VENICE OF THE NORTH
THE former capital of Russia, St Petersburg is unlike any other Russian city and a historic and cultural gem. JOY DODDS reports. Europe’s fourth largest city, royal city St Petersburg, known as ‘Piter’ to locals, is a fascinating mixture of influences. Perched along the Neva River with its myriad canals are impressive C18th and 19th buildings, including the world-famous Hermitage and other former palaces.
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CAPTURED WW1 GERMAN TANK ON EXHIBITION: MEPHISTO is a German A7V tank captured by the 26th Battalion of the Australian Infantry Forces in 1918. One of only 20 originally manufactured, this rare tank is the only surviving one of its kind. Come to Canberra and visit Mephisto at the Australian War Memorial from 27 July, 2015.
SPARTA'S PAST NOT TO BE MYTH-ED: JOY DODDS discovers a seamless blend of the ancient and modern in Historic Greece. SPARTA – the very name epitomises Homeric daring, valour and resilience. But what of today’s Sparta? Its setting is just as dramatic as its past, broodingly located among the high mountains and deep gorges of the Greek Peloponnesus.
TAKE A NIGHT RIDE: With a Eurail Pass, rail travel is convenient and economical. What’s more, travelling on night trains makes a great alternative to costly hotels. JOY DODDS reports. Train travel throughout Europe is a breeze with comprehensive rail networks, covering legendary scenic routes and high-speed/express trains that are efficient and affordable.
THE CALM BEFORE THE VOYAGE: It's 11pm on the Chinese Lunar New Year and the competent, friendly staff of the Mercure Sydney International Airport Hotel are checking in some late arrivals.
PORT-SIDE ON RIO DUORO: THE world’s oldest demarcated wine region, the terraced Duoro Valley, leads upstream to historic Salamanca in Spain, both UNESCO-designated treasures. JOY DODDS reports.
BLACK SEA CRUISING: LOOKING or a cruise with a difference? The Black Sea is one of cruising's best-kept secrets, a perfect antidote to the increasingly overcrowded Caribbean and Mediterranean, writes JOY DODDS. The Black Sea laps up against Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, land is inked to the Aegean/Mediterranean by the Bosphorus.
CRUISING
JAKARTA'S OLD BATAVIA: Indonesia is increasingly the flavour of the month with Australian tourists, more than one million of us having visited , a 266% increase, in 2013-14.
WESTERN CIVILISATION'S WATERWAY: The Rhône, a jewel in European river cruising, carries a sense of history from Ancient Greek and Roman times, linking deliciously captivating landscapes along its banks. JOY DODDS reports.
NEW DANUBE FRONTIERS: Cruising the Danube has taken on a new dimension, extending beyond Hungary’s Budapest into Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. JOY DODDS reports.
AMALFI ALLURE: Cruising the Amalfi Coast offers spectacular scenery and magical land excursions, as Mt Vesuvius hovers above. JOY DODDS reports.
PRINCELY POSTAGE STAMP - MONACO: The tiny principality of Monaco celebrates its patron day on January 27, symbolically with a blessing of the sea and a fishing boat - and loads of colour and music.
TURKEY – MORE THAN AN ANZAC PILGRIMAGE: While unprecedented numbers of Australians will head to Gallipoli (Gelibolu) and Anzac Cove, near Canakkale, to make a pilgrimage to the 1915 landing place and the poignant cemeteries to
THE RESIDENCES IN CENTENNIAL PARK: WIN a night's accommodation in Sydney's favourite playground, Centennial Park - with the grounds to yourself.
BRATISLAVA - DANUBE’S RISING STAR: WHILE lesser-known of the European ports of call, Bratislava’s Stary Mesto (Old Town) is becoming a ‘hot spot’. JOY DODDS reports.
CARIBBEAN MAGIC - CUBA: THERE is nowhere quite like Cuba. The island pulsates with energy – in its Old World Spanish traditions, its music, its dance and its outdoor adventure. JOY DODDS reports.
CLASSIC SINGAPORE: Pockets of exotic colonial buildings make a refreshing contrast to the islands high-rise development. JOY DODDS reports.
PACIFIC PEARLS: The islands of the Pacific are like the pearls for which they are famous - small yet precious archipelago strings, their natural lustre embellished by small bespoke cruising and the absence of mass tourism.
THE BASQUE COAST: The Côte Basque is a colourful mix of history, people and cultures where old-fashioned elegance tangles with surfer culture, all with such joie de vivre, as JOY DODDS discovered.
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