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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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.
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.
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.
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.
COMPETITIONS
THE RESIDENCES IN CENTENNIAL PARK: WIN a night's accommodation in Sydney's favourite playground, Centennial Park - with the grounds to yourself.
DANUBE SUPERSTAR: Arriving by river, visitors are mesmerised by the sheer grandeur of Budapest and its civic and cultural resilience. 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
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.
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
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.
WORLD HERITAGE ISLAND ESCAPE: FRASER Island is the world's largest sand island - with adventures that come in bucketloads.
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.
CLASSIC SINGAPORE: Pockets of exotic colonial buildings make a refreshing contrast to the islands high-rise development. JOY DODDS reports.
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