In response to Ted Richards (Traveller Letters, 6th November), I found uploading my vax certificate and reaping subsequent benefits from the Qantas app quite easy. However, I made the mistake of claiming status credits hoping travel would reopen before my account reset for the year, but it didn’t. Qantas are not maintaining status this time around so I’ve lost all my credits.
Jo Lees, Rockdale, NSW
LETTER OF THE WEEK
Traveller, you have today restored my zest for life and travel. Your recent articles took me back to 1989 in Paris, early morning walks in Parc Monceau, smiling and gesturing, whilst phrases of greetings and conviviality welcomed me to the Parc community. Evening strolls around the Contrescarpe to Rue de Mouffetard, enjoying escargot in champagne sabayon, followed by Maigret de Canard aux Pruneax, helped along with a magnificent Margaux. You then brought me forward to 2019 to Lisbon and her warmth and hospitality, the bars, the bacalhau (salt cod and pasteis), the aroma of freshly baked pastel de nata (custard tarts). The delights of the alleyways of Porto, the river and, of course, chilled Albarinho at the end of the day. Ah, autumn in Paris, autumn in Portugal. What a wonderful late spring journey you took me on.
Cathy Soder, Mooney Mooney, NSW
HEART AND SOLO
Single parents – rejoice in this freedom! As a single mother to an energetic four year old, I am absolutely thrilled the lockdown is over and desperately need a holiday. While travelling solo with children in tow may seem daunting, there’s a whole world of single parents eager to meet up to travel together through social media groups. Otherwise, rip that bandaid and do it alone. You’ve got this, and your kids will thank you for the adventure and memories.
Amanda Yoxall, Springwood, NSW
Terrigal, on NSW’s Central Coast, really put the “‘greater” into Greater Sydney recently with our holiday at the time limited by travel restrictions. We were able to swim in the ocean without needing wetsuits, enjoy a beachfront dinner in the Wamberal surf club, spot whales and dolphins from our verandah and delight in coastal walks. We arrived home refreshed because it only took us an hour in travel time.
Bettina Harri, Hornsby Heights, NSW
The COVID-19 pandemic can be declared finished as of November 6 – the day that Traveller’s print edition returned to 28 pages.
James M. Hicks, Wahroonga, NSW
I can understand your correspondent’s disappointment with the clanging of dishes on Switzerland’s Glacier Express (Traveller November 6). We enjoyed similar scenery on the daylight Bernina Express but without all the trimmings, a carriage virtually to ourselves and with fresh air. We took the expert rail advice of The Man in Seat Sixty-One (see seat61.com) and used the local carriages pulled behind the Express at a fraction of the cost. Booking takes a bit of effort, but we have the loveliest photos, and not through the glass covered compartment, which was full to overflowing. I couldn’t find a comparable trip on local trains for the Glacier Express.
David Greenall, Black Rock, VIC
We are normally independent travellers but took an Intrepid tour of Morocco (Traveller, November 6). With a cheery “yala” (let’s go), Mustafa led our multinational group of 16 on truly unique experiences: his parents’ place for mint tea; the local steam rooms; and even coffee-ing with his brother in suburban Marrakesh. A persecuted, minority Berber, he’d stop the bus, head for a bedraggled tent, negotiate in Berber and wave us over for real Moroccan snacks. In an ancient village, we befriended a family he knew. At night he took out his drum, formed a band and had us dancing. A guide can make a trip.
Ron Thomas, Kalorama, VIC
SMALLER THE BETTER
Your story “Group rethink” (Traveller, November 6) highlighted the benefits of escorted journeys and I would like to recommend investigating smaller boutique companies that offer personalised and flexible travel. I travelled with Byroads Travel, run by Steve Mortimer, to Uzbekistan and the South Caucasus. These tours used local guides and provided wonderful local interaction. The choice of accommodation and emphasis on unique experiences made for inspiring escorted journeys.
Stephanie Ingster, Vaucluse, NSW
ALL SHOOK UP
I read Brian Johnston’s escorted journeys story singing the praise of guided tours with interest. You see, in 2010 my wife and I decided that we would like to visit New Zealand. I wasn’t keen but my wife talked me into a coach tour in December of that year. In the end it was a wise choice. We were on the Coastal Pacific train down the east coast travelling towards Christchurch when an earth tremor hit that city. Would we have got from the station to our accommodation if we had not been part of a tour group? I doubt it. Then at midnight a more severe earthquake hit. Quite an experience to be woken from our sleep on the thirteen floor of the hotel. This hotel had all the latest technology to deal with earthquakes and keep us safe. Would we have chosen this hotel for our stay? Probably not. Amidst the confusion that existed our tour director managed all arrangements and we continued to enjoy our holiday worry-free. And we had a great time with very nice travel companions. Of course, about eight weeks later, the devastating earthquake hit.
Ian Rosel, Wantirna, VIC
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Marje Williamson (Traveller Letters, November 6) the Salvation Army accepts coins from other countries at certain drop off points, regardless of whether they are current or superseded.
Vikki O’Neill, Ashburton, VIC
I have another Airbnb tale for the unwary. I travel with my sister and we are two widows who for medical reasons do not want to share a bedroom. We need one bedroom plus a sofa bed in the living area. Mostly it works out. Except in Broome, Western Australia, where we booked a one bedroom flat. The bedroom was a tiny bed-size alcove off the living area with no space in either, while the bathroom shared the laundry with a door opening directly outside. It was not suitable for two women for a week. We tried to claim a refund on the grounds of the misleading photos but received no answer. No more Airbnb until they get truth into their advertising.
Jenny Wandl, Davidson, NSW
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