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Why Jelena Dokic's European getaway has sparked outrage

<p>Jelena Dokic has once again been the target of online hate, after a seemingly innocent photo from her European holiday garnered a lot of unwanted attention. </p> <p>The former tennis champ, who is also a prolific Instagram poster, has been sharing snaps from her getaway with her 175,000 followers, as she revels in a European summer. </p> <p>Flying home from Croatia, the 40-year-old shared a picture from inside the plane, writing that she felt "recharged" after her trip as she flew back to Australia in business class. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CwRn_BgJR-b/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CwRn_BgJR-b/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by JELENA DOKIC 🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺 (@dokic_jelena)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Her post was flooded with comments of support, with many saying they had loved her holiday content and wishing her a safe flight home as she enjoyed the luxuries of flying business class. </p> <p>However, there were also a slew of negative comments, prompting Jelena to address the hateful messages she had received. </p> <p>“I posted a couple of images of flying back from Europe, flying back home to Australia in business class. A few people have had an issue with that,” she said. </p> <p>Dokic said that she’d been accused of “showing off” and not being “humble” and noted that these comments weren’t acceptable.</p> <p>“I’m a big believer in, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” she said.</p> <p>Dokic also explained that she realised she wasn’t everyone’s “cup of tea” but also pointed out that the response she’d received was still “social media abuse.”</p> <p>“I think for people to judge and shame people for posting something. It is mean, and it is a type of social media abuse,” she vented.</p> <p>She went on to clarify that while most of her comments had been supportive, she didn't think she should have to tolerate the barrage of abuse from the cruel minority. </p> <p>Dokic is no stranger to having to deal with online hate, after she went viral earlier this year in January because she was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/body/i-went-through-hell-and-back-jelena-dokic-reveals-tragic-truth-behind-old-photo" target="_blank" rel="noopener">trolled</a> over her weight gain.</p> <p>She also took to social media to address the online trolling and called it “disgusting” and begged for people to stop.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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8 surprising alternatives to popular European destinations

<p>That’s the problem with great destinations – they become too popular for their own good. So we’ve found some alternatives that are just as good.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Croatia</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Montenegro</strong></p> <p>The yacht set have known about Montenegro’s charms for years, but the rest of the world is just getting onboard. Sitting just south of Croatia, the country shares its same gorgeous coastline, beautiful beaches and historic walled cities, but with hardly any of the crowds. It’s sat at the border of east and west for more than 400 years, so expect a fascinating cultural mix and even a unique communist legacy thrown in.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Prague</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Brno</strong></p> <p>Hard to pronounce, easy to love. The Czech Republic’s second city is a winning combination of old and new. Baroque cathedrals and historic houses rub shoulders with lively pubs, trendy cocktail bars and contemporary art museums. Plus, as with all of the Czech Republic, Brno is great value – and you won’t come across any of the UK bucks parties that seem to trawl other capitals in Eastern Europe.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Cinque Terre</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Rapallo</strong></p> <p>There’s no denying that the Cinque Terre is stunning – provided you can find a hotel in high season. Instead, head around 50 kilometres north along the coast to the charming town of Rapallo. You’ll find the same brightly coloured buildings, a 16<sup>th</sup> century castle perched above the sea and pebbly beaches lined with retro changing huts. All this for a fraction of the price.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Canary Islands</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Azores</strong></p> <p>These Portuguese islands sit around 2,000 kilometres off the west coast of continental Europe, so they’re something of a hidden gem. They miss out on most of the tacky package tours from the UK and have less of a party vibe than other islands in the Med. Referred to as the Hawaii of the Atlantic, you’ll find a landscape volcanic peaks and dramatic crater lakes while offshore there’s world-class surfing, diving and whale watching.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Florence</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Bologna</strong></p> <p>Did you know some 16 million tourists visit Florence every year? That’s a lot for a town with a permanent population of less than 400,000. The university town of Bologna gets only a fraction of that and has just as much to offer. The streets are lined with historic religious architecture, the food is incredible and the whole city seems to embrace the culture of aperitivo (afternoon cocktails with friends). We’re sold.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Berlin</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Warsaw</strong></p> <p>Berlin is considered Europe’s capital of cool, but Warsaw can give it a run for its money. The city was largely flattened in World War II and was rebuilt in a fascinating mish mash of styles that makes it unlike anywhere else in the world. Restored Gothic buildings sit alongside Communist-era concrete blocks and sleek glass towers rise from gritty laneways. It’s also home to fantastic museums covering everything from the Jewish ghettos to Chopin.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Interlaken</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Bovec</strong></p> <p>Switzerland is notoriously expensive, so the Slovenian town of Bovec is a great value alternative. It’s known as the adventure capital of eastern Europe and the surrounding Julian Alps are ideal for hiking, canyoning, mountain biking, white water rafting and skiing in winter. The best part is, they will cost around half of what they would in Interlaken.</p> <p><strong>Instead of: Budapest</strong></p> <p><strong>Try: Tallinn</strong></p> <p>It wasn’t long ago that Budapest was itself an ‘alternative city’, but cheap flights and the river cruise boom have pushed it up to the top of the list. The medieval city of Tallinn, capital of Estonia, sits on the Baltic Sea and is a unique mix if Scandinavian, European and Russian culture. The magnificent onion-domed St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is reason enough to visit, though once you’re there you’ll also love the cool design shops springing up and the very cheap (and very good) local beer.</p> <p>Image credits: Getty Images</p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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The world finally has its first ‘parastronaut’

<p>The European Space Agency made history last week with the announcement of the first “parastronaut”, 41-year-old UK citizen John McFall.</p> <p>He is the first candidate selected for the Parastronaut Feasibility project, <a href="https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Careers_at_ESA/ESA_Astronaut_Selection/Parastronaut_feasibility_project" target="_blank" rel="noopener">described by ESA as</a> a “serious, dedicated and honest attempt to clear the path to space for a professional astronaut with a physical disability”.</p> <p>McFall, a former Paralympic sprinter, had his right leg amputated after a motorcycle accident at age 19.</p> <p>Most of us are familiar with images of gruelling astronaut selection tests and training from movies such as The Right Stuff. ESA seeks to answer the practical question of what changes to training and equipment need to be made for a physically disabled person to travel to space.</p> <h2>How are astronauts selected?</h2> <p>NASA first selected astronauts, <a href="https://www.life.com/history/mercury-seven-photos-of-nasa-astronauts-in-training/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Mercury Seven</a>, in 1959. Recruitment was limited to male military test pilots less than 40 years old, in excellent physical and mental health, and less than 1.8m tall (the Mercury capsule was tiny).</p> <p>Today, NASA uses a similar basic eligibility screening. Applicants must have 20/20 vision (corrective lenses and laser eye surgery are okay) with blood pressure under 140/90 when seated and a height between 1.49 and 1.93m (to fit <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-it-take-to-do-a-spacewalk-skill-courage-and-being-able-to-wear-a-mens-size-medium-163256" target="_blank" rel="noopener">available spacesuits</a>).</p> <p>However, this is the easy part. Candidates endure several rounds of interviews and testing, and if lucky enough to be selected will need to pass the long-duration flight astronaut physical. It’s a gruelling week-long test of physical abilities necessary for space, such as agility and hand-eye coordination, as well as tolerance of extreme pressure and inertial (rotating) environments.</p> <p>This is followed by a two-year training period mastering complex space hardware and software, performing simulated EVAs (spacewalks) in Houston’s <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/167748main_FS_NBL508c.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory</a>, and experiencing weightlessness during <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/analogs/parabolic-flight" target="_blank" rel="noopener">parabolic flight</a>.</p> <p>Although I have described the NASA process here, similar programs are used across space agencies. Determining what adaptations to training are required to allow participation by physically disabled candidates will be one outcome of the parastronaut project.</p> <h2>Astronaut diversity is improving</h2> <p>Culturally, astronaut selection criteria have slowly evolved since the first all-male, all-military cohorts. The first female (and civilian) in space, Soviet cosmonaut <a href="https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/whos_who_level2/tereshkova.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Valentina Tereshkova</a>, flew on the Vostok 6 capsule in 1963.</p> <p>It was another 15 years before NASA selected female astronauts, and a further five before <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/feature/sally-ride-first-american-woman-in-space/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sally Ride</a> became the first US woman in space aboard the shuttle Challenger in 1983. The first NASA astronaut of colour, <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/subject/11054/guy-bluford/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Guion “Guy” Bluford</a>, flew in the same year.</p> <p>The 2021 NASA astronaut class of ten candidates, <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-new-astronaut-recruits-to-train-for-future-missions" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Group 23</a>, included four women and several candidates from culturally diverse backgrounds.</p> <p>It would appear that diversity in astronaut selection has lagged behind society, and ESA has made a bold step with the parastronaut project.</p> <h2>Levelling the playing field</h2> <p>ESA has initially focused on candidates with a lower-limb disability. Astronauts primarily use their upper body to get around in weightlessness, and a lower-limb disability is unlikely to impair movement. In this respect, zero-g presents a level playing field.</p> <p>Issues are likely to arise when operating existing space hardware. The parastronaut study aims to determine what modifications to launch vehicles, spacesuits and other space systems would be necessary to allow a physically disabled astronaut to live and work in space.</p> <p>There is precedent for an astronaut with a progressively disabling condition flying in space. NASA astronaut <a href="https://spacecenter.org/remembering-nasa-astronaut-rich-clifford/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rich Clifford</a> was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1994 after noticing a lack of movement in his right arm when walking, shortly before his third scheduled shuttle flight.</p> <p>NASA not only allowed him to launch aboard Atlantis in 1996 for his final mission, but scheduled Clifford for a six-hour EVA on the exterior of the Mir space station.</p> <p>Although his experience was largely positive, Clifford did note he had difficulty donning his spacesuit due to limited motion of his right arm. The human-machine interface may present the biggest challenge for future parastronauts.</p> <h2>Space is still risky and extreme</h2> <p>In November 2021 we passed the milestone of <a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/11/10/1054575533/spacex-launch" target="_blank" rel="noopener">600 humans having gone to space</a>. Compare that to the 674 million passengers who flew on US airlines in 2021 alone.</p> <p>If we could travel back in time to when only 600 people had flown in aeroplanes, we would find the risk of flying considerably higher than today. This is where we are with spaceflight.</p> <p>It remains a high-risk venture to an extreme environment with significant physical and mental challenges. We are still a long way from anyone being able to travel to space, although hopefully we won’t have to wait until billions of people have launched to reach a level of safety comparable to modern commercial aviation.</p> <p>Our knowledge of the physical, mental and operational risks associated with spaceflight is still incomplete. Of the 600+ space travellers to date, only 70 have been female, and an understanding of gender difference in space health is only just beginning to emerge.</p> <p>How would a physical disability affect an astronaut’s performance in space? We don’t know, but ESA is taking the first step in finding out. It would appear that space truly is the last frontier.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-world-finally-has-its-first-parastronaut-can-we-expect-anyone-to-be-able-to-go-to-space-one-day-195566" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: ESA</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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European droughts could jeopardise cruising’s future

<p dir="ltr">With much of Europe and the UK recording devastating droughts, plummeting water levels in rivers and lakes are posing a threat to trade, industry and another sector: tourism.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the European Union’s European Drought Observatory, around 63 percent of the land across the EU and UK, while the UK declared a drought in eight out of 14 areas shortly after.</p> <p dir="ltr">One body of water hit hard by the hot and drying weather is the Rhine, an important trade route and a popular inclusion on cruise itineraries.</p> <p dir="ltr">A critical juncture of the river at the German town of Kaub recorded water levels of just 36 centimetres over the weekend, sinking below the level at which commercial shipping becomes unprofitable.</p> <p dir="ltr">Clare Weeden, a principal lecturer in tourism and marketing at the University of Brighton, told <em><a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/europe-drought-river-cruising/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CNN</a></em> that this isn’t news, with low levels on the Rhine and Daube rivers seeing cruise passengers bussed from one destination to another over the past five or six years.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Anybody who operates river cruise boats would have had an understanding of this because of the way the climate has changed in the last 20 years," she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, with the coinciding rise of river cruising’s popularity with the climate crisis, Weeden said Europe’s traditional cruising is “definitely going to suffer”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The situation is similar across Europe, with parts of France’s famed Loire river drying up almost completely and some canals being closed.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for the Danube, emergency dredging is taking place on the lower river, through Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, while the water levels in the Hungary stretch have meant that trade vessels, averaging 1600 tonnes, can only navigate the river without cargo.</p> <p dir="ltr">While some cruises have been unaffected, passengers on some lines have been unable to travel to Budapest by water, instead being bussed or flown from other destinations.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the UK, the source of the Thames has moved downriver by five miles (or eight metres), a first in the country’s history.</p> <p dir="ltr">For those with tours lined up, don’t cancel just yet. Helen Prochilo of Promal Vacations suggests those who have booked their trips make regular calls to their river cruise line to check the conditions.</p> <p dir="ltr">For visitors still considering booking a tour, Prochilo advises to book earlier in the season or simply wait until next year.</p> <p dir="ltr">Susanne Etti, an environmental impact manager at Intrepid Travel, has called this year’s summer “a wake-up call for the entire sector”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Travel has a front row seat as climate change unfolds in the destinations we visit and, if this becomes a standard summer, it will massively impact our industry,” Etti said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unless urgent action is taken on climate change, the reality is that extreme weather is going to have an impact on the destinations and communities we visit.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-693be9c9-7fff-aaf7-af04-c5f69ee015d7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Cruising

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CDC and EU slap restrictions on travel to Australia

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Covid-19 case numbers continue to rise due to the Omicron wave, two major international governing bodies have warned against travelling to Australia. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Union have both identified Australia as a “Covid danger zone”, and warned their residents against travelling Down Under. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EU’s concerns could see Aussie travellers banned from entering Europe or forced into mandatory quarantine when arriving on European soil. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australia joins Canada and Argentina on the EU’s “danger zone”, as European Council officials recommend restrictions not be relaxed for these countries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new directive means that non-essential travel to Europe from Australia could be banned by individual EU countries, although Cyprus, Greece and Italy have already gone against the ruling. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The CDC came to a similar decision about the fate of Aussie travellers, as Australia joined the likes of Israel, Argentina, Egypt, and 18 other countries on a “very high” Covid warning. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">America’s health protection agency told US residents they should avoid travelling to the “dangerous” countries that feature in the CDC’s “level four: very high risk” list. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australia first banned international tourists at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but has recently started to relax restrictions as the nation’s leaders are encouraging everyone to “live with the virus”.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Home gardens vital for pollinators

<h2><strong style="font-size: 14px;">They provide a rich and diverse nectar source, study finds.</strong></h2> <div class="copy"> <p>Urban areas are a surprisingly rich food reservoir for pollinating insects such as bees and wasps, according to a UK study <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2745.13598" target="_blank">published</a> in the <em>Journal of Ecology</em>.</p> <p>Home gardens are particularly important, the study found, accounting for 85% of the nectar – sugar-rich liquid that provides pollinators with energy – within towns and cities and the most diverse supply overall.</p> <p>Results showed that just three gardens generated on average around a teaspoon of the liquid gold – enough to attract and fuel thousands of pollinators.</p> <p>“This means that towns and cities could be hotspots of diversity of food – important for feeding many different types of pollinators and giving them a balanced diet,” says lead author Nicholas Tew, from the University of Bristol.</p> <p>“The actions of individual gardeners are crucial,” he adds. “Garden nectar provides the vast majority of all. This gives everyone a chance to help pollinator conservation on their doorstep.”</p> <p><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.pollinator.org/pollination" target="_blank">Pollinators</a> include bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, bats and beetles. They are critical for ecosystems and agriculture as most plant species need them to reproduce, and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.453.4134&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf" target="_blank">research suggests</a> their survival relies especially on the diversity of flowering plants.</p> <p>To explore how our sprawling urban areas could support them, Tew’s research group previously led the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://www.bristol.ac.uk/biology/research/ecological/community/pollinators/" target="_blank">Urban Pollinators Project</a> in collaboration with other universities. They found that cities and gardens – community and private – are vital for pollinators, leading them to question how to quantify and harness this resource.</p> <p>“The gap in our knowledge was how much nectar and pollen urban areas produce and how this compares with the countryside,” Tew explains, “important information if we want to understand how important our towns and cities can be for pollinator conservation and how best to manage them.”</p> <p>So, for the current study, Tew and colleagues measured the supply of nectar in urban areas, farmland and nature reserve landscapes, and then within four towns and cities (Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Reading) to determine how much nectar different land uses produce.</p> <p>To do this, they extracted nectar from more than 3000 flowers comprising nearly 200 plant species using a fine glass tube and quantified it using a refractometer, an instrument that measures how much light refracts when passing through a solution.</p> <p>Then they sourced nectar measurements from other published studies and combined the nectar-per-flower values with numbers of flowers from each species in different habitats as previously measured by the group.</p> <p>Overall, nectar quantity per unit area was similar in urban, farmland and nature reserve landscapes. But urban nectar supply was most diverse, as it was produced by more flowering plant species. And while private gardens supplied similarly large amounts per unit as allotments, they covered more land – nearly a third of towns and cities.</p> <p>It’s important to note the findings are specific to the UK, and maybe parts of western Europe, Tew says. Most urban nectar comes from ornamental species that are not native, which can be attractive to generalist pollinators but may not benefit specialist species that feed from selective native flower species.</p> <p>Thus private gardens in other regions might have different benefits. Australia, for instance, has more endemic species and specialist pollinators than the UK, so while non-natives would still provide some benefit, natives may be more important overall.</p> <p>Most recommendations for attracting pollinators in Australia include supporting native bees and other local specialists. Suggestions include planting more native species and providing <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://www.australianenvironmentaleducation.com.au/australian-animals/australian-pollinator-week/" target="_blank">accommodation</a> for native bees, most of which are solitary species – unlike the familiar, colonial European honeybee.</p> <p>But in general, Tew says home gardeners can all support biodiversity with some key strategies, especially planting as many nectar-rich flowering plants as possible and different species that ensure flowers all year round.</p> <p>Other <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-pollinators" target="_blank">recommendations</a> include mowing the lawn less often to let dandelions, clovers and other plants flower, avoiding <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/scientists-call-for-urgent-action-on-bee-killing-insecticides/" target="_blank">pesticides</a> and never spraying open flowers, and covering as much garden area as possible in flowery borders and natural lawns.</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=138747&amp;title=Home+gardens+vital+for+pollinators" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/home-gardens-vital-for-pollinators/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/natalie-parletta">Natalie Parletta</a>. Natalie Parletta is a freelance science writer based in Adelaide and an adjunct senior research fellow with the University of South Australia.</p> <p><em>Image: Cosmos Magazine</em></p> </div>

Home & Garden

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How Aussies can experience a European summer cruise at home

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead of experiencing a European summer cruise, most Australians are stuck inside due to lockdown restrictions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">COVID-19 rules have seen many Aussies having to abandon their travel plans and stay at home during peak cruising seasons. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To cure the travel bug, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.celebritycruises.com/au" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Celebrity Cruises</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are offering locked down Aussies a chance to experience the European summer of their dreams from their homes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They have shared a detailed list of wine and food pairings that would make anyone think they were living it up on the Amalfi Coast. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their top wine picks have been crafted by experts to give those in a lockdown a unique experience with wines from all over the country. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The selected wines include a Prosecco from the region of Veneto in Italy, a crisp white wine from the south of Italy, and a Bordeaux blend red wine that is </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">among the top 3% of wines in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Celebrity Cruises holds more awards from the world’s leading authority on wine than any other cruise line, with 89 awards in just nine years. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They also boast an impressive collection of sommeliers at sea to help guests pair their wines with perfect meals. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their impressive wine collections can be found on their website, which is the perfect solution for any Aussie who is desperate to experience a life of luxury, while still in lockdown. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cheers to that!</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Cruising

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"WOW!" Beach handball team responds to Pink's amazing offer

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Popstar Pink has offered to pay the fines issued to the Norwegian beach handball team for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a match.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the match between Norway and Spain last weekend, the European Handball Federal (EHF) handed the Norwegians’ a $240 fine per player for “improper clothing”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The organisation said the shorts violated the athlete uniform regulations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The fines, totalling $2410, caused widespread backlash with athletes and celebrities taking to social media to criticise the decision, including Pink.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The popstar even said she was “happy to pay” the fines for the team, and praised them for protesting the “very sexist” uniform rules.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR “uniform”. The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.</p> — P!nk (@Pink) <a href="https://twitter.com/Pink/status/1419127641068630016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 25, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In response, the team shared the tweet on their Instagram Stories and thanked Pink for her support.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“WOW! Thank you so much for the support,” the team wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ruling also drew criticism from Norway officials, who argue that the womens’ uniform requirements were not practical.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In 2021, it shouldn’t even be an issue,” Norwegian Volleyball Federation president Eirik Sordahl told national news agency NTB.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While beach volleyball players have not been required to wear bikinis since 2012, rules from the International Handball Federation (IHF) state that “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” which have a “close fit”, be “cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg”, and a side depth of 10 centimetres or less.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Male players, on the other hand, are allowed to wear shorts.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Here are the rules for the men’s vs. women’s uniforms. Ridiculously <a href="https://t.co/8wDXG22sTd">pic.twitter.com/8wDXG22sTd</a></p> — KT SLP (@MrsThornSLP) <a href="https://twitter.com/MrsThornSLP/status/1419246549763244040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 25, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Norway asked the EHF for permission to play in shorts ahead of the tournament, but were told that rule violations would be punishable by fines.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The team complied until their last match.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The EHF is committed to bring this topic forward in the interest of its member federations, however it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at IHF level,” EHF spokesperson Andrew Barringer said in an email.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clothing has been an issue in beach sports for a long time, with some women players finding bikinis degrading or difficult to play in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Norwegian Handball Association (NHF) had been pushing for changes to the uniform regulations and planned to protest with the thigh-length tights the team wore.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Norway’s team captain told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the team felt forced to wear bikini bottoms.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So then we are forced to play with panties. It is so embarrassing,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“First we were told about a fine of 50 euros ($AUD 80) per person per match, something that would have landed us a fine of about 4,850 euros ($AUD 7760). We accepted that. However, just before the match we were told that we will be disqualified if we play like that. So we had to go with bikini bottoms.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Instagram</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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Sudden blow for Australian vaccine rollout

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Italy has blocked 250,000 AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines from being shipped to Australia under a new ruling by the European Commission.</p> <p>In January, the European Commission introduced rules that required vaccine manufacturers in European Union countries to get authorisation from the nation where the vaccine is produced before being able to ship out doses to other countries.</p> <p>“In the future, all companies producing vaccines against COVID-19 in the EU will have to provide early notification whenever they want to export vaccines to third countries,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said at the time.</p> <p><em>The Financial Times</em><span> </span>reported that the Italian government notified Brussels of its decision to prevent the doses from being exported to Australia, with the European Commission being able to object to that decision. It did not.</p> <p>This is the first time that the EU's export control system has been invoked, as the EU wants to keep as many doses inside the union.</p> <p>Currently, the EU has vaccinated less than 10 per cent of its population.</p> <p>A new Italian government, led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, immediately took a harder line on dealing with vaccine shortages after coming into power last month.</p> <p>Draghi has called for companies that have failed to fulfil their contractual obligations to the EU to be sanctioned.</p> <p>English journalist Kevin MacKenzie has erupted at the news of the ban.</p> <p>“The EU is a disgrace. Read this. Under new protectionst laws they have banned Italy shipping 250,000 AZ jabs to Australia.</p> <p>“Europe is short of vaccine due to its own stupidity. France and Germany don’t even believe in AZ but won’t let anybody else have it. Shockers.”</p> <p>Most Australians are set to receive the AstraZeneca jab but 60,000 of the Pfizer vaccine have already been administered in Australia.</p> <p>Neither AstraZenca or the European Commission have commented on the news at the time of writing.</p> </div> </div> </div>

News

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A quick and easy guide to planning your dream European holiday

<p><span>When it comes to travelling, Europe has no shortage of attractions. The continent, which spans across 50 countries, is the birthplace of Western civilisation and home to impressive cultural heritage sites, breathtaking natural wonders, historic architecture, amazing artworks and lavish delicacies – and that’s really only the beginning.</span></p> <p><span>With so much to cover, planning an effective and inspiring tinerary is certainly not the easiest of feats. But a smooth, hassle-free trip to the continent is within reach. Cosmos’ fully escorted touring can take you to the front seat of all the essential gems across Europe, leaving no stone unturned while allowing you to just sit back, relax and take in the glorious views.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Travel your way</span></strong></p> <p><span>Every traveller has their own distinct style – whatever your preferences are, there are options to suit. With <a href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-global-oct&amp;utm_content=content-story-weblink">Cosmos</a>, you have the freedom and flexibility to explore all the sights or simply go at your own pace.</span></p> <p><span>Want to check off a bucket list of must-see landmarks? How about setting foot in 12 different countries in the month-long <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/europe-tours/all-about-europe-5290?season=2020&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-europe-oct&amp;utm_content=all-about-europe" target="_blank">All About Europe tour</a>, where you can experience all the essentials from visiting Vatican City and snapping a picture with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to trying your hand at Flamenco dance in Barcelona or setting out on a romantic, serenaded gondola ride in Venice. For a more compact vacation, you can take in a selction of the top capital cities, including Czech Republic’s Prague and Austria’s Vienna, in the two-week <a href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/europe-tours/european-capitals-4760?season=2020&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-europe-oct&amp;utm_content=europe-capitals-tour">European Capitals tour</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Or perhaps you’d rather take the road less travelled: you can experience authentic tradition and local charms in the off-the-beaten-path towns and landscapes of the Cosmos Undiscovered series. The <a href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/europe-tours/discover-the-eastern-med-6730?season=2020&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-europe-oct&amp;utm_content=discover-easternmed-tour">Eastern Med tour</a> will take you along southeast Europe, starting from the mediaeval walled city of Dubrovnik to the seaside citadel of Montenegro’s Kotor before bringing you onto an overnight ferry trip across the Adriatic Sea to arrive in Italy’s port city of Bari.</span></p> <p><span>Those looking for adventure at a more leisurely pace can opt for the <a href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/europe-tours/sicily-6280?season=2020&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-europe-oct&amp;utm_content=sicily-tour">Sicily tour</a>, in which you will spend eight days on the Mediterranean’s largest island doing everything from sightseeing the iconic Palatine Chapel and the Acropolis and going on a cable-car ride to the mediaeval hilltop town of Erice, to walking among the charms of the coastal town of Cefalù and the majestic volcano of Mount Etna. Foodies can also try the affordable <a href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/europe-tours/gourmet-tuscany-6240?season=2020&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-europe-oct&amp;utm_content=gourmet-tuscany-tour">Gourmet Tuscany</a> package, in which you can indulge in local produce, world-class wines and gourmet fare you’ll be savouring for a lifetime.</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3N1zPBdzs9k"></iframe></div> <p><span>Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to go – there will be something amazing in store for you. Cosmos is always on the lookout for exciting places to go, unique experiences and fresh ways of doing things, keeping a finger on the pulse of today’s travel trends and getting ahead of them wherever possible. </span>Adventure is out there, just waiting to be experienced.</p> <p><strong><span>Every little detail covered</span></strong></p> <p><span>It’s always the finer details that can make or break your holiday – luckily, Cosmos has got all the logistics handled so you can simply live it up and enjoy a smooth, seamless voyage.</span></p> <p><span>With 50 years of touring experience, Cosmos is well-versed in the very best experiences and destinations around the globe. No need to worry about getting around or finding a place to stay – the motorcoach is ready to take you from point A to point B. Once you’re done with the excursions of the day, simply recline and plug into WiFi as you make your way back to your comfortable lodgings, be it the hotel room, the overnight cruise ship, or the train making its steady way through the Swiss Alps.</span></p> <p><span>Thanks to their insider knowledge and tailored suggestions, each tour director and local guide will help you become immersed in and make the most out of the activities and excursions, ensuring that you will have an adventure to remember. </span></p> <p><span>Your dream European holiday awaits – so get inspired and start building your vacation plans today. </span></p> <p><em><span>This is a sponsored article written in partnership with </span></em><span><a href="https://www.cosmostours.com.au/?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=cosmos-2020-global-oct&amp;utm_content=content-story-weblink"><em>Cosmos</em></a><em>.</em> </span></p>

International Travel

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Surprising holiday photos that can land you in trouble

<p>On holidays people tend to take photos of everything that they see, from old rustic buildings and narrow streets, to food at a restaurant and the view of city lights. But there are some photos in particular that can get you in trouble with the law.</p> <p>A British tourist in Egypt was arrested over mobile phone footage of the airport which happened to capture a military helicopter in the background.</p> <p>Muhammed Fathi Abulkasem, 19, from Manchester was arrested and charged with collecting intelligence on the Egyptian military, reported the Associated Press.</p> <p>The teenager innocently filmed the landing of his flight, which showed a helicopter in the background. Taking unauthorised photos or videos of military facilities, equipment or personnel is illegal in Egypt.</p> <p>“We all have one of those landing videos on our phones,” his cousin Shareen Nawaz from the UK told AP.</p> <p>“They shouldn’t have military helicopters in public spaces if this is what will happen.”</p> <p>Many countries have outlawed the photographing or filming of military related materials, equipment and personnel. The strictness of these laws are related to the country’s level of secrecy.</p> <p>More seemingly innocent photographs can also land tourists in hot water from places of worship, airports, museums and galleries, bridges, tunnels and railway stations – and even shopping centres and buildings.</p> <p>These all seem like normal things a tourist would capture on camera – but taking snaps of these places could be illegal without you even knowing it.</p> <p>The most surprising things people can’t take pictures of include some of the most famous photographs in the world, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris at night.</p> <p>The reason being, under European copyright law, works are protected for the lifetime of the artist, plus an additional 70 years. The tower’s designer, Gustave Eiffel, died in 1923 and the building entered the public domain 10 years later.</p> <p>Although the lights weren’t installed until 1985 by Pierre Bideau and are an artwork, they are still protected under European copyright law.</p> <p>Therefore, taking photos of the Eiffel Tower with the lights off isn’t breaking the law, although at night when the lights are flashing and dazzling over the city, it could get you in trouble with the law.</p> <p>Tokyo’s most famous night bar location in Golden Gai in the centre of the Shinjuku district is an iconic spot jam-packed with around 200 miniature bars with a labyrinth of really narrow alleys winding through the block.</p> <p>Signs throughout the district warn tourists of the banning of photographs.</p> <p>The Sistine Chapel in Rome also forbids photographs, although not for the reasons you may assume. The Sistine Chapel contains the famous artworks of Michelangelo and Cosimo Rosselli.</p> <p>People assume the reason is that the flash could damage the artwork, and although it is a concern for the longevity of the priceless art, that’s not the primary reason.</p> <p>A Japanese TV company owns the exclusive rights to these famous artworks. It attained these rights when they helped fund a major restoration project. The TV corporation offered US$4.2 million to spend on restoration in exchange for the exclusive rights to photograph and film the restored art. The company produced many documentaries and art books from the deal.</p> <p>The photo ban extends from buildings, artwork and iconic landmarks to animals. In particular, Chinese pandas. This ban comes after tourists have attempted to get dangerously close to the endangered creatures.</p> <p>In an attempt to maintain safety for tourists and the pandas, animal groups encouraged the ban.</p> <p>The tightly controlled and regulated country of North Korea consists of many photography bans, which extend to almost everything.</p> <p>Getty Images photographer Carl Court spent a week in the country documenting people’s daily life. Court explained the things he was an wasn’t allowed to photograph.</p> <p>The biggest rule for his photos included having to capture only full-frame images of Kim II-sung and Kim Jong-il statues and iconography.</p> <p>“You can’t crop the feet off the statues. You can’t cut a bit of the corner off,” Court said.</p> <p>Tourists are only allowed to enter the country if they are with a state-approved travel group that closely monitors where they go and what they see.</p> <p>Electronics and mobile phones may be searched by Korean authorities at any time.</p>

Travel Trouble

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Sights unseen: Top 10 must-see European destinations

<p>Bursting with beauty, history and culture are a multitude of intimate and lesser-travelled European destinations that every keen traveller must see in their lifetime.</p> <p>From Greece’s colonnaded Parthenon to a finger-like peninsula whose highest peaks are home to Orthodox Christian monasteries, your next epic and equally dreamy summer holiday escape to Europe is right at your fingertips.</p> <p>Here are 10 magical destinations you must experience for yourself and add to your bucket list.</p> <p><strong>1. Tallin, Estonia</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7828630/viking-cruise-do-not-use-10.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/07d804167a394c32a8856beea18163aa" /></strong></p> <p>Estonia may be one of the smallest countries in Europe yet it boasts a culture and history as vibrant and insightful as any other. In Tallin, the charming capital of Estonia located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, you can immerse yourself in a number of experiences – everything from a brush with old civilisation and the meticulously-kept medieval streets of the Old Town to suppers and heavenly homemade cuisines. This includes cinnamon roasted almonds, which are a must-try from an Old Town street store or treat yourself to the special sweet taste of marzipan that holds an immensely fascinating and meaningful history.</p> <p>Once under the rule of Russia, the newly independent country is the perfect place to journey through for a touch of the old and the new. Those who admire fine art must add the Kadriorg Art Museum at the Baroque Kadriorg Palace to their to-do list, which was once a summer home for Catherine I of Russia.</p> <p>The perfect blend of modern culture and ancient history, stop in during an immersive <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/baltic/viking-homelands/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-tallin">15-day Baltic Sea journey</a> which will see you exploring northern  Europe with Viking Cruises.</p> <p><strong>2. Puglia, Italy</strong></p> <p>Roaming around Puglia, better known as the “boot” of Italy, might be the most beautiful view to cast your eyes upon. The white-washed towns of Ostuni and Alberobello are two cities visitors may never want to leave as the tree-lined, sunny streets are just one part of what makes <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/italian-sojourn/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-puglia">Puglia a sight to behold.</a></p> <p>The beloved city, which is responsible for over 60 per cent of Italy’s olive oil production, is home to centuries-old olive trees. The history built from beneath the soil of the pristine city should be more than enough to entice any traveller to feast on the Pugliese cuisine.</p> <p>The Romanesque Basilica of St Nicholas is a must see for all culture-hungry travellers. Built late in the 11<sup>th</sup> century, the stunning church took nearly 100 years to complete. With clean, simple lines and cream coloured stone, this cathedral is well worth exploring for yourself. </p> <p><strong>3. Troy, Turkey</strong></p> <p> <img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7828628/viking-cruise-do-not-use-12.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/eb2f7be66ef148b88c7e6accce30cdaf" /></p> <p>An archaeological wonder, the story of Troy is one that has amazed and astounded for generations.  Located in Western Turkey, the ancient ruins of Troy are a marvel that date back to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/ancient-adriatic-treasures/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-troy" target="_blank">approximately </a>3000 BC and have been preserved so remarkably well, visitors will be able to experience a genuine glimpse of what the region’s former glory was once like.</p> <p>The legendary ancient city was made famous by <em>The Iliad – </em>an epic poem written by Greek author Homer, who in this particular body of work detailed specific events of the final weeks of the Trojan War. The incredible prose has become an iconic piece of work and is considered the earliest writings in the whole of the Western literary tradition.</p> <p>Culture-hungry travellers should not pass up the privilege to witness the ancient ruins of Troy for themselves. They offer an immersive insight into a world that once was but no longer exists and are surrounded by legends and myths all pointing to the fascinating and meaningful history readily available.</p> <p>Along with visiting the glorious ruins of Troy, travellers will be able to visit the tranquil memorial site from World War I, the battlefields of Gallipoli.</p> <p>The long-fought campaign was one of the deadliest and extensive battles fought during the war and has a sombre history, which you can retrace with a ferry ride across the Dardanelles straight to Eceabat on the Gallipoli Peninsula.</p> <p>This historically enriching experience is part of an <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/ancient-adriatic-treasures/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-troy">eight-day journey</a> starting from romantic Venice to the intriguing Istanbul with <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/ancient-adriatic-treasures/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-troy">Viking Cruises.</a></p> <p><strong>4. Mostar, Bosnia</strong></p> <p>The scenic city of Mostar is a sight any traveller may not ever want to leave. Best known for their landmark <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/eastern-mediterranean/empires-mediterranean/index.html?itineraryday=4#modal/173899999&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-mostar-oldbridge">‘Old Bridge,’</a> the small town is a true symbol of peace and unity in a region once absolved in conflict. Stari Most is a 16<sup>th</sup> century, ottoman-style bridge and is by far Mostar’s most beloved and iconic architectural landmark. Stretching just 28 metres across Neretva River, Stari Most has become a symbolic reminder of harmony and multiculturalism. </p> <p>Along with the abundance of street art, abandoned buildings and ancient mosques and churches, there is a mystique quite unlike any other destination you will travel to.</p> <p>While Bosnia might not be located on a coastline, you can explore this destination from Croatia during the <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/eastern-mediterranean/empires-mediterranean/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-mostar">Empires of the Mediterranean</a> itinerary with Viking Cruises. The intimate locations are just simple reminders that journeys like these are hard to come by.</p> <p><strong>5. Rethymno, Greece</strong></p> <p>One of the best-preserved medieval cities in Greece, Rethymno is the third biggest city of Crete in the Greek Islands, and is a lively, animated town you won’t want to miss a second of. The dreamy seaside town is the perfect balance between the old and the new – stroll along the 16<sup>th</sup> century cobblestone streets while taking in the arched doorways, stone staircases and ancient remains of what once was.</p> <p>The cosy old town and its tavernas will be a breath of fresh air on your 25-day journey through the cities of antiquity and the holy land where travellers will get the opportunity to explore the <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/eastern-mediterranean/cities-of-antiquity/index.html#itineraryday/5?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-rethymno">wonders of the Mediterranean</a> with Viking Cruises.</p> <p><strong>6. Shetland and Orkney Islands, Scotland</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.18101545253865px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7828639/viking-cruise-do-not-use-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b09769a69b484d10ba187c276381c90c" /></p> <p>Travelling to Shetland, Scotland is sure to be the remarkable experience you wish you’d had sooner while immersing yourself in a <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/baltic/british-isles-explorer/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-shetland">15-day cruise from Bergen, Norway</a> to London, England.</p> <p>Along the way, as you wind your way around the British Isles, travellers will have the opportunity to witness the famous Shetland ponies grazing along the roadside, on the beaches and along the dappled hillsides of the Shetland Islands.</p> <p>During the <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/baltic/british-isles-explorer/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-shetland">British Isles Explorer</a> cruise with Viking Cruises, travellers are given the opportunity to learn about the meaningful history surrounding Orkney Islands – from the 5,000-year-old circle of stones to the remarkably preserved Stone Age settlement of Skara Brae that is estimated to have been built between 3000BCE and 2500BCE, and is one of Scotland’s most fascinating villages.</p> <p>This enriching experience is one you won’t want to pass up.</p> <p><strong>7. Trømso, Norway</strong></p> <p>Deemed the “Gateway to the Arctic,” Tromsø is the second largest city in Norway which offers both natural wonders, vibrant cultural elements and unique structures specific to the famous city.</p> <p>Whether you seek adventure, natural beauty or romance, you will find a mingling of activities to suit your needs – from an exploration through the stunning and “daring” Arctic Cathedral created in 1965, to learning about exciting arctic expeditions and dog sledding.</p> <p>Embark on an epic <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/baltic/into-the-midnight-sun/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-tromso-midnightsun" target="_blank">15-day voyage Into the Midnight Sun </a>through the UK and Scandinavia and visit Trømso, where travellers will have the opportunity to witness 24 hours of daylight, and the magical ‘Midnight Sun’, during the Scandinavian summer.</p> <p>Alternatively, those wanting to explore the pristine natural beauty of the world’s northernmost city during winter in search of the northern lights can choose a 13-day <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/baltic/in-search-of-the-northern-lights/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-tromso-nlights">In Search of the Northern Lights </a>cruise.</p> <p><strong>8. Koper, Slovenia</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7828635/viking-cruise-do-not-use-5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ebe524f9aafe4517a9f37fcb22b52c67" /></strong></p> <p>One of Slovenia’s largest coastal towns, Koper is the country’s best kept secret. A city with a bountiful history, it carries the legacy of the Venetian Republic where the large and abundant town became a force to be reckoned with in the 15<sup>th</sup> and 16<sup>th</sup> century.</p> <p>Those with the rare opportunity to wander through the rich architecture will not be left disappointed. In Tito Square, travellers can admire the uniquely built Venetian-Gothic Praetorian Palace. The beautifully ornate building once served as the municipal seat for many generations and has since become one of the city’s most popular landmarks to explore.</p> <p>The glorious town, which is Slovenia’s only port city, is visited during a 10-day voyage to nine magnificent locations throughout the<a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/eastern-mediterranean/empires-mediterranean/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-koper"> Eastern Mediterranean.</a></p> <p><strong>9. Lucca, Italy</strong></p> <p>Located in the Tuscany region of Italy, Lucca is a remarkably preserved city bubbling with a rich way of life that visitors will be entranced by. The charming fortified town is a peaceful rest away from the hustle and bustle of busy Italian life, with an old charm you just can’t beat and a step into a life much different to the world we live in now.</p> <p>A fortified wall encloses the entire town – a distinctive reminder of the city defence that existed many years ago.</p> <p>A place of divine interactions and real experiences with the locals of Tuscany, Lucca is a lovely reprieve filled with its own culture to digest – from unique Lucchese cuisine to a pedestrian promenade that has become one of the city’s most beloved features.</p> <p>During a call to Florence, travellers can choose to explore Lucca during your discovery of the <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/mediterranean-odyssey/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-lucca">Mediterranean’s most historic ports</a>, from the fabled towns of Tuscany to the French Riviera’s seaside treasures in Marseille and Monte Carlo.</p> <p><strong>10. Montpellier (Sète), France</strong></p> <p>The seductive city of Montpellier is a vibrant and culturally diverse gem in the south of France and is the perfect destination to journey to.</p> <p>Cultivated by over 1000 of years of history, the charming, architecturally designed town is filled with a healthy mix of history, art, antiquities and ample amounts of sunshine.</p> <p>The thin strip of land boasts the perfect blend between modern and ancient with its medieval streets, waterfront homes and the buzzing canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to its enclosed saltwater lagoon of Ethang de Thau.</p> <p>Travellers looking to find serenity and belonging in the bustling city will enjoy Cimetière Marin – a monumental cemetery that is the resting place for generations of former inhabitants of Montpellier. Immortalised by local poet Paul Valéry, it offers brilliant views of the sea all the way to Sardinia.</p> <p>Later, voyagers can experience what makes Montpellier’s culinary scene a destination to completely immerse yourself in. See why their seafood delicacies are what they are known for as you watch local fisherman bring in their daily catch on France’s Mediterranean coast.</p> <p><a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/iconic-western-mediterranean/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-montpellier">Montpellier</a> is one stop on your <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/iconic-western-mediterranean/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-montpellier">eight-day voyage</a> while journeying through the Western Mediterranean with <a href="https://www.vikingcruises.com.au/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/iconic-western-mediterranean/index.html?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=oversixty&amp;utm_campaign=sights-unseen-editorial-montpellier">Viking Cruises.</a></p> <p>While there are plenty of destinations to choose from, it’s best you get packing now – for the best holiday is just around the corner in this chilly southern hemisphere weather.</p> <p>The perfect solution to keep the winter chill at bay is by jumping on the next sojourn to explore some of the most intriguing and diverse locations Europe has to offer, many of which are best accessed by water.</p> <p><em>This article is brought to you in conjunction with Viking Cruises. </em> </p>

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The best European destination for 2019 has been revealed

<p><span>Budapest has been named this year’s “European Best Destination”, beating out 19 other cities and regions across the continent.</span></p> <p><span>Travellers from 153 countries participated in choosing the best destination at the 10<sup>th</sup> annual European Best Destinations, with the competition receiving a record of more than half a million votes this year. </span></p> <p><span>The capital of Hungary emerged on top, with more than 62,000 votes from travellers around the world. </span></p> <p><span>The competition’s website praised the city’s culture, gastronomy scene and heritage sites. “The pearl of the Danube is not only the best European destination, it is also one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the world,” it stated. </span></p> <p><span>“Budapest offers the elegance of Paris, the architectural heritage of Vienna, the charm of Porto, Stockholm’s gentle way of life.”</span></p> <p><span>Portugal’s Braga came at number two with the most votes from Brazilian and UK travellers. “The city offers the best of Portugal in a friendly and warm atmosphere,” the website said.</span></p> <p><span>Italy’s Monte Isola and France’s Metz followed at the third and fourth rank respectively. Both became the most-voted cities in their respective countries in the competition’s 10-year history.</span></p> <p><span>Below are the 2019’s top 15 European Best Destinations:</span></p> <ol> <li><span>Budapest, Hungary</span></li> <li><span>Braga, Portugal</span></li> <li><span>Monte Isola, Italy</span></li> <li><span>Metz, France</span></li> <li><span>Poznan, Poland</span></li> <li><span>Malaga, Spain</span></li> <li><span>Geneva, Switzerland</span></li> <li><span>Cavtat, Croatia</span></li> <li><span>Bratislava, Slovakia</span></li> <li><span>Sainte-Maxime, France</span></li> <li><span>Dinant, Belgium</span></li> <li><span>Athens, Greece</span></li> <li><span>Kotor, Montenegro</span></li> <li><span>Riga, Latvia</span></li> <li><span>Florence, Italy</span></li> </ol> <p><span>Other destinations in the running included Paris, Brussels, Berlin, London and Vienna. The voting took place online across 21 days from January to February.</span></p> <p><span>Last year, Poland’s Wroclaw won the prestigious title, winning over Spain’s Bilbao, France’s Colmar and Croatia’s Hvar Island.</span></p> <p><span>Click through the gallery above to see the top 5 European destinations.</span></p> <p><span>Have you visited Budapest before? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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Holiday album: Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys' romantic European getaway

<p>After off-screen TV couple Peter Stefanovic and wife Sylvia Jeffreys returned from their sunny getaway to Europe, the pair took to Instagram to share their favourite moments.</p> <p>Posting a series of photos featuring stunning views, Stefanovic posted an image of him and his wife sitting along the seaside in Mallorca, Spain with the witty caption: <span>“Got our Med-icine. Get it? *I’ll get my coat.”</span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820454/petersylvia1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5a9c5923e7dc49bd908083804f195f0f" /></span></p> <p>The photo showed Peter lying down beside Sylvia, who was sunbathing in the famous Spanish heat, wearing a pair of sunglasses and a straw hat.</p> <p>Only a few moments before, Sylvia had posted a picture on her Instagram account of the couple posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.</p> <p>“There’s no one I’d rather block a world class view with @peter_stefanovic. The [time] goes back on tomorrow. See you bright and early @thetodayshow,” she wrote.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820455/petersylvia3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c468a4cec02948d696e0d630009c93cd" /></p> <p>The happy couple married last year at the exclusive Ooralba Estate in the Kangaroo Valley, NSW, in front of 160 guests, including <span>Channel Nine co-workers Richard Wilkins and Lisa Wilkinson, and Peter's brother Karl Stefanovic.</span></p>

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5 European destinations every wine-lover must visit

<p>Raise a glass to these decadent destinations.</p> <p><strong>1. Champagne, France</strong></p> <p>There’s just something about the word ‘champagne’ that gets us all excited. Arguably the most famous type of wine in the world, champagne was first developed right here in the south of France by monk Dom Perignon in the 17<sup>th</sup> century. Today, you can tour some of the world’s oldest and most iconic producers – like Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot and Ruinart – then bed down in beautifully restored country chateaux.</p> <p><strong>2. Piedmont, Italy</strong></p> <p>Sitting in the northwest of Italy on the border with Switzerland and France, the Piedmont (pronounced Peh-ah-mont-ay) region is famous for its rich reds like Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo, and crisp white Cortese, Arneis and Erbaluce. As well as some excellent – and ancient – cellar doors, there are high-end hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and indulgent spas.</p> <p><strong>3. La Rioja, Spain</strong></p> <p>Earlier this year Vogue magazine called La Rioja the wine region to visit right now, so you know it’s got to be good. The landscape is made up of gnarled vines, shimmering olive groves and walled medieval villages, all set under pale blue skies and near constant sun. It’s only a small region but there are more than 500 wineries turning out excellent varietals, ranging from deep reds to delicate rosé and fresh whites. Don’t miss a stay at Marqués de Riscal, arguably the world’s most famous wine hotel, designed by Frank Ghery.</p> <p><strong>4. Douro Valley, Portugal</strong></p> <p>The Romans introduced wine to the Douro Valley in northern Portugal as far back as the third century AD. Over time, it’s become known for its steeply terraced vineyards, small family-run quintas (winemaking estates) and port. Everything here centres around the Douro River and vineyards run all along its winding banks. You can see this enchanting region by road or hop aboard a small ship and cruise along the river at a stately pace – with plenty of stops for tastings.</p> <p><strong>5. Velké Bilovice, Czech Republic</strong></p> <p>It might not be as famous as the others on this list, but Velké Bilovice is something special. The Czech Republic’s most famous wine producing town has the good stuff running through its veins. It has a population of just 3,900 yet is home to more than 1,000 winemakers tending 2,000 vineyards. Every building in town has something to do with wine and every day during the season a different cellar door will open for tastings – just look out for the sign reading ‘degustace’.</p> <p>Have you ever been to these destinations?</p>

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5 European destinations every chocolate lover must visit

<p>The sweetest destinations of all…</p> <p><strong>Switzerland</strong></p> <p>The Swiss claim to make the finest chocolate in the world, and when you consider they are the home of Lindt, Nestle and lots (lots) more, it’s hard to argue. Catch the Chocolate Train through the Swiss Riviera and visit the Nestle Chocolate Factory, then go to Kilchburg near Lake Zurich to stock up on Lindt balls. Plus you’ll find exceptionally good local chocolatiers in every town you visit.</p> <p><strong>Italy</strong></p> <p>Did you know there’s a place in Tuscany called The Chocolate Valley? Sitting in between the towns of Pisa, Pistoia and Prato, it’s home to the finest chocolatiers in the country. You’ll find lots of small factories, shops and cafes selling hand-made goodies, and you can often meet the owners and learn all about their passion for chocolate.</p> <p><strong>Belgium</strong></p> <p>Belgium has long been considered the capital of chocolate and its history with the sweet treat dates back to the 17<sup>th</sup> century. The country has very strict laws surrounding production and labeling of Belgian chocolate, so you can be assured you’re always getting the good stuff. Visit the Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat in Brussels to learn the full history, then swing by the original flagship Godiva store.</p> <p><strong>Germany</strong></p> <p>The first chocolate factory opened in Germany in 1765 and it’s a love affair that continues to this day. Visit the huge Chocolate Museum in Cologne to see a complete mini-production line and take a sample from the delicious chocolate fountain. Visit in December for chocolART, Germany’s only chocolate festival, held in the town of Tubingen and welcoming 100 top chocolatiers from around the world.</p> <p><strong>England</strong></p> <p>We have two words for you – Cadbury World. Arguably the world’s most famous chocolate brand, Cadbury has a whole Willy Wonka-style theme park celebrating chocolate in Bournville, Birmingham. There are lots of fun interactive displays for kids (and grown ups) of all ages as well as hands-on chocolate making experiences, a decadent chocolate afternoon tea and the world’s biggest Cadbury shop where you can buy goodies you won’t find anywhere else in the world.</p> <p>Have you been to any of these destinations?</p> <p><em><strong>Have you arranged your travel insurance yet? Save money with Over60 Travel Insurance. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://elevate.agatravelinsurance.com.au/oversixty?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=content&amp;utm_content=link1&amp;utm_campaign=travel-insurance" target="_blank">To arrange a quote, click here.</a></span> Or for more information, call 1800 622 966.</strong></em></p>

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Why you must make time to visit this European city

<p><em><strong>Travel writer Ben Squires spends time in the beautiful city of Zurich.</strong></em></p> <p>Zurich might not find its want onto every traveller’s itinerary when they’re planning a jaunt through Europe, and this is a real shame. Located in central Switzerland, in the very heart of Europe, Zurich is a vibrant city with a rich history and a lot to offer holidaymakers.</p> <p>And there really is something for everyone. Zurich has over 50 museums, including the famous Swiss National Museum, Beyer Clock and Watch Museum and the FIFA Football Museum, which charts the history of the beautiful game. Add to that 100 art galleries featuring some of Europe’s finest classical and avant-garde creations, countless outdoor-based recreational activities, and a thriving bar and restaurant scene on par with the best on the continent, and you’ve got a city that’s worth changing an itinerary for (even if only for a few hours).</p> <p>No matter what the duration or purpose of your visit is, one thing you must do when you’re in Zurich is take a moment to scope out the shopping scene. Bahnhofstrasse, the city’s main downtown street, is one of the world’s most expensive shopping avenues, and even if you’re on a window shopping-budget you’ll enjoy a stroll down this exclusive avenue. The world’s leading brands all have a flagship store here, with everything from haute couture to Swiss delicacies available. As with most shopping destinations in Europe though, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your bag as pickpockets have been known to prey on tourists.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img width="498" height="245" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/43451/image__498x245.jpg" alt="Image_ (8)"/></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.</em></p> <p>While we were in town we were lucky enough to visit Les Ambassadeurs, a leading Swiss boutique retailer specialising in jewellery and prestigious watchers. The visit was invite-only, and unless you’ve got a spare €40,000 lying around shopping here is probably beyond the realm of most travellers, but it was a privilege to admire the collection which really encapsulates the technical precision which is the hallmarks of Swiss artistry.</p> <p>If you’re lucky enough to be in town for a few days, it’s worth making the trek out to Zurich-West (as with most of Switzerland, Zurich has fantastic public transport connections). Factories have moved out of this one-time industrial hub and creative mind have moved in, transforming this now-vibrant part of the city with an unpolished charm. From designer boutiques, to quirky eateries and market halls featuring the most fascinating goods and knick-knacks, you’ll enjoy discovering the hidden gems beneath the area’s stark exterior. </p> <p>A trip to Zurich wouldn’t be truly complete without visiting the city’s Old Town. Unless you’re very confident in your sense of direction we’d recommend a guided tour to get your bearings as it can be a bit of a maze at times, and you do miss some of the interesting buildings (and stories) on your first wander through this part of the city. That said, it’s also worth leaving a few hours to stroll at leisure through this charming part of Zurich, as you’ll really get a sense of the forces that have combined to make the city what it is today.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U5FGEyWXYyE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Oh, and if you love food, you’re going to be in luck. Zurich has not shortage of fine-dining options for eaters of all tastes and budgets. While we were in town we were lucky enough to dine Zunfthaus zu Waag, which has sophisticated, traditional Swiss cuisine cep gratin and roasted pheasant breast. If you’re on a budget, we’d recommend Tibits, an unpretentious restaurant serving some of the best vegetarian food in Europe buffet style. But whatever you feel in the mood for, you’re sure to find something to your taste. </p> <p>Zurich might not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think about visiting Europe. But with some of the best food, shopping and activities in Europe (or the world for that matter), any traveller who does make time for a visit will not regret it. </p> <p><em>The writer travelled courtesy of Switzerland Tourism.</em></p> <p><em>Visit <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.myswitzerland.com/" target="_blank">www.myswitzerland.com</a></strong></span> for more information about Switzerland.</em></p> <p><em>And visit <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.myswtizerland.com/rail" target="_blank">www.myswtizerland.com/rail</a></strong></span> for the Swiss Travel Pass which allows holders unlimited access to all Swiss public transportation including buses, boats and trains, up to 50% off mountain railways and cableways and free access to more than 500 museums around the country.</em></p>

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