One of the more unusual facts I learnt during my Danube waterways cruise was told to me in Budapest. As we passed the University, our guide, Cathy, pointed out that Ernõ Rubik, who invented the Rubik's Cube in 1974 originally to teach three-dimensional applications to his architectural students, is an occasional lecturer there. Ernõ was born in 1944 while his Jewish parents were in hiding from the Nazis.
Is there anywhere in England more beautiful than the Cotswolds? And is there anywhere more Cotswoldish than Chipping Campden? Its very name has an irresistibly bucolic ring, evoking images of milkmaids and swains, village greens, and pubs serving foaming tankards of ale. And, while it can be relished for its own sake, Chipping Campden is encircled by such radiant villages as Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Shipston-on-Stour, not to mention such splendid, historic towns as Evesham, Cheltenham and Stratford-on-Avon.
You would have little inkling of Hungary's turbulent history from its elegant, unhurried capital, Budapest, which bears a striking resemblance to Paris in the layout of its wide boulevards and Empire architecture, much ofit adorned with exuberant stone decoration.
Until the Chain Bridge was built in 1849, Pest was linked to historic Buda by ferry. When the unified city emerged as the capital in 1872, Jews were an integral part of it, having arrived during the Roman period, and forming a quarter of Budapest's population by 1939.
Sibling rivalry can be a painful business. One moment you are the focus of family attention: pretty, petite, gorgeously turned out and perpetually seen in all the most chi-chi spots. Then along comes a younger sister, more beautiful, better attired and with other enviable assets.
It was a warm, sunlit day in the cathedral city of Reims, France's Coronation City, in the Marne region of Champagne Ardenne. But inside it was a cool 10 degrees with 85 per cent humidity, the lights were dim, Je t'aime - the song Radio 1 banned for being too sexy, remember? - was playing. Above me were a bas relief of frolicking naked cherubs, and at the bottom of the stairs was Silus, a Frenchman, waiting to take me into a room full of guitar-playing finches.
The Greeks knew a good thing when they saw it. Arriving on Sicily's lush eastern coast nearly 3,000 years ago, they settled, prospered and expanded until they had colonised most of this fertile island suspended between Europe and Africa.
Their spirit remains alive and well in what is today an exquisite holiday playground. The fact that the warmest welcome and loveliest hotels and villas are concentrated in the east is attributed by locals to the nous of the commercially-minded Greeks whose descendants are Sicily's congenial hosts.
It's just a little old inn perched at the top of a slipway in a tiny Cornish hamlet, but The Lugger at Portloe has somehow achieved iconic status. Perhaps because its owners have injected seaside simplicty with a measure of chic without adding an ounce of pretension. Or simply because its romantic harbourside location is unbeatable.
Tolstoy loved it, Queen Victoria did too, Wagner got through a chunk of an opera here and Mark Twain was on a positive high wandering the streets. Where is this? Lucerne: a postcard-perfect Swiss lakeside town, tucked into the Alps within easy reach of Italy, Austria, France and Germany.
Right now, it is home to the greatest music-makers in the world - Vladimir Ashkenazy, Riccardo Chailly, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Mariss Jansons and Claudio Abbado.
The Somme, in Picardy, is the spiritual home of First World War I tourism; a place where descendants of fallen soldiers go to find the graves of their father, uncle or grandfather, or parties of schoolchildren are taken on educational trips.
So entrenched is the Somme in its Great War provenance, that the area is an unlikely destination for holiday-makers in search of fun and frolics, but that doesn't mean it isn't a beautiful area of France to visit - even without the pull of history.