138 Telephone 01473 742424 or contact your travel agentHALMSTAD ? IBIZA Cultures of the Adriatic Halmstad, Sweden Halmstad began life back in the 13th century and during the Kalmar Union between Sweden, Norway and Denmark - which lasted from 1400 to 1520 - this is where the Union King was crowned. However, the town was virtually destroyed by fire in 1619: only the newly erected castle and the 15th century church remained standing. The town was rebuilt over the next hundred years and has been very well preserved. During the summer the town is a magnet for thousands of tourists who enjoy the long sandy beaches, and the pubs, cafés and open- air restaurants that fill the town's squares and wide streets. This is a good time to enjoy the Hallandsgården open- air museum, with its collection of historical buildings. The town has always attracted artists, and the Mjellby art museum celebrates the work of the Halmstad Group of surrealists who left their mark on Swedish art history. Hamburg, Germany A city of huge contrasts, Hamburg was virtually rebuilt after the Second World War, although there are still a few historic buildings. The fine baroque church of St Michaelis has a famous dome of hammered- copper: take the lift to the top ( or climb the 450 steps!) for wonderful views over the city and the River Elbe. The 14th century Gothic church of St Jacobi, which was restored in the 1950s, has some excellent medieval art, as well as one of the largest baroque organs in the world. In the centre of the town, the beautiful Lake Alster is an oasis of oak, lime and chestnut trees, with delightful walks among the flowerbeds and statues. For those who prefer shopping, the Lange Reihe has everything from chic boutiques to international brands, while at the other extreme is the Reeperbahn - one of the most famous streets in Germany - with everything from red- light shops to theatres and clubs. The Museum of History tells the story of Hamburg from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, with different rooms about the harbour, culture and social life. Art lovers will enjoy the Museum of Art, which has work by modern artists, as well as by German painters throughout history. Hamilton Island, Australia One of the 74 Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island is ideally situated right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, with crystalline blue water, lovely beaches and magnificent corals. As well as giving the best possible opportunity to explore the reef, the island offers a huge range of activities. Watersports include scuba diving, waterskiing, sailing and fishing trips, and there is a go- kart track, shooting range, mini- golf, driving range and a wildlife sanctuary where visitors can cuddle koalas or stroke baby crocodiles. Harwich, England Harwich has been an important port and naval base for several hundred years. The old town retains a medieval street pattern, with narrow alleys connecting the main streets, which run away from the seafront. Adjacent to the port is the mid- Victorian Ha'penny Pier - named after the original entrance charge - which was once the departure point for paddle- steamers. Nearby the beautifully restored Electric Palace cinema is the oldest purpose- built cinema in the UK, dating back to 1911. On Harwich Green is the Treadwheel Crane - it used to be in the Naval yard - which was operated by two men walking in the interior of the 5.2m wheels. Built in 1667, it was in use until 1928. The Guildhall, now the home of Harwich Town Council, is a fine Georgian building, on the interior walls of which are engravings of sailing ships and houses carved into the wood panelling. They are thought to have been produced by prisoners when the Guildhall also housed the town gaol. XXX Havana, Cuba A beautifully preserved city, Havana retains all the vibrancy and fabulous architecture that come from its heritage as a Spanish colony. African influences, palm trees and a wonderful climate make this city visually beautiful. There are some quite superb buildings and peaceful shaded squares, especially in La Habana Vieja - Old Havana. Here is 500 years of colonial heritage, with perhaps the highest concentration of museums and galleries of any city in the world. The City Museum - Museo de la Ciudad - in an 18th century baroque palace, tells the fascinating story of Havana from its earliest days. On El Prado, one of the old town's main avenues, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is housed in two beautifully restored buildings. One has Cuban art, the other an international collection. The 8km- long seawall goes from Old Havana to the trendy suburb of Vedado. Parts of the wall are rather dilapidated, but currently under restoration. Vedado has art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and cabarets, as well small family shops. Helsinki, Finland The Finnish capital since 1812, Helsinki was recreated by the tsars of Russia as a miniature St. Petersburg - during the Cold War it featured in many movies as a substitute Leningrad. Visitors can take their pick of an outstanding choice of museums, as well as admiring an enormous variety of church architecture, not to mention the neo- classical railway station and Senate Square. Surrounded by sea on three sides and with a beautiful archipelago forming the city centre, the city has a very special atmosphere. Many attractions are within walking distance of each other, such as the Stockmann department store, the Kiasma museum of modern art, and the Russian Orthodox Uspenskij Cathedral with its distinctive cupolas. The Suomenlinna sea fortress, dating from the 18th century, is a massive structure, and a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. And many locals claim that a visit to the Fazer café and confectioner is as important as a museum visit: the original art deco interior and solid marble floors are the perfect environment in which to enjoy the unique cakes, pastries and custards. Hendaye, France On the frontier with Spain and hemmed in by the Atlantic and the Pyrenees, Hendaye sits on the Bidassoa River, the middle of which marks the border with Spain. On the waterfront are ruins of old fortifications and several cannons. On the seafront is the Château of Antoine d'Abbadie, a gothic pile that looks like a fortified castle from the Middle Ages. d'Abbadie, who is buried in a chapel adjacent to the Château, was a 19th century scholar of geography, astronomy and oriental culture - and a key supporter of Basque Country language and culture. In the town square is the Great Cross of Hendaye. The stonework of the cross is carved with occult symbols which are mentioned by Nostradamus, and allegedly predict a future catastrophe. Holyhead, Wales It's claimed that Holyhead was founded by St Cybi, a Breton priest who came here in the middle of the 6th century. Although it is best known as a busy ferry port, it has excellent fishing and sailing facilities, as well as good local beaches. Several prehistoric sites are nearby, including ancient burial chambers. The Maritime Museum, in the centre of town, has comprehensive information on more than a hundred shipwrecks that have occurred in the area around the island, including a range of artefacts recovered from the Irish Sea. The displays depict the maritime history of the town from the Iron Age to modern times. The South Stack Lighthouse outside the port has a long climb to the top, but the views are excellent. Honfleur, France Honfleur, with its pretty 17th century harbour, is one of Normandy's most charming ports, boasting some fascinating museums, churches and monuments. The Maisons Satie is the house where Honfleur's very own Erik Satie was born in 1866. He was a musician and painter - and visitors can wear helmets which play recordings of some of his compositions to augment the displays. Honfleur attracted many of the Impressionists and the Musée Eugène Boudin has an attractive collection of paintings, including work by Boudin. The Musée du Vieux Honfleur has interesting collections of old furniture, lace, embroidery and farm equipment representing life in bygone Normandy. Sainte- Catherine church is an interesting wooden construction built by ships' carpenters around 1500: the marine influence can be seen in the two parallel vaults in the shape of an upturned hull. NaturoSpace, on the edge of the town near the coast, is a giant greenhouse full of tropical plants and butterflies. Hong Kong A teeming, pulsating city with over seven million people packed into less than 1,000 square kilometres, Hong Kong is like no other place on Earth. It's not just the towering skyscrapers and the chic shopping centres, the world's largest system of interconnected escalators or the technology paradise of Kowloon. There are stylish restaurants and friendly cafés, fashionable bars and fast- food courts. There are places of tranquility like the superb Zoological and Botanical Gardens and the leafy Victoria Peak with views out over the entire city, and there are amusement parks such as Ocean Park and Disneyland. There are Taoist temples, Buddhist shrines, mosques and churches. And there are perhaps a dozen world- class museums covering subjects as diverse as coastal defence, medical science, space exploration and modern art. For something completely different, there's the Star Ferry, plying its way between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, giving the clearest insight into the daily life of the local residents. Honningsvag ( North Cape), Norway The world's most northerly village, Honningsvag was completely destroyed during the Second World War, but rapidly rebuilt. Now this beautiful little fishing port, with distinctive pastel- shaded buildings, attracts tourists from all over the world. The gateway to the North Cape, usually considered to be the " top of Europe", Honningsvag is framed by rugged mountains and the grey Arctic Ocean. On the North Cape, the North Cape Hall is a visitor centre offering wide- screen film presentations about the four seasons at the Cape, along with exhibitions, a panoramic window on to the Arctic Ocean. In the Kompasset restaurant, good food can be savoured while enjoying fabulous sea views: the Grotten Bar is a huge cave, cut into the face of the Cape cliff, in which to enjoy a coffee and freshly baked waffles. Ibiza, Ibiza Although it has a reputation as the clubbing capital of Europe, the island - especially the town itself - is really beautiful. Over thousands of years, Phoenicians and Carthigans, Greeks and Turks, Moors and Britons have come here and left their mark. The island's capital - Eivissa in Catalan - has a superb Old Town, with 16th century walls surrounding tightly packed cobbled streets. The main entrance is the Portal de Tablas, which passes into a courtyard leading to the main square. Take any of the streets off the square and find wonderful restaurants, tiny boutiques and family- owned cafés and bars. The castle complex has several museums, including a fascinating room that was only discovered in 2002 and was found to be full of ancient ceramics. From the castle battlements there are great views out over the town, as well as to the 13th century Cathedral of Santa María.
www. fredolsencruises. com 139 ILHABELA ? KIRKWALL XXX The Can Marça Caves is a complex of ancient caverns which were once used by smugglers: stalagmites and stalactites decorate the caves. In the Archaeological Museum there are displays, including information about a Carthagean burial site next to the Museum. For more recent artefacts, the Museum of Contemporary Art has a small but interesting collection of work by contemporary artists. Ilhabela, Brazil The volcanic island of Ilhabela - Portuguese for " beautiful island" - is popular for watersports, including sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling and free diving. The island itself is mountainous, with peaks reaching almost 1,400m and covered in dense forest. There are well- signposted hiking trails through the trees and the chance to see some of the 350 waterfalls that tumble down to the sea. There are also more than 40 superb beaches on which to relax and enjoy the tropical sunshine and deep blue ocean. The main town, Vila Ilhabela, has some delightful Portuguese colonial buildings, as well as friendly bars and cafés. IJmuiden ( for Amsterdam), Netherlands Please refer to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Isafjordur, Iceland Perched on a sand- spit jutting out into an inlet on one of northwest Iceland's deepest fjords, Isafjordur has a fine natural harbour which has made this one of the country's main fishing and trading centres for over 250 years. Set against a backdrop of steep mountains, the town has some of the best preserved timber buildings in Iceland, and the streets that straddle the sand- spit have warm cafés and charming family- owned restaurants, many serving delicious locally- caught fish. Over recent years, Isafjordur has held a couple of annual music festivals, and many musicians of all kinds have made the town their home: impromptu street performances are a highlight of summer days. Also of interest is the Ósvör museum, which recreates a 19th century fishing station, and the Westfjords Heritage Museum, offering a fascinating insight into the lives of local fishermen over the years. Iskenderun, Turkey Once known as Alexandretta, after founder Alexander the Great - Büyük Iskender in Turkish - Iskenderun is now a busy, industrialised city at the foot of the Amanos Mountains. The charming city centre and the palm- lined promenade on the Mediterranean shore are both full of open- air cafés, bars and restaurants, in which to relax and watch ships sailing out into the bay. In the narrow streets off the main boulevards there are small shops, many selling interesting local products, including hand- made brass and copper ornaments, as well as leather goods and clothing. Istanbul, Turkey For over a thousand years Constantinople was the centre of the Byzantine Empire. After the name was changed to Istanbul it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 500 years. The city is a unique mix of Europe and Asia, with mosques and churches, museums and palaces, the Great Bazaar, noisy cafés and chic restaurants. The Old City - also known as the Historic Peninsula - is an open- air museum combining Roman, Greek Orthodox and Islamic buildings, and some of the most magnificent displays of wealth in Europe. The 16th century Blue Mosque gets its name from the 20,000 blue tiles used in its construction, although the colour actually changes during the day - it's sometimes yellow or red. Nearby the Topkapi Palace, once the home of the Sultan and his 5,000 family members and servants, is now home to several museums of Ottoman history. Among other wonderful buildings is the Hagia Sophia, a unique mix of Christianity and Islam: a church with minarets and a mosque with pictures of the Virgin Mary. Of the dozens of museums in the city, one of the best is the Archaeology Museum. The biggest in Turkey, it traces the history of the city back to 6000BC. Izmir, Turkey With a history dating back over 5,000 years, Izmir has been the site of numerous archelogical excavations that have made finds as diverse as the Temple of Artemis, Roman sarcophagi and coins from the Ottoman empire. The place to find out more is the Archeology Museum, which has over 10,000 exhibits from all over the region, arranged in chronological order. They include statues of Demeter and Zeus, as well as pottery, sculpture and metal tools. On the waterfront, Izmir is at its most self-consciously modern, with gleaming new buildings, wide boulevards, bars and cafés. Yet just behind is the bazaar, an authentic cluster of narrow streets where the local traders make and sell traditional products. The castle - Kadifekale - is not to be missed. Built by Alexander the Great, it gives great views over the city and the sea, while in the centre of the city is the Clock Tower - Izmir's answer to the Eiffel Tower, according to the locals. The Ataturk Museum is devoted to Kemel Ataturk - the hero of Turkish independence - and contains his personal belongings, photographs paintings and marble busts. Kalamata, Greece Capital and chief port of the Messinia region of Greece, Kalamata boasts a number of fine public buildings and churches, along with an interesting Archaeological Museum and a Railway Museum. The former is housed in the refurbished Old Market and has displays of finds from local excavations. The Railway Museum has steam engines, carriages, a station and a signal box, all illustrating the history of Greek railways. The Byzantine Church of Agii Apostoli is the place where the Greek Revolution - and independence from the Ottoman Empire - was first declared in 1821 and has several interesting relics. Like the church, the local castle was built in the 13th century. It has seen many conflicts over the years, having played an important part in the history of the city and of Greece itself. Near the castle is the lovely Kalograion Monastery, where one can see fine silk being produced. Close by, in the Ypapanti Square, is the imposing Metropolitan Church of Ypapanti tou Sotiros, complete with bell towers and domes. Kalmar, Sweden A long- established seaport, Kalmar is a commercial centre that respects and preserves its historic heritage. The Kalmar Union of Denmark, Norway and Sweden was established here between 1397 and 1523, and it was from Kalmar that the earliest Swedish emigrants left to build a new life in North America. The town centre still has many buildings from that time, not to mention the finest Renaissance castle in Sweden, complete with moat and a drawbridge. A short walk away is the massive Kalmar Cathedral, dating from the late 17th century. Kalmar is an important cultural centre, and the Konstmuseum is dedicated mainly to the work of Swedish painters, architects and designers. In an old mill alongside the waterfront is the County Museum, featuring recovered wreckage and artefacts from the royal flagship Kronan, which sank in 1676 and which is still being excavated by the museum. Kiel, Germany Kiel is a long- established maritime city, a position it has maintained in part at least because of its location at the eastern end of the Kiel Canal. Opened in 1895 to link the Baltic and North Seas, this is the busiest man- made waterway in the world. But Kiel is much more than a seaport: as a university town, it has a very youthful feel. The town was almost completely rebuilt following the Second World War, with broad boulevards and wide squares around which are dotted open- air cafés, bars and restaurants. The viewing platform on top of the 107m tower of the Rathaus or city hall provides spectacular views, while another popular sightseeing spot is the Hindenburg Embankment alongside the waterfront. This is very popular as a vantage point during Kiel Week, when the town hosts the internationally famous Regatta. Key West, Florida The southernmost city in continental USA, Key West is the biggest of the Florida Keys, a chain of islands that stretches out into the western Caribbean. Compact - the size of New York's Central Park - and relaxed, it is a lovely city that is worth exploring away from the port area. For such a small town, there is a surprising number of museums, including Robert Frost Cottage, the Lighthouse Museum, the Shipwreck Historeum, the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum and the Oldest House, which houses the Wrecker's Museum. One of Key West's most famous residents was Ernest Hemingway and his home - where he wrote novels in the 1930s - is now a museum. Another is the Little White House, where President Harry S. Truman spent winters during his term in office. The Aquarium has been open since the 1930s and provides an excellent opportunity to experience the indigenous marine life of the Florida Keys. The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is worth seeing, as is the quirky Key West Cemetery. Here the tombs are stacked on top of one another, since the rocky ground made it impossible for early settlers to dig graves. It's something of a tradition to have irreverent and funny epitaphs: one of the most famous is " I told you I was sick!" Kingstown, St Vincent French settlers moved here in the 1720s to take advantage of the deep natural harbour and over the years Kingstown has grown into the centre of St Vincent's agricultural industry. Overlooking the western part of the town is Berkshire Hill and Fort Charlotte, which is reached by a viaduct. One curiosity is that its guns point inland: it was felt that the seaward side could take care of itself. The old barracks now house a museum. The Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1765. Captain Bligh ( of the Mutiny on the Bounty) brought breadfruit seeds here in the late 18th century. Along the waterfront and in the town's pretty squares there are always plenty of places to relax, from family cafés to restaurants serving fresh fish and vegetables: watch out for lambi - conch - which is a local speciality. Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland Kirkwall feels more Scandinavian than Scottish: in fact the name comes from the Norse for " Church Bay". The church in question is the 11th century Church of Saint Olaf of Norway. St Magnus Cathedral in the town was founded in memory of Saint Magnus Erlendsson by the Norseman Earl ( later Saint) Rögnvald Kali. The Cathedral has been restored over recent years and the work is still continuing. It's well worth visiting, as are the nearby ruins of the former Bishop's Palace, dating from the middle of the 12th century, and Earl's Palace, said to have been the finest Renaissance building in Scotland. Kirkwall has two excellent museums as well: Tankerness House, a beautifully preserved 16th century town- house, has historical collections of major importance; while the Orkney Wireless Museum has comprehensive displays about the history of radio.