Range - January 2023

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JANU Y 2023 EXPECT UNEXPECTED OPE YOU’VE SEEN IT BEF
UNCOVER AUTHENTIC BEAUTY IN 2023 LET US TAKE YOU CLOSER TO THE TUCKED-AWAY TREASURES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

THE MEDITERRANEAN

– Our Home, Our Sea

SILVER

NOVA | Optimising a new vision of luxury

Surrender to the sensory allure of Italy, sublime beauty of Greece – or a myriad of other Mediterranean realms steeped in history. Perhaps you’ll experience your journey onboard the boldly innovative Silver Nova, spending much of its inaugural 2023 season in these waters. Silver Nova is going to revolutionise 21st-century travel. Our latest flagship will lead our fleet into sustainable cruising, and the ship’s pioneering architecture will offer a brand new suite experience, including aft suites that deliver stunning 270˚ views. Welcome to the Nova way of travelling.

S.A.L.T. | The recipe for unmatched Mediterranean pleasure

Food is a voyage. It speaks to the soul of the traveller and is at the heart of every culture on Earth. Designed in collaboration with three-time James Beard Award-winning food, travel and lifestyle writer and editor, Adam Sachs and celebrated culinary experts and journalists, our S.A.L.T. voyages change how food and travel come together forever: from onboard workshops, cooking sessions or tastings of local specialities to curated, immersive experiences ashore. S.A.L.T. will intensify your Mediterranean voyage, flavour your journey, balance your cruise, and preserve your holiday memories.

ALL-INCLUSIVE | Begins from your doorstep

Take your Silversea all-inclusive experience to new heights. Start your cruise the moment you depart your door, thanks to our chauffeur service. Escorting you from home to your domestic airport and back again, this luxurious service is included as part of our Door-to-Door All-Inclusive fares.

It’s easy to get lost in the grandeur of the Mediterranean; for centuries, its fabled lands and iconic monuments have inspired both the muse of artists and the wanderlust of travellers. Exploring this treasured destination with Silversea can be summed up in just three words: unparalleled destination knowledge. These shores are our heritage – no one understands the Mediterranean Sea better than us. From the French and Italian rivieras to the Holy Land, the Black Sea and beyond, our small ships access both the tiny ports and the big hitters with revealing, seamless expertise. Prepare to be amazed as you wander leafy villages in Provence, savour a spicy Corfiot bourdeto, and feel the rhythm of a sultry flamenco in Seville. Please

Learn more about the authentic beauty of the Mediterranean

Place your camera in front of the QR Code and follow the link. For some smartphones a QR Reader would be needed.

*AllnecessaryCOVID-19protocolsareinplacetoensurethatourguestscansailwithconfidence.Terms and conditions apply.

your Ensemble travel advisor
details. OUR DOOR-TO-DOOR ALL-INCLUSIVE FARES INCLUDE: • Private executive transfers (between home and airport) • Economy Class air/Business Class upgrades at reduced rates or air credit • Shore excursions (one per port, per day)
Butler service in every suite category
Premium beverages
Multiple
contact
for more
in-suite and throughout the ship •
restaurants serving diverse cuisine and an in-suite 24-hour dining service, including caviar • Unlimited Wi-Fi • Onboard gratuities

SET SAIL F OF Cruising Provence, from Lyon to Marseille on the Rhône River.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME Six one-of-a-kind travel experiences you’ll want to add to your bucket list.

IN TO P Sun-kissed beaches, crystalclear waters, towering cliffs and mesmerizing seascapes await in Maui, Hawaii.

BEAD ON The Maasai tribe has been making beaded jewelry for centuries, and the tradition is going strong. Inside Kenya’s Masai Mara, we learn why that matters.

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contents ISSUE 1 VOLUME 1 JANU Y 2023 6 EDIT ’S departure 10 AL DETOX 14 SPO UNSPOILED SPAIN 16 JUST LA 18 IN W trilogy 54 WA AUS BEYOND BONDI 58 ICE ALA ICY EX 62 LAND ASIA: OFF AN PA 66 S Y ON On
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OF LAS CATALINAS An enchanting upscale resort town casts a soothing spell on visitors to biodiverse Guanacaste in Costa Rica.
“A pristine island, surrounded by dazzling turquoise lagoons and flourishing coral reefs.”
the cover OTTE SAINT CEL Reopening in April, this elaborate cave system is located in Bidon, France.

Shift Your Latitude

Join Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world leader in sustainable adventure travel, on a storytelling journey as we explore the people, places, wildlife, food, myths, and legends north of the Arctic Circle.

Travel to Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, the Northwest Passage, Norway, and remote Svalbard on active small-ship adventures. With a legacy dating back to 1893, and an emphasis on science and education, we’ll honor and celebrate the Arctic’s past, present, and future as sustainably as possible.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL AGENT FOR MORE DETAILS.

This Year, We Go Big

I DON’T W ABOUT YOU, but when it comes to travel plans, I’m ready to take things to the next level. After all, travel is best when it’s about going beyond what you already know about the world—experiencing exciting new places and people, and enjoying fresh twists on your favourite destinations.

That’s our goal at Range. A new quarterly magazine brought to you by your Ensemble travel advisor, Range aims to help you go further in both your dreams and on your travels. You can rely on us for the new perspectives, inspiring stories and insider insights you need to make more of the world yours. We’re proud to also be launching Range Best, a publication filled with ideas and offers straight from our travel partners. Look out for the first issue, which comes out next month, highlighting fun family travel and celebratory getaways.

Most would agree that any opportunity to travel is a gift. In the last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to make a couple short jaunts to New York and Las Vegas—cities I’ve visited many times in the past—and spend a few quiet (yet luxurious) nights at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, a lovely, low-key resort in San Diego. And while these trips were technically international from my home base in Toronto,

they were admittedly well within my comfort zone. I’m craving new ideas and novel experiences outside of the places I already know and love.

The fact is, there’s a big wide world out there, and there’s no better time than now to dream big. Will this be the year you visit Kenya and learn about the Maasai tribe’s iconic beaded jewelry (p. 47)? Maybe you’ll head to Europe and take a river cruise along the Rhône in France (p. 21)? Or perhaps 2023 will be the year you throw caution to the wind and book that once-ina-lifetime bucket-list vacation you’ve been pondering for decades (p. 28).

No matter what you get up to this year, Range and Range Best are here to spark your imagination and broaden your experiences. From providing the seed of an idea to putting plans into action, your Ensemble travel advisor is here to help you make it happen. EDIT

Editorial

EDIT Kim Shiffman

ISSUE 1 VOLUME 1 JANU Y 2023

EDIT Stephanie Matas

Contributors

Jim Byers, Sunny Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gray, Matthew Guy, Amy Harkness, Waheeda Harris, Jessica Lockhart, Sarah Mariotti, Doug Wallace, Kaila Yu

Sales

VP, P Wendy Romanow wendy.romanow@ensembletravel.com CT , P ( Rachel Grogan rachel.grogan@ensembletravel.com

Jeff Willner

Production

ODUCTION MANA Joycelyn Tran CT , ODUCTION Kimberly Buerkle MANA , ODUCTION Valerie Lenoir AMLithographers Art T CT Cindy Lubinic Ally Tripkovic

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Michael Johnson EXECUTIVE David Harris VP, TIVE S TE Y Scott McKay
SVP, Shahla Lalani SVP, TIONS Kristina Boyce SVP, P TIONS Jennifer Dzailo VICE , TIONS Maria Mendes 6 | / JANU Y 2023

Explora Journeys combines centuries-old seafaring experience with superlative European refinement to deliver enriching ocean journeys that inspire exploration in all its forms. Designed in partnership with the world’s foremost superyacht specialists, EXPLORA I sets sail in July 2023 with EXPLORA II setting sail in August 2024.

Remarkable itineraries will blend celebrated destinations with lesser-travelled ports for a memorable journey. You will enjoy sweeping sea views and a private terrace, as well as four pools, private cabanas, spa and curated entertainment.

All journeys include high speed unlimited Wi-Fi, access to sophisticated, varied experiences across 18 food and beverage venues including six restaurants, five lounges and in-suite dining, unlimited beverages, fine wines, premium spirits, a welcome bottle of champagne, access to the spa thermal area, on board gratuities and more.*

to
venues PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL AGENT FOR MORE DETAILS
INTRODUCING A BOLD NEW VISION FOR OCEAN TRAVEL *Experience fee applies
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See more of the Old World in summer 2023. With 8 home ports and 7 ships sailing to 83 awe-inspiring destinations, there’s always something — and somewhere — new to discover with Royal Caribbean ®. Delve into the wine country delights of France, Spain and Italy onboard Symphony of the Seas ®. Explore ancient landmarks and landscapes across Greece on Odyssey of the SeasSM. Marvel at the majestic fjords of Norway. And go wild for jaw-dropping views and amazing nature on unique itineraries to the Arctic Circle, Canary Islands and beyond. Uncover the most historical shores on the planet on an epic journey with the cruise line voted Best Overall for 19 years running by Travel Weekly readers.

R c c mp m n p c n ng xp nc f w wh n B c n S w n F 1 – M ch 15, 2023 Specialty dining experience for two applies to new bookings created February 1 - March 15, 2023 for any Europe sailing departing April 16, 2023 – October 31, 2023 in balcony or above stateroom categories. Offer includes one complimentary specialty dining experience per stateroom for two guests. Venues vary by ship. Contact your Travel Advisor for full offer terms. ©2022 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas. 22006601 • 12/05/2022 C n c LIST TOPPING EURO HOPPING C n c
T DESPINA /UNSPLA | JANU Y 2023 | 9 MEDIEVAL TIMES O y , hs o M w h o oy o Read more about Andalusia, Spain, on page 14 departure

TOP 5

Digital Detox Resorts

W ’r v v you’r , your v clusiv ys.

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Relax, rejuvenate and cultivate well-being at this eco-friendly sanctuary located between the world heritage site of Machu Picchu and the former Inca Empire capital of Cusco. Named one of the best digital detox retreats by Vogue, Willka T’ika (which means sacred flower) offers Wi-Fi but only in one designated area, so you can better focus on finding inspiration, revitalization and a renewed connection to nature.

Preidlhof Luxury DolceVita Resort

South Tyrol, Italy

Once named the best hotel spa in Italy, this adult-only five-star wellness resort is in the most blissful location, surrounded by the mountains of the breathtaking Merano of South Tyrol. Known for its epic spa (there’s a six-floor sauna tower!) and exquisite cuisine, Preidlhof prioritizes a quiet, natural environment and even turns off guest-room Wi-Fi overnight to encourage a restful sleep. (You can plug into the resort’s wired network, if need be.)

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Miraval Arizona Tuscon, Arizona

Located on 400 idyllic acres just north of Tucson, Miraval Arizona is known for attracting such celebrity guests as Ellen DeGeneres and Lupita Nyong’o. Its wellness philosophy prioritizes mindfulness, and since phones deter you from living in the moment, guests are asked to use technology only in designated areas, and are even given tiny sleeping bags for their devices. Book lovers take note: e-readers are welcomed.

Rancho La Puerta Tecate, Mexico

With daily activities like meditation hikes, Pilates, cooking classes and piano concerts, you’ll be too engaged to pick up your phone. But Rancho La Puerta helps make sure of that by prohibiting all phone use in public areas and even limiting Wi-Fi in its guest casitas, which are tucked away over the resort’s 4,000 acres in Tecate, Mexico, just over four miles from the U.S. border.

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Willka T’ika Urubamba, Peru
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Villa Stéphanie Spa & Wellbeing Baden-Baden, Germany

Located on the grounds of Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Villa Stéphanie makes digital detoxing as easy as flipping a switch. Each of the tasteful rooms and suites features a bedside button that fully disconnects the entire room from its electronics and Wi-Fi. You’ll be free from the distractions of your noisy devices to help you better enjoy the luxe spa’s recuperative and preventative treatments.

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Ships’ registry: Bahamas

to take a voyage unlike any other.

When you sail the Mediterranean on Seabourn, you will enjoy a seamless, all-inclusive, ultra-luxury experience, all while exploring idyllic ports. On our intimate ships with just 250-600 guests, all ocean-front suites, luxurious amenities and nearly one team member for every guest, it will be a voyage so far beyond compare, you’ll never want it to end.

Please contact your Ensemble travel agent for more details.

Córdoba

The city of Córdoba was at one time an important European metropolis, and it’s still one of the most beautiful. Explore hidden alleyways, tranquil courtyards and ancient gold-stone buildings.

The Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba, a mosque-turnedcathedral-turned-museum, is a marvellous example of Islamic design. Be sure to take in the sprawling Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, where King Fernando and Queen Isabel first met Christopher Columbus. Bonus tip: download a map app to your mobile device, so you can wander the narrow lanes carefree.

largest Gothic cathedral. The modern Metropol Parasol is worth the trek up for the staggering scenes of town.

The stylish Desacato takes traditional cuisine and turns it on its head, serving dishes that lean heavily on the element of whimsy.

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Check into Corral del Rey, a converted 17th-century palace complete with rooftop bar, chic furnishings and a huge art collection.

Cádiz

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EXPL TION

Unspoiled Spain

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[ by Doug Wallace ]

For an authentic food experience, grab a table at Restaurante Puerta Sevilla, which takes pride in its traditional Andalusian dishes, from superb seafood and fresh artichokes to tender ham—all simple yet so satisfying.

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Las Casas de la Judería delivers romantic rooms across five former palaces, with interiors that mirror the buildings’ architectural essence.

Seville

The birthplace of the hypnotic flamenco dance, soothing Seville teems with amazing architecture, lively tapas bars and romantic promenades in the sunshine.

Take time to sightsee at the Moorish palace complex Real Alcázar and the nearby Catedral de Sevilla, the world’s

With a fascinating naval history and a relaxing beach-going present, Cádiz is as vibrant as the flamenco songs that sing its praises.

When you’re not sunning yourself on the Playa de la Caleta or strolling the strip at Playa de la Victoria, get a fascinating history lesson at the Catedral de Cádiz and the Roman theater.

Find traditional fare at Restaurante El Faro de Cádiz, a culinary delight unsurprisingly headlined by the seafood. Bonus tip: sip a glass of dry sherry instead of wine.

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The new Casa Cánovas in Old Town is a chic converted manor house, close to many of the city’s top sights and laced with luxury trimmings.

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VILLA PAINTED Y white, olive trees heavy with fruit, buildings that span civilizations, late-afternoon tapas and farm-to-table dining under the stars. On a road trip through Córdoba, Seville, Cádiz and Ronda, my itinerary was all this and more, thanks to my travel advisor who helped map out my trip across Andalusia. departure SPO

Ronda

Breathtaking, romantic Ronda—the birthplace of modern bullfighting— is a small city built on a mountaintop overlooking El Tajo gorge, the biggest of the whitewashed towns.

Wander the various bridges, parks and promenades, drinking in views of the 325 feet below. There is a Roman part of town and an addition that dates from the 1700s. You can also tour one of Spain’s oldest bullrings.

Restaurante Almocábar, just outside the south city walls, turns out regional dishes from family recipes—right through to the second dessert.

They practically had to drag me out of the pool at Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria, which overlooks the gorge.

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Ride from anywhere

Want to maintain your active lifestyle while away from home? Hilton Hotels and Resorts puts wellness at the heart of every stay through its new partnership with Peloton. Hop on a Peloton bike at any Hilton in the U.S. to access thousands of live and on-demand workouts.

One trip, 15 countries

AmaWaterways has introduced its longest river cruise itinerary ever. The 49-night Seven River Journey on the luxurious AmaMora will sail from the Danube Delta to the Black Sea along both the Rhine and Danube Rivers. Savor the culture and delicious cuisine of 15 countries.

Women unite

Join a diverse group of female travelers from all over the world on Insight Vacations’ new 10-day journey, Inspiring Iceland, a Woman Only Tour. Marvel at vast, breathtaking landscapes, learn about Iceland’s culture and the accomplishments of women who support their local community and the environment, from Reykjavik to the plains of Thingellvir.

Maiden voyages

Oceania Cruises has just debuted Vista, its first new ship in 10 years. Its stunning interior and open-air spaces offer new perspectives on ever-changing landscapes. Select suites and staterooms feature oversized rainforest showers, luxurious soaking tubs and a full-service concierge. Enjoy fine dining with options that range from informal to extravagant, and visit the spa terrace to relax and rejuvenate.

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We’ll cut right to the chase; this is Our Best Offer Yet. If you’ve been dreaming of exploring Europe, let us make it a reality.

We’re offering you 40% savings and a $300 onboard credit* to use for once-in-a-lifetime shore excursions, indulgent spa treatments, onboard shopping… it’s up to you. Live out your wildest dream.

Have time to watch the drastic tide change at Mont-SaintMichel where this wonderous abbey seems to float on the sea during high tide. Or lift off into the Icelandic skies and fly to one of the northernmost points in the world, the Arctic Circle.

Plus, on select sailings,receive an additional $200 Per Stateroom when you book with Ensemble.

Of course, your Azamara voyage always includes gratuities, exclusive cultural events, complimentary beverages and more. Come on board and let us take care of the rest. Book by March 31, 2023 and visit destinations you’ve only dreamed of.

For Full Ensemble exclusive offer terms and conditions, please contact your Ensemble Travel Advisor.

*Open to new, individual, and non-contracted group bookings created until 03/31/23. Applicable to select sailings and stateroom categories. Limited Combinability. Open for purchases made in US & Canada. For complete terms and conditions of offer, visit Azamara.com/Save40. ©2022 Azamara. Ships registered in Malta

“Change the Way You Sea” is an international service mark of SP Cruises OpCo Limited.

Koper, Slovenia
TO BOOK, CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL ADVISOR TODAY!

A TS

In the Know

Q T SOME BENEFITS OF A VEL AD

You may already know that our experience and expertise save you time and money when planning a trip. But our network of contacts also allows us to offer truly authentic experiences as well as perks, like arrival gifts, room upgrades and resort credit.

Looking to book a hotel that shows no vacancy or need tickets to a sold-out attraction? A well-connected travel advisor might be able to help you. And if there’s an emergency, get in touch and we’ll find a solution to get your trip back on track.

Q W CAN I MY VACATION AS SSLEAS POSSIBLE?

•Fly nonstop to your destination whenever possible. Connecting flights can result in delays if you miss a flight or your baggage is left behind.

•Consider bringing only a carry-on. You’ll avoid the worry about lost luggage, and have the flexibility to adapt to any sudden changes. If you must check your luggage, consider using tags that you can track with your mobile device.

•Skip Airbnb and opt for a centrally located hotel instead. You’ll have

the benefit of a concierge who’s there to ensure you have the best stay possible. •Manage your time efficiently while on vacation. A travel advisor can help by suggesting how to best experience your destination and budget time for must-do activities.

Q I NEED TION F MY NEXT VACATION. ANY TIONS?

As travel advisors, our goal is to find an interesting itinerary to suit every client. Europe is very popular right now, and one of the most romantic ways to travel is by train. There are many new rail tours and sleepertrain experiences to enjoy, whether you’re looking for luxury or just the basics.

For an authentic, off-theradar and budget-friendly experience, consider Slovenia for a true taste of European culture, nature and cuisine. Japan is another option full of rich history. It’s a fantastic time to visit the vibrant streets of Ueno, pop-culture-centric Akihabara, brilliant Mount Fuji and the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Cruise travel is continuing to evolve and offer all kinds of new experiences, too. It’s by far the best value when you consider your accommodations, dining, entertainment and transport.

Q I’M A MULTITIONAL W DO I YONE Y?

Traveling together brings families closer, but it’s important to plan activities that are enjoyable for everyone. If small children are part of the trip, keep their unique needs in mind. Resist the urge to make excursions educational!

Cruises work well because each person can choose an activity they enjoy during the day, then come together as a family at night to share a meal. There are multiple price points, from interior cabins to mega suites, and the variety of dining options will satisfy even the fussiest eater.

A great idea for a multigenerational trip is to set up a photo shoot with a local photographer. It’s a great

opportunity to to visit some exciting landmarks and capture those moments forever.

Q T ADVICE DO YOU VE F WANT

TO VEL TO OPE SOLO?

Europe is great to explore on your own. Choose a well-known hotel with an on-site restaurant so you’ll never feel obligated to venture out at night.

Seek out free local walking tours to meet fellow travelers while learning about your destination.

Or consider booking a private tour, which will allow you to understand the story behind every place you visit.

Look for reduced single ticket deals to ride the water on a budget. Or have a travel advisor sign you up for group tours. You’ll save money and connect with people from all around the world.

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It’s a great year to visit Japan’s famous volcano, Mount Fuji.
departure

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

POLAR EXPEDITIONS

As the small ship experts, Viking is able to deliver you right to your destination’s doorstep to explore in comfort. From river ships in Europe, Southeast Asia, Egypt, and along the Mississippi to 930-guest ocean ships that sail the world, we offer a tremendous variety of itineraries and departures. And our new, purpose-built Expedition ships journey to Antarctica and The Great Lakes.

CST# 2052644-40
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EUROPEAN
AWARDWINNING SMALL SHIPS EXPLORE ALL SEVEN CONTINENTS ON OUR FLEET OF #1 Rivers & #1 Oceans
Please contact your Ensemble travel agent for more details.
Enjoy a free land package on select Europe, Mekong and Egypt sailings, and receive $300 onboard credit per stateroom on select river journeys! Contact your local travel advisor to learn more about exclusive combinable offers.

ran e for the

South France Set Sail of

CRUISING PROVENCE, FROM LYON TO MARSEILLE ON THE RHÔNE RIVER.

TSP reflections from contemporary glass towers give way to 18th- and 19th-century stone buildings, dazzling in ornamentation and symmetry.

My surroundings reflect the area’s storied past as I’m welcomed into the heart of Lyon, the third largest city in France.

Choosing a river cruise through Provence was an effortless decision; its history, culture and cuisine have been an inspiration for artists and travelers for centuries. My travel advisor recommended Avalon’s Active & Discovery journey, which offered a variety of daily excursions and access to notable cities like Avignon and Arles.

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THE JOURNEY BEGINS

The Avalon Poetry II will be my home for the next eight days, sailing south on the Rhône River to Port Saint Louis near Marseille. Docked at Port Rambaud, in Lyon’s second arrondissement La Confluence, it’s where the Rhône and Saône Rivers converge. Once an industrial port of shipping, markets and factories, La Confluence has been reimagined with multiple parks, walking and cycling trails and commercial buildings designed by the who’s who of modern architecture, including Christian de Portzamparc, Kengo Kuma and Massimiliano Fuksas. A culinary walking tour of Lyon is my first outing. It’s second only to Paris in the number of Michelin-star restaurants, the prestigious culinary guide founded in

France. Our host introduces Vieux Lyon by showing us its distinctive traboules (hidden passageways), many of which date back to the fourth century and feature spiral staircases and Renaissance arches.

DELECTABLE DINING

First stop: Le Sirop de la Rue, a gourmet food shop brimming with Lyon charcuterie, including quenelles (dumplings), grattons (pork rinds) and saucisson brioche (sausage coated in crushed pistachios). The salami

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and cured meats I sample are skillfully made, salty and smoky.

We pop into a bakery to sample la praluline, a sweet brioche bread studded with pink pralines that’s especially popular at Christmas. I gaze lovingly at a shop window of handmade soaps displayed like rare jewels before moving on to our next stop at Le Luminarium, a whimsical tea salon, for a hot drink, a slice of gateau and a hit of free Wi-Fi.

We’re snap-happy walking beside the Saône beneath the immense horse chestnut trees, pausing in front of the impressive courthouse with its 24 stately Corinthian columns.

The last tasting is around the corner, at a quaint restaurant terrace overlooking the back courtyard of the 14th-century Cathedral Saint-Jean Baptiste, for another French passion: cheese. Each tasting plate features four regional cheeses, walnuts and a basket of baguettes we tear and share. My favorite is comte, a pale yellow cheese well known for its distinctive terroir. Returning to the ship, it’s au revoir, Lyon, as we leave behind La Confluence for Tournon-sur-Rhône.

IMMERSION IN NATURE

The next morning, our ship is docked on the opposite bank from the main village.

We take an old wood and metal bridge that leads to the town’s cobblestone streets. While many fellow passengers are hiking into the vineyard hills, I’m excited to discover the village’s secret garden.

Le Jardin d’Eden was created in 1654 by Franciscan monks, a place for prayer and contemplation. Overseen by the nuns of La Compagnie de Marie Notre-Dame in recent years, in 2008 Eric Lelong convinced the surviving sisters to sell him the land. His ongoing labor of love has slowly reimagined the hectare of plants, shrubs and trees. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a favorite of mine and I’m channeling my inner Mary Lennox as I traverse the steep stone steps, pausing to see statues, ornamental ponds and colorful arrays of flowers.

I’m reluctant to leave the laid-back confines of this oasis, but back on board the convivial staff serve a picnic-style lunch on the top deck. Swapping stories of the day’s adventures with fellow passengers, I glance back up at the hill for a last look at le jardin, thrilled with my dose of green therapy. I relax with a book and an afternoon of cloud gazing as we continue south on the Rhône. Vacation mode activated.

HOP ABOARD A RIVER CRUISE

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CAVE WONDERS

Gorges de l’Ardèche, known as Europe’s Grand Canyon, is the must-see natural wonder of the region near Viviers, our next port of call. Some opt to kayak the Ardeche River, others to hike the national reserve; I choose to spelunk with a side of wine.

Decked out in neon red, blue and yellow jumpsuits and helmets, my group of six is guided from the sunshine down a steep path and staircase 262 feet below the surface into the subterranean cool of La Grotte Saint Marcel d'Ardèche, which was once occupied by prehistoric peoples.

The cave ceiling is easily three storeys above me as I follow the Big Stone Trail, noting glistening limestone walls and calcite pools as I carefully navigate the slippery cave surface. My trepidation is replaced by awe, as clusters of stalagmites and stalactites become visible in the glow of our headlamps.

Carefully following one another in single file, we eventually stop in an area where it’s dry, and we’re allowed to venture on our own to take photos. Our guides distribute wine glasses, and while perching on ledges, we’re led through a tasting of three organic vintages aged in this cave, sourced from the Côte du Rhône winegrowers of Saint-Andéol.

Instructed to turn off our headlamps and indulge in its scent, swish and taste, it’s a memorable experience to sip wine in total darkness punctuated by the nervous giggles of my group. I’m giddy with pride for finally checking

this experience off my travel bucket list.

My favorite vacation gratification is afternoon tea: me and my journal, and a table filled with small savory sandwiches, petite tarts and cookies. I gaze out at the treelined Rhône—it’s an hour of paradise and contemplation of all I’ve seen and done so far.

DEEP DIVE INTO HISTORY

Sailing deep into the heart of Provence, the next destination is the walled city of Avignon, the former medieval home of the papacy in the 14th century.

The Palais des Papes dominates Avignon’s skyline, the largest medieval Gothic

palace in Europe at 160,000 square feet. As I step through the oversized wooden doors into the palace courtyard, I’m imagining lords and ladies, courtiers and priests. Wandering through stone rooms, each with displays of art, sculpture and objects revealing the histories of the former occupants, the grand hall held a surprise: a group of singers practising for an evening performance. Their voices beautifully test the acoustics of this expansive stone room and follow me as I finish the tour, and saunter back to the ship.

I stop to peruse among the crowds in Les Halles

d’Avignon, the historic indoor market where locals restock their pantries from the perfectly constructed piles of fruit, vegetables, cheese, spices, bread, cheese and meat. I’m tempted by the bowls of olives, jars of preserves and piles of freshbaked breads. Resistance is futile to the sensory overload of the market, so I splurge on two typical Provençal creations: a creamy wedge of quiche, laden with olives, zucchini and tomatoes, and a generous slice of tarte tropézienne, brioche filled with custard cream.

The provincial capital during the Roman Empire, modern-day Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its Roman-era wall, subterranean galleries, theater and amphitheater, which date back to the first century BC. The narrow streets reveal small shops selling lavender-scented soaps and creams, and linen shops with tablecloths and tea towels of red and yellow.

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PHOTOGRAPHY [KAYAK] M.DUPONT, [CAVE] CHERRYSTONE, [PIER] @BY FELDMAN_1/GETTY, [FISHMONGER] KIM STEELE/GETTY, [MUCEM] BAPTISTE BUISSON/UNSPLASH

At Place du Forum, the town’s lodestone, Café Van Gogh is famously depicted in the 1888 painting Café Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh. The Dutch painter completed over 200 canvases while living here, including Sunflowers As I enjoy a café au lait on the patio, I’m having my 15 minutes of fame as endless passersby come to snap photos of this famous restaurant.

COASTAL EXCURSIONS

The last destination is Marseille, a formerly notorious Mediterranean port. First founded in 600 BC by the Greeks, this coastal city remains a meeting place for traders and travelers. The Vieux Port is populated with a steady stream of locals and

visitors. The contemporary promenade is accented with modern sculptures, including Foster + Partners’ L'Ombrière, a polished steel canopy pavilion.

There are also boats offering day tours on the sea, dining options with shaded terraces for dinner and the Mucem: Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, which showcases the history of the region through the remnants of ancient civilizations, stories and items found along its shores.

My group takes a tour bus to a lookout in Endoume, in the city’s seventh arrondissement, then down concrete steps to Vallon des Auffes, a fishing village where fishermen bring in their daily catch to the cafés. On this late autumn

day, the temperature is in the high 20s, and the village’s piscine maritime is circled by swimsuit-clad locals relaxing in the sunshine and dipping into the salty waves.

The locals have a habit I want to adopt: indulging in their surroundings on a daily basis, whether on a walk in a garden, learning about an area’s history or sipping a fine vintage. The trip through Provence is rewarding to all of the senses.

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L T y ’Ar o M Ar Por

CRUISING ELEVATED

With Avalon, as you set sail down the world’s most legendary waters, you will enjoy a curated collection of the most intriguing experiences on board and off.

Whether you want to take a guided walking tour of one of Europe’s great cities, join a cooking class or paddle a canoe, our Avalon Choice® selections of Classic, Discovery and Active excursions offer a wide range of possibilities. With as many as 28 included excursions on your cruising itinerary, the compass is in your hands to choose any direction you desire.

ON EACH AND EVERY VACATION, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THE LENS OF A LOCAL WITH:

~ Inspired, immersive inclusions on board and on shore ~ Regional wine & beer with lunch and dinner and during Happy Hour ~ On board enrichment activities and entertainment

~ On shore excursions with Local Guides ~ A customized mobile app loaded with navigation and suggestions to fuel free time

Welcome to a new wave in cruising. Welcome aboard Avalon Waterways.

Six one-ofa-kind travel experiences you’ll want to add to the top of your bucket list.

once in a Lifetime

IT’S FUNNY: the more you travel, the longer your travel bucket list tends to get. Most of us have a list of travel experiences that we can’t wait to check off, and after the last few years, now’s the time to make those dreams a reality. Need a few fresh ideas to add to your list? We have you covered. Here are six once-ina-lifetime trips recommended by travel advisors that you’ll remember forever.

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T JAMES TAYL

1Explore Southeast Asia by Rail

E p ore Sou eas sia b Rai

Riding aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express with luxury tour operator Belmond is the closest thing to traveling back in time. Wood-paneled corridors, silk-covered furnishings and ornate details evoke the glamor and elegance of Old Hollywood. But there’s nothing dated about the experience, thanks to modern conveniences like air-conditioning, luxurious

en suite bathrooms and 24-hour onboard service. Its dining rivals the world’s best restaurants, with locally inspired dishes created by internationally renowned chefs. Enjoy a colorful cocktail as you gaze at the view of lush jungles, ancient temples and quaint villages, or head to the lively bar car to sip wine and listen to the resident pianist play classic melodies. An open-sided observation car allows you to fully immerse yourself in the scenery and let the warm breeze sweep through your hair.

Belmond’s most classic journey starts in Singapore, where the gleaming green

and gold carriages await your arrival, as the train makes its way from the Johor-Singapore Causeway to Malaysia. The next morning, you’ll embark on an adventure in Malacca— one option is a culinary tour of the city, which includes a visit to a local market and sampling of locally renowned cuisine. You’ll stay overnight at a luxurious glamping resort in the Janda Baik rainforest surrounded by seven acres of pristine nature. The journey continues with a stop in Penang; then it’s on to Thailand, before a final stop in Bangkok, where you disembark.

The Buddhist goddess of compassion, Guan Yin, at the Kuang Im Chapel in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

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Cruise to the 7th Continent

From the colossal icebergs to the mesmerizing wildlife, visiting Antarctica is like touring another planet. As one of the world’s most remote destinations, it’s difficult to just book a flight there and go, which is why a cruise is a great option that offers the best of both worlds: luxurious comfort and complete immersion.

Among the Antarctic luxury cruise operators is Silversea, whose trips range from five days to an entire month. Voyages are door-to-door allinclusive, so hotels and transfers, airfare, excursions, food and drinks are included in the cost of the trip. With small luxury ships operating on the waters, it’s the equivalent of staying at a boutique hotel.

If you’re an adventure-seeker, consider a more intimate tour into the vast icy landscape. On the six-day King George Island round-trip expedition, the Antarctic Sound stop is your first taste of the whitewash kingdom. Come face to face with imposing ice slabs, hopping penguins and gliding Cape petrels above, for a sensory assault like no other. Here you can choose from one of three excursions, including a Zodiac boat cruise exploring the hidden bays and wildlife-rich shores. As the cruise continues, you’ll spend a few days in the Antarctic Peninsula, sprinkled with exceptional creatures and blue-hued glaciers. The last stop before heading back is the South Shetland Islands, a research base for several countries and home to elephant seals and crowds of penguins. Extraordinary adventures await, from hiking the lunar landscapes to dipping into the geothermally heated water of Pendulum Cove.

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the Great Migration in Kenya

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Escape to a Private Tropical Island

Found in the remote Anambas Archipelago in Indonesia, Bawah Reserve sits in sheltered seclusion and is accessible only by seaplane. A previously uninhabited marine conservation area, this pristine island is surrounded by dazzling turquoise lagoons and flourishing coral reefs.

Accommodation options are plentiful, from a family-friendly treehouse lodge to romantic overwater bungalows, where your closest neighbors are lapping waves and the occasional ribbon tail ray. Each bungalow offers picturesque vistas of the lagoon and outer islands, a private veranda perfect for sunbathing or sunset dining, and direct access to the tropical waters below.

The island might be remote, but you’ll find international flavors made with locally sourced ingredients from the onsite organic gardens, and wild-caught fish

from the surrounding waters at the resort’s four unique dining venues. On-island activities are plentiful—go diving in the Coral Triangle or hike through the island’s rich ecosystem. Complete tropical bliss isn’t complete without a spa escape, which you can enjoy at the wellness center. Nourish your soul with a meditation or yoga session, or indulge in a healing treatment, like a cooling facial prepared with freshly picked aloe vera. With sustainable practices intertwined in every aspect of the property, you can relax knowing the surrounding ecosystem is deeply cared for.

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Sleep Among the Trees in England

6

Immerse Yourself in Prague’s Culture

This enchanting capital of the Czech Republic is steeped in rich history and culture. The old-world atmosphere will instantly transport you into the past as you walk along the cobblestone streets, passing by beautifully preserved castles, Gothic cathedrals and medieval squares. Miraculously intact despite the bombs of World War II and thoughtfully restored after years of Communist rule, Prague is a real-life masterpiece.

Located in the heart of the city’s historical center, Andaz Prague is the perfect spot to make your home base. With luxurious amenities and a contemporary feel, this newly

opened boutique hotel combines the city’s heritage with modern creativity, seen in such details as the art deco–styled rooms and ornate finishings in the on-site restaurant, Zem.

One of the best ways to explore this lively city is with up-close-andpersonal experiences you won’t find anywhere else. The hotel offers guests a handful of these unique excursions, like the ultimate Prague Castle Tour, which starts with a limo ride that drops you off under the castle’s presidential balcony. You’ll have access to all of the hidden spots within, enjoy the best views of the city from a secret balcony, and end your trip at the nearby Strahov Monastery with a look into a rare library. Consider the Streets of Prague Photo Tour for the opportunity to venture off the beaten path with a professional photographer for memorable photos you’ll be proud to share.

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The Strahov Library in Prague.
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Edgy Port City

Once the black sheep of the Provencal coast, avant-garde travelers are flocking to Marseille, which has quickly become a beacon of culture and style. Originally known for its grit and hectic energy, it has become a hotspot for creatives from artists to musicians and chefs after a stint as a European Capital of Culture.

Istrian Foodie Culture

The Istrian Peninsula is arguably Europe’s best, and still largely undiscovered, foodie destination. Overnight at a winery hotel, overlooking stunning vineyards. Sip on award winning wines. Join a 3rd generation truffle hunt family on their private grounds and watch their dogs in action. There’s much to do (and taste).

Irish Tradition

Donegal is tucked away in the northwest corner of Ireland. It’s home to some of the country’s most unspoiled and breathtaking scenery. Over one-third of this proudly independent county speak Irish as their first language, and have a strong commitment to traditional music, dance, and likely the most famous of Irish arts — storytelling.

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Sun-kissed beaches, crystal-clear waters, towering cliffs and mesmerizing seascapes await on this familyfriendly island.

I instantly fell in love with Maui and its inconceivable beauty. But beyond the green mountains cleaved by deep valleys, rich blue ocean and seemingly unending golden beaches, there’s so much to see and do. Whether you plan a special family hiking trip, a photo op by the waterfalls or a picnic in a stunningly picturesque location, it will be something to remember.

Kids can snorkel in gentle, warm waters, while teenagers ride zip lines through dense jungle. Families can travel along the slope of a volcano and take part in seaside hikes along its cliffs, or wander through a Japanese garden together and browse artisanal goods in wood-front shops, with the sound of ocean waves mere inches away.

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FAT
Paradise
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Tour the extraordinary

There are plenty of places to simply fly to and flop, but Maui is a place that needs to be explored to be fully appreciated. Your travel advisor can help you discover worthwhile road trips that will impress the entire family, affordable things to do and where the locals go to turn your typical vacation into a memorable, immersive experience.

The most famous driving trip is the Road to Hana, which takes you on a winding route peppered with spectacular waterfalls, dramatic coastal views and black lava flows topped with plants and lush greenery. It’s a smooth ride most of the way. Still, there are hundreds of hairpin turns and dozens of stone bridges for roughly 52 miles, and it takes a little more than two hours. Plan for some stops to enjoy the impressive areas you’ll pass.

If you have young passengers who don’t like long car trips, stop at the Keanae Peninsula for some fresh pineapple before heading back. I’ll never forget the sight of my nephew biting into the sweet yellow fruit, the juice trickling down his chin onto his Hawaiian shirt, his smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean.

Off the beaten track

Just outside of Hana you’ll find a colorful, somewhat rickety roadside spot called Nahiku Marketplace with stores, a coffee shop and a worthwhile dining spot called Thai Food by Pranee. A little further north, Wai’anapanapa is a spectacular state park with rugged, dark cliffs ceaselessly pounded by waves, a small cave and a black sand beach—and a great spot for a family photo.

Though it doesn’t get nearly as much attention, the drive along the north coast of Maui is incredibly intriguing. Soon after leaving Kapalua, posh condos give way to rugged coastline, then beautiful, shaded valleys, iron-rich red rock cliffs and wideopen meadows of deep green grass waving in the wind. The roads cling to the side of cliffs, dipping and swirling for several miles.

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The Road to Hana has waterfalls and thick jungle growth, but the north side of Maui has more dramatic ocean views and far fewer cars. Pull over and go for a walk near the Nakalele Blowhole, which shoots ocean water high into the air every few minutes. The waves can get quite large, so make sure the little ones keep their distance.

Water exploration

There are fabulous snorkeling spots all around the island that are appropriate for all ages. Several tour operators can take you to Molokini, a tiny island with amazing sea life, or along the coast to quiet bays filled with colorful fish, including the state fish humuhumunukunukuapuaa (reef triggerfish in boring English).

If you’d rather not burn through your budget, there are a few spots where you

won’t pay a cent. Explore the waters at La Perouse Bayon Maui’s southeast shore or at Black Rock next to the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. Kapalua Bay is another good option just a few feet from the shore, with brilliant yellow threadfin butterfly fish, gentle turtles and much more. Toddlers can safely splash in the water and play in the sand there, as there isn’t typically rough surf.

Humpback whales make their way south to Hawaii from Alaska every fall to frolic (and give birth) in the warm waters between Maui, Molokai and Lanai. You can watch from land, but you’re better off taking a group whale-watching tour out on the water.

Reach great heights

A helicopter tour over Maui to see the crater of the dormant volcano Haleakala or over to the towering sea cliffs of the nearby

island of Molokai is another experience you won’t want to miss. The kids thought we were on the surface of Mars rather than in a tropical paradise as they gazed at the jungle-green Molokai from Haleakala’s 10,000-foot summit. If you’re traveling with older kids, you can rent bikes and enjoy the salty sea breeze on a self-guided ride from its peak, a journey of 26 miles, all downhill.

For the fun of it

A luau is fun, but it can be costly for a family. Instead, try one of the free shows on the island. The Napili Kai Beach Resort has a fun kids’ hula show on Tuesdays for its guests. The Lahaina Cannery Mall puts on a hula show every Sunday and offers complimentary lessons in lei-making and hula dancing.

Many hotels stage torch-lighting shows just before sunset, too. The most popular is at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa at Kaanapali, where a young man lights a series of torches on a large stone formation called Black Rock, tosses his flower lei in the water, and then does a swan dive into the surf.

Maui’s popular food trucks are another great way to save on an island vacation. You’ll find a large selection just outside the airport in Kahului, as well as Kihei, Lahaina and north Kaanapali, many of which offer kid-friendly options (the five-cheese macaroni at Sol Brothers is always a crowd-pleaser).

Give a little, get a little

Some hotels on Maui take part in the Malama Hawaii Program, which offers guests incentives in exchange for a couple hours of volunteer work. Inspired by the Hawaiian word malama, which means to take care or give back, it’s meant to encourage travelers to go beyond and learn about the island’s deep-rooted culture.

At The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, guests receive a nightly $20 resort credit when participating in a self-directed beach cleanup. A DIY cleanup kit is

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y will y provided on arrival, and it’s a great way to make a positive impact. They also offer guests free ukulele and leimaking lessons. The hotel is home to Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program that teaches kids and adults about conservation and protecting the world’s oceans. Jean-Michel Cousteau told me he especially loves talking to children about the environment. “Kids are like sponges,” he says. “They’re amazing. They educate their parents. I come here and I see them picking up garbage every day. They get it.”

The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in partnership with Lahaina Restoration Foundation invites you to learn about and document historic artifacts from all eras of Maui’s past. In exchange for participating, you’ll receive a $250 resort credit and a gift certificate for a one-night accommodation in an ocean-view room for your next stay.

The island experience

There’s a saying in Hawaii, Maui na ka oi, or “Maui is the best.” I would never attempt to tell anyone which Hawaiian island is best, but I can say I’ve pocketed a lifetime of family memories on Maui.

On my first trip, I watched my sister flirt with local Hawaiian boys, who impressed us by shimmying up coconut trees at Napili Beach. Later, my wife and I vacationed there with our three kids and rented units at a family-friendly condo complex called Kahana Sunset. My parents, perched on their balcony high above the bay, would stand on the deck and toss a football down to my kids.

Many years later, our oldest son went for a hike on the coast near Kapalua and asked his girlfriend to marry him. We hope to take their daughter and our grandchildren there soon.

This tropical oasis exceeds expectations and guarantees lifelong memories. It’s what brings us back time and time again.

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Las Catalinas

Las Catalinas OF

| JANU Y 2023 | 41 T LAS CATALINAS
DREAMING OF AN ENCHANTING UPSCALE RESORT TOWN CASTS A SOOTHING SPELL ON VISITORS TO GUANACASTEBIODIVERSE IN COSTA RICA.
[ by Doug Wallace ]

APAI F B OWN pelicans are diving for lunch in the Pacific surf while I sit lost in thought on a piece of driftwood. My feet are tucked into the black lava and basalt sand.

Playa Danta is my little stretch of beach for a few days in Las Catalinas, a compact, walkable town in the northern province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Though it looks to be a century or more old, Las Catalinas is actually the new kid on the beach-town block, built on the concept of new urbanism, where architecture is interwoven with nature and encourages a sense of community. It’s also completely car-free, to support its commitment to enhanced health and wellness. Established in 2006, it continues to grow, designed in a miscellany of European and Latin American colonial styles.

A taste of the tropics It’s a friendly little spot—a neighborhood of stately private homes, big villas and cozy apartments to rent, and a newly refurbished hotel. Your travel advisor can offer advice on which style of accommodations would best suit your needs.

While finding our bearings, my partner and I pass through tiny courtyards, up and down stone stairwells, past fountains and along ivy-covered walls. The rows of houses in between come in many shapes and sizes in colors of blue, turquoise,vermilion, pink and white. It brings back memories of Havana, Panama City’s Old Town and Palma de Mallorca. Wooden balconies sport a jumble of shrubbery and shutters that keep the heat of the day out of houses’ high square windows. It’s like we’re trespassers in a Renaissance painting, until we approach an outdoor gym with equipment and weights all made of polished wood, and suddenly we’ve shifted into an episode of The Flintstones

What you want, when you want

In the center of Las Catalinas, there are crowds of patio-goers taking in the warm afternoon sun. I linger at a restaurant in the shade beneath a giant elephant ear tree, watching bicyclists and joggers casually pass by. Children run around largely unchaperoned here, a community characteristic that’s all but lost these days. They laugh as they dodge the jets of a splash pad fountain in the main square, while their parents sit in the swing chairs of the nearby pub or shop in the smattering of boutiques.

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om U S o ’s roo ’ c 's

“It’s like we’re trespassers in a Renaissance painting.”

Young married couples are taking afternoon pintxos at the patio tables. We introduce ourselves to people who turn out to be wedding guests and nod to residents out walking their dogs. We feel part of their extended family, even though we’re staying at the central Santarena Hotel, itself a gathering point, and home to Ponciana restaurant, the town’s fancy fine-dining spot.

Sweet escape

The Santarena has a colonialmansion style that I get used to really fast, particularly the rooftop infinity pool that’s picture-perfect at sundown with a drink in hand. The 45 airy rooms are filled with artworks and wooden furnishings made by local artisans. Balcony floors are clad in Cuban-style pressed tiles in colors that mirror those of the town below. On the main floor, a welcoming sitting room is dressed up in a multi-layered contemporary vein with bold patterns, rich textures, palm leaves and rattan chairs. I notice there’s

a wine tasting going on at the bar and make a mental note to enquire about the next one. Wine fits perfectly with the beach town’s overall philosophy—to create a fulfilling and fun experience. But health and wellness is first and foremost here, so I decide to first get a little exercise.

Wellness awaits

Costa Rica has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, particularly the nearby community of Nicoya. It’s noted for being one of the world’s five blue zones, regions where people live far longer than average.

Regular exercise, of course, is one of the characteristic components. As well as the wooden gym and associated fitness classes, Las Catalinas has watersports covered in spades—boogie boards, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, plus surfing lessons, scuba diving and snorkeling. There are also private sailing tours and fishing trips, but the real workout is on the trails that overlook the town and the beach.

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Las Catalinas’ two beaches are ideal for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Hike more than 400 hectares of protected forest connected by a single-track trail system. The paths are excellent—nature at its absolute finest—and the yellow elder trees add a pop of color. The variety of flora is astounding, and the fauna includes very loud monkeys and raccoon-like coatis, plus a plethora of birds, including spiraling hawks, saucy magpiejays and such exotic creatures as toucans and macaws.

Further afield

Travelers willing to venture just outside Las Catalinas will find all sorts of activities and excursions.

Costa Rica is a champion of ecotourism, with around 30 national parks, dozens of wildlife refuges

and eight biological reserves that afford plenty of spots to get your eco-adventure on. In Guanacaste, active visitors can strap on a zipline harness in the rocky canyons or head for a hike in the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, before stopping to recharge at one of the many hot springs nearby. There are also coffee plantations and sloth reserves to visit.

On our final morning, we go for one last hike, weaving along a short trail through the gumbolimbo trees, hummingbirds darting around us. When we eventually reach the ocean, the tide is out, so we gingerly navigate the volcanic rocks between Playa Danta and Playa Dantita, its tiny cousin. We stop for a swim and my beach reverie returns, the sun in my eyes. I let the moment sink in and solidify, much like my experiences in Las Catalinas are bound to do, long after I return home.

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1

The Maasai tribe has been making beaded jewelry for centuries, and the tradition is still going strong.

At a jewelry-making class inside Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, I learned why that matters.

the on goes bead

| JANU Y 2023 | 47 T /

For the Maasai, jewelry is much more than decorative; it denotes cultural information, like age and social status, and commemorates significant life events. The Maasai’s handiwork has taken on even more significance as a study published last summer found that Maasai women could significantly raise their living standards by participating in tourism-related business activities. Today, throughout Kenya and Tanzania, many enterprising Maasai women have set up workshops teaching their intricate beading techniques to curious tourists from around the globe.

My jewelry class took place inside the delicate ecosystem of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, one of Africa’s richest wildlife regions and named for the tribe that lives there. After an exhilarating morning tracking the largest population of lions in the country, as well as muddy hippos and dusty crocodiles baking in the sun, I headed to the Masai Mara camp, where seven Maasai warriors in crimson tunics encircled with silver chains of beads warmly welcomed us. Chanting in unison, they performed a traditional dance called an adumu.

“Be gentle with yourself,” says Meeri, with a kind smile. She wore the engagement necklace her late husband gifted her and a wide collar necklace made by her mother for her wedding, in addition to bracelets and earrings. Among the Maasai, beads tend to be brightly colored, often in blue, yellow and red shades.

The history of colorful beadwork didn’t start with the glass seed beads we see the Maasai people wearing, says Dorothy Mashipei, CEO of the Ushanga Kenya Initiative, an organization dedicated to creating beadwork-related jobs for pastoralist women. For hundreds of years, these beautiful ornaments were made out of grass, sticks, clay and seeds, and used to adorn the necks, wrists, ankles and even hair.

Faced with thousands of colorful miniature beads—all with hidden meaning—covering the surface in front of me, deciding where to start was daunting. The beads were too tiny to pick up with my fingers, so Meeri demonstrated how to use a short piece of wire to pluck the bead and add it to the string. I could only blush at my clumsiness as Meeri smiled patiently.

LIVES

After touring one of the manyattas—a traditional oblong-shaped Maasai hut fashioned from mud, cattle dung, woven saplings and leleshwa sticks—we settled in for the jewelry workshop. As a former jewelry brand owner, I was particularly excited to learn the art and technique of a beading practise passed down from generation to generation. However, I confided to the class that I was not very good with my hands; I would join the fun but didn’t expect to have anything worth taking home.

Meeri shares the impact teaching jewelry classes has had on her life. She reveals that she’d been married off when she was a teenager and widowed just a few years later when her husband died of pneumonia. The earnings from the workshop have allowed her to support her two daughters and send them to school.

Meeri’s story isn’t unusual. According to Mashipei, many Maasai women benefit from beading initiatives. She mentions a woman named Naayare Noonkipa from Masai Mara, who started beading 20 years ago to

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The necklaces spill over Meeri’s décolletage in multilayered shades of sunflower yellow, pastel blues and cherry reds. As she leans over to guide her students’ clumsy fingers, the dozens of metal chains dangling from her beaded adornments jingle in our ears. This is just one of the jewelry-making classes Meeri leads for tourists, who will take home not only an unforgettable experience and an education in the Maasai tribe, but a tangible keepsake, as well.

sustain her family. “She’s able to send all of her children to school and has moved from a manyatta to a modern brick house,” says Mashipei. She also launched a tour company that earns her a decent income, and she’s been able to provide a comfortable life for her family.

It took more than an hour for me to complete my beaded necklace, but time flew as my hands eventually began to move in a steady, albeit slow, rhythm. When I finally looked up from my work, the oncoming sunset splashed shades of pink across the baking heat of the savanna. I had opted for a simple design: two strands of green, turquoise and yellow beads of varying sizes. The result was delicate and meaningful, the white symbolizing peace, blue meaning energy and yellow for hospitality. I knew I would remember these principles by wearing the necklace after returning home.

As I prepared to leave shortly after finishing the class, Meeri removes the vibrant red and yellow striped wrap, known as a shuka, from her shoulders and places it onto mine. “Your hands are more nimble than you think!” she assured me. “I hope you will come back and visit us one day, and always remember to trust yourself.” The shuka still hangs in my closet today and serves as a reminder of Meeri’s kindness and hospitality. I pull it out, and the necklace, too, whenever I feel like I need an extra boost of confidence. It always works.

T TO W IF YOU

Ask your travel agent to help you book a class with reputable organizations in Kenya and Tanzania. They’ll find you experiences that are immersive and greatly support the community. Visitors can experience the Maasai jewelry class inside Masai Mara National Reserve on Abercrombie & Kent’s Safari in Style luxury small group journey, which offers one-of-a-kind insider access to make your beadwork truly come to life.

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Dive into North America’s maritime legacy with a Great Lakes adventure full of intrigue, charm, and discovery. Awaken the senses with the grandeur of Niagara Falls and experience the revolutionary Victorian Era at Mackinac Island. Hear the sounds of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ring through Cleveland, then navigate the rich innovations of Detroit. Along each shoreline is a new part of American-Canadian history to unlock.

TORONTO TO CHICAGO

OCEAN OCEANNA I A OR™ N

2023: May6,15 May 6, 15, 24; June 30; July 9, 18, 27

OCEAN OYA ER™

2023: May17, May 17, 26; June 4, 13, 22; July 1, 10, 19, 28

1 N h U m Op w U m O-R ---- ---F R-- --- -DISCOVER ALL FIVE GREAT LAKES
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Beyond Bondi

A MA snug against my face, I float on a raft in crystal-clear water. Beside me, my guide points out the tiniest of fish below. “There are more than 30 species that live here,” he says. He’s even helped to identify critically endangered species, like the rare opal cling goby. His enthusiasm for the creatures is contagious, and my eyes are wide with wonder as I begin to spot fish hiding amongst the rocks, the sun glinting off their scales.

As a guest at Silky Oaks Lodge, a luxury retreat in far north Queensland, located adjacent to the Daintree Rainforest, I’m a 30-minute drive from Port Douglas, the jumping-off point for some of the best diving on the Great Barrier Reef. But today, the water I’m submerged in isn’t salt, and I didn’t even have to board a boat to get here. I drift down the Mossman River, a pristine estuarine system that flows from the Great Dividing Range to the Coral Sea.

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Discover more

If you ask tourists what to do on the coast of Australia, you’ll get the same responses: see the Great Barrier Reef, hang out at Sydney’s Bondi Beach, go surfing. But Australia’s water-based adventures don’t end there—the country is also home to hundreds of rivers, lakes and waterfalls, where visitors can gain perspective into its unique ecology and 65,000 years of human history.

That was my experience on the Murray River, the thirdlongest navigable river on Earth, which runs through the country’s southeast corner. Although I’d always perceived Australia as being a “sunburnt country” (a phrase coined by poet Dorothea Mackellar circa 1904), on a multiday guided tour with Murray River Trails, I learn how the First Nations people lived with the ephemeral nature of Australia’s waterways. As we walk through the bush— emus and kangaroos making frequent appearances—I see massive oblong scars on red gum trees, evidence of Aboriginal canoe-making hundreds of years ago.

Once only seasonal, today the Murray is dammed. It’s also to thank for the Riverland’s colorful vineyards and orchards, making it a popular domestic destination for houseboating, water skiing and kayaking. Yet this threehour drive east of Adelaide remains relatively unknown to international visitors.

Drift away

But even in the most iconic destinations, freshwater is the hero. Take, for example, K’gari (formerly known as Fraser Island). The world’s largest sand island, its main attraction—other than its population of wild dingoes—is its unusual perched lakes, where dunes of the finest white sand hold aquamarine water high in natural swimming pools.

Inland, swimming holes complete with waterfalls that serve as natural waterslides are found throughout the rainforest regions, with many not far from urban centers. And while we can thank Steve Irwin for our belief that crocodiles are never far away, croc country is actually only a very small range across Australia’s Top End.

Today, I’m technically within that range, but my guide assures me there’s no reason for concern. “The water here is too clear for crocodiles to ambush prey,” he says.

Instead, he encourages me to lie back on my raft and enjoy the ride on the gentle current. Brilliant blue Ulysses butterflies flit through the air, and the rainforest canopy shelters me high above.

In a sunburnt country, where freshwater is one of the most precious resources, so too are the opportunities to explore it.

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ICE

Icy Excursions

VACATIONS TO beautiful arctic region are the stuff of legends. One of North America’s last great wilderness areas, Alaska has an epic offering of activities for adventure-seekers, from outdoor excursions like glacier hiking and ice climbing to leisurely pursuits like snowshoeing and tubing. My partner and I were sold.

A popular way to explore Alaska is by cruise. You’ll sail past glowing blue glaciers— almost close enough to touch—and spot wild animals roaming the water, land and skies, all from the comfort of your ship. Curious kids will love the grandiose glaciers calving icebergs into the sea and swarms of whales cruising by, while adults will appreciate being able to relax and enjoy the sights with luxe onboard amenities.

While an arctic voyage is exciting, we wanted something a little different. Many popular guides and treks are based in or near Anchorage, so our travel advisor suggested making Alaska’s largest city (but, interestingly, not its capital) our home base. They also provided an incredible amount of important inside information and helped find us amazing accommodations— champagne by a roaring fire on arrival, anyone?

Astonishing experiences

In search of an adrenaline rush, we start the trip with a safe but exciting ice climb,

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just two hours north of Anchorage. Even if you have minimal climbing ability or experience like me, you can participate in this vertical trek on glistening ice. Tackling the rocky outcrops, I’m exhilarated navigating the climbing line upward and awe-struck as I relish the mesmerizing view from the top. The air is crisp, the sun is bright and every breath condenses instantly in the frigid air. To say I ended the day feeling fulfilled and inspired would be an extreme understatement.

Next up? Hiking a glacier. We suit up with all the required gear—a harness, crampons, trekking poles and the like—and our guide leads us up to a startlingly beautiful glacier crevasse. The ice is such a rich shade of blue, it looks like an Instagram filter with all its settings maxed out. Three-hour treks are available, but we opt for the four-hour journey, which gives us a stunning view of the top of an icefall and the chance to peer into seemingly endless fissures. Thanks to our travel advisor, we spent less time traveling to and from the excursion, and had more time to explore the slopes, as our hotel was nearby.

Slip sliding away

Following a short but enchanting snowshoe walk the next day, we hit up a massive snow tubing park located 25 minutes from Anchorage. Well-groomed hills dominate the landscape, jutting up against impossibly clear blue

skies. The tube park operates in organized sessions of a couple of hours each day to help avoid crowding.

We jump in an inflatable and a tow line hauls us to the summit as we sit back and take in the stunning scenery and hear squeals of delight as others slide down the hill. A few hours bombing down the hill brings back memories of my childhood. There’s nothing like sightseeing in an oversized inner tube to close out the perfect coldweather vacation.

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*Featured fares are per person based on double occupancy (cruise or cruisetours only), are neither transferable nor refundable, have no cash value, are not valid on Grand Voyages or 1- to 5-day cruise voyages, and are subject to availability. Any advertised fare may be changed or revoked at any time. Fare is subject to full terms and conditions, available on the Holland America Line website. Signature Beverage Package has a daily limit of 15 beverages. Available only on beverages priced at US$11 or less. Must be 21+ for alcoholic beverages. Management reserves the right to revoke the package and may refuse service for any reason. Package excludes beverages purchased in The Shops, from the mini-bar, or through 24-hour room service and beverages on Half Moon Cay. Specialty Dining is based on cruise duration and ship type. Dining options are determined by ship and exclude all events in Pinnacle Grill. Shore Excursion offer is based on cruise duration and is per person, not per stateroom. For Alaska cruisetours and 6- to 9-day voyages, eligible guests will receive US$100 credit per person to apply toward their shore excursion purchase(s). For 10- to 20-day voyages, eligible guests will receive US$200 credit per person to apply toward their shore excursion purchase(s). For 21+ day voyages (excluding Grand Voyages), eligible guests will receive US$300 credit per person to apply toward their shore excursion purchase(s). Shore Excursion credit must be used pre-cruise when applied toward an Alaska Cruisetour Land Excursion purchase. Shore Excursion credit must be used on corresponding cruise and is non-refundable. Wi-Fi Surf Package: All onboard Internet usage is subject to HAL’s standard policies, which may limit or block browsing/use of some sites or applications due to network security and bandwidth usage. Offerings are subject to change without notice. Plan can be used on any device, but only one device can be actively connected at a time. Upgrades are available

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once on board. Offer applies to 1st/2nd guests in a stateroom only. Wave Offer: Unless otherwise noted, all elements of the Offer are available only on select cruises/cruisetours and exclude Grand Voyages and any voyage lasting 5 days or less (“Eligible Cruises”) booked between December 14, 2022, and February 28, 2023 (“Booking Period”). Stateroom upgrades are available in select stateroom categories and ships and are subject to the availability of the staterooms in the higher category. 50% Reduced Deposit is per person and available on select cruises and cruisetours booked between December 14, 2022, and February 28, 2023. Kids Cruise Free: Guests ages 17 and under (“children”) are eligible to travel free (Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional) when booked as a 3rd and/or 4th guest on select 2023 and 2024 cruises. Limit up to two free children per eligible booking. Offers are neither transferable, substitutable nor redeemable for cash. Have It All fares are available for an additional upgrade fee as indicated at time of booking. Visit the Holland America Line website for eligible sailings, terms, conditions, and definitions that apply to all bookings. Holland America Line (“HAL”) is not responsible or liable for any printing errors. Offer may be changed or revoked at any time. Guests must be eligible for passage on HAL to be eligible for these offers. Reduced Deposit is a reduced per-person booking deposit available on new bookings only on select cruises and cruisetours booked outside of the final payment date. Balance is due on final payment of the booking. Offer is available only on select cruises and cruisetours unless sold out or otherwise withdrawn. Standard refund and cancellation conditions apply. A deposit is required for all stateroom guests and the amount of the deposit varies, even if the deposit is reduced per Offer. Europe Collectors’ Voyage discount of up to 20% off is applied to the sum of the two applicable sailings. Ships’ Registry: The Netherlands.

Off the Bhutan Path

SAY known as garp traveled this ancient path at superhuman speeds, carrying crucial messages between fortresses across Bhutan’s mountainous terrain, with little food or rest. I walk the trail at a much more reasonable pace—after a good night’s sleep and with a belly full of ema datshi, a chili cheese dish with red rice—yet I still lose my footing a few times on the muddy slopes. Mere moments into the journey, it’s clear I’m not cut out for messenger duty.

Fortunately, no one’s relying on me to ferry important info (or even a tent) across Bhutan; I’m responsible only for the pack on my back. I’ve joined G Adventures on its inaugural small group hike to some of the highlights of the Trans Bhutan Trail, a path that stretches 250 miles across the country, from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east.

A city is born

For centuries, the route was used by people from all walks of life, including messengers, soldiers and even royalty

relocating between residences, explains our local guide, Dorji Bidha. These ancient footpaths were also frequented by Buddhist pilgrims and served as trade routes for isolated gewogs (villages), separated by the imposing mountains and dense forests between them. The original trail fostered connections that contributed to the birth of Bhutan—and even Dorji herself. “The elevation in my grandfather’s village was too high to grow rice,” Dorji shares. So her grandfather carried goods along the trail to trade with rice-producing villages, and one of his treks led him to a village where he met his future wife. “They fell in love—that’s how I’m here in front of you, and now you are hiking the trail, too!” Dorji says with a grin.

Despite its role in shaping Bhutan, the trail fell out of favor in the 1960s when the national highway was built. Left to the elements, the once well-trodden track faded into the wilderness. Bridges and stairs collapsed, forest foliage obscured the path, and economic opportunities

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and connections between gewogs deteriorated. “When people use the road, they have no reason to drop by the remote villages,” Dorji explains.

A hike like no other

With my legs wobbly from navigating the steep terrain and my heart racing at the news that Bengal tigers have been spotted on the trail ahead, traveling by car is certainly enticing. But that kind of comfort and convenience comes at a cost. You’ll arrive at your destination more quickly (and sans the jelly legs), but you’ll miss out on incredible experiences and views that are accessible only

when on foot: Impromptu conversations with local elders. Brilliantly colored wildflowers blooming in seemingly impossible conditions. Prayer wheels spinning slowly at hushed temples. Grey langur monkeys swinging playfully between tree branches. Stories shared over a traditional meal in a remote village home. Neon-green rice paddies glowing in the soft sunset light of the forest.

The Trans Bhutan Trail takes hikers to mountain passes, temples, chortens, stupas and bridges, and through multiple villages and cities (including the capital of Thimphu). You’ll walk through rugged wilderness and far-flung

regions, across innumerable waterways, and into the heart, history and culture of Bhutan. And, much like the original trail, the newly reopened trail is once again fostering connections—between villages, generations, hikers (local and international) and the country’s past, present and future. “It’s not just connecting Bhutan to

the world. It’s also connecting us all to each other,” says Dorji. On the Trans Bhutan Trail, you can once again trek in the storied steps of the garp but thankfully, you don’t have to travel like them. Talk to your travel advisor about booking a guided small group or private tour, and feel free to take a much more leisurely pace.

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UNRIVALED CELEBRATIONS

You deserve the limitless joy that comes with celebrating life’s most precious milestones aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises® For more than three decades, we’ve specialized in commemorating special occasions for our guests and are looking forward to planning your own unforgettable moments surrounded in all-inclusive luxury.

CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL AGENT TO LEARN MORE

moments

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The majesty of Alaska, the elegance of Cunard.®

The exquisite glaciers and untamed wildlife of Alaska make it one of the world’s most stunning destinations, and there’s no better way to explore it than on a Cunard® voyage. Our itineraries are specifically crafted to help you get the most out of this spectacular corner of the frozen North, with an extra special Ice White Ball and shore experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

On all Ensemble Hosted Voyages, you will enjoy:

A custom-designed Ensemble Experience Shore Event

An exclusive Ensemble Traveler Cocktail Party

The company of a gracious and knowledgeable Ensemble Host

Cunard® is the Official Luxury Cruise Line of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Experts from the RCGS will be featured on select 2023 voyages as part of our renowned InsightsTM onboard enrichment program. Explorers, naturalists, geographical experts, and indigenous advocates will curate exclusive programming that highlights the beauty and culture of Canada. All details/Information are subject to change without notice. Ensemble® Experience shore events are capacity controlled, subject to change without notice, and require a minimum number of participants. © 2022 Cunard. Ships’ Registry: Bermuda. The Cunard logo and logotype and Queen Elizabeth are registered trademarks of Carnival plc, an English company trading as Cunard. All rights reserved in the United States and other countries.

Queen Elizabeth, Alaska John Geiger and Captain Hall
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