Greenwich Observatory was built to look at the stars. But it's a fantastic place to look at London, too.
You look past the green lawns and Palladian architecture below, across the Thames, past the Dome and Canary Wharf, to the whole of north London spread out on its hills above the metropolis. Nowhere else do you get this feeling of the sheer scale of the city, and binding it all together, the sluggish grey ribbon of the river.
From Cutty Sark DLR station - it's an uphill walk so come motivated!
Dwarfed by the surrounding views of Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Blencathra, Castlerigg still manages to maintain its dignity like an immobile Haley Joel Osmont against the awesome acting might of Bruce Willis. Despite its youth (just 5,000 years old on Monday), the stone circle is a place that just feels, well, wise. Get there early and ponder on the passage of people through time and you'll get an eerie feeling for the importance of this site. Get there late and you'll be jostling for photo opportunities with the Addams Family.
Just outside Keswick and along Castle Lane from the A591.
It's a castle. Get that? A castle. One huge, genuine, 13th Century castle. And you can stay there. What better reasons to recommend Ashford could there be?
Of course there are castles where, once you get over the battlements and Disney style restoration, you feel a little let down by the experience (Walworth, we're looking at you). Ashford castle, thankfully, is as rich an experience as the guests who loiter in the beautifully appointed lounges.
Ashford doesn't need much praising. Its awards and reputation speak volumes but it is worth pointing out that the castle comes into its own during off-peak seasons. There, amidst the quiet corridors and hallways, hundreds of years worth of history hangs like a tapestry, quiet dignity pervading the areas that would normally be taken for granted by obnoxious guests unable to converse without recourse to proclamation.
Everything one could possibly want for complete indulgence lies within easy reach. Golfing tees off (ahem) an itinerary that includes horse riding, falconry and boat trips. It is enough, however, to take a walk through the grounds and discover the walled gardens or venture towards Cong (where The Quiet Man was filmed) or even out to one of the small number of stone circles in the area. Just take a look at the photographs on the website and you'll soon find yourself ordering George to ready the carriage.
Fly to Galway airport and take a taxi or book a helicopter. www.ashford.ie
This fourth century AD villa houses truly spectacular mosaics, mostly in suberb condition. Follow the trail of rooms and corridors to enjoy vivid hunting scenes of exotic beasties. Covered with a roof to protect the tiles from direct sunlight, it is worth avoiding the midday sun as the greenhouse effect can make for sweltering conditions!
Villa Romana, Casale, Piazza Armerina
Beautiful old town that's perfect for mooching around and seeing the sights. Grab a limoncello or three at one of a strip of waterside bars as the sun sets and go for a stroll amongst the locals. Clear your head the next day by exploring the ancient ampitheatre at the edge of town (catch a bus from the central station).
South-east Sicily. Rent a car for max flexibility when touring the island.
Fantastic arts and crafts market, on Saturday and Sunday every weekend. Located in the warren-like former premises of Canterbury University, which give it an old-fashioned feel, all sorts of artisan products from the sublime to the ridiculous (possum down nipple-warmers) are available for purchase. But better again is the food, with a monster variety of stalls selling hot dishes from all over the world, fresh fruit and veg, and great cheese. Highly recommended.
Address: Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch.
Telephone: (64-3) 3660989
The old city of Noto was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693. Which wasn't such a bad thing for the modern tourist, because the whole city was rebuilt in Sicilian baroque style. The creamy, fine local limestone glows warmly in the sun, or shines eerily white on a stormy day. If Bernini had lived in the Cotswolds, he would have built Noto-on-the-Water... Prepare to be impressed - or to fall in love.
40 minute bus ride from Siracusa
The bones of Santa Rosalia, patron of Palermo, are preserved in this cave. A network of metal bars and gutters directs the seeping water from the roof of the cave into little bottles; it's supposed to be miraculous. The whole place is slightly surreal - natural rock contrasting with baroque glittering furniture.
Monte Pellegrino - outside Palermo: you'll need to drive.
In a country where you can get overwhelmed with entreaties to do dangerous and high adrenaline activities at every turn, sometimes it’s nice to do something utterly quaint and old-fashioned.
Dining on good solid fare while the old Victorian tram makes its stately progress through the streets and parks of Christchurch is about as far from extreme as you can get, and all the better for it.
Originally Ireland's flagship youth hostel, it's a little tatty these days and definitely no frills. But it has loads of character and a fantastic view, and at 14 euros a night a perfect base to explore the area settled by St Columb in the 6th century, and the Slieve League - at 600m, Europe's highest sea cliffs.
In the town of Glencolumbcille, take the road beside the Glenhead tavern and it's 1.5km up the road on the left - 973 0130
If you are going on a day out, head for the hills and the stunning Hotel Elafos on Profitis Ilias Mountain. The drive there is beautiful through little villages and olive groves. The hotel is completely unique, set deep in the woods and a great location for walkers.
Orginially built as a HQ for Mussolini it has been restored by local craftsmen and offers a complete change from the beach.
You can have lunch (food is excellent), stay the night or even get married here - there's even a childrens play area. It's relaxing, peaceful and well worth the visit.
The drive is about an hour from Rhodes Town or Lindos.
Beautiful historic Dutch bar in Soho. The interior is amazing and the atmosphere is buzzing. Good selection of Dutch and Belgian beers, and a superb food menu with lots of yummy Dutch snacks. The bar has a long history which adds to the vibe inside.
11 Macclesfield Street, Soho.
Piccadilly/Leicester Square tube
In Melbourne you will find soapboxes being put to use on Sunday afternoons at the Speakers’ Forum on the forecourt outside the State library.
Over the years, speakers (including Prime Ministers) have gathered on the banks of the Yarra river to discuss politics (brave!). In 1995, the tradition was relocated to the forecourt. If you have something you think needs to be heard, the stage is yours between 2.30pm and 5.30pm every Sunday. The audience gets to heckle and boo for free.
the State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St City
Want a quick snapshot of Turkey...don't want to travel all the way out to Ankara or Pamukkale (a LONG way from Istanbul)? Then grab a short lift on a jet (40 mins by Atlas jet) from Istanbul to Izmir on the Aegean coast. A fascinating city in its own right, Izmir is a good spot to start a trip back to Istanbul visiting Ephesus (a must), Pergamon and the place of the wooden horse, Troy. A stay at Canakkale is a good stepping stone to visiting Gallipoli (Gelibolu) and Anzac Cove - again a must for us Aussies. Using a Turkish speaking (or local) guide and driver is also recommended.
South east Turkey
This tower's history goes back to 340 BC. It is in the middle of Bosphorus, and it has recently been renovated. It has 5 floors, top floor being the bar, and you get a free soft drink here, which is included in your ticket from the shore.
You can get the best scenery for the Bosphorus from this floor. Don't forget you are in the middle of Asia and Europe here. Ground floor is a very good restaurant, although prices are above the Turkish average, you're guaranteed to have good food here.
There are frequent boats from Uskudar, Salacak, it takes aroung3 minutes, but you can also take the boat from Ortakoy (though as not frequent as from Uskudar)
Cnidus is a ruined Ottoman city at the western end of the Datça peninsular and is the reward for a long scenic walk from Datça harbour to the western tip of the peninsula.
Views from here stretch towards the clear blue mediterranean
to the east and to the Greek island of Kos in the west.
Cnidus is a good hours walk from Datça harbour and is worth combining with a rest in the beautiful village of Palamut.
The time-preserved hamlet of Datça is truly special as life goes on here as it has for centuries.
Beautifully restored honey-coloured limetstone houses built by the Greeks hide behind high garden walls. This is real Turkey and may it stay untouched by tourism for a long time to come.
An inconspicious route winds up the mountain from Datça harbour to the inland hamlet.
Marmaris Old Town is the true Turkish side of the resort with its twisting streets leading to traditional restaurants, bazaars and mosques.
There are great Ottoman buildings to the seen such as the Caravanserai inn and the castle of Suleyman which has a thorough collection of Ottoman archeological findings. This is the part of Marmaris which the tourists don't find, so thankfully it remains peaceful.
Just follow the streets leading up to the hills above Suleyman castle and loose yourself.
A 1772 town house in Asuncion city centre where patriots met and plotted the Paraguayan Independence in 1811.
Contemporary furniture, paints and objects.
Mondays and Fridays open at 7 AM. to 6:30PM and Saturdays at 8 AM. to 12 AM.
14 de Mayo and Presidente Franco
The archaelogical ruins at Ephesus are simply amazing. Frequently on visiting ancient ruins, all you can see is a small bit of rubble.
However, Ephesus has many buildings including Celsus Library, Roman latrines and an ampitheatre among many other ruins.
There is a very special atmosphere there and on one section of the road, you can see the ancient worn-in tracks of Roman chariot wheels. A carved effigy of Nike the ancient goddess can also be viewed there. The city is inland and it gets incredibly hot there, so bring plenty of sun lotion and water and remember to wear your hat.
Any resorts like Gumbet, Bodrum etc run trips there.
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