Laud Melbourne

By Jan Shure, April 22, 2004

The city named for our 19th-century PM is well worth a detour

Until 25 years ago (when both superlatives were snaffled by Sydney), Melbourne was Australia’s biggest and most important city.

Stinging from, among other things, Melbourne’s selection as host city for the 1956 Olympics, Sydney set out to become Australia’s first city. (In theory, that honour belongs to the federal capital, Canberra, but like Brazil and Turkey, Oz suffers from its capital being eclipsed by a more famous non-capital city).


Oz 'pitality

By Jan Shure, February 20, 2004

A vast country of jaw-dropping beauty, Australia is the perfect antidote to the jaded tourist

Sleek, stylish, endowed with great natural beauty and architecturally innovative, Sydney is perhaps the most beautiful modern city on the face of the earth.

It is also welcoming, efficiently run, a treasure trove of visual, cultural and gastronomic delights and Australia’s commercial hub.


A taste of Italy

By Helen Jacobus, May 12, 2003

We enjoy heritage, history, healthy food and heart-breaking scenery in a visit to Umbria

Throwing open the tall, shuttered windows in the morning, my eyes were dazzled by sunlight. Through the glass the countryside shimmered in a verdant haze.

Light flooded into the bedroom of the Umbrian villa where I was staying. If music had broken through the silence and credits had begun to roll revealing this was a Merchant-Ivory film, I would have been only slightly surprised.


Upon my Sol!

By Mitchell Symons, January 31, 2003

To our great surprise, we find that the Costa del Sol’s leading resort is not Romford with sunshine...

Sometimes, travel doesn’t just broaden the mind, it completely blows it away.

Despite being the only person on the planet never to have visited Marbella, I “knew” just what to expect. It would be garish, charmless, tacky, flash and irredeemably becky: all the men would have earrings; all the women would sport tattoos. The lingua franca would be estuary English and any girl not from Essex would think herself accurs’d she was not born in the county.


So so Sorento

By Nadia Marks, July 18, 2002

We relish the serenity and old-fashioned charm of Sorrento

Perched high on dramatic cliffs that rise out of an azure sea, at the very start of the Amalfi coastline, Sorrento has been described as the land of colours, mermaids, myths and legends.

It is on these shores that the sirens tried to lure Odysseus’s ship onto the rocks with their song, and the Romans chose it as the perfect place for their holiday-making.


Simply splendido

By Jan Shure, May 9, 2002

A simply splendid time in Italy following in the footsteps of European royals and celebrities

One of the sad things about being a grown-up is that few events or places actually live up to expectations.

It is with a little frisson of delight, therefore, that I report that the splendidly named Hotel Splendido, in Portofino on Italy’s Mediterranean coast, actually lives up to its billing as one of the top hotels in Europe.


Holiday of note

January 14, 2000

Sunshine and strudel and beautiful music, rainstorms and vino and plenty of pasta.

These are a few of the “favourite things” that linger after a very different and delightful trip to the north-eastern corner of Italy.

Bordered by Austria and Slovenia, the province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is actually closer — in both distance and atmosphere — to Vienna, Prague and Budapest than to Rome, with the mittel-european cloak of the Habsburg Empire still clinging to the elegant towns and villages scattered across this lush region beneath the Alps.


Slope off to Italy

By Robin Neillands, January 30, 1998

As a glance along any travel agent’s shelves will quickly confirm, the skiing world is expanding.

The shelves groan under the weight of brochures featuring resorts from Canada to Scandinavia, taking in, en route, Bulgaria, Chile and even New Zealand.

As for the number of resorts available, Crystal Holidays, which claims to offer the widest choice, has no fewer than 111, in 11 countries. Among the locations on offer this season are Alaska and Quebec.