Monthly Archives October 2014


24km (15 miles) W of Amsterdam; 7km (41/2 miles) W of Haarlem

If you feel like drawing a breath of fresh sea air and you don’t have much time for it, do what most Amsterdammers do: Head for Zandvoort (Zand-fort). On the North Sea coast just west of Haarlem, the resort is brash and brassy in the summer, though it often looks N forlorn out of season.


GETTING THERE Trains depart hourly from Amsterdam Centraal Station for Zand­voort. You transfer at Haarlem (where the Zandvoort train is usually waiting on the

adjacent platform). During summer months extra trains go direct from Centraal Station.

In either case, the trip time is around 30 minutes, and a round-trip ticket is 8.70€ ($14).

Buses depart every 30 minutes from outside Centraal Station, but they take longer than


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640km (397 miles) S of Cairns; 1,146km (711 miles) N of Brisbane

The little town of Airlie Beach is the focal point of activity on the Whitsunday main­land. The town is only a few blocks long, but you will find an adequate choice of decent accommodations, a small selection of good restaurants and bars, a nice boutique or two, and facilities such as banks and a supermarket. Cruises and yachts depart from Shute Harbour, a 10-minute drive south on Shute Harbour Road, and Abel Point Marina, a

10- minute walk west along the foreshore or a quick drive over the hill on Shute Har­bour Road.

Airlie Beach has a massive beachfront artificial lagoon, with sandy beaches and land – scaped parkland, which solves the problem of where to swim in stinger season...

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Digging into an Ulster Fry

What’s the difference between a traditional Irish breakfast in the Republic and an Ulster Fry? Well, along with your fried egg, sausage, bacon, black pudding, fried tomatoes, and toast, you often get soda farls and potato cakes. Soda farls are pieces of soft bread, fluffed with soda and buttermilk; potato cakes are made with mashed potatoes, flour, and butter. They’re both fried up with the rest of the breakfast and are delicious.

Exploring County Derry

Most of the attractions to be seen in County Derry are in the walled Derry/Londonderry City. A walking tour is the best way to get to know the city and its complicated background...

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Canalboat Tours

An ideal way to view Haarlem is by canal tour boat. Tours are operated by Post Verkade Cruises (& 023/535-7723; www. postverkadecruises. nl), from the Spaarne River dock next to the Gravenstenenbrug, a handsome lift bridge. From April to October, Tuesday to Sunday, boats depart hourly from noon to 4pm on a 45-minute cruise. Tickets are 9.50€ ($15) for adults, 4.50€ ($7.20) for children ages 3 to 12, and free for children 2 and under. In addition, there are longer cruises that go outside of town, candlelight cruises, and more.

May to October, church services using the organ take place Sunday at 10am; from June to October, there’s an additional 7pm Vespers and Cantata service.

Oude Groenmarkt 23. & 023/553-2040. www. bavo. nl. Admission 2€ ($3.20) adults, 1...

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REEF CRUISES Fantasea Cruises (& 07/4946 5111; www. fantasea. com. au) makes daily trips to Hardy Reef from Shute Harbour, near Airlie Beach, in a high-speed, air – conditioned catamaran. The boat has a bar, and a biologist gives a marine ecology talk en route. You anchor at the massive Fantasea Reefworld pontoon, which holds up to 600 people, and spend up to 31/2 hours on the Reef. The day trip costs A$225 for adults, A$102 for children 5 to 15, or A$589 for families of four. Guided snorkel safaris cost A$40 extra for adults and A$20 for children. You can book dives on board for A$115 for first-time divers and A$100 for certified dives. Cruises depart at 8am and pick up pas­sengers at Daydream and Hamilton island resorts. Passengers from Long Island can connect by water taxi.

A fun alter...

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Derry or Londonderry?

The name used for the city tends to depend on where the speaker stands politically. Unionists (who want to remain under the English crown) call it Londonderry, while Nationalists (who want to become part of the Republic of Ireland) call it Derry. You’ll notice that Derry is usually the name used for the city in the Republic of Ireland, while Londonderry is more commonly used in Northern Ireland. Newscasters often try to avoid trouble by calling the city "Derry/Londonderry" (said as "Derry-stroke – Londonderry" since the slash sign is known as a "stroke" here). Gerry Anderson, a popular TV and radio broadcaster, has taken to calling the city "Stroke City."

The Beech Hill Country House Hotel

88 Derry/Londonderry City

This elegant 1729 country house is the perfect place for relaxation...

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Haarlem & Noord-Holland

The landscape around Amsterdam

in the Noord-Holland (North Holland) province affords a taste of the cultural and natural variety of the Netherlands. There are the dikes that brought this improbable country into being, the polder (the Dutch word for land reclaimed from water) land­scape, windmills, wooden shoes, tidy farms, tiny yacht-filled harbors overlook­ing IJsselmeer Lake, flower fields reaching to the broad Dutch horizon, and sandy beaches looking out to the North Sea.

In the west is the venerable and graceful city of Haarlem; in the east are remnants

of strategic fortifications that protected medieval crossing points...

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In Amsterdam you’ll find a dozen or more first-run features, most of them Hollywood’s finest, in English with Dutch subtitles. Admission prices are around 10€ ($16), depend­ing on the day, the time, and the movie. The Tuschinski Theater, Reguliersbreestraat 26-34 (© 0900/1458; tram: 4, 9, or 14), is worth a visit to view its restored Art Deco style from 1921, when it first opened as a variety theater. On the upper balconies you sit on plush chairs and can sip champagne during the movie.


Visit Holland Casino Amsterdam, in the Lido, Max Euweplein 62 (® 020/521-1111; tram: 1, 2, 5, 7, or 10), at Leidseplein, for European gambling, with an emphasis on the quiet games of roulette, baccarat, punto banco, blackjack, and others, though there are abundant one-armed bandits, wh...

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County Derry

Inhabited since the sixth century, Derry/Londonderry City is one of the oldest cities in Ireland. This small, walled city has seen its share of tur­moil and heartbreak, from the siege led by Catholic King James’s army in 1688, to the many Irish emigrants who set out from Derry for America in the 18th and 19th centuries, to the horrors and violence of the Troubles in the 20th century. Things have been basically peaceful in Derry for a while now, though 2009 and 2010 saw a surge of political violence. The city is a fun and vibrant place on its way up, with strong nightlife, a thriving cultural scene, and many restored historical sights and well – done museums.

Spending the night in County Derry

The “Derry/Londonderry City” map can help you locate accommoda­tions and attractions...

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Going Beyond Montreal: Three Day-trips

In This Chapter

^ Stretching your legs beyond the city limits ^ Visiting Ottawa, the nation’s capital ^ Day-tripping into rural Quebec

^aris is Paris, but it’s not France,” goes the French expression. The same holds true for Montreal, which is not quite represen­tative of the rest of the province of Quebec. Montreal is Babylon by com­parison. Beyond the bright lights of the big city, the province of Quebec is a vast landscape, at times rural, at times rugged, dotted with many charming small towns, whose inhabitants are, by and large, French speaking, and where hockey and Catholicism are still the predominant religions.

Depending on how much time you have, you may want to escape Montreal and explore its surrounding regions...

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