November 2014 web

Page 1

NOVEMBER 2014 • `150 • VOL. 3

ISSUE 5

• DIVING WITH SHARKS • A MIDDLE-EARTH OBSESSION

Down Under Wanderings through New Zealand and Australia

Win Spe ter cial


November 2014

ter Win cial Spe

CONTENTS

Volume

3

Issue

5

N A T I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C T R AV E L L E R I N D I A

94

Skydiving in Sydney, Australia

80

90

92

94

A MIDDLE-EARTH OBSESSION

THE OTAGO WADDLE

FORGOTTEN ISLANDS

SCENE FROM ABOVE

From glow-worm caves to manuka thickets: The magic of moviemaking reinforces the sense of wonder that New Zealand’s landscape evokes

A day with penguins and sea lions in New Zealand’s wildlife capital

Discover the unique inhabitants of the remote Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia

Sydney is just as seductive from the sky as it is at ground level

BY NATASHA SEHGAL

BY PREETI VERMA LAL

BY GINA TANIK

BY NEHA DARA

98

100

104

106

AUSTRALIA, ONE BITE AT A TIME

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE

SWEET, SAVOURY, SINFUL

PREDATORS OF THE NEPTUNE

There’s more to Australia than kangaroo burgers. The country’s epicurean culture has swelled, calling gourmets from far and wide

Fulfilling the dream of taking an RV trip, and the reality of driving the noisy, unwieldy monstrosity

The best of the burgeoning farm-to-table food scene, in and around Adelaide

Face-to-face with the great whites off the coast of South Australia

BY NEENA BHANDARI

BY CARRIE MILLER

BY HEMA RAMAPRASAD

BY RISHAD SAAM MEHTA

8

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014

SKYDIVE THE BEACH AND BEYOND WWW.SKYDIVE.COM.AU

In Focus


NOVEMBER 2014 • `150 • VOL. 3

ISSUE 5

Win ter Spec ial

• DIVING WITH SHARKS • A MIDDLE-EARTH OBSESSION

Down Under Wanderings through New Zealand and Australia

On The Cover Nature photographer and wildlife conservationist, Tui De Roy made this photograph of erect-crested penguins at the remote, uninhabited Antipodes Islands in Sub-Antarctic New Zealand. She is a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

14 Editor’s Note  16 Letters  137 Big Shot 138 Inspire  144 Travel Quiz

60

Voices

34 Experience

56 National Park

114 Time-Travelling in Agra

18 Tread Softly

Hair-braiding offers a root map to an African tradition

Give the beach a break, visit Goa’s lush forests instead

As the Mughal capital, this was a robust city even before the Taj was built. And there are still layers of history buried in its alleyways

Iceland’s green initiatives

36 The Concept

Super Structures

Passing passions in Museum of Broken Relationships

60 The Neighbourhood

38 The Drink

Singapore’s built heritage seen from an amphibious vehicle

A gin bar crawl adds swagger to an evening out in London

69 The Landmark

Journeys

BY ROHINI CHOWDHURY

122 Thalia & Me A dog-lover is reduced to mush on an Alpine hike with Switzerland’s St. Bernards

20 Far Corners Indian-Afghan kinship in a modest Delhi guesthouse

22 Book of Hours An illustrated travelogue of the Vatican’s gallery of maps

24 Crew Cut

42 Taste of Travel

Marseille’s MuCEM

The art of harvesting honey

Baking rum-soaked stollen in the German city of Dresden

Smart Traveller

BY KARANJEET KAUR

126 Date with a Bear

Navigate

44 Book Extract

Action-packed holiday in Xi’an

26 The Neighbourhood

Destination India: From London Overland to India

On the move through Banff National Park, in the hope of seeing a grizzly BY CHIRODEEP CHAUDHURI

Paris’ new Canal St. Martin,

28 Take Five

78 Checking In Namibia’s desert camps

Illustrated travel books

Short Breaks

50 Urban Renewal

132 From Delhi

A bookstore with gondolas

Gangnam is every bit as glitzy as Psy’s music video implies

In Lansdowne, Garhwalis and ghosts live in happy harmony

33 On the Water

54 Detour

136 Stay

Life is more than a beach in Fiji’s Viti Levu Island

Picnic by the glittering pools of Thailand’s Erawan Falls

A Kumaoni homestay to warm the heart

Remote destinations to visit

32 Hidden Gem

42

48 Bookshelf

72 Money Manager

NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

9

K WOTHE/BLICKWINKEL/DINODIA (PENGUINS), JOSE FUSTE RAGE/PREMIUM/DINODIA (POOL), CREATIV STUDIO HEINEMANN/GETTY IMAGES (FOOD) TUI DE ROY/MINDEN PICTURES/CORBIS/IMAGELIBRARY (COVER)

28


Editor’s Note | niloufer venkatraman

S

Sometimes I need to remind myself that just being able to travel is a real privilege OUR MISSION National Geographic Traveller India is about immersive travel and authentic storytelling, inspiring readers to create their own journeys and return with amazing stories. Our distinctive yellow rectangle is a window into a world of unparalleled discovery.

14

econds after our plane started taxiing on the runway, the young man next to me pressed the flight-attendant call button. Naturally, there was no response. Ten minutes later when we had reached cruising altitude, the air hostess arrived. My co-passenger then yelled at her for “taking her own sweet time”. What did he want? A coke. Apparently so urgently, that he didn’t care that the crew needs to be strapped-in during takeoff. Through the two-hour flight to Kathmandu, he pressed the call button at least 20 times. Over the years, feeling horrified by the way many Indians use that call button, I tend not to use it at all. I try to wait until I see an attendant passing by to request what I need. My husband thinks I’m foolish and that the crew is there to provide a service. I feel like I need to compensate for all the needy Indian passengers on the plane and not ask for anything. Obviously, unpleasant behaviour while travelling is not limited to Indians and all nationalities are guilty of this. Eight days later, on the same trip, I was trekking in the Everest region. One morning walking into the cosy dining room of our mountain lodge we heard heated words. An American trekker was berating the owner. He had given a bagful of clothes to be washed and was angry to find his trekking socks stretched out of shape. The lodge-owner apologised profusely and offered a pair of new wool socks as recompense. But he kept yelling that he’d paid $40 for the socks and her replacement offer wouldn’t do. Eventually, he had a new pair of socks, refused to pay the laundry bill for the remaining clothes, and subtracted a chunk of his room rent and food bill. He ensured he got his perceived dues in full. My friends and I were dismayed at the way he had addressed the sweet Nepali lady and the extent of the compensation extracted. At 11,500 ft in the Himalayas, she obviously wasn’t running a professional laundering service and penalising her for the full cost of his socks seemed too harsh. It set me thinking about the way in which we interact with the people we meet on our travels. Of course, annoyances are always there, but how we react to them and to the people we meet,

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014

makes all the difference to the outcome of a trip. I’ve seen a group of Indian travellers banging on tables, screaming at a harrowed waiter in a tiny local restaurant in the Nepali village of Marpha because they weren’t served water within minutes of sitting down. Those of us who witnessed the scene were rather embarrassed; later I wished I’d said something to calm those angry men. It made me recall my own bad behaviour on a trip to Goa. We’d waited over 40 minutes at our table in a restaurant before a waiter came to take our order. Annoyed at his tardiness, we’d been rude to him and grumbled our way through the meal, picking fault with everything and leaving no tip. As we exited, we met an old friend, a local resident. He mentioned that a few hours earlier, probably right at the time we walked in, there had been an accident in the kitchen. One of the staff had been badly hurt and the rest had tried to keep the restaurant going without letting patrons know of the mishap. I felt terrible. I realised we could have tackled it differently. We could have asked why the service was slow, whether anything was wrong. Instead, we’d been nasty to the server and ruined our own meal. Sometimes I need to remind myself that just being able to travel is a real privilege. And the conversations and interactions I have with locals and fellow travellers are the cornerstones of this enriching experience. Letting go of my petty expectations a little, and treating the people I meet along the way with empathy and compassion is surely a necessary travel mantra. We’re all guilty of being obnoxious at some point during our travels. The reverse doesn’t mean we have to accept rude service or take cheating lying down. It doesn’t mean that those who aren’t doing their job shouldn’t be told off. But surely we can count to ten, put ourselves in the shoes of the person we’re angry at, and have a more measured empathic reaction to unacceptable service. I can’t change the way travellers from other countries act, but I’m hoping you’ll join me in trying to change the way the Indian traveller behaves, one destination at a time.

GLOWIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Amazing Grace


Voices | crew cut NEHA SUMITRAN

Bee in my Bonnet

T Neha Sumitran is Nat Geo Traveller India’s perpetually hungry Senior Editor. She loves exploring food markets or better still, foraging for new kitchen ingredients. She hopes to have a farm near the mountains someday.

ravel can do strange things to us. Far from the familiar, I notice I become bolder, somehow stronger, more likely to do things that make me question my sanity. On one such day plump with promise, I was travelling in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, from Tabo to the village of Giu. It was nippy but the sun was out, and I could see mountains for miles. Adding swooshes of green to the rocky landscape were apple and apricot orchards and bushes laden with sea buckthorn. Who knew a high-altitude desert could produce so much fruit? Just as I was asking Tsering, my guide, whether we could stop at one of these orchards, I noticed a man in a beekeeping veil by the side of the road. Even better! We stopped a few metres away hoping to score some wild honey but the smiling keeper Mukesh Negi, made me a better offer: He asked if I’d like to collect it myself. I suspect it was my visit to Tabo Monastery the day before that boosted my spontaneity. I’d spent over an hour chatting with a young lama about his studies and struggles with faith and compassion. The planet’s biggest problem, he’d said, was that we’d lost faith in each other. It was a refreshingly honest conversation and we talked long after my pot of mint tea was over. “Pyar se karoge,” Negi said, cajoling me to take the leap, “toh kuch nahi hoga.” (Approach them with love, and nothing will happen.) Well, what the hell! How often do I get a chance like this anyway? I tucked my pants into my boots and put on a spare veil. I had no gloves, so my hands were exposed. I threw a silent prayer out into the universe

and took gulps of air through gritted teeth. This isn’t the first time I’ve landed myself in a situation that could potentially end badly. In the past, I’ve found myself wading through freezing waist-deep water; partaking in feasts that feature every single part of the pig (nether regions and all); and smearing myself with animal urine to alleviate a swelling. So I often wonder what it is about travel that fortifies my otherwise feeble guts with steel. Is it a bout of life’s-too-short syndrome? The feeling of a clean slate that comes with anonymity? Or perhaps I’m secretly reckless after all. But most importantly, I wonder, why this pluck evaporates when I’m back home? There were thousands of bees zipping back and forth. They were clustered on my boots, my hat, and my hands. Instead of staying calm, my mind threw up memories of a terrible Queen Latifah movie called The Secret Life of Bees, where the buxom apiarist gives her apprentice the same advice that Negi gave me. “Treat them with luhve,” she had said in a thick South Carolina accent. “Everybody needs some love.” I remember rolling my eyes at the cliché then. I feel differently now. The immaculately crafted honeycomb drips with luscious, amber honey. Held up against the sun, every drop glimmers like liquid gold. Its alchemists meanwhile, hum fervently, their sound rising and falling with operatic modulation. Negi points to an unmoving, obese bee at the centre— the queen, surrounded by her industrious drones. This honey is especially sweet because of the apple orchard across the road. “I live over there,” he says, gesturing towards a ramshackle blue tent. I swerve suddenly to look at it, and feel a sharp sting on my right hand. I squeal, fighting the urge to wave my hand about. My finger is on fire. Negi doesn’t break a sweat. In a flash, he expertly removes the sting and continues talking while I try not to cry in pain. “It’ll be gone in a few minutes,” he says, zen as ever. “It’s only a bee sting.” And he’s right. Twenty minutes later, the throb has subsided and I’m left with a modest bottle of honey and a potent thought. In the 20 minutes I spent with the bees, I was stung only once—most likely because I made the sort of jerky movement that Negi and Latifah had warned against. But I don’t regret taking the plunge. The exhilaration I felt was well worth the swelling. Because a large part of relinquishing control—whether it’s jumping off an airplane or harvesting honey bare-handed—is about trusting that you’ll be okay. Sometimes, adrenaline is just faith in disguise. NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

25

MILAN MOUDGILL

ZEN AND THE ART OF HARVESTING HONEY


Navigate | take five

Middle of Nowhere TRAVELLING TO SOME OF THE WORLD’S REMOTEST DESTINATIONS TAKES A HUNGER FOR ADVENTURE AND THE WILLINGNESS TO TRUDGE OFF THE TOURIST MAP | By TUSHAR ABHICHANDANI

W

ith every passing year, the world seems to grow smaller. Regions once considered inaccessible are now just a drive or flight away. A few frontiers however, continue to remain isolated. Most are difficult to access, while others are difficult to navigate, but they’re certainly worth the schlep.

Macquarie Island Australia

Kamchatka Peninsula Russia Kamchatka Peninsula, often called the Ring of Fire, is a region with 29 active volcanoes and the second highest concentration of hot springs in the world. There are six natural parks, where brown bears roam freely. And for sports enthusiasts, Kamchatka offers some of the country’s toughest ski slopes. Despite its obvious potential, the region’s inaccessibility keeps it largely off the tourist track. It was a forbidden zone for most civilians during the Cold War due to its geographical proximity to North America and has only recently opened to foreign travellers. The only way into Kamchatka is via commercial flights from Moscow, Vladivostok, and a few other Russian cities, but travelling within the region is tough because good roads and public transport are practically nonexistent. Modified six-wheel drive trucks can be hired to get around, but a better way to explore the peninsula is through guided trekking, skiing, or dog-sled trips.

28

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014

PHILIP GAME/GETTY IMAGES (PENGUINS), JOHN BORTHWICK/GETTY IMAGES (HOT SPRINGS)

Around September every year, Macquarie Island witnesses a great migration. Parades of royal penguins— over 8,50,000 pairs—descend upon a 35-kilometre-long strip of land for breeding season. It is almost the world’s entire population of the species, and they have been honeymooning here for centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Macquarie is a hotbed for marine life. It hosts over 3.5 million birds of 25 different species, and the largest colonies of king penguins and elephant seals in the world. Getting there requires a healthy bank balance and an iron stomach, for the island lies halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, and is at least a three-day cruise through very choppy waters. The Australian government has kept infrastructure to a bare minimum. There are boardwalks to ensure that the island’s ecology is not affected by tourists, but not much else. Visitors can spend the day exploring with a guide, but must return to their ships at night.


Mustang Nepal Mustang was once the thriving medieval kingdom of Lo. It has often been described as the Forbidden Kingdom. The Dalai Lama called it the last bastion of living Tibetan Buddhism. Located in Nepal, along the northern Himalayas, entry to it was forbidden to foreigners until 1992. Over the last decade, tourists have been permitted to trickle into the area. Most undertake a 12- to 16-day trek from Jomsom, a village on the southern edge of the district, to the walled city of Lo Manthang, the last surviving example of a medieval Tibetan city. The trek offers a glimpse of life in a region that has had very little interaction with the outside world. It takes visitors through a stark landscape full of striking rock formations, barley fields, and canyons, including one of the world’s deepest, the Kali Gandaki Gorge.

Tristan da Cunha British Overseas Territory

MACDUFF EVERTON/ CORBIS/IMAGELIBRARY (HORSES), ROBERT HARDING/INDIAPICTURE (CRATER), MICHAEL S. NOLAN/AGE PHOTOSTOCK/DINODIA (HOUSES)

Geographically, Tristan da Cunha is the most sequestered inhabited part of our planet. Located in the South Atlantic Ocean, it is 2,430 kilometres from civilisation. Understandably, getting there is a long haul. Visiting the Tristan da Cunha archipelago (includes the Nightingale, Inaccessible, and Gough islands) is only possible through a five- to ten-day ship journey from Cape Town (2,800 kilometres), South Africa. Visitors that do take the trouble are richly rewarded. Scaling the island’s volcanic Queen Mary’s Peak provides thrills, while wildlife enthusiasts can take boat trips around nearby islands, home to some of the world’s largest seabird colonies. Permissions for the journey and the ticket must be sought months in advance from the island administration, but passengers can still be offloaded for priority travellers like scientists.

Ittoqqortoormiit Greenland The sparsely populated town of Ittoqqortoormiit in Greenland attracts tourists for three reasons: It’s the gateway to the world’s largest national park, the Northeast Greenland National Park; it has preserved the country’s traditional way of life that revolves around hunting and fishing; and it’s one of the most isolated permanent settlements in the northern hemisphere. The primary way to leave or enter the tiny town is through weekly flights to Reykjavik and other parts of Greenland. In summer, a few cruise ships also stop over at Ittoqqortoormiit. Visitors to the area go dog-sledding and skiing in Northeast Greenland National Park or to the massive glaciers and fjords that surround the town. Others observe the region’s polar bears, walruses, and seals, and soak in stellar views of the aurora borealis.

NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

29


Navigate | the concept

Love’s Labour’s Lost THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS IS A REPOSITORY OF PASSING PASSIONS | By ANITA RAO KASHI

Z

agreb’s Upper Town, spread across the Kaptol and Gradec hills, is the city’s historic centre. It is an intricate grid of cobblestoned lanes bordered by medieval buildings, churches, and monuments that include the solemn and graceful St. Catherine’s Church and the colourfully tiled St. Mark’s Church. A short walk from either of these takes you to the Museum of Broken Relationships. A low, arched entrance leads into the gallery where narrow passageways are lined with exhibits—a toy car, a hat, a winter coat, love notes, a beautiful red gown, even a pair of feathered handcuffs—mounted on pedestals or walls. Each is accompanied by a brief note explaining why the piece mattered to the contributor. The museum is the brainchild of Zagreb sculptor Dražen Grubišic and film producer Olinka Vistica, who joked about exhibiting their personal things

when their relationship ended in 2003. Three years later, the joke became reality when they started an exhibition that would travel around the world with similar items collected from friends. According to the creators, “the museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the museum’s collection.” The response to the exhibition was so overwhelming that it finally became a permanent installation in 2010. The collection changes and expands with donations from all over the world. The exhibits evoke a range of emotions—amusement, surprise, poignancy, sadness, and sometimes, even laughter. Some border on the macabre: a vicious-looking axe, for instance, used by a woman to chop every piece of furniture belonging to her cheating ex-girlfriend, or a suicide note from a mother to her son. A pair of heels, one among

36 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014

ATLAS

Zagreb, Croatia

In 2011, the museum was feted as Europe’s most innovative museum.

many stilettos on display, is a record of unspeakable things the donor’s former lover made her do. A toaster is the only thing that a man was able to salvage from his relationship, and the curatorial description gleefully declares that “she will never be able to toast anything ever again.” My favourite exhibit, however, turned out to be a Wi-Fi router with a pithy note from the contributor: “We didn’t get on.” The museum store sells quirky souvenirs such as a “bad memories eraser” and a zippered pair of pillows that can be separated. The Brokenships Café near the entrance is for aching hearts as well as tired visitors. Aromatic teas and coffees, mulled wine, and lemon and pepper cookies are on the menu (+38514851021; brokenships.com/en; Jun 1-Sept 30, 9 a.m.-10.30 p.m., Oct 1-May 31, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; entry Kuna 25/`255 for adults, Kuna 20/`204 for children).

MISO LISANIN/XINHUA PRESS/CORBIS/IMAGELIBRARY (MAN), HRVOJE POLAN/STAFF/GETTY IMAGES (STATUE), IMAGES-EUROPA/ALAMY/INDIAPICTURE (SIGN)

Exhibits at Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships range from the idiosyncratic to the downright bizarre; Among them is an axe (left) once used as an “instrument of therapy” to hack an ex-girlfriend’s furniture, and in the “Rage and Fury” section, a garden dwarf (bottom right) a wife hurled onto the windshield of her husband’s new car on divorce day.


Navigate | taste of travel

A Slice of German Life BAKING A LUSCIOUS LOAF OF STOLLEN IN THE CITY WHERE IT WAS BORN | By MALAVIKA BHATTACHARYA

“Y

ou have small hands,” Michael Wippler tut-tuts. I’m struggling with my two kilos of cake dough, trying to coerce the gooey mixture into an oblong loaf. Beside me, the 60-year-old master baker swiftly scoops up his mix with one hand, raises it above his head, and slams it down on the wooden slab, where it lands with a squelch. He flexes his ruddy fingers and proceeds to firmly thwack the dough until it transforms into a polished ball of goodness flecked with plump, rum-soaked raisins and bits of orange rind. This process is a piece of cake for Wippler. For novices like me, his practised art is incredible to watch. “I bake around 1,000 kilos of stollen every day,” he says, with twinkling eyes and a big smile. “Now, it’s your turn.” Stollen, a cross between bread and cake, is loaded with raisins, nuts, orange rind, and lightly infused with lemon zest, rum, and spices like ginger and

ATLAS

Dresden, Germany

Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is Germany’s oldest Christmas market and dates back to 1434. It is held between 27 Nov and 24 Dec every year.

nutmeg. Its beginnings in the 14th century weren’t quite as indulgent. The German classic started as austere bread baked without butter during the season of Advent (the weeks preceding Christmas). There are many legends around the shape of the loaf, one of which says it resembles baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. I’m learning to make the richer, denser version that was born in Dresden during the 17th century. Wippler Bakery, one of 131 stollen-speciality stores in the city, is 104 years old. It is run by Michael, a third-generation baker, his wife and two children. In the run up to Christmas, the Wipplers conduct baking classes, which begin with a spread of stollen and steaming coffee for the participants. The cosy baking room is bathed in orange light and crammed with old weighing scales, ladles, rolling pins, and sacks of flour. I try a sugary loaf that’s chewy and dense; another with the granular poppy

seeds that complement the saccharine icing beautifully; and the sinful raisin variety, generously infused with rum and sugar. Then, apron on, I start to mirror Michael’s actions, kneading bits of lard into the dough, pounding at the yeastrisen mix until it begins to feel light and airy. What started out as an amoeba-esqe mass of dough gradually transforms into a long, oval loaf. It’s dotted with delicious bits of orange, green, and brown, ready to be popped into the oven and baked at 230°C. The air is heavy with the scent of rum, butter, and warm cake. The chatter of happy bakers fills the room as Michael and his team pass around another round of coffee and mulled wine. When my cake is out of the oven, he coats it with powdered sugar. “It looks like snow”, he says. To me it looks like Christmas on a plate, and tastes even better.

NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

43

SEAN GALLUP/STAFF/GETTY IMAGES (SHOP), TAREK EL SOMBATI/GETTY IMAGES (CAKE)

Dresden has 11 Christmas markets, of which Striezelmarkt (left) is the largest. Stollen (right), mulled wine, and X’mas trinkets are popular buys.


In Focus | down under

Australia,

one bite at a time

Uluru

Fremantle Perth Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

KING ISLAND Tasmania

King Island, only 64-km long, guards the western end of the Bass Strait. Its soil is rich in minerals, the temperatures are cool, and the air is deliciously salty—perfect terroir for quality cheese production. No wonder King’s Island Dairy consistenly wins at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards (www. kingislanddairy.com.au). TAMAR VALLEY Tasmania

Orchards and vineyards line the beautiful Tamar Valley and Pipers River Region.

98

Most wineries offer tasting sessions or long, wine-paired meals; Rosevears Estate (1 Waldhorn Dr, Rosevears), Tamar Ridge Wines (www. brownbrothers.com.au), and Pipers Brook (kreglingerwineestates.com) are particularly noteworthy. HOBART Tasmania The Salamanca Place Saturday Market is a jam-

boree of arts, crafts, and music, but it’s the food that dazzles. There are crunchy apples from the Huon Valley, free-range pork frankfurters

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014

on the barbie, and artisanal bread, jam, and cheese (www.salamanca.com.au). PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY Queensland

In addition to splendid roads and fantastic views, the Pacific Coast Highway between Brisbane and Sydney is punctuated with snack stops and distilleries that serve cherished regional favourites. At Byron Beach Café, try the oysters which are caught and shucked daily (byronbeachcafe.com.au). Drive south from there and

Kangaroo Island

you’ll encounter Harvest Café at Newrybar Village where the crisp pork belly with parsnip, apple, and cavolo nero is the hero of the menu (harvestcafe.com.au). The pork, sourced from Bangalow village, is recognised across Australia as the highest quality pork available (www.sweetpork.com.au). MORETON BAY Queensland

North of Brisbane, the bluegreen waters of Moreton Bay are known for Moreton Bay Bugs, a variety of lobster, served grilled, poached, or

GREGORY GERBER/SHUTTERSTOCK (ROAST MEAT), SOMMAI/SHUTTERSTOCK (MACADAMIA), FREESKYLINE/SHUTTERSTOCK (BEER), YELLOWJ/SHUTTERSTOCK (LOBSTER), GREGORY GERBER/SHUTTERSTOCK (BEEF)

There’s more to Australia than kangaroo burgers. The country’s epicurean culture has swelled over the last few years, calling gourmets from far and wide | By Rishad Saam Mehta


australia

sunny deck in Coffs Harbour (www.latitude30.com.au). FREDERICKTON New South Wales

Frederickton, 100 km south of Coffs Harbour, is home to Fredo Pies, an Australian icon that began as a country store in 1993. Pick from fillings of chunky steak, veggies, crocodile, emu, and kangaroo (www. fredopies.com.au). ERINA New South Wales Distillery Botanica crafts

Moreton Bay Brisbane

Frederickton

Erina Sydney

spirits and liqueurs from native Australian ingredients. Their award-winning blends include lemon myrtle liqueur and mountain pepperberry liqueur, which visitors can sip while they chat with staff about the process they employ: Alcoholic vapours are passed through wire baskets full of fresh botanicals capturing their essence as they get distilled. It’s well worth the 100-kilometre drive from Sydney to the town of Erina (www.distillerybotanica.com). FREMANTLE Western Australia The Little Creatures Brewery

Yarra Valley

King Island

was started by a few good mates in 2001. The boutique brewery on the water’s edge in Fremantle is a great place to sample a variety of beers on tap. The Indian Pale Ale is especially good (littlecreatures.com.au).

icing on the cake (www. globalballooning.com.au). ULURU Northern Territory The Sounds of Silence Dinner offers a novel gastro-

nomic experience. Guests are shown to tables set in the outdoors, with a view of stunning Ayer’s Rock. They sip on a glass of chilled beer as the call of a lone didgeridoo rings through the air and the sun slowly sets over Kata Tjuta and Uluru. By the time the barbecued meat and wine arrives, a million stars appear. Dinner is followed by stargazing, in the company of an astronomer (www.ayersrockresort.com. au/sounds-of-silence). PERTH Western Australia Coco’s Restaurant offers

picturesque views of the Swan River and a steak that’s pampered like a child. The 600-gram Angus rib-eye steak served here is carefully aged, perfectly seared, and served with lush cabernet jus (www.westvalley.com.au). KANGAROO ISLAND South Australia Andermel Marron, Two Wheeler Creek Wines and The Marron Café, is one of

the largest crayfish (marron) farms in Australia with breeding ponds and holding facilities for the lobster-like shellfish. The place serves food and also distils wine (www.andermel.com.au). HAHNDORF South Australia

Tamar Valley Tasmania Hobart

YARRA VALLEY Victoria

For a bird’s-eye view of Yarra Valley, splurge on a morning balloon ride. The sight of symmetrical vineyards washed in golden light will warm the hearts of even those who turn their nose up at wine. The champagne breakfast that follows is the

Hahndorf is the oldest German settlement in Australia and has a string of eateries serving pretzels, beer, and sausages. Visit Grumpy’s Brauhaus for the G.O.D. (Grumpy’s Original Draught) made with German hops, malt, and rice (www.grumpys.com.au).

NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

99

JOHN WHITE PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES (OYSTERS), DORLING KINDERSLEY/GETTY IMAGES (MORETON BUG), TRAVELLIGHT/SHUTTERSTOCK (PIE), BPLANET/SHUTTERSTOCK (HOT AIR BALLOON), IGOR KLIMOV/SHUTTERSTOCK (WINE), ANDREY STAROSTIN/SHUTTERSTOCK (CHEESE), SECONDCORNER/SHUTTERSTOCK (TEXTURE), CANISMAIOR/SHUTTERSTOCK (JARS)

smoked. Tuck in at Latitude 30 Restaurant and Bar’s


Journeys essay Journeys || photo xxx xx

Bear

Date with a

ON THE MOVE THROUGH BANFF NATIONAL PARK, IN THE HOPE OF SPOTTING A GRIZZLY

T E X T & P H OTO G R A P H S BY

XXXXXXXXXXXX (XXXXXXXXX)

C H I R O D E E P C H AU D H U R I

126

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014


canada

I

was exploring Banff, a tiny, postcard-pretty town in the middle of Canada’s oldest national park in the state of Alberta. As part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has a population of just 8,000, mostly adventure- and outdoors-loving people. While I don’t quite share their passion for the cold or the forest, I am fascinated with animals.

Experiences like spotting a tiger in the wild, or watching a cheetah in full sprint top my bucket-list. Not surprisingly, it’s the prospect of seeing a grizzly bear that brought me here. I’d driven in from Jasper, a small town 290 km to the northwest, via the Icefields Parkway or Highway 93. Traversing this road, I wasn’t surprised that it is included in National Geographic’s book 50 Drives of a Lifetime. The mighty Canadian Rockies loomed all around us, snow still capping some of the higher peaks in the distance, and a chilly breeze slapped my face. Guide and driver Dieter Regett regaled us with local trivia. His story of a scary encounter with a grizzly while on a trek had me gripped. It is strange what the mind thinks of when danger or death appear around the corner. Dieter told us: “lying on my stomach in front of that growling bear, all I could think of was whether I had cleared all my debts.” He also spoke of bears becoming habituated to humans offering them food and sometimes straying into town. When that happens, they are put down, which is why they have a saying in this part of the world that “a fed bear is a dead bear’”. Feeding bears, I learn, is a punishable offence with a stiff fine of $25,000. Like Dieter, almost everyone I met in Banff, whether restaurant staff, tourism industry officials, or shopkeepers, had a bear story to share. My expectations of seeing one steadily rose. The grizzly is the alpha species of the Rockies though the ones found in Banff National Park are smaller and more docile than

the much-photographed salmon-gorging grizzlies of the Pacific Coast. This is largely because their diet is not as protein-rich. As one drives along the Icefields Parkway, it isn’t uncommon to come across groups of vehicles parked by the roadside, with over-excited tourists doing that dangerous and prohibited thing of getting out of their cars for a closer look at the wildlife. We crossed many such gatherings, always missing seeing the bear by just a few minutes. It was getting a bit frustrating. Downtown Banff comprises just two streets lined with shops overflowing with souvenirs, camping gear, fishing equipment, hotels, restaurants, and pubs. It’s not long before everything starts looking quite the same, especially to someone like me who isn’t fond of shopping. Instead, I wandered off to explore smaller side-streets which to my delight had names like Wolf St., Buffalo St., Caribou St., Fox St., Antelope St., Marmot St., Moose St., and Lynx St. Naturally there was also a Bear St. and a Grizzly St. I hadn’t seen a bear during our drive or any of our excursions out of town, but the ubiquitous animal was all over the town—on T-shirts, caps, key chains, coffee and beer mugs, fridge magnets, car stickers, cushion covers and tea cosies, paintings in art galleries, children’s nightclothes hanging in a store window, and little figurines made of marble and translucent green stone. Large stuffed toy grizzly bears stood at entrances of shops and in hotel lobbies, and tourists routinely posed with them for photographs, with the paws wrapped around them in mock bear hugs. It all served to build up a cruel sense of anticipation. Miraculously, on the penultimate day of my trip, as we were returning to our hotel from an excursion, Dieter spotted a bear. He was a large fellow, though not yet a full adult, with a deep brown coat. He was languorously feeding on dainty yellow dandelions that are, I learnt, a grizzly’s favourite. Everything was just right, the distance he was from the vehicle, the direction of the light, and the position of the trees in the background. I saw a grizzly! And I got the perfect shot. I was ready for the flight back home. My wait for the tiger however, continues.  Travellers often spot grizzlies while driving down the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff. NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

127


XXXXXXXXXXXX (XXXXXXXXX)

Journeys | xxx xx

128

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014


XXXXXXXXXXXX (XXXXXXXXX)

canada

From the name of a steak and fondue restaurant to a brewing company, on souvenirs and collectibles, the mighty grizzly bear can be spotted everywhere you look in the town of Banff. Although this iconic symbol of Canada’s wilderness is much-loved and widely represented symbolically, its numbers are dwindling and Alberta’s grizzlies are now among the most threatened grizzlies of North America.

NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

129


Short Breaks | stay

A WHIFF OF THE PAST

UTTARAKHAND

A homestay with a welcome as warm as its hearth | By Bhavani Bhimtal

ROMANTIC

After a long, dusty drive through the Kumaon Hills my husband and I finally reached a small clearing near Bhimtal. As we unloaded our luggage, a smiling teenage boy directed us towards rough stone steps that led to a colonial bungalow with a porch extending all along its front, a sloping roof, and flowering plants around each pillar. The sound of whining puppies and chirping birds completed the idyll. We’d arrived at The Retreat, a homestay run by the gracious Padmini Smetacek or Paddy, along with her happy brood of six homeschooled children aged 11 to 25, and several dogs. Their 19th-century home is grand, yet steeped in simplicity. Set in the middle

136

of an estate surrounded by fragrant cedar, oak, and pine forests, the whiff of the past lingers on the quaint wooden hangers, and armchairs by the fireplace. Even the food had a touch of colonial ceremony: tea served in a pot with an embroidered tea cosy and three-course meals even for vegetarians like me. We set off to explore the estate with the two older boys, listening to a woodpecker’s tuk-tuk-tuk in the distance, while a group of babblers chattered in the bushes. I excitedly collected some pine bark from the peeling trees. Our guides seemed to know every rock and tree like the back of their hands, and in less than an hour, we’d reached the top. They soon had a fire going

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA | NOVEMBER 2014

and served us barbecued paneer and veggies. As evening descended upon Bhimtal, city noises and mundane routines seemed miles away. We savoured the pervasive silence by the fireplace,

warming our hands and chatting with the family. Two days later, with a trunkful of memories, a jar of homemade plum jam, and my collection of pine bark we bid adieu feeling we now had family in the hills. THE VITALS

Accommodation The Retreat has three rooms, two with an annexe that can house a large family with children. All three rooms have attached bathrooms (www.theretreatbhimtal.in; doubles `3,500, including breakfast, tea, and a snack; meals extra `250-300; activities like trekking, barbecue, and picnics extra; during holidays and long weekends book a month or two in advance.) Getting there The Retreat is in Bhimtal, 20 km/45 mins west of Nainital in Uttarakhand. Kathgodam Railway Station is 21 km/45 mins south and Pantnagar Airport 52 km/1.5 hrs south, but be sure to check in advance if flights are operating. A taxi from Kathgodam to Bhimtal costs approximately `700 and from Pantnagar Airport `1,800-2,000. Alternatively, the homestay can book you a taxi.

CHIDANAND HIREMATH

ECO-FRIENDLY |


TRAVEL QUIZ T E S T Y O U R T R AV E L I Q

2 3

WHICH FAMOUS RAILWAY JOURNEY CROSSES EIGHT TIME ZONES?

CHINA AND RUSSIA HOLD THE RECORD FOR THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF SHARED BORDERS. HOW MANY COUNTRIES DO THEY SHARE THEIR BORDERS WITH?

1

KIRKPINAR, A THREE-DAY-LONG SPORTING EVENT, IS THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF WHICH TRADITIONAL TURKISH SPORT?

WHAT COUNTRY HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF MUSEUMS PER CAPITA?

WHAT PRACTICE, CONSIDERED CUSTOMARY IN RESTAURANTS IN THE WEST, IS FROWNED UPON IN JAPAN?

4

A REFLECTION OF ITS CONTRASTING LANDSCAPE, WHAT IS ICELAND’S POPULAR NICKNAME?

7

6

5 NAME THE NOODLE SOUP MADE OF BROTH, HERBS, AND MEAT THAT IS CONSIDERED VIETNAM’S NATIONAL DISH.

8

TAIWAN WAS ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS FORMOSA, A NAME GIVEN TO THE ISLAND BY THE PORTUGUESE. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

9

ANSWERS 1. TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY 2. UNICORN 3. 14 4. TIPPING 5. ISRAEL 6. OIL WRESTLING 7. LAND OF FIRE AND ICE 8. PHO 9. BEAUTIFUL NOVEMBER 2014 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER INDIA

145

DAVID FORMAN/LATITUDE STOCK IMAGES/DINODIA (TRAIN), CATMANDO/SHUTTERSTOCK (UNICORN), CYEPANCHINSTEV EVGENYITAR-TASS PHOTO/CORBIS/ IMAGE LIBRARY (FIELD), KURUKA/SHUTTERSTOCK (COINS), LUCAS VALLECILLOS/AGE FOTOSTOCK/DINODIA (MUSEUM), SADIK GULEC/SHUTTERSTOCK (WRESTLERS), MICHAEL PEUCKERT/IMAGEBROKER/DINODIA (LANDSCAPE), FARBLED/SHUTTERSTOCK (FOOD), HXDYL/SHUTTERSTOCK (TEMPLE)

SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL ANIMAL ONLY EXISTS IN FAIRY TALES. NAME THE CREATURE.


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.