Explore the islands of Hong Kong, wildlife safaris, hot air ballooning in Arizona, Mexico’s marvellous beaches, Great Barrier Reef diving, Caribbean cuisine, Guyana’s Rupununi rainforest, Byzantine monasteries in Meteora and temples of Korea. A few of the exotic video experiences in the months ahead. (Photo: Heidelberg Marketing GmbH)
Are you a Responsible Traveller. An expensive holiday, your own private pool, all you can eat buffets, wildlife safaris and jeep tours on a fragile terrain – importing the tourist dollar often comes at a cost to the destination and local inhabitants. Before you spend hours under the shower, insist on fresh towels and sheets daily, or buy alligator shoes – think about the impact you might be having. In this feature we take a quick look at Protecting Wildlife. For more information check out episode #70 in the International category.
An expensive holiday, your own private pool, all you can eat buffets, wildlife safaris and jeep tours on a fragile terrain – importing the tourist dollar often comes at a cost to the destination and local inhabitants. Before you spend hours under the shower, insist on fresh towels everyday, or buy alligator shoes – think about the impact you might be having. Be a Responsible Traveller. In this feature we take a quick look at the Coral Reef. For more information check out episode #69 in the International category.
Northern France is just a hop across the English Channel and gateway from Britain to the continent. But despite thousands of travellers who pass through the busy channel ports, Nord-Pas-de-Calais remains unspoiled by tourists and largely unexplored. The region originally belonged to the Countship of Flanders as did Belgium and retains much of its Flemish flavour – evident in its beautiful architecture. We explore the vibrant cities of Lille and Boulogne, tour beautiful cathedrals, drift the canals, visit Montreuil where Victor Hugo wrote part of Les Miserables, and in Arras, pay homage to the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives to war. For more information check out episode #68 in the International category.
Hong Kong’s 234 outlying islands provide a wonderful escape. From the island of Cheung Chau, once an exclusive retreat for British colonials, to the Buddhist monasteries on Lantau Island, many of the islands are accessible by ferry connections from downtown Hong Kong. On our travels we experience festivals, meet the Door God, explore small towns and villages, hike the trail to a cave where an infamous pirate is reputed to have hidden his treasure, and visit Po Lin Monastery to see the largest outdoor Buddah Statue in the world. For more information check out episode #67 in the International Category.
Our search for wildlife takes us to Florida to visit one of the largest zoos in North America. Here at Tampa Bay they built the Myombe Reserve, a natural habitat, providing a home for gorillas and chimpanzees. Travelling along the nature coast a member of the Audubon Society gives us lessons in bird calling and then it’s off to the fragile environment of a barrier island near Clearwater for osprey-spotting. At Homosassa Springs there’s more bird and wildlife and a visit with a famous movie star, Big Lu, before we take an early morning swim with the manatees. For more information check out episode #66 in the International Category.
Walking through the dense ravine of Welchman Hall Gully in Barbados, you wouldn’t know that much of the forest of this former British colony was levelled to clear the way for the island’s economic engine: the sugar plantation. Botanists give insight to the over 200 varieties of tropical plants brought in during the slave trade with intriguing stories on their medicinal properties and the creation of fake nutmegs. Along with a visit to Orchid World, we go safari-driving, snorkelling for giant sea turtles and visit an old prison turned museum that showcases a series of English political cartoons mocking the plantation owners. For more information check out episode #65 in the International Category.
The City of Oaxaca is a UNESCO heritage site known for its historic artist’s colony set in the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. It is also an ideal base from which we explore the archaeological sites of Monte Albán and Mitla and the extraordinary petrified beauty of Hierve el Agua. Ancestors of the Zápotecs and Mixtecs can be traced back nearly 11,000 years and following the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, Dominican missionaries founded fabulous churches, monasteries, and convents. Many buildings still exist and the baroque architecture of the Cathedral, the Church of Santo Domingo, and the Convent of Santa Catalina (now a hotel), have all been beautifully restored. A walk through the city reveals a shopper’s paradise of gold filigree and silver handcrafted jewelry, black pottery and hand-woven crafts. For more information check out episode 64 in the international category. See also my articles on Mexico’s City of Oaxaca, and Monte Albán, the White Acropolis.
Stunning scenery and almost unbelievable architecture is found in the Metéora, Greek Orthodox monasteries built on top of great monolithic rock formations which rise above the small town of Kalabaka on the Thessalian plain in Greece. They were built during the 14th century by monks in their desire for seclusion and to be closer to God: the name Metéora meaning “in the heavens above”. The six Byzantine monasteries that remain are now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more information check out episode #63 in the International category.
We’re on the trail of Oriental ceramics that have graced the homes of Korean Kings and Samurai warriors. Our Pottery Trail takes us from Icheon in Korea to the pottery capital of Japan at Imari on the Island of Kyushu. Along the way we meet the potters, see the traditional kilns, learn the secrets of creating porcelain and visit 400 year old graves that reveal the dark truth behind the abduction of Korean potters by a Japanese Lord. For more information check out episode #62 in the International category.
Set in the Atlantic Ocean, midway between North America and Europe, nine Portuguese islands make up the Azores archipelago with a volcanic connection that makes them among the most beautiful in the world. Discovered in the 15th century by Portuguese navigators on their way to the new world they are still relatively unspoiled. We visit San Miguel, Terceira, Faial and Pico where our explorations reveal the beauty of the islands’ wild flowers, farmlands enclosed by stone hedges and hydrangeas, and a variety of volcanoes from young cones to collapsed craters and old chimneys. The exquisite baroque and colonial architecture of churches, town halls and city squares reflects a golden age of history when the islands were a vital link in important trading routes that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. For more information check out episode #61 in the International category and also see our in-depth features on the individual islands.
Since the mid 1970s, producer/host, Anne Martin, has been bringing stories to life through the medium of television. She thrives on tracking down the unusual and her work has encompassed history, geology, heritage and a positive outlook on the world around us. Read more about Anne Martin.