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The mystery of the 12 Apostles

What’s in a name? In the case of the 12 Apostles – eight 50-metre columns of limestone off the southern coast of Victoria, Australia and the state’s single biggest tourist attraction – quite a bit of a mystery. How did these majestic and much-visited blocks of limestone near Campbelltown, the last stop on the Great Ocean Road southwest of Melbourne, get their name? After all there were never twelve of them and they are pillars of limestone, carved out of the cliff face by the action of the ocean without any obvious biblical connection and lacking any religious significance. Read PDF
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Memphis: City of two Kings

Memphis, the biggest city in Tennessee, epitomises the old and new South of the United States. Once a major slave trading centre, in the 1960s it was the focus of civil rights action. Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated there, and the National Civil Rights Museum in the city is his memorial. It has always been, and still is, a major musical centre for blues, country, jazz and rock and roll. Elvis Presley began his career here and he wasn’t the only one. Memphis’s Sun Studios recorded Elvis but can also count Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins among its stars. Later, Stax Records, a label devoted entirely to recording black musicians, had Otis Redding, the Bar-Kays, and Booker T and the MGs creating a special soul sound. View PDF
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Houston: space, history and food

Houston claims the honour of it name being the first word spoken on the moon. Remember what Neil Armstron said: “Houston, the eagle has landed.” Today the Houston Space centre isn’t nearly as important as it once was because the space programme isn’t as important as it once was. It is still the Texan city’s most visited attraction with over a million visitors a year. Thousands of kids, parents, teachers and school parties pour through each day, taking in Mission Control and the displays and exhibits. View PDF
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Time out in Victoria

All roads to the Great Ocean Road pass through Geelong, once a bustling port and now an attractive retirement town. At Geelong, travellers can head due west on the inland road or take the more common route south west to the Victorian Riviera. We took some friends’ advice and went inland to avoid the holiday crush. It turned out to be good advice. View PDF
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City’s tale of two kings

Memphis the biggest city in Tennessee, epitomises the old and new South of the United States. Once a major slave-trading centre, in the 1960s it was the focus of civil rights action. Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated there, and the national civil rights museum in the city is his memorial. It has always been a major musical centre for blues, country, jazz and of course rock and roll. The king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, started there and he wasn’t the only one. View PDF
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Lyon: a culinary gem amid a violent history

Lyon is a gem of a city. Set on a hilly site, it’s where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet – making it a natural military and commercial junction and an attractive location in its own right. Its long history dates back to Roman times when it was called Lugdunum and was the capital of Roman Gaul. The city flourished in the Renaissance period; commercial fairs started in 1464 when Italian bankers arrived, and from 1473 it was one of the most active printing centres in Europe. In the 17th century, it was the silk manufacturing capital of Europe. It is known as a centre of the arts and culture, and most particularly for being the gastronomic capital of France, a title bestowed on it by the gourmet Curnonsky in 1934, although its culinary reputation goes back to Roman times. View PDF
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48 hours in San Antonio

San Antonio in southwest Texas is a special place, an in- teresting blend of Spanish, Texan and now Mexican influences where the cowboy tradition is strong and the battle cry of “Remember the Alamo’’ still resonates. A visitor can easily fill 48 hours. Begin your day with breakfast: you’ve got choices. It might be Mexican – huevos rancheros, for example – or Texan – eggs, very crispy bacon, breakfast potato in some form, and biscuits with gravy or grits, plain or with cheese, shrimp and more. And coffee. View PDF
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US jurists in civil rights battle

A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite; that’s what Thurgood Marshall, the first black person to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, was told as a student. He got the message from another leading black jurist, Charles Hamilton Houston, who was dean of the Howard University Law School in Washington DC when Marshall was a graduate student there in the 1930s. View PDF
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Elvis’s legacy is larger than life

Elvis Presley, the great and enduring cultural icon, singer, actor and performer of the 1950s through the 1970s has now been dead just slightly longer than he was alive. His legacy – seen at his Graceland home and complex in Memphis, Tennessee – is thriving and even better after a multimillion dollar upgrade. View PDF
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Civil rights museums attract

It seems odd, even bizarre, that history of brutal oppression and violence against a whole race of people should be presented as a tourist attraction and perhaps even more bizarre that it should be a successful strategy. That is precisely what’s happening in many Southern cities in the United States as Americans show a new willingness to confront their own past and come to terms with it. View PDF
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