THAT’S THE SPIRIT I
I recently returned from Sydney with Qantas. The queues were extremely long and the machines to check in my luggage were either occupied or out of order. My exhaustion must have been apparent when a wandering Qantas attendant offered to help. When she found that my flight was delayed an hour and a half, she called through to put me on an earlier flight and change the seat for easy access. Her last help was to bypass the long line and take me straight to the X-ray machines. Many thanks from a grateful senior traveling alone.
Anne Kelso, Balwyn, Victoria
THAT’S THE SPIRIT II
Here’s another positive Qantas story, following Jenny Abraham’s letter (Traveler letters, June 4† I just love our national airline. I am an anxious flier and recently had to take a few flights for work. I told a clerk I was quite nervous (this was also during the recent Sydney weather ‘events’), and she was great. She checked in regularly during the (very short) flight and offered me extra snacks and drinks. If I could, I would never fly with anyone else (is there anything better than seeing the Flying Kangaroo symbol in an international airport?).
Jo Lees, Rockdale, NSW
LETTER OF THE WEEK
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Thanks for the wonderful story on the boot of Italy (TravelerJune 4) who brought back memories of my many travels in this region. It was during my last trip that I discovered the archaeological wonders of Herculaneum, the city that was also destroyed along with Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. My friend and our guide were the only visitors on the day we visited and were in charge of these amazing ruins. Put Herculaneum on your bucket list if you’re planning to visit the boot of Italy. There is less tourist traffic there and fantastic photo opportunities await you.
Christine Tiley, Albany Creek, QLD
NOT IN THE QUEUE HERE
Your article, “The art of being Dutch” (TravelerJune 4) was thoroughly accurate and entertaining except for a minor detail. Just as there is no German word for “fluffy” (thanks, blackadder), there is no Dutch word for “queue”. As Ben Coates, author of the book Why the Dutch are different, explains, if you decide to live or stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, you have to learn to push or be prepared for disappointment. Our experience confirms this, after we lived in Maastricht for half a year in 2019. Another characteristic of Dutch people is that they consider it their right to participate in any private conversation that takes place in their neighbourhood. They have an infinite curiosity about other people’s lives.
Rob Scott, Niddrie, VIC
Hans van den Tillaart (Traveler letters, June 4) mentions a recent trip back to the Netherlands. With all due respect I would like to point out that there is no such country as “Holland”. Except from 1806 to 1815 when Napoleon imposed the name “Kingdom of Holland”, it has never been called Holland. The correct name is the “Kingdom of the Netherlands”. In 2019, the Dutch government also instructed Dutch manufacturers and the tourism industry to stop using the word Holland in their advertisements. The Dutch often use Holland when speaking in English, but never when using another language. So it is the Netherlands (Netherlands). not the Netherlands. And please, that includes newspaper journalists.
Ross Allan, Castlemaine, Victoria
OUT YER BIKE
Andrew Bain, in his story about cycling holidays (Travelerthe 28th of May) must have found another Southern Highland, NSW, in a nearly parallel universe to the one I live in. My Southern Highlands has few roads that are safe or enjoyable for cyclists. With the exception of the Illawarra Highway, the usual road in the Southern Highlands is narrow, potholed or completely crumbled and with no roadside berm. Or it is a busy road between the main centers. I’m only aware of two off-road bike/footpaths, each a few miles long, but neither of them are particularly worth driving. Aside from driving in Morton National Park and Penrose State Forest, I limit my rides to very quiet local roads around my hometown.
Robert Arthurson, Bundanoon, NSW
When Denise Williamson (Traveler letters, May 28) on subsequent trips, may I suggest she consider bringing an Australian-made Scrubba wash bag. This “portable washing machine” takes up little space and is not heavy. By packing less and washing her often, she could reduce the amount of luggage she flies with. Liquid laundry detergent can be easily purchased at the destination or, if necessary, the hotel bathroom body wash can be used. The fewer belongings you take with you, the more convenient and environmentally friendly your trip will be.
Nick Bocock, Kiama, NSW
Either Alan Gibson (Traveler letters, June 4) does not have a dog or has one that is very flexible. While there are good “pet hotels” around, they are expensive and not many of them – and many dogs suffer from separation anxiety and would rather be with their owners, no matter how fancy the alternative.
Dave Torr, Werribee, VIC
SUCH A BEAT OUT
Andrew Newman Martin (Traveler letters, June 4) is clearly one of those travelers who don’t bother reading airline carry-on requirements (weight, dimensions, number of pieces). He complains about people arriving with multiple pieces of luggage, picking up the luggage bins and not being able to lift them into the bins at the same time because of the weight. Seriously? If these problems are so ubiquitous, complain to the flight crew and the airline. Personally, I have always carefully read the requirements for hand luggage, so that I am not a burden to other passengers. The only time I have trouble fitting my six-pound backpack into the overhead bin is when the bin hangs very high above my head, as I’m only five feet tall. And then it’s probably nice to offer to help someone in such a situation.
Heather D’Cruz, Geelong West, VIC
READING TIP OF THE WEEK
John Sorrentino wrote about his trouble finding a motel in Bendigo (Traveler letters, June 12) with which he could take his Chihuahua with him. I called the Oval Motel in Bendigo last year to inquire if my toy poodle puppy could stay with us, saying the dog was housebroken and well behaved. Our pup was able to stay with us and sleep in her travel crate. The next time I called Oval for a booking, I was politely asked if Mimi would be traveling with us. Oval is a very comfortable and welcoming family run and operated hotel and we have returned several times.
Karen Hawkey, Point Cook, Vic
A great cover story from your writer Paul Chai about traveling with pets (Traveler12 June† A tip for travelers with pets is to contact the property directly, even after looking for pet-friendly accommodations. We were nearly caught several times, with bookings.com being the worst offender. On a trip to Bendigo, Victoria, last year, none of the four of the listed “dog-friendly” properties wanted to accept our Chihuahua.
John Sorrentino, Alphington, Victoria
DON’T BE SNIFFY
Please don’t ignore private accommodation providers like me who state “no pets” on their booking sites and on their front doors. In my case, it’s not because I don’t like animals, but because I’m very allergic to them.
Clare Day, Heidelberg Heights, VIC
Be warned. I submitted my passport renewal form today 2nd June and was told by Australia Post not to receive it for 10 weeks, repeat 10 weeks.
Colin Parks, Canberra, ACT
In response to the letter about comfort items that we like to take with us on a trip (Traveler letters, June 4), when we travel, both domestically and internationally, I take a piece of Cussons Imperial Leather Soap in its plastic soap dish and then in a ziplock bag. Hotel bathrooms offer small bars of soap that are appreciated but used up too quickly (and a little clunky to begin with). The regular sized Cussons bar often lasts all week and can be taken home. The aroma is well known; the brand has always stood for luxury and even now travel is a luxury and not a matter of course.
Belinda Coombs, Ermington NSW
I totally agree with Alan Thomas (Traveler letters, June 4† I booked a corporate rewards flight from Qantas to Chicago via Hong Kong last October, with Cathay Pacific. I chose this obscure route to eventually get to Boston because the rewards routes through Los Angeles had no business seats. I paid for the journey from Chicago to Boston. A month ago I was notified that the reward leg to Hong Kong has been changed to a day earlier. I am fine. Then my booking fell off my frequent flyer account. Six very long phone calls to Qantas, one lasting two and a half hours, followed to try to find the missing booking. No luck until the seventh call when I was finally told the problem: Cathay has withdrawn from flights to Chicago. I was then offered another Qantas reward flight to Chicago, but it was such a long, circuitous route, with two overnight stays, that I was tired of it. So I asked to cancel the rewards flight. No notification was received after two weeks, so another lengthy phone call to Qantas with the result that my points were finally refunded. I’ve now booked my flight to Boston for a one-way ticket with Air Canada for $8,000 after this giant Qantas ran into trouble.
Christina Westmore-Peyton, Kew East, Victoria
I’ve always loved getting off to a flying start in a new city and watching it wake up with a morning jog. Because of this I always made room for my pair of runners in my bag. It was a joy to watch the locals open their cafes, orient yourself with a city’s river over a sunrise, watch a day begin to buzz at a central station or locate the popular tourist sites in a quiet, chilly morning in Europe.
Josh Hammann, Wollongong, NSW
LIFE ON THE EDGE
If your main purpose on your trip is to explore the smaller old towns with complex narrow streets, choose a chain hotel like Ibis on the outskirts. Simple but pleasant, clean and easy to find. But be careful not to leave your car on the street and anything of value in it, as locks break easily.
Deirdre Baker, Thornbury, Victoria
WIN A SET OF TRAVEL BOOKS
Letter of the Week writer wins Hardie Grant travel books worth over $100. For June, that includes Ultimate Cycling Trips: Australia by Andrew Bain; On the Himalaya Trail by Romy Gill; and Rewilding Kids Australia by Melissa Mylchreest.
To see hardiegrant.com
The Tip of the Week writer wins a set of three great Lonely Planet travel books, including Ultimate Australia Travel List, The Travel Book and Armchair Explorer.
To see shop.lonelyplanet.com
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