Paros, Greece – the Cyclades’ lesser-known gem

Entrance to the Panagia Ekatontapiliani church on Paros - photo by Rob McFarland

Entrance to the Panagia Ekatontapiliani church on Paros – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Jan 2, 2020

It’s not every day you get to follow in the footsteps of a saint. But the reason we’re here on Paros, the third largest island in the Greek Cyclades, is the same one that forced Saint Helena here in the 4th century – the meltemi, an angry wind that roars through the region in August. We’ve had to abandon our attempt to visit Mykonos, a scheduled stop on our nine-day Peregrine cruise around the Cyclades, and take refuge in Paros’ capital, Parikia, instead.

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Polar snorkelling in Antarctica

Polar snorkelling in Antarctica - photo by Aurora Expeditions

Polar snorkelling in Antarctica – photo by Aurora Expeditions

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Dec 30, 2019

“Not for the faint-hearted” is how Aurora Expeditions’ website describes polar snorkelling. Which is concerning because when it comes to near-freezing temperatures, I am most definitely faint of heart. Yet, here I am, fumbling awkwardly with a pair of fins on the rocky shoreline of the Antarctic Peninsula while steeling myself for water that’s hovering around three degrees. Nearby, a dozen gentoo penguins look on with curious bemusement.

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Cruising on the Danube with U by Uniworld

Sailing on the Danube with U by Uniworld - photo by Rob McFarland

Sailing on the Danube with U by Uniworld – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Sep 15, 2018

“Everyone pray for rain so we can make it down the Danube.” Not exactly what you want to hear from the captain at the start of a river cruise. Europe has been basking in a heatwave all summer and the lack of rain means the Danube is perilously low. We’ve just joined the ship at Regensburg in Germany but unless we get more rain we won’t be able to make it over a perennially problematic sandbar near Deggendorf.

This is my first river cruise and I’d naively assumed that itinerary changes were something that only happened on ocean voyages. But according to Caspar, our head guide (or U Host) from the Netherlands, the Danube is particularly susceptible to fluctuating water conditions. “We have to improvise,” he says with typical Dutch pragmatism. “And we will have fun no matter what happens.”

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