Home Hotels Has a Hotel Bumped You to Bad Accommodations?Has a Hotel Bumped You to Bad Accommodations? August 20, 2019 by Expat Adventures So, you booked a hotel in one city and the hotel bumped you to another in their chain due to “technical problems”. Has it ever happened to you? In all my years of traveling, this was a first. I’d always thought the company would offer identical, similar or better accommodations. That isn’t always the case, as we discovered this month. Bait and Switch We’d planned a relaxing weekend in Normandy and looked forward to staying in Honfleur, France. We booked a room at the Campanile Hotel in La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur, France. It was minutes away from shops and a quick trek to the harbor and tourist area. While we were enjoying dinner at a quaint restaurant in Rouen the night before our arrival, the phone rang. It was the Campanile hotel. There was some bad news. What to do? The staff informed us that due … [Read more...] about Has a Hotel Bumped You to Bad Accommodations?
A komainu guardian protecting the shrine Sitting on the east bank of Sumida River by the Kototoi Bridge, this old Shinto shrine's nomenclature refers to the healing power of the ox. Unlike other shrines that feature a fox or a lion as guardians, Ushijima Shrine features an ox. Ushi means ox in English and it is said that offering prayers at the shrine and rubbing its nade-ushi ox statue will go a long way to curing whatever it is that is ailing you... Relatively unknown, at least for visitors, Ushijima Shrine managed to miraculously survive the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 as well as the Tokyo fire bombings of World War Two. The shrine is said to have been established way back in the mid 9th century and built originally to enshrine a single deity, though the current complex now enshrines another two in its Honden building. Prayers are offered at the Haiden structure after passing through two torii gates. The first torii gate is a stone and perhaps unremarkable but the second torii … [Read more...] about Ushijima Shrine
With cheap flight fares and a vibrant culture, it’s no wonder almost 700,000 Brits are visiting Morocco each year. One of Morocco’s biggest cities, Marrakech, has seen a large spike in tourist numbers from the UK thanks to its souks, proximity to the Atlas mountains and number of luxe riads on offer. Most of the riads (defined by being a home built around a central courtyard) in the Medina were once large family homes, now transformed into hotels for wide-eyed tourists. During a recent trip to the vibrant city, we visited Villa de Orangers which combines all the beauty of a riad with the sprawl of a hotel. Where is it? Hidden in the Medina, Villa de Orangers is just a 10-minute walk to the main Jemaa el-Fna square and the surrounding souks. From here it's easy to discover local eateries and major tourist attractions like the Le Jardin Majorelle, all of which are just a short walk or taxi ride away. Style The only marker of the hotel … [Read more...] about Hotel of the week: Villa de Orangers, Marrakech
Stunning views are possible at the park It really is hard to believe that you are in Tokyo when you visit Mizumoto Park in Katsushika City. Surrounded by water, popular trees, birds, canals and more green than your grandmother's garden, Tokyo's largest green space is bastion of nature on the edge of metropolitan Tokyo. The park itself was open to the public in 1965 and its Koaidame pond was set up to to help control flooding of the Tone River as well as acting a reservoir for Katsushika City. Those aims are still extant but the park has become much, much more to the local population. With over 500 cherry blossom trees, you can imagine just how delightfully enjoyable spring can be here while in summer, the park plays host to an iris festival in June that showcases the park's over 200,000 iris flowers. A veritable sea of purple if there ever was one, it turns out that the iris is the official flower of Katsushika City. It probably goes without saying but Mizumoto Park is … [Read more...] about Mizumoto Park
During my very first trip to Japan in 2011 I went to Kamakura on a guided tour and remembered riding an old-fashioned train on a line known as Enoden between Kamakura and Hase stations. The train’s cars were really old, maybe from the 1950’s or 60’s. This year, 8 years after my first trip, I decided to ride the Enoden line again from Enoshima station to Hase and then back to Fujisawa to my hotel. Enoshima and Hase station were the same as I remembered them - large wooden awnings with brown wooden benches for passengers waiting to board. The sound of the semaphore rail signal was nostalgic as now it is rarely heard in modern cities. In Japan, though, you still can find such old-fashioned things and I find that exciting! While the station and signals were the same, the train, alas, was not - it was modern, but fitted out in a in retro style. I was a bit disappointed because the train looked more like a tourist attraction rather than a real old thing. From the train's … [Read more...] about Enoden Rail Line