Lonely Planet Writer

Traveller Talk: November 2016

road trip There's nothing quite like cruising along America's highways © Zack Frank / Shutterstock

From road trips to blood soup and must-see Polish museums, this month's Thorn Tree community chat has certainly been a mixed bag. Here are the moderator's top picks for November.

Not your average Xmas dinner

Fieldgate starts a thread on a less well-known winter celebration, Saint Martin's Day (also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas) which falls on 11 November. Fieldgate asks if the traditional Swedish dinner of goose-blood soup starter and goose-meat main are also eaten elsewhere, or whether alternatives exist. Lucapal says in Northern Italy goose is still the staple for 'San Martino', but in Sicily, wine (and lots of it), pork and chestnuts are more commonly eaten. He adds that in Palermo they also enjoy a range of special biscuits, the most traditional being aniseed flavoured, which is 'dipped into dessert wine before being eaten'. Mancub and fieldgate are both rather taken by this idea.

Nutraxfornerves says Saint Martin's celebrations didn’t catch on in the US and iviehoff says it has been forgotten in the UK – ironically superseded by Remembrance services. He adds that he only came across the festival when he heard it referenced in an old song and looked it up. The song lyrics were as follows: ‘On Martinmas, when I was born, I met a cow with a crumpled horn…’

A whirlwind trip to Warsaw

Aoliver123 is re-visiting Warsaw after 11 years and, with just three days to see the sights, is looking for some guidance on what to see and do. Monkamax recommends some places to get some yummy food such as Hala Koszyki, ‘a kind of indoor food market’, and Krowarzywa, a great spot for vegan burgers on a budget. Monkamax also suggests visiting Polin (the Museum of the History of Polish Jews) and the Neon Museum, dedicated to Poland’s cold war neon signage. Alicjach also recommends the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego (The Warsaw Rising Museum) and Copernicus Science Centre.

Neon Museum in Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw's Neon Museum ©Kamil Saks / 500px

What's in a name?

Vaclavjoseph starts a thread about the decision to make the official short name of the Czech Republic, Czechia. Iviehoff welcomes the new name but adds that his Czech wife is not using it yet. Laszlo agrees that he ‘would be very happy if the name Czechia caught on’. TT-ers then go on to discuss country name changes and how quickly, if at all, they get adopted into the mainstream, and how the influence of news and sports commentators can help with their uptake.

Road trip guides

Car hire for foreigners in the States can be one of the most complicated things about travelling there. A month ago, denlee kicked off a thread to help him unravel the various restrictions that apply. TT-ers helped denlee decide on which make and size car to hire and advised against sleeping in the car due to it being, in flagstuff's words, a ‘pretty miserable’ experience. They repeatedly recommend taking along some camping gear until denlee finally agrees.

TT-ers also helped denlee with his itinerary from Las Vegas, taking in Cayonlands National Park, looping back to Sequoia National Park, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The thread stays rolling as denlee keeps us up to date on his road trip adventures (with TT-ers advising on the itinerary along the way) right up to the point where he returns the hire car.