www.fredolsencruises.com 143Murmansk - OldenXXXmosque is actually offshore: it can only be visited during low tide, because the walkway from the shore is submerged at high tide. On the shore is the Hindu Mahalaxmi Temple, with three solid gold sculptures of the Hindu goddesses Mahalaksmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali. Mount Mary Church is the oldest church in Mumbai: founded by the Portuguese in 1640, it was rebuilt in 1760.For a peaceful break from the bustle of the city, Kamala Nehru Park is a charming oasis, offering panoramic views out to the ocean. Murmansk, RussiaMurmansk didn't exist until 1916, when it was founded - as Romanov-on-Murman - as a base for Russia's Arctic fleet. The name was changed after the Russian Revolution, and it subsequently developed into a major naval and industrial centre with half a million inhabitants at its peak. It is well within the Arctic Circle, so it enjoys weeks of 24-hour daylight during summer months. On the other hand, although the air temperature can be -16?C in winter, the Gulf Stream means the harbour doesn't freeze, and clouds of mist hang over the water as a result. The Murmansk Shipping Company specialises in icebreakers, and the company's museum has fascinating exhibits about Arctic exploration, including soil taken from the seabed directly under the North Pole. Just to the north of the city is the 30m tall Alyosha Statue of a soldier: visitors can sometimes find themselves mixing with wedding parties, who traditionally visit the statue to toast the happy couple.Mykonos, GreeceIn the middle of the deep blue Aegean Sea, Mykonos is one of the smallest of the Cyclades islands, but surely the most beautiful. The landscape is wild, the beaches are golden and the welcome in the bars and cafés is warm and friendly. For many visitors, the beach and the bars are enough, but there is also a lot to see here. The Archaeological Museum was built in 1902, initially to display finds that were discovered on Rhenia in 1898, but it now has a vast number of artefacts - mainly pottery - from the late Hellenic period. The Aegean Maritime Museum is devoted to restoring historical objects: in its garden is the Armenistis lighthouse from 1890 and reproductions of ancient marble memorials for sailors who were lost at sea. The museum has restored the 1940 sailing ship Evangelistria and the cable-laying vessel Thalis o Milesios (built in 1909) which are now in the Hellenic Navy's Museum at the Paleo Phaliro marina.Nanortalik, GreenlandThe most southerly town in Greenland, Nanortalik sits on a small island at the end of a delightful fjord, surrounded by glorious snow-covered mountains. For the lucky few, on dark nights and at the right time of year, Aurora Borealis provides nature's own spectacular, with a curtain of white, yellow and green flashes that light up the sky.There is evidence of local Inuits living here over a thousand years ago, but the present settlement was founded in the late 18th century as a trading and whaling post. There is a well preserved historic quarter where there are cafés and a couple of restaurants, and an unusual wooden church that is well worth seeing. Naples, ItalyNaples was founded about 3,000 years ago. At one point known as Palepolis - the old city - it became Neapolis, the new city, in 475BC. The location is stunning - overlooking the Bay of Naples and overlooked itself by Vesuvius. Throughout the city there are wonderful buildings and museums. The Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte is set in glorious parkland and was created by the Bourbon Carlo III for his mother's art collection. The National Archeological Museum is also not to be missed. In addition to objects from the Bourbon era - and discoveries from Pompeii and Herculaneum - its floors have mosaics which were recovered from ancient Roman villas. Naples is a vibrant city and its bars and cafés seem to be full of noise and laughter throughout the day; just the places to enjoy pizza, invented in the city. For a peaceful interlude, visit the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, with a lavishly decorated interior and a roof supported by 110 granite columns. There are several chapels within the cathedral, of which one of the most beautiful is the Cappella Capece Minutolo.Narsarsuaq, GreenlandNarsarsuaq - the name means "The Great Plain" - was originally settled by the Vikings. Legend has it that Erik the Red established the first settlements in Greenland: his son, Leif Eriksson later discovered North America 500 years before Columbus. There's an impressive statue of Leif Eriksson across the bay from Narsarsuaq, next to recent excavations of ancient Norse houses.Much of the town surrounds the airport, which grew out of a US air force base - Bluie West 1 - built during the early 1940s. Just outside the town is Signal Hill, from the top of which are panoramic views of the fjord on which icebergs can occasionally be seen floating past. Inland is the stunning Narsarsuaq Glacier which grows out of the icesheet of Greenland's interior Narvik, Vestfjord, NorwayAlthough Narvik is over 400km north of the Arctic Circle, the harbour is ice-free and in use all year as a centre for exporting iron ore. Although the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, the town was not established until 1903 when the Ofoten railway was completed. The line is a tourist attraction in itself, running 42km through magnificent scenery to the Swedish border. For visitors who don't have time, a cable car ride from the centre of town to the view-point on the Narvikfjellet mountain gives fabulous views over the Ofotfjord and surrounding area. Close to the town centre is the Ofoten Museum, with displays of local history including 5,000-year-old rock carvings. The Nordland Red Cross War Memorial Museum commemorates the occupation of Narvik in the Second World War, which involved land, sea and air battles. Narvik Church is an interesting example of Scandinavian architecture, with a painted altar piece by Eilif Pettersen. Nassau, BahamasNassau is on New Providence, one of 700 islands that make up the Bahamas. There's something for everyone, from the stunning Cable Beach - with almost five kilometres of golden sand - to wonderful views over the whole island from Fort Fincastle. This is reached by the Queen's Staircase, hacked out of rock by slaves in the late 18th century. There are many interesting museums, including Pompey Museum, with a collection of Bahamian artefacts, documents and drawings and the Junkanoo museum, celebrating the islands' African and Creole heritage. The town was once the haunt of Caribbean pirates and the small Pirate Museum has displays about Blackbeard, Anne Bonney and their fellow wreckers and rum-runners. Souvenir hunters will enjoy the gaudy Straw Market: feel free to haggle with vendors of straw hats and baskets, jewellery and colourful t-shirts. Paradise Island - linked to Nassau by two bridges - has a championship golf course and the world's largest open-air aquarium.New Orleans, Louisiana, USADespite being devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans remains one of the top tourist destinations, with a heady mix of fabulous food, great music, hot weather and fascinating buildings. Fortunately neither the French Quarter nor the Garden District were badly affected by Katrina. The French Quarter is the oldest part of the city, with traditional restaurants, clubs, museums, antique shops and music bars. The Garden District was settled in the 1850s by successful merchants who built lavish mansions in an astonishing variety of styles, including Greek, French Empire, Italianate and Queen Anne. There are several excellent museums in the town and the Aquarium of the Americas is recognised as world-class. The streetcars operating up St Charles Avenue are the oldest ones still operating in the USA. Noumea, New CaledoniaAn easy-going city spread out over a large peninsula, Noumea is surrounded by pretty bays and lagoons, and offers something to please every visitor. There are some excellent museums, including the City Museum, the National Museum of New Caledonia - which has a fine collection of Melanesian and Kanak artefacts - the Geological Museum and the Maritime History Museum. The latter celebrates three millennia of seafaring, and includes displays of finds from ships wrecked on the coral reefs. Also of interest is the National Aquarium, with stunning displays of tropical fish, as well as live coral.Nuku Hiva, Marquesas IslandsThe largest of the Marquesas Islands, Nuku Hiva is dominated by a couple of dormant volcanoes which have eroded to leave a 1,200m peak, surrounded by lush, green fertile valleys. The hidden Taipivai valley is where Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, set his other great novel, Typee. The island is resolutely unspoilt: in its farms, pastureland and fishing villages, life carries on pretty much as it has for generations. The islanders are very welcoming of visitors, although there's little concession to the tourist trade apart from a couple of souvenir shops. Ny Ålesund, NorwayThey say that there is no permanent settlement in the world further north than Ny Ålesund. It is on the Brøgger peninsula, which juts out into the Arctic Ocean from the northwest coast of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago. Almost everyone in the tiny population living in this challenging but beautiful environment is a scientist working in one or other of the research stations that are the reason for its existence. These facilities include the Arctic Marine Laboratory, the northernmost in the world, and the Natural Environment Research Council's Arctic Research Station. The latter is part of the British Antarctic Survey, and operates within an international network that includes stations owned by Norway, Germany, Japan, Italy, France and the UK.Ocho Rios, JamaicaA former fishing village, Ocho Rios sits around a small bay. There are now several shopping malls, selling everything from handicrafts to duty-free goods. There are also lots of restaurants and cafés. Ocho Rios means "Eight Rivers" in Spanish, but is thought to be a corruption of Las Chorreras - the waterfalls, a highlight of the immediate locality. Dunn's River Falls is spectacular - great to swim under and wonderful to climb - while the Eden Falls are also well worth seeing. For a nice walk away from the sea, the Fern Gully is a deep valley which twists and turns its way inland, up towards the mountainous centre of the island. There are lots of tropical ferns here; in parts the valley is so deep that sunlight hardly reaches the ground and the temperature is noticeably cooler. Olden, Nordfjord, NorwayAt its eastern end, the magnificent Nordfjord divides into three arms beneath the glaciers of the Jotunheimen mountains, and Olden sits at the beginning of the southernmost of these arms. Olden is utterly delightful, a charming village set in green
144 Telephone 01473 742424 or contact your travel agentOranjestad - Port of Spainmeadows which are ablaze with colourful flowers throughout the summer, and through which babbling brooks meander between pretty houses. Stretching back from the village is the Oldedalen valley, flanked by near-vertical 1700m cliffs and sparkling glaciers: 1,500m up the valley is the spectacular Lokenfossen waterfall.In the centre of the village is the Old Church, built in 1759 on the site of a 14th century stave church: the timber was used for the pew doors and doorposts. Near the church is the Singerheimen, the former home of William Singer the millionaire founder of the sewing-machine company. He was a gifted amateur artist, and some of his paintings of the Olden area can be seen in his workshop.Oranjestad, ArubaOranjestad's Dutch colonial heritage can be seen in the vividly coloured buildings which line the waterfront and mirror those in Amsterdam. In fact, they are modern replicas, but charming nonetheless. The town's main boulevard has shopping malls, restaurants and bars. The harbour, packed with fishing boats and yachts, has stalls selling fresh fruit and fish - and open-air cafés from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of this busy port. Away from the shopping and people-watching, Queen Wilhelmina Park is a peaceful place to walk, with formal lawns and tropical plants and there are a couple of interesting museums as well. The Archaeological Museum covers Aruba's pre-colonial history, with displays of ceramics, ancient tools, burial urns and other relics. The Numismatic Museum has almost 50,000 coins, collected by three generations of a single local family.Oslo, NorwayAlthough it is quite extensive, Oslo is easy to explore on foot, and most of its main attractions are within easy reach of one another - although it is sometimes difficult to choose between the many points of interest. There are several stunning museums. The National Gallery is home to Edvard Munch's iconic The Scream, as well as works by other European artists from Manet to Picasso, while the Munchmuseet has over 5,000 works that Munch left to the city of Oslo. Elsewhere, the fabulous Viking Ship Museum has three ships recovered from royal burial mounds in the Oslo fjord, as well as artefacts from the Viking era. The Ibsen Museum is housed in the playwright's last home, and his study remains exactly as he left it. The wonderful medieval Akershus castle and fortress dominate the harbour front, while elaborate stained glass makes Oslo Cathedral well worth seeing.Ostend, BelgiumOstend grew from a small village to a major town during the 18th century, as it became a centre of trade with the Far East. At one time it was the summer home of the Belgian Royal Family, although the Villa Royale is now a hotel-restaurant. There's still plenty to see here, with a number of fascinating museums and galleries. The house where the Anglo-Belgian artist James Ensor lived has been transformed into a museum of his life, with reproductions of his strange modernist paintings. Original work by Ensor and other Belgian painters can be seen in the Art Museum by the Sea, which was built to combine Ostend's former Museums of Modern Art and Fine Arts. Housed in a former department store, it has paintings, sculptures, and films offering a comprehensive overview of the Belgian modern art movement. The Ostend Historical Museum has Neolithic and Roman objects excavated locally and exhibits of traditional dress, folklore, and history, including recreations of a fisherman's cottage.Palma, MajorcaThe foundations of Palma's ancient walls can still be seen in places, but the best of the old city is around the Cathedral, where narrow alleys and shady cobblestoned streets invite exploration. The Cathedral dominates the town - it has a 43m central vault - and its museum in the vestry has religious paintings, silverware, pieces of the True Cross and relics of Palma's patron saint, San Sebastián.Bellver Castle is the other major building in the town. Built over the ruins of a Muslim fortress, it is now a museum of archaeology; there are fine views over the bay from the walls. A curiosity is the Banys Àrabs - Arab baths - which are in the sole Moorish building remaining in Palma, dating from the 10th century. They are like a sauna, with a heated floor on to which water is dripped to create steam. The Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art has a fine collection of work by modern Spanish artists from Picasso to Dalí. Papeete, TahitiThe very name conjures up images of Gauguin paintings, palm trees, golden beaches and blue seas. And Tahiti does not disappoint - this really is a near perfect Polynesian island. The town of Papeete has some fine buildings, including a number of interesting religious buildings: the church plays an important part in Tahitian society. Papeete also has the world's only Pearl Museum, tracing the history and mythology of pearls, as well as lots of examples of black, white and pink pearls. The other visitors' favourite is the daily market. Le Marché is the heart of the city, packed with stalls selling fruit and vegetables, oils and scented soaps, jams and pickles, clothing, hats, bags and shell necklaces. It's spread out over two floors and the sumptuous displays of flowers - Tahitian homes are considered incomplete without flowers everywhere - simply have to be seen to be believed. Parintins, BrazilParintins is on an island in the Amazon River - and the site of the annual Bois Bumbas folk festival, the biggest in Brazil after Carnival in Rio. The port area has a flea market and a colourful floating market with dozens of boats jammed together, selling fruit, vegetables, fish and souvenirs. The town itself has a few interesting buildings, including a brightly painted cathedral in Portuguese colonial style, with an ornate interior.Philipsburg, St MaartenThis tiny island - less than 100 sq km - was divided between the Dutch and French in the 1600s, as a bastion against the Spanish. The division was supposedly made by someone from each country walking round the coastline in opposite directions until they met up again. Two historic forts were built around this time: Fort Amsterdam, built in 1631, was soon captured by the Spanish, who abandoned it a few years later. Some of the original walls remain, and the site gives fine views over Philipsburg. Fort Willem, built by the British during the Napoleonic War, also offers a panoramic view over the town. Front Street, Philipsburg's long main street, has lots of shops, but the alleys and courtyards down to Back Street are also worth exploring. There are some stylish restaurants as well, but the Lo-Lo huts, which sell grilled chicken, fish and cakes from home-made barbecues, are great for a cheap snack of authentic Caribbean food.Phuket, ThailandThailand's largest island, Phuket is connected to the southern tip of the country by a couple of short road bridges. The island is surrounded by clear blue waters and the beaches - edged by palm trees - are soft, clean and sandy. Offshore there are other islands, many uninhabited outcrops of tall limestone crags rising out of the sea. In Phuket Town the Thalang National Museum has fascinating displays about the island's indigenous culture, as well as the history of southern Thailand. There are a couple of Hindu Temples on the island, as well as a number of Buddhist shrines, including the Wat Chalong temple, which is the centre for worship on Phuket. Piraeus (for Athens), GreeceMost of classical Athens was created around 400BC, but it became an insignificant village until Greece's independence in 1833. A newly aroused interest in the classical period led to the rediscovery of the glories of buildings such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon. In recent years, particularly as a result of the 2004 Olympics, Athens has undergone a further renaissance, with over 15km of streets pedestrianised and a magnificent Archeological Promenade created to link ancient sites, while taking in outdoor cafés, superb galleries and magnificent modern buildings. Athens is virtually the only ancient city to mix antiquities so casually (and effectively) with the excitement of modern life. Many new galleries have been created, including the breathtaking new Acropolis Museum. The Parthenon is still the main attraction, but there is also the Erechteion, with columns in the form of statues of the Caryatids, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a theatre with space for 5,000 spectators. Just behind is the Dionysus Theatre, where the tragedies and comedies of Ancient Greece were first performed. The National Archaeological Museum is the place to see wonderful pieces discovered over the years, including frescoes from Santorini and idols from the Cyclades.Ponta Delgada, AzoresThe main town on the island of San Miguel, Ponta Delgada has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere, combining modern facilities in a traditional environment. San Miguel itself is lovely, with lakes, mountains and lush valleys, together with fine sandy beaches surrounded by the deep blue ocean. Ponta Delgada dates back over 500 years and it has many fine buildings - a reminder that this was once an important staging post between Europe and the Americas. Intermingled are parks, narrow cobbled streets and squares, a modern marina, restaurants and waterside cafés. Portas da Cidade, the City Gates, once stood in front of the harbour and are now in Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square, dedicated to the Portuguese navigator who discovered the Azores. There is an interesting church here - Igreja Matriz - with a splendid clock tower, one of a number in the town. Port Blair, Andaman IslandLargest city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands group, Port Blair is busy, cosmopolitan and friendly, with plenty to do and see. The Museums of Anthropology, Fishery and Naval Marine are all small but interesting, while the Mini Zoo, recently moved to a new location, has some species that are unique to these islands. The Cellular Jail is now a pristine national monument with a peaceful garden, in contrast to its use as a place of brutal imprisonment in previous centuries. Port of Spain, TrinidadTrinidad, and in particular the capital Port of Spain, is culturally very diverse. Here there are museums and art galleries, street theatre and parks, fine shops and delightful cafés, ornate mosques and baroque churches. It's a great city for walking. The lovely open spaces of Queen's Park lead to Queen's Royal College and the nearby rows of Edwardian mansions. From there, walk to the splendid shops of Frederick Street, before heading out to the 100 hectares of the Asa Wright Nature Centre and bird sanctuary. The National Museum and Art Gallery, established over a hundred years ago, celebrates the history of the islands, its national festivals and the earliest settlers, the Amerindians. There are two smaller branches at Fort San Andres, on South Quay, and the Police Service Museum at the Old Police Headquarters.