and sherry vinegar.
'Taller andaluz de cocina' offer several different types of classes and tours to suit everyones tastes and timescales. View all of the classes on offer and price here
We took part in in the Spanish Evening cooking class. The class itself takes around 3.5 hours and is very relaxed, Victor is a skilled chef who leads the class. He takes great attention to detail and explains each ingredient and recipe plus gives fantastic tips.
The class teaches you how to make a 4 course menu, on our visit we made:
- Salmojero (A cold tomato & garlic based soup)
- Spinach with chickpeas (A delicious side or main meal made from spinach, garlic & cumin)
- Cod Fritters (Tasty light dish made from fresh fish served with beautiful sauce on the side)
- Spanish omelette (As simple as it sounds learning the proper recipe for this was invaluable, it tastes restaurant quality).
You get to learn how to create the recipes step by step then sit down to eat your culinary creations with a cold beer or glass of wine.
The class cost €50 per person and was definitely value for money. Book online here or contact Victor to book directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Seville has a great mix of high street stores such as Zara and H&M alongside Spanish boutiques. There are a lot of homeware stores so if you are looking for unique finds for your home this is the perfect place.
The markets such as the Triana Market are a fantastic place to pick up dried fruits, cured meats, sauces and oils to take home with you.
Whilst in Seville you will come across some beautiful churches but during La Semana Santa, Holy week you will get to see the huge procession that takes place and goes around the whole city. It starts in the morning and goes on right into the early hours. There are floats, musicians and prayers said and residents come out to the streets to pay their respects along the way.
Dainty Kane Guide to Positano March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Read the Dainty Kane guide to travelling to and exploring the beautiful Italian coastal town of Positano.
How can I get to Positano?
The best way to get to Positano is by flying to Naples airport and travelling by taxi or bus to Positano.
To travel to Positano from Naples airport by bus:
- A bus leaves on the hour every hour and takes 1h15minutes
- It stops in Sorrento train stations where you have to the "Sita" bus to Positano, again there is one every hour and this bus takes 50 minutes.
- The bus is cheaper but have to change 2 times and it takes much longer
To travel to Positano from Naples airport by Taxi:
Its costs around €100, here are some local taxi services.
- Mr Ottavio: email@example.com
- Vincenzo: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Francesco: email@example.com
Where should I stay in Positano?
Residence Villa Degli dei is a traditional Italian house situated high above Positano in the hills of 'Nocelle'. The house overlooks the town of Positano below, it offers charming suites with spectacular ocean views that you cannot find in the main town of Positano. It worked out at £78 per night which is one of the cheapest accommodations in the area.
It is a long walk up to the villa from the town (Around 6km) however there is a bus that goes up to Nocelle every hour and vice versa for just a couple of Euros per person.
You can walk to Positano from Nocelle but after walking down myself I would recommend the bus, the walk winds around the mountain sides so although it doesn't look like a long descent it is very decieving! There are also taxis available.
Where is good to eat in Positano?
The main town of Positano is filled with cafes, patisseries and restaurants.
The best restaurants are situated at the sides on the town on the hills, the restaurants down on the main beach can be overpriced and lack the same traditional fare and atmosphere that you can find off the main drag.
For true authentic Italian dining head up the hill to Nocelle where you will find a few gems such as 'La Terra, Montepertuso' . But you cannot visit the area without spending an evening dining at II Risotto deli Dei in Nocelle. It is set in a cave which overlooks the sea and the town of Positano. The food is homemade and fresh so the menu can vary from day to day. It is a hidden secret and you will not regret making the trip!
They serve fresh meats dishes, pasta and pizzas, it is also extremely cheap.
Read more reviews of this amazing little restaurant on Trip Advisor http://bit.ly/2nk9olh
See video below for what the atmosphere is like : )
There are lots of boutiques in Positano from designer labels to local designers, you can find beautiful linen clothing, paintings and pottery. Most shops offer free postage so if you find a large item like a painting that you would like to purchase they can take care of the shipping for you.
To access the beach walk through the main town and past the restaurants, you can hire beds next to the sea or you can pay extra to hire a lounger just above the beach which has it's own private bar and toilet facilities. (It is around €10 per person for a day).
You can see the island of Capri from the beach on Positano, you can jump on a boat from the beach to visit for the evening or go on a day trip, book a tour to Capri here http://www.capri.com/en/e/the-island-in-a-day
For more travel tips on Positano visit http://www.positano.com
Thinking of visiting more of Europe? Read our guide to Barcelona here:
Dainty Kane Guide to Thailand March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a guide to Thailand help you plan your trip and give you some insider tips for your travels.
Where to stay in Bangkok?
The Wild Orchid hotel is just off Khao San Road in a quieter street . Rooms start at £13 per night.
It is in a great location, has a warm atmosphere , its clean and the staff were really helpful too. - Excellent value for money!
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is a hub for travellers from all over the world , the street is full of cheap bars , restaurants , shops and tattoo parlours. It is busy throughout the day but it really comes alive at night when the streets are filled with partygoers.
The Grand Palace, Bangkok
Before entering you need to pay an admission fee and if you are not wearing long sleeves you can rent a shirt to wear. The palace is full of huge buddhas , grand temples and beautiful gardens.
China Town, Bangkok
Bangkoks china town is absolutely buzzing with life. The narrow streets are full with food outlets and shops , you can find some really cheap homeware here...it is worth leaving some space in your suitcase if you are planning a trip.
The Lebua Hotel, Bangkok
Renown for being a location on the movie The Hangover , The 5 Star Lebua Hotel offers a luxury stay and amazing views over the city from it's rooftop terrace. They have a strict dress code at the hotel and if you wish to visit the rooftop bar you have to make an effort or they may refuse entry at the lift!
To book online visit their site http://www.lebua.com/state-tower
Jim Thompsons House, Bangkok
The house is a collection of the businesses man's art and most treasured possessions. Jim disappeared in the 1960's and the home was taken over by the Thompson foundation so that they could share his beautiful home and art collection with tourists.
The house itself sits within a small jungle right in the heart of bangkok , it is uniquely built and laid out. Each room is spacious and intricately decorated,you can tell a huge amount of thought went into every detail of his home.
MBK shopping Centre
This is a one stop shopping destination , there is pretty much nothing you won't find in here.
It is 8 stories high with around 2,000 shops! - Plus restaurant , bars , tattoo parlours and even karaoke booths. http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-mall/mbk.htm
Ann's Sweet patisserie
This little cake shop is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea.
JJ Markets, Bangkok
This market is held at the weekends and is popular with both locals and tourists.
You can find independent boutiques plus branded goods too.
Deck Restaurant, Bangkok
The views alone give enough reason to visit this restaurant , it sits along the river opposite Wat Arun and some of Bangkok's other biggest temples which look spectacular lit up at night.
The food itself is fantastic although the portions are quite small so go for the starter and main . : )
Dentists in Bangkok
I had a pretty bad tooth and as there is a dentist on almost every street in Bangkok it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get it checked out.
I visited a dentist at the bottom of Khao San Road were the dentist examined my teeth then gave me a quote. It was so cheap I decided to return later and had three fillings done for 2600 baht / £59 . The practice was very clean and professional , if you spare monies it is worth splashing out on tooth whitening in Bangkok as it costs a fraction of the price you would pay for the same treatment in the UK.
How do I get to Chiang Mai?
The bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes almost 9 hours , its a long trip but a good way to travel if you are trying to look after the pennies as it only costs around £10-£15. The bus route goes through rural areas and makes a few stops along the way for food.
You can also fly to Chiang Mai from Bangkok which takes around 1 hour 15 mins for around £70-£100.
Where should I stay in Chiang Mai?
Accommodation in Chiang Mai is much cheaper than Bangkok and the islands , we stayed at the Awana house which has rooms starting from 400 baht (£10) per night. It is clean , the staff are friendly and the decor is lovely too - win win!
View rates and book to stay in Awana house here http://www.awanahouse.com/english/rates.htm
Chiang Mai was one of best spots in Thailand for food , there is a huge food market , street food stalls and excellent variety of restaurants and bars.
Raming Siam Celadon Tea House
This tea house is a little sanctuary. Located in the middle of Chiang Mai the restored teak house offers an amazing selection of Ramen teas , pastries , light bites and ice creams served in traditional siam celadon earthware. There is a peaceful garden out the back which is the perfect place to spend the afternoon. Find out more here http://www.ramingtea.com/eng_tea_house.php
O'Malley's is an Irish bar and restaurant which is great for lunch or dinner if you fancy an evening without spice , view the menu here http://www.omalleys-thai.com/food-menu/
Hot Chilli is a great place to try for dinner they have a great menu and the atmosphere is brilliant . See more here https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g293917-d1569933-Reviews-Hot_Chilli-Chiang_Mai.html
Chiang Mai Temples
The temples in Chiang Mai are not as busy as Bangkok so you get a great chance to explore around , there is also a school for Monks next to the temples were you can even attend 'monk chat'. 'Monk Chat' is what it says you can sit next to a monk and have a chat!Ask any questions and they do vice versa. Most of the monks are from outside of Chiang Mai , we met two monks from Cambodia and Laos. Whilst we were curious to why they had chosen to be monks they also were curious about how we lived , they have a lot of wisdom and it is really eye opening to hear all about how they live.
Chiang Mai Shopping
The night markets in the centre of Chiang Mai were excellent , they had all sorts of homeware , gifts , clothing and foods unlike the markets in Bangkok a lot of the items were not massed produce so you can find something really unique here.
On Sundays there is a 'Walking Market' which is a 10 -15 minute taxi ride away , it is great for independent boutique clothing brands, organic beauty products and homeware , definitely worth a trip. If you are the first customer of the day at a stall they will rub the money you pay over other items on the stall for good luck. : )
Boxing is a big part of Thai culture .Once you enter the arena it is hard to not get into it as much as the locals , the atmosphere is electric. Some of the matches are just for fun,the competitors wear eye masks and throw some WWE style moves but towards the end it becomes more serious when the heavy weights take to the stage.
Chiang Mai Elephant trek
There are tour agents all over Chiang Mai who offer trips to visit the elephant orphanages or even home stays in the jungle for 2-4 nights.
The day trip option starts with being picked up from the tour operators office and from there you board a jeep that takes you into the jungle . There will probably be another couple of jeeps joining you on the trip with 15-20 people max. The journey to the jungle usually takes 1 hour 30 mins.
Top tips for the trek would be wear shoes with good grips , wear swimwear underneath and only carry £5-£10 in cash max.
We trekked through the jungle to a huge waterfall then made our way back down the steep climb for lunch.
After lunch we went to see the elephants , they seemed well looked after and pretty gentle giants. Without being told the elephants stopped by a ledge to allow us to hop on then the elephants followed one another along the trek.
The afternoon ends with a white water rafting trip , after a quick demo you onboard the boats and set off. - Your tour guide may play a few tricks like...jumping out of the raft to leave you and your group to your own devices so be ready to steer!
On the way back to Chiang Mai we visited a Tibetan hill tribe who were dressed in their traditional costumes , the community was lively with kids playing and people making crafts on their front porches.
Kanchanburi is two hours and 30 minutes by bus from Bangkok.
Where to stay in Kanchanaburi?
Rooms start at £18 per night at Pong Phen. http://www.pongphen.com The resort has poolside bungalows , bar , great restaurant and they can also help you book day tours. It is a brilliant base for a stay in Kanchanaburi , you can get a taxi or tuk tuk into the main town.
The tiger temples
When you arrive you sign a disclaimer...then head into an open area of tigers.
Most of the tigers are lying down and seemed pretty lifeless which was sad although the people that worked there said that this was just because they have been trained by the monks to lie down and are used to people. The temple is controversial as many say that the animals are sedated but the monks insist that this is not the case. You can get up close with the animals and pet the tigers which is quite surreal!
After you leave the main area there is a play area where you can watch trainers doing tricks with tigers , it is crazy to see how lively the tigers are in this area and how they seem so playful and used to humans.
As I said it is a controversial place but it still worth a visit to have the rare opportunity to see these wonderful animals up close. You can find out more details about the Tiger Temples here http://www.tigertemplethailand.com
History of Kanchanaburi
Back in the 18th century Kanchanaburi was an outpost against potential Burnese attacks.
In 1942 Kanchanaburi came under Japanese control , labourers were forced to build the railway bridge under dire conditions and nearly half of the prisoners died. There is memorials and a museum in remembrance of the dead. The museum has an eclectic mix of war memorabilia plus a few random pieces of taxidermy.
Thinking of visiting Thailand's islands? Read our Thailand island guide here: https://daintykane.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/a-guide-to-thailand-islands.html
Dainty Kane Guide to Thailand - The Islands March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a guide to help you plan your trip to Thailand. If you are visiting the island you must get away from the mainland hustle and bustle to experience relaxing on Thailands best crystal clear beaches.
Thailand is famous for it's crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches , it does not disappoint.
Koh Pha Ngan
How do I get to Koh Pha Ngan?
To reach Koh Pha Ngan you can fly into Koh Samui and get a bus followed by a boat trip over to Koh Pha Ngan, the boat takes about an hour. You don't need to book the boat in advance but it is good to get there early to get your tickets in case a big group turns up.
Where can I stay in Koh Pha Ngan?
We stayed at the Malibu beach bungalows which were located at the opposite side of the Island to the full moon party , although it takes a bit longer to get to the full moon party than most resorts it was definitely worth it. The beach bungalows are around £25 per night , the resort is really clean and modern with an amazing pool , private beach and restaurant!-What more could you ask for?!
Check out the Malibu beach bungalow resort Koh Pha Ngan here:http://malibubeachbungalows.com/
Full Moon Party Koh Pha Ngan
You can pay on entry and pick up a bucket (a spirit , mixer and sand bucket) on your way to Ton Sai beach.
The beach is lined with bars and nightclubs plus there are stalls all over the beach selling buckets.
Throughout the night fire throwers dance along the beach entertaining the crowds and the music goes on into the morning.
To check the full moon party schedule here http://www.fullmoonparty-thailand.com/schedules.html
How do I get to Phuket?
After Koh Pha Ngan we made our way to Phuket , the largest island. We got a ferry off the island then hopped on a bus to Phuket but the bus came to a surprise stop 2 hours later in Surathani where everyone was taken off the bus. After waiting half an hour not sure what was going on a guy came out from an office to tell us everyone had to pay 200baht more to get back on the bus to Phuket. 200 baht works at just £5 but nobody appreciated being ripped off , after disputing the extra charge we finally got back on the bus free of charge. (Although anyone who paid were now annoyed too). After all that the bus broke down an hour later and the driver had nothing but a birthday candle as a torch. - ...A lesson learnt to pay a little extra for a better coach for longer coach trips , it is common in thailand to have normal and VIP coaches. - Go VIP for the extra few pounds.
The coach trip to Phuket takes around 6-7 hours it's best to splash out on the VIP coach for the added reassurance and comfort. The 'VIP' bus experience includes pimped out seats , air conditioning , blankets,window curtains and extra leg room and sometimes even a snack box. : )
Where to stay in Phuket?
We stayed at the little mermaid hotel which is right next to the Patong beach , it is budget accommodation but it was clean , the staff were friendly and the location was perfect. - It is right next to the beach and strip of restaurants and bars. It is around £30 per night , book online via booking.com here http://bit.ly/2jUXMF7
Phuket is a tourist haven as it offers cheap food , clean beaches , affordable clothing plus tailors and spas on just about every corner!
You will find more tourists than locals in Phuket and it is quite saturated with the same types of bars , clothing shops , nail bars , etc so if your more interested in seeing the real Thailand 1-2 days is plenty of time for staying here.
Koh Phi Phi
How do I get to Koh Phi Phi?
We caught the ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi , you can book the ferry at any local tour operator office around Phuket. It is an open top ferry so the trip over to Phi Phi offers some stunning views!
Where should I stay in Kho Phi Phi?
We stayed at The Tropical Bungalows which offers rooms from £11per night , it is located up the hill and offers amazing views , a pool , a pool bar and lovely restaurant. It is a steep walk up so if you are carrying lots of luggage you can pay for it to be chartered up on a bike or put your best foot forward and go for it. Book online directly through the hotel here : http://www.thailandphiphitravel.com/roomrates_booking.htm
It is a great serene location and incredible value for money!
Koh Phi Phi Food
Koh Phi Phi has a fantastic selection of restaurants you can choose to dine at the beach front restaurants with sea view, little gems along the back streets or pick something up from a street vendor.
Breakfast is really cheap in Thailand and if you are staying in the centre of Phi Phi it is nice to enjoy breakfast by the beach in the mornings for less than £3.
Pum's cookery school Koh Phi Phi
Pum's located in the centre of Phi Phi and is a must visit during your stay! Pum no longer teaches the class herself but she has past her years of expertise down to her staff.
They offer authentic thai cooking classes at 11am , 4pm and 6pm every day , we tried the 'Pum's little shoes' course which worked out at around £35 / 1500 baht for a 3 hour course and the chance to make 3 courses of our choice.
The class is brilliant they talk you through all the basics of thai cooking and give you full reign to try out the recipes who pick whilst guiding you along the way. - Then afterwards you get to try them all!
View all the different courses and book online directly with Pum's here: http://th.pumthaifoodchain.com/cookingschool.html
Koh Phi Phi Beach Tours
From Phi Phi you can book onto an island tour which includes Maya Bay which is where Leonardo DiCaprio's 'The Beach' was filmed, it can be quite busy so you will be pleasantly surprised that the other islands on the tour offer better views plus peace to snorkel and explore. The island tour from Phi Phi includes :
- A free lunch (Fried rice , green chilli's and fish sauce with some fresh fruit for dessert)
- Shark point - where you can snorkel with baby sharks!
- Viking Cave
- Mosquito Island - stunning and the best for snorkelling
- Phi Leh Bay - You can kayak around the island
- Maya Bay - 'The beach'
Koh Phi Phi view point
It is a short 20-30 minute hike up to the view point in Phi Phi where you can see both sides of the island. The walk is short and intense but totally worth it! It's best to trek first thing in the morning or in the evening when it is not as hot.
Koh Lanta was probably one of the quietest resorts that we visited. We stayed at the Katiang bay view resort which sits right on the beach on first appearance it looked perfect , the views were great and it had all the basic amenities needed. It was pretty cheap but possibly for a reason- it had bed bugs , cats that did their thing on the doorstep and the staff seemed like they didn't want to be there. - Would advise to book somewhere else.
Koh Samui is a little piece of paradise ,the island is full romantic luxury resorts that make the island perfect for a relaxing. We didn't stay overnight but on looking The Banyan tree in Koh Samui offers guests an unforgettable stay with breathtaking views and your very own private villa , find out more and book online here : http://www.banyantree.com/en/ap-thailand-koh-samui
Visiting mainland Thailand? Read our guide to mainland Thailand here https://daintykane.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/a-guide-to-thailand.html
Dainty Kane Guide to the Serengeti March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane have created a guide for you if you are planning on travelling on safari in Africa. Here is the Dainty Kane guide to travelling overland across the Serengeti.
From Dar Es Saleem we boarded an overland bus , it was spacious and the hold was fully equipped filled with camping and cooking equipment. - Everything we needed for our trip across the tough terrains. There a two guides on board with us , one a driver and the other a chef.
There are several checkpoints that you need to go through before reaching the open lands of the Serengeti.
On the way we stopped at local villages for food which serve up basic lunch buffets , rice , chicken and stews are a staple.
Everyone in the group was given a job in the evenings to ensure that everyone is fed , watered and settled into their tents before dark. Pitching tents , fetching water , preparing food , lighting fires ..everyone chips in!
Arusha is the gateway to the Serengeti and the last main town you will enter before the reserve. It sits beside the highest mountain in Africa , you may have heard of it? Kilimanjaro.
We camped beside the mountain which was really special but if you want to get even closer you can climb to the peak. These guys give great tips and advice on how to trek up the mountain. https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/
As you pass kilimanjaro further into the outback the last camp site is called Snake Park , it is famous with travellers worldwide. It is run my an Australian couple , you will find `Ma` at the bar serving up Kilimanjaro beers into the wee hours. The camp gives you a great chance to wash your clothes , charge electricals and get cleaned up ready for the next leg of your trip. There is a great atmosphere in the campsite , most of the groups are on their way too the Serengeti so their is an air of excitement as everyone is looking forward to what lies ahead.
This is where you change from an overland truck to a safari truck , the idea of entering the animal kingdom all starts to become very real!
Masai Marai Tribe
The next stop was the ngorongoro crater where from the highest point you can see panoramic views of the worlds largest inactive volcanic caldera. It is also home to wildlife wildebeests , lions , cheetahs and if you are lucky you may spot a rhino.
After this we travelled down onto the plains and travelled further towards the Serengeti national park. On the way we stopped at a Masai Marai tribe campsite , they don't always accept visitors but our tour leader had been a few times before so they were happy to let us in.
The tribe were incredibly welcoming , they performed a welcome dance and requested that we all got involved. The tribe leader showed us around their homes , livestock , school , homemade furnitures and crafts and told us about their day to day lives.They live off the land and many of the tribe have never left it's boundaries , they love where they live and work very hard to protect their way of living.
Before the young boys are officially classed as men they are painted in white paint and sent into the wild to fend for themselves for a few years to live in the wild so you may see some of the boys in the open plains when you leave.
After visiting the tribe we travelled through the night right into the heart of the Serengeti , the land is open for as far as you can see. We camped at a very basic campsite which had no lights ,a hole in the ground for a toilet and food was only available at meal times , this was because they did not want to attract any unwanted attention from the wildlife. Everyone had to leave their belongings and toiletries in the truck , as you may have visitors in the night! - Apparently Hyenas are big fans of toothpaste!
Next morning we sat off at 5am and got to see animals waking up in their natural habitats. The safari trucks allow you to get super close to animals you never would have imagined. Hippos , leopards, buffalos , baboons , lions , zebras , cheetahs .
The safari truck drivers have radios so alert each other if they spot something of interest then drive towards it to see the action. You will get the rare opportunity to see how animals hunt in the wild.
If you are fan of lion king you will notice how the movie took inspiration from the serengeti , the open plains and lion rock where the lions dwell during the day.
After exploring the open land we moved back towards the crater area where we set up camp for the night , wild elephants also liked the look of the camp and came up to drink water. It is important to remember these are wild animals so you should keep your distance.
The next morning the camp was silent and all I could hear was a lion grumbling! It was clear that everyone else was hearing the same thing and decided to stay in their tents until it went quiet again.
After failing to find a rhino we searched again on the last day but unfortunately we could not find any , sadly due to hunting they are endangered and becoming much harder to find.
The following day we made our to Nairobi , there is a check-point on the way with a large queue. To skip the queue organise your visa before you travel. You can organise a visa for Kenya by sending your application and passport to the London embassy who will stamp it ready for travel , ensure you allow plenty of time for the passport to be sent back to you as it can take 4-8 weeks to process.
The traffic entering Nairobi is backed up for miles so expect a long wait , the streets are bustling with traders and locals hanging out.We stayed at the hotel boulevard which was a guarded hotel in the city centre , it was modern , safe and had all the amenities you would need. http://www.sentrimhotels.net/ After living out of a back pack and camping for a week getting your laundry wash and sleeping in a bed with fresh sheets anywhere was exciting , never mind the thought of restaurant food.
We ate at a reknowned restaurant called carnivore which is an open air buffet restaurant with a tribal theme it serves up sausages , steak and exotic meats such as kangaroos , crocodile , oxtail balls. http://www.tamarind.co.ke/carnivore/ The waiters keep coming to your table until you have had enough so make sure you go on an empty stomach.
Dainty Kane Guide to Zanzibar March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Read the Dainty Kane guide to Zanzibar to help plan your stay in Africa
Getting around Zanzibar
The best way to reach Zanzibar is by plane from Dar Es Salaam airport. The flight is only 20 minutes but it takes you worlds away from the busy streets of the city to the serene coral beaches of Zanzibar.
There are local taxis at the airport but it is best to pre book before you arrive.
Stone Town is the nearest town to the airport , it is a busy trading town which is popular with tourists. Stone Town is only a 4 minute drive along a straight road but make sure you agree a price for the journey with the driver before setting off.
What currency do you need in Zanzibar?
The currency in Zanzibar is Tanzanian shilling , you can order this before you fly from a bureau de change or there is a cash machine right outside Zanzibar airport where you can withdraw money. -When you exit it will be on your right hand side.
Some larger outlets accept card but most shops and restaurants accept cash only. Be wary of people asking if you would like help , they usually follow it up with a charge. Politely decline the offer and ask someone within a shop , hotel or restaurant if you need help or directions to be on the safe side.
Stone Town, Zanzibar
Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar city and this was our base for our first two nights of the trip.
It is a coastal town steeped in history , every street and building has a story to tell.
The best way to explore stone town is to get lost in the winding streets , you will come across extravagant arab buildings, bustling bazaars , craft shops and mosques along the way. - There is a tall church tower which you can use as a marker , just make sure it doesn't go out of site and you won't go too far and get lost!
Most of the hotels & b&b accommodation in Stone Town are in renovated traditional Arab houses.
The more luxurious resorts are based in the new part of Zanzibar city.
In terms of food you are spoilt for choice in Stone Town. Fish , fruit and veg all come from the area so you can't get much fresher , the only thing you may struggle to find is western food such as burgers , chips , etc.
The night markets offers an amazing choice of meat skewers , dried fruits , ice creams , churros and more! If you are visiting the market it is best to go with an appetite.
The Tower restaurant in Stone Town is worth a visit for 1.The amazing panoramic view and 2. The food. They have a wide menu of local favourites plus pizzas and small tapas style dishes to share.
There is an indian restaurant called Radha food house which is really popular , it has a small menu but each dish our group had was cooked to perfection.
Prison Island (Changuu)
Changuu is a 30 minute boat trip from Stone Town. Ironically the prison on the island was never used as an actual prison for criminals as intended however it was used to house slaves from the african mainlands as a way to prevent escape. After yellow fever broke out sufferers were also sent here into quarantine so there is of course and eerie feeling on the island when you think of what it used to be. I would advise to bring a tour guide as the island has so much history it is really interesting to hear the full story. There is a private hotel resort on the island which looked well kept but it was empty , I guess regardless on what they have made it into today the reminder of what once happened on the island still hangs in the air.
Prison Island is also home to Aldabra giant tortoises there is many roaming around the island.
Spice Tours in Zanzibar
From Stone town there are regular 'Spice Tours' which take you out into the country farms to show you where many of the goods we see on our supermarkets shelves are come from. From peppercorns, exotic fruits and vegetables it is amazing to see where it all comes from first hand.
On the spice tour you will see where everything is grown then have a chance to sample a bit of everything at the end, you can also buy some to take away at the fraction of the cost you would say at home. Things like vanilla pods and spices are a great gift to pick up whilst on the tour.
Nungwi is a large coastal village which sits on the northern end of Zanzibar island. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and coral reefs in the world.
There are beautiful beach resorts in the area which come with several restaurants on each , most resorts offer beach bungalows rather than standard hotels rooms.
Nungwi is a great place to relax after a few days of exploring in Stone Town but if you still want more adventure there are water sports available and you can grab some snorkels and check out the coral reefs.
Along the beach there is a turtle conservation centre where you see many types that have been rescued , you can feed and hold the turtles too . Its worth the trip , there is a small entry fee which goes towards housing and feeding the turtles.
For food there are many restaurants to try and seafood is a must as it is caught fresh from the beach , Cinnamon restaurant sits within the 'Z hotel complex' and offers a fantastic ambience , menu and views. http://www.thezhotel.com
Dainty Kane Guide to Marrakesh March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Dainty Kane's guide on the best things to stay and do in Marrakesh.
Getting Around Marrakesh
Marrakesh Menara Airport is about 20 minutes away from Marrakesh city centre.
On the way to the centre you will pass new hotel complexes complete with several restaurants, nightclubs and bars but if you want to be near the real action it's best to stay in the city centre.
In marrakech you can get around the city by foot , taxi , horse and cart or on a booked tour bus.
Taxis are cheap but it's best the hotel books them for you and agree a price.
What currency do you need in Morocco?
Morrocan Dirham is a closed currency so you cannot buy Dirhams before arriving in Morroco.
You can purchase Dirham at the airport on arrival , there is a currency desk located in Menara airport on the way to the main exit.
If you are not intending on returning to Morocco it is best to spend the currency whilst you are there because you will not be able to exchange it outside of the country.
Where should I stay in Marrakesh?
Marrakesh offers many types of accomodation you can stay in a luxurious secluded resort full of ammenties , a hotel in the city centre or try out living like a local by booking through air bnb.
One of the top 5 star resorts in Marrakesh is the Dar Ayniwen http://dar-ayniwen.com/
Air bnb offers the chance to stay in city centre penthouses , traditional morrocan homes or stay in a private room from as little as £10! https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Marrakesh--Marrakesh-Tensift-El-Haouz--Morocco
There are many options of hotels to choose from online , most offering hotels , spas and airport shuttles.
Almost every hotel offers a spa and if not, it is not hard to find one nearby as they are very popular in Marrakesh. Hammam is a steam room and local people usually visit at least once a week.
The hamman ritual is definitely a must when in Morroco. When you go to the spa they usually give you a robe and ask you to change into your swimwear and put this on.
Once dressed they will guide you to a steam room where you will spend around ten minutes , after this you may find it a shock so here`s a warning...you are showered in freezing cold water then asked to lie down on a stone table where they vigorously rub your entire body with a coarse hammam scrub.
When the scrub is rinsed off they will guide you away from the spa area into a relaxing candlelit room for a full body massage. By this stage you may be thinking what could possibly be next! The massage is full body and can be a bit of a killer ,they work on each part kneading out any tension. But afterwards when you are left to relax and start to feel completely relaxed so maybe there is a method beside the madness.
You can book your Hamman experience in Marrakesh here: https://www.madeinmarrakech.co.uk/hammams.html
The Marrakesh Night Market
The market is open during the day but it doesn't truly come alive until after dark. The best time to visit is between 6.00pm - 9.00pm.
As you walk towards the main market the sound of the folk music and the smells of the food stalls grows stronger. As soon as you enter you are inundated with offers to buy souvenirs , take part in games or watch a show.
There is plenty to see here from snake charmers , local folk bands , acrobats and trained monkeys.
It certainly is a unique experience. Rather than being a bystander get involved with the action...when in Marrakesh. Try holding a snake , enjoy the local music , play some of the games and try some of the local delicacies.
Once you pass through the main market you can take a wander around the narrow alleys of souks where you will find everything from locally made perfumes , dried fruits , leather bags , lanterns to traditional ornaments.It's best to pack light to keep plenty of room for your haul!
Marrakesh Spice Markets
To really explore the spices Marrakesh has to offer book onto a spice tour . These guys offer a comprehensive tour which includes the chance to visit a spice market and try them out too. http://www.urbanadventures.com/Marrakech-tour-a-taste-of-marrakech-inside-the-medina
In most of the spice shops they will tell you about the benefits of each spice and you will no doubt leave with bags of treats to try out in your own recipes when you return home. Saffron is pretty cheap in Marrakesh so it's worth picking up some.
Marrakesh Carpet Stores
Buying a rug in Marrakesh is an experience in itself. At the door there usually will be a carpet maker weaving a traditional rug , they will also ask if you would like to have a go. Then you enter the main shop where you will be greeted by a sales person who will guide you to a seated area and offer some mint tea. Then they will ask what colour , size , budget you have in mind. Bare in mind the carpet shops are like Aladdin's cave so it is best to go in with a style and colour in mind as the poor assistants will otherwise be running around for hours looking for a type you may like.
The quality of the rugs is fantastic and the design of each is unique , certainly an investment for your home. All of the carpet stores offer shipping so don't worry about carrying it home with you!
It is really important to haggle for the best price as they will not expect you to accept the first price they offer.
Traditional cuisine is still the number one choice of locals and visitors so you will not find many restaurants in the main city centre that offer westernised food. Although this isn't a bad thing as the food is great.
The food is fresh and locally sourced , the perfect place to try a curry or tagine.
You will find a couple of european restaurants away from the markets on the main road which offer food with italian , french and spanish influences if you fancy something a bit different.
The attention to detail is second to none. The buildings are ornately decorated with colourful tiling , the ceilings are certainly something to marvel so much so you will end up with a sore neck from looking up for so long.
Jardin Majorelle , owned by the late designer Yves Saint Laurent is a star attraction in Morocco.
It is easy to see why the designer took so much inspiration from the botanical gardens. From the brightly coloured walls , traditional moroccan architecture to the collection of art the garden is a serene place away from the hustle and bustle of the city that is a must visit.
Having a tour guide comes in handy in Marrakesh , they will bring you to the best shops and show you the best sites. This website has a great selection of tours , including a desert tour if you fancy exploring a bit further afield , Dainty Kane recommends http://www.morocco-excursions.co.uk/ .
Dainty Kane Guide to Barcelona March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Barcelona is the perfect place for a long weekend away in the sun. It is a charming and vibrant city rich with culture , art, music , food and shopping. Read the Dainty Kane guide to Barcelona to help plan your stay.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Barcelona has an eclectic mix of luxury hotels , boutique hotels , modern budget hotels plus a great selection of places to stay through Air bnb. We stayed in an apartment just 150 metres from la rambla in a little street called `passatge del rellotge`. The building is old with traditional spanish decor , the apartment itself is modern and super spacious , it has 2 bedrooms with double beds and 1 bathroom. There is also a sofa bed so the apartment can sleep up to 6. The kitchen is really spacious and has beautiful doors that open out to a view of the courtyard below.
The apartment is in a fantastic location right next to all the main bars and restaurants on la rambla and if you turn to your right when you exit the building you can explore bars and shops in the old towns cobbled streets.
The booking website for the apartment we stayed in is under construction at the moment but you can find out full details by emailing Pancho , Pancho looks after the apartments and will be able to confirm availability / send you a quote via email , email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your stay . After a date and price is confirmed you just need to pay a small deposit then the rest on arrival in Barcelona. Pancho will greet you on la rambla when you arrive and guide you to the apartment.
Barcelona beach & Marina
The beach makes the perfect place to cool down in the hot summer months. It does get really busy so it is best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, most people bring their own towels rather than renting beds but there are a few available . From la rambla it is a 10-15 minute walk to the beach.
In the marina you will find some fantastic restaurants from the restaurant group Moncho's. They offer delicious fresh seafood in their restaurants near the marina, it is the perfect location to stop on the way back from the beach for a light meal and drinks. View the menus and book online through here http://www.monchos.com/en/home
Barcelona is a foodies paradise. If you want to sample some fresh local produce head to Boqueria market , find out more info on the market here http://www.boqueria.info/index.php?lang=en .
In the local food markets you will find an array of cured meats , vegetables , fresh seafood and a fantastic selection of spices for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in the UK. Amongst the food stalls there are small eateries and bars which are perfect for a quick bite to eat.
If you are staying in a self catering apartment a great idea is to buy your own ingredients and try cooking some traditional tapas recipes!
As you explore around the city stop along a few bars along the way to sample a couple of tapas in each place , it is a great way to try out a wide variety.
It can be frowned upon to order a lot of tapas in one sitting as the Spanish reccomend that 1-2 dishes are best enjoyed as a snack with a drink. In one restaurant we visited the waiter was adamant that we could not have more than 6 tapas between four of us but this may have been the personal preference of the Chef there.
Lots of bakeries offer a wide range of deli snacks , fresh loaves and cakes , one bakery worth checking out during your stay is Baluard http://baluardbarceloneta.com/.
Montjuic Castle Barcelona
Montjuic castle is an old military fortress situated high above the city of Barcelona. It offers some of the best views of the city , it also houses a military museum and some beautiful gardens.
You can walk up to the castle but it is very steep!! Alternatively there is a tram followed by a cable car that will bring you there directly.
Sagrada Familia Barcelona
The Gaudi landmark is a must see if you are visiting Barcelona. Six new towers are being added at the moment so there is some construction going on although it does not detract from the experience of seeing the beautiful interior and detailed exterior. It is best to arrive between 8 or 9 am before the queues build up.
Nightlife in Barcelona
We visited the re-known club Razzmatazz on our stay , the club is huge and compromises of 5 clubs in one so it definitely suits all tastes of music! The drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is good , its worth a visit and makes a nice change from the bars of the city centre after a few days.
It is located outside of the city centre , you can walk within 20-30 mins from la ramblas but I would advise getting a taxi if it is late at night.
Parc De La Ciutadella Park & Zoo Barcelona
The central park is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It boasts some great spots to eat , a zoo , fountains and a lake where you can rent a boat for an hour.
The Gothic Quarter
This is a great area to wander around , it is filled with lively tapas restaurants , independent boutiques and patisseries .
Barcelona Art Attractions
You will find Gaudi's architectural wonders across the city , find a full guide here https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/gaudi/barcelona-gaudi.html /
Whilst exploring the city you will no doubt come across artists along the streets selling paintings and crafts and street performers.
Every spring Barcelona host a great laid back music festival called Primavera Sound , the full line up for Primavera Sound 2017 has been released , view the line up here https://www.primaverasound.com/?lang=enhttps://www.primaverasound.com/?lang=en .
Dainty Kane Guide to L.A March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Los Angeles has an overwhelming choice of things to do! There are so many events , places to see , restaurants to try it can be hard to choose what to do with your time. Here is a run down of things to try out whilst in LA by Dainty Kane.
L.A Celebrity Home Tours
If it is your first time it is always worth doing the hollywood homes tours , you can find a tour bus anywhere along the walk of fame. Some vendors charge more than others so don't agree to the price the first driver offers it is worth checking with the others towards the end of the main walk as they tend to be much cheaper. The tours also take you through the main bars and club of Beverley Hills which is useful for scoping out where you might like to visit in the evenings.
Hollywood Sign Tour
No tour operator can take you right up to the Hollywood sign, however you can walk which is the best way!
Eco tourism is a big thing in LA at the moment and there are many private tour providers that offer walking tours up the old Hollywood hills to see the sign in all it's glory , they will also explain about the history of the sign , homes in the area and you will also come across a hidden park!
The old hollywood hills is where the rich and famous lived years ago before most moved to Beverley Hills so there is alot of history here. Whilst we were on the walk the tour operator pointed out Moby's castle like house (which had the front door open) , it was tempting to call in and say hello!
If you would like to book a walking tour , have a look here http://bikesandhikesla.com/tour/hollywood-hills-daysunset-hike/
Get Free tickets to be apart of the audience at live talk shows such as Jimmel Kimmel through here http://1iota.com/Tickets. The studio is right on the walk of fame strip so it is really easy to get to.
You are spoilt for choice for themes parks when staying in LA , Universal Studios , Disneyland & Knotts Berry Park to name a few. Disneyland & Knotts are situated near Anaheim so if you thinking of visiting and you are staying in LA make sure you get an early start to arrive on time so you get the most out of your park day tickets. Buses to Disneyland / Anaheim are available from downtown LA , they bring you directly to disneyland for much less than coaches than tour operators . The last return bus is around 10/11pm so you have plenty of time to catch the disneyland world of colour show!..A must!
No one walks in LA. It's quite surreal walking around the city and not seeing many pedestrians , most people drive in LA and that explains why. Taxis offer decent fares and are really easy to find so if you would like to travel across town fear not.
The subway is a great way to get around on the cheap during the day. You can quickly hop on and hop to key locations like universal studios. I would recommend the subway during the daytime only or in the early morning when other commuters journey to work , it is not as safe late at night for tourists.
Downtown LA & China Town
There are a few attractions worth seeing downtown such as the courthouse , the cathedral and the Walt disney concert hall.
From downtown you can easily walk over to china town (you will also be able to see it from near the cathedral).As above LA residents don't do walking so don't be surprised if you are the only person walking over the bridge but it only takes 5-10 to walk.
Food - Highlights
The Cut Beverley Hills is something special , it sits within the Beverley Wiltshire Hotel where Pretty Woman was filmed. The setting and service was impeccable and so was the food! For the main I had a steak which was the best steak I have ever had , followed by a a dessert which was a lava style pudding filled.After dinner take a walk through the grand lobby into the main hotel bar for a cocktail and enjoy the settings , it feels proper old school Hollywood here.
There are great mix of wine bars and cafes along Melrose Avenue that offer tapas , organic produce that are worth checking out. Don't be mislead by the cupcake shop that promoted zero calorie cupcakes ...they sell t-shirts. Although it is still worth checking out this novelty store http://johnnycupcakes.com/
You will also stumble upon fantastic food trucks parked outside office blocks that cater to office workers. You will find authentic cuisines from all around the world such as thai , mexican , american , korean for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in a restaurant.
LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is a real must.
I hadn't planned on visiting but we had a free evening so thought we would check it out. It doesn't disappoint. The exhibitions change on a regular basis and there is something for all tastes. They also run some pretty cool events , check out their calendar to find out what's on , http://www.lacma.org/.
Shopping - Melrose Av , Rodeo Drive & Santa Monica
LA is a every shoppers dream! For edgy high end clothing boutiques such as Paul Smith & Vivienne Westwood visit Melrose Avenue. (You will also find the Kardashians boutique DASH on this street where a bottle of water is $10..)
Downtown Santa Monica is a great place to shop high street labels and department stores/
Along Santa Monica beach you will find cheap but interesting finds mixed with some high street shops such as Amercian apparel.
On the main walk of fame strip there is a shopping complex full of choice.
For a great day out visit the grove , it has a fantastic selection of shops , restaurants and a cinema too http://www.thegrovela.com/. The Barnes & Noble book store does celebrity book signings almost every day.
For luxury designers such as Prada , Gucci , Beverley hills is for you!
On my first trip we stayed in Hollywood and on the second at the Loews Hotel on Santa Monica, I would recommend Santa Monica if you want a more laid back environment in the evenings. The Loews Hotel is a great base for a trip to LA , it is right beside the beach and in walking distance to all the local bars & restaurants.
There is a great chilled , laid back atmosphere in Santa Monica . There are some great cafes and restaurants near by such as the shutters cafe along the beach. Near downtime there is also a great English pub called Ye Olde King's Head which is often visited by ex pat celebs such as David Beckham.
If you fancy something a bit different? Try an evening dining experience on the Queen Mary. The ship is steeped in history and there is no better way to find out more than go on a guided tour followed by a meal & entertainment in the historic art deco style rooms.
The Los Angeles Zoo has lots of rare animals that you usually wouldn't find in the U.K. The animals seemed to be really well looked after and it makes a great afternoon out.
The Walk of fame
Take a walk in the same footsteps as hollywood acting legends. Graumans Chinese Theatre also hosts movie premieres so keep an eye out for what's on when you visit. Morning / early afternoon is the best time to visit this area.The day we visited there was a star ceremony for the director of the cars movies , can you spot Goldie Hawn in the photo?? To find out if there are any star ceremonies during your visit , find out here http://www.walkoffame.com/pages/upcoming-ceremonies.http://www.walkoffame.com/pages/upcoming-ceremonies
Dainty Kane Guide to Fiji March 30 2019, 0 Comments
Located in the south pacific Fiji is a romantic destination filled with beautiful beaches and coral reefs . It makes it the perfect location for a holiday filled with relaxation or outdoor adventure. Read Dainty Kane tips if you are planning a trip to Fiji
When you arrive off the plane you will know you are in Fiji , mosts flights are welcomed by a traditional Fijian band in hula skirts who will dress you in a floral necklace / Lei. There are two main airports in Fiji ,Nadi and Nausori it is worth making sure that your accommodation is close to the airport you are flying into on Fiji as it can be a long trip from one side of the island to the other.
Getting Around Fiji
There are old school yellow taxis available at the airports without pre booking , although I would advise booking in advance so that you can travel in one of the more modern cars with air con.
Fijians are very proud of their country and the welcome all visitors with open arms. You will no doubt bump into a few native fijians during your stay that will invite you to their home or village to meet their family to see how they live.
The food is colourful and fresh , Fiji menu staples are root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and Fish chargrilled on open fires. If you are staying at a resort you will find the same menu options are available every day alongside a few mixed buffets. The benefit of having so many resorts on one island means you can easily stroll down the beach to the next resort to explore and try something different. There is a large indian population on Fiji so you will find lots of curry houses in the main towns and some of their influence in Fijian food too.
What to do in Fiji
When you check in to your resort they will explain whats on offer as they are keen to get some business for local travel operators. There is lots on offer such as hiking around the beautiful terrains , scuba diving and pearl hunting! Fiji has a network of stunning coral reefs rich with colourful fish , rather than rent snorkelling gear buy your own .Almost every beach in fiji has a reef worth exploring so you will definitely get your monies worth!
Fiji is compromised of more than 300 small islands , only 1 in 3 are inhabited. From Nadi port you can book on a day cruise or travel to another island to stay for a few days.
The Wellesley Resort Fiji
We stayed at the Wellesley resort which was a great base . http://www.wellesleyresort.com.fj/
The resort was very relaxing and serene , although it is very remote so if you like to be next to all the action this is not the place to stay. There are 10-15 bungalows in total , all modern but finished with a fijian feel.
There is a beautiful pool which looks out to the sea , the beach is within footsteps of your bungalow so you don't have to walk far to go exploring or snorkelling.
The owners are a really friendly couple who will help assist you during your stay. You can also walk up the beach to visits other resorts , it's quite nice to explore away from your hotel as you can find some interesting gems and other resorts are really welcoming to visitors.
Wifi is not included here , you can walk up to the next resort to use the computers but this really is a place to go if you want to disconnect otherwise even though it is a beautiful place to stay I would recommend staying at a livelier resort.
One of the most popular islands is beachcomber island , worth a visit if you like to party. It costs around $30 fijian dollars to catch the ferry from Nadi to Beachcomber. You can go for a day trip , overnight stay OR buy a one way ticket and decide when to book a return ticket when you get there.
The island itself is non stop and every one is in party mode. Every evening there is a huge buffet in a canteen like surrounding with long tables and benches.
It is relatively cheap to stay at the hotel on beachcomber but it offers basic rooms and amenities , I guess the rooms aren't built for spending much time in as there is so much else to do! You can escape the party to a quiet beach by walking 5 - 10 mins away from the resort , quite a contrast!
At night the main bar comes alive with a band and traditional fijian fire throwing dancers , the party never stops hence maybe deciding when to book the return ticket after you arrived on the island as you may want to stay for longer.
The local travel agency `Fiji-hotels` are fantastic at organising day trips and excursion during your stay. http://www.fiji-hotels.com.fj/ .
Nope it's not bubbly. Kava is a traditional fijian drink made from the powdered root of plant called Piper methysticum mixed with water.Most hotels hold Kava ceremonies for no extra charge. To create the Kava they mix the powdered root and water in a big bowl then fill wooden cups , followed by the question high tide or low tide?That is up to you! Kava is numbing and relaxing but I wouldn't recommend drinking too much of it if you have plans that evening.
Flying from Fiji to LAX on a connecting flight? Read our Dainty Kane guide to Los Angeles here