Saint Lucia Getaway
NEXT China Dubai Mexico Tahiti
The Romance Report: From the sexiest spas to the hottest honeymoon destinations
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Pure joy. With everything taken care of, you are free to connect with your best self and revel in those special moments. Whether it is the wonder of seeing an icon for the first time, having the time to truly connect with your loved ones or the surprise from learning the richness of local cultures, we are your champions of happy so you can just be.
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SPRING | 2019
Features In This Issue
33 Why Cruise Now
In our special high-seas package, Liz Fleming explores the five top reasons why 2019 is the right time to cruise…. Plus some of the key trends to look for when booking your cruise of a lifetime
42 In a Big Country
Everybody’s got to visit China before they die. But with so much to see, and so many other people trying to see it, too, Paul Gallant had to take extra steps to find more intimate moments
48 Tahitian Dream
In one of the world’s most far-flung, and most dreamed about destinations, Vawn Himmelsbach befriends the wildlife that flourishes in the South Pacific. And meets some lovely locals, too
55 My Chocolate Paradise In her exploration of Saint Lucia, Natalie Preddie lets her tastebuds take the lead
69 The Honeymooners
Getting close to nature across the bay from St. Lucia’s spectacular Piton mountains. 6 BOLD
Photo courtesy of St. Lucia Tourism Office
An up-to-the-minute tour of the world’s most romantic vacation destinations with travel expert Jack S. Ezon of New York’s Embark…. Plus Diana Spechler’s guide to the best couples massages
SPRING | 2019
Contents 75 Also in This Issue 10 EDITOR’S NOTE 12 EDITOR’S ITINERARY: Say bon voyage to cookie-cutter excursions
30 GLOBETROTTER: Dragons’ Den’s
39 STYLE: Packing light means packing gorgeous
14 CONTRIBUTORS 20 LOCAL EXPERT: Model and
influencer Moe Bayer’s guide to Amman, Jordan
80 TRAVEL INTEL: Keeping data safe in
the digital era
82 WORTH TRAVELLING FOR:
Luang Prabang, Laos
22 DRINK: In Tequila country, you’ll find Mexico at its most authentic 24 TRAVEL TWO WAYS: Tasting Barbados’ culinary delights
26 FOOD DIARIES: The life of chef Nick Liu in words and pictures
28 STAY: Northern Ireland’s Finn Lough
ON THE COVER Cast yourself away on Saint Lucia’s Sugar Beach.
COSTA ESMERALDA Nestled between Tola and El Astillero sits The Emerald Coast: Nicaraguaâ€™s dreamy response to the growing population of eco-travellers. This 30-mile stretch of pristine coastline and unspoilt forest has transcended its humble origins as a surfing getaway and has become one of Nicaraguaâ€™s foremost destinations for sustainable adventure and relaxation. With an abundance of exciting excursions and a growing selection of authentic accommodations, Green has never looked (or felt) so good.
SPRING | 2019
Editor’s Note A bucket list for the soul characters quickly ran out. Is the restaurant on jumping-man-next-to-a-plant street or the double-box-with-legs street… or is that a triple box? I thought about the limits of my shortcuts when putting together this issue of BOLD. I suggest it’s time we redefine how we think about our dream vacations and completing our bucket list. We need to make it more meaningful than just seeing what’s there. We think of bucket-list destinations as places we want to visit before we die, once-in-a-lifetime trips like China (see my story on page 42) or Tahiti (see Vawn Himmelsbach’s story on page 48). But what if the dream fulfillment is less about the destination itself than how we go about experiencing it? Less “I’m finally going to Tahiti,” more “When I finally visit Tahiti, I’m going to talk to people around me, ask strangers for directions even if I feel stupid, try foods I’ve always avoided, learn some of the local language and maybe even do some volunteer work.” Maybe the next getaway is not just about getting to a place we’ve dreamed of, but discovering a place in ourselves we need to visit more often. In my case, setting aside rote travel strategies, like guessing at street names, to put myself at the mercy of locals to get me where I’m going. Depending more on the kindness of strangers can make for a richer journey—and possibly help me get better at learning languages.
Paul Gallant Executive Editor
Photo by Tishan Baldeo
Despite many classes, I’ve never been good at learning languages; the preterite seems impossible, never mind pluperfect or conditional. So I’ve developed many compensating strategies. Once on a trip to Brazil with my father, we were in a cab heading to São Paulo’s Tietê bus station. The cab driver asked a series of questions in Portuguese, and I had answers for all of them: Ubatuba, Canada, Toronto, sim, três. “I thought you didn’t know any Portuguese,” said my father, amazed. “I don’t,” I said, “but I can guess what he’s asking.” This cabbie’s line of questioning was standard: Where are you taking the bus to, where are you from, which city, isn’t the weather bad in Canada, how long are you in Brazil? It’s like following a script. One of my strategies for keeping track of hard-to-spell-harder-to-pronounce place names and street names is to give them a kind of nickname based on the grouping of letters. I’ll look for the “street starting with S, followed by several rs,” avoiding the “street starting with T, followed by ö.” Painfully clumsy, I know, but umlauts have saved me from wandering down Brüderstraße instead of Breite Straße. Two recent trips demonstrated the insufficiency of my system. Though Hawaiian is a beautiful language, it has only 12 consonants—everything seems to start with an H or a K. So my mental note “Go left on the K street” had almost no meaning on Oʻahu or Kauaʻi. K streets are everywhere. Then on a G Adventures tour to China, my imagination’s ability to describe Mandarin
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Custom PASSAGES Say bon voyage to cookie-cutter itineraries
– by Liz Fleming –
meetings. If you’re already enjoyed a corporate rate at your hotel, you might be able to extend the discount—hotels love long-stay guests. Become part of the bleisure trend by booking extra days in great cities like Vancouver, NYC, Chicago or London. INSTA-TRAVEL For many young, photogenic travellers, choosing a destination is all about ensuring that it will provide a great backdrop for Instagram shots. A recent study by UK travel insurance company Schofields revealed that more than 40 per cent of respondents under the age of 33 listed “Instagrammability” as the most important factor in choosing their holiday destination. If social media-inspired tourism is your jam, think of destinations like the Grand Canyon (note: when you set up that inevitable fake-jump photo, stay away from the edge!), Iceland (glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, the Blue Lagoon Spa, adorable Icelandic ponies) and the lavender fields of Tasmania (everyone looks good with a purple background). WELL, WELL, WELL!
Not every holiday is—or has to be—two weeks on the beach. Depending on your constraints and goals, you can maximize your time away from home.
Who doesn’t love a spa day? And how much more would we love a whole week focused on rest, relaxation and rejuvenation? Health and wellness travel is booming, with everything from luxury resorts to high-end cruise lines and full-on destination spas luring stressedout travellers with exotic treatments such as salt cave experiences, cryotherapy (extreme cold), sauna villas, chromatherapy (coloured light treatments), Vichy showers and more. Ready to bliss out? Try the Thermal Spa, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland; the über-luxe Spa at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona; or the Remede Spa at St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. resortragaz.ch; canyonranch.com; marriott.com
MAKE IT A MICRO TRIP
The Grand Canyon is a view that’s launched a thousand selfies. Xxxxxx
Dreaming of endless time to wander the globe, but faced with the reality of a tiny two-week vacation allotment? Why not pack your holiday days around long weekends? It’s a trend called micro tripping and it’s the best way to make the most of limited vacation time. Because getting there is an issue when planning a short getaway, don’t waste time on long flights. Consider spots closer to home or take short, red-eye flights to maximize daylight hours at your destination. A few great choices if you’re based in Toronto: Niagara Falls (two hours drive from downtown, this remains one of the world’s top tourism destinations), Montreal (an hour’s flight or a few hours by train, this cosmopolitan city is a epicurean’s dream come true) or Bermuda (the flight is less than three hours). THINK BLENDER TRAVEL Avis Rent A Car recently released survey results showing that 87 per cent of business travellers choose to mix business and leisure on the same trip. No shock, given that 92 per cent of the same respondents said they do some work while on vacation. Fair is fair! If business takes you to great cities but never leaves you enough time to actually explore them, build holiday time around your 12 BOLD
Trips with a purpose are a huge trend, whether we’re popping into Beijing for an intensive blast of second-language learning, rolling up our sleeves to help with a Habitat for Humanity build or joining locals abroad for celebrations that our friends back home might never have imagined. This year, tie your travel to a big event, like the red hot Tomatina held in August in the Valencia town of Buñol, where 140 tonnes of tomatoes are thrown at the crowd, Tanzania’s epic wildebeest migration in September or Munich’s beer-fuelled Oktoberfest.
Photo by David Ilécio
Come take in all of the soulâ€“satisfying sights, sounds, flavours and places Louisiana serves up daily. Plan your getaway today at LouisianaTravel.com/Canada. ÂŠ 2018 Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
SPRING | 2019
Contributors 24 BIANCA BUJAN Writer
TRAVEL TWO WAYS Bianca Bujan is a freelance travel writer, parenting columnist, family magazine editor and marketing consultant. When she’s not scribing or spreading the word, Bianca can be found sampling new foods, and snapping photos while exploring the outdoors with her family on BC’s North Shore where she calls home. @bitsofbee
28 CHLOE BERGE Writer
INTO THE WOODS Chloe Berge is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist specializing in travel and lifestyle. Her writing has appeared in Canadian Geographic Travel, FASHION and ELLE Canada. When she’s not up in the air or scribbling in her journal, you can find her with her nose in a book or exploring B.C.’s mountains. @chloeberge
55 NATALIE PREDDIE Writer
MY CHOCOLATE PARADISE Natalie Preddie is a freelance travel writer and on-air travel expert who has travelled to more than 30 countries. Natalie has written for major publications such as Travel + Leisure, CAA Magazine and the Toronto Star. She is a regular guest on CHCH Morning Live, CTV Your Morning and Global’s The Morning Show. @_nattiep
74 DIANA SPECHLER Writer
THE WORLD’S BEST MASSAGES… FOR COUPLES Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny, of the New York Times column Going Off, and of a forthcoming memoir. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, GQ, BBC, Travel & Leisure, Harper’s and many other publications. @dianacspechler
Marlon J. Moreno CEO + Editorial Director Luis Chavez Vice President, Operations Pina Russo Chief Digital Officer Paul Gallant Executive Editor Liz Fleming Associate Editor Magda de la Torre Americas Editor
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chloe Berge • Bianca Bujan Vawn Himmelsbach Natalie Preddie • Diana Spechler ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Laura García PHOTOGRAPHY Tishan Baldeo WEB DEVELOPER Rahul Nair SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Juan Felipe Galán
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PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY Jesson + Company jessonco.com email@example.com 77 Bloor St. West, Suite 1200 Toronto, ON M5S 1M2 CORRESPONDENCE The Hudson Bay Centre 20 Bloor St. East, P.O. Box 75075 Toronto, ON M4W 3T3 BOLD® is published bimonthly by Moreno & Company Inc. Opinions expressed in BOLD® are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the publisher or advertisers. BOLD® does not assume liability for content. All prices quoted are in rounded Canadian dollars, accurate at press time, unless otherwise noted. www.boldmagazine.ca
No hard hats required. Come see why Maryland is a seafood lover’s delight. Plan your trip today and be open to cracking into hot steamed crabs and sampling freshly shucked oysters, rockfish and more. We’re open for you. As long as you’re
B O L D PA R T N E R S H I P
MARYLAND Coasting to Excellence
Urban Wonders, Old and New Most trips to Maryland begin in Baltimore, the natural launchpad for a broader adventure in the state thanks to its proximity to the international airports. Honour the temptation to drop off your bags and immediately make for the famous Inner Harbour–the city is ripe with excursions and attractions for all types of urban explorers. The nightlife and boutique shopping are exemplary– as one might expect from a cosmopolitan city–and the sightseer will find no shortage of fine-art museums, ballparks, and world-class aquariums. The thirsty traveller will appreciate the growing craft brew and distilling industry in the downtown core, spearheaded by the resurgence of famous Maryland Rye. The wine-inclined will want to venture out into the scenic surrounding counties for a sampling of Maryland’s finest:
Boordy Vineyards has been pleasing palates with their dry and semi-dry wines since 1945. Once you develop a taste for Maryland’s major cityscape, you owe it to yourself to expand your radius beyond Baltimore. Take an afternoon to venture to St. Mary’s City, a preserved vision of 17 th century colonial life along the waterfront of the Potomac River. If you still find yourself in a nostalgic mood, make time to visit Annapolis, the charmingly anachronistic state capital that is home to the U.S. Naval Academy and waterfront boutiques, pubs, and restaurants. With its distinctive Ferris wheel and boardwalk, National Harbor is a great getaway along the venerable Potomac and an excellent complimentary excursion if you elect to drive south to Washington, D.C.
Produced by Moreno & Co. 2019
he nascent sun rises over the waters of the Chesapeake, illuminating the picturesque lighthouses that have stood sentinel since the signing of the Constitution. Further down the tributaries, the dawn casts light on spires of a very different kind: an unmistakably modern skyline punctuated by architectural relics of a long colonial history. Wild horses neigh, rapids roar, and freshly caught crabs clatter onto weathered docks, the familiar chorus that heralds the beginning of another day in Maryland. Maryland has a lot to be happy about. Gifted a stunning diversity in both climate and biome by the sprawling presence of the Chesapeake Bay, the “Old Line State” is a nexus of captivating nature and eclectic modern cities rooted in centuries of American colonial history. Yet, for many Canadians, Maryland is something of an enigma: a MidAtlantic question mark fleetingly recognizable as home to a popular NFL franchise. As we discovered, general unfamiliarity of Maryland does the average traveller no favours, as it keeps them from appreciating a destination unlike any other. Standing at the intersection of natural splendour, modern comfort, and compelling history, you’ll find a lot to be happy about too.
B O L D PA R T N E R S H I P
spot and a great place to sample a crab-topped Bloody Mary, among the crab-infused treats that characterize Maryland cuisine. For a truly memorable day on the sands, book an excursion to Assateague Island, the second of the state’s Atlantic beaches. Here, you’ll have the privilege of sharing the waterfront with bands of roaming wild horses, whose mysterious presence on the unspoilt isle continues to captive nature lovers from around the globe. Set off westward and take a sobering stop at the Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the single bloodiest day of fighting in American history. Further west, the thrillseeker will be right at home at the Adventure Sports Center in McHenry, which offers a hilltop whitewater rafting course down Wisp Mountain. As of 2019, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is once again operational through the Western Maryland Mountains between Cumberland and Frostburg, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the countryside from the refurbished comfort of a diesel locomotive.
Making Waves While Maryland’s wild places offer adventure in every direction, the C&O Canal deserves special mention. The Canal has been recognized as a National Historic Park and serves as a beloved venue for biking, watersports, and horseback riding. The well-maintained trails offer sublime views of the vistas along the winding Potomac, sure to delight the selfie-inclined. Stay in one of the authentic lockhouses: these period-accurate lodgings are the best way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the basin. Of course, no trip to Maryland would be complete without time on the state’s myriad waterways. Whichever part of the Chesapeake you choose to sail on, you’ll be enchanted by
the calm waters and vibrant shorelines. While Solomons Island and the major cities are common launch points for a day on the water, you’ll be able to find a boat and willing captain in just about any of the state’s bay front towns and villages. Fishing is both tradition and institution in Maryland and thus is not to be missed: there’s really no feeling in the world quite like reeling in a striped bass as the morning sun rises over the bay. With the bay wind in your hair and a feisty trophy on your line, you’ll fall in love with fishing–either for the first time or all over again. We really could go on: we’ve only scratched the surface of what Maryland has to offer. For a destination that many Canadians might overlook, there is so much to be said. The truth is that Maryland is a destination best discovered firsthand; a vacation that dynamically and energetically rejects misconceptions and misinformation. Uniquely sophisticated yet unspoiled, familiar yet surprising, adventurous yet relaxing, consider a trip this season to experience exactly what makes the destination so uniquely...Maryland.
Land, Sea, and Everything In-Between As robust in offering and diversity as Maryland’s towns and cities are, you’ll inevitably desire to strike out into the countryside. As a first destination, you might consider the Eastern Shore: the nine-county stretch of mostly verdant land across the Chesapeake’s eastern side. You’ll be immediately struck by the rural authenticity of the region: farmers hawk fresh local produce at simple stands as travellers roll by on their way to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a hotspot for hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching. Ocean City is the Eastern Shore’s iconic coastal vacation
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE TODAY. FOR MORE UNIQUELY MARYLAND EXPERIENCES GO TO
B O L D PA R T N E R S H I P
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Surfing the volcano at Cerro Negro; the Emerald Coast’s stunning shoreline; inspired by Granada’s oldest cathedral; a picture postcard moment on Little Corn Island.
The Hidden Gem of Central America
UNCOVER COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE AND HISTORY With a fascinating and complex history, Nicaragua has a richness in art, architecture, and culture that any other country would be envious of. Nowhere is this more evident than in Granada, Nicaragua’s oldest city and foremost cultural centre. Resplendent with classic colonial architecture and anachronistic charm, Granada is the sum of Nicaragua’s history crystallized into one urban tapestry. Whether you’re wandering the streets and museums or just taking in the performances in the square, Granada is where history comes to life...and where you will, too. To deepen your appreciation for Nicaragua’s legacy, you’ll want to visit the Catedral de León: the western city of Leon’s monument to art, history, and to the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. Built and rebuilt four times since 1610, this officially recognized world heritage site holds the tomb of beloved poet Rubén Darío and priceless works of religious art. A view from the top of this modern relic is a powerful reminder, both of its own majesty and of León’s baroque beauty.
WANDER THE GREEN PLACES Nicaragua is an adventurer’s paradise. With 78 protected areas and a plethora of natural parks, the hiker, spelunker, and kayaker will be spoiled for choice. Eternally misty cloud forests tempt travellers to navigate their canopy walkways while the black sands of the Cerro Negro welcome the thrillseeker for an afternoon of volcano boarding. Nestled between Tola and El Astillero sits The Emerald Coast: Nicaragua’s dreamy response to the growing population of eco-travellers. This 30-mile stretch of pristine coastline and undisturbed forest has transcended its humble origins as a surfing getaway and become one of Nicaragua’s foremost destinations for sustainable adventure and relaxation. With an abundance of exciting excursions and a growing selection of authentic accommodations, green has never looked (or felt) so good.
TAKE A DAY AT THE BEACH Nicaragua wouldn’t be Central America’s most complete destination without incredible beaches. Located 50 miles off Nicaragua’s east coast, the unassuming Little Corn Island deserves special recognition. This humble, verdant jewel looks like something off a postcard, seducing visitors with its calm cerulean waters. The gentle waves and supple sands lend themselves to world-class scuba, sailing, and fishing, while the charming amenities of the island offer an escape from the mainland bustle. Little Corn may be out of sight, but like the rest of Nicaragua, this idyllic escape deserves to be top of mind.
REDISCOVER NICARAGUA AT VISITNICARAGUA.US OR CALL YOUR PREFERRED TRAVEL ADVISOR
Produced by Moreno & Co. 2019
here are some destinations we experience as tourists: forging pleasant yet impermanent memories all too easily forgotten. More rarely, we connect with certain destinations as travellers, captivated and marked by our experiences. Nicaragua, Central America’s hidden paradise, unquestionably falls firmly into the latter category. With a unique mix of unspoiled natural beauty, volcanic vistas and rainforests, white sand beaches, and stunning colonial architecture, Nicaragua is a truly dynamic destination. It’s these essential elements and the warmth of its people that make Nicaragua as beautiful as ever...and a destination you owe it to yourself to visit.
AGENDA SEE. EXPERIENCE. HEAR. SHARE. GO.
Photo courtesy the W Hotel
WHERE WE’RE HEADED TO
Dusting it up in Jordan’s Wadi Rum, also known as Valley of the Moon. BOLD 19
LOCAL EXPERT AGENDA
LAYERS DEEP THOUGH AMMAN IS KNOWN FOR I T S H I S TO R Y , M O D E L A N D S O C I A L I N F L U E N C E R M O E M AY E R S AY S I T H A S G R E AT C O C K TA I L S , TO O
oe Bayer is an influencer and fashion model, who’s appeared in campaigns for Coca-Cola and Nivea. Born in Jordan, now he spends much of his time hopping around the globe. But it remains part of his job to keep up on the happenings in Amman. A city of about four million people, the city is safe and cosmopolitan, with a ridiculously rich history: Neolithic settlements dating back to 6500 B.C., and it’s played a role in the Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman empires. Visitors can see people wearing traditional clothing in the streets, but also get a sense of the city’s cosmopolitan flare in its many theatres and clubs. Surprisingly for a Muslim country, there are liquor stores all over the place. The world famous historic site at Petra is about three hours away by car. Here are Bayer’s picks for the best of Amman, in his own words. H OT E L Opened in spring 2018, the new W hotel has proved itself to be a fashionable hotspot, with people and energy. Edgy, but the staff make you feel at home. The staff don’t have name tags, so they talk to you as a real person. It’s in the up-and-coming downtown neighbourhood of Abdali, and the rooms in the upper floors have views of the seven hills on which the city is built. marriott.com CASUAL DINING Located on Al Rainbow in the old city, Sufra has some of the best traditional cuisine in Amman. They serve an excellent mansaf, which is the national dish of Jordan. It’s lamb cooked in a sauce of goat’s milk dried in the sun and usually served with rice. When the weather is good, you can sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere. romero-jordan.com C O C K TA I L S On the rooftop of the AlQasr Metropole Hotel, Vinaigrette is a great place to have an afternoon drink and enjoy the city view. They serve international cuisine like sushi, of which I’m a fan. They’re known for that, and for their Italian food. Another of my favourite rooftop bars is Sulit, where you can have a hookah and just hang out. It’s a mixed crowd and the music is amazing. atico-jo.com; fikrajordan.com
CULTURAL HAPPENING The Jerash Festival, which takes place in a small city about 30 kilometres from Amman, was founded in 1981 by Queen Noor Al Hussein, and takes place in the middle of the summer. All the stars from all over the Middle East come to perform. It might be a singer or a band or an orchestra or ballet company. The venues are in historic theatres, so there’s a lot of atmosphere at the performances. jerashfestival.jo WELLNESS People come from all over the world to visit the Dead Sea for its special properties. People with eczema and other skin problems say it’s good for their skin. There is public access to the sea, but I prefer checking into one of the spas or hotels there because they have fresher water and it’s much more comfortable. Some of the hotels have day-use passes. I like the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, which I think has the nicest spa and view. movenpick.com WEEKEND TRIP Petra is a bit more than a day trip—I’d recommend staying overnight. It’s not just the Al Khazna [the treasury], which you see in all the pictures, because it’s so spectacular, it’s a whole city, so there is a lot of ground to cover. There are lots of hotels in the town Wadi Musa, which is the entry point to the archeological site. You can continue on to Wadi Rum, which has a weird desert landscape. It’s where a lot of Lawrence of Arabia was filmed. visitpetra.jo
Getting along with camels for a tour of Jordan’s Wadi Rum National Reserve. BOLD 21
Sip, Taste, Repeat
IN GUADALAJARA, WHAT’S TRADITIONAL CAN ALSO BE CHIC—JUST TRY SOME OF ITS BEST TEQUILA
– by Paul Gallant – 22 BOLD
hile Mexico City gets all the attention these days, with its finger astutely placed on the pulse of what’s hip, Guadalajara, the country’s second biggest metropolis, remains the guardian of all things truly and deeply Mexican. Drop by a party or club here and you’re more likely to find live mariachi musicians than a DJ—and they thankfully probably won’t play “Guantanamera” (which is a Cuban song, by the way). Torta ahogada, locally made crusty French bread stuffed with cuts of pork and soaked in tomato sauce, outranks both tacos and hamburgers as the tasty, messy meal of choice. Lucha libre, Mexico’s wonderfully weird masked version of professional wrestling, draws crowds on both weekends and weekdays, with fans screaming at the villains as loudly as they cheer on the good guys. And then there’s the fact that Guadalajara is the epicentre of tequila country. On the drive through the crumpled countryside to visit the Herradura distillery, about an hour outside the city, the blue agave from which the spirit is made cover most of fields and line the highway like decorative plants. Located in the village of Amatitán, about 15 minutes driving short of the actual town of Tequila, the Herradura campus (“campus” is the only way to describe the arrangement of historic and industrial buildings scattered across the lovingly landscaped property) is centred on an old hacienda still owned by the descendants of Félix López. López founded the brand in 1870, naming his product “Horseshoe,” because, of course, horseshoes are lucky. When US beverage maker Brown-Forman bought the family business in 2007, they did little to change the process and Herradura still grows most of its agave itself, on land leased from the family. Tequila long ago lost its reputation as good only for lemonand-salt shots and margaritas. But in Canada, premium tequila, delightful for sipping and at home in a wide variety of cocktails,
GUADALAJARA ESSENTIALS hasn’t quite attracted the same attention as other upscale spirits. For example, mezcal—produced in several regions of Mexico using any type of agave, by distilleries tiny and huge—is having a moment, despite the unpredictable variation from brand to brand. Tequila, which can only be produced from blue agave in the state of Jalisco and small regions in four other states, offers a decidedly refined drinking experience, one worthy of loyalty and discernment. At Herradura, we watch a jimador wield an ax-like tool to rapidly slice the leaves off a blue agave plant, leaving a heart that looks like a pineapple. A jimador must be able to harvest 120 plants during a six-hour shift, with the best of them harvesting as many as 300. At Herradura’s oven building, the pineapples are stacked into pyramids and cooked whole, allowing them to be reduced to a juice, which is then fermented with wild yeast prior to the distilling process. Añejo tequila, which is aged between one and three years in small oak barrels, was the first aged tequila to be introduced, but Herradura has made its own efforts in taking tequila upmarket, introducing Reposado (tequila aged in oak barrels for up to 11 months) in 1974 and Extra Añejo Selección (aged four years) in 1995. The aging process makes the liquid darker in colour and delivers a richer, more complex drinking experience. Probably the most intriguing innovation, though, and one that seems especially made for tequila skeptics, is Ultra. Introduced in 2015, it’s a blend of Extra Añejo and Añejo that’s been filtered clear. The smoky, oaky flavours you typically get in a barrel-aged drink drop into the background, leaving the taste of berries and fruits much more prominent on the palate. It’s an alluring combination of mature and light. Our first night in the Guadalajara we dined on a gut-busting and lip-smacking array of street tacos before taking in a lucha libre match, where contestants repeatedly jump or are thrown toward our benches. People spill their drinks getting out of the way. It’s splendid, proletarian fun. On our second night, we dine at Hueso (“Bone”). With its all-white décor, sharing tables in a single line and an open kitchen where you can watch the plates being assembled on a wooden countertop, it’s the height of culinary chic. Just because Guadalajara does “traditional” exceptionally well doesn’t mean it lacks a sense of style and elegance.
The room is nothing to write home about, and probably hasn’t changed a bit since the place opened in 1921. But, oh, if the walls could talk at Cantina La Fuente on Calle Pino Suárez. It’s where the elite comes to strategize while rubbing shoulders with the citizenry. Your urge to eavesdrop will improve your Spanish. As fascinating as Guadalajara’s historic centre is (José Clemente Orozco’s 1935 mural at the Palacio de Gobierno is nothing short of shocking), all visitors must make their way to the village/suburb of Tlaquepaque. A hub of art and design, this is where to get your traditional Mexican crafts—and trendy stuff, too. Though meat is Hueso’s speciality, chef Alfonso Cadena (also behind Puerto Vallarta’s famed La Leche) knows his seafood and veggies, too. The space is Instagram-tastic. huesorestaurant.com A stylish place to gather friends in a burgeoning entertainment district, Polanco has a well deserved reputation for great seafood and cocktails. polancorestaurante.com
T R AV E L T WO WAY S AGENDA
HANDS ON OR TWO WAYS TO GET A TASTE OF BARBADOS, THE CARIBBEAN’S CULINARY CAPITAL
– by Bianca Bujan –
PEG FARM AND NATURE RESERVE, ST. JOSEPH
ampened by the early morning rain, the grass below my feet shimmers in the warm sunlight, revealing an underlay of muddy soil below its surface. I have two options as my group prepares to venture on foot through the 108 acres of property that makes up the PEG Farm and Nature Reserve in Barbados: soil my sneakers or go barefoot. Following in the footsteps of my nature-loving guide, Georgie, I remove my shoes and sink my feet into the cool mud, enjoying the sensation as it squishes between my toes. As our group begins our trek, the faint scent of fresh mint fills my nose. The first stop on our two-hour walking tour is the on-site medicinal garden. As we pick, sniff and taste the fresh herbs that are grown on the lush land on which we stand, Georgie explains the medicinal properties of each plant. Many are imported from around the world: Bloodwart from China, used to treat blood-related issues; Cerasee from India, used as anti-inflammatory; and the Bay Leaf from the Caribbean, which has soothing antiseptic and antibiotic properties. More than just a sensory experience, PEG Farm and Nature Reserve strives to educate locals and visitors with a focus on four farming pillars: farm and food, combining the principles of free range animal husbandry, biodynamic and permaculture to create healthy, organic foods grown locally on the island; education, hosting conferences, workshops and guided tours to educate visitors on the importance of their farming practices; nature sanctuary; and community, creating an opportunity for social and economic change on the island of Barbados. Our tour takes us through the gardens, and up to the grazing pastures, where we pet piglets, call cows and attempt to catch chickens, all free-range animals that roam freely through the well-kept land. Further ahead, we stroll along the edge of Hackelton’s Cliff, which provides breathtaking beach views from 3,000 metres above sea level, overlooking protected old growth forest that runs from the edge of the cliff to the shoreline below. Our tour wraps up with a visit to the on-site Chrysalis Café, where we sip freshly squeezed juices and nosh on farm-fresh snacks. We take in views of the lush landscape that surrounds us as we enjoy a truly organic culinary experience. Our hands dirty and our hearts full. pegbarbados.com
HIGH END HUGO’S RESTAURANT, SPEIGHTSTOWN, ST. PETER
he click clack of my heels on the concrete floor seem jarring in contrast to the quietly chic atmosphere of Hugo’s Restaurant. As the server guides us to our table, I’m taken aback by the natural beauty that surrounds the contemporary two-level structure, which houses an expansive dining area. It feels sophisticated, but not stuffy. The lower-level dining room stretches out along the beachfront, with the sound of the waves crashing against the shore enhancing the atmosphere. On the walls are historic items and throwback photographs imported from the Ivy restaurant in London. Décor from the late Lord Glenconnor’s home is a nod to the man responsible for transforming the Caribbean island of Mustique from a neglected rock in the middle of the ocean into a multi-millionaire’s paradise, frequented by pop stars, aristocrats and royals. The servers at Hugo’s offer a warm and welcoming greeting as they share menu highlights and take our drink orders. They are happy to answer our endless questions about menu items, and the newly opened restaurant at which we are dining for the first time. The menu provides a wide range of flavours, highlighting fresh Caribbean cuisine sprinkled with international flair. At our request, the server brings out an eclectic mix of appetizers, ranging from beef tartar to breadfruit-and-lentil-pea balls, stylishly presented on our plates. It’s difficult for our group to choose main entreés, so we agree to order a variety of dishes and share bites. The seabass, caught locally and served with tarragon-infused corn meal, bell peppers ragout, crispy okra and saffron sauce, seems to be popular, but I’m quite pleased with my choice, the night’s special of lamb sausage and rack of lamb. As much as you’ll want to fill up on the savoury items, saving room for dessert is a must. The warm homemade bread pudding, served with a Mount Gay Rum (locally made on the island of Barbados), condensed milk sauce, and rum and raisin ice cream makes for a sweet ending to a fine dining feast fit for royalty. hugosbarbados.com BOLD 25
FOOD DIARIES AGENDA
2. I have about 22 different varieties of tomatoes I grow up in Markham at my parents’ place. I’ve been growing them now for seven years and each year we save the seeds and each year they get better and better. I love to grow my own foods, forage and get dirty in the dirt. Knowing where it comes from before it goes on the plate means a lot to me.
Iron Chef Canada competitor NICK LIU cares as much about the history of cooking as how it tastes on the plate (or in the bowl)
lthough chef Nick Liu has a Chinese background (via South Africa and India), his first visit to China is in 2019, a trip to Beijing for a project with the University of Toronto. Liu, the man behind Toronto’s much-loved DaiLo and Little DaiLo at Assembly Chef’s Hall, will be there cooking classic recipes, dating back hundreds of years, researching how the original dishes were made and how they were changed over time and when they travelled to other parts of the world. The journey will contribute to our knowledge about culinary history—how it came to be that typical North American Chinese food mostly doesn’t resemble the food eaten in China—but also to Liu’s own menu planning. “DaiLo is really all my life experiences, my travels, my family background all put together and some rendition of it makes it onto the menu,” he says. A competitor on last fall’s Iron Chef Canada, Liu always seems to be up for an adventure. During his time at Scaramouche he took a one-year sabbatical to Tuscany, and has travelled and worked through England and regularly heads to Mexico for culinary events. instagram.com/ninjachef; twitter.com/dailoto —PAUL GALLANT 26 BOLD
1. I grew up watching the original Japanese Iron Chef and as a young chef it dictated where my career would go. When you become a cook, you can be a line cook or go the hotel route. Because of Iron Chef, I wanted to go into fine dining, where I could experiment. It was really quite an honour to be asked to be on the show.
3. When you’re a chef you’re around a lot of rich, delicious food and booze. It’s something we have to be mindful of, and even people we really look up to, like Anthony Bourdain, go through things like alcoholism and depression. So I’ve been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. At the beginning of last year, I had been so busy and eating out a lot. I was feeling fatigued and gained a lot of weight. Even just walking upstairs I was out of breath. These days I’m feeling great. My stomach has flattened out a bit, and my energy level is up. No sugars, no booze, no fermentations, no gluten, no dairy. Instead of adding sugar, I’ll buy ripe pears and make a puree to add sweetness to the sauces I’m making.
4. Doing a TEDx Talk was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I said in my speech that I wasn’t ever good or focused in school growing up. I had a bit of dyslexia, which I didn’t know at the time. Growing up, I was labelled one of the dumb kids and that stuck with me for a long time. To be able to write my thoughts on paper and talk about my thoughts and ideas was a massive hurdle for me, but it gave me a massive sense of achievement. It made me realize that I’m a lot more capable than I thought I was.
5. I did a podcast that’s about family and food. I’ve always been around great food because both my parents are great cooks, so the podcast we did was about the wontons that my grandparents made, that my parents still make. I remember a time when I was travelling a lot, learning French food under some of the best in the world. After my travels when I came back, all I really wanted was to go home and eat some of my grandmother’s dumplings. When I had these dumplings again it was like eating them for the first time because my palate had been enhanced by my experiences. homecookedpodcast.com
6. To have one restaurant was a dream already and to start working on a second restaurant, Little DaiLo at Assembly Chef’s Hall, was one of those moments where I really felt like a restauranteur, not just a chef. I wanted to create something that was a lunch-focused menu. Every place I’ve worked has been focused on dinner and fine dining, but I enjoy challenging myself.
7. These are a family recipe passed down over the years and passed down to me. These are my favourite things to eat in the world, especially when I’m feeling down or overworked. My grandparents had passed away just before my restaurant opened, so they never got a chance to see the place being built. So I put the wontons on the menu as an homage to my grandparents. My parents make them for the restaurant now, which makes it a really special thing. They’re both retired and this is something they both love to fill their time with. It’s really brought us closer together.
woods AT FINN LOUGH, A DESIGN LOVER’S NATURE RETREAT IN NORTHERN IRELAND, ROOMS COME WITH A VIEW OF THE MILKY WAY
– by Chloe Berge –
he small golf cart I’m perched on rumbles down a rocky trail as idly as the grazing sheep that dot the distant emerald fields. Tall, leafy alders flank our path, awarding only brief glimpses of the verdant hills. I nearly miss the transparent top of my bubble dome peeking through the trees as the driver sidles up to an arched wooden gate that looks like it’s been plucked straight from The Secret Garden. At Finn Lough, a boutique resort on the edges of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, this total immersion in the natural landscape isn’t by accident. “We really wanted to maintain the integrity of the land,” says owner Gillian Beare, who grew up in this secluded corner of the country. “The forest is one of the few remaining indigenous woodlands in County Fermanagh.” Beare’s parents were born in the county and built the bones of the present-day lodge in the early 1980s. By 2013, the upkeep proved too much for them and Beare moved home from Australia where she was working at the time, renovated the eight cottages and main lodge and rebranded the property Finn Lough. “Adding the bubble domes appealed to us because it was a way to connect our guests with nature and allow them to really experience where they are while having a very low impact on the land,” explains Beare. Inside my dome that evening, only paper-thin, transparent walls separate me from the dense, leafy forest and a fading indigo sky. As I lie in my four-poster bed, I watch transfixed as the inky darkness cloaks the trees and a brilliant wash of stars form a shimmering canopy over my head. The walls of the property’s 14 forest domes echo the clean, geometric lines that run through the main lodge, lakeside cottages and hydrotherapy spa. Beare hired local woodworker Ronan Lowery to create bespoke wood furniture throughout, including the solid oak beds in the bubble domes. While modern, the property’s aesthetic is far from austere. Inside the lodge’s first floor, plush velvet teal sofas invite guests to lounge in front of a crackling fire. A small library holds oversized leather armchairs and a navy bookcase full of tomes on design and the history of whiskey—which they have plenty of at the adjoining bar. Before retreating to my forest dome that night, our group met in the restaurant on the lodge’s second floor for dinner. Chef Ryan McFarland changes the menu seasonally, incorporating produce grown on-site and sourcing other ingredients locally. We start with homegrown, sweet summer tomatoes and local goat cheese baked into a flaky tartlet with a side of fresh, peppery arugula salad. I feel like it’s the first time I’ve really tasted a tomato. Next to arrive at our rustic candlelit table is a salt-cured piece of cod caught in neighbouring Donegal served over a bed of curried cauliflower pureé and drizzled with a creamy lime yogurt. The next morning, my eyelids flicker open to a blue sky above me and past the foot of my bed, leggy alder trees crowded along the forest’s edge. After coffee and a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, I head to The Element Trail, Finn Lough’s hydrotherapy spa. I’m buzzed in through a wooden gate and follow a quiet path down to three modernist structures, including the reception and forest lounge, which stand resolutely amidst the forest like old-growth trees. The two-hour trail includes an invigorating dip in the lake in between the saunas and ends at an inground hydrotherapy pool with a view of the water. I steep in the bubbling tub in my post-sauna trance, taking in the rugged beauty of Lough Erne. “There’s lots to do in County Fermanagh,” says Beare, “but people tend to come to Finn Lough—and stay here.” I get it.
Rooms from $270/night; “Forest dome” rooms from $420/ night. finnlough.com
AROUND THE WORLD WITH DRAGONS’ DEN’s
ne of the two newest dragons on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, it’s fair to say that Lane Merrifield is the more handsome and charming rookie. (Though Vincenzo Guzzo is probably more entertaining, taking great pleasure in being intense.) The founder of Club Penguin, a virtual world for children, Merrifield sold the company to Disney in 2007 for an astonishing US$700 million and ran the company for the media giant for five years. Now head of FreshStart, a mobile assessment tool for educators and parents, he doesn’t just seek thrills in the business world. He’s a biker, a licensed pilot and a wakeboarder.
Where in the world have you felt happiest? Up in the air alone flying my plane during a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. It is pure peace, joy, beauty and adventure combined. To get away from it all, I go to: The mountains. There are few things in the world that a great powder day or peaceful hike can’t solve. What’s the one thing you pack for every trip? My camera and iPad. What’s your essential item for making travel more comfortable? My AirPods. I can listen to music in a crowded airport, a podcast to fall asleep on a plane or jump on a quick call in the back of a cab. What’s your guilty pleasure while travelling? Alcohol. I usually limit it to social occasions, but if I’m offered wine on a plane, I’ll always say “Yes.” What’s your pet travel peeve? People who don’t know how to use airport security lines! “Where do I put my liquids again?” Which is your road most travelled? The airspace from Kelowna to Vancouver. Almost all my trips begin with a flight to Vancouver so I know it well.
What trip-of-a-lifetime lies ahead for you? I want to go diving in the Galapagos islands on a liveaboard boat sometime in the next few years. I lost my heart in… Japan. The food, the culture, the beauty. What’s the place you were most nervous about visiting? India with my young children. I knew we’d see, smell and experience things there that would take years to unpack.
“I had no idea how badly we’ve hurt our reefs and I pray they’re still there for my grandkids someday”
Who is your favourite travelling companion? My kids. I’ve been with them on every continent in the world (including Antarctica). An adventure with them brings so many new perspectives. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels? Local cab drivers around the world. I’ve heard dozens of amazing stories sitting in the back of a cab or rickshaw.
Which travel experience most changed your worldview and why? Diving in the Philippines. I had dove around Hawaii, Mexico and the Great Barrier Reef, but to see in the Philippines what healthy coral should look like blew my mind. I had no idea how badly we’ve hurt our reefs and I pray they’re still there for my grandkids someday. Tell us about a time when you got lost and what you learned from it. I had to be in Germany for three days for work so I decided to skip my last connecting flight and rent a Porsche to drive from Frankfurt to Munich. I vowed to not use a map and just followed road signs. Eventually I ended up on a country road asking a farmer for directions back to the autobahn.
If you could live in any city in the world (other than your own), which one would it be and why? Manhattan, New York. It’s an eclectic blend of all the things I love. Great art, food, people and access to the rest of the world.
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Contact us at 855 444 0161 or call your travel professional to book Visit emeraldwaterways.ca to learn more *Terms and Conditions: Offers are valid for new Emerald Waterways 2020 bookings only and are non-transferable. Offer applies to Europe river cruises including France and Portugal. Save $1,500 per person on 15+ day cruises or Save $1,000 per person on 8-14 day cruises. Prices for 2020 Europe river cruises are based on 2019 prices. Offers valid from December 1, 2018 â€“ May 14, 2019 only or until sold out. Pricing listed in Canadian dollars, based on double occupancy and based on lowest cabin category available. Availability is limited and subject to change. Port charges and taxes are included in the price. Offer does not apply to Asia, Croatia, Russia, or Egypt. Offer may be changed, cancelled or withdrawn at any time without notice. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required within 48hrs of booking with full non-refundable payment required by 90 days prior to departure date. This offer is not combinable with any other offer except travel show voucher. For full terms and conditions visit emeraldwaterways.ca. Emerald Waterways, Suite 1025, 401 West Georgia St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 5A1. ÂŠEMERALD WATERWAYS | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | BC CONSUMER PROTECTION #40178. ECAMA044
Five REASONS why cruise-haters are being proven wrong
– by Liz Fleming –
Photo by Eric Laigel
ou’ll never catch me on a cruise ship,” he said, tight-lipped and grim. “Not a chance. I’d hate every minute. Tiny cabin, no way to get off, eating the same food every night, no chance to do what I want or go where I’d like to go.” Famous last words.
Even as my cruise-hating friend John was speaking, I knew his travel-loving wife Joanne was planning their first voyage. I was, after all, helping her to make the bookings. As someone who’s been fortunate to experience all kinds of cruises, in all sorts of destinations, I knew John was in for an enormous surprise—of the very best kind—and I was willing to bet that he’d be an instant cruise convert. But his aversion to cruising wasn’t uncommon. Many people who’ve never experienced a cruise assume that life aboard is all about loud parties and overeating at the midnight buffet. They’ve based their opinions on old reruns of The Love Boat and what they’ve read about mega-ships, teeming with guests. If that’s their frame of reference, we can certainly forgive them for fearing they’ll spend their holiday either playing games on deck with Gavin MacLeod or standing in endless lineups for everything. We’ll do a road trip, they argue, or a week at an all-inclusive. While a road trip does offer the potential for a variety of destinations, there’s one big difference: you have to do the driving. No relaxed lolling as you watch the world go by, as you would on a river cruise ship, for example. You need to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel and pay attention to the GPS. Finding places to eat and stay for the night is your responsibility, as is schlepping your luggage in and out of your hotels each night. No matter how much you love your freedom, all that hassle does take a bit of the glow off. All-inclusive resorts can be a wonderful vacation choice, but you’re limited to the charms of a single destination and at the mercy of the weather in that one place. Unless you rent a car, the 34 BOLD
ON THIS PAGE: One of Viking Cruises’s Explorers’ Lounges. ON THE NEXT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: An excursion to Amsterdam; a treat from Regent Seven Seas’s chocolate concierge; Holland America’s BB King Blues Band; an encounter with a Polar bear with Adventure Canada.
sights you see will be only what’s in your immediate vicinity and you might find the allure of the same stretch of beach and pool begin to dim as the week goes on. By contrast, had you chosen a Caribbean cruise instead, you might have visited half a dozen different beaches, experiencing changes of weather and culture in each—a new adventure every day. Cruising is currently the largest and fastest growing sector in the travel world and the choice of cruise style, duration, price point and destination is constantly increasing. While years ago, it seemed that cruisers were generally either college kids looking for a cheap and cheerful ocean getaway or much older travellers in search of a sedate way to see the world, the demographics are changing steadily. Cruise lines like Uniworld, for example, are reaching out to a younger market, retrofitting two of their popular river cruise ships especially to appeal to millennials. Redesigned dining rooms have long, communal-style tables, a changing lineup of renowned DJs perform each night and onboard technology has been enhanced. Many cruise lines offer themed itineraries, focusing on everything from rock ’n’ roll to wine, history to opera. Expedition ships explore such far flung places as the Arctic and Antarctic, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon and the Nile. Ships now range in size from petite barges, carrying fewer than 10 guests, to nearly 6,000-passenger giants. The bigger the vessel, the more extensive the choices of dining and entertainment, of course, with many featuring full-on Broadway productions, dozens of bars, lounges, cafés and restaurants, and nearly non-stop classes, shows, lectures, spa services and shopping. And all of that is in addition to what guests enjoy when the ship arrives in port. Shore excursions give travellers opportunities to go hiking, biking, touring, flight-seeing and white-water rafting. All this and much more made me confident that, while conspiring to send John on a cruise was perhaps sneaky, it was also the only way to show him a world of travel wonders he’d otherwise have missed. The text I eventually received from him, as he stood on the deck of his Holland America ship, sailing through the calm waters of Glacier Bay on an Alaskan cruise was short but sweet: “You were right.”
can think of five moments—both personal and universal—that will turn anyone into a cruise fan.
1. THE SPIRIT OF THE HIGH SEAS
As I stood on the deck of the Star Clipper, watching hundreds of yards of sailcloth rise up the masts, the music of Wagner gathered intensity. As each fold unfurled, it built, reaching a stunning crescendo just as the wild wind burst into the mainsail. The ship leapt ahead into the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and my heart went with it. This was truly sailing.
2. WILDLIFE UP CLOSE… ENOUGH
Black nose raised, he sniffed the lunch of his dreams, watched by a hundred delectable humans just a few yards away on the deck of an Adventure Canada ship. The polar bear floated on his ice pan as we hung over the railings to photograph the magnificent would-be diner, experiencing the heart of the Arctic in a way most people only dream of. 3. GOURMET DELIGHTS Our tuxedoed server never flinched. “Pasta bolognese, sir? Two Caesar salads? A great choice. Milk? Excellent.” Feeding two ravenous teenage boys onboard Regent Seven Seas’s über-elegant Navigator involved the five-star main dining room, the ice cream kiosk and casual grill poolside, and the 24-hour room service deliveries of hamburgersn and fries. The ideal family dining experience didn’t allow poor Regent to make a penny on us that week as we cruised around sunny Bermuda.
4. ONLY UNPACK ONCE Budapest, Amsterdam and Cologne—who knew we could have guided tours of each, along with twinkly Christmas markets tossed in for added excitement? Our week-long Viking river cruise was an adventure-a-day, and all we had to do was find our tour group on the pier. Guides, luxury coaches, meals at fabulous local restaurants—everything was taken care of. Best of all, our luxury suite waited for us each night, with no need to schlep a suitcase anywhere… ever. 5. SHOW TIME You might have thought that the daily lineup of shore excursions on our Holland America Panama Canal cruise would have tired us out, but the BB King Blues Band that played nightly in the ship’s Music Walk had us up dancing every night. Over the last few years, I’ve seen Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys, Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group and ships full of Vegas-headlining magicians, comedians, musicians and dancers, without paying a cent for the tickets. Ocean cruise lines are bent on oneupping the competition by offering Broadway-quality productions, included in your cruise fare. See something different and then dance your feet off as you sail from port to port, and allow yourself to feel very, very smug. BOLD 35
B O L D PA R T N E R S H I P
ROCKING THE BOAT EMERALD WATERWAYS IS REDEFINING THE CRUISE EXPERIENCE. NO OCEAN NECESSARY.
Let’s start by stating the obvious: the cruise industry is big. Really big. The past decade has seen explosive swelling in both consumer interest and industry offerings, with an average annual growth rate of seven per cent marking the cruise industry as the fastest growing category in the leisure travel market. The undeniable appeal of travelling the world’s oceans in stylish comfort has triggered something of an arms race, with cruise lines fighting to build the biggest boats with the fastest rollercoasters and the tastiest margaritas. The consistent popularity of cruising as a vacation option should perhaps come as no surprise: the daydream of gazing out onto the endless blue sea from the sweeping vantage of a deck chair speaks to our most fundamental desires to appreciate natural majesty. Of course, if cruises were all about natural majesty, there would be no need to build theatres, spas and bars into the hulls of these massive ships. While passengers have no
doubt gained from the ever-compounding elegance of these luxury boats, they may have lost something as well. As the all-inclusive experience becomes ever more inclusive, the incentive to ever leave the luxury comforts of the cruiseliner diminishes. In this way, the idealized freedom of the wide open ocean becomes a paradox, with bigger and better boats corralling passengers within the confines of a predictable experience. Far away from the expanse of the open ocean, Emerald Waterways has been at the forefront of a quiet revolution. Wielding a fleet of distinctively smaller ships that could be most accurately likened to floating boutique hotels, this award-winning cruise company focuses on experiential authenticity without compromising on luxury. In relocating the cruise experience to some of Europe’s most beautiful rivers, Emerald Waterways has saved the industry from itself. In recapturing the spirit of discovery and intimacy that defined cruising before its modern commercialization, Emerald Waterways will make you fall in love with the waves again.
REDISCOVERING THE RIVER
Produced by Moreno & Co. 2019
At the heart of each Emerald Waterways cruise is the principle of balance, manifest through the program of EmeraldDISCOVERY. Whether you elect to sail the Danube, Volga or Rhine, each itinerary is carefully crafted to provide the perfect balance of cruisetime and shoretime. Passengers are encouraged to disembark at each of the historic ports of call and immerse themselves in the rich cultures of destinations like France, Croatia and the Netherlands. Europe’s rural fairy-tale countryside provides both scenic vistas and ample opportunities for unforgettable excursions, from tours of medieval fortresses to wine samplings at centuries-old vineyards. While the lavish accommodations and fine-dining on your vessel will tempt you to stay, you’ll likely find it all too irresistible to go ashore. A robust offering of near-daily excursions to Europe’s most beautiful cities is all the motivation you’ll need to leave the innovative highlights of your Star Ship behind… if only for the duration of your adventure. In describing the essence of an Emerald Waterways vacation so broadly , it’s easy to gloss over the little details that make each cruise so compelling. Take, for example, the eight-day classic Danube cruise, which boards in Vienna and stops in Nuremberg, Linz and Passau. Your EmeraldACTIVE itinerary, included at no extra cost, offers guided hikes through Dürnstein Castle, bike tours of Vienna’s most storied districts and an adventure through the cobblestone alleys below Passau’s Oberhaus Fortress. The expanded complement of EmeraldPLUS experiences underscores Emerald’s commitment to providing the ultimate value to its passengers, incorporating cultural activities like having a traditional Bavarian band on board for an evening of local orchestra. No matter which cruise you pick, you’ll be blown away by the extensive itinerary… and the freedom you have to pursue the excursions that are most inspiring to you. While you’ll no doubt be enamoured with the visits to charming hamlets, cultural landmarks and UNESCO heritage sites, the state-of-the-art amenities built into every Emerald Waterways Star Ship deserve a spotlight of their own. Widely regarded as Europe’s newest and most advanced river fleet, the contemporary style and top-class comfort of each ship has earned Emerald numerous Best Ship and Best Value awards. The luxury lodgings are a reflection of the EmeraldVALUE program: the company’s pledge to provide all the features you’d expect from a much larger openwater passenger ship. Spacious cabins and open-air balconies provide exhilarating views of the shore, while an on-board restaurant and wine reserve please even the most refined palates. A heated pool, cinema and putting green supply ample opportunity for recreation onboard, while a spa, fitness centre and topside walking track satisfy every wellness need. Each Star Ship is a destination in its own right: your mobile and comfortable base of operations for a full schedule of memorable activities.
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CRUISING INTO THE FUTURE Despite rocketing to the top of the river cruise industry, Emerald has not been content to rest on its lauded laurels. With complimentary WiFi, airport transfers, bike rentals and translation services now available through the Concierge Service, Emerald is looking elsewhere for opportunities to innovate. The 2020 travel season will see an expansion of the DISCOVERY and ACTIVE programs, as well as the presence of an Activity Manager on every trip. The Activity Manager is your personal excursion coordinator, ready and willing to organize a yoga session, cabaret performance, karaoke party or mini golf tournament whenever the mood strikes you. To celebrate this dynamic development, Emerald has also announced its 2020 preview campaign, allowing passengers to save thousands on 2020 cruises by booking now at 2019 prices. By every relevant metric—accommodations, experience and value—Emerald is setting a new standard in the cruise industry. Through a transformative commitment to quality and authenticity, passengers all too familiar with the predictable character of an ocean cruise are discovering something new and exciting on Europe’s most famous waterways. While all facets of the cruise industry will likely continue to grow into the foreseeable future, it is the formerly humble river cruise sector that perhaps has the most to gain. As companies like Emerald continue to win hearts and minds with experience-rich luxury offerings, consider trading in your sea legs and and embracing the sophisticated splendour of the river.
Contact us at 855 444 0161 or call your travel professional to book. Visit www.emeraldwaterways.ca to learn more.
CATCH the DRIFT If you’re planning a cruise this year, take note of these key trends on the high seas
– by Liz Fleming –
ECO EFFORTS Though big-ship cruising hasn’t always been ecofriendly, most major cruise lines are now taking important steps in the direction of greening their approach and caring for the oceans and the countries they visit. From major changes such as converting to fuelling systems that use liquefied natural gas (LNG), the cleanest burning fossil fuel, to smaller alterations like eliminating drinking straws and other single-use plastics, cruise lines are taking a long, hard look at their environmental impact. Sustainability and cultural preservation are important issues as well, with many cruise lines altering their shore excursions to protect their routes and stops. Some limit the number of guests allowed to snorkel in a particular reef area, while others work with local officials to restrict the size of groups going ashore in small towns and historic areas.
OPEN TO THE OCEANS Perhaps the most basic appeal of cruising lies in the sense of being at one with the waves. Current trends in cruise ship design are making it even more possible for guests to enjoy visual access to the ocean, take for example, the innovative balcony designs of the recently launched Celebrity Edge. No longer a simple addition to the suite, the Edge balconies are more like verandas incorporated into the living space. Feel like a breath of fresh, ocean air? Simply push a button and a window will lower, connecting you directly to the sea. Onboard Ponant expedition ships, guests can now linger over drinks in the new Blue Eye underwater lounges, where technology has made it possible to nestle into the hull and enjoy a multi-sensory experience of the sea. Beyond an enormous underwater window, unobtrusive spotlights illuminate the water while the sounds of whales, walruses, seals and other sea life are transmitted through special sensors to “Body Listening” sofas, which gently vibrate.
TECHNOLOGICAL TREATS Long gone are the days (yay!) when Internet connections on cruises were either inconvenient or prohibitively expensive or both. Today, there’s a full-on race to lay claims to having the best Internet service at sea. Beyond the pleasure of being able to post your newest Instagram shots or stay current with all your Facebook buddies as you sail, technology is improving the cruise experience in a wealth of other ways. Princess Cruises’ “Ocean Medallion,” a wearable device that stores your digital identity to enable you to make payments and access your room, is a great, if simple example. Put on your Ocean Medallion and forget about key cards and wallets for the entire cruise. Settle up your accounts on the last evening aboard. Some cruise lines even use systems that employ facial recognition technology, which is convenient and also creates a sense of being part of that most exclusive and important club.
WELLNESS AFLOAT There’s no longer any need to worry about those dire gain-apound-a-day warnings. Today, those who want to stay true to their Weight Watchers meal plans can easily count their points on a branded cruise with MSC Cruises. And every cruise ship sailing these days provides healthy options on their menus. In fact, most ships are amping up a hyper-keen focus on wellness, offering everything from spa-themed staterooms, with extra access to spa facilities, to top-of-the line workout facilities and instructors. Are you devoted to SoulCycle or TRX training at home? You can stay right on track at sea.
The warm-weather getaway starts long before you step off the plane. It begins the moment you imagine not having to pack sweaters. Here are some spring musthaves that remind us how good it feels to peel off the layers and sail away.
ERICA LEAL, Golden Age earrings, $675. ericalealjewellery.com ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, floral embroidered tapestry double-ring clutch, $4,470. alexandermcqueen.com CHANEL, Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum, $170, 50ml. holtrenfrew.com EVARAE, Cassandra one-piece swimsuit with red poppies, $480. evarae.com CHANEL, Chance Eau Tendre eau de parfum, $170, 100ml. holtrenfrew.com ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, Poppyfield poplin mini dress, $1,590. alexandermcqueen.com CUTLER AND GROSS, 1331-01 Coral sunglasses, $540. cutlerandgross.com BOLD 39
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FOR ADVENTURE 2019 FORD RANGER unlocks the best of Canada’s hinterlands
ride that’s every bit the risk-taker and adrenaline seeker that you are. You’ll want the 2019 Ford Ranger. Redesigned and reimagined for the adventurer in all of us, the Ford Ranger will cover any ground worth covering. The Ranger sets a new standard for what a midsize pickup is capable of: the sleek yet utilitarian exterior belies the rugged durability and all-season power you’ve come to expect from the Ford brand. Whether you’re carrying kayaks through Algonquin Park or crossing the rapid waters of Alberta’s Ruby Falls, there isn’t a challenge the Ranger isn’t game for. The 2019 Ranger is more than a truck: it’s a gateway to the places and experiences that make “the great outdoors” truly great.
ROUGH AND TUMBLE When it comes to the Ranger, “Built Ford Tough” is more than a marketing slogan: it’s a design principle. The 2.3L EcoBoost engine is both versatile and capable, delivering an impressive 270 Horsepower and generating a best in-class 310lbs of gas torque. You’ll need exactly this kind of power for a day of off-roading at Thetford Mines, (in)famous for its rocky terrain, muddy hills, and heavy snowfalls, and home to Quebec’s most grueling 4x4 competition. The Ranger’s groundbreaking Terrain Management system is similarly up to the task, intelligently calibrating transmission and engine responsiveness for maximum efficiency on difficult terrain like
Produced by Moreno & Co. 2019
Canada is wild. Far from the familiar urban jungle of Toronto and Vancouver is a jungle of a very different kind: an untamed mosaic of snow-kissed spruce trees, rocky escarpment, and vast placid lakes. As Canadians, we’re very fortunate to have such a natural wealth of mountains to climb, rivers to paddle, and whales to watch. The undeniable appeal of the Canadian countryside is leading a tourism renaissance based on a very simple realization: that places like the coast of Nova Scotia and the B.C. Rockies can both match and exceed the natural grandeur of international destinations like Spain and Thailand. To get the most out of an excursion to any of Canada’s wildest destinations, you’ll want a
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snow, gravel, sand, and mud. What the Ranger dishes out, it can also take: a fully boxed high strength steel frame with six crossmembers bestows an Olympian constitution. Engineering innovations like two stage parabolic rear leaf springs offer greater durability and capability, handling rough road conditions with ease. Combined with front and rear monotube shocks and high strength steel A Arms, the Ranger is equally capable both on and off the road. A cross-Territory pilgrimage on the imposing but beautiful Dempster Highway is the perfect challenge for your resilient pickup: its 736km of dirt road and Yukon wilderness come close to replicating the stress tests endured by each 2019 Ranger...and boast some truly amazing vistas.
A KNACK FOR DIRECTIONS Whatever direction you set off in, your Ranger’s array of cutting-edge navigational features will keep you safe along the way. The Ford Co-Pilot360™ is an all-new suite of advanced driver-assist technologies that come standard on the XLT and Lariat. While key features like BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage), a rearview camera, and Automatic High Beam Headlamps help keep you aware of your dynamic surroundings, the Lane-Keeping System (complete with Lane-Keeping Aid, LaneKeeping Alert, and Driver-Alert System) is invaluable in those moments where you might be admiring nature a bit too much, alerting you if you begin to drift over the line. Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) rounds out the package, alerting you to an imminent collision and even autonomously activating the brakes if you don’t respond quick enough. The Ranger’s pathfinding savvy makes it the perfect vehicle for remote destinations like Labrador’s Torngat Mountains National Park. Stunning and varied in appearance with glaciers, cliffs, and lowland tundra, the prehistoric expanse of the Torngats looks more like a dinosaur habitat than one of Canada’s most breathtaking hiking and climbing destinations. As you transition from the paved highways of Labrador’s starkly beautiful coast to the rocky paths of the Torngats, your Ranger will adjust at the touch of a dial. The shifton-the-fly (ESOF) system offers a choice between four-wheel-drive modes (4x4 high or low) and a standard two-wheel drive, offering comfort on the road and confidence where it ends.
READY FOR ADVENTURE Fishing rods, canoes, tents, and crossbows: whatever kind of adventurer you are, you’ve likely got a slew of gear you just can’t do without. You don’t leave home without your cooler and skis, and with the 2019 Ford Ranger, you won’t have to. The Ranger’s expansive cargo bed boasts a best-in-class maximum 748 kg payload and a 3402 kg tow rating, willing and able to carry even the largest kayak en route to the whitewater excitement of the Ottawa River. Whether you’re braving the rapids, paddle in hand, or just casting out a lure in the calmer shallows, your Ranger will make sure you have everything you need. Maybe you’re that rare breed of extreme thrill seeker unbowed by the prospect of raging rapids, stalwart in environments as treacherous as the unforgiving heights of Mount Logan. When the going gets tough, the Ford Tough get going: the optional FX4 Off-Road Package will make your Ranger all-but-impervious to the most severe conditions. All-terrain tires with
aggressive tread will conquer the most unforgiving of roads, as the exposed steel front bash plate weathers the heaviest of blows. The driver-activated Trail Control system manages throttle and braking at individual wheels and maintains a constant speed between one and 22km/ hr, allowing you to focus on the thrill of making it through that next patch of boulders. The 2019 Ford Ranger is many things: reliable, powerful, innovative, unstoppable. It’s every bit as rugged as the environments it thrives in and just as adaptable as the people that drive it. Built to excel in Canada’s harshest environs, the Ranger unlocks the beauty and excitement hiding in the dangerous, the inaccessible, and the intimidating. It’s less of a vehicle and more of a lifestyle: an all-access pass to the parts of this country that captivate us with their unspoiled majesty...and excite us with just a pinch of danger.
START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY. VISIT www.ford.ca/trucks/ranger/
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Country Travelling around a place as vast and populated as China, PAUL GALLANT looks for smaller moments balance out the monuments
A walk along the Great Wall of China is a must, but which section is the least crowded and the most scenic? Try this one, Mutianyu.
iking atop the wall that surrounds the downtown core of Xi’an can feel, in some moments, positively medieval. Construction on the fortification started in the 1370s, during the Ming dynasty, and cyclists and pedestrians doing the whole 14-kilometre circuit can stop periodically at parapets and watchtowers to peep through the embrasures through which soldiers shot arrows at attackers. But then look out beyond the wall: a modern landscape of glass and concrete skyscrapers and apartment complexes is wrapping itself around the historic centre. It’s absolutely not the Middle Ages. At a pedestrian-only section over the south gate, cyclists must dismount, leave the bike they’re on, walk past the café, boutique and all the courting couples and, then, on the other side, present a card to pick up another bike to continue their circumnavigation. It’s all so well thought out, so sensible and so perfectly Chinese: the past and the future spliced together politely and efficiently. That’s the kind of planning and engineering that in the past 40 years have transformed China from one of the world’s poorer countries to the world’s second biggest economy. Known to visitors as the base of operations for visiting the Terracotta Army, created between 246 and 206 BC to protect Emperor Qin in the afterlife and now one of the world’s best-known historical sites, Xi’an has held onto many charms it acquired over centuries as one of four Ancient Chinese capitals. Founded in the 11th century during the Zhou dynasty, it was, for a time, the eastern terminus of the Silk Road trade route connecting the east and the west. To this day, the city has a colourful Muslim quarter that evokes the Middle East. (“Beer?” I ask in a restaurant that serves the local favourite, Biang Biang noodles. “No!” the waitress says sharply, the only English she speaks to me, “This is a Muslim restaurant!”) But considering the city’s population has grown to more than 12 million, up from five million about a decade ago, Xi’an is also extremely modern, extremely of-the-moment. At this time in human history, it’s hard to claim to know the world without a visit to China. You can read all the articles you want about its growth and the control its central government has over people’s everyday lives, but until you see the skyscrapers, the highways, the shopping malls, the security checkpoints, the crowd-control strategies and how all this development is juxtaposed against ancient monuments and natural wonders, you just have no idea. In a country where bigger is better—a country where, with a population of 1.4 billion, bigger is a fact of daily life—the trick for a visitor is finding small, intimate moments where personal connections, history and the culture shine through the facts and statistics. As a seasoned traveller who manages to buy my own bus tickets in places where I don’t speak the language, I had considered visiting China independently. But I decided instead to book a tour with G Adventures. That turned out to be the right decision. When I was on my own for a couple of days before the tour started, as a non-Mandarin speaker, I had difficulty ordering food I wanted to eat—and the food in China can be fantastic if you know what to order—or developing a useful sense of what was going on around me. Was that sign in Chinese characters welcoming the crowds or warning them away? Though everyone I encountered was extremely friendly and helpful—even in aloof Beijing, I never had to stare at a subway map for a more than few moments before someone offered to help me—English is not widely spoken and the way business is conducted can sometimes be oblique to a Canadian. Food vendors at one market in Xi’an accept payment only through a smartphone app that foreigners usually don’t have. Multiple layers of security (no sealed water bottles on the subway?) can being daunting. Having Paul Tien, my group’s super-kind chief experience officer (what G Adventures calls its tour guides), sort out the multi-zoned ticketing system at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven probably saved me from hours of wandering around in circles. The itinerary also provided opportunities to get away from the crowds. Sure, the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army were on my bucket list—and completely worth a trip halfway around the globe. But I didn’t want to spend 12 days navigating such intense experiences. Getting to see the “real” China amidst the selfie moments is tough, but not impossible
ON OPPOSITE PAGE: Biking among the karst rock formations in Guilin; Beijing’s Yonghe Temple is just one of the capital’s many aweinspiring structures.
“It’s so crazy here, and I’m from Singapore!”
ON THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A reflective moment in Beijing’s Forbidden City; Xi’an’s Muslim quarter has a limitless selection of meaty treats; Beijing’s everchanging skyline; learning a few key Chinese characters. 46 BOLD
n a rainy-day walk along the Yulong River, outside the city of Guilin in southern China, a woman picking potatoes in a field waves her handful of tubers at me as her co-worker continues hoeing away. I smile and wave back. It’s not the most meaningful encounter, but it’s what surrounds us that makes it a special moment. All around are karst peaks, the jagged mountain formations that have won the area a reputation as, perhaps, the most beautiful place on earth. The fog makes them even more mysterious. Our local guide, who likes to get a reaction, wickedly points out the dogs that might be eaten and the ones too pretty for that. (This is one of the handful of regions in China where dogs are eaten—otherwise, it’s not common.) We pass through a rustic village that’s both functional as an agricultural hub and picture-postcard worthy; some buildings have been transformed into chic little hotels and restaurants, while others await gentrification. Ducks quack in rice paddies. Chickens roam where they like. It’s all supremely bucolic. Back at our cozy guesthouse, with rooms in traditional mud-brick farmhouses, our group gets a Tai Chi lesson, our awkwardness providing much amusement for passersby. When we (15 of us from Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Peru, Greece and Wales) attend a Chinese cooking class, thankfully nobody is laughing. Nor should they; we all show our skill at deploying oyster sauce and create five edible—tasty even—dishes each. The next day we relocate to Yangshuo, a resort town of about 300,000, that’s been scientifically engineered to be a delightful, photogenic place. The pedestrian shopping streets offer a mix of traditional handicraft and fashionable novelty items and even the most modest restaurants have multilingual menus. The sunset is spectacular. Wandering around on my own, I am repeatedly approached by school-aged kids, tourists from other regions of China, who want to practice their English. One group seems intrigued to see me browsing funky phone cases. “Are you going to buy that?” asks one young lady. “I think so.” “Oh,” she replies, perhaps having run out of English vocabulary. “Thank you!”
hile the countryside is beautiful and a relatively laid-back experience, it’s the megacities that make China China. My G Adventures tour starts in Beijing, population 21.7 million, and ends in Shanghai, population 24.2 million. Both are “Tier 1” cities, with a level of development that matches North America and Europe—there’s no shortage of new-model cars on the freshly asphalted freeways. As the capital, Beijing has better attractions. It’s a short drive to the Great Wall, and within its ring roads contains the jaw-droppingly massive Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square, which, for someone like myself who came of age in the late 1980s, means more as a symbol of the struggle for democracy and freedom than as the final resting place of Mao Zedong, the Communist Party leader who created modern China. But with great shopping, a sense of style and an electric urban energy, Shanghai is a much more fun city to explore. We start at The Bund, Shanghai’s old financial district, with its architecture dating back to the 1840s when several European countries held concessions here—little patches of China that they controlled for their own benefit until the 1950s. Then we look across the Huangpu River at Pudong, the new financial district. Little more than fields until the early 1990s, Pudong is now home to Shanghai Tower, the world’s second-tallest building, and dozens of other skyscrapers that light up at night for a mesmerizing light show. Wandering westward away from the Bund, there is shopping district after shopping district. Nanjing Road has almost any major global brand you can think of, while Huaihai Road is probably a bit more stylish. Yuyuan Market has traditional Chinese gifts and food. Personally, I like Tianzifang, in the former French Concession, where a bewildering array of boutiques, restaurants and bars are tucked into labyrinthine alleyways. But then one fashionable neighbourhood leads to the next and I’m completely disoriented. “It’s so crazy here, and I’m from Singapore!” So says a businessman in town to sell off his company’s Chinese subsidiary, who I ran into one night in a bar in Shanghai’s fashionable Fahuazhen Street area. “What do you mean?” I ask. “It’s just so intense!” Well, it is that.
CHINESE SURPRISES Beijing’s famous for its hutongs, the maze-like alleyways where so much of everyday life takes place. The city is also known for its Peking duck. So head down Beixiangfeng Hutong to find the Anthony Bourdainrecommended Li Qun Roast Duck, inside a compact space that doesn’t seem to have changed for decades. As is typical in the city’s hutongs, the washroom is a public one a few doors down.
Though most of Beijing’s key attractions are along an axis that runs from Tiananmen Square to the site of the 2008 Olympic, it’s worth a cab ride to the city’s northeast corner to visit 798 Art Zone, a cluster of former munitions factories converted into funky gallery, boutique, restaurant and lounge spaces.
Chinese writing can be as complicated as it looks. “Sugar” can take 30 seconds to write. The word for “Biang Biang noodles,” a dish that’s popular in Shaanxi Province, is made up of 56 pen strokes.
There are actually 10 spots along the Great Wall of China that are designed to receive visitors. Mutianyu, where we went, is considered the best restored section while Jiankou is the steepest and most broken section.
Near the Terracotta Army archaeological site, the mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, has not been excavated yet and there
I travelled as a guest of G Adventures on their Best of China tour, which is offered in partnership with National Geographic. The Nat Geo trip offers upgraded accommodation compared to classic tours, and private transportation, rather than public, for most of the zipping around. My favourite accommodation was actually the most rustic one, Yangshuo Outside Inn. gadventures.com; yangshuo-outside.com
are no plans to do so. About twothirds of pit number one, the largest of the excavated sites and the one you probably seem most in photos, is still buried. BOLD 47
Photo by GrĂŠgory Lecoeur, courtesy Tahiti Tourism
Making a close encounter with a humpback.
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In the middle of the Pacific, VAWN HIMMELSBACH manages to befriend humpback whale, some stingrays and a local or two
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hen Maui Ciucci tells me we’re going swimming with humpback whales, I don’t fully grasp what’s going on. We’re in a small boat, cruising through the aquamarine lagoon around Moorea, French Polynesia, which is protected by a coral reef that encircles the island. When we head past the reef, however, the water turns deep, dark blue. This is where the whales are. I feel ready for the possibility of seeing one (which I assume is rather slim) with my camera lens zoomed out as far as possible. But suddenly Maui is diving into the water and, with powerful strokes, swims off into the distance until he’s a dot on the horizon. This isn’t a park, reserve or some other cordoned-off area with captive whales. This is the South Pacific. But Maui, a local guide with Corallina Tours, swims in these waters every day; he knows how to track whales. So when he motions for us to jump in the water, I jump in, still confused, and swim toward our intrepid guide. I see a sliver of white far below on the ocean floor that is apparently a humpback whale. That’s impressive in and of itself. But during the brief period of time it takes to readjust my snorkel mask and stick my head back underwater, the whale is breaching, right in front of me, rising to the surface a mere six metres away. She’s massive. And beautiful. I barely have time to catch my breath before she’s gone, swimming off into the deep blue. Considering I spent the previous day swimming with reef sharks and petting gentle, friendly stingrays (often referred to as the puppies of the sea), also in the wild, with guides who know how to track them, swimming with whales was the icing on a pretty big cake. I had already been won over by the friendly locals and natural beauty of Tahiti, its jagged mountains shrouded in mist, towering over crystal-clear lagoons dotted with islets, called motus.
Photo by Jim Winter
Fakaravaâ€™s perfectly photogenic lagoon.
ON THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Lush living on the island of Huahine; underwater adventures off the shore of Mo’orea; giant Tiki statues from an ancient religious complex inhabit the island of Hiva Oa; book yourself time with the stingrays who live near the island of Mo’orea.
The word alone evokes a sense of the exotic. The playground of the rich and famous. A bucketlist destination. Tahiti, in fact, refers to both the island and the region; it’s the largest of 118 islands and atolls (ring-shaped islands or chain of islands formed by coral) that make up French Polynesia, spread out over an area the size of Western Europe. It’s also remote, situated south of Hawaii, between L.A. and Sydney. Annexed by France in 1880, Tahiti is part of the French Republic and French is the official language, though Tahitian is widely spoken. Tahiti is meant for island-hopping, whether you’re seeking all-out luxury in Bora Bora, some of the world’s best scuba diving in Rangiroa or Fakarava or an authentic Polynesian experience on a hidden gem like Taha’a or Huahine. (And it’s easy to island-hop with an extensive network of flights from domestic carrier Air Tahiti.) Taha’a, however, is only accessible by boat from sister island Raiatea (the two islands are surrounded by a continuous coral reef). Dotted with motus in the shared lagoon, this is an ideal spot to swim with nurse sharks and stingrays. The island itself is shaped like a flower, which suits it—lush hillsides are covered in banana and coconut groves, the scent of vanilla wafting through the air. Dubbed the “vanilla island,” 80 per cent of Tahitian vanilla is produced here. Huahine is often referred to by locals as one of Tahiti’s best-kept secrets, its ragged mountains covered in lush foliage. With only eight villages, the island offers the slow, tranquil pace of old Polynesia. Land and lagoon excursions are available, from visiting archeological ruins to exploring the underwater world of reef walls and coral gardens. For divers, the outlying atolls offer some of the best diving in the world. Rangiroa—the largest atoll in French Polynesia and secondlargest in the world—is revered for its biodiversity and exceptionally clear waters. Rangiroa consists of 240 islets strung together over 177 kilometres, with a central lagoon dotted with motus and teeming with marine life. For divers, the Tiputa Pass—a pass between the inner lagoon and outer South Pacific—is considered to have one of the highest concentration of sharks in the world, including hammerhead, grey reef, whitetip and blacktip. Fakarava is another diver’s paradise—and a UNESCO-designated reserve. Shaped like a crooked rectangle, it’s only 400 metres at its widest and encircles a lagoon with 72 motus. The Garuae Pass (on the north side) is known for its biodiversity and drift diving, while Tumakohua Pass (on the south side) is home to Shark’s Hole, with lemon, whitecap and hammerhead sharks. The Tahitians have a deep respect for the land and sea and all who inhabit it, believing in the mana, or life force, that connects all things. After tandem diving in Fakarava, visiting sacred archeological sites on Huahine and swimming with a humpback whale in Moorea, I’m definitely feeling the mana.
TAHITI ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE While Tahiti retains its allure as a once-in-alifetime destination, it’s now a whole lot easier to get there. There are no direct flights to Papeete from Canada, but there are now more options for travellers out of San Francisco and L.A. In May, low-cost carrier French Bee launched service to Papeete via San Francisco. United Airlines began service out of San Francisco in October, and legacy carrier Air Tahiti Nui, which flies out of L.A., will start replacing its entire fleet with Dreamliners starting this November.
TAHITI ESSENTIALS STAY Known for over-the-top luxury in its over-the-water bungalows, Bora Bora is a bucket-list destination— and deservedly so. The island, dominated by the jagged peak of Mount Otemanu, is surrounded by an aquamarine lagoon, dotted with motus where the top luxury resorts are located (guests are picked up by boat from the tiny airport). The white-sand beaches here are considered some of the best in all of Tahiti. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa on Motu Piti Aau has added 10 new overwater bungalows to its property, each with a private infinity plunge pool (nice touch: a glass coffee table that peers into the crystal-clear waters below), as well as four new Brando Overwater Suites (the same ones found on Marlon Brando’s exclusive island retreat, The Brando, accessible by private jet). thalasso.intercontinental.com The Conrad (formerly the Hilton) has undergone a multimillion-dollar refurbishment, reopening last year with 86 overwater bungalows, some with private infinity plunge pools, as well as 28 beach and garden villas, all with a modern, airy aesthetic by BLINK Design (think: wall-length sliding glass doors). Nestled in a private cove along the whitesand beaches of Motu To’opua, it’s the ultimate spot for rest and restoration. conradhotels3.hilton.com BOLD 53
PARADISE Since rejuvenating their cocoa industry, the idyllic island of Saint Lucia has added chocolate to their list of all-encompassing luxuries.
– by Natalie Preddie –
Nestled in the palms at the Fond Doux Plantation & Resort. BOLD 55
IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN LIES A JEWEL, a unique island with which I have a secret romance. Her luscious green rainforests lead up majestic mountains to breathtaking views of cacao trees, golden beaches and endless sparkling blue sea. From the north to the south, my time exploring stunning Saint Lucia has been a rejuvenating breath of tropical air. I have found paradise and it’s made of chocolate. As I sip my chocolate beer and watch the sun set between the magnificent UNESCO-recognized Piton mountains, the aroma of freshly ground cacao lingers in the air. Today, I took a moment from snorkelling the crystal clear waters of Saint Lucia’s picture perfect south coast to explore the island’s ever-expanding chocolate making industry. The lush Saint Lucian rainforest has been home to many cacao trees since the 1700s, but the chocolate-making business has only recently been reinvigorated. Cocoa has long been an important part of the country’s history but took a backseat to the banana industry in the country’s modern economy. As recently at the 1980s, Saint Lucia was one of the world’s largest exporters of bananas. Unfortunately, major changes to the trade agreement between Saint Lucia and Great Britain brought an immense collapse in the island’s banana industry. In the early 1990s, the number of banana farmers in Saint Lucia fell from 10,000 to about 1,000, which is where it sits now. In search of a new and profitable export, Saint Lucia’s farmers returned to the country’s deep cocoa roots. Growing cocoa requires at least 152 centimetres of rainfall per year. With an annual rainfall of up to 381 centimetres, Saint Lucia is the ideal environment for growing, harvesting and making chocolate. With additional interest from overseas, this revitalization has created hundreds of jobs for Saint Lucian locals, from farmers to harvesters, cacao rollers to grinders, to newly trained chocolatiers.
In the late 2000s, British entrepreneurs opened Boucan by Hotel Chocolat on a Saint Lucian cacao plantation. These hoteliers realized their lifelong dream of making chocolate from bean to bar, while simultaneously opening a boutique hotel and providing unique chocolate experiences to guests from all over the world. It is here, at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, whether in search of making my own unique chocolate, eating the succulent Cacao Beer Jerked Pork Tenderloin in their award-winning restaurant or indulging in a cacao body exfoliate in the spa, chocolate is on every menu in a variety of forms. Nearby Fond Doux Plantation & Resort is a 19th-century eco-friendly, chocolate-making property built within a 250-year-old working plantation. A true believer in cultural preservation, Fond Doux boasts lavish greenery lining pathways between restored 100-year-old French Colonial cottages, and winds through aromatic cacao groves. Here, I take part in the Saint Lucian chocolatemaking experience: I harvest my own cacao before lying the beans out to dry, grinding, rolling them and adding the ingredients that will turn these magic beans into creamy, rich chocolate. Beside the expansive drying racks, I performed the historical Coco-Rina or “Chocolate Dance,” spinning, swooping and sliding barefoot in a large brass vat full of cacao beans. When I finally indulge in my creation, the chocolate is deep, smooth and intense, tasting of pride and ingenuity.
ON THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A suite at Fond Doux Plantation & Resort; the infinity pool at Boucan Resort; popping open cocoa pods; a side of chocolate sauce with your grilled tenderloin.
Saint Lucia’s Sugar Beach is one of the Caribbean’s true paradise beaches.
An infinity pool with a view at Sugar Beach.
ST LUCIA ESSENTIALS STAY Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort This spectacular resort is set within over 100 acres of pristine rainforest on the site of an 18th Century sugar plantation and in the embrace of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/sugarbeach
EAT Calabash Cove Inspired by Asian cuisine, the menu here uses only local ingredients to create mouthwatering international fare. The banana flambé is one of life’s top five desserts and will leave you gushing for years to come. With unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea, Calabash Cove is the ideal place to watch a colourful, awe-inspiring sunset with a glass of wine. calabashcove.com
ROMANCE BLISS ESSENTIALS Native Saint Lucian chocolate is prominent at nearly all the island’s perfectly unique resorts. I enjoyed a delectable Saint Lucian chocolate bar in the seclusion and calm of Ti Kaye Resort’s private cottages before heading to their spa for a hydrating chocolate wrap. The extravagant Ladera Resort in the south, a favourite destination of Oprah Winfrey, highlights Saint Lucian chocolate in their gift shop and on their dinner menu, as does Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, a small, exclusive hotel that also offers chocolate-making tours from their quiet corner on the north of the island. Stonefield Villa Resort, a 26-acre private wellness spa on the south coast, focuses on relaxation, revitalization and a connection to all things Saint Lucia. This, of course, means that Saint Lucian chocolate lives on site, an integral part of this Caribbean escape. Finally, I toured Emerald Farms at the award-winning Jade Mountain, a green and lush organic farm with more than 2,000 cacao trees. Organic beehives hum alongside rows of fruit and vegetable grown exclusively for Jade Mountain’s restaurant, a self-sufficient celebration of Saint Lucia’s crop. They pride themselves on creatively utilizing their organic chocolate within their own menu; even select beverages include some sort of chocolate twist. At their luxurious, mountainside resort, Jade Mountain’s signature chocolate lab turns their organic cacao beans into chocolate bars, desserts and mouth-watering truffles, integrating other flavours from their farm, including fresh honey, mint and chili. Inside the lab, the chocolate maker asks my opinion on a new experimental creation. “More honey?” he asks. I nod and he smiles in agreement. It is from this unparalleled view at Jade Mountain that I watch the setting sun glisten on the Caribbean Sea, illuminating the Pitons and rainforest below. An indulgence of my body, mind and mouth, this magical island is a sweet escape.
COUPLES MASSAGE High in the hills, indulge in a couples massage at Ti Kaye Resort. Massage tables overlook the water and local essential oils will lull you and your partner into the ultimate state of relaxation. tikaye.com
YOGA Zen out on the yoga platform at Stonefield Villa Resort, a leafy wellness resort in the south of the island. With a trained yoga instructor guiding the session, you and your partner can connect on a spiritual level, taking your romance to new heights. stonefieldresort.com
CHOCOLATE TOUR Head to Hotel Chocolat for a unique tour of a working cocoa plantation before creating your own homemade chocolate treat. Finish your day with a delicious chocolate-infused dinner or a chocolate body wrap in the spa. hotelchocolat.com
Serenity Found in St. Lucia
On the west coast of St. Lucia, lies a land of unparalleled beauty and tranquility. Embraced by a lush tropical rainforest, Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort rests under the graceful gaze of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons. In a marriage of magnificent surroundings and exceptional resort living, Sugar Beach provides a magical destination for the discerning traveler.
Reservations: 800 235 4300 | @sugarbeachviceroy www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/sugarbeach | firstname.lastname@example.org REMEMBER TO LIVE
B O L D PA R T N E R S H I P
Most Romantic Destinations
B O L D PA R T N E R S H I P
he reputation of Mexico’s premiere beach destination does not end with its glorious white-sand stretches, which remain cool to walk on, even in the hot Caribbean sun. Cancún has an astonishing array of places to stay, ranging from large properties, with myriad services and amenities to keep your entire party thrilled and entertained, to smaller boutique hotels and resorts, providing the most intimate once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The destination’s location on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, the easternmost point of Mexico, makes Cancún an ideal base for some of the most romantic experiences and adventures you’ll find.
TAKING IT EASY IN THE SUN Cancún’s most famous postcard image is the world-renowned 27-kilometre stretch of beach known as the Zona Hotelera. Backed by the deep blue Nichupte Lagoon, the beach is lined with some of the world’s best hotel and resort properties, all with views of either the turquoise sea or the lagoon. Staying in the Zona Hotelera makes things easy, with accommodations at a range of price points, including several that have achieved AAA Five Diamond Distinction. Whether you stake out your spot on the beach or relax poolside with your favourite cocktail, Cancún provides a dreamy backdrop for your escape as a couple or a group. For an urban experience more closely connected to authentic Mexican culture, Cancún’s mainland downtown also offers a wide selection of places to stay, and some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.
FOOD & CULTURE Beyond the beaches, Cancún provides the perfect base for exploring Mexico’s Mayan history through fascinating archaeological sites around Yucatán Peninsula, all of them providing perfect photo-ops for your memories. The ruins of El Rey, which date back to 900 AD, and El Meco, abandoned in 600 AD, are a mere taxi or bus ride away, while Tulum, Cobá and Chichén Itzá are easily accessible by car or with a tour. Mayan culture lives on through the Mexican
cuisine you’ll find at many of Cancún’s restaurants, which complements the varied international cuisine you’ll find both in Zona Hotelera and downtown. The city’s nightlife is, of course, second to none. Yet despite Cancún’s well-earned reputation as a party town, there are many intimate venues perfect for indulging in romantic moments or for salsa-ing the night away.
ISLAND HOPPING For those who are craving new territory to explore, several small islands, easily reachable from Cancún, will renew your sense of discovery and help you get closer to nature. Visitors can take a ferry to Isla Mujeres, or the Island of Women, which has a laid back vibe where visitors can experience lush jungles and quaint fishing villages. Holbox, a two-hour drive from Cancún or a boat ride from Punta Sam, is located inside a protected eco region, which provides sanctuary to thousands of wild species such as dolphins, pelicans, turtles and flamingos. While Isla Mujeres and Holbox offer an array of boutique and rustic hotels and resorts, tiny Contoy island is only accessible through a few tour operators, and has a limit of just 200 visitors each day. The island is an important nesting place for sea birds, which enjoy its secluded beaches and palm trees just as much as human visitors do. On these islands, and all around Cancún, you can go on excursions swimming with marine life, snorkelling, windsurfing or any number of other water sports you can imagine – and probably some you never thought of.
WEDDED BLISS Most Cancún hotels and resorts can accommodate wedding parties of all sizes, and many offer tailor-made wedding packages. Experienced in-house wedding planners can do the groundwork arranging the venues, florists, caterers, musicians, designers, hair and make-up artists, photographers and audio and lighting experts, even while you’re thousands of miles away. They can also provide advice on the advance paperwork couples will need to make sure their wedding is legally binding on their return home. The destination’s most beautiful properties can provide beautiful backdrops for your special day. 64 BOLD
You found the one... we found the place.
www.cancun.travel BOLD 65
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Mexico City Anyone who loves the vibrancy, creativity and luxury of a great metropolitan city shouldn’t deny themselves the pleasure of a visit to Mexico City. Whether touring the historic city centre, with its stunning Spanish colonial architecture dating back to the mid-1500s, strolling the leafy boulevards of Condesa or rubbing elbows with the fashionistas of Roma Norte and Polanco, visitors soon discover that each of the capital’s neighbourhoods can feel like an entirely different universe, each with its own distinct shopping, eating and nightlife vibe. The one thing that doesn’t change, no matter wherever you venture in Mexico’s capital, is the array of fantastic dining experiences, ranging from fun food-truck fare to exclusive gourmet indulgences. Though flavour is certainly king in the city’s dining rooms, the importance of design and service is rarely overlooked in CDMX; there’s always a new and perfectly executed rooftop terrace, lush green courtyard or art-filled boîte waiting to be discovered. Of the more than 150 museums in the city, the Museo Nacional de Antropología is probably the most important, though relative newcomers, like Museo Soumaya and Colección Jumex, which sit side by side in the posh Polanco neighbourhood, have been attracting lots of attention these days. Some would also call the El Palacio de Hierro flagship department store, also in Polanco, something of a cultural institution, with its astonishing collection of luxury goods that will satisfy even the most enthusiastic shopper. Pre-colonial history is everywhere, even in places visitors would least expect it: The ruins of the Aztec’s Templo Mayor abuts the Catedral Metropolitana, an active archeological site where lucky passersby can catch glimpses of historical research in action. For a more imposing experience of Aztec culture, Teotihuacan, the ruins of a massive Aztec temple complex, is an easy excursion just north of the city.
San Miguel de Allende Artists say that the light is magical in San Miguel de Allende, a picturesque colonial town that sits atop a hill in sunny central Mexico. Visitors soon discover how true that is, and then see how painters, writers, sculptors and assorted artisans in love with the light have helped turn San Miguel into one of the most culturally rich destinations in Latin America. Strolling around the town’s calm and beautifully preserved 17th- and 18th-century streets, guarded over by the oversized Neo-gothic façade of La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church, is a genuinely rapturous experience. It’s possible to while away hours of the afternoon in the main square, called El Jardin, watching toy and ice cream vendors bring delight to those going about their daily business. Then at night, locals, including San Miguel’s sizeable international population, bring life and music to the same streets and squares. As is typical in much of Mexico, there are very few weeks of the year when there is not a festival of some sort in progress. A destination for bohemians in the mid-20th century, San Miguel de Allende has in the last few years taken a turn towards luxury. Several five-star hotels have breathed new life into fantastic colonial-era properties, while leading chefs have established themselves in the town’s kitchens. The sprawling Mercado de Artesanias stocks crafts and artisanal objets d’art from both local artisans and from craftspeople across the country, making it a one-stop shopping destination for those with a taste for excellent design. The bucolic countryside surrounding San Miguel de Allende is easy to explore, and home to several natural hot springs complexes, some with spa services and lush gardens for dining, picnicking and photo-taking. 66 BOLD
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To describe Oaxaca City as colourful does a disservice to this loveable city in southwestern Mexico, but at least it’s a starting point in explaining how special it is. Though its grand churches, lively plazas and tidy colonial streets have earned it the honour of UNESCO World Heritage status, it’s the people and their artful way of living that captures the hearts and imaginations of visitors. New boutique hotels have brought an increasing amount of luxury and indulgence to Oaxaca City. So have innovative upscale restaurants, which have taken the much-loved local cuisine to new heights. Sipping artisanal mescal has become something of a status symbol in some trendy venues. But despite winning a place in the spotlight, the city’s inhabitants have held onto their soul and their unique sense of style. In the markets, vendors still offer more than seven kinds of mole, made over the course of several days with traditional ingredients, and on street corners ladies in traditional dress still call out “Tlayudas!” in their effort to sell the dinner-platesized tortillas that are a source of local pride. Visitors able to tear themselves away from the food, crafts and charm of Oaxaca’s historic centre will want to venture on a tour of the surrounding valley. There they can visit the family-run distilleries that lovingly make the unique smoky mescals that have caught the world’s attention, Monte Albán, which was an important pre-colonial place of worship for 2,500 years, or the Monastery of Santiago Apóstol, which dates back to the mid-1500s, among other notable sites.
It’s a rare night when there isn’t music and dancing in Mérida’s Plaza Mayor. Yucatán’s cultural gem has a playful heart and a rhythm all its own. Both a tourist mecca and a vibrant state capital, Mérida has all the eating, shopping and creative experience any culture vulture could ask for. Founded in 1542 on the site of the Mayan city of T’hó, Spanish colonists used the material of the Maya structures to construct their cathedral and other buildings, ensuring, whether the Spanish intended it or not, that the Maya influence would remain deeply embedded in Mérida’s DNA. For two stints in the 1800s, Yucatán was a separate country from the rest of Mexico and residents still maintain a fiercely independently streak. Like many Spanish colonial cities, Mérida’s historic centre is built in a strict grid, with elegant façades of different colours and ornamentation creating streets that feel more like hallways. What’s behind these façades can be surprising: serene courtyards, opulent lobbies, intriguing museums. Many addresses host remarkable restaurants and hotel properties, some cute and charming, others sleek and decidedly on-trend. With the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico just a few kilometres away (easily visited by tour or local transit), seafood is an essential ingredient on Mérida’s restaurant menus. The city’s must-eat dish, though, is the panucho, a crunchy fried tortilla filled with black beans and topped with meat and pickled red onions. The decadent treat is hard to find outside the Yucatán. BOLD 67
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INSPIRATION FOR TRAVELLERS 68 BOLD
HONEYMOONERS The world’s most rapturous destinations for sweethearts, romantics and true believers
– by Jack S. Ezon –
DUBAI & THE MALDIVES The Maldives have inched up to the top honeymoon spot for 2019! With probably the silkiest sand, most brilliant water and a host of uber-luxe resorts all set out on their own private island, it’s no wonder. The overwater bungalows in the Maldives are what honeymoons are made of. We highly recommend One & Only Reethi Rah, ideal for those who want seclusion with some buzz and bling sprinkled in. For those seeking the utmost privacy, the over-the-top Cheval Blanc Randheli, owned by LVMH, with just 45 oversized accommodations and the most sumptuous décor. It’s the ideal hideaway for you and your loved one; where you’ll feel like you have your own private island even when they are booked solid. If you are seeking total privacy with a bit more activity, then head over the Velaa Private Island, embodying the very best of this unique archipelago, bathed in the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. Designed by Czech architect Petr Kolar, the overall design concept is contemporary, yet intimate, with Maldivian nuances. Velaa shares its name and its home with the generations of sea turtles that have inhabited the island for countless years. The colours and patterns of a turtle shell inspire subtle nuances in the design, while from a broader aerial view, Velaa’s exclusive over-water villas resemble the head of a turtle with the island forming the body. If you feeling adventurous, from the Maldives, head to Dubai (just four hours away) where you can get a contrasting experience in this ostentatious bustling city with endless nightlife and shopping–not to mention the privilege of flying on Emirates Airlines’ private sky suites. Don’t miss: Snorkeling or diving on one of the pristine reefs surrounding most of the islands. Best time to go: December – May.
SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE South Africa has leapt to second place in terms of honeymoon popularity in part because it offers something for everyone and delivers an extraordinary value with the strength of the dollar there. Decompress by the majestic winelands outside of Cape Town in the fabulous La Residence, followed by three to five days of adventure in the glorious seaside city of Cape Town, where we love the design-centric Silo Hotel (with the buzziest rooftop) or One & Only Cape Town, an urban resort in the middle of it all. All this sets the stage for a journey of a lifetime on a luxury safari that is sure to blow anyone away, especially if you stay at Singita or Royal Malewane, consistently rated one of the top five resorts in the world. End it all off at the private island resort of Azura in Mozambique, just a one-hour flight away. Don’t miss: Paragliding and rappelling down Table Mountain. Best time to go: All year round.
THE CARIBBEAN While several islands remain closed following a string of hurricanes, most have been unaffected and continue to welcome honeymooners with incredible flair. One of our favourites for romantics is Jumby Bay Resort in Antigua, where beachfront bungalows have their own private pools just off the sand. For those looking to be transported to the exotic lawns of Asia, Amanyara in Turks and Caicos offers sensual spaces with complete privacy. For something over the top, head to Sandy Lane in Barbados, which pairs perfectly with Pink Sand Canouan, a private island resort just 40 minutes by private plane. Don’t miss: A private beach picnic on Iguana Island in Turks and Caicos. Best time to go: November – June.
ITALY For honeymooners looking for a more cosmopolitan experience, Italy is always number one. Its people, passion, topography and food are a favourite, especially when by the shores of the Amalfi Coast and Capri for a little Dolce Vita. Up north, Lake Como and Lake Garda weave romance into every lakefront crevice while cities like Venice and Florence never seem to lack romantic alleys and adorable trattorias where magical micro moments are created. Don’t miss: A private tour of Rome’s Colosseum when it is closed to the public. When to go: May – September.
GREECE Greece has taken centre stage this year with a host of new romantic resorts, amazing food and fabulous nightlife. Santorini offers romantic sunsets, especially from the perch of the uber-private Canaves Resort’s private pool suites. For more action, Mykonos is a favourite with resorts like Santa Marina and the Mykonos Blu offering luxury suites and access to some of the hottest DJs in the world. For a more casual resort atmosphere, Amarines and Blue Palace both have private pool villas at incredible values all set on the beautiful bays of Crete. Don’t miss: Sunset in Oia in Santorini. When to go: May – September.
OCEANIA For a memorable adventure, Australia and New Zealand offer some of the most iconic scenery and pristine adventures in the world. Start out in Australia in the fabulous city of Sydney followed by a few days on Kangaroo Island at Southern Ocean Lodge. Queenstown, on the south island of New Zealand, in contrast, is set on spectacular mountainscape and dubbed the adventure capital of the world where Makuti Lodge offers the perfect balance of city and rural basecamp. End it all off in the world’s most sumptuous (and most expensive) private island resort, Laucala, in Fiji for the ultimate indulgence. Don’t miss: Having breakfast with the kangaroos. When to go: November - April.
SOUTHEAST ASIA Culture and beach buffs love the unique encounters of Southeast Asia. Whether it is the adventurous beaches on Bali or the silky white sandy shores of Thailand’s Phuket or Vietnam’s famed China Beach, Southeast Asia offers a perfect blend of adventure, romantic beach resorts and exciting cities. We love Amansara as a base to explore the mystical Angkor Wat, while the Four Seasons Nam Hai offers endless romance in Vietnam. The Metropole will take you back in time in Asia’s most charming city of Hanoi while the luxury tented camps of the Four Seasons Golden Triangle gives you upclose encounters with local tribes as you trek atop elephants through the jungle. Don’t Miss: A tour of the bunker at Hanoi’s Metropole Hotel. When to go: All year (depending on the areas you want to focus on).
R O M A N T I C G E TA W A Y
BEST MASSAGES For Couples
Why settle for two traditional massages when you and your beloved could chant about love, meditate while holding hands or read each other poetry in the bath?
– by Diana Spechler –
EXCELLENCE OYSTER BAY,
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA
If you go on a romantic getaway to Jamaica, you may as well celebrate your undying bond by getting wrapped up in a cocoon together. At the all-inclusive resort’s Millé Spa, you can have the 100-minute “Jamaican Cocoon Ritual for Two.” It’s not a literal cocoon, but it feels pretty great to get scrubbed with watermelon salt and then painted all over with a lemongrass, mint and clove mask so you’ll “feel special and delicate” (spa director’s words). Millé Spa has other cool couples’ treatments as well, including one with a pink quartz face massage that engages the reflexology points, and another where you hold hands and meditate together.excellenceresorts.com
R O M A N T I C G E TA W A Y
TABACÓN, LA FORTUNA DE SAN CARLOS, COSTA RICA
At this Costa Rican hot springs resort, where the water is warmed by the magma from Arenal Volcano, book the 105-minute “Idyllic Couple’s Massage,” which takes place in an open-air bungalow in the jungle. Your therapist will chant about love to you in the regional language, Maleku (feel free to join her), as overhead monkeys howl in the trees. Post-chanting, hop in a milk-and-sea-algae bath with your honey, sip champagne and snack on locally sourced fresh fruit. At Tabacón, it seems that no one ever gets dressed. You’ll kick around in your bathrobe day and night, easing that transition from massage to real life. tabacon.com
MARRIOTT PUERTO VALLARTA RESORT & SPA, PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO
Even if you’ve never made vows, you’ll dig the “Vow Renewal Ritual” at the Ohtli Spa. The treatment is (intentional pun) a commitment—two hours and 50 minutes to be exact. First, the therapist will wash your feet in warm water sprinkled with flower petals. Then hit the steam room, enjoy a sea-salt body scrub and relish your obsidian-stone massage. The vow-renewal ritual part involves getting your hands tied to your partner’s with ribbon (red, to signify infinite love, of course). Once you’re untied, hit the private couple’s Jacuzzi, then take home your party favour: a heart-shaped obsidian stone. marriott.com
CONRAD CARTAGENA, CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA If you’re into hot wax, the 90-minute Beeswax & Soy Couples Massage at Conrad SPA is for you. All spa treatments are inspired by Colombian aboriginal tribal beliefs in earth, water, sun and moon as healing energies. This sexy, waxy massage is “moon”-based, intended to make you and your person feel more connected. Your therapists will hold soy-extract-and-natural-beeswax candles over your bodies and drip away. conradcartagena.com
JADE MOUNTAIN, ST. LUCIA At Kai en Ciel Spa, “The Alchemy of Two—A Romantic Ritual for Couples” is designed to let couples deeply “give and receive.” The 110-minute treatment starts in a hot tub sprinkled with genderspecific oils (his contains amber essential oil, hers contains jasmine essential oil). While soaking, you’ll take turns reading each other love poetry, and feed each other homemade chocolates. Dry off and move on to your massages, delivered with Tantra Vibrational Oil, meant to “balance the male and female energies.” jademountain.com
LARCHMONT SANCTUARY DAY SPA,
LITTLE RED DAY SPA ,
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
“The Ultimate Romance” is a three-hour and 55-minute treatment that you and your one true love can have any time you both have three hours and 55 minutes to spare at the same time. The package includes, among other things, a romantic jade-stone massage, a sensual salt scrub, a champagne bath and his-and-her bathrobes to take home. larchmontsanctuary.com
Although billed as a couples-focused day spa, you don’t have to be limited to a couple’s massage. Grab your two favourite people and enjoy the two hour, 40-minute “Thrupple’s Art 3 Person Getaway Plus.” You’ll get three therapists, body mud, a salt scrub, a sauna, a kitchenette and dining area for an intimate meal and, at the end, some rest time in the cuddle loft. littlereddayspa.com BOLD 77
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DOMINICA DELIGHTS ROMANCE AND ADVENTURE FIND THEIR TRUE HOME ON “THE NATURE ISLAND” Of all the islands in the West Indies, Dominica stands out as truly remarkable: a verdant gem, with 365 rivers and alluring hot springs, where the skyscraping majesty of dormant volcanoes looks over a mosaic of bustling port towns and quiet rainforest retreats. A hybrid destination, as renowned for its stunning landscape and ecotourism adventures as it is for its charming accommodations, Dominica isn’t just a vacation—it’s a genuine discovery.
HONEYMOON HAVEN Dominica is the perfect place for an unforgettable honeymoon, offering a diverse array of accommodations in a supremely serene atmosphere. Nothing ignites a romance quite like watching the
sun disappear behind the outline of one of Dominica’s landscapes, the starlit sky illuminating the white sands of the island’s world-class beaches. An offering of high-end boutique villas, charming cottages, resorts and guesthouses spoil newlyweds for choice and pamper them with elite spas and amenities. Equal parts exotic and accessible, Dominica is the ideal destination for couples looking to commemorate their union with the relaxation and adventure of a lifetime. COMPELLING CULTURE While many Caribbean islands can claim a fascinating heritage, none have as rich a cultural tapestry as Dominica. Dominica’s blend of European and African influences remain evident in its architecture and delicious fusion cuisine, providing a gentle contrast to the traditions of the indigenous Kalinago people still active and maintaining their history on the island. The Kalinago welcome visitors to their home in Kalinago Territory, providing a glimpse at their ancestral way of life though their carving, canoe building and crafting. A strong legacy of Carib dancing, music and storytelling manifests in a nationwide love of the arts and revelry. Line up your Dominica vacation with one of the many festivals like the World Creole Music Festival and experience the full depth of Dominica’s vibrant culture.
TIME IN DOMINICA ISN’T A VACATION. IT’S A DISCOVERY. For more information about Dominica visit discoverdominica.com or call your preferred travel agent to book your escape.
Produced by Moreno & Co. 2019
Dominica is an explorer’s paradise, blessed with an abundant wild rainforest; the diversity of its flora and fauna is unmatched in the Caribbean. The lakes and rivers teem with life, as the calls of the rare Sisserou parrot echo through the hills, beckoning visitors to explore the many hidden waterfall caves. The azure waters surrounding the island are fertile ground for whale watching and all manner of swimming, sailing and watersports. The green foothills of the island lend themselves perfectly to hiking, offering an immersive adventure in unspoilt nature. Champagne Reef is Dominica’s must-see excursion, a colourful seascape named for the bubbly volcanic vents that dot its floor. The reef has been dazzling divers and snorkelers for years, captivating nature lovers with a thriving ecosystem of seahorses, rays, coral and octopuses.
Legendary Locals. Whether diving or snorkeling, Dominicaâ€™s technicolor seascapes let you see a side of life and living that only the Nature Island can reveal. Visit DiscoverDominica.com
TRAVEL INTEL Our tips and tricks to navigating the world
SMART WAYS TO TRAVEL HACK-FREE
A few simple tech precautions will help avoid identity theft and other online hassles BY LIZ FLEMING
Back to basics
Any information you send or receive while travelling is potentially subject to interception. Good passwords are still your line of first defence—keep them custom, complicated and change them often. Public computers, like those found in hotel lobbies, are often home to malware and keyloggers. If you must use one, do not access your accounts or enter any passwords. Avoid charging your devices from public sources like docking stations or PCs as this could result in malicious software being copied to your device. Use your own chargers or connect directly to a wall outlet.
While travelling is all about making new connections, your devices are not a good place to start. Turn off any WiFi automatic connections settings and turn off Bluetooth and NFC unless strictly necessary. It’s best to avoid public WiFi networks, where scammers like to do their dirty work, but if you must, use a VPN to shop, bank or enter personal details. When buying tickets or making reservations, always ensure “https,” not just “http,” appears before the website domain.
Know before you go
Border agents in every country have the right to search your devices and the content on them. What is considered acceptable and criminal varies widely in different societies and you may be turned back for something you consider innocuous. If your mobile device has a remote lock or tracking application, be sure to set it up prior to departure. Ensure your operating systems, software and virus protection are all updated before travelling.
PLANE FACTS ABOUT AIRLINE FOOD The first airline meal ever served was pre-packed box lunches on a Handley-Page London to Paris flight in 1919. My guess is the bread tasted spongey then, too. Part of the perennial problem with food aloft lies not with the chef but with the altitude and low humidity, both of which cause our taste buds to work differently than they do on the ground. We’ve all experienced dry throats and nasal passages while in flight—that same lack of humidity has a bearing on how we experience taste. Other reasons for the subpar food experiences we have inflight? Space. Tiny kitchens make it incredibly difficult to prepare meals for hundreds of people, so heating up dishes prepared hours before is the only answer. Time is also an issue. The same flight attendants who are ensuring passengers’ safety, handing out customs cards, demonstrating the use of seat belts and answering questions are the ones prepping and serving all meals. It’s no wonder that the end result is something less than a culinary masterpiece. If you’re feeling disappointed that your pasta bolognese looks a little less than al dente when you open it, remember that at least it’s hot, which puts it a big step above that pre-packed box lunch from 1919.
Illustration by Laura García
yber threats are becoming an ubiquitous part of digital life, especially so for the frequent traveller. As the number and types of attacks increase every year, keeping your devices and data secure is becoming more challenging. Luckily, the cyber security experts at Interface Technologies have prepared the following list of tips to keep you secure.
If you’re lucky enough to fly first or business class, you’ll discover that airlines are currently engaged in the battle of the chefs, vying with one another to offer the most exciting menus, created by some of the world’s most famous kings and queens of the kitchen. JAPAN AIRLINES One of the yummiest onboard business and first class menus belongs to Japan Airlines, where offerings change every three months as their team of well-known chefs such as Hideki Ishikawa and Kouji Koizumi, both of whom have Michelin three-star restaurants, stir up fabulous creations. Think braised beef and tofu simmered in a sweet soy sauce and salmon prepared Yu’an-style with savoury tartar sauce served with world famous Tosa Shiragiku Junmai Ginjo sake.
No meals on board and no time to grab anything in the airport before boarding? Here’s a list of the healthiest and least calorie-filled snacks you can buy when that cart comes around. DELTA Choose the almonds for just 124 calories. VIRGIN AMERICA Go for their Hail Merry Seasoned Nut Blend. At just 220 calories, it will be enough to keep you from chewing on your seatmates until you land. AIR CANADA A great choice is the Skotidakis fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt, at only 90 calories and full of calcium and protein. JET BLUE Your best choice (after gobbling up the free blue potato chips) is the yogurt and granola at 210 calories or, for those who are aggressively healthy, the kale and quinoa salad for 320 calories. AMERICAN AIRLINES The hummus box snack is enough to keep you going for just 220 calories. If you’re extra-hungry, choose the Chicken Arugula Wrap, but take it easy with the salad dressing that comes on the side in order to top out at just over 401 calories. ALLEGIANT AIR The hummus and pita chips offers both protein and crunch for just 150 calories.
LUFTHANSA Why focus on one chef—or even one country— when you’re creating an outstanding inflight menu? Lufthansa instead decided to bring a whole world of expertise to bear on their menuplanning challenge and so recruited famous chefs from many of the countries they service, inviting each to come up with a destinationspecific menu selection. Some of the big names that have contributed to making their lineups sizzle include Xiaosheng Gao from the ShangriLa Pudong Hotel in Shanghai, Vinod Saini from The Leela Palace Kempinski and Kunal Kapur from The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residences in India. AIR FRANCE We all believe that the French care more about food than anyone else in the world and Air France seems to be proving this stereotype true. Business-class travellers have come to expect the top-quality dining provided by chefs such as Michelin two-starred chef Olivier Bellin, Guy Martin from Le Grand Véfour in Paris, and Michel Roth, winner of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or award. And that’s not all. Rock-star chefs Daniel Boulud, Joël Robuchon and Anne-Sophie Pic have all contributed to cooking up worldclass menus onboard.
BOLD QUERY I OFTEN SUFFER FROM TRAVELLER’S TUMMY. WHAT ARE THE BEST PREVENTION STRATEGIES AND OVER-THECOUNTER CURES? Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that bacteria is different all over the world. We’ve developed immunities to the bugs around us, but not to the ones we might encounter when we travel. The best bet is to avoid as many unknown bacteria as possible. So it’s wise to eat only things that can be washed if they might have come into contact with water or the vendor’s hands. Choose fruits that can be peeled, resist the allure of street vendors selling cooked (maybe?) meats such as sausages and don’t drink water from fountains. If you buy bottled water, check to make sure that the seal on the top has not been broken and the bottle has not been refilled. Bottled or canned beer and pop are generally safe choices. If Montezuma does take his revenge, the best cure is Imodium. Designed to stop diarrhea and related tummy troubles, this over-thecounter drug comes in a variety of forms, but the most useful is the instant-dissolve tablet that requires no water. Just tear off the back of the blister pack and touch your tongue to the tablet. This is particularly clever when you remember that sipping water to help you swallow a pill could simply add to your woes!
AIR NEW ZEALAND Ever had the privilege of dining at Auckland’s renowned The Sugar Club or Meredith’s? Do you sometimes fantasize about booking another dinner at London’s famous The Providores? If those options aren’t currently on your calendar, simply fly business class on Air New Zealand and enjoy signature dishes created by the chefs of those venerable establishments, Peter Gordon and Michael Meredith. You’ll thank yourself when dinner is served and you’re tucking into succulent chicken Marbella with creamy corn polenta, and green olive and mustard salsa finished off with nectarine ice cream and a crisp ginger wafer with blueberry compote.
WORTH TRAVELLING FOR Luang Prabang’s famed temple, Wat Xieng Thong.
MEDITATE ON THIS uang Prabang in Laos is best known as a historic and spiritual destination. It was the capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom for centuries, but had the honour of being the capital taken from it more than once by the current capital of Laos, Vientiane. Though small—its population is about 55,000—Luang Prabang’s UNESCO-recognized architectural heritage is a sumptuous blend of traditional building and 19 th-and 20 th-century European colonial styles. Yet it’s not all about photo-ops. In a ritual that goes back to the 14 th century, hundreds of monks make a procession every morning from 35 different temples, receiving alms from people, including well-behaved
visitors, who kneel alongside the route with their offerings. The procession is both moving and enchanting. Its altitude and its location at the juncture of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers also make Luang Prabang a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Natural preserve areas like the Tad Sae Waterfall Park provide ample opportunities for swimming, climbing, hiking and boating. With the unhurried pace and the kind locals, it makes the town a surprisingly ideal family destination, as well as a cultural one. If you can keep the kids quiet and respectful during the monks’ procession, the rest of the time spent here will be a dream. —THE EDITORS
Photo by Travelwild
Luang Prabang, Laos
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