Uncle Travelling Matt recommends...

It's not often that I recommend something or somewhere. We are all different and approach places differently. Of all the countries that I have ever visited, Bulgaria is probably my favourite, I love its mix of cultures, its history, its landscapes, its food and its beautiful people. It did far more for me than, say, Indonesia for example. But others think differently; I know people who have been to Bulgaria and been distinctly unimpressed, whilst others who have a lifelong love affair with Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Ukraine or indeed anywhere else on earth. That's the beauty of travel, but it makes recommending anything especially difficult.

However, once every so often I come across a place that blows me away so much that I feel that it deserves promoting by me, and these are the places that shall be mentioned on this page. There won't be many, but they will be here. However, before I list them, I must first outline the criteria upon which I do recommend them to you, and that criteria is simple, for it is based on one factor only: friendliness. I do not recommend an institution because of its matching colour scheme, contemporary cuisine, excellent value, (I never go near anywhere remotely expensive anyhow), five-star service or extreme luxury or innovation. These things may be important to some, but to me it's the people that matter and these establishments made me welcome above and beyond the normal expectations, showing their human side and making a good trip an unforgettable one. It was an honour to have gone there.

Keep travelling!

Uncle Travelling Matt

Cosmos Hotel, Chisinau, Moldova

The last place that I would expect to be recommending is a huge monolithic ex-Inturist high-storey hotel in the heart of one of Europe's least-visited and least-loved countries. However, I am recommending it because never before have I visited a hotel where I was so well looked after and made to feel so welcome. The saying "You will come as a guest and you will leave as a friend" are trite and over-used, but here it was true and it is for that reason that this hotel comes highly recommended by Uncle Travelling Matt and if you are ever in Chisinau, please check it out.

Hamilton Backpackers, Fishguard, U.K.

I also never thought I would be recommending a hostel since I've always avoided them, being a fan of having my own private space. However, I arrived at Hamilton during the depths of winter when it was empty so I got a room to myself anyway, but I also got a welcome of welcomes from the proprietor, Steve, a confirmed traveller himself, a great conversationalist and a man worthy of being recommended by any travel website.

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