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The Catholic Cathedral's bell tower, Asmara

Up until recently the name 'Eritrea' was a synonym for 'war' and an antonym for 'relaxing with a gin by the seaside', but remarkably the definitions are starting to be reversed. It now has a peace agreement with Ethiopia under its belt and a chance to show off its vibrant and friendly inhabitants.

More of Eritrea's fascinating archaeological ruins are being unearthed around the country (as opposed to more being bombed into existence) and the waters of the Red Sea are beckoning divers with flourishing stocks of marine life. Flak jackets are out - wet suits are in.

Eritrea is battle-scarred from 30 years of fighting for independence and, more recently, from a border dispute with Ethiopia that was akin to two dogs fighting over an old bone. But its people are pursuing peacetime as vigorously as they pursued conflict, with swathes of the major cities and towns being rebuilt and large amounts of Asmara gin being downed to fuel the favoured pastime of dancing.

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