Ask Joan: your travel questions answered

Cargo ship travel, the Eden Project, yoga and hill walking

The Eden Project near St Austell, Cornwall. Photograph: ConstructionSkills/PA.

The Eden Project near St Austell, Cornwall. Photograph: ConstructionSkills/PA.


I was wondering if you could give me any advice about travel on freight ships, or if you could point me towards someone who could. – CMC, Cork

Travelling by cargo or freight ships is a very different and interesting way to see the world. It’s not for everyone: cargo ships are working vessels and do not have the comfort and range of services that cruise ships do. Many do take passengers, but there will only be a few on board, probably not more than a dozen. It’s not the ideal way to travel if you intend sightseeing a destination, as turnarounds can be very short, sometimes only hours in port. If you are content to enjoy the voyage, comfortable in your own company and in good health, you will find such a trip interesting. You can take a voyage from a week to months at a time at sea.

It is not necessarily a cheap way to travel: prices tend to be about €120 per day. There are a number of agencies that sell these voyages, and

For some years my daughter and I have wanted to visit the Eden Project in Cornwall, and now discover it seems an expensive and difficult place to access. Maybe you can help us. We want to travel April 1st and return April 4th-5th. Should we consider driving or will it be necessary to hire a car there? – BC, Mayo

Cornwall is a long way from Mayo and quite difficult to get to, but not impossible. The Eden Project is amazing and Cornwall has a lot to offer – a car is a must. One of your easiest options may be to fly with Ryanair from Ireland West airport to Bristol and hire a car there.

The fares would be under €100 each and you can hire a car at Bristol Airport for about €130 for four days. The flights are not daily, however: you could fly from April 2nd to 6th, arriving in Bristol at 6pm. It is a three-hour drive to St Austell.

There is a flight from Dublin to Exeter with Flybe. com, which would be a bit closer to Cornwall but arrives at 10pm and the car rental may be closed. It would cost about €120 each. Ferry options would be with Irish Ferries and Stena Line from Rosslare and cost about €290 return with a car. It is a five-hour drive to Cornwall, the journey in Ireland about the same.

There is plenty of accommodation in and around the Eden Project, with hotels and guesthouses from €70 per night. You can book a short break on the Edenproject. com site, which includes accommodation and tickets. See also

I’d really appreciate if you could help me find the perfect yoga getaway in Europe between February and April. I will be travelling alone and am looking for a retreat that is comfortable, friendly, used to single travellers and offers other options during the day like hillwalking or hiking. Ideally looking for somewhere as warm as possible for this time of year but also relatively affordable – budget roughly €1,200. – MM Dublin

You will find a good selection of yoga breaks with Responsible Travel. A number include hiking and hillwalking, and others have the option of horseriding, cookery classes etc. Prices from €800 for six nights and flights are extra,

Kali Yoga runs a six day programme of yoga and hillwalking in the lovely Alpujarras region of Spain. Two full days of hiking is included as well as yoga every day. Prices are from £795 plus flights to Malaga,

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