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Your dream trip to Chile mapped out

Detroit: our new favorite food city

 Explore every day 

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Lake Pehoé in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park

Winter escapes to Iceland, Japan & more

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We are giving you $1,000 USD* to spend on unforgettable experiences at select all-inclusive resorts. With Resort Discounts from Barcelรณ Hotel Group you can enjoy incredible discounts (of up to 25% off) on services and facilities at select resorts. Discounts at the U Spa, in the boutiques, on excursions, waterparks and much more!

*Terms, conditions and restrictions may apply. Offer, inclusions, blackout dates, and availability are subject to change without notice. Not responsible for errors or omissions.

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Enjoy Up to $1,000 USD in Resort Discounts Royal Hideaway Playacar

El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel

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In Dubai

DINNER IS SERVED in the most unusual places

DON’T JUST VISIT, LIVE IT. From lunch prepared by Michelin-star chefs to dinner in the desert, delicious delights await you in Dubai. Book your flight today at

Hello Tomorrow


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Contents Winter 2017 / Volume 3 / Number 4


p. 38 Look for the Best in Travel logo for more on our favorite destinations for 2018.

Best in Travel After months of exploring the globe and weeks of friendly debate, our travel gurus share their top recommendations for 2018.

p. 54

Ice and Fire in the Japanese Alps Secluded onsens, fiery festivals and snow-dusted monkeys: the Japanese Alps are where tradition and nature rule.

p. 66

Uno Más Por Favor Spicy tacos, satisfying soups and refreshing agua fresca: Mexican chefs are taking south-of-the-border cuisine to a whole new level. And we have the recipes.

p. 74

Legends of West Iceland Searching for the legends of the huldufólk along Iceland’s stark western coast.

p. 85

Great Escape /

Chile Chile’s slender shape yields a variety of experiences: sawtooth horizons, a seaside town that inspired the country’s most famous poet, a mysteriously energetic wine region, and a desert known as the driest on earth.

p. 97

The Photographer’s Story /

Jersey Shore

// Shirakawa-go, Japan

All prices correct at press time. Prices for hotel rooms are for double, en suite rooms in low season, unless otherwise stated. Flight prices are for the least expensive round-trip ticket.

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The seaside resorts of Southern New Jersey evoke another age.

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Job No:


• 692 Mendelssohn Ave N • Golden Valley, MN 55427 • 612.767.3455

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What is the sound of southeastern Belize? It’s the paranda, the punta, and a variety of other Afro-Caribbean rhythms brought to our shores with the arrival of the Garifuna people in 1797. Generations later, the music still wafts through the air, calling locals and travelers alike to dance. Learn more about this curious place at

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Contents Winter 2017 / Volume 3 / Number 4

Reader images: surfers in Oman and more.

Globetrotter p. 15 Travel News Happenings, openings and discoveries around the globe. Insider Knowledge 70 percent of the earth is covered in water. Here’s how to see it – from beneath the surface. Amazing Places to Stay Winter goals: ditch civilization, turn off email notifications and relax. Travel Icon Brooklyn Bridge. A Taste of Detroit Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie bakery on what to see, eat and do in the Motor City.

Easy Trips p. 33

Ideas for winter trips to Fairbanks (yes, Fairbanks), Belize, Snowmass and Sarasota.

Top Picks Guides p. 102

Paris / Food Miami / Art deco NY / Vintage sights

// Cover Photo: Jonathan Gregson

p. 36 Birch trees in Snowmass, Colorado

Meet a Traveler p. 112

An interview with lovebirds Mike and Anne Howard about their six-years-and-counting worldwide honeymoon.

p. 20

7 New Ways How to make the most of a trip to New Orleans. Olympics Logos Through the Years A look at some of our Winter Games favorites. Gear The art of packing light.

DESTINATION INDEX Australia Brisbane / 48 Canberra / 50 Belgium Antwerp / 51 Belize / 35 Bolivia La Paz / 43 Brazil Bahia / 47 Canada Fogo Island, Newfoundland / 20 Canary Islands Lanzarote / 43 Chile / 39 Atacama Desert / 94

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Candlewood Cabins in Wisconsin

Elqui / 90 Torres del Paine National Park / 86 Valparaiso / 88 China / 42 Hunan / 43 Djibouti / 40 Dominican Republic Los Haitises National Park / 47 Estonia Tallin / 43 France Languedoc– Roussillon / 44 Paris / 103 Georgia / 41 Germany Hamburg / 51

Pies from Detroit’s Sister Pie bakery, clockwise from top: the banana Pete, blueberry plum balsamic, ginger peach and salted maple

p. 24

Iceland / 74 India Lahaul–Spiti / 46 Italy Emilia–Romagna / 48 Matera / 52 Japan Japanese Alps / 54 Kii Peninula / 45 Kyoto / 48 Malta / 41 Mauritius / 42 Mexico / 48, 66 Baja California / 43 Guanajuato / 53 Morocco Essaouira / 43 Namibia / 48 The Netherlands

Amsterdam / 48 New Zealand / 41 Northern Ireland / 44 Norway / 48 Oslo / 53 Oman / 48 Wahiba Sands / 12 Poland / 43 Portugal / 40 Puerto Rico San Juan / 53 Scotland Orkney / 48 Sicily Aeolian Islands / 46 Slovenia / 45 South Africa / 42 South Korea / 40 Pyeongchang / 29

Spain Seville / 49 Taiwan Kaohsiung / 51 United Kingdom / 43 United States Alabama Montgomery / 46 Alaska / 45 Fairbanks / 34 Arizona / 43 Colorado Snowmass / 36 Florida Jacksonville / 43 Miami / 107 Sarasota /37 Georgia Atlanta / 46

Louisiana New Orleans / 28 , 46 Michigan Detroit / 26, 50 New Jersey the Wildwoods / 97 New York New York / 23, 109 Tennessee Nashville / 48 Utah Canyon Point / 20 Washington Winthrop / 20 Wisconsin Richland Center / 20


Postcards p. 12

10/3/17 9:51 AM

OUR STORY A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of adventure. That’s all Tony and Maureen Wheeler needed for the trip of a lifetime, across Europe and Asia overland to Australia. It took several months, and at the end – broke but inspired – they sat at their kitchen table writing and stapling together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap. Within a week they’d sold 1,500 copies, and Lonely Planet was born. Founded by the Wheelers in 1973, Lonely Planet has gone on to become the world’s leading travel media company, inspiring and informing travelers across the globe. Our expert writers go in search of the best experiences, sharing award-winning travel information in more than 130 million guidebooks printed so far – covering almost every destination on the planet – as well as on, on social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in our Guides app and in this magazine.

FOLLOW US Website |

Group Editor Peter Grunert Managing Editor Alexander Howard Art Director Kristina Juodenas Operations Manager Scott Toncray Copy Editor Cindy Guier Designer Dustin Johnson ADVERTISING

VP, Client Solutions, U.S. José Barreiro, Advertising Sales, U.S. Cathy Allendorf, Britta Bakos, Hannah Karns, Jared Koval, Director, Account Management Jennifer Pentes Senior Manager, Ad Operations Emily Acker Sales & Marketing Coordinator Emily Fredette PUBLISHED BY LONELY PLANET GLOBAL, INC.

Chief Executive Officer Daniel Houghton Chief Financial Officer Theo Sathananthan VP, Client Solutions Tim Daugherty Editorial Director Tom Hall Managing Director, Publishing Piers Pickard Senior Legal Counsel Kate Sullivan U.S. Controller Bryon Broich COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING

Director of Global Communications Laura Lindsay VP of Marketing Shelley Pratt Director of Marketing, U.S. Katie Coffee Senior Public Relations Manager, U.S. Natalie Nicolson Marketing Manager, U.S. Ashley Garver CONSUMER MARKETING: CIRCULATION SPECIALISTS, LLC

Account Director John LeBrun For newsstand inquiries PRODUCTION: PUBLISHING EXPERTS, INC.

Director of Manufacturing & Distribution Catherine Fick Production Manager Kady Francesconi For ad copy inquiries SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES

Direct all inquiries, address changes and subscription orders to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. You may also access customer service via the web at, via email at or by phone at 800-829-9121. Lonely Planet is published by Lonely Planet Global, Inc. (part of the Lonely Planet Group). The words “Lonely Planet” and the Lonely Planet symbol are trademarks of Lonely Planet Global, Inc. © Lonely Planet Global, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without permission. Member of Alliance for Audited Media Printed in the United States

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10/9/17 3:19 PM





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Editor’s Note

@peter_grunert @petervg73

Spoiler alert: the No. 1 country in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 is . . . Chile! We’re celebrating this slender slice of South America, from its ice-shrouded lower tip to the Atacama Desert – the world’s driest nonpolar place – in the distant north. The nation’s wildness courses throughout its 2,653-mile length, but read our Best in Travel (p. 38) and Great Escape (p. 85) features to learn why it’s becoming more accessible than ever before. Chile’s character lies encoded, in a sense, within the DNA of the magazine you’re reading. Nine years ago I was trusted with launching Lonely Planet’s international network of magazines, now 12 strong and published in countries as diverse as India and the U.S., China and the U.K. Lonely Planet was already the world’s biggest guidebook publisher, famous for telling it like it is about the destinations its readers had chosen to travel to. My task was to inspire more readers to travel in the first place, to stretch their horizons and feed their passion for travel through our pages. In mapping out the magazine’s approach, I was deeply influenced by a book called In Patagonia. Written by author Bruce Chatwin, this brief 260-page travel book has 97 quick-fire chapters, in theory following in the footsteps

of past adventurers – among them Butch Cassidy and Charles Darwin – to this southernmost region of Chile and Argentina. In practice, it was an opportunity to give local people met along the way a chance to describe the eerie, bewitching land they’ve made home. Chatwin said traveling through Patagonia was “the most jaw-dropping experience because everywhere you’d turn up, there, sure enough, was this somewhat eccentric personality who had this fantastic story. At every place I came to it wasn’t a question of hunting for the story, it was a question of the story coming at you.” I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to cover Chile – and especially Patagonia – in our Best in Travel issue, and to continue to follow the tradition of showcasing the views of the local people who always keep “the story coming at you.” Peter Grunert, Group Editor

From the Staff

Alexander Howard

Managing Editor “Insider Knowledge” p. 19

I recently transitioned from Lonely Planet’s destination editor for the Western U.S. and Canada, a job that had me, between stints in the office, herding buffalo in South Dakota, piloting an aerobatic plane in Las Vegas and gazing at the turquoise lakes of Banff National Park. I’m excited to start work as managing editor of this magazine and continue to share my travel passions with Lonely Planet’s readers.

Bailey Freeman

Destination Editor “Belize: Caribbean Cool” p. 35

Working on Lonely Planet’s Caribbean and Central American content is an incredible privilege. These magnificent regions combine dynamic culture with dramatic vistas. They are destinations that capture your heart and leave you daydreaming long after you’ve returned home. Belize wraps the best of both these regions into a pint-sized package; winter is when Belize shines (literally), so go find your adventure in Central America’s Caribbean paradise.

Winter 2017

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10/3/17 2:31 PM


From our global community of travelers – where you’ve been and what you’ve seen

Sea of Sand

// Wahiba Sands, Oman

My friends and I were in Oman to surf, and had headed to the north coast around Al Ashkharah. The journey there required a diversion around the Wahiba Sands, an area of roadless desert. After leaving our van on the side of the road and setting off over the Wahiba Sands in the general direction of the Indian Ocean, we consulted a compass and GPS unit and turned left – and entered a shimmering world of sand, of endless empty dunes backlit in the afternoon light. I was a little behind the group, so I was able to get this shot of them carrying their surfboards through the desert. An hour of hot hiking later, we arrived at an empty beach pounded by high waves. We surfed alone until it was time to trek back across the dunes to the car before nightfall.


Send us your best new travel photos at 300 dpi, along with the stories behind them (in 100 words or less), and a photo of yourself to

About the photographer:

John Seaton Callahan was born in Hawaii and now lives in Singapore.

LONELY PLANET / Winter 2017


10/2/17 9:58 AM

Follow us on Instagram for the chance to be featured here. @lonelyplanetmags

Island Life

Ulan-Ulan Falls – Biliran Island, the Philippines

Emerald Heart – Cocks Comb Island, Myanmar

Anchor Bay – Mellieha, Malta

Sally Port – Fort Canning, Singapore

Sayang Beach – Koh Lanta, Thailand

Azores Hot Springs – Furnas, Portugal

Amoudi Bay – Santorini, Greece

Arawa – Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

Hill Inlet – Whitsunday Island, Australia









@wanderlust_sabine Winter 2017




10/2/17 9:32 AM


Contemporary yet cozy: settle in for a stay at Fogo Island Inn, a striking lodge off the coast of Newfoundland.


p. 20

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9/29/17 11:53 AM


Travel News



New home-rental site PlansMatter is catering to travelers who want to stay in architecturally significant modern properties. Founded by architects Connie Lindor and Scott Muellner, the site, which works similarly to Airbnb, has worldwide listings designed by renowned architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler. Among the listings are vacation retreats in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Portugal as well as hotels in South America. //

Caribbean remains resilient in spite of destructive hurricane season

In September, back-to-back hurricanes tore through the Caribbean, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Reports of near-total destruction appeared in news headlines, and messages of heartbreak and support were swift. Some islands could possibly take years to rebuild,


A mesmerizing look into New York’s past is now available online. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation website has an online library of photos from throughout New York’s history, including images from East Village artist and photographer Carole Teller. Beginning in the early 1960s, Teller documented everyday scenes in the city, such as the downtown skyline in the ’60s and street vendors selling chickens on Canal Street in the ’80s. //

How you can help but others bounced back quickly. Much of the Caribbean relies on tourism as an economic driver, and some islands will benefit from seeing more visitors. Our destination editors provide up-todate information on, our Thorn Tree online forums and social media.


Through March 4, visitors at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute can explore the mysteries of China’s legendary Terracotta Army. Ten of the life-size clay figures, which date back to 210 BC and formed part of a mausoleum for China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, are on display during the science museum’s “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor” exhibit. Also featured are gold ornaments, weapons, jade pieces and other artifacts. // $35;

CRUISE THROUGH HISTORY Historically important sites of the American Revolution are ports of call on a new 11-day cruise along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia. Beginning in April, guests can set sail from Baltimore on the American Constitution cruise ship, bound for a variety of destinations, including Yorktown, where they can travel to the last battlefield of the war. // From $6,080 per person, with sailings from April 2018; american

GlobalGiving – a global crowdfunding community that has relief funds for hurricane-affected areas. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) – a humanitarian and developmental program that provides aid to children in developing countries. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy – an organization that helps donors make thoughtful contributions.



LONELY PLANET / Winter 2017

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10/3/17 9:53 AM


High Rolling Come spring, Silver Dollar City, the 1880s Ozark Mountain-themed amusement park in Branson, Missouri, will premiere its new Time Traveler coaster. The 100-foot-tall thrill ride will make a 90-degree, 10-story plunge, top 50 mph and turn riders upside down three times. //



Happy Camping in California Longing to go rock climbing, horseback riding or hiking in California? A new reservation system can help turn those travel dreams into reality. allows visitors to book campsites and lodging, with more than 100 parks currently available and 41 campsites to be added by March. In addition to arranging state park recreational activities, you can book a tour of the historic Hearst Castle on California’s Central Coast.



Buffalo, New York’s 88-room Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center should satisfy travelers who enjoy hotels with a unique history. The former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, built in the 1870s, has been transformed and now sees guests staying in what once were patients’ rooms. The asylum’s first doctor-in-charge, Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, believed light-filled, spacious surroundings helped people heal, and his ideas led to the construction of hundreds of architecturally interesting asylums across the U.S. in the 19th century. //

MISSED THE U.S. SOLAR ECLIPSE? Here are your next chances



JULY 2, 2019

Buenos Aires, Argentina Watch the eclipse at sunset in this city of European and Latin heritage. Atacama Desert, Chile While not in the path of totality, the clear desert skies will offer your best chance of seeing a partial eclipse.

APRIL 8, 2024

Austin, Texas The Live Music Capital of the World lies just on the edge of totality. Carbondale, Illinois Making its second appearance in the path of totality in under a decade, Carbondale knows how to throw an eclipse party.


1 Shop local art on

2 Explore colorful

3 Feel the Thursday

4 Tour the new West

A growing arts community has taken root on Middenstraat, and galleries stock one-of-a-kind items made by local artists.

Spend an afternoon strolling past the architecture of the city’s historic districts.

Every Thursday an al fresco party kicks off in the Punda district, with folkloric dancers, marching bands and lots more.

Once a derelict area, this corner of Willemstad is now a lively, art-centric neighborhood.


colonial districts.

Punda Vibes.


5 Celebrate Carnival. Arguably the Caribbean’s biggest party, Carnival comes to Willemstad in February. Start planning now.

Research provided by Lonely Planet writer LEBAWIT GIRMA

Winter 2017

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10/3/17 9:53 AM


Scuba Diving for Beginners » IF COMMON INTERESTS MAKE GOOD




Build a basic kit. At minimum, you’ll need a mask, a snorkel and fins. Dive operators often have these available for rent, but owning your own gear means you’ll be more comfortable in the water.

Buoyancy control device (BCD) – Inflatable vest that aids in buoyancy. Most come with weight pockets for additional stability.

Wetsuit – For anything colder than 85°F, you’ll want a wetsuit. They come in a variety of thicknesses, colors and styles.



My idea of adventure travel AN ACTIVITY THAT hasn’t always aligned with my wife’s preferences. She’s a traveler SATISFIED MY of the refined sort, preferring a tour of Edinburgh’s historic closes, PERHAPS UNHEALTHY gazing at Balinese temples, or TOLERANCE FOR RISK sampling the latest foodie trend to take over Manhattan. I, on the other AND COMPLEMENTED hand, am a foolhardy traveler, pleased to get lost in back alleys, HER ABILITIES IN ride cliff-hugging bike trails or head THE WATER out on multiday camping trips. This was why I jumped at the chance when Danielle suggested that we take up scuba diving, an activity that satisfied my perhaps unhealthy tolerance for risk and 1 complemented her abilities in the water (which Try a discovery dive. have been significant since her days on the high Provided at most school swim team). Plus, it was a new skill we dive centers and could learn together. resorts, discovery So two years ago we began our training dives, dives offer the determining our BCDs from our SPGs, studying chance to try a dive dive tables and learning how to communicate or two under the underwater. We received our Open Water Diver close supervision certification after a weekend of coursework and of an instructor. dive training. On our most recent dive trip – to Bali, Indonesia 3 – we got our Advanced Open Water certification, Learn locally. allowing us to dive to deeper, more complex Most towns in the sites. The evening after our last dive, where we’d U.S. have local dive spotted a sea turtle lazily munching on seaweed classes where you and drifted over what felt like miles of dazzling learn in a pool or a coral, we shared a coconut and watched the quarry. Professional sunset. We had something to agree on. Now every associations such vacation discussion is followed by the question as PADI ( “Can we dive there?” maintain a network of local diving schools.

Mask + snorkel – Look for a comfortable fit: the mask should stick to your face when inhaling through your nose.

Fins – From split fin to blade fin, or open heel to full foot, your choices here depend on personal preference.

Regulator + submersible pressure gauge (SPG) – Converts air pressure to a breathable rate and displays remaining air.

Getting Your Feet Wet




Get certified. Basic scuba certifications can be completed over a weekend and are accomplished in three parts: coursework, confined water dives and open water dives.


Winter 2017

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9/28/17 5:13 PM



Remote Retreats » ESCAPE THE WINTER


AMANGIRI Canyon Point, Utah Distance from civilization: 290 miles from Phoenix, Arizona Rising out of the barren Utah desert like a geometric oasis, this ultra-luxury resort is embraced by the rocky face of Canyon Point. Dun-colored panoramas stretch on for miles, and the sharp-edged walls of the structure frame the vistas, forming a peaceful harmony with the landscape. At night, contemplate the stars from one of the sky-view terraces. From $2,050 per night, /resorts/amangiri

CANDLEWOOD CABINS Richland Center, Wisconsin Distance from civilization: 143 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Nestled within 80 acres of gently rolling hills in southern Wisconsin, each of these four private cabins offers its own unique experience. The Meadow House, for example, has panoramic views and a Scandinavian wood stove that makes for a cozy atmosphere. The surrounding region offers plenty of things to do, including kayaking, hiking or forgetting about the emails piling up back home. From $130 per night,


FOGO ISLAND INN Fogo Island, Newfoundland Distance from civilization: 285 miles from St. John’s, Newfoundland Some declare Fogo Island one of the four corners of the Earth, and with views like this, you’ll see why. The 43,000-square-foot inn is erected on stilts on the edge of Canada’s rocky North Atlantic shore, and all of the buildings’ materials were sourced from sustainable, ecological sources. You aren’t quite alone on this island (the 12 tiny nearby communities are worth a look), but you’ll certainly feel like it. From $2,192 per night,


ROLLING HUTS Winthrop, Washington Distance from civilization: 180 miles from Seattle, Washington A cross between a mobile home and contemporary architecture, these rust-colored huts are located in central Washington’s quiet Methow Valley. The unusual appearance of the 200-square-foot huts actually comes from a zoning restriction that prohibited permanent structures in the valley (wheels were the elegant solution). In winter, it’s the perfect home base to explore the snowy landscape. From $145 per night,



LONELY PLANET / Winter 2017

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Trips by Lonely Planet is a beautiful and simple way to record your travel experiences. Upload photos and videos, create inspiring stories and share your adventures with friends, family and fellow travelers.



Brooklyn Bridge

With a main span of 1,595 feet, 6 inches from tower to tower, the structure was the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time of its completion.


With its two doublearched Gothic towers and crisscrossing steel cables, this bridge linking Manhattan and Brooklyn across the East River is one of America’s most recognizable and best-loved architectural landmarks. Completed in 1883, it was the first steelwire suspension bridge. Today, about 100,000 cars cross the 1.13-mile bridge each day, and on a typical weekday, 10,000 walkers and 3,500 bikers use the bridge’s pedestrian and bike lanes.

In a demonstration of the bridge’s stability, in 1884 showman P.T. Barnum paraded 21 of his elephants, including 7-ton star attraction Jumbo, across the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The event became a spring ritual.

The bridge was the first suspension bridge to use steel rather than iron for its cables. The four main suspension cables are 15¾ inches in diameter and 3,578 feet, 6 inches in length.

The two Gothic stone towers rest atop 15-foot-thick caissons, large wooden boxes that were sunk on the bottom of the river.

Building the Bridge

The foundation is 44 feet below water on the Brooklyn side and 78 feet on the Manhattan side.

The bridge was designed by German immigrant John Roebling, who died in 1869, just before construction began, from complications of a freak accident at the bridge site. His son, Washington Roebling, stepped in, but in 1872 fell ill after working in the bridge’s underwater caissons. Washington’s wife, Emily Roebling, took over day-to-day construction duties. She studied civil engineering and dealt with politicians, engineers and workers involved in the project, seeing it through to completion.

Winter 2017




9/27/17 6:05 PM




Q&A with Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie

p. 50


Banana Pete pie (top) and blueberry plum balsamic pie

Q How did Sister Pie come to be? A After living in Brooklyn for six years, I had a growing itch to return to Michigan and start my own business. I knew I wanted to open a good-food/do-good kinda place, and pie seemed like the right place to start. The concept was inspired by both a commitment to baking with seasonal Michigan produce, and the broad definition of sisterhood and what that can mean in a workplace and community space.

Q Describe the experience of visiting Sister Pie. A Our goal is to be a welcoming, friendly place for all people, and we



Q How did you become a pastry chef ? A I quickly moved to New York after college to pursue a theater career in directing. I was almost immediately distracted by food, both what I saw in the city and what I read about in books and blogs. I started filming a silly, low-budget cooking show out of my various Brooklyn apartments, trying on a new recipe every week. This experience ignited my passion for food, and after many adventures in vlogging, I began working at Momofuku Milk Bar. Only weeks into working in a professional kitchen and I was in love with the hustle and creativity that comes with bakery life.


try to achieve that with an open kitchen design, a full pastry case with options for many palates, big windows pouring light onto the communal table, and a steady mix of tunes that runs from ’90s R&B to Joy Division. The place is always buzzing with customers, a full staff of bakers, and you’re likely to hear the sound of rolling pins hitting pie dough and oven timers going off as you enjoy a slice.

Q Favorite pie? A Tart pies! My ultimate pie is probably our cranberry crumble pie: all-butter, flaky crust; Michigan cranberries, both whole and in compote form; and a buttery, brown sugar crumble on top. I like to eat it in a bowl, smashed up with some vanilla ice cream or fresh whip. I’m also obsessed with plum pies, and the way they bake down into the most wonderful jammy texture. Peach plum is an especially great combination. I could go on.

Q What dish sums up the city for you? A The catfish tofu sandwich with sweet potato fries at Detroit Vegan Soul [at right]. It’s made with love by two native Detroiters who opened a restaurant to nourish their families and friends with traditional soul food, but wanted to offer healthier, more sustainable options. Their mission is deep with love, community and really good food. »

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Catfish tofu sandwich with sweet potato fries

“BELLE ISLE, Detroit’s beautiful, east side park, is a perfect picnic destination. The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is especially worth a visit.”

“DETROIT VEGAN SOUL is one of my favorite places to grab a casual dinner, and they now have two locations! Owned and operated by partners Kirsten Ussery and Erika Boyd, this place has my favorite veggie burger in the city.”

“Detroit’s pride and joy, EASTERN MARKET boasts restaurants, shops and a massive covered Farmer’s Market that operates every Saturday, as well as on Tuesdays in the summertime. I love stopping at the Grown in Detroit table and grabbing a slice from Supino’s or a burger at Cutter’s.”

“DEQUINDRE CUT GREENWAY is my favorite spot for a quick run, bike ride or leisurely walk. This urban recreational path features incredible art and graffiti and connects the Detroit riverfront to Eastern Market.”

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“featuring soul food and live jazz since 1934”

» A cosmopolitan at Baker’s

“When I was in high school, my dad and I skipped out on the father-daughter dance to go see Rear Window at DETROIT FILM THEATRE, a beautiful, ornate cinema located within the Detroit Institute of Arts. I go at least once a year when they screen the Oscar-nominated ‘shorts.’ Get there early to visit the museum, or at the very least to have a glass of wine in the Crystal Gallery before the show.”


“Art deco bar BAKER’S KEYBOARD LOUNGE has been featuring soul food and

live jazz since 1934.” theofficialbakerskeyboard

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Ludwinski’s Recipe for a Perfect Day in Detroit

3 P.M.

8 A.M.

Start the day with an early breakfast over at Rose’s Fine Food, the best little diner in the Midwest. Order the buckwheat pancakes, plus bacon and an egg on the side. »

10:30 A.M. “Neighborhood record store PARAMITA SOUND is in an old house and they have a great selection of classic and current vinyl. They support the community around us in everything they do.”

Clockwise from top left: Zesty gallabah, tandoori bread, and eggs with fassolia at Sheeba Restaurant

After you’re fueled up for the morning, head over to Pewabic Pottery right on Jefferson. It’s a nonprofit ceramic studio with a progressive, inclusive mission, and you can buy beautiful custom pieces to take home. Travel farther down Jefferson to Belle Isle, our city’s largest public park. Wander around the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and Belle Isle Aquarium before enjoying a long run, walk or bike ride around the island. » »

1 P.M.

“SHEEBA RESTAURANT is a tiny Yemeni restaurant located in Hamtramck, a fantastic city within the city of Detroit. You must order the fahsa [lamb stew] and fassolia [a bean dish], both served with a gargantuan piece of warm tandoori bread. If you have a sweet tooth, head to Bon Bon Bon Chocolate for a magically delicious experience.”,

Lunch should happen in Hamtramck, a small city within the city of Detroit, home to a large Polish and Middle Eastern population. Walk around for a while, and then settle in at Sheeba Restaurant for the delicious lamb stew and tandoori bread. Have a little dessert at one of the many Polish bakeries nearby. »

Head over to Woodward for an afternoon at your pick of three excellent museums: Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit). Take your curiosity one step further by visiting John K. King Used & Rare Books. It’s an easy place to lose an afternoon. Wander the many shelves and stories. I especially like to page through the old cookbooks. » » » »

7:30 P.M.

Dinner should happen in Southwest Detroit, and there are a wealth of delicious Mexican options. A good choice is Taqueria El Rey for a Mexican feast of grilled chicken and beer. »

10 P.M.

End your evening at a Detroit institution: Baker’s Keyboard Lounge on Livernois for a drink and a jazz show. » theofficialbakers

Book of Pies Lisa Ludwinski’s cookbook, Sister Pie, is due in September 2018.

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New Orleans






CANDLELIGHT LOUNGE Tourists have discovered the varied musical landscape of Frenchmen Street. While there’s a reason jazz joints like the Spotted Cat draw crowds, a few steps off the beaten path will take you to Candlelight Lounge (925 N. Robertson St.) in the Treme for a night to remember. Fork over $10 cash in exchange for bottomless red beans and all the music and dancing you can handle.

CAFE SBISA Since 1899, the finest Creole cuisine has been served in the mahogany-paneled, art nouveau dining room of Cafe Sblisa (cafesbisanola .com). Damaged in Hurricane Katrina, the restaurant has had a turbulent decade, but made a triumphant return last fall. Chef and co-owner Alfred Singleton has cooked up an inspired French–Creole menu: crab cakes and daily gumbo specials are highlights.








TOUR THE TREME For a historic walk, try the Treme. America’s oldest African American neighborhood has plenty of charm and photogenic spots, including Congo Square – and half the crowds. Stop by Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, the city’s oldest burial ground and the final resting place of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, for a guided tour.

LUCA EATS Bad news first: if you want the best classic beignets in the city, you’ll have to wait in line at Café du Monde ( But if you’re open to a twist on the classic, head to Luca Eats ( in Uptown. Their utterly decadent Oreo beignets, served from a colorful trailer, were the official crowd favorite of the 2016 Beignet Fest.

THE PORT ORLEANS BREWING COMPANY New Orleans may be the home of the cocktail, but the city’s newest brewery is becoming a serious draw for hopheads. Port Orleans Brewing Company (port serves German-inspired beers and food in its Tchoupitoulas Street taproom, with windows perfect for people-watching.

PARKWAY No trip to New Orleans is complete without a po’boy, and Parkway ( serves up the city’s best. Considering their 100 years of experience, that’s no surprise. Try the alligator sausage or the gravy-soaked surf and turf, and don’t forget the napkins. One crispy, juicy bite and you’ll be hooked.

MAYPOP The modern, glass-andconcrete Central Business District might not seem like the best place to find an authentic New Orleans restaurant. But Maypop (, the new dining hotspot from native Louisiana chef Michael Gulotta, is just that. Gulotta has had plenty of practice blending Creole and Southeast Asian cuisine at his Mid-City hotspot, MoPho; at Maypop, he takes things up a notch for even more ambitious flavor combinations that reflect the city’s multicultural blend.



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Globetrotter Connected lines form a Greek column on the left and a mountain range on the right.

Let the Games Begin

These triangles symbolize a snowflake and a star.



p. 40 This logo features the Japanese Rising Sun, a snowflake and the Olympic rings.

A brief history of the Winter Olympics

1924 First Winter Olympics held in France.

Alpine skiing introduced.

Winter Olympics televised for the first time.




Winter games canceled due to the outbreak of WWII.

The central design reflects a traditional embroidery pattern of Sarajevo.

These figures come from the first consonants of each syllable in “Pyeongchang” written in Hangul, the Korean alphabet.

The Sapporo Games were the first Winter Olympics to be held in Asia. 1964


Warm weather in Innsbruck, Austria, meant snow had to be trucked in.

Women’s ice hockey debuted. 1988


Winter Games extended to 16 days.

A record 2,780 athletes entered the Games in Sochi.

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Packing Light

Backlit LCD screen

DUNHEGER DIGITAL LUGGAGE SCALE: Don’t succumb to the shame of repacking your overfull bag at the ticket counter. This portable luggage scale fits easily in any suitcase and is accurate within 1.6 ounces. From $26,

Tilting rear screen is made for selfies

SONY RX100 V: Leave the bulky DSLR at home and opt for this tiny-but-powerful camera. The 1-inch sensor puts smartphone cameras to shame and a superfast autofocus ensures you won’t miss your shot. From $1,000,

The Tech The bottle is made of nontoxic, food-grade silicone that can withstand hot and cold temperatures, and it’s completely dishwasher safe.

TIEKS FLATS: These ultracomfy, ultra-portable flats are made of fine Italian leather (vegan options available too) and feature a split sole and folding midsole for easy storage. From $175,

REI CO-OP MULTI TOWEL: Perfect for long hikes or quick jaunts, this lightweight towel is made of synthetic, quick-drying fabric that can soak up to eight times its weight in liquid. From $18.50,

QUE BOTTLE: Collapsing to half its size while remaining fashionable, the que Bottle makes it easy to stay hydrated on the go. It’s reusable, too, cutting down on waste and being better for the environment. From $19.95,




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TORTUGA OUTBREAKER BACKPACK: Packing light pro tip: don’t pack more than what you can fit in your carry-on. This travel backpack features tons of pockets, durable and waterproof fabric, and an adjustable suspension system that makes hauling your stuff a breeze. From $299,


Expedition Tearproof and waterproof

Left-Handed Reversed for southpaws

BONOBOS MERINO SWEATER: Lightweight, breathable and stylish, this sweater is made from 100 percent merino wool, a strong but supple fabric that has moisture-wicking properties. It’s also odor resistant, so you can go several wears without a wash – but not too many. Ew. From $98,

Front Page Reporter’s notebook that’s easy to hold

FIELD NOTES NOTEBOOKS: A coffeehouse-scribbler favorite, these compact, 48-page notebooks come with graph, ruled, blank paper or a mix of all three. Special-edition notebooks feature durable waterproof pages or limited-time cover art. From $9.95,

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T:9” S:8.5”

Photo By: Peggy Sirota


Viola Davis, Hunger Is Ambassador

Hunger Is® is a joint initiative of the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which are 501(c)(3) charitable organizations.



Saved at

9-13-2017 11:28 AM

Job info Job Client Media Type Live Trim Bleed Pubs




Approvals HungerIs_ViolaDavis_2017 EIF Page Ad 8.5” x 10.375” 9” x 10.875” 9.25” x 11.125” None

Fonts & Images Art Director Copywriter Account Mgr Studio Artist Proofreader

Notes None

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None None A Moncure E Whitaker M Miller

Fonts Avenir (Black, Medium), Gotham Narrow (Medium) Images HungerIs_vertical_V2.psd (CMYK; 477 ppi; 62.88%), (96.5%), ViolaSig_Hunger_Print_LYRDsig.psd (CMYK; 426 ppi; 70.37%), (92.38%) Inks

Cyan, Magenta, PMS Warm Red U,

Yellow, Black, PMS 319 U 2

Printed At




I was one of our nation’s hungry kids growing up. Today, 1 in 6 children in America struggle with hunger. But when they get breakfast, their days are bigger and brighter. Learning, attention, memory and mood improve. Together, we have the power to get breakfast to kids in your neighborhood — let’s make it happen. Go to and lend your time or your voice.

Easy Trips

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Pristine beaches, Maya ruins and a diverse array of cultures – all in a country the size of Vermont. Belize may be small, but it packs a punch.

p. 35

Also featuring: Fairbanks // Snowmass // Sarasota

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Easy Trips



Combining remote winter landscapes of pristine white snow, fascinating galleries and museums, and the best light show on earth, this trip captures the best of a winter in the Last Frontier. Following a key route of the historic Alaska Railroad, the journey cuts to the heart of Alaska, but you’re never far from the comforts of modern life: Instagram-worthy breakfasts, cozy spaces and central heating (most of the time).


Before setting off on the train, make a stop at 6th Avenue Outfitters (, a local outfitter that’s the perfect place to pick up a cozy down jacket. Next, you’ll board the train to Fairbanks at the Anchorage Railroad Depot, the Alaska Railroad’s (alaskarailroad .com) central hub. The


railway’s iconic blue and yellow trains snake north and south from here, covering 482 miles between Seward, on the southern coast, and Fairbanks, near the Arctic Circle.


Drop your bags at your assigned seat and stake out a spot on the Vista Dome Car, which gives passengers a 360-degree viewing experience. Settle in for a show: subarctic meadows covered with snow, craggy horizons blanketed with ice, and tiny railside towns. Keep your eyes peeled for moose or elk against the frigid landscape.


Fairbanks can see less than four hours of daylight during winter, but you didn’t come here for a tan. Make your first stop at the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North ($12;, an

igloo- and-aurora-inspired structure featuring some of Alaska’s finest exhibits on the diversity of its people, wildlife and landscapes. Stop in at LuLu’s Bread and Bagels (, a purveyor of warming baked goods. The rosemary bread is incredible, and the steaming quiche is certain to thaw those frozen fingers.


In Fairbanks, keep your eyes on the skies. This is where you’ll have your best chance to see the night sky light up in the green and red hues of the northern lights (Fairbanks can see an average of 240 such spellbinding events in a year). Increase your chances by hanging around for a few days, and check the University of Alaska’s Aurora Forecast ( /AuroraForecast) for nightly updates. In the meantime, head to the Alaska House Art Gallery (thealaskahouse

.com), a log house on the south side of town that specializes in indigenous art, and a great place to stock up on souvenirs.

steady stream of water at a piping hot 165°F, but don’t worry: it’s cooled before you can take a dip. – Alexander Howard


Although you can see the northern lights in town, the best viewing is in the outlying hills, away from the light pollution. The Chena Hot Springs Road follows the Chena River 56 miles out of town, and it’s dotted with pull-offs, viewpoints and places to explore. Any of these will provide fine northern lights viewing opportunities.


Defrost with a final stop at Chena Hot Springs Resort ($15 admission to hot springs, pool and hot tubs;, the nearest hot springs to Fairbanks. Discovered by gold miners in 1905, the springs quickly became the state’s busiest soaking spot. The hot springs emit a


Built in 1916 by wealthy restaurateur Arthur Williams as a way to lure his future wife up to Alaska (spoiler: it worked), the Alaska Heritage House B&B in Fairbanks is on the National Register of Historic Places. The antique-filled rooms harken to a time when gold fever ran through the streets of Fairbanks, but each room has its modern conveniences, including Wi-Fi and coffee makers (suites from $140;



Beginning in Anchorage, acclimatize with a plate of Kodiak Benedict, a twist on traditional eggs Benedict served with fresh Alaskan king crab cakes, from the Snow City Cafe ( Next, familiarize yourself with Alaska Native customs and art with a stop at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a 26acre facility that shows how people have survived (and thrived) in the region for thousands of years ($24.95;

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The waters off the coast of Belize are known as some of the most spectacular diving and snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. For mind-blowing marine life, head to Belize’s first underwater protected area, Hol Chan Marine Reserve (boat tour from $12.50 per person; Located just to the south of renowned Ambergris Caye, the 3-square-mile reserve is divided up into multiple zones where you can explore Technicolor reefs, twisted mangroves, dreamy seagrasses and the famed Shark Ray Alley, where nurse sharks and sting rays swirl about in the shallow sea.





Mainland Belize is only 68 miles wide and 180 miles long, but this Central American country is a little dynamo home to expansive rainforests, extraordinary Maya ruins, prismatic reefs, glistening beaches and a number of lively cultures. Winter brings sunny skies and balmy weather, so pack your bags and go experience the best of Belize.

While Belize’s coast and cayes tempt visitors with their sparkling waters and thriving marine life, the country’s forested interior envelops some of the most interesting relics of its ancient history. Maya ruins are strewn across Belize from top to bottom, and most are well preserved and ready for exploration. Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, Cahal, Lamanai – take your pick!


The Great Blue Hole (pictured) is a submarine marvel that defies belief. Aerial views reveal a perfectly round spot nearly 1,000 feet across where the ocean floor simply gave way, creating a remarkable underwater sinkhole 400 feet deep. This peculiar formation beckons divers to take the plunge into the unknown

to swim among its caverns and otherworldly limestone columns. If you’re still getting used to your fins, not to worry – there’s plenty to explore in the reefs around the hole’s rim, as well as off the shores of nearby Half Moon Caye.


Need a respite from all your adventuring? Head to Placencia and enjoy a rum or two on the colorful patio of Barefoot Bar, a beachside watering hole that draws all manner of locals and travelers with its laid-back vibes. At night, things kick up a notch with live music and the occasional full moon party. Cheers!


Tiny Belize is a melting pot of cultures, drawing from European, Caribbean, Central American and African heritage. A large number of Garifuna, descendants of African slaves and indigenous Central Americans, reside in Belize, and Dangriga is the community’s beating heart. Stop by and learn about the Garifuna people’s history and present at the Gulisi Garifuna Museum, and if you are in town in late November, don’t miss Garifuna Settlement Day, the region’s biggest cultural celebration. – Bailey Freeman


Spend a few days off the grid at Glover’s Atoll Resort, located 35 miles from the mainland. Choose a cabin and let the sea breeze carry your worries away (cabins from $30;

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A box of ski gear from Kit Lender



Ski trips and packing light don’t usually go hand in hand, but in Snowmass, Colorado, a traveler-friendly rental program means you can avoid the baggage grind and get right to the good stuff.


After your first full day on the slopes, soothe aching muscles with one of the Viceroy Hotel Spa’s (viceroyhotelsandresorts .com) Ute Indian- or Nordic-inspired rituals. Also available are 30-minute “ski-in, ski-out” treatments


for those who want to kick off their boots and warm up mid-run (from $95).


A naturalist-guided snowshoe tour with Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (, from $65) is an enjoyable afternoon break from hurtling yourself down the mountain. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a snowshoe hare or great horned owl. ACES also offers “Hire a Guide” programs for those who prefer to design their own adventure ($50 per hour, per guide).


This area of Colorado boasts a wealth of culture that far eclipses its size. Take in some contemporary art at Aspen Art Museum (free admission; aspen, where past exhibits have included works from Julian Schnabel and Gabriel Orozco. If you leave inspired to create your own, Anderson Ranch Arts Center (andersonranch

BUTTERMILK / summit elevation 9,900 ft. 44 trails 5% expert terrain + Location of the X Games each January ASPEN MOUNTAIN / summit elevation 11,212 ft. 76 trails 26% expert terrain + Snowmass’s original ski area ASPEN HIGHLANDS / summit elevation 11,675 ft. 122 trails 36% expert terrain + Site of the popular Highland Bowl SNOWMASS / summit elevation 12,510 ft. 96 trails 30% expert terrain + 3 terrain parks


All lodging in Snowmass is ski-in, ski-out. The Westin Snowmass (peak season from $220 per night; westin offers an inviting fireplace, rooms with slopeside views, a ski valet service and a hot tub.

.org) offers workshops in painting, ceramics, photography, printmaking and furniture design (from $1,145).


Ski towns take their après options seriously, and Snowmass is no different. Chef Richard Sandoval’s passion for tequila is evident at Venga Venga (richardsandoval .com/vengavenga), where

he stocks more than 100 varieties. A bit higher up at Gwyn’s High Alpine ( the motto is “fine dining at 10,500 feet.” It’s perched at the top of the Alpine Springs lift, and you couldn’t ask for a better view to accompany your hot toddy.


Cap off your trip with reservations for a “snowcat dinner” at Lynn

Britt Cabin (from $85; Get cozy under a pile of blankets as you’re whisked up the mountain by a wintery all-terrain vehicle after the lifts close, for an intimate four-course dinner in a rustic cabin. You’ll be treated to live acoustic music that will undoubtedly include at least one John Denver song. – Kristina Juodenas



Start at Four Mountain Sports (packages from $64; aspensnowmass .com), where knowledgeable staff will fit you for skis, boots and boards, and offer free overnight storage and transfer service. Online outfitter Kit Lender (packages from $98; can supply everything else you need, from goggles to pants. Book in advance, and perfectly packed boxes, complete with a prepaid return envelope, will arrive at your hotel ahead of check-in. Alternatively, local company Suit Yourself (packages from $50; offers complementary dropoff and pick-up service.

Nifty 50

On December 15, the ski area celebrates its 50th anniversary. Festivities throughout the weekend will include a day of $6.50 lift tickets (the price they were when the resort opened in 1967), and retro-themed ski parties.

The Aspen/Snowmass resort is made up of four mountains, each with its own distinct personality.

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meandering the sidewalks, looking for a new pair of sunglasses, stopping for a drink at an outdoor café, and choosing where to go for dinner.

A vintage Ringling Bros. poster at the Circus Museum

The Ringling Underground, a music event series at The Ringling’s Museum of Art



Clockwise from top left: Um quam nes aut re pre consecae. Et quias aut fugiamet quist, cusda ped que latempo rporitin nulpa di vit atet plabo. Nequod quodit et

Food is also top of the agenda at the Forks & Corks Festival, held each January ( /forksandcorks). Dozens of local restaurants and bars take part, serving a range of eating options that reflect Sarasota’s eclectic dining scene. It’s a hugely popular event, so book tickets in advance, especially if you’re interested in attending the Grand Tasting, held in the spectacular setting of the Ringling Museum.

Sunset at Siesta Key





Northern snowbirds have flocked to Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast for more than a century. Those wealthy pioneers wanted to escape cold winters without giving up cultural pursuits and good food. Today their legacy draws visitors looking for a side of theater and fine dining to go with their beach time.


Sarasota’s wealthiest snowbirds were John and Mabel Ringling, whose eponymous museum is an unmissable attraction. The Circus Museum celebrates the art form that made them their fortune (the highlight is a huge diorama depicting a circus in its heyday). Nearby you can see how they spent that fortune, first in Cà d’Zan (House of John), their glorious waterfront home built in Venetian Gothic style, and then in the State Art Museum of Florida, where the Rubens and Rembrandts inside, collected by the Ringlings on their European trips,

vie for attention with the sculptures, including a copy of Michelangelo’s David, in the garden courtyard outside (admission from $25;


The natural world’s beauty in the form of orchids is just one of the delights at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens ($20; A world center for the study of epiphytes (tree-dwelling plants that absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and rainwater, such as some orchids), the gardens also have an impressive array of landscapes in a bay setting,

offering welcome shade when the sun’s blazing down, along with botanicalthemed art exhibitions.


For more tropical plants and a glimpse into a Florida that predates Europeans, head to Historic Spanish Point ($12; Step inside a prehistoric shell midden, created by the discarded debris of the area’s earliest inhabitants, take a stroll along one of the many trails, and see how New Yorker John Greene Webb and his family lived when they built a house here in 1867.


Sarasota’s thriving, year-round cultural scene is in large part thanks to its many performance venues, and none is more popular –

or provides a better excuse for dressing up – than the Sarasota Opera House. The company presents performances in a restored, 1926 theater; the season runs through the winter, and this year’s includes ever-popular favorites La Traviata and Carmen, along with lesser-known pieces to tempt established opera fans (tickets from $19;


In theory just a traffic roundabout, in practice St. Armands Circle ( is one of the centers of Sarasota’s social life. Lined with restaurants and shops, and with a pretty park in the middle, it’s best explored in the coolness of the late afternoon, when locals and visitors take their time

You can’t visit Florida without visiting a great beach, and Sarasota doesn’t fall short there either. The beach on Siesta Key, to the south, grabs the headlines (it’s regularly named America’s best beach) but it can get uncomfortably busy. Much quieter, partly because you need a boat to get there, is Beer Can Island, to the north. Unromantic name aside, this wonderful stretch of sand is perfect for picnicking, lazing and swimming. Come midweek and you might even have it to yourself. – Clifton Wilkinson


Small (just nine rooms) but perfectly located (in the heart of downtown Sarasota) Hotel Ranola is a great boutique sleeping option. Decor has a Princely purple accent and all rooms have full kitchens (from $99;

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Best in Travel 2018

Top Countries

Best Value p. 43

Top Regions p. 44

Best Culture Trips for Families p. 48

Top Cities p. 49

In our annual roundup of the best places to visit, we present a year’s worth of travel inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into some unforgettable experiences. From a land of exploding volcanoes and melting glaciers to a charming, under-the-radar city brimming with world-class art and architecture, here are our picks for what to see and do in 2018. For more on the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences, see Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 book and visit


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Top Top Countries Countries 1

Marking 200 years of independence in 2018, Chile is a sinewy sliver of a nation, isolated from the rest of South America by the soaring Andes to the east, the vast Pacific Ocean to the west, the bone-dry Atacama Desert up north and the impenetrable wilds of Patagonia down south. It’s Chile’s dazzling extremities that lure most travelers. In Patagonia, Puerto Natales’s airport was expanded in 2016, making Torres del Paine National Park more accessible than ever; in the Atacama, there’s been a big bang in astrotourism, with new stargazing hotels and observatory tours. Meanwhile, in between Santiago, the ever-trendier capital with its flourishing food and performing arts scenes, and coastal and artsy Valparaíso, you’ll find tourist-friendly wineries in the Casablanca Valley. For more on Chile, see our “Great Escape” feature (p. 85). » Don’t Miss Hike the five-day “W” trek through Torres del Paine National Park, a highlights reel of Patagonia that can be as rustic (tents and camp grub) or as chic (room and board refugios) as you want it to be. The design of the striking Remota, a 72-room luxury hotel outside Puerto Natales in Chilean Patagonia, was inspired by the region’s historic sheepsheering sheds.

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op C


Top C

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South Korea is a compact playground of Asian modernity. High-rises soar in the futuristic capital, Seoul, which in 2017 received a huge facelift with the opening of the Seoullo 7017 “sky garden,” an elevated linear park with cafés, bars and libraries. South Korea has embraced its hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and a new high-speed railway line will whisk travelers across the country to the February Games. South Korea is an unsung outdoor wonderland. You can hike peaks and raft pristine rivers, or surf, swim and sunbathe along 1,500 miles of coastline. Urban centers Seoul and Busan are packed with high-tech delights, and yet South Korea remains a country rich in traditional culture, where you can get a breath of Zen on an overnight stay in a peaceful temple or uncover history at Joseon-era palaces.

Korea South



Modern architecture in Seoul

3 Portugal Portugal Musa Brewery’s taproom in eastern Lisbon’s up-and-coming Marvila neighborhood

Portugal has seized the spotlight as a dynamic center for art, culture and cuisine. Several artfully designed museums have opened in the past two years, there’s now a celebrated microbrewery scene, and stellar Portuguese chefs are creating culinary buzz from Lisbon to the glittering beaches of the Algarve (seven new restaurants received Michelin stars in 2017). Heightening Portugal’s appeal are its incredible affordability and its natural wonders: in 2016, more than 300 beaches earned the coveted Blue Flag eco-rating and two new biosphere reserves were named. It’s no surprise everyone is talking about this small, seafaring nation. There are architectural treasures and UNESCO World Heritage sites, magnificent Roman ruins, and wine routes crisscrossing the country. Given Portugal’s compact size and excellent road network, you can squeeze a lot into a single visit. » Don’t Miss Sip your way through the wineries of Portugal’s Douro Valley, the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Stay in a guesthouse on a wine estate, such as Quinta Nova or Quinta do Vallado.

4 Djibouti Positioned for dramatic effect on the Horn of Africa, this petite nation is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles; and sunken lakeshores glisten with huge salt crystals. In geological terms, this is a sprint finish. But in human terms, this is spectacularly slow motion – a reason to make travel plans to this extreme desert landscape, not cancel them! Add intoxicating culture (visit Djibouti City’s African and European quarters), beckoning beaches and incredible whale shark diving, and you have even more reasons to hop on a plane, or ride the brand-new train, to witness Mother Nature at her brutal best in 2018. » Don’t Miss In Seoul’s chaotic Gwangjang Market, vendors sling bowls of bibimbap (rice and vegetables) and sizzle up crispy seafood pancakes, best washed down with makgeolli (rice wine).


» Don’t Miss Djibouti’s Bay of Ghoubbet is one of the world’s most reliable sites to swim with school-bus-size whale sharks. Peak season is November to January. Book with an ethical operator that enforces ecologically sound guidelines.


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New Zealand5



In New Zealand, teetering on the rim of the Pacific Ring of Fire, mud bubbles, mountains explode and glaciers melt into rivers rushing toward immense oceans, passing geothermally heated beaches. Seemingly solid landscapes are torn asunder with a violence and unpredictability we don’t expect in a country where every urban corner offers cafés and pop-up bars serving artisan coffee and sublime craft beers. It’s a wildly exciting place. The country is crisscrossed with quality trails, but there’s a royal flush of routes – a premier league of paths that collectively caress the coast, clamber around the Southern Alps, explore escarpments, flow through Fiordland and venture onto the shoulders of volcanoes. These are the Great Walks. A tenth walk, the 28-mile Pike29 Memorial Track, is in development and expected to open in 2019.

» Don’t Miss Watch sunset across Lake Waikaremoana from an eye-watering aerie on the cliff, or spy a shy kiwi bird while walking Stewart Island’s Rakiura Track.

Ringed by cerulean water that sparks with silver-gold sunlight, the Maltese islands invite a dabble in watery pursuits, including some of the world’s best diving. But especially in the spotlight now is the long and vividly evident history of this Mediterranean archipelago. Prehistoric temples crown hills, 17th-century fortifications stalk the coast, and a warren of tunnels – from catacombs to air raid shelters – dig deep underground. Malta’s riches have been here for centuries, if not millennia, but the country is experiencing a moment. This tiny nation’s buzz has been building to a crescendo in preparation for Valletta’s stint as European Capital of Culture for 2018. Expect baroque, pop and international film festivals, plus a contemporary art biennial, and, of course, a laid-back lifestyle born out of proximity to warm sea, beaches and more than 300 annual days of sunshine. » Don’t Miss Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a beautiful sheltered cove with a white-sand seabed and inviting, periwinkle-blue waters.

Hiking past the 570-foot-high Earland Falls on the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks

7 Georgia

Hemmed in by Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia is at a crossroads of the South Caucasus, and the influence of its eclectic neighbors is felt at every turn. Here, history is not a thing of the past but informs every complex chess move Georgia makes in the present. Forward-thinking but proud of tradition, this is a country of ancient recipes cooked up in tucked-away taverns where toastmasters raise glasses of spirits to honor heroes old and new. The country is so proud of its wine region that airport immigration officials often welcome travelers with a bottle of red along with a passport stamp. One hundred years ago, Georgia was declared an independent state in the wake of the Russian Revolution – just one of many reasons to raise a glass to toast 2018. » Don’t Miss Pressed against the Azerbaijan border, the remote desert caves of Davit Gareja comprise 15 monasteries carved into the hillside, adorned with detailed frescoes and murals.

Crystal lagoon, on the Maltese Island of Comino

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This brochure-perfect island is justly famous for its dazzling sapphire seas and luxurious beach resorts, where the watery fun includes coral reef dives, kitesurfing, sea kayaking and lagoon cruises. During the colonial days, Mauritius was known as the “Star and Key of the Indian Ocean” for its strategic position. These days there’s much afoot in the deep blue sky, with the government establishing the island as a hub for flights to mainland Africa. Past glories are also getting a spotlight in 2018, when the island celebrates 50 years of independence. A good time to join the multicultural (mostly Creole and Indo-Mauritian) islanders in celebrating their departure from British rule is around March 12, Independence Day, when the nation’s flag is raised at Port Louis’s Champ de Mars Racecourse. » Don’t Miss On the southwest side of Mauritius, hike amid old-growth forests and waterfalls in Black River Gorges National Park, home to the endemic Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon and echo parakeet.

Wangfujing food street, Beijing

China 9 China

The stunning sights scattered across the world’s most populous country are no secret. In China you can uncover ancient civilizations, explore gleaming megacities, hike the iconic Great Wall, gaze up at starry Silk Road skies and see some of the world’s most profound Buddhist art. Since 2016, China has opened extensive new high-speed rail tracks, creating the world’s largest HSR network. Beijing’s imperial palace, the Forbidden City, has been upgraded, and four previously restricted halls are now open to the public. Gargantuan Shanghai Tower welcomes visitors to the world’s highest observation deck, and in late 2017, cultural hub Design Society was set to open in cosmopolitan Shenzhen, featuring a partnership gallery with London’s V&A Museum. Twenty-first century China is here to stay, so hop on board a bullet train and explore this modern Middle Kingdom. » Don’t Miss Take in the “golden triangle” of China’s megasights: the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Terracotta Army in Xi’an and the blazing neon skyline of Shanghai.


South Africa

With its beaches and mountains, wildlife and wine – and let’s not forget vibrant culture and cosmopolitan Cape Town (rightly regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities) – South Africa has long been one of the world’s most alluring countries. Crawling with iconic African wildlife, big and small, South Africa’s national parks and reserves are premier safari destinations, and these adventurous forays into incredible wilderness cost a fraction of those elsewhere. In 2018, the country’s many attractions will be bolstered by “Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy,” an official program of events – some sporting, some educational, others devoted to the arts – honoring the legendary late South African activist and former president. There is more to see than ever before, and favorable exchange rates, making 2018 a phenomenal year to visit South Africa.

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


» Don’t Miss Take a self-drive safari in South Africa’s 7,500-square-mile Kruger National Park: wait at zebra crossings, pause for breath at rhino crashes, and skirt carefully through the long shadows of elephants.



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Best Value Best Value

If you want to wander frugally or save on a visit to pricier bighitters, then our list of good-value getaways is the place to start.

1 Tallinn, Estonia

One of Eastern Europe’s loveliest old towns, Estonia’s capital is compact, fashionable and a great value. Explore the city on foot for free, stay in dorms, guesthouses or private homes, and visit the roof of the vast Linnahall, a templelike structure built for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, for Baltic Sea views and a superb city panorama.

Canary Islands Increasing numbers of in-the-know independent travelers are heading to this intriguing island. Awaiting them is a well-developed infrastructure that makes finding affordable lodgings, food and rental cars a breeze. The moonlike scenery of Timanfaya National Park, unspoiled beaches of Órzola and black-sand wineries of La Geria reward those who come here for more than a traditional seaside break.

3 Arizona

For affordable adventures in Arizona, aim for simple roadside motels, then camp and hike. Visit Saguaro National Park around Tucson, or for views without the crowds, try Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, southwest of Phoenix. For a grand bargain, visit the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in the shoulder season: March to May and September to October.


4 La Paz, Bolivia

Situated at an elevation of 12,000 feet, La Paz is one of South America’s best value places to linger. Budgetconscious travelers can get by on less than $30 a day, eating at unforgettable markets and taking hiking and biking trips. La Paz also has a fast-emerging yet affordable upscale scene, with superb restaurants, boutique hotels and hip coffee shops.

5 Poland Poland somehow manages to remain affordable and relatively under-visited. Kraków, with its magnificent architecture, grabs the crowds, but beyond is a roll call of Europe’s leastappreciated highlights. In the north, explore Gdańsk’s rebuilt old town and haunting coastal scenery. Elsewhere, Lublin, Toruń and Tarnów’s historical beauty can form the basis of a wonderful week. 6 Essaouira, Morocco

Morocco has been a popular destination for decades, but if you’re seeking another side of this safe slice of North Africa, then Essaouira might just be the place for you. The walled city’s narrow alleyways, traditional hammams and medina pile on the sensory delight. Characterful riads are affordable, especially if you’re traveling with family or a group. Best of all, the food is sensational.

7 United Kingdom

The immediate result of the U.K.’s 2016 Brexit referendum on European Union membership was the pound weakening against pretty much all currencies; that’s good news for those wanting to visit London. Make the exchange rate work even harder by aiming for Devon, Cornwall and big-ticket cities such as Bath, York and Edinburgh.

8 Baja California, Mexico

For many, visiting Baja California still means a quick hop over the border into Tijuana, but that means there’s 745 miles of lessexplored territory farther south. In the north, the wine route through the Valle de Guadalupe is like Napa but a lot cheaper. Meanwhile, towns such as Todos Santos, Loreto, San Ignacio, Mulegé and La Paz offer affordable accommodations.

9 Jacksonville, Florida Jax, as it’s known locally, offers long stretches of the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway and America’s largest city park system, which can be explored on foot, by bike or on a guided kayak tour. Barbecue joints and beachside cafés offer budget- and family-friendly dining, and the city has the state’s lowest hotel rates. 10 Hunan, China Highlights of Hunan province include Zhangjiajie’s amazing sandstone canyon, with almost 250 bizarrely shaped peaks and the world’s longest glass bridge. Another must-see is Fenghuang, a stunning historic town that literally hangs over the Tuo River. This being China, costs can be very low indeed: budget meals and accommodations are in the sub-$10 range.

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Top Top Regions Regions Belfast & The 1 Causeway Coast, The Giant’s Causeway

Northern Ireland

Belfast’s transformation over the past two decades has been remarkable. Today, Northern Ireland’s capital has much more to it than the legacy of the Troubles (though you should definitely visit Crumlin Road Gaol, a working prison until 1996, to get a sense of how scary things became). A city once patrolled by heavily armed troops and dogged by sectarian violence, modern Belfast is full of hip neighborhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all tastes. The rusting old docklands area is now the vibrant Titanic Quarter, home to fancy apartments and a sensational museum devoted to the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Beyond lies the Causeway Coast, whose timeless beauty and high-grade distractions – golf, whiskey and some of the world’s most famous rocks – are more popular now than ever. » Don’t Miss Take the Black Taxi Tours 90-minute tour of West Belfast’s troubled political legacy. The tour covers the key sites, including the famous murals and the infamous “peace wall” erected in 1969 to separate the warring Catholic and Protestant testa communities of West Belfast.


Languedoc– Roussillon, France

» Don’t Miss Wander around the Roman amphitheater in Nîmes, where gladiatorial battles and gruesome spectacles were once staged in front of 24,000 baying spectators.



The charms of the south of France are many and varied: white beaches, blue seas, country markets, maquis-covered hills. The area is littered with Roman ruins, notably the fabulous Pont du Gard aqueduct and the well-preserved ruins of Nîmes and Narbonne. But for too long, Provence and the Côte d’Azur have stolen the limelight; 2018 might be the year that the lesser-known region of Languedoc–Roussillon takes its turn in the sun. Two fashionable new museums are currently in the works – one in Nîmes and one in Narbonne – and they’re set to put this fiery corner of France on the map, although anyone who’s tasted the region’s fabulous food and fine wines really won’t need any extra reasons to visit.

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Bear Lake in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Containing the U.S.’s largest national park (Wrangell–St. Elias), biggest state park (Wood-Tikchik), and the tallest mountain in North America (Denali), the vast, untrammeled wilderness of Alaska is speckled with awe-inducing natural features. The Last Frontier state mixes incredible wildlife with a rough-and-tumble outdoor spirit, satisfying any thirst for adventure. Where else can you spend 20-hour summer days tackling snow-laden mountains, spotting grizzlies or following the path of the Klondike Gold Rush? With increased flight links to many cities, Alaska has never been easier to reach. Recently, the state’s major cruise companies have announced expanded capacities, larger ships and more variety for travelers. Smaller operators, such as Alaskan Dream Cruises, are increasing their itineraries and expeditions, too, allowing more options to spot bald eagles, humpback whales and glacier-studded fjords.

» Don’t Miss With a summit elevation of 20,310 feet, Denali, the highlight of Denali National Park & Preserve, makes for a once-in-alifetime encounter.

Julian Alps, 3 Slovenia

When Hollywood calls to film a fantasy flick on your home turf, you know you hold the keys to an ethereal realm that bests the most advanced computer graphics. Locals in the Julian Alps are quick to point out that their backyards were featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and a slew of other films. This region offers mountain bliss in an overlooked corner of Europe. More than two-thirds of the region is protected by the Triglav National Park mandate, which curbs development along the summits and ensures that infrastructure improvements happen in a slow and studied manner. Once suitable only for the intrepid, the Julian Alps are opening the door to every stripe of traveler. A growing number of locally run operators are pairing pulse-racing treks with upmarket versions of homestays in stylish shepherd digs. » Don’t Miss Ascending Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak, is a rite of passage for adventurous locals. The average active traveler should allow two days to complete the trek with a registered mountain guide.

Kii 5 Peninsula, Japan

Travel to Japan is red-hot. The number of visitors has doubled in the past three years and is only predicted to rise. Since the word is out about this thrilling country, travelers need to dig a little deeper. The Kii Peninsula, which dips down into the Pacific Ocean south of major tourist draws Kyoto and Osaka, offers many of Japan’s most lauded attractions. There are Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, sublime natural scenery and steaming hot springs, traditional culture and modern convenience – without the crowds. But the Kii Peninsula is starting to get noticed, in part because traveling here is remarkably hassle-free. Getting around is easier here than most other places in rural Japan. Walking trails, expertly maintained, are now completely signposted in English, and detailed itineraries, maps and bus schedules are available in English online.

Steps along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail that stretches across Japan’s Kii Peninsula

» Don’t Miss Walk the Kumano Kodo, one of two UNESCO-listed pilgrimage routes (the other is Spain’s Camino de Santiago). You can spend a day or a week on the trails, under a canopy of trees, following in the footsteps of 1,000-plus years of spiritual seekers.

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Positioned photogenically in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a stone’s throw off the tip of Italy’s boot, the Aeolian Islands are a slow-travel paradise. Shaped by their explosive geology, these seven alluring sisters woo visitors with sublime seascapes, volcanic slopes, black-sand beaches and some of Europe’s best coastal walks and dives. Neighboring Salina and Panarea court a refined crowd with their wineries and family-run boutique hotels, while rustic Alicudi is a hermit’s fantasy at the end of the ferry line, where steep mule paths climb from a fishing port past vine-draped adobe houses to the island’s lonely, dormant crater. The Aeolians have been largely off the beaten track but have begun luring wise travelers seeking a good-value Mediterranean break. It’s possible that 2018 could be your last chance to outpace the crowds. » Don’t Miss Nothing compares to a sunset climb up Stromboli, the Aeolians’ most charismatic volcano. A two-hour ascent brings you face-to-face with the fire-spewing crater.

Deep 7 The South Leon’s Oyster Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, is known for its spicy fried chicken.

The Deep South conjures visions of all sorts: thick-columned plantation homes with sweeping verandas from South Carolina through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta; moss-covered cypress trees and alligators in Louisiana bayous; and barbecue smoke drifting from a tumbledown shack in Alabama. The region is also identified historically with slavery and civil rights conflicts. In 2018 it will be 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee; the anniversary has spurred several civil rights-focused sights to open. Foremost is the Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, a stunning structure of suspended columns that pays homage to more than 4,000 documented lynching victims. In Atlanta, King’s birthplace is being refurbished. Meanwhile, New Orleans turns 300, and the Mississippi River city is throwing a multi-event yearlong birthday party. » Don’t Miss Abandon your diet for plates of fried chicken and turnip greens, buttersmothered biscuits and flaky peach cobbler. You can find the region’s pan-crisped, gravyladled staples far and wide, though they might be best enjoyed at a mom-and-pop diner.

A Hindu temple along the Baralacha La, a treacherous, high-altitude mountain pass near India’s Lahaul–Spiti district


Lahaul & Spiti, India

If you like your mountains big, your roads rugged and your landscapes verging on the supernatural, then the windswept valleys running east and west from Keylong are a little piece of Shangri-La. On paper, Lahaul and Spiti look to be easy detours off the road to Ladakh, but in this torturous terrain, every journey is an expedition. Crossing into Spiti involves a breathless climb over the 14,931-foot Kunzum Pass before tumbling into the parched valley of the Spiti River. Kept bone-dry by the rain shadow of the Himalayas, the ochre badlands of Spiti hide some of India’s most spectacular Buddhist art, while wellwatered Lahaul has seldom-visited temples and a back route to Kashmir considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous roads. Long overlooked by travelers rushing to Ladakh, this wild and wonderful area is starting to get the attention it deserves. » Don’t Miss See the monochrome landscape burst into kaleidoscopic color in the mural-cloaked chapels of Tabo, which is the oldest continually operating Buddhist monastery in the Indian Himalayas.



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Bahia, 9 Brazil

» Don’t Miss Sample moqueca, a classic Bahian seafood stew made with shellfish, coconut milk, tomatoes, onion and dendê oil, an African palm oil. Enjoy it with a refreshing caipirinha, the national cocktail.

Located on the northeast coast of Brazil, Bahia is a tropical paradise of white sandy beaches, clear blue water, islands surrounded by coral reefs, plantations rich with cocoa beans, and Chapada Diamantina National Park, famous for its wild waterfalls. But Bahia’s natural playground has become more accessible to tourists, thanks to the face-lift that Salvador, a Portuguese colonial city that’s also the state capital, underwent after being chosen as a host city for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Bahia is ground zero for some of the liveliest festivals in a country that’s famous for them, whether it’s Carnaval, a tribute to a patron saint on his feast day, or a Candomblé ceremony honoring an orisha (deity). Fortunately for travelers, locals are inclusive: everyone is welcome to join the dancing in the street or the party on the beach.

A canyon at Buracão waterfall in Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina National Park


Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic

In the south of Samaná Bay, Los Haitises National Park is a patchwork of craggy islets, blue canals and verdant forest, an ecosystem that appears plucked from prehistory. Perhaps the park’s most unique feature is the series of limestone caves worn ragged with water erosion and streaked with salt. Pass into the yawning Boca del Tiburón (Shark’s Mouth) before swinging around to shore to explore caves that were once ceremonial grounds for the Taíno people; these caves contain well-preserved carvings and paintings depicting animals, deities, medicine men and even the Spanish cross. Los Haitises is hardly a well-kept secret, but visitor numbers are rising: some big hotel projects are brewing nearby, and an updated sustainability plan will enhance infrastructure and preservation, so you’ll be greeted with improved trails and facilities.

Prehistoric-looking Los Haitises National Park is lined with dozens of small islets that are only navigable by boat.

» Don’t Miss Take a motorboat tour through larger waterways and take in pristine views. For a more relaxed approach, embark on a kayaking tour through smaller inlets and mangrove forests, or drift in the open waters at sunrise to catch the best views of abundant bird life.

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1 Oman

Oman is an excellent and gentle introduction to the Middle East. Elegant Muscat offers an insight into a centuries-old way of life: join a traditional wooden sailing dhow cruise, sit and watch fishermen at work, or relax at the beach. Beyond the capital, there are mud-brick villages, forts and castles to explore, and souks where you can hone haggling skills.

2 Norway Thanks to family-friendly resorts and the fact that kids under 8 stay free, Norway is increasingly popular for families with children learning to ski. Throw in Viking museums, theme parks with trolls and fairy palaces, elk safaris and dog-sledding, and a trip to Norway will convert your kids to all things Scandi.

Whether you’re exploring Aztec ruins, watching the kids run around a colonial town square, learning about Frida Kahlo’s art or eating corn on the cob from a street vendor, Mexico is an exuberant and friendly destination. Take the tempo up in fun-loving Mexico City, relax with locals on the beach in Tulum, or ride a train through Copper Canyon (also home to an adventure park with seven zip lines).

5 Emilia–Romagna, Italy Children love Italy. There’s pizza, pasta and gelato, plus a culture that welcomes kids everywhere. But to escape the crowds and really get to know modern and historic Italy, head to Emilia– Romagna: there’s Parma ham and parmesan for your little foodies, the mosaics of Ravenna for budding artists, and photogenic Bologna, with a past to fascinate history buffs.

Best Culture Trips for families Families

3 Namibia Namibia is the perfect place to introduce children to southern Africa. While Namibia is known for wildlife in Etosha National Park, sand dunes at Sossusvlei, and adrenaline sports in Swakopmund, it’s also an excellent place to learn about modern tribal culture (via an organized visit to a Himba settlement). Safari tours typically allow children over 8.

Travel can broaden children’s understanding of other people and societies. Expand the whole family’s cultural horizons with these inspiring trips.

6 Orkney, Scotland The adventurous journey required to reach Orkney will kick-start your family’s immersion into the islands’ fascinating cultural heritage. Once off the ferry you have 5,000 years of history to explore, from the ruins of a Neolithic village at Skara Brae and the Viking legacy at Kirkwall to Orkney’s role in World War II, well documented at the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre. 7 Amsterdam, The

Netherlands In Amsterdam you can experience serious science (at the hands-on NEMO Museum), serious art (Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House Museum both have child-friendly activities) and very serious history (at the famed Anne Frank House and the Verzetsmuseum Junior, which tells the stories of four Dutch children under occupation). For a lighter mood, take a pedal boat on the canals, eat stacks of Dutch pancakes, and burn off energy in the magical Vondelpark.

8 Nashville, Tennessee

There’s no better way to experience country music culture than visiting Nashville, and there’s plenty of kid-friendly activities. The Country Music Hall of Fame, for example, has interactive exhibits and listening booths, and kids love seeing the city from a seat on the Music City Trolley. Meanwhile, the Belle Meade Plantation has a fascinating history and grounds geared for rambling.

9 Brisbane, Australia For a taste of the outdoorsy, barbecue-loving culture that is quintessentially Australian, a trip to Brisbane hits the right notes. Splash around on man-made Streets Beach (perfect for small swimmers) or let off steam at New Farm Park’s treehouse playground. For ancient Australian culture, there’s Aboriginal art in the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art. 10 Kyoto, Japan

In Kyoto there are tons of kid-oriented distractions if the cultural overload is too much. Take the Shōren-in temple, which has carp to count and a bamboo forest to explore in its landscaped gardens. At 400-year-old Nishiki Market you can buy all sorts of Japanese delicacies before heading into a shopping mall for a plate of something more familiar. Playing in a fountain in Mexico City



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Top Top Cities Cities

Once a traffic-congested metropolis resting on its historical laurels, Seville has bloomed into a city of bicycles and modern streetcars, eager to reinvigorate its artistic past. The capital of Andalusia will host the 31st European Film Awards in 2018, and showcases its good looks in the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Adding color to an ongoing artistic renaissance, Seville is in the midst of celebrating the 400th anniversary of homegrown Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, with half a dozen one-of-a-kind expositions continuing into 2018. Whether somber or joyous, life here is always lived passionately. Flamenco artists treat every performance as if it’s their last, operas depict hotblooded heroines and unscrupulous Figaros, and bars and restaurants manage to capture the latest food and fashion trends while standing by their age-old traditions: seriously good tapas.


» Don’t Miss Flamenco, an amalgamation of song, guitar and dance, is partly rooted in Seville and the city puts on high-quality, authentic shows every night of the week.

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Martin Creed’s Work No. 790: Everything is Going to Be Alright is being featured for a second time at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

After decades of neglect, Detroit is rolling again. It’s like the whole place is caffeinebuzzed and freewheeling in ideas. Young creative types jump-started the scene when they began transforming the crazy-huge slew of abandoned buildings into distilleries, bike shops and galleries. This sparked fresh public works, such as the just-opened hockey and basketball arena downtown, and the QLine streetcar that gives easy access to city hot spots. More are coming: three new parks will extend the riverfront trail (ideal for two-wheeling via the new 43-station bike-share scheme in the greater downtown area), plus groovy hotels will emerge from an old wig shop and a forlorn parking lot. Meanwhile, murals keep brightening derelict buildings, urban farms continue to sprout on vacant lots, and chefs keep cooking in inventive restaurants. Scrappiness rules in this gritty city.

Canberra, 3 Canberra, Australia Australia

The Cupping Room coffee shop

» Don’t Miss Step into the sky-lit hall at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where muralist Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry tells the city’s blue-collar labor history in vivid color.

Canberra packs a big punch for such a small city. National treasures are found at almost every corner, and exciting new boutique precincts have emerged, bulging with gastronomic highlights and cultural must-dos. Admire an extraordinary volume of treasures in the Australian National Gallery, National Library and Australian War Memorial. Beyond these stately monuments and galleries, the 617-acre National Arboretum is home to a whopping 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic Australian fauna crisscrossed with walking and cycling trails. Canberra’s picturesque Manuka Oval will host an International Test cricket match in 2018, providing sporting fans the perfect excuse to visit Australia’s federal capital. Later in 2018 the Australian War Memorial will take center stage as it hosts the 100th anniversary of the WWI Armistice; a series of commemorative events will take place on November 11. » Don’t Miss Works from the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art (more than 7,500 pieces) are on display at the National Gallery of Australia.




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The second-largest city in Germany, Hamburg throbs with international beats. At times you’ll forget you’re even in Deutschland, thanks to the city’s unique stew of different cultures. Walk down a pedestrian street and you’ll pass a Portuguese seafood bistro, a Middle Eastern market and a designer boutique that defies categorization. Meanwhile, the stunning $934 million Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which opened in 2017, captivates with its details: the glass top shimmers like crystalline sails, while the base reflects the brick aesthetic of the surrounding historic and oh-so-walkable HafenCity port area. From here, alluringly accessible Hamburg radiates out along its vast harbor and the Elbe River. Surprises abound: three-season riverfront beach bars, nightlife that’s among Europe’s best, and low-rise charms that reward wanderers who use the city’s dozens of old steeples as compass points. » Don’t Miss Early on Sunday, thousands of locals and visitors hit the famed Fischmarkt in the St. Pauli neighborhood. Go there to drink beer, buy fish and listen to German pop music.


Bullerei restaurant in Hamburg is housed in a former cattle hall.


Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Spring and Autumn Pavilions, a Taoist temple complex by Lotus Pond, is a top sight in Kaohsiung.

Taiwan’s second-largest city is a hub of industry. It’s also a modern landscape of wide streets, airy cafés, sultry jazz dens and riverside parks. Beaches skirt the urban area, more than 2,400 acres of forest bristle on its doorstep, and the Cijin fishing village is just a ferry ride away. Like the rest of Taiwan, the city teems with temples, ranging from fun, shrill-colored kitsch to elegant edifices by masters of folk art. A massive arts center and 1 million-plus-square-foot music complex, complete with banyan-caressed plazas and wave-lapped walkways, is emerging on Kaohsiung’s balmy harborfront, Taiwan’s showcase for experimental architecture from around the world. Adding to this will be a spectacular cruise terminal, for those favoring an Odyssean approach to the port city. A sleek 36-station light-rail system links these monuments to the rest of Kaohsiung.

» Don’t Miss Along two sweeping boulevards by a stark blue harbor, banana and bicycle warehouses from the 1970s shelter Pier-2 Art District, an array of galleries, boutiques, cafés and entertainment spots.

6 Antwerp, Belgium

Once northern Europe’s greatest city, today Antwerp is one of its best-kept secrets. Antwerp pairs Bruges-style good looks with big-city cool. The unofficial capital of Flanders is laden with historic riches and home to world-class arts and design, and in 2018 it’s showing its cultural chops with a celebration of its baroque heyday. Inspired by the city’s most famous resident, baroque artist Rubens, Antwerp Baroque 2018 will feature Flemish masters rubbing shoulders with modern talent in a calendar that spans parades, concerts, street art, multimedia shows and workshops. Though Antwerp doesn’t skimp on Belgian classics such as beer, chocolate and the gin-like genever, the port city is unafraid to go all out when it comes to food and drink, especially in the old docklands of Het Eilandje. Its warehouses brim with coffee shops, cocktail bars and restaurants, mingling with hi-tech museums and architectural showstoppers. » Don’t Miss A bike ride of a few hours is enough to explore the old town and docklands, street-art-filled Park Spoor Noord, art nouveau Zurenborg and Antwerp’s left bank, with its postcard-worthy skyline.

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Matera, Italy

A crown of honey-stoned houses perched above a ravine, Matera is stunning. But that’s only half the story: snaking beneath the surface is a labyrinth of cave dwellings, churches and monasteries that date back more than 9,000 years, making it one of the oldest living cities in the world. Located in a remote part of Basilicata, which is at the long-overlooked “arch” of Italy’s boot, the UNESCO-listed site feels bypassed by time. Its alleyways, tunnels and staircases form an Escher-like maze that often doubles for biblical towns in movies. Largely restored from near-ruin, Matera is capitalizing on its cavernous appeal, with hotels, restaurants and bars carving out a scene as cool as their rock-hewn walls. There’s a flurry of events planned ahead of the underground destination’s stint as a European Capital of Culture for 2019.

» Don’t Miss Exploring Matera’s sassi (cave districts) is the highlight of any visit. Strike out alone or with a guide from a tour operator such as Sassiweb or Viator.



Accommodations in Matera’s Sextantio hotel are in large caves.


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Top Cities

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ities op C

i Cit Top Top Cities


Puerto Rico

San Juan is a place where old meets new, where the city’s colonial past meshes comfortably with an emerging modern urbanity. Old San Juan is a walled enclave with cobblestoned roads, leafy plazas, and historic churches and forts. Beyond the walls, modern San Juan is draped with murals, and its museums and galleries form a dynamic art scene. In recent years, many innovative restaurants have opened, with farm-to-table eateries beckoning foodies and casual diners alike. The exuberant nightlife – dance clubs, lounges, bars – has long been a highlight, as have San Juan’s dazzling beaches. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, becoming the biggest storm to impact the island in 89 years. While San Juan did not escape the wrath of the hurricane, there's no doubt that it will rebuild and remain the enchanting city it's always been. » Don’t Miss Simply wandering around Old San Juan, the city’s colonial and historic heart, is a delight. All paths eventually lead to Plaza de Armas, the old city’s main plaza.



San 8 Juan,




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From silver mining to the silver screen, the small city of Guanajuato punches above its weight when it comes to topical appeal. The wealth produced by the local seams of silver created a visually stunning cityscape of ornate churches, pretty squares and colorful houses, spread out over the surrounding verdant valley. This natural and man-made beauty caught the eye of Pixar producers, who used the city as the real-life basis for their animated Land of the Dead in the 2017 film Coco. Other highlights, or lowlights, of this World Heritage City are the creepycool tunnels dug to allow drivers and pedestrians to get around town without navigating the many torturous hills. Back above ground, the city is brimming with architectural wonders and museums, including one celebrating a famous local: artist Diego Rivera.

» Don’t Miss Take part in an estudiantina, a mobile street party that takes place every weekend. Look for the costumed ticket sellers in the city center on weekend afternoons.


10 Oslo, Norway

Oslo’s charms have sailed under the Scandinavian radar for far too long, but this compact capital is rising fast. The Tjuvholmen waterfront area has been reinvented by the city’s biggest urban renewal project. It’s now home to a host of bars and bistros, plus the fantastic Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. It’s one of several architectural experiments that are gradually reinventing Oslo’s skyline: there’s a new high-rise district known as the Barcode, plus a striking extension planned for the Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ship Museum). Along with the rest of the nation, Oslo will toast a landmark event in 2018: the 50th anniversary of Norway’s beloved king and queen. Expect fanfare and pageantry aplenty, along with a packed calendar of events. Also, Oslo’s landmark Opera House is marking its 10th birthday in 2018 with a celebratory season of concerts and performances.

» Don’t Miss Step back in time at the Vikingskipshuset, home to two beautifully preserved Viking longships, the Oseberg and Gokstad, dug up from Oslofjord 1,100 years after they were buried during a chieftain’s funeral ceremony. Fragments of a third ship, the Tune, are also on show. Outside the Oslo Opera House

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Land of Ice

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and Fire Journey deep into the Japanese Alps to discover a place still ruled by nature and ancient traditions. By GABRIELLE JAFFE @GJAFFE Photographs by PHILIP LEE HARVEY @PHILIP_LEE_HARVEY_PHOTOGRAPHER

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A man clears snow in front of his house on the main street of Shirakawa-go.



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The village of Shirakawa-go is made up of traditional A-frame houses, built to resist heavy snowfall.

Suddenly the near-silence is interrupted by a colossal roar as three feet of snow cascades off a rooftop. Fortunately, no one is caught under this mini avalanche. The homeowner soon emerges to shovel the freshly blanketed doorstep. Wearing a yellow oilskin jacket and a conical straw hat to protect against the onslaught of precipitation, he pushes a plow as big as a wheelbarrow. Receiving some 400 inches of snow every year, the village of Shirakawa-gō is one of the snowiest inhabited places on earth. From November to April, snow banks build up to heights taller than any human, and residents must continually battle to keep paths and roads clear. Located in an area known poetically as “snow country,” a conglomeration of provinces to the northwest of the Japanese Alps, this is a village defined by its geography. With some peaks exceeding 9,800 feet, the Japanese Alps create a great mountainous barrier, dividing Honshu, Japan’s main island, into two very different halves. On the eastern side, which gets very little snowfall, cities, including Tokyo, have grown to form a dense urban sprawl. But on the other side, moistureladen winds from Siberia release their icy loads in almighty downpours, and this extreme weather has kept the villages and towns of this region relatively isolated.

These days, snow country can be reached by highway and bullet train from Tokyo in a couple of hours, but this historically cut-off region remains a reservoir of tradition, a place to experience Japanese culture and festivals as they’ve been practiced for centuries.


Arriving at Shirakawa-gō, I am greeted by a scene frozen in time. The stumps of last year’s rice crop poke out from iced-over paddies. A few dozen A-frame homes, some hundreds of years old, stand erect between them. Icicles extend down from their thatched pampas grass roofs like transparent fingers. Built without nails and using only natural materials, these buildings seem to have sprouted organically from the ground, like the shaggy cypress forest surrounding them. Many are now guesthouses and restaurants. Hanging near the entrances, menus painted vertically on wooden boards advertise dishes made with local ingredients: pickled winter vegetables, mountain-gathered mushrooms, and Hida beef cooked on a hot plate. Come dusk, as the anemic sun slips behind the hills, Shirakawa-gō’s snowscape takes on a blue hue, except for the warm yellow glow emanating from the windows. Inside Magoemon, one of the inns, Fumie Suzuguchi lights the open-hearth fire around which she will serve her guests a multicourse meal. Above her, wooden beams, blackened from decades of smoke, gleam like lacquerware. Seemingly simple from the outside, the inn unfolds like a bento box in the interior, with a series of sliding doors compartmentalizing rooms within rooms. Crossing the tatami-matted floor, Suzuguchi slides open one of the doors to the exterior to let in a little air. “Looking outside lifts my spirits,” she says. “I see the mountains and the river and find myself raising my hands in prayer.” Long winter nights spent playing cards and drinking around the fire with few outsiders to interrupt them has kept bonds between the villagers strong. Neighbors come together to help repair the thatched roofs in spring. When someone dies, the entire community sits with the family and makes decorations for the funeral. “To me it feels unnatural to go a whole day only seeing strangers’ faces,” says Suzuguchi of her occasional visits to the distant metropolis where her daughter now lives. “I can only relax once I get back to Shirakawa-gō.” Draping on the traditional yukata robes left in their rooms, guests make their way to the dining area and, for one night at least, are made to feel part of this village family. They kneel in front of trays set out with a dozen small dishes, including miso-roasted tofu, slowgrilled river fish and thin strands of enoki mushrooms, set atop a lit clay pot to cook for themselves. As steam streams off the pot, the cold outside seems far away.

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Even the cities in snow country feel like oversized villages. Heavy-duty snowplows and built-in warmwater sprinklers keep the roads to Matsumoto open through winter, but life still passes at a gentle pace. Encircled by alpine peaks, this city of 240,000 people crouches low to the ground. The six-story, 16th-century castle at its center – the oldest castle of its kind in Japan – remains one of Matsumoto’s tallest buildings. Dusted in snow, its gray-tiled eaves sweep up to meet the sky like the proud crests of a samurai’s helmet. I lose myself for hours clambering up and down the castle’s steep wooden stairs, which are laid out in all directions, like an Escher painting, in order to disorient attackers. It’s easy to imagine heavily armored warriors running along the drafty corridors, hurling projectiles through the narrow windows. Visible through the slits are a pair of swans on the moat below and a white crane gliding just above the water. Wandering through Matsumoto’s quiet streets, past antique stores, stone wells and the clear, carp-filled river, I arrive at Yohashira Shrine, a temple to Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous religion. Locals on their way back from work stop to collect papers inscribed with their fortunes. Others reverently approach the main hall and ring the enormous brass bells at the entrance to send a greeting to the spirits of the shrine. Deep in the gloom of the inner sanctum, a priest in a white robe and crimson skirts is just discernible as he glides past.

Yukiko Saisu, owner of Ryokan Biyunoyado guesthouse, walks through the snow.

TOO MUCH SNOW! As part of our Japan feature, we hoped to see the famous “snow monkeys” of Jigokudani. We arrived at the visitor center full of anticipation, only to find out it wasn’t going to be possible to walk the 30-minute trail up to the hot springs where this troop of macaques bathes. Ironically, there was too much snow to see the snow monkeys. The park is


accustomed to dealing with big precipitation dumps, but the night before we arrived there was a once-in-a-decade downpour. More than 3 feet of snow fell in less than 12 hours. Even with a dozen men with snowplows on hand, the path was not going to be cleared that day. It was also unlikely the monkeys would have made it to the springs in such conditions. At nearly

twice the primates’ height, the 3-foot-deep snow banks would have been a challenge to traverse. We turned to leave more than a little disappointed. But just before we got in the car, we spotted this lone macaque (at right). He’d somehow braved it and made it to branches of trees beside the visitor center. So we got a sighting, of sorts, in the end. – Gabrielle Jaffe

Shintoism isn’t the only religion that found sanctuary in Japan’s mountainous interior. In nearby Nagano, another peak-ringed city, Zenkō-ji is one of the country’s oldest Buddhist temples, dating back to the seventh century. Inside hides the first image of the Buddha ever to make it to Japan: a 1,500-year-old

A wild Japanese macaque (snow monkey) at Jigokudani Monkey Park

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statue considered so holy that it is never shown to the public. Still, the promise of being so close to the divine draws thousands of pilgrims from around the world; they rub shoulders with locals dressed in their finest kimonos. On the day I explore the sprawling complex, a row of verdigris, time-weathered Buddhas are crowned with caps of freshly fallen snow. Water spurting from a mythical dog-lion sculpture steams in the cool air, and worshippers shield against the white flurry with their umbrellas. Unperturbed by the flakes falling on his black robe, priest Takashi Wakaomi stands at the gate of one of the temple lodgings. Before entering, he removes his traditional cloglike footwear. Over tea, served kneeling on the tatami-matted floor, he explains why he thinks Zenkō-ji was built here, far from any historically important cities: “The mountains are a place to meditate away from the distractions of the plains below.” In slow, deliberate phrases, his white beard moving with his mouth as he speaks, Wakaomi says that it is easier to feel a spiritual connection when you are surrounded by nature. “Seeing the seasons change, you understand reincarnation. Even under the snow, buds lie waiting to bloom.”

Yohashira Shrine, a small traditional Shinto shrine in Matsumoto


For hundreds of years, people have been drawn to snow country, seeking not just spiritual renewal but physical succor. The Japanese Alps aren’t ordinary mountains. Volcanic in origin, they harbor a fiery interior and thermal waters in their foothills. “Samurai used to come here to soak and heal their wounds,” says Yukiko Saisu, the owner of Ryokan Biyunoyado, one of the many guesthouses in Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen, a village that has transformed its natural hot springs into dozens of bathhouses. Nowadays Yudanaka is better known as a jump-off for Shiga Kogen ski resort and the nearby Jigokudani Monkey Park, where a troupe of hot-spring-loving wild macaques (aka snow monkeys) have become some of the world’s most photographed primates. But despite the changes that have come in recent decades, cultural



Many of the place names in the Snow Country region have a strong connection to nature. Shirakawa-go means “white river village,” while the traditional written characters for the city of Matsumoto make reference to pine trees. Nagano once meant “distant countryside,” while Nozawa meant “marshy countryside.”

customs dating from the age of the samurai still remain in Yudanaka. The volcanic waters are considered a present from the gods, and the village temples and shrines erected in their honor are still well attended. In scenes that could pass for another era, people totter along the main street in wooden sandals, trying not to stumble in the snow. Reaching their bathhouse of choice, they step through the doors and slip off their traditional robes, letting the warm waters envelope their naked skin. “Japanese travelers love it here but even the local residents prefer to use the public baths instead of the ones in their own homes,” claims Saisu, before shuffling off to attend to guests, her kimono striking a timeless silhouette against the grid pattern of the sliding paper doors.

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Children carrying lit torches during the annual Nozawa Fire Festival

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Young men guard a specially built wooden shrine while others try to set it on fire.

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The centerpiece of the fire festival is constructed over several days.

A visitor soaks in one of the area’s famed hot springs.

Burning offerings during the fire festival

Some 20 miles from Yudanaka, Nozawa Onsen is another hot spring village where the development of world-class ski slopes hasn’t stopped a rich seam of heritage from being preserved. Bordered with thin channels of piping waters, its labyrinthine streets are permanently cloaked in a vaporous veil, and almost every corner is punctuated with a timber-framed public bathhouse. In mid-January, the steam and the snow are met by another primal element, as Nozawa’s 3,500 villagers hold the annual Nozawa Fire Festival, a three-day event culminating in a blazing battle that seems like a scene straight out of Game of Thrones. The day before the main ceremony, Morio Tomii, head of the festival committee, oversees the carving and painting of statues of Dosojin, the guardian Shinto deities in whose name the celebrations are held. “We do this to show respect to the spirits in nature,” he says. “The hot springs are a gift from the mountains. If




“The train came out of the long tunnel into the Snow Country. The earth lay white under the night sky.” These opening lines of Yasunari Kawabata’s classic Snow Country are as renowned in Japan as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” are in English. The novel, which helped the Japanese author win the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature, makes for an evocative read.

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we don’t show our gratitude, we might lose them.” With a full head of white hair, pin-straight posture and few wrinkles, Tomii doesn’t look his 81 years. He proudly notes that he’s been present at more than 70 of the festivals, one every year since he was a young boy, except the period during World War II, when the event didn’t take place. “We pass this from generation to generation,” he says. “The entire village has a part to play.” Across town, a stream of residents filter into the festival site, bringing their household’s offerings. Symbolic papier-mâché daruma dolls, pine branches and cardboard boxes filled with old New Year’s decorations all join the heap, waiting to be burned in the fiery grand finale. Every resident is involved in the preparations but some have a special part to play. Because the numbers 25 and 42 are considered unlucky,



A recurrent theme in Japanese folklore, literature and film is the figure of Yuki-Onna, the “Snow Woman.” Sometimes depicted as a beautiful maiden and at other times an old crone, this humanlike spirit has long black hair, translucent skin and a white kimono. She is said to prey on lost travelers.

the men of these ages are the ones tasked with building the giant shrine that will become the festival’s bonfire. For days they chop sacred beech and cedars from the mountain forests, haul them down the slopes and heave the heavy trunks into position. When the shrine is complete on the final evening they take on the role of sacrificial lambs, guarding the wooden structure while the rest of the villagers take turns running at them with flaming torches. With a name that means “strong cedar mountain” and a burly physique to match, 42-year-old Go Sugiyama presents a perfect picture of stoicism in the face of the upcoming danger. Taking a break from the construction of the shrine, he explains that although the 42-year-olds have to clamber on top of the two-story edifice, it’s the 25-year-olds that have the worse job: they have to encircle the bottom of the shrine, fending off the fire-wielding attackers. “When I was 25, I got so close, the flames burned off my nostril hairs,” Sugiyama recalls. “But the sake alcohol we drink will take away our fear.”

Spectators watch as the shrine is burned.


Come sunset, Sugiyama’s moment of truth arrives. Wearing a worryingly flammable traditional straw hat, cloak and boots, he climbs atop the shrine with the other 42-year-olds. Drumbeats and fireworks presage the battle. During the next two hours, wave after wave of villagers, including Sugiyama’s own 10-year-old son, rush at the shrine looking like they are trying to set it ablaze. From atop the holy pyre, all Sugiyama can do is watch the onslaught below and pray the protective ring of 25-yearolds do their job. It’s a ritual performance that’s been carried out safely for more than a century, but to the outside observer, the attackers appear terrifyingly close to actually burning the men alive. Finally, when everyone has had a go at charging, the ordeal is over. It seems the gods are satisfied. Go and the others are allowed to descend from the shrine before it is finally set afire, sending an enormous fireball into the dark sky. By daybreak, only embers remain. Schoolchildren grill rice cakes over the smoldering pile. By afternoon, the ash will be covered in a thick new layer of snow. All will soon be white again.

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The shrine is about to be set on fire, per tradition, by men in the village.

The morning after the festival, one of the shrine’s builders toasts rice cakes in the ashes of the fire.

School children visit the site to cook rice cakes on the ashes.


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5 3








For this itinerary, the best airport to fly into is Toyama. ANA is the predominant airline flying there from the U.S., typically with a layover in Tokyo, which is about an hour’s flight from Toyama. All destinations mentioned in this feature are connected by buses or trains. For timetables and prices, is a useful transportation planner website. Or, for more flexibility, you can book a Nissan rental car through Japan Experience (from about $45 per day; The weather can be extreme in winter, so reserving snow tires and having experience driving in snowy conditions is a must.

InsideJapan specializes in tours throughout the country. Their 10-night Japanese Alpine Adventure private trip visits Tokyo, Nagano (with an overnight stay in Zenkō-Ji temple lodging), Yudanaka, Nozawa Onsen, Matsumoto, Takayama and Shirakawa-gō (from $2,555; insidejapan Rates include domestic transport between destinations, lodging, some meals and guides on some days.

To see the region blanketed in snow, go between December and early March, although the ski season at Shiga Kogen (near Yudanaka) and Nozawa Onsen can last from late November to early May. The Nozawa Onsen fire festival takes place every year January 13–15. New Year (celebrated December 31– January 3) and Coming-ofAge Day (on the second Monday of January) are also good times to see traditional rituals and festivities across the region as many Japanese don their kimonos and visit shrines at this time.

1. Shirakawa-go

2. Matsumoto

3. Nagano City

4. Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen

5. Nozawa Onsen

Spend a day wandering through the village and surrounding countryside. Shiroyama Observation Point is worth the hike and the free-to-enter Michi-noeki Museum gives an overview of how the traditional houses are constructed (michinoeki

Plan on half a day at Matsumoto Castle ($5.50; 263-32-9202). Nawate-dori, a street lined with antique and artisan shops, and the river beside it, make for a good place to stroll. At nearby Yohashira Shrine, see Shintoism being practiced in a very local, nontouristy setting.

The star attraction in this mountain-ringed city is the sprawling complex of seventh-century Zenko-ji Temple ( Admission is free but a $5 fee is required to access the inner chamber, which contains the main altar and is said to hold the “key to paradise.”

Lifts to Shiga Kogen, one of Japan’s largest ski resorts, are nearby (lift passes from $45 a day; en.shigakogen-ski .com). The Jigokudani Monkey Park ($7; jigokudani, where wild Japanese macaques bathe in hot springs, is a 10-minute drive from the village.

A 45-minute drive from Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen, this village has 13 free public onsen (hot spring) baths, some in the open air and some enclosed in traditional wooden structures. Lifts on the edge of town transport skiers up to slopes (one-day lift pass from $45;

Stay // At Magoemon,

Stay // Hotel Kagetsu

Stay // Ryokan Jonnobi has

mixes local antiques with a minimalist decor (from $100; matsumotohotel

Eat // Almost at the temple’s entrance, Marusei is a good place to fuel up on soba noodle soups (dishes from $5; 262-32-5776).

Stay // Ryokan Biyunoyado

guests sleep on futons (from $95 per person, including two meals; japaneseguest

has spring-fed hot tubs on its roof and a free shuttle to the monkey park (from $220;

private onsen baths and rooms combining Western beds and tatami matting (from $120;

For More: Visit, and, see Lonely Planet’s Japan guidebook ($29.99) or download the “The Japan Alps & Central Honshu” chapter at ($4.95).

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Steeped in history and packed with the punch of New World heat, Mexico’s cuisine covers a vast array of flavors, regions and stories. Get to know them with these south-of-the-border recipes to try at home. ¡Buen provecho! With excerpts and recipes adapted from Lonely Planet’s Mexico From the Source, written by KATE ARMSTRONG, KRISTIN DIAZ DE SANDI, SCARLETT LINDEMAN, JOHN HECHT & MICHELE PETERSON



he story of Mexican cuisine is an epic spanning eras, landscapes and people. It begins in Mesoamerica, with characters from the pre–Columbian cultures of the Aztec and Maya. Today, many local staples come from the Aztec diet, which was






Pismo c

hen Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef and TV personality, made a pilgrimage to Sabina Bandera’s street food cart La Guerrerense for the Baja episode of his show No Reservations, he proclaimed Bandera “a genius” and the food “shockingly good.” There can be no higher acclaim. Bandera is more than thankful for his visit, along with those she receives from other international stars who have made their way to Baja for her seafood-studded tostadas. Originally from the state of Guerrero, Bandera grew up around livestock, making fresh requesón (a ricotta-like cheese) and crema (cream), and enjoying such dishes as

primarily vegetarian and centered around corn. In Yucatán, ancient Maya flavors live on in the often-used ingredients of lime, orange and the notorious habanero chili pepper. The arrival of the Spanish brought domesticated animals and European cooking techniques, giving the nation new twists on old methods, a tradition that continues to this day. Today, Mexico is home to one of the world’s most renowned street food cultures. In Mexico City, antojitos (street-food bites) bestow the streets with scents of homemade salsa, rich onion- and beef-topped chalupas, and woody, blackened corn. Head to Oaxaca for a colorful street food scene with snacks like garnachas, originally served as party food at velas (festivals). Venture to Puebla and you’ll experience the city that gave birth to the chocolate-and-chili mole poblano. A blossoming gourmet scene also has established itself in the country. In Baja California, upmarket seafood, trendy craft breweries and vineyards stretch across one of the world’s largest peninsulas. In coastal

restaurants here, young chefs mix local delicacies like lobster and fish tacos with contemporary Asian flavors. On the Pacific Coast, diners eat on sun-soaked terraces alongside shrimp markets, sampling local fruits, herbs and edible flowers that complement exotic dishes like fish and coconut ceviche. In spite of Mexico’s regional variations, the overriding theme is a collective resourcefulness. Communities unite in preparing for fiestas, where food is created both to feed the masses and deliver a celebratory exclamation point. Dishes come alive in the pueblos, with festivities marking patron saint celebrations, weddings and birthdays – especially quinceañeras (15th birthday celebrations) – think warming chiles en nogada, pork tacos and pots of pozole stew. This is the essence of what makes Mexican cuisine unique: a fusion of Old World and New World; local, fresh ingredients; and a strong sense of community. So pull up a chair. We have some stories – and some recipes – for you.

Serves 4 to 6 Preparation time 10 minutes pozole and cochinita pibil. She had little to no knowledge about mariscos (seafood) until she moved to the port city of Ensenada. It wasn’t until her in-laws, who founded this curbside cart, showed her their seafood ways that she became a maestro in cooking with these ingredients. This internationally known cart has been set up since 1960, and the lines are not slowing down anytime soon. As soon as La Guerrerense came to life, so did Bandera’s passion for creating her own salsas. She began to prepare them from the ingredients in her garden, experimenting with different chilies. Now, these incredible sauces can be purchased from her cart, and are more than worth the trip to her little corner of Baja California. A fond favorite is the chile de árbol with peanuts. La Guerrerense is renowned for its ceviche and tostadas piled high with mariscos, such as sea snail, octopus and sea urchin. For this recipe, the large Pismo clam, and its tenderly sweet meat is topped with local ingredients: pico de gallo, plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice, creamy slices of avocado and just a few drops of hot sauce.

For the pico de gallo 1 tomato, diced 1 white onion, diced 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped salt, to taste To serve 4 to 6 Pismo clams 4 to 6 limes, juiced ketchup, to taste hot sauce, to taste 2 avocados, thinly sliced 1. In a small bowl, mix all of the pico de gallo ingredients together. 2. Shuck open a clam, and cut the meat of the clam away from the shell, then cut the meat into slices. Place the slices of clam meat back into the shell. Repeat for each clam. 3. Add approx 1 Tbsp. of the pico de gallo on top of each serving of clam meat. 4. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the pico de gallo and each serving of clam meat. Drizzle with ketchup and hot sauce to taste. Top with slices of fresh avocado. NOTE: Raw shellfish can pose serious health risks for people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system.

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Michoacรกnstyle tortilla soup

Chef Lucero Soto


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ichoacán’s lovely lakeside town of Pátzcuaro is known first and foremost for its colorful Day of the Dead festivities, but it’s also the birthplace of sopa tarasca (Tarascan soup). The story begins with Rafael García Correa, aka “don Rafa,” a cook working in Pátzcuaro’s Gran Hotel in the 1960s. Don Rafa wanted to create a dish with affordable and accessible ingredients, so he came up with a tomato-based tortilla soup. Little did he know that his concoction would become downright legendary. Nowadays sopa tarasca is a quintessential menu item at markets, diners and even up-market restaurants throughout Michoacán. Lu Cocina Michoacana, 36 miles northeast of Pátzcuaro in downtown Morelia, does one of the finest Tarascan soups around. More specifically it’s a “conde-style” soup, meaning it’s made with a tomato and pureed bean base to go along with the tortilla strips, pasilla chili pepper, avocado and sour cream. The hot soup base is poured into the bowl right at your table, allowing the fried tortilla to keep its crispy texture. Don Rafa would have been proud to know that the ingredients that go into the sopa tarasca here have remained the same for more than a decade. “What we’ve been doing is modifying the dish with new techniques,” says Morelia-born head chef Lucero Soto, “but always doing so with respect for the original elements that go into a sopa tarasca. The recipe has evolved, but the only thing that has really changed over the years is the presentation.” In addition to its exquisite soup, Lu Cocina Michoacana’s privileged location makes the experience even more memorable. Housed in Hotel Casino, an 18th-century neoclassical building that was once home to a swanky casino, the restaurant lies in the middle of a historic center so well preserved that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Serves 4 Preparation and cooking time: two hours, 20 minutes, not including overnight soaking 7 oz. pinto beans, soaked overnight 3 cups water, to cook the beans 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp. onion, cut into large chunks 4 tsp. vegetable oil, for oiling the pot 1 chicken breast with skin ½ cup onion, for the chicken broth, chopped ¼ cup celery, chopped ¼ cup carrot, chopped pinch of thyme pinch of marjoram 1 sprig cilantro, for chicken broth 4¼ cups water, for the chicken broth 3 large pasilla chili peppers ¼ white onion, chopped 1 Roma tomato, whole 2 tsp. vegetable oil, for sautéeing beans & broth salt, to taste 1 sprig cilantro, whole, for beans & broth 1 sprig epazote, whole (optional) 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying tortillas 3 corn tortillas, cut into strips avocado, sliced, to serve ½ cup sour cream, to serve scant ½ cup Cotija cheese (or feta)

1. Cover the beans with water and soak overnight. Drain and reserve. 2. Cook beans in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water, one of the whole garlic cloves and 2 Tbsp. of onion for 40 minutes or until tender. (If using a covered saucepan, it will take approximately two hours.) Remove the garlic and onion when the beans are done. 3. For the broth, add oil to a large pot and then sear the chicken breast, ½ cup of onion, celery, carrot, thyme, marjoram and a sprig of cilantro for 10 minutes. Add the 4¼ cups of water, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the broth and set aside. (Save the chicken breast to shred and serve separately atop tostadas or in tacos.) 4. Remove the stem from and devein one of the pasilla peppers, then chop the ¼ onion and the remaining garlic clove. Cut the remaining two peppers lengthwise (creating four half peppers). Set them aside. 5. Fry chopped onion until translucent, and then add garlic and the one deveined pepper and sauté over medium heat, being careful not to burn. 6. In a small pot, cover the whole tomato with water and boil for five minutes or until soft. 7. In a blender, purée the tomato and its broth with 1 cup chicken broth from step 3, the one pasilla pepper, the onion and garlic mixture from step 5, and the cooked beans. 8. Pour this mixture along with 2 tsp. vegetable oil into a pot and sauté for three minutes, then add the remaining chicken broth. Salt to taste and add a sprig of cilantro and a sprig of epazote. Boil for 30 minutes then remove the cilantro and epazote sprigs. 9. Preheat a pan with 1 cup vegetable oil to medium heat, fry the tortilla strips until crispy, then remove from the pan to a paper towel. 10. To serve, pour soup base into a bowl and add tortilla strips, half of a pasilla pepper, several avocado slices, and top with a dollop of sour cream and 1 Tbsp. of crumbled cheese.

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AL S O TAC R O T S PA p o rk t a c o s ated Marin

Chefs Daniel Ovadía and Salvador Orozco


l pastor (marinated pork) tacos, quite possibly Central Mexico’s favorite snack food, owe their success to Lebanese immigrants who brought the concept of the shawarma (doner kebab) to Mexico in the 1930s. Much like the shawarma, layered meat is grilled on a vertical rotisserie (called a trompo), but in Mexico, cooks use pork rather than lamb or chicken. It’s pretty clear that today’s al pastor looks more like a taco than a shawarma, with corn tortillas replacing pita bread, and spicy chilibased salsas taking the place of, say, tahini sauce. Even the marinade, usually made with achiote and chili, is very Mexican and has little to do with recipes introduced by Lebanese immigrants back in the day. Open-air Paragüero stands out as probably the first restaurant to invent spit-roasted poc chuc, also a marinated pork taco but seasoned with a Yucatán-style recado spice blend and topped with pickled onions.


Paragüero’s chefs Daniel Ovadía and Salvador Orozco, partners in 10 Mexico restaurants, including Mexico City’s trendy Nudo Negro, have taken al pastor to another level. High-quality pork is marinated overnight, allowing the meat to retain its moistness while it’s rotated on the spit. Once the al pastor is grilled, the taquero slices down the meat onto a warmed, handmade tortilla. Then you top the fragrant pork with chopped cilantro, diced onion, refreshingly sweet pineapple chunks and salsa taquera for a zesty kick. Good tacos al pastor should never be dry. So what’s the secret to making great tacos al pastor? “We make the marinade more aromatic than what you find at taquerias,” Ovadía says. “We use cinnamon, oregano, fresh orange and pineapple juice, and the pork should always be marinated overnight to tenderize the meat. We do a taqueria-style presentation but it’s our own interpretation.”

Makes 18 to 20 small tacos Preparation and cooking time: one hour, not including overnight marinating For the marinade 3½ oz. fresh orange juice 3½ oz. fresh pineapple juice 1 Tbsp. Guajillo chili 6½ Tbsp. (3 oz.) achiote powder 1 tsp. garlic, chopped ½ cup white onion, chopped 3 whole peppercorns 1 cinnamon stick pinch of oregano 2 tsp. white vinegar 2 Tbsp. lard 2¼ lb. pork leg, preferably with fat, cut to ¼-inch fillets

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For the salsa taquera 3½ oz. jalapeño chili 3 Tbsp. white onion 1 tsp. garlic ⅔ cup vegetable oil ⅔ cup water salt, to taste pepper, to taste ½ cup avocado For the tacos ¼ pineapple, chopped ½ onion, diced 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped 20 small corn tortillas 1. Devein the chili, removing the seeds. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the chili, boiling for 10 minutes. 2. Remove the chili from the saucepan and blend with all the marinade ingredients, except the lard and pork. 3. In a pot, combine the lard and marinade mixture and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Strain when done and set aside. Allow to cool. 4. Submerge ¼-inch-thick pork fillets in the marinade and let sit overnight. 5. For the salsa, boil the chili, onion, garlic and ¼ of the oil in water for 10 minutes and let cool. Then blend the mixture with salt, pepper, remaining oil and avocado until smooth. 6. On a griddle or a grill over medium heat, cook the pork until the meat is well done and slightly charred on both sides. 7. Chop the pineapple into small chunks, dice the onion and chop the cilantro. 8. Lay thinly sliced cuts of the pork onto warmed tortillas and top with onion, cilantro and pineapple. Serve with salsa.

Tip Assuming you don’t have a spit at home, chef Ovadía recommends cooking the marinated meat over a grill or a griddle. Be aware that the marinade can burn quickly, so cook over medium heat.

AGUA FRESCA: LIMÓN CON CHIA Lime & chia seed cordial


guas frescas are cold, nonalcoholic drinks consisting of water flavored with fruits, flowers, grains and sugar. While these colorful refreshments are served all over Mexico, they are particularly popular in Oaxaca, due to the seasonal heat and prevalence of fruits. Of the many flavors, one of the most refreshing is limón con chia (lime with chia seeds) and Señora Irinea Valera’s stall, Aguas Frescas Casilda, sells gallons of it weekly. Valera’s family has been running the stall since 1926, after her grandmother, Casilda, started it as a 16-year-old. “Because there was no ice, they used to keep the aguas [water] cool in ollas [large clay jugs] that were immersed into damp sand in a wooden pan. They started with three flavors only, one was limón con chia. My aunt and grandmother added flavors: jamaica [hibiscus flower], tamarindo [tamarind], sandía [watermelon], ciruela [plum] and zapote [fruit native to Mexico],” she says. Today, Aguas Frescas Casilda serves around 20 flavors, or 30 to 35 with combinations. Some believe flavored water originated with the Aztecs, who used a water and mashed fruit combination to sustain themselves on long journeys. Valera says

that for years fruit drinks have been important to religious occasions, particularly Easter. “It’s a tradition here during Semana Santa [Easter Holy Week] to gift the church with water.” This is based on the Biblical story of a young woman who tried to give Jesus a drink of water on the way to the cross. “But people also drink aguas frescas at any time because they like it. It’s very popular in the afternoons when they’re in the market to eat. And of course, in the hot weather – March, April, May. And Saturday is busy with the people who come from the pueblos [surrounding villages],” Valera says. The limón con chia may not be as colorful as the other aguas frescas flavors, but it’s guaranteed to quench a thirst. Serves 10 Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes (not including three-hour soaking of limes) 15 limes 4 cups water, for soaking limes 2 quarts water, for the drink 3½ oz. chia seeds ½ cup water, for soaking chia seeds sugar, to taste ice, to serve 1. Wash the limes, put in a large dish and cover them in water. Leave to soak for around three hours (this makes it easier to grate them). Discard this water. 2. Grate the limes over a bowl, ensuring you don’t get too much of the pith, and capture the small amount of juice that might escape as you do this. (In Mexico this is done in a chirmolera – a special pottery grinding bowl – but a normal grater is fine.) Put the zested whole limes aside. 3. Strain the lime zest through a muslin cloth. (You may have to squeeze it a little at this point to extract juice.) Discard the lime zest and keep the small amount of juice. 4. Pour 2 quarts water into a jug. Add the small amount of lime juice and sugar to taste. 5. Prepare the chia seeds by soaking them for about five minutes in a little water to soften them. 6. Drain the chia seeds and stir them into the lime and water mixture. 7. Add ice as desired, and serve.

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Slowroasted pork

Chefs Marcello Silva and Aida Santoyo Fernandez and daughter Veronica Silva Santoyo, at right

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Serves 10 Preparation and cooking time: 3½ hours


f you’ve followed the peregrinations of cochinita pibil in Valladolid over the past 50 years, you’ve no doubt kept tabs on El Gallo. For 28 years it operated out of a cart parked in the city center plaza. In 2010 it relocated to another street corner then, relatively recently, the cart found a new home in a small room off Calle 46, in downtown Valladolid. And where were they even before the city center? The Silva family, Marcello Silva, 82 years old, his wife Aida Santoyo Fernandez, and their progeny, pause to think. “Before that, we were off to the side of the main plaza. The city has moved us around a bit throughout the years,” recalls Santoyo. It’s a long history filled with exceptional cochinita pibil, pork rubbed with recado rojo, a paste given its characteristic orange from achiote, a pebbly seed from the spiny pod of the achiote tree. The cochinita is cooked offsite, in two wood-fired ground ovens on the grounds of the family’s house. The pork goes in early, cooks for six hours, and then is pulled out, shredded and brought to the restaurant. Their cochinita is redder and more robustly seasoned than most of what is served in nearby Mérida. The meat is so tender it seems to fall apart with a mere glance. Silva shreds it all, carefully, by hand. Veronica, his daughter, laughs as she says, “We like to say that the flavor is in his hands.” For tacos, tortillas are filled and rolled into slim cylinders. Also on the menu are volcanes (finger-length corn masa fritters stuffed with beans), topped with the cochinita. The Silvas bake their own bread for their tortas, called pan frances: the loaves are toasty brown and squared off on the ends. They have a crunchy exterior and squishy insides, perfect to saturate with cochinita drippings.

For the pork 4½ lb. boneless pork meat, loin, leg or shoulder, cut into large pieces 2 Tbsp. salt 1½ cups hot water 2 cups water tacos/tortas, to serve (optional) For the recado rojo 1 Tbsp. achiote seeds ⅓ cup orange juice 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds 1 Tbsp. cloves 1 Tbsp. allspice berries 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon 1 Tbsp. dried oregano 1 dried avocado leaves (or 1 Tbsp. fennel seeds, if unavailable) 2 large garlic cloves 1 Tbsp. salt

7. Add 2 cups of water to the pan. This will prevent any burning. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and let roast for two hours. 8. After the pork has been cooking for two hours, check and make sure the pork is moist and not burning. Add a splash of water to the pan if it looks dry. Continue to cook for another hour, then remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to be shredded by hand. 9. Serve the pork in tacos, tortas or on its own on a large plate.

1. To make the recado rojo, soak the achiote seeds in the orange juice in a small bowl until softened, about 15 minutes. 2. Toast the coriander, cumin, cloves, allspice and black peppercorns in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until fragrant, which takes two to four minutes. Let cool, then pulse in a spice grinder until finely ground. Mix with the cinnamon and set aside. 3. Pulse the oregano and avocado leaves in the spice grinder until fine, then sift through a fine-mesh sieve (to catch any fibers that weren’t chopped up by the grinder) and set aside. Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle until a rough paste forms. 4. Combine the achiote seeds with the orange juice, the spices and garlic paste in a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. 5. Preheat the oven to 420°F. Place pork in a large roasting pan. 6. Mix the recado rojo with the salt and hot water, then rub the mixture all over the pork with your hands, making sure to coat and cover all of the pieces. If the recado is too firm to work by hand, place in a blender with a splash of water to loosen it a bit. Puree and then proceed with marinating the pork.

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Iceland’s wild western coast has bred a long line of storytellers, who shared tales of superhuman Vikings and meddlesome spirits across the millennia. Journey just off the beaten path to meet the people keeping the tradition alive and experience the landscapes that inspire them. By AMANDA CANNING @AMANDACANNING Photographs by JONATHAN GREGSON @JONATHAN.GREGSON


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THE MAN WHO LIVES WITH TROLLS It’s a clear day when the two trolls set out on their journey. Snow sits on the distant mountains, but the valley is green and full of summer. Frazzled hair running amok above pale faces, the pair bobs merrily through the hills. Their journey soon comes to an abrupt halt as a giant hand swoops in from above and yanks them into the firmament. “So this is my little theater,” explains Ingi Hans, inspecting the wooden puppets in the

playhouse he conjured up from bits of scrap and uses to entertain children in his hometown of Grundarfjörður. He wheels the playhouse across the floor of his workshop – a building known to everyone in the region as the Storyteller’s Lodge – to join the other paraphernalia he’s amassed over the years: old cash machines, ships’ lanterns, tin cars, leather-bound books, vintage Barbie dolls still in their boxes. Hans, the thin strip of white beard running down his chin lending him a faint air of wizard, has been collecting and telling stories his entire life. “My father was a fisherman, and every day I would visit an old man at the harbor who was fixing the nets,” he says, hands clasped around a freshly brewed mug of coffee. “He was always telling stories. My father would come home from the sea and I would share them with him.”

The largely frozen waters of Kirkjufellsfoss, a waterfall that sits in the shadow of Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula

The door swings open and his young grandson comes in, a whirl of snow blowing through behind him. He heads straight to the theater and starts playing with the trolls. “Here we are all storytellers,” Hans says. “Maybe it’s our Celtic heritage, but our landscape and long winters also have an effect. We started to collect myths, to bring them back to life, to help us through the cold nights.” I ask him if he believes in the huldufólk, the mysterious “hidden people” (often incorrectly translated as “elves” in English). “I have not much experience of them,” he says, “but if you reject everything you don’t know, you believe in nothing.” He points out of the window to a dark mountain beyond the town. “Of course, we have many trolls in Iceland and you see them everywhere.” He traces the craggy ridges of the rock’s upper reaches with his finger. “That’s a female troll right there.” Winter 2017

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Icelandic horses, found all over the west, were brought over by the country’s first settlers in the 9th century.


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The road out of Grundarfjörður follows the coast west – slick, black and solid in a land of murk. Color is hard to come by in the thick of winter on Snæfellsnes: stiff golden blades of grass rise through the snow on the black beaches ringing the peninsula; and 3-footthick ice sheets dripping down rock faces glow turquoise, as if lit from within. At dawn, a stripe of electric pink momentarily enlivens the pallid sky above Kirkjufellsfoss, a stack of waterfalls guarded by a mountain in the shape of a witch’s hat. Water emerges beneath a thick hood of ice at the falls’ edge, collecting in black pools below. Broken icicles litter the ground like abandoned swords. “In Iceland, we say icicles are Grýla’s candles,” says Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir, picking her way over the frozen ground. “She was an ogre, and her 13 sons, the Yule Lads, terrorized children for

13 days before Christmas. She ate her first two husbands.” As manager of Snæfellsnes Regional Park, Sigurðardóttir is fascinated by the link between landscape and myth. Like many native Icelanders, she can trace her family tree back to the country’s first Viking settlers, who rowed over the ocean from Norway more than a millennia ago. “Iceland doesn’t have an architectural heritage but we do have a heritage of storytelling,” she says, her flame hair riffled by the rising wind. “We can go to any place and know who lived there, who they loved, who were their enemies.” Adventurers and pioneers, and often renegades and social outcasts, the people who made it to these shores had a propensity for hyperbole, and embellished their reputations with claims of superhuman strength to keep their farms safe from marauders.

Their legend grew more fantastical with every successive retelling through the generations. The saga of one of the region’s first settlers, Bárður Snæfellsás, was first written in the 15th century, and tells of a man whose father was half-giant and whose daughter was set adrift on an ice sheet to Greenland. Snæfellsás himself became a half-troll and is said to live in Snæfellsjökull glacier, atop the flat volcano that squats over Snæfellsnes peninsula. “There is a lot of magic in our stories and in our nature,” says Sigurðardóttir, as a pale, part-time sun inches above the horizon. “It’s alive in all of Iceland, but especially here. On every farm, on every mountain, there is a story with some magic in it. People are reluctant to talk about it because they don’t want to look stupid . . . but the stories always come out eventually.” Winter 2017

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Hildibrandur Bjarnason with some of the family heirlooms that make up his museum

THE HULDUFÓLK & THE CANDLESTICK A deep waft of ammonia arises as Hildibrandur Bjarnason leads the way through Bjarnarhöfn. Bjarnason is the latest custodian of a farm that has stood on this patch of land for more than 1,100 years. Machinery lies half buried in the snow on fields that slope down to a wide, islandflecked bay. Nine hundred years ago, traders from northwest England landed here to buy fish, fish oil and meat. Visitors still come today, but for one product alone: hákarl, Iceland’s infamous fermented shark dish. The brown hunks of meat have been hanging from rafters in a tin barn open to the elements for the past four months. Bjarnason, cheeks whipped red and white hair bullied by a bitter wind, slices a strip with a penknife and we try it: it’s not unpleasant, a bit like a very ripe blue cheese. Eager to share Bjarnarhöfn’s other riches, Bjarnason heads into the museum he and his son Guðjón have set up in one of the outbuildings. It is brimming with artifacts from their family, collected generation after generation: taxidermy seabirds, a wooden fishing boat, knitting machines, shoes made from fish skin, pans for boiling potatoes, plus harnesses, ropes and tools. “We weren’t planning to go into tourism,” Guðjón says, “but people started coming to take a look, and it grew like a snowball.”


The family’s most treasured possession is not, however, on display. Hildibrandur’s eyebrows shoot up in excitement when conversation turns to the farm’s inhabitants. “There are six people registered here,” he says, “but many more live here. I feel them around, and many people have seen them.” He stands at the window and gazes out toward the bay, hands buried in baggy jeans, and tells of a relative who, long ago, woke in the night to find a huldu man at her bedside asking for help with his wife’s labor. She went with him, and the baby came and was healthy. The huldufólk were poor and only had a candlestick to give as a thank-you. “When she wakes,” says Hildibrandur, “she has blood on her hands, her feet are dirty, and the candlestick is on the table.” He takes out his

cell phone and shows me a photo of a brass candlestick. “The family still has it. It is always polished and in the center of the table, and with it comes good fortune.” Guðjón smiles the slightly skeptical smile of a man who’s heard the story many times, but concedes that the old beliefs have a way of taking hold out here, on a remote farm in a remote corner of a remote island far out in the Atlantic. “There’s a lot on the farm that we can’t explain,” admonishes Hildibrandur, heading out to feed the animals. “When we follow the sheep, why does one suddenly turn around for no reason, for example? It is the huldufólk.” With that, he is out the door. We watch him shuffle through the snow toward the ducks and chickens. Perhaps we are not the only ones looking on.

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The lava fields that surround historic Bjarnarhöfn farm

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THE FARMER & THE HOLY GRAIL Several hours’ drive north along a crinkled coastline lies a spit of land even more cut off than Snæfellsnes. Mist-clad mountains, through which it’s possible to travel for hours without seeing another soul, give way to broad valleys traced with rivers whose waters won’t flow again until late spring. Small herds of Icelandic horses stand in frozen fields, pawing at the snow or gathering to nibble on hay bales. Out on the Atlantic, eider ducks coast on the wind, spending the winter far from land. In May, they will fly into Breiðafjörður Bay, shed their feathers, and build nests from them for their eggs. Waiting for them each year is Snorri Victor Gylfason. At least 30 generations of Gylfason’s family have lived and worked at Skarð, a farm of nearly 20,000 acres, including 67 islands particularly attractive to eider ducks. In the summer, the family rows out to the islands,


Western Iceland is snowbound from November until April.

replaces the feather nests with wool, and then retreats to a farm workshop, where the cloud-soft down is used to fill bedding. The Rolls-Royce of duvets, a king-size eider-duck quilt retails for 3,000,000 kronor (about $28,600). And yet the feathers may be the least valuable thing at Skarð. Gylfason pulls out a large iron key and unlocks the door to a small church behind the workshop. It swings open to reveal wooden pews, a curved ceiling

splashed with stars, and an elaborate carved altar, much coveted by the National Museum of Iceland. “The government is always trying to get our stuff, but we won’t let them have it,” Gylfason says with a laugh. The family’s story is recorded in a book made of calfskin, now held at the national museum, and recounts tales of English pirates, Norwegian kings, slaves and thieves, beheadings and betrayals. Gylfason’s ancestors certainly picked up some trinkets along the

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Snorri Victor Gylfason holds a ball of eider duck feathers collected at Skarð farm.

way. Gylfason pulls out a priest’s 400-year-old robe (“The national museum told us, at least keep it in a cupboard so it doesn’t get ruined”) and a battered old violin (“only seven generations old”). He saves his favorite object until last: a golden chalice. “This is what I call the Holy Grail. We believe the settlers brought it with them in AD 900. All the family have their first drink of wine from this cup. We don’t use crystal – that’s for poor people!” He laughs again. “But I’m not much interested in

Christian history. I’m much more interested in Odin and Thor, and all those guys.” He seals up the church and heads back to work: some of the farm’s 600-strong flock of sheep wait to be herded inside for the night. My inevitable question about huldufólk is greeted with a smile. “There are many stories about them,” he says. “They are all true, of course.” We stroll down to the bay, a break in the clouds casting an ethereal shaft of light on

the waters in front of us. “But with the long history of the farm and the church, and all the things that have happened here, everyone in this family is really scared of ghosts,” he says. “Strange things go on all the time. People think they are being followed on dark nights. If something bad happens, people say it is Skarðskata, the ghost of Skarð.” Not wishing to meet Skarðskata, we hurry home before dark falls, the farm’s horses watching silently from the fields as we pass. Winter 2017

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The 19th-century church at Búðir, which hosts some 100 weddings each year

THE PRIEST & THE DARK SHORE The church at Búðir is still very much a working concern, rather than a depository of family treasures. The simple wooden chapel, overlooked by mountains and with the Atlantic roaring up the beach nearby, has become a popular wedding spot, and Reverend Páll Ágúst has just finished marrying a young British couple, drawn to the wilds of western Iceland. “It’s really raw here,” Ágúst says,


settling into a pew. “People like that it’s in the middle of nowhere.” Local belief has it that Ágúst shares the lava fields surrounding his church with many huldufólk. “I don’t believe it myself,” he says with a cheerful smile. “But belief in God doesn’t have to exclude belief in the huldufólk.” He locks up for the day, ready to visit one of the other seven churches in his parish. “Icelanders are fantastic storytellers,” he says. “And the huldufólk are a great story. When you live in the countryside with no connection with the bigger part of the world, it is easy to believe in something that lives in the wind or in the storm.” Ágúst sets off in his car, and I follow him around the coastal road for a while, stopping at the beach at Djúpalónssandur. A steep path leads down from the cliffs through a natural rock arch to the shore, like a gateway to the underworld. Black pebbles shiny as pearls cover a beach littered with the bones of a British trawler, wrecked one stormy night

in 1948, with most of the crew lost. The rising tide crashes against the rock stacks that protrude from the ocean, the spray blowing inland in ghostly formations. In the deepening gloom, the cries of the gulls wheeling above sound increasingly like screams, and the dark cliffs looming behind the beach are suddenly menacing, a barrier to safe passage out. It’s clearly time to go. Four sheep appear on the beach, poking about the rusting metal of the shattered fishing boat. They look up and stare, then turn and walk back up through the pass in single file: white sheep, black sheep, white sheep, black sheep. As we climb, they pause several times and turn their heads back, as if to check that I’m still behind. Emerging through the rock arch and delivered back to the sanctuary of high ground, I find they’ve vanished. I salute gods both Christian and Norse, men and huldufólk, ghosts and trolls, then climb into my car, and drive away.

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Delta, Icelandair and Wow Air are among airlines flying direct from the U.S. to Iceland. Other airlines flying to Iceland include Air Canada, American Airlines and United. It’s a five- to seven-hour flight from North America. You’ll want to rent a car to fully explore the west of Iceland and, in winter, a 4WD is essential (from about $230 per week; Roads can be icy, so make sure your hotel knows where you’re going, and that you have emergency numbers with you.


Pick up your rental car at Keflavík Airport and then head north along the coast to the Snæfellsnes peninsula; the drive should take around three hours. On the way, stop in at the Settlement Center in Borgarnes, which has entertaining exhibitions on the sagas, with plenty in English ($24; english It’s also an excellent place to stop for a meal, with assorted dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, from lobster tails to lamb, on the menu (from $11).


Spend your first night in Hótel Framnes in the coastal town of Grundarfjörður. Rooms are warm, quiet and comfortable. The real highlight is the food, which might include lamb, blackened cod and skyr pudding, and daily seafood specials fresh from the harbor. The hotel also offers a northern lights wake-up call and can arrange whalewatching trips (from $180;


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Spend the day exploring the north coast of the peninsula. Be sure to visit Kirkjufellfoss waterfall and stop in at the Storyteller’s Lodge in Grundarfjörður so Ingi Hans can share some Icelandic tales ( Bjarnarhöfn farm is a 15-minute drive away. Few can resist sampling the fermented shark, and the museum is full of fascinating farm and fishing antiques (


The following day, head farther around the coast to the black lava beach of Djúpalónssandur and the sea stacks at Lóndrangar. Búðir church is farther along the coast; it’s not often open, so stroll around the surrounding lava fields and peer in through the windows if your luck’s out. Hótel Búðir overlooks the church and serves excellent dishes, primarily lamb and fish (from $40;


It’s time to move on to your next hotel: the drive to Vogur Country Lodge on Breiðafjörður Bay takes 2½ hours (from $230; On your way north, be sure to visit Eiríksstaðir, which recreates a 10thcentury longhouse. It’s normally closed in winter so call ahead and see if manager Siggi is around to open it for you (


At Vogur, comfortable rooms, in pared-back modern Nordic style, are in old cow sheds, and the dining room is in a former barn. The walls are decorated with farming implements and cow skins, and the floor warmed by underfloor heating. Food is a highlight here, as is the opportunity to watch the northern lights from the hot tub. A visit to Skarð farm, to learn about eider duck down and the family’s own centuries-old personal sagas, can be arranged through the hotel.

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Iceland guidebook ($27.99); download the “West Iceland” chapter from ($4.95).

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Great Escape CHILE Stretching from the belly of South America to its foot, Chile – the No. 1 country on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 list – is nature on a colossal scale. Travel here is surprisingly easy if you don’t rush it. Start amidst the granite spires of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, and then travel north to Valparaiso, a poetic and boisterous seaside town. Succumb to the spiritual magnetism of the Elqui Valley before striking out for the arid canyons and volcanoes of the Atacama Desert. BY OLIVER SMITH @OLISMITHTRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHILIP LEE HARVEY @PHILIP_LEE_HARVEY_PHOTOGRAPHER

1 Witness Patagonia’s mountain masterpiece in Torres del Paine National Park.

2 Ascend the famed hillsides of Valparaiso, Chile’s bohemian port city.

3 Follow the Chilean hippie trail to the vineyards and starry skies of the Elqui Valley.

4 Explore the parched wilderness of the Atacama Desert, known as the driest place on Earth.

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Torres del Paine National Park Head to the Patagonian wilderness to paddle among icebergs in the shadow of mighty granite peaks. The Andes pass many spectacular landscapes on their 4,000-mile journey along South America’s spine. There are the terraces of Machu Picchu in Peru, the green hills that rise from the Caribbean in Colombia, and the first tributaries of the Amazon basin. But it is at the southernmost point of the continent where the mountains reach their grand finale – and save the best for last. Torres del Paine National Park is the geological masterpiece of the Andes; it is a place where the weather patterns of the Pacific and Atlantic converge, destroying hikers’ tents and sculpting granite mountains into crooked, forbidding forms. Once a backwater of remote cattle herders, guanaco herds and the odd puma, the park now brings in adventurers for trekking, mountaineering and horseback riding in this little Mordor at the end of the world. Among them is Cristian Oyarzo, a local with an infectious grin and a salt-and-pepper beard, who has pioneered a different way of exploring the park. “With a kayak you can get to places no one else can,” he says, casting off from a pebbly beach on the shores of Lake Grey. “You get a different perspective when you are down on the water.” We glide out onto the lake, passing forests of Antarctic beech that reach down to the shore. Snowy summits appear between gaps in the storm clouds; among them are the vertical spires of rock – towers, or “torres” – that lend the park its name. Ahead are more icy pinnacles: icebergs afloat on the lake, sailing southward, carried by the wind. “Every time you paddle among icebergs it is different,” Oyarzo says. “They are always changing



STAY // Tierra Patagonia's high-design wooden structure merges with the surrounding landscape. Rates include meals, drinks, transfers and guided excursions, including horseback riding, hiking and fishing (from $950 per person; A number of simple mountain refuges are spread across Torres del Paine National Park, most catering to hikers tackling the park’s famous “W” trek. Among the best is Refugio Grey, offering simple bunkrooms at the northern end of Grey Lake (from $75, including meals; Kayak en Patagonia, founded by local explorer Cristian Oyarzo, offers a number of kayaking itineraries in and around the national park, including a daylong guided tour of Grey Lake and its icebergs (from $260 per person; kayaken

forms and color. Once you paddle among them, you never want to return to land.” The icebergs are vessels made of millennia-old ice: broken fragments of the massive Grey Glacier, which begins in the Patagonian Andes to the west and terminates at the lake’s northern reaches. The glacier – one of the park’s most spectacular – is a branch of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, one of the world’s largest expanses of ice. At 6,500 square miles, it is a frozen wilderness so vast and unchartered that neither Chile nor neighboring Argentina can decide precisely where their territory ends and begins. It is, however, under threat: the Grey Glacier is rapidly shrinking, decreasing in width and thickness as a result of climate change. Closer to the icebergs, the creaking of ice is audible above the splash of kayak paddles. The icebergs’ warped shapes bring to mind a Salvador Dali sketch or a Pink Floyd album cover. Some are pristine white; others have strata of deep blue. Some are the size of a double-decker bus, though few survive longer than a few days before they are small enough to fit in a beer glass. Frequently, they can be seen calving, or breaking apart. On more than one occasion, Oyarzo heard a sinister rumbling up above and had to frantically paddle out of the way of a collapsing tower of ice. “This is the way to see the ice in Patagonia,” he says. “When you come so close you can touch it.” The icebergs sparkle in the afternoon sunlight, as little waves lap against their base. Oyarzo puts down his paddle, and for a few moments joins them in their slow, silent drift along the cold waters of the lake.

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A storm over the Cordillera Paine range; icebergs on Grey Lake // Opposite: the lobby of Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa

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Valparaiso’s Cerro Alegre neighborhood // Opposite: Ascensor Artillería, built in 1893, offers panoramic views of the city.

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From Torres del Paine, it’s a 90-minute drive to Puerto Natales airport, a three-hour flight to Santiago and another 90-minute drive to Valparaiso. Alternatively, pack some snacks for the nonstop 40-hour road trip northward through Chilean and Argentine Patagonia.

Valparaiso Scale the hills and wander the waterfront of Valparaiso, Chile’s poetically disheveled port town. Luis Segovia yanks a lever, and a commotion begins beneath his feet. It starts with a gentle shuttering, before growing to a symphony of rattling cogs, creaking wheels and spluttering engines – the soundtrack to Valparaiso life, in one form or another, since the mid-19th century. “It is a joy doing my job,” says Segovia as he watches a car full of beaming passengers inch down the hillside before him. “My life belongs to these funiculars; they are the spirit of our city.” For four decades, Segovia has been a funicular operator in Valparaiso, a city that claims the peculiar distinction of having the highest concentration of these contraptions anywhere in the world. Their existence is partly owing to the city’s location – straddling a range of steep hills in central Chile’s Pacific coast. But in many ways they mirror the character of the city they serve: unorthodox, scruffy, full of legends. The port of Valparaiso was once known as the Jewel of the Pacific. Families from across Europe emigrated to make their fortune here in the 19th century, growing rich on shipments of California gold and building mansions from whose verandas they could watch cargo ships bobbing out at sea. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 suddenly rendered Valparaiso useless as a port, and ever since then the city has been in a state of graceful decay. Today, weeds and stray cats occupy grand townhouses where prosperous merchants once lived, and glassless windows look out over empty wharves. The town’s aura of melancholy has inspired painters, musicians and poets. No resident was more famous than Chile’s greatest writer, Pablo Neruda, who called Valparaiso


STAY // Hotel Palacio Astoreca occupies a restored hilltop mansion, close to the lively cafés and restaurants of the Cerro Alegre neighborhood. Stylish rooms feature mid-century furniture, giant bathtubs and bay windows with views over city rooftops (from $245; hotel A ride on the Ascensor Barón costs about 15 cents. Other funiculars worth a visit are the Ascensor Artillería (40 cents), which has excellent views as it scales the hill to reach Valparaiso’s Maritime Museum, and the Ascensor Concepción, one of the oldest in the city, soon to reopen following restoration.

“a wonderful mess,” adding, “How absurd you are . . . You haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.” Once a symbol of modernity and progress, Valparaiso’s funiculars also fell on hard times. Of around 40 that were built (no one seems to know exactly how many), only nine are operational today. Fortunately, a slow process of restoration is underway. The funicular that Segovia is operating, the Ascensor Barón, underwent a full refurbishment five years ago that restored its century-old German machinery back to full working order. “Every neighborhood identifies with its own funicular,” Segovia explains as another car hauls into view. “Funicular operators know all their customers too. Many romantic encounters have taken place here. Couples sometimes rendezvous in a funicular car and go their separate ways. I even met my wife on a funicular.” During a ride on the Ascensor Barón, the view quickly expands from chaotic city streets to serene heights where the sea breeze wafts through open windows. The frigates of the Chilean Navy appear in the distance; closer, the view encompasses hilltop palaces with turrets, church spires and thousands of pastel-colored houses cascading down the hillsides. Other funiculars offer a more intimate view of the city: you can rattle in among laundry lines and chimney tops, sneaking a glimpse into living rooms where families watch TV. There is nowhere better than a funicular to ponder the fortunes of Valparaiso, a city capable of giddy heights, but also prone to sudden rises and falls.

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From Valparaiso, take a six-hour drive north on Highway 5, before bearing east on Highway 41 for 90 minutes among the scrubby hills of the Elqui Valley.


Explore the dusty trails of the Elqui Valley, a home to quiet vineyards, sleepy market towns and a force field of cosmic energy. Winemaker Marcelo Remetal stands beneath a pyramid made of tree trunks, his eyes closed and the palms of his hands upturned in silent meditation. The first rays of morning sunshine clear the barren mountains above, illuminating rows of vines that cascade down the slopes around him. “There is an energy that you feel in your hands when you stand here,” he says, breaking from meditation to pick a few grapes. “I feel a strong spiritual force. It is in my fingertips. I think you can find it in the wine that we make too.” In the five centuries since Spanish conquistadors first imported vines from Iberia, Chile has enjoyed a distinguished winemaking tradition. The fertile hills around Santiago have produced award-winning vintages to make Old World winemakers choke on their Bordeaux. The Elqui Valley, however, represents the new frontier for Chilean wine pioneers: an area that almost qualifies as a desert, with loose soil, steep slopes and a near-total lack of rainfall. Yet miraculously, bursts of greenery appear among this dry expanse. There are groves of slender cypress trees, shady fruit plantations and rushing streams that mysteriously emerge from the mountainside. “This valley lives because of snow,” says Remetal, gesturing toward the eastern mountains. “The meltwater from the High Andes filters through the rock and irrigates our vines. I think the best wine is in extreme places like this.” Remetal’s winery, Vinedos de Alcohuaz, has become one of Chile’s most respected since first producing bottles five years ago. It occupies a plot of land that once belonged to a shamanic healer (hence the wooden pyramid) and is run with an explicit reverence for



STAY // Casona Distante (distant house) lives up to its name: it’s set in one of the most remote (and scenic) corners of the Elqui Valley, with welcoming hosts and a number of equally friendly cats. Rooms are spread around a historic adobe farmhouse, with an on-site restaurant serving delicious empanadas and steaks (from $130; Turismo Delfines can arrange day tours of the Elqui Valley from the town of La Serena, with stops including local pisco distilleries and the charming towns of Vicuna and Pisco Elqui (from $52 per person; turismodelfines .com). Bottles can be purchased directly from the winery at Vinedos de Alcohuaz. Call in advance to check opening times (bottles from $20;

Pachamama, the goddess of the Earth in Andean cosmology. This is not an unusual business model in the Elqui Valley, South America’s New Age heartland. Along winding country roads are thatched-roof farmhouses where Tibetan prayer flags hang in the gardens, and sleepy market towns where the scent of exotic herbs wafts about, The Dark Side of the Moon plays in the cafes, and VW camper vans are parked in the streets. Some say Elqui’s spiritual aura stems from a magnetic property in the soil, or that its power flows from the Himalayas on the exact opposite side of the earth. Cynics might ascribe it to the potency of pisco, the powerful brandy that has been distilled in Elqui for centuries and liberally consumed in pisco sours and other cocktails across Chile. Others say it is down to Elqui’s altitude and proximity to the stars – sure enough, telescopes and astronomical observatories dot the hilltops, taking advantage of some of the clearest skies on earth. Whatever the cause, cosmic vibes are unquestionably in evidence at the Artisan Village of Horcon, set by a rushing river close to the highest point of the valley. Here, hammocks and wind chimes sway in the warm breeze while artisans paint mandalas and fashion dream catchers in tribute to the landscapes around them. “Everything here has its own individual energy,” says Andrea Riviera Stefanini, a designer who works at an artisan cooperative at the top of the Elqui Valley. She makes jewelry from local quartz, and shawls and dresses inspired by the landscape’s color palates. “It is all magic: the silence, the blue of the sky, the white of the moon, the sound of the water in the river. It makes it a paradise.”

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A church in Alcohuaz // Opposite: a farmer on the hills of the Elqui Valley near Alcohuaz

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Salt flats near Laguna Chaxa, a salt lake 40 miles from the town of San Pedro de Atacama // Opposite: With its dramatic landscapes, San Pedro de Atacama is a top tourist destination in northern Chile.

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From La Serena, catch a flight north to Calama. From here it’s a 90-minute drive along Highway 23 to the town of San Pedro de Atacama.

Atacama Desert Experience the surreal landscapes of the Atacama, the driest place on the planet. Stretching 2,653 miles from north to south and averaging 110 miles in width, Chile seen on a map can appear less like a country and more like a cross section of South American climates. Its territory spans subpolar steppe, dense rainforests, snowy mountains and hills that bask in Mediterranean temperatures. At its lower latitudes are fishing villages lashed by hail, sleet and snow. And at the top is the vast expanse of the Atacama, a place where some weather stations have never known a single drop of rain. “In a place like this, you must sit down and listen to the silence,” says park ranger Manuel Eric Silvestre Gómez, looking out over Laguna Chaxa, a salt lake in Los Flamencos National Reserve. “You must contemplate the mountain range, hills and volcanoes, observe the skies and the moon. You’ll realize how small we are in this world.” There are many forbidding deserts in the world, though the one around us manages to look forbidding in a great many ways. To the east, sullen-gray volcanoes rise along the Bolivian border, periodically raining lava on the surrounding landscape. To the north and west are burnt-red cliffs and canyons, beyond which geysers send plumes of steam into a cloudless sky. And here, at the center of it all, is an expanse of emptiness, a swathe of landscape where the creation gods seem to have taken a break. Featureless salt flats the color of freshly fallen snow stretch as far as the eye can see. Featureless, that is, except for the addition of flamingos, creatures whose presence here seems strangely incongruous. Silvestre, a soft-spoken ranger with a mane of jet black hair, is charged with protecting


A flamingo feeds in the waters of Laguna Chaxa at Los Flamencos National Reserve.


STAY // Hostal Quinta Adela is a family-run B&B set among fruit plantations on the southern edge of the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Adobe bungalows house seven simple but comfortable guest rooms (from $150; Laguna Chaxa is a one-hour drive south from the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Visit during sunrise, which is feeding time for the birds (admission $8). Terra Extreme is among the operators offering tours from San Pedro (from $40, not including admission;

the three flamingo species that inhabit the Atacama Desert: the Andean flamingo, the Chilean flamingo and James’s flamingo, all of which spend their days stalking through saline pools and gobbling tiny crustaceans. In Laguna Chaxa, the flamingos appear as bursts of pink in the midst of the whiteness. “Flamingos are sacred to the indigenous Andean peoples,” Silvestre says, squinting through binoculars. “They carry a special symbolism: their feathers are used to perform certain rituals and tributes to Pachamama, the Earth Mother. We must protect them, because they are our siblings.” Flamingos are among the few species to have adapted to life in this desert, a habitat unique on the planet; Andean foxes and Darwin’s rheas also roam here, while condors wheel high above. The Atacama is part of a highland plateau, sandwiched between the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. These two ranges act as a barrier to weather systems, helping make the Atacama the driest place on earth outside the polar regions. It is also the highest hot desert on earth, all the while managing to look like a place that doesn’t belong on the planet at all. It is no coincidence that Mars rovers are tested here before being blasted into outer space. Indigenous Atacameño people tell many legends explaining the formation of these varied landscapes: jealous kings whose rage caused volcanoes to explode, and the 40 days of torrential rain that washed away all life in the desert (ending only when there was no rain left in the sky). And yet somehow, gazing out at the salt flats, this feels like a planet in the very first moments of creation.

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GETTING THERE & AROUND FLIGHTS From the U.S., the principal gateways to South America are Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas. Most long-distance flights to Chile arrive at Santiago, landing at International Airport Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez (aka Santiago International Airport) in the suburb of Pudahuel. U.S. citizens visiting Chile for up to 90 days do not need a visa to enter the country. A tourist card, good for 90 days and extendable for another 90 days, will be issued upon arrival. Travel distances in Chile can be significant, so it’s a good idea to book one or two internal flights if you’re pushed for time. Santiago is the hub, with local airlines Latam and Sky offering flights to Puerto Natales and Puntas Arenas (for Torres del Paine), La Serena (for the Elqui Valley) and Calama (for the Atacama Desert; Santiago–Calama from $170; GETTING AROUND Passenger trains are scarce, but there’s an extensive long-distance bus network serving almost all towns. Rental cars are available at the Santiago airport (from $32 per day; Having your own wheels is often necessary to get to remote national parks and off the beaten track, especially in the Atacama Desert. The Automobile Club of Chile, which has offices in most major Chilean cities, provides useful information, sells highway maps and rents cars.




The itinerary in our story can be completed in around two weeks, but a month would be enough time to fully explore Chile. To extend an itinerary, consider spending time in Santiago, the fishing villages of the Chiloé Archipelago or driving the Carretera Austral, the bumpy highway that traverses Chilean Patagonia.

Chile is by no means the cheapest country in South America. A roadside meal will cost between $2.50 and $6.50, while dinner in a high-end restaurant clocks in at around $20 per person. Expect to pay around $75 for a midrange hotel and $130 to $195 for a top hotel.

EAT Try a completo, a hotdog loaded with toppings including sauerkraut, tomatoes and, most importantly, lots of avocado. Although it’s not South America’s most sophisticated dish, it’s Chile’s favorite fast food.


Chile can be visited year-round. Note, however, that April to September heralds the southern hemisphere winter, when certain mountain passes in Patagonia are blocked by snow, and some accommodations are closed for the season in Torres del Paine. In March and April, watch for grape harvests taking place in vineyards across the country.

Chile is one of the safest South American countries to visit; however, it’s worth being cautious when visiting larger cities. Valparaiso has a long-standing reputation for petty crime, pickpocketing and muggings, particularly in the old port area. Be aware that Chile suffers from violent earthquakes, with lots of seismic activity recorded in Santiago and Valparaiso in 2017.


WHO CAN HELP Cascada Expediciones, a Chilean-owned adventure tour operator, offers a variety of set and custom trips all over Chile (from $1,500 per person;






DRINK Pisco is a colorless brandy produced in Chile’s Elqui Valley. Chile and Peru are locked in an acrimonious dispute about where the spirit was invented. READ The poetry collection Twenty Love Songs and a Song of Despair ($13, Penguin Classics) is the most popular work by Chile’s most famous son, Nobel Prize in Literature winner Pablo Neruda. A sometime communist, frequent diplomat and lifelong poet, Neruda had a life as colorful as his poetry. LEARN By common consensus, the most difficult dialect of Spanish in the world is Chilean Spanish. Chileans are notable for speaking at lightning speed as well as for skipping occasional letters. DANCE The lively cueca, Chile’s national dance, is said to mimic the mating ritual of a cockerel and a hen. DISCUSS The Chilean national soccer team is the reigning champion of the Copa América (America Cup).


For More: See Lonely Planet’s Chile & Easter Island guidebook for more background on the country ($26.99); download individual chapters at ($4.95).

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The Photographer’s Story




Tyler Haughey Photographer Tyler Haughey is a New Jersey native living in Brooklyn. See more of his work at and on Instagram at @tylerhaughey.

“The Yankee Clipper Motel is one of this subset of motels down there that are identified as historic buildings. It was built in the early 1960s and still holds a lot of its original detail.”

’ve spent the last two years documenting the midcentury modern motels of the Wildwoods, a group of shore towns on a 5-mile island in southern New Jersey. Built in the 1950s and ’60s and virtually unchanged, they form the largest concentration of postwar resort architecture in the U.S. As a native of the Jersey Shore, I’ve always been interested in the coast’s history and buildings, and when

I happened upon the Wildwoods one winter, I felt like I’d traveled back in time. The motels represent the way American families used to vacation – with the rise of car culture and a new landscaped highway sparking a massive migration to the area. More than 300 motels were built, influenced by European modernism and Miami Beach, though in the last 20 years, half have been knocked down. Come summer, they’re still packed with people, but for nine

months of the year they have no choice but to close. This is when I shoot; with all distractions stripped away, their character can really shine through. Each motel is different, decorated to set itself apart and attract motorists, with bright colors, neon signs and the iconography of exotic, faraway destinations. I love that so many are able to continue on and thrive, as time capsules of summers past.”

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The Photographer’s Story


“This overturned chair at the Barcelona Motel is very evocative of the off-season. It’s also vintage, and hints at the attentive way motels are trying to keep the era alive.”

“It took them this long to get rid of the little box TVs and replace them with flat-screen TVs . . . but it also shows that they are willing to modernize, to keep their customers coming back.”

“They put a word on the side of a building and hope that it transports people to a place that they might otherwise not be able to visit, especially by car.”

“This is really one that is a quintessential midcentury motel: it’s got the L shape, it’s three levels, all the colors and the theme is really still intact . . . evocative of Capri in Italy.”

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“The majority of these motels, like the Sea N Sun Resort here, have at least one plastic palm tree. In the winter a lot of these places take out the plastic palm fronds.�

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The Photographer’s Story

“Grecian Gardens reminds me of a watermelon with the pink and the green, which is just so reminiscent of summertime. The motels are usually L-shaped or U-shaped, with a pool out front.”


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“As well as their bright, fun color schemes, a lot of motels, such as the Gold Crest Resort Motel here, have amenities like pools and mini-golf to attract families.�

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Get straight to the heart of your destination with these newly selected best-of-the-best recommendations from our worldwide network of local experts.




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Accommodations: $ <130, $$ 130-250, $$$ >250 Restaurants: $ <20, $$ 20-40, $$$ >40



The French capital’s restaurant scene is legendary. Whether you seek a cozy neighborhood bistro, a favorite ethnic eatery or a triple-Michelin-starred temple to gastronomy, you’ll find every establishment prides itself on preparation and quality. Embark on a global districtby-district foodie’s tour of Paris, taking in some of the city’s best bistro classics, regional food and a stroll along a famed market street. Le Jules Verne is on the Eiffel Tower’s second floor.


Le Chalet Savoyard Cheese $$ Fill up on Alpine specialties such as tartiflette (delicious melted Reblochon cheese and bacon baked with potatoes), cheese fondue and raclette (another type of melted cheese served with

potatoes and cold meats) at this Savoyard restaurant in the city’s 11th arrondissement. » chalet; 58 rue de Charonne A la Banane Ivoirienne African $ For more than two decades, this institution has dished up the best Ivorian food in

Paris, along with fabulous live music and dancing on Friday nights. West African specialties include stuffed crab, braised attiéké (fermented cassava pulp), alloco (fried plantain) and plenty of fiery meats and fish. » BananeIvoirienne; 10 rue de la Forge Royale Chez Paul Bistro $$ This is the City of Light as Hemingway knew it: checkered red-and-white napkins, faded photographs on the walls, old red banquettes and traditional dishes such as pig’s feet, andouillette (a feisty tripe sausage) and tête de veau et cervelle (calf head and brains). If offal isn’t for you, alternatives include a steaming bowl of pot au feu (beef stew). »; 13 rue de Charonne Paris Hanoï Vietnamese $ Behind a canary-yellow facade is one of the city’s best addresses for pho (soup noodles with beef) and other classic Vietnamese dishes. It doesn’t take reservations and the place is a veritable legend, so be prepared to get in line and dine cheek by jowl. »; 74 rue de Charonne Le Train Bleu French $$$ This spectacular BelleÉpoque train-station restaurant has been an elegant port of call since 1901. Cuisine is traditional French: Charolais beef tartare, for example, is prepared at your table. »; 1st floor,

Gare de Lyon, 26 place Louis Armand


Raoul Maeder Boulangerie, pâtisserie $ Alsatian specialties by this acclaimed boulangerpâtissier include puffy pretzels, sweet or salted kougelhopf (marble cake), latticed cinnamon and raspberry linzer torte, and shortbread. »; 111 blvd Haussmann

chef Julien Duboué presents his artful, tapas-size take on southwestern cuisine, with whimsical dishes that range from smoked duck with polenta and chili-smothered txistorra (Basque sausages) to truffle and marrow risotto, duck spring rolls and jars of foie gras. It’s one of the best places in Paris for Basque wines. »; 119 bis rue Monge


Le Jules Verne Gastronomy $$$ Book way ahead (online only) to feast on Michelinstarred cuisine at this magical spot on the Eiffel Tower’s second floor, accessed by a private elevator. The cuisine here is contemporary, with a five- or six-course “experience” menu. »; Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars Le Petit Rétro Bistro $$ From the gorgeous “Petit Rétro” emblazoned on the zinc bar to the floral art nouveau tiles on the wall, this old-style bistro dating to 1904 is now a historic monument. The food is classic French, prepared using seasonal ingredients, for example, blood sausage, blanquette de veau (veal in a butter and cream sauce) and oreilles de cochon (pig’s ears). »; 5 rue Mesnil

INSIDER TIP A True Moveable Feast Bustronome ( is a voyage into French gastronomy aboard a glass-roofed bus, with the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower gliding by as you dine on seasonal creations. Vegetarian, vegan, glutenfree and children’s menus are available. Exquisite dishes include escabeche of shrimp with lemon; roast pigeon, artichokes and apricots with Brussels sprouts; melon meringue with vanilla bean syrup and mint-and-lime sorbet; and the finest French cheeses.


Dans les Landes Basque, tapas $$ Treat yourself to a trip to the Basque Country: Gascogne

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Moissonnier French $$ It’s Lyon that gourmets venerate as the French food capital. At this Lyonnais restaurant, take one bite of a fat andouillette, quenelles (dumplings) or boudin noir aux pommes (black pudding with apples) and you’ll realize why. 33 1 43 29 87 65; 28 rue des Fossés Saint Bernard Mosquée de Paris North African $$ Dig into one of 10 types of couscous, or choose a tajine or meaty grill at this richly decorated, authentic North African restaurant tucked within the walls of the city’s art deco–Moorish mosque. Enjoy mint tea and a pâtisserie orientale beneath the trees in the tearoom’s courtyard. » restaurantaux; 39 rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire


Brasserie Bofinger Brasserie $$ Founded in 1864, Bofinger is reputedly Paris’s oldest brasserie, though its polished art nouveau brass, glass and mirrors indicate redecoration a few decades later. Alsatian-inspired specialties include five kinds of choucroute (sauerkraut), along with six magnificent seafood platters. Ask for a seat downstairs beneath the stained-glass dome. »; 5–7 rue de la Bastille Breizh Café Crepes $ Everything at the Breton Café (breizh is “Breton” in the Breton language) is 100


percent authentic, making it top many Parisians’ lists for the city’s best crepes. Be it the Cancale oysters, 20 types of cider or the buttery organic-flour crepes, everything here is perfect. Tables are limited, so book ahead. »; 109 rue Vieille du Temple Chez Janou Provençal $$ Push your way in, order a kir from the jam-packed bar while you wait for a table, and revel in the buzz of this busy spot. The cuisine is as close as you’ll get to Provençal in Paris, with all the southern classics like brandade de morue (salt-cod purée with potatoes), ratatouille and lavender-scented crème brûlée. It also offers 80 different types of pastis, the quintessential Provence apéritif. »; 2 rue Roger Verlomme Rainettes Modern French $$ Bar à grenouilles (frog legs bar) Rainettes serves five different frog legs platters, including the Normande (with apples, calvados and crème fraîche), Alsacienne (Riesling, shallots and parsley), and Provençale (eggplant and garlic), as well as daily-changing vegetarian, meat and fish dishes. »; 5 rue Caron


Stohrer Pâtisserie $ Opened in 1730 by the pastry chef to the royal court, Stohrer offers housemade specialties, including its own inventions: the baba au rhum (rumsoaked sponge cake) and

puits d’amour (carameltopped, vanilla cream-filled puff pasty). »; 51 rue Montorgueil


Belle Maison Seafood, Neobistro $$ With blue-and-white-tiled décor, Belle Maison is named after a beach on Île d’Yeu, off the Atlantic coast. Breton scallops with parsnip purée, whiting with Cévennes onion brûlée, Earl Grey marinated mullet, and hazelnut, squid and celery root risotto are among its seafood specialties. »; 4 rue de Navarin Le Cambodge Cambodian $ Tucked in a quiet street near Canal Saint-Martin, this longtime favorite with a shabby facade attracts diners with its enormous spring rolls and the piquenique Angkorien (rice vermicelli and sautéed beef, which you wrap up in lettuce leaves). Vegetarian options are especially good. No reservations. »; 10 av Richerand


Au Pied de Fouet Bistro $ At this tiny, lively, cherry-red bistro, classic dishes such as entrecôte (steak), duck confit with creamy potatoes and foie de volailles sauté (pan-fried chicken livers) are astonishingly good value. Round off your meal with a tarte Tatin, wine-soaked prunes, or deliciously rich fondant au chocolat. »; 3 rue Saint-Benoît

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE French Cheeses Primer


Uncooked, pressed cheese: examples include Tomme de Savoie (pictured) from the French Alps, Cantal and Saint-Nectaire from the Auvergne region, and Ossau-Iraty, ewe’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees mountains.


Cooked and then pressed: among the most popular are Beaufort (pictured), Comté, Emmental and dark-orange Mimolette, aged up to 36 months.


Molded or rind-washed: Camembert (pictured) and Brie de Meaux are often made from raw cow’s milk. Others include Munster, Chaource and Langres.


Roquefort (pictured), milder Fourme d’Ambert and Bleu de Gex are among these cheeses, so called because the veins often resemble persil (parsley).

CHÈVRE // GOAT CHEESE Creamy when fresh, but harder as it matures: top varieties include SainteMaure de Touraine (pictured), Crottin de Chavignol and Chabichou.



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R Monge

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The sloping, cobbled rue Mouffetard acquired its name in the 18th century, when the now-covered River Bièvre was used for waste disposal by local tanners and wood pulpers. The odors gave rise to the name Mouffette (“skunk”), which evolved into Mouffetard. The street is now filled with market stalls, eateries and lively bars.

1 Today the aromas found

on “La Mouffe” are infinitely more enticing. Grocers, butchers and other food purveyors set their goods out on street stalls during the Marché Mouffetard, daily except Mondays and Sunday afternoons.

2 You won’t even have to

worry about the aromas if you’re taking home the scrumptious cheeses from fromagerie Androuet (134 rue Mouffetard): all of its cheeses can be vacuumpacked free of charge.

4 Light, luscious macarons in flavors like jasmine, raspberry and blackcurrant, and a mouthwatering range of chocolates by master chocolate makers Fabrice Gillotte, Jacques Bellanger and Patrice Chapo are laid out like jewels at Chocolats Mococha.


Get a potent dose of caffeine at hip corner spot Dose, which uses beans from award-winning Breton roaster Caffè Cataldi and offers a choice of milk (including almond), and also deals in juices, tea, beer and light bites (cookies, cakes and sandwiches).


Host to revolutionary meetings in 1848, these days Le Vieux Chêne is a student favorite, especially during happy hour (4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tue–Sun, and from 4 p.m. until closing Mon).

7 All that walking and

A small doorway leads to cinema L’Epée de Bois, which screens art-house flicks and big-budget blockbusters.

peering in at gourmet food shops will no doubt leave you hungry, which means it’s time for a stop at Gelati d’Alberto (45 rue Mouffetard), where Italian ice cream wizards shape your cone into a flower. Closed winter.

for surprises $$ Hôtel Exquis Surrealism is the theme of this good-value spot near place de la Bastille. A work of surrealist art decorates each room. »

for contemporary style Hôtel Henriette $$$ Unique flea-marketfound pieces, such as Platner chairs and 1950s lighting, give the 32 rooms a one-of-a-kind twist. »



If you prefer savory tastes to sweet, check the signboard outside crepe artist Nicos’s unassuming little shop Chez Nicos (44 rue Mouffetard). His masterpiece, la crêpe du chef, is stuffed with eggplant, feta, mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. There are tables inside; otherwise head to a nearby park.

9 Go about a quarter of a

mile east, via rues SaintMédard, Gracieuse and Lacépède, to the former Roman amphitheater Arènes de Lutèce. Originally seating 10,000 for gladiatorial combats, it was discovered by accident in 1869 when rue Monge was under construction. These days it’s used by locals for football and boules.


Retrace your steps to rue Mouffetard and continue uphill. At place de la Contrascarpe, turn west on little rue Blainville for a unique house cocktail like Fal’ in Love (gin, cranberry juice, lime, mint, guava purée and Falernum clove, ginger and almond syrup) at hip bar Little Bastards.


WHERE TO STAY for a central location $$ Hôtel Atmosphères Photographs adorn this haven, where rooms evoke different Paris-themed “atmospheres,” such as “nature,” “urban” and even “macaron.” »

for a bohemian vibe $ Hôtel Eldorado One of Paris’s greatest finds: a welcoming hotel with 33 rooms above the Bistro des Dames restaurant, with a lovely private garden. »

for socializing $ Les Piaules This Belleville hostel is the place to mingle with locals over craft beer, or lap up sun and views from the rooftop terrace. »

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EAT À la Banane Ivoirienne Au Pied de Fouet Belle Maison Brasserie Bofinger Breizh Café Le Cambodge Chalet Savoyard Chez Janou Chez Paul Dans les Landes Le Jules Verne Moissonnier Mosquée de Paris Paris Hanoï Le Petit Rétro

Rainettes Raoul Maeder Rue Mouffetard Stohrer Le Train Bleu STAY Hôtel Atmosphères Hôtel Eldorado Hôtel Exquis Hôtel Henriette Les Piaules La Trémoille

For More Information See Lonely Planet’s Paris ($21.99), Pocket Paris ($13.99) and Guides app (free download from app stores).



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SHORT BREAK IN MIAMI Sun-kissed beaches, art deco beauties, a burgeoning arts scene and blazing nightlife: Miami’s charms are many. Here are our picks for making the most of a quick trip to the Magic City, including some of the best sights and activities, plus places to eat, drink and be entertained. From contemporary art at a word-class museum to the top cheap eats at a mobile food court, the party never stops.


Stroll past the art deco hotels along South Beach’s Ocean Drive.

Accommodations: $ <100, $$ 100-250, $$$ >250 Restaurants: $ <15, $$ 15-25, $$$ >25


Art Deco Historic District The world-famous art deco district of Miami Beach’s South Beach neighborhood is pure exuberance, and each of the many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places is different. Guided walking tours are offered daily by the Miami Design Preservation League » mdpl .org ; Ocean Drive, Miami Beach Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park If you miss the Florida Keys, this 400-acre space, a tangle of tropical fauna and dark mangroves connected by sandy trails and wooden boardwalks, gives a taste of their unique island ecosystems. Kayaks, bikes and beach chairs can be rented. » floridastateparks .org/capeflorida; 1200 S. Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne Fairchild Tropical Garden A free, 45-minute tram tour of these 83 acres (on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is the perfect way to enjoy the butterfly grove, tropical conservatory and gentle vistas, plus installations from artists such as Roy Lichtenstein. » fairchild; 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables Pérez Art Museum Miami This extraordinary structure by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron integrates glass, metal and tropical foliage, and displays a rotating selection of international post–WWII work. »; 1103 Biscayne Blvd.


Venetian Pool Just imagine: it’s 1923; tons of rock have been quarried from one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Miami, but what to do with the ugly hole? Pump it full of water, mosaic and tile up the whole affair, and make it look like a Roman emperor’s aquatic playground, obviously. » coralgables; 2701 de Soto Blvd., Coral Gables

European accents. Make reservations. » altermiami .com; 223 NW 23rd St. Seafood $$ Casablanca The setting – tables on a deck above the water – is a big draw but the seafood is the real star here. Start with oysters (half-price on Wednesdays), followed by a grilled platter loaded with fish, prawns, calamari and clams. » casablancaseafood .com; 400 North River Dr.


Virginia Key Outdoor Center This highly recommended outfit will get you out on the water in a flash with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Guided sunset and full-moon paddles around the mangrove-lined bay and surrounding area are a highlight. »; 3801 Rickenbacker Causeway

Lagniappe Find a touch of New Orleans in Miami, with great live music (nightly from 9 p.m.) and a garden with palm trees and fairy lights. »; 3425 NE 2nd Ave.


27 Restaurant Fusion $$ This new spot, on the grounds of the Broken Shaker cocktail bar, has worn wooden floorboards, candlelit rooms filled with curious art and objects, and a lovely terrace. The exceptional dishes combine global flavors. » freehand -restaurant; 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach Alter Modern American $$$ The menu of this new venture from award-winning chef Brad Kilgore showcases Florida’s high-quality ingredients from land and sea, in seasonally inspired dishes with Asian and

Mango’s Tropical Café Every night feels like a celebration, with minimally dressed staff and dancers showing off some amazing salsa moves. » mangos; 900 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach


Colony Theatre This art deco gem now serves as a major venue for performing arts and also hosts movie screenings and small film festivals. »; 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach Cubaocho This is a combination community center, gallery and outpost for all things Cuban, with an interior like an old Havana cigar bar. »; 1465 SW 8th St.

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MAP KEY SIGHTS Art Deco Historic District Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Fairchild Tropical Garden Pérez Art Museum Miami ACTIVITIES Venetian Pool

Virginia Key Outdoor Center EAT 27 Restaurant Alter Biscayne Triangle Truck Round-Up Casablanca DRINK Lagniappe Mango’s Tropical Café

ENTERTAINMENT Colony Theatre Cubaocho STAY Aqua Hotel Croydon Hotel Langford Hotel Washington Park Hotel


Food trucks are popular in Miami. For the best cheap eats, head to the Biscayne Triangle Truck Round-Up every Tuesday (5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Johnson & Wales University campus, 127th St. & Biscayne Blvd.). Otherwise, find and follow some of our favorites on Twitter: Purple People Eatery @purpleppleatery Battered mahi-mahi, mac ’n’ cheese and bison burgers. The Stuffed Cuban @thestuffedcuban Authentic Cuban comfort food, plus vegan and vegetarian options. Slow Food Truck @SlowFoodTruck Delicious seasonal, local food and a changing menu. Jefe’s Original Fish Tacos @jefesoriginal Dive in. It’s all good, and there are burgers as well as seafood.

for budget stays Aqua Hotel $ With a marine-blue outside, and crisp white rooms, this no-frills South Beach choice lacks a pool but you can relax in the small backyard. » for couples Croydon Hotel $$ It’s a block away from the sand but the rooms and restaurant are good, and the pool has a palm-fringed terrace. » hotelcroydonmiami for glamour Langford Hotel $$ Set in a ravishing 1925 Beaux Arts high-rise, this downtown hotel offers 126 impeccable rooms, a rooftop bar and a great restaurant. » langfordhotel for luxury Washington Park Hotel $$$ This art deco gem has a great South Beach location, a lovely pool and a shady courtyard. Rooms are stylish and the vibe is welcoming and fun. »

For More Information Lonely Planet’s Miami & the Keys guidebook ($21.99) covers the city as well as excursions to the Everglades and the Florida Keys.


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Accommodations: $ <150, $$ 150-350, $$$ >350 Restaurants: $ <15, $$ 15-25, $$$ >25

V I N TAG E N E W YO R K CITY With its compact size and streets packed with architectural treasures, Old World cafés, atmospheric booksellers and curio shops, NYC is an urban wanderer’s delight. On your next visit, wander back to yesteryear with a tour of the Big Apple’s favorite vintage destinations, including a historic music hall, an iconic boardwalk and the city’s top flea markets.

Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater first opened in 1913.



Coney Island About 50 minutes by subway from Midtown, the wide, sandy beach of Coney Island has retained its nostalgic, kitschy and slightly sleazy charms, famous boardwalk and

1927 Cyclone wooden roller coaster amid a modern amusement park area. » coneyisland .com; 1208 Surf Ave., Brooklyn Lower East Side Tenement Museum Three recreated tenement

apartments relate the heartbreaking but inspiring heritage of turn-of-the20th-century immigrant families in New York. Visits are by guided tour only; book ahead. »; 103 Orchard St. Morris-Jumel Mansion Built in 1765, this stately mansion is Manhattan’s oldest house, with beautifully appointed rooms. Around the corner lies storybook Sylvan Terrace, graced by its original gas lamps. »; 65 Jumel Terrace New York City Fire Museum In a grand old firehouse dating from 1904, this ode to firefighters includes a fantastic collection of historic equipment and artifacts. » nycfiremuseum .org; 278 Spring St. Radio City Music Hall Guided tours of this art deco movie palace include the glorious auditorium, classically inspired murals in the Women’s Downstairs Lounge, and the ultraexclusive VIP Roxy Suite. There are often fabulous talents in the lineup. Top performers have graced the stage here, from Frank Sinatra to B.B. King and Dolly Parton to Sting. »; 1260 Sixth Ave.


Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop Sandwiches $ This old-school diner is filled with regulars coming in for Jewish deli fare like chopped

liver, pastrami and whitefish salad. »; 174 Fifth Ave. Fraunces Tavern American $$ George Washington supped here in 1762. Expect heaping portions of tavern stew, clam chowder and slow-roasted chicken pot pie. »; 54 Pearl St. Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant Seafood $$$ Hugely atmospheric, with a vaulted tiled ceiling, this station eatery serves seafood stew and pan-fried soft-shell crab, but the real claim to fame is the two dozen oyster varieties. »; Grand Central Terminal, 42nd St. Nom Wah Tea Parlor Chinese $ Hidden down a narrow lane is the oldest dim sum place in town. Grab a seat and point at the mouthwatering (and often greasy) delicacies pushed around on carts. »; 13 Doyers St.


Maison Première We kept expecting to see Dorothy Parker stagger into this old-timey place, which features an elegant bar, suspendered bartenders and a jazzy soundtrack. The cocktails include various juleps and more than a dozen absinthe drinks. »; 298 Bedford Ave. Old Town Bar & Restaurant It still looks like 1892 in here, with the mahogany bar, original tile floors and tin

ceilings. There are cocktails, but most visitors come for beers and a burger. » oldtown; 45 E 18th St.


Beacon’s Closet Twenty-something groovers find this massive warehouse of vintage clothing part gold mine, part grit. Coats, polyester tops and ’90sera T-shirts are handily displayed by color, but the sheer mass can take time to conquer. »; 74 Guernsey St. Philip Williams Posters You’ll find nearly a half million posters in this cavernous trove, from oversized French perfume ads to Soviet film posters and retro airline promos for TWA. » postermuseum .com; 122 Chambers St. Screaming Mimis If you dig vintage threads, you may just scream, too. This fun shop carries an excellent selection of pieces, organized – ingeniously – by decade. » screamingmimis .com; 240 W. 14th St.


Apollo Theater A leading space for concerts and political rallies since 1914, the Apollo hosted virtually every major black artist in the 1930s and ’40s, including Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. Today, its thriving programs of music, dance, master classes and special events continue to draw crowds and applause. »; 253 W. 125th St.

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MAP KEY SIGHTS Coney Island Lower East Side Tenement Museum Morris-Jumel Mansion New York City Fire Museum Radio City Music Hall

EATING Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop Fraunces Tavern Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant Nom Wah Tea Parlor DRINKING Maison Première Old Town Bar & Restaurant SHOPPING Beacon’s Closet

Philip Williams Posters Screaming Mimis ENTERTAINMENT Apollo Theater SLEEPING 6 Columbus Carlton Arms The Harlem Flophouse The Iroquois Ivy Terrace Wythe Hotel

WHERE TO STAY LOCAL LIFE FLEA MARKETS Artists & Fleas This is a popular art, design and vintage weekend market in Williamsburg, with an excellent selection of crafts. »; 70 N. 7th St. Brooklyn Flea On Sundays you can get more market action down in Dumbo, with vintage furnishings, retro clothing and bric-a-brac. »; 80 Pearl St.; Apr–Oct Grand Bazaar NYC Browsing this well-stocked market is perfect for a lazy Upper West Side Sunday morning. »; 100 W. 77th St. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market This weekend flea market brings a booty of vintage furnishings, clothing and other objects from past eras. »; W. 39th St.

For More Information See Lonely Planet’s New York City ($21.99), Pocket New York City ($13.99) and Guides app (free download at app stores).


for ’60s style 6 Columbus $$$ Flash back to the 1960s at this ode to modernism by Central Park. Rooms are small but satisfying, with retro-cool detailing. » for bohemians Carlton Arms $ An eclectic mix of travelers at this century-old hotel excuse the basic facilities for low prices and art adorning nearly every inch. » for jazz $ The Harlem Flophouse In this 1890s townhouse, nostalgic rooms are decked out in brass beds, polished wood floors and vintage radios set to a jazz station. » for glamour $$$ The Iroquois Steeped in history (James Dean lived here in the ’50s), this classic hotel has a dark and intimate cocktail salon, Lantern’s Keep. »



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everything! But for all-round love affair it has to be Flores, Indonesia. It’s got epic diving, amazing marine life, volcanoes with lakes that change color, fascinating cultures and just island upon island with no one on them.

Q Share one of your most unforgettable travel moments.


Meet a Traveler



Q What’s your top hack for sustaining long-term travel?

Mike: We’ve become very good at mileage

hacking, so we often fly around the world on frequent-flyer miles. Of the 146 flights we’ve taken so far on our trip, 102 of them have been free.

Anne: House-sitting is great because

that’s entirely free lodging and typically gives you a more local perspective of a place.

We hitched a ride with a bus full of Jordanian women only to have it turn into a full-blown dance party and one of the greatest cultural experiences of our life. We hopped on, and were immediately offered tea, zaatar [herb and spice blend] and butter sandwiches, and then the music cranked up. “Annie! Mike! Come dance!” The bus is going 50 miles an hour around cliffside roads but they didn’t care. These seemingly conservative women, cloaked in hijabs, were ready to cut loose and we weren’t about to hold them back. We reached the Wadi Rum desert as the sun was setting over the red mountains, though we couldn’t understand why they would want to see this legendary landscape in the dark. Then we saw the strobe lights bouncing off the dunes. Two dance floors were set up, one for men and another for women. Our girls ordered three hookahs for our table, further extending the invitation into their worlds. We felt so honored to have experienced the light and warm-hearted spirit of the Middle East.

Q Where are you going next? Mike: We’ll pick up our camper and

continue our cross-continent road trip, starting with a fall foliage extravaganza in New England, wandering our way south to Memphis, Tennessee, for Thanksgiving, then we head to the Dominican Republic . . . and we’ll chase the sun through Florida until Christmas. Follow Anne and Mike’s adventures at For more on planning the perfect couples’ trip, see Lonely Planet’s Honeymoon Handbook.

United States Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation 1. Publication Title: Lonely Planet 2. Publication Number: 2379-9390 3. Filing Date: 10/1/17 4. Issue Frequency: Quarterly 5. Number of Issues Published Annually: 4 6. Annual Subscription Price: $18.00 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Rd., Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064 Contact Person: Jacqueline Smith Telephone: 203-945-2042 8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Rd., Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064 9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor: Publisher: Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Rd., Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064. Editor: Peter Grunert, 230 Franklin Rd., Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064. Managing Editor: Alexander Howard, 230 Franklin Rd., Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064. 10. Owner: Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Rd., Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities: None 12. Tax Status: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months 13. Publication Title: Lonely Planet 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: Fall 2017 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation: a. Total Number of Copies: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 389,531; No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 232,910. b. Paid Circulation: (1) Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541: 267,274; 154,325. (2) Mailed In-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541: 0; 0. (3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 16,226; 14,667. (4) Paid Circulation by Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail): 0; 0. c. Total Paid Distribution: 283,500; 168,992. d. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution: (1) Free or Nominal Rate Outside County Copies included on PS Form 3541: 58,495; 15,005. (2) Free or Nominal Rate In-County Copies Included on PS Form 3541: 0; 0. (3) Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail): 0; 0. (4) Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail: 2,152; 2,510. e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution: 60,647; 17,515. f. Total Distribution: 344,147; 186,507. g. Copies not Distributed: 45,384; 46,403. h. Total: 389,531; 232,910. i. Percent Paid: 82.4%; 90.6%. 16. Electronic Copy Circulation: a. Paid Electronic Copies: 0; 0. b. Total Paid Print Copies + Paid Electronic Copies: 283,500; 168,992. c. Total Print Distribution + Paid Electronic Copies: 344,147; 186,507. d. Percent Paid (Both Print & Electronic Copies): 82.4%; 90.6%. I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic and print) are paid above a nominal price. 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership Publication of this statement is required and will be printed in the Winter 2017 issue of this publication. 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner: Daniel Houghton, CEO, 9/20/2017 I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties).

Lonely Planet (ISSN 2379-9390) (USPS 18590) Winter 2017, Volume 3, Number 4. Published four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) by Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Road, Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064. Periodicals postage paid at Franklin, TN, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. Subscriber Services, U.S., Canada and other International: Direct all inquiries, address changes, subscription orders, etc. to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. You may also access customer service via the web at, via email at or by phone at 800-8299121. Subscribers: If the Post Office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year. Please allow up to eight weeks for delivery of your first issue. Subscription rates: one year $18 domestic only; in Canada, $30; other International, $45 (Publisher’s suggested price). Single copies $5.99.



Q Favorite city, country or region? Anne: We have a favorite for absolutely

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Lonely Planet magazine (US) Winter 2017  

This is our 2018 Best in Travel edition.

Lonely Planet magazine (US) Winter 2017  

This is our 2018 Best in Travel edition.