I’ve whipped off the thermals and am in full, European Summer mode, as I travel from ‘The Balkans to Dalmatia’ on board MS Queen Eleganza.
I have to admit to having a soft spot for this region. My affection for Croatia began when we were here, as the first ‘non-news’ journalists to film after the war, in 1996.
I remember walking into a near-empty Dubrovnik, with only the locals and a few hardy backpackers around, and the spell being cast. When I interviewed a local, older, lady, she burst into tears and hugged me when she realised we were there to welcome people back to her country; to promote it, rather than condemn it.
Our stories had a massive impact, being shown around the world and I think I had every Croatian living in Australia stop me in the street to offer me a free meal (which I often took up considering how yummy Croatian food is).
We returned in 2006 and it was a different story: Tourism was really taking off again. When I walked out of Departures at Zagreb Airport there was a massive media contingent waiting. I thought, “Wow, I knew we’d had an effect, but this is amazing”. So, I fixed lippy and strode out… but no one stopped me. I turned around, to see that right behind me was the heavy metal band Metallica! And, the crowd went wild. Ah, you gotta laugh.
So, here I am today, sampling this trip for our upcoming Cruise book, featuring the best of these idyllic islands.
We are on a smaller boat, organised through APT, and hope to venture to places lesser known than Split, Dubrovnik, etc., which I promise we will sample as well.
Enjoy the journey and I hope your travels are treating you well, too.
This week, on Journeys To Come…
Ask The Concierge: Sir Stamford Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW
“We all know that kids love to explore and learn new things and The Rocks would be an amazing place to start. The Rocks mixes historic architecture, ghost tours, the city’s oldest pubs and quaint cobblestone laneways with bustling markets, award-winning restaurants, top bars and stylish boutiques. These include the Weekend Markets on Saturdays and Sundays where dozens of stalls sell locally-made handcrafted pieces, from jewellery and clothes to souvenirs and artwork.” READ MORE
Come Fly With Me: Kate Murdoch, Author, “Stone Circle”
“I have so many favourite travel destinations, so it’s difficult to pin down one. But a recent favourite was the West Coast of America.We visited the Grand Canyon near Las Vegas before taking a road trip through the Big Sur. This coastal drive was very memorable, with dramatic cliff faces and sapphire ocean breaking against the rocks below. I felt a bit like Tippi Hedren in a Hitchcock movie, except we were cruising in a 4WD, not a convertible.” READ MORE
TRAVEL Q&A: Top Tips for London with kids
This week, we answer a question from Cindy, who is travelling with her husband and two young daughters to London for three weeks in August and would like some tips for things to do there. READ MORE
Podcast: The Creator of the True North
Reader letter: Why we do what we do
Do you believe in serendipitous, unexpected, wonderful surprises? As I was sitting in Belgrade Airport yesterday, as you do, waiting for my plane to take me to Dubrovnik in Croatia, I received this email about a story I did around 12 years ago. I just had to share it with you. It just re-instilled in me the joy of travel and why we do what we do. READ MORE