Six favourite destinations

People often ask about our favourite travel destinations.

And although such things are extremely subjective, we don’t hesitate to nominate our six favourite destinations. Here’s a summary:

  1.   Italy

From the glorious lakes of Lombardy; to the north-eastern romance of Venice; the splendour of Tuscany and Florence; the majesty of Rome; the excitement of Naples; and the beauty of the Amalfi, Capri and the Italian riveriera, we simply cannot go past Italy. For us, it’s a no-brainer.

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And our favourite of this wonderland: the largely unspoilt Lattari Mountain villages of Tramonti.

See our report on one particular village

2.      Austrian and Bavarian Alps

For sheer scenic beauty, these areas cannot be beaten. The memories will never leave you.

Again, our favourite location: Schafberg mountain, in the Austrian state of Salzburg.

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Situated within the Salzkammergut Mountains of the Northern Limestone Alps, the Schafberg rises above pristine and magnificent Wolfgangsee Lake.

3.      United Kingdom

Our love of cultural experiences in small village communities, makes the UK a special destination for us. 

We’ve spend time at the villages of Denham, in the county of Buckinghamshire; at Ayot St Lawrence in Hertfordshire; at Kings Cliffe in Northhamptonshire; and at Painswick in Gloucestershire.

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As well as these village experiences, we are particularly fond of the Gower area of southern Wales; Dorset and the city of Bath in Somerset.

And, of course, London never leaves your soul.

See why we keep returning to the Capital of capitals.

4.      Catalonia

Sit in a tavern or coffee shop in a mountain village and watch the Mediterranean shimmer on some of the world’s finest beaches.

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Body clocks are wound a little slower in this lovely part of Spain, where culture, food and wine are the foundations of a wonderful lifestyle.

See our report of a village stay in Catalonia.

5.      Greece

Wander across the hillsides of Crete; watch the famous sunsets at Santorini; stand beneath the Acropolis; or explore ancient Delphi at Mount Parnassus – and you will never be the same again.

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And, did we mention the food?

6.      Slovenia

This tiny Central European country has a lot going for it: from the medieval charm of Ljubljana, to the Adriatic coast at Piran and stunning Lake Bled – surely one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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You must see Mt Parnassus: a true wonder of the world

Mount Parnassus, a limestone spur in central Greece, north of the Gulf of Corinth, is one of the world’s most significant sites – and a ‘must-see’ for travellers interested in culture and history.

Towering above the ancient sanctuary of Delphi, the mountain plays a big role in Greek mythology.

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In addition to being sacred to the god Apollo, who often visited the nearby Oracle at Delphi, the mountain was thought to be the residence of the Muses and, as a result, the home of poetry and song. 

Even the name Parnassus, effectively means the mountain of the house of the God.

Over the centuries, Mount Parnassus has influenced many poets, writers and singers. For this reason, the name of the mountain (Mont Parnasse) was given to a quarter of Paris, France on the left bank of the Seine, where artists and poets used to gather and recite their poems in public.

Ruins of the ancient city of Delphi, which are visited by huge numbers of people each year, nestle into the south-western slope of the mountain – overlooking the coastal plain. 

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The phenomenal influence of this area in the ancient world – the Greeks called Delphi the centre of the world – resulted in its classification as a World Heritage Site.

Although Delphi is mostly known as the home of the Oracle, the city itself had much to offer. 

Every four years, the Pythian Games were held there and the ancient city also had an amphitheater, gymnasium, and other sanctuaries dedicated to gods and goddesses such as Artemis, Dionysus, and Poseidon.

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Mount Parnassus and Delphi are a comfortable day trip from Athens.

We travelled to the Greek capital courtesy of Scoot, which flies modern Boeing Dreamliners to and from Asia and Australia.

Greece travel

Interesting tool for finding well-priced flights

We’ve been hearing a lot about the AirWander website for finding well-priced international airfares.

This site is for travellers who want to include stopovers in international flights.

Stopovers tend to be particularly attractive to people who are not necessarily on a tight schedule.

The principle is simple: you take a round-trip itinerary and split it into multiple bookings with multiple tickets.

And then you add a stopover, which is a break of more than 24 hours between your origin and your destination.

This allows you to visit two or more locations on your journey at a cost that can be similar to the original point-to-point round-trip.

We’ve heard of travellers adding a stopover and saving money, although Australia’s isolation makes us sceptical.

Type a proposed destination into AirWander and it offers possible stopover locations and fares. Then fiddle with cities and dates in a bid to get the lowest fare.

When doing your sums, costs such as accommodation at the stopover site obviously need to be taken into account.

AirWander then refers you to third-party booking websites, in the same way as sites like Skyscanner and Momondo.

And, of course, there is always some connection risks – such as flight delays and missing luggage – with buying separate tickets from separate airlines.

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We’re still here – with greater depth

Since our journey on this site started more than 20 years ago, we’ve met some truly wonderful people and collaborated with some incredible brands.

However, we didn’t quite realise the warmth of this group until our recent announcement that we were ramping up our Instagram presence.

Almost immediately, we received some lovely emails from you all, urging us not to phase down this site at all.  It was appreciated and quite moving.

So ‘Yes’ this site will continue to do what it does well – providing independent and frank first hand opinions and travel tips – and unbiased reviews of travel destinations; travel products and accommodation

It will work more closely with our Instagram sites @memorable_destination @memorable_travels @memorable_hotels and @memorable_experiences — while linking with our other social media.

These Instagram sites themselves reach out and link closely with other like-minded travellers.

The closer integration with Instagram will allow us to take the ‘Memorable’ travel tips brand along with the vertical video and pictorial revolution changing the communication landscape.

And in this new form, it will step up its collaboration and work with some of the best known brands in the travel field.

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Coming feature: Back to Italy

Our next feature will take us back to gorgeous Italy, for a look at a wonderfully restored  8th Century former monastery in an ancient village above the Amalfi Coast.

And, stay tuned for a new look (yes, I know…. another new look) that reflects all this.

Thank you again. We appreciate it.  And please join us on this new journey.

 

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Come fly with us

Albert Einstein compared life to riding a bicycle: 

Stand still and you’ll fall.

Making sure that we did’t stand still has been a key focus since we started telling travel stories more than 20 years ago. What began as a personal travel blog, gradually broadened into a magazine-type website, supported by e-mail and a presence across social media.

However, in the past year, we started moving in a slightly different direction again – and all because of one word:

Instagram.

An astonishing change

It became glaringly obvious that our presence on  Instragram was substantially changing how we delivered content about travel, destinations, attractions, hotels and tourism.

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And it wasn’t only us.

Story-tellers everywhere – whether writers, photographers, artists, photo-journalists or musicians – were moving to Instagram and producing some astonishing and unprecedented material.

We could see that Instagram had very quickly evolved into the world’s most successful magazine – and probably the most engaging media ever.

The ability to transport people to the point of a story has always been the aim – to make you feel as if you’re right there.

Instagram does this amazingly well – blending words, photos, video, GIFs and images like never before, to tell the story in many dimensions.

A no-brainer

Progressive travel and tourism brands also quickly recognised the potential – and for us it soon became a no-brainer.

We began planning changes early last year – firstly focused on promoting and cementing the ‘Memorable’ tag that has long linked our travel storytelling.

Then, a few months ago, we expanded our Instagram presence to three sites: 

@memorable_destination

@memorable_travels

@memorable_hotels

From now on, much more of our travel storytelling will focus on these sites – backed by this site and our existing presence on Twitter,  at LinkedIn and at Facebook 

We can also be found on Pinterest  – and in our home city of Newcastle, Australia, we have a monthly newspaper column.

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Many of you have been following us since we started – and it would be great to share this exciting move with you.

And if you are not on Instagram yet, here’s how to do it. Once you have your account, it’s easy to Follow us — and we’ll Follow you.

Ian and Sue Roberts

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Hilltops attraction centres on a lone pine

A popular tourist attraction in Australia’s Hilltops Region focuses on a tree that became a symbol of courage.

A lone pine – long a poignant reminder of Australian and New Zealand spirit and sacrifice at Gallipoli in World War I – is a centrepiece of the Memorial Park at  the town of Boorowa.

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The pine stands silently at the end of an avenue of trees and plaques honouring the 26 Boorowa district men who were decorated for meritorious service during the ‘war to end all wars’.

Situated in an attractive location alongside the Boorowa River, the memorial park was established in its current form to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC in 2015.

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Lone pines have become a feature of World War I memorials in Australia, in memory of the battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli – in which more than 2000 Australians and an estimated 5000-7000 Turkish soldiers died in about four days.

The Hilltops Region included the towns of Boorowa, Young and Harden-Murrumburra, in the south-west of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous State.

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These traditional rural areas have combined to create a modern and vibrant tourist area, focusing on history, culture, craft, agriculture, vineyards, restaurants, and quality stone fruit.

Hilltops Region travel

In a blink, here’s the future of travel safety

We tasted the future of travel during our latest European trip after encountering expanded eye-scanning systems at international airports.

It’s all part of Biometric E-gate changes being introduced or trialled at some airports around the globe.

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Thanks to the Apple iPhone, most people seem comfortable with fingerprint identification – and we’d come across this technology at US border checks for many years. 

But, in the past year, we noticed a variety of other biometric screening systems appearing at some airports in Europe and the UK, to verify the identity of travellers.

The systems we encountered seemed to work hand-in-hand with boarding passes and passport checks by airlines themselves, but some of the trials have apparently tested whether scanning could replace such traditional systems altogether.

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At the same time, iris scanning is appearing at more and more airport security lines – sometimes on a voluntary basis as an alternative to lengthy passport-checking queues.

From our experience, the use of biometric systems seems a fairly unobtrusive extension of automation at airports.  Things do seem to move faster, which is always a big plus.

Logically, the scans should also help improve security.

The downsides?

Like every new system, there are hiccups. We came across scanners that didn’t work and others that were confusing to use.

And, we heard the occasional grumble among fellow travellers about data security and privacy.

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However, that aside, it looks like biometrics is the way airports and possibly even airlines are moving, with the aim of improving and speeding-up the experience for travellers.

Now, if only they could find a way to replace the ancient airport baggage carousel!

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