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Making Connections Wild Wonders in the

North Atlantic A Girls’

Italian Getaway Afloat in

Haida Culture


The world awaits, and we’re eager to help you travel again. We’ll be there for you to safely explore the beautiful wonders of the world, make new connections and enjoy life at its best.

We’re here for you – before, during and after your travels. Our promise: • • • • •

To To To To To

be your inspiration, insider knowledge, advice, answers, and right hand. ensure there’s always a team standing behind you that you can count on. relieve you from stress so you can fully enjoy your vacation. create personalized experiences and custom touches just for you. make you feel welcome, wherever you choose to go.

With our expertise, you’ll never feel more connected to the world. 2 |

EXTRAORDINARY EXP ER IEN C ES


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Editor’s Letter Remember when the world seemed ready and waiting for us to explore it… Times have changed most certainly with the pandemic, but our love of travel has not. It has deepened and taken on a more profound meaning. I don’t think we’ll ever take having the opportunity to see new places and meet people from other countries the way we used to. It holds greater value now as a means of connection – to our fellow citizens, to nature, to culture and to understanding one another. We really didn’t give it this much thought pre-pandemic. We could pretty much hop on a plane whenever we chose to. In hindsight, I realize just how spoiled we were and how our belief that destinations were accessible any time caused us to put off travel plans. After all, we could go next week, next month or next year, right? If there’s a lesson to be learned from the pandemic, it’s the importance of not procrastinating on making travel plans. It would be a shame not to take that dream vacation, to put off visiting a country where your family has roots, or to not gather friends and take a trip together. The memories they create become more meaningful over time. Our journeys have and serve a purpose. In this issue of Extraordinary Experiences, we celebrate the connections that travel present to us and to future trips we’ll take with a new appreciation about their true significance. Our writers share their own stories about what exploring the world has meant to them. Liz Fleming talks about the magic of nature in the Galápagos Islands. Darcy Rhyno and Theresa Storm recall very special vacations they had with their mothers. I hope you’ll enjoy all of these stories and others, and that you’ll find inspiration and hope in them, too. And while we wait for the opportunity to explore the world again, rest assured that your travel advisor is always by your side to help connect you to the world and its people. Here’s to the journeys we’ll take ahead…

Michele Sponagle editor@ensembletravel.ca

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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Contents

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On the Horizon Alternative Destinations

TRAVEL STYLE 12 From Pedals to Petals 30 Wine and Dine Along the Rhine CONNECTIONS 16 La Dolce Vita 52 The Missing Links FEATURE 20 Wild Wonders in the North Atlantic FLAVOURS 24 Local & Legendary 54 A Tale of Two Coasts CULTURE 26 Star Appeal 48 Afloat in Haida Culture

A few of Amsterdam’s 2,500 houseboats at dusk

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NATURE 34 The Last Frontier DEEP DIVE: ECUADOR 40 Worlds Apart 44 In the Steps of Darwin COVER IMAGE: Kallur Lighthouse during sunset in the Faroe Islands

Publisher Ensemble Travel® Group Creative Director and Managing Editor Valérie Lenoir

Ehrenfels Castle with a view over the Rhine ©GNTB/Mahlow Media, Winningen

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Editor Michele Sponagle Editorial Coordinator and Staff Writer Isabelle Labrosse Advertising Franca Iuele

Contributing Writers Liz Fleming, Tim Johnson, Jane Mundy, Kristen Pope, Darcy Rhyno, Chris Robinson, Amy Rosen, Toby Saltzman, Joanne Sasvari, Diane Slawych, Theresa Storm, Renée S. Suen, Hans Tammemagi, Janice Tober Art Direction Cherry Ann Valles, Cinzia Cammisa Foxx Advertising & Design Inc. Production Management Joe Viecili, Danielle Ranieri Foxx Advertising & Design Inc.

Ensemble Travel® Group. All rights reserved. 2021 Ensemble Travel® Group is a registered trademark of Ensemble Travel® Group. No part of this publication maybe reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Photos by Getty Images unless stated otherwise. TICO #50022140 Pailón del Diablo waterfall near Baños

Ensemble Travel® Group 69 Yonge Street, Suite 1403, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1K3

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WELCOME TO THE NEW DIGITAL EDITION OF EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES In this new magazine, you can view videos about our featured destinations, the local traditions, and the people and places that shape them so you can have a glimpse of what awaits you. We have included many interactive features to experience travel from home and inspire you to travel again, when the time feels right for you.

Look for these icons inside the magazine:

Sit down, relax and enjoy the ride in our new “virtual” magazine!

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Please contact your travel professional for details.

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*Certain conditions, limitations and exclusions apply. See policy for details. Underwritten by

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife). Manulife, Manulife & Stylized M Design, and Stylized M Design and Manulife Premium Protection Plan are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license. © 2021 The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. All rights reserved. PO Box 670, Stn Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2J 4B8. Website: www.manulife.ca Telephone: 1-888-220-5212

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Horizon

ON THE

By Toby Saltzman

The joys of small-ship cruising abound with immersive, extraordinary experiences for intimate groups, sure to inspire your travel dreams.

Cruise passengers have plenty to look forward to when sailing resumes and goes full speed ahead in 2022. Bespoke experiences from top cruise lines are just one more reason why it’s an opportune time to look ahead and book ahead.

FISHING FOR THRILLS IN ALASKA Experience Alaska on intimate expeditions with Seabourn guided by expert naturalists. Besides kayaking through Misty Fjords and sailing a catamaran through the turquoise waters of Tracy Arm to the glistening Sawyer Glacier, there’s much to do. Join a photography jaunt to capture pods of orca whales as they breach and circle in feeding frenzies. Fantastic fish tales, bragging rights and the promise of Seabourn’s chef to cook your catch can be yours on fishing quests. Or try salmon fishing from Ketchikan or Sitka. Passengers can also sign up to fly from Juneau to catch halibut at Icy Strait Point, or tackle ocean fishing for rare Chinook salmon on the calm Inside Passage from Wrangell Island. Kayaking in College Fjord, Alaska ©Seabourn

Passengers can tour Bocelli’s namesake vineyards and restaurant ©Oceania Cruises

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MUSICAL INTERLUDE AT ANDREA BOCELLI’S TUSCAN ESTATE Guest travelling with Oceania Cruises can immerse themselves in the beguiling blend of music, wine and food of the renowned Italian tenor’s world, amid the Bocelli vineyard estate his family has owned since 1730. From Livorno, drive through scenic Tuscany for a stop at Bocelli’s recording studio to see a biographical film about the singer and record yourself performing one of his songs. Then, it’s on to Lajatico, Bocelli’s birthplace, for a vineyard tour and wine tasting with Bocelli family members at Officine Bocelli restaurant, followed by a lavish Tuscan meal. After visiting Bocelli’s private Teatro del Silenzio, an open-air amphitheatre where he performed annually, guests can stop at the museum featuring Bocelli memorabilia.


Regent’s luxurious Seven Seas Navigator in Italy ©Regent Seven Seas Cruises

NIGHT OF ENCHANTMENT Overnight stays on segments of Silversea’s European Grand Voyage allow for exclusive, after-hours delights at iconic city sites. In Spain, the evening plays out in Bilbao’s architectural past and present, enriched with culinary and visual art, starting at Restaurante Aspaldiko, set in a cherished, old Basque building. After the chef presents culinary tips and a gastronomic tasting menu, guests transit to the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for a guided tour enhanced by the music of a string quartet. For a grand finale, guests can sip cava while a children’s choir performs in the atrium.

DIVINE WELLNESS IN ITALY Rejuvenate your body and spirit in the curative thermal spring waters of Terme dei Papi – Thermal Baths of Popes – celebrated for aeons by Etruscans, Romans and legendary popes. Depart your Regent Seven Seas cruise for an exclusive wellness mission from Civitavecchia for a drive through Italy’s pastoral countryside en route to the medieval city of Viterbo. Here, 15th-century Pope Nicholas V built a grand palace close to the Bullicame spring that produces warm, mineral-rich waters and soothing vapour. While relaxing in the vast outdoor pool amid splendid gardens, guests can ponder how it inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy and Michelangelo’s landscape sketches.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain

WHISKY AND WILDLIFE IN THE SCOTTISH ISLES From the Hebrides to the Shetlands, guided expeditions around the fabled isles with Hurtigruten will have you revelling in rich Celtic, Viking and British history, culture and nature. And, of course, there will be visits to authentic Scottish distilleries in Islay, the “whisky isle.” Between touring medieval fortresses, dining at the 800-year-old Duart Castle on Mull, and seeing the circle of 5,000-year-old Neolithic Callanish Standing Stones on Lewis, passengers are destined to see spectacular landscapes and wildlife. The volcanic Treshnish Isles attract nesting puffins, colonies of kittiwakes, gannets and eagles. The sea stacks of St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, harbour thousands of nesting seabirds and minke whales. E X TR AO R D I N A RY E X P E R I ENCES | 9 Bunnahabhain Distillery near Port Askaig, one of eight distilleries on Islay


Humayun’s Tomb

Alternative

Destinations By Diane Slawych

Fascinating options to the world’s most famous, and often overcrowded, destinations Travel can be an exhilarating experience, but the tourism industry worldwide is putting pressure on some of the most popular destinations and attractions, leading to overcrowding, degradation of ancient monuments, and disappointing experiences. To reduce our impact, it’s worth getting off the beaten track and visiting some equally interesting alternative sites to popular icons. Here are four that are catching our attention.

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INSTEAD OF THE TAJ MAHAL, TAKE A TRIP TO HUMAYUN’S TOMB IN DELHI, INDIA Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and both are beautiful examples of Mughal architecture. One advantage of Humayun’s Tomb, however, is that it’s less visited and therefore much quieter. It allows you to explore at your leisure without the stress of souvenir wallahs and persistent rickshaw drivers. Humayun’s Tomb, built in 1570 for the second Mughal Emperor of India by his widow, served as the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. It inspired several major architectural innovations, such as the creation of a four-quadrant garden with pools joined by channels. INSTEAD OF THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA, VISIT THE PYRAMID FIELD OF DAHSHUR, EGYPT Egypt’s most famous pyramids are in the Giza Necropolis, but why not leave the beaten track and head south to another important pyramid field – one that doesn’t get as much attention? At Dahshur, two well-preserved pyramids, older than those at Giza, are among the largest in Egypt. The Bent Pyramid, built more than 4,600 years ago, was the first attempt at building a smooth-sided pyramid that didn’t quite succeed as well as the nearby Red Pyramid, named for the red limestone used in its construction. It’s possible to enter both structures through long, narrow passageways leading to burial chambers. On the way back to Cairo, stop at Saqqara – a site with temples, tombs, and the must-see Step Pyramid of Djoser (Zoser), considered one of the world’s oldest stone monuments.


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

INSTEAD OF ST. PETER’S BASILICA, TOUR THE SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE IN ABU DHABI, UAE Discouraged by the long line-ups you have read about at St. Peter’s? Shift gears and consider a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This stunning, all-white architectural gem draws from traditional Mamluk, Ottoman and Fatimid styles and brims with superlatives. It has marble domes of various sizes, crystal chandeliers, thousands of columns made of white marble panels inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones. It also boasts the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet – a single piece handcrafted by artisans, which took approximately two years to create. The mosque is surrounded by rectangular pools that reflect the exquisite structure – a spectacular sight at night. INSTEAD OF NORWAY’S FJORDS, TRY PATAGONIA The beauty of Norway’s fjords is undeniable. UNESCO recognized them with a World Heritage Site designation, which added to their popularity. But you won’t get as many tourists in Patagonia. In the fjords of Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of the American continent shared between Chile and Argentina, towering peaks rising from pristine seas are equally impressive. Other bonuses include icebergs, glaciers and waterfalls, plus rich marine life featuring creatures such as sea lions, dolphins and enormous elephant seals.

King Cormorants, Southern Patagonia

One way to experience this rugged area is on a sailboat departing from Punta Arenas in Chile, travelling south to Cape Horn through a maze of coves, channels and islets before disembarking at Ushuaia in Argentina one week later. Visit in summertime (January or February) when the days are warmer and longer, and the animals more abundant.

Bent Pyramid of Dahshur

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From Pedals to Petals By Jane Mundy

A week-long journey to discover the best of the Netherlands on a bike

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Multi-coloured tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinths in the Keukenhof Garden


Biking is part of daily life in the Netherlands

Europe has a vibrant and expanding bike culture, with everyone, from toddlers to baby boomers, feeling just as comfy on their bikes as North Americans do in their cars. Early in 2020, experts predicted that the cycling trend would surge over Europe in the next decade, due largely to health and environmental concerns. Bike riding as a means of commuting is set to increase, mainly triggered by the growing popularity of e-bikes that have batteries to assist with your leg work. Biking has had its ups and downs in the Netherlands. Before the Second World War, people walked, biked or took public transit. Some cities destroyed from the war were designed around the automobile. People would happily live in the suburbs and commute by car to the city for work. In the 1950s and 1960s, they bought motor vehicles. Then in the 1970s, the Dutch government began to invest in cycling infrastructure, prompted by the Middle East oil crisis when oil-producing countries stopped exports to the US and Western Europe. Urban planners designed a vast network of safe and inviting urban bike paths.

The Netherlands is among the first countries to have dedicated bike freeways, some of which can be found in the Utrecht province. Watch this video to see how you can discover Utrecht’s uncharted territory through its bike freeways. The Netherlands has become known as the bicycle capital of the world, boasting an estimated 20 million bicycles for its 17 million citizens. The country’s infrastructure is phenomenal. It has about 35,000 kilometres of cycling paths, enough to circle the equator almost six times. That doesn’t include another 55,000 kilometres of safe road space shared with traffic. Dutch motorists tend to look out for bikes since they are also likely to be cyclists. More than half of visitors who come to the Netherlands will go on to sightsee and visit cities by bicycle. Bike rentals are readily available and affordable. Even Schiphol, the country’s main airport, has rentals nearby. The Dutch government is going further. It’s stepping up its efforts with Tour de Force, an initiative that aims to add 20 per cent more kilometres of bike routes by 2027.

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a common courtyard), built in the 17th century. We always had time to dawdle in cafés and pubs and often stopped to smell the roses and the cheeses.

A few of Amsterdam’s 2,500 houseboats at dusk

The Dutch categorize cyclists into two groups – wielrenner, literally “a wheel runner” or sporty cyclist and fietser, a general term that translates to “someone on a bike.” I was definitely part of the latter, as was the rest of my group who were gathered in Amsterdam to begin exploring the Netherlands by bike. We adjusted our helmets, gripped the handlebars and leisurely pedalled away from the river barge where we’d be staying over the next week. Our first destination was the historic cathedral city of Utrecht. We rode past tulip fields ablaze with brilliant colours, cows drinking from the canal and a heron gulping down a tiny frog in a marsh.

Mid-April to mid-May is the peak season. By noon, the tulip capital is jam-packed with tour buses. Leave plenty of time to stroll its 37 hectares, including the jaw-dropping indoor pavilions full of blooms, and the city itself. The street market of Leiden guarantees you’ll fill the backpack with Dutch specialties, like stroopwafels (syrup waffles). The next day, we biked from Leiden to Haarlem and stopped at hofjes and almshouses (a type of housing built around

Only in the Netherlands could I cycle up to 50 kilometres in three consecutive days. It was exhilarating and I was glad I packed a pair of padded bike shorts. (You can buy padded seat covers in Amsterdam.) Fortunately, there were no Lance Armstrongs in our group, so we kept a leisurely pace. In fact, one gentleman recently had a hip replacement, and another hadn’t been in the saddle for decades. But if you’re saddle-sore or just feel like taking a day off from riding during your trip, that’s easy to do. One gal decided she wanted to walk around Haarlem’s art galleries, shops and brew pubs. She took a train to Amsterdam and met us back at the barge for dinner, just in time to lift our glasses and say proost to our seven days of cycling. We were proud to celebrate being fietsers.

Each night, our group of 10 riders rendezvoused with the barge that had moved to the next destination on our route while we cycled. Having the boat as a home base was ideal because we only had to unpack once for our journey. Onboard after dinner, our guide, Piet, spread out a huge map and discussed the next day’s itinerary. From Delft, we headed for The Hague, through parks and Bosch Palace, and rode past sand dunes. We even tacked a few hills that proved to be a workout before we dipped our feet in the North Sea. Following the Old Rhine River, we pedalled by thatched-roof windmills and fairy-tale cottages with backyard goats and chickens on the way to Leiden, Rembrandt’s birthplace and one of the world’s largest flower gardens. We zipped along narrow streets and courtyards dating back to the 17th century.

Bucolic views are plentiful when biking in the Netherlands ©NBTC/Claire Droppert

Go early to the Keukenhof, aka the “Garden of Europe,” to see the colourful show created by the more than seven million bulbs planted annually.

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La Dolce Vita A dream vacation in Italy means wine, wellness and wandering its historic sites By Theresa Storm

There are times when seeing a sign with your name held high in a rushing crowd is pure relief. That’s the case when we disembark from a train arriving into the pandemonium of Naples Central Station.

sunbeams danced off the Tyrrhenian Sea flecked with boats. At higher elevations, fuchsia bougainvillea tumbles over centuries-old rock walls, and the aroma of luscious lemons drifts from roadside groves.

My mother, who is in her 70s, and I are on another leg of her month-long dream trip, en route to southern Italy’s scenic Amalfi Coast. For years, she heard rave reviews about the destination from friends who had been. They talked about the balmy weather, the Roman ruins, the Renaissance art and designer fashions, lively piazzas, lauded cuisine and exceptional wines served by flirty tuxedo-clad waiters, along with stunning beaches and pampering spas.

Crossing over the Lattari, the peninsula’s mountainous backbone, we descend via SS163. The skinny highway sandwiched between forested slopes and deep blue sea weaves around hair-raising bends to link to the 13 towns comprising the Amalfi Coast. It is one of the world’s most scenic coastal roads.

Trying to stick together, we pushed through crowds toward Cosimo, the tall, sign-wielding chauffeur arranged by our hotel in Positano for the private 1.5-hour transfer. Soon, the forested slopes and flat caldera of Mount Vesuvius looms, the volcanic monster that smothered Pompeii. As the road begins to climb the Sorrentine Peninsula, views of the coastline along the Gulf of Naples and its craggy islands unfold, while

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Rounding a tight hairpin, we gasp. Rising from the base of the mountain opposite is Positano, clinging to the vertical limestone cliffs. Once a humble fishing village, today celebrities roam its cobblestone, pedestrian-only streets. Turn by turn, we make our way downhill until, at last, the road winds its way to a car park, where a bellman awaits. Wheeling our bags, he expertly helps us navigate our continued descent over a tight, twisting walkway. It’s covered with trellises draped in lilac wisteria and tangled green ivy, and lined with cafés and chic boutiques.


We enjoy cocktails at sunset under rustling palm trees and citrus boughs heavy with tangy fruit in courtyards near the Piazzetta dei Mulini in the town’s centre. We dine on traditional Campanian cuisine like Neapolitan pizza at cliffside eateries, reached by steep, carb-burning steps. Later, we sip local white wines or chilled limoncello, the region’s zesty lemon liqueur, on our tranquil balcony overlooking the yellow, green and blue majolica-tiled dome of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, one of Positano’s oldest landmarks. Music wafts from restaurant balconies and lights flicker like fireflies from buildings perched on the cliff. After lovely days exploring Amalfi, we board a train and head north. Tasty Tuscany awaits. When a good-looking man knocks on the door of Villa Gaia, a restored country estate on a Seggiano hillside nestled in the midst of organic olive groves, Sangiovese vineyards and medieval forests, mom and I exchange delighted smiles. With a lopsided grin and a flick of his long bangs, the aptly named Romeo introduces himself as our guide for an immersion into Tuscany’s renowned food and wine. As we drive along sun-dappled country roads, the car becomes our classroom.

E X TR AO R DI N A RY E X P E R I E NCES | 1 7 Another day coming to an end on the Amalfi Coast

La Fornace Wines ©Courtesy of La Fornace


Dining with a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea

Villa Gaia ©Courtesy of Villas of Distinction

Third-generation winemaker Fabio Giannetti (left) with winery guest ©Courtesy of La Fornace

OUR EXPERTS SUGGEST… A Mediterranean cruise In 2022, Oceania Cruises will offer an unforgettable 12-day voyage from Rome to Barcelona onboard its stunning Riviera, with a stay in Positano and an overnight in Livorno, leaving you with ample time for an excursion to the Tuscan countryside. You’ll then continue your journey on the azure waters of the Mediterranean to incredible destinations like Monte Carlo, Saint-Tropez, Mallorca, Ibiza and more. Reach out to your travel advisor for more details.

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First, our companion, also a chef and sommelier, teaches us about the four main types of Tuscan olives and why they produce the best extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) before moving on to lessons on wine.

Tuscan white Chianina cattle), salami and prosciutto, drizzled with the farm’s EVOO. Akin to dining in a friend’s home, we immensely enjoy the conviviality, the vittles and the vino.

Italians produce more varieties than anywhere, we learn. Tuscany is famous for reds including Chianti, Sangiovese and super Tuscans. Our heads abuzz, we are eager to apply our new knowledge to a taste test. Pulling into the farmyard of small, family-owned La Fornace Winery, we are greeted by Fabio Giannetti, a third-generation winemaker.

Epicureans, enjoy a taste of Tuscany from home with this recipe of pici all’aglione, traditional hand-rolled pasta.

After a tour of the flower bedecked, 4.5-hectare Sangiovese vineyards and bountiful vegetable garden, the cellar beckons, dominated by a hefty wooden dining table. La Fornace’s wines – including Brunello di Montalcino, the region’s specialty – are lined up ready for tasting. They accompany la cucina povera toscana, a typical rustic luncheon, featuring local products – a frittata, white Tuscan cannellini beans, grilled eggplant, bruschetta, salty Pecorino di Pienza (sheep cheese), bresaola (air-dried beef made with

After overindulging, we take a wellness break at a thermal spa resort nearby in the Val d’Orcia, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its iconic Renaissance landscape of undulating conical hills dissected by rows of slim cypress trees. Luxuriating in healing, mineral-rich springs fed by dormant volcano Monte Amiata, we don’t ever want to leave. But a steam grotto dripping with stalactites and stalagmites and a rejuvenating facial with the juicy pulp of ripe Tuscan grapes await. It’s the perfect ending to our idyllic Italian getaway.


REMEMBER THE FUTURE The corners of the world that make your heart sing – and those you have yet to experience. The fine flavors of the world you’ve savored onboard and on your exploration – and those you have yet to taste. It’s all ahead of you. #RememberTheFuture

E XQ U I S I T ELY C R A F T ED C U I SI N E . C U R AT ED T R AV EL E X PER I EN C E S . S M A LL S H I P LU X U RY.

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F E A T U R E

Wild Wonders IN THE

NORTH ATLANTIC By Kristen Pope

The wide-open spaces and incredible landscapes of Iceland and the Faroe Islands are ideal for a physically distanced nature escape. Combine these scenic destinations for the ultimate outdoor adventure.

ARRIVING IN ICELAND It was raining sideways when we flew into Reykjavík, Iceland, at 6:15 a.m. After picking up our rental car, my husband and I found a little cafe where we enjoyed a satisfying meal of broccoli soup, fresh-baked bread, and pastries, while gulping down coffee after our red-eye flight. At first, we laughed at the warning sticker on the rental car: “Don’t blow up car door.” But as the wind gusted, we soon realized it wasn’t a joke. A car door could easily be damaged by what the Icelandic media dubbed “flying trampoline weather.” Stocking up on sandwiches and snacks, we headed out to road trip along Iceland’s southern coast. After donning layers of fleece, rain jackets, rain pants, and hiking boots, we were ready to explore. Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice, and we soon discovered both its volcanic wonders and glaciers. 20 |

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We were enthralled by Reynisfjara’s black sand beach, Geysir’s geological features and the kaleidoscope of colours at Kerið Crater. Peering into the Silfra fissure, we saw where two tectonic plates meet and then went on to tour Þingvellir National Park. Ice was on the agenda at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which was packed with chunks of ancient ice, from room-sized slabs to pebble-sized pieces. We savoured every moment of silence and solitude, listening to glaciers calving with a reverberating splash and watching ripples spread across the water. Flowing water was also plentiful further along our route, with many cascading waterfalls lining the way. We hiked near a few beauties, including Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, and spotted plenty of others as we drove in the mist, which created an air of mystery.


EXPLORING THE FAROE ISLANDS The days flew by, and soon it was time to hop on a 90-minute flight to the Faroe Islands. The North Atlantic archipelago is a self-governing nation within Denmark, and has remained relatively undiscovered. While Iceland is known by travellers from around the world, we mostly shared the Faroe Islands with locals and sheep. As we drove from the airport to our rental accommodation, we watched the late evening light dance along the hillsides as ewes and lambs settled in for the night. Our host greeted us with a spread of meats, cheeses, breads, sliced bell peppers, tomatoes, and all the fixings. He kindly said he thought we would be hungry.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Iceland

Sorvagsvatn, the “floating lake” ©Renee Hahnel @reneeroaming / Visit Faroe Islands

On the road in the Faroe Islands

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OUR EXPERTS SUGGEST… Landmannalaugar, in Iceland’s southern Highlands ©Visit Iceland

He left us to eat and rest before another day of exploration. In the Faroe Islands, particularly scenic drives are designated as “Buttercup Routes,” so we set out to traverse as many of these narrow, winding roads as possible, taking our time along the way to stop and listen to the symphony of sheep “bahhhing” as they nibbled on grass and scampered on the hills. We laced up our hiking boots and set out to immerse ourselves in the stunning topography. We found many of the trails to be more rugged than those we encountered in Iceland. Many of the Faroe Islands’ prized routes go straight up mountains and meander along precarious ridge lines, packed with slippery moss and the possibility of precipitous falls. Carefully, we set out to explore the Bøsdalafossur waterfall and the famous “floating lake,” which appears to hover above the ocean. We sneaked a peek at 22 |

An expedition for all tastes the illusion, staying far from the cliff’s edge. Another day, we explored a village and spectacular viewpoints of Múlafossur waterfall on a cloudless day. The Vestmanna Boat Festival just so happened to coincide with our visit, so we hopped a tour boat out to the Vestmanna Sea Cliffs and grottoes where puffins, fulmars, and guillemot nest. Then, we stuck around to watch the seafaring Faroese compete in rowing competitions and events, with plenty of merriment to go around. We had hoped to take a ferry to see the large population of puffins on Mykines, but the forecast wasn’t favourable for the return trip – which would have meant missing our flight home – so we decided to save that adventure for a future journey. You never know what the wild North Atlantic has in store.

EXTRAORDINARY EXP ER IEN C ES

Whether you plan to explore Iceland and the Faroe Islands by land or by sea, you’ll never be too far away from water. It turns out sailing is also a great way to explore these islands, especially if expedition cruising and small ships are your cup of tea. The MS Spitsbergen will take you on a modern-day expedition to these legendary Northern isles to meet the welcoming islanders who call the scenic Faroes home, observe massive puffin colonies and experience the geologic wonders of Iceland. When the time is right, contact your travel advisor to start making your North Atlantic dreams come true. Join Icelandic singer-songwriter Svavar Knutur for a communal musical performance on Flatey Island. Google Translate? No, better – Faroe Islands Translate. Learn the local language with your own free Faroese video-translation. Enjoy an immersive musical experience with this Faroese playlist.


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ocal & egendary By Amy Rosen

GRAB A SEAT AT A HISTORIC BOUCHON IN LYON Inside one of Daniel & Denise’s bouchons in the Croix-Rousse neighbourhood ©Thomas Behuret

The cafeteria-style lighting at Daniel & Denise Bouchon Lyonnais makes for an inauspicious welcome. Crammed at long, shared tables, diners are digging into plates piled high with sausages, calf brains and sautéed tripe. The room itself is steamy and rowdy – yet at this bouchon, as with others around town, you’ll find the most convivial service and some of the best food in France.

Daniel & Denise’s chef Joseph Viola ©Thomas Behuret

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Lyon and the Saône River

WHAT’S ON THE MENU The food of Lyon is so regional that the city itself is often featured in the names of dishes, as seen with these bouchon classics:  alade lyonnaise S Frisee tossed with fatty fried bacon, a poached egg and warm vinaigrette.  aucisson de Lyon S A big cured pork sausage studded with lard and peppercorns, often served with crusty bread and glorious cheeses, and is a local favourite.

You can visit Lyon on a Rhône and Saône river cruise though the heart of France. Famous wines, rich cuisine and breathtaking beauty awaits. Found only in Lyon, bouchons are a specific type of restaurant, created to provide 18th-century horse groomers, coach drivers and the city’s famed silk workers with hot, hearty meals as early as 4 a.m. Today, there are only 20 true bouchons in the city, according to L’Association de Défense des Bouchons Lyonnais (Association for the Preservation of Lyonnais Bouchons), which certifies restaurants as “authentic” each year. However, many establishments gave themselves that title long before the preservationists arrived. ROOTED IN HISTORY In the old days, bouchons opened at 6 a.m., dishing out rich, yet affordable meals to workers, like headcheese and pork along with a glass of morning Beaujolais. Though the hours of the restaurant have changed – these days people aren’t hankering for tripe stew in the wee hours of the morn – the unique atmosphere and spirit remain. Tables are purposely close-knit so that you can strike up a conversation with strangers, join in a sing-along and share rustic plates of lusty Lyonnais specialties. FAMOUS CHICKENS GET STAR TREATMENT At Daniel & Denise that might be pâté en croute (foie gras, sausage and jelly wrapped in a buttery crust), or Bresse chicken – “the best in the world,” boasts our waiter – elevated with morels and a woodsy, wine-based cream sauce. Sides of Lyonnaise potatoes and gooey mac and cheese instantly rocket their way into “best-of” territory. Meanwhile, old-fashioned desserts like crème brûlée and floating islands, two sweet and creamy classics, are why dessert may have been created in the first place.

 uenelles Q Pillowy whitefish dumplings baked in a rich seafood bisque. Soupe à l’oignon lyonnaise A twist on French onion soup with a broth enriched with egg yolk and port wine. Bresse chicken The area’s prized birds, known as the most delicious chicken in the world, with appellation d’origine contrôlée (or AOC) status. Lyonnaise potatoes Sliced, fried, soft, crispy, salty and browned. Pink praline tart In Lyon, many desserts are pink, based on the local love for pink candied almonds. (The praline tarts, in particular, stole my heart.) Bugnes lyonnaises Delicate fried pastries dusted in icing sugar. Lovely with tea. Daniel & Denise’s award-winning pâté en croûte ©Julien Bouvier

Pike quenelle with sauce Nantua ©Julien Bouvier

Pink praline tarte tatin ©Julien Bouvier

“A Lyonnais customer is a difficult customer because he has such a refined palate,” offers a proud local to my left. And to that we all raise our glasses in a toast to the workers and the gourmands – and the bouchons of Lyon that cater to both. E X TR AO R D I N A RY E X P E R I ENCES | 25


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Curious about how you can experience Czech Republic’s Baroque through all your senses? Watch this to find out! 26 |

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Meet the architect who shaped some of the Czech Republic’s grandest Baroque attractions By Janice Tober

ŽĎÁR NAD SÁZAVOU About two hours from Prague, you’ll find Žďár nad Sázavou, a pretty town with some of Santini’s best work. Abbott Václav Vejmluva invited the architect to give a modern makeover to the town by designing a new church, a cemetery, a horse stable, an inn and a hospital. It really is the town that Santini built. First on our must-see list is the New Generation Museum, a stunning gallery dedicated, in part, to Santini himself, built on the site of a 13th-century Cistercian monastery turned castle. Begin your visit by travelling back in time. Walk by the holograms depicting the dark forest where medieval monks constructed the monastery centuries ago. Then you’ll enter the Baroque era through dreamlike interactive exhibits that bring to life the world as Santini saw it. Next, head to what is considered his greatest accomplishment, the Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk. Built between 1719 and 1727, what you may not notice unless you have the gift of flight is that the church complex is made in the shape of a star, a pattern replicated throughout the church interior. This UNESCO site is an unpretentious beauty. You can see Santini’s sure hand in creating a place of contemplation. Pure white walls are complemented by off-white plasterwork containing filigree-like detail, letting the altar – laden with ornate angels and a globe of stars – be the ‘star’ that attracts your attention. Gothic elements include the vaulted ribbed ceiling featuring a golden star within a star.


ŽELIV Next on your Santini-centric tour is the Premonstratensian Monastery Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, located an hour from either Prague or Žďár nad Sázavou. After the original church burned down in 1712, Santini was invited to Želiv to build the new church. Here, too, the architect incorporated his Gothic aesthetic into a Baroque masterpiece. Far more colour was used in this design, but still, we see Santini’s classic white walls paired with a fanciful altar, plus evocative statuary and paintings. While this church is not a UNESCO site, it is a national historic site and one worth seeing, especially with the brewery on site.

The Premonstratensian Monastery in Želiv, with a brewery on site ©Czech Tourism/Jakub Frey

The first mention of beer making at the monastery was in the 14th century and, today, brewmasters still brew the beer in the old way – unpasteurized and unfiltered. It’s delicious. Tours, tastings and longer brewing courses are offered.

The Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk in Žďár nad Sázavou

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Chateau Jemniště ©Czech Tourism/Vaclav Bacovsky

POSTUPICE Taking a break from churches, we visit Chateau Jemniště. This chateau was designed by architect František Maxmilián Kaňka in High Baroque style and, unlike the refined work of our man Jan Santini, it is over-the-top with decoration, colour and florid décor details. Jemniště is considered one of the most authentically preserved Baroque chateau complexes in the Czech Republic, so give your eyes a workout and take in its splendour. Town of Kutná Hora ©Czech Tourism/Michal Vitásek

KUTNÁ HORA While the Nepomuk church may be Santini’s most famous work, Kutná Hora is the “it” town to see both Czech Baroque and Gothic architecture. It was once home to royals, silver mines and a mint that ensured the city’s wealth. In the Sedlec neighbourhood, the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist is said to be a triumph of Santini’s Baroque Gothic style. Built in 1709, it shows more Gothic details than Santini’s other work, particularly in the use of rib vaulting and pointed-arch windows. But you still see Santini’s distinctive touches – the use of white and earthy sand colours and his selective use of deeper hues and gold gilding. Of course, the architect’s love of star imagery can also be seen in the marble black and white floor. Though chilling, one of the most thrilling parts of visiting this cathedral is stopping at the nearby ossuary of the 28 |

Cemetery Church of All Saints. This crypt is piled with skulls, skulls and more skulls, but neither stacked in haphazard groupings, nor neatly arranged row by row as if in a 19th-century medical mortuary. No. These bones were used to create creepily ornate chandeliers, coats-of-arms, vases and candlesticks. The crypt’s nearly 4,000 inhabitants consist of victims from wars and plagues. Once you get over the ick factor, you can actually see the strange magnificence of this unusual display. Once you’ve made the rounds of only a few of the architectural marvels in the Czech Republic, make the journey back to Prague. Once there, you only have to look around you to see the work of Jan Santini and other Baroque masters, particularly beautiful in the golden light at dusk. But while the sun begins to fade, the legacy of the Czech Republic’s most-celebrated star architect will continue to shine brightly.

EXTRAORDI N A RY EXP ER IEN C ES Santini’s Baroque aesthetic is on display even in staircases ©Czech Tourism/Martin Rak


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Contact your Travel Advisor to dream, plan and book your journey on the Ultra-Luxury Resort at Sea. E X TR AO R D I N A RY E X P E R I ENCES | 29


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Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge

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By Renée S. Suen

Vineyard tour along the Rhine ©AmaWaterways

Made infamous by Hansel and Gretel, the Black Forest is unlike the ominous woodlands that haunted my impressionable young mind when I first heard the Brothers Grimm fairytale. Between the well-trodden path and the sun’s warm rays peeking through a canopy of evergreens above, I feel certain there isn’t a gingerbread house or a questionable fate ahead for me. Instead, my hiking party encounters babbling brooks lined with moss-covered rocks and serene waterfalls on the ascent toward our goal – sampling Black Forest cake from Haus Ketterer. It’s my first visit to the Black Forest, the site where hiking as an outdoor activity supposedly started and the eponymous German chocolate cake with a cherry filling and whipped cream is rumoured to originate.

Those with a taste of adventure find plenty to nibble and sip on with a week-long river cruise

AmaPrima ©AmaWaterways

The version served by the 89-year-old Frau Ketterer might not be the first, but it’s the beacon my fellow river-cruising travellers follow. Breaking the stigma that cruise holidays cater solely to retirees, there’s plenty to do on a river cruise for active Xennials like me. As a light-adventure traveller, I prefer immersing myself in the sights and sounds of a place through urban hikes, sampling regional delicacies and interacting with its denizens. River cruising accommodates this and more. During our seven-day cruise along the legendary Rhine River with AmaWaterways, I was introduced to Amsterdam’s colourful canals, centuries-old castles flanking Germany and France’s scenic UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge,

before disembarking in Basel, Switzerland. Along the way, I basked in the moment, happily adopting local traditions like cozying up with a flame-licked mug of Rüdesheimer coffee after a day hiking through beautiful terraced vineyards to the ruins of Ehrenfels Castle. Like a floating boutique hotel, the vessel travels to the next destination while I sleep, freeing me from having to deal with travel logistics, repacking and traffic. The luxury craft caters to a smaller number of guests than traditional ships, meaning there’s plenty of space to relax undisturbed in the lounge to watch picturesque towns and villages roll by through its panoramic windows, to stretch my legs on a post-dinner walk around the sundeck, or to hit the treadmill while cruising to the next port.

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In Strasbourg, I search for flammekueche, an Alsatian tart, in the fairytale-like Petite-France district before a tasting of local wine arranged at Le Gruber.

Ehrenfels Castle with a view over the Rhine ©GNTB/Mahlow Media, Winningen

The Chef’s Table ©AmaWaterways

Onboard, AmaPrima’s friendly and attentive crew – led by hotel manager, Robert Komesz – didn’t just greet me by name. They were quick to learn my preferences, namely, my love for food – from the tea I take every morning to letting me know when the Indonesian-led kitchen was serving nasi goreng (a fried rice dish with meat and vegetables). They even set aside a brimming platter of roast pork, potatoes and sauerkraut for me when my tour group returned late from a shore excursion. I found it easy to make new acquaintances – kind faces I’d nod good morning to from across the ample breakfast buffet or the Ontarians who I befriended during the cruise’s Welcome Cocktail party. There were the one-time tablemates at the captain’s gala dinner and an animated group of river cruise veterans who decided to adopt my travel companion and me. This merry bunch set new benchmarks in fun. 32 |

Thanks to AmaWaterways, I can finally check off sailing directly under the stars and tippling on bottles of fine wines from my bucket list. Travelling through an acclaimed wine region on a wine-centric cruise is any oenophile’s dream. Besides serving hand-selected wines with their fresh, regionally inspired cuisine, the programs include visiting historic vineyards. Some cruises offer an enhanced experience with complimentary expert-led lectures and guided wine tastings. On my cruise, they were headed up by two Sonoma County vintners, Tony Lombardi of Lombardi Wines and Ben Larks from Coursey Graves. Gourmands onboard appreciate the daily changing menu served by AmaWaterways, a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the prestigious, invite-only international gastronomic society. And they should reserve a multi-course tasting experience at The Chef’s Table, where the last course is perfectly timed with sunset – aka the golden hour, observable through the glass-enclosed dining room. Ashore, an extensive lineup of tours with varying levels of intensities awaits travellers of all interests. Attracted by the promise of reibekuchen (potato pancakes) and Kölsch beer on the Cologne walking tour led by Oliver Hermann, we visit the stunning Cologne Cathedral, where relics of the Magi – who paid homage to the infant Jesus – rest. Unlike the concrete jungle I’ve left behind in Toronto, the city’s historical architecture leaves me in awe.

EXTRAORDI N A RY EXP ER IEN C ES

Back on the boat, while some passengers attend a yoga class with the ship’s fitness trainer, take a dip in the whirlpool or enjoy a massage at the spa, I unwind with a cocktail on the ship’s al fresco terrace. Although I welcome the company of my fellow passengers and nightly live entertainment, when I need some alone time, I simply withdraw to my stateroom for an on-demand movie or to be lulled to sleep by the calming waters heard through my open balcony window. My tasting of German regional highlights concludes with a ride to Ravenna Gorge. Though I might have missed other excursions like biking through Breisach’s winegrowing region and visiting Riquewihr, the 16th-century village that inspired Belle’s hometown in Beauty and the Beast, it’s okay with me. I found my happily ever after with a heavenly slice of Black Forest cake.

Make your own Black Forest cake, a perfect blend of cherries, chocolate and cream, with this easy-to-follow recipe. Authentic German Black Forest cake ©GNTB/Leungmo


SOME THINGS ARE WORTH THE WAIT It’s time to reserve the river cruise vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Enjoy the luxury of space and stunning views aboard award-winning ships welcoming up to 196 guests. Delight in exquisite cuisine, be pampered by thoughtful service and explore each destination with a variety of included excursions such as hiking and biking. Discover Europe, Asia or Africa with AmaWaterways, the Heart of the River™. The only US-based river cruise company with successful operating experience in 2020.

Receive up to C$1,800 savings per stateroom on select sailings Contact your local Ensemble Travel Advisor Terms apply; ask for details FEATURED IMAGE: AMAMAGNA CRUISING IN BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA

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On a quest to find the real Alaska through its untamed places, from remote glaciers to pristine bays where orcas hunt By Tim Johnson

Glaciers, rainforests, marine animals and more! Watch this video for a sneak peek of the diverse wilderness of Kenai Fjords National Park.

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Caribou in Denali National Park


As we rise up the flanks of the Pacific Coast Ranges in a helicopter, the chopper thumps its way onto a land of snow and ice, blue and white, snow caps and glaciers, leaving behind the sun-dappled boreal forest of an Alaskan summer in the Knik River Valley below. Riding next to me, an amiable husky named Harris looks out the window at the sweeping scenery, seeming to appreciate it as much as the rest of the chopper’s passengers. As we near our landing spot on the Colony Glacier, I can feel the dog’s anticipation. She’s looking forward to reuniting with her pack, her human master and his dogsled. Even in the summer, there’s snow on the mountains and the dogs are keen to run. Surging over a ridge, the scene comes into view – mountain summits in the clouds and the rest of Harris’s pack are lined up against the backdrop of endless whiteness.

From Anchorage, the Knik River Valley is just an hour’s drive to the northeast, and the glacier is a short but spectacular helicopter ride after that. Stepping out from under the rotors and crunching into squeaky snow, the dogs bark their greetings. Soon after meeting them and their handler, I’m on a sled, acting as the musher and cutting through the powder. Pulled by a team of 16 dogs, they make quick work of the short four-kilometre course we traversed today.

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Holgate Glacier, seen from Aialik Bay in the Gulf of Alaska

Looping across this landscape in the clouds, I arrive back at the main camp, chatting with the handlers who tell me they have a total of 40 dogs here. The canines are rotated out for rest, relaxation and medical care, sometimes riding along in choppers alongside other guests. The camp has a mess tent, kennels for the dogs, and even a fairly fast Internet connection – all essential for months spent on the glacier. I’m not far from Anchorage, but it feels like I’m in a whole different world. I came here to explore America’s final frontier. To find it, I never stray too far from the state’s largest city, using it as a hub, and travelling to destinations never more than a few hours away – north, east, and south, by road and train. My goal is to see the real Alaska, embarking on remarkable adventures – experiencing everything from the rare air of North America’s highest peaks to dog sleds on mountaintops, to a spectacular finish – encounters with orcas. Heading back to Anchorage, I board the Denali Star Train and chug north, sitting on the upper level and enjoying the panorama rolling past its domed car. Soon enough, I arrive at North America’s tallest mountain. Formerly known as 36 |

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Mount McKinley, Denali rises almost 6,200 metres above sea level. It’s one of the highest peaks in the world and is surrounded by a vast national park of the same name, encompassing more than 24,000 square kilometres (almost five times the size of Prince Edward Island). But I won’t see the summit at all. Shrouded in clouds about 70 per cent of the time, the peak remains elusive for the duration of my stay. But I still find plenty of northern adventures, including a wild ride on an ATV. Fording a rushing river (soaking my pants in the process), I roar along a series of old mining trails on the periphery of the park, learning how woolly mammoths once roamed this territory, plus legends of the Indigenous Athabasca people about Denali, which means “the tall one” or “big mountain,” and its role in creation. As I ride deep into the national park, I chat with James Davey, the driver of the Savage River Shuttle, who shares his thrilling stories of his many miles on these backcountry roads. While he sat behind the wheel of the bus, he recalls being charged by a mama grizzly bear protecting her cubs: “My adrenaline was pumping. It was a National Geographic moment.”


PRO TIP

Friendly husky ©Travel Alaska/Chris McLennan

The wonders of Alaska captivate many travellers, whether they visit by air, by sea or by land. With the Alaska cruising season being so short, now is a good time for cruise enthusiasts to start planning for 2022. When the time is right, your travel advisor is only one phone call away and can take care of all the details so you can focus on the best part – enjoying your journey to the Last Frontier.

Orca pod fishing for salmon

Hiking in Kenai Fjords National Park ©Travel Alaska/Brian Adams

The park is home to an array of animals – wolves, caribou, moose, Arctic fox, along with thousands of black bears and grizzlies. “I get people from all walks of life and from all over the world,” he tells me. “Everyone gets so excited when they have their first wildlife sighting.” Back on the Alaska Railroad, I turn south, again via Anchorage, now riding a train called the Coastal Classic through narrow, winding valleys and along a stretch where the Chugach Mountains meet the sea – with the track in between. We arrive in Seward, my final stop here in America’s largest state. Boarding the Spirit of Adventure, a sturdy, twin-hulled vessel, we roll out onto Resurrection Bay and into the wilds of Kenai Fjords National Park. Again, the state’s natural wonders are close at hand. The park preserves bays and islands and its namesake fjords, and encompasses some 40 glaciers. Soon we’re at the foot of the Holgate Glacier, eight kilometres across, and always in motion, marching to the Gulf of Alaska,

layers peeling off in cascades of ice and snow as it reaches the sea. As we continue onward, the wildlife surrounds us. Playful sea otters come to say hello, sea lions swim nearby, and we spot white, puffy mountain goats on the lush greenery onshore above, while majestic bald eagles and adorable puffins fly overhead. And then the whales. Though most orca sightings involve resident pods, who hang around in one area and eat salmon, these are transients, the aquatic equivalent of a pack of wild dogs. Local guides have dubbed them the ‘Kodiak Killers,’ as they are most often spotted near Kodiak Island. We take in their battle-scarred sides and dark dorsal fins as they skim silently through the water close by. A moment of awe ensues, the unique thrill of this chance encounter. And then, as quickly as they appeared, they’re gone. The pod has headed off to seek their next prey while we sail back toward Seward in search of another adventure in this wonderfully wild, still untamed, state.

Harbour seals

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Witness Unparalleled Beauty. A vacation with Cunard is an escape into another world. Where the ordinary is extraordinary and untold possibilities abound. Where you have the chance to experience something new each day, or enjoy the luxury of doing nothing at all. Where time unfurls at your own pace and life’s greatest pleasures are yours to savor. On an Alaska voyage, enjoy a front-row seat on the spacious deck of Queen Elizabeth as she sails through crisp waters. Revel in breathtaking views, including the stunning Hubbard Glacier and the vast and varied Glacier Bay National Park. Enriching days and enthralling nights await with Cunard on our 2022 voyages into the Last Frontier. ®

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Discovery Awaits Event Up to $1,100 Onboard Credit per stateroom* 50% Reduced Deposit* Past Guests receive up to $600 Discount per stateroom* Grill Suite Guests receive Free Drinks* and Free Gratuities*

Roundtrip Vancouver 7 nights Glacier Bay

June 24, 2022

Roundtrip Vancouver Q220

Icy Strait Point

10 nights Hubbard Glacier

July 11, 2022

Vancouver to San Francisco Q222

July 11, 2022

Q222A

Hubbard Glacier Glacier Bay Skagway

Glacier Bay Skagway

Sitka

13 nights

Juneau Sitka

Juneau

Ketchikan

Sitka

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Victoria Vancouver

Victoria

Vancouver

Vancouver San Francisco

Cunard Enlightens. Discover the spirit of Alaska through insightful onboard programs. Queen Elizabeth is your guide as you sail to the breathtaking ports of call in Alaska, enriching your journey with insightful speakers and rewarding experiences along the way. On shore, encounter the rich culture, traditions and pristine wilderness of each destination. On board, hear from captivating speakers, including explorers and scientists, and dine on fresh Alaska-inspired cuisine prepared by our chefs.

Peter Hillary

Kenton Cool

Haida mask

* Certain restrictions apply, please refer to your Travel Advisor for complete terms, conditions & definitions that apply to all bookings. Onboard Credit is a combination of Ensemble Travel Group amenity of up to $300 per suite/ stateroom and the limited time offer, Discovery Awaits Event onboard credit of up to $800 per suite/stateroom that expires 5/25/21. © 2021 Cunard. Ships’ Registry: Bermuda.

Contact your Travel Advisor. E X TR AO R DI N A RY E X P E R I E NCES | 39


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Discover Three Sides of

Ecuador By Chris Robinson

With the greatest biodiversity per square kilometre of any nation on Earth, Ecuador offers three vibrantly different worlds to explore in a single extended trip, providing you with the opportunity to minimize the carbon footprint of your flights. Be prepared to travel – and pack – differently in Ecuador. Sure, you should take beachwear and clothing for tropical weather, but you need gear for cold climates, too, if you plan to explore diverse regions of the spectacular country.

Pailón del Diablo waterfall near Baños

URBAN STROLLS AND MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE At nearly 3,000 metres, you will notice reduced oxygen levels in Quito, an ideal place to start your journey. Take a few leisurely days to stroll around the superbly preserved historic heart of the capital city. The colonial architecture is so perfect that Quito was one of the first places in the world to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are so many fine buildings. The Palacio de Carondelet is the imposing home of government; 40 |

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the grand Basilica del Voto Nacional is the epitome of neo-Gothic architecture; and the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús glitters with gold and silver. The equator – the feature for which the country is named – lies on the outskirts of Quito. Ciudad Mitad del Mundo celebrates the invisible line dividing the Earth at its middle with a monument and ethnographic museum. Plus, you can stand astride the Northern and Southern hemispheres simultaneously.


Incan ruins of Ingapirca

Ecuador invites you to be well and explore its multi-faceted personality. Once acclimatized to the altitude, it’s time to tour some of the Andean splendours that make Ecuador’s mountain region so special. The snow-capped volcanoes of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo reach about 6,000 metres, and the slopes are a good place to see llamas and their wild cousins, the vicuña. Otavalo is famous for its market focused on Indigenous crafts and livestock. Cuenca is another UNESCO city that offers a perfect, perpetual springtime climate. Baños is known as a centre for mountain adventure and has soothing natural hot springs.

Cofán shaman performing a healing ritual in the Amazon rainforest

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INTO THE HEART OF THE JUNGLE Baños is also a jumping-off place to descend the eastern slopes of the Andes into the oppressive humidity of the Amazon basin. This region features massive national parks and Indigenous communities where Amazon tribes continue living in traditional ways. It’s another world down here – a world of few roads and tiny frontier-style settlements perched on the banks of torrential brown rivers, a world of iridescent butterflies, fearless monkeys, and countless hummingbirds. Misahuallí is a good place to sample these wonders. It sits on the banks of the Napo River, a major tributary of the Amazon, right on the edge of the great jungles of Amazonia. There are comfortable lodges here and yet you can walk into the jungle or take a dugout canoe down the river. Local guides can take you on hikes through the forest to point out the exuberant flora and fauna that overwhelm the senses. Visit Indigenous villages to learn how their way of life is in harmony with the land – very different from our own lifestyle and little changed over time. Perhaps one of the village shamans will use herbs and smoke to extract your evil spirits. And as you drift to sleep in the syrupy humidity, listening to the sounds of the jungle, this place will feel worlds away from the mountains you were recently exploring.

Common squirrel monkeys

Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande) in Quito

OCEAN VISTAS Your road back over the mountains winds from the jungle lowlands ever upwards toward the continental divide. Travel through successive ecological zones toward dizzying mountain passes crouched beneath conical volcanoes. Visit the Incan ruins of Ingapirca and take a cable car above the Pastaza River to a high waterfall. And ride the famous Devil’s Nose railway zigzagging its way down a near-vertical Andean cliff. Head westwards and, as the height falls away, the warmth and lushness return. But this is a very different world again. These are the verdant plains of the Pacific coastlands. Sprawling plantations of cacao, pineapple, and banana encircle Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, and roll on to vast uncrowded beaches facing the Pacific.

Cotopaxi volcano in the Andes Mountains

There are no glitzy high-rise resorts here – just sleepy fishing communities with simple but perfect accommodations and restaurants serving today’s catch from the local fishing boats. As a bonus, an offshore island called Isla de la Plata awaits you. This is the lesser-known place to meet those most lovable of birds – the blue-footed boobies. Three worlds, one trip, and many memories to last a lifetime.

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SAIL SMALL

At Windstar, we constantly push the limits of upscale, small ship travel, scanning the globe for fresh destinations (including the ones you didn’t know existed) and showing them to you in ways no one else can. This curated collection features limited sailings that are singular for the sheer number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited, variety of landscapes explored, and menu of regional delicacies tasted. These are unforgettable voyages for all those who feel they’ve “been there and done that,” to take you to some of your favorite places while discovering new hidden harbors along the way that’ll make you rethink your bucket list. We will all be more than ready to get back out to explore the world in 2022, but if you’re eager to escape in 2021, you can change your plans up to 48 hours prior to departure for a 100% Future Cruise Credit. To book, contact your Ensemble Travel Advisor.

SELECT SAILINGS BY WINDSTAR ALASKA

LATIN AMERICA

ALASKAN SPLENDORS

COSTA RICA & PANAMA CANAL

CARIBBEAN

MEDITERRANEAN

SAN JUAN & THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

SOUKS & SHERRIES: IBERIA & MOROCCO

WINDWARD ISLANDS SURF & SUNSETS

SPANISH SYMPHONY

GREECE

NORTHERN EUROPE

ANCIENT WONDERS OF GREECE & EPHESUS

AROUND ICELAND

TREASURES OF THE GREEK ISLES

SOUTH PACIFIC

ITALY

DREAMS OF TAHITI

CLASSIC ITALY & DALMATIAN COAST

TAHITI & THE TUAMOTU ISLANDS

SICILIAN SPLENDORS YACHTSMAN’S HARBORS OF THE RIVIERAS

U.S. COASTAL SOUTHEAST CANADIAN EXPLORATIONS

Moorea, French Polynesia E X TR AO R DI N A RY E X P E R I E NCES | 43


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DARWIN By Liz Fleming

Encounters with the friendly sea lions, colourful boobies and curious seals of the Galápagos Islands Nothing gets me out of bed at 5 a.m. – nothing other than a sunrise cruise expedition in the Galápagos Islands. The archipelago of tiny islands, 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador and draped directly across the equator, has a climate so hot that explorations can happen only in the early morning and late afternoon. Though technically an expedition vessel, the 100-guest Silversea ship offered every luxurious touch you’d expect from an ultra-luxe cruise – and more. In addition to elegantly appointed staterooms, gourmet

The upper deck on Silver Origin ©Silversea

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dining and top-flight tour leaders, the ship featured the most attentive butler service we’d ever experienced. At the end of each blazing day, when we returned to our suite looking as if we’d just left a sauna, a silver tray of dainty hors d’oeuvres and icy cold drinks awaited. Our steward was also waiting – eager to collect our sweaty gear. While we listened to a briefing from our guides and enjoyed dinner, the laundry wizards went to work, magically making fresh clothing appear in our closet before we returned. In a destination where you sweat through a T-shirt in minutes, it was the ultimate luxury.

Blue-footed boobies ©Silversea

Prickly pear cactus


We were following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin whose work in the Galápagos led to On the Origin of Species, the 1859 publication that challenged the long-held belief that all living things were created in a finished form by a divine being. Darwin rocked the scientific and religious establishments by arguing that members of the same species, living on islands with different geographical features, adapted to their surroundings and developed specific, distinct characteristics. That discovery changed the world. Today, more than 97 per cent of the Galápagos Islands are parklands – a UNESCO World Heritage Site where access is tightly controlled. The number of visitors is limited and wildlife is protected. Though the rules require a strict two-metre gap between viewers and the viewed, Galápagos creatures have no fear of humans. Brazenly ignoring all restrictions, they land beside you, wriggle over or wander up to have a sniff of your shoes. It’s heart-stopping and mind-boggling every time it happens.

Land iguanas resting on a rock, Española Island ©Silversea

The Marina on Silver Origin ©Silversea

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Galápagos giant tortoise ©Silversea

OUR EXPERTS SUGGEST... The new Silver Origin

Kayaking in Bahía Gardner, Española Island ©Silversea

On one rocky island, a flock of male frigate birds performed for us, puffing out their huge red chests in a mating frenzy until a single, unimpressed female flitted away, leaving them to deflate like punctured balloons. On another jagged shoreline, a shimmering rock we were passing suddenly opened its eyes and revealed itself to be an enormous marine lizard. Blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca boobies preened and called to us from the trees, flaunting their bright feet.

Galápagos sea lion ©Silversea/Richard Sidey

We swam in clear, warm water, surrounded by schools of technicolour fish, playful seals and sea lions who made us members of their team, gliding and swooping around us. When we pulled ourselves out onto the sand, so did they, lying beside us like a bunch of teenagers at the beach. Other days, centenarian tortoises lumbered across a volcanic landscape while nesting albatrosses wandered casually across our feet to climb into their nests. Each night, we fell into bed exhausted, stunned by what we’d seen, and feeling intensely grateful. Only a very fortunate few ever experience the Galápagos Islands, and like Darwin, we were forever changed by them.

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One of the most elegant ships to sail in the Galápagos, the 100-passenger Silver Origin has been purposefully built with these islands in mind. It allows guests to experience a luxury expedition to this nature lover’s dream destination. Onboard, guests can expect to enjoy the destination through Ecuadorian cuisine and incredible views from the Explorer Lounge and Observation Platform before heading to the interactive Basecamp, a “knowledge lounge” also serving as the meeting point for excursions. From the adjacent marina, you can hop on a Zodiac with expert guides certified by the National Park of the Galápagos to get acquainted with the local fauna and flora. After a busy day of discovery, head back to the unparalleled luxury of your suite with butler service and relax on your glass-horizon balcony or private ocean-view shower. Mindful travellers will also be happy to know that the ship uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure the lowest possible carbon footprint and protect the delicate ecosystem. If you’re already dreaming of this bucket-list-worthy vacation, reach out to your travel advisor to learn more.

Here’s a preview of the onboard experience of Silver Origin.


ADVENTURE BEGINS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD LET US TAKE YOU CLOSER TO THE AUTHENTIC BEAUTY OF THE WORLD

Venture to the unknown and explore the beating heart of the Arctic. Journey in supreme comfort to the very top of the world and discover so much more than just polar bears and midnight sun. Silversea Expeditions takes you there with all the comforts you love. Aided by a team of world-class experts, our ultra-luxury ships are modern gems of design, excelling in both fine living and exploration. Set sail on the world’s most all-inclusive voyage to the Arctic, where every detail is taken care of including complimentary in-country flights, transfers, pre-cruise hotel, included shore experiences on guided Zodiac tours, butler service in every suite, and much more. It simply doesn’t get any better than this. CALL YOUR YOURENSEMBLE ENSEMBLEADVISOR ADVISORTO TORESERVE RESERVEYOUR YOURSUITE SUITETODAY, TODAY,AND ANDRECEIVE RECEIVEA $300 SHIPBOARD CREDIT PER PERSON. CALL T&C’s: All fares, savings, offers, programmes and itineraries are subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply. Silversea reserves the right to correct any errors or omissions. Contact your travel advisor for full offer details and complete Terms and Conditions.

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Haida CULTURE By Hans Tammemagi

Learn more about the story of the Haida Nation.

Local surfer and carver on the shores of Naikoon Provincial Park ©Northern BC Tourism/Marcus Paladino

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Ocean House at Tlaga Gawtlaas ©Hans Tammemagi

A Zodiac carries us through a convoluted seascape of twisting bays and fjords, all enshrouded in an ephemeral mist. We see no clear cuts, no fish farms, no sign of humans. It is remote, soothing and totally captivating.

Arriving at a secluded cove, our guide Jaylene, a young Haida woman, leads us into a primal old-growth forest – rich, green, and soft, all carpeted in deep moss. Amongst the greenery, we find evidence of the abandoned village of Ts’aa.ahl. Skeletal totems are grim reminders of a once-vibrant community home to 37 houses and a population of about 500. Now all is moss covered and decaying. A 12-metre totem, grey and weathered, still looms upright. “This pole is about 250 years old and was the house pole for a longhouse,” says Jaylene. I feel a chill for this is a spiritual place. A day earlier, I had arrived at Sandspit Airport in Haida Gwaii and clambered aboard a 12-seater Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. We headed west soaring through mountain passes and along lush, remote valleys to a cove on northwest Moresby Island, part of the Haida Gwaii archipelago off the northern coast of British Columbia. As Ocean House came into view, it was breathtaking, an elegant two-storey resort floating like a mirage in a secluded cove. It is one of the most luxurious resorts in Haida Gwaii, and one of the most unusual. Built on a barge, it can be towed to any desired location. Formerly a high-end fishing lodge, Ocean House was extensively remodelled and upgraded in 2018. But I was not here to chase salmon. My goal was to immerse myself in Haida culture.

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A humpback whale diving ©Destination BC/Grant Harder

The lodge is comfortable, sophisticated and mobile. Ocean House was recently moved to near Old Massett, and may move again. Wherever it winds up, however, it will offer an exceptional immersive experience in Haida culture. Masks, paintings, photos and carvings offer guests a look at the traditions of the Haida First Nation, from art to music. We’re greeted by Jaylene who sang a welcome song while beating her grandmother’s 70-year-old drum. Though I didn’t understand the Haida lyrics, I was captivated. Soon after, our group clambered aboard two boats and motored into the western archipelago. The unique flora and fauna – here, the waters teem with grey orca and humpback whales, salmon, seals, sea lions, porpoises and marine birds – have helped Haida Gwaii earn the name, “Galápagos of the North.” At an isolated bay, Jaylene points to a cedar tree with a strip of bark removed. “My ancestors harvested cedar sustainably here for centuries,” she explains. Enveloped in the deep, dusky greenery, I think I glimpse trolls and orcs in the forest around us and understand why the Haida believe in supernatural creatures.

A Haida totem pole in front of a cedar longhouse

That evening, we sit down to a dinner at the lodge – an amuse bouche of scallops, followed by a main course of salmon with razor clam fritters, and finally, an elegant panna cotta. Chef Brodie Swanson loves to prepare fresh-caught seafood like salmon, halibut and his favourite, razor clams. He learned his culinary skills the Haida way. His parents and elders encouraged him and he received extensive mentoring. Next morning, I meet the artist-in-residence, Marilyn McKee, a Haida of the Eagle and Hummingbird clans, also a jeweller and painter. Surrounded by jewellery tools, masks and a splendid white button blanket, she patiently teaches me how to hammer and bend a piece of copper into a bracelet. On the last afternoon, while others swim and teeter on stand-up paddleboards, I paddle a kayak down the sound. Soon, islands hide the lodge and I’m alone in soothing solitude, floating in this mystical place of legends, spirits and supernatural creatures. Later, as we depart, I look down from the helicopter at the misty inlets and lush hills and think this is a place every Canadian should visit.

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Forest near ancient Haida village site Kiusta ©Destination BC/Grant Harder


Alaska

explore closer to home get there with Hurtigruten Alaska is the ultimate place for adventure. Off the beaten track is the general rule and remote is at its core. The breathtaking blend of dramatic fjords, icebergs, glaciers, and deep forests is Alaska’s signature, maybe only topped by the wildlife. There’s no better way to experience this epic frontier than by expedition cruise.

Get Closer—Small, purpose-built vessels (200-

500 passengers) take you where the larger cruise ships cannot. You’ll be immersed in beautiful landscapes, see rare wildlife in their natural habitat, and truly discover the most rugged and remote reaches of Alaska that many can only dream about.

Travel With Meaning—As a world leader in sustainability and green technology, Hurtigruten is operating the world’s first hybrid electric-powered cruise ships. You’ll sail in premium comfort with modern facilities aboard one of the most sustainable expedition ships ever built. Incomparable Expertise—As maritime explorers for over 128 years, our unmatched experience in extreme conditions makes Hurtigruten the ideal choice to actively explore the stunning, far-flung corners of Alaska. E X TR AO R DI N A RY E X P E R I E NCES | 51


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Links By Darcy Rhyno

A son makes his mother’s dream of playing the perfect course come true in Cape Breton A saturating mist drifts off the Northumberland Strait, rolls over the dunes at Cabot Links and climbs the bluffs at Cabot Cliffs. Dark clouds stalled against the gentle slopes of the Cape Breton highlands threaten rain. In the buffeting winds, fishing boats docked at the wharf in tiny Inverness harbour tug at their moorings. Through the spitting wind at Cabot Links’ first tee, my 75-year-old mother cinches up her windbreaker and declares, “It’s a perfect day for golf.” At Cabot Links, every hole offers an ocean view ©Tourism Nova Scotia

I’ve brought her here as a gift. For many years, she played golf for eight months a year at home and another four months when she wintered in Florida as a snowbird. She’s often dreamed of playing a perfect course, and Cabot Links is where she can finally see that dream come true. Dressed in her new outfit purchased just for this special trip, she looks every bit the experienced golfer. A links course so exposed to ocean elements is no place for bare legs and a thin windbreaker, but nothing is going to stop her from finishing these 18 holes. In fact, today’s weather only makes her more determined. She tees up and belts a ball down the first fairway.

Delicious offerings of land and sea at Panorama Restaurant ©Tourism Nova Scotia

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It’s these rugged Nova Scotia coastal conditions that contribute to the ranking of the twin Cabots among the top 10 or 20 courses in the world. The landscape and climate here are as close as it gets to those of St. Andrews, Scotland,


Panorama Restaurant ©Tourism Nova Scotia

The famous Cabot Trail ©Tourism Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island has been named “#1 Island in North America” by Condé Nast Traveler’s readers. Find out why in this video.

the birthplace of the game. My mother and I have come here to play both, but she’s most looking forward to this course. While many courses add “links” to their names, few live up to the promise like Cabot. When golf was invented 600 years ago in Scotland, it was played on links or coastal lands and dunes shared as pasture by the members of a community. Grazing animals kept the vegetation cropped on the hard packed, undulating turf. There were few water hazards and fewer trees. It happens that these course characteristics from the dawn of golf favour my mother’s running game. Her shots tend to stay low and can run much further on a links course than on lush, grassy fairways.

“This is what golfing is meant to be,” she says. “It’s just like those courses you see the pros playing on TV.”

By the fifth hole, I’ve taken a rare lead on the score card, but the damp breezes have reached deep into our bones. I lend her my jacket and we carry on, driving balls across the on-shore winds and whacking at those we’ve dropped into sand traps so deep, they honour the evil 14th hole Hell Bunker on the Old Course at St. Andrews. I don’t expect my lead to last – this is her day, and she’s digging deep.

The sun suddenly blazes on the horizon over the water, giving us hope for improved conditions tomorrow when we can jump on the Cabot Cliffs course next door. Along with the forecast, it promises a sparkling dawn and a day to remember. The smile on her face says that bringing her here ranks me among the world’s best sons. We make a toast to living the dream of golfing on one perfect course after another.

By the time we complete the circuit back to the Panorama Restaurant and the luxury accommodations overlooking the 18th green, my mother has more than restored her lead. She has beaten me handily. At Panorama, I chase the chill out of my bones with a dram of Glen Breton single malt whisky made just a few kilometres from here at Glenora Distillery. Mom prefers a glass of red wine from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. We order dinner and watch the last golfers wrap up their rounds just below us on the final green.

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F L A V O U R S

A Tale of Two

Coasts

Both Vancouver Island and Prince Edward Island offer terrific seafood, farm-fresh produce and beautiful ocean views, but which reigns supreme?

By Joanne Sasvari

Two oceans. Two islands. Two delicious destinations. Prince Edward Island is known, for good reason, as Canada’s Food Island. But across the country to the west, Vancouver Island is saying, “Hold my (artisanal, small-batch, hand-crafted) beer.” Both islands are places of abundance with an exciting and evolving food and drink culture that can only be savoured in these very special places. PEI is Canada’s smallest province, a crescent-shaped piece of land cradled by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Part of the traditional lands of Mi’kmaq, a First Nations people, the island is known for its fertile red soil, sandy beaches, and gently rolling hills.

Kildare Capes, PEI

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Comox Fisherman’s Wharf boardwalk on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island, meanwhile, is a mountainous sliver off the coast of British Columbia. Its stormy western side faces the Pacific Ocean while its protected east coast is a place of booming communities (such as Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox) and bountiful farms. This is the historic land of the Indigenous Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples and their vibrant living cultures. Europeans only arrived in the 18th century. By the time Captain James Cook sailed into Nootka Sound and claimed the island for Britain in 1778, PEI was already sheltering exiled Loyalists from the American Revolutionary War and had been settled by Europeans for 250 years, ever since the explorer Jacques Cartier first swung by.

Mussels at The Mill in New Glasgow, PEI ©Tourism PEI/Dave Brosha

Even now, Vancouver Island is a wild and rugged place, its dark forests rich with wild mushrooms and berries. Its climate is one of the warmest and most moderate in Canada. Almost everything grows here, even tea, truffles, lemons and figs. Victoria alone is surrounded by three agricultural regions, including the Cowichan Valley, which is also BC’s newest wine sub-appellation and produces elegant Pinots Noir and Gris at wineries like Blue Grouse, Unsworth and Averill Creek. Further north, the Comox Valley’s 400-plus farms are one of the reasons celebrated chef Andrey Durbach packed his knives and moved from Vancouver in 2017 to open his Italian restaurant, Il Falcone. E X TR AO R DI N A RY E X P E R I E NCES | 55


Join Unsworth Vineyards’ general manager, Ron Bogdonov, and consulting winemaker, Daniel Cosman, to learn about the winery’s world-class organic wines. “You have a lot of access to really great ingredients on Vancouver Island,” says Durbach. “Come out here and you have so many people supplying a much, much smaller marketplace.” He’s not alone. Chefs from all over Canada, many of whom have worked or staged in Michelin-starred restaurants, are flocking here – to Victoria, to the Gulf Islands, and especially to Tofino, the foodie surf town on the island’s west coast where Sobo’s Lisa Ahier makes her famous salmon chowder, and to its rugged neighbour Ucluelet, where chef Warren Barr offers “food that speaks to where we are” at the tiny, award-winning Pluvio Restaurant + Rooms. “In Ukee, there are no beaches,” Barr says. “It’s gnarly and my food reflects that.” His food, like that of almost every chef on Vancouver Island, is of its place – quintessential farm-to-table, forest-to-fork and boat-to-bowl cuisine. ©Unsworth Winery

Fried oysters from Wildside Grill in Tofino

Seafood lunch at the Wild Mountain restaurant in Sooke, Vancouver Island ©Tourism Vancouver Island/Ben Giesbrecht


Coincidentally, that is something Barr learned in PEI where he began his career at The Inn at Bay Fortune. The inn is where superstar chef Michael Smith led the kitchen in the 1990s and launched his TV and cookbook career. He is now the proprietor and oversees the inn’s family-style restaurant, FireWorks Feast. Farming and foraging are essential to his cuisine and that of PEI in general. Chefs and home cooks alike forage for bar clams, spruce shoots, chanterelles and seaweed. “If you go back 50 years or so, this was what every family on the island did,” says Smith. “You used every resource that was available to you.”

Follow chef Michael Smith on a tour of FireWorks’ organic farm. This is a small place, where everyone knows and supports each other. Menus in Charlottetown are proud to feature local lobsters, potatoes, organic produce, award-winning cheeses and grass-fed beef – not to mention craft beer and cider – at eateries like Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, Slaymaker & Nichols Gastro House and the new-ish Founders’ Food Hall on the waterfront. Seafood, not surprisingly, is the star ingredient on both coasts. PEI is almost as famous for its mussels as it is for its Malpeque oysters and lobster. It also produces snow crab, rock crab, scallops, mackerel and herring. Vancouver Island, back on the other coast, offers sweet Dungeness crab, as well as scallops, spot prawns, sidestripe shrimp, mussels, five kinds of salmon, albacore tuna, regular clams and the giant clam known as geoduck. On both islands, the best food is the simplest – creamy chowder, crispy fish ‘n’ chips, a lobster roll, boiled crab dipped in butter, steamed mussels or clams. Above all, consider the oyster, which, as locals on either coast know, is best enjoyed shucked on a beach or a dock, knocked back with only its own juice, just as nature and both these beautiful islands intended.

Shucked oysters in PEI

PEI chowder ©Stephen Harris

OUR EXPERTS SUGGEST... Hitting the open road We’re dreaming of hitting the road to satisfy our craving for new discoveries – savoury or otherwise. If you’re heading east, consider a five-day self-drive trip on PEI where you’ll meet food artisans, take a culinary tour of Charlottetown and taste the delicious creations of young Merridale Cidery & Distillery, BC ©Destination BC/Local Wanderer

chefs training at the Culinary Institute of Canada. Those fleeing westwards can opt for a nine-day itinerary visiting Vancouver Island’s farms, wineries and restaurants – with a stop at Coomb’s Old Country Market to buy fresh produce and see the goats… on the roof! You’re sure to have a full belly while you drive through stunning mountain and coastal scenery. Contact your travel advisor to start planning your next Canadian outing. Sou’West Bar & Grill, PEI ©Tourism PEI/Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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Relieve the anxiety of planning your vacation and focus on the fun of exploring, dreaming and discovering the world’s most desirable destinations. Our trusted advisors will guide you through your customized travel itinerary, recommend great locations and even let you in on a few travel tips from their own experience.

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Extraordinary Experiences 2021