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This week's 





The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. Ann Wigmore



Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation. Elizabeth Drew




Find out what's on today HERE all around the world...



World National Days


Iceland 17 June (National Day, founding of republic and dissolution of personal union with Kingdom of Denmark 1944)

Dining in Iceland...


Philippines 12 June (Araw ng Kalayaan), Philippine Declaration of Independence, from Spain in 1898

On the table in the Philippines...

Trivia: Porta Princesa, an island in the Philippines has an underground river..



Russian Federation 12 June - Russia Day, declaration of sovereignty in 1990, (law priority over Soviet Union laws)

Dining in Russia.....

Trivia: The world’s largest country, Russia encompasses nine timezones and has dozens of ethnic groups.



Portugal 10 June (Portugal Day, "Day of Camões, Portugal, and the Portuguese Communities", National Poet Luís de Camões died in 1580)

Eating Portuguese cuisine....

Trivia: Bacalau, used extensively in Portuguese cuisine, is almost always dried and salted, because the Portuguese fishing tradition in the North Atlantic developed in the 15th century, long before the invention of refrigeration.



Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaUnited Kingdom 2nd Saturday in June

(Saint Helena)


South Georgia and South Sandwich IslandsUnited Kingdom 2nd Saturday in June


Pitcairn IslandsUnited Kingdom 2nd Saturday in June

(Pitcairn Island)



Malta 7 June (Sette Giugno, bread riot of 1919) 


Dining in Malta....

Trivia: Mdina, the nation's old, walled capital, only allows cars of residents on its roads.



SwedenJune 6 (1809, 1974). Also known as the Day of the Swedish flag. 

On the Swedish table.....

Trivia: One of the most popular flavors of ice cream in Sweden is salmiakki, or salty licorice, which can also be coal black in color. More facts ....



DenmarkJune 5 (1849, 1953).

Cuisine of Denmark...

Trivia: Danish pastries aren't really Danish! Still, wienerbrød, as they are called in Denmark, have become a famous speciality of the Danes, who love nothing better than a ‘cinnamon snail’ or ‘spandauer’ on the go! More fun facts.....



Tonga 4 June (Emancipation Day abolition of serfdom 1862, independence from the United Kingdom 1970)

What's on the table in Tonga?

Trivia: Rhetoric has always formed a crucial part of Tongan vocabulary and is chock-a-block with proverbs, historical allusions and poetry. Men with excellent oratory skills are touted as "talking chiefs" in Tonga. More facts....



Italy 2 June (Festa della Repubblica, Italy is voted a republic in 1946 - Giuseppe Garibaldi died on this date in 1882).

On Italy's table....

Trivia: With almost 40 million visitors annually, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.  More.....



Samoa 1 June (Independence Day, from New Zealand 1962)

Dining in Samoa....






How safe is your destination?

BEFORE you travel - check out the travel advisories for the countries you plan to visit. 

Smart Traveller....



Do you need a visa?

Many countries require visitors to have a visa - others do not.

Australian travellers -

Find out what you need.....



Everybody's talking...


what languages do local people speak in each of the world's countries?







Ooops! Different places have differents ways to eat.

This might help.

Read more....




Rice is eaten thoughout the world...

...but have you heard of this rice?








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


Travel is in the air, and some may need a little coaching in how to do it...

This book is ideal...



If you would like to know the secrets of many countries...


...visit this page



Before your next trip... study the questions (and answers) in this book. 

You'll find answers to many things you might see and eat.

Also check this page out.....



Expect the unexpected with this fascinating 'atlas'.

Make discoveries worldwide....


Trivia buffs - this book is for you.

Especially if you love to travel...


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

Find out all about it....




Window on Shark Bay, Western Australia

Exploring a (once) dangerous coastline


Sand, scrub, lizards, small rodents, shells - and wickedly sharp rocks that could pierce the hull of a ship.

That's what the early explorers found on their often unplanned encounters with this strip of coastline. Many arrived, blown off course, courtesy of some tropical storm that lashed them onto reefs they had no idea were there. How could they know? We're talking four hundred or more years ago. These Spanish, Dutch, French seamen, and others, didn't even know for sure there was a gigantic landmass lurking in the far south of the world! There had been rumours - and then, kabamm! - they'd arrived. 


The area is quite remote, so it's not a great place to break down, either, but this group had plenty of 'pushers' onboard. In the right season, though – May to October, at least – this becomes quite a tourist trail. As you drive on the main roads, be prepared to overtake an endless parade of caravans, pulled by not just grey nomads, but every age-group. Others, like these guys, above, are much younger, on a round-Australia group odyssey, according to the sticker on their side window.

(Not an alien landing base - but what is it? See the end for the answer)

Today the coastline of Western Australia from Lancelin to Exmouth is called Australia's Coral Coast. It's a long region, hugging the ocean, yet Shark Bay World Heritage Area 800 kilometres from Perth, still only marks about two-thirds the distance.

Remote, arid, scenic, unique. These qualities are served up on red-earth peninsulas spiked with tough grasses and bordered by Indian Ocean waters as turquoise and tropical as anything the Pacific can offer.

Shark Bay World Heritage Area was created and negotiated in 1991. It covers an area of 2.2 million hectares, of which about 70 per cent is marine waters. Of special merit, is the fact that Shark Bay was the first Australian site to be classified on the World Heritage list.

Next question you will ask: are there sharks here? Of course! This is Australia, and yet there are still many places where people surf, taking their chances. You can blame the seagrass for the sharks. These waters are home to one of the largest and most diverse seagrass beds in the world, creating ideal feeding grounds for fish. Sharks know this.

The aboriginal people who have inhabited this area for many thousands of years, called it Gathaagudu, meaning two inlets, an apt description of the water between the two peninsulas and the mainland. It was Dutch explorer, William Dampier who dubbed it Shark Bay in 1699. Others also found the area underwhelming, it seems. Watch out for Useless Loop, Disappointment and Hopeless Beaches!

Anyone who knows even a few lines of Banjo Paterson's ballad Waltzing Matilda will have heard of a billabong. It is just a waterhole, a small piece of water, and many places in the outback of Australia rely on these for fresh water. But it makes a suitable name for this outback roadhouse.

And if you thought, judging from the petrol pump outside, that this would be a mainstream highway eatery....well, you can see you were wrong. Crystals, incense, celtic designs, a whole wall celebrating an endless array of people's tattoos, and this charming maitre-d'

Shortly after the turnoff from the highway at the Shark Bay World Heritage sign, we realised that we were finally reaching the area that we'd heard so much about and never yet seen. To be fair, Monkey Mia was what I was thinking of, and it took a while to realise that the 100-and-something kilometres from the North West Coastal Highway to the coast would take some time. However we had plenty yet to see along the way.

At Hamelin Pool, named for a popular waterhole, some of the settlement's buildings are built from blocks of compressed tiny cockle shells (see above) which were quarried from nearby beaches. Rain washing through the shells causes them to naturally cement together, and they proved to be durable and good insulation.

Shell Beach, about 50 kilometres from Denham to the north-west, is covered with billions of these shells stretching for over 120 kilometres, layered up to 10 metres deep. It's obvious the locals would never have run out of building materials!

Hamelin Pool became locally important when a Telegraph Station was built in 1884, followed by a Post Office in 1886. The building still functions as the local community Post Office and public phone box. There is accommodation - rooms in the historic shearers' quarters, self-contained units, and a camping ground. Nearby you can see the original historic camel shed (now the campers' kitchen). 

Do you know what these strange things are? 

Hamelin Pool's other claim to fame is that it is home to living marine stromatolites, the oldest living organisms on the planet. They may not look like anything too special, but these are the oldest and simplest forms of life, said to date back 3.5 billion years. The super-saline water in the area provides optimum growing conditions, and yes, they do grow, even if it is only 0.3mm per year. So if you see one that is a metre high, you can do the maths and know that you have found a VERY old stromatolite.

As you leave Hamelin and continue towards Denham, along the way, there are many places to pull off the road and enjoy views across Shell Beach and the beautiful translucent waters of L'Haridon Bight. Twenty kilometres south of Denham, Eagle Bluff allows views of osprey nests and an exciting 100-metre walkway along the ridge of red and rocky cliff. If you are lucky, from this vantage point you may look down and see turtles, rays and large fish swimming in the emerald waters far below.

Families, though, often settle for Ocean Park, ten kilometres from town, for a more manageable meeting with the local wildlife.

Western Australia is known for its wildflowers. The outback of the north-west is especially colourful in spring when papery everlastings carpet the plains in white and yellow and pink daisies. This plant is called Geraldton wax, named for Geraldton, the major town centre several hours south.

Even car number-plates reflect the locals' pride in this region's heritage. Travel here and you will 'touch another world' it says. Read the fine print and you will see that the Shire of Shark Bay still remembers the Dutch seaman, Dirk Hartog. 'First in Australia' means just that. His ship ran aground on what is now Dirk Hartog Island in 1616. The inscribed pewter plate he hammered to a post at one end of the island is the first recorded proof of a European landing in Australia. Janszoon is said to have landed in what is now Queensland in 1606, but he left no record behind, of doing so, apart from his journal which he took with him.

Next year will be a very big year in Shark Bay shire. It marks 400 years since Dirk Hartog arrived, and so we decided we had to have a look. The rain had made things tricky for landing on the island, so we opted for a flyover, agreeing that we would see just as much (well, almost) from the air. Our Shark Bay Air Charter pilot, Jeff, was waiting for us at the airport, to show us the area in this Cessna.

Remember Useless Loop? It is actually not at all 'useless', and has been a thriving salt operation since 1968. It is a 'closed town' as it exists solely for its industry. Above is the transporting facility, and below are the salt pans.

The first half of Useless Loop's unusual name was bestowed upon it by French explorer Henri-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet, who dubbed the area Havre Inutile (Useless Harbour), because he mistakenly thought harbour was blocked by a sandbar.   

Flying on over the rest of the peninsula, on the western side we reach Steep Point, Australia's most western point, and the sinister Zuytdorp cliffs, so named in memory of the Zuytdorp, a ship laden with treasure which was wrecked off the cliffs in 1711As we were not driving a 4WD on this trip, this is the only way we could see this area, as regular cars cannot access it. Mystery still surrounds the wreck which was located a few decades ago. Its immense haul of silver has still never been recovered.

From the air it's impossible to see the wealth of small animals, plants and flowers, reptiles, and all sorts of fauna found here. There are six indigenous species of fairy wrens on the island, and now that sheep and goats have been removed, and feral cats are almost fully eradicated, a range of other small native mammals are being slowly reintroduced.

The trees are short and scrubby, there are no rivers, and few roads. From the Dirk Hartog Island Eco Lodge, the main building on the island administered by Kieran Wardle, grandson of the island's  first freeholder, it is bumpy 2.5 hours each way, 4WD  drive to Cape Inscription, the most important site on the island.

A light house now marks the spot where Dirk Hartog in his ship Eendracht, came ashore in 1616. Even though the Shire of Shark Bay is planning a range of celebrations in October next year, because of the island's remoteness, there will be only a few people on the island because of its inaccessibility.

The main party will take place in Denham and around Shark Bay. See more...


In Denham, the main town in this region, there are also reminders of the past.

The original pewter plate hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, but some facsimiles were made. This one is in the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre in the main  street of Denham and it is the place to go to get an understanding and appreciation of this historic and fascinating part of WA.

Over eighty years later, the explorer Vlamingh happened across this island, discovered Hartog's plate. It was in bad shape. The elements had tarnished it and rotted the post on which it had been nailed. Vlamingh made a copy of Hartog's inscription and added his own words, then erected a post with the new plate on it. He took the original with him back to the Netherlands. This facsimile is also in the Discovery Centre.

And while such memorabilia is exciting, do plan to spend longer to learn about the ecology of the entire region, as well as its history, and plans for the future.

After circling the cape several times, we are flown back to town over the stunning red cliffs of the Peron peninsula. 

A feature of this area is the birridas - gypsum clay pans - landlocked saline lakes that are important for the ecology.

The 1.5 hour flight proved to be an excellent way to get an overview (sorry!) of the area. 

Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, established for decades, is located on Monkey Mia reserve. The accommodation ranges from units such as these to rooms in a lodge, ideal for backpackers, powered caravan sites and a camping area.

The room we had was very comfortable with a small kitchen area and ensuite.

The absolute beachfront location makes this the ideal place to relax and chill out.

And many guests do just that. The resort is geared for relaxation, and while some people take 4WD tours of the Francois Peron National Park, or beachwalk, dive or take part in any number of other activities........

.....the Boughshed Restaurant serves all meals and has a bar. 

However, most people come to see the dolphins. Once, visitors could swim with them, but that has not happened for many years. The dolphins were becoming stressed and greater understanding of the species now shows that they are happier with minimal human contact. 

Feeding time commences at 7.45am every morning, and while there may be three feedings in a morning, often it's worth getting up early for the first one. Everyone is instructed to stay out of the water.

The knowledgable handlers know all the dolphins by name (each is recognisable by the shape of the dorsal fin) and enthusiastically introduce the regulars to the crowd that gathers to watch the dolphins come to say hello (well, actually to get a fish or two). Not too many fish are given, though, as these wild creatures need to stay independent. Puck, we are told, is a grandmother and 39 years old, and the youngest dolphin is aged just 2.5 years.

Here they come, right on cue...

...and a few very lucky people are selected to hand a fish to a dolphin.

And then, as the dolphins head back out into the bay, for the guests it's off to enjoy the day's activities. The pelicans stay around. They are not silly. There just might be a spare leftover fish.

It would have been good to spend the day here, but..... Denham, as we start the long journey back, there is one last thing to see. The pearl farm, a 20-minute trip from the jetty at Monkey Mia, produces exquisite Blue Lagoon pearls.

I have to see them!

These pearls are cultivated and are for sale in a stylish showroom in the town.

For now our trip is all over, but one of the bonuses of Western Australia is that the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. As the day finishes, what could be better than a seat outside overlooking the beach at Monkey Mia?

Next time.....!

More information......

(answer to question: An ant's nest)


Sally & Gordon Hammond travelled to Western Australia independently. While there they used a car from DriveAwayHolidays.

Many thanks to Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort for accommodation, and Australia's Coral Coast for organising the trip. 


Text: ©Sally Hammond

Photographs: ©Sally Hammond and Gordon Hammond

Video:  Gordon Hammond





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Planning a visit to Kerala? The old port district of Kochi is well worth seeing, as well.

Our tuk-tuk driver, Shaheer, showed us the secrets of the narrow back streets. To contact Shaheer...

Email Shaheer HERE...

Mobile: 9946129040

More about Kochi...




...from all around the world

Tune in and hear her talks on     

Radio 2GB 873AM....




Did you miss seeing the recent story of the Swiss festival of cows coming down from the mountains?

Read about it for yourself...



Denmark Delivers

Copenhagen's canals, a palace with pomp and cermnony, a kilometre-long shopping street, crayon-cooured canal-front dining...

...what more can a visitor ask for? Find out, because there is much more.



History and beauty with a dash of fun...

...and that's just the beginning of Armenia!



Zany Zadar & Croatia's north

Crazy and beautiful, a place everyone should visit.




Lovely Lisbon ~ and beyond. Sardines and secrets!

Find out much more here.... 



Two virtual visits to Ontario





Where is Tbilisi? 

Once you discover its beauty and history, you will be making plans to visit as soon as you can.

Read more....



Madrid the marvelous - so much to see in Spain's capital.

See it all here....



If you missed reading about Thailand's organic produce....

Here is the new link....



Here's something fun to check out!

The world's most popular surnames .... country



~ Northern Spain ~

mountains and miracles - and much more!

After this journey, many people will never see the world the same way again.


Find out why....



Visit Portugal's beautiful


Gondolas, cathedrals, cakes and a palace thrown in for good measure.

See for yourself!



And how about these vineyards in Georgia?

See other gardens in strange locations here....




Make your own food and travel videos? YES YOU CAN!

Gordon Hammond gives some insider tips.....



Travelling to Sydney? The northern beaches are spectacular.

See what we mean...



Hungary has something for every traveller.

Especially those who love good food...






Dry July is cool

Who says wines have to contain alcohol? This range of premium New Zealand wines might encourage a dry year, not just one month!

Here's to have Giesen's 0-percent alcohol wines.

Find out more HERE...



A spritzy new must-try sparkling sugar-free flavoured mineral water to match with foods - or as a mixer in drinks.

SanPellegrino's latest zero-calorie treat!

See more...



Keep in touch on Facebook with Australia's regional food NEWS!





food events coming up!



See more Australian food and drink events.....




Celebrate the world's foods. on their special day....

Find out when they are...



Chocolate tea... and others??

Check them out...



Attention: stone-fruits ahead. Here are some different ways to make these fruits even more tempting... mixing plums and tomatoes.

Find out more....



The world's most-awarded feta cheese...great for a party cheese plate.

...but where does it come from?


Unless you are in Austria, this    coffee-flavoured oil may be a little difficult to find...

..but it's well worth the search.







What food events are coming up WORLDWIDE?



Coming up - soon you will be able to dive around an underwater jet.

See how and where you wiill have to travel to do it...



A year of fabulous food festivals in 2022 for Britain!

Find out when and where....



Festivals throughout Australia too in 2022.

Check these out...



Scotland's Year of events for 2022

...what's on?

...and more!



Festivals in Korea, 2022

Here they are....



2022 Malaysia's Year of Festivals....

Find out when and where...



Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

This may make it easier....




If you wish to learn more about Australia's regional food, visit the @arfguide Facebook page.