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SYDNEY-BORN Lana Penrose has worked as a music journalist, record company promotions manager, music television producer and personal assistant to pop singer Darren Hayes. Penrose moved to Greece in 2000 with her partner and last year released a narrative of her adventures, ToHellasand Back:MyModern-DayGreekTragedy. She now divides her time between London and Australia and has recently travelled to Scandinavia, Russia and other places in Europe. www.penguin.com.au. EGYPTIAN MUSEUM, CAIRO There are more than 100,000 stunning pieces of Egyptian art and artefacts here, including the gold mask worn by Tutankhamen. The sheer number of exhibits is staggering; a portal into another time. www.egyptianmuseum.gov.eg. VARANGIS, ATHENS Never have I seen more homewares shops than in Athens, particularly along the main artery, Kifissias Avenue. I’m a great fan of contemporary furniture and a favourite is Varangis. Now into its fourth generation, this family business has evolved with the times to create unique representations of modern Greek home furnishings. www.varangis.com. WHEELS AND DOLL BABY, DARLINGHURST, SYDNEY Whenever I return to Sydney, I squeeze in a visit to Wheels and Doll Baby; this label is now stocked in London stores and even at Heathrow airport. I love these designs because they’re a little bit rock ’ n’ roll. www.wheelsanddollbaby.com. SERA, LONDON As though a cream-filled taste of Moulin Rouge has been dropped into west London, this small outlet is like a callgirl’s boudoir, with its selection of corsets, feather boas, lampshades and glittery platform boots. www.seraoflondon.com. HOTEL JOSEF, PRAGUE Prague is one of the world’s most beautiful medieval cities, yet this four-star hotel is ultra-modern, comfortable and affordable. I look on Hotel Josef, which is just outside the old Jewish Quarter, as a contemporary contradiction to the historic world outside. www.hoteljosef.com. BARRACUDA RESTAURANT, MALTA After an exhausting day, my intrepid brothers and I stumbled across the Barracuda Restaurant, overlooking Spinola Bay in Malta. Polite enquiries concerning our preferences were made and a special dish was created and served to each of us. The result was one of our most unforgettable meals. www.wgc-group.com/barracuda. DEPECHE MODE BAR, TALLINN, ESTONIA Quite unexpected, the Depeche Mode Bar in Tallinn is hidden among the many little bars and cafes that line the hilly, cobblestoned streets of this old Estonian city. It’s something like an underground cave and Depeche Mode often goes there when visiting this remarkable part of eastern Europe. www.tallinn-life.com. KENYA My favourite place is Kenya, a hands-down winner. Outside troubled Nairobi and within the many game reserves, particularly the Masai Mara, there is nowhere like it. It’s the most connected to Mother Earth I’ve felt. www.magicalkenya.com.
Sharon Fowler THE recently launched Gift Card Store, in partnership with Accor Hotels, provides a convenient, hassle-free way to purchase presents for family and friends who are keen travellers. The Accor Hotels gift card is available to the value of $200 and can be used at more than 90 hotels throughout Australia for payment or part-payment of accommodation, room service or dining. Available from Australia Post outlets, Caltex service stations and newsagents. More: www.accorhotels.com.au/giftcards.