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. On France’s Basque Coast, north of Spain, the Pyrénées plunge into the Bay of Biscay, such ruggedness giving the area its exotic character – a mix of resort and sanctuary, sophistication and charm. Whales were the first sea bathers at Biarritz, not the elegant femmes of the 19th century and today’s surfers.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CULTURE
LIGHT-FILLED COASTAL ART ENCLAVE - ANTIBES-JUAN-LES-PINS: ANTIBES JUAN-LES-PINS is a more reticent jewel that sparkles on France's rather glitzy Cote d'Azur, writes JOY DODDS.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
THE RESIDENCES IN CENTENNIAL PARK: WIN a night's accommodation in Sydney's favourite playground, Centennial Park - with the grounds to yourself.
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.
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.
DANUBE SUPERSTAR: Arriving by river, visitors are mesmerised by the sheer grandeur of Budapest and its civic and cultural resilience. JOY DODDS reports.
WORLD HERITAGE ISLAND ESCAPE: FRASER Island is the world's largest sand island - with adventures that come in bucketloads.
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.
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