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Favourite Food


Travel quotes


Eating is so intimate. It's very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you're inviting a person into your life. – Maya Angelou


The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing. – Daniel J. Boorstin



National days.....


Hungary 23 October (1956 Revolution memorial day)

Dining in Hungary....

Trivia: Hungarian language is known as Magyar. It is the direct descendent of the language spoken by the Huns, and is therefore not an Indo-European language. It has only two related languages in Europe : Finnish (Suomi) and Estonian (Eesti keel).  More….



NiueOctober 19 (1974). See Niue Constitution Act 1974 (NZ).

On the table...

Trivia: Niue is a “Wi-Fi nation”, where free wireless Internet access is available throughout the island.



Equatorial Guinea 12 October  (Independence from Spain 1968)

On the table....


Trivia: Beer is extremely pricey in Equatorial Guinea? However, a cheap local sugarcane brew is easily available. More...



Spain 12 October (Fiesta Nacional de España, Columbus discovery of America 1492)

Spanish cuisine...

Trivia: The quill pen is thought to have originated in Spain about 1,400 years ago.



Fiji 10 October (Fiji Day, independence from United Kingdom 1970)

Fiji's food.....

Trivia: Fiji water really does come from Fiji! In the United States, Fiji Water is one of the priciest water brands. Read more...



Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan") 10 October (Double Ten Day, outbreak of the Wuchang Insurgence that led to founding of the Republic of China (1911)

The cuisine of Taiwan....

Trivia: Garbage trucks play music and you can throw garbage directly into them.



Uganda 9 October  (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom 1962, also a republic)


The food of Uganda...

Trivia: Pan fried grasshoppers are a special treat in Uganda.



Egypt 6 October (Armed Forces Day, the beginning of the October War 1973)


Eating in Egypt....

Trivia: For ancient Egyptians, bread was the most important food and beer was their favorite drink. Models of brewers were even left in tombs to ensure that the deceased had plenty of beer in the next world. Read more facts....



Lesotho 4 October  (Independence from the United Kingdom 1966)

On the table in Lesotho....

Trivia: Lesotho is the highest country in the world, and is called the ‘kingdom of the sky’ or ‘the roof of Africa’.



Germany 3 October (German Unity Day, unification of West Germany and East Germany 1990)


German cuisine.....

Trivia: There are over 1,500 different beers in Germany. Beer is officially considered a food in Bavaria.



Iraq 3 October (Independence from United Kingdom 1932)

On the Iraqi table....

Trivia: Iraq’s national dish is masgouf (spit-roasted fish) and its national cookie is kleicha (meaning circle or wheel), both of which can be traced back to antiquity.



South Korea 3 October  (Gaecheonjeol, the ancient Korea founded in 2333 BC)

South Korean food.....

Trivia: South Koreans love sweet potato flavoured delicacies to such an extent that there is every possible dish flavoured with sweet potato - main courses, desserts, chips, latte, bread and salads.



Guinea (Independence from France 1958 on 2 October)


The food of Guinea.....

Trivia: The highest point in Guinea is Mount Nimba (1,752m).



India  2 October (Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation)

India's cuisine....

Trivia: Marigold flowers are used as decoration for Hindu marriages and are a symbol of good fortune and happiness.


People's Republic of China 1 October (Proclamation of People's Republic of China 1949)

Food of China....

Trivia: One in every five people in the world is Chinese.



Hong Kong  1 October  (National Day of the People's Republic of China)

Hong Kong's cuisine....

Trivia: Hong Kong has one of the world's highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.



Macau 1 October (National Day of the People's Republic of China)

Maccanese food....

Trivia: Macau is the only place in China where gambling is allowed.



Cyprus 1 October  (Independence Day 1960)

Cypriot dining....

Trivia: The Cypriot dessert wine commandaria is recognized as the world's oldest named wine.



Nigeria 1 October  (Independence Day, from United Kingdom 1960 (and republic 1963

On the Nigerian table.....

Trivia: Nigerians account for a fifth of the total population of Black Africa.



Tuvalu 1 October  (Independence Day, independence from the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) 1975 and the United Kingdom 1978)

The food of Tuvalu...

Trivia: The name Tuvalu refers to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands (eight standing together) although there are nine islands in the country.



Food related events....

US food festivals in OCTOBER 2017


Food festivals WORLDWIDE in OCTOBER


Food related events on this date in history!



Food history


...visit The Old Foodie.


See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!





How SAFE is my destination?

Australian travellers can find out here......


Australian travellers - do you need a visa?

Check the visa requirements by country...

Read more....


Packing tips

What you may and may not be allowed to carry onboard an aircraft, or pack in checked baggage.

Find out here....


Will you need an umbrella?


What will the weather be like where you are going?

Or where you are right now?

Find out here...


Check the TIME

Don't miss that flight! Never be late again when travelling.

Use the world clock to find out the local time....




Which currency will you need in the countries you plan to visit.

See them all here...


Check out the current exchange rate..... 


Airport codes

Baffled by those codes on your intinerary? Don't know where you will be landing?

Check this site....


Drivers! You need to know this about drinking and driving overseas.

Learn more...



How to get urgent assistance  when you need it!

World emergency numbers....



Have you had your travel shots?

Make sure you are covered for serious diseases in other countries....




Find it difficult to unwind on your holidays? has some expert tips for how you can chill out more easily.

Here's how....




A latte that can help your health!

Find out how....




BEFORE you travel here are some hints about what to read and watch.




A Swiss first! A climate-neutral ship.

Meet this eco-friendly way to cruise.... 




.............and Apps and DVDs

Cooks and travellers!

Love Mexican food?

or French cuisine? Now you can have both now with authentic recipes.

Read more....



Hardcore meatlovers, this is for YOU!

Meat dishes you could never have dreamed of...


Let's head for LA and its best food!

Cult recipes discovered by an expert....


Good hearty food at any time - plenty to get your teeth into.

Ross Dobson does it again....



No time to cook? Here's a lifeline.

Find the answers you need....



Good carbs, bad carbs is there a difference?

Everything you ever need to know about carbs...



Everyone loves secrets - especially about favourite places.


These will be invaluable....



One of the most unusual books you will read - a memoir of sorts. The journey is through life and discovering its answers - or even more questions.

Read more....



Take a food trail every weekend of the year - that's the offer from Lonely Planet...

...going global with the world's tastiest destinations.



Now you can cook meals like a cafe-chef pro. All day every day!




Lucio does it again with co-author David Dale as this time they explore the coast of three countries.

Find out more....



For those keen to know about the food of the Adriatic Coast, this is the ideal book.

See more here.....



Reprinted 2017

Don't think you know enough French to travel in France?

This book might give you confidence......



Start planning for Tokyo 2020 Olympics or go earlier.

This guide is what you need....



Did you think salads were only for summer?

Think again!....



Always wanted to visit Turkey? You've been, and loved the food?

This book is for you....



One of Australia's top chefs, shares good and tasty dishes for home cooks.

Read more here...



It's that 'sweet spot' of the year when some sugary treats are even more welcome.

Sweeten up your life....



Trivia buffs - this book is for you.

Especially if you love to travel...


Just in time for the holiday season.

Check your favourite wineries....



Three cities full of secrets.


Learn where they are.....



Take a trip to stylish Amsterdam!

It will be worth the trip....



The world's BIGGEST bread cookbook.

See for yourself...



A true story of survival of a family and the cuisine of their homeland.

A must-read....


If you love a bit of mystery and wackiness with your travel, this book is for you.

Find out all about it....



There is much more to Rio de Janeiro than meets the eye.

Discover its secrets....



Do you need some travel ideas? Here are 1001 historic sites to visit.

Start planning now...



Ah, Chocolate! Here presented by 'the queen of chocolate'!

Find out more....



If you always thought cooking Indian was too difficult....

... think again and see how easy it can be.



Find out what Edinburgh has been hiding.

Read more here.....



Need somewhere to rest during a busy day in London?

Here are about a hundred ideas....



Do you love Paris? Would you like to really know your way around?

This book will show you how...



Favourite cookery book writer Anneke Manning, opens her BakeClub files.

See what she is sharing...



What's for dinner? Now you kn ow with the help of this expert.

Nadia's book has the answers....



Is there such a thing as a quiet spot in Los Angeles?

This book shares 120 of them....



If you love food and travel equally, this new novel might satisfy your hunger.

Take a look....



If you think you know Australia well, you need to see this book and realise there is still more.




Sydney has many precincts and now you may explore them.

See what you may have been missing out on....



Have you been to Berlin? This book will make you want to visit.

Read more....



Something for every day of the year from famous writers and speakers through the ages.

Read more.....



Now you can cook all your favourite foods from Japan's capital.

Find out about it...



Here's a book with double value.

Find out what it is.....



India has some of the best vegatarian dishes in the world.

Find them in this new book....



Chef-farmer Matthew Evans helps us through hot weather cooking.




Could this be the el Bulli of Australia?

Find out why.....



Spend some time with Australia's 'Queen of Nyona'.

Learn her history and Asian cooking secrets....



Looking for a way to spend your weekends in Australia in 2016? 

Here are 52 suggestions complete with things to do and places to eat....

Read more..



Attention! All those who thought they would never cook Japanese food at home!

A leading chef show you how....



How to eat like an Italian! 

Fratelli Fresh's Barry McDonald gives the recipes you need....



Lovers of Middle Eastern food will devour this book - and its wonderful recipes.




One of the delights of travel is eating on the street.

This book helps you cook the food at home too...



One family of foods can help you eat your way to health!

Find out how....



Heart-shaped Tasmania is all about good food.

Find out who is making it even better ........






Travel Tips

Take the scenic route with tasty tours and special secret spots....


Swap the fast lane for the slow road

Sawday's guides have curated 30 stunning places where the journey is as magical as the destination, so that you can feel the freedom of travelling slowly, stopping for the views and losing track of time. You might travel deep into the heart of a gorgeous Vallée to a beautifully restored and elegant tower, arrive by boat to a serene island retreat for romantics and nature lovers, or climb through a high mountain pass to a cottage where loch waters lap at your garden, but every step can be a story if you take the slow road.  

The best trips are when you wind your way towards your destination, branching off from chance encounters, following hazy local directions and gathering a deep sense of a place. That sort of inquisitive wandering is 'curious travelling', so come and take a look, because curiosity will get you everywhere.             


Finca la Ramallosa, Extremadura, Spain (above)

This foodie retreat offers splendid isolation, star-studded skies and home honey! The approach is rustic, wild and the term home-grown was coined here. The world could disappear and engaging hosts Rebecca and Alfonso wouldn't bat an eyelid. 

More details »


Casas do Côro, Douro, Portugal

Minimalist modern houses are scattered throughout the grounds, dramatically embedded in the hugely atmospheric medieval village of Marialva. Ancient battlements creep uphill between olive and almond trees; views reach across vines, whitewashed, red-roofed village and imposing castle to shrub-covered hills. 

More details »


La Stella, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

The long, twisting road to La Stella dances from Modena into the Apennines and this secluded farmhouse set in deepest nature. The reward: magnificent views of Monte Cusna, an enthusiastic welcome and a night-time carpet of stars. 

More details »


'Visit' all 30 places here......... 



Secret places of Indochina

There can be no tapestry of river life as fascinating and varied as the River Mekong - and no more striking a cultural contrast as that between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia.

Visitors pass from the vibrant French colonial port of Saigon, through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavour, to travel along the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia. Spend a full day in charming Phnom Penh then explore remoter waterways as we progress to the great monuments of Angkor.

In 2003, the RV Mekong Pandaw was the first ship to attempt this extraordinary journey, surmounting complex bureaucratic and navigational obstacles. Now five Pandaw ships ply this amazing waterway.The latest adventure is a voyage to the heart of the Irrawaddy Delta, one of Burma's most colourful and distinctive corners.

As well as fulfilling a long-held ambition of the company, this exciting new expedition marks the 10th anniversary of Pandaw's widely-acclaimed humanitarian intervention in the aftermath of 2008's Cyclone Nargis, which devastated the region.

Plans are already well advanced to bring guests the best of this watery heartland, home of the ancient Mon race and the rice basket of Burma. The new cruise itinerary will offer travellers close encounters with a unique habitat, flora and fauna (potentially including the famous Irrawaddy dolphin and salt water crocodiles). The first journey on the great Irrawaddy Delta will set sail next year in March, 2018.


In French colonial times, when an official was sent from France to Laos, it took longer to sail from Saigon to Luang Prabang than from Paris to Saigon! 

This is not surprising when you learn that the mighty Mekong River flows for over 5,000 miles through six Asian countries: China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Connected by this great waterway, each Mekong country is quite different from the others in culture, history and religious life.

Pandaw sails on the Mekong through each of these countries and on some expeditions lands in no less than four countries. The complex river system in Northern Vietnam is traversed from Halong Bay to the Red River taking in Hanoi and the Viet Highlands.

For bookings........



Time travel to the Flinders Ranges 

Would you like to walk on the wild side and feel in touch with a part of Australia which has changed little in thousands of years?

You can discover the spectacular and rugged scenery of Wilpena Pound and the magnificent Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia, on a Flinders Ranges Outback Tour.

Guests will explore the Flinders Ranges in luxury air-conditioned Mercedes Benz vehicles, in small groups of up to only eight people, accompanied by a personal local tour guide.

Accommodation is at the award-winning Rawnsley Park Station for two nights and one night at the famous Prairie Hotel.

Rawnsley Park Station is located on the southern-side of Wilpena Pound, a magnificent natural amphitheatre, and the centrepiece of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, providing the perfect base for exploring the area.

The Prairie Hotel at Parachilna is an oasis on the cusp of the rugged Flinders Ranges east-side, and desert plains west-side, sweeping toward Lake Torrens, and is a haven of character, charm, creature comforts, country hospitality and great food.


For further information and bookings..........



Hotel B's A-class attractions

Ideally located in the heart of Lima's bohemian neighbourhood of Barranco, Hotel B is a restored Belle Époque mansion which once served as a summer retreat for one of Lima's wealthiest families. 

This elegant property features 17 guest rooms, a signature restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace, library and patio. In addition, the hotel houses a private collection of contemporary artworks including many by Latin American artists. 

A new experience for foodllovers was recently launched by the hotel, inviting guests to discover the culinary capital of South America by taking part in a gourmet adventure led by their very own chef. Ranging from an hour-long cooking class at the hotel to a more complete journey through the Peruvian kitchen, as well as visiting charming local establishments and sampling a variety of Peruvian ingredients at the market, it is the perfect complement to a Lima stopover. 

More information

It's cocktail hour! 

Offered by Hotel B's head bartender, this hands-on cocktail-making class shows participants how to create signature cocktails at their own bar or rooftop! Paired with appetizers, this is a fun afternoon activity to enjoy after a day of exploring the city!

More information



Extravagant India!

While India may have a reputation as a backpacker’s paradise, the  country's expanding offering of extravagant properties, from palatial city hotels to magnificent mountain retreats, is quickly making it one of the world’s most popular luxury holiday destinations.

A quarter of all bookings to Indian hotels in the past year were for five-star properties, soaring above the global average of only six percent.

Undoubtedly, India is the destination of the moment if you’re a fan of luxury travel. To help you narrow down the bountiful options, the data analysts at compiled a list of some of the most highly reviewed luxury stays in India, according to Indian travellers.

Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

In the heart of the Rajasthani desert, not far from Jaisalmer city, lies the majestic Suryagarh. This traditional sandstone fortress has been converted into a luxury boutique hotel with a sophisticated and distinctly Rajasthani feel. All thanks to its local staff, design, cuisine and the tribal music that often echoes through its grand courtyards. While you really ought to explore a bit of Rajasthan during your stay, resting within the comfort of Suryagarh is rather tempting. While away your time with a visit to the spa or take part in some yoga, chanting or meditation. In truth, it’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of the desert.


La VillaPondicherry

Founded by a man born and raised in Pondicherry, La Villa has a strong authentic claim. Its aesthetic is irresistibly chic, having perfected a look that’s simultaneously rustic and modern. Sharp lines and minimalism are artfully combined with wooden shutters and a distressed colonial façade. Lap up the genteel French feel by reclining in a bamboo chair in dappled shade on the verandah or terrace.


Wildflower Hall, Shimla

In the foothills of the Himalaya, Wildflower Hall is a dreamy mountain retreat. Offering a serenity that’s hard to match elsewhere in India and views that are out of this world; the infinity pool with an unblemished panorama is a real highlight. Found in the town of Shimla, which used to be the summer capital of the British Raj, the hotel retains its British décor with mahogany furniture, ornate carpets and fireplaces with grand mantelpieces.


The Imperial, New Delhi

Despite having a well-established reputation as one of New Delhi’s finest hotels, The Imperial does not rest on its laurels. Immaculate lawns fringed with palm trees, a garden pool and a colonnaded veranda create a feeling of a haven amidst this frantic city. Inside, high ceilings and marble floors add to this tranquility by creating a pretty awe-inspiring impression. Guests can dine in a number of world-class restaurants and even shop in the in-house Chanel boutique, the first and only one in Delhi.


The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai is an eternal favourite for good reason. The staff exude all the warmth of Indian hospitality and execute everything to perfection. Even a cup of tea in the Sea Lounge is served with an hour-glass so that you get just the right length of brew. The palace is brimming with history, charm and character, having opened in 1903 after pioneer industrialist Jamsetjee Tata commissioned it out of love for Mumbai.

The building itself is a symbol of the city and was the first harbour landmark, predating even the adjacent Gateway of India. There’s a rumour that the hotel was constructed back-to-front because the architect signed off plans while on holiday without noticing the direction it was facing. Then jumped to his death from the fifth floor when he returned and realized his mistake. But in reality this harbour-facing design, unprecedented in India, was intended for guests to enjoy breath-taking views of the Arabian Sea.


The Oberoi GrandKolkata

In the colourful and chaotic city of Kolkata, the Oberoi Grand is a sumptuous sanctuary that tends to surpass expectations. The staff here have got service down to a fine art and the inside of the hotel certainly lives up to its name. Gleaming chandeliers and gorgeous fabrics lend the place an aura of grace and splendor and the garden pool framed by palm trees and lit up at night is simply magical.

+++ is the world leader in booking hotel and other accommodations online. It guarantees the best prices for any type of property – from small independents to five-star luxury. Guests can access the website anytime, anywhere from their desktops, mobile phones and tablet devices, and they don’t pay booking fees – ever.

The website is available in 43 languages, offers over one million hotels and accommodations including more than 489,000 vacation rental properties and covers over 93,000 destinations in 224 countries and territories worldwide.

It features over 99M reviews written by guests after their stay, and attracts online visitors from both leisure and business markets around the globe. With over 19 years of experience and a team of over 11,000 dedicated employees in over 176 offices worldwide.



Irresistible Iran

Iran is a country with great mystyche and many treasures just waiting to be discovered.

It is now possible to journey through Iran and visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Persepolis, Pasargadae, Isfahan’s Jame’ Mosque and Meidan Emam. led by an expert guide Saeid Haji-Hadi (aka Hadi), who has been leading tours in Iran for almost 20 years

He will lead guests to a colourful and crowded 18th-century bazaar, where vendors sell Persian rugs, spices, copper handicrafts, and antiques.AS you travel you will experience the warmth and friendliness of the Persian people as you immerse yourself in 2,500 years of continuous history.

Why Travel to Iran?

For thousands of years before it was known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world called this land of enchantment Persia. The warmth of the Persian people is legendary, and visitors are considered a gift.

Home to some of the world’s most renowned and best-preserved archaeological sites, Iran is a treasure trove of art and history. Starting and ending in Tehran, you’ll explore the cities of Shiraz, Yazd, and Isfahan, and learn about the country’s rich, textured past while visiting ancient ruins, palaces, and world-class museums. You’ll wander through vibrant bazaars and discover priceless treasures and dazzling beauty, including Iran’s crown jewels and mosques—beautifully decorated with blue and aqua tile mosaic. With the knowledge and experience of our local guide who’s led trips here for over 20 years, you’ll be one of the few lucky travelers to discover this unique destination.  



Ten top-secret spots of Ireland

10. The Coral Strand, County Galway

Nearby the sleepy town of Carraroe in Connemara, a curious beach lies along the shore. Named “Trá an Dóilín” or “The Coral Strand”, the sand may at first feel a little odd. This is because it's made entirely of crushed coralline algae! Beaches like this are incredibly rare, but we have two very close to each other – there's another one near Ballyconneely too. They're sites of great important to conservation efforts and, luckily for us, they also make great spots for just sitting back and watching the world go by.


8. Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve, County Kerry

Look up! You’ll see the sparkling expanse of the universe come to life before your eyes. This is the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve. The sky here is devoid of light pollution, letting you gaze at the Milky Way, imagining yourself in a galaxy far, far away. Indeed, Star Wars was filmed not so far away from here. Or bring out your creative side and apply to the Cill Rialaig Artists' Retreat, which offers artists, writers and other creatives an opportunity to get away from it all and focus purely on their art. Bliss under the stars.


7. The Guinness Lake, County Wicklow

A lake made out of Guinness? Only in Ireland! Drive yourself up into the Wicklow Mountains, and you’ll find views over Lough Tay. The inky black waters are framed by golden sands, making this look like a lake poured directly out of the tap in your favourite Irish pub.


5. Sail out over the Atlantic, County Cork

If the weather is fair you can take a boat, but wouldn't you rather catch a cable car? That how the locals do it on Dursey Island on the Wild Atlantic Way. Hop on to Ireland's only cable car, often in the company of sheep who graze on the island’s lush pastures, and hang out over the Atlantic on your way to Dursey. Bring a picnic and enjoy unparalleled views over the ocean – next stop, America!


2. Cushendun Caves, County Antrim

The night is dark and full of terrors…. But the day is a time for exploring! Get yourself to the Cushendun Caves – HBO's Game of Thrones® fans will recognise this as the place Melisandre spawned a horrendous demon to kill Renly Baratheon. But whether you're a fan or not, the caves are fantastic to potter around. Formed over 400 million years, you can delve deep below the earth, explore the rockpools that cover the surrounding landscape or simply take in the breathtaking views of the sea.

Try to guess what the others are!

More details....



The fairytale island in a lake 

Lake Orta – most romantic lake in Italy

Lake Orta, The alpine Lake of Italy in Piedmont,  is 13.4 km long and 2.5 wide, a jewel set in the green of the Piedmont mountains and  woods, the quieter little cousin to majestic  Lake Maggiore. The lake shores are studded with picturesque villages and charming little harbors which tell the story of Lake Orta’s inhabitants, fishermen and country folk of past times. Today they tell contemporary tales of sail boats, motorboats, sport and quality international tourism.

Lake Orta is an ideal destination for families, couples seeking a romantic place to chill out, sports lovers of the extreme and softer kind,  the young and not so young who love nature and its unmistakable energy.

Let’s take a quick virtual trip together round the villages on the banks of the lake, starting from the small town of Omegna, the main urban complex at its northern-most point with its pretty lakeside promenade and colorful street market each Thursday, and then along the eastern shore.

We will  now arrive at Pettenasco, an ancient village that has developed in more modern times with a number of hotels, restaurants, bars and camping-sites along its lakeside walk and main road. From the northern end of the village, the views fade out towards the island of San Giulio while the southern end overlooks the calm countryside of the peninsula which is home to both the UNESCO site of Sacro Monte and the village of Orta San Giulio.

Another four kilometres and we reach Ort, a long time favorite of poets, painters, royal families and captains of industry. Today the medieval walled village of Orta San Giulio is as charming as ever for lovers of peace and tranquility and its mysterious almost spiritual aura. The chocolate box picturesque  Island of San Giulio is dominated by its splendid basilica and a Benedictine convent inhabited by silent nuns who watch benevolently over the Way of Silence where Abbess Anna Maria Canopi’s writings dispense profound thoughts on the powers of Silence and Meditation.


Orta San Giulio – lake Orta, a charming old walled village with villas, palaces and unforgettable views

The medieval walled village of Orta San Giulio – lake Orta, with its gem of an island, the pearl of the Cusio area, is without doubt the most precious jewel of Lake Orta, a priceless treasure trove collecting culture, art, handcrafts, gastronomic tradition and spirituality – a multi-facetted human story through the ages.

Today the village is even more charming as it is entirely traffic free, with its cobbled streets and the steep Motta hill leading up to the ochre colored parish church dedicated to the Santa Maria Assunta, built in 1485 and rebuilt half-way through the 18th century. Don’t miss the ancient road up to the Sacred Mount, a UNESCO world heritage site and Renaissance work of art set in a park with stunning views overlooking the village and lake, and much more besides.

On Orta San Giulio – lake Orta, the main square, Piazza Motta, is an open-air salon on the lake with boats taking people over to the Island and round the lake, little shops and street cafés where you just have to stop for a drink and to breathe in the air of times past and watch the cheerful passers-by.

The Broletto or ancient town hall in the square goes back to 1582 with its portico where the market was held and council chambers on the first floor. The current town hall is the pretty Villa Bossi with its flower-filled garden overlooking the lake and peerless views towards the island of San Giulio, a destination not just for tourists but also for brides-to-be as they seek a romantic place to tie the knot.

The village buildings in grey stone, some going back much further into the mists of time, are irresistibly charming with their roofs in local stone called beole (pronounced bay-olay), and in summer the colorful cascades of flowers from the balconies convey sheer joy to tourists and villagers alike. So you haven’t yet planned your dream holiday on Lake Orta? The Unione Lago D’Orta is the perfect way to find just what you are looking for.


Lake Orta – most romantic lake in Italy



Tips for surviving long-haul

Long-haul flights. We all have a love-hate relationship with them. They transport us to a new, exciting part of the world for us to explore, but they’re also bats%#t boring and, well, long. STA Travel has asked some of its most seasoned world travellers to spill their tips and tricks to making the long-ass flight that little bit easier.

Comfort is key! Unless you’re one of those people that can comfortably spend the whole flight in heels and tight jeans (who are you and can you please give us your secrets), invest in a comfortable, yet (of course) fabulous plane outfit. This should include non-restricting clothing that can also keep you warm, because we all know how flights can get unpleasantly cold. Top it off with some sneakers and you’re ready to roll!

Blanket? Stylish scarf? Por que no los dos? As noted, planes can get super cold. Add a wide scarf to your fashionable-yet-comfortable plane outfit, and use it as a blanket once you’re sitting down. The other passengers will think you’re super creative, your comfort levels will be maxed out, and you can feel extra smug about it.

For yourself and everyone else - pack a mini toiletries bag. A mini toiletries bag AKA mini-lifesaving-kit will save you from feeling (and looking) gross after arriving at your destination. There’s nothing worse than having to experience somebody else’s morning breath after they’ve had a 10-hour sleep...don’t put your travel buddies through that. Pack a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Other handy items include tissues, moisturiser, hand sanitiser (don’t Google how many germs are on planes - #regrets) and mouthwash. Make sure they’re all under the maximum liquid limit though, otherwise say buh-bye to your hygiene regime at the security gates!

Load your smartphone/tablet/laptop with some good viewing material, good books and great games. There’s nothing like getting lost in your favourite TV series or being engulfed by a fictitious world through a good read. Games are also a LOT of fun and are totally addictive – Candy Crush haze for 6+ hours? Lock us in. You may have square eyes by the end of it, but nothing will make the flight seem shorter and easier than watching your usual reality TV shows or reading your favourite book.

Accessorise with a neck pillow. They might not be the most fashionable accessory to rock, but the plane isn’t on a runway of that calibre. These days they come so compact that you can pack them into little bags and stuff them into your hand luggage/backpack – so only your travel companions will ever see them. They may not be worn by the who’s-who of fashion (can we fact-check that, though? We bet they are), but they will be jealous of you when they see you experiencing 100% neck support and comfort whilst you sleep. Fashionable? So-so. Comfortable? Heck yes. #Checkmate.

Take your USB phone cable with you in your carry-on. Otherwise your phone will be dead when you land, and then you won’t be able to take photos or videos until you get to your accommodation. Some planes even have Wi-Fi in the air now. Technology really does rule the world. Plus, if your phone is dead you can’t take hilarious photos of your friends while they’re sleeping - and really, that’s probably the best part of flying.

                       Read the rest of the tips here....



(Robyn Mackenzie/

Do you hate coming home from holiday with handfuls of foreign coins? The solution may be at hand.

Anyone who's travelled knows how annoying it is to come home with a handful of foreign change.  But it seems as though there's a solution.

An Irish company called Coindrum is hoping to get rid of this loose change by creating a service that will collect this money at airports, where it can be exchanged for vouchers. The vouchers can then be spent at the airport.

Coindrum has been successfully trialled at Dublin Airport, with some passengers reportedly depositing up to €300 in coins when taking advantage of the new service.

The great advantage is that it not only gives you the full value of the coins you deposit, but throws in a bonus 10 per cent on top, which is a significant mark up!

The idea has proven popular not just with visitors who are heading back to countries where they've been using different currencies, but also with locals looking to offload their own euro coins.

Based on the initial success Coindrum has plants to expand to major airports around the world, and has secured quite a sizeable $US 2 million in its latest round of funding


Coindrum chief executive Lukas Decker told Lonely Planet, "Travellers are currently getting stuck with their leftover coins when they are departing the currency area, so Coindrum offers a simple solution to this inconvenience. Instead of your change turning into dead weight, you get to buy something you love with it. Coindrum should and will be in every international hub airport worldwide as it offers a simple solution to a common problem."

Not only did Coindrum significantly boost shopping levels at Dublin Airport, it also cut down on pedestrian traffic with people spending less time fumbling around with coins at security checks.

Reprinted from



Step into the picture

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but if you could only take one picture while visiting some of the most documented destinations around the world, what would it be? To help you capture that perfect shot,, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, presents seven of the world’s most photogenic landmarks and suggests some of the best stays to snap them day and night in all their magnificent glory.

Taj Mahal – Agra, India

Situated in the Indian city of Agra, the spectacular mausoleum of Taj Mahal is a symbol of devotion, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife. The stunning architectural masterpiece is among the Seven Wonders of the World and one of the world’s most photographed tourist attractions. Endorsed by travellers for monuments, sightseeing and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city of Agra is a colourful destination that attracts millions of visitors every year.

Where to stay: Just 600 m from the Taj Mahal, The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra boasts luxurious rooms, a relaxing spa, landscaped gardens, an outdoor pool, four dining options and, not to mention, unparalleled views of the Taj Mahal. Guests can enjoy traditional Indian specialties at the hotel’s restaurants or a glass of wine at the bar overlooking the imposing Taj Mahal.


Acropolis – Athens, Greece

Endorsed by customers for history and ancient landmarks, the Greek capital of Athens is home to one of the world’s most iconic monuments, the Acropolis. Built between 447 and 438 B.C, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Parthenon is the chief temple of the Acropolis and one of the most significant examples of the ancient Greek architecture.

Where to stay: Set opposite from the Acropolis, the AthensWas Hotel features spectacular views of the Parthenon. The MODERN Rooftop Dining restaurant on the seventh floor is a great spot to enjoy modern cuisine or a refreshing cocktail while taking photos of the illuminated Acropolis by night.



Big Ben – London, UK

Situated on the banks of River Thames, the iconic clock tower of Big Ben is a British icon and one of London’s (perhaps even the world’s) most recognizable landmarks. Originally named the Clock Tower, the massive bell was completed in 1859 and is attached to the Palace of Westminster. Chiming every 15 minutes, the sound of the bell can be heard as far as the Tower Bridge on a quiet evening.

Where to stay: Situated opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London offers stylish rooms, studios and apartments.  Home to the award-winning Brasserie Joël, which serves classic French-influenced bistro dishes with a twist, this modern hotel is a great choice for guests who want to stay in the heart of London and even snap a picture of London’s historic landmarks from their bedroom window.



Eiffel Tower – Paris, France

If tourists were only allowed to take one photograph in Paris, it would have to be of the Eiffel Tower! Built by Gustave Eiffel, the French cultural icon is one of the most photographed and most visited structures in the world. Visitors can enjoy a stunning 360° view from the top deck, while after sunset the tower is illuminated and offers a spectacular light show of sparkles every hour on the hour.

Where to stay: Set in a renovated, historic building, Résidence Charles Floquet is a short 50 metres from the Eiffel Tower and offers spacious, self-catering rooms with spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower. Guests can watch the glittering lights from your living room after the sun goes down.



Duomo - Florence, Italy

Endorsed by travellers for museums, history, art and architecture the city of Florence is a landmark itself! Home to the iconic Duomo and many artistic masterpieces including Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”, this well-known destination is a journey back in time. The Piazzale Michelangelo, a square with a panoramic view of the city located in the Oltrarno district, is the perfect spot to snap a photo of Florence’s breath-taking skyline, no matter what time of the day.

Where to stay: In the centre of Florence, and a short 5-minute walk from the Piazza del Duomo, is the Firenze Rentals Corso 12. This beautiful property offers self-catered apartments with a balcony overlooking the magnificent Duomo.



Empire State Building, New York City, USA

If you are looking for a single image to capture the stunning New York City skyline, then the Observation Deck of the iconic 102-story Empire State Building on the Fifth Avenue is the place to be. The Art Deco skyscraper is one of the most photographed and recognizable landmarks in the world and has a fascinating history dating back to the start of the New York City Art Deco era. The Empire State Building is open daily until 2am and visitors can enjoy the stunning night skyline by the sounds of the live saxophone on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 22:00–01:00.

Where to stay: Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue features modern rooms and a Michelin-star restaurant. Thanks to its close proximity to the Empire State Building, just 300 metres away, guests can visit the famous skyscraper during the late night opening hours and avoid the long queues.



Great Wall of China – Huairou, China

One of the most significant structures ever built and largest historical site on earth, the Great Wall of China is the world’s longest wall offering an amazing route over steep mountains and deep valleys. The most popular and best preserved section of the wall is the Badaling Section, but visitors can plan a route that suites. No matter which route you choose, discovering The Great Wall of China is a once in a lifetime experience, so don’t forget to snap some photos!

Where to stay: Flower Yard is a six-minute drive away from Mutianyu Great Wall and a 15-minute drive from Jiankou Great Wall. The property offers barbecue facilities, an on-site restaurant with grocery delivery available on request, as well as a games room.



Sydney is OPEN

(Interior Reserve Bank of Australia © Peter Tabor)


Australia’s premier open building event, SYDNEY OPEN, returns on 4 and 5 November 2017.

(Interior of The Great Synagogue, © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums)

Sydney’s biggest open building event, Sydney Open, returns for its 13th year unlocking the doors to more than 70 of the city’s most historic and architecturally inspiring buildings and spaces usually not accessible to the general public.

(Taking in Sydney Harbour from Ernst & Young Centre, © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums)

Presented by Sydney Living Museums, Sydney Open 2017 offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city’s most loved and hidden architectural gems across the CBD as well as this year’s focus, the historical and industrial areas extending from Central and Redfern to Eveleigh.


 (St James Tunnels © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums)
Since its first year in 1997, Sydney Open has attracted over 70,000 visitors to 415 buildings across the city.

(50 Martin Place © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums)

With a broad program of buildings from places of historic and cultural architectural importance to award-winning contemporary buildings, sacred, commercial and industrial spaces, Sydney Open is a celebration of great architecture.

The main program on Sunday 5 November will feature a broad and diverse selection of buildings and spaces. New to 2017 are the recently finished Grimshaw-designed, 333 George Street and PTW Architects’ new offices in the Renzo Piano-designed Aurora Place.

They will be joined by long-standing favourites including the late-20th-century brutalist Sydney Masonic Centre (1974, tower 2004), the Harry Seidler-designed Grosvenor Place (1988), the earliest surviving synagogue in Sydney, The Great Synagogue (1878), the award-winning Beaux-Arts revivalist-style building at 50 Martin Place and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks (1817-19).

 (Mortuary Station, © Simon Freeman)

Across Redfern and Eveleigh visitors will be able to explore heritage sites throughout the Australian Technology Park (including Bays 1&2 of the Locomotive Workshop building) and Carriageworks, where an inspired adaptive reuse of this site by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer in 2006 saw the rail yards become home to the contemporary multi-arts space.

The Focus Tour program on Saturday 4 November will give visitors access to some of Sydney’s most in-demand spaces including the St James Tunnels, Central Station Clock Tower and St James’ Church Bell Tower, inside the dome of the Queen Victoria Building and behind-the-scenes tours of the Sydney Opera House. Plus this year’s Golden Ticket competition is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to explore the ever popular and fascinating Tank Stream. Sydney Open tickets will go on sale on 21 September, with a Member pre-sale from 18 September. 

(Tank Stream Focus Tour in partnership with Sydney Water, © Jody Pachniuk)


Please note: All editorial on this site is included only because of its interest and value to readers. None of the places or products mentioned above has paid to be included. Text and pictures used with permission.

No liability is accepted for any of the items mentioned in this article. It is the responsibility of users of this site to undertake their own research and make their own decisions.


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Sally, and Gordon Hammond also operate the Australian Regional Food Guide Web site. This comprehensive directory is a great resource for everything that is happening in the regional food scene in Australia. Make sure you visit and bookmark this site. Please Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook.