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Tales from the five boroughs
In the footsteps of Livingstone & pawprints of lions ANTARCTICA
Desolate & bleak yet utterly exhilarating
South merica guide free inside
ALSO: CANADA • SWEDEN • MADRID • CAPE TOWN • MACAU • MARRAKECH • PORTUGAL
STREET ART, STREET FOOD & STREET MARKETS
Alleys Alleys of traditions. of traditions.
WhereWhere great minds great minds meet, meet, and strangers and strangers become become friends. friends. Same as Same it ever as itwas, eversame was, as same it always as it always will be.will be.
Souq Waqif, Souq Doha Waqif, Doha
So there I was, in the wilds of Africa. I’d been out on safari all afternoon – the thrill of the Jeep stopping for another animal encounter – lions, leopards, buffalo – all closer than you’d ever think possible. It was unreal. Despite such a hectic day, I wasn’t tired – too much adrenaline. Soon the sun was setting behind the lodge, and there was a commotion as the Saga Rep told us to hurry – something special was happening. She’d arranged to move our sundowner drinks out on the back terrace, but why? It was a mystery! Soon we all stood there, looking out across the plain, waiting for something to happen. Then they appeared right in front of us – a herd of elephants silhouetted against the last of the daylight, twelve of them in total. As they slowly marched by I felt this amazing calm, a stillness. It was, without doubt, one of the best experiences of my life.
Experience your own adventure with Saga’s incredible portfolio of holidays and cruises to over 150 countries worldwide. From tented camps in Africa, mountain treks across the Slovenian Alps to voyages aboard our own small ships, you’re sure to be surprised by what we have to offer. Saga. Full of surprises.
0800 051 6512 quoting GEO76 Go online to saga.co.uk/nat-geo Visit your local travel agent
This is not a brochure. Saga’s holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s (but a travelling companion can be 40+). Saga Holidays is a trading name of ST&H Ltd (registration no. 2174052). ST&H Ltd and Saga Cruises Ltd (registration no. 3267858) are subsidiaries of ST&H Group Ltd (registration no. 0720588). All three companies are registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: Enbrook Park, Sandgate, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3SE. With respect to general insurance products sold in the UK, ST&H Ltd is an appointed representative of Saga Services Limited, registered in England and Wales (company no. 732602), which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate, visit www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate. NHA-GH4793.
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BY APPOINTMENT TO HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II SWAROVSKI OPTIK SUPPLIER OF BINOCULARS
THE ROUTE IS YOUR DESTINATION If the forest is inviting you on a journey of discovery or walking along a small stream takes you ever-deeper into the valley, you will enjoy particular pleasure from using a light and compact pair of binoculars. They will allow you to savour the magic of the moment quickly and without any fuss. This is why the CL Companion binoculars from SWAROVSKI OPTIK are the perfect choice for hiking. With their outstanding optics and design that is always ready to hand, these rugged binoculars are your trusty companion by your side, any time, any place. With SWAROVSKI OPTIK the world belongs to those who can see beauty.
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Cover story: New York City
Meet the five boroughs of the world’s most famous city, and the writers who know them best
92 Antarctica The remote, mysterious and isolated realm of the emperor penguin
116 Canada The final resting place for Arctic icebergs, Fogo Island has proved the end of the line for others, too
104 Botswana In Botswana’s Chobe National Park you’ll have little trouble finding your very own ‘pachyderm parade’
In Pictures: Sweden 126
Exploring the sea-to-plate journey of the seafood ‘Big Five’ on the Bohuslän coast of West Sweden
136 City life: Madrid A city of bullfighting, long lunches and late nights, the Spanish capital is very much how Hemingway left it
144 City life: Cape Town Gritty, chic, gregarious, refined, wild or, if you’re lucky, all of the above simultaneously
Brooklyn Bridge Park basketball players with downtown Manhattan in the background IMAGE: 4Corners
39 Stay at home North Norfolk tips and advice
17 Snapshot A racy priest in Modena, Italy 18 Big picture Meet the serval cat in the Serengeti 21 Editors’ picks These are a few of our favourite things 22 What’s new Parisian pop-ups and Falklands’ wildlife 27 Arts & culture Film festivals, tours and new releases 28 Do it now Take the survival challenge
41 The word The Secrets of the Seas by Callum Roberts 43 Competition Win a four-night beach break to Bali 49 Author series Jemma Wayne in Jerusalem 50 View from the USA Aaron Millar on Portland cool 52 Online Weekly highlights from natgeotraveller.co.uk INSIDER
152 Travel Talk The experts’ travel manuel 160 Feature: Ski The hottest new trends around the world 166 Travel writing competition This year’s talented winning entries GET IN TOUCH
176 Subscriptions Free tickets, great offers and discounts 177 Inbox Your letters, emails and tweets 178 Your pictures This month’s best travel photos
31 Food At the chef’s table in Lyme Bay
54 Weekender: Portugal Every nook of the Douro Valley bears a secret
33 On the trail Carmarthenshire’s cakeries by bike
57 Neighbourhood: Rome Reasons to venture out of the busy centre
34 Rooms Sleeping off Oktoberfest in Munich
62 Eat: Macau A satisfying expression of an odd culture clash
14 Photography Competition Enter now for a chance to win a commission with National Geographic Traveller
36 Family Book festivals and The Big Draw
66 Sleep: Marrakech Ornate riads and out-of-town palatial stays
46 Reader Awards Last chance to vote for the very best in travel
Reader Offers 8
see p.150 for our latest partnership with
Contributors Editorial Director: Maria Pieri
“Greenwich Village is a small town within a city, filled with neighbourhoods that morph block to block, as individual as the inhabitants. Most of them seem to pass through John’s Pizza on Bleeker Street at some point, you should too.” NEW YORK P.76
“My second trip to Antarctica revealed how much difference a few weeks make. Previously I visited in March, but in December, there was more ice, penguins and whales. The horrors of the Drake Passage remained the same.” ANTARCTICA P.92
Editor: Pat Riddell Deputy Editor: Helen Warwick (maternity leave) Features Editor: Glen Mutel Assistant Editor: Stephanie Cavagnaro Associate Editor: Sarah Barrell Editorial Assistant: Farida Zeynalova Digital Editor: Seamus McDermott Contributing Editors: Amelia Duggan, Jo Fletcher-Cross, Zane Henry, Josephine Price, Joanna Reeves, Tamsin Wressell Sub Editors: Hannah Doherty, Lorraine Grifﬁths, Chris Horton, Chris Hughes Project Manager: Natalie Jackson
Special Projects Consultant: Matthew Midworth National Geographic Traveller Business Development Team: Adam Blomﬁeld, Bob Jalaf, Dorian Lloyd, Glyn Morgan, Adam Phillips Digital Media Manager: John Stergides Sales and Marketing Manager: Rebecca Fraser APL Business Development Team: Chris Dalton, Adam Fox, Cynthia Lawrence, Mark Salmon Head of National Geographic Traveller — The Collection: Danny Pegg Chief Executive: Anthony Leyens Managing Director: Matthew Jackson
Group Art Editor: Chris Hudson Senior Designer: Lauren Atkinson-Smith Designers: Daniel Almeroth, Gabriella Finney, Philip Lay Production Manager: Daniel Gregory Production Controllers: Maia Abrahams, Joaquim Pereira, Lisa Poston, Joanne Roberts, Anthony Wright
Sales Director: Alex Vignali Sales Administrator: Melissa Jurado Executive Assistant: Taylah Brooke Financial Controller: Ryan McShaw Credit Manager: Craig Chappell Accounts Manager: Siobhan Grover Accounts Assistant: Jana Abraham Head of Billings and Revenue: Sarah Robinson
National Geographic Traveller (UK) is published by APL Media Limited, Unit 310, Highgate Studios, 53-79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL. natgeotraveller.co.uk Editorial T: 020 7253 9906. firstname.lastname@example.org Sales/Admin T: 020 7253 9909. F: 020 7253 9907. email@example.com Subscriptions: T: 01293 312166. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Flat Earthers claim Fogo Island is one of the corners of a level world — not so absurd when you consider that the island’s first European visitors, Portuguese fishermen in the late 16th century, probably did assume the earth was flat.” CANADA P.116
“Spain’s famous three-hour lunch is, alas, under threat with politicians calling for it to be axed to boost worker productivity. This would impact many bars and restaurants, and also kill off one of the great joys of Spanish life." MADRID P.136
“Watching baby elephants traipse down the hill to the edge of Botswana’s Chobe River and plough into the water, I had tears in my ears, from the sheer welling of emotion at seeing hundreds of magnificent pachyderms at play.” BOTSWANA P.104
National Geographic Traveller (UK) is published by APL Media Ltd under license from National Geographic Partners, LLC. Their entire contents are protected by copyright 2016 and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without prior permission is forbidden. Every care is taken in compiling the contents of the magazine, but the publishers assume no responsibility in the effect arising therefrom. Readers are advised to seek professional advice before acting on any information which is contained in the magazine. Neither APL Media Ltd or National Geographic Traveller magazine accept any liability for views expressed, pictures used or claims made by advertisers.
National Geographic Traveler (US) Editor-in-Chief, Travel Media: George Stone Publisher & Vice President, Global Media: Kimberly Connaghan Digital Director: Andrea Leitch Design Director: Marianne Seregi Director of Photography: Anne Farrar Senior Editor: Jayne Wise Features Editor: Amy Alipio Associate Editor: Hannah Sheinberg Producers: Megan Heltzel Weiler, Lindsay Smith Associate Producers: Christine Blau, Rebecca Davis Blog Editor/Producer: Leslie Trew Magraw Deputy Art Director: Leigh V. Borghesani Senior Photo Producer: Sarah Polger Associate Photo Producers: Jess Mandia, Tyler Metcalfe Associate Photo Editor: Laura Emmons Chief Researcher: Marilyn Terrell Copy Editor: Judy Burke Production Director: Kathie Gartrell Executive Assistant: Alexandra E. Petri Director of Communications: Heather Wyatt
Market Research Manager: Tracy Hamilton Stone Senior Vice President, International Media: Yulia P. Boyle Director, International Magazine Publishing: Ariel Deiaco-Lohr National Geographic Society President & CEO: Gary E. Knell Board of Trustees Chairman: Jean N. Case Vice Chairman: Tracy R. Wolstencroft National Geographic Partners CEO: Declan Moore Editorial Director: Susan Goldberg Chief Marketing & Brand Ofﬁcer: Claudia Malley Chief Financial Ofﬁcer: Marcela Martin Global Networks CEO: Courteney Monroe Chief Communications Ofﬁcer: Laura Nichols Chief Operating Ofﬁcer: Ward Platt Legal & Business Affairs: Jeff Schneider Chief Technology Ofﬁcer: Jonathan Young Board of Directors Chairman: Gary E. Knell
Copyright © 2016 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All Rights Reserved. National Geographic Traveler: Registered Trademark. Printed in the UK.
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All rights reserved - PONANT. Documents and photos for illustrative purposes only. Photo credit : © PONANT / Nathalie Michel / François Lefebvre.
Reader Offers with Barrhead Travel
Our new Reader Offer provider Barrhead Travel has 41 years of experience in providing expert advice to travellers, p.150
New York. Has there ever been an advertising slogan that has resonated for so long, succinctly capturing the sentiment of visitors and locals alike? It was coined almost 40 years ago, when the city was in the midst of burgeoning disco, post-punk and hip hop scenes, yet facing serious social problems and close to bankruptcy. Seemingly perfectly timed, the campaign caught and rode the wave that saw NYC become one of the most important and vibrant cities in the world. Like other thriving metropolises, New York can be whatever you want it to be: a buzzing centre for shopping, sport, music, art, architecture, business, finance and food. In many ways it still represents what greeted the millions of migrants at Ellis Island a century ago — hope. Manhattan has long inspired those that visit, its landmarks world-renowned: the Empire State Building, Central Park, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, Broadway. But the focus is determinedly shifting from the classic sights; the costly real estate in the heart of the Big Apple is forcing its citizens and visitors to explore, inhabit and change Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island in ways unimaginable 20 years ago. For our cover story this issue we asked New Yorkers to tell us about the five boroughs. About the people and the stories; about what it really means to love New York.
British Travel Awards
We’ve been nominated again — vote now for your chance to win prizes. ngtr.uk/BTANGT
Our new digital-only Photography Magazine is now available for free. Download it now on iOS, Android and Kindle devices
South America guide
Don’t miss your 76-page South America guide — free with this issue
PAT RIDDELL, EDITOR @NGTUK_Editor @patriddell
AWARD-WINNING NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER Ecoventura LATA Media Awards 2016: Online Blog Feature of the Year • British Travel Awards 2015: Best Consumer Holiday Magazine • British Society of Magazine Editors Awards 2015: Digital Editor of the Year, Consumer (Shortlisted) • British Annual Canada Travel Awards 2015: Best Canada Media Coverage • Germany Travel Writers’ Awards 2015: First Prize • British Travel Awards 2014: Best Consumer Holiday Magazine • British Society of Magazine Editors Awards 2014: Editor of the Year, Lifestyle (Shortlisted) • British Guild of Travel Writers Awards 2013: Best Overseas Feature • British Travel Press Awards 2012: Young Travel Writer of the Year
NOW O P E N
COMPETITION 2017 in partnership with CEWE Photobook
The winning prizes
Our annual Photography Competition is now open Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, this is the competition for you. Simply submit in your preferred category — single-shot, portfolio or video — and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a commission.
Win a 15-night holiday for two to Myanmar and experience Rickshaw Travel’s newest bite-sized trips, which combine famous highlights with hidden gems. Enjoy a cuppa among misty tea hills, explore Bagan’s famous temples by bike and experience rural village life on Inle Lake. The prize includes international flights, transport, accommodation with breakfast, and all excursions. rickshawtravel.co.uk
Single-shot: Upload a single shot in one of four different themes: Action, Nature, People, Urban
Join Tatra Photography in its new ‘travelling hotel’, based at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, for an Aurora photography tour. The tutor for this workshop will be Mark Bauer, who’ll help you make the most of the Icelandic landscapes. Includes return flights, airport transfers, six nights’ full-board accommodation, plus a seven-day photography course. tatraphotographyworkshop.com
Portfolio: Professional photographers — upload four shots based on the same subject/theme
Manfrotto tripod for each theme
Featuring twist locks for easy opening and closure, the Manfrotto 190 Go! is the lightest and most compact in the 190 range. The 90° column can be easily raised and, coupled with four leg angles, it enables you to get low down like no other. manfrotto.co.uk VIDEO
Video: Send us your YouTube/Vimeo link to an edited clip that’s a maximum of two minutes
Apple iPad Mini 2
A 32GB tablet with a 7.9-inch screen.
natgeotraveller.co.uk/photo-competition-2017 Closing date: 9 December 2016 at 23.59GMT. OUR JUDGES
CEWE Photobook JAEL MARSCHNER
Photographer and former photo editor, Time Out
Managing editor, Digital Photo Magazine
Creative director and co-founder, Swhype
Photographer and training manager, Nikon
A CEWE Photobook is for life’s best moments, bringing personal photographs and precious memories to life in a timeless style. It’s the perfect way to relive those special moments and treasure the photos that really matter. cewe-photobook.co.uk
DIVINE GACT&IVITIES MARIN
Discover the abundance of life and beauty of the South Atlantic Ocean. Swim with whale sharks, explore historic wrecks, follow dolphins and humpback whales on their journey and marvel at the many endemic species of marine life that call our coastline home.
SMART TRAVELLER What’s new // Do it now // Food // On the trail // Rooms // Family // Stay at home // The word
While exploring the city of Modena in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, I ran into this wonderful robed priest wearing a helmet, who was about to hop on his bike and whizz off. We spoke no common language considering my Italian is pitiful, but he stopped to chat in gestures with me and my two co-explorers. He blessed us and handed me his worn-out wooden rosary beads to keep. That gesture was an absolute honour and I still treasure those old beads to this day. LOLA AKINMADE ÅKERSTRÖM // PHOTOGRAPHER
Our 2016 Photography Competition winner, Jeremy Flint, captured this image on his resulting commission to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park with Four Seasons Serengeti and Carrier. “Servals are twice as large as house cats with towering legs and very large ears,” he says. “These beautifully spotted creatures walk through the golden grass in the late evening, searching for prey on the plains. Alerted by the noise of the engine, this one turns towards me for a split second — and I capture the moment.” This year’s Photography Competition is now open. See p.14 for more details. jeremyflintphotography.com
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL 1 Hang out with the sloths in Costa Rica: officially the happiest country in the world*. 2 Wake up and smell the coffee that’s winning awards worldwide. Try Doka Costa Rica Estate coffee and its Tres Generaciones brand. 3 UK visitors up 20% and there’s new British Airways direct flights too. *Source: Happy Planet Index 2016 by New Economics Foundation.
Editors' icks We’ve been here and weʼve been there and our team have found a few things we thought weʼd share…
BOTTLE HOUSE OF GANJA Almost 50,000 glass bottles make up the most inimitable attraction in Azerbaijan’s second largest city. Resident Ibrahim Jafarov used coloured stones from Sochi to build the house in memory of his beloved brother who never returned from the Second World War. azerbaijan.travel FARIDA ZEYNALOVA // EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
MARIA PIERI // EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
WHAT WE’RE READING OUT OF TIME
Miranda Sawyer I’M NOT WITH THE BAND
LIFE AFTER DARK
PAT RIDDELL // EDITOR
ir New Zealand
THE PROBLEM: Few things frustrate me more on a long-haul fl ight than sitting with my assistance light on, waiting for cabin crew to a) notice me, and b) fetch me things. It can take an age — and often just for a cup of water. THE SOLUTION: So, Air New Zealand’s vast menu of free snacks and drinks on my entertainment screen was a revelation. My orders — a succession of gin & tonics, with my choice of garnish — were then brought promptly to my seat. airnewzealand.co.uk GLEN MUTEL // FEATURES EDITOR
MILE HIGH PUB Ditch the tinnies and order a proper pint of Heineken on selected KLM ﬂights. A new ‘brew lock’ keg works with air pressure instead of CO2, so the beer can be served at
IMAGES: GETTY; ALAMY
The beer has to remain under 5C and stays fresh for up to eight hours. With four kegs per ﬂight, the airline can serve up to
HAVE WET SUIT, WILL TRAVEL
A new Snorkel Trail created by the Scottish Wildlife Trust takes in nine stretches of the northwest Highland’s ‘coral’ coast, with reef-like sightings of sea urchin, Ballan wrasse, moon jellyfish, red coralline maerl algae and pretty sunstar starfish. scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk SARAH BARRELL // ASSOCIATE EDITOR
320 glasses — proost!
STEPHANIE CAVAGNARO // ASSISTANT EDITOR
�ll aboard PARIS
Eat, drink and dance at Paris’s derelict railway site pop-ups — just don’t go off the rails
CLOCKWISE: Grand Train pop-up in northern Paris; Bistro bar at Grand Train; Garage Mu Festival, La Station; Le Perchoir
IMAGES: CHARLY HEL/PIX'HEL; GAËLLE MATATA; MAXIME HURIEZ
Join the Parisian bon vivants at pop-up bars, restaurants and galleries across the city. A series of renewal projects has seen creative spaces temporarily emerge in derelict railway sites all over the French capital. 1 GRAND TRAIN pulled into a former SNCF depot in northern Paris on 30 April. Open until 16 October, this venue features a train exhibition, live music, eight restaurants and an area to play pétanque. 2 Discover emerging local music at LA STATION in Gare des Mines, a former railway warehouse in the 18th arrondissement. Open until 23 October. 3 Pop-up LE PERCHOIR can be found at the Gare de l’Est rooftop until 15 October. The industrial iron and glass bar is nestled beneath the Belle Époque station’s half-rose window, and is a great spot to peer across the city of lights. 4 CASE is hosted in a series of shipping containers in the 10th arrondissement, and features exhibitions promoting sustainability. A coffee shop and burger joint keep punters satiated. 5 In the derelict Saint-Ouen train station, LE HASARD LUDIQUE — a community-centred bar, restaurant and music venue — is set to open in early 2017.
BRITISH PENGUIN A new expedition brings you face-to-face with the Falkland Islands’ animal inhabitants It’s often said the Falkland Islands are more British than Blighty itself, but that can feel like an exaggeration. Sure, visitors might spot the odd Union Jack, and the phone and post boxes are undoubtedly the correct shade of red, but nothing makes a Brit feel further from home than a sudden preponderance of penguins. Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic are offering a fresh way to see both aspects of the Falklands, by launching a complete circumnavigation of the islands. The 13day expedition, aboard the National Geographic Orion, will fi rst run on 19 and 28 October 2016.
The trip includes a stop in the capital, Stanley, where passengers can meet the locals and check out highlights such as Christ Church Cathedral, with its garden arch made from the jaw bones of two blue whales. But it’s the wildlife that’s the real highlight, with the itinerary including a hike across Carcass island in search of rockhopper penguins, blue-eyed (and pink-toed) shags and bull elephant seals. The voyage will also take in Argentina’s Isla de los Estados, an untamed and largely untouched nature reserve, home to the 132-year-old lighthouse that inspired Jules Verne’s novel, The Lighthouse At The End of the World. What could be better for a smug Facebook post — apart from a British penguin, of course. expeditions.com
Commerson’s dolphin Sometimes referred to as the panda dolphin or skunk dolphin, this black-and-white creature resembles a miniature killer whale.
Black-browed albatross These beautiful, white-headed birds with their distinct eye make-up arrive in the Falklands by their thousands every September to breed.
Rockhopper penguin Recognisable by their crest of spiky yellow and black head feathers, they’re happiest among the rocks of craggy, windswept shorelines.
IMAGES: GETTY; ALAMY; RALPH LEE HOPKINS
So named because of their trunk-like snouts, elephant seals are also elephantine in their proportions — the bulls found in southern waters can weigh up to four tonnes.
Hive of activity
A bizarre new attraction at Kew Gardens has visitors all abuzz WHAT IS IT?
WHAT’S IT FOR?
A fake beehive, standing at 17 metres tall
Designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress,
It’s set to stay until the end of 2017, with
Constructed from thousands of pieces
It’s hooked up to a real beehive, and the
Kew. Pollination Trail events will run until
and surrounded by a wildﬂower meadow. of aluminium, it’s ﬁ tted with hundreds of LED lights that glow and dim.
The Hive re-creates life in a bee colony.
structure’s lights and sound respond to the real-time activity of the bees.
tickets included in a day admission to
23 December and bee-related ﬁlms will be screened until 30 October. kew.org
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Oscar contenders... With Hollywood heavyweights in attendance, September’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is the place to enjoy the high-profile movies likely to win awards. This year’s festival screened several Oscar contenders:
n the spotlight
FILM FESTIVALS Take your cue from the BFI London Film Festival and explore some of the most highprofile industry events around the world. Plus, upcoming movies to look out for DIARY DATE
BFI London Film Festival 5-16 October 2016
London’s biggest annual fi lm event kicks off with a screening of Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, with a live cinecast of the screening taking place at cinemas across the country. While most of the red carpet action at the London Film Festival is located around Leicester Square, there will also be a full programme of screenings, workshops, fi lmmaker Q&A sessions and masterclasses held around the city. bfi .org.uk/lff
IMAGES: ISTOCKPHOTO; EDWARD ECHWALU; TRISTAN FEWINGS/GETTY IMAGES FOR BFI
TAKE ME THERE
Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah 19-29 January 2017
Snow and showbiz go hand-in-hand at this festival. Founded by actor and director Robert Redford, it specialises in documentaries, with around 100 films shown at diverse small-town venues ranging from old cinemas to gyms and schools. sundance.org BECOME A FILM-MAKER
Berlin International Film Festival 9-19 February 2017
The largest publicly-attended film festival in the world has become famous for its high-profile masterclasses, with Meryl Streep among those sharing tips at this year’s festival. Most screenings, lectures and masterclasses are held in English and open to all. berlinale.de SAM LEWIS
1 2 3
SEVEN: Antoine Fuqua’s
remake of the classic 1960s western, starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.
SNOWDEN: Oliver Stone’s story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. THE BIRTH OF A NATION: The story of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave uprising, written, produced and directed by Nate Parker. Winner of the US Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) at Sundance in January.
See it now // Queen of Katwe has been screened at some of the top ﬁlm festivals this year. The tale of a young girl from Uganda who trains to become a chess champion opens in UK cinemas on 21 October. queenofkatwe.com
MUST-SEE MOVIE TOUR The Game of Thrones Tour in Northern Ireland visits iconic spots from series 1-5, as well as heritage sites like Giant’s Causeway. britmovietours.com
Seven su�vival musts DO IT NOW
BE A SURVIVOR!
1 WATER: A 70kg human needs 2.1 litres of water in a temperate environment to remain hydrated. Survival will depend on whether you can search and successfully find water to boil and consume.
2 FIRE: Essential for sterilising water to drink and for cooking food. It's imperative you can light fire by friction, too. 3 SHELTER: For safety, security and protection from the elements. 4 FOOD: The average human can
last up to 40 days without food. Being able to catch, trap or fish for your own food can be useful — for morale, if not for survival.
Could you build a shelter in the wilderness or tolerate the bone-chilling temperatures of the Arctic? Why not test your limits and see whether you'd cry, die or survive... D O N ' T
BEAR GRYLLS FESTIVAL
London, 8-9 October 2016
Bear Grylls is attempting one of his toughest missions: to encourage more families to venture outdoors and push their bodies to the limit at a survival festival in London — and National Geographic Traveller (UK) is going to be there, taking part in the action. You can expect to see us doing the 5k and 10k survival races. Competitors will encounter 20-35 obstacles and be forced to tackle a range of scenarios in ‘survival zones’, which emulate the world’s toughest terrains.
Festival-goers looking for lighter entertainment can learn how to live in the wild at bushcraft workshops or get an adrenalin fix with the pop-up bungee jump, Segway track and water zorbing. For those who don’t have an appetite for bushgrub eating challenges (eatgrub.co.uk), there’s gourmet food stalls and bars, as well as live music and entertainment. Festival tickets are £20 per person; under12s go free. 5km race entry on the day: £80, 10km: £90 (including entry to festival). beargryllssurvivalrace.com/london
5 EFFICIENCY: It's vital to act efficiently when investing time and effort into catching food. 6 PERSEVERANCE: Be mentally prepared for your environment, to guard against feeling overwhelmed or defeated. 7 PREPARATION: Rely on the basics (map and compass navigation) and not technology. Prepare your equipment and inform people of your intentions.
Words: Andy Harris, survival consultant, The Island (with Bear Grylls) surviveendureexplore.com
THREE TO TRY Bushcraft
Learn to live off the land, forage for food, find plants for medicine, and hunt, trap and camp out without leaving a trace. Ray Mears offers short courses around the UK. raymears.com/bushcraft_courses
Survive in Iceland's wilderness, with expert mountain and ex-military guides teaching everything from avalanche survival to polar navigation in sub-zero temperatures. epictomato.com/arctic-iceland
Join 1,000 Rat Racers running, biking and kayaking over 105 miles through the Scottish Highlands. Alternatively, tackle one of the other Rat Race routes around the rest of the UK. ratrace.com
LEATHERMAN SIGNAL The newest hand tool from Leatherman not only has pliers, blade, saw, opener and bit driver, it also has a safety whistle, fire-starter, sharpener and hammer. RRP: £124.95 multi-tool-store.co.uk
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THE T A
Native Dorset chef Mark Hix reveals the best fish to feast on this season in Lyme Bay
Chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark is a champion of British cuisine. As well as restaurants across London, he runs HIX Oyster & Fish House and HIX Townhouse, a boutique hotel, both in the coastal town of Lyme Regis in his native Dorset. hixrestaurants.co.uk
Having been brought up by the Dorset coast I’m mindful of the future of the ocean and the fisheries. I’ve always fished for all sorts of species, from mackerel to sailfish. Mackerel are, of course, plentiful and I keep just what I need to entertain a few friends, while species such as sailfish and salmon go straight back into river or ocean. This summer’s ban on fishing for sea bass should encourage people to enjoy fishing as sport, releasing bass like salmon. The trawling ban in the Lyme Bay area a few years back has seen cod stocks rise, so there are advantages to restrictions for both anglers and commercial fishermen. For me, the way forward is to showcase some of the lesser-known species on menus, and diversify cuts. I put a roasted hake head on the menu at my Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis last year with local cockles, rather like the classic Spanish dish with clams, and customers love it. Using every part of the fish makes it stretch further, so we aren’t hammering the prime cuts. We serve a lot of cuttlefish, which is very abundant locally and a good alternative to squid. Species like whiting, grey mullet and spider crab also appear on my menus — all fantastic.
What to cook
WHERE TO EAT
Sustainably sourced, simply served:
If I’ve had a good ﬁshing session on my boat in Lyme I’ll throw a ﬁsh supper at my house, which will often include Asian ﬂavours. Even if I have a modest catch of mackerel I’ll use every bit of them — turning them, say, into a crispy mackerel and ginger broth, sashimi or ceviche and maybe tamarind-
glazed ﬁllets cooked in my wood-burning oven. When I was a kid I’d regularly bring home a carrier bag of mackerel after ﬁshing off the pier in West Bay. My grandma would fry some up for supper and souse the rest with vinegar, shallots and carrots, which we’d snack on in the week.
Other friends with restaurants along the coast respect the sea in a similar way. Nigel Bloxham has the Crab House Café, and Billy Winters diner/bar on the beach in Ferrybridge, Weymouth, where he serves simply cooked fish in an unfussy environment. Mitch Tonks, with the Seahorse in Dartmouth and diffusion restaurants Rockfish in Torquay, Brixham and Dartmouth, understands the sea and what customers want. mitchtonks.co.uk crabhousecafe.co.uk
The new-era chippy:
When I was a kid, fish restaurants didn’t really exist. Chippies did, of course, and I remember when Arthur Watson turned his Riverside cafe into a fish restaurant that’s still a roaring success. Steve Attrill opened the Hive Beach Café in Burton Bradstock and drew in locals and tourists to enjoy great local seafood. Rick Stein put Padstow on the map and it’s great to see more and more places on our coast where you can eat simple, locally caught fish. thefishrestaurant-westbay.co.uk hivebeachcafe.co.uk rickstein.com
Out of the plane. Up on the slopes. From Munich direct to the slope: LH.com/ munich-mountains
Carmarthenshire ON THE TRAIL
The sweetest way to discover Carmarthenshire’s cakeries is via a calorie-crunching bike ride, says Farida Zeynalova 3 // HEAVENLY, LLANDEILO 1 // CALON CAFÉ & INTERIORS, CARMARTHEN
Kick-start things in Wales’ oldest town with a scone in one hand and fresh coffee in the other. Try the bara brith, a traditional Welsh fruit loaf baked in-house. caloncafeandinteriors.co.uk
Head north-east to the colourful town of Llandeilo for delectable local organic ice creams — try Eton Mess & Limoncello — by the River Towy. heavenlychoc.biz
2 // WRIGHT'S FOOD EMPORIUM, LLANARTHNE
Pedal the quaint Cycle Route 47 to Wright's in Llanarthne village. Expect a festival of baked goods made from local cream, milk and butter. Apple turnover anyone? wrightsfood.co.uk
6 // BURNS FARM SHOP & CAFÉ, KIDWELLY
Six miles north on Cycle Route 4 will lead you to this sustainable farm shop in scenic Kidwelly. Grab a slice of homemade lemon and coconut cake and help feed the chickens. burnsfarmshop.co.uk
5 //WHITFORD’S CAFÉ BAR, BURRY PORT
Cycle 5.4 miles west on Route 47 to Whitford's by the Loughor estuary. Savour a gluten-free cake in the town where Amelia Earhart touched down, becoming the first woman to fly the Atlantic. whitfords.wales
ILLUSTRATION: TILLY RUNNINGFORCRAYONS.CO.UK
4 // STRADEY PARK HOTEL, LLANELLI
Then it’s south to Llanelli for afternoon tea in the Edwardian mansion’s rooftop lounge with its backdrop of Carmarthen Bay and Gower. Try the savoury Gentleman’s Tea beef burger made with Welsh cheese and a corned beef rissole. stradeyparkhotel.com
WELSH CAKES Somewhere between a biscuit and a scone, this sweet and spicy traditional treat is also known as a bakestone, named after the cast-iron griddle used to cook it.
Inspired by Discover Carmarthenshire. discovercarmarthenshire.com
MUNICH Germany’s beer capital gets frothily festive this month. Here’s where to sleep off the Oktoberfest excess 1 THE FLUSHING MEADOWS Glockenbach, south east of the old town ticks all the hipster boxes. It’s here you'll find this loft-style development, on the top two floors of a former industrial building. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, ‘floating’, eco-friendly beds and a rooftop bar looking towards the Alps. Lofts from £128. flushingmeadowshotel.com
2 DEUTSCHE EICHE This 19th-century Munich landmark is all things to all people: a famous restaurant, legendary meeting place for bohemians, artists and the LGBT scene (complete with a four-floor bathhouse) and a hotel that’s seen guests of every persuasion, from Hitler to Freddie Mercury. Doubles from £135. deutsche-eiche.com
3 PENSION AM JAKOBSPLATZ This lovely little B&B near Marienplatz with just four rooms (two en suite) has the intimacy of a house with hotel-standard design. Breakfast is served in the lobby at a little leather banquette, and rooms run the style gamut from plain white minimalism to patterned wallpaper. Rooms from £68. pension-jakobsplatz.de
4 BURG SCHWANECK Hostelling doesn’t have to mean roughing it — at least, not here in this castle, set in sprawling grounds outside Pullach, six miles south of Munich. As well as dorms, there are nine single and double rooms overlooking the grounds. Note: the hostel doubles as a youth education centre. Doubles from £69. burgschwaneck.de
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Queen Mary 2, Milford Sound, New Zealand, photo James Morgan.
Words, words, glorious words; celebrate reading for pleasure with your children with this pick of the country's top literary celebrations
Fun for all the family
BATH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVAL Andrew Lane, author of the Young Sherlock Holmes series and several Doctor Who novels and audio dramas. Little ones can meet famous faces including CBeebies favourites Cerrie Burnell and Jess French and CBBC duo Sam and Mark. Meanwhile, author Frances Hardinge will be chatting to John McLay about her award-winning murder-mystery book, The Lie Tree, and this year’s cover illustrator and author Nick Sharratt will be taking questions and hosting a live drawing event. Learn about his first novel, The Cat and the King, and get to know the man who has illustrated over 200 books. Book ahead online at: bathfestivals.org.uk/ childrens-literature MARIA PIERI
Last year, favourite books among kids and young people were Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. literacytrust.org.uk
THE BIG DRAW Pick up a pen, pencil or wax crayon, put it to paper and... draw October heralds the start of the Big Draw, the world's largest drawing festival. First held as a one-day event in 2000, the Big Draw now spans a month and attracts over 400,000 participants. This year, the theme is the STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival. Blending Science, Technology, Art, Engineering and Maths (STEAM), the idea is to continue the disciplines of innovation, enterprise and the creative arts. thebigdraw.org
T he festival in numbers 1km
World record for the longest drawing in the world
World record for the greatest number of people drawing simultaneously
Last year's event saw over 400,000 people get involved
Word of mouth CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL (7-16 OCTOBER)
This year's Festival Big Read 2016 is The Colour Purple by Alice Walker. Other big names on the programme include Sian Williams, Ian McEwan, Tony Robinson, Jacqueline Wilson and Eddie the Eagle. cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature
OTHERS FOR YOUR RADAR
Imagine Children’s Festival on London's South Bank, February 2017 Hay Festival in Wales, 25 May – 4 June 2017 FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, 25 March – 2 April 2017
IMAGE: GETTY. SOURCE: CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S REA; DAVID STUMPPDING IN 2015 FINDINGS FROM THE NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST’S ANNUAL SURVEY 2015.
Meet your literary heroes and head along to what’s hailed as ‘the biggest and best in the world of children’s books’ at the annual Bath’s Children’s Literature Festival (1-9 October), now in its 10th year. Crowdpuller David Walliams kicks off the event, which also includes appearances from Malorie Blackman (author of the critically acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series), War Horse author Michael Morpurgo, illustrator and writer Chris Riddell and festival illustrator Nick Sharratt. The nine-day event promises to be packed with book-related fun, from masterclasses and discussions to storytelling events and even bug-hunting sessions. For a real taste of creativity, why not learn how to write your own Doctor Who story in a writing class with
Li l y Be a c h Re sor t & S pa i s t h e fi r st fi ve -st a r a l l -i nc l u si ve re sor t i n the Ma l di ve s w i t h i t s P l a t i num P l a n spa r i ng n o de t a i l s a n d de si gn ed to p am p er g ue st s. O ffe r s gue st s a fa n t a st i c a r r a y of se r vi c e s; u nl i m i t e d c o cktai l s , p re m i um w i ne s a nd spi r i t s, va r i ous di nni ng opt i ons, spor t s a c ti v i ti es , exc ur si ons a n d l u xu r i ou s a c c om m oda t i on i n on e of 125 a m a zi ng v i l l as .
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To ge t t he m ost of your e xc i t i ng M a l di ve s fa m i l y be a c h h ol i da y, Li l y B each R e sor t & S pa offe r s pl e n t y of possi bi l i t i e s t ha t w i l l a l l ow you r l i ttl e o nes to rom pe r a round t he i sl a nd. The Tur t l e Ki dsâ€™ C l u b offe r s a w i de a rray o f i ndoor a nd ou t door a c t i vi t i e s, a l l ow i ng your k i ds t o h a ve fu n w hi l e y o u j o i n a di vi n g t r i p or go for a w e l l -de se r ve d spa t re a t m e n t .
Stay at home NORTH NORFOLK
Ticked the Broads off your list? Head to Norfolk’s north coast for charm, character, charisma and crabbing
Recently voted British beach of the year, Wells-nextthe-Sea is everything it’s billed to be — beautiful flat sands, backed by a forest of Scots pines and lined with colourful beach huts.
Where to eat
What to do // Grab your binoculars. The sand dunes, reed beds, and marshland means it’s perfect for birdwatching. Check out the many nature reserves along the coastline. IMAGES: VISITENGLAND/IAIN LEWIS; BARSHAM BARNS; GETTY
Unspoilt beaches, undulating countryside, alluring market towns, beguiling wildlife and fresh farm produce.
From gourmet to organic, you’ll have little difficulty satisfying your gastronomic urges. Farmers’ markets, local brewers, artisan producers and fishermen’s hauls ensure the many gastropubs and restaurants are well stocked. Try the Victoria Inn (holkham.co.uk), the Crown Inn (crowninnnorfolk. co.uk), the Wiveton Bell (wivetonbell.co.uk) and Morston Hall (morstonhall.com).
Where to stay
Barsham Barns, a collection of five converted barns in North Barsham, is an ideal base for exploring the region. The modern conversions sleep between four and 14 people and offer a stylish, comfortable retreat with an impressive use of original features and all the facilities you could desire. barshambarns.co.uk
Blakeney National Nature Reserve. Blakeney Point’s four-mile stretch of shingle, the summer breeding tern colony, the winter breeding grey seals and the pristine saltmarshes of Stiffkey are unmissable. In the protective care of the National Trust since 1912, it’s one of the country’s highlights let alone Norfolk's. PAT RIDDELL visitnorthnorfolk.com
The authentic heart of the Douro Valley The Vintage House Hotel enjoys an idyllic and tranquil riverside location at Pinhão in the authentic heart of the Douro Valley. Providing a warm welcome, an exceptional level of comfort and the leisurely atmosphere of a stylish country house retreat, The Vintage House is unrivalled as a base from which to explore this fascinating region. A heritage property converted from an old wine lodge owned since the 19th century by a distinguished Port family, the 5 star hotel contains many original features. Its 36 rooms and 11 suites, all with south facing river views, are elegant and restful. The restaurant offers a choice of traditional regional specialities and creative cuisine based on fresh local ingredients as well a superb selection of the Douro’s famous table wines and Ports assembled by the hotel’s expert wine team. Reservations and booking enquiries: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +351 254 730 230
WHAT LIES BENEATH
Explore the lesser-seen depths of the world's oceans with a series of sea life photo portraits that paint a picture of our waters' past, present and future
Our oceans are in a state of constant flux. Despite nearly three-quarters of our planet being covered in water, the changes occurring beneath the surface of our seas and oceans remain largely invisible, lurking in the depths and only becoming apparent in alarming scientific reports. Underwater photography — from murky shots of marine life to the too-bright scenes of screensavers — can seem to shed little light on the realities of the deep. But advancements in diving and camera equipment over the past few decades has seen photographers get ever closer to the truth. One such pioneer is underwater photography master Alex Mustard, who has been producing guides to reefs and wrecks — and giving serious insight into how to photograph them — for decades. His work can be seen in this arresting set of
sea life portraits, each of which could easily stand alone as a character study, from the Mediterranean parrotfish grinning like a toothy gameshow host to the vibrantly coloured nudribranch no bigger than your fingernail. Each chapter is accompanied by a 1,500word essay and extended captions written by professor Callum Roberts, a natural history writer, marine scientist and conservationist. This isn’t just a two-dimensional aquarium for your coffee table but a study of our oceans and seas, past, present and tentative future. The Secrets of the Seas, A Journey into the Heart of the Oceans by Alex Mustard and Callum Roberts is published by Bloomsbury (RRP: £25). SARAH BARRELL
IMAGES: GETTY; ALEXANDER MUSTARD
New York’s embryonic Low Line park, the subterranean answer to the city’s High Line, introduced in an arty movie by Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem. nowness.com/category/ art-and-design/ the-lowline-nancywhang-petter-ringbom
Felt tips at the ready for a creative journey with The Great British Colouring Map, celebrating Ordnance Survey's 225th anniversary. RRP: £19.95 laurenceking. com
Stay safe when travelling. Author, adventurer and former soldier Lloyd Figgins advises on personal security, plus what to do if you're caught up in natural disasters or terrorist attacks. 10 October, Stanfords, London. stanfords.co.uk
A PLACE CALLED WINTER BY PATRICK GALE
A cracking tale about an English settler in Canada as homesteads and railroads began to carve up the prairies. A perverse title for a summer read; vividly coloured characters and landscape meant I read it in three stints. Tinder Press (RRP: £16.99). SARAH BARRELL // ASSOCIATE EDITOR
SKYFARING BY MARK VANHOENACKER
I’ve just got round to reading last year’s best-selling book for plane geeks. It's calm, poetic and riveting, each chapter an essay on the wonder of ﬂight, the modern world and the beauty of travel. Fascinating even if you’re not a plane spotter. Chatto & Windus (RRP: £16.99). JO FLETCHER-CROSS //
The vodcast The podcast The talk A tale of two cities: London and Montréal. In a Brexit era, can the UK’s capital learn any lessons from the Canadian city that’s battled a sovereignty movement for 30 years? monocle.com/ radio/shows/ the-foreign-desk/130/
What we read this summer…
THE YEAR OF LIVING DANISHLY BY HELEN RUSSELL
A hugely enjoyable autobiographical account of upping sticks... to the sticks. Our witty heroine is transplanted from London to rural Jutland when her hubby takes a job with Lego. She decides to dig into the social factors that keep Denmark atop world happiness indexes. Icon Books Ltd (RRP: £8.99). AMELIA DUGGAN // CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
To fly one of the largest Fantasticable in the world, to slide down the mountain between twists , turns and knowing the steep descents of Poio River or the Tamega river rapids? To challenge the physical and mental limits? Pena Aventura Park opens you the door to adventure! Venture with us ... Pena Aventura Park is an adventure park for recreational activities and extreme sports. It opened its doors to the public in 2007 and is today considered one of the main areas of tourism animation in northern Portugal. Located in Ribeira de Pena, Vila Real district, there is a drive away of 90 minutes from Porto and Braga 45 minutes, two of the main urban centers of Portugal.
of 90 minutes from Porto and Braga 45 minutes, two of the main urban centers of Portugal. Its geographical location, next to the Natural Park of AlvĂŁo, gives a great landscape interest, geological and great biodiversity. Its activities are spread over a total area of 16 hectares, where visitors can enjoy the perfect symbiosis between nature and adventure. On land, air or water, the feeling of freedom, adventure and challenge are a constant. Dare and enter this adventure.
A BALI BREAK National Geographic Traveller (UK) has teamed up with award-winning airline Garuda Indonesia and Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort to offer you the chance to win an unforgettable four-night beach holiday in Bali
Fly with Garuda Indonesia on one of only eight â€˜5-starâ€™ airlines in the world and winner of Worldâ€™s Best Cabin Crew at the Skytrax World Airline Awards for three years running. It now flies from Heathrow to Jakarta non-stop and offers connections to over 70 destinations, including Yogyakarta, Medan, Bali, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne. Plenty of legroom, personal in-flight entertainment and wi-fi are just some of the things you can look forward to on your flight to Bali. garuda-indonesia.com
The winner and a guest will receive economy class flights plus return airport transfers, and stay four nights in an Ocean Front Suite with daily breakfast.
Answer the question below by visiting natgeotraveller.co.uk/competitions WHAT AIRLINE WILL YOU BE FLYING WITH?
Stay four nights at the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, which offers 203 exclusive retreats with panoramic Indian Ocean views. All rooms and suites feature a large balcony and an array of amenities. Choose from three signature dining venues â€” Feast, Bene Italian Kitchen and The Lounge. The resort is next to Baliâ€™s famed Beachwalk Mall and its central location makes it an ideal place to stay. sheratonbalikuta.com
Competition closes 30 October at 11.59pm GMT. The winner must be over 18 and the trip is subject to availability. Full T&Cs available at natgeotraveller.co.uk/competitions
2 0 1 6 / 1 7 natgeotraveller.co.uk/events
TRAVEL GEEKS: RUSH HOUR
TRAVEL GEEKS: RUSH HOUR
WHEN: Tuesday 4 October from 18.00 to 19.00
Tips, advice and expert knowledge — our panel discuss adventure travel. Plus, share your thoughts and join in the discussion with them and fellow travellers
WHERE: Wallace Space Rooftop Kitchen, Covent Garden, 2 Dryden Street, London WC2E 9NA
TICKETS: £10 — includes a free
glass of wine or soft drink, How do you have an adventure on a budget and with limited time? plus nibbles In this event our panel of experts discuss easily accessible adventure holidays that can be taken in a few days — without blowing the bank. We’ll look at activities to suit a range of abilities, as well as providing tips for creating your very own micro-adventure holiday. Top tips, advice, technical know-how, photo ideas… and a glass of something cheery. Our series of informal chats are tailored to fit in with your busy lives. Travel Geeks: Rush Hour is just an hour long, and offers you the chance to hear from our experts, share a drink and join in the lively debate.
Just how far can you get using train alone? Where will you find the world’s most spectacular stretches of rail? What’s the best way for a first timer to approach train travel? In this event, our expert panel will discuss all things rail-related, and offer tips on the most worthwhile trips, while sharing their most memorable train experiences. The talk will inspire you to give flying a miss next time and start planning your very own railway adventure. WHERE: Wallace Space, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9NA TIME: 18.00–19.00 PRICE: £10 (includes nibbles and a drink)
CARL LARKIN // SALES MANAGER
LAURA HOLT // TRAVEL WRITER
NEIL LAUGHTON // ADVENTURER
EMEA, G ADVENTURES
Laura is a freelance travel writer for National Geographic Traveller, The Telegraph and The Independent.
Neil is an explorer and expedition leader who has led various trips on seven continents.
Carl has worked for affordable adventure travel specialist G Adventures for over nine years.
Further panellists and moderator to be conﬁrmed
COMING SOON 12 JANUARY 2017
Travel Writing Masterclass APL Media, Highgate Studios, London NW5 1TL
IMAGES: ISTOCKPHOTO; GETTY
Your vote counďż˝s!
Our second annual Reader Awards will bring you the best destinations, airlines and more, as voted for by you. With a host of new categories this year, including Rail and Family, you can help your favourite companies win one of the most prestigious awards in travel
IN WITH AND YOU’LL BE INNING A CHANCE OF W ASTIC NT FA ONE OF 25 FER OF ON ES PRIZ
NORTHERN ICELAND CRUISE
Be among the first on board Variety Cruises’ new-for-2017 boutique, 17-cabin motor yacht Callisto. Bed down in an outdoor cabin for two on a full-board basis, including flights and transfers. This seven-night small ship luxury cruise runs between Reykjavik and Akureyri, and will take you to places that bigger ships can’t reach. bit.ly/icelandcruise SKI TRIP TO AUSTRIA
VIP SKI is offering the chance to win a sevennight trip for two to Austria, including flights and transfers. Staying at Hotel Theodul in Lech — the perfect spot for enjoying one of Europe’s finest ski areas — you’ll be just a short stroll from the ski lifts and resort centre. After a day on the slopes, unwind at the hotel bar or sweat it out in the sauna and steam room. vip-chalets.com
APPLE IPAD MINI 2
We’re giving away an Apple iPad Mini 2, worth £259, to one lucky winner. As well as 32GB of storage, the device boasts a 7.9-inch screen, Retina display, up to 10 hours of battery life and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. apple.com/uk A YEAR’S MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION
Never miss an issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) again! We’re giving away 20 annual subscriptions to our award-winning travel magazine. natgeotraveller.co.uk AMAZON KINDLES
We’re got two of these brilliant touchscreen e-readers up for grabs. The travel musthave is lighter than a paperback and can download books in under 60 seconds. amazon.co.uk
Winners will be announced in November at Le Méridien Piccadilly and in our Jan/Feb 2017 issue. lemeridienpiccadilly.co.uk
QATAR TOURISM AUTHORITY
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) works with its stakeholders to promote the development of a sustainable and mature tourism sector, while positioning the country as a leading tourism destination. qatartourism.gov.qa EXPLORE HIDDEN WONDERS IN ICELAND
Discover rugged landscapes and stunning wilderness on a cruise along Iceland's north coast.
natgeotraveller.co.uk/readerawards Cast your vote and find out more about the prizes up for grabs. Winners will be announced in November. Voting is now open
Explorer´s Kitchen Turn your overlander excursion into a road-trip fine dining experience with Camp Champ, the Explorer’s Kitchen. With Glamping established as the perfect staycation. Pack a Camp Champ in the back of your 4x4 and you have the freedom to tour our stunning landscape, dine in view of the finest vistas and sleep in comfort under the stars. And the best thing? You can take a trip anytime, as you’ll have the perfect companion for your culinary escapades.
NOTES FROM AN AUTHOR // JEMMA WAYNE
JERUSALEM Israel’s capital is many things to many people, but Jemma’s first encounter with Jerusalem as a child has led to a life-long fascination with this complex city
ILLUSTRATION: JACQUI OAKLEY
n 1989, my father was selected to play tennis for Great Britain at Israel’s Maccabiah Games. In size, the Maccabiah is the third largest sporting event in the world. In talent… well, it’s the Jewish Olympics. I was nine, and it was the first time my family had visited Israel. We were determined to see everything, so with a tour guide at the helm we leapt from Jaffa to Tel Aviv to Masada to Jerusalem. What I remember most about the guide is that he had a gun. I can still see him pocketing it as we leaned against the wall overlooking the vast Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, right before my grandfather quipped, “I bet they’re just dying to get in there.” My grandfather was the American atheist grandson of an orthodox rabbi from Russia. He loved to question. So does my father. So do I. He had never been Bar Mitzvahed. Yet, that day, after taking in the rows upon rows of simple stone slabs, we made our way down to Jerusalem’s Old City and to the Western Wall. Here, we split. I went with my mother, sister and young brother to the women’s section, where my lasting sense is of encountering a great mass of energy, and of a visceral thrusting forward to the wall — an uplifting. We spent a long time deciding what prayers to write on the scraps of paper we then folded and placed into the crevices. I don’t know what we were wearing, but I remember feeling hot while we waited afterwards for our men. It was then that our gun-wielding guide appeared and pointed out two men bedecked in prayer shawls, standing with a rabbi, heads bent before the wall. Moments later, my father and grandfather emerged. “We’ve just been Bar Mitzvahed,” they grinned. Perhaps this first encounter with the city is why Jerusalem feels complicated to me — heavy, somewhere a gun is needed, but also a place for new beginnings. I didn’t go back until 1997. This time, I was taking part in the Maccabiah myself, in the hurdles. My father was competing again. And my brother was being Bar Mitzvahed. Unlike his predecessors, he had learnt a proper Torah portion and his ceremony was held on the roof of the Hebrew Union College. I remember spending a long time just looking. Aged 17, I was now viewing the city through different eyes — aware of some of the politics, but optimistic and romantic. (On this trip I met
Our gun-wielding guide appeared and pointed out two men in prayer shawls, standing with a rabbi, heads bent before the wall. Moments later, my father and grandfather emerged. “We’ve just been Bar Mitzvahed,” they grinned.
my future husband.) I noticed the cobbled streets, the gold of the Dome of the Rock, the ornamentation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the narrow, arched alleys of the Jewish Quarter, the ultra-modern museums and hotels, the dynamic interactions of the locals, the way that with the frenetic construction it’s often hard to tell if the city is half-built or half-crumbling, whether one is moving forward or back. By 2005, I worried that Jerusalem was moving back. The Second Intifada had only recently come to an end, and although I had visited Israel a few times since 1997, I’d stayed on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, in areas less likely to be targeted. Returning to Jerusalem, to the place I was now acutely aware of as the heart of everlasting conflict, felt dangerous. But it was the Maccabiah again, so we went. Escorted by police cars, our group was bussed to the entrance of the Old City. A number of the roads had been closed for us and these extra security measures felt at once reassuring and frightening. But we soon found ourselves at the Wall again — again split by gender, which this time struck me as antiquated and repressive. We were dressed modestly, weighted with long skirts and sleeved tops despite Israeli heat, but still many of us were accosted by the selfappointed modesty police — a brigade of orthodox women reprimanding anybody not conforming to their standards of dress. I felt rankled by this. Insulted and unwelcome. Suddenly I was intensely aware of the dust everywhere. Of the soldiers. Of them standing at the edge of the Muslim Quarter. Of tension. And that tension persists: Jerusalem was the main site of this year’s spate of terrorist attacks; the staging ground even for internal Israeli discord, embodied this spring by Women of the Wall. Yet, it remains magnetic. Breathe through the heaviness and there is culture, spirituality, and beauty. In my novel it is the location for forbidden love. For me, Jerusalem is a city imperfect. And endlessly complicated. But so irresistibly alive. Jemma Wayne’s new book, Chains of Sand, is a novel
set between Israel and London, published by Legend Press (RRP: £9.99).
VIEW FROM THE USA // AARON MILLAR
merica invented cool. It gave us surfboards, hip hop and the word ‘dude’. Americans turned their baseball caps the wrong way round and the world followed. Being cool in the US isn’t bravado — it’s a patriotic duty. Take California: the epicentre of all that’s laid-back, carefree and hip. Where they have bikinis and margaritas, we have man boobs and lager. Where they have surfing, we have meat pies, standing in the rain and shouting at 22 grown men. And their kind of cool is catchy, too. Within minutes of arriving at Huntington Beach, a small surf town 15 miles south of LA, I was cheering a troupe of tattooed breakdancers and swapping ‘hang loose’ signs with complete strangers. By the end of the week, I was ready to quit my job and live out my Point Break beach bum fantasy for real. (The original film, not the remake. Obviously.) And it’s not just the Golden State. Travel a few hundred miles north into Oregon, and sun-drenched beaches turn windswept and rugged, palm trees morph into 200ft-tall rainforests and fields become lined with endless rows of luminescent Pinot Noir vines. And then there’s Portland. Here’s a city that’s so cool it’s become a parody of itself. In the hit comedy series Portlandia — a wonderful send-up of the city — it’s described as the place ‘where young people go to retire’. And it’s true: walk the streets of Hawthorne, Mississippi, Alberta — neighbourhoods that define the hipster underbelly of this town — and people are out, all the time, drinking micro-brewed beer and dunking organic donuts in their fair trade coffee. But being cool here isn’t just about long beards and ironic T-shirts. They’re also putting it to work. You see, Portland is the eco-living show home of the US, regularly topping lists of the most bikeable, sustainable and farm-totable-able places to live in the country. But Portland’s not tree-hugger green: it’s green with style. “Coolness matters,” Charlie Wicker explains to me from the back of his flashing neon, bicycle-powered sustainable coffee roaster. “If being green is all about geeks and bad clothes no one’s going to buy it. It’s about setting an example.” And Portland is setting that example well. Instead of fast food, it’s food carts. Places
like Lebaneser Scrooge, Snack Religious and Steak Your Claim are every bit as tasty as they are well-named. Instead of high street stores, it’s local brands — chains get chased out of town. I found eco-friendly bicycle bars, a tiny house hotel dedicated to downsizing, and a concept shop where you pay what you think is right and choose a charity at checkout to receive a percentage of what you give. Being green in Portland isn’t about doing chores, it’s about being part of a vibrant, independent culture. There’s a spark here. It’s not just the big city, either. Electric car-charging stations have been springing up all across this hip northwestern corner of the States, meaning it’s now possible to see the state completely carbon-free. I watched storms break on the mouth of the Columbia River, hiked old Indian trails to deserted beaches and watched the sunrise from the top of an enormous sand dune — all without so much as a single emission spent. Electric road trip may sound like the name of a 1960s psychedelic band, but in Oregon it’s just another day out on the coast. And that’s the thing. In an era where everything is marketed, where every fizzy drink and useless piece of junk promises to make you happier, more enlightened and attractive to the opposite sex, being good has to be as hip as being bad. You can’t ask people to save the planet because they should: you’ve got to make it cool. On my last night in Portland I had dinner at a new restaurant, Farm Spirit: vegan food and stadium-decibel funk music, served in an open-plan bar kitchen by inked-up trendy young chefs. It’s animal rights without a hint of hippy in sight. “We’re punks,” head chef and owner Aaron P Adams said. “We just like to ham it up.” And that’s what this country intuitively understands — the method of delivery is every bit as important as the message itself. It’s not about showing off, it’s about showing up. Standing for something with swagger and strut. Coolness matters. America should know; they invented it. British travel writer Aaron Millar ran away from London in 2013 and has been hiding out in the Rocky Mountains of Boulder, Colorado ever since. @AaronMWriter
ILLUSTRATION: JACQUI OAKLEY
In the country that invented cool, Portland is raising the stakes and defining ‘hipster’ as a bearded, eco-friendly, sustainable pioneer
THE BLOG: HANOI
BEYOND THE BIKES Escape the clamorous heart of Vietnam’s Hanoi and immerse yourself in this highlight from our weekly blog — don’t miss a new post every Tuesday
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A journey to Hanoi’s northern neighbourhoods offers solace from the city’s two-wheeled chaos. By Josephine Price I’m standing in a forest of scooters at the edge of a level crossing. The roar of their revving is deafening and the exhaust fumes are leaving me light-headed. Suddenly, one impatient biker darts across the track and snakes through the opposing crowd. I breathe in sharply as, seconds later, the cantankerous train hurtles by, carving its way through the thin concrete townhouses. In its wake, life spills back onto the tracks, as washing lines, bowls of fresh herbs and plastic stools pepper the scene once more. Having just emerged from a five-day wellness retreat, the frenzy of the centre has been doing all kinds of wrong to my Zen. So I’ve decided to get out and head north, beyond the bikes. Hanoi’s swathes of tourists are not much in evidence in these northern neighbourhoods; nor are its scooters quite as intense. An estimated four million of them noisily traverse the city, but up here they pootle by relatively quietly. LIKE THIS? READ MORE A wrinkled face squints and nods to me from behind a ABOUT VIETNAM counter in a makeshift green tea shop as I pass by. ONLINE... Indiscriminate bags of the dried green leaves pile up around the entrance and I’ve not got a clue what’s what. AMONG THE He gestures to his young son, who serves me in broken MOUNTAIN PEOPLE English. Unless we’ve both got it wrong, the tea here is a A journey along third of the price its sells for back in the centre. Vietnam’s mountainous Up ahead, a faded yellow gateway leads me through Northwest Loop to a wet market where a tangy seafood smell wafts out reveals the country’s rich diversity from behind a sheet of tarpaulin that has broken free from its pegs. The wind lifts it up and lures me in. EAT: HOI AN Stretching back behind the street, the market is Get in line for cau lao positively rammed with locals and I stick out like a sore noodles, com ga chicken thumb. I smile back at the staring faces and they join rice and the world’s best me in wide-grinning appreciation. banh mi baguettes The sun glints in the mirrors of the street barbers who fringe the streets along Pho Yen Phu as I near the West CITY LIFE: HO CHI Lake and my destination. Arriving, I step into a French MINH CITY It’s hard to believe this colonial-era villa, and am cheerily greeted by an electrifying economic Australian named Pete, who tells me the story of his powerhouse was once Hanoian haven, Maison de Tet Decor. Here, he roasts a Khmer village, his own coffee, makes his own furniture, cooks his surrounded by tropical own food, sells the handiwork of the Hmong tribes and jungle and tigers helps the local community, ably assisted by his troupe of local workers. We follow him upstairs to a nook in the attic, where throws adorn dark mahogany furniture; each one takes the Hmong people around two years to complete. I examine the intricate cross-stitch and the vivid colours of the hemp and silk cloth. The yellow, Pete tells me, is created from turmeric, purple from the indigo plant and pink from pomegranate. His relationships with the indigenous northern groups were first forged in Sa Pa, in northwest Vietnam — and somehow he’s managed to bring the calm of the countryside to Hanoi. Hidden away up here, the chaos of the capital seems a distant memory. As I leave, hours later, an elderly woman trundles by carrying bundles of sugarcanes twice her height on a dilapidated bicycle. She wheels it alongside her with trepidation as it balances on its two spindly wheels. Everything’s slower up here — even the bikes.
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Hike into the wilderness
The little-known wilderness of Serra D’Arga, in Montaria, is as pacific as my guide Agostinho describes. Born in the mountains, his lifelong passion for the protected region is clear through his buoyant narration. “Even some Portuguese people don’t know about this place,” he says, ambling past the vivid flora. A four-hour hike to the area’s seven lagoons with Agostinho is beautifully devoid of tourism, where you can enjoy creeping under the curtain of the Pincho Waterfall and splashing around in its refreshing turquoise waters — just watch out for the rickety bridge that leads you there. Then feed your post-swim appetite with a traditional forest picnic of mountain goat cheese, homemade cornbread and, of course, local wine. descubraminho.pt
ouro Valley WEEKENDER
Cocooned from the rest of the country, every nook of the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal bears a secret. Words: Farida Zeynalova
Port of call
Fruity and relaxed with hints of cherry and blackberry, ruby port is bottled for two years and best served ever so slightly chilled
Tawny port is matured in seasoned-oak vats for up to nine years, and is a more mature, woodier alternative to ruby
The lazy afternoon
Step into a fairytale in the country’s oldest village. Join locals scouring the shops for the finest leg of presunto de Chaves (North Portuguese cured ham), admire the surreal steel army of Roman soldiers watching over the River Lima, or head to the market square for the bi-monthly market, hosted here since 1125.
CLOCKWISE: Farmer at dawn, Pinhão; bathing at the Pincho Waterfall on a hike to the seven lagoons; Santa Catarina Chapel, Porto; terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley; making salted bacalhau codﬁsh cakes, Porto; market square, Ponte de Lima
IMAGES: GETTY; FARIDA ZEYNALOVA
Only produced in the very ﬁnest years (two or three times a decade), vintage port is a collector’s dream, with the most powerful aroma of them all
City in slow motion // Duck into a cobbled side street in Porto to ﬁnd locals nattering away and catch a sniff of the city’s famous bacalhau (salted codﬁsh) drifting from eateries. Azulejos, the famed blue ceramic tiles, are everywhere in Porto, coating buildings like the Santa Catarina Chapel.
TUNES & TIPPLES
FADING INTO FADO
At Cozinha Velha in Ponte de Lima village, the smell of roast pig floats across a dining room covered in blue tiles. The fadista, draped in black, takes centre stage, her haunting fado song snapping diners out of a post-vinho verde lethargy. restaurantecozinhavelha.com FIREWATER
“To non-Portuguese speakers, it’s called firewater,” the guide, Sergio, says of the aguardente de medronho, a locally distilled spirit made from honey and the fruits of the medronho tree. One shot of this pungent spirit at lunch is enough to awaken the dead. BARRELL BROTHERS
It’s a sin to leave the Douro Valley without tasting its famous port. Head to Graham’s Port Lodge, in Vila Nova de Gaia, where guide Alex leads you through a winery that began with just 27 barrels and two brothers. grahams-port.com
James Villas offers a seven-night stay at Quinta de Casal Maior in Ponte de Lima for two adults and two children, from £1,458, including ﬂights from Gatwick and car hire. jamesvillas.co.uk
If you only do one thing
In the sleepy town of Pinhão, hop onto a rabelo, a traditional Portuguese cargo boat once used to transport port from local vineyards to cellars near Porto. Sink into one of the beanbags on board, sailing upstream along a tranquil stretch of river shaped by 2,000 years of winemaking. magnificodouro.pt
ROME From a pottery mountain to cool Pigneto, there are plenty of reasons to take the tram out of Rome and explore. Words: Donald Strachan I’ve never forgotten my first walk on Palatine Hill, nor a morning I spent in the 15th century Capitoline Museums, on my first visit to Rome. I’ve returned many times and never tire of these blockbuster sights. I still crane my neck for a view of the Colosseum through the tram window. But these days, my tram is often travelling out of the centre. Away from the Vatican and centro storico (historic centre), there’s another side to the city. Not free from tourists — just vibrant neighbourhoods where you can enjoy Rome with the Romans.
A stall inside Mercato di Testaccio. BELOW: Roma farmers’ market
IMAGES: GETTY; ALAMY
The neat grid of arrow-straight streets and five-storey apartment blocks took shape in the early 1900s. But the new(ish) MERCATO DI TESTACCIO, a Roman institution that moved home in 2012, features stalls displaying everything from sandals to sea bream, plus reinventions of Roman street food. Testaccio’s biggest — in fact, only real — topographical feature is MONTE TESTACCIO, a scrubby hill 177ft high and over half a mile around, made from broken pots. After importing wine and olive oil from Spain and North Africa, the amphorae couldn’t be reused, so were dumped here. Nearby, the old city slaughterhouse occupies a sprawling site of low-rise industrial brick buildings. Two of them, including the Pelanda dei Suini (the ‘pig-peeling building’), house MACRO, a contemporary art gallery with a shifting roster of installations and exhibitions. Trading on its proximity to the abattoir, Testaccio is the place to sample quinto quarto cooking, a Roman culinary tradition. The ‘fifth quarter’, a poetic alias for offal, was the cheapest meat protein available. Sample local dishes like coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stewed in tomatoes) at FLAVIO AL VELAVEVODETTO.
Not so long ago Trastevere (‘across the Tiber’) was a cheap neighbourhood for Roman workers. The 1960s short stories of Pier Paolo Pasolini are full of the area’s rogues and scoundrels cracking out Roman slang. It’s now on the tourist radar, but high-season hawkers, tour groups and restaurant hustlers all cram into a few streets between its exquisite 12th-century BASILICA , in Piazza Santa Maria, and the river. Beyond, a warren of cobbled alleys offers up peaceful corners and a glimpse of the city before mass tourism. On Sundays, you’ll find a slice of Roman life rifling stalls at PORTA PORTESE FLEA MARKET — while there’s rarely anyone jostling to see the scandalous Bernini sculpture in SAN FRANCESCO A RIPA church. Trastevere has landmark sights, including Raphael’s frescoes at the Villa Farnesina and paintings at PALAZZO CORSINI . It also makes a good base, within sight (and a short walk)
of the centre. I love BUONANOTTE GARIBALDI , a boutique B&B set around a shaded courtyard that mixes a dose of tradition with contemporary textile artworks by Luisa Longo, whose studio is on-site. Room 1 has citrus, rosemary and dwarf-olive trees on a huge terrace I’d be delighted to find in a suite costing five times the price. There are still unshowy Trastevere trattorias serving up tasty cucina romana. Among them are LA TAVERNACCIA and MARCO G , where Roman classics like cacio e pepe (pasta with pecorino cheese and cracked black peppercorns) and gricia (with pork cheek and pecorino) are perfectly executed. Two of Rome’s best craft beer haunts are here, too: Stavio brewery bar in a brick arch by the Ponte dell’Industria, and in a little cave, MA CHE SIETE VENUTI A FÀ , or Macchè for short — if you step through a door to be met by a row of copper-coloured taps, you’re in the right place.
Use Loco2 to book train travel from the UK to Rome, travelling by Eurostar to Paris, then the Thello sleeper to Milan and the Frecciarossa high-speed service on to Rome. Book the Buonanotte Garibalidi via Sawday’s Italy; doubles from £177. A RomaPass costs €38.50 for 72 hours of public transport, with free admission to two museums and discounts at the rest. loco2.com sawdays.co.uk romapass.it
IMAGE: TURISMO ROMA/V.BIFFANI; GETTY; ALAMY
FROM LEFT: A car on the streets of Trastevere; a bar on Vicolo del Cinque in Trastevere; street art in Garbatella
WHEN IN ROME...
EAT ROMAN-JEWISH STREET FOOD
Tasting carciofi alla giudica (artichokes aromatised with lemon and deep-fried) or fior di zucca (stuffed pumpkin flowers) is a hands-on experience.
Pigneto & Torpignattara
Pigneto is renowned as the sort of place where even your accountant has her eyebrow pierced. In reality, it’s very approachable. Locals ooze warmth and their relaxed rhythm is easy to slip into. There are no Caravaggios (that I know of), but it makes a striking fi rst impression. Where buildings in the historic centre are crowned with a baroque dome or Corinthian capital, you’ll see an unruly forest of TV aerials. There are images everywhere. Walls are plastered with graffiti, political, aesthetic or a bit of both. Pigneto and neighbouring Torpignattara have some of Rome’s best street art. There’s a cluster around Pigneto Metro and on Via Fanfulla da Lodi, including Maupal’s giant 2014 eye. Via Alessi and Via Serbelloni, close to the station, have more. The area comes into its own after dark. The pedestrian section of Via del Pigneto,
between Via l’Aquila and Via Macerata, is always lively. Here you’ll fi nd MEZZO, a tiny speakeasy with a four-storey rack of cocktail spirits and a line in top-notch vermouth. Personal highlights beyond this strip include BIRRA+, a grungy temple to craft beer; NECCI has Pasolini cachet, dating to the fi lming of Accattone, and the same owners just opened DALODI , an organic gelato and pizza parlour. You enter nearby SPIRITO by ringing a vintage phone in the back of a late-night sandwich shop; an urban-meets-Bond feel to the ground floor is enhanced by creative mixology. Pigneto is also one of Rome’s most diverse dining areas. You could comfortably walk between knockout Ethiopian cuisine (MESOB), Italian fi ne dining (PRIMO AL PIGNETO), burgers and a beer (BIRSTRÒ), Indian, Japanese, tapas and more. THE BRITISH CORNER is a tea room more English than anywhere in England.
SAVE ROOM FOR GELATO
Florentines (or perhaps Sicilians) may have invented ice-cream, but the Romans perfected it. Look out for branches of Fatamorgana and Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè.
The 20th-century EUR district (pronounced eh-oor) was intended to be a showpiece of Fascist-era architecture until the Second World War halted construction.
Everywhere from the Vatican to the Appian Way to a municipal park in Garbatella has caves and catacombs to explore.
CARRY A WATER BOTTLE
All over the city, nasoni (drinking fountains), dispense cool drinking water — that’s free — straight from the aqueducts.
Larger blocks have been decorated with monumental street art, and downhill towards the Tiber, the buzzing nightlife zone around Via Argonauti and Via Libetta has made Garbatella an Instagrammer’s dream October 2016
People outside the Basilica, Santa Maria, Trastevere
The story of Garbatella began in 1920 at Piazza Brin. Here, the first stone was laid on a peculiar turreted block, with its Renaissancestyle loggia and a Roman arch down the middle, ushering you to a communal garden beyond. From here, city architects created streets — Via Garbatella, Via San Aduatto, Via Passino and Via Fausto are fascinating — whose squat blocks are decorated with rustication, sinuous gables and other baroque flourishes, and Roman-style stone gargoyles. The inspiration behind this architectural oddity was the English ‘garden suburb’, and evicted residents of the Roman borgate, slums and shanty towns were moved into it. Nobody’s totally sure where the name came from. This short-lived experiment in low-density public housing was supposed to be called Concordia. The Fascists wanted to rename it Remuria. But perhaps, after a local innkeeper who gained some renown, it’s always been known as Garbatella. More recently, larger blocks have been decorated with monumental street art,
including a crowdfunded Sten and Lex geometric composition at the corner of Via Caffaro and Via Vettor. And downhill towards the Tiber, the buzzing nightlife zone around Via Argonauti and Via Libetta has made Garbatella an Instagrammer’s dream. It can sometimes feel cut off, a selfsustaining village, just a couple of Metro stops from Circus Maximus. It has justly fêted restaurants, RISTORO DEGLI ANGELI among them, but at lunchtime places like IL GIRASOLE are the soul of Garbatella. Romans chow down, half-listen to snatches of news or sport on the radio. On my last visit, deepfried baccalà (salt cod) followed by pork cutlets and fried potatoes served simply with rosemary and wedge of lemon, in a portion I struggled to finish, came in under €10. Is it an unlikely spot for one of Rome’s most memorable museums? Maybe. CENTRALE MONTEMARTINI houses part of the Capitoline’s huge antiquities collection inside a power station abandoned in the 1960s. It’s the only place in Rome where you can view 2nd-century portrait busts framed by the blackened hulk of a 1930s diesel engine. A vast boiler room has a large mosaic showing scenes from the Roman hunt, dug from the Horti Liciniani. The museum is quiet, making for easy interaction with the exhibits — and more satisfying than the Vatican.
MORE INFO Testaccio Market. mercatidiroma.com MACRO Testaccio. museomacro.org Flavio al Velavevodetto.
ristorantevelavevodetto.it Villa Farnesina. villafarnesina.it Galleria d’Arte Antica.
galleriacorsini.beniculturali.it La Tavernaccia. latavernacciaroma.com Marco G. marcog.it Stavio. stavio.it
Macchè. football-pub.com Mezzo. Via del Pigneto 19 Birra+. birrapiu.it
Spirito. club-spirito.com Mesob. mesob.it
Primo al Pigneto. primoalpigneto.it Birstrò. birstro.it
British Corner. Via del Pigneto 112 Ristoro degli Angeli. ristorodegliangeli.it Il Girasole. Via Rosa Raimondi Garibaldi, 26/28 Centrale Montemartini. en.centralemontemartini.org
The few streets between the exquisite 12th-century Basilica, in Piazza Santa Maria, and the river are now on the tourist radar
Via Giorgio Zoega, 59 Roma +39.06.87.800.168 email@example.com hotel-aroma.com
Palazzo Venart, Venice | A.Roma Lifestyle Hotel, Rome
IMAGES: GETTY; ALAMY
Crispy chicken in chilli and peanut sauce, Chinese mince stew topped with a fried egg, shrimp dumplings in the shape of goldfish... Macau’s unusual blend of cultures finds its most satisfying expression in its food. Words: Audrey Gillan
here’s a fast and ferocious clicking — the sound of bakelite mahjong tiles hitting a formica table top as a group of elders sit behind drawn shutters and thrash out their nightly game. This clack is overlaid with slow guitar notes and the voice of a man mournfully singing fado. This is Macau — a little bit Chinese, a little bit Portuguese and altogether Macanese. A peninsula in China’s Pearl River Delta, Macau was a Portuguese colony until it was handed back to the Chinese in 1999. Yellowpainted buildings and streets laid with black-and-white calçadas (cobbled pavements) echo Lisbon, while A-Ma Temple, a Taoist edifice built in 1488, and many of the other structures, are ancient Chinese. Street signs mimic the blue and white azulejos (tiles) of the conquerors, but their names are in both Portuguese and Cantonese. This Sino-Luso mix also makes its mark in Macanese cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the places where the Portuguese navigators traded — there are tastes of Africa, Malacca, Goa and South America. I follow the strains of fado into Restaurante Antonio and find purple-coiffed chef-patron Antonio Coelho working tables. He pours glasses of vinho verde and brings dishes of clams, salt cod and seafood rice. Many of the ingredients, including the specially bottled wine, are imported from his homeland.
When the Portuguese first came to Macau in the 16th century, local cooks embraced a kind of fusion style. Macanese cuisine is typically African chicken, where the bird is crispy after being barbecued then swathed in a chilli and peanut sauce; minchi, a fragrant mince stew, with Chinese seasonings topped with a fried egg; and porco tamarindo, a dense pork stew flavoured with balichao, a shrimp paste which originates from Malacca, plus sugar, Chinese seasonings and tamarind. A row of colonial-style, green-fronted houses built in the 1930s for high-ranking families gives a tiny glimpse into Macanese life back in its heyday, and so do the black-and-white pictures hanging on the walls of Restaurante Litoral, home to another delicious Macanese speciality, ‘curry crab’, which comes with a thick, sweet, yellowish sauce. The historic centre of Macao was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, not least because of the ethereal ruins of St Paul’s, Macau’s most famous landmark; Na Tcha Temple, built in 1888; and the artistically paved Senado Square. Here the streets are lined with stalls selling bakkwa, also known as rougan — a salty, sweet compressed meat ‘leather’ that’s so good, it’s some kind of addictive porky toffee jerky. Step out of this colonial timewarp, though, and Macau’s utter bonkersness manifests in all its gilt-covered, ostentatious, gambling-
FIVE MACAU FOOD FINDS Macau egg tarts: These famous custard tarts are a version of Portuguese pastéis de nata. They were created in 1989 by an Englishman whose eponymous bakery goes by the moniker Lord Stow. Bakkwa: A bit like jerky, this sweet, sticky, chewy leather made from all types of meat is seriously addictive. Minchi: Macau’s national dish is a pork and beef mince-based stew, with subtle spices and seasoning including cumin, bay leaves and molasses, that often comes topped with an egg.
African chicken: Galinha à Africana is a Macanese speciality of barbecued chicken with a fiery peanut-based sauce.
FROM LEFT: A local restaurant in Taipa; a happy diner enjoying shrimp wonton noodle soup
Pork chop bun: Come to Tai Lei Loi Kei after 2pm for a deep-fried pork chop served hamburger-style in a bun, minus the salad trimmings.
A TASTE OF
Macau Hedgehog shaped BBQ pork buns at The Eight
focused glory (it’s bigger and takes in way more cash than Las Vegas). The three Lisboa hotels seem to me a perfect totem for the exponential expansion of the place — the oldest, the Hotel Lisboa, is a Bondesque structure built in 1970; the Grand Lisboa (2006), a golden lotus exploding up into the city sky; and the ginormous Lisboa Palace, set to open in 2017, is the very definition of excess. Macau can draw in the world’s Michelinstarred chefs, mostly plating ‘international’ cuisine. I eschew this ego-puffing and seek out The Eight, which also has stars — three of them — but serves Cantonese and Huaiyang dishes in a dark, lacquered room where vast goldfish, a symbol of good luck along with the number eight, adorn the walls. Steamed dumplings with ‘cristal blue shrimp’ are in the shape of goldfish, and the best BBQ pork bun I’ve ever eaten comes as a hedgehog. “We don’t grow anything here except gambling chips,” says my guide, Alorino Noruega, as he leads me round the city centre wet market. The fish, shellfish, frogs, turtles and eels that we see, along with the fruit and vegetables, are all imported from China. A Goanese Portuguese who, together with his wife, came for a visit to Macau more than 40 years ago and decided to stay, Alorino takes me to the famous balichao shop where the owner mashes dried shrimp with his ‘secret’ ingredients before decanting the mixture into glass jars (there’s definitely the taste of salt, water and possibly some lime). We walk down Rua da Cunha, known as ‘Food Street’ and home to Tai Lei Loi Kei, vendor of the city’s most famous pork chop bun, a twist on the Portuguese bifeana.
At the border crossing with China, we watch as thousands of people shuffle back and forth, the vast majority queuing for the shuttle buses that will deliver them to the casinos. This is a city made for China’s new rich, but these ordinary Joes clamour for it, too. I wander alone through some of the gambling halls (guides are forbidden), taking in the opulence, crazy shows and glaze-eyed one-arm-bandit players you’d find in Las Vegas. But there’s not so much joy and debauchery; it’s all high stakes but no hijinks. “The Chinese don’t come to the casino for entertainment,” explains Alorino. “They’re very serious. When they leave, you can’t tell whether they’ve won or lost.” Through its building of bridges and the unprecedented landfill, Macau keeps on growing. The oyster beds around Taipa and Coloane have been drained and padded out to house the Cotai strip, accomodating resorts with such names as Galaxy and Venetian, each of them gargantuan geegaws. Soon enough a new bridge will link the area with Hong Kong, in a bid to make its mega-casino core a bit more ‘fun’. Macau may be a peacock, with a dash of cuckoo thrown in, but away from the noise of the roulette tables, there’s another sound to fix your ears on. It’s a culinary cacophony and, to my mind, it hits the sweet spot. HOW TO DO IT: Cathay Pacific offers return flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Hong Kong from £469. Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 offers superior rooms from £200 B&B based on two adults sharing. cathaypacific.co.uk sofitelmacau.com macaotourism.gov.mo
Chef and owner Manuela Ferreira’s grandmother owned Pousada de Macau, where African chicken was invented. Portuguese petiscos (small plates) specialities include leitão assado (stuffed suckling pig) and arroz de pato (baked duck rice), Macanese curry crab, and tacho, a local stew. HOW MUCH: Three-course dinner from £15.50 each without wine. restaurante-litoral.com MIRAMAR
Just by Hac Sa beach, the vibe here is ‘Portuguese seaside resort’. There are jugs of sangria, cold Super Bock beer and a vast menu including fish stews, stuffed crabs and cozido à Portuguesa, steamed mixed meats. A chiller cabinet displays the egg-based desserts for which the ‘mother country’ is famous, such as farofias (egg clouds) or serradura, a Macanese/ Portuguese mix of whipped cream and crumbled biscuits. HOW MUCH: Three-course dinner from £23.50 each without wine. miramar.com.mo
IMAGES: AUDREY GILLAN; JAN ZHANG/GRAND LISBOA HOTEL
Making custard egg tarts at Lord Stowʼs Bakery
A stunner, where a vast spherical chandelier reflects on lacquered surfaces to make a figure eight. The food matches the design, with exquisite dim sum skillfully made. With three Michelin stars, chef Au Kwok Keung combines Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisine — crispy barbecued pork buns with preserved vegetables, or the signature goldfish-shaped steamed ‘cristal’ blue shrimp dumplings. HOW MUCH: Dinner from £25 each for three courses without wine. A ‘signature dishes’ set menu is £89 per head. grandlisboa.com
Ornate riads with courtyard fountains; airy roof gardens from which to observe the chaos; or out-of-town palaces with star chefs — in Morocco’s magic red city, accommodation is the star turn. Words: Chris Leadbeater
Marrakech is an urban maze ideally seen in short bursts — a dash into Jemaa el-Fna to dice with the street food stalls; a walk to the elegantly landscaped Jardin Majorelle, which used to be owned by Yves Saint Laurent; a hop south west to admire the 12th-century Moorish majesty of the Koutoubia Mosque; a saunter through Medina alleys to inspect the excellent Maison de la Photographie — before you return to the respite of your selected hideaway. Happily, Marrakech’s unfocused layout means it’s awash with such oases — riads lost down lanes that appear to be dead ends, concealing their charms behind featureless front doors. Alternatively, you can slumber in the palatial properties beyond the old walls, particularly south of the centre. The effect is the same: a higgledy-piggledy zone of heat and noise that also knows how to be cool and silent.
For small packages DAR ATTAJMIL
Big isn’t necessarily better — as proved by this tiny riad at the very heart of the matter, immediately north of Jemaa el-Fna. Riad Dar Attajmil comprises just four en suite rooms within a single Medina townhouse — a sufficiently intimate affair that can be hired for a group booking (when it will sleep up to 10 people, at a pinch). It amplifies its homely atmosphere by inviting guests to help prepare meals via cooking classes, during which they venture out into the souks of the adjacent Bab Doukkala district on a search for ingredients — before returning to the kitchen for expert tuition with the riad chef. ROOMS: Doubles from €90 (£75), B&B. darattajmil.com
For on-high relaxation EL FENN
Many Marrakech riads boast a roof terrace — for a bird’s-eye view of the call-andresponse below and a chance to doze on a shaded lounger. This 28-room oasis elevates these activities to an art form; its upper deck has a pool, cushions and awnings for afternoons of indolence, before the restaurant and cocktail bar kick in. El Fenn, which also has sculptures and photos lining its corridors, achieves a perfection at dusk when the Koutoubia Mosque’s call to prayer sweeps across it. ROOMS: Doubles from €200 (£167), B&B. el-fenn.com
For tee parties
ROYAL PALM MARRAKECH
Ten miles south west of the centre, the Royal Palm pushes itself as a six-star enclave of rare luxury. It supports this claim with 134 suites and villas stuffed with giant bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes, but plays its ace with its golf course: 185 acres and 18 holes of fulsome fairways, manicured greens, shimmering water hazards and fluffy sand traps, with the Atlas Mountains as a magnificent backdrop. It all adds up to a significant challenge — but rounds both bad and good can be dissected afterwards at the 19th hole, the Al Ain Restaurant, where Moroccan dishes are served. ROOMS: Doubles from €249 (£208), B&B. royalpalm-hotels.com
For the perfect escape RIAD FARNATCHI
It’s always good to have a refuge in a city of sound and sweat. This riad is surely that. Indeed, its door — anonymous on the narrow Medina passage of Derb el Farnatchi — is almost invisible. But step inside and you find a tranquil labour of love — a family business that’s grown to encompass several buildings under owner James Wix. Two courtyards, serenaded by fountains and the sway of citrus trees, are flanked by a mere 10 suites, filled with antique furniture and a near tangible sense of calm. The basement, meanwhile, has a tiny hamman, where you can be exfoliated from D400 (£30). ROOMS: Suites from D3100 (£233), B&B, with transfers. riadfarnatchi.com
A holiday experience at Matterhorn FOCUS in Zermatt means an exciting fusion of art and architecture from a unique point of view.
For alternative location LA SULTANA
For bargain hunters RIAD TIZWA
Marrakech has no shortage of high-end accommodation. But expense can definitely be spared at Riad Tizwa, northwest of the Medina, close to Bab Doukkala. It offers six rooms (five en suite) across three floors. A British-owned spin-off from a similar property in Fez, it provides all the necessary elements of a weekend in the city — a roof terrace overlooking the chaos; mountainous breakfasts of pastries and yoghurt — without charging a premium for them. ROOMS: Doubles from £60, B&B. riadtizwa.com
For the thrill of the souks minus the sleeve-tug hassle, head to the Kasbah district, south of the Medina. Here, the city still swirls around cluttered shops and merchants shouts, but the locals go about their business oblivious to visitors. Part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio, La Sultana slots into this as a warren of five riads and 28 rooms, snoozing under palm trees and vaulted ceilings. It also sits alongside the El Mansour Mosque, an ornately tiled, 12th-century gem. ROOMS: Doubles from D3499 (£270), room only. slh.com/hotels/la-sultana-marrakech-hotel
For water babies
Huddled six miles south west of the centre, this relative newcomer (it opened in 2012) underscores its five-star credentials with a fabulously expansive hammam, Persian carpets underfoot (and on the walls), a library and a trio of restaurants (Moroccan, Mediterranean and fusion). But its (literal) centrepiece is a vast, palmflanked pool that all 60 rooms and suites gaze down onto, tempting guests out to wallow in its magnificence. ROOMS: Doubles from D4000 (£301), room only. selman-marrakech.com
Centrally located a short stroll from the Medina, yet clear of the hubbub, the Royal Mansour displays typical five-star flair — 53 exquisite rooms and suites, and three restaurants under the tutelage of Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno. But best of all are its looks. Opened in 2010, it seems centuries older; a stately pile fit for a sultan, with gleaming marble. Its reception courtyard alone is a spectacle — a fountain sparkling within. ROOMS: ‘Riads’ from D10,099 (£761), B&B. royalmansour.com
For classic glamour LA MAMOUNIA
Marrakech often resembles a city trapped in the past, but the gilded institution that is La Mamounia puts aside the Arabian Nights ambience for a more specific take on yesteryear, the Roaring Twenties. It was in this decade (in 1923) that this grand dame, on the western fringes of the Medina, was founded. It clings to it most noticeably with Bar Churchill, which salutes the hotel’s most iconic former guest with deep-buttoned red-leather armchairs, wood panels and murmuring pianos. Those staying in 2016 can complete the tribute by ordering a Sir Winston Churchill cocktail — a giddy union of Tanqueray gin and Champagne costing D320 (£24). ROOMS: Doubles from D4179 (£315), room only. mamounia.com
MANDARIN ORIENTAL MARRAKECH
Close enough to the Medina (three miles south east), but enough of a step away that the roar of the crowd fades, the Mandarin Oriental is perfect for couples. Its 63 suites and villas are their own self-contained worlds, each with a pool for mornings of lazy splashing. Those who venture outside, though, will find much to love in a spa of cavernous scale — and in main restaurant Mes’Lalla, where chef Meryem Cherkaoui whips up a menu of modern Moroccan cuisine. ROOMS: Suites from €650 (£544), B&B. mandarinoriental.com/marrakech
Get enchanted with ‘The pearl of the Alps’
Hotel Allalin Lomattenstrasse 7, CH 3906, Saas Fee, Switzerland Phone: 00 41 (0) 27 958 1000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org allalin.ch
Modern – Personalised – Astonishing Ski on Europe’s best-groomed slopes – winter and summer.
BEHIND THE SCENES Jerusalem’s cuisine reflects the city’s character as a melting pot for many communities at the meeting point of East and West, old and new, the inspirational and the innovative
fusion of traditional Middle Eastern, North African and South American, exotic Asian flavours and continental European cuisine; from street food to fine dining, there aren’t many culinary channels that Jerusalem hasn’t explored and mastered. To celebrate the city’s dynamic and pioneering food movement, its restaurants are opening their doors and welcoming food lovers and visitors to come and explore what happens behind the scenes as part of the newly introduced Jerusalem Open Restaurant Festival. Running from November 16-19, the showcase offers tours of Jerusalem, covering everything from its markets to the most elegant of dining tables. Visitors will be regaled with talks, meetings and tastings with some of Jerusalem’s most renowned chefs, as well as visits to the best restaurants, cafés, patisseries and ice cream parlours. And, since Jerusalem is the capital city of ‘Start Up Nation’, there’ll also be an opportunity to meet with food-tech entrepreneurs and companies who work to improve and innovate the way we produce, serve and present the wonderful food of Jerusalem and around the world. Meet top Israeli chefs such as Assaf Granit, who opened his first restaurant, MachneYuda, in Jerusalem’s renowned
Mahane Yehuda market. Its success led him to open The Palomar restaurant in London, which mimics MachneYuda’s innovative food and hip, lively vibe. Having lived in Jerusalem all his life, Granit’s inspiration in the kitchen derives from the city’s vibrant cultural diversity. Creatively expressing his interpretations of Jerusalem, and thanks to the city’s continually evolving scene, Granit’s food is always moving in new directions, making him an innovative and groundbreaking talent.
Hear from Assaf Granit first-hand as National Geographic Traveller runs a series of videos which home in on individual insights from Jerusalem’s locals at natgeotraveller.co.uk
For more information, visit citybreak.itraveljerusalem.com or contact the Jerusalem tourist board on +44 (0)20 7593 1714
New york T H E
T A L E S
F I V E
F R O M
B O R O U G H S
MANHAT TAN. STATEN ISL AND. QUEENS. BROOKLYN. THE BRONX . BEYOND THE FAMOUS SIGHTS, THE YELLOW CABS AND THE FIF TH AVENUE STORES, WE SE ARCH FOR THE SOUL OF THIS MOST ICONIC OF CITIES. GUIDED BY FIVE NEW YORKERS, WE DELVE DEEP INTO THE FIVE BOROUGHS, TO LE ARN ABOUT THE PEOPLE AND PL ACES THAT ARE INCRE ASINGLY MAKING THOSE NEW YORK MOMENTS BROADER, BRIGHTER AND BRILLIANTLY DIVERSE
Photographs S L A W E K K O Z D R A S
M A N H A T T A N
village voice By Andrew McCarthy
Today, I walked with my kids past my fi rst apartment in New York City — on Washington Place, in Greenwich Village. They were mildly interested when I pointed up to the fourth-floor window. It was soon forgotten as we strolled through Washington Square Park, buzzing with people soaking up the sun and listing to impromptu live music sessions. I didn’t mention anything to them about my daily saunter across this same park on my way home from class at New York University 35 years earlier, when I would pause to buy ‘loose joints’ from the Rastafarian guys who used to play soccer right where we now stand watching a juggler. It’s safe to say that both Greenwich Village and I have changed since 1980. The city then was just emerging from bankruptcy; there was a palpable edge, a well-earned sense of danger about the place. I was 17 and wide-eyed, a kid from New Jersey set loose on the mean streets before I was ready. “The Lord takes care of babies and fools,” a friend of mine used to say — and I was both. But those were heady
times of discovery. In Greenwich Village, there was a feeling that everything was possible. It was a place to come and start over — invent yourself anew. ‘Anything goes’ was the feeling on the narrow, cobblestone streets. I took my fi rst legal drink in the Village. I lost my virginity in the Village. I met Andy Warhol here, and Al Pacino. I came of age below 14th Street. At the time, the Village had long since begun its transition from a bohemian sanctuary to the city’s centre of gay life and an artist’s haven. It wasn’t surprising to see drag queens roller skating down Fift h Avenue, or a diminutive man wearing a beret sitting before a canvas and easel on a street corner, painting the facades of the brownstones that lined Perry Street. Today, of course, most of the artists have been priced out — gone to Brooklyn (if they can still afford it there) and beyond. The gay culture has migrated north to Chelsea. The Bleecker Street of my youth is nearly unrecognisable now. No more is the leather goods shop where I used to buy belts and bags, gone with the old lady behind the
OPPOSITE: crossing in Greenwich Village CLOCKWISE: outside Corner Bistro in Greenwich Village; shopping on Bleeker Street; Washington Square Park; quirky decor of Tortilla Flats restaurant
counter with the heavily arthritic hands. Gone too is the framing shop where I’d stop in to chat with my occasional drinking partner, Tom. Today, that entire strip of Bleecker Street beyond Seventh Avenue has been transformed into a destination shopping corridor. Elegant window displays for Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford and James Perse line the tree-shaded block. Just steps away, the Corner Bistro used to be one of my regular spots, and still is. A quarter of a century ago, The Bistro was what we called ‘a real dive’, filled with old codgers nursing their bourbon at the well-worn bar. Today, they’re still there, but so too are the hipsters and the tourists, all mingling easily, drinking, laughing, eating at what’s perhaps the best bar burger in town. Tortilla Flats, the Mexican restaurant is still around too. It used to be an outlier in the far West Village, but now that same corner is right in the heart of things, across the street from the trendy Italian eatery, Barbuto. But nothing in the Village has changed more than the waterfront. Decrepit docks have been reborn as elegant public spaces. Dark deeds used to be performed under cover of the night by the water; these days, dogs are
walked, bikers zip past, and lovers stroll after sunset behind the Statue of Liberty and across the Hudson River. And so many of the green spaces are now not only green but filled with explosions of colour in the spring. Tiny Abingdon Square Park was peppered with used hypodermic needles when I lived across the street — today it is stuffed with tulips. Jefferson Market Garden is a sanctuary just off busy Sixth Avenue, beside neighbourhood landmark the High Victorian Gothic Jefferson Market Library. But as much as things change, things remain the same. La Bonbonniere, on lower Eighth Avenue, is the greasiest of greasy spoons, and still serves up the best breakfast in town. Iconic jazz clubs like the Village Vanguard still draw a line out on the sidewalk on a weekend night. So does Smalls Jazz Club, a tiny venue down a flight of stairs. And the Blue Note Jazz Club can still pack the house. New York City is not a town for nostalgia — it drives ever forward. Have things been lost in all the evolution? Of course. Is it a better place to live now? Definitely. But for all its changes, the Village remains uniquely the Village. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
S T A T E N
I S L A N D
into the unknown By Tara Isabella Burton
“It takes a special person to want to visit Staten Island,” says tour guide Georgia Trivizas. After all, NYC’s most residential, least-populated borough is hardly known for its touristic appeal. A largely suburban, blue-collar island — accessible from Manhattan by a ferry and somewhat less convenient train — the unassuming Staten Island has long been the butt of jokes by more urbane Manhattanites. “The first thing to do in Staten Island?” more than one New Yorker I polled joked. “Get on the ferry and leave.” But for those willing to explore, what Georgia calls the ‘unknown island’ has an uncanny appeal. The (free) ferry ride itself offers some of the most spectacular views in New York (especially at sunset). Tourists gather on one side of the boat with their cameras, craning their necks towards the Statue of Liberty as it comes into view; across the deck, the commuters — old white men in Mets caps or Yankees T-shirts, elderly Sri Lankan women doing their knitting — don’t even look up. The port of St George, where the ferry first docks, has a jarring beauty. The Beaux Arts buildings by the
waterfront — although faded and dotted with dollar stores and shuttered delis — retain their bones, if not their shine; the Victorian, Gothic and Queen Anne homes mingle with brash Italian-American restaurants (‘Nonnas of the world, unite!’ reads one awning) and neon-lit, nautical-themed diners. At the waterfront Karl’s Klipper, under unseasonal Christmas lights, I order a red velvet cake and unlimited free refills of stale coffee from a perpetually exasperated waitress. But it’s the St George Theater, a five-minute walk up the hill from the ferry, that serves as St George’s real highlight. Built in 1929, when the area was still a bastion of GildedAge wealth, the former vaudeville theatre and cinema is a dizzying kaleidoscope of gold mouldings and red velvet, faux-European frescoes and stained glass: newly restored in 2004 after nearly three decades of disuse. In Manhattan, such a splendid building might well be kept under meticulous scrutiny; here, the usher takes pity on me one Friday afternoon and allows me to walk right in, wandering alone under the proscenium arch.
OPPOSITE: Lower Manhattan from the Staten Island ferry CLOCKWISE: Larry, the owner of Liedy's Shore Inn, the oldest bar on Staten Island; Botanical Garden at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center; salmon bisque and iced coffee at Karl's Klipper, in St George; A canine visitor to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Staten Island’s historic sites, however, aren’t limited to St George. A 10-minute bus ride down Richmond Terrace, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a former home for retired sailors spread over 83 acres along the Kill Van Kull strait on the island’s North Shore, features 26 of New York City’s most striking examples of baronial 19thcentury architecture, from temple-style Greek Revival mansions to red-brick cottages. Today, the complex is a museum, featuring a contemporary art centre, music hall, and perhaps most strikingly, the Chinese Scholar’s Garden — a walled floral display imitating the gardens of Suzhou. Further south, in the neighbourhood of Rosebank, the Alice Austen House — which dates back to the colonial era — doubles as a memorial to one of New York City’s most iconic photographers: a Victorian bohemian famous for her strikingly honest portraits of New York City’s working class. Yet according to Georgia — whose appointment-only tours (email@example.com) are a one-woman paean to the borough — Staten Island’s finest asset is also its least known. One-third parkland, its forest, wetland and pond hiking trails are among the city’s most expansive.
In recent years, too, Staten Island has seen a cultural regeneration. Signs across the ferry port advertise new waterside luxury developments in the cheerily titled ‘best value borough’ — more significant than ever now that price hikes in parts of Brooklyn, once the destination of choice for value-seeking young professionals, outpace Manhattan. The Italian-American eateries like iconic Joe and Pat’s and the locals’ haunt Lee’s Tavern — now stand side by side with a growing number of Sri Lankan and Mexican cafes; the Flagship Brewing Company, which opened in 2014, has brought craft beer culture across the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge. The Snug Harbor Cultural Center, too, has done its part to attract younger visitors: a new crop of summer events include rooftop film screenings and performances of new plays. Nearby, parts of the 19th-century, still-working Atlantic Salt Company depot have been repurposed as an installation art space for the annual LUMEN Festival. “People don’t realise the diversity that’s here these days,” says Georgia. “It’s completely different from how it was it was 20, 30 years ago.” Now the rest of New York just has to notice.
O say can you sea.
Long Island the beautiful. Shimmering beaches and castles of sand, water park slides and horseback rides. A modern-day family playground. Touch history at world-renowned museums. Swim with sharks at the aquarium. Bask in the sun on the beach, and stroll back in time in a charming downtown. Discover Long Island. Plan your trip today at DiscoverLongIsland.com/Suffolk For a Free Travel Guide, call 00 1 877 386 6654 ext 275.
ÂŽI LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark/service mark of the NYS Dept. Of Economic Development, used with permission.
B R O O K L Y N
cobbled together By Annie Fitzsimmons
TELL US ABOUT COBBLE HILL
It’s often said that if Brooklyn was its own city, it would be the country’s fourth-largest. Much of the Brooklyn focus is on Williamsburg, but I love where I live — Cobble Hill, with Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill a short walk away. The people here are typical New Yorkers. This area is very family-friendly, but it’s home to many types of people — and I love that fellow editors, writers, and DINKs (Double Income/No Kids) live nearby. You’ll see a few tourists, but it is primarily locals. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO OTHER NEIGHBOURHOODS?
Brooklyn Heights has that sense of old New York, but a lack of hip restaurants and new openings. Bed-Stuy and Greenpoint still have gritty edges and there’s a sense of gentrification in process. Cobble Hill strikes a great balance of the Brooklyn we all want to experience — brownstone streets and neighbourhood spots — with a palpable sense of energy and innovation inspired by, but also separate from, Manhattan, just across the river.
IS IT EXPERIENCING A WILLIAMSBURG-IFICATION?
Because it’s very family-friendly and removed from major subway lines, it will never have the bar and restaurant scene that Williamsburg has. But there are defi nitely new gourmet food shops, yoga and Pilates studios and, of course, preppy mass-market chains like J Crew moving in — which will continue to alter the character of the neighbourhood. If you’ve ever heard the term ‘bourgeois bohemian’ or BoBo — that’s what Cobble Hill attracts: successful, creative professionals. WHERE ARE THE KEY STREETS?
Court Street and Smith Street, plus Atlantic Avenue — a big thoroughfare that’s seen its many antique and vintage furniture shops slowly being replaced by stores like Barneys and Urban Outfitters. On Court Street, there’s a very defi nitive sense of upscale Brooklyn charm, and there are places like Cafe Pedlar, a very Brooklyn-y coffee shop. On Smith Street, you should check out Exit 9 Gift Emporium, where you could easily lose an hour.
WHERE IS THE HAPPENING BRUNCH SPOT?
Ever since Jay Z and Beyoncé showed up at Buttermilk Channel, in Carroll Gardens, it’s been a brunch hotspot. The food is great, but go right when it opens to beat the crowds. My favourites are Bar Tabac for a great French bistro vibe, live music, and eggs any time of day, and Café Luluc, where you simply cannot miss the pancakes. Both are located on Smith Street. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT OUT?
Frankies Spuntino, in Carroll Gardens — if you can snag a garden seat in the spring, there’s no better place to be having brunch or dinner; La Cigogne — affordable, with great food — it serves Alsatian cuisine and plays old French movies with no sound during dinner; Hanco’s — I have cravings for the shredded chicken báhn mi; Ki Sushi — delicious food flown in from the famous Tsukiji fish market; Layla Jones — my favourite pizza in Cobble Hill (it also does a great Greek chopped salad); and Rucola — located on a quintessential Brooklyn corner, it’s small in a charming, not cramped, kind of way, and serves really great food.
WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR A WEEKEND IN BROOKLYN?
I tell visitors they can’t miss seeing Brooklyn Bridge Park with its incredible view over to Lower Manhattan and of the Brooklyn Bridge. Don’t miss Ample Hills Creamery’s ice cream in the summer. I might wander over to Prospect Park for off-leash time before 9am with my dog, and in the spring, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is lovely, and, for art, the Brooklyn Museum is just as good at the Met. I’ll see a movie at rickety Cobble Hill Cinemas. Stopping in at BookCourt is a must for me, as I love independent bookstores, and One Girl Cookies is a nostalgic dessert parlour with nice two-bite cookies. I’ll buy hummus and yogurt plus nuts, rice, and chocolate from the bulk bins at Sahadi’s, a Brooklyn market specialising in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare. I might buy olive bread at Mazzola Bakery, in Carroll Gardens, where it feels like time has stopped. It’s worth noting that there aren’t many great hotel options here — but the Nu Hotel, on Smith Street, is a nice boutique option. Alternatively, you can find some fabulous apartments on the rental sites.
HOW TO DO IT: BRITISH
AIRWAYS flies up to 13 times a
PREVIOUS PAGE: Brooklyn Museum LEFT, CLOCKWISE: Alexandre, from Bar Tabac, on Smith Street; Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park; playing basketball in Brooklyn Bridge Park; patriotic home on Cobble Hill
day between London and New York from £434 return, including all taxes and charges. Rooms at Z NYC HOTEL from £155, room only. Price includes bicycle rental, wi-fi, international calls and a shuttle bus to Manhattan that leaves every hour. ba.com zhotelny.com NORWEGIAN'S Dreamliners fly from Gatwick to New York daily, with return flights from £272.40 in economy and £750.10 in premium. norwegian.com/uk nycgo.com visittheusa.com
Q U E E N S
a greco-roman holiday
By Stephanie Cavagnaro
“There’s so much to do in Queens,” says Nick, in his bloodstreaked apron. “It’s ridiculous.” As we chat outside Old Fashion Butcher Shop, on Steinway Street in Astoria, a group of burly workers are unloading boxes labelled ‘lamb liver’ onto the gum-blackened sidewalk. “I’m Greek — I was born here. This is the best area,” he continues, as the guys nag him to help. “I’m doin’ it — take it easy! I’m busy!” Astoria is an enclave in Queens, known for its large Italian and Greek communities — it’s said to have the second largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece. But there are also sizeable Middle Eastern, Balkan and Brazilian groups, plus moneyed residents from Brooklyn and Manhattan moving in, making this area ripe for change. “But it’s getting better,” Nick urges. “The locals are still here. I’m tellin’ you — if you were here 20 to 25 years ago and seen the neighbourhood, it was all mom ’n’ pop [independent] stores. Not that it’s a bad thing — but now nice high-end places are popping up.” Along busy blocks, people swoop into pricey coffee dives, breweries and newbie boltholes selling hand-rolled
bagels. But the culinary core is still schwarma shops, tavernas and delis that squeeze snugly next to the 99cent stores, laundromats and massage parlours. I grew up nearby on Long Island’s North Fork, and when I decamped to the city years ago, I opted instinctively for Brooklyn, but some friends and family have since moved to this corner of New York. Within five minutes of leaving my brother’s apartment I find a mural of ancient Greece beneath a bridge, the gold and grey Saint Irene Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek American Retirement Club — it’s as if I’m in Athens. Inside Artopolis Bakery, shelves are packed with filo pastries, melomakarona (honey, spice and walnut cookies) and sweet tsoureki bread, ready for Greek Orthodox Easter. I buy a strong coffee and halloumopita, a herb bread studded with chunks of halloumi and onion. It’s a spring morning and nearby Astoria Park is bursting with cherry blossoms. Beyond it, the Tetris-block buildings of Manhattan are stacked above the East River. I walk towards Athens Square Park to finish my coffee.
OPPOSITE: Greece legend-inspired graffiti CLOCKWISE: Socrates Sculpture Park; Baklava at Artopolis; public pool in Astoria Park; Stephanie, a waiter at The Queens Kickshaw
Beneath the gaze of bronze Socrates and Sophocles sculptures, locals are hunched over chess tables. Feeling peckish after a few more hours of walking, I pull up a pew at The Queens Kickshaw — a narrow joint with Edison bulbs, long wooden tables and brick walls. Lunch is a grilled cheese sandwich packed with Gouda, black bean hummus, guava jam and pickled jalapenos, paired with a local Native White Stout from Big Alice Brewing. I start chatting to Jennifer, one of the owners, about the surge in the borough’s breweries. “It’s still accessible for small producers,” she tells me, adding that NYC’s first cidery, Descendant Cider, has also opened in Queens. “I think it’s a place that’s still very affordable.” Keen to try more of the area’s craft beers, I head along a quiet street, where SingleCut Beersmiths’ taproom has 12 brews on the board. I order a Mad Michael, its 14-monthaged sour wheat lager, and take a seat at a large red-oak table beneath wire-caged bulbs. There are nods to music everywhere — tap handles are guitar necks, records line shelves by the bar and a stage awaits live performances. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden isn’t a brewery but a Queens institution nonetheless. A mug of Czech
Staropramen is sloshed toward me at the bar later that evening. I grab it, and head outside, where the smell of bratwurst recalls balmy evenings in Salzburg beer gardens. The following morning, I stop in The Bagel House on Ditmars Boulevard for an ‘everything bagel’ with olive pimento cream cheese. Steve, the owner, is behind the counter. “I’m first-generation American, my parents are Italian,” he explains. “Don’t get me wrong, Astoria has a lot of Greeks. They call Astoria ‘Little Athens’, but when I grew up there were more Italians — it was beautiful.” We talk about the borough’s new-found popularity. “I’d say in the last five years it’s really exploded, and it’s all good that it’s changing — it’s just that the rent’s going out of control,” he says. “An apartment that used to cost $600 now costs $2,000 for a single bedroom.” His friend, Bobby, chimes in, “Oh, it’s insane — there’s been a 400% increase in rent in five years. The city hasn’t seen growth like this since what was happening with Williamsburg.” Change, though, is in Queens’ nature. And it seems that the newcomers are integrating with the wellestablished communities that came before them, I tell Steve. He grins. “We’re not going anywhere.”
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T H E
B R O N X
for beginners By Julie Schwietert Collazo
The Bronx has long been New York’s left-behind borough. As Brooklyn and then Queens underwent gentrification, The Bronx remained — at least in the public imagination — gritty and, well, skippable for everyone but baseball fans. To say that the northernmost of the five New York boroughs is undergoing a renaissance would be perhaps a step too far, but with under-the-radar arts institutions and botanical gardens, cultural enclaves and a burgeoning craft spirits scene, it offers more reasons to visit than ever.
BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS: Founded in 1971, the borough’s key arts institution outgrew its various spaces several times and finally moved into a larger facility a decade ago. Since then, it’s also grown its collection, the strength of which is modern multimedia work by African, Asian, and Latin American artists, including Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera. In 2011, it introduced a free entry policy, making it stand out from museums like Manhattan’s Met and MoMA, where tickets are $25 (£19) a pop. bronxmuseum.org
BRONX DOCUMENTARY CENTER: This passion project of Michael Kamber, a former conflict and war photographer for The New York Times, opened five years ago in a landmark building and quickly became a cultural hub, not only for the borough, but for the entire city. Free art and photography exhibits, movie screenings, and lectures and events are what’s on offer, all featuring world-class talent showcasing the power of documentary work in all its forms. bronxdoc.org
EDGAR ALLAN POE COTTAGE: Visitors whose images of The Bronx are informed largely by Hollywood may be surprised by the borough’s literary history — epitomised by the tiny Edgar Allan Poe Cottage. Its location on the Grand Concourse, where it sits in the middle of Poe Park (not its original home), amid tall apartment buildings, looks a bit out of place today, but when it was built in the late 18th century, it was wholly congruous: the entire borough was a rural outpost. bronxhistoricalsociety.org
Residents on the Grand Concourse CLOCKWISE: A broken Bronx fire hydrant; a side street off Grand Concourse; 149th Street–Grand Concourse Subway station; Yankee Stadium
YANKEE STADIUM: The original ‘House that Ruth Built’ closed in 2008, replaced in 2009 by a $2.3bn (£1.7bn) stadium — allegedly the most expensive ever built. Even if your visit doesn’t coincide with baseball season, you can visit the onsite New York Yankees Museum or buy tickets for a guided tour. newyork.yankees.mlb.com WAVE HILL: The New York Botanical Garden may be better
known and bigger but Wave Hill — 28 acres of public gardens in The Bronx’s ritzy Riverdale neighbourhood — is equally spectacular. Overlooking the Hudson River, it boasts stellar views of the Palisades, towering basalt cliffs. Stroll in the gardens, pop into Wave Hill House to take in an art exhibit, performance or lecture, or browse the onsite shop for a unique souvenir. wavehill.org BRONX ZOO AND NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN: Each
NYC borough has at least one zoo and botanical garden, but this particular pair — across the street from each other — are the most famous and beloved. The installations and collections at both are peerless — just gaze up at the Guastavino tiles in the Elephant House or
the grand LuEsther T Mertz Library at the NYBG (host of many art exhibits and the largest botanical library in the Americas) to get a real sense of the architectural grandeur of New York City in the late 19th century. bronxzoo.com nybg.org ARTHUR AVENUE RETAIL MARKET: Skip Manhattan’s Little Italy and head to Arthur Avenue instead, where you’ll find a few-dozen Italian restaurants, bakeries and cafes. If your time is limited, give preference to this no-frills market, where you can buy an espresso and a freshlymade sandwich sagging under the weight of thin-sliced capicola or salami, or watch as a cigar is hand-rolled right in front of you. arthuravenue.com PORT MORRIS DISTILLERY: Located in the once-dodgy neighbourhood of Port Morris, this distillery produces a Puerto Rican moonshine called pitorro. Visit for an impromptu tour of the facility, then stick around for a sample or order a cocktail (you’ll likely need to elbow up to the bar on Friday or Saturday, when it’s open until midnight). portmorrisdistillery.com
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Snow Hill Island
An emperor penguin rests on an ice flow in the Weddell Sea OPPOSITE: A passenger looks out over ice-choked waters near the Lemaire Channel NEXT PAGES: Passengers step onto the ice near Port Lockroy just off Goudier Island, home to the Penguin Post Office
Words & photographs: S H A N E Y H U D S O N
This remote, mysterious and isolated realm of the emperor penguin is just one of a succession of high points on a jubilant foray into the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula 94
olar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised’, wrote the English Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard in his memoir The Worst Journey in the World. Leaning over the rail of my ship, the National Geographic Explorer, while it idles in Commonwealth Bay, on the Antarctic Peninsula, I’m inclined to think CherryGarrard got it wrong. In the water below, a wall of donut-shaped bubbles curls to the surface. Like a silent movie, the creamy silhouette of a 40-ton humpback whale looms in its wake, the milky pleats in its jaw ballooning underwater as it gorges on krill. Surfacing under the bow, the humpback exhales, sending a fine, fishy mist up towards us. For just a second the condensation catches the light, sending a rainbow across our line of vision, before it falls like rain into the water below. With a flick of his tail, the whale dives down to feed again, his liquorice-coloured skin dissolving into the murky ink of the Antarctic waters. Despite the cold, despite the cost, and despite Cherry-Garrard’s less-than-glowingrecommendation, Antarctica remains the traveller’s dream: remote, uninhabited, seductive, filled with natural wonders and blue ice, shining in unlimited sunlight during summer and enclosed in darkness for the winter. The golden era of Antarctic exploration may well have been that of Scott and Shackleton, but in 1966 a new era of passenger travel began, when Lars-Eric Lindblad chartered the converted Argentine naval ship Lapataia, taking 57 passengers to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. ‘The Antarctica Expedition is not set up for those who only want a good time’, the trip brochure cautioned perspective travellers, according to an article in Life magazine. Despite the warning, the successful voyage made global headlines, and future trips were booked out years in advance. Today, there are 48 ships ferrying over 38,000 passengers to Antarctica each austral summer, from eight-passenger privately chartered yachts to modified 2,000-passenger cruise ships. The 148-passenger National Geographic Explorer might seem modest in comparison, but it’s pleasingly well appointed. There’s an undersea programme, incorporating divers and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), plus a National Geographic photographer on hand to help passengers take photos. On board there’s a gym, glass-encased library, gift shop and, should the stress of whale-watching become too much, sauna and spa. However, despite the bells and whistles, expedition cruising still mimics the experience of the heroic age of polar exploration.
“We’re subject to the exact same conditions as the early explorers,” says captain Oliver Kruess, pointing to the ice charts on the bridge. “Yes, we have a five-star chef, yes we have masseurs, but we’re still subject to these conditions.” As if to prove him right, when we reach the Antarctic Peninsula, bad weather hits — 60knot gusts throw our entire landing schedule out the window and send the tourist fleet scurrying south for shelter. But it’s not just wind that’s the problem — ice blocks the Lemaitre Channel, while Port Lockroy — home to the famous Penguin Post Office — has only just reopened after being inaccessible for two weeks. Yet it’s this unpredictability that makes Antarctica the ultimate great journey for today’s traveller — an unbridled wilderness that turns a tourist into an expeditioner, and a passenger into an explorer. And, most of the time, the ice isn’t the enemy, but rather a spectacular novelty, from the penguin-speckled icebergs in the Drake Passage — hints we’re getting close to the continent — to the tabular bergs that create a marine maze in the Antarctic Sound, and the spectacular glaciers that splinter and smash into the icy bays with brute force. The person who seems to have the most fun with the ice, however, is captain Kruess. When Port Lockroy reopens, he doesn’t anchor off Goudier Island. Instead, he sails the ship right into the ice sheet, ‘parking’ it in sea ice for the night. A small door in the hull is opened, and a ramp lowered. It’s early evening when passengers take their first tentative steps onto sea ice, the ocean only metres away. The surface is uneven and dusted with snow, but the giddy thrill of wandering across this frozen landscape is infectious. Snowball fights break out. Antarctic snow angels emerge in the powder, and everyone wants a turn taking novelty photos with the towrope under Explorer’s bow. Accompanied by a few curious snowy sheathbills, I walk across the glazed, white landscape, standing in the shadow of towering glacial cliffs. In the late evening light, they gently glow like uncut sapphires, thousands of years old. It’s spooky, intimidating, captivating. There really is nowhere like this.
Science in action
A luxury vessel it may be, but National Geographic Explorer is also used as a platform for scientific research, often hosting scientists who spend their time on board giving lectures and conducting experiments. This arrangement gives scientists access to one of the most remote environments in the world, while the passengers get to see polar science in action. On our trip, we’re able to see the ship’s latest scientific endeavour
before the scientists can even get their hands on the data. National Geographic Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions have partnered with the Extreme Ice Survey (the team behind the award-winning documentary Chasing Ice) to create photographic records of the peninsula's glaciers. But the focus isn’t just on the glaciers. One of the several cameras set up is located in the middle of a penguin colony at Brown Bluff — nicknamed ‘Guano Cam’, thanks to the large amount of stinking, acidic penguin faeces it regularly gets covered in. Brown Bluff is a true penguin city, home to 20,000 nesting Adélie penguins. We transfer to shore via rigid-inflatable boat. Penguins leap and plunge before darting under the water with an incredible stealth that belies the awkwardness of their on-shore shuffle. On land, it’s so hard to take them seriously. Battalions of Adélies waddle along the beach in packs, with traffic coming to a complete standstill when they collide with another group heading in the other direction. As it turns out, penguins like to follow the path of least resistance: totally ignoring the orange markers used to keep human visitors a respectful distance from their colony and instead, following in the footsteps of oblivious passengers as they make their way down the beach. By chance, our landing at Brown Bluff occurs just as the infant Adélies are beginning to hatch. I settle on a rock and watch as a penguin mother turns the egg resting on her feet, once, twice, before I glimpse a small crack, then a tiny beak. With a little help and a lot of goo, a small, soggy baby penguin emerges, and is tucked quickly into the feathers of its nesting parent. Consumed, I sit amid the stink and noise, watching the little chick’s first hour of life: his feathers fluffing into a woolly grey, his first meal eagerly gobbled. This is Antarctica at peak life: alive and thriving. While passengers wander the shore, naturalist Eric Guth is responsible for repairing the cameras and recovering the approximately 11,000 photos that are taken over the course of the year as part of the Extreme Ice Survey. That evening, he presents guests with a sample collection of the images from the infamous ‘Guano Cam’ — and the data is impressive. A quick analysis of the images reveals that the penguins arrived at Brown Bluff on 10 October to nest — exactly the same day they arrived the previous year. “I find it incredibly significant,” says Eric, who sports three stitches on his hand from repairing the camera. “I’ll be really curious for next year and the year after that. This could just be an anomaly, but this just makes complete sense, as this is what the penguins need to do — they need to get back to the nesting site as promptly as possible and start their breeding cycle.”
Snowball fights break out. Antarctic snow angels emerge in the powder, and everyone wants a turn taking novelty photos with the towrope under Explorerâ€™s bow Passengers hike across the landscape at Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Islands ABOVE: A rigid-inflatable boat cruises between the icebergs at Cierva Cove
A mother turns the egg resting on her feet, once, twice, before I glimpse a small crack, then a tiny beak. With a little help and a lot of goo, a small, soggy baby penguin emerges
We pause the ship again, this time for a leopard seal resting on an ice flow, and another emperor, which toboggans across pancake ice directly under the bow
Explore the highlights of Greenland at www.greenlandin3minutes.com
Gigantic icebergs from the World Heritage site Ilulissat Icefjord reflecting the northern nights.
Photo: Andre Schรถnherr/Visit Greenland
Why choose the ordinary?
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN PLUMER
Into the unknown
With the weather improving and the ice charts updated, a decision is made: we’ll free ourselves from the pack of ships on the peninsula and head into the Weddell Sea. There’s a buzz of excitement among staff and guests. For four years, this body of water has been so corked up with ice no one has been able to get into it, and our daily programme is left deliberately vague. The plan is to explore.
A N TA R C T I C A
L e m a i re C h a n n e l
PE NI N
Getting there & around Most Antarctic cruises depart from the Argentine port of Ushuaia. British Airways ﬂies direct from Heathrow to Buenos Aries. Aerolíneas Argentinas has connections from Buenos Aries to Ushuaia. ba.com aerolineas.com.ar Antarctica is accessible by boat on a two-day passage from Ushuaia. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) strictly regulates landing sites and shore time, with no more than 100 people allowed on shore at once. Rigid-inﬂatable boats transfer passengers between ship and shore.
RC TI C
On board Explorer, the passengers are enthralled by the images. It’s clear that by giving guests access to this sort of science, they start to care about the outcome — not just of the science, but of Antarctica itself; if they see it, they’ll see the value in saving it, creating ambassadors for the polar regions. It’s beginning to stir up in me too. While we sail a stretch of the Gerlache Strait, I look through my binoculars at an oddlooking ship in a nearby bay, and fi nd myself enraged. It’s a large fish-processing factory ship — sucking nutrients, most likely krill, from the sea mere miles from the penguin colonies we’ve just visited. While tourist boats adhere to strict restrictions, and the land is protected in Antarctica, the waters are not — and factory ships legally operate with permits.
Snow Hill Island
Wedde ll S ea
More Info iaato.org
How to do it NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITIONS
offers a 14-day Journey to Antarctica from November to February aboard the 148-passenger National Geographic Explorer. The trip starts and ends in Buenos Aires, with double berths from $13,360 (£10,216) each. Return ﬂights on the group charter from Buenos Aries to Ushuaia from $850 (£650). Also offered is the Journey to Antarctica on the 102-passenger National Geographic Orion, departing Santiago, Chile. nationalgeographicexpeditions.com
PREVIOUS PAGES, CLOCKWISE: Gentoo penguins nest in front of the staff accommodation at Port Lockroy, home to the Penguin Post Ofﬁce; a passenger dressed for the chill at Orne Harbor; two passengers enjoy pristine conditions under the midnight sun in the Weddell Sea; sheltered by its parent, a freshly hatched Adélie penguin chick enters a cold and icy world at Brown Bluff ABOVE: An Adélie penguin eavesdrops on a conversation at Brown Bluff
Rather than drop anchor, the captain ‘parks’ his ship, National Geographic Explorer, in the ice at Port Lockroy for the night
Like a sly fox, our ship turns this way and that, finding patches of water the way a predator seeks the shadows, pouncing on the ice floes, the bow acting like a nutcracker “It’s a different kind of ice to that we find on the west side of the peninsula,” says captain Kruess. “It’s a bit more challenging. But at the same time we have faith — we have a fantastic ship, we’ve been doing it for years and we know how much ice she can have.” Next morning, as I pull back the curtains on my balcony suite, I can see sea ice all around, with huge tabular icebergs dominating the horizon. There’s not another ship to be seen. The loneliness of the Weddell Sea is a comfort. It feels like we’re coming home. And I’m impressed by the speed and manoeuvrability of our ship — she slinks through the pack ice like a sly fox, turning this way and that, finding patches of open water the way a predator would seek the shadows, pouncing on the ice floes that block the way, the bow acting like a nutcracker. Then the call goes out: an emperor penguin has been spotted on the edge of the sea ice. Plump and golden-plumed, the sharp-beaked penguin observes us as the captain gently turns the bow, scattering a group of bewildered Adélies. All eyes are on this rare creature, which breeds so far from the peninsula — a bird I never imagined I’d see.
This sighting is a clue to our intended destination. Our course today might be vague, but on a trip to the bridge I learn the captain is trying to get us to Snow Hill Island, where a small breeding colony of emperor penguins is located. Typically, you need an icebreaker or a ship fitted with helicopters to reach the colony during the summer season. However, the ice has been so packed up in the Weddell Sea that no one has reached Snow Hill in years. Today, we’re giving it our best shot, and this tiny island becomes the sole focus of my attention, imagination, and purpose. I’m determined we’ll reach it. With precision and occasional brute force, the captain presses us to the edge of the pack ice and then far into it. We zigzag through patches of sea ice and past icebergs that lurch for miles. The bow is crowded, the bridge even more so, as excitement permeates the air, filling everyone with restless energy. We pause the ship again, this time for a leopard seal resting on an ice flow, and another emperor, which toboggans across pancake ice directly under the bow. But now it’s suddenly not enough. I want to stand eye to eye with an emperor penguin. I
want to trek across the ice and find myself a crèche full of beautiful fluffy grey chicks. I want to explore a place few have ever seen. Alas, the ice won’t have it. Although the wind is with us, pushing us south, the ice is moving against the wind at a speed of two knots; a remarkable pace given the wind conditions and sheer mass of ice it has to move. Open stretches of water close. The ice moves in. With Snow Hill Island visible on the horizon, we have to turn back. I’d known our chances were limited, but I can’t help but feel disappointed. But then I’m struck by the fact that over the past few days I’ve seen things most people never will, and suddenly I feel greedy and foolish. And it’s then I realise that what I’m feeling isn’t disappointment. It’s hunger — hunger for a new adventure, for a dream to chase, a hunger to explore a place so tantalisingly out of reach. Shackleton, who was once trapped in this very sea, believed everyone has their white south, a place that calls to their heart. For me, my white south is seeing the emperor colony at Snow Hill Island just once: to reach that island locked in ice and wind and time, which lay just within sight but just out of footfall.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK Spot whales, penguins and seals; stand in awe of icebergs and glaciers and set foot on Earthâ€™s least-visited continent on Silverseaâ€™s voyages to Antarctica.
For more information or to book please call 0844 579 6710, visit Silversea.com/expeditions or contact your travel agent.
In B ot s wana’s Chobe Nat ional Park you ’ll have lit t le trouble f inding your ver y own ‘pachyderm parade ’. Head to the S erondela re gion — via the might y V ic toria Falls — where the she er varie t y of wildlife will jolt your inner child back to life Words A U D R E Y G I L L A N
Their trunks are
twisted around each other, two teenage elephants knee-deep in water,
tugging and pulling before let ting go and continuing the Soon, another male joins this play fight and all three are piled up, bodies together, legs and proboscises akimbo, roughhousing in the Chobe River in the afternoon sun. These prepubescent males hold me transfixed, as does the rest of their family, as I watch from a small boat a short distance away. There’s the matriarch alongside the other adult females in the group, plus the three teenagers and two babies, all at the edge of the river, drinking, floating, scratching themselves on the ebony and jackalberry trees, playing and swimming, taking delight in the fact that here in the water their bodyweight is reduced by half by the buoyancy in their bellies. The babies mostly find shelter under the legs or the trunks of the females, but sometimes they stand alone, tentatively working out what this trunk thing does — up until they're a year old elephants can only use their mouths to drink water but when they're fully grown they can take in eight litres with one big snort. These babies are a comical sight — with big moon faces and fuzzy hair on their heads — and as I marvel at them, the tiny elephant singing ‘in a military style’ during Colonel Hathi’s March in The Jungle Book springs to mind. And so, gazing at the largest animals in Africa going about their daily business, I hear the refrain ‘hup, two, three, four’ and ‘We’re a crackerjack brigade. On a pachyderm parade. But we’d rather stroll to a water hole. For a furlough in the shade.’ Chobe National Park, in Northern Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa, and the Serondela area — effectively the Chobe riverfront — is the prime spot for viewing Kalahari elephants, whose large, flapping ears are said to resemble the shape of the African continent. On a very good day you can see hundreds of
pachyderms as they come down the red hills in a diagonal line towards the water, where they might remain for some hours. Today is a good day. Some tentatively skirt the edge of the river, while others plunge right in and splash water behind their ears to cool their veins. Others mix sand with water to make a sort-of mud bath that helps them suffocate biting parasites as well as reduce their temperature. Babies trip over their own feet, or those of others, or hang on to their mother’s trunks or legs for stability. The whole thing is such an utterly breathtaking spectacle I well up at the privilege of seeing it. “Here in the water is when you see that the true colour of the elephant is not in fact grey or brown but a charcoal black,” says Isaac, my captain and guide. As he tries to keep the boat steady, he tells me that elephants live in social structures but also split up into a breeding herd that’s led by the grandmother, the matriarch, and a bachelor herd led by a patriarch, who instils discipline in the young, marauding boys. He points to the roughplaying teenagers. “When those naughty boys are in puberty — between the ages of 12 and 18 — the matriarch kicks them out to try to avoid interbreeding.” Further along the Chobe, we come across a solitary male, standing in marsh grass in the middle of the river, tugging up great tufts of green, swishing them around and beating them a bit, before putting this in his mouth. He’s out here on his own because he’s older and prefers solitude to the fighting and power struggles among younger adult males. “Solitary bulls have had enough of the young men in the breed so they keep to themselves,” Isaac explains. “They shake the grass to take care of their molars.
jostling with their foreheads.
African elephants play-fighting
Aerial view of the Okavango Delta
itâ€™s when I take a single-prop aircraft from Kasane airport that I learn to appreciate the
wide Botswana sky and the colours of the land. Vast tracts of
uninhabited wilderness unfold below me
IMAGES: AUDREY GILLAN; GETTY
They have six sets in their lifespan of 65 years so they need to slow down the flattening of this last set or they won’t be able to chew grass and will suffer from malnutrition.” As we putter along the Chobe, the abundance of birdlife is astonishing — over 450 species of bird call this place home. I see kingfishers (malachite and pied), pygmy geese, helmeted guineafowl (‘Chobe chicken’), and beautiful southern carmine bee-eaters — their plumage bright in breeding colours — flying in and out of nest chambers as they excavate. Sitting on the skeleton of a tree is an African cormorant, its red throat slightly puffed up as it lazily spreads its wings so that it can dry off after the rains, cleaning itself with its own natural oils before it’s able to fly away. Further down the river, up on another tree, are a pair of fish eagles — I watch as one swoops down and pulls its prey out of the water with its talons before returning to share the spoils with its monogamous partner. Along the water’s edge, impala and lechwe lick mineral salt from the dirt to help neutralise the high levels of tannins in the leaves they’ve eaten from the acacia tree. There are Cape buffalo — accompanied by little oxpeckers, quietly picking away at ticks and scabs on the body of the animal — considered the most aggressive of the Big Five. “In Southern Africa, buffalo are nicknamed ‘the dagger boys’,” says Isaac. “And in East Africa, they're known as the Black Death.” We rise at dawn the next day for a game drive out from Chobe Safari Lodge into the park. A pride of lions has been seen and we’re going to track them down. The low morning sun begins to rise and dust whips up around our viewing vehicle but our guide finally spots spoor — lion footprints. He scans the land with binoculars. We wait. And then they come — five of them, nonchalantly crossing the red road in front of us. Just as quickly, they’re gone.
ABOVE: A pair of fish eagles share the spoils of a recent fish hunt OPPOSITE FROM TOP:
Shakapira, a tour guide at Moremi Crossing; waterfall spray soaking visitors walking across the Knife Edge Bridge, Victoria Falls
My journey had begun in Livingstone, Zambia, named after the Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone. I grew up a few miles from his birthplace, in Blantyre, Scotland, and my primary school trips alternated between the David Livingstone Centre — complete with a sculpture of the adventurer being mauled by a lion — and nearby Calderpark Zoo, where African lions were the most popular mammals on show. I hoped that as well as following in a few of Livingstone’s footsteps (he’s believed to have travelled 29,000 miles in his lifetime) I might see some of the poor specimens I’d seen caged as a child living free in the wild. My first stop was Victoria Falls, or, in the Losi language, Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’. As the first recorded European to discover the Zambezi and the falls, Livingstone wrote, ‘Scenes like this must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.’ And they're truly exhilarating scenes. On my first visit, the sky is many shades of threatening grey. I’d expected the magical mist that sprays from the falls when crossing the famous Knife Edge Bridge, but when the skies open with torrential rain, it’s overwhelming — especially when an almost circular rainbow lands at my feet. I’m utterly drenched and unspeakably happy. I return the following morning in different light and under different skies to take in more. From Zambia, I cross by ferry to Botswana at Kalangula. We stop at a point in the river where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet (there’s a post sticking out of the water) and from there we head to the town of Kasane to the base for our Chobe adventure. But it’s when I take a single-prop aircraft from Kasane airport that I learn to appreciate the wide Botswana sky and the colours of the land. Vast tracts of uninhabited wilderness unfold below me — I watch the umber tones of the earth change to a salty white and follow the watery trails of the Okavango Delta. We land at a tiny, basic airstrip, where I’m met by two men driving a big red tractor with a trailer attached carrying a chair for yours truly. The men introduce themselves: Shakapira, the guide for my stay at Moremi Crossing, and Shooting, his deputy, a trainee guide who shadows his mentor to learn more about the wildlife and the landscape around us. The waters of the Boro River and its channels are low on my visit so our activities are confined to slow, gentle excursions both on foot and in a mokoro — a traditional canoe once dug out of ebony but now less regally carved from fibreglass. First we head out in the poled mokoro, brushing past reeds and waterlilies, accompanied by bright-red dragonflies skimming the water’s surface and a plopping soundtrack of catfish plunging into the shallows looking for bugs. We see fish eagles as well as saddle-billed and marabou storks.
Watching one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, the hippo, from a mokoro
But it’s not long before we stop. Shakapira — who’s poling — is suddenly cautious. “Hippo,” he says. There are a tail of small crafts behind us and Shakapira takes to his radio and warns the other guides that he’s seen a hippo in the long grass. But they go on. We stay where we are and then suddenly the hippo, which has slipped unseen into the water, breaches baring its enormous fat teeth and starts charging towards us. Quickly the little boats turn and make haste the other way, amid peels of laughter, masking the underlying fear of a close encounter. “I don’t like hippo,” explains Shakapira. “When I was 14, I went fishing with my friends. We caught a lot of fish in our two mokoro and suddenly I realised that my mokoro was on top of a hippo. Then the hippo kicked my mokoro — luckily my bag of fish flew out and landed on the bank. I swam to the edge and went up on the sandbank and watched the hippo fight with the mokoro. He trashed it. That is why I don’t like them. Whenever I see a hippo, I tell the guys we should turn back or take a different route.” And so it is that the hippo stalls us time and time again. Three times we turn around, and take to the bank — Shakapira, me, then Shooting, walking amid palms, leadwood, knobthorn and sausage trees (named after its huge, hanging fruits, which, should you wish to keep your head, it’s important to avoid). All the time we’re
accompanied by the call of the Cape turtle dove — which Southern Africans like to say is them singing, ‘work harder’ and ‘drink lager’ — and the grey lourie, a creature known locally as the go-away bird, which emits a nasal call that sounds like ‘g’way’. As we walk, Shakapira stoops to examine tracks for freshness. “Elephants have three pads on the back,” he explains. “Cats keep their nails retracted and only put them out when they’re attacking.” We brush past heavily aromatic sage and wild basil, with butterflies all around us. We see zebras, wildebeest and ostriches. Side-striped jackal. A python. A lonely bull elephant spots us and starts shaking his ears. Shakapira whispers us away. From the top of a termite hill, we look out and view a group of hippos frolicking, some yawning, all revelling in the muddy water blithely ignoring the tremulous sound of thunder and their three human observers. Back at our tented camp at Moremi Crossing, Shakapira, Shooting and I sit on the deck overlooking the delta, listening to the torrential rain (known as pula, which is also the name of the local currency) drumming on the thatched roof and making the hippo grass dance under its weight. Shooting has a guide exam in less than a week and I’m keen to sit in on the lesson. The student points out the kudus grazing on the other bank, then helps me identify mangosteen, learn the difference
The shallow floodplains of the Okavango Delta pose no problem for elephants on the move
Z A M B I A
Kazungula Livingstone Serondela VICTORIA FALLS CHOBE NATIONAL PARK OKAVANGO DELTA
B O T S W A N A
ESSENTIALS Getting there & around British Airways flies from Heathrow to Livingstone via Johannesburg. Onward travel is with Comair. South African Airways has daily flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg, and one daily onward flight to Livingstone. ba.com flysaa.com Catch a mini bus/taxi from Livingstone to the border at Kazungula, and cross by ferry to Botswana. It's a short distance from there to Kasane, on the edge of the Chobe National Park. Most hotels offer private transfers. A number of companies have light aircraft flights between safari camps across Botswana, including Moremi Air and Wilderness Air. moremiair.com wilderness-air.com
Places mentioned Chobe National Park. chobenationalpark.co.za AVANI Victoria Falls Hotel. minorhotels.com Chobe Safari Lodge. chobesafarilodge.net Moremi Crossing. underonebotswanasky.com
More info botswanatourism.co.bw zambiatourism.com
How to do it SAGA TRAVEL offers the 12-night In the Footsteps of Livingstone
tour of Zambia and Botswana, from £3,199 per person, departing 10 January 2017. The tour combines a visit to Victoria Falls with stays in Zambia and Botswana at the edge of Chobe National Park. An add-on trip to the Okavango Delta is extra. Includes accommodation, 20 meals, flights and transfers, the services of a Saga tour manager and porterage at all hotels. travel.saga.co.uk
IMAGE: GETTY. ILLUSTRATION: JOHN PLUMER
between pampas and hippo grass and discern the call of the cucka bird. Shakapira and Shooting ask about my country, Scotland, which they think is in England, and smile when I tell them I'm from Livingstone’s country. “Dr David Livingstone would be proud of us,” says Shakapira. “Since we got independence we’ve never been in a war and we have a good democracy. My best lieutenant in my life is Seretse Khama [Botswana’s first president] — he gave us everything. And now our people believe in sitting in parliament talking, not shooting people with guns. I love Botswana. I love my country.” Before independence in 1962, Botswana was a British protectorate known as Bechuanaland. Since taking hold of its own reins, it’s become the most politically stable country in Africa, and its first president, Sir Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama, is a national hero. His son, Ian Seretse Khama, is the country’s current president and has spearheaded the drive towards the preservation of wildlife with a vigorous anti-poaching strategy — most particularly with regard to rhinos — that’s helped to make Botswana the wildlife haven it is today. A saddle-billed stork flies over an elephant, over on the other side of the channel; the pula continues to batter on the roof and I take a moment to ponder my location. In Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels set in Botswana, the lady detective, Mma Precious Ramotswe, says, ‘I am just a tiny person in Africa, but there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this earth and touch it and call it their own.’ This country is not my own, but the Batswana have welcomed me like they did Dr David Livingstone. I can see why my countryman chose to make this country his own.
GOTO FOGO Itâ€™s all a matter of life and death on Fogo Island. The final resting place for Arctic icebergs, this atmospheric Canadian isle has proved the end of the line for others, too. But itâ€™s also a place of re-birth, caught in the middle of an unlikely renaissance fuelled by a most singular hotel Words N I G E L R I C H A R D S O N Photographs S T E P H E N G O R M A N
FERGUS FOLEY, A NATIVE OF FOGO ISLAND AND A RETIRED FISHERIES OFFICER, SHOWS ME AROUND THE ISLAND ON WHICH HE WAS BORN
he iceberg is the shape of a saddle and about the size of one of the island’s saltbox houses. As we contemplate it slowly shredding itself against the rocks, my companion, Fergus Foley, turns to me and says: “That’s travelled from Greenland. Probably took two or three years to get here. Lost weight as he came. And that’s where he’ll die.” It’s early summer on Fogo Island, a speck of land with a population of just 2,400, off the coast of Newfoundland. Together with the adjacent landmass of Labrador, sparsely populated Newfoundland forms the easternmost Canadian province. But strangely, to me, it feels like a breakaway piece of the northern British Isles. That impression is partly to do with the relatively short flying time (five hours) and negligible, not to say eccentric, time difference of 3.5 hours. But the principal reason is hidden in the way Newfoundlanders speak, and it was this intriguing connection to the old country that has drawn me back to the province for a third visit in as many years. Fogo Island, like the myriad other islands and inlets along the fretted northern coast, is iceberg Valhalla in June. While the sun shines on the inland ponds, rocky coves and traditional white saltbox houses with their margins of picket fencing, the bergs bob offshore in their infinite variety of shapes. Fergus enthuses about these big blue Arctic emissaries. “They still fascinate me and I’ve been here a lifetime,” he says. Meanwhile, I
reflect ruefully that the expiring iceberg’s passage here has, no doubt, been a damned sight less troublesome than my own. A day earlier, after touching down in the Newfoundland capital of St John’s I hopped in a hire car and drove 260 miles from southeast to north through forested hinterlands to a place called Farewell. There I took my place in the queue for the Fogo Island ferry and waited. And waited. In fact I waited for as long as it’d taken me to cross the Atlantic. All the while I could hear Zita Cobb’s words in my head: “I can’t think of anywhere in the world worth going to that doesn’t take a whole day to get there.” In 2013, Cobb opened a sophisticated and expensive 29-room hotel here called the Fogo Island Inn — and in the process demonstrated how tourism can preserve a culture and reverse the death throes of a community. Finally, at 11.30pm, having squeezed on a decrepit rust bucket of a ferry (a new one is, thankfully, now in service) for the 45-minute crossing to Fogo Island and driven a further 15 miles to a settlement called Joe Batt’s Arm, I spotted the inn against a clear night sky: a pale lozenge lit by windows little bigger than arrow slits on the landward side (those facing the ocean are floor-to-ceiling), apparently floating above the rocky foreshore — an illusion created by its stilts on one side. It’s such a surreal apparition that if you’ve never seen it before, you’re liable to rub your eyes and wonder if it’s extra-terrestrial.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Fogo Island Inn — a splendid feat of contemporary architecture that combines the features of traditional Newfoundland outport buildings ABOVE: The harbour of Joe Batt's Arm, the village where Zita Cobb was born and raised. Cobb is the reason why Fogo Island is on the hitlist of international hipsters, curious to experience its mix of cutting-edge style and outer-space remoteness
RIGHT: A life-size bronze of a Beothuk woman ‘walks’ through the forest. This is Shanawdithit, the last survivor and chronicler of the indigenous Beothuk people BELOW: When the fishing industry crashed in the early 1990s, Fogo's economy was devastated. Zita Cobb's vision of a business that serves the environment and local culture has revived the fortunes of local artists, such as Winston Osmond
Driving the final few yards, my headlights picked out one of the places where this story — and, indeed, the story of Newfoundland itself — begins: the Anglican graveyard of St John the Evangelist. Lying just above the shore and surrounded by springy ground cover known as barrens, where berries and caribou moss grow, the graveyard is packed with headstones bearing names that originated in the English county of Dorset. The following morning, beneath a dazzlingly big, cloudless sky, I wander the aisles of names: Cobb, Coffin, Cull, Freake. As early as the 17th century, fishing fleets from the English West Country were coming to these waters for the abundant cod, picking up provisions and crew in southeast Ireland before the long Atlantic haul. And from the 18th century, they started to settle. The majority of Newfoundland’s current population of 500,000 claim English or Irish ancestry and you can hear traces of this past in the way they speak, especially in isolated spots like Fogo Island — “Toime floies,” one fisherman observed to me. The way of life — fishing, sealing and self-sufficiency — changed little down the centuries. But the modern world caught up with the islanders in 1992, when the Canadian government announced a moratorium on the northern cod fishery and the fishing communities of Newfoundland were hit as hard as Britain’s coalfields in the 1980s. “We thought we were finished at that point,” Fergus Foley tells me. “I’d say we lost a
third of our population, mostly to Alberta.” Fergus has picked me up mid-morning for a spin round the island. Retired, he now works for Fogo Island Inn as one of several ‘community hosts’, giving guests guided tours in his pick-up truck and explaining Fogo’s history and culture along the way. As we drive along empty roads round sheltered bays, their waters reflecting the clapboard saltbox houses perched along the shore, Fergus talks of Zita Cobb, his nearcontemporary: how she grew up on Fogo Island in a poor family; went away and became a senior executive in the fibre-optics industry in California; retired at the age of 43 and caught the ferry home with C$69 million in her back pocket and big ideas in her head. Believing in “business models that are the servants of the environment and culture, not their master,” she sank many millions of her own fortune into conceiving and building the inn and its associated projects, such as artists’ studios, re-investing all profits in the community. When I open my eyes on my first morning in the inn, the first thing I see is the blue ocean, stretching uninterrupted all the way to Greenland, flecked with those blue-white bergs. Then my eye is drawn to the exquisite
ST JOHNâ€™S IS A GRID OF COLOURFUL CLAPBOARD HOUSES SLOPING TO THE HARBOUR LIKE A BONSAI SAN FRANCISCO. HERE, WHERE THE LAND MEETS THE SEA, NEWFOUNDLANDERS HAVE FORGED A RICH, DIVERSE AND UNIQUE CULTURE
decor of white walls, pale wooden floors and coloured fabrics and wallpaper. Every item in the inn is the work of international designers, mediated through the culture of the island (the designers were invited to stay here and immerse themselves in its traditions) and manufactured by Fogo Island craftsmen and women, including boat builders and quilt makers. Almost all of the inn’s 80-plus staff are locals, and the project employs scores more indirectly. THE END OF THE LINE The island is buzzing again, with a renewed pride in its heritage, and Fergus attributes much of its revival to the inn and its vision. As a community host, Fergus has met people from all over the world, many of them in the super-rich bracket who come in on private planes and helicopters to see for themselves this rare example of what Zita calls “entrepreneurial philanthropy” in action. Others who can’t afford to stay at the inn — one day’s full board for two starts at C$1,575 (£860) — come anyway and stay, as I did on my first visit, in one of the numerous B&Bs that have popped up, like pilot fish, since the inn opened in May 2013. There’s so much to do here, depending on the season: besides the little museums dedicated to the island’s way of life, there are icebergs, birds and whales to watch, boat trips, star-gazing and coastal walks. Or you can simply chew the fat with disarming locals like Fergus. He drives me to his home village, Tilting — “the best preserved village in the province” — a fishing community of white saltboxes and oxblood-red ‘stages’ (fishermen’s cabins) along the water’s edge, where time is measured by the turning of the tide and other sempiternal phenomena. The Arctic terns which spend every summer on the same rock in the bay have just arrived from Antarctica and soon the capelin, small silver fish of the smelt family, will be rolling onto the beach in Oliver’s Cove to spawn. Fergus’s family, originally from the Waterford area of Ireland, have witnessed such events through “eight or nine generations”. Ancestors lie in the graveyard and their stories live on in his memory. One such story concerns a Tilting man called Michael Turpin and the fate he is said to have suffered in June 1809. Standing above Sandy Cove, an adjacent crescent of beach, Fergus points out the large rock his father claimed was stained with blood for many years. This was where Turpin was beheaded by a raiding party of Beothuk, the people indigenous to northern Newfoundland, who were completely wiped out by European settlers in the 19th century. “There was a fellow by the name of Will Cull who lived in Shoal Bay,” Fergus tells me. “He would boast about how many Beothuk he killed.”
CHEWING THE FAT WITH DISARMING LOCALS IS ONE OF FOGO’S DRAWS. ISLANDER MARY O’KEEFE, 81 YEARS YOUNG, STOPS ALONG THE ROADSIDE FOR A CHAT
According to the information panel at Sandy Cove, Turpin’s head was found the following year on mainland Newfoundland. It was impaled on a pole next to Exploits River, which flows into Notre Dame Bay on the northern coast. On my journey back from Fogo Island I decide to follow up this neglected part of Newfoundland history by taking a detour into the former Beothuk heartland of Notre Dame Bay. Here, at Boyd’s Cove, is the Beothuk Interpretation Centre, where I learn that by the early 1800s, European fishermen and settlers had begun blocking the Beothuks from their food sources along the coast. Plagued by starvation and sickness, their numbers had dwindled to a handful. Half a mile from the interpretation centre, along a forest path dappled by sunlight, I find the remains of 11 Beothuk dwellings in a clearing above the bay. Nothing is left but indentations in the turf. Among the trees, and easily missed, stands a life-size bronze sculpture of a Beothuk woman ‘walking’ among the shadows. The statue represents Shanawdithit, the last survivor of the Beothuk people, who gave herself up to trappers in 1823 and died in St John’s in 1829.
OPPOSITE: Quidi Vidi Village was once a thriving fishing port. It’s now a historic district within St John’s where great efforts have been made to preserve and protect its character, culture and historical significance; whale and puffin-watching in the Witless Bay Marine Sanctuary
RIGHT: Just minutes from downtown St John’s, Cape Spear is North America’s easternmost point. The lighthouse overlooks a parade of drifting icebergs and waters teeming with whales and porpoises. Its restored interior offers a glimpse into 19th-century lightkeeping along Newfoundland’s unforgiving coast
Labrador Sea LABRADOR
Notr e D ame B ay
FO G O IS L A N D
Fogo Island NEWFOUNDLAND
St John’s AT L A N T I C OCEAN
New World Island
BEOTHUK INTERPRETATION CENTRE
ESSENTIALS Getting there & around Air Canada has direct daily flights from Heathrow to St John’s. Westjet flies daily from Gatwick until 22 October and will resume in May 2017. aircanada.com westjet.com To get to Fogo Island from St John’s, either hire a car and drive, or fly to the regional airport at Gander and pick up a car there; Deer Lake Airport in the west is convenient for Gros Morne National Park and the Northern Peninsula. The Fogo Island ferry, which operates on a first-come, first-served basis several times a day, costs C$18.15 (£10.80) return for a car and driver; additional passengers C$6.05 (£3.60).
Where to stay Fogo Island Inn. fogoislandinn.ca Quintal House. quintalhouse.ca
Sheraton, St John’s. sheratonhotelnewfoundland.com Landwash Lodging. landwashlodging.com Peg’s. pegsplace.ca
Places mentioned The Beothuk Interpretation Centre. T: 00 1 709 656 3114. The Rooms. therooms.ca
More info newfoundlandandlabrador.com
How to do it BRIDGE & WICKERS offers three nights in St John’s and
three in the Fogo Island Inn from £2,285 per person, including international flights, car hire and ferry. bridgeandwickers.co.uk
Just a few feet away from her drawings is an exhibit that represents the end of another line — a skeleton of the extinct great auk. These flightless, defenceless seabirds, prized for their down and meat, were also victims of European settlers, who killed them in industrial quantities. The last one seen alive anywhere in the world was spotted off Newfoundland in 1852. Earlier, during my last morning on Fogo Island I’d paid tribute to these two extinct lineages — the Beothuk and the great auk — by walking a coastal trail where ancient people are known to have lived and hunted. The path had threaded out to Joe Batt’s Point, then forked after a couple of miles; the right-hand fork continuing along the coast, the left leading up to a snout of jumbled rocks jutting into the ocean. And here on a flat rock, facing mournfully out to sea, stood a green bronze sculpture of a great auk, part of the Lost Bird Project by the American sculptor Todd McGrain, which memorialises North America’s extinct bird species. His great auk was a head shorter than me. And when I put my arm round it and rapped its hollow body the sound it produced was like a stifled lament. Adapt or die is the watchword in this harsh North Atlantic environment. Out there on the ocean horizons where the bergs bob, the first settlers appeared more than 300 years ago. Their descendants have come through by finding new ways to stay the same.
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN PLUMER
All that’s left of the Beothuks are a few fragments in museums here and there, a small vocabulary of Beothuk words — and Shanawdithit’s extraordinary legacy. Shortly before she died, probably of tuberculosis, she made a series of drawings — of settlements, encounters with Europeans, dwellings, weapons and so on — that constitute the principal record of Beothuk culture. Reproductions of these drawings are in the official museum and archive of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in St John’s, also known as The Rooms (the originals are too precious to display). Beyond its panoramic windows, the core of old St John’s slopes to the harbour in a grid of colourful clapboard houses. I imagined Shanawdithit wandering down these bustling streets, bewildered and ill, knowing she was the end of the line.
Around here, not all flights require boarding passes.
Itâ€™s 5 hours from London Heathrow to St. Johnâ€™s direct. And you get 31/2 of them back. Year-round flights. Visit aircanada.com/newfoundland, call 0871 220 111, or contact your travel agency.
From sea to plate WEST SWEDEN
Words & photographs L O L A A K I N M A D E Å K E R S T R Ö M
EXPLORE WEST SWEDEN’S BOHUSLÄN COAST IN SEARCH OF THE REGION’S SEAFOOD ‘BIG FIVE’ — LOBSTERS, OYSTERS, MUSSELS, CRAYFISH AND PRAWNS. HOP ABOARD FISHING BOATS, HEAD TO SEAFOOD AUCTIONS AND FOLLOW THESE SHELLFISH AND CRUSTACEANS ALL THE WAY TO YOUR PLATE
SMÖGEN: Fisherman Martin Olofsson, of Smögens Fiske & Skärgårdsturer pulls up and empties several fish traps before casting them back into the ocean. The cold, clean waters of the North Sea around postcard-perfect fishing village, Smögen, produce some of the region’s largest langoustines and prawns. Martin runs crayfish safaris off the Bohuslän’s coast, where langoustine are pulled from traps and steamed on board. October 2016
GREBBESTAD: Ninety percent of Swedenâ€™s oysters are harvested from the waters surrounding the coastal fishing community of Grebbestad. Per Karlsson, of Everts SjĂśbod, runs oyster safaris around the Grebbestad archipelago where he teaches travellers how to farm for oysters raked right from the docks of a 19th-century boathouse and the proper way to shuck them.
FISKHAMNEN: Since 1910, Sweden’s largest fish auction, at Gothenburg’s Fiskhamnen, has brought together fishermen and fishmongers from across the Nordics and Baltics in a frenzy of bidding over 80 tons of seafood. The buyers include wholesale suppliers and top chefs, who handpick the finest specimens for upscale restaurants. Tourists can visit the auction but aren’t allowed to buy. October 2016
GOTHENBURG: Sweden’s Oyster King, chef Johan Malm, demonstrates the right way to open up a Grebbestad oyster at his seafood restaurant, Gabriel. The restaurant is located inside Gothenburg's iconic 19th-century fish market Feskekörka (‘Fish Church’) — ensuring easy access to fresh seafood.
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I M A G I N E D
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Presenting an unparalleled clifftop and beachfront oasis along Bali’s exclusive southern peninsula, The Ungasan Clifftop Resort is a renowned holiday, private event and wedding destination. Offering an intimate collection of seven fully-staffed private pool villas, guests enjoy premier access to the stunning white sands of Sundays Beach Club, Vela Spa’s beautifully appointed facilities and relaxed gourmet dining at the luxurious Selatan Restaurant. Exclusive yet never pretentious, The Ungasan showcases the best of Bali’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. Captivating families, corporate travellers, wellness enthusiasts and honeymooners alike, authentic Balinese
heritage and hospitality are at the heart of The Ungasan experience. Thanks to its picturesque location and the option to reserve all seven of the resort’s villas, The Ungasan is a preferred wedding venue for celebrities, athletes and the region's biggest names. Staffed by butler and driver, each residence inspires the senses with expansive gardens, sophisticated interior design and unforgettable views. Sundays Beach Club offers the island’s premier selection of ocean activities. By day, guests enjoy swimming in the lagoon, snorkelling and kayaking, while evenings are all about cosy bonfires at dusk, live music beneath the stars and dinners beside the sea.
MADRID Bullﬁghting, long lunches and late nights — Madrid may be just how Hemingway left it, but change is also in the air WORDS: Gavin Haines PHOTOGRAPHS: Nick Warner
arlos Enrique Carmona is 18 years old and has the dubious distinction of having been gored by a bull... in his groin. “It wasn’t too bad,” he assures me, fl ashing an awkward smile that says otherwise. There’s no need to feel sorry for him. Though he still wears braces on his teeth and can’t yet muster any meaningful facial hair, the teenager has decided to pursue a career as a matador and any bullfighting-related injuries he sustains are of his own making. I’ve never met a matador before, but Carlos is exactly how I pictured one to be. Tall with dark hair and piercing brown eyes, his skinny frame bedecked in a tailored suit, he wears the look of a man who’d gleefully seduce your wife the minute your back was turned. Bullfi ghting, he says, is in his blood. “My father, my cousin and my godmother are bullfi ghters,” he says, proudly. His mum must worry, I suggest. “Yes,” he replies, though I suspect her complaining does little to quell his passion. My meeting with Carlos is quite by chance. Although I’ve come to Las Ventas bullring, where the young protégé plies his trade, it’s not often the public gets to meet a matador, particularly when, like today, there isn’t a fi ght taking place. However, he happened to be putting on a rare demonstration (sans bull) while I toured the venue, so I collared him. An imposing building in Madrid’s Salamanca district, Las Ventas was a favourite hangout for the writer Ernest Hemingway, who was a regular in the Spanish capital during the 1920s. He loved this city and set part of his seminal novel, The Sun Also Rises, here. Despite the romance that Hemingway’s historic presence evokes, Las Ventas today is a theatre of controversy. Scores of bulls are slain here every year in the name of sport — something animal rights activists, quite reasonably, claim is cruel. But although it sits uncomfortably with me, there’s something about bullfi ghting that captures my imagination. It’s an ugly spectacle, of course, but there’s also a dangerous beauty about it; man and beast dancing with each other, dancing with death. Julio Aparicio knows all about the perils of his sport. In 2010, in this very arena, a costly error led to him being gored
by a bull — its horn entering through the unfortunate matador’s Adam’s apple and exiting though his mouth. Aparicio’s life was spared on the operating table, but the bull wasn’t so lucky: he was slain, despite winning the fight. That gruesome day — one of the darker chapters in modern bullfighting — was eclipsed in July 2016, when the matador, Victor Barrio, stepped into a bullring and never walked out. The 29-year-old, an apprentice at Las Ventas, was fighting in Aragon and his death — the first in 30 years — was broadcast live on television, putting even more pressure on a sport that was already falling out of favour. Carlos isn’t keen to talk about the ethics of his sport, so I take my enquiries to the on-site museum, which chronicles the history of bullfighting. “Right now toreo is not fashionable,” concedes the visitors’ manager, Yoann Meurs. “Some people want to stop it [once and for all].” But, he says, bullfighting is vital to the economy. Without it the bars and
restaurants surrounding the stadium would struggle to survive. He claims they make most of their annual income in May, when Las Ventas hosts an international competition that he describes as “the Champions League of bullfighting”. But what about the poor animals, I offer. They’re antagonised, toyed with and ultimately massacred in the name of entertainment. Yoann suggests carnivores have little room to criticise the sport, which he says rewards quick kills. “The public want a good dance and just one sword to kill the bull,” he explains. “It should take less than a minute for the bull to die.” It doesn’t always end quickly, though, and it doesn’t always end in death. If the bull proves too shrewd for the matador, spectators wave orange handkerchiefs to goad the president of the ring into pardoning its ‘charmed’ life. “Twenty bulls a year have their lives saved in Spain,” says Yoann, neglecting to mention the many that don’t. “They’ll live in paradise, with 30 or 40 cows for reproductive
PREVIOUS PAGES: All worlds collide in the sporting arena of Las Ventas bullring CLOCKWISE: Malasaña district is being revived by a new entrepreneurial spirit; a traditional brass band; suckling pigs at Botin
The world's oldest eatery // The Botin is famed for its signature dish, suckling pig, which is everything the plaudits promise. I wash it down with half a bottle of red, which, like the food, isn’t served with anything resembling a smile
purposes — it’s actually a good life.” I remain unconvinced. Whatever your thoughts on bullfighting, you can’t deny its ability to confront. And in a continent that’s becoming increasingly standardised, bullfighting is something distinctively Spanish. Love it or loathe it, it’s woven into the culture of this country.
ON THE HEMINGWAY TRAIL
Hemingway was a big fan of bullfighting, which plays a starring role in The Sun Also Rises. Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the book follows a group of heavydrinking, easy-loving American expats as they travel from Paris to Madrid via Pamplona. It ends in a local restaurant called Botin, which not only has the distinction of being one of Hemingway’s favourite haunts, but is also thought to be the world’s oldest restaurant. Located on a street behind Plaza Mayor, Botin swung open its doors in 1725 and looks every bit its age. The stone floors, woodpanelled walls and antiquated dining trolleys convey a bygone epoch, while the smell of roast meat is evocative of Sunday lunch at gran’s house. The restaurant is famed for its signature dish, suckling pig, which is indeed everything the plaudits promise. I wash it down with half a bottle of red, which, like the food, isn’t served with anything resembling a smile. Where service is concerned, I get the feeling that Botin trades off past glories, although it undeniably delivers the goods. Going on the Hemingway trail is a great way to acquaint yourself with Madrid — and the writer’s drinking habits. He propped up many of the city’s timeworn bars; among his favourites were Museo Chicote on Gran Via, a sleek cocktail bar just down the road from Madrid’s brazen red light district; and La Venencia, a no-frills sherry bar that lurks down one of Sol’s quiet backstreets, Calle de Echegaray. Were Hemingway to walk into La Venencia today he’d surely find it little changed. The walls and ceiling are nicotine brown (from the days when you could smoke) and the empty sherry bottles stacked behind the bar look like they haven’t seen a feather duster since Franco was in power. It’s refreshingly old-fashioned; taking photos is banned, there’s no music and not one person seems to be playing with their phone. Punters seem to be treated with the same casual indifference and their tabs are chalked onto the ancient wooden bar, like the old days. The Spanish aren’t in the habit of getting drunk and rarely booze on an empty stomach. La Venencia, therefore, like every other bar in town, serves small plates of tapas, which start from just €1. A glass of fino, meanwhile, leaves you with change from €2.
Templo do Debod // A short walk from the Plaza de España metro stop sits an Egyptian temple in the heart of Madrid. Gifted to Spain in 1968, it originally stood in the Nile Valley in 4BC, in honour of the gods Amun and Isis. Day and night, its sweeping views attract photographers, tourists and hipsters alike “No tips,” barks the bartender, when I settle my tab, returning the silver to my palm. I bid him farewell and stagger home with the glow of a man who’s had more than enough sherry for the day.
FORGING NEW NARRATIVES
One of the main themes in The Sun Also Rises, set in Europe after the Second World War, is the idea of a lost generation. And, the following morning, as I explore Malasaña, a district prone to being described as ‘trendy’, it doesn’t escape my attention that there’s also talk of a lost generation today. Eight years after the economic crash, the unemployment rate in Spain is a reported 21%, rising to 45% when you start talking about youth unemployment. The EU average is 8.9% and 19.4% respectively. Spain has been hit hard. Perversely, the economic crash has helped Malasaña reinvent itself as the vibrant, vital district it is today. At least that’s according to Joanna Wivell, a garrulous Yorkshire lass who fell for Madrid and now works as a tour guide in the city. “In a way, this place has really come alive since the crisis,” she says, as we thread through Malasaña’s bustling streets. When workers lost their jobs and moved back in with their parents, the price of property here crashed, explains Joanna, which opened doors for those looking to start businesses. “And because people lost their jobs, they had to reinvent themselves,” she says. “So they went abroad or studied something new and came back here with their ideas.” Vanesa Serrano is one of those people. She worked in advertising before the crash and now runs a design shop in Malasaña. “When I arrived here there were druggies in the street, but now it has changed,” says the young entrepreneur, who has just returned from a three-hour lunch. Long lunches are an essential part of life in Madrid, as they are in the rest of Spain,
but this time-honoured tradition is under threat. Politicians are talking about reining them in and bringing them in line with the rest of Europe. “Impossible,” says Vanesa, shaking her head. “We won’t do it.” Malasaña’s independent spirit is similarly under threat. The tide of gentrification is creeping in and the main thoroughfare, Fuencarral, is increasingly dominated by multinationals. However, the bohemian vibe lives on down the labyrinthine backstreets, lined as they are with salons, shops, restaurants and bars, which people flutter between like butterflies. Joanna leads me into Bodega de la Ardosa, a vermouth bar that’s been serving drinks for more than 100 years. Like all of Madrid’s eateries specialising in the aperitif, this bodega is painted bright red, but, unlike the others, this one has a hidden backroom, which is accessed by crawling under the bar. This is the best bar of its kind, says Joanna, before ordering two wee snifters. And so starts a bar crawl, which next takes us to La Realidad, whose owner, Javier Figarola, regales me with the history of the district. “Malasaña is named after Manuela Malasaña who was a seamstress from the area,” he says. “When Napoleon invaded Madrid she was one of the leading revolutionary girls. She died fighting French troops.” Since then Malasaña has retained its rebellious, youthful spirit. “After Franco, this neighbourhood was one of the main places where young people came to hear music,” says Javier. “Malasaña has always been an area for young people.” The crawl continues to Kikekeller, an art gallery-cum-cocktail lounge, which has a bar made from what appears to be an American muscle car. And then to Palentino, where I befriend Pipi, who’s a TV producer on a soap opera called Troubled Times. Pipi is bedecked in a tartan dress, red specs and auburn hair, and is accompanied by a man
CLOCKWISE: Inside the historic La Ardosa vermouth bar; the city’s vibrant streets; leisurely three-hour lunches are the norm in Madrid; a monument in Plaza del Dos de Mayo dedicated to two Spanish soldiers who fought against Napoleon
Las Ventas bullring
Plaza de Toros Las Ventas
Plaza de Colon
MAL ASAÑA Bodega de la Ardosa La Realidad
Plaza de la Cibeles
Puerto del Sol
PARQUE DEL RETIRO
S PA I N Matadero Madrid 1 mile
Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum are all world-class galleries — but the Matadero is recognised as an incubator for tomorrow’s talent. “The authorities knew Madrid had lots of great museums, but there was a lack of space for young artists to work and exhibit,” says communications manager Iñigo Garcia, showing me around. “We don’t exhibit the big names, just emerging artists.” I explore the rambling facility, which is home to theatres, cinemas and various
creative spaces where I watch resident artists lose themselves in sculptures and paintings. There’s a calm and convivial atmosphere throughout, but that wasn’t always the case — in a previous life this hub of creativity was actually a slaughterhouse. From death there is life. No doubt anti-bullfighting campaigners would like to see something similar happen to Las Ventas, but that may be wishful thinking for now. While new narratives are being forged in Madrid, some old habits die hard.
ESSENTIALS Getting there & around EasyJet, British Airways and Vueling are among the airlines offering regular daily flights between the UK and Madrid. Between them, they service the Spanish capital from London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Manchester. easyjet.com ba.com vueling.com Madrid is easily explored on foot. However, for longer journeys, hop on the Metro, which is extensive. If you’re going to be using the Metro a lot, buy a Go Madrid travel pass, which starts at €8 for one day’s unlimited travel in zone A.
More info spain.info esmadrid.com Pocket Rough Guide to Madrid. RRP: £7.99.
How to do it Fly to Madrid from around £60 return (easyjet.com) and check-in to Only YOU (onlyyouhotels.com), a beautiful boutique hotel in Malasaña, where doubles start from around £120 per night. Build your own bespoke tour of the city, focusing on anything from food and wine to history, with Insider’s Madrid (insidersmadrid.com).
The interviews in this feature were conducted before the tragic death of Víctor Barrio in July 2016, and all quotes included should be viewed in that context.
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN PLUMER
who sports a heroic handlebar moustache and smokes Savage cigarettes. “This place is an institution, a proper bar,” she says, raising her voice above the din of conversation. “There’s always a big mix of people in here. Everyone is welcome.” Less welcome is my fuzzy head the next day, which follows me to the Matadero arts centre on the other side of town. The Spanish capital is not short of headline cultural attractions — the Museo Nacional Del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte
Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts and Leading Hotels of the World present an extraordinary work of art in the heart of Madrid
Cuesta de Santo Domingo, 5 28013 Madrid
B R A Z I L (2016) · CH I N A · I N D ON ESIA · ITALY · P U ERTO R ICO · SPAI N · VEN EZU EL A Information and bookings: +34 91 541 67 00, with your travel agency or via granmelia.com
CAPE TOWN Z
Is there any city on Earth with as many different faces as Cape Town? It can be gritty, chic, gregarious, reﬁned, wild, or, if you're very lucky, all of the above WORDS: David Whitley PHOTOGRAPHS: Alyson Smith
n Tuesday morning, the skies are clear. From the top of Table Mountain, everything seems beautifully defi ned. The walking trails act as scars through the rock and low fynbos shrub. Paragliders flutter down from the neighbouring Lion’s Head summit. Little dassies — scuttling guinea pig-like critters that are apparently the closest living relatives to elephants — munch away, oblivious to their cooing onlookers. On Wednesday afternoon, Pinotages and Sauvignon Blancs are being greedily sampled at Groot Constantia’s cellar door. The Dutch Renaissance manor house at South Africa’s oldest winery (it was founded in 1685) sits handsomely amid an idyll of vines, the splendour question-marked only by the signs warning about potential marauding baboons. On Thursday night, the City Bowl teems with people spilling out onto the streets clutching wine glasses and beer bottles. The monthly First Thursdays event sees galleries and shops open late, wine being poured in every conceivable location, and a sprawling melee taking over Church and Bree Streets. The hard part is getting to a bar to join in. On Friday morning, women smeared in face paint to stave off the worst of the heat are cooking sheep heads over a spitting, fierce fire. They’re in the middle of the shacks of the Langa township, where everything seems to
be ‘illegal but tolerated’. Dubious electricity wires have been hooked up to the lamp posts, and house-proud old men show how they’ve fashioned lamps from defunct blenders, and skylights from old wooden panels. Then, on Saturday, surfers hit the False Bay waves towards the wild dunes of Muizenberg Beach. Near brightly coloured beach huts, the cast of sunbathers and sandcastle-makers lives up to South Africa’s Rainbow Nation tag. It’s a stark contrast to the better-known, well-heeled, distinctly Anglo-sheened western seaboard beaches where cocktail glasses clink and expensive sunglasses get donned. It’s difficult to pick any of these scenes as archetypal Cape Town, yet somehow they all are. There’s arguably no other city in the world that can provide such a variety of wildly different faces. Culture, heritage, chic, grit, nature, food and wine, seaside fun, adventure and shamelessly touristy mooching are all perfectly valid focuses — and you could happily leave the city without touching on any of the others. Mix and match, though, and a beautiful, energetic, frequently eye-opening city wields a compelling magic. Leaving is always an act undertaken with the nagging doubt that the surface has barely been scratched — but with an odd satisfaction that you’d be more than happy to come back next year and do exactly the same again.
SEE & DO
VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT:
The shiny waterfront shops and restaurants development isn’t all soulless chains. The views of Table Mountain — especially when the tablecloth-esque cloud creeps over — are superb; the many boat cruises that depart from here are enjoyable; the seals splashing in the water are mighty cute. waterfront.co.za TABLE MOUNTAIN: Reserve this for a clear day, as the views from the top are immense in all directions, and it becomes clear just how awkwardly the city is squeezed into the mountain’s gaps. A cable-car takes nonhikers to the top. tablemountain.net CAPE POINT: After the drive through the wild, baboon-strewn fynbos and national park, the end of the continent appears. A funicular shuttles visitors up to the top, while a 90-minute walk back along the clifftops leads to the Cape of Good Hope. capepoint.co.za. BOULDERS BEACH: Just beyond Simon’s Town on the way to Cape Point, this beach is home to a huge colony of friendly African penguins. ROBBEN ISLAND: The tours of the former island
prison that held Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners are rushed, but insights from ex-prisoners make it worthwhile. The bus tour (visiting the quarry where Mandela et al performed years of hard labour) offers most insight. robben-island.org.za COFFEEBEANS ROUTES: This tour company introduces visitors to local creatives. Experiences range from backyard theatre productions in the townships to a stroll around Woodstock’s street art scene with one of the artists. coffeebeansroutes.com DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM: District Six was designated as whites-only in 1966. Houses were torn down, residents were forcibly removed. This museum is full of personal recollections. districtsix.co.za VAMOS TOWNSHIP TOURS: These residentled tours shed light on both South Africa’s history and township life. They feel nonexploitative too, giving the chance to meet and talk to locals at home, in an illegal pub, a ceramics workshop and Mzoli’s, a legendary meat-tastic braai restaurant.
ALFRED MALL: The most nondescript
mall at the V&A Waterfront is arguably the most interesting too. Its inhabitants are unchainy and distinctive. Solveig does fashion with African styles and colour, Galleria Gibello sells gorgeous photography and Chameleon recycles to make art like hippos from wine corks and bottle tops or miniature VW Combis from beads. ORIGINAL T-BAG DESIGNS: Coasters, candle holders, cards, notepads and canvas bags — all made from used teabags, by local women in the township of Imizamo Yethu as part of an anti-poverty initiative. As well as a factory shop in the township, there’s also a stall at the Waterfront’s Watershed mall. THE WOODSTOCK EXCHANGE: A former factory in up-and-coming Woodstock has been turned into a quirky shopping mall crammed with art installations. Honest Chocolate hand-makes tremendous chocs, Grandt Mason Originals sells very distinctive casual shoes and Kingdom does street artesque handbags. woodstockexchange.co.za
Finding flora // The world is divided into six ‘floral kingdoms’, of which the Cape is by far the smallest, plus 69% of plant species here are found nowhere else. Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden is the best place to discover the diversity. sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch
LIKE A LOCAL
GET CRAFTY: Cape Town’s craft beer
scene has mushroomed in the past few years, which is a blessed relief given that the bogstandard Castle lager is awful. The Devil’s Peak Brewing Company, Woodstock Brewery and Cape Brewing Company are among the best microbrew brands to look out for. TREK CAREFULLY: There are hundreds of hiking trails on Table Mountain, but weather conditions can change quickly. Locals advise to always go prepared — it’s properly wild, rather than being a micromanaged public park — and not to hike alone. Hike Table Mountain offers guided walks for novices a little unsure of their surroundings. hiketablemountain.co.za WATCH THE WATER: Whale-watching season is officially July to December, but the southern rights can often be found in Table Bay outside of this period. It’s worth keeping eyes peeled while on the ferry to Robben Island — they can often be spotted breaching.
Cape Town’s food scene is diverse, less meat-based than in the rest of the country, and exceptional value — it’s rare to find mains for over 200 rand (£11.50). Bree Street in the centre, is the new-openings hotspot. ADDIS IN CAPE: Traditional Ethiopian food and decor are found at this lovable familyrun joint. There’s no cutlery — the semispicy stews are scooped up using a piece of injera, a sourdough pancake made from teff (an Ethiopian grass). addisincape.co.za SAVOY CABBAGE: A warehouse-style setting and a local slant on the ingredients give this long-standing favourite an edge over new pretenders. Grilled kingklip, sugar-cured zebra, springbok loin and brined warthog are among the unusual but exquisitely cooked fare. savoycabbage.co.za BOMBAY BRASSERIE: Inside the Taj Cape Town hotel, with lavish chandeliers and peacock designs woven into the chairs, the Bombay Brasserie offers a dining experience every bit as stunning as its looks. tajcapetown.co.za/dining/bombay-brasserie
Sun-rise strolls on Camps Bay promenade FROM TOP:
Original T-Bag Designs, Watershed mall; Coffeebeans Routes visits local creative John M Bauer in his pottery studio
LEFT, CLOCKWISE: Street
artist Dfeat Once, talking visitors through the local graffiti art scene on a Coffeebeans Routes tour; First Thursdays outside The House Of Machines bar; Nelson Mandela's cell key, Robben Island
PUBLIK WINE: Meat shop by day, wine
bar at night, showcasing drops from smaller Cape wineries plus more unusual varietals. Bar staff really know their stuff, and the tasting flights are a great intro to the South African wine scene. publik.co.za ALEXANDER BAR: A gloriously friendly, low-lit, jazz-infused cocktail haunt where old-fashioned circular dial telephones can be used to talk to bar staff or people on other tables. There’s a theatre upstairs, and it hosts all manner of special events from TED-style talks to Meisner technique acting classes. alexanderbar.co.za TJING TJING: A good-time rooftop bar, decorated with photographs of Asian street scenes, Tjing Tjing stocks an admirable selection of South African craft beers. But cocktails — lovingly made and inventively devised — are the forte, and they’re prepared to throw in everything from locally made gin to pomegranate juice and jelly babies. tjingtjing.co.za
Cape Town hotels tend to be pricier than elsewhere in the country. But the low rand means bargains — especially in the tier below the clutch of lavish grand hotels. CHARTFIELD GUESTHOUSE: Located on a hillside overlooking the sea and the fishing boat-stuffed harbour of Kalk Bay, the Chartfield has a small pool on its lawn, and rooms that strike a balance between simple and grimly Spartan. chartfield.co.za ICON: The Home From Home group has several apartment options, and the Icon is a good example — well located, spacious, slick, kitted out with full kitchens, washer-dryers and free wi-fi. It’s superb for families and longer-stayers, but excellent value for money for all. homefromhome.co.za/apartments/icon CAPE GRACE: A handsome waterfront joint with a stellar basement whisky bar. Walls have diary entries of early explorers written on them; there’s also vintage furniture and antique vases, plus hand-painted curtains and bedspreads. capegrace.com
ESSENTIALS Getting there & around British Airways offers year-round direct flights from Heathrow, and Thomas Cook offers seasonal flights from Gatwick between December and March. ba.com thomascook.com Taxis are plentiful and cheap, while Uber has taken off in a big way. Realistically, most visitors won’t need public transport, although Cape Metrorail services (capemetrorail.co.za) are handy for reaching the False Bay beach suburbs.
More info iol.co.za Lonely Planet Cape Town & the Garden Route. RRP: £13.99.
How to do it BRITISH AIRWAYS offers seven nights in
three-star accommodation, including economy flights from Heathrow, from £907. ba.com VIRGIN HOLIDAYS offers a 14-night trip, staying in a five-star V&A Waterfront hotel, from £1,754 including flights. virginholidays.com
SOUTH AFRICA CAPE TOWN
Muizenberg Beach FALSE BAY
Fa ls e B a y
CLOCKWISE: Tjing Tjing chef Christi Semczyszyn; tuna tataki at Tjing Tjing; Muizenberg Beach surfers
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN PLUMER
A T L
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talk ASK THE EXPERTS
NEED ADVICE FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP? ARE YOU AFTER RECOMMENDATIONS, TIPS AND GUIDANCE? WE’VE GOT THE ANSWERS…
Q // I want to explore Stockholm, its archipelago and other nearby islands, but I’m not keen on driving. Can you recommend an organised or self-guided tour?
Our advice to guests is to stay in the capital Stockholm and then take day trips by ferry to explore the archipelago, so there’s no need for a car. Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, the inner city is made up of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges and, as the archipelago is made up of more than 30,000 islands, you’ll need to pick just a few to visit — but be sure to choose your dates carefully. From mid-June to mid-August there’s an extensive network of boat tours and ferries shuttling between the islands and sightseers can even buy tickets from jetties or onboard with companies such as Waxholms Bolaget (waxholmsbolaget.se) or Strömma (stromma.se).
Popular islands for day trips include Sandhamn (£15 one-way) and Grindö (£8 one-way), but it really depends on what you want to do. While some islands are bursting with restaurants, shops and idyllic villages with colourful, wooden houses and ancient churches, others are deserted with ancient forests, isolated white sandy beaches and nature reserves to explore. There are also plenty of places — including the islands of Långholmen and Djurgården — to rent sea kayaks too, plus numerous options in the extended archipelago (from £18 for two hours to £48 per day). One of my favourite trips is a Gotland and Stockholm package, which combines three nights in
the capital — plenty of time to explore the archipelago (or add extra nights) — with a short stay on Gotland. Sweden’s largest island offers 500 miles of Baltic coastline and a huge range of activities and attractions to enjoy, not least its capital Visby, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plus, transfer is by coach and boat, so again there’s no need for a car. The Gotland and Stockholm package costs from £995 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from the UK, three nights’ B&B in Stockholm and three nights’ B&B in Visby, as well as transfers. Children cost from £570 per person on an extra bed in their parents’ room. simplysweden.co.uk CHRIS GRAHAM
Q // I’ve heard about prepaid cards with smartphone apps that get you good deals on travel money. Which ones are the best? Revolut and WeSwap are good examples of prepaid debit cards with the added functionality of apps that allow you to monitor your balance, check the exchange rate in real-time and make transactions in multiple currencies. They give you the ability to load funds in seconds, then you use them just as you would a debit card when you spend or withdraw cash. Which one is best depends on how you’ll be using it and it’s important to research any hidden fees — some charge to load the
cards, withdraw at ATMs and have an annual fee. If you’re going somewhere where card payments are going to be more difficult, Revolut is a good option as its cash withdrawal fees are lower than others on the market. In fact, it doesn’t charge as long as you withdraw no more than £500/€650 a month (there’s a 2% fee on the amount withdrawn after that). In general, it’s often cheaper to pay for purchases using the card. SALLY FRANCIS
Q // With all the new low-cost, longhaul airlines, what’s the cheapest way/ carrier to fly to the US from the UK? There are certainly some eye-opening prices with the newcomers on the market. Wow Air (wowair.co.uk) flies via Reykjavik from Edinburgh, Bristol and Gatwick — we found returns to New York Newark for £248.76 in March. Wow also flies to Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC. The other major new budget player is Norwegian Long Haul (norwegian.com/uk), which flies
Q // If I only hire cars a couple of times a year, is it worth buying standalone excess insurance?
Q // I’m going skiing for the first time. What are the essentials I really need to buy?
If your hire car is damaged, you are typically liable to pay the excess, which is often between £500 and £2,000, depending where you hire from. Standalone excess insurance shares similarities with travel insurance, in that you either buy it as a single or annual policy. If you hire cars more than a couple of times a year, consider an annual policy, especially if you tend to rent for a couple of weeks each time. It works out much cheaper than a single trip or day rate. However, single trip standalone cover is still much cheaper than paying for excess insurance directly with a car hire company, which can amount to as much as an additional £25/day. Note: typically a driver is only covered for up to 31 consecutive days in any one rental period. So if you plan on hiring a car for longer than this, then additional, extended cover may be needed. It’s also worth pointing out that while some providers pay the excess directly, most require you to pay the excess yourself and then claim this back from them.
You can rent your skis, boots, a helmet and poles at the resort, but I’d suggest buying a decent pair of waterproof ski gloves, long ski socks and a warm woolly hat. Invest in a good pair of wrap-around sunglasses rather than worrying about ski goggles — if it’s sunny they could remain in their original box all week and, if it’s really snowing heavily, you can simply dash out and buy a pair of emergency goggles. If you can’t borrow some ski kit from a friend, the best way to keep warm without spending huge amounts is to rent the clothes from companies such as Ski Togs (skitogshire.co.uk) or Ski Stuff (ski-stuff.co.uk) where you can hire a jacket, for example, for just £15, or a ski package for £40 a week. Alternatively, simply layer up and be creative! If you don’t want to buy thermal long johns, use tights. Pack long sleeved T-shirts that cover your wrists, a polarnecked shirt with a fleece or woolly sweater and, for your jackets and trousers, if you have good waterproof hiking shells, then use those over as many layers as you need to keep warm — they’ll be just as good as buying insulated ski trousers.
direct from Gatwick to Boston (from £236.30 return), Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland, New York, Orlando, Miami and Las Vegas. Though once food and checked bags are added, these flights might not be much cheaper than sale fares with traditional airlines. So, while there’s no correct choice that works all the time, the extra options mean bigger bargains.
OLYMPIC SKIER & JOURNALIST,
GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER (UK)
‘Eye to i’
I360 OBSERVATION TOWER
The i360 is designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the team behind the London Eye
THE BRITISH AIRWAYS I360, BRIGHTON’S NEW HIGH-TECH VIEWING DECK, IS ALSO THE WORLD’S FIRST ‘VERTICAL CABLE CAR’
The viewing pod holds up to 200 people, in a room 18m in diameter — ten times the size of a London Eye pod.
The 137m vertical ride takes 20 minutes during the day, with twinkly night flights given an extra 10 minutes.
Trips run from 10am-10pm Sunday-Thursday and 10am-11pm Friday-Saturday when the pod is transformed into a ‘Skybar’ with tipples such as local Nyetimber sparkling wine.
The world’s tallest moving observation tower travels up and down, not round and round, giving some reprieve to those with motion sickness, if not vertigo.
British Airways i360, Brighton
At a sturdy but slender 4.6m wide, this is also the world’s slimmest observation tower. The viewing pod will travel 138m of the tower’s 162m height. There are plans to add a spire, increasing the tower to 470m, which would make the i360 the second tallest building in the UK, after the Shard.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
The UK’s tallest panoramic towers
On a clear day you should be able to see up to 26 miles, a panorama taking in the Sussex coast from Bexhill-on-Sea to Chichester, including Beachy Head and Seven Sisters, the South Downs National Park and a sizeable chunk of the English Channel.
AIRBNB s ZWECKENTFREMDUNGSVERBOT
ILLUSTRATION: DANIEL BRIGHT. IMAGE: GETTY
ONE OF THE LEADING LIGHTS OF THE SHARING ECONOMY, AIRBNB IS A GREAT IDEA THAT HAS BECOME PART OF THE EVERYDAY FABRIC OF TRAVEL. BUT WITH ‘ZWECKENTFREMDUNGSVERBOT’, IS IT RUNNING INTO TROUBLE WITH THE AUTHORITIES IN BERLIN, ICELAND AND NEW YORK? WORDS: JAMES DRAVEN
“Tonight I’m sleeping in an illegally-parked campervan on the seafront,” an Australian newspaper editor tells me over drinks in Sydney. “It’s covered in parking tickets. I’m writing a piece on the weirdest places you can stay on Airbnb.” Back in Brighton, and in need of a bed, I too found campervans parked on residential streets to rent through Airbnb, as well as a same-sex couple offering a room to travellers, including a homecooked meal and a massage to help you unwind at bedtime. I opted for a hotel in the end, but it’s this social aspect — if not quite that level of intimacy — that makes tourists choose Airbnb, believing that staying in a real home or an unusual structure makes trips feel more special. You don’t have to co-habit with a host though. Many of us are happily paying a few extra quid not to endure agonising pleasantries with a stranger over the breakfast table (nor to have to explain that you’ll sleep just fine with a good book and a cup of Horlicks, thanks-very-much) and clicking the Airbnb button to ‘rent an entire home/flat’. But herein lies the problem: not all of these rentals are strictly legal. While it’s obvious that you shouldn’t be sleeping in a Bedford Rascal covered in parking fines, you may not realise that renting an apartment for a long weekend in Berlin might be in violation of
the city’s Zweckentfremdungsverbot law (roughly translated: ‘ban against misuse’), which came into effect this year. Berliners are still allowed to rent out their spare rooms, but are prohibited from using Airbnb and its competitors to tout entire properties on short-term leases. Although Airbnb claims it’s helping Berlin residents pay the rent in a city with rising house prices and below-average wages, city officials insist apartments being used as holiday lets are pricing citizens out of their own local neighbourhoods. Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s head of urban development explains: “[Zweckentfremdungsverbot] is a necessary instrument against the housing shortage. I’m determined to return misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin.” Hannah Cadwallader, Airbnb’s European head of communications, disagrees with this: “Current rules hit [regular Berliners] hardest, slow innovation and promote commercialisation.” It’s not just the Germans who are clamping down. Since 2011, New York City has prohibited
Q&A AREN’T THESE LAWS A BIT BEHIND THE TIMES?
As Airbnb’s Hannah Cadwallader says, “When we went from the horse and cart to the car we needed new rules for new technology. The same is true for today.” Indeed. Maybe it’s time for more governments to start working with host-sharing sites to ﬁnd solutions. IS IT WRONG FOR ME TO RENT OUT MY HOME?
Some insist it’s our right to do as we please with our own properties, while others say the lure of renting out second homes as short-term lets — which is often more proﬁ table than getting tenants — is making hustlers and black market hoteliers of those who would otherwise be landlords. WILL I GET INTO TROUBLE FOR BOOKING IN A BAN CITY?
While politician and New York City Assembly member Linda Rosenthal went so far as to personally stage a hiddencamera sting operation to expose unlawful Airbnb hosting last year, no one seems to be setting out to prosecute guests themselves. SHOULD I ACCEPT A MASSAGE FROM MY HOST?
We’d recommend reviewing it on a case-by-case basis.
residents from letting out property for less than 30 days unless the main occupants are also present. It’s a law aimed at residential properties that were being turned into illegal hotels. Nearly threequarters of the city’s Airbnb listings between 2010 and 2014 were found to be illegal. Meanwhile, authorities in Mýrdalshreppur, Iceland, have banned all short-term lets, in response to a housing shortage in the picturesque village of Vík. Vijay Dandapani, chairman of the Hotel Association of New York City, and president of Apple Core Hotels, which has around 800 rooms in Midtown Manhattan, complains that the “shadow hotel industry” has driven down hotel room rates in the city, telling PBS: “Those are rooms that would and should have gone to the hotel industry, given what we’ve invested in the city and our buildings.” His arguments are similar to those taxi firms that are lashing out at car-sharing service, Uber. In both cases, tourists are more likely to be concerned with the impact on their own pockets than the financial fortunes of private transport monopolies or hotel chains. And while the majority may be ignorant to the impact of their choices on local communities, with over 100 million guest arrivals from listings in more than 34,000 cities, kicking Airbnb out of your town might prove as difficult as banning the sharing of holiday ‘hot-dog legs’ on Instagram.
AND ANOTHER THING... UP IN THE AIR LONDON-PERTH NON-STOP
SURF AIR TO EUROPE
2016’S BEST AIRLINE
AND THE WORST...
Qantas’s new Dreamliner routes may well include London-Perth non-stop, making it the world’s longest flight. qantas.com
The US-based membership club offering unlimited flights on luxury jets launches in Europe this month. surfair.com
You can now book a trip with a professional drone cameraman to capture your travels in a novel way. blacktomato.com
According to the Skytrax awards, it’s Emirates. Norwegian is best low-cost for the fourth year running. worldairlineawards.com
For the number of claims against them, the UK’s ‘carriers of shame’ are EasyJet, followed by Ryanair. euclaim.co.uk
CHECKLIST: HIGH-ALTITUDE GEAR
7 ways to
PREPARE FOR CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO
FOR ALL SEASONS
Mammut X-Sun headlamp. RRP: £240. mammut.ch
The Altitude Centre
Altitude makes any trek tough — you’ll need physical endurance, mental stamina and high-tech kit
1. AEROBIC TRAINING
FOR INSULATION & VERSATILITY
Atom LT hoody (men’s and women’s). RRP: £190. arcteryx.com
FOR MAXIMUM SUN-PROTECTION
Dragon Mountaineer X sunglasses. RRP: £128.35. shadestation.co.uk
Long-distance jogging, swimming and cycling will help develop your cardiovascular system and ability to operate with limited oxygen. Also try using a stair master or running machine on an incline. Rob McIntyre — a former Royal Marine who's spent time at Base Camp and is now a personal development coach — recommends training over different terrain in the UK and incorporating steep hills. He says Snowdon is similar to walking in the Himalayas.
6. GET EQUIPPED Pack gear to keep you cool and warm (for example, trousers that unzip into shorts and a waterproof/ windproof jacket with vents). Wear in boots (Gore-Tex with good ankle support) and carry sunglasses, sun cream, lip balm and mosquito repellent. Clip alcohol gel wash to your belt and pack rehydration tablets (and toilet paper) as ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’ is common.
4. STAY HYDRATED
Aim to get up to seven or eight hours of sleep before you go as you may have problems sleeping at altitude — and don’t be tempted to take sleeping tablets. On the trek, climb high and sleep low — as a rule of thumb, restrict sleeping height to no more than 1,000ft per day.
Aim high, train high is the motto at The Altitude Centre in London. Visit the centre for a consultation to find out how sensitive you are to the effects of altitude. They’ll monitor you while passively breathing air at a simulated altitude of up to 5,000 metres and will devise a training plan to help you adapt. altitudecentre.com
Build weight training, sit-ups, lunges and squats into your regime to strengthen legs, core, back and shoulders. Also hike up hills with a backpack filled with water or rocks and get used to using poles too. According to McIntyre, using two poles, at the correct height, requires around 25% less exertion.
FOR NAVIGATION & ALTIMETER
2. TRAIN AT ALTITUDE
3. GET STRONG
Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire HRM/GPS watch. RRP: £469.99. garmin.com
so increase your fluid intake when you step up training — it will also get you used to drinking the large amounts you’ll need to consume on the mountain (a minimum of five litres of water daily). On the trip, only drink tea that’s been made from bottled water, as it rarely boils at altitude.
Cut out alcohol and caffeine in the lead-up to your trip. Your body will operate best when it's well hydrated
7. EXPERT ADVICE Visit your GP before you go. They may suggest carrying Diamox, a prescription drug that’s used to speed acclimatisation, although with a sensible programme of ascent this should be unnecessary. Listen to your guides, who’ll advise ascending slowly, spending twothree days acclimatising before going above 3,000 metres. SAM LEWIS
HEIGHT matters 5,500m
It’s impossible to adjust above this alitutude, which is why you won’t spend much time at the top of Mt Kili (5,985m)
(Everest Base Camp). Most people will happily adjust by ascending gradually
If you ascend too quickly headaches and altitude sickness are likely
The height at which altitude starts to have an effect on our bodies
Calling all sci-fi nerds, ‘makers’, particle physics buff s, gadget groupies and Dr Who and Hobbit fans — a host of great experiences are up for grabs We geeks have a reputation for never leaving our keyboards, but if you fancy stretching your nerdy horizons there are plenty of amazing trips you can plan. The ‘maker’ community is thriving, with events where you can get hands-on with robots, 3D printing, coding and more. Check out makerfaire.com/map to locate events around the world. Or grab your Raspberry Pi computer and head to a ‘Jam’ to meet and learn from other enthusiasts (raspberrypi.org/jam). Perhaps you’ve recently picked up a drone and want to learn how to fly it safely? Phantomflightschool.co.uk has a range of summer and winter holidays that will help you get to grips with your airborne tech. If you just want to know where you’re allowed to fly, caniflymydrone.com lists popular attractions where you can, and cannot, unleash your unmanned aerial vehicle. The list mainly
GET THE GADGET mybuddytag.com
covers UK sites right now, but is growing slowly worldwide. If you’re interested in particle physics, or just curious about the universe, CERN, in Geneva, offers guided tours of the largest particle physics laboratory in the world (visits.web.cern.ch). Alternatively, you could head to California to visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where you can book a free tour of the Deep Space Network operation centre ( jpl.nasa.gov/ events/tours/views). For science fiction and fantasy fans there’s an ever-growing list of movie locations that should be on your bucket list. Cardiff is home of the Doctor Who Experience, where you can step inside the Tardis (doctorwho.tv/ events/doctor-who-experience). Meanwhile, Game of Thrones fans should make a beeline for Dubrovnik, Croatia, where lots of tours of Kings Landing, one of the most iconic places from the series, are available (visit-croatia. co.uk). Then there’s a long-haul trip to New Zealand to Middle-earth, where the curiously Teletubbiesesque set of The Hobbit continues to be a huge and beautiful attraction. Check out the options at hobbitontours.com.
The thought of losing track of small children in crowded locations is every parent’s worst nightmare, especially in an unfamiliar place. The Buddy Tag is a cute, colourful waterproof armband that uses wireless Bluetooth technology to help locate your child through your smartphone. The distance it can track is limited to 40ft indoors, and 80-120ft outdoors, but it
TECHNOLOGY REPORTER FOR @BBCCLICK AND AUTHOR OF WORKING THE CLOUD, K ATE RUSSELL PICKS THE LATEST INNOVATIONS
TOP APPS FOR... exploring the world with augmented reality
IOS/ANDROID. FREE. Pokémon Go lets players use
their phone’s camera to hunt and capture cute Pokémon characters. The app had 21 million daily
users just ﬁve days after release. pokemongo.com
IOS/ANDROID. FREE. Ingress tasks players with
exploring their surroundings to gain control of rival portals around landmarks and attractions. ingress.com
IOS/ANDROID. FREE. Google’s Translate app uses
AR for real-time translations of signs, menus and other essential messages written in a foreign language. bit.ly/1s5wqu9 apple.co/1dElvL4
IOS/ANDROID. FREE. Field Trip notiﬁes you when
you’re close to something cool or quirky, and gives interesting facts and information. ﬁeldtripper.com
should give you a fairly accurate pinpoint within that range. The armband also has a panic button the child can press to alert their parent if they feel threatened. It will also automatically alert parents
when it’s submerged underwater, which gives extra peace of mind if your child isn’t a strong swimmer. The Buddy Tag is available from UK stockist Prezzybox for £42.95. prezzybox.com/silicone-bandblue.aspx @katerussell katerussell.co.uk
HOW I GOT THE SHOT
LIKE THIS? READ MORE
SHANEY HUDSON, THE WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER OF OUR ANTARCTICA FEATURE (P.114), EXPLAINS HOW SHE TOOK THIS SHOT OF ORNE HARBOUR
Antarctica is one of the most incredible places to shoot, but also one of the most unpredictable. The day I took this shot we were looking at temperatures of 1C, with a wind chill of -1C. In order to minimise visitor impact, IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) has strict restrictions on the number of people allowed at a landing site, so I needed to make a decision about where I would shoot: a 1,000ft hike to the top of the ridge, or head out on a Zodiac cruise in the surrounding bay. It was a tough choice. I would be gutted to miss a potential whale encounter, but the chance to climb high and capture some panorama shots won out.
Catching snowfall I was trying to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the subjects but slow enough to catch the snowfall. Too slow meant the subjects would be blurry; too fast wouldn’t capture the fierce force of the snow and wind.
I captured this image with a new prime lens in my kit, the 35mm Sigma Art, shooting at f/5.6 at 1/200th of a second, with an ISO of 100. Coming down the ridge I had this image in mind — but with the weather closing in, I couldn’t really stop to compose a shot. It was simply a case of checking back over my shoulder to see if I could find an angle I liked, and then just going for it. While the day is obviously grim, the reflective nature of the snow meant each of the subjects was perfectly lit for the shot. The sense of movement, the leading lines and the spectacular pop of orange make the image a standout for me. Lindblad Expeditions & National
This feature can be found in our new free, digital-only Photography Magazine. iOS/Google Play/Amazon
Geographic give bright orange jackets to each passenger upon embarking. As well as being a great safety feature, the jackets also helped create consistent, high-contrast images throughout the photo story. I shot over 10,000 images in Antarctica, and submitted 108 to my photo editor for consideration. I picked this image because I’m a big believer in putting people in the frame. So much of the stunning imagery taken in Antarctica is of the landscapes, the animals and the ice, but photographing people actively moving across the landscape shows Antarctica isn’t a passive experience. @shaneyhudson
COMING IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE
Andrew McCarthy heads back to his favourite spot on Earth, beneath an old, twisted palm tree on a beach in Maui, before rediscovering this beguiling island
Plus // Nepal, Zambia, China, Mexico, Ireland, Amsterdam, Wellington, Boston, Copenhagen, Doha
On sale 6 October 2016
For more information on our subscription offers, see page 176 October 2016
s pe slo
NOTHING STANDS STILL FOR LONG IN THE WORLD OF WINTER SPORTS. EACH SEASON BRINGS WITH IT A PLETHORA OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO GET EXCITED ABOUT, FROM RESORT FACELIFTS TO THE RISE OF NEW TRENDS LIKE FAT BIKING. WE ROUND UP SOME OF THIS SEASON'S HOTTEST DEVELOPMENTS. WORDS: NICK Y HOLFORD
For lovers of Austria’s Arlberg region, new lift connections linking Stuben and Zurs will be music to their ears. The much-anticipated connection will do away with the need for a bus ride, and heralds the complete linking of the stretch of resorts from St Anton am Arlberg to Lech. This will increase the ski area to 190 miles of downhill runs, with 87 lift s. The four new lift s, which include a gondola from Stuben to Zürs, will make it easily feasible to ski the entire route in either direction in one day. The £35 million project makes the Arlberg ski area, where all resorts are covered in one lift pass, the largest interconnected ski area in Austria and one of the largest ski areas in the world. stantonamarlberg.com
A daily flight with Delta from Heathrow to Salt Lake City makes Wyoming’s Jackson Hole an easy destination. A new Sweetwater Gondola has helped facilitate more intermediate and beginner skiing options this season — a welcome development in a resort renowned for its advanced runs. jacksonhole.com
Take a break from the slopes in the Swiss resort of Mürren to discover the secret lair of James Bond’s nemesis Blofeld. Perched atop the Schilthorn at a loft y 9,744ft is the revolving 360°-Restaurant Piz Gloria, which acted as the villain’s hideaway in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Try the Bond World 007: Interactive Experience, complete with simulated helicopter ride, before testing your mettle on a black-run descent. Intermediates can take the cable car down and pick up some red and blue runs at Schiltgrat. It’s worth visiting for the stunning views over Wengen and the Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau mountains. schilthorn.ch
Chasing the Northern Lights
In the Arctic wilderness of Finnish Lapland, a seven-night family adventure based at the Muotka Wilderness Lodge will have you thundering through the tundra on a sled pulled by huskies; snowmobiling across pristine landscapes; riding in a reindeer sleigh; trying your hand at cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; and relaxing tired muscles in a natural sauna. Located near Saariselka, 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, close to the Russian border, this is a renowned spot for viewing the Northern lights. A nighttime trip to the Aurora Camp — one of the best locations for experiencing this natural wonder — is highly recommended. inghams.co.uk
Wild west white-out
Licence to thrill
Champoluc in the Aosta Valley is the gateway to skiing in the Monterosa region and the resorts of Gressoney and Alagna. It’s also a base for Ski 2, which offers parents the chance to freely enjoy the 124 miles of pistes, happy in the knowledge that the Ski 2 Penguin Club and ski school are looking after their
The missing link
children. The kids’ clubs are managed and run by qualified British staff and run exclusively for clients on Ski 2 holidays. ski-2.com Switzerland:
Off the beaten track
The secret valley of Val d’Anniviers in Valais, comprising the resorts of Grimentz, Zinal, St-Luc and Vercorin, has almost doubled its ski area with a new cable car linking Grimentz and Zinal. One of the oldest villages in the Alps, Grimentz is home to cobblestone roads so narrow the roofs of houses on either side touch overhead. Don’t miss a cheese fondue evening and a ski run under the light of the full moon. valdanniviers.ch
— so this season, Ski Weekend offers two mystery trips, with the location to be dictated by snowfall. The Top Secret experience is a four-day off-piste trip with a mountain guide, hosted in either La Grave, Grimentz/ Zinal, Lötschental, Alagna, Monterosa or the Haute Tarentaise. “I’ll assess the snowfalls and predicted weather systems and make a call at the last minute to find the best snow,” says guide Gavin Foster. skiweekend.com
Finding the best snow can often be a challenge
As fresh snow coats the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites, the first few days of December in Alta Badia are all about food. The region boasts three Michelin-starred restaurants, and chefs from these eateries team up with international guest chefs to cook up a range of dishes at a host of mountain locations. Skiers can slope from one hut to the next, sampling the chefs’ creations alongside wines from the South Tyrol. For those wanting further indulgence, a wine-tasting safari will take place in March. altabadia.org
Gourmet ski safari
Spectacular spa experience
The spa in the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa is something of a bucket-list experience. Designed by Mario Botta, the four-storey, 5,000sq metre spa includes indoor and outdoor pools and 11 treatment rooms. Arosa used to be a small resort with limited skiing but plenty of non-skiing activities and walking. Two years ago, however, it was transformed by a cable car linking it to the resort of Lenzerheide (a favourite destination of Roger Federer), trebling the ski run area. tschuggen.ch Italy:
Heli-skiing on a budget
Although the words ‘heli-skiing’ and ‘affordable’ are usually mutually exclusive, the small Italian resort of Livigno presents a rare opportunity for the two to meet. Heli-skiing was recently introduced here and is only permitted in two valleys. Situated near the Swiss border, Livigno has duty-free status and is a favourite with intermediate and beginner skiers. Heli-skiers will need off-piste experience. livigno.eu Canada:
Lying face-down on a sled the size of a tea tray at the top of an Olympic skeleton
the joys of winter in
VO R A R LB E RG
Vorarlberg is easily reached from the airports of Friedrichshafen and Memmingen in Germany, Innsbruck in Austria and Zurich in Switzerland.
Crisp mountain air. Dazzling views. Towering peaks, lining the horizon. And, all around, skiers traversing the snow-clad slopes. Treat yourself to an Alpine lodge, and experience the pleasures of wintertime in Vorarlberg. People from all over the world flock to the gorgeous frosty landscape of Vorarlberg, located in the far west of Austria, whether for skiing, hiking or snowshoeing, its high-quality cuisine or Alpine culture — the variety on offer guarantees visitors a superb winter holiday. Mother Nature provides abundant snow cover in the region where alpine skiing was born, while the local villages stand out for their stunning blend of traditional and modern timber architecture. Each of the regions situated between Lake Constance and the Arlberg mountains has its own character. New cableways now link up Lech Zürs am Arlberg, making it Austria’s largest interconnected ski area. A stay in the Montafon promises thrilling descents, outdoor activities and insights into the regional way of life. The Bregenzerwald is renowned for its scenic slopes, sophisticated architecture and innovative craftsmanship. Families with children will love the runs and trails in Brandnertal, where they can enjoy skiing, husky walks, or games that cater to both the young and young at heart. And Kleinwalsertal is all about savouring regional treats and recharging your batteries with winter sport activities. In Vorarlberg, attentive hosts treat their guests in style. Most hotels have been family run for generations, while the restaurants, inns and mountain lodges serve hearty local fare or refined cuisine with a creative twist. Feel the joy of a winter break in Vorarlberg!
vorarlberg.travel/en E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 00 43 5572 3770330
IMAGES: VORARLBERG TOURISMUS/SEPP MALLAUN; BERGBAHNEN BRANDNERTAL/MICHAEL MARTE
Head to the beautiful region of Vorarlberg, in Western Austria, where snow-clad mountains and atmospheric villages meet
track certainly gets the adrenalin going. At the Whistler Sliding Centre in British Columbia, you too can enjoy the thrill of reaching speeds of up to 62mph while zipping down the world’s fastest ice track. Once you’ve mastered the skeleton, why not try the four-man bobsleigh. The experiences include a safety briefing and two descents. whistlerslidingcentre.com
Fat bike over the Alps
Fat bikes are fast gaining in popularity, with resorts across the Alps setting up tracks and offering bikes for rent. Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the first to have set up two dedicated fat bike slopes, situated behind the lift s of the Rifugio Col Gallina. Night runs can be arranged, and bikes cost approximately £35 to rent. cortinadolomiti.org
Lake Antorno, with the Sorapiss mountain in the background, the Dolomites PREVIOUS: Husky sledding in Lapland; fat bikes; ski chairlift in Niseko, Japan
A new look for Val d’Isere
This season sees the biggest innovation in France’s top resort for more than a decade, with the opening of a new gondola in the Solaise area, complete with wi-fi and heated seats. The £13.8 million redevelopment will transform mountain access for all standards of skiers, particularly beginners — new slopes have been added at the gondola drop-off to provide the perfect pitch for both novices and snowboarders. There will also be a North American-style day lodge located at the gondola station and, somewhat unusually for a European resort, a picnic area. Best of all, special lift pass reductions are being offered in celebration of the new openings. valdisere.com
Trip of a lifetime
The frozen wilderness of Antartica is the location of a one-off ski trip. Traverse ice and snow, climb blue ice glaciers, and cross icecovered beaches where penguins and seals roam wild. This ski mountaineering adventure is a 29-day journey that begins with a sail across the Drake Passage as the mystic scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula unfolds and mountains disappear into the sea. The dazzling colour and light is part of an extraordinarily beautiful frozen paradise. Days are spent travelling across thick ice and snow, filled with the sound of ice crunching beneath your skis. mountaintracks.co.uk/trip/ski-antarctica
MORE INFO Where to Ski and Snowboard. RRP £18.99 skiclub.co.uk snowcarbon.co.uk welove2ski.com iglu.com snow-forecast.com
Co-director of BASS (British Alpine Ski School), based in Morzine/Les Gets and a former British snowboard champion
A UIAGM (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations) guide and founder of Mountain Tracks, an adventure off-piste and ski touring company
The best thing about last season was… Skiing in Ushuaia, Argentina as a member of the BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) Interski Team, representing my country in the world’s southernmost city at the Interski Congress. Next stop: the South Pole. The best thing about this season will be… Powder skiing with friends. Whatever the weather, I always look forward to the buzz of the ski down and the catch-up on the chairlift . What I’ll be trying out this year… After 30 years as an instructor, I’m looking forward to trying out new teaching techniques. This year I’m focusing on how the brain learns and how this helps making learning to ski easier and more fun than ever.
The best thing about last season was… Taking part in the Patrouille des Glaciers, the world’s best-known ski mountaineering race. That was my target for last season — Zermatt to Verbier in 15 hours. The best bit was finishing it. The best thing about this season will be… Leading another Mountain Tracks trip to Japan. It has all the ingredients for the best skiing holiday: dream powder, fascinating culture, delicious cuisine and onsens (hot springs). What I’ll be trying out this year… Trying to give as many skiers as possible the opportunity to explore beyond the pistes. Nothing beats the smiles and sense of achievement as we complete special descents.
Head of ski content at Telegraph Media Group and editor of The Telegraph Ski and Snowboard magazine
Guide, former instructor at New Generation Ski & Snowboard School in Val d’Isere and instructor for British race teams
The best thing about last season was… Enjoying fantastic powder conditions for almost the entirety of a 10-day trip to Utah. The excuse for the trip was hosting a holiday for readers and to check out the resort of Park City, the largest ski area in the US.
The best thing about last season was… Ski touring at 3am beneath shooting stars, navigating by head torch to the summit of Tsanteleina in the Graian Alps. Also, skiing a couloir (narrow gully) off Piz Boè, the highest mountain in the Sella group of the Dolomites.
The best thing about this season will be… An improved skiing experience in Arlberg, Austria, covering the resorts of St Anton, Stuben, Zürs, Lech, Warth and Schröcken. Four new 10-person gondolas will make this the largest lift-linked ski area in the country.
The best thing about this season will be… Teaching and guiding clients from my new winter base at Bourg-Saint-Maurice, which has five major ski resorts with a 40-minute drive.
What I’ll be trying… Fat biking, which involves riding snowy trails on a mountain bike fitted with beefy tyres. It’s becoming increasingly popular in ski resorts.
ex pe rt s
What I’ll be trying… Testing and using new equipment. The advances in technology to bindings and skis, along with lightweight boots, make it much easier to ascend mountains. I’ll be teaching more and guiding helicopter adventures.
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TRAVEL WRITING COMPETITION
National Geographic Traveller’s
TRAVEL WRITING COMPETITION 2016 WITH A HUGE NUMBER OF IMPRESSIVE ENTRIES, THIS YEAR’S TR AVEL WRITING COMPETITION SAW THREE ENTR ANTS STAND OUT FROM THE REST
W I N N E R
Suzy Pope has won a 17-day expedition to Madagascar, courtesy of our sponsor, Natural World Safaris, worth around £6,000. She’ll embark on a small group expedition led by Daniel Austin and Hilary Bradt, co-authors of the Bradt guides Madagascar and Madagascar Highlights. The safari will take her from the lemurrich eastern rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park to the spectacular limestone pinnacles and canyons of the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Other ecological sites will include Ranomafana National Park, home to the rarely sighted greater bamboo lemur. Suzy will also get to enjoy an exclusive visit to Kianjavato to learn about lemur research and conservation. naturalworldsafaris.com
Suzy Pope finds plenty to see in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam
lick, click, click. Abdul ambles down the dusty street knocking two coffee cups together. Men peel away from market stalls stacked with bruised fruit, and slink out of breeze-block shacks. Abdul puts down his metal kettle and stokes the glowing embers underneath. It ticks and hisses as dark liquid comes to life inside. This is his corner, opposite the local pharmacy in the Kinondoni area of Dar es Salaam. The pharmacist pulls down heavy metal bars to close his shop for a few minutes, locking in the clingfilm packets of dried herbs and shrivelled roots that help the ailments of the community. Women in dresses the colour of tropical birds usher past children in bright white school shirts and bare feet. People told me there was nothing to see in Dar es Salaam.
CAFFEINE, BUT NO RUSH
TRAVEL WRITING COMPETITION
Clutching tiny coffee cups, the men from the market stalls recline in the shade of a corrugated roof. Football commentary drifts down the street from a bar that was once a shipping container. Rust streaks the outside and twisted plastic chairs pass for al fresco seating. A satellite dish hooked up to an old car battery blooms like a fungus from the roof. “Coffee?” Abdul asks me. “Yes please.” I hand him 50 shillings. The price of a cup of coffee is often used to assess the cost of living in cities. That makes the cost of living in Dar es Salaam 1/100th of that in London. After the collapse of socialism across Tanzania, informal urban economies popped up across its largest city. That’s coffee vendors, dala-dala drivers and young men sorting through mountains of secondhand clothes that arrive in cargo ships. Abdul hands me a piece of homemade peanut brittle and I walk over to join the men lounging in the shade. I feel self-conscious. This makeshift caff isn’t on anyone’s bucket list, it’s not in the guidebook and there’s no
English audio guide to tell me what’s going on. The men stop talking when I sit down. There’s only the slurp of coffee and crack of peanut brittle. I cup my hands around my coffee as if it’s a baby bird that needs protecting. “Neymar,” one of the men says to me. “Neymar,” I reply, thinking it might mean hello. Football commentary drones on in the background. All four men nod in approval. “Messi?” another one asks me. “Um, no Swahili, sorry,” I stammer. “Ronaldo,” someone says and I finally catch on. The men all nod enthusiastically. “Oh! Luis Suarez!” I say, and everyone laughs. I inhale the smoky scent of the coffee. As synapses snap and crackle in my brain, I think about what people had told me about this city before I left. There’s nothing to see but lines of traffic. Get out, get to Zanzibar or Kilimanjaro. Don’t bother. The first sip sends the familiar caffeine charge through my limbs. After I’ve swallowed, there’s a little kick of ginger. Another pleasant surprise in Dar es Salaam.
F THE JUDGES’ VERDICT Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller, said: “This year’s entries were, as usual, of a particularly high standard. Suzy’s entry, though, particularly stood out to the judges and, in the end, it was a unanimous decision to award her the top prize. “A sense of place and a palpable atmosphere are immediately established. But what’s striking is the engagement with the destination and the interaction; the confusion quickly broken by the common language of football. The short sentences and present tense compel you to read on but the conclusion is a familiar one in travel — expectations confounded, experiences enriched. A worthy winner.”
TRAVEL WRITING COMPETITION
LOST IN TRANSLATION
John Metcalfe is pleasantly confused in the Kabwe slums of Zambia
ou look like Kraftwerk.” “What?” I’m startled. Not only because I don’t look like any of the band members, but also that a kid of six or seven from the Kabwe slums of Zambia could have any knowledge of the Autobahn creators. It reminds me of a time when I was standing in the middle of a desert looking at a seagull looking back at me. How did it get there? How does this kid know about Kraftwerk? I shook my head to rid it of the fuddle of two days’ worth of travel and bring some clarity to the situation. She repeats the statement. I look perplexed. She moves on. And so goes my introduction to the dichotomous lifestyle of the Kabwe inhabitants. It’s full of big smiles and generosity despite the chronic poverty. A panhandler pauses his pleas to answer a mobile phone. Mobile phones are everywhere and most stores have a talk-time top-up kiosk. Public transport is laboured, yet billboards are boasting fast broadband speeds. “Facebook me,” I keep getting told. The football skills of the kids are amazing despite playing with a ball made from plastic bags on a pitch resembling a building site. Their passion for knowledge is insatiable
F We pull into a service station where hawkers and chancers from far-flung parts of the continent mingle and ply their trades. It’s an ecosystem in itself. A whole infrastructure is supported each time a vehicle pulls in. Cars are washed, goods are sold, phones are topped up, lifts and gossip are swapped. Deals are made.
despite the ad hoc learning opportunities and classroom attendances in triple figures. The sense of community is strong. Their timekeeping is shocking. The place is welcoming and intoxicating. I stayed in Kabwe for two weeks, working alongside teachers using sport as a medium to teach life skills to school kids. Lamentably, my stay has come to an end and it’s time to move on. I’ve learned so much and have much more to learn. Before catching my return flight, I have a few days to spend in Livingstone to check out the wildlife and Victoria Falls. The nine-hour bus drive passes surprisingly quickly. The roadside activity is distracting. I purchase a replica Zambia football shirt at a stoplight, but pass on the live chicken. Our blowout in the middle of nowhere is mercifully repaired by a hut-dwelling tribesman. We pull into a service station where hawkers and chancers from far-flung parts of the continent mingle and ply their trades. It’s an ecosystem in itself. A whole infrastructure is supported each time a vehicle pulls in. Cars are washed, goods are sold, phones are topped up, lifts and gossip are swapped. Deals are made. I alight into the throng to briefly stretch my legs. A young boy tending a souvenir stall tugs at my T-shirt. “You look at my craftwork?” he asks.
TRAVEL WRITING COMPETITION
Sachin Rao warms to Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s little-visited capital city
fter a full day on the highway from Yangon, I enter Naypyitaw under cover of dusk. And enter it. And enter it… Ten minutes in, I clear my throat and ask my guide: “Er, Tun… where is the city?” “We are in Naypyitaw,” Tun reassures me, matter-of-factly. A card-carrying NLD party member, he’d easily added an hour to the day’s journey by slowing our longsuffering ’98 Toyota every so often to hand out small-denomination currency notes and passport-sized photos of Myanmar’s new hero, Aung San Suu Kyi, to road workers, coconut sellers and assorted bystanders. “This is the Hotel Zone. Tomorrow, we go to the Ministry Zone. But we cannot visit the Military Zone.” Glittering hotel buildings every kilometre or so remain the only signs of life until we finally arrive at our own glittering hotel, where I ponder the city’s unique layout. Naypyitaw (‘Abode of the Kings’) was built from scratch on virgin shrubland to take over from Yangon as the country’s administrative centre in 2005, whereupon the military regime shifted the entire government machinery to the city virtually overnight.
A midday drive around Naypyitaw confirms it was created with the rulers, not the people, in mind. The impossibly wide, never-ending roads linking the various ministries are largely deserted, save for a few labourers in conical straw hats desultorily repainting the black-and-yellow road-dividers. The 20-lane road in front of the sprawling parliament building is clearly an airstrip at heart. Cookiecutter apartment blocks dot swathes of forested land (government employees get free housing). Aside from a cinema, a market and a shopping mall, there’s not a lot to do but work. A replica of Yangon’s iconic Shwedagon Pagoda (one deferential foot shorter) does have a smattering of visitors. A nearby enclosure houses six royal white elephants, revered as holy; the placid creatures are peacefully oblivious to the irony of living in a city that seems their concrete embodiment. “I could never live here,” shudders my Yangonite companion.
Over a pricey curry at an empty restaurant, I query the feasibility of this military-built city in a new age of democracy. Tun opines that there’s little point wasting public energy trying to move power back to Yangon: “Let’s make use of Naypyitaw now that it exists. We have to move forward, not back!” — a mantra I heard from many other local people too. Perhaps it’s their entrenched Buddhist philosophy that allows the Burmese to forgive the sins of 50 years of military rule, and instead look to forge a new, inclusive nation. As the next day breaks, I begin to warm to Naypyitaw. Maybe it’s just ahead of its time, a visionary city built for two generations hence. Maybe one day, bustling with people and pleasures, it will seem not vacant and sterile, but spacious and well-organised. Far-fetched? Maybe not. After all, Myanmar’s 51 million people now have the democratic licence to enter the Dream Zone, and bear straight ahead.
F A nearby enclosure houses six royal white elephants, revered as holy; the placid creatures are peacefully oblivious to the irony of living in a city that seems their concrete embodiment. “I could never live here,” shudders my Yangonite companion. October 2016
Azores U LT I M AT E
This mid-Atlantic archipelago is part of Portugal but its green pastures, fishing villages and volcanic outcrops mean these subtropical islands are in a world of their own
Reasons to visit the
Swimming with wild dolphins and world-class whale-watching
Around 25 resident and migratory species can be seen, including the magnificent sperm and blue whale
A unique island escape less than four hours by plane from London
An abundance of inexpensive local produce
A variety of exciting activities for adventure seekers and families
Weekly non-stop services operate from Gatwick and Stansted
Fantastic fresh fish, meats and cheeses, plus traditional pastries and excellent local wines
Walking, cycling, canoeing, sailing, fishing, horse-riding, diving, canyoning, golfing and surfing and more
Dramatic natural beauty
Discover magnificent lakes, rich foliage, warm volcanic pools and refreshing waterfalls
A safe and tranquil place to relax and unwind
The pace is slow and the Portuguese hospitality warm
Rich cultural heritage, and bucket list sights
UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the walled vineyards of Pico and Angra Do Heroísmo
From top-end hotels to traditional rural properties, hostels and campsites
Health and wellbeing
The islands’ natural thermal waters have offered cures for centuries — today they’re the source for numerous spas
Sustainable tourism destination
National Geographic Traveler (US) has named the Azores ‘Second Best Islands in the World for Sustainable Tourism’
It’s hard to stay still in the Azores; its wild land and seascapes beg to be explored. ON LAND: Along with some of Europe’s wildest subtropical walking trails, you can take to the backcountry for bird-watching, horse-riding, cycling and mountain biking trips, both guided and self-guided. And if golf is your game, you can tee-off on some of the best and least-explored courses in the world, according to the International Golf Travel Market. But for those after the simple pleasures of sightseeing, UNESCO-listed venues abound, including the city of Angra do Heroísmo on
the island of Terceira and the walled vineyards of Pico Island. ON WATER: The islands are a paradise for professional and hobbyist anglers alike. Whether fishing or not, don’t miss the chance to take a boat trip, or explore by canoe or kayak — including calm inland lakes. Surfers and bodyboarders will find great waves across the archipelago, windsurfers and stand-up paddleboarders are also well catered for, while wildlife lovers are sure to fall under the spell of whales and dolphins in their natural habitat.
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Famed for their thermal waters, the Azores have been revitalising travellers and locals for centuries. Dip into natural springs, waterfalls and mineral pools, many of which feed spas that have been in operation since the 1500s. On the island of Sao Miguel, the Ferraria Spa and the iron-rich water pools in Furnas are unmissable, while on the island of Graciosa, a highlight is the beautiful, coastal Carapacho Spa.
Whale- and dolphin-watching
The deep waters surrounding the islands provide some of the best whaleand dolphin-watching opportunities in the world. Around the archipelago, approximately 25 different resident and migratory species can be spotted. The sperm whale is among the most common: the same giant of the seas that was the focus of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick — Azorean whalers learned their trade from the Yankees immortalised in the tale. These whales can grow to 18 metres and weigh as much as 44 tones — a truly memorable wildlifewatching experience. Other sightings include the blue whale and the fin whale, along with several species of shark, turtle and dolphin. There’s little to compare to being on board a boat just metres from a breaching whale, or diving into the clear blue to swim with wild dolphins.
Adrift in the Atlantic
This is Portugal but not as you know it: set between Europe and the US surrounded by the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find the Azores. This nine-island chain may be an autonomous region of Portugal but it comes with a distinctive character and landscape sculpted by volcanoes. Each of the islands is shaped by its own traditions, cuisine and architecture. Divided into three main geographical regions, the Eastern Group comprises the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel, home to the largest city, Ponta Delegada, where most international travellers arrive. The Central Group includes Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Faial and Pico, the latter home to Portugal’s highest peak, while the Western Group is made up of just two destinations: Flores, and Corvo, the archipelago’s smallest and northernmost island.
WHAT TO TASTE The geodiversity and geological heritage of the Azores are enjoyed in many ways, most unusually perhaps in its cuisine. Cozido das Furnas (a meat stew from São Miguel), is cooked in volcanic-heated soil. On Pico, wine is cultivated in black basalt vineyards. It also yields quality grass-fed meats, vegetables and fruit. The archipelago is even home to a tea plantation. Such rich pastures produce some great cheeses, like São Jorge — made on the island since it was first settled. Azorean gastronomy is also shaped by the ocean — highlights include sustainably caught tuna, swordfish, sea bass, wreckfish, shellfish and squid.
Crisscrossed by a network of ancient, well-maintained trails, the Azores is seen as a hiker’s paradise. For centuries, these paths and shortcuts were used by locals travelling between villages, either for trade, to graze livestock, for religious pilgrimages or to access farm and forest. Today, they’re a natural playground for walkers of all abilities, home to hidden waterfalls that flow into magnificent bays, natural coastal pools great to swim in, fantastic fajãs (coastal plateaus resulting from landslides or lava flows) and rich flora and fauna that make these islands a centre for biodiversity. Around 500 miles of official paths are spread across the nine islands, including approximately 80 approved, way-marked hiking trails with itineraries varying in difficulty, distance and terrain, meaning there’s something for seasoned hikers and have-a-go families alike.
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Inbox Readers, this is your space. Let us know what you think about the magazine, give us your unique travel tips, or simply ask us a question. Get Instagramming, emailing or tweeting!
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Two sides of a coin
Thank you so much for your feature ‘In Pictures: Hong Kong’ in the last issue. As an ex-resident of Hong Kong, I spent years telling anyone who would listen that the city is not only humid and bustling with skyscrapers sprouting all over the place, but also a place where hilly and lush scenery can be found, as well as spacious sandy beaches and tranquil outlying islands. In addition to their love of technology and modern design, tradition is just as important to Hong Kongers, and your feature displayed this wonderfully. Thank you for sharing the side of Hong Kong that many don’t know exists. EMMA HENSBY
Ticket to ride
As a first-time reader of National Geographic Traveller, I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself transported to all the countries described and was able to imagine in great detail everything from the accommodation to the food. Holidaying for me is something of a luxury, but after reading your Jul/Aug issue, I’m more determined than ever to experience the wonders the world has to offer. I especially enjoyed the article on Madagascar, which is somewhere I’ve wished to travel since my brother returned from working with the Azafady charity there almost a decade ago. I’m also booking onto one of your travel writing courses in London so that when I do get a chance to travel, I’ll be able to share my adventures with the same high-energy writing your contributors provide. MICHAEL MALONE
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Next issue’s star letter wins a Tombag Duffel worth £95! Designed like a military kitbag, the unique shape is perfect for travel, sports, camping or festivals. The Tombag closes using the 120-year-old T-Bar design, which ensures that the contents are secure as the shoulder strap attaches to the T-Bar itself. The padded strap allows the bag to be carried over the shoulder or across the body. happybags.co.uk
I was so pleased to read in your July/August edition the article about Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. It highlighted the positive side of elephant tourism. Far too many travel companies advertise elephant trekking experiences and tourists who may not know the truth about how elephants are ‘broken in’ for such activities, are enticed unwittingly into what is a cruel pastime. Your article will hopefully encourage people to take part in elephant tourism, without any cruelty being involved, as well as giving vital funds to the elephants that need to be looked after in Thailand and other countries. MARY BLOYE
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Tips for avoiding sickness at high altitude?
@OLEEBRANCH While hiking Mt Elgon in Uganda at 4,321m ASL, my guide kept advising me to drink water if I
felt anything. It worked! // @EPPIESHEPHERD I always wear travel bands. I don’t how they work or if it’s a placebo effect but it does the job for me! // @NEHASUMITRAN Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate when ascending. And potent garlic soup, for when it sets in anyway. // @ALTITUDECENTRE take ALTI-VIT! SEE OUR TIPS, P.160
Hashtag your Instagram pics with #NGTUK for your chance to be our Photo of the Week
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We give you a theme, you give us the photos, with the best published in the next issue. This month is ‘Africa’ — the theme of our September 2016 cover story The winning entry, from Nicola Reed, beautifully captures the essence of the continent: its people. Set against a vivid pink backdrop, the shot highlights the spectacular traditional body adornment rituals for which the tribe is renowned.
The theme: ‘Hawaii’. Upload your high-res image (one only for each entry), plus a sentence describing your shot, to ngtr.uk/yourpictures by 10 Oct 2016.
The winner will receive the Sony RX100 III — a premium fixed-lens compact camera with a one-inch sensor — crafted for serious photographers on the go. It features 20.1MP image quality, a pop-up viewfinder and a bright F1.8-2.8 Zeiss zoom lens, and is worth £699. sony.co.uk
W I N N E R
1 NICOLA REED // LONDON: This photograph of two girls was taken in Jinka, Ethiopia. It celebrates the individuality, unique style and personality that’s so pertinent to the Karo tribe of the Omo Valley. 2 HARRY SKEGGS // LONDON: Tracking mountain gorillas in the foothills of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Western Uganda, I hoped to capture the shy nature of these giant symbols of central Africa. 3 KELLIE NETHERWOOD // LONDON: In Kenya’s Maasai Mara even simple moments feel dramatic, like a sunrise silhouetting the impala that fight for daily survival.
To find out more about the next theme, enter and for T&Cs visit NATGEOTRAVELLER.CO.UK
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH RAYMOND WEIL is proud to be supporting Swiss sailing team Realteam as its Official Timing Partner and to introduce a new freelancer able to support the crew in the most extreme sailing conditions. A nice little tip of the hat to Mr Raymond Weil who was a member of the Geneva Yacht Club. Join the discussion #RWRealteam
freelancer collection Water resistant to 300 metres