Ask Joan: Your travel dilemmas solved

Book club travels to Marrakech, getting to Autun and walking in Devon/Cornwall

 

We are a book club of nine ladies going to Marrakech, where we’ll be staying in a riad close to the Medina. We have a couple of queries that we’re wondering if you can help us with. 1. Our riad owner has requested payment in cash, which isn’t a problem, however we’ re wondering if credit cards will be accepted in restaurants and other places or should we bring cash or is it possible to withdraw local currency from ATMs. 2. Rumour has it that it may be difficult to find places that serve alcohol (what’s a book club without a glass of wine)? 3. Is it fair to assume that we don’t need to cover up faces and shoulders, other than if we visit a religious venue? – CN, Dublin

There are plenty of ATMs all over the city. Credit card companies have tightened up on unusual withdrawals, so it is a good idea to let your card company know you will be in Morocco. You will find credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants and shops but not always in the Medina.

Most restaurants serve alcohol, so you will find that glass of wine. In the Medina there may not be as many serving wine but Cafe Arabe has a rooftop terrace and does. See also the Grand Café de la Poste, by the Post Office, Blvd El Mansour ed-Dahbi, and La Terrazza, a highly rated Italian in Gueliz.

As you are a group of women you might like to visit the Amal Association Moroccan Centre for Women’s Training. It is a café restaurant that trains women for the hospitality industry and while they don’t serve alcohol the food is good (also in Gueliz).

Don’t worry too much about what to wear but keep in mind that Morocco is an Islamic country and you don’t want to offend anyone. Most types of clothing are perfectly fine but it is better not to attract attention by wearing too little. My colleague Fionn Davenport recently recorded a podcast on Marrakech and you can listen to it here http://bit.ly/1iOicmb.

Autun, in Bourgogne, between Nevers, Dijon and Besancon, has a famous Romanesque cathedral and I would like advice on how to go there. Is it far from an airport and would it take more than a day to get there from Dublin? What airport would have the best connection, and would I need to take both trains and buses as well? – MR, Dublin Augustodunum, as it was known in Roman times, is a very historic Burgundy town with evidence of its great age everywhere. The nearest international airport with services from Dublin is Lyon. Aer Lingus flies there daily except Tuesdays, aerlingus.com.

From Lyon you can take the train, it is about a three-hour journey with one stop along the way and the return fare will be from around €65, see voyages.sncf.com for the timetables. You should be able to do it in a day as the flight arrives around 3pm. There are trains about every two hours. See autun-tourisme.com for places to stay and things to do.

I would like information on walking in Devon/Cornwall for about four or five days during July-September. Moderate difficulty walking would suit best. Are there any useful websites? – S.M. Dublin

A good place to look for both guided and self-guided walks is hfholidays.co.uk. There s a good selection of walks in the Devon and Cornwall areas.

Send your suggestions to jscales@irishtimes.com

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