Five things to see and do in Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane is the best city in Australia, the natural gateway to Australia’s Gold Coast resorts and the Great Barrier Reef but it gets no respect. Often dismissed by our southern cousins as a big country town, Brisbane tries harder to win you over and it is blossoming into a great place to visit. What are my five favs?

1. South Bank. Site of the 1988 World Expo, South Bank was redeveloped into a recreation and cultural centre for the city and hosts a wide variety of events each year.

City Beach #31

2. Breakfast Creek Hotel. The Brekky Creek is a local institution, immortalised by the band Midnight Oil, and one of the few places to get a beer ‘off the wood‘ in Australia. Teamed with one of their world famous steaks you will find simple dining nirvana.

3. Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium). Corporate naming rights changed the name but to generations of Queenslanders it will always be Lang Park. Some Australia’s most intense Rugby League, and more recently Rugby, games have been played at Lang Park. To hear it reverberate with chants of ‘Queenslander’ is an experience for any sports lover.

4. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, less famous today than Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, but still the best place to get up close to Australian wildlife in Brisbane. Take a boat cruise there and cuddle a koala.

5. Brisbane Nightlife. Brisbane’s vibrant nightlife has something for everyone, and you will find great local talent at affordable prices.


Five things to see and do in Baseball, America

National PastimeBaseball, America like the fabled Brigadoon only exists for a short period every year before disappearing in October but has a simultaneous existence throughout the United States. I visit Baseball where I find it but these are my five favourite visits:

1. Fenway Park, Boston – Inside Fenway Park, I’m transported back to an earlier era when tradition and fun were as important as your pay check.

2. Safeco Field, Seattle – Returning baseball to the fans, Safeco Field lets you get close to the action and provides you all the modern convenience you need.

3. Little League – This version of Baseball, America graces fields everywhere and I’ve never spent a happier baseball moment than watching my son play there.

4. Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, New York City – This great rivalry is Baseball at its most passionate and you have not experienced Yankee Stadium until cheers of ‘Lets go Red Sox’ are drowning out the locals.

5. Cooperstown, New York – Cooperstown is the window through which you see Baseball as a whole; past, present and future found in the museum halls, on the fan filled streets or the nearby Little League fields.

Tell me where you love to visit Baseball, America.


Five things to see and do in Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Disneyland for adults and a vacation destination I never planned to visit until work took there in 1997, and I got the fever. My wife and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary there this month and revisiting our Vegas Five Favs:

Blue Suede Shoes
Blue Suede Shoes at Graceland Chapel Las Vegas, Nevada

1. Star Trek: The Experience, a must see for any Trekker, but fun for anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi or pop culture. You can even get married there.

2. Big Shot, the best view of Las Vegas you can get at 4G. The original and still best ride atop the Stratosphere Hotel but Insanity is a close second.

3. The Sirens of TI, the sexier version of Treasure Island’s free sidewalk show but still my favourite. How can you not enjoy a show that sinks a galleon five times a night. Arrive early to secure a good seat.

4. Bouchon, Las Vegas, Thomas Keller has brought his French Bistro experience to Vegas. Go beyond the buffet, and experience Keller’s innovative menu.
5. An Elvis theme wedding at the Graceland Chapel is the most fun I’ve had in Vegas, and my friends (it was their wedding) have almost worn out the DVD sharing our experience. Wear your blue suede shoes.


Five things to see and do in Firenze (Florence), Italy

Firenze is the cradle of the Renaissance, the humanist movement pushed back the dark veil of the middle ages and advanced society and science in an explosion of discovery. My five favourite Firenze sights and activities:

1. Michelangelo‘s David, simply the most magnificent sculpture I have ever seen but book ahead to avoid long lines at the Accademia Gallery.

2. Take your lover to the Ponte Vecchio and place a lock on the ironwork and then throw the key into the Arno River to seal your love.

3. Michelangelo‘s The Deposition, is believed to contain a self-portrait of the aging Master as Nicodemus. Michelangelo smashed it after fault in the marble caused a leg to break off. A servant sold the pieces and the buyer reconstructed this unfinished masterpiece.

4. Shop for an Italian leather jacket at the San Lorenzo Market or a exquisite gold necklace on the Ponte Vecchio.

5. Sit on the steps opposite the Uffizi Gallery and enjoy a gelato while the human experience unfolds in front of you.

Nicodemus - Michelangelo's 'The Deposition'


Five things to see and do in Berlin, Germany

Berlin, the rejuvenated capital of Germany, shook off its Cold War persona and revived the bohemian spirit that made it a mecca for European travellers in the twenties. My five favorite Berlin winter sights and activities:

1. Nefertiti, the artisan’s bust of Eygpt’s famous Queen is mesmerising, see it and much more at the Altes Museum.

2. Berlin’s Jewish Museum educates visitors on Jewish life in Germany before the horrors of Nazism, and the Holocaust Tower is a powerful reminder to never forget.

3. Berlin’s Zoo on a snowy December morning, the animals are mostly indoors but you have the whole place to yourself and few other hardy souls.

4. A hot chocolate at Fassbender & Rausch after sightseeing along the snow covered streets.

5. The Pergamon Museum houses the magnificent Hellenist Pergamon Altar but explore the other rooms for wonderful examples of the ancient world’s artistic talents.