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ITALIAN-BORN Laura Russian grew up in Australia before returning to Italy, where she opened an Englishlanguage school and stayed for 20 years. Now back in Brisbane, she is the general manager and driving force behind iTALY 27, exclusive Australian importers for BruCo, ‘‘ Italy’s finest chocolate’’. She has travelled extensively to places such as Kefalonia, Malta, Hungary, Croatia, Egypt and Monaco. www.italy27.com. YORK AND CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND When living in Italy I visited England at least once a year for business and personal travel. Apart from the fascinating city of London, I highly recommend York in the north and Cheltenham in central England. www.visitbritain.com.au. MARCHE AND UMBRIA REGIONS, ITALY For those wanting less touristy areas and sensations in Italy, try the Marche, and Umbria in the centre of the country, where I lived, with its green hills, historic towns such as Jesi, wholesome food and amazing people. www.le-marche.com; www.umbriatourism.com. TAMBURO BATTENTE, CASTELBELLINO, ITALY Tamburo Battente’s owner is Gino, who’s an acclaimed artist in the Marche area and will entertain you for hours while you dine in this historic taverna. The head waitress, Lolita, is his partner, and her mother, Rosalba, is the chef. All the food is homemade and you must ask for the Girasoli pasta. I dream about this dish; tell them I sent you; you will not regret it. www.tambat.it. BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON The British Museum holds the world’s largest collection of Egyptian antiquities. The building itself is a work of art. www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk. JANET & JANET, ITALY For shoes and boots, Janet & Janet is my favourite; perhaps not that easy to find in Australia. www.janetandjanet.com. LOUIS VUITTON There’s something about Vuitton products that makes you feel a million dollars even if the girl next door has the very same bag (in Italy, they really do). You know you’ve worked for it and it will never bore you. www.louisvuitton.com. BAR HARBOR, MAINE, US Most travellers would head south of Boston towards New York to better-known Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. But I suggest going north for the most spectacular scenery: inlets, bays and national parks. Stop just about anywhere to enjoy the best lobster in the world. www.barharborinfo.com. ATLANTIC SEAL B&B, MAINE, US This tiny and exclusive B&B is hidden away in South Freeport, Maine; it’s an 1850 New England-style home run by an former sea captain, Thomas Ring. The balcony overlooks a bay that goes from 3m deep to bone-dry for kilometres just a few hours later. 25 Main St, South Freeport, Maine; phone: + 1 207 865 6112. I ALWAYS PACK My international multi-adaptor. There’s nothing worse than arriving in a foreign country and not being able to use your mobile phone charger, laptop or hair dryer. Sharon Fowler ACCESSORY OF THE WEEK Award-winning Spaceships, a New Zealand innovation, are customdesigned vehicles the size of a car but with the features of a campervan: cooker, fridge, full-size double bed, water supply and stereo with CD, MP3 and DVD player. Adventure Tours Australia is importing the vehicles and hire facilities will commence in January; from $42 a day. www.spaceships.tv.