International Travel

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This new tourist attraction will make you dizzy

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A newly opened tourist attraction makes you feel like you’re floating on air, all while catching panoramic views of mountains and a valley that disappears beneath you.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vøringsfossen waterfall offers views of the landscape near Eifjord in Hardanger, western Norway.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The project, designed by architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, has been over a decade in the making and is now ready for visitors brave enough to traverse the 99 steps that connect the two sides of the Måbødalen valley.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bridge is part of a series of developments in the area that aim to make the spot even more attractive to visitors, including new viewpoint platforms and footpaths.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The bridge is, of course, the heart of the project that connects two sides of the river and the waterfall together,” Hølmebakk told CNN Travel.</span></p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CF4dRB8MJji/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CF4dRB8MJji/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk (@carlviggoholmebakk)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bridge has been designed to fuse the natural and man-made seamlessly - with Hølmebakk and his team closely studying the local landscape and scanning the terrain with digital equipment to ensure they didn’t damage the environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though those with a fear of heights may want to steer clear, the bridge will become another reason to visit one of Norway’s top destinations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The floating-on-air design is inspired by Norwegian folklore and its Romantic tradition, Hølmebakk said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But turning this concept into reality wasn’t a small task, as the team had to combine conventional building methods with helicopters and mountaineers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Construction began back in 2015, but Vøringsfossen’s mountainous location meant that work could only be done during the short summer season.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bridge is suitable for both older people and children, but won’t be wheelchair-friendly until the accessible footpath currently in development is completed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By 2022, a cafe will also be on site, giving visitors a perfect spot to catch their breath after walking on the bridge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hølmebakk saw the bridge at each stage of construction but said he still marvelled the first time he saw it finished and was able to step onto the walkway.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said the scale is pretty incredible and crossing it was “fantastic”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even so, Hølmebakk stresses the bridge will always come second to the landscape.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The architecture is not the main part, but the beautiful nature, and the waterfall.”</span></p>

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‘Breathing’ mountains could help us understand earthquake risks

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> As the Earth’s surface shifts over time, oceans have opened and closed while new mountains climb towards the sky.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But mountains can also sink back to Earth, usually due to stress caused by the same collisions of tectonic plates that triggers earthquakes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These events happen in cycles, and you could imagine it like the chest of a rocky giant breathing unevenly, explains Luca Dal Zilio, a geophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best example of this phenomenon? The 2,200 kilometres of peaks that make up the Himalaya. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By understanding the complex forces driving this cycle, the local risk of earthquakes that threaten millions of people living nearby can be more well-understood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since similar geological ‘breaths’ have been documented worldwide, the review Dal Zilio and colleagues recently </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-021-00143-1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">published in </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nature Reviews</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> could be the key to understanding the processes behind many of Earth’s mountain ranges - and the risks they might pose.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Compiling more than 200 studies of Himalayan geology, the paper looks to lay out the intricate mechanisms behind this ‘breathing’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The lengthy expanse and geologic complexity of the Himalaya make it a terrific natural laboratory, says study co-author Judith Hubbard, a structural geologist at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.</span></p> <p><strong>Inhaling and exhaling over time</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Himalaya formed from a tectonic pileup about 50 million years ago, when the Indian continental plate crashed into the Eurasian plate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To this day, India continues moving northward by almost two inches every year. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the land doesn’t slide under Eurasia, instead causing the Eurasian plate to bulge and bunch and drive the mountains slightly higher in a long inhale.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eventually, this pressure will hit a breaking point, where the land masses will shift in an earthquake in a geologic exhale, or cough.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A deadly example of this exhalation came in 2015, when a 7.8-magniture earthquake caused a part of the Himalaya to sink by almost 600 centimetres.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Different parts of a mountain range can exhale at different intensities. While some cough violently, others might experience a series of hiccoughs. They might not exhale the exact same way each time either.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Even the same patch can have different behaviours at different times,” says Rebecca Bendick, a geophysicist at the University of Montana. “And pretty much nobody has the foggiest clue why.”</span></p> <p><strong>Putting the pieces together</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To understand how this process works, scientists have to piece together mountain-building processes that happen on varying scales of time - from slow moving tectonic plates to near-instantaneous shifts of earthquakes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since these phenomena are measured differently, looking at the shape of the fracture between the two plates can help scientists bridge the gap.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the Himalaya, the fault spanning 2200 kilometres has several kinks and bends remaining from the original collision that formed the range. These features have continued to slowly evolve and can influence how an earthquake progresses today.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the recent review, Hubbard found a paper suggesting that structures surrounding the fault - such as bends beneath the surface - limited the magnitude of the 2015 quake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dal Zilio says that other structures that might be present across the rest of the range could similarly limit how far a quake might spread.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The ultimate goal is to know what kinds of earthquakes we can expect and what kinds of damage they will produce,” Hubbard says. “If we’re trying to learn about that exhale or cough process but the earth isn’t exhaling or coughing, it’s really hard to learn about it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To fill in the gaps, some researchers are looking at the scars left from past earthquakes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But there are many challenges that present major obstacles, especially when the terrain is too difficult to measure using current technology.</span></p> <p><strong>Shifting forward</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the cycle of inhalation and exhalation continues, the system will also change and make understanding it even more difficult. Some of the accumulated stress from every inhale will permanently deform the rock, even after the next exhale, as the release of all of the stress would mean that no mountain would still be standing, Hubbard notes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As India continues to inch closer under Eurasia, other landscape features will also change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bendick says, “at some point, Nepal will cease to exist”, as the Indian plate’s movement over the next tens of thousands of years will cause the southern border to move ever northward and slowly squeeze Nepal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“At that very long time scale, nothing is fixed,” she says. “‘Set in stone’ is not the right phrase.”</span></p>

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Sad end to stranded baby whale

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A juvenile minke whale got stuck in the River Thames and freed on the night of Sunday, May 9.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following its rescue the animal was later found beached against a river wall and had to be put down after vets found its condition was “rapidly deteriorating”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The whale was then loaded onto a truck at Teddington lifeboat station and taken to Whipsnade Zoo for post-mortem tests, the results of which are not expected for a few weeks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rob Deaville, who took part in the tests, said the whale was thought to be about two years old and was likely still dependent on its mother.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The juvenile female minke was first stranded on Richmond Lock’s boat rollers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Crew from the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) worked late into the evening to free the 4.2m-long whale and managed to move it. But the mammal escaped and was later seen swimming between Richmond and Teddington on Monday morning before becoming stuck once again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A vet from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) administered the injection to put it down after it became stranded.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the full results of the post-mortem tests will take several weeks, Mr Deaville said told the BBC they had found “no evidence of any recent feeding” and “evidence of starvation over a few days”, which he explained was consistent with the whale being found in the Thames.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though parasites were also found in the whale’s stomach, Mr Deaville said vets did not believe this was significant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Minke whales are the smallest of the great whales and can grow up to 10m in length.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Deaville said he believed the number of whales found in the river had increased over recent years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It could be because there are increased numbers of them or it’s man-made impacts. The jury is still out,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The samples taken from the whale will not only help establish what happened to the creature, but will provide research material “for years to come”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re going to learn a lot about it - it’s life and the species as a whole,” he said.</span></p> <p><strong>Image credit: SKY News</strong></p>

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The mystery of Russia’s “eighth wonder of the world”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With its luminous and fragile nature, amber has been treated with reverence by many and even protected by Prussian law since the 13th century.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Amber Room, a series of panels crafted from six tonnes of amber, mounted on gold-leaf walls, and decorated with mosaics and mirrors, is an exemplary demonstration of the material’s beauty designed for royalty in Prussia and Russia.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But it is also shrouded in mystery.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The room was originally designed in the early 18th century for King Frederick I of Prussia, before it was gifted to Russian Tsar Peter the Great. When it was eventually moved to the Catherine Palace near St Petersburg, the panels were incorporated into a larger room decorated with candelabra, mosaics, gilded figures, and even more amber. The Baroque chamber became known as the “eighth wonder of the world”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941, the Amber Room was dismantled and moved to K</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">önigsberg castle in the German state of Prussia. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">K</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">önigsberg was a “transfer base for [looted] cultural objects, which would be stored in the city for further transportation to other parts of Germany”, says Anatoly Valuev of the Kaliningrad History and Arts Museum.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, when the Red Army seized the city in 1945, the Amber Room could not be found.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though some thought fire had destroyed it, “no traces of burning amber were found,” said Valuev. “And it was assumed the room survived after all, and it was hidden in the castle’s basement or it was taken somewhere else.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the belief it was hidden somewhere, two separate investigations conducted in 1946 and the 2000’s turned up nothing. Searching through hundreds of locations around the city and in the town’s castle ruins, the soviet specialists found artworks and jewellery hidden in the castle basement. But no sign of the Amber Room.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As hopes of finding the chamber started to die, a change of tack was needed. In 1979, the former USSR began reconstruction of the room with guidance from two remaining original items: a single box of relics and 86 black-and-white photos of the space taken just prior to World War Two.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the reconstruction took 23 years, the recreated Amber Room has been on display at Catherine Palace in the </span><a href="https://www.tzar.ru/en/objects/ekaterininsky/amberhall"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and Heritage Site</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in St Petersburg since 2003, bringing the glowing orange and gold resin to life once again.</span></p>

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Farmer’s mistake alters the French border

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Along the border between Belgium and France, the boundary between the two countries is usually marked by a series of stone markers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, when local enthusiast David Lavaux was walking through the forest, he noticed one of the stone markers had moved 2.29m.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Belgian farmer behind it was apparently annoyed by the stone being in his tractor’s path and moved it to be inside French territory instead.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The incident that could have caused international uproar has instead been met with smiles on both sides of the border.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,” Mr Lavaux, who is also the mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes, told French TV channel TF1.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was happy, my town was bigger,” the Belgian mayor said with a laugh. “But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aurélie Welonek, mayor of neighbouring Bousignies-sur-Roc, said with amusement to La Voix du Nord, “We should be able to avoid a new border war”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The farmer will be asked to return the stone to its original location by local Belgian authorities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But if he refuses to comply, the case could end up involving the Belgian foreign ministry, which would have to summon a Franco-Belgian border commission which has been dormant since 1930.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Lavaux also noted non-compliance could see the farmer facing criminal charges.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If he shows good will, he won’t have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably,” he told Belgian news website Sudinfo.</span></p> <p><strong>Image Credit: David Lavaux</strong></p>

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Italy’s Robinson Crusoe asked to leave island

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though being alone on an island might be a nightmarish situation for some, Mauro Morandi has been doing that exact thing by choice for 31 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Morandi’s catamaran washed up on the shore of Budelli Island, found in a stretch of water between Sardinia and Corsica, in 1989. When he learned the island’s caretaker was looking to retire from his post, Morandi sold his boat and took on the job.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After decades protecting one of Italy’s most beautiful islands, Morandi, known as Italy’s Robinson Crusoe, has surrendered his post in response to years of pressure from authorities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Budelli Island is one of the seven islands that make up Maddalena Archipelago National Park and is considered the most beautiful of them all because of its Pink Beach. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the early 1990’s, the Italian government claimed Pink Beach was a place of “high natural value” and closed off to protect its fragile ecosystem. With only some areas accessible to visitors, the island quickly went from hosting thousands of people a day to only one inhabitant calling it home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fast forward to 2016, when Maddalena National Park challenged Morandi’s right to live on the island after a three-year legal battle ruled the park owned the island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A petition with over 18,000 signatures opposing his eviction pressured local politicians to delay the move indefinitely. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, Morandi announced in a Facebook post that he had decided to leave the island at the end of April 2021 after several eviction threats from authorities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I hope[d] to die here and be cremated and have my ashes scattered in the wind,” the 81-year-old told </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">National Geographic</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because he believes all life will reunite with the Earth, he has stayed on the island without compensation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Morandi has guarded the island’s environment with fervour and educated summer visitors about the ecosystem and how to protect it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m not a botanist or a biologist,” Morandi said. “Yes, I know names of plants and animals, but my work is much different than this. To be able to care for a plant is a technical task - I try to make people understand [why] the plant needs to live.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the winter is a much lonelier time. Morandi would go for periods of more than 20 days without any human contact. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m sort of in prison here,” he said. “But it’s a prison that I chose for myself.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Wi-Fi eventually came to the island, Morandi took it in his stride and shared his lifestyle with the world through social media to expose people to its beauty.</span></p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CN20W0VpNzj/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CN20W0VpNzj/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Mauro Da Budelli (@maurodabudelli)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Love is an absolute consequence of beauty, and vice versa,” Morandi said. “When you love a person deeply you see him or her as beautiful, but not because you see them as physically beautiful … you empathise with them, you’ve become a part of her and she’s become a part of you. It’s the same thing with nature.”</span></p>

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Swimming is banned on this dangerous island

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The French-speaking R</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">éunion Island in the Indian Ocean has become a notorious hotspot for shark attacks, to the point where swimming and surfing have been banned beyond the coral lagoon.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since 2011, eleven people have died from attacks and there have been more than 50 recovered between 1988 and 2016.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Erwann Lagabrielle, a senior lecturer in geography at the University of La Réunion, witnessed one of these shark attacks in July 2015 along with two other surfers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The victim, his friend Rodolphe Arriéguy, was attacked by a two-metre bull shark and suffered lacerations to his arm, which would eventually be amputated due to the injuries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, Dr Lagabrielle is on a mission to explain why these waters are so deadly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His research has found that the likelihood of being attacked by a shark at Réunion had increased “by a factor of 23” over the 28-year period.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In nine out of 10 cases it is a bull shark,” Dr Lagabrielle told 9news.com.au.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But what could explain this increase?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Dr Lagabrielle, “it’s either an increase in the population of sharks or a change in their behaviour.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These can be explained by other factors such as change in water temperature, fishing targeting shark populations.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though Dr Lagabrielle’s research looking to answer why attacks have increased is still ongoing, another expert believes the island’s active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, could be involved.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2020, Marine ecologist Michael Heithaus told 9News.com.au bull sharks could be taking advantage of the murky conditions created by sediment washing into the water from the volcano’s slope.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said the cloudy water could make the perfect hunting ground for “smart” predators.</span></p>

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Prince Harry gets standing ovation at concert for COVID-19

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Prince Harry was surprised that the audience "went crazy" for him after he appeared at Vax Live.</p> <p>Vax Live, a charity event with musicians, celebrities and world leaders, aims to aid the international COVID-19 vaccination rollout.</p> <p>"Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world," he said.</p> <p>"You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way, and acted with bravery, knowing the costs. We owe you an incredible debt of gratitude. Thank you."</p> <p>Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are campaign chairs of the Vax Live event, which has been organised by the anti-poverty group Global Citizen.</p> <p>Other celebrities that appeared include Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez and the Foo Fighters.</p> <p>"Audience went CRAZY for new Cali resident Prince Harry," The Playlist's Gregory Ellwood wrote on Twitter, alongside a clip of the duke on stage.</p> <p>"Price Harry is back," he continued, sharing another short video of Harry.</p> <p>"Warns that this portion might be a bit dry. He talks about how global misinformation is a pandemic crisis. Misinformation is effecting everyone and lives could be saved."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/lapublichealth?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@lapublichealth</a>’s Barbara Ferrer <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaxLive?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VaxLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/q2KxASPXr1">pic.twitter.com/q2KxASPXr1</a></p> — Gregory Ellwood - The Playlist 🎬 (@TheGregoryE) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheGregoryE/status/1389046129698902016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 3, 2021</a></blockquote> <p>Vax Live is calling on governments to commit to vaccine equity by donating doses and resources.</p> <p>Despite one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines being distributed worldwide, there are massive differences between countries in the way they're administered, especially in low socio-economic countries.</p> <p>"We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone, everywhere has equal access to the vaccine," Harry and Meghan said in a statement.</p> <p>"We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution and, in that, restore faith in our common humanity. The mission couldn't be more critical or important."</p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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5 top tourist attractions that could disappear in your lifetime

<p><strong>Places to visit - and protect</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When places are well-known and popular – historical and modern alike – we might take it for granted that they’ll be around forever. But sadly, many of the world’s best known and culturally significant landmarks are in jeopardy. Human activity has had a devastating effect on many valued places, including massive milestones of human achievement. And many of these are so much more than just tourist attractions – they’re unique, valuable remnants of ancient times and civilizations.</span></p> <p><strong>1. The Great Barrier Reef</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This massive, once-thriving coral reef has suffered enormously over recent years, with coral bleaching – caused by climate change – stripping the coral of its nutrients. This, in turn, harms the rich marine life that calls the reef home. And, of course, this also depletes it of the dazzling colours that once were a hallmark of the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater wonder. The reef remains the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, but projections have warned that the damage to it could become irreversible in the next 10 years.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Old City of Jerusalem</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the world’s most spiritually significant places, the Old City of Jerusalem, is in danger of disappearing, UNESCO has found. The walls of the Old City are one of its trademark features. Most famously, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is a valuable pilgrimage site for people of the Jewish faith, one that dates back to around 20 BCE. The Wall is the only remnant of the city’s Second Temple. The city was actually listed on UNESCO’s list of endangered cultural sites in the 1980s. Widespread urbanisation has been found to pose a significant threat to the city.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Everglades National Park</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This stunning Floridian wildlife sanctuary has sadly found itself fighting for its life in recent years. As ‘the largest designated subtropical wilderness reserve’ in North America, according to UNESCO, it’s been a beloved travel destination for American citizens for decades, but the ravages of time and human activity have not been kind to it. Its survival first came into question after it was battered by Hurricane Andrew in 1993. But it’s human influence that has posed the primary threat, as water flow to the site has decreased and the impacts of pollution have increased, resulting in harmful algal blooms. Its vast, diverse wildlife is more threatened than ever before.</span></p> <p><strong>4. The Taj Mahal</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s hard to imagine this monolithic structure, located in Agra, India, being in danger. The structure itself is in some jeopardy from the elements, but the primary reason for concern is that the Indian Supreme Court could potentially close the attraction. The court has butted heads with the government, claiming that unless the government does a better job of preserving it, they’ll have to shut it down. Pollution is visibly altering the Taj’s pristine surface. It’s also experienced insect infestations. Flies of the genus </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Geoldichironomus</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which breed in the heavily polluted Yamuna River, neighbouring the Taj, have encroached upon the structure in recent years.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Mount Kilimanjaro’s Peak</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This revered mountain, one of the Seven Summits, proves that even giants can fall to climate change. While the mountain itself, located in Tanzania, isn’t in imminent danger, its iconic snow cap might vanish – and shockingly soon. Research found that the snow cap had lost 85 per cent of the total area of its ice fields between 1912 and 2007, and the remaining ice could be history as early as 2030.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Meghan Jones. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-top-tourist-attractions-that-could-disappear-in-your-lifetime">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

International Travel

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These tourist attractions could vanish in your lifetime

<p><strong>1. Machu Picchu</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Located in southern Peru, Machu Picchu is the remains of a huge stone citadel that was built during the 15th century. These incredible Incan ruins are widely considered one of the must-see spots in South America. Unfortunately, this has backfired in a way. The site has been a victim of over-tourism, seeing the detrimental effects of the surge of tourists it gets as they wear down the structures. In addition, the area surrounding Machu Picchu has seen rampant urbanisation, as well as mudslides and fires, in recent years, leading UNESCO to work for its preservation.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Portobelo-San Lorenzo forts</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While not as ancient as some of the other sites mentioned here, these fortifications on the Panama coast are considered historically significant. The Portobelo-San Lorenzo forts were constructed by the Spanish in Panama in efforts to protect trade routes; they were built over two centuries, starting in the 1590s. They demonstrate a wide range of architectural styles, featuring everything from medieval-style castles to neo-classical 18th-century redresses. The forts face a couple of challenges, urbanisation has encroached upon them on land, and a shrinking coastline and erosion present natural threats on the coastal side. Maintenance has also fallen by the wayside. They were listed as endangered in 2012.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Hatra</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These grand ruins stand in the Al-Jazīrah region of Baghdad, Iraq. As the capital of the first Arab Kingdom, Araba, Hatra is a site of massive historical significance. It withstood Roman military force in the second century CE. It was the king of the Sāsānian Empire, an early Iranian regime, who eventually destroyed it in the third century. The ruins went undiscovered until the 1830s; German archaeologists only began excavating it in the early 1900s. In addition to becoming a UNESCO world heritage site, Hatra was also immortalised as the temple featured in </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Exorcist</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Sadly, it became a target of ISIS in 2015. Militants assailed the structures with bullets and destroyed statues, seeking to dismantle remnants of polytheism. It was after this that UNESCO gave it an endangered status.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Nan Madol</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This remarkable architectural jewel of the ancient world dates back to the 1200s. It spans more than 100 islands and islets surrounding the Federated States of Micronesia, to the northeast of Papua New Guinea. Throughout the 1200s to the 1500s, indigenous people from the island of Pohnpei built an expansive ‘city on water’, constructing more than 100 man-made islets out of coral boulders and basalt. The stunning expanse, untouched for hundreds of years, is a testament to the ingenuity and skill of ancient Pacific Islander peoples. However, it’s the forces of nature this time that pose a danger to it as plants, storms and water damage encroach upon the impressive structures. It has been on UNESCO’s endangered sites list since 2016.</span></p> <p><strong>How to help</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are plenty of resources you can use to help preserve endangered spots like these. For starters, you could donate to </span><a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/donation"><span style="font-weight: 400;">UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. UNESCO also gives citizens an option to report threats to protected sites (</span><a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/158/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">scroll to the bottom of this page</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for contact information. And if you choose to visit these spots, treat them with the utmost care! Be respectful, don’t touch anything you’re not explicitly allowed to touch, and do your part to keep the area clean.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Meghan Jones. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-top-tourist-attractions-that-could-disappear-in-your-lifetime">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Common travel booking mistakes

<p><strong>1. Not reading the fine print </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After surfing the web for hours to find that perfect holiday deal, reading the fine print is probably the last thing you want to do. However, it could be the difference between a stress-free holiday and a complete disaster.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Booking the wrong dates </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make sure to always have a calendar at hand when booking your flights and hotels. “If you’re travelling between different time zones, make sure to double check your arrival date with the airline before booking your hotel stay,” says Adam Schwab, CEO of </span><a href="http://www.luxuryescapes.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">www.LuxuryEscapes.com</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Not checking validity periods, surcharges and black-out periods </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In order to evade unexpected costs, it is important to pay special attention to double-check these three things. “Pay extra attention to validity periods, extra person surcharges, kids’ policies, transfers costs as well as cancellation and amendment policy,” says Schwab.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Entering the wrong name </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may laugh, but this is a common mistake many online travellers make. If you know you experience butter fingers while typing, it’s best to re-read every detail a few times before confirming to avoid embarrassing phone calls to rectify the mistake.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Working solo </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the dates and fine print so before you confirm your trip have your partner or friend read through all the travel details before booking and paying, suggests Schwab. Chances are, they’ll pick up anything you may have missed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Reader’s Digest. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/tips/common-booking-mistakes">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></p>

International Travel

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Come ski with us

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>‘Haere mai - welcome to all our Aussie friends and rellies,’ says Justine Tyerman as the first snows of 2021 dust mountain tops around Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island. ‘Now the trans-Tasman bubble is open, come ski with us!’</em></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Crack open the bubbly . . . or the beer! This coming winter season, with the long-awaited trans-Tasman bubble now open, we are welcoming our Aussie rellies and mates back to our ski resorts. It will be a time of great celebration!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our Sydney-based family will finally be able to join us so we’re planning a family reunion at beautiful</span><a href="https://www.buchananlodge.co.nz/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Buchanan Lodge</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">on the shores of Lake Wanaka.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’re all keen skiers so depending on the weather and snow conditions, we’ll head for either Cardrona or Treble Cone which are both now covered by a single lift pass.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840885/2-justine-on-cardronas-southern-boundary-with-willows-basin-in-the-background.gif" alt="Justine on Cardrona's southern boundary with Willow’s Basin in the background. Picture by Chris Tyerman" data-udi="umb://media/d371d59177fa4fd7aaaf7c2429fc5425" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justine on Cardrona's southern boundary with Willow’s Basin in the background. Picture by Chris Tyerman</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cardrona purchased Treble Cone Ski Area in January, 2020, so the winter of 2021 marks the second season that Treble Cone has operated under the banner of Cardrona Alpine Resorts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prior to this, Cardrona, 34 kilometres south-west of Wanaka up the Cardrona Valley, and Treble Cone, 23 kilometres north-west of Wanaka on the Mt Aspiring Road, had been arch rivals. Cardrona marketed itself as a friendly, fun field accessible to all levels of skiers and snowboarders while Treble Cone was largely the exclusive domain of experts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cardrona’s 400 hectares are characterised by cruisy, open, undulating, perfectly-groomed pistes, gentle basins and world-class terrain parks. The field is classified as 25 percent beginner, 25 percent intermediate, 30 percent advanced and 20 percent expert.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Treble Cone’s 550-hectare field is famous for its long, steep, uncrowded runs, natural half pipes and chutes, legendary off-piste terrain and spectacular panoramas over Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. The resort is classified as 10 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate and 45 percent advanced.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the words of Cardrona Alpine Resorts’ General Manager, Bridget Legnavsky, the pair are a perfect match.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘Cardrona and Treble Cone are the yin to each other's yang . . .’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cardrona is my preferred mountain. It’s more mellow than Treble Cone - I’ve skied at ‘Cardy’ for 40 years and know it so well, I can find my way down in a complete whiteout. I’ll leave Treble Cone’s steep, challenging pistes to my daredevil sons-in-law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Besides, the winter of 2021 brings a real game-changer at Cardrona – there’s thrilling new terrain to explore this season thanks to the installation of the Willow’s Basin chairlift, the first of the Soho Basin developments on Cardrona’s southern boundary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840886/3-soho-basin-and-the-southern-alps-from-the-top-of-cardrona.gif" alt="Soho Basin and the Southern Alps from the top of Cardrona. Picture by Justine Tyerman" data-udi="umb://media/abe0fdfc561045b283a96a1dc9bdb329" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Soho Basin and the Southern Alps from the top of Cardrona. Picture by Justine Tyerman</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Real Journeys, who own Cardrona Alpine Resorts, bought the ski field rights to the privately-owned Soho Basin in July 2018. When development is complete, the resort will effectively more than double in size to over 900 hectares of skiable terrain, creating New Zealand’s largest alpine resort.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’ve long drooled over Soho’s wide, pristine slopes which overlook the Wakatipu Basin and the Southern Alps - itching to plunge off the edge of the Skyline cat track and carve lines in the virgin snow. The high altitude, southerly-facing aspect of the Soho field means it receives and retains a great cover of early and late snow. So this winter, skiers and snowboarders will be able to blast their way into virgin territory hitherto accessible only by snowcat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 374.609375px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840884/1-from-this-winter-skiers-and-snowboarders-will-have-access-to-the-wide-open-slopes-and-valleys-of-willows-basin-on-cardronas-southern-boundary.gif" alt="From this winter, skiers and snowboarders will have access to the wide open slopes and valleys of Willow’s Basin on Cardrona's southern boundary. Picture supplied" data-udi="umb://media/3099cca6422345f0ae3aeda77e527a2a" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">From this winter, skiers and snowboarders will have access to the wide open slopes and valleys of Willow’s Basin on Cardrona's southern boundary. Picture supplied</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ironically, the Willow’s chairlift – the upcycled, refurbished former McDougall’s Quad that was replaced by the McDougall’s Chondola in 2017 – was originally destined for the Pringles area below Captains Café but the discovery of rare and endangered lizards in the construction zone in 2019 necessitated a radical rethink.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I for one, was ecstatic with the news. While the Pringles lift would have undoubtedly unlocked some seriously-challenging terrain for advanced skiers and snowboarders, for people like me who only get to ski a week a year if I’m lucky, the cruisy, sunny slopes of Willow’s Basin will be absolute perfection. After all,</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the experts have a whole mountain to themselves at Treble Cone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.5px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840883/new-zealand-skiing.gif" alt="Treble Cone is known for its long, steep, uncrowded runs. Treble Cone photo" data-udi="umb://media/81e2e453e61645c5b2c523cd6109c431" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Treble Cone is known for its long, steep, uncrowded runs. Treble Cone photo</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Looking down into Willow’s, there’s no sign of the eponymous trees which grow so prolifically alongside Lake Wanaka and the Clutha River. Turns out the basin and the new lift were named after the cult classic film, Willow, scenes of which were filmed at Cardrona in the 1980s.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Further lifts are planned for Soho in the future, including a main express chairlift which will link the area to the top of Captain’s Basin. But thanks to the lizards, the Willow’s lift is under construction right now!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And there’s more good news — the Valley View Quad will be back in operation for the 2021 season after being out of action last year due to Covid-19 severely restricting Cardrona’s operational capacity. This lift, combined with the new Willow’s Quad, will increase the resort’s uphill lift capacity by 44 percent compared with last season.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’re now on the countdown to Cardrona’s opening day sometime in June. The first snow of the season has dusted the mountain tops and Central Otago’s spectacular autumn colours are a riot of scarlet, gold and amber.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.3333333333333px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840887/4-cardrona-has-cruisy-open-undulating-perfectly-groomed-pistes-mellow-basins-and-world-class-terrain-parks.gif" alt="Cardrona has cruisy, open, undulating, perfectly-groomed pistes, mellow basins and world-class terrain parks. Cardrona Alpine Resorts photo" data-udi="umb://media/525c3f9f49b248fb9dafe6dbfcefa702" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cardrona has cruisy, open, undulating, perfectly-groomed pistes, mellow basins and world-class terrain parks. Cardrona Alpine Resorts photo</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So make sure to get your Earlybird multi-day pass before April 30 when the sale ends. Apart from saving money, having a multi-day pass (or even better, a season pass) allows you to avoid ticket office queues at Cardrona’s base facilities because you can park further down the road in the Valley View Quad car park or sneak into a small park just above the bottom of the Whitestar lift.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It also shaves valuable minutes off the drive up the mountain . . . so you can beat the Aussies to the powder!</span></p> <p>* For more information go to:<a href="https://www.cardrona.com/winter/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Cardrona Alpine Resorts</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">* Stay at</span><a href="https://www.buchananlodge.co.nz/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Buchanan Lodge</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> overlooking Lake Wanaka</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">* Hire a</span><a href="https://www.jucy.com/nz/en/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> JUCY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Rental vehicle from the depot near Queenstown Airport.</span></p>

International Travel

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These five carry-on items could save be life-saving

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Space in a carry-on bag is precious, and even for seasoned travellers who know the smartest ways to pack one, deciding what to bring can be tricky. There are the things you need, the things you’d like to have, and then those little “what if” luxuries that you may not use but sure could come in handy. But what about packable products that could actually help in the event of an emergency? We all hope to complete our travel smoothly and safely, but things happen. Here are the items that are worth the real estate in your carry-on — not just because they’re pragmatic but because they could actually save your life.</span></p> <p><strong>Portable charger</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With our phones acting as our lifelines, traveling with one at low battery can be stress-inducing and, if an emergency occurs, even dangerous. Keeping a portable charger on hand to give your phone the juice it needs to be useful is important, and it won’t take up much space in your bag at all. The peace of mind is worth it. If you’re in a pinch, here’s how to charge your phone as quickly as possible.</span></p> <p><strong>Hand sanitiser</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You don’t have to be a germaphobe to be put off by the concept of just how many germs reside on airplanes and in airports. Plus, they can get you really sick if you’re not careful, ruining your trip or even landing you in the hospital. For this reason, seasoned traveller David Wills, author of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, always carries hand sanitiser. “It’s small enough that you barely notice it in a pocket of your bag, and it’s totally fine to take through any airport,” he says. “When it comes to hygiene-related emergencies, you really can’t beat it.” Believe it or not, alcohol-based hand sanitiser can even help you get a fire started, which could, of course, be essential in a survival situation.</span></p> <p><strong>Water purification tablets</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re headed somewhere without easy access to drinkable water and a filtered water bottle is too cumbersome for your carry-on, Thrifty Points founder and CEO Ben Packard suggests carrying water purification tablets. “These are small and never questioned,” he says. “Having the ability to purify water in a survival situation can mean the difference between life and death. They can be kept in your pocket, which is handy since you’re not supposed to take anything with you in an emergency situation on a plane.”</span></p> <p><strong>Reusable water bottle with filter</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As anyone who’s travelled in the past two decades knows, most airport security points around the world will confiscate liquids above the 100ml limit at the security checkpoint. This is problematic considering the way in which flying dehydrates the body. What’s a traveller to do? Carry a reusable water bottle that includes a filter. “Easy access to water in case you are short of it, especially in emergency or when in secluded areas, is a lifesaver,” says Jindal.</span></p> <p><strong>First-aid kit</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A no-brainer item that most of us likely overlook is a travel-size first-aid kit. It’s equipped with useful items for any number of situations. “You can buy kits that are quite small and just leave them in your carry-on bag at all times,” says Michael Anderson, founder of the adventure travel blog Passport Explored. “There’s no need to take them out for security checks or do anything special before bringing one onto the flight. These first aid kits should include items such as band-aids, gauze, disinfectant cream, bug-bite cream, aspirin, and tweezers.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Kelly Bryant. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/flightstravel-hints-tips/10-carry-on-items-that-could-save-your-life">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Pack your bags: The trans-Tasman bubble is officially open

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Set your sights on New Zealand, as our kiwi neighbour welcomes Aussie travellers once again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The trans-Tasman bubble has officially opened, allowing visitors to fly between the two countries without needing to quarantine before or after travel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Waddel, Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager, told </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> there would be “emotional scenes” in New Zealand today as friends and families reunite following border closures last March.</span></p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNT6ru9AGpx/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNT6ru9AGpx/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by New Zealand (@purenewzealand)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Building from that, there are going to be business travellers and holiday arrivals,” Mr Waddel said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“New Zealand gets to welcome back our Australian friends and vice-versa, New Zealanders coming back to Australia as well.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s been a long time coming, but Mr Waddel said, “We’re really excited. It’s a great buzz here in the airport.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As well as seeing family and friends reunite, the trans-Tasman bubble would also offer a large economic return and create jobs according to Mr Waddel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He recommended that Australians eager to travel to “plan ahead” and do their research ahead of their trip.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re encouraging people to visit websites like New Zealand.com or COVID19.gov.nz and they’ll provide good travel advice,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Download the COVID app, plan ahead and have contingencies in place as well.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s so much to offer … which we’re looking forward to sharing soon. We’re really excited.”</span></p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CN0ysmujaJ9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CN0ysmujaJ9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the night of Sunday, April 18, the first quarantine-free flight between the two countries touched down in Auckland, just minutes after the trans-Tasman bubble officially opened.</span></p>

International Travel

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5 carry-on items that could save your life

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Space in a carry-on bag is precious, and even for seasoned travellers who know the smartest ways to pack one, deciding what to bring can be tricky. There are the things you need, the things you’d like to have, and then those little “what if” luxuries that you may not use but sure could come in handy. But what about packable products that could actually help in the event of an emergency? We all hope to complete our travel smoothly and safely, but things happen. Here are the items that are worth the real estate in your carry-on—not just because they’re pragmatic but because they could actually save your life.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Hair ties</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For anyone with hair long enough to be pulled back into a ponytail, a hair tie can be a lifesaver, figuratively speaking. However, American medico Dr Patricia Quinlan used her hair tie to literally save someone’s life in 2015. When a passenger lost consciousness, according to NBC 10, Dr Quinlan determined that his blood pressure was “dangerously low” and he had an irregular heartbeat. The cabin crew supplied 16 ounces of saline solution (commonly found in airplane medical kits), and the good doctor used her hair tie as a tourniquet and whiskey to disinfect the needle so she could administer the solution to stabilise him.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Multipurpose</strong><strong> tool</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Planning for the unexpected feels impossible because, well, it’s the unexpected. And a compact, all-in-one tool may make you feel as crafty, but will it make it through airport security? Maybe, maybe not. The Geekey Multi-Tool, however, is TSA-compliant, encompasses more than 16 tools, and is only a little bigger in size than the average house key, making it ideal for travel. What can it do? Geekey can act as a can opener, wire stripper, bottle opener, file, imperial and metric ruler, screwdriver tip, and more.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Rechargeable flashlight</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In many an uncomfortable situation, light is your friend. Not having access to light can make any event more frightening. Saurabh Jindal, who runs the start-up Talk Travel, is always on the go. Because of that, a rechargeable flashlight has become a mainstay in his carry-on. “It’s simple and easy to carry,” says Jindal. “It helps a lot when you are in an unknown place and it is dark, and also when hiking through trails.”</span></p> <p><strong>4. Rescue blanket</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You might feel like you’re preparing for doomsday whenever you pack one of these, but a mylar rescue blanket could be key to survival in the event of an emergency. They certainly don’t look cozy and comfy, but they do help reduce bodily heat loss in a pinch. Plus, they’re affordable, compact, and lightweight—meaning there’s virtually no reason why you can’t stash one in your carry-on for those “just in case” moments.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Personal alarm</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you’re traveling alone, particularly to an unfamiliar place, it’s important to give yourself peace of mind in terms of safety. “A wearable personal safety alarm is a great idea,” says Namita Kulkarni, who runs the yoga and travel blog Radically Ever After. “It added to my sense of control on many a dark street and crowded public space. I slept with it under my pillow no matter what country I was in.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Kelly Bryant. This article first appeared in </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/flightstravel-hints-tips/10-carry-on-items-that-could-save-your-life"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reader’s Digest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Qantas boss hints at four more travel bubbles

<p><span>Australians are being given the opportunity to travel overseas for the first time in more than a year, in just days.</span><br /><br /><span>The highly anticipated New Zealand travel bubble will open for reciprocal quarantine-free travel on Monday.</span><br /><br /><span>However, impatient Aussies are already wondering when they can set their sights further, and go to next.</span><br /><br /><span>Qantas boss Alan Joyce has given a hint as to where we may be able to go.</span><br /><br /><span>On Thursday, Joyce suggested there are four countries that could be in line for a travel arrangement.</span><br /><br /><span>“It all depends on what level of COVID is in an individual country, and what level of restrictions and testing will be put in place,” he said.</span><br /><br /><span>“There are clearly a lot of countries in the region, especially in the Asia-Pacific, that have had a tight control on COVID.</span><br /><br /><span>“They give us market opportunities for Singapore, like Japan, markets like Taiwan for us to potentially open up.</span><br /><br /><span>“But we’re also actively looking at the Pacific Islands because there are really good opportunities in places like Fiji and the Pacific Islands to open up.”</span><br /><br /><span>Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also hinted at possibly opening up the travel bubble arrangement a little more.</span><br /><br /><span>“These things are regularly assessed by the Chief Medical Officer and we have looked at places like Singapore and Japan and South Korea, and countries like this,” he said.</span><br /><br /><span>“But at this stage, we are not in a position to move forward on any of those at this point.”</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840759/qantas-jacinda-ardern-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/839b26b4d61e4c19a0b9415f1623e95f" /><br /><br /><span>New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also revealed that their government is considering whether the Cook Islands could be incorporated into a travel bubble.</span><br /><br /><span>She says the travel bubble announcement is “world-leading” however stressed that it is fragile.</span><br /><br /><span>Ardern said three responses are in place should a COVID outbreak happen in Australia or a coronavirus case.</span><br /><br /><span>They said their process would be to continue, pause or suspend flights.</span><br /><br /><span>“For instance, if a case is found that is quite clearly linked to a border worker in a quarantine facility and is well contained, you’ll likely see travel continue in the same way as you could see life continue if that happened here in Australia,” she said.</span><br /><br /><span>“If, however, a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, we’d likely pause flights from that state in the same way we would stop travel into and out of a region in New Zealand as if it were going into a full lockdown.</span><br /><br /><span>“And if we saw multiple cases of unknown origin, we would likely suspend flights for a set period of time.”</span></p>

International Travel

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Four Ways to Ensure You Travel Responsibly

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, in our quest to have a great holiday, some of us may not be mindful of making sure we don’t cause any harm to the places we visit.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taken to the extreme, irresponsible travelling can cause a lot of damage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Philippines, for example, recently took the drastic step of closing its beautiful Boracay island for six months to rehabilitate the area.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The high number of tourists and rapid development had taken a toll on the popular destination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Being a responsible traveller means we should try to minimise the negative impact we leave on the places we visit – economically, environmentally and socially.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are 4 things to consider when planning a trip:</span></p> <h3><strong>1. Choose eco-friendly accommodation</strong></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To be kinder to the environment, choose hotels or resorts that adopt sustainable practices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These hotels should have lower energy and water use, and practise recycling and composting to reduce food waste.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They should also advocate the use of sustainable food by including as much local and seasonal produce as possible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Search the web for available options at your destination.</span></p> <h3><strong>2. Be culturally sensitive</strong></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This can be as simple as learning enough of the local language so you can say hello or thank you to the people you encounter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You should also be aware of any sensitivities with regards to appropriate dress codes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, many places of worship will require you to cover up before you enter the premises.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And make it a point to ask for permission before taking any photographs of the locals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many of them are happy to oblige if you take the time to connect with them.</span></p> <h3><strong>3. Support ethical local initiatives</strong></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may want to visit animal sanctuaries or orphanages to show your support for the local community but do make sure these places are run ethically.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many of them do more harm than good as the animals may not be treated well, or the kids may not be orphans after all.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you want to visit a sanctuary, make sure it’s registered as an NGO (non-governmental organisation) and is transparent about its business operations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alternatively, you can support initiatives that help the local community out in the long term, such as dining at restaurants that hire and train at-risk or marginalised youth.</span></p> <h3><strong>4. Pick the right souvenirs</strong></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of course, you will want to pick up some souvenirs to commemorate your holiday but do make sure the items you’re eyeing are not supporting an illegal trade or made from any endangered species.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Consider supporting local craftsmen or artisans instead. You’ll get a unique product to remember your holiday by, and help a local business owner at the same time.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/4-ways-ensure-you-travel-responsibly"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reader’s Digest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Prince Charles and Camilla touch down in Greece for first international tour of 2021

<p>Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have travelled all the way down to Greece, marking their first foreign royal tour of 2021.</p> <p>The 72-year-old and 73-year-old are in Athens to celebrate the nation’s Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations.</p> <p>The two-day visit comes at the request of the British Government.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840445/charles-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/52675413252344df9d5537f873e828ec" /></p> <p>The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are not immune from the virus however and are required to abide by extremely strict health guidelines while they carry out their overseas tour.</p> <p>This includes wearing face masks, and Camila chose a fitting design on hers – one emblazoned with the official emblem of her husband.</p> <p>The Prince of Wales Feathers dates back to the 14th century.</p> <p>Charles opted to wear a less elaborate mask, but at just $12, it still carried an important meaning.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840447/charles.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/9979d2f0d7194f199783e681337561ae" /></p> <p>The silk patterned face covering was made by seamstresses in Myanmar as part of the Turquoise Mountain Textiles program.</p> <p>Charles and Camilla were last in Greece back in May of 2018, and the country has remained a special destination for the entirety of the royal family as it where Prince Philip was born.</p>

International Travel

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Shift work with Justine Tyerman

<p><em><strong>Justine Tyerman can’t wait to return to her unpaid job with two ‘bosses’ who scream at her . . .</strong></em></p> <p>Mid-60s is rather late in life for a couple to start doing shift work but we took to it like proverbial ducks to a millpond.</p> <p>The job description was extremely off-putting but we accepted the challenge with great gusto and enthusiasm. It involved up to 10-hour shifts cleaning up vomit and poo, being splattered with food, saturated with water, frequently screeched at and occasionally scratched.</p> <p>There were also regular wrestling matches involving the application and removal of sanitary items and clothing. Other tasks included daily food preparation for finicky eaters, house cleaning, endless loads of washing, ironing and folding, shopping, sewing, pushing heavy loads up and downhill, singing, dancing, playing and counselling and companionship services.</p> <p>The two youngest ‘bosses’ were the most demanding – regardless of the time of day or night, they wanted their needs met... immediately. If not, they would scream at the top of their lungs until their wishes were granted.</p> <p>One would expect such difficult work to be well-rewarded financially but we were not paid a cent. However, we were overjoyed to provide our services, free of charge, and keen to be engaged again by the same ‘employers’... as soon as possible.</p> <p>As you will have no doubt guessed, the ‘work’ involved helping to care for our grandchildren, Isabel, a newborn, and Francesca aged one year.</p> <p><img style="width: 374.8782862706914px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840354/2-justine-and-newborn-granddaughter-isabel.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/778b8cf6c572439b8eddb24318512e1e" /><br /><em>Justine and newborn granddaughter Isabel.</em></p> <p>The pandemic has kept us apart from our Sydney-based daughters, sons-in-law and their babies for the past year, so except for a visit at the birth of Francesca before the outbreak of Covid-19, we have not had the opportunity to practise our grandparenting skills. We weren’t even sure if Francesca would accept us, or if we were up to the task of doing 10-hour shifts with a toddler when our elder daughter returned to work after a year’s maternity leave. Nor did we have any idea how we’d cope with night shifts if our younger daughter and husband needed help with an unsettled newborn in the small hours of the morning.</p> <p>However, all our fears were completely groundless. Isabel slept well at night and boisterous Francesca loved us from the moment we started playing noisy hide and seek games, doing animal impersonations and singing Wiggles’ songs.</p> <p>She was an exceedingly cheerful and sunny-natured child until it came time to change her nappies or clothes. Then she turned into a feisty wrestler who had perfected the art of the corkscrew. It was a two-man job, one occupying her windmill hands, the other executing a lightning-fast nappy change and getting her into easy-on/off clothes. Gone were any naive ideas of dressing her in the pretty smocked outfits with many buttons I’d made for her mother.</p> <p>Mealtimes were quite a mission. She was a determined self-feeder which resulted in a monumental mess on the floor, herself and any well-meaning grandparent who attempted to streamline the process with a spoon. The trough-like silicone bibs from my young friend, Gisborne-born Emily Spear’s <span><a href="https://www.petiteeats.co.nz/collections/dinnerware">Petite Eats</a></span> range were a godsend, catching at least 50 percent of the food that was dropped.</p> <p>We were able to help with Francesca’s gradual transition to daycare, taking her for increasing time periods over a period of weeks. Being a sociable, adventurous wee soul, she adapted to the stimulating environment with great glee.</p> <p>In the afternoons when we collected her, she would spy us at the door and her little face would light up like sunshine. She’d wave vigorously and come toddling towards us. Talk about heart-melting!</p> <p>She was often tired and played-out by then so we took her for long shady walks in the pushchair until it was time for dinner, bath, stories and bed. By which time her mum or dad were home to take over.</p> <p>Our time with Isabel was radically different. She was such a tiny, wee bundle compared to her robust cousin.</p> <p>To begin with, she obligingly just slept and fed but after a couple of weeks, she ‘woke up’ and began to yell loudly and feed ravenously. She was not the easiest baby to settle, especially late in the day, but she seemed to like my over-the-shoulder burping technique and the rhythmical rocking of the pram.</p> <p>We went for long walks along the Bondi Beach promenade two or three times a day with Isabel in the pram or front pack. It was very therapeutic to get out of the house and into the fresh air when she was fractious.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840350/1-justine-and-chris-pushing-granddaughter-isabel-in-her-pram-at-bondi-beach.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f88f2737d14745b4b897b10439bea6e6" /><br /><em>Justine and Chris pushing granddaughter Isabel in her pram at Bondi Beach.</em></p> <p>I found myself gazing at her as she slept, marvelling afresh at the miracle of new life. In the time we were there, she changed from being a sleepy newborn still curled up in a foetal position, to being a lively, alert little human being, kicking vigorously, stretching her little limbs, exercising her healthy lungs and experimenting with a wide range of quizzical facial expressions.</p> <p>The new parents, in their sleep-deprived state, were so appreciative of our help with meals, housework and shopping, and our daughter also welcomed her mum’s companionship and advice during the long hours of breastfeeding.</p> <p>Being able to support them through this momentous, life-changing time brought us closer than ever. It was such a privilege to watch them discover the joys (and trials) of parenthood that no one can really prepare you for.</p> <p>None of this would have been possible without laying the groundwork in advance. Well before we left home, we organised two key components — independent accommodation and transport. Our daughters live in small apartments about 10 minutes’ drive away from each other but now they both have babies, there’s no spare room for guests. Ideally, we wanted to find our own place midway between the two. I knew the cost of a hotel or holiday rental for an extended period over summer in Sydney would be prohibitive so I resorted to my favourite accommodation site, <span><a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/homes">Love Home Swap.</a></span> I’ve been a member of this international home swap club for over 10 years and during that time, we’ve stayed in some wonderful private homes all around the world – Santorini, the Swiss Alps, Paris, London, Piha, Wanaka... You pay a membership fee (see footnote below) and then stay free, absolutely free.</p> <p>I searched for properties available in the Edgecliff-Bondi area, sent out a few messages and within hours, I had a positive response from a couple who live near Bondi Beach. We arranged a points swap which meant home-owners David and Imy were not locked in to a simultaneous swap with us with but could use the points or credits to stay in the home of any Love Home Swap member, anywhere, any time. Their scope is mainly limited to Australia at present due to COVID-19 but as soon as border restrictions ease, they will have the choice of thousands of homes in hundreds of countries all around the world.</p> <p><img style="width: 374.8782862706914px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840351/3-chris-cooking-dinner-in-the-well-equipped-kitchen-at-david-and-imys-apartment.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3ac892bf7df744ed965492930cb49f92" /><br /><em>Chris cooking dinner in the well-equipped kitchen at David and Imy's apartment.</em><br /> <br />David and Imy’s compact two-bedroom, two-bathroom, open-plan apartment worked incredibly well for us. Located on the top floor of a three-storey building in a great neighbourhood with excellent cafes, restaurants, seafood, bakery and fruit shops nearby, the apartment was absolutely immaculate, and equipped with high-quality appliances and everything we needed. Above all, it provided a quiet, tranquil haven for us to escape to at the end of a busy day with the little ones. We enjoyed many a relaxed glass of wine or beer on the balcony overlooking the rugged coastline on the famous Bondi to Coogee walkway, a great track for an early morning or evening run or walk.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 300.78125px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840352/5-sunset-from-the-balcony-of-david-and-imys-love-home-swap-apartment-near-bondi-beach.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/46c9f67f3cf94ced9e52970fad53c717" /><br /><em>Sunset from the balcony of David and Imy's Love Home Swap apartment near Bondi Beach.</em></p> <p>Having independent accommodation also allowed our daughters and sons-in-law to have their own space, privacy and time to be together as a family.</p> <p>We met David and Imy before they headed off on a road trip in New South Wales. They left an impressive 40-page guide to the apartment covering everything from security and access to neighbourhood shopping, dining and recreation - the most comprehensive compendium I’ve ever seen. They also left us some superb local wines to sample which was a lovely hospitable touch.</p> <p>Having a secure covered carpark under the apartment building was another huge plus as parking can be a major problem around Bondi... which brings me to my next key component: securing our own means of transport so we were not dependent on family members. We organised a <span><a href="https://www.jucy.com/au/en/cars/">JUCY Rentals</a></span> vehicle before we left home which turned out to be absolutely indispensable. JUCY provides an excellent pick-up/drop-off service at Sydney Airport which was very convenient. Our zippy Toyota Corolla hatchback did umpteen trips to the supermarket, delivered supplies and home-cooked meals to three households, and transported our elder granddaughter to and from daycare in the secure, back-facing car seat that JUCY fitted for us. The vehicle was big enough to accommodate the pushchair and other toddler paraphernalia for trips to the beach and playground but small enough to squeeze into tight parking spaces. Having our own wheels literally enabled us to be in two places as once – one with Isabel and the other with Francesca. We would often swap shifts in the middle of the day to make sure we saw both grandchildren every day.</p> <p><img style="width: 374.8782862706914px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840353/8-our-zippy-jucy-hatch-back-was-indispensable.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ea017fe08a2e4a5aa026040fd34cc26a" /><br /><em>Our zippy JUCY hatch-back was indispensable.</em></p> <p>After six weeks, we said a tearful farewell and reluctantly returned to New Zealand to enter our compulsory two-week managed isolation period. We spent 14 days in a standard hotel room at The Grand Millennium in Auckland under the ever-watchful eyes of defence force, police and security personnel. We had great plans to do Pilates and yoga together but the room was so small only one of us could exercise at a time. We were comfortable, well-fed, thoroughly Covid-tested and kept safe from infection but two weeks in a room with windows that did not open and just 30 minutes of fresh air and sunshine a day was challenging to say the least.</p> <p>However, it was worth every minute for the joy and fulfilment we discovered as grandparents. It’s given new purpose and meaning in our lives. I just can’t wait to go back to shift work in Sydney. <br /><br /></p> <p><strong><u>Factbox:</u></strong></p> <ul> <li>In preparation for the time when we can again travel freely, check out thousands of <a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/homes">Love Home Swap</a> properties all around the world.</li> <li>There is a two-week free trial and then you choose from one of three membership tiers starting at around $NZ20/$AUS18 a month.</li> <li>Have a look-see at what’s available in <a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/homes/newzealand">New Zealand, </a><a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/homes/Australia">Australia</a> and the <a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/homes/Australia"></a><a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/homes/cook-islands">Cook Islands</a>.</li> <li>Rent a car or campervan from <a href="https://www.jucy.com/au/en">JUCY Rentals</a> who have been providing reliable and budget-friendly rentals in Australia for over 11 years.</li> </ul>

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Car hire cost-cutting tips

<p>Free upgrades<br />It’s worth taking a chance by booking the cheapest car going, which is usually also the smallest. Because these cars are limited in number, the rental agency will sometimes offer you an upgrade. If they initiate the upgrade, make sure you don’t pay more for it – especially if you booked ahead with a credit card.</p> <p>Get insurance gratis<br />About 20% of all consumers always take rental car insurance and another 20% sometimes do, according to a recent study by a Canadian car insurance company. But there’s a good chance they’re already covered under their own credit card’s insurance, which means they’re paying an unnecessary extra.</p> <p>Call the toll-free number on the back of your credit card before you leave to find out what coverage, if any, you have. Check to see if your card offers insurance and then bring along a printout describing the coverage for the rental car agency. The caveat: some cards limit rental-car coverage to premium card holders, and others may not provide coverage for luxury cars, off-road vehicles or campervans.</p> <p>The clock is ticking<br />Most rental car companies use a 24-hour-clock rate when charging you. It pays to know its billing policy – does the day end at midnight, or is it strictly 24 hours? Some companies charge an hourly rate for the first three to four hours late, while others will give you a breathing space of 90 minutes.</p> <p>Airport fees<br />Must you really collect your rental car at the airport? You’ll pay a premium if you do.</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/tips/car-hire-cost-cutting-tips"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

International Travel