Travel

Shorter cruises are all the rage, says leading cruise line P&O (0843 374 0111; pocruises.co.uk), which is adding nine new two- to five-night sailings to the Channel Islands, Belgium and the Netherlands, all departing from Southampton. A two-night cruise on Azura to St Peter Port, Guernsey, costs from £199pp, including meals and entertainment. Departs 16 April.

Time is of the essence for Smith

Cricket

THE WORLD IN MOTION: GREECE BY FERRY BOAT; In the wake of Odysseus

The scent of pines drifting across the wine-dark sea; the odour of grilled octopus rising from the quayside at Siros. Travelling the Greek islands by ferry can't be matched,writes Marc Dubin, in the first part of our series about modes of transport round the world

Letter: A little something for Rhodes scholars

Sir: Your comments on Bath Council's dilemma over the choice of street names ('Street name stirs up social unrest', 15 June) reminds me of a recent visit to Rhodes, where there is a street bearing the name E. Bevin in Greek and English.

Ben hopes dashed

Hopes that Greek police were close to tracing the missing child Ben Needham, who disappeared from the island of Kos in 1991, have been dashed. Police have called off inquiries into a claim Ben was living in Salonika with a man called Nikos.

Reward hope

THE parents of missing toddler Ben Needham flew to Greece hoping a pounds 20,000 reward will help find their son, who disappeared from the island of Kos in July 1991, aged 21 months.

Writers' awards

Nicholas Schoon, the Environment Correspondent of the Independent, was highly commended in the Glaxo/Association of British Science Writers science writers awards. Neil McKenna became the first to win the Mike Rhodes Award in recognition of the 'promotion and understanding of lesbian and gay life' for his 'pioneering' work with the Independent.

Fashion Update: Zandra raids her archives

IF YOUR old Zandra Rhodes handkerchief-hem skirt is still lurking in the wardrobe, dust off the mothballs - for that is what the designer herself is doing.

OPERA / Mixed company: David Patrick Stearns on Ariadne auf Naxos

RICHARD Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, an 'opera within an opera' that first depicts the backstage chaos and then shows the on-stage result, has remained a unique juxtaposition of musical theatre elements. As pretentious 18th-century opera seria singers are forced to share the stage with a commedia dell'arte troupe, the rarefied and the coarse, the obvious and the subtle, the artificial and the real rub shoulders in a way that might have intrigued Bertolt Brecht while delighting more conservative opera-goers with its dry wit.

Travel: Ferried back to the isles of white: As the Olympic Games start in Barcelona today, Simon Calder visits the place where they all began, in Greece. He jogs around the capital, sprints along the original Olympic track and checks out the islands

WHILE I was stuck in a muddy field on the Isle of Wight pretending to enjoy the last riffs of Hendrix, my less impoverished pals were flitting around the Greek islands. In the Seventies, wafting around the Aegean was a warm alternative to rock festivals. My fortunate friends returned with exaggerated (presumably) stories involving Japanese motorbikes, Lebanese drugs, Danish women and the occasional goat. But by the time I could afford to reach Greece, it seemed I had missed the boat. Mass tourism had begun and lager-like-Lowenbrau-makes-it was the main intoxicant.
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