Top 10 sites from a Manolo-less walk in Carrie’s shoes (New York, United States of America)

By Hannah Silverman

In the pilot episode of Sex and the City, Carrie immediately dispels the myth that New Yorkers don’t have breakfast at Tiffany’s and instead of affairs to remember, they have affairs they’d rather forget. As Carrie couldn’t help but wonder throughout the series, she discovers with perceptive wit why women can’t have sex like men, why no one should settle for anything less than butterflies and (one of my personal favourites), why “if we never veer off course we would never fall in love, have babies or be who we are”.

Then she struts down Perry Street in Patricia Field-styled couture to meet a furniture-making Adonis and you realise it’s a television series of stylistically indulgent fiction… Until, you visit New York City and walk in her Manolo footsteps to surprisingly discover the heart of every woman’s favourite TV show is a delightful reality of sorts.

If you love Sex and the City, take a walk with me as I show you the top ten sites that made me feel like I was walking on set.

There I am, and there’s Carrie’s house (the one next to the scaffolding, with the wild greenery).

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Suddenly 30 – why you should celebrate your birthday in Vietnam

By Tegan Forder

My 30th was fast-approaching but I didn’t want a big bash. With my friends scattered across Australia it was all too hard and anyway I wanted to use it as an excuse to go on holiday.

So I decided to finally do two things I’d never done before:

  1. Visit a South-East Asian country.
  2. Stay in a resort, sit by the pool and drink cocktails.

I settled on Vietnam with some ridiculously cheap return airfares sealing the deal.

With only 10 days of leave up our sleeve, my boyfriend and I didn’t fancy spending the whole time rushing from one tourist destination to the next. Instead we chose to mix some city and beach experiences with stays in Ho Chi Minh and Hoi An.

This is how we managed our relaxing – and sometimes luxurious jaunt – to Vietnam.

Tegan and her boyfriend Brendan cycling around some Vietnamese rice fields near Hoi An.

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Crowning glory: A Tudor popularity contest

By Hannah Silverman

In a popularity contest for Henry’s favourite wife, it’s a pretty clear win for Jane Seymore. Despite being his half-way bride, Jane produced a male heir and now lies next to Henry in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel, presumably for all eternity and all that jazz. No competition.

To be fair Jane also didn’t live long enough to be accused of treason, heresy, adultery, witchcraft, flirting, hurting the king’s feelings or any other execution-warranting crime. But she gave Henry a son and really, that was all that mattered.

But to the public, little attention is given to Jane in comparison to Henry’s most famous wife, Anne Boleyn. Anne with her mysterious demise, her cunning marital masterminding and, of course, that gorgeous pearl ‘B’ necklace that almost puts Carrie’s signature golden chain in Sex and the City to shame. So why isn’t similar attention given to the other five wives whose stories are equally as compelling?

Anne Boleyn
The infamous portrait of Anne Boleyn with the gorgeous pearl necklace. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London

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Pompeii and ceremony – the talking walls of Ancient Rome (Pompeii, Italy)

By Hannah Silverman

In my neighbourhood the streets are lined with houses, churches and parklands. Pretty unremarkable, I suppose. By day the high streets compete for commercial attention in fashion stores, cocktail lounges and restaurants while squares are populated with workers, families, lovers, gym junkies and socialites. At night, dirty take-away pit stops are ready to serve the intoxicated masses and bars promise dalliances with the midnight underworld. This is life in London.

When I visited Italy, I walked through a neighbourhood where similar institutions were founded on motives equally as unremarkable. But instead of the pristine franchises I have become accustomed, these neighbourhood landmarks presented as the charred architectural skeletons of a 2000 plus-year-old history. This was life in Pompeii, and even in its hauntingly decimated state, it felt surprisingly familiar.


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London secret finds: a police station, a clock and a road that got it ‘wrong’

By Hannah Silverman

It’s funny how we can walk the same routes regularly and yet miss so much. Especially in a city like London.

Are we just busy and distracted, ignorant and unresearched or simply on our way to the optometrist? They say “it’s the journey not the destination”, but every time I hear this I just want to nod my head and think about something else – something a little less clichéd, a little more ‘tell me something I don’t know’. Yet there is a powerful truth in this and they (whoever ‘they’ actually are, Hallmark poets?) are onto something. We tend to assume as a phrase it’s in reference to large scale adventures of our travelling futures, not the roads already well travelled. And that’s where we’re getting it wrong.

I’ve recently been reminded me to keep my eyes up and over the iPhone as I walk and to always chat to the barmen. Find out what I found out here…

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Your zen is in this jungle (Bali, Indonesia)

By Lauren Novak

There are stereotypically two kinds of Bali holidays: a) Bogans, Beaches and Beer or b) the Eat, Pray, Love type. For my third visit to the ‘Island of Paradise’ I decided to tick something off my Bucket List and go for option ‘B’. It took the form of a four-day yoga retreat in the jungle just outside that hippy mecca of Ubud.

On an island that is being rapidly swallowed up by tourism development, the Bagus Jati Resort is a hidden oasis of green. Staff say it is built on land that has always been spiritual, a place where some of the best yogis and healers have practiced. I won’t pretend that it’s quiet (as I write a cacophony of insect, bird and monkey calls fills the air, competing with the sound of the running river below) but it is natural.

If this doesn’t make you zen…

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The Roar of the Roses – what Richard III is doing for tourism

By Hannah Silverman

There’s an excited energy in the city of Leicester, the kind of buzz you experience when you know something big is about to happen. Real big. Like a new city hosting the Olympics. Like Kate Middleton preparing to do anything anywhere in the world. Like reburying the Last Plantagenet King whose remains were discovered in a car park.

The spectacle leading up to Richard III’s reinterment in Leicester Cathedral next month is contagious and everyone, it seems, is on board. I was in Leicester last week to see for myself just what kind of impact 500-year-old history was having on the the city today and the Richard III effect was evident as soon as I walked into its centre. Signs directing tourists to King Richard III’s Visitor Centre feature as prominently as directions to the Highway, while plum flags bearing an image of Richard III’s statue flap proudly along the city’s main thoroughfares. The King of Tourism is drawing in the masses and the people are listening.

A beautiful site – Leicester Cathedral at dusk with Richard III statue featuring prominently in its courtyard.

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Who was this Richard III character anyway, and why is everybody going to Leicester?

By Hannah Silverman

Ever since archaeologists dug up his bones in the unglamorous depth of a Leicester car park, Richard III reasserted his right to the crown of controversy.

Richard III’s death back on the battlefield of Bosworth in 1485 meant the short-reigning King’s death was swiftly overshadowed by the cessation of the War of the Roses and the birth of the Tudor dynasty. There was a new King in town and Richard III was history, his grave site subsequently forgotten. But excitingly next month, after two years of research and scrutiny, Richard III will be reinterred in a burial plot much fitter for a King.

While I can’t make the events surrounding what will be a momentous occasion, I’m taking a train to Leicester this weekend to find out who Richard III really was, and what his legacy has done for the northern English town of Leicester.

Richard III Portrait 2 Copyright Leicester Cathedral Chapter
Richard III portrait, copyright to Leicester Cathedral Chapter.

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