The Mekong is real life – its banks stacked with visual delights from floating villages and longboats to serene temples and orange-clad monks. JOY DODDS reports. SOUTHEAST Asia’s longest river, the Mekong, rises in Tibet and flows through Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before draining into the South China Sea to the south of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
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.
ORVIETO – SLOW CITY ON THE ROCKS: Orvieto’s tufo and labyrinth of caves have shaped its independent identity, its Etruscan altars and relics – and the character of a renowned white wine, writes JOY DODDS.
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.
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.
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.
BORDEAUX - GLOBAL WINE CAPITAL: Aquitaine’s elegant capital offers UNESCO World Heritage, a ravishing facelift – and grapes, as JOY DODDS discovered.
MONTENEGRO - ADRIATIC GEM: The most iconic images of newly-independent Montenegro are of the tiny unspoiled islet of Sveti Stefan – yet the whole country exudes charm. JOY DODDS reports.
UPPER LACHLAN TRIANGLE: LESS than an hour’s drive from Canberra, this triangle of fertile rural land, bounded by Yass, Gunning and Crookwell, is steeped in history and physical beauty.
THE CROSSROADS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN: The Maltese Islands cover only 300sqkm yet across 7000 years they have packed a pre-historic, medieval and 20th century punch. JOY DODDS reports.
BERLIN - WORLD WITHOUT WALLS: CELEBRATE with locals the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall amid fascinating memorials to the struggle. JOY DODDS reports.
MELLOW HIGH -COUNTRY WINE REGION: Victoria’s King Valley, which produces some of Australia’s highest altitude wines, offers many similarities with Italy’s northern Trentino-Alto Adige wine region, reflecting its immigrant past
ANZAC ODYSSEY - GALLIPOLI: While the waters off Gallipoli will be awash with cruise vessels next April, only one, Silversea, will have top military brass aboard and bespoke facilities to ensure this historic experience is trul
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.
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