A couple of weeks ago I was congratulated (yes, personally congratulated) on the birth of 'the new royal prince'. I wasn't sure at first how to respond. After all, I don't believe I put much personal effort into the affair, unlike the births of my own children. But I realised I was being congratulated as a citizen and subject and I managed a gracious 'thanks'.
When most people are asked to picture a ski chalet they'll conjure up picture perfect postcard images of traditional wooden chalets. More and more contemporary properties are now being built in the mountains whether completely from scratch or by renovating traditional chalets and bringing them into the 21st century.
Looking back at royal baby week, one can't help but realise the global reach of such occasions and the positive knock on effects for international tourism. Judging by the international media gathered in London for the birth of Prince George, Britain's profile has undoubtedly been lifted, with images and footage splashed across newspapers and TV sets globally... Hosting the very best national broadcasters from around the world puts us front of mind once again and reinvigorates our brand as we seek to maintain the momentum of the Royal Wedding, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and of course the 2012 Olympic Games.
Stepping out of the luxury speedboat sent to pick up guests of Soneva Kiri, the calm atmosphere of the resort has a tangible quality. As the latest addition to the hugely successful resort range pioneered developed by husband and wife team, Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malmström Shivdasani, Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood island is a flawless, high-end version of what it means to have an eco-friendly holiday.
Somewhere near Dohuk and the 4,000 year old town where the three wise men possibly began their journey to Bethlehem is a Christian monastery set high on a mountain with commanding views of tremendous scenery. Sadly, our driver had no idea where it was and I only managed to get directions by e mailing a friend in Hawaii.
Hiking and camping isn't so simple. It has taken me a month of trial and (mostly) error to realize that I didn't need to bring anything at all. I could have bought everything I needed in the camping shop by the bus station in Chanea, Crete's main port, where I did in fact buy an excellent sleeping bag and mat.
Everyone's read the Lonely Planet and knows the whereabouts of Big Ben. But there are some more helpful hints that every Australian should know when first coming to this fair city. I've been here a few times over the years and have learnt the hard way. I've been on the receiving end of eye-rolls that have left a bruise. So this is my personal guide to surviving London without being called a twat.
A heavily worked phrase used by the tourist industry is to describe a particular destination as a "country of contrast". Sri Lanka is surely such a country - at one level a popular tourist destination... In contrast it also detains its citizens without trial, restricts freedom of expression, arrests members of the judiciary, stands accused of committing war crimes and routinely tortures.