Holiday tips

_IGP1560.JPGHappy new year friends, let’s hope for fun, frivolity, fairness and a fecundity (couldn’t think of another F that was suitable) forthcoming.

I’ve had a lovely Christmas in sunny Sydney and ate my body-weight at the groaning table of abundance. Headed to Melbourne to view the amazing array of wall art that has been decorating the laneways of Australia’s fabulous southern city.

Back to Sydney for the amazing fireworks that are emblazoned across the city on the harbour. Always spectacular, always producing shouts of joy from the crowd.

January 1 is the day for the first swim of the season at Coogee and a day to reflect and make resolutions.

I reflected on the year past and was fairly happy with it and my place within those 12 months and as for resolutions . . .nah, not for me. BUT I have promised myself to post every Tuesday for this blog – and as I woke up today with a sore throat and a croaky voice, I didn’t feel too inspired or creative. Next week, so much more for you.

So I dragged a few old posts from another blog I did for a magazine and offer them to you as ideas for your future travels, they are snippets and observations . . .enjoy. ( The top, featured picture has nothing to do with this post but these little Pope fgurines took my fancy in Assisi.)

Solo in Avignon


We walked into the courtyard in front of the mighty Palace of the Popes in Avignon,
France, a marvellous sight to see with the blue sky framing the silhouette of the building roof. There was the clear, pure sound of the saxophone echoing around the empty square and this fellow was there on his own in his own musical world – a particular lovely memory of a Trafalgar Tour. (Well worth it to take a day and walk around Avignon.)

France to Tuscany




In Tuscany, about 20 minutes from Florence now. We arrived (a small group) at Rome airport to a sunny day then coached it north. We left behind a rainy gloomy looking Nice – but only after a few splendid days in Provence.
The ‘A’s’ have it
Avignon and Aix-en-Provence were the spots we looked at and enjoyed.
We had a wonderful lunch in a small town at a tucked-away Michelin starred cook’s Le Jardin du Quai. Chef Daniel Hebet gave us a masterclass ‘demo’ on creating the perfect macaron. Perfect little pink beauties.
Highlights:
* The 2 1/2 hour fast train trip (TVG) from Paris to Avignon
* The dinner at night in a restaurant over a thundering river – we were eating trout too.
* A stroll around the walled town of Avignon checking the Pope’s Palace – those crazy pope’s and their indulgences!
* Lunch at an exquisite private home in Provence – set in the middle of its vineyard
* Counting the dogs being taken for a walk in Aix-en-Provence
Off to buy ingredients in Florence with the chef from the villa here. Then to take a cooking class – bella! (www.trafalgar.com)

Holiday in Istanbul


Thinking of visiting an exotic destination for your next trip? Readers may have visited Istanbul 30 or so years ago in their hippie heyday – say no more! I’m 24 hours away from flying out of a city of more than 15 million people – Istanbul. I’ve been here for just four and a half days after a brilliant cruise from Athens to Istanbul.
After the peace and sailing serenity, arriving in Istanbul was like a shot of adrenalin.
What an extraordinary place, layer upon layer of history – talking Turkey means talking Hittites, Persians, Romans, Gauls, Macedonians, Ottoman Turks – and an amazing, glittering era of Byzantine rule and splendour.
When I see a pile of pomegranates, next to a tray of fresh dates – I’m seeing the same thing here that someone else was checking out at the green grocer’s a few thousand years ago.
I am here in the middle of Ramadan, and there aren’t too many people in a bad mood. I wonder as a man serves me dinner – humus, shepherd’s salad, kebabs, bread floating across the room with air-filled wings; all finished off with a plate of sliced watermelon. A glass of apple tea washes it all down as a cup of the high-octane Turkish coffee would keep me awake until next week.
Everything about Istanbul is full on . . .
Enjoy a couple of non ‘postcard perfect’ pictures (above) from the frontline.

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