Travel

Delve a bit deeper with a guide

BEFORE I started the job (as they call it) of travel editor, I would never have dreamed of employing the services of a guide on my travels. Far too touristy and restrictive a proposition. Now, I'm rarely without one by my side, admittedly because I tend to have precisely 48 hours to immerse myself in a destination and get enough information to write an article about it, but also because I've become a bit of a fan of these mines of information.

Over the years, I've discovered that they can turn you on or, indeed, right off a place in the space of an hour. Fortunately, most of the ones I've met have been engaging and knowledgeable.

You never forget good guides, like Rosalynd Pio, a woman in her later years with a formidable brain and an acute sense of humour, who showed me and fellow journalists around Florence. Not only did she hold an amazing amount of information in her head, but she also knew how to keep it entertaining and to judge just when we'd reached the point of overload.

Arthur Lamy, the Blue Badge Guide who took me for a walk along part of the new Channel Islands Way in Jersey earlier this spring, was a delightful companion on the cliff paths. As much as he provided an entertaining narrative to the trail, and, indeed, the island, he was also happy to fess up when he didn't know the answer and offer to try to find out - an option too often ditched by tour guides who'd rather make it up than look stupid.

And in Florida, at Ybor City, Tampa's cigar-making quarter, Manny Leto revealed knowledge that didn't just stick to the mainstream history but delved deeper to give a social and cultural understanding of the place, then and now.There are, of course, the bad, too.

In Rio a few years back, I met the grumpiest of guides, who became positively abusive and had to be removed from the job by his company.

While in Oman, our driver/guide refused to engage at all and showed what he thought of our group by choosing a bus stop with an overflowing bin as a suitable spot for our picnic lunch.

And on a recent trip to New York, I came across a local guide who had the most irritating habit of clapping his hands together every 20 seconds or so. He'd lost the group's attention within five minutes to anticipating the next thunderous smash of his palms.

Guiding is an art, and when you get yourself a good one, you appreciate there are few better ways of getting under the skin of a place.

If you plan to head to New York this year, make time to dine at Rouge Tomate at 10 East 60th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenue. I've promised myself that I'll eat there when I'm in the city because it's one of New York's top culinary experiences. Chefs and nutritionists work together at this unusual Michelin-starred restaurant based on a philosophy of “Health Through Food”. If that sounds a little tough on the taste buds, the truth is executive chef Jeremy Bearman and his team compose the most extraordinary flavour combinations for their modern American menu.

If you can't get to New York any time soon, there's a sister restaurant in Brussels. Surely it can't be long until Rouge Tomate comes to the UK. I hope not.

Topics:  guides travel



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Prime Tweed site sells at auction

SOLD: The old Rivers commercial retail building at 79-81 Wharf St sold at auction for $2.475 million recently.

Tweed development site sold at auction for $2.475 million

The magnificence of Fingal's sunrise

SPECTACULAR: The sun rising over Fingal Head Lighthouse.

Behind the Lens: sunrise at Fingal Head lighthouse

Local Partners

Convoy to go ahead amid protests by conservationists

POTTSVILLE residents will push ahead with their plan to stage a community march in support of a Men's Shed


REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

DARIUS McCrary, who played Eddie Winslow on the ’90s sitcom Family Matters, has been accused of holding his infant daughter over a pot of boiling water.

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Prime Tweed site sells at auction

SOLD: The old Rivers commercial retail building at 79-81 Wharf St sold at auction for $2.475 million recently.

Tweed development site sold at auction for $2.475 million

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Top 6 infrastructure projects in the Tweed for 2017

The Gold Coast Airport is getting an upgrade.

Find out what's going in the Tweed.

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Waterfront luxury in Tweed

14 The Mainbrace, Tweed Heads

Check out house of the week.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!