A Fresh Look at the Caribbean
The Many Layers of Tel Aviv
W H E R E T R AV E L C A N TA K E YO U
A FA R .CO M
# T R AV E L DE E P E R
How to Take a Better Safari
PICTURE YO U R S E L F HERE
A Family Cruises the Rhine p.114
©2017 CHANEL® , Inc.
RINGS IN DIAMONDS, WHITE GOLD AND YELLOW GOLD.
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OVER ROME When
BEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD Fly Emirates Business and savor regionally inspired gourmet cuisine, paired with the finest wines, all served in the perfect living space to relax and unwind.
NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER THE VANGUARD ISSUE
TWO FOR THE ROAD An unlikely friendship is forged on a trip through the American South. by EMMA JOHN
SPIN THE GLOBE
Photographer Dina Litovsky captures the frenetic beauty of Tel Aviv.
Nikon is a registered trademark of Nikon Corporation. ©2017 Nikon Inc.
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NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER THE VANGUARD ISSUE
What’s it like to take a family cruise down the Rhine? Unreal. by CHRIS COLIN
ALASKA 18 ANGUILLA 42 BERMUDA 34 BOSNIAHERZEGOVINA 124 BOTSWANA 59 BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS 42 CALIFORNIA 62 CROATIA 124
FRANCE 16, 114 FRENCH POLYNESIA 19 GEORGIA 90 GERMANY 114 GRENADA 38 INDIA 62 ISRAEL 102 ITALY 47 MEXICO 62 MONTENEGRO 124
NEW YORK CITY 60 PANAMA 28 PUERTO RICO 36 SLOVENIA 124 SOUTH CAROLINA 83, 90 ST. BART’S 42 SWITZERLAND 114 TAIWAN 53 TEXAS 62 ZIMBABWE 82
THE VANGUARD ISSUE
Koruna for your thoughts?
WANDER 28 NEXT STOP
A Panamanian surf spot broadens its appeal.
Cha-ching! If money talks, it speaks many languages.
the rum and see the street art) on a road trip through southeastern Puerto Rico.
38 WHERE IT’S AT Get there fast and take it slow on these unsung Caribbean isles.
34 WHERE I’M FROM
A Bermuda-born bookseller tells us why we shouldn’t judge an island by its beaches.
36 ROADS LESS TRAVELED
Stop and smell the hibiscus (and taste 10
65 DON’T OPEN UNTIL . . .
An Italian Christmas cake makes its triumphant return.
A local musician walks us through Taipei’s eclectic streets.
Here’s where to go when you want to slow down on safari, shake things up at an NYC hotel bar, or get some great shut-eye.
Give more than a gift this season; give a story.
SPECIAL SECTIONS 18 TRAVELERS’ CHOICE AWARDS
Our readers pick the world’s best cruise lines.
81 THE 2017 TRAVEL VANGUARD
These leaders are changing the world of travel for the better.
16 FOUNDER’S NOTE 22 CONTRIBUTORS 124 JUST BACK FROM
ON THE COVER
The Rhine and its tributaries have flowed through Europe for centuries. What lessons do its waters hold for the modern cruiser? Find out on page 114. Photograph by Christoph Haiderer
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: AMANDA RINGSTAD, JOSHUA YETMAN, JEFFERY CROSS
Words donâ€™t do it justice.
Some things in life just canâ€™t be described. And to truly understand them, you must experience them yourself. Join us on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula, a hidden gem on the Los Angeles coast. Celebrate holiday traditions and create lasting memories with unforgettable seaside experiences.
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Owner: AFAR Media, LLC, 130 Battery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111. 11. Known bondholders, mortgages, and other security holders owning or holding 1 percent of more of total amount of bonds, mortgages or other securities: Greg Sullivan, Co-Owner, 22 Napier Lane, San Francisco, CA 94133; Joe Diaz, Co-Owner, 128 W 13th Street, Garden Apartment, New York, NY 10011. 12. Tax status: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months. 13. Publisher title: AFAR. 14. Issue date for circulation data below: S/O '17. 15. The extent and nature of circulation: A. Total number of copies printed (Net press run). Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 308,909. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 304,519. B. Paid/requested circulation. 1. Mailed outsidecounty paid subscriptions/requested. Average number of copies each issue during the preceding 12 months: 253,038. 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Until 1949, women were only allowed in the Roosevelt Hotel’s renowned Sazerac Bar on Mardi Gras Day. Thankfully, this changed one September afternoon when owner Seymour Weiss opened his doors to a group of women who demanded the right to a stiff drink whenever they damn well felt like it.
The “Storming of the Sazerac” continues to be celebrated – fancy hats and all – every September, now at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Visit New Orleans and start your story with #OneTimeInNOLA.
– September 26th, 1949
Women stormed a bar meant just for men.
Seine and Sensibility
my first river cruise, sailing from Paris to Normandy and back on Uniworld’s beautiful new Joie de Vivre on a trip put together by Judy Perl, a member of AFAR’s Travel Advisory Council. Waking up in a new destination each day without having to pack or unpack made the voyage so enjoyable. In Giverny, we rode bikes to Monet’s garden; in Rouen, we explored the churches and museums; in Normandy, we visited the beaches and the U.S. cemetery. Then there were the extraordinary activities Judy arranged. I was traveling with friends from Silver Oak Winery in the Napa Valley, so we had exclusive meals and tastings and visited a local farm to see how Calvados apple brandy is made. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed the cruising itself. I love road trips and train rides when I can stare out the window and soak up the journey, but sitting with a glass of wine atop the roof of a ship in the open air, surrounded by the French countryside? Now that is the way to soak up a journey. I could read, chat with other passengers,
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Note: The structure of the actual lens may be different. AFAR 2015 Nikon is a16 registered trademarkMONTHTK of Nikon Corporation. ©2017 Nikon Inc. MADE IN JAPAN
or just eat delicious cheese and lose track of time. The new ships that have been built by Uniworld, Viking, Crystal, and other cruise lines bring all the comforts to you: dining rooms and bars, workout rooms, spas, and even pools. But my favorite feature was in my cabin: a room-width window that I could lower with the touch of a button so that there was nothing between me and my surroundings. Following the river’s path, moving at its pace, and taking in not only the sights but also the sounds and smells made me feel like I was connecting to this place in a natural— albeit very luxurious—way, one that engaged all of my senses. And it was a great reminder to appreciate the journey as well as the destination. GOOD TRAVELS,
Greg Sullivan Cofounder & CEO
Discover the cruise that ﬂoats your boat at afar.com/ travel-inspiration/cruise.
The Seine flows past Les Andelys, France, as the river makes its way from Paris to Rouen.
World-renowned sports photographer. Nikon shooter for 37 years.
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f2.8G ED
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Learn more about NIKKOR at nikonusa.com/NIKKOR
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Photographers using other lenses haven’t even seen what real sharpness can be. There’s no comparison to the crispness you get with a NIKKOR lens and Nikon camera. —Dave Black
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE
OCEANIA Oceania Cruises boasts the “finest cuisine at sea,” offering creations from renowned French chef Jacques Pépin. AFAR readers crowned it the best line for Onboard Culinary Programs and Restaurants.
Celebrating 70 years of Alaska exploration, Holland America has had plenty of time to perfect the art of cruising the Last Frontier. With seven ships and about 130 cruises seasonally, HAL is our Alaska Cruise Line winner for good reason.
AFAR’s cruise-savvy readers bring the same curiosity and thirst for experience to their trips on the seven seas that they bring to their travels on land. So we asked them to vote on their favorite cruise lines for varying ship styles (from expedition vessels to mega-ships), most notable amenities (such as best spas or cuisine), and particular popular destinations. Check out the award winners—your ship just may have come in.
With its fleet of 20 spacious, smartly designed ships; itineraries spanning Europe, Asia, and Africa; and extras such as complimentary bicyles and on-deck pools with swim-up bars, AmaWaterways wins big: Our readers voted it the top River Cruise Line and ranked it number one for Onboard Design.
DISNEY Voted favorite Family Cruise Line by AFAR readers, Disney Cruise Line provides fun-forthe-whole-family features such as Broadway-style shows, themed pools and slides, and kid-friendly port excursions. 18
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT COURTESY OF: VIKING CRUISES, PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES, SILVERSEA CRUISES, HOLLAND AMERICA LINE, AMAWATERWAYS
PAUL GAUGUIN Dotted with pristine turquoise lagoons and idyllic isles, French Polynesia is made for romantic sailing. With a long-standing regional presence, a local Tahitian staff, gourmet dining, and several intriguing itineraries offered year-round, Paul Gauguin Cruises was a natural choice for best French Polynesia Cruise Line.
CELEBRITY Sometimes, bigger is better. When it comes to Large-Ship Cruise Lines, AFAR readers rank Celebrity Cruises at the top. With a 2-to-1 guest-to-staff ratio, the line never compromises on quality service, even on its 3,000passenger ships.
VIKING Viking Ocean Cruises debuted in 2015 as the small-ship ocean-going counterpart to the well established Viking River Cruises, and the new line has already made a splash. With its quartet of 930-guest ships that offer culturally immersive, destinationfocused itineraries and inclusive pricing, Viking earned our readers’ designation as both the top Small-Ship Cruise Line and the best Mediterranean Cruise Line. Our R&R-ready readers also gave Viking the nod for best Onboard Spa. Viking ships offer a slate of traditional Scandinavian treatments, along with thermal suite areas complete with saunas, cold and hot baths, and even snow grottoes.
The expedition arm of leading luxury line Silversea maintains the brand’s high standards even as it takes guests off the beaten path. The AFAR readers’ pick for best Expedition Cruise Line, Silversea has purpose-built vessels that go to far-flung destinations while offering amenities such as butler service and fine dining.
Featuring some of the biggest and most innovative ships in the industry, calls in more than two dozen Caribbean ports (including newcomer Havana), and 3- to 12-night itineraries that sail from nine U.S. home ports (including San Juan, PR), it’s little wonder that Royal Caribbean International won the title of best Caribbean Cruise Line. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE
Photographer Ryan Neal Cordwell captured his girlfriend, CachaÃ© Ward, admiring the towering beauty of cacti at the Desert Botanical Gardens.
AFAR Ambassador Ryan Neal Cordwell spent a week delving deep into his hometown of Scottsdale to uncover the diverse experiences the city has to offer—with his camera at the ready. “The beauty of the Sonoran Desert is certainly a draw, but this assignment gave me a richer appreciation for the people who are making this a destination for art, cuisine, relaxation, and adventure.” Explore more in each of these categories yourself by taking our Instagram Adventure @scottsdale_instagramadventure. You can pick up tips for your next visit and enter for the chance to win prizes.
Iconic Architecture Paolo Soleri was the daring mind behind Cosanti, and its fascinating concrete dwellings and famous bells make a striking impression. Craft Breweries There are more than a few notable breweries in Scottsdale, perfect for a refreshing pickme-up. McFate won me over with its crisp blonde beers and the lively local bar crowd. Must-Do Events It’s worth timing your visit to one of Scottsdale’s big events, like the cutting-edge Canal Convergence Water + Art + Light, which brings dramatic installations to the Arizona Canal each spring. Farm-to-Table Dining Local bounty graces the tables of restaurants like FnB, where James Beard semifinalist chef Charleen Badman features fresh produce from Steadfast Farms. Outdoor Adventures I rose early and stayed out late to embrace the beauty of Scottsdale’s diverse desert environment – kayaking the Verde River, rock-climbing at Camelback Mountain and soaring high in a hot-air balloon. Public Art Tour Scottsdale, my home, continues to surprise and delight me. I’m often struck by its admirable works of art, like the Soleri Bridge and Robert Indiana’s LOVE. Picture-Perfect Sunsets Scottsdale’s got ‘em! Perhaps the most unique is the sunset bagpipe ceremony around the fire pit at Dreamweavers Canyon, part of The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Wine Spots I find that browsing Old Town’s boutiques and galleries pairs naturally with a winery stop. LDV grows all its grapes in southern Arizona to phenomenally satisfying results. Zen Places Scottsdale’s spas and tranquil oases are a boon to locals and visitors. The Andaz’s Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary stands out for using local botanical ingredients.
Scout trip: “On my first day photographing in a new city, I don’t shoot—I walk. It’s a flâneur walk: I observe the people, the architecture, the outdoor spaces. I take iPhone pictures of places I want to come back and shoot.” Liquid courage: “Every country has different cultural rules about the camera so I get nervous approaching people in new places. In Tel Aviv, I downed a shot of arak, an Israeli spirit, before shooting.” Follow her gaze: on Instagram @dina_litovsky
Cruising with kiddos: “Sure, at times I would rather have slipped off with a third glass of free champagne than deal with my bickering offspring. Then again, we walked through 900-year-old medieval castles. It’s mind-blowing to blow a small person’s mind.” The fearless parent: “Buy the ticket, even if you feel nervous, because people are people: They’re friendly wherever you go.” Find more wisdom: on Twitter @chriscolin3000
The aesthetic muse: “Architect Luis Barragán inspired the gift guide’s color palette. We wanted to create an atmosphere and to play with bold and soft colors, and he was a classic and modern choice.” Lost and found: “I often pick up worthless things when I travel, like rocks with unique colors, because I like simple design. Found objects remind me of the history things can hold. I also love seeking out candy from different countries.” Search with her: on Instagram @aringstad
Dough-votion: “The couple that runs Pasticceria Busnelli introduced me to their ‘baby dough,’ a starter yeast named Gigi. She was ‘born’ in 1970. The couple hasn’t been able to travel much, because they’re committed to maintaining her.” Pastry passions: “The bakers and pasticceria owners in this story were inspiring. They’re so dedicated to keeping the panettone tradition alive for future generations.” Get a taste of her world: on Instagram @wanderwide
Travel by design: “As someone who curates for a living, I need a big pool of visual touch points. Travel helps me build a mental library.” Pretty cities: “Design makes cities unique, but as the world gets more globalized, places start to look the same. I gravitate to cities still unlike anywhere else, and architecture plays a big role in that. Lisbon, for example, is the most stunning architectural city I’ve seen.” Catch her eye: on Instagram @_sightunseen_
Writer Even Keel p.114
Photographer Gift Guide p.65
Writer Panettone’s Second Rising p.47
Market Editor Gift Guide p.65
Photographer Spin the Globe: Tel Aviv p.102
CHARLESTON S O U T H
C A R O L I N A
H I S TORY LOV ES COM PA NY. In Charleston, the tides tell the time. Dawn dances on the ocean and through the palmetto tree frondsâ€”a glimpse into the day ahead. The past shines bright on monumental architecture, and cobblestone streets lead to cutting edge cocktails poured by a new friend. Some call it hospitality. We call it the endless welcome.
@ E X P LO R E C H A R L ES TON @E X P LO R E C HS
JOIN US FOR THE HOLIDAYS: CHRISTMASINCHARLESTON.COM
FOR INSIDER TIPS ON WHERE TO STAY, EAT & PL AY: EXPLORECHARLESTON.COM
WHERE ITÕS AT
CURIOUS TRAVELERS ONLY
What better way to explore the Caribbean paradise of Grenada than by boat? Bask in the sun, dive to see the world’s ﬁrst underwater sculpture gallery, or steal away to a secret beach. Hoist the sails and head for discovery on page 38. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
NORTHERN THAILAND San Francisco-based AFAR Ambassador Dan Tom (@dantom) went deep into Northern Thailand in search of picturesque small towns, wildlife adventures, and cultural traditions. Here’s a look at his favorite experiences, captured beautifully through his lens. Golden Triangle The Golden Triangle is at the very northern tip of Thailand, where it borders Myanmar and Laos. My favorite area activity was meeting the elephants at Anantara Elephant Camp & Resort in Chiang Rai. There’s a longstanding Thai custom of living alongside elephants, and the camp goes to great lengths to be sure they’re well fed and cared for. I also loved my stay at Rai Saengarun Resort on the Mekong River bordering Laos. My bungalow had a breathtaking view of the river and mountains, and I could observe Thai farmers at work just beyond my doorstep. Sukhothai Literally “Dawn of Happiness,” this province was the original kingdom of the Thais—and there’s plenty of historical culture preserved here. Rent a bike in the afternoon as I did (when it’s not as hot) and explore the ruins of Sukhothai National Park at your own pace. To get creative like the locals, try your hand at Sangkhalok ceramics, using the techniques of the ancient Thais. I did my best to emulate the same style of painting, but could use more practice! Nan Rice farming and Buddhism are two enduring elements of life in Northern Thailand, and I got a better understanding of both in Nan, one of the most untouched places in the country. Nan’s two most impressive Buddhist temples are Wat Phumin, famous for its mural, “Whisper of Love Resonating the Earth or The Whisper,” while the hilltop Wat Phra That Khao No makes a great place to watch the sun set over the city.
Unexpected Find: I spent a morning at Bangkok Airway’s organic farm to experience how they harvest myriad kinds of rice and enjoyed a meal prepared with ingredients sourced from the farm. It’s right next to Sukhothai Airport and, if you’re intrigued, you can book a similar visit through Sukhothai Heritage Resort.
Find more inspiration at tourismthailand.org
Fact Sheet Location
Southern Central Panama
Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort
Take an air-conditioned bus from Panama City.
A five-hour drive south of Panama City’s high-rise condominiums and glitzy casinos is the Azuero Peninsula—a surfers’ paradise that the rest of the world is just now catching onto. by NICHOLAS GILL
For years, Panama’s Azuero Peninsula was known mostly for its seco, a sugarcane-based spirit mixed with coconut milk, and its polleras, traditional hand-embroidered dresses worn at beauty pageants and festivals. Now, seemingly overnight, the peninsula is Panama’s hip place to be. In the area around the once-quiet cowboy town of Pedasí, about 200 miles from the capital on the southeastern 28
coast of Azuero, waves of young Panamanians and expats are opening upscale surf resorts and farm-to-table restaurants at a dizzying pace. The most interesting development centers around Playa Venao, a horseshoe-shaped bay fringed with jungle, about 16 miles southwest of Pedasí. Resorts such as El Sitio and Playa Venao Hotel Resort offer whale-watching and fishing
District Population Around 4,000
Along a jungle-shrouded road just off the beach, visitors can get their caffeine fix at the tiny Playa Venao Café and Roastery, which roasts beans from the highlands of Panama’s Boquete region. Chill on the patio with a cup of pour-over. If isolation is the endgame, there is the 11-cabana Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort in Cambutal, a village 32 miles west of Playa Venao. Daily yoga and meditation sessions take place in a thatched-roof rancho facing the Pacific. For beach outings, the staff will fill your cooler with fish tacos or Thaistyle Buddha bowls. Surfboards are available for rent, bicycles are complimentary, and secluded, empty beaches await.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: COURTESY OF SANSARA RESORT, COURTESY OF PANGA, AYA ANDREWS
trips to clients who sometimes fly in on helicopters, while no-frills surf hostels like Selina and Eco Venao serve the basic needs of hard-core surfers. Bolstered by one of Panama’s most consistent, year-round breaks, Playa Venao is also home to Surf Dojo, a surf school where world-renowned surfers such as Magnum Martinez run camps. On the west end of Playa Venao, Guatemalan chef Andrés Morataya opened the restaurant Panga in mid-2016, sourcing sustainable spider crabs from a local diver and oysters from a farm on nearby Isla Cañas. Morataya brines his chickens in ocean water, forages for wild berries, and experiments with food waste such as fish fins, which he smokes over nance wood, fries, then serves in a soy-vinegar sauce.
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The engraving on the $10 Mexican peso is a partial replica of a 25-ton Aztec calendar stone.
A WORLD OF CHANGE
No matter how many coins you’ve collected along the way—a single Norwegian krone, a few Indonesian rupiah, or a handful of Costa Rican colones—one thing is clear: It pays to travel.
photographs by JEFFERY CROSS
J A PA N
POL ND A
C R O AT I A
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W ZE AL AND
J A PA N
N O RW AY
C H PO LY N E S
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WHERE I’M FROM
MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY PLACE
Bookstore owner and cultural ambassador Kristin White reveals the riches that lie beyond Bermuda’s legendary sand. by DANIELLE WALSH
Where do you live? “I’ve been in St. George’s, a historic town in the East End, for 14 years. I fell in love with the charm, the history, and all the little winding alleys. A few years back, my husband and I purchased a bookstore that was closing. Now we’re turning it into a gift store and bookshop named Long Story Short. I also started Haunted History, a street performance and walking tour that tells the stories of the town’s famous residents from centuries ago.”
What’s the art scene like there? “In the East End Art District, many artists and artisans have combination studios and galleries. You can buy a painting or a piece of jewelry and watch the artist who made it at work. One of my favorites is Davidrose, a jewelry shop run by a husband-and-wife team. Art is thriving and vibrant here in the East End—and you get a more personal experience than you would at the larger galleries in Hamilton, the capital.”
What themes are you seeing in the island’s literature? “In the last two decades, we’ve seen more poetry and prose that’s inspired by the Bermudian experience. Young artists such as poet Yesha Townsend are coming into their own, talking about more complex subjects—what it’s like to be gay growing up here; the Bermudian accent.”
Tell me more about the accent. “It’s a melting pot of an accent, and that’s why I love it so much. Historically, though, it’s been considered a lazy accent, and Bermudians are taught to neutralize it. You feel like you have to wipe the island off your tongue in order to get a job and be successful. Now more people celebrate the accent— tourists will ask you to talk about it—but we still can’t really use it in daily public life.”
Where do you go for nature? “I love riding my bicycle to St. David’s Island, home to Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, where you can hike, forage for wild spinach and prickly pears, and explore the insane number of beaches. I like Clearwater Beach, which has a wicked bar. Bermuda is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I never take that for granted.”
Explore further—and plan your trip—at afar.com/visit/ bermuda.
What’s it like to grow up in Bermuda? “It’s a very unique experience. There are fewer than 65,000 people in the world who can say they’re Bermudian. Because it’s a small island, we’re all very much connected with each other. We’re all trying to make it together on this rock in the middle of nowhere.”
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ROADS LESS TRAVELED
BEACH THERAPY The beauty of Puerto Rico is that it’s small enough that you can laze for a few hours at Luquillo Beach ($5), with its calm waters for swimming and chairs and kayaks for rent, and still spend half the day in El Yunque National Forest ($4). The nearly 29,000-acre rain forest is just 15 minutes away. If you’re feeling ambitious, tackle the 5-mile (round-trip) El Yunque Trail, which leads to one of the highest points in the rain forest.
URBAN ADVENTURES Settle into San Juan’s La Concha, a renovated midcentury resort a shell’s toss from the Atlantic. Beach time is a must, but spend at least a day in the nearby Santurce arts district, where you can stroll mural-lined alleys, explore galleries devoted to Puerto Rican artists, and tour the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico ($6). Come sundown, head to the noreservations Jose Enrique for deliciously unfussy dishes made with local ingredients, such as fried fish with avocado, papaya, and batata, or yams.
Puerto Rico begs to be explored by road trip. But don’t try to tackle it all in one go. This route takes you to the eastern and southern coasts, where you can wander endless beaches, seaside rum towns, and the island’s legendary Pork Highway. by AISLYN GREENE
SOUTHERN EXPOSURE To explore the less touristed southern coast, book an Airbnb near Ponce. The historyrich city holds both the diverse Museo de Arte de Ponce ($6) and the Museo Castillo Serrallés ($9), a mansion—formerly owned by the Don Q Rum family—that’s now a museum devoted to Puerto Rico’s boozy history. Want to swim in the Caribbean? Sign up for the morning ferry ($28) to Isla Caja de Muertos, an uninhabited nature reserve with a lighthouse, hiking trails, and stellar swimming coves. 36
AN ISLAND’S ISLAND Catch the 8:15 p.m. ferry from Fajardo to Vieques Island ($26 per car, reservations required), a pulse-slowing spot of sand six miles off the eastern coast. The island is home to a wildlife refuge, wild horses that roam the beaches, and El Blok, the newest—and funkiest—hotel on Vieques. Time feels irrelevant here, but save a little of it to kayak Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.
Back on the main island, as you drive west and then south, keep an eye out for the junction to 184, aka the Pork Highway. The two-lane road is home to more than a dozen eateries—such as Lechonera Los Pinos—devoted to lechón (pork).
illustrations by MARTINA PAUKOVA
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: LUIS GARCIA, COURTESY OF PUERTO RICO TOURISM MEDIA, EP ANDERSON, COURTESY OF MUSEO DE ARTE DE PONCE
© VISIT NAPA VALLEY
can start at the start of the week.
In the Napa Valley, there’s no such thing as a Monday—there’s only today. And today, you can do anything. Wander through beautiful vineyards or a Main Street gallery, enjoy a full body massage or a full-bodied red. Whatever you choose, the day is yours for the making. START YOUR JOURNEY AT VISITNAPAVALLEY.COM
WHERE IT’S AT
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
With its unusual wildlife, unsullied beaches, and air perfumed with cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s a wonder this cluster of Caribbean islands isn’t overrun with tourists. by JACKIE BRYANT
ART CREDIT JOSHUA YETMAN
Cascading into a shallow pool perfect for wading, Adelphi Falls, located in Grenada’s Saint Andrew Parish, is also known as Secret Lovers Waterfall.
The caves of western Belize are not your ordinary geological wondersâ€” they are sacred corridors where the ancient Maya believed souls traveled into the afterlife. Today, you can still see artifacts, markings and more inside these mysterious caverns. If you seek adventure, come ďŹ nd it in western Belize.
Discover how to be at travelbelize.org
WHERE IT’S AT
The Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve is the ecological heart of Grenada. Intrepid hikers thrill at its challenging ridges, tiered waterfalls, and volcanic crater lake. Here are some of the creatures they may encounter along the way.
GRENADIAN TREE BOA You’ll recognize this boa constrictor, aka Corallus grenadensis, by its large amber eyes. Don’t flip out if you spot one— they’re nonvenomous.
HIRE A DRIVER AND GO! 2 MONA MONKEY Fortune is on your side if you spot one of these endangered primates in Grenada. Telltale attributes include a full, gray beard and a banditlike mask around the eyes.
3 GREEN IGUANA These color-shifting, treedwelling herbivores can grow to more than six feet long. With few natural predators on Grenada, they’re found in abundance in the rain forest.
Grenada comprises a trio of islands south of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and north of Trinidad and Tobago. The main isle of Grenada is 12 miles long and 21 miles wide, its territory carved into six parishes. Most travelers base themselves in the colonial capital of St. George’s, then spend a day exploring the ring road that circumnavigates the island. The route is narrow and winding throughout, so it’s best to hire a driver. The first stop should be La Sagesse Nature Center, a secluded reserve with mangroves and a pristine beach that’s good
for swimming. Continue up the eastern coast, through Grenville, pausing for a 150-proof rum tasting at River Antoine Rum Distillery, operational since 1785. (It’s the oldest water-powered distillery in the Caribbean.) Farther north is stunning Levera Beach, part of the 450-acre Levera National Park and a nesting spot for leatherback turtles. Hook around the top of the island and stop in Gouyave, where an oceanfront factory processes nutmeg, Grenada’s largest export and part of the inspiration for its nickname, the
Spice Island. Continue down the aquamarine coast until you hit Grand Anse Beach, just past St. George’s. The island’s liveliest and most popular stretch of sand, Grand Anse is dotted with beach bars and scuba diving supply shops. Before turning in for the night, treat yourself—and your driver, who has probably logged a good six to eight hours at this point—to a locally brewed IPA from the West Indies Beer Company in L’Anse Aux Épines. Growlers and mini-kegs are also available, if you want to take the party back to St. George’s.
MAKE A SPLASH In Grenada, life happens on, around, and in the water. Danny Donelan of Savvy Sailing Adventure (sailingsavvy.com) runs full-day, half-day, and sunset tours aboard a traditional sloop. Private charters fit 6 to 16 guests and can be tailored to a group’s interests. The most popular stop is the Underwater Sculpture Park in Molinere Bay, where British artist Jason deCaires Taylor’s life-size sculptures cast from the bodies of real Grenadians are submerged up to seven meters below sea level.
LEFT TO RIGHT FROM TOP: SYLVAIN GRANDADAM/AGE FOTOSTOCK, BRIAN JANNSEN/AGE FOTOSTOCK, WINFIELD PARKS/ NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE, COURTESY OF GRENADA TOURISM, AGF SRL/ALAMY, COURTESY OF GRENADA TOURISM (2), PERRY JOHNSON, COURTESY OF WEST INDIES BEER COMPANY. ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALEX PALOMINO
Creating understanding through travel World of Hyatt, with the help of generous point donations from its loyalty program members, worked with Learning AFAR and No Barriers to send 11 Chicago-area students on the trip of a lifetime to Costa Rica. These students participated in service projects, connected with residents, and challenged themselves to expand their perspectives — learning firsthand how travel fosters understanding.
To learn more, visit hyatt.com/understanding
Hyatt®, World of Hyatt® and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation and/or its affiliates. © 2017 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.
Places for Every Palate
WHERE IT’S AT
Hearty stews, organic produce, and seafood so fresh it could jump off your plate are the defining characteristics of Grenadian food. Here are three ways to get a fix.
Beanto-bar chocolate tour
Take a side trip to Grenada’s two dependencies, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. It’s hard to believe an island could get more relaxed than Grenada, but Carriacou (population: 6,000) and Petite Martinique (population: 900) have their big sister beat. Carriacou is about two hours
from Grenada by ferry, or 20 minutes by plane. After strolling through Hillsborough, the sleepy main town on Carriacou, head for the aptly named Paradise Beach or hire a boat and snorkel the calm
waters off Sandy Island. For dinner, check out Bogles Round House for callaloo tortellini or other contemporary Caribbean fare. With 22 rooms and beach views, the newly renovated Mermaid Beach Hotel is the best place to bed down for a night or two. When you’re ready to bounce to Petite Martinique, hop a local ferry or charter a private yacht. (There is
no airport.) For such a tiny island (586 acres), it offers a surprising number of diversions: snorkeling at Palm Beach and hiking the Piton volcano, for instance. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with a ceremonial boatlaunching, when the whole island gathers to sing hymns, and the new vessel is blessed by a local priest.
THE BEACH HOUSE RESTAURANT Sweeping views of Portici Bay are just one reason this restaurant is such a people pleaser; the menu goes on for miles. Order the catch of the day, seared and topped with a bright fruit salsa.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean . . .
Luxe hideaways are popping up everywhere—just in time for a winter escape. by RICHARD MORGAN 1 St. Bart’s
At Le Barthélemy, the first new hotel on St. Bart’s in 20 years, the spa specializes in La Mer facials, and Hermès toiletries are standard in every room. Lavish sixbedroom villas come with wine cellars and 55-foot lap pools. lebarthelemyhotel.com
2 British Virgin Islands
Rosewood Little Dix Bay reopens this December. A multimillion-dollar renovation restores the glamour established by founder Laurance S. Rockefeller more than 50 years ago. Seven new ocean-view suites have private plunge pools. rosewoodhotels.com
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla is a 181-room leisure palace with tennis courts, bocce and croquet lawns, a putting green, three swimming pools, and a half-milelong white sand beach. fourseasons.com/ anguilla
“Casualelegant” dress code
PATRICK’S LOCAL HOMESTYLE RESTAURANT Patrick’s serves Grenadian comfort food such as stewed conch and manicou (opossum) as part of its multicourse tasting menu or à la carte. The chocolate cake is made with locally grown cacao.
A Vacation From Your Vacation
BELMONT ESTATE This historic plantation, restaurant, and working farm teaches visitors the island’s spicy history. A filling lunch of traditional Oil Down stew, made with breadfruit and coconut milk, is a must-try.
THE DESERT IS WILD Absolutely untamed.
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CONNEC T FEAST p.47
If you were standing below artist Li Chen’s 80-foot installation at Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art, you’d be awestruck too. Find more Taipei inspiration on page 53.
photograph by SEAN MARC LEE
Napa Valley AFAR Journeys are easy-to-book experiential itineraries that unlock the world’s most fascinating destinations. They immerse travelers in local culture and include both iconic sights as well as places off-the-beaten tourist path.
Next we turn to California’s Napa Valley, a leading wine region that also appeals for its dynamic food scene, arts, and outdoor adventures. Our itineraries will highlight the best of the Napa Valley, including opportunities to meet local makers. Find the getaway that’s right for you starting November 1st.
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Panettone’s Second Rising In Milan, pastry chefs are reclaiming the fruitcake.
by SERENA RENNER photographs by ANDREA W YNER
Cucchi is protective of its panettone. The Milanese pastry shop has been baking the famous fruitcake—a traditional Italian Christmas treat— in a humble kitchen for more than 70 years. Laura Cucchi and her sister, Vittoria, whose grandparents founded the pasticceria in 1936, are thinking about expanding. But they fear that any change to the kitchen’s microclimate or production volume could upset il lievito madre, the revered mother yeast they use to make panettone. “It’s a very delicate decision,” Laura says. Pasticceria Cucchi’s panettone is a deliciously far cry from the supermarket versions that emerge every holiday season in both Italy and the United States. It’s pillowy and sweet, laced with high-quality vanilla, raisins, and chunks of
candied citrus—and so good the pasticceria makes it yearround. Customers might stop by the elegant shop on Corso Genova in Milan to eat a slice for breakfast or, on a warm summer night, order pangelà, a panettonegelato sandwich, for dessert. “Artisan panettone is completely different,” Laura says, “in the taste, in the perfume, in the satisfaction you get when you eat it.” Panettone is thought to have originated in the 1400s as a wheat bread made for religious celebrations. Over the centuries, the bread evolved into a sweet cake that requires a painstaking 36 to 48 hours to make. It all begins with the mother yeast, which must be refreshed with flour and water three times a day, for much of the year. Bakers take a piece of the yeast and work it into a dough made from flour, egg yolks, butter, and sugar. (By Italian law, any cake labeled panettone must
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Panettone dough rises (far right) and the baked loaves cool (right) in the kitchen of Pasticceria Cucchi.
3 More Places to Try Panettone in Milan
adhere to strict ratios of these ingredients as well as of raisins and candied fruits, which are added at the end.) Once the mixture is ready, it’s kneaded into a ball using a circular shaping technique called pirlatura. Finally, the dough is placed in a paper mold (known as a pirottino) that helps the cake achieve a tall, domed shape as it bakes. To prevent the finished panettone from collapsing, it is speared and hung upside down to cool. The industrial panettone that most of us have come to know, and regift, grew out of a rivalry between two Milanese bakers, Angelo Motta and Gino Alemagna. “At the beginning of the 1920s, there was a panettone, either Motta or Alemagna, on every Italian Christmas table,” says Stanislao Porzio, author of Il Panettone, the most complete book on the subject. “The Italians divided their loyalties between the two companies as if they were choosing between two soccer teams.” As the bakers’ reach expanded, quality suffered. Aside from the cakes made by a handful 48
of stalwarts such as the Cucchis, factory panettone reigned—that is, until the early 2000s, when Italian pastry chefs began to embrace the classic cake once more, and to reinvent it. New versions from intrepid artisans now feature everything from regional nuts and berries to chocolate and limoncello cream. Luxury brands, including Prada and LVMH (the conglomerate behind such names as Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Marc Jacobs), have even acquired venerable Milanese pasticcerias that specialize in panettone. In addition to writing about the cake, Porzio has launched a festival, Re (or “King”) Panettone, to raise the standards of ingredients and expertise as well as to discourage the use of preservatives and additives commonly found in mass-produced panettone. “Panettone is like pizza,” Porzio says. “There is the original panettone, like there is the original pizza margherita, but now there are also many different tastes.”
LA BOUTIQUE DEL DOLCE Achille Zoia, sometimes called the “father of modern panettone,” makes a honey-infused cake flecked with cocoa, hazelnuts, almonds, and chocolate chips. laboutiquedeldolce.it PASTICCERIA BUSNELLI This pasticceria practices in corda, an ancient method of yeast preparation. Try the Giallo Milano, made with all-yellow ingredients (saffron, candied lemon, ginger) in a nod to the color of Milan’s old homes and the city’s famous saffron risotto. pasticceriabusnelli.it PASTICCERIA MARTESANA MILANO In a modern space outfitted with black and white photos of midcentury bakers making panettone, sample the one Enzo Santoro bakes with chocolate and ginger or the version with pineapple and pine nuts. martesanamilano.com
Plan your panettone pilgrimage at afar.com/visit/milan.
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KK Yeh WHERE
Rock This Town
KK Yeh, the founder of White Wabbit, Taipei’s most influential indie record label and shop, finds inspiration in the city’s controversial art galleries, revolutionary teahouses, and red-light-district temples. as told to ASHLEA HALPERN
raised in Taipei. The city has changed so much over the last 20 years. My father loved nature and didn’t want his family living downtown. So when I was little, we lived on Guangfu Road, on the border of the Xinyi district. Back then, it was all farmland; now it’s the fanciest and most expensive shopping area in Taipei. As a teenager, I attended the Affiliated Senior WAS BORN AND
photographs by SEAN MARC LEE
High School of National Taiwan Normal University. It is known for its liberal atmosphere and energetic student activities. Some of the school’s most famous alumni are members of Mayday, which is now the biggest rock band in Taiwan. I went to school with them in the mid-’90s, when they were just getting started. One day, I saw them play Nirvana’s “Rape Me.” It was very shocking! Rock music may not be a
big deal to American teenagers, but it was very rare in Taiwan at that time—and it was especially hard to find independent or provocative rock. Until 1987 the country had been under martial law, which banned freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. But in the decade after martial law was lifted, everything changed. So many new bands, like Mayday, were started. Listening to them, I realized just how interesting music could be. I started my own band, Nipples, soon after. I played bass. It wasn’t easy to see bands play live as there were only two venues in Taipei. So I dropped out of college to work for a year in a legendary record store named Cosmos. My purpose was to listen to as much music as possible. At the end of the year, a customer loaned me money to start my own record shop. My friend Freddy Lim was a singer in a Taiwanese band and owned a live-music house called Zeitgeist. I asked him if I could open my shop in his venue and he said of course. His space was very small, so I turned the men’s restroom into a record store. It was a very feminist move. White Wabbit attracted really weird kids, the only people who were into Taiwanese music. At the time, most people still listened to American music. Nowadays, people listen to Taiwanese bands. My store even has a section dedicated to old Taiwanese music. After releasing two albums under Nipples, our band changed its name to Aphasia and stopped singing. Aphasia just released its third instrumental album in July. Our music is heavily influenced by Sonic Youth. We play shows with audiences of 800 or 900 people, and the kids keep getting younger and younger. Taiwanese born after the end of martial law are especially open-minded and free. They embrace all kinds of experimental art. Whenever White Wabbit brings foreign bands to Taiwan, I love to show them the creative side of my city. Art, music, food—everything is flourishing. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
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1. MOCA TAIPEI “One of my favorite shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art was an installation by the Taiwanese artist Yao Chung-Han. As you moved, lightbulbs would go on and off.” mocataipei.org.tw 54
2. QINGTIAN 76 AND ADDICTION AQUATIC DEVELOPMENT “I love sashimi. I like to order it at Qingtian, a historic café (above), and Addiction, a modern seafood restaurant.” qingtian76.tw; www.addiction.com.tw
3. REVOLVER “This looks like a traditional Taiwanese bar, but upstairs, it’s a music venue; Aphasia has played here. Shows start at 9 p.m. and go as late as 2 a.m. You can party all night!” revolver.tw
CONNECT R E S I D E N T Save KK’s picks for your next trip at afar.com/ visit/taiwan.
4. LUNGSHAN TEMPLE “One of the city’s most famous temples, Lungshan is located in a former red-light district. It has a solemn atmosphere—I like that contrast with the urban neighborhood.” lungshan.org.tw
5. QI DONG POETRY SALON “I love the architecture of this exhibition space, which was built during the period of Japanese colonization. There’s a café and an art shop but, ironically, no poetry.” en.nmtl.gov.tw
6. MAYLIN FRUIT “This small mom-and-pop shop is famous for its Taiwanese fruit. In summer, try the mango, dragon fruit, or banana. In winter, pears, melons, and grapes are best.” No. 83, Section 1, Kaifeng St.
7. GENG YEN JAI “When bands visit, I send them to this shop, which sells calligraphic tools (brushes, pens, and paper). You can also create a name stamp using Chinese characters.” No. 10, Lane 104, Heping East Rd.
8. 23 PUBLIC “Craft beer has only been popular in Taiwan for the last three to five years. I like to go to this laid-back bar after work: I order the house IPA and just chill out.” No. 100, Section 1, Xinhai Rd.
9. WISTARIA TEAHOUSE “In the 1980s, Wistaria was a gathering spot for artists and revolutionaries to talk about political reform. These days, it’s symbolic— a tourist spot like Café de Flore in Paris.” wistariateahouse.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
ADDING UP THE APPEAL OF SWITZERLAND SWITZERLAND ENTICES TRAVELERS with its cosmopolitan cities and its wilder side: soaring peaks, mountain trails, and untouched nature. Happily, you can experience the country both ways in the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn region to the southwest. This compact area encompasses Geneva along with Lausanne, Montreux Riviera, and Zermatt or Crans-Montana—a complementary mix of cities, resorts, and classic Swiss villages. It’s also a center of gastronomy that counts more than 43 Michelinstarred restaurants; 214 restaurants recognized by France’s prestigious Gault & Millau guide; and six nearby wine regions. The three-square-mile area of Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands out for its enchanting terraced vineyards connected by a hiking trail. In Geneva, you’ll find the world’s highest collection of single-brand boutiques along the glittering Rue du Rhône as well as the Jet d’Eau, shooting 459 feet into the air above Lake Geneva. The lake can boast some superlatives of its own—it’s Central Europe’s largest body of water, with ferries and steamers crossing it each day. Board one of them to go wine tasting in Lavaux. The entire region is well-connected by countless cable cars, steamers, and trains, most famous among them the Glacier Express. This eight-hour journey begins in Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn. The much-photographed mountain has long offered a challenge to mountaineers, though it’s possible to admire its majesty without attempting to conquer it. The cable car to the summit of neighboring Klein Matterhorn offers stunning perspectives of the legendary peak. More majestic views of the Alps, crystal-clear lakes, and pictureperfect mountain villages come with every turn on the Glacier Express. As you travel toward the final stop, the Alpine resort town of St. Moritz, admire the scenery while sampling freshly cooked meals showcasing local specialties and paired with mountain wines. The Glacier Express is included with the Swiss Travel Pass (with an additional charge for a seat reservation), which covers train, boat, and bus travel as well as public transport in 90 urban areas and admission to more than 500 museums. Whether you want to explore the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn region or any other part of the country, find the right Swiss Travel Pass on raileurope.com and take advantage of Switzerland’s spectacular transportation network.
Learn more at MySwitzerland.com/afar
Terraced UNESCO vineyards of Lavaux
Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region â€“ treat your senses.
Discover the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region, which is brimming with scenic vineyards along the lakeshore and an abundance of Gault Millau and Michelin rated restaurants. MySwitzerland.com/afar
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COURTESY OF UNCHARTED AFRICA
DUBA PLAINS CAMP Botswana
Make Yourself Comfortable
Getting the most out of your African safari might mean slowing down and settling in. Plus: The Mandarin Oriental is now one of New York Cityâ€™s best places to drink; two new retreats shine in Puebla, Mexico; and sleep gets an upgrade.
CONNECT S T A Y
Manhattan With a Twist
Avant-garde chef Grant Achatz reinvents the hotel cocktail bar in New York City. by MEGAN KRIGBAUM
The Secret to Getting More out of Your Safari An African safari is often a whirlwind of back-to-back stays at different camps. Deputy editor Jennifer Flowers slowed her pace. When you’re on safari in Africa, it’s only natural to want to take full advantage of every minute. That’s why packed schedules are the norm, especially for first timers, who tend to hop from camp to camp every two or three nights. But travelers looking for a deeper experience should consider making fewer stops, staying longer at each place. “If a traveler moves every two nights, they spend up to half their time driving or flying long distances,” says Nick Bay, the Seattlebased founder of Your Private Africa, which specializes in custom-designed safari itineraries. “Long stays at 60
certain safari camps are fantastic, especially for the traveler who isn’t rushing to see the big five, but is able to sit back and let the safari transpire as it’s meant to.” Botswana is an ideal destination for four-, five-, or even seven-night camp stays, adds Bay. The country’s diverse terrain, which ranges from sandy deserts to delta waterways, affords visitors a variety of activities: game drives, bush walks with local tribes, boat and mokoro canoe excursions, helicopter and hot-air balloon flights, and horseback rides. During the off-peak “green season” (November
through April), you may find deals that offer seven nights for the price of five. On my recent trip to Botswana, slower travel gave me an intimate look at the country’s people and landscapes. At the recently rebuilt Duba Plains Camp, one of the most remote retreats in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta, I followed the Tsaro lion pride at an unhurried pace as it stalked a warthog. In between wildlife sightings, I got to know my Botswanaborn guide, KB, who shared insights on politics, the relationship between the San people and their land, and other topics. One afternoon, I did nothing but relax in my lavish tent, which was outfitted with a copper-lined tub and rough-hewn doors from Zanzibar. The generous time frame erased any fear that I was missing out. A few days later, at Jack’s Camp in
Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pans, I explored from multiple vantage points. I rode on horseback past wildebeests who stared at me quizzically; saw herds of game from a helicopter; scanned the horizon with a meerkat on my shoulder that was looking for predators; and took a foraging walk with members of the San community. I basked in my tent, which felt like a time warp, with its Persian rugs, handcarved mahogany furnishings, and sienna-hued muslin walls. A desert breeze, the flickering light of kerosene lanterns, and the roar of lions nearby made me feel like I was caught up in a dream long before I fell asleep—a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth savoring. Duba Plains Camp from $1,650 per person per night; Jack’s Camp from $1,290.
Micah Melton is the beverage director. What sets his drinks apart? Micah entered the restaurant business as a cook, so he comes to cocktails with a cook’s mind and understands nuances in flavor. For example, there’s a cocktail on the menu that involves banana and curry that we serve with our caviar course. That’s his fingerprint; he looks to unusual combinations and incorporates food elements you
wouldn’t typically find in the cocktail world. At the Office, people can order “Dealer’s Choice.” How does that work? It’s a habitual thing, drinking. It’s very personal—way more so, I would say, than food. When you order Dealer’s Choice, the server prompts people with a few questions: “What spirit do you enjoy the most? Do you like sweet or spicy foods?” And so on and so forth. And then our bartenders customize a drink for you. What is your favorite late-night dinner order at the Office? I would start with the mussels. They’re steamed in a fennelly, Pernod-laced broth and served with country-style bread to soak up the sauce. And then jamón ibérico, which is one of my favorite ingredients. I’d probably end on the ice cream sundae, because you can choose your own adventure. Do you like M&Ms? Gummy bears? Heath bars? The list goes on and on.
For more extended-stay camps, visit afar.com/longsafari.
COURTESY OF SIMON HARTINGER/LUXURYSAFARICAMPS.COM, ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID WILSON
JACKÕS CAMP Botswana
You have opened two bars at the Mandarin Oriental. How do the Aviary and the Office differ? The Office looks to the past, and the Aviary looks to the future. The Aviary is progressive when it comes to flavor combinations, technique, custom serviceware, and the use of things like rotary evaporators and aromatic volcanoes [vaporizers used for infusing flavors]. At the Office, you’re going back in time: Drinks are served in antique coupes, and we try to use vintage and rare spirits.
CONNECT S T A Y
DOORS ARE OPEN
Two new luxury hotels— the Rosewood Puebla and the Cartesiano—have put this city on the map. Read on for three must-hit spots. by BROOKE PORTER K ATZ
Puebla is one of three Mexican states that claim to be the birthplace of the rich, chili-based sauce known as mole. Reserve a table in the courtyard at El Mural de los Poblanos— named for its colorful mural of characters from local history—where chef Liz Galicia turns out five versions of mole, including the classic poblano, made with more than a dozen ingredients.
The stark white concrete exterior of the new International Museum of the Baroque, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Toyo Ito, contrasts with
the opulence and ornamentality of the treasures inside. Undulating walls, a curving staircase, and circular skylights set the stage for exhibits on the exuberant architecture, visual arts, and music of the 17th and 18th centuries.
If you spring for just one souvenir, make it a piece of Talavera pottery, a craft that dates to the 16th century in the state of Puebla. Find it at Talavera de la Reyna, in the town of Cholula. Here, Angélica Moreno and her team incorporate zigzags, polka dots, and other graphic patterns (as well as traditional floral motifs) into dishware, vases, and teapots.
Carmel Valley Ranch
TRENDWATCH REM SERVICE A growing number of hotels and resorts are trying to help you sleep better, with services that go well beyond pillow menus. by SANDRA RAMANI
Sleep Ambassadors Six Senses Worldwide
Hypnotherapy Carmel Valley Ranch California
Room Design ITC Hotels Luxury Collection India
Massage and More Ritz-Carlton Dallas
The Sleep Ambassadors of the new Sleep with Six Senses program help fine-tune your shut-eye with a pre-arrival questionnaire, custom bedding, a wellness book with tips on getting rest, a worry journal, and a sleep tracker app to collect data that you can discuss with a wellness expert. From $165. sixsenses.com
Carmel Valley Ranch offers a hypnotherapy session with a psychologist from the American Institute of Hypnotherapy that’s designed to promote relaxation and sounder sleep. Guests keep a recording of the session and learn self-hypnosis techniques to guide them at home. From $350. carmelvalley ranch.com
Rooms in the ITC Hotels Luxury Collection have touches to help you fall asleep and stay asleep: soundproof windows, blackout shades, a Sleep TV channel with specially commissioned music, and a bedside Sleep Box with soothing essential oils, pillow sprays, and a booklet with meditation techniques. From $119. itchotels.in
Guests at the RitzCarlton, Dallas, can book the multipronged A Good Night’s Sleep Package, which includes a session with a sleep therapist, gelinfused pillows that stay cool, bedtime stretching tips, and a Drift to Sleep spa treatment designed to slow internal rhythms and put you in the mood to snooze. From $469. ritzcarlton.com
FROM TOP: LAURE JOLIET, COURTESY OF ROSEWOOD PUEBLA. ILLUSTRATIONS BY NICOLA LAURORA
PLAY ALL YOU WANT.
YOU’RE A ROCK STAR AFTER ALL.
CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF NOW INCLUDED. Unlimited golf is now included at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Whether you’re schooling the entourage or just working on your swing, every round is covered. When you book your stay for travel before December 21, 2018, you can enjoy unlimited rounds of golf and still take advantage of our Limitless Resort Credit offer for other added values such as select tours, spa, beauty salon services and much more.
CANCUN • PUNTA CANA • RIVIERA MAYA • VALLARTA COMING SOON: LOS CABOS • RIVIERA CANCUN
ALL DAY. ALL NIGHT. ALL INCLUDED.
Promotion applies for all bookings arriving on or after April 15, 2017 with a 3-night minimum stay. Promotion valid for bookings now – December 21, 2018. Promotion not valid at Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta. No blackout dates exist. Applicable to US and Canada markets. Applicable for both land only and package reservations. Applies to NEW reservations only, existing reservations do not qualify. Reservations with overlapping dates qualify; Promotion is based on arrival date. Promotion is subject to change without prior notice. We reserve the right to discontinue this promotion at any time. All previously sent close-outs and inventory changes apply and remain in place . Applicable to social, leisure and wedding group bookings. Not applicable to reservations with employee rate, travel agent rate, FAMS, complimentary or compensatory stays. Promotion code MUST be reported at time of booking for reservation to be entered correctly in our system — Promotion will not be honored if promotion code is not reported. Combinable with Free Kids. — All Year Family Category (not applicable at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya-Heaven Section) and Book Early & Save. A 20% service fee will apply over the final price of all transactions using the Limitless Resort Credit Promotion on all services or products. Service fee applies to Unlimited Golf. Service fee can only be paid with cash, room charge and credit card. Service fee cannot be paid with the remaining Limitless Resort Credit promotion balance.
JOIN OUR PHOTOGRAPHY EXPEDITIONS
Experience the world’s most scenic destinations while receiving mentoring from leading photographers and access to the latest Nikon equipment.
DEPARTING JANUARY - MARCH 2018 REGISTER NOW AT AFAR.COM/WORLDINFOCUS
gift guide 201 7
Until . . .
Behind every great object is a great story. Here are 16 tales to share this season. by AISLYN GREENE & MONICA KHEMSUROV photographs by AMANDA RINGSTAD
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The Suitcase That Rolls Like a Ferrari Tumi’s International Carry-On is an ultralight, hardshell suitcase that meets the carry-on standards of every major airline. (It weighs 11 pounds and measures 22 by 14 inches.) But that’s only the beginning. The rippled aluminum shell was designed to catch the light as you move, without blinding your fellow passengers. The fully rotating wheels, TSA-friendly locks, telescoping handle, and protective bumpers mean it travels smart, too. And that new blue hue? It’s meant to evoke the skies of New York and the tranquil landscapes of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. 19 Degree Aluminum International CarryOn, $995. tumi.com
The Best New Way to Get Lit From his perch in the Jing’an neighborhood in Shanghai, Paris-born designer Thomas Dariel dreams up ideas for some of China’s best restaurants and clubs. You’d have to go there to see, say, Lady Bund, a fusion 66
restaurant with chandeliers that look like cracked eggshells, created by his interior design firm, Dariel Studio. But with the click of a mouse you can deliver his East-meets-West style to the designloving traveler on your list. For his new blue candleholders, made of laminated metal and nearly
two feet tall, Dariel drew inspiration from the Memphis Group, the Milanbased design organization credited with launching the wacky, Crayolahued look that pervaded the 1980s. Blue candleholders, $755. cappellini.it
The Ski Jacket That Doubles as a Winter Mural Moncler, the outdoor apparel company named for a French alpine village, teamed up with fashion illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme for a fresh-as-new-snow take on the down jacket. Using digital printers, Delhomme imprinted the illustrations on high-tech nylon. But his inspiration was classic: He covered the jacket with pictures of iconic European ski events, including the annual nighttime downhill torchlight procession in the Swiss village of Villars-Gryon. “Postcards” Dejan Giubbotto, $2,445. moncler.com
STUNNING BEACHES. INSPIRED CUISINE. UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS. MEXICO. 1-855-MYNIZUC
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The French Boots With an Alpine Soul The very first mountaineering boots were made entirely of leather, down to their not-sowaterproof soles, which were studded with blunt hobnails for traction. Hermès honors that pioneering footwear with its new calfskin-leather hiking boot, which has lace hooks finished
with palladium, a precious metal. The sturdy (and waterproof) rubber lug sole, however, is completely suitable for 21st-century wandering, whether you’re blazing trails on the mountains of Kazakhstan or walking the streets of New York. Men’s Pyrénées boots in black, $1,650. hermes.com
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The Clock That Reveals Scandinaviaâ€™s True Colors Playful, affordable, and stripped-down but functional, this clock from the Danish interior company Normann Copenhagen perfectly captures the Scandinavian design ethos. To create it, Sweden-based designer Jonas
Wagell drew on his years in graphic design. The steel clock is powder-coated with matte dark blue paint; its hour and minute hands are painted in contrasting pastels. Wagell also pulled in his obsession with typography: He named the clock Bold, a reference to fonts that stand out on the pageâ€”and to the way the clock will add a pop of color to any wall. Bold Wall Clock in petrol, $75. aplusrstore.com
from our partners: your guide to the best the world has to offer Check out Compass online: afar.com/compass
THE PEARL OF THE CARIBBEAN
THE MAGIC OF KENYA
MEET ASIA PACIFIC’S MOST ELITE TRAVEL AGENTS
ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE
THE 2018 TRAVELERS’ CHOICE CRUISE AWARDS
The stunning archipelago of Guadeloupe is composed of ﬁve islands—Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, and La Désirade—linked by an efﬁcient ferry network. Go island-hopping to discover their enchanting mix of modern French inﬂuences and genuine Caribbean heritage. Learn more and plan your trip at guadeloupe-islands.com.
ILTM Asia Paciﬁc is an event in Singapore (May 21-24) dedicated to those that create the travel itineraries for the region’s richest—an opportunity not to be missed for international luxury travel suppliers to boost and build their businesses from this dynamic region. To ﬁnd out more, visit iltm.com.
Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa lies between verdant acres of jungle and turquoise award-winning beach on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Almost as a secret haven, the resort offers 63 rooms and suites aligned to the ocean, innovative Mexican cuisine and a spa with a Mayan mysticism. For more information, visit belmond.com.
AFAR Ambassador Ryan Neal Cordwell spent a week crisscrossing Scottsdale to uncover the diverse experiences it has to offer. Explore the city for yourself by taking our Instagram Adventure (@scottsdale_instagramadventure) featuring his photography. You can pick up travel tips and enter for the chance to win prizes.
Conquer your bucket, list and experience the home of the original safari—Kenya. Now is the time to get to know the wildlife, inspiring landscapes, and cultural wonders of magical Kenya, thanks to limited-time offers. Plan your journey by visiting magicalkenyaoffers.com.
There’s no shortage of captivating places to explore, so we wanted to hear what hotels, cruises, and destinations are inspiring your wanderlust. After tallying the votes, we’ve just revealed the Travelers’ Choice Cruise winners—check out the AFAR.com Cruise Channel for the results, and start planning your 2018 cruise.
it’s time for a travel upgrade
Ready to leave ordinary behind? It’s easy to make the most out of your travels when you enlist AFAR’s team of advisors, selected for their passion, insight, and deep industry knowledge. They help AFAR with recommendations, and they can design a whole trip for you. Book with an AFAR expert and get an itinerary customized for your interests, needs, and budgetÑand full of life-changing experiences. TRAVEL ADVISORY COUNCIL
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The Best Reason to Leave Your Phone in Your Pocket Leica cameras, handcrafted in Wetzlar, Germany, allow obsessive photographers nearly complete control and produce rich, crisp images. But they’re also known to be expensive and not so user friendly. The new Leica
TL2 camera hits a sweet spot. Carved from a single block of aluminum, the camera fits most hands, and there’s not a single button on the back, just an LCD screen roughly the same size as the one on an iPhone 5. Like a phone, the TL2 is chargeable via USB and outfitted with Wi-Fi so you can quickly share images. But the images (and HD video) you can
capture with the 24-megapixel camera are far superior to those from any phone—and the price makes it worth a shot. Leica TL2 camera, $1,950; Leica 18-56mm lens, $1,650. leicacamera usa.com
The Ultimate Bear for the Design Aware There’s probably some Maharam hiding in your home, even if you’ve never heard the name. The New York City–based textile behemoth makes high-quality materials that are used in everything from sofa cushions to Nike sneakers. To celebrate its new leather collection, the first in the company’s 115-year history, Maharam partnered with the
architectural and design magazine PIN-UP to create a line of teddy bears. Made from cowhide that’s rubbed until it looks matte and feels like velvet, the bears aren’t for the kid in your life but rather for the design-minded grown-up who’s young at heart. Bears available in five different shades (terra-cotta shown here), $295. maharam.com
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The Coolest Wine Keeper of Them All Think of this marble cooler as a wine cave for your table. Each one is made by hand in Italy: The white layers are carved from chunks of a Tuscan marble called arabescato—it’s a type of Carrara marble often used for countertops—and
the black stripes from marquina, a Spanish marble quarried near the Basque town of Markina-Xemein. The layers are sealed and the cooler fitted with a brass interior. The end result? A vessel that maintains the chill of a bottle of wine—you lift the top half of the cooler and nestle the bottle inside—and acts as a conversation piece as you sip. Coolers D, $650. editionsmilano .com
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The Travel G ame Fit for a Queen In 1887, Frank Smythson, creator of the eponymous British accessories brand, opened a shop on London’s Bond Street, where he sold leather travel bags, elegant stationery, and whimsical silver pieces. His wares soon caught the eye of the Royal Household—it ordered stationery for all of the royal residences, including Buckingham Palace—
and the brand has maintained regal ties ever since. (Smythson created private stationery for Princess Diana and annually makes a calendar for Queen Elizabeth.) This year, the company adds a set of travel dominoes handcrafted from resin, with a brass pin (known as a spinner) at the center of each game piece. The 28-tile set zips up into a slim, wallet-size leather case. We’re sure the queen would approve. Mara Travel Dominoes, $775. smythson.com
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The Bookends With a Story to Tell Designer Ini Archibong is like a Russian nesting doll of design influence. Born to Nigerian immigrants and raised in Pasadena, California, Archibong worked in Singapore before moving to Basel, Switzerland, in 2016. His ceramic Carlo Bookends have additional layers: They reference art deco and the brutalist aesthet-
ic of Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, whose work was influenced by Japanese design. The six-inch-tall bookends are the perfect size for a desk, andâ€”bonusâ€” they double as pen holders and paperweights. Carlo Bookend, $280 per piece. othr.com Books from left to right: Lisbon: Recipes from the Heart of Portugal by Rebecca Seal ($35); Naples and the Amalfi Coast, The Silver Spoon ($40); What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons ($22); The Mountain by Paul Yoon ($25).
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The Swiss Watch With Timeless Appeal In 1735, in the Swiss village of Villeret, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain built a watchmaking studio on the second floor of his farmhouse. Nearly three centuries later, his company is one of the world’s most venerable watchmakers, crafting hundreds of models of finely tuned timepieces. But the new Villeret watch—just shy of the diameter of an Oreo and half as thick— echoes the
simplicity of the village for which it’s named. The watch automatically winds as you move and has a power reserve of 72 hours (meaning it can sit on your dresser for three days). No, it won’t tweet for you or measure your heart rate, but it does indicate the date and day, a precise reminder to stay in the present. Villeret Day-Date watch, $10,900. blancpain.com
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It’s no surprise that Shinola’s first audio product, the Runwell Turntable, is a tribute to American manufacturing. To make it, the Detroitbased company reached out to one of the best turntable designers in the country: a father-son duo from New Jersey. The team spent years designing the player, sourcing most of the top-of-theline components from the United States, includ-
ing the wood skirt (made from Minnesota white oak) and the tonearm (made in Brooklyn). Every turntable is assembled in the new Shinola Audio factory, a 5,100-squarefoot space within Shinola’s headquarters, in full view of shoppers. Stay tuned for equally wellcrafted headphones, slated for release this winter. Runwell Rose Gold Turntable, $2,500. shinola.com
Find more gift ideas at afar.com/ holiday after November 1.
The Best Way to Make Vinyl Great Again
A Special Note From AFAR
Can you recall a trip that changed your life? By making travel accessible to low-income students, Learning AFAR helps them better understand our world and create a vision for the future. This fall, we’ve partnered with Cathay Paciﬁc to send students from Oakland, CA, on a trip to Cambodia that will immerse them in its rich culture and history while connecting them with locals and service projects. It’s part of Cathay Paciﬁc’s sustainable development strategy and commitment to address the needs of the communities it serves, primarily through youth education and environmental conservation. Join Learning AFAR and Cathay Paciﬁc in this important work that helps youth give their best back to the world.
in partnership with:
with generous support from:
Awakening If we could stop laughing, we’d have made it faster. Each paddle stroke got us closer. With eye-popping springtime wilderness and groggy bears peeking at us, the stories flowed. The perfect exploration in the land of awes. Small ships, BIG adventures.
KAYAK l SNORKEL l HIKE l SKIFF l WILDERNESS l WILDLIFE
888-862-8881 | UnCruise.com/AFARAlaska Save $ 400*/couple *Must mention oﬀer code: AWAKE18. 2018 Apr-May Alaska cruise departures. Book by 12-15-17.
Visionaries who harness t power the we of travel to make a difference BEKS NDLOVU
GLEN FU & ZOEY ZUO
BY JENNIFER FLOWERS
01. AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS
Beks Ndlovu The boundary-breaking founder of an up-and-coming safari lodge company brings travelers closer to the natural beauty of his homeland.
The ﬁrst elephants Beks Ndlovu ever tracked were the ones he found in his mother’s banana grove. The day he saw them—15 in all—Ndlovu, the CEO of Zimbabwe-
based African Bush Camps, was 10 years old. There was a drought that year, and wild animals had begun to creep over from nearby Hwange National Park to ransack gardens in Ndlovu’s village near Hwange Town. “My family and I were banging pots and pans to chase the elephants out of our garden,” recalls
Ndlovu, 41. “When they left, I followed them for over three miles into the middle of the bush and got within 40 yards of the herd. A mother elephant turned around, and I thought she was going to charge. I remember taking off and running until I got home. At that point I thought, ‘Wow, this is quite an adventure.’ ” Several years later, that ﬁrst thrilling elephant chase turned into a career. Today, Hwange National Park is the site of Somalisa, the ﬂagship of African Bush Camps’ 11-property collection. Founded in 2006, Somalisa gives guests the
chance to see the same kinds of elephant herds Ndlovu followed in his youth. Ndlovu’s reason for building a camp near his village is clear: He intends to create a mutually beneﬁcial relationship between tourism and the landscape he grew up in. That’s why he launched the African Bush Camps Foundation concurrently with his ﬁrst safari camp. For every night’s stay, $10 goes toward community projects, scholarships for 300 children, and skillbuilding programs and small-business loans for local entrepreneurs. As one of the few
black lodge owners in Africa, Ndlovu knows he is a role model. He started at the bottom of the ladder in the safari world, spending his school holidays chopping ﬁrewood and extinguishing lanterns. He worked his way up to become a guide for Wilderness Safaris and other companies, and eventually started his own private guiding company. Then he founded African Bush Camps. It was a trail he had to blaze on his own: At
the time, he didn’t know a single black African who owned a safari company. This year, African Bush Camps has served more than 7,000 guests at its camps in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. “There aren’t many black CEOs or safari camp owners, so there’s often a double take when I show up,” says Ndlovu. “Being able to deliver consistently is what’s allowed me to organically grow the business.”
Wildlife sightings on an African Bush Camps safari are likely to include elephants, wildeb wildebeests, buffalo, giraffes, lions, hyenas, antelop antelope, and zebras.
03. CHARLESTON AREA CVB
Helen Hill 02.
The tourism expert helped turn South Carolina’s largest city into an internationally acclaimed destination.
LOEWS HOTELS & CO.
OPPOSITE PAGE FROM TOP: FRANS LANTING/NATIONAL /NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE, COURTESY OF AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS THIS PAGE FROM LEFT: COURTESY OF LOEWS S HOTELS & CO., ROBBIN KNIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY, PETER FR FRANK EDWARDS/REDUX
The successful hotelier finds multiple ways to support local communities and the people who work in the travel industry.
Perhaps it’s Jonathan Tisch’s lifelong involvement in hospitality that has made him such a champion of it. The CEO and chairman of Loews Hotels & Co. grew up in the Loews Regency in New York City, doing odd jobs alongside the staff. Those days in his family’s hotel showed him the power of travel to make the world—and the economy—better, creating jobs, and, perhaps more important, making even more destinations worth visiting. “The travel and tourism industry is the largest employer in the world, and in our country alone, there are close to 15 million direct and indirect jobs in travel tourism,” Tisch says. and tourism, plenty of direct Tisch has made plent industry through Loews, impact on the industr across the which now runs 24 hotels acros country. But his indirect impact has been even more profound. York University honIn 2016, New Y ored his years of suppor support by putting his name on the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitalit Hospitality and Tourism, a key incubator for future leaders in served as the head of the ﬁeld. He has ser Association, a nonproﬁt the U.S. Travel As supports the growth of group that suppor industry, and has met the U.S. travel industr with many members of Congress to help them understand how many people’s livelihoods depend on travel. “It all comes back to the humanity of travel,” Tisch says. “These men and women have made a decision to work in the largest industry in the world, and we have a responsibility to help them take care of their families and grow their careers. We can do better for them, and we can do more.”
Downtown Charleston is a window into colonial America: cobblestone streets, jasmine-scented alleyways, antebellum buildings no taller than the church steeples that dot the city. But that charming veneer is only one piece of the story
that Helen Hill, the CEO of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, wants to tell. “The reality is, we have a lot of history in Charleston that’s not pretty,” Hill says. “We’re not selling a version of the Old South in hoop skirts. We are a real place, and we want to show visitors who we really are.” Contemporary Charleston has several draws: a ﬂourishing food scene with nationally
known chefs such as Mike Lata and Sean Brock; swimmable beaches near downtown; boutique shops and hotels that have upped the city’s style ante in recent years. And then there are the city’s darker sides, which Hill doesn’t shy away from. That might mean walking visitors through Boone Hall Plantation to share with them the daily lives of slaves. Or encouraging them to visit Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the 2015 shooting in which nine people were killed by a white supremacist gunman, a tragedy that, Hill afﬁrms, brought the community closer in striving for racial
harmony. Hill’s s approach is working. Charleston attracts more than 5 million visitors a year. Most tourists used to come from within a six-hour drive, but now, thanks to improved air service, the top source of visitors is New York City. And one thing never changes, Hill says. “We have great people in Charleston. They still stop in the street to give you directions.”
The Zero George, pictured below, is one of the many stylish boutique hotels to arrive in Charleston in recent years.
04. S T U D I O TAC K
Ruben Caldwell, Jou-Yie Chou, Leigh Salem & Brian Smith Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is one of the most stylish new arrivals in the bucolic mountains of upstate New York. But beyond the 38-room lodge’s sleek wood ﬂoors and handmade leather chairs, there are quirks that
evoke the building’s 1960s past: a mirror on the ceiling of one of the bedrooms, an enormous deer head mounted on the wall in Prospect, the lodge’s restaurant. Scribner’s is a prime example of what Studio Tack does so well. The
The Studio Tack design team (above) first came together in 2012 and has completed a wide range of lodging projects, including Casa Bonay (right) in Barcelona, Spain.
Brooklyn-based design and development group’s nine hotels are the just-right retreats you want to keep in your back pocket for a weekend getaway. Many of them are repurposed buildings in cool destinations (Lake Tahoe; Jackson, Wyoming) and occasionally unexpected ones (Saratoga Springs, New York; the Delaware shore). They’re affordable and intimate, have handsome public spaces, and always tell a story about their locations. “There’s some sort of signiﬁcance to all of our projects, whether it’s architectural, cultural, or geographic,” says Jou-Yie Chou, one of Studio Tack’s four partners. “It would be hard to produce anywhere else.” Chou joined forces with Leigh Salem, Brian Smith, and Ruben Caldwell in 2013 to complete their ﬁrst
hotel project, the 16-room Dogﬁsh Inn in Delaware, commissioned by the Dogﬁsh Head brewery as a place for visitors to sleep post-imbibing.
Since then, the team has sharpened its approach with each new project, creating lodgings that appeal to a young and urban creative class.
“We’re always trying to dive into what the story is about the people who will be using the place and how it ﬁts with the local vibe,” says Caldwell.
LEFT: MERITXELL ARJALAGUER ABOVE: CHEYENNE PEERSON
The innovative team designs lodgings that tell their own stories and resonate with a creative-class clientele.
Situated at the base of South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Mountain, the spare but snappy Coachman, stocked with cozy Woolrich blankets and high-
end Frette linens, is a nod to the resort’s midcentury roots. The Brentwood Hotel, a former motor lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York, is a 12-room retreat
next to a famous horse-racing track. Countryside flourishes such as gilt antique mirrors and vintage oil paintings channel the town’s old-world charm.
The Anvil Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming, with its rustic, Shaker-inspired interiors and iron bed frames, might best be labeled “lumberjack chic.”
The main idea, though, Chou explains, is that guests should feel inspired to escape into their surroundings. “We love for people to go to
these properties and have an amazing time, enjoy being there, and use them as a base to go explore the area. That’s really what it’s all about.”
06. WA S H I N G T O N S TAT E S O L I C I T O R GENERAL
05. GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR
The visionary entrepreneur bridges education and travel for students across the nation.
In 2016, former President Obama’s daughter Malia took a year off before starting college. Her decision made headlines—but Abby Falik, the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, hopes that someday soon, such a choice will be completely expected. Falik founded Global Citizen Year in 2010 to send high school students to developing countries, including Brazil, Ecuador, India, and Senegal,
where they live with host families and apprentice with a wide range of local organizations, such as schools, agricultural cooperatives, and government ministries of education and health. Most students have graduated from high school, have been accepted into college, and are deferring entry for a year. She calls her program a “bridge year,” one that can teach kids the rich lessons of travel. “It’s a new onramp into college that helps kids develop empathy, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit,” Falik says. “These are things you can’t learn in a
classroom.” Since its inception, Global Citizen Year has accepted 600 students, and in 2017 the number of participants jumped from 100 to 150. “There’s a growing recognition that lives are getting longer,” Falik says, “and that college is crammed against the front end of a person’s life before they have opportunities to explore and figure out who they are and what they’re about.” Seven years in, Falik already sees the huge impact Global Citizen Year has made on program alums such as Ami Hanna, who spent a year in a rural village in Senegal when she was 18. Within that year, her host sister,
who was also 18, was married off to a man she had never met and was halfway through her first pregnancy by the time Hanna returned home. The experience inspired Hanna to become passionate about family planning and sexual health and to pursue a postcollege career as a doula. Falik’s long-term vision is to grow her organization to the size and impact of Teach for America or the Peace Corps. In the meantime, Global Citizen Year’s biggest hurdle is to make the bridge year a normal and accessible part of the U.S. education system. “I want us to reach a point,” Falik says, “where you feel left out if you don’t do it.”
More than 50 percent of Global Citizen Year’s students are people of color, 80 percent receive financial aid, and a third are granted full scholarships.
As Noah Purcell watched chaos descend on airports across the nation desce over the last weekend of January, he knew someone needed to challenge k the executive order that denied entry into the United States to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. Purcell, Washington State’s solicitor general, became a pivotal member of the team that built and argued the case that brought the Trump administration’s original travel ban to a halt. “It seemed the order was done to keep a discriminatory campaign promise to target Muslims rather than for actual security reasons,” Purcell recalls. “It showed a lack of thought and care to the legal issues.” To Purcell, the legal issues were clear. They included a violation of the First Amendment by disfavoring one religion, a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act by discriminating based on country of origin, and a lack of due process for those affected because there was no way for them to prove why they weren’t a risk. Purcell’s boss, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, gave the green light for Purcell and his team to get to work. “Nobody slept very much that weekend,” says Purcell. “But we had to move quickly—every hour people were literally being turned away.” The case was filed on the Monday following the ban. On Friday, a U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of a temporary restraining order, subsequently upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. “People should see the United States as a beacon for freedom and opportunity,” Purcell says, “and the travel ban really sent the opposite message.” essage.”
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR, COURTESY OF NOAH PURCELL, COURTESY OF GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR
The law officer helped lead the fight to put the Trump administration’s travel ban on hold.
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07. 54TR AVELER
Glen Fu & Zoey Zuo
The couple founded a travel outfitter that’s changing the way Chinese travelers see the world. In 2003, Glen Fu organized the ﬁrstever extended trip of the travel club at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics: a 48day journey to Tibet. Only one other student signed up: Zoey Zuo. But it was the
start of something. The couple fell in love on the trip— with each other and with a kind of travel that was rare in China at that time. Since the government started relaxing its travel policy in 1978, the Chinese
have become the world’s largest traveler demographic. But many of their trips follow boilerplate mass-market itineraries offered by Chinese travel agencies. Fu and Zuo wanted to make local connections, go off the beaten path, and step out of their comfort zone. Fast-forward to today, and they have grown the club into 54Traveler, a company with 30,000 clients a year. Inspired by Lonely Planet founder Tony
Wheeler, Fu and Zuo, along with their staff, test all their itineraries before they offer them. They’ve focused on creating affordable, small-group trips for travelers ages 16 to 45. They started by leading trips within China and found an eager audience: 54Traveler has had 40 percent revenue growth every year since 2007. And as of 2015, when the company ﬁnally obtained its government license to organize international trips—a process begun in 2007—outbound business has doubled annually. Now they visit 18 countries, including Russia, Myanmar, Iran, Jordan, Sri Lanka, and Iceland. In Morocco—54’s
most popular destination in 2017—the itinerary includes camel rides deep into the desert, a visit to a local date market, and a meal in a Berber family home. In Jordan, travelers take a city walk with a local in Amman, visit with Bedouins in their tents in Wadi Rum, and experience Petra by moonlight. The trips closer to home are just as eye-opening: One China itinerary takes travelers to a mountain village in Qinghai Province and includes a stay in a Muslim home. Another involves a visit to a remote monastery in the Qilian Mountains, where guests spend time with a monk and learn about his beliefs and daily
54Traveler gives its clients immersive experiences, such as a meal with locals, pictured above, in China’s Yunnan Province.
routines. “Many of our guests come from very big cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai,” Zuo says. “Most of them have never been to such remote areas— they usually don’t even know these kinds of places exist in China.” Adds Fu: “We like to change how our clients see the world. That’s really what inspires and encourages us to do what we do.”
08. AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES
OPPOSITE PAGE: COURTESY OF 54TRAVELER (2) THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: COURTESY OF AZAMARA CRUISES, COURTESY OF CHASE, COURTESY OF AZAMARA CRUISES
The head of Azamara Club Cruises was a leader in bringing experiences to the fore of his cruise line—and the cruise industry.
A four-hour drive into the Omani desert delivers guests to a Bedouin camp in the middle of nowhere. The Bedouin hosts will cook local dishes using vegetables the guests have never tasted, play instruments they’ve never heard, and spend time with them by a roaring ﬁre and under the stars late into the night. Then guests will sleep in tents amid a sea of undulating sand dunes. It’s not what you’d expect as part of a typical night on a cruise. But shaking things
up is exactly the point, according to Larry Pimentel, the president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “We specialize in destination immersion. That is our whole reason for existing,” Pimentel says. “Our one major goal is to connect guests to the places they visit.” In 2010, when Azamara Club Cruises launched, the cruise industry had a reputation for off-the-shelf excursions. Azamara Club Cruises offers smaller ships—two vessels carrying 690 passengers each—that can reach smaller ports, such as Bangkok or Bordeaux. Guests can also stay longer in those ports, where they enjoy exclusive experi-
ences: something as elaborate as an opera performance by a trio of tenors in Livorno, Italy, or as simple as a meal at the hole-in-the-wall that serves the best souvlaki in Athens, Greece. Pimentel didn’t even think he liked cruising when he joined the industry in 1989, after selling his Hawaii-based tour company to Expedia. “When I ﬁrst got to the cruise world, my perception was that they were exceptional at delivering food and terrible at delivering the destination,” he says. “They were too
hung up on material luxury such as ﬁne china and high-thread-count sheets and not focused enough on what the great value in travel was.” Before joining Azamara in 2009, Pimentel cofounded SeaDream Yacht Club and served as president and CEO of Cunard Line. At Azamara Club Cruises, Pimentel has overseen the addition of more than 1,000 new experiences this year alone. Plans for future pre- and post-cruise offerings include a trip on the iconic Venice Simplon-OrientExpress train that travels between London and Venice. “At the end of the day,” Pimentel says, “we’re not selling cruises. We’re selling experiences that allow guests to evolve and grow.”
Pimentel’s destination-focused formula has attracted a new clientele. About onefifth of Azamara Club Cruises’ guests have never been on a cruise ship before.
09. CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE
Pam Codispoti The Chase executive launched a game-changing credit card for a new generation of experience-hungry travelers. The latest status symbol for afﬂuent globe-trotters is a credit card. In case you missed the frenzy by the water cooler, Chase Sapphire Reserve—launched in the summer of 2016—became a sensation overnight. The card is geared toward a younger generation, but it was created for travelers of any age who deﬁne luxury as a wealth of experiences rather than the accumulation of things. “We wanted to design a card that would tap into that emotional side of being a lifelong explorer,” says Pam Codispoti, president of Chase Branded Cards at Chase and the driving force behind the card. “It’s less about ‘I’ve arrived’ and more about ‘I’m on a lifelong journey.’ ” In August 2016, news of the card’s perks—which originally included a sign-on bonus of 100,000 points— spread like wildﬁre on social media. Interest escalated so fast that Chase temporarily ran out of metal cards shortly after the launch. For an annual $450 fee, perks include TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, access to partner lounges, accelerated points for travel and dining, and access to exclusive events, ranging from a private dinner at Michelinstarred Le Bernardin in New York City to passes for the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Codispoti knew that the Chase Sapphire Reserve card would speak to a group of travelers who she describes as sav savvy, in-the-know, and afﬂuent. “They’re the ones deﬁning the future of travel,” she says. “It’ “It’s the right product at the right time, with early adopters creating buz buzz.”
two A revealing trip through the South shows why sharing a ride is the all-American way to build a friendship. by Emma John
photographs by McNair Evans
to the coast, GENNY ANNOUNCED THAT SHE HADN’T BROUGHT A GUN. I glanced at the glove compartment of the Toyota Corolla with a sting of surprise and relief. Her nephew had given her shooting lessons for her last birthday, when she’d turned 76, but apparently she’d decided not to take up the offer of a pistol for our road trip. “They say you shouldn’t have a gun if you have any doubt whether you would shoot it or not,” said Genny, turning her eyes from the road to look at me. “I don’t own a gun, but the one thing I do know is: I would shoot.” We were only two hours into our trip, and I was already nervous about what else I might learn about Genny on our way. We had been pen pals since a chance meeting in North Carolina four years ago; she was an avid reader and a curious soul, and our shared love of books and meeting new people had kept us corresponding after I returned home to England. But Genny rarely talked about herself. The idea that she—at five feet tall with white hair and impeccable Southern manners—might be the Thelma to my Louise had never occurred to me. Outside the passenger window, the yellow wash of South Carolina’s soy fields gave way to clouds of cotton, ready for harvest. I considered what I did know. Like me, Genny had lived alone in a city most of her life—Charlotte in her case, London in mine. Like me, she had never married. Our shared circumstances had forged a bond that made us feel, instinctively, that we would be good traveling companions. So I’d asked Genny if she’d take a trip with me, and we’d chosen the coast of South Carolina, a place she knew and loved. Since one of our common interests was history, Genny had suggested a drive down to Charleston and on to Savannah, so I could learn something about our two countries’ shared past. We met in Charlotte, jumped in Genny’s Corolla, and headed first to Pawleys Island, north of Charleston and just south of Myrtle Beach. It’s a thin strip of land that you reach by bridge, crossing a narrow inlet of reedy marsh. The town’s population stands at around 100, and a good handful of residents work at the Sea View Inn. Genny had been a regular visitor to the nearby beaches since she was a young woman working in Charlotte, and the inn, a white, two-story structure right on the shoreline, was one of her favorite haunts. From the moment we arrived, I could see why she loved it. A porch out back led down to the golden sands, as if the vast ocean beyond were its own private infinity pool. On previous visits, Genny said, she’d been visited by swarms of migrating
butterflies as she sat on the deck. This time, it was the other guests—a group of old university friends holding a reunion; a rowdy crew of flower arrangers—who alighted on the loungers near us in inquisitive flocks. They carried books and pretended to read until they could start a conversation. Genny and I attracted particular attention. “Are y’all related?” We took turns giving our story at each new inquiry. No, she wasn’t my grandmother. Yes, this was an English accent. When the sun went down, we abandoned the porch for the comfortable living room–lobby that took up most of the downstairs. It gave the place a communal feel—like a youth hostel, but for retirees—and talk turned to collard greens recipes and the price of gas. We were sharing a small and slightly breezy room; the next morning I woke to find Genny bolt upright in her bed, like a kid at Christmas. Despite her excitement, there was little more 94
to do than enjoy the view—and eat. Three times a day, the bell rang to summon us to the rustic dining room, where Frances, our middle-aged waitress, sang an old gospel tune before dropping large helpings of Southern staples on our tables with rough hospitality. At the sight of the pink and gray mush on our plates the first morning, Genny’s eyes had lit up. “Ooh, shrimp and grits!” It was, she said, the sort of comfort food that reminded her of being a child. She introduced me to the ingredients on my plate—field peas and “northern beans”—things that had also grown on her parents’ farm. Genny had never mentioned the farm before: 60 acres, she said, up in the hills of Oconee County, South Carolina. “Most of what we ate, we’d grown,” she said, “and we canned everything we could for the winter.” After we left the Sea View and drove south from Pawleys Island, she punctuated the
silence with more unexpected observations. “Once, when I was little, the doctor had to take a fly outta my nose.” “A fly?” “No, not a fly. A flower.” It turns out I misunderstood her strong Southern accent. “I was reading the National Geographic,” Genny explained, “and there was this woman with a ring in her nose. I thought I’d try it. So I put the flower in one side of my nose and the stem in the other and I breathed in. And it got stuck.” And, later: “I never went on vacation as a child.” The family couldn’t leave the farm animals, and Genny had escaped, instead, through books. “I did not like to play with dolls,” she said, with a hint of defiance. “Mostly what I did was climb trees and read.” The books introduced her to a world bigger than the rural one around her. She might have trained as a nurse, but you had to be at least 5’ʹ2”; the only other option for a country girl was working as
Opposite page: Genny Masters, right, and her friend Rosemary Derrick chat at Martha’s Market Café in Walhalla, South Carolina. Above: Pawleys Creek meets the Atlantic Ocean at the south end of Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
a seamstress in a sewing factory, a monotonous existence. Office life, on the other hand, held a glamorous appeal. She left the family farm at 18—the only one of her siblings not to marry and settle down—and became a bookkeeper. Charleston arrived suddenly, a narrowing of streets, an outcrop of brick. We took an afternoon walk around its immaculate houses, their climbing plants as groomed as a colonel’s moustache. Inside the historic homes of the colonial town’s slaveholders, well-spoken guides directed our attention to their perfectly proportioned porticos and cornicing that looked like cake decoration. Out on the streets, the residents seemed equally well turned out; even the mannequins in the shop windows adhered to a strict smart-casual dress code. When we’d had all the elegance we could take, feet aching, we escaped into the first restaurant we saw, begging for hot tea. The bartender, a bearish man named Matt, called us
over and set down a couple of Earl Greys for us. “Y’all’d look better with a liquor drink in your hand,” he said. Behind him, a TV previewed a college football game between Clemson and Syracuse. “I grew up just outside Clemson,” said Genny. “I’m from Oconee County.” “Girl, you sound like it too,” said Matt. “Where’d you run into this redcoat?” We told him our story. Once Matt realized that Genny wasn’t my grandma, he began telling some of his racier tales, which she rewarded with her full-blown laugh—a sound so louche you’d never believe it came from the prim-looking lady sipping tea. He told us how he’d grown up on James Island—where the locals still spoke Geechee, the patois invented by the slave community—and tried to scare us with Charleston’s ghost stories. Genny said she had grown up in a haunted house. “I never saw her, but there was supposed to be the ghost of a headless woman hanging her clothes out in
our yard. My mother said, ‘Well, if she wants to do my washing, that’s fine with me.’ ” On Matt’s advice, we ate low-country food that night at Jestine’s Kitchen. Our red rice and shrimp gumbo, we learned, were dishes invented by slaves forced to supplement their meager rations with whatever they could find for themselves: shrimp caught in the sea, or tomatoes that had rotted off the vine. I have always been a sucker for a large country estate, and Middleton Place, built in the 18th century by an English family, was an easy detour on our way to Savannah. The green, wooded landscape reminded me powerfully of the English countryside. Walking through its gardens, inspired by the palace of Versailles, I really felt at peace beside the butterfly-shaped ponds, where wading birds stood like statues of themselves. Then I looked beyond, to the swelling acreage of its rice fields, where hundreds of slaves had been NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
“I’d have liked to have been
a nomad,” Genny said. “It’s a shame we don’t
have several lives to live.”
forced to work, and I felt squeamish. Of the Middleton family’s palatial home, only one wing remained. Union troops had razed the rest. A guide showed us around its treasures: the family silver, a collection of rare manuscripts. One exhibit case held an embroidered rice sack. It had contained the only possessions of a nine-year-old girl named Ashley who was separated from her mother, Rose, when Ashley was sold to another slave owner. Stitching on the front of the sack, added in 1921 by Ashley’s granddaughter, recorded that it had held “a tattered dress, three handfuls of pecans and a braid of Rose’s hair,” and that the pair had never seen each other again. (Since our visit, “Ashley’s Sack” has been sent on long-term loan to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.) Some distance from the house, a clapboard cabin now named Eliza’s House had been maintained to represent the slaves’ quarters. 98
Genny looked at its generous two rooms with skepticism: “I don’t know how many slept in here but I doubt all the slave quarters were this nice.” We moved on to the stable yards, where pigs snorted contentedly and Genny petted a miniature goat. They’d once had a billy goat on her family farm, she told me, but it got loose on its first day and destroyed her mother’s washing. It was gone by nightfall. I told her I’d like to see where she grew up. “Really? There’s nothing much there, you know.” I looked around at the indolent acres stretching in every direction. “Yes,” I said. “That’s the history I want to see.” Later, when we arrived in Savannah, we mapped out our new plan on a restaurant napkin. We’d have to limit our time in Savannah to 24 hours, just enough time to take a bus tour and eat some of the local food. Genny didn’t mind; she’d visited Savannah in the 1950s, and again in the 1970s. The spacious network of
streets and squares leading down to the busy waterfront hadn’t changed much since. The town remained one of the loveliest she’d ever seen, she said, and as we passed by wrought iron fences and ancient trees, I felt the same. Savannah projected a calm stateliness that made you speak a little softer, walk a little taller. The driver on our bus tour didn’t even curse when a thoughtless motorist suddenly pulled out in front of us. “Bless his heart,” he intoned in a buttery drawl. It turned out that this was the Savannah equivalent of dropping the f-bomb on someone. Our driver told us proudly that he was a ninth-generation Savannahian whose family moved here in 1741, just eight years after the city was founded. He pointed to the Spanish moss that hung like angel hair on the branch of every tree, lending an antique charm, and offered a secret about it: “It ain’t Spanish, and it ain’t moss.” At lunchtime, he dropped us off at Mrs.
Opposite page: Midway Presbyterian Church, outside of Maxton, North Carolina, dates to 1889. Above: A waiter digs into the staff meal at the Grey, in the revamped 1938 art deco Greyhound station in downtown Savannah, Georgia.
Wilkes Dining Room, where the line stretched so far down the street that some passersby mistook it for a soup kitchen. Inside, we met the current Mrs. Wilkes, a tidy lady in her 40s; her grandmother, Sema, had opened the establishment in 1943, and Sema’s recipes were still being used to produce hearty, family-style meals served at large communal tables. “Down here, every meal is a hug,” she said with a smile. We sat with strangers who passed along dozens of steaming dishes—and advice: “Don’t waste too much space on those cucumbers! You’ve still got the fried okra to come!” I took their warnings to heart and still had a plate groaning with food: a salty puff of mashed potato, fried chicken so juicy I made a rash vow never to eat anyone else’s. Genny endorsed it all—“good country cooking,” she nodded—but took issue with the notion it was a typical dinner. “You’d have to be cookin’ all mornin’!” It was hard to leave Savannah, but the jour-
ney north would be a long one, with a stop in Greenville. As the interstate miles slid beneath us, we looked ahead and talked of the past. Genny told me of her twin sister, who had died at seven months old. We talked about men and religion and politics and the contents of our fridges, and in each case discovered that we had more in common than we’d ever known. We arrived in Greenville under a bright crescent moon, and left the next morning under a crisp blue sky. The highway led us through small towns, past dollar stores and dilapidated auto shops, until we turned off onto country roads. They undulated beneath us, the trees changing from green to brown to red the farther we climbed into the hills. Leaves fell in flurries and made strange music as they swirled around the underside of the car. Genny was navigating by instinct and halfremembered landmarks—left at the first sight of Six-Mile Mountain, right at the church her
family attended. An enormous lake appeared, fringed to its very edge with trees. I asked if Genny had swum in it as a kid. No, she said: The dam that created it hadn’t been built until the ’60s. “If you dive, they say, you can still see the old farmhouses beneath the water.” Eventually we reached a set of traffic lights. “Walhalla,” she announced triumphantly. Settled by German farmers out of Charleston, the town was where her parents had driven once a month to buy flour and sugar and anything else they couldn’t grow on the farm, and where her father sold his surplus. We cruised along the main street and spotted a bank. “I think one of my great-nephews works there,” Genny said. “Now I’ve got to think of what his name is . . . Chris! Let’s go see.” Chris, the vice president of the bank, was a giant of a man. He bent at the waist to kiss his diminutive great-aunt, and his face was a kaleidoscope of curiosity at the surprise visit. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
Opposite page: Small homesteads from the family-farming days remain tucked into the landscape around Walhalla, South Carolina. Above: Guests enjoy cocktail hour on the porch of the Sea View Inn on Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
It was only 11:30 in the morning, but he took us for lunch anyway. Martha’s, the town diner, was already full of regulars, of whom Chris was clearly one. We took a seat and ordered chicken noodle soup and crackers. “So,” said Chris. “How did y’all meet?” We told it once more, our story, now worn as smooth as a pebble in a riverbed. At home among her countryfolk, Genny’s accent had thickened. We told Chris about the places we’d seen, the bars we’d visited. “This is the South, we can’t be talking about drinking,” he laughed, and winked. “I don’t drink, you don’t drink. . . .” Genny threw her head back and unloosed her outrageous laugh. Chris went back to the bank, and we set off on our final pilgrimage. The miles passed more slowly now; country roads endlessly revealed themselves. Passing a road sign for Geraldine Drive—“it was named for my sister”—we pulled off onto gravel that led up a hill, through a
pasture alive with wildflowers. At the crest stood a pretty house no more than 30 years old. Genny had never lived in it. The old place where she and her siblings had grown up burned down one night, long after the children left home; Genny’s father had carried her mother from the fire. Her sisters had married young and built lives nearby— only Genny had moved away in search of an independent life. Even now, she said, she wished she’d seen more of the world. “I’d have liked to have been a nomad,” she sighed. “It’s a shame we don’t have several lives to live.” But I could see that she still took pleasure in these surroundings, and they gave me joy, too. The fields rolled away into folds of forest, and beyond to the Blue Ridge Mountains, their gray mass seeming to calve the earth from the sky. Close by, a huge tree offered its branches, and Genny surveyed it with a tinge of longing. “I’d like
to climb it now,” she said. “But I reckon the farmer would have to come and get me down.” We returned to the highway and drove in the direction of Charlotte. A towering slab of mountain came into view, and Genny told me to pull over. I gazed across the road at Table Rock’s towering escarpment. Beneath it, woods spilled down the valley toward a small clearing. A red-roofed barn stood in the lee of the trees. “My father was born on this land,” she told me, “in 1899.” I looked at my extraordinary friend. I considered the journey we’d shared, and all we had found in common. And I wondered what magic had eradicated the years between us. Contributing writer Emma John wrote about crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 in the January/February 2017 issue. Photographer McNair Evans shot the images for “Playing by Heart,” in the July/August 2012 issue. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
Tel Aviv FOR OUR SPIN THE GLOBE STORIES, AFAR USUALLY SENDS A WRITER TO A DESTINATION WITH AS LITTLE NOTICE AS POSSIBLE. THIS TIME, WE SENT PHOTOGRAPHER DINA LITOVSKY. TURNS OUT THE WHITE CITY IS HER KIND OF PLACE.
When it comes to cities,
photographer Dina Litovsky likes them noisy and chaotic and overwhelming. “My photography focuses on people and street scenes,” she says. “Cities like Tokyo and Hanoi that are so busy and kaleidoscopic, that’s what I like. So when I found out I was going to Tel Aviv, I thought, this is a city where I can be myself.” Her camera bag was packed. She added sunscreen. She didn’t plan much, but in the 24 hours before she left, she booked a guide and did a Google image search. “I wanted to have a picture of the city as it is right now,” she says. “In the photos, Tel Aviv looked really clean, with white Bauhaus buildings and people sitting in cafés. It looked like the French Riviera.” Her five days in the city gave Litovsky a different impression. “I came to think of the city as this big flea market,” she says. “It’s claustrophobic and loud and fast and very, very colorful. It’s a mix of cultures and street smells and food.” She spent most of her time seeking out Tel Aviv’s busiest pockets. “The city really transforms based on the time of day,” she says. “I would just ask my guide, ‘It’s noon, where are there going to be the most people?’ ”
“I’ve never seen so many kids—and they were out with their families at all times of day and night. One day, as I was walking through the new part of Jaffa, I saw these three couples. There were two women outside the shot, but I thought it was interesting that the men were with the strollers. I followed them for about three blocks, looking for the layers. When I got this shot, with the café’s couches and chairs in the background, the baby’s legs, and the man smiling at me, I knew I had it.”
This quest led her to the beaches that stretch north along Tel Aviv’s coastline. It took her to the Florentin neighborhood, where “there are cafés upon cafés with people eating and drinking” late into the night. She tagged along with soldiers on their lunch break and convinced a group of gruff men to let her photograph their sidewalk backgammon game. As she walked and observed, cajoled and shot, she noticed something else. “It’s a small city, but there are so many different people there—and they travel in groups. You have older men playing cards. You have younger hipsters in cafés. You’ll see orthodox Jews and religious Muslims, and right next to them a group of gay boys in briefs. It’s a little schizophrenic.” One day, her guide explained that a tel in Hebrew is an archaeological site—a hill made up of layers of civilizations built on top of one another. “And I thought, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ That’s what I wanted to capture: layers of people with the city as the background. I used photography to make sense of the chaos.” —aislyn greene Dina Litovsky is profiled on page 22.
“Many of the soldiers I saw were very young, like 18 and 19, and at lunch they would go eat in cafés—in uniform, complete with guns. I took an exploratory shot of these soldiers and liked it, so I asked if I could follow them. I spent about an hour at a table nearby, just watching them like a hawk. I didn’t talk to them much—there was a language barrier, so we just smiled at each other—but it’s also because I try not to talk to my subjects. It changes the dynamic of the photo. I’m looking to capture a natural state. I’m trying to capture the interaction between other people, not the interaction with me.”
“In Tel Aviv, there’s a stretch of beach that goes all the way from the south to the north. The beaches change in such a crazy way. In the south, the Jaffa part, you see a lot of religious Muslim families and women who are bathing, totally covered. They did not want to be photographed. The farther north you go, the more the people change—and, I found, the more people enjoyed getting photographed. There’s a religious beach for the ultraOrthodox, which I couldn’t go to, a tourist beach, and a locals’ beach. I ended up just south of Hilton Beach, where there’s a gay beach. There were few tourists and no Muslim families and no religious Jews, just a lot of scantily dressed people having a big party.”
Check out more photos from Dinaâ€™s trip at afar.com/dina.
“My guide told me these are the hippies of Tel Aviv. Every Friday, they meet behind the Dolphinarium, a nightclub that was bombed 16 years ago, for a sunset drum circle. It’s a nonreligious Shabbat ceremony. They dance and sing and play drums in front of this graffitied wall. The drum circle is a very local thing—I never would have found it without my guide. I was there for about an hour, but I didn’t want them to feel like I was just there to steal pictures, so I put down my camera and danced.” NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
Aboard the River Empress with his family, writer Chris Colin finds that life is but a dream.
photographs by Christoph Haiderer
Tour boats approach the Pont du Corbeau, one of the many bridges that cross the canal circling the center of Strasbourg.
black and the river was black and we sliced through it with a thin shush. It was one of the last nights of the cruise, and I’d taken my son up top. Basel to Amsterdam along the Rhine. The inky bulk of a dark old church eased by on the left, the struggle of a riverbank campfire on the right. Warm night wind rushed over us, startling after an afternoon of climate control. But then all of it was still startling: the ornate ship implausibly inhabited for a week, a floating bubble of tranquility and snacks, a blessed reprieve from everything going to hell more every day. The bubble’s shape is what strikes you first. The River Empress is a giant bowling alley, much longer than a football field but scarcely wider than a tennis court. The stern holds the dining area, a swanky lounge fills the bow, and in between are a board-game room, a small gym, and three floors of passenger cabins. (My wife and I each took a kid in separate rooms. No additional children would be conceived in the making of this story.) Pools, shuffleboard, kids’ clubs, talent shows: That’s ocean cruise stuff, I learned. Ours was a river cruise, the Love Boat’s boutiquey cousin. It was, to be frank about it,
the fanciest thing we’d ever done. The lavish meals and the lavish between-meal meals and the way you never took out a wallet were fancy. The sincere kindness of the staff was fancy. The way you could help yourself to jars of candy in the lounge was fancy. Just walking down the halls—walk, kids, walk—was somehow fancy. Prior to the trip, after Uniworld mailed us our tickets in individual leather folders, we removed them periodically from my dresser to inspect like religious artifacts. Everyone knows the standard critique of cruising: It’s not reality. Allow me to lay out one of its virtues, though: It’s not reality. I’m all for real life, but a little goes a long way. Our trip coincided with a period of heightened insanity at home—the improbable rise of our current president—and abroad. From Brexit to the growing refugee crisis to an explosion of authoritarian populism, Europe had lately taken on U.S.-level fear and loathing. A string of terror attacks had ratcheted up the unease. What all this had in common is that none of it took place on the River Empress.
AKE TOMA, WE EXPLAINED TO THE
kids on day one, sits high in the Swiss Alps in the middle of a nature reserve. This shimmering mountain lake in its improbable PBS documentary way spills down ravines and gullies to become one of Europe’s longest waterways. The Rhine wanders past terraced vineyards and through great gorges for nearly 800 miles, hitting six countries and dividing France and Germany before widening in a dramatic sweep to flow into the North Sea. The first two bridges over it were built by Caesar. The way of the river cruiser is to learn truths like this and process them over veal roulade or a nice consommé. Then you sleep on high-thread-count sheets, and if you feel like watching a river, you draw the curtains for a private scrolling maritime vérité. In the morning, over an acre’s spread of breakfast, staff members glide by to ask with real curiosity how you slept, as though you could sleep any way but perfectly, even with the occasional kick to the groin from a preschooler. I hadn’t known what to expect with regard to our fellow travelers, and into that pretrip mental vacuum had stepped a shipful of imaginary Thurston Howell IIIs. OK, on board there was one guy with a comb-over cheesesplaining to his bored children—seriously guys, this is a nice Camembert. But he only highlighted the fact that everyone else seemed supremely friendly and normal, having done the friendly and normal thing of saving their money for a watery glimpse of Europe. We met NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017
From left, chess pieces the size of small children await the next move on the River Empress’s sun deck; one of the Uniworld cruise ship’s two captains surveys the vessel from the bridge above the main lounge.
a sweet widow and widower who’d met on a dating website for farmers. Another passenger, a hulking man who surely carried around refrigerators for a living, melted into a happy, fawning puddle whenever he saw my kids. If forced to come up with a cruiser stereotype, I’d say they’re either farmers or friendly giants. Our boy child was the youngest soul on board. He underscored this fact with regular wails, whines, and face-down hallway freakouts. His seven-year-old sister would watch with Zen-like detachment, then finally go bananas herself. A fellow passenger, struck by the horror of us simply trying to clothe the children for lunch, said something sympathetic about herding cats. I resisted pointing out that cat herders rarely have to pick up 35-pound cats, slick with sweat and heaving with mindless outrage, who then do this limpleg thing when you’re trying to drag them into the extremely nice dining room, and then spill apple juice everywhere. Anyway, four years old might be the lower limit on when a human child should begin cruising; sort of depends on how much Valium the parents have on hand. 118
The centerpiece of a river cruise is the daily excursion, and on a bright, hot morning we found ourselves moored in Alsace, catching a bus from the port at Breisach for the objectively happy town of Colmar. The place is Hanseland-Gretelishly cute, all winding canals and colorful timber-frame houses. Tourists arrive by the literal boatload, snapping selfies and picturing the superior life that surely unfurls if you move here. You’d sip gewürztraminer in your local café every afternoon. You’d ride a vintage Vespa to your oil painting class. As we walked the old streets, our tour guide pointed out the problem with perfect places: People are always stealing them. King Louis XIII snatched this region from Sweden in the 17th century. Germany claimed it in 1871. The Treaty of Versailles returned it to France after World War I. The Nazis took it back. Five times in less than 100 years residents were forced to flip nationalities, changing their very identities or else facing the consequences. To the kids I offered a G-rated version of this. Life was hard. That would become our routine in the days ahead: Sift history for excit-
ing stories. Bowdlerize down to a simplistic, digestible nugget. Deliver to critical acclaim, in the form of the critics not pinching each other for four peaceful minutes. I was attuned to how we talk about the world because the interpretation of reality had become bloody business. The night before we set out, a teenager boarded a train 100 miles northeast of us now, shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” and attacked five people with a knife and a hatchet. Soon after, there was another attack in Munich, then another in Reutlingen, then another in Ansbach. The continent, meanwhile, convulsed with waves of xenophobia. Sample copy from a government ad campaign in Hungary that summer: “Did you know that since the beginning of the migrant crisis, harassment toward women has steeply risen in Europe?” and “Did you know that the Paris attack was carried out by immigrants?” I relay this grim stuff because it became our psychic backdrop. We’d come, at some level, for vacation Europe—the Europe of the Enlightenment, or Berlin in the ’20s, or Paris in the ’60s, one of those brief spurts of
MAP BY SUPRIYA KALIDAS
From left, the “Barbara bell” rings every evening from the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Beloved Lady) in Koblenz, Germany; the author’s children frolic on the grass alongside Koblenz’s Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.
tolerance and amplitude of spirit that make you want to go off and see the world in the first place. We found something else, tried to reckon with it. What does it mean to travel at a time like this? Not just to travel but to do so in cloistered luxury? History that would’ve been merely interesting assumed a darker cast, everything seeming a cousin or a precursor to all that was going sideways now. The cheerful Rhine upon which we devoured our daily waffles had been a locus of German nationalism in the 19th century. Before that, the Rhine had defined the northern edge of the Holy Roman Empire and its abundant horrors. The feudal lords of the Middle Ages would later erect Europe’s highest density of castles and fortresses along the Middle Rhine, edifices to contain their ghoulish armaments and petty dramas. Over three dozen castles perch, with a showy precariousness, above a 40-mile stretch of the river. Sure, the constant recreational lopping off of heads provides some fun visuals. But by the 10th tale of medieval depravity, you start to think, Humans are terrifying and full of fear
and in general seem addicted to subjugating one another at every turn. As you think this, one of these humans, in a starched shirt and with a genuine smile for your absurd and squabbling little children, refills your glass. You feel several things at once. But of course it’s complicated. Here in Colmar, where generations of puffed-up men systematically altered the local culture, the culture survived by mutating; both German and French would eventually be spoken over sauerkraut and tartes à l’oignon. Was this a happy story about people making the best of awful circumstances? A sad one about how awful the circumstances were in the first place? I didn’t have to decide. What I had to do was find our tour group before we missed the bus back to the ship. We caught the bus back to the ship. Of course we did. We were cruisers, and only good things happen to cruisers.
UR SHORE EXCURSIONS TOOK US
to parts of the Rhine we’d never have seen otherwise. In Rüdesheim we rode a cable car over terraced vineyards, climbed through
a Boeing 747 that was balanced 65 feet in the air at the Technik Museum in Speyer. Back on the ship, a captain gave us a tour of the wheelhouse and spoke of the profound responsibility she feels piloting us trusting souls up the dark river late in the night. When I stared into the darkness myself, it had the effect of dissolving the particulars into a kind of platonic river. We were on Twain’s Mississippi, Conrad’s Congo.
Having apparently discussed cycling within earshot of the front desk, we arrived in the small city of Strasbourg, France, to find two bikes with kid seats magically waiting for us across the gangway. For the next two hours we were a family values brochure. We pedaled happily along the grassy edge of a canal to the old center of town. Geese! At the Strasbourg Cathedral, we stared up at the thousands of Gothic details carved upon it over the centuries, a map of both the hope and the smallness of human history. The sun was out, every other block opened into a sprawling plaza, and the kids were getting along and even laughing. The girl started calling out all the cute French dogs she saw. The boy jumped into a fountain. “I got so wet I farted,” he declared. It was the car horn that jerked me back. A slender young woman had just stepped out onto Rue de Leicester when a nearby driver blasted her with an epic and furious honk. Even after she stepped back on the curb, the driver leaned on the horn for three seconds. I stared. His eyes were full of a strange fury, and seemingly focused on the head scarf the woman wore. Of course I can’t swear this was Islamophobia. Maybe the dude was just garden-variety crazy. Maybe he had a thing about fabric. Either way, I was back in the real world, suddenly, the same one that cruise ships whisk you so nicely away from. Increasingly, our whipsawing was becoming just another part of the cruise. At the cathedral we’d concocted a child-friendly explanation for the heartbreaking notes and candles we found arrayed toward the apse. The terror attack in Nice had been just a week earlier, a 19-ton cargo truck plowing through the Bastille Day crowds, killing 86. Outside, among the cheerful cafés and postcard racks, police paced with submachine guns. We perused the postcards. The world sloshes drunkenly between beautiful and horrific. A cruiser, you can’t help noticing at times like this, is a detached and ahistorical being. Board the River Empress and you bypass all regional disputes, skirt all ethnic and racial tensions. You are your own micronation, plowing the neutral international waters of high-end tourism. Although the gloomy New York Times is available, instead you read the USA Times, the happy photocopied mini newspaper and organ of cruising disconnect assembled each day for River Empress passengers. There’s no need to reflect on cultural friction, because your only culture is slacks at dinner and Connect Four in the game room. All the while, the ship pressed northward. Farther into the Lower Rhine the bright blue skies turned overcast, the swans gave way to 120
seagulls, and the quaint little houses—well, I guess the little houses stayed pretty quaint. And then one morning they informed us we were arriving in Amsterdam. At the appointed hour, a last-day-of-campish good-bye event was held in the lounge. We sat in a little booth and my children hugged the sweet staff members as they came around, actual tears shed on both sides. Even the cheesesplainer seemed humbled by the moment; he looked on non-explainingly as his children absorbed the termination of their fantasy existence. And then we were on the gangplank and then we were on land and that was that. No more watery buffer between us and the world. We were the world. It’s a doozy, standing on your own feet. At a market in De Pijp, shopping for dinner ingredients that night, we found aisle after aisle of food in some kind of natural, unprepared state. For 15 minutes we staggered around, struggling to remember our pre-cruise life skills. I picked up a package of chicken, mystified. Finally we settled on spaghetti, managed to
cook it in the little apartment we’d rented. God only knows what our new thread counts were. Later, in bed, we read that a suitcase had exploded outside a refugee center near Nuremberg earlier. As I drifted off, images from our trip—the good-bye event, the jars of candy, the view from up top—mixed darkly with those of suitcase shards. I kept picturing an antique suitcase, for some reason. Our kids fell asleep with none of that, of course. We kept reality at bay for them, as the cruise ship worked to do for us; we are their USA Times. There would be no shortage of Hard Truths About the World for them to learn in the years ahead. But sometimes you live in the world of the free candy because of those hard truths waiting on shore, for the simple reason that you can. Contributing writer Chris Colin wrote about western Ireland in the March/April 2017 issue of AFAR. Photographer Christoph Haiderer shot “Scandinavia’s Secret Islands,” in the November/ December 2014 issue.
5 TIPS FOR TAKING A FAMILY RIVER CRUISE River cruise lines are shaking off their sedate reputations to offer fun adventures for the whole family. Use these smooth-sailing guidelines to get the brood on board. by ELISSA GARAY
Find a FamilyFocused Sailing Just because kids may technically be allowed on a regularly scheduled river cruise, that doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy being there. You won’t hear choruses of “I’m bo-o-ored” if you look to lines that tout specialized portfolios of family-friendly itineraries, such as Tauck Bridges, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Adventures by Disney, in partnership with AmaWaterways, and CroisiEurope. Their voyages offer
special shipboard activities, dining, amenities, staffing, and excursions. Plan Now Among the lines that offer them, family-branded itineraries typically only run about 10 to 15 times a year, mostly during the summer or over the December holidays. With such limited inventory, it’s advisable to book ahead; summer 2018 season sailings, for instance, will start to fill up this fall. Leave the Littlest Tots Behind Even the kidfriendly lines don’t
cater to the real young’uns. The minimum age to participate in a Tauck Bridges, Uniworld, or Adventures by Disney river cruise is four years old, though the general recommendation is for ages eight and up. CroisiEurope is an exception: It accepts infants and toddlers, too, and leaves it to parents to find the cruise most suitable for their children. Prepare for Accommodation Frustration Some lines, such as Adventures by Disney and Tauck
Bridges, offer triple-occupancy or connecting rooms, which work great for family trips. But many do not. Your best bet is to book early to secure adjacent staterooms. We Hope You Like Europe For the moment, the bulk of these family-centric experiences are limited to European waterways. So you may have to “settle” for history-rich regions lined with castles and storybook villages along the Rhine and the Danube.
In the 1820s, Prince Frederick of Prussia restored Rheinstein Castle, which has towered above the Rhine since 1317.
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Walking through the stone streets of Dubrovnik’s old town, where cruise ship passengers follow Game of Thrones tour guides, it’s hard to imagine that, in my lifetime, the city was under siege. Buskers’ melodies waft up the steep side streets, the lemon gelato from Dolce Vita is delicious, and the city’s fountain bubbles as it has for centuries. My family swam and kayaked in the Adriatic along the ancient walls. But then we looked up at the hills and realized those were the same hills from which shells rained down in the 1990s, when ethnic, religious, and nationalist strife tore the former Yugoslavia apart. How do you reconcile the region’s sad, confusing history with the natural and architectural beauty (and wine and truffles and, for my son, cats) that make it so inviting? From Dubrovnik, we took day trips into Montenegro, where we ate mussels on the shore of the Bay of Kotor, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where we cooled our feet in the Neretva River in Mostar (above). Later in our trip, we descended into the Postojna Cave in Slovenia. Each excursion took us across borders that weren’t there 30 years ago. We got stamps in our passports and drove on. Thoughts swirled in my head about how we humans divide ourselves, how we choose to love or hate, how we forgive and forget, and in the distance, vineyard-covered hills sloped down to blue water, and a giant yacht cruised by. 124
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WHO: EXECUTIVE EDITOR JEREMY SAUM
Imagine stopping trafﬁc as iconic Tower Bridge salutes you. Not only do we keep our ships small so that they retain the cosy atmosphere for which we have become famous, our ships allow you to experience things that a larger ships simply can’t. Smaller really does get you closer.
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