Cairo: The palace walk

Lined with palaces, mosques, merchant’s mansions and markets, Cairo’s Al-Muizz is a contender for the Middle East’s most beautiful street.

It’s the ancient thoroughfare of medieval Cairo, the lifeblood of a dozen centuries: every time I return to Cairo, I find myself walking the length of Al-Muizz li-Din-Allah. Like most before me, I’m lured by the street’s imposing palaces and caravanserais, its dusty mosques and vivid markets.

I’ve walked this street countless times over a decade, and each time, I make a new discovery. A forgotten tomb. A synagogue. Cool, dark water cisterns that plunge deep underground or a merchants’ mansion, instructive in the ways of generations of traders, aristocrats, craftsmen and families who filled the streets of Islamic Cairo when it was established by the Shi’ite Fatamid regime in 969AD.

In case you haven’t twigged, Egypt is back on the tourism trail after seven years languishing in the doldrums after its revolution in 2011, which overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak, who’d run the country as his personal fiefdom for 30 years. They’ve now got another army brass running the country – plus ça change, plus c’est la même.

Cairo’s Citadel, which overlooks the city. Photo: Belle Jackson

But finally, with stability and growth taking place around the country (think, highways remade, new airports open, Nile cruise boats dusted off), it’s fabulous to see the return of one of Egypt’s major industries.

Cairo often gets but a cursory glance while everyone rushes to the Pyramids then down to Luxor, but spend the turn of the day in El Muizz for what I think is one of the world’s most beautiful streets.
Thanks to Vacations & Travel for again going ahead of the trend and publishing my feature on this beloved street.

https://www.vacationsmag.com/palace-walk-cairo/

Mystic river: cruise along the hidden waterways of the Murray

Captain Willow keeps an eye on our glam tinnie
while we pull in for a cuppa on
one of the backwater creeks of the
Murray River, near Renmark, South Australia.
Photo: Belle Jackson

“Why isn’t the Murray promoted as an icon, like Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef?”

If you’re not Australian, you probably don’t know the mighty Murray
River (the ‘mighty’ is an unofficial sobriquet). It is Australia’s
longest river, at 2,530km (about seven times
longer than the Thames, but who’s counting?) It runs through four
states, and is even a state border for 1880km and 
is estimated at about
60 million years old. 

In short, it’s a pretty impressive natural formation, and it’s damned pretty, as well.

So you can see why I didn’t have an answer to the question above,
asked by Rick Edmonds, a proud Riverlands man and owner of the luxury The Frames property, which perches over the river near Renmark, in South Australia.

Perhaps we should adopt a
French word, instead of “back creeks”, to describe this labyrinth of
creeks, lagoons and inlets that cobweb the strong, flowing River Murray, here at the corner of three states.

Click here to
read my story about pootling along the Murray, spotting emus, kangaroos
and kingfishers, with Rick, his wife Cathy and Captain Willow (pictured
above).

The story was published in the Traveller section of the Sun-Herald (Sydney) and Sunday Age (Melbourne). 

Belinda Jackson was a guest of The Frames.

Three of the best: inflight gear

State of Escape totes.

Some people fill their carry-on luggage with ginormous headphones
(I’m more of an earbud person, myself). For others, it’s bags of snacks
(handy if you’re doing it lean, and on a low-cost carrier). I find that
between a camera, laptop and big scarf, the corners of my inflight bag
are filled with face spritzers.

I mean, my spritzer obsession really has gotten out of hand.

But I do love a pick-me-up of lemongrass, especially when that person
behind me whips off their hot shoes to reveal socks that can stand up
by themselves, or when the fug of reheated food just won’t leave the
cabin.

Here, I’ve rounded up three more inflight essentials, including the latest colourways in the top tote from State of Escape (pictured), some damned fine eye patches by US cosmeceutical company Nerium and a truly fantastic salve from those clever Kiwis, Antipodes.

Click here for my feature in the first issue of the relaunched Essentials magazine, which is now national, around Australia.

3 of the best: Inflight gear

stateofescape.JPG
State of Escape totes.

Some people fill their carry-on luggage with ginormous headphones (I’m more of an earbud person, myself). For others, it’s bags of snacks (handy if you’re doing it lean, and on a low-cost carrier). I find that between a camera, laptop and big scarf, the corners of my inflight bag are filled with face spritzers.

I mean, my spritzer obsession really has gotten out of hand.

But I do love a pick-me-up of lemongrass, especially when that person behind me whips off their hot shoes to reveal socks that can stand up by themselves, or when the fug of reheated food just won’t leave the cabin.

Here, I’ve rounded up three more inflight essentials, including the latest colourways in the top tote from State of Escape (pictured), some damned fine eye patches by US cosmeceutical company Nerium and a truly fantastic salve from those clever Kiwis, Antipodes.

Click here for my feature in the first issue of the relaunched Essentials magazine, which has just gone national, around Australia.