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VOLUME III 2018

BEYOND EDITION


dorchestercollection.com The Dorchester, London | 45 Park Lane, London | Coworth Park, Ascot | Le Meurice, Paris Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris | Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan | Hotel Eden, Rome The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills | Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles


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V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

ASIA Rajasthan, India........................ 26 Bangkok, Thailand....................34 Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands, Russia ....................92

AU ST R A L I A & S O U T H PA C I F I C Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand .............................. 8 Yaukuve Levu Island, Fiji ............. 18

CARIBBEAN & MEXICO Nassau, The Bahamas .............. 16 Haiti ....................................... 32

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA Chiloé, Chile............................ 18 Misiones, Argentina ................. 18 Colombia ................................ 68

EUROPE São Miguel, Portugal ................ 12 Immeln, Sweden ......................... 18 Navarre, Spain ......................... 52 Burgundy, France ..................... 82 Zermatt, Switzerland .............. 104

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA Sahara Desert, Morocco............ 12 Amman, Jordan......................... 43 Dubai, United Arab Emirates ..... 44 Ruaha National Park,Tanzania ...52

NORTH AMERICA Sisters, Oregon......................... 12 Lostine, Oregon ........................ 18 Rancho Santa Fe, California ....... 18 Vancouver Island, Canada......... 18 Denali National Park, Alaska .... 18 Îles de la Madeleine, Canada ...... 28 Sisimiut, Greenland .................. 54

T H E E X P E R I E NCE M A K E R S 2 0 1 8 p. 60 A crater bay on Yankicha Island, Russia.

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photograph by DER EK HENDERSON


V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

ASK THE EDITORS

Q: Which hotel perfectly balances rugged adventure with serious luxury?

Derek Henderson

Hugh Garvey

Traveler’s Articles Editor dug deep to find the world’s most intrepid travel specialists, p. 60.

The New Zealand– based photographer captured Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands, p. 92.

The Los Angeles– based writer roadtripped through Burgundy with chef Ludo Lefebvre, p. 82.

What’s different about this year’s list? We focused on those trailblazing travel experts who can create the kinds of trips that push the boundaries of what you think is possible. What trends have you noticed? People want to see nature that feels raw and untouched; they also aren’t afraid of going to countries like Iran or Myanmar that are portrayed in the news as “risky.”

What was your first impression of Kamchatka? We arrived by helicopter, and the landscape was expansive beyond belief—no roads, houses, or any sign of human intervention. What’s your favorite souvenir of all time? A wooden Kenyan mask I bought in Mombasa in 1989 on my first trip to Africa. It hangs in our house and reminds me of the spirit of travel. Something you never forget to pack? A raincoat.

The best meal you ate on assignment? Andouillette, a profanely funky Burgundian sausage, served with coarse mustard and a glass of aligoté. What’s your next adventure? Octopus hunting on the Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island with just a trident and a mask.

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Talk to Us We can’t be everywhere in the world (even though we try). Email your travel stories, photos, and tips to letters@conde nasttraveler.com, so we can share the love.

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The Cover A bubble room at Hotel Aire de Bardenas in Navarre, Spain, photographed by Matt Hranek.

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From left: Valeria Suasnavas; Daniel DiScala; Luke Wooden; Simon Devitt

Paul Brady

A: High-end hotels in the middle of an epically beautiful nowhere are kind of New Zealand’s thing. But Split Apple Retreat, a threebedroom lodge at the top of the South Island, was the first I’d been to where hanging out on the terrace was as appealing as heading out to the nearby kōwhai forests and golden sand beaches of Abel Tasman National Park. The husband-and-wife owners, Lee Nelson and Anne Pen Lee, have created a holistic wellness retreat inside their own home, filled with their collection of antique Japanese and Southeast Asian statuary. Here’s what I’d recommend: Start with meditation guided by Lee, then helicopter to sacred Maori hot springs or kayak down estuaries filled with bird life. After that, hit Split Apple’s Japanese-style spa for a restorative Reiki session and a few minutes in the sauna. End it with a superdelicious yet clean meal (cooked by Anne) of seaweed soup and Mount Cook–sourced salmon, paired perfectly with a 2014 Moutere chardonnay from local Neudorf Vineyards. E R I N F L O R I O


NYC 800-457-TODS


Travel means dreaming of what comes next. Milestones are set beside the road not to commemorate how far you’ve come, but to mark the distance to the destination ahead. At Preferred Hotels & Resorts, we are proud to celebrate five decades of travel and hospitality. It’s a landmark that comes amid great change in how, where, and why we travel. Thank you for

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taking this journey with us.

P R E F E R R E D H O T E L S . C O M


GR A ND HOTEL TR EMEZZO Lake Como / Tremezzina, Italy

HOTEL NEW OTA NI TOK YO, “EXECUTIV E HOUSE ZEN” Tokyo, Japan

M YCONI A N NAI A Mykonos, Greece

DROMOL A ND CASTLE HOTEL County Clare, Ireland

LYALL HOTEL A ND SPA Melbourne, Australia

ALOHIL ANI R ESORT WAIK IK I BE ACH Honolulu, Hawaii

THE WATERGATE HOTEL Washington, DC, USA

HOTEL OHL A BARCELONA Barcelona, Spain

THE CAPITOL HOTEL TOK Y U Tokyo, Japan

THE HOLLY WOOD ROOSEV ELT Los Angeles, California, USA

BOSTON PAR K PL A ZA Boston, Massachusetts, USA

THE H AR I HOTEL LONDON London, England, UK

CA MBR IDGE BE ACHES R ESORT & SPA Sandys, Bermuda

CAR NEROS R ESORT A ND SPA Napa, California, USA

AT SI X Stockholm, Sweden

HOTEL DE PAR IS SAINT-TROPEZ Saint-Tropez, France


V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

EDITORS’ PICKS

The Better Way to Experience the Azores Go Off-Road in Morocco

Every summer, my husband and I pile our three kids into a minivan for an all-American two-week road trip. Last year, we drove more than a thousand miles from Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho, through Oregon, down to Bolinas, California. We try not to overplan. Part of the fun is finding gems in the unlikeliest of places (like the best banh mi ever at Double Dragon in Portland) or spontaneously kitesurfing on Hood River. We did, however, make sure to book two nights at the Suttle Lodge (above), near Sisters, Oregon, where we slept in a tiny log cabin and spent our days swimming in the lake and evenings playing cards under the stars. Our epic family adventure ended with a beach barbecue in Bolinas. The kids gobbled s’mores, and the adults sipped tequila. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Not even the number of times my daughter played “Bohemian Rhapsody” as we cruised south on I-5. S A R A H M E I K L E

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I’d wanted to do the annual women’sonly Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc for a few years. Last spring, I finally took the plunge. I spent nine days navigating 1,500 miles of the Sahara Desert in a 4x4 with only a map and compass (no GPS or cell phones allowed—and you don’t have to be a pro to do it). It was absolutely exhilarating. M A R A B A L A G T A S

Backpacking for Grown-Ups The only way I want to do a threeday, 25-mile mountain trek is if there’s a hot shower, a multicourse dinner, and a bottle of wine waiting for me at the end. My husband and I found New Zealand outfitter Ultimate Hikes, which hooked us up with cozy lakeside lodges each night as we hiked the Routeburn Track on the South Island. I’ll never sleep in a tent again. L A U R A DA N N E N R E DM A N

Clockwise from left: Natalie Puls; Lia Grainger; Laura Dannen Redman

15 DAYS. THREE KIDS. 1,262 MILES

“You could throw on a pair of sneakers and hit the walking trails. Or you could get strapped into a climbing harness and wet suit and go canyoneering through the waterfalls and river valleys of the Salto do Cabrito reserve on São Miguel Island. It’s an insane, adrenaline-pumping combination of hiking, rappelling, and leaping into freshwater springs. The expert guides from Azorean Active Blueberry made things totally seamless.” sebastian modak


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EDITOR’S LETTER

V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

On the highway between Nîmes and Marseille.

When I was a sophomore at U.C. Berkeley, in the ’90s, my roommate Chris convinced me to take up rock climbing. We went bouldering between classes and on weekends, gearing up for a big trip to Yosemite, where we would test our skills under the tutelage of a lovely boy with rangy limbs and shoulder-length blond hair who was crazy enough about Chris that he was willing to teach both of us. Chris was the same friend who convinced me one rainy afternoon to drive to Mount Tam in Marin County so we could hike up to the highest peak and then swim in the freezing gray ocean at Stinson Beach. Her openness and wanderlust were, in part, a defense against her WASP-y upbringing—the kind of bloodline, she often joked, that turned its spawn, living in the ambition-crushing limbo of pending trust funds, into professional drinkers. If it weren’t for Chris, I would scarcely have ventured beyond campus those first couple of years. For her, every weekend meant a journey somewhere within driving distance but a world away from conventional college life: the drum circle in Santa Cruz led by a friend she’d met skateboarding in Tilden Park; a camping trip to Mount Shasta; a party at an artist’s loft in a sketchy part of Oakland. But still I went, partly as a defense against my own upbringing by postwar European immigrants who couldn’t fathom voluntary exposure to risk of any kind. Some friendships fill in parental gaps. In those days, I did the cooking, edited papers, and helped my otherwise fearless friend script responses to

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Pilar Guzmán, Editor in Chief @pilar_guzman

© Guy Le Querrec/Magnum Photos

The Explorers’ Club

her domineering father’s frequent interrogations. Meanwhile, she taught me, a former competitive gymnast and serious student, the important lesson of doing things I wasn’t any good at—and going places that both intrigued me and made me just a little bit uncomfortable. Despite her voracious consumption of music, culture, history, and poetry, Chris didn’t care about grades the way I did. She was, however, a disciplined autodidact and a lifelong explorer. Over the years, I watched her master the guitar and become an accomplished distance runner, fine artist, and surfer. Later, while the rest of us were paying down mortgages and setting up 529s, she had become a full-time artist and globetrotting wave chaser, selling her paintings through a gallery in Santa Monica while collecting inspiration around the world for her haunting canvases. The last time I saw her, she laughed as she showed me the stitches on her brow where the fin of her short board, tossed by “a rogue wave in Costa Rica,” had just narrowly missed her eye. No matter how much I travel—or, conversely, how much I cherish my home life—I’m still envious of my friend’s itinerant existence. I often think about how that years-ago rock climbing trip set the stage for the kind of teetering-on-the-edge-of-fear sense of adventure I am always reaching for, and that we are always talking about at Traveler. While I quickly figured out the camping part, I couldn’t have guessed how uncontrollably my legs would shake from sheer terror (“Elvis legs”) during my first serious climb, or how I’d burst into tears at my first sighting of El Capitan once I’d made it to the top. Joy, as is often the case, was inextricable from terror—and all the more exhilarating for it. As Sophy Roberts writes in her story on Kamchatka, in Russia’s far east, “This is why I travel: to demythologize fear of the unknown.” It’s in these discomfiting moments of almost losing ourselves that we find, ironically, our deepest faith in humanity—and in ourselves.


The Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV.

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THE BAHA MAS

The Most Difficult Part of Planning Your Trip to Baha Mar Is Picking Your Hotel 16

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V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

Winter hit the East Coast hard this year, and we fought it by taking our annual January trip to the Caribbean in December, then going again in February. Baha Mar, the three-resort complex in Nassau, the Bahamas, which opened last April, makes repeat beach weekends actually easy to pull off. And not just because all that separates New Yorkers from its two-mile-long coast are a few episodes of Real Housewives in-flight on JetBlue (direct flights go from 12 other U.S. cities too). The property has an Art Deco–style Grand Hyatt with connecting rooms for families and a four-month-old SLS whose adults-only pool serves rosé and avocado fries (every bit as good as they sound). And for all its trappings

of a huge resort—12 dress-for-dinner restaurants, a 100,000-square-foot casino—Baha Mar feels considerably of place. Former chief curator of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas John Cox oversees a 2,500-piece collection of local art. Candy-colored conch shacks line the walk to the beach. And the 237 rooms at the Rosewood, Baha Mar’s final part, opening in June, go heavy on mahogany and marble in a nod to the island’s colonial past. Reason enough for us to book trip three. E R I N F L O R I O

from left: Baha Mar’s pier; the ceviche truck near the beach at the SLS.

photographs by ADR IAN GAUT


COME AS YOU ARE ®


HOTEL REPORT

V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

Tierra Chilo Gets an Update

In the age of hyperconnectivity, Minam River Lodge—reached by horseback, private plane, or a vigorous 8.5-mile hike—in eastern Oregon’s remote Eagle Cap Wilderness is refreshingly Wi-Fi-, celltower-, and TV-free. Entertainment comes from its nearly 400,000 acres of pine forest, where you’ll hunt elk, fish for trout, and hike in ear-tingling silence. Plus there’s always a roaring fire and books to read back on property. But this isn’t some kind of solo expedition. At the main lodge, which houses four cozy guest rooms, you might chat with the Seattle architects who hiked in the previous day over a dinner of epic grass-fed rib eye and justforaged chanterelles. If you do want more privacy, stay in one of the nine pine-log cabins. Each has a woodstove, queen-size beds piled with goose-down pillows and wool blankets, and a waterfall shower. Just make sure you leave time for an after-dinner soak in the wood-fired hot tub in the moonlit forest.

The Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa in the sleepy Chiloé Archipelago off Chile’s southern coast has just finished an 18-month renovation. The 24 new rooms have handwoven rugs, local ulmo wood, and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Pacific. What hasn’t changed: days spent boating, horseback riding, and hiking, followed by oysters and pisco sours, campfires, and trying to spot the Southern Cross in an impossibly starry sky.

H A N N A H WA L L AC E

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The best part of waking up at Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa outside of San Diego (in addition, of course, to the promise of warm weather, pool time, tennis, and an antioxidant body wrap at the spa) are the bottles of justsqueezed OJ, made from oranges grown on property and left on the doorstep of your casita with the morning paper.

THE NATURE GETAWAY Vipp Shelter, in southern Sweden, was designed so that nothing spoils your view of Lake Immeln from the kitchen. Or bed.

Farther-Flung and Worth It “On Harbour Island, the Caribbean’s Nantucket, I found a rare escape hatch for those who love the beach but dread lying on it. At Bahama House, an 11-suite shelland-rattanfilled hotel run by Eleven Experience (known for adrenalized exploits like heli-skiing in Iceland), you’ll snorkel the Devil’s Backbone in Eleuthera, pop into caves at Queen’s Bath, or cliff jump at Gregory Town.” Alex Postman

Tofino Resort + Marina, Vancouver Island, Canada You’ll spot both orcas and black bears off and on the beaches near this 62-room resort that opened in December in B.C.’s wild pine-shrouded surfing hub. Between catching swells and hot-spring dips, you’ll eat some of the best Dungeness crab and sleep well on plump Austrian king beds. Sheldon Chalet, Denali National Park, Alaska Ten air miles from Denali’s summit, this pentagonal, five-room timber resort gives you fur throws, huge fireplaces, and a selection of Scotch at 6,000 feet (best enjoyed while taking in the aurora borealis through the large windows). Kokomo Private Island Yaukuve Levu Island, Fiji A barefoot Aussie pilot will fly you to this 21-bungalow resort in Fiji’s untouristed south, where the staff will greet you with traditional Fijian singing. The Great Astrolabe Reef begins offshore, which means epic snorkeling and coral-trout sashimi. Awasi Iguazú , Misiones, Argentina Within spitting distance of the Iguazú Falls, these 14 standalone villas, each with a private plunge pool, personal guide, and fourwheel-drive vehicle, add a luxury note to compete with the lodges of Patagonia in the country’s south.

Illustration by Jordan Higa; photograph courtesy of Vipp

Into Oregon’s Eastern Wilderness


1963. The first Nelson Fine Autos. Today, there are 13 more. Across 3 states. Divided by 4 Nelson children. Good thing we started doing the math long before

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An island of firsts Warm Caribbean sea on one side, the bracing Atlantic on the other, it can only be Barbados: the tropical paradise boasting luxurious hotels, UNESCO sites and culinary delights at the captivating Oistins Fish Fry. Famous for George Washington’s only foray outside the US, it’s the only colony that founded its own colony, Charleston, and home to the western hemisphere’s oldest Jewish synagogue, Nidhe Israel Synagogue.

To plan your next vacation go to visitbarbados.org

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An exclusive group of travel experts is opening up the world’s most remote and intriguing corners—like Oman’s Musandam Governorate, shown here—without paving over paradise in the process. Find out where they’re headed next, on page 60.

V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8

WORD OF MOUTH

GO BEYOND THE BACK OF BEYOND

photograph by PAOLA + MUR R AY

Condé Nast Traveler

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RAJASTHAN

26.2389 N,73.0243 E

A N D A N O T H E R T H I N G...

The Quirkiest Desert Town No One’s Been To

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Twenty-five years ago, when I first visited Rajasthan, Jaipur’s gem store cases were filled with rubies brocaded in dust. In Udaipur’s back streets, miniature Mughal paintings could be bought with a fistful of grubby rupee notes, and at Jodhpur’s monumental Umaid Bhawan Palace, already partially converted into today’s gleaming hotel, I sat on a terrace with the Maharaja himself overlooking his lawn and desert-parched roses. These days, of course, this iconic circuit has been smoothed by the footsteps of so many Louboutin sandals, and sleeping in a palace for $100 a night has become as fantastical as the possibility of seeing a tiger. Craving a throwback India, I recently discovered an alternative route, lured by a new hotel in the dustiest of desert towns, Bikaner. This former stop on the Silk Road took me back to that turbid, camel-cart-rutted Rajasthan that I first fell in love with. I started in Jodhpur, at the boutique Raas hotel, preferring its intimacy and rebelliously slick minimalism to the grand palaces outside the city. From there it was a two-hour drive to Nagaur—a town stuffed with holy cows, jingling Hindu temples, and Muslim women in full purdah—where part of an 18th-century pleasure palace from left: Bikaner’s has been converted to the 27-room cloud room; Ranvas hotel Ranvas. The suites, built into in Nagaur, in a former Maharaja’s palace. a red-sandstone muddle of period havelis surrounding a courtyard with a serene swimming pool, are attended by mustachioed locals and Rasjasthani girls in bright saris who don’t all speak English. The food is Mughal Sufi (slow-cooked lamb and spiced curries). Grass grows between the paving stones. But this should be just a restful two-nighter en route to the main event: Bikaner. There the 82-room Narendra Bhawan Bikaner hotel was my base for exploring streets overhung with honey-hued merchant houses and Junagarh Fort, with its spectacular Badal Mahal, or cloud room, painted with cobalt rain clouds to conjure the cool monsoon. I circled on to Jaipur by car, stopping at temples like the Karni Mata, consecrated to the rat, where these holy rodents scampered around my bare feet, and heritage towns like Fatehpur, which has some of the region’s grandest (and most neglected) merchant houses. Stepping inside one, I found fading elephant murals and a vet who’d set up under a Mughal arch to administer meds to the town’s sacred cattle. Book via Alice Daunt at Daunt Travel, or hire an Ambassador taxi to get around. S O P H Y R O B E R T S

Photographs by Sophy Roberts

A M B A S S A D O R TA X I S DEBUTED IN 1957 AND D R O V E D I P LO M AT S A N D T R AV E L E R S AROUND INDIA UNTIL P R O D U CT I O N S TO P P E D IN 2014. IN A FEW C I T I E S , T H O U G H , YO U CA N ST I L L H I R E O N E .


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CANADA

47.3697 N,63.3066 W

A FRANCO-FOODIE PARADISE IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE

A hundred miles beyond Prince Edward Island, the emerald green, beach-andcliff-ringed Îles de la Madeleine could pass for the type of tropical atoll usually found in the South Pacific. And like those wanderlust islands of childhood lore, the seven inhabited Magdalens, in English parlance, are largely populated by the descendants of shipwreck survivors. Getting there can feel like riding a nautical time machine: a five-hour ferry from Souris, PEI, on the deck of which is a neatly tied life preserver stenciled Î L E S D E L A M A D E L E I N E as if art directed by Wes Anderson; in the bar, a singer belts out Johnny Cash hits in French. There’s something distinctly European yet disorienting about the Maggies, six of which are conjoined by a two-lane paved road. Brightly painted houses dot the hills, more like County Cork than Cape Cod, while harp seals plop themselves onto the beach to sunbathe the day away and kiteboarders zip across shallow coves. Some of the coastal dunes reach epic proportions, like towering castles knocked over into sand.

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photographs by GABR IELA HER MAN


from left: Colorful houses along the coast; lobster boats in the marina; an epic coastal view; the Café de la Grave; fish and chips at Bistro du Capitaine.

AND ANOTHER T H I N G ...

BY THE MID -1500S, B A S Q U E , B R E TO N , A N D NORMAN FISHERMEN HAD ENCOUNTERED T H E I S L A N D S ’ N AT I V E MI’KMAQ. OVER TIME, T H E P O P U L AT I O N GREW, THANKS I N PA R T TO 4 0 0 - P L U S SHIPWRECKS.

But many of the winningest memories from here inevitably involve food: lobster tail fried on a stick; whelks expertly roasted in butter and chives; sweet and creamy scallop ceviche; and crisp, minerally oysters on the half shell everywhere. Which isn’t surprising considering the dominant culture is Acadian, the same French diaspora that settled New Orleans. Around every bend in the road is someone turning the bounty of the islands into something edible: Smoked herring comes from the local Fumoir d’Antan. Le Verger Poméloi churns out excellent dry ciders and brandies. À l’Abri de la Tempête makes craft beers flavored with cranberries and an array of local flowers. Of course, there’s a catch: Fall drops early in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. By mid-September, stores have replaced beach towels and children’s sand toys with ice hockey gear and snowblowers. T Y L E R G R A H A M

Getting There

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

From June through early September, nonstop flights take off from Montreal to the Magdalen Islands. Otherwise, a car ferry leaves Souris, on PEI, daily.

Quai 360: Near the ferry on Cap-auxMeules, this rusticmodern spot does seasonal marketbased menus. La Table des Roy: An institution with a top-notch tasting menu highlighting local seafood.

The islands’ website lists house rentals. Otherwise, there’s an old stone convent, Le Domaine du Vieux Couvent, that’s been converted into a cozy boutique inn.


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HAITI

18.5944 N,72.3074 W

“The country has this great Caribbean vibe. It’s so vibrant. But people don’t think of it that way.” Victor Glemaud moved to New York from Haiti with his family when he was 3 years old. Growing up, he returned every year, and this summer he’s bringing his fiancé and a few friends. “It’s important to share my perspective of the culture, because it’s different from what you’ve read in newspapers or heard from politicians,” he says.

FASHION DESIGNER VICTOR GLEMAUD WANTS YOU TO KNOW THE REAL HAITI

What are your favorite memories of Haiti? Watching people get ready for Carnival. Everyone makes spectacular outfits, there’s music; it’s really fun. And there’s always a lot of sour rum punch, so it gets really festive. What’s the plan for this trip? My mother told me about Île-à-Vache, just off Jacmel, with the clearest blue water. We’ll stay at Abaka Bay Resort or Port Morgan. In Jacmel, we’ll use Hotel Florita as our base. I’d like to take lessons at Surf Haiti. Local kids take you out on the waves. Then we’ll do a day in Port-au-Prince—I want to check out Maxime Boutique Hotel. Any must-sees for first-timers? I can’t wait to show everyone the Citadel and the ruins of the Sans-Souci palace. They’re both in the north, in the mountains. They’re magnificent. Dishes you can’t miss? Djon djon black mushroom rice. When I host dinner parties in New York, I’ll get it with pork griot at Le Soleil in midtown. A S T O L D TO ANDREA WHITTLE

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photograph by ER IC CHAK EEN


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B L A C K BOOK

by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

Phrase to know:

Kob-koon-kup/kah (thank you) Drink: Chang lager

169

Letters in Bangkok’s full name, which is eight words long.

How to Get There More than 20 airlines connect from the U.S., including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and ANA.

Average High Temperatures

90°

60°

JAN

MAY

SEPT

DEC

FPO

Imagine a city of 10 million people that’s twice the size of New York with no decent subway and traffic that feels like all 10 million hit the road at once. Maddening, right? Not when it comes to Bangkok, whose unconventional charms make the far larger impression. Instead of little shops or galleries down the alleyways of its old districts, you’ll find neighbors drinking tea and laughing in small plazas where their homes meet. Tuktuks feel slightly less safe than you’d like but are a ton of fun (hold on and you’ll be fine). And if you miss that 7 P.M. dinner reservation because you didn’t budget one

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Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

What to Pack Bangkok is hot and sticky. Bring plenty of short-sleeve shirts; no tank tops—shoulders need to be covered at major sites.

hour—yes, one hour—for the two-mile drive, there’s a vendor nearby with a table on the street whose spicy noodles will be tastier than any meal at a restaurant that takes credit cards. That being said, you don’t just “wing” Bangkok. You need to plan in order to do it right. That can mean beating the crowds to some of the more popular sites by starting your day early, avoiding others altogether in favor of the places known only to the locals, and always taking the Skytrain when you can. Don’t worry, we road tested all of that. We sat in that traffic, hit all the temples, and ate (and ate and ate) the phenomenal street food to make sure you don’t misstep. ER IN FLOR IO

This tuk-tuk will get you from Wang Lang Market to Wat Arun temple in under seven minutes.

photographs by JASON LANG

Map by Peter Oumanski

Pre-trip reading: Sightseeing,

BANGKOK


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B L A C K BOOK

Embrace the Jet Lag

“The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, just outside the gates of the Grand Palace, has gorgeous silks, native mudmee fabrics, and royal gowns. You really get a sense of the history of Thailand through the tales from weavers over the centuries.”

blessings for the workday ahead. It’s truly a magical scene and a great tonesetter for the whole trip, as long as you don’t let the nearby Starbucks kill the mood. Focus instead on ordering iced coffee with condensed milk sold in plastic bags from the guys on the sidewalks down by the river. From the market it’s a 10-minute walk north to Wat Pho, the largest of Bangkok’s Buddhist temples and home to the famous 150foot Reclining Buddha. We can’t stress enough that you get there at the stroke of eight, when the site opens: You’ll have the entire complex of golden pavilions, ancient Chinese statuary, and rows of Buddha images all to yourself before the crush of flag-wielding tour groups arrive around 8:30 A.M. Wat Pho is about a 15-minute walk from the

How to Get Around

Tuk-Tuk

which you can reach from the ferry terminal near the Grand Palace. Or hop a tuk-tuk for a seven-

minute ride over to colorful Phahurat Road, which is loaded with Thai silks and woven fabrics. If you see something you’d want for a dress or suit, take it to Rai at Narry Bespoke Tailors in Sukhumvit, who can do anything madeto-measure in two days.

Taxi and Uber

Chao Phraya Ferry

Pro: Efficient and cheap.

Pro: At 30 cents a ride, it’s

Con: So much traffic. Go

the best deal in town.

Garlands for good luck on a longtail boat in Bangkok Noi.

Our simplified guide to navigating Bangkok’s famous gridlock.

Lauren Yates, Bangkok-based designer

36

Grand Palace, the gilded seat of the monarchy for more than 200 years. It’s an impressive example of Thai architecture, but you’ll spend at least half your time here waiting on line behind swells of Chinese tourists. We say skip it and grab lunch at Wang Lang Market,

Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

Pro: They’re everywhere. Con: Some are rickety, and traffic here is chaotic.

by ferry or Skytrain in the afternoon.

We Say: If you take one, hail

We Say: It’s good for after

it. The tuk-tuks parked at popular sites overcharge.

dinner. Make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter.

Con: The last sail is 8 P.M. We Say: Position yourself to see the European-style architecture and temples on the east bank.

Illustrations by Denise Nestor

Regardless of where in the States you fly in from, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll wake up superearly on your first full day. Don’t fight it: At 7 A.M., the roads are relatively traffic-free, so have your hotel call a taxi, or use Uber, and go to Pak Khlong Talat, the 24-hour flower market in Old Town. Just as you arrive, vendors will be replenishing their stalls with that morning’s delivery of jasmine and chrysanthemums, and stringing together rose garlands as monks from the temples walk around offering


BANGKOK

Old Is New (and Cool) on the Chao Phraya

456

Temples in Bangkok. Until the 1950s, they all doubled as schools.

Skytrain (elevated rail)

Pro: Clean, quick, and easy. Con: It only goes to about 30 percent of the places you’ll want to be.

We Say: Do it. Even if it means taking a tuk-tuk to the station.

FOR A DRINK WITH A VIEW, GO RIVERSIDE Sala Rattanakosin, Old Town The only reason to come to this bar is that it’s directly across from Wat Arun. The straight shot of the temple is so striking you won’t care that the vibe is ’90s Berlin. Samsara, Chinatown Get to this no-frills bar (it’s actually on stilts over the river) by 5 P.M. to hear chanting monks at Wat Pathumkongka while you sip your Chang. Riverside Terrace, Mandarin Oriental Do a Seagram’s and tonic here after dark, when the hotel’s traditional wooden shuttle boats, gliding across the Chao Phraya River, are lit up with strings of white lights.

Development of Bangkok’s downtown in the 1950s and ’60s left the Italianate buildings on the east riverbank empty. “We needed to save this architecture and restore life here,” says David Robinson, director of Vivid Bangkok and a cofounder of Bangkok’s Creative District, a milelong pedestrian area in the Bang Rak neighborhood that promotes local arts in those abandoned spaces (Bangkok’s first biennial, in January, took place inside a 19th-century Danish trading post). It’s home to galleries, cocktail bars, and the most innovative fashion and homedesign shops. Start at the

south end (near the Mandarin Oriental) and pop into Atta Gallery for its one-of-a-kind, limited-edition jewelry by local and international artists. From there, continue north to Warehouse 30, a massive World War II artillery storage unit converted by in-demand Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag into a mixed-use space filled with shops, restaurants, and a screening room. Rungsima Kasikranund, a founding editor of Elle Decoration Thailand, is the director-curator here, where 80 percent of the clothing is locally made.

THE NEIGHBORHOODS TO DO ON FOOT The Creative District leads into Talat Noi, a 300-year-old neighborhood with European and Asian architecture, heaps of auto parts on the sidewalks (this area became known for the buying and selling of these relics after WWII), and charming glimpses of everyday life. You’ll come across groups of men drinking beers and playing Chinese poker, and thick, centuries-old banyan trees wrapped in ribbons and offerings. Start at Soi Wanit 2 street, where the smiling lady at number 945 serves the tastiest bowl of duck noodles in town

from her storefront. Then continue down any of the alleys, all lined by sloping Vietnamese-style homes where neighbors gossip under lanterns. Pop into So Heng Tai, a 200-year-old Hokkien mansion near the river that’s open to visitors. You’ll know you’ve hit Chinatown when you pass Wat Pathumkongka, the unofficial divide between the two neighborhoods. Stop to clink Singhas with the locals at beer stalls along its alleys before finding your way to Yaowarat Road, the hub of Chinatown’s street food, for a bowl of wok-fried noodles.

Pocket Change Most Skytrain ticket machines don’t accept credit cards or bills, only coins, so make sure you keep some handy—the line at the ticket booth is notoriously slow.

And on the West Bank... Wang Lang Market The food at this market is the real deal (we’ll bet you’re the only nonlocal on the ferry over). Of all the noodle and dumpling joints crammed into Trok Wang Lang alley, Orathai is a must for its seriously fresh papaya salad loaded with black crab. You’ll be grateful for the ceiling fans in its seating area too. Wat Arun Catch the ferry to Bangkok’s dazzling, Cambodian-style Buddhist pagoda, or tack it on to your Wang Lang run (it’s about five minutes from there via tuk-tuk). Kudeejeen Bangkok’s only Portuguese settlement has the Catholic Santa Cruz Church, brightly painted homes that have been here over a century, and a 200-year-old bakery that still makes traditional Portuguese cakes.

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B L A C K BOOK

BANGKOK

Hotels Here Are More Than Just a Bed... They are a vitally calming contrast to the dizzying city. Their sun-flooded atria are exactly where you want to be after a day of sensory overload. The Mandarin Oriental—née the Oriental, as locals still call it—understood that when it debuted here in 1876. Though the name has changed, it remains the city’s loveliest sanctuary. The best seat in the house, as Somerset Maugham would attest, is in the Authors’ Lounge, tea in hand, while looking toward the Chao Phraya River. For something more energetic, the Bamboo Bar has live jazz and excellent Scotch. Farther up the river, The Siam is to Bangkok what the Royal Mansour is to Marrakech: an immediate oasis with tranquil ponds and antiques (co-owner and creative director Krissada Sukosol Clapp’s 16th-century Burmese Buddhas and herbal cabinets are displayed throughout). Even if you opt to stay elsewhere, stop in for a spritz at either (or both) of these properties. The Peninsula, meanwhile, is directly

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“For the past 20 years, I’ve found vintage French carpenter tables and Southeast Asian stone carvings at House of Chao. It’s in an old home from the 1950s. I still pop in once a week to see what’s new.” Krissada Sukosol Clapp, creative director, The Siam hotel

DON’T MISS THE JIM THOMPSON HOUSE

The Authors’ Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental (top); Nahm’s kanom jin rice noodles with softboiled egg and dried chili.

across the river from the Mandarin Oriental and has an epic spa (book a Royal Thai Massage as soon as you arrive). If

Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

you’d prefer downtown, you can’t go wrong with the sleek Park Hyatt, which opened last year on top of the Central Embassy shopping mall. The best value, however, is COMO, home to the can’t-miss Nahm restaurant, a chic pool, and doubles that go for about $100 a night.

Some background on Bangkok’s most famous American expat: He came during World War II, turned Thai silk into a global industry, and then mysteriously disappeared in a Malaysian jungle in 1967, never to be seen again. Fascinating, right? His home—a beautiful example of midcentury Thai architecture, filled with Asian antiques— is just as he left it. You’ll need to take the 30minute tour (you cannot just wander in), but it’s absolutely worth it; the gift shop has lovely silk bags and dresses too. Across the footbridge behind the home is Aood Baan Krua Thai Silk, one of two silk weavers that have been operational since Thompson’s day, selling gorgeous scarlet silk scarves right off the loom for around $18.

This Is a Street Food Town It’s everywhere, it’s affordable, and generally speaking, it’s incredibly tasty. Trying to find the best stall in the city is like trying to find the best pub in London. Which is to say, don’t bother. The no-fail strategy is to narrow in on a single area (whole blocks are given over to vendors in many neighborhoods). Lines can be long, and there’s really no point in waiting two hours for Jay Fai’s $20, Michelinstarred crab omelet in Old Town when the $2 pad thai from Thip Samai two stalls down is nearly as mind-blowing. You definitely don’t want to miss Yaowarat Road—it’s Bangkok’s largest outdoor kitchen, worth a visit as much for its fiery display of wok-manship as for the saltand-pepper noodles, pork rice, tom yum soup, or any other dish you decide to try.

...But You’ll Want to Sit for Dinner Nahm, COMO If you splurge just once, do it here, on those utterly tender oxtail noodles. 80/20, Talat Noi Its charcoal-grilled pig jowl with betel leaves is the future of Thai cuisine. Err, Old Town Simple but unforgettable fried rice balls and smoked Thai sausage. Supanniga Eating Room, Thonglor The pork-and-crab-stuffed crab shells may be Bangkok’s tastiest starter.


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B L A C K BOOK

BANGKOK

The Floating Market Tourists Don’t Know About If you go to Amphawa or Damnoen Saduak, Bangkok’s two most popular floating markets, you’ll find yourself 12 canoes deep behind dumpling-seeking Europeans and Americans. Instead, splurge on a rainbowpainted longboat (Smiling Albino can arrange one for $125 per person for a half day) and do Taling Chan market. This small floating market is open only on weekends and has a long dock filled with vendors making pad thai and papaya salads, and

tables where canal folk eat their pork dumplings, sweet pancakes, and fried rice for breakfast (at the far end, you’ll find stalls stocked with beautifully handwoven skirts from the north of Thailand). On your way there, hop off at the Wat Suwannaram temple, completed in 1831, which has a dock right on the canal. It’s just 10 minutes upriver from Wat Pho and Wat Arun, but even that’s just a touch too far for most travelers. You’ll almost certainly

have it—and its Jataka murals that cover nearly every inch of the interiors— all to yourself. On your way back into the city, take the long way, circling southwest down Khlong Chak Phra canal to see how communities have, and still do, live life completely on the water.

MALLS ARE A GOOD THING. THESE ARE OUR FAVORITES Central Embassy M Y P E R F E C T D AY

Barom Bhicharnchitr, managing director of Central Embassy “I’ll start with . . . egg custard bread for breakfast at On Luk Yun, an 80-year-old institution.” “Then I’ll hit . . . the local galleries of Old Town, like Bangkok CityCity. “Lunch is always. . . chicken noodles at Sai Nam Peung.”

Vintage rings in the antiques section of Chatuchak Market.

“I do . . . early evening cocktails at Siwilai City Club, which has views of downtown.”

Its blond-wood food court, Eathai, serves great som tam, and you can learn how to make perfect tom yum at its cooking school, run by top Bangkok restaurant Issaya Siamese Club.

Emporium Go to shop the clothing, gifts, and gadgets at concept store Another Story, and to check out Soda, which has a sweet secret cocktail salon in the back.

Siam Center It’s near the Jim Thompson House, so you can stop at its highend Food Republic food court for excellent duck larb (salad).

CHATUCHAK MARKET: TOURISTY BUT WORTH IT DO

DON’T

Logistics The Skytrain goes direct, passing the stop for the Jim Thompson House on the way. Do both the same day.

The whole market is weekend-only and opens at 9 A.M., but many vendors get there at 10.

Navigating Get a map—it’s brilliantly organized (i.e., books, gardening), making it supereasy to find what you want in one of the world’s largest outdoor markets.

Don’t rush. Half the fun is stumbling upon a funky café or gallery space while seeking out the best handmade leather sandals (Cosmo; Section 23).

What to Get Section 26 has excellent antiques and vintage travel books by such writers as Thomas W. Knox and R. Talbot Kelly.

A good amount of the merch is junk (steer clear of the elephant pants), but you’ll find gems; plus, it’s great for people watching.

Neighborhood for Late-Night Drinking Thonglor • Hotel That’ll Have You Feeling Like You’ve Time Traveled The Atlanta Hotel • Weirdest Street Food Fried whole scorpions, Dragon Walk, Chinatown • People Watching Shanghai Mansion • Green Space Lumpini Park • Antiques Emporium River City Bangkok • Bar Teens of Thailand

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Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018


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AMMAN, JORDAN

31.9616 N,35.8810 E

Stir a spoonful of tart, creamy labneh into a bowl of berries, or add a dollop to a plate of fatteh, which is like Middle Eastern chilaquiles, with chunks of toasted flatbread and chickpeas.

Breakfast at Olea at the Four Seasons Hotel Amman Is All About That Manakish

Manakish, a homemade pita coated with a healthy dusting of za’atar, is similar to pizza. Here it’s served with green and black Nabali olives from a grove near the ancient Greco-Roman city of Jerash.

And, of course, a cup of earthy, sweet mint tea. Pick up some to take home from Turtle Green Tea Bar, a café on nearby Rainbow Street.

Alternate bites of cumin- and coriander-flecked falafel with crunchy radishes and cucumbers—they’re a goes-with-anything side dish.

photograph by GABR IELA HER MAN

Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

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DUBAI

25.2048 N,54.2708 E

AND ANOTHER T H I N G...

THE LAYOVER HUB THAT’S TRULY WORTH STICKING AROUND FOR

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Until recently, the best you could do on a stopover in Dubai was to chase a rather predictable checklist: You’d head to the top of the Burj Khalifa to snap a few pics for Instagram, stroll around the gigantic Dubai Mall, and maybe hit the city’s indoor ski slope for the novelty factor before having a $30 Scent of the Souk sundowner at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel. But these days Dubai’s exploding art-and-design scene has grown to rival the one in Abu Dhabi (where the Jean Nouvel–designed Louvre Abu Dhabi just opened). Dubai’s new wave of

health-conscious cafés, divey rock bars, and stylish concept stores where Middle Eastern motifs meet contemporary decor have made it legitimately trip worthy. Drop in on the outbound, as an ever-increasing number of Emirates flights from the U.S. stop over on the way to Africa, India, and Southeast Asia— or better yet, on the way home from a rugged adventure, when a little luxury goes a P.49 long way. J O H N W O G A N above: Chill vibes at One&Only The Palm’s private beach.

Photograph by Madeline Bednar

DUBAI IS ONE OF SEVEN MEMBER S TAT E S O F THE UNITED ARAB E M I R AT E S . A B U D H A B I I S A N OT H E R ; I T ’ S H O M E TO T H E C A P I TA L , A L S O NAMED ABU DHABI. T H E OT H E R F I V E M E M B E R S TAT E S A R E AJMAN, FUJAIRAH, R A S A L- K H A I M A H , SHARJAH, AND UMM A L- Q U W A I N . O N LY O N E O F T H E E M I R AT E S HAS AN INDOOR S K I S LO P E , T H O U G H .


DUBAI

the Grosvenor House, an offshoot of the London hotel, in the buzzy Dubai Marina neighborhood, close to some of the city’s best cafés and restaurants.

Skip the Mall and Shop Here Instead

The Perfect Weekend

Linger Over Breakfast

Photographs by Anne-Sophie Heist

Most flights from the U.S. and Western Europe land in the morning, so after clearing customs and immigration, grab a cab to the Emirati restaurant Logma, or “small bites” in Arabic, for a breakfast of baith tamat (scrambled eggs with tomato) and chebab (Emirati pancakes) or a light postplane lunch of pomegranateand-halloumi salad. If you’re up for it, check out shops like the Zoo Concept or Rundholz in the surrounding Boxpark district.

Book a Hotel with a Sweet Spa and Pool Jumeirah Al Naseem has cool, neutral tones and an airy minimalism that feels more Miami Beach than Emirati opulence, and

it’s also got a mileplus stretch of private beach along the Arabian Gulf. If you’re there before checkin, they can set you up at the massive spa, where you can get an outdoor massage or hit the plunge pool while you wait. You could also try the One&Only The Palm— with its huge pool and a resort-y vibe—or

Comptoir 102 is probably Dubai’s chicest design store, with turquoise and gold rings and necklaces from the shop’s own Numéro 102 line, denim jumpsuits from Rachel Comey, and ceramic vases from the French artist Marion Graux. It’s also home to a café with tons of gluten-free, organic, and vegan options, plus almond-milk-anddate smoothies. (The light-filled back room, with its

blond-wood tables, has the best wicker-back seats in the house.)

Hit the Beach Kite Beach has rental kiosks stocked with paddleboards, kayaks, and kitesurfing gear, or just dive into the gulf and then grab frozen smoothies at Wanna Banana.

Match Your Dinner to Any Mood Go all out at the local outpost of Nobu, where the lights are low and the black cod with yuzu is on point, or get lowkey ramen at Yui. Sleek Milas has Emirati dishes like mbahar

deyay (chicken in a spicy cream sauce), and raucous Ravi Restaurant does downscale but delicious Pakistani biryanis.

Catch a Show Cheesy hotel lounges seem to dominate Dubai nightlife, but Stereo Arcade, where exposed-brick walls are lined with retro-inspired, custommade arcade games, is anything but. They’ve got live rock bands and DJs, and a vibe that wouldn’t be out of place in Williamsburg.

Squeeze in Some History The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding isn’t exactly a museum, but you can

25.2048 N,54.2708 E

learn plenty from local staff members who field visitor questions about everyday life in the U.A.E. and run a rotating program of talks and visits to mosques that are normally closed to non-Muslims. In this expat-heavy city— about 90 percent of the population is foreign born—the center offers a rare window on the native culture. Nearby, the Dubai Museum offers a more traditional look at the region’s history, starting with the setting itself, inside the Al Fahidi Fort, the city’s oldest building, dating from 1787.

Then Just Wander The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood surrounding the fort is a labyrinth of pathways and old stone buildings that’s a reminder of what Dubai looked like before the discovery of oil in 1966 put it on the global map. Pop in and out of the trinket shops and cafés here before stopping for lunch at Al Ustad Special Kabab, a legendary Iranian grilled meat joint just a 15-minute walk from the Dubai Museum.

from top: Ramen at Yui; Comptoir 102.

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DUBAI

25.2048 N,54.2708 E

IF YOU’VE ONLY GOT A DAY Before you leave the airport, drop your bags at the luggage storage desk in either Terminal 1 or 3. Then cab it to the Dubai Design District, just southeast of downtown. This developing enclave has contemporary art galleries, fashion boutiques, and third-wave coffee spots, all within walking distance of each other (so there’s no need to keep flagging down taxis), something that’s still rare here. Start at Craft Café with an açai bowl or quinoa salad and an espresso before going around the corner to The Lighthouse, a design shop with an in-house café and a strong selection of artisanal wood furniture from Alcarol and glassware

from Skogsberg & Smart. Then hit Frame, a concept store with a Japanese vibe, selling vintage records and books, sneakers, and paper goods. Next door, up-and-coming regional artists like the Iranian expressionist painter Narges Soleimanzadeh display their work at Art Hub Gallery Dubai. Another door down, shop Enne furniture and Maitland-Smith lighting at the showroom of Nakkash Gallery. Finally, check out the rose- and jasmine-filled arrangements at Maison des Fleurs before running to catch your flight. And if you can’t leave without that selfie at the Burj Khalifa, don’t fret: It’s a 10-minute detour on the way back to Dubai International Airport.

clockwise from top left: Apple-andolive-oil cake at The Lighthouse; Kite Beach; The Lighthouse; One&Only The Palm.

HOW MALIHA AL TABARI DOES DUBAI The Dubai native and director of Tabari Artspace gallery shares a few of her favorite spots.

For lunch “I like La Petite Maison for business meetings over bistro classics like salade niçoise.”

For dinner “Maiden Shanghai has amazing dim sum and tremendous views across the marina.”

For some culture “Classical music is probably not top of mind when you hear ‘Dubai,’ but the Dubai Opera has become a significant cultural hub—with ballet and musical theater too.”

For a late night

The Lowdown On Getting Around Uber is available, but the local alternative Careem works the same way, with more drivers and equally low prices. Cabs are metered, safe, and easy to find at hotels and marked taxi stands. The futuristic, driverless Dubai Metro is spotless and efficient, but its two existing lines aren’t that useful for out-of-towners.

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Clockwise from bottom left: Madeline Bednar; Anne-Sophie Heist; Joy Caasi; Anne-Sophie Heist

“Miss Lily’s is a favorite for a boogie, with let-your-hair-down music and incredible jerk chicken.”


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WORD OF MOUTH

Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania has 10 percent of the world’s entire lion population, and East Africa’s highest concentration of elephants. So many buffalo roam its grasslands and ancient baobab forests that you often think you’re hearing distant thunder. And yet, even though it’s Tanzania’s biggest park (nearly 8,000 square miles to Serengeti National Park’s 5,700), few safarigoers have heard of it. For decades, the government poured resources into the easier-to-get-to Serengeti, but it’s now focusing on Ruaha, trying to draw visitors with things like better roads and more rangers. I recently visited and found that it delivered big on wildlife and landscape, with no crowds, and was equally thrilled that, unlike many parks where you have to sit for hours in a jostling jeep to glimpse game, I was allowed—encouraged— to take guided bush walks. The park added two camps last year to its existing eight, and there’s talk of building large-scale lodges. But it’s the light-on-the-land properties like Nomad Tanzania’s pioneering six-tent camp Kigelia Ruaha, which opened in 2014, and Asilia Africa’s new eight-suite lodge, Jabali Ridge (left), that seem the careful way forward. Both are nearly invisible until you’re upon them: Kigelia’s dun-colored tents disappear into the shrubs that line the Ifuguru sand river. The bungalows of Jabali Ridge—enclosed by teak shutters and nestlike roofs—hide between giant boulders on a granite outcropping. Kigelia is old-school simple but comfortable, while Jabali ups the luxe factor with an infinity pool and spa. At either, staff are charming and expert, ready with a fun wildlife fact or a second G&T. A N D R E W S E S S A

THE HOTEL THAT’S WORTH A DETOUR On a recent road trip from Madrid to Biarritz, my son Henry and I and some family friends went northeast on the A2 toward Tudela, determined to make it to a restaurant called Trinquete in Navarre, Spain’s produce belt, for a lunch of grilled alcachofas (artichokes) and cogollos de lechuga (lettuce hearts). En route, we stopped for a truly delicious breakfast of fried eggs and sausage and requisite slivers of jamón Ibérico at one of the service stops (Area 103, Restaurante Asador) right off the highway, and after, detoured through Bardenas Reales, the natural park that some locals liken to a mini Grand Canyon. Finally, at the golden hour, we made it to Hotel Aire de Bardenas, an all-white glass-and-metal hotel that appears like a mirage in the middle of the windswept desert behind a barricade of produce crates. The landscape and the rigorously modern architecture—a series of cubes and tents, like the one on the cover, designed by Barcelona duo Emiliano López and Mónica Rivera—are as dramatic as they are comforting. After a coursed dinner with stellar wine pairings we scurried from the main house back to our bubble tents in the pitch black, shutting out the howling wind behind us. I can’t remember ever having experienced a sounder sleep. P I L A R G U Z M Á N

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From top: Courtesy of Asilia Jabali Ridge; Matt Hranek

The African National Park You’ll Have Almost to Yourself


Here you’ll discover a place where hearts beat to the sound of live outdoor concerts, the cascade of waterfalls and the laughter of friends enjoying another beautiful night. Considered a Southeast culinary hotspot, we’re serving up something for everyone – and that doesn’t stop at food. Discover a passion for the arts, world-class venues like The Peace Center and a multitude of museums, unique shops and galleries. Great venues, great vibe, great people. To learn more, call 800.717.0023.


GREENLAND + CANADA

66.9395 N,53.6734 W

Somewhere off the west coast of Greenland, I realized I needed was like to an inquisitive, 70-ish Ontario widow before bega new plan. Our boat, Adventure Canada’s Ocean Endeavour—a ging off to hit my cabin, exhausted. I’m an introvert—a polite Soviet-era ferry comfortably retrofitted for 198 passengers— word for misanthrope—more afraid of chitchat than of killer was chugging north toward Sisimiut and the Northwest bears. I collapsed into the single bed in my spartan stateroom, Passage. This journey was supposed to be my kind of story: taking solace in some Wilco demos, and drifted off to sleep. bleak and beautiful; full of polar bears, beluga whales, glaciers, In the middle of the night, I got up to use the bathroom. Inuit villages, and a recently discovered sunken ship from Sir The Endeavour was swaying, not unpleasantly, but then a John Franklin’s 1845 expedition to chart a quick passage from rogue wave hit the ship, causing me to smash my head on an England to China. All set to a music nerd’s soundtrack of painupper bunk and collapse onto my open laptop. The screen fully obscure mope rock that I’d curated from my beloved was crushed, leaving Apple shrapnel in my backside that I 22,000-song iTunes library for this trip. washed out for half an hour. Bereft, I turned to my trusty iPod. Plugging in the headphone jack, I heard a squawk, and then I’d come back from a posh introductory dinner at which someone had leaked to my tablemates that I’d it went dead. I was 12 hours into a 17-day trip, and from left: Off the recently profiled Justin Trudeau. I’d spent all three music—my constant companion, my ally in getting coast of Greenland; courses explaining what Canada’s prime minister me out of my freakin’ head—was gone. P.58 dogsledding in Ilulissat.

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Photographs by Gunnar Freyr Gunnarsson

The Northwest Passage, Just Like Explorers Found It


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GREENLAND + CANADA

66.9395 N,53.6734 W

At least Sisimiut, where we pulled in the next morning, was a beautiful farther south.) Still, the villagers threw a great shindig. At a dance party in the gym, there was throat distraction. The winding hillside roads of Greenland’s second largest city singing, and also reel music learned from 200-yearwere speckled with small houses painted red, blue, and yellow. We’d been old Scottish whaling fleets that the Inuit have made warned that this would be the last good coffee of the trip, so I settled into their own. The floor yielded to a joyous kind of a café overlooking the fishing boats and occasional pleasure craft below. square dance, bringing together Inuit, tourists, I sought out a tiny stereo shop and asked if they carried iPods. The salesman shook his head kindly. “Everyone has their stuff on their phones now.” and even a locally stationed Mountie. And so I was forced into the company of my fellow passengers. Some Just 24 hours later, I was home. Back to my 22,536 songs. But I didn’t put on Randy Newman’s encounters went well—a Toronto cartoonist and I were soon wisecracknew record—I pulled out my digital recorder ing during lectures about geology and navigation and were shushed like from the trip and pushed play. And as I listened grade-schoolers. Some did not. The Vancouver professor who described to the wheedling of the fiddles of Cambridge the five books he was working on while we hiked a narrow trail with no escape made me feel the pain of two legendary Mounties stuck on a nearby Bay, my mind went clear. S T E P H E N R O D R I C K Canadian island in the 1920s; they hated each other so much one eventually blew his brains out. Thankfully, there were long periods without conversation, too. Drifting by an ice floe, I watched a polar bear eat a seal, its intestines piled up like spaAntarctica, Silver Cloud Expedition ghetti. A beluga smashed its tail on the icy sea, against a backSee icebergs and pendrop of glaciers the size of skyscrapers, fading from ivory to a guins from your prighostly blue. I took the best nap of my life on a bed of orange vate balcony on this and green lichen in Uummannaq, Greenland, before crossing newly refurbished the open water into Canada. Silversea ship that’s And there was music, now that I was really listening. It turned The Northwest The Panama Canal, probably the most luxPassage, Ocean out that the crew member and Zodiac driver Ian Tamblyn is Wind Star urious vessel going Endeavour Transit the canal, to Antarctica today. It’s one of Canada’s most revered folk singMake the 17-day then spot toucans, designed for up to ers. On the night before we landed at journey through oncemonkeys, and dol254 passengers, but to Beechey Island, a deserted spit of land impassable Arctic phins during shore comply with regulawhere three graves from the ill-fated channels with Advenexcursions by Zodiac tions, it typically carFranklin Expedition rest, Tamblyn sat ture Canada, which in Costa Rica during ries only 200—which I TOOK in the Endeavor’s lounge and sang Stan means more elbow runs trips, like the one a surprisingly doable THE BEST NAP Rogers’s “Northwest Passage,” a paean room than on other writer Stephen Rodrick weeklong Windstar OF MY LIFE ships sailing the took, in August and Cruises adventure that to the country’s untamable vastness. The Southern Ocean. September, when the runs next winter, ON A BED OF song rang in my head the next morning ice retreats. This just when you’ll need as we paid our respects at the gray slabs ORANGE The Bering Sea, year’s expeditions a bit of sun. on a shale-covered beach. Then, at a comAND GREEN National Geographic leave Kangerlussuaq, munity center one night in the Nunavut Orion Greenland, on August The Galapagos, LICHEN. village of Grise Fiord, where Canada’s Traverse one of the 17, or Kugluktuk, Evolution government has paid millions into a world’s most forbidCanada, on September Cruise Darwin’s ding seas, sailing from 2; they’ll arrange stomping grounds trust in restitution for decades of abuse Seward, Alaska, to charter flights to the with Richard Dawkins, and discrimination, seemingly the entire Russia’s Kamchatka ship’s port. the author and evolupopulation of 129 turned out and mesmerized us with their Peninsula before tionary biologist, throat singing. Two Inuit women, one young and tall, one returning to Nome, Spitsbergen, Ocean who’ll host nature round and matronly, sang from deep inside their lungs, makon a 22-day Lindblad Adventurer talks and accompany ing a percussive, panting sound, each jumping in as the other Expeditions trip Get up close to polar excursions on land gathered her breath. that crosses the bears alongside during two backInternational Date researchers on a June to-back December On our last day, we stopped in Cambridge Bay, another Inuit Line (twice) and hits 9, 2019, Quark sails organized by village. I grew depressed at the town’s dilapidated homes, an rarely visited spots Expeditions trip in Quasar Expeditions. abandoned baby doll on the rocky shore. (As in many Inuit like the Commander Norway that will towns, the young mostly leave the old behind to find work

More Out-There Expeditions by Boat

include a team of leaders from the conservation group Polar Bears International.

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Islands and the volcano-ringed city of PetropavlovskKamchatskiy.


MAKERS

No matter how fearless a traveler you think you are, and no matter how many Internet rabbit holes you go down, there are some dream adventures, like trekking Papua New Guinea or venturing across Kashmir, that always seem just out of reach for mere mortals—or at least for non–social scientists. Why? Because you haven’t yet met the new breed of travel specialists who got there first. These visionaries, who are forging fresh routes through Mongolia, pioneering new ways of seeing the Atacama Desert, and retrofitting icebreakers to take skiers to corners of Greenland where every run is first tracks, have nailed that difficult balance between access and adrenaline, between opening a path to new territories and letting you feel like the first person to discover them. It’s not hand holding, it’s solving the hard stuff like hiring local cops to guard your expedition near the Afghan border, or making sure your private schooner is set to sail so all you have to do is take a seat on the bow and marvel at your surroundings. These people aren’t planning vacations: They’re taking us back in time to when going somewhere new was hard and a little scary and infinitely more rewarding than you could ever imagine. The trips these specialists are engineering aren’t PA U L B R A D Y for everyone, but that’s exactly the point.

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illustrations by CY NTHIA K ITTLER


“I guess I have a desire to go where nobody else wants to go,” says Denise Reiss, a retired script consultant from Los Angeles, where she’s just returned after two weeks in the Galápagos and is about to board a flight to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. But it was her three-week-long journey across Pakistan in December 2016 that we wanted to hear about. She and her husband, Mike Reiss, a producer for The Simpsons, had trekked deep into the Hindu Kush Mountains, then hit Islamabad and Karachi with the help of Jonny Bealby, the founder of Wild Frontiers, a company that specializes in edge-of-possible itineraries. “I had been to Pakistan when I was a kid in 1972, so I was interested in going back,” she says. “And I have very nice memories of Afghanistan. I went with my mother once, and we saw the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan.” Though she’d been to the region before, she wasn’t about to handle the logistics herself. “Wild Frontiers made all the difference,” Reiss says. “We went through one very high mountain pass, like, 13,500 feet, and they sent a police escort to be with us. There’s a level of protection you want, even if having guards does cramp your style a little bit.”

THE ALL-NEW 2018 WRANGLER

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Photograph by Matthieu Paley

WHO’LL TAKE YOU PLACES YOU THOUGHT WERE OFF-LIMITS


EXPERIENCE MAKERS

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” says Ed Sypniewski, a retired United pilot who knows a thing or two about flying around the world, referring to the five trips he’s taken with TCS World Travel. The company specializes in chartering private jets that can make possible itineraries no commercial airline would ever consider, like the 16-day spin through South America that Sypniewski did with his wife, Bettie Burton. “We have some well-traveled neighbors, and they sat dumbfounded when we told them about this,” he says. While TCS trips used to be a way to see a predictable laundry list of RTW highlights—Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, Istanbul, London—they’re now about going way off the beaten path. “My first really big trip with them was around the Indian Ocean,” says Glenn Montgomery, who’s

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Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

since booked two more. “I went to a lot of different islands— Madagascar, Palau—not the sorts of places you just casually book. TCS organized everything,” from customs and immigration to hotels to guides. The company is planning a “great empires” itinerary that’ll hit Iran, Serbia, and Turkmenistan later this year, but the passengers themselves are pushing the envelope, too. “I’m going to get a group of 40 friends together and customize something,” says Sunil Kumar, who’s been on two TCS trips with his wife, Rekha. “It won’t have any of these big cities like London, Frankfurt, Rome, or Paris, because everybody’s been there a hundred times. But everyone would like to go to Jordan, Israel, Egypt, maybe Iran. So it’ll be a little different.” Which is the whole point of taking your own plane.

From left: Courtesy of Singita Lodges; Thomas Flensted

EXPLORER

WHO'LL TURN YOU INTO AN


We went to Ethiopia’s Gheralta highlands, rented the only motorboat on the southern Omo River, and flew over the Danakil Depression, one of the lowest points on the planet, where the earth’s crust is literally boiling over—and our plane’s altimeter registered an altitude of 200 feet below sea level. Will Jones of Journeys by Design organized it all. —Megan Kirley, Seattle, Wash.

up to individual bookings for a May 10, 2019, departure that also includes a week at two different Singita lodges in South Africa.

Heli-ski in Greenland. Tim Soper at Eyos Expeditions can put together a beyond-the-backcountry ski trip where every run is first tracks—and your lodge is a 26-passenger icebreaker. Fly in an 88-seat jet with a sitdown restaurant. The Crystal Skye, a private Boeing 777 that’s managed by the cruise line, is one of the most over-the-top jets on the planet—and you’ve usually got to charter the whole thing to try it. But Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel International has opened it

THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM

Hike across Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Trail. Legendary among Australians, this mountainous jungle track was the site of an Allied defense of Australia against the Japanese in World War II, and today it’s a grueling but rewarding-like-Kilimanjaro hiking route best done on a nine-day trip with Pedro O’Connor of Epic Private Journeys. Leave the planet. After years of delays—and a fatal test flight in 2014—Virgin Galactic’s CEO says that by the end of 2018 the company could start suborbital flights that include a few minutes of weightlessness and climb to more than 62 miles. Last fall, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said the outfit was “just months away” from liftoff.

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BE THE FIRST OF YOUR FRIENDS TO...


EXPERIENCE MAKERS

The world’s most exclusive pisco sour bar no longer exists, but it was one hell of a time for the one night it was open, says Vincent Raisière, the cofounder of Amazing Escapes, the company that created the bar inside the remains of a rusty school bus parked in the middle of nowhere in the Atacama Desert. It was part of a custom-built, off-the-grid camp that his company popped up in the north of Chile, one of many they’ve set up in truly wild places like Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and Finnish Lapland over the last 10 years. While the locations are remote, the accommodations are civilized: Amazing Escapes has custom engineered its collection of bubble tents, geodesic domes, and yurts so they don’t impact the local environment. “Most other camps are great until you get to the bathroom,” Raisière jokes; all his operations have en suite facilities complete with running hot water. The outfitter started with only bespoke jobs, like the itinerary that crisscrossed Cambodia with private jungle camps along the way and the $4 million, six-camp group expedition to Bolivia. They’ve since expanded with an option that lets guests book a single tent rather than buying out the whole camp. In Iceland, Amazing Escapes coordinates heli-skiing in the Troll Peninsula, dogsledding, whale watching, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. In Bolivia, guests can hike through otherworldly salt flats, soak in hot springs, and drive through the wildlife-filled Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, spotting flamingos in the shallow lagoons. Not remote enough? Amazing Escapes is planning trips to Greenland and the Kimberley next year before hitting Lake Baikal and Antarctica in 2020.

WITH BUILT-IN BRAGGING RIGHTS

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From bottom left: Courtesy of Cascada Expediciones; Fabien Courmont/courtesy of Mon Plus Beau Voyage

ADVENTURE

WHO’LL PLOT AN


I’ve gone aboard an icebreaker close to the North Pole; I’ve crossed treacherous ice floes near Baffin Island; I’ve seen polar bears, seals, and arctic foxes; and I’ve even met native people hunting narwhal, all thanks to Thomas Lennartz of Quark Expeditions. —Jonathan Rutchik, Mill Valley, Calif.

Do Patagonia the way people used to on the remote Dientes Circuit, a four-day hike around Navarino Island, just south of Ushuaia, Argentina. You won’t see the famed spires of Torres del Paine—those are about 300 miles northwest of here—but you and

THE PROMISE OF ADVENTURE

your guide from Cascada Expediciones may well be the only people on the trail: This challenging, bragging rights–worthy trek is the world’s southernmost hiking route. Dune bash a place nobody’s even heard of on the northern coast of Brazil, where the white sands of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park flood periodically, forming shallow, freshwater lagoons that are perfect for kitesurfing (or horseback riding, if you’d rather). While the landscapes are amazing, the hotels are less so, says Martin Frankenberg of the Brazilian travel firm Matueté—with the exception of La Ferme de Georges, a nine-villa retreat on the edge of the park.

©2018 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Jeep is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC.

MORE HOLY SH-T TRIPS

Drive across Mongolia or Patagonia with Nomadic Road, a year-old outfitter that coordinates private road rallies, complete with your own personal Land Rover and the adrenaline rush that comes with driving, literally, on foreign soil. This spring, they’re taking a crew from Lhasa, Tibet, to Mount Everest base camp along the Friendship Highway (think the Blue Ridge Parkway with views of the Himalayas) with stops at the Potala Palace and Buddhist monasteries.

Sail to truly deserted islands in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago aboard a four-cabin, 85-foot Meta IV yacht operated by Burma Boating. Or go farther down the Malay Peninsula, to Phuket, Thailand, where you can catch a ride aboard the Panorama II, a Greek-flagged 49-passenger schooner to the still-under-theradar Similan Islands for kayaking and sailing in a place that feels like Thailand 20 years ago. (Intrepid Travel can hook that one up.)


EXPERIENCE MAKERS

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served us a delicious lunch had made for us,” she says. “I’ll never forget it.”

This page: Marta Tucci/Naya Traveler (2); opposite: Matthieu Salvaing

PASSION

WHO GET THAT TRAVEL IS ABOUT

“I always assumed a trip on a private yacht would be something I couldn’t afford,” says Sabrina Padwa. “But for my 50th birthday, I thought, What the hell, let me at least look into it.” Next thing Padwa knew, Mary Crowley, from the yacht brokerage Ocean Voyages, was planning a charter from the Aeolian Islands, across the Mediterranean, and to the Amalfi Coast. “It wasn’t cheap,” Padwa says, but her budget wasn’t exactly a Russian oligarch’s, either. Her feel-likea-baller yacht trips have even become an annual tradition for her and her friends, including Lisa McMullen, who invited Padwa along for her Italian birthday charter last summer. “The captain handled everything on board,” McMullen says, including planning a route that hit tons of ports in only eight days, while Crowley booked tables at the Belmond Hotel Caruso and Lo Scoglio. “Mary’s ruined traditional travel for me,” McMullen says. Her trips aren’t special just because they’re on private yachts—it’s because they include such personal


TRIPS THAT GO DEEP

We went from Rome to Montemerano, in the middle of nowhere, and had one of the best meals of our lives at Da Caino. When you look at their website, chef Valeria Piccini is just described as a cook who loves to feed family and friends. Then you get there to find they have two Michelin stars. We never would have known about it if not for Rudston Steward at Trufflepig. —G. Scott Osten, San Francisco, Calif.

Ride horses with Uruguayan gauchos through the countryside, then tie up in Garzón (the tiny town that chef Francis Mallmann put on the map), see monumental sculpture at the Atchugarry Foundation, and overnight in some of South America’s most relaxing hotels, like the Fasano Punta del Este and Estancia Vik, near José Ignacio. Lares Uruguay can map it all out.

in-depth tours to small-batch producers in England, Italy, the Netherlands, and—this summer— the Alps, where they’ll be opening doors to some of the region’s top caves like Marcel Petite’s, home to 100,000 wheels of the good stuff.

historians, foreign correspondents, or Ph.D.-level experts who can give you the lowdown on the art market in Shanghai or demystify the Catalan independence movement while you wander Barcelona.

Capture the ultimate Instagram shot on a photographerled tour through Myanmar with Naya Traveler, who can make sure you’re in the right place for the perfect golden-hour photo from a canoe on Inle Lake—and also intro you to local contacts in Bagan and Mandalay, who can illuminate the complex politics of and ongoing conflicts in the country.

Eat every last taco in Mexico City with Club Tengo Hambre, whose tours of al pastor joints and mercados in the normally overlooked Centro Histórico will ruin you for the Mexican spot back home that you thought was “so authentic.”

Hunt down Comté, raclette, and raw-milk rarities with Cheese Journeys, which plans incredibly

Get schooled on current events with the help of Context Travel’s guides, most of whom are

THE ALL-NEW 2018 WRANGLER

©2018 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Jeep is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC.

Find more of our favorite experience makers at cntraveler.com/travel-specialists


by

Jon Lee Anderson

photographs by Paola

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+ Murray


BEYOND CARTAGENA, A NEW POLITICAL TRANQUILITY IS LURING TRAVELERS TO COLOMBIA’S NORTHERN BACKCOUNTRY OF COLONIAL TOWNS, TEEMING JUNGLES, AND GOLDEN COASTLINE

THE


O

One day last summer, walking along a back street of Cartagena’s walled old city, I spotted Luis Guzmán, the lupine-faced actor from Carlito’s Way and Boogie Nights. He was a few feet away, dressed like a tourist, and he was gawking in the window of a curio shop. The sighting sparked an epiphany of sorts. Over the years, I had observed Cartagena’s gradual transformation from an edgy Caribbean backwater into a tourist-friendly playground. Seeing Hollywood’s ultimate Latino villain there doing something as mundane as souvenir shopping, however, made me feel more certain than ever that Cartagena’s days as a latter-day Latin American Tangier were truly over. I lived in Colombia with my family as a child in the 1960s, and have returned many times since, as a reporter covering the country’s chronic conflicts between the state, a half dozen guerrilla groups, and several drug cartels. For the past two decades, I have also visited Cartagena annually to give workshops on behalf of a foundation for young Latin American journalists set up by Gabriel García Márquez. After I got to know García Márquez in the course of writing a profile about him, he cajoled me into lending my services, promising mischievously: “It’ll be like our own mafia.” The blandishments of Gabo, as everyone called him, were impossible to deny. Twenty years ago, Cartagena was still off-limits to most American tourists, but had become a sanctuary for wealthy Colombians seeking a refuge from their violent country’s myriad dangers. There were few other places they could go without running the risk of being robbed, kidnapped, or perhaps murdered, either by one of Colombia’s several Marxist guerrilla groups, its right-wing paramilitary militias, or its criminal gangs. Cartagena was an exception to all that, but it still had its seamy side. On a 1999 visit, for instance, dining with García Márquez’s younger brother, Jaime, in one of the city’s finest restaurants, we noticed Jorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez and his wife at a nearby table. Ochoa had become a billionaire in the cocaine trade as Pablo Escobar’s partner in the Medellín cartel. For an American, seeing Ochoa in Cartagena was pretty shocking, equivalent to encountering Al Capone sunbathing on Miami Beach during Prohibition. The restaurateur bragged that the Ochoas were regulars, and that he’d once hosted Colombia’s president there at the same time. “Cartagena is special,” he said, a unique neutral ground in a lawless country, where everyone was welcome as long as they did not bring their battles with them. At the edges of Cartagena, the unspoken nonaggression pact ended, as

Previous spread, from left: El Cabo San Juan in Tayrona National Park; La Casa de Campana in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; ripe papaya with lime at Reserva One Love hotel; a meditation labyrinth at the hotel; a cloud-ringed peak in the Sierra Nevada; along the Magdalena River in Santa Cruz de Mompox. Opposite: The Church of San Francisco in Mompox.

I discovered when I proceeded with Jaime to the García Márquez family hometown of Aracataca and was forced to leave by midafternoon to avoid being kidnapped. The country’s largest guerrilla group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC, were active in the area and regularly set up roadblocks at dusk to abduct travelers in a practice they called their pescas milagrosas (miraculous fishing trips). Within a few years, though, a U.S.-assisted counterinsurgency campaign had reduced the FARC’s territorial reach, and Cartagena was considered safe enough for tourists. Nowadays there are daily direct flights to Cartagena from New York, American cruise liners make port calls, and new hotel and condo developments have sprung up along the coast. Cartagena’s success has been crucial to an effort by Colombia’s government and its tourism industry to overcome the country’s image as one of the world’s most violent places. While the highland capital of Bogotá attracts youthful American and European travelers to its bohemian district, La Candelaria, and Medellín draws travelers keen to see the city’s urban renewal since its days as the world’s murder capital, Cartagena’s gorgeous colonial buildings and nearby beaches lure Americans down for long weekends of sun and salsa. The transformation has accelerated since the signing of a historic peace treaty between the state and the FARC in 2016, making parts of the Colombian interior accessible for the first time in decades. Recently, I decided to explore a few places I had never been, before the Cartagena effect changes them forever. My trip traced a triangular route through northern Colombia, vaguely defined by the intertwined legacies of García Márquez and the early-19thcentury independence leader Simón Bolívar, the legendary “Liberator” of what are now Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from Spanish colonial rule. From Cartagena I headed inland with a rented van and driver to Santa Cruz de Mompox, a 500-year-old town built on an island in the Magdalena River. My friend María Jimena Duzán, one of Colombia’s preeminent political commentators, assured me that the town’s sleepy colonial charm was “like Cartagena used to be,” before the tourist invasion. She and her husband, the pianist and composer Óscar Acevedo, decamp every fall to Mompox for the town’s jazz festival, and swear by its restorative qualities the way others enthuse about certain yoga retreats. Connected to the coast by the Magdalena, and brought closer to Cartagena during colonial times via a canal, Mompox became a vital way station into the Colombian interior. Far enough from the Caribbean to be safe from English pirates, Mompox attracted a number of powerful Spanish families in the 16th and 17th centuries. A royal mint was established there, and it also became a storehouse for Colombia’s gold and other treasures, fueling an industry by artisan jewelers who specialized in gold and silver filigree—a tradition that continues today in small workshops around the town, producing finely wrought earrings, bracelets, and pendants. During Bolívar’s early war effort, Mompox had crucially provided him with 400 volunteers, and in 1810 it became the first town in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada—comprising present-day Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, and Venezuela—to declare its independence from Spain. Eventually, Mompox’s relevance faded, when boat traffic began to bypass the town in favor of a deeper branch of the river. In The General in His Labyrinth, García Márquez’s fictionalized account of Bolívar’s last days, the dying Liberator invokes the town’s ephemerality, saying deliriously: “Mompox doesn’t exist. Sometimes we dream about her, but she doesn’t exist.” P.74

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GOING BEYOND CARTAGENA Getting to Cartagena is easy, with the introduction of regular direct flights from several U.S. cities. There are lots of hotel options within the city’s historic center. The Tcherassi Hotel + Spa has modern suites in a restored colonial manse, with a swimming pool set into a colonnaded inner courtyard. It’s just a couple of blocks from Gabriel García Márquez’s home and Plaza de San Diego, with its cluster of good bars and restaurants. After three or four nights in Cartagena, you could get around northern Colombia on your own by plane or rented car, but it is far easier and more pleasant to let a fixer take care of the logistics. We traveled with Plan South America, which arranged a car and driver, small planes and a helicopter between destinations, and a guide on arrival. PSA recommends spending two nights at Portal de la Marquesa in Mompox, then two to three at the tree house–like La Casa de Campana in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which sleeps six and comes with a chef and private guide. End with two nights at Reserva One Love in Palomino before flying back to Cartagena.

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An aerial view of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.


M B But Mompox does exist, a five-and-a-half-hour drive inland from Cartagena across a steamy landscape of swampy cattle ranches carved out of jungle and a range of small mountains. It is an area that had been largely controlled by paramilitary militias in the recent conflict, and is also the site of 42 separate massacres they carried out between 1999 and 2001. These included the hallmark atrocity of El Salado, an orgy of terror lasting several days in February 2000, in which paramilitaries tortured and killed at least 60 townspeople, many of them publicly on the town’s soccer field to the accompaniment of live music.


But Mompox, when it finally hove into view, seemed at peace with itself, a cozy grid of red-tiled colonial houses, cobblestoned streets, and lovingly kept old churches with turrets and belfries on one bank of the Magdalena River. The river flows past continuously, its brown waters dotted with green islets of hyacinths and lily pads. A few of the grand houses along the riverfront have been converted into privately owned hotels. I stayed in one, Portal de la Marquesa, a gracious colonial with an interior garden and a vast front room with great wooden shutters that swung open to look out over the Magdalena. In the cool air of the evening, up and down the street, old women sat on rocking chairs outside the doors of their homes, watching the river and talking to passersby. One morning, three men lounged under an old shade tree that leaned out over the river, and I joined them. On the other side of the river, perhaps 300 feet away, there was a dog in the water, its head just visible. It appeared to be battling against the strong current, and was headed to our side. After some more minutes and considerable effort, the dog arrived. One of the

From left: A religious procession in Mompox; a lunch of fresh fried bocachico fish and plantains by the Magdalena River; a Kogi village in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, near Ciudad Perdida.

men exclaimed: “Ya llegó!” (He made it!) I asked the men about the dog. Had they seen it swimming before? “Oh, yes,” one said. The dog was well known in Mompox. “He goes across every morning to eat food from the farm there”—the man pointed across the river—“and then he comes back.” He shook his head admiringly and said: “That dog, he’s really something.” We lingered a little, captivated by the sweet mundanity of the scene. There was a timelessness in the moment that felt heavily redolent of García Márquez’s not-so-fictitious world of Macondo. A woodpecker banged away at the trunk of the overhanging tree, and several large iguanas moved around on its branches. Yellow-headed caracaras dived and swooped for fish in the river, and parakeets flew overhead in squawking flocks. Soon, a boy driving a horse cart came down the lane and clattered past, a switch in his hand. A few streets away, I was hailed by an elderly woman from the open front room of her house. She sat cooling herself in a rocking chair that was strategically placed under a ceiling fan. She wore a blue dress and sandals, and she introduced herself as María Cristina Raparína. She said that she was 98 years old and had lived in Mompox her entire life. When I asked María the secret to her longevity, she said bluntly: “You have to believe in God.” Nearby, the Mompox cemetery is a picturesque village of dead souls. It is dotted with ornate busts and tombs, and populated by some 30 cats, which were lounging around the central mausoleum in a variety of poses on the day we visited. The cemetery groundskeeper told me that the place was haunted by spirits. He’d seen a man dressed in ’30s-style white clothing one day, and as he approached him, he’d vanished. “Some people have the ability to see things,” he said, by way of explanation. I went for a ride upriver on a small barge that was rigged for excursions, and fell into conversation with its owner, Julio. He was from Mompox, but he had emigrated to the United States, as so many other Colombians have done over the years, both to find work and to escape the conflict. He had spent 15 years working in New York before saving up enough money—$250,000, he said—to return home and buy his barge and a riverside restaurant. I asked Julio what kind of work he did to save so much money. “Everything,” he replied proudly. He had cleaned office towers at first, but had eventually started his own construction business. He showed me a picture of his truck, with his business logo, on his phone. As we floated up and then back down the river, Julio pointed things out—birds, trees, and iguanas—and raved about what a wonderful place his hometown was. It was quiet and safe and friendly, and everyone knew everyone. New York was exciting, he said, but there was no place like Mompox.

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The double beach at El Cabo San Juan.


Map by Peter Oumanski

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J Marta, about 200 miles away on the Caribbean coast, is where, in December 1830, at the age of 47, he succumbed to tuberculosis. To reach Santa Marta from Mompox by road takes the better part of a day, so I flew in a small chartered airplane that retrieved me from the airstrip outside of town. The plane followed the Magdalena and then cut northward above a patchwork of wetlands and jungle. About 50 miles from our destination, we passed over García Márquez’s Aracataca—the site of my aborted visit in 1999, and which inspired his fictional Macondo. It was a thrilling moment, and although a heat haze blurred the town’s outlines, it felt appropriate, somehow, for the birthplace of magical realism to slightly conceal itself from view. Santa Marta, Colombia’s oldest city, was settled by Spaniards in 1525. In The Old Patagonian Express, Paul Theroux’s iconic account of a train journey through the Americas in the late 1970s, he goes through Santa Marta, but is left singularly unimpressed by it. He writes acerbically: “Bolívar had come here to Santa Marta with the intention of fleeing the country. It could not have been much of a place in 1830; it was very little now: a small town, a beach, some cafés, a brothel (‘Mister!’), a strip of shoreline on the flat blue Caribbean.” Four decades later, I would not disagree much with Theroux, except to point out that Santa Marta now has some tall buildings as well as a pair of outlying resort towns spread along its white sand beaches. And its setting, overlooked by the snowcapped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, an isolated range with twin peaks standing nearly 19,000 feet tall, the highest coastal range in the world, is truly spectacular. I had only ever seen the Sierra Nevada from a distance, and had always wanted to go, but with drug traffickers, paramilitaries, and guerrillas all active on its flanks, it was an idea that had stayed on the shelf. Encompassing a remarkably intact wilderness area of great biodiversity, with some 440 bird species, as well as mammals like tapirs, jaguars, and cougars, the 6,600 square miles of the Sierra Nevada is also home to four traditional indigenous communities. The Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kankuamo are descended from the pre-Columbian Tayrona, an advanced civilization that built stone temples and manufactured gold jewelry. Hundreds of years before the Spaniards arrived, the Tayrona had abandoned their coastal homes for the mountains to escape attack from the seagoing, warlike Caribs, and when the gold-hungry conquistadores came, they stayed there. Today, the Kogi and Arhuaco, especially, have well-organized communities and have learned how to coexist in close proximity with modern Colombians while retaining their own language and customs. Most of their villages remain very isolated and are off-limits to outsiders. An exception is Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), the ruined site of their sacred temple, which was discovered by tomb robbers in 1975, and which is open to the public, a growing draw for intrepid travelers willing to undergo a five-day hike up and back through the forest. Because of the difficulties getting into the nether regions of the Sierra

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Nevada, I was excited to have secured a chartered helicopter overflight of Ciudad Perdida, as well as permission to visit a remote Kogi village. We took off from the Santa Marta airport in the direction of the great mountain and climbed steadily until we reached an immense jungle plateau. But the pilot motioned to an area in the distance that was cloaked in clouds, and shook his head. There was no way to penetrate the cloud cover, he said. He was sorry. We headed on, juddering through the air in the direction of the Kogi village, a warren of round huts set in an area of cleared hills, but we were buffeted by strong winds. The pilot circled, making two more passes, and descended toward a soccer pitch, where a dozen or so white-robed Kogi children with long black hair ran away at our approach. The winds were worse there. The pilot said he was getting low on fuel; we had to return to Santa Marta. I flew back feeling disappointed, but also privileged to have

From left: A flock of cormorants above the Magdalena River; a longboat crossing the river; a cook at Reserva One Love with a banana leaf from the hotel’s organic farm.


caught a glimpse of the Kogi’s mountain aerie, perhaps the closest thing that exists anywhere to a real-life Shangri-la. After the failed helicopter ride, a young man with a Land Rover picked me up from Santa Marta to drive me more than two hours up the lower flanks of the Sierra Nevada, to a privately owned retreat known as La Casa de Campana, or the Bell House. Situated on a cleared bluff, the two-story wooden and glass-sided lodge was surrounded by flowering plants—poinsettias, anthuriums, heliconias, and ferns—and had a breathtaking view over the descending hills to the sea. The days here had a symphonic quality, because each morning after sunrise, cool clouds filled the mountainscape and eventually enveloped the house. Then, every afternoon, the clouds evaporated, and the day ended in an extraordinary sunset. La Casa de Campana came with its own chef, Sergio, a warm, polite man who always wore a red shirt, a black bib, and a piratical black bandanna. Sergio customarily runs a restaurant in Minca, a village halfway down the mountain, but whenever La Casa de Campana has guests, he comes to cook


for them. One of the evening meals began with mango carpaccio, followed by a salad of arugula and plantain chips with fresh avocado, and an entrée of grass-fed beef from the province of Córdoba, cooked on an Argentinian-style open grill and served with a tart tamarind sauce. Another meal involved a dish called cayeye—banana puree with butter and cream cheese made from local cow’s milk—with fresh sea bass cooked inside a banana leaf. Sergio also made fresh fruit juices, brewed coffee from a neighboring plantation, and kept a cabinet stocked with good Chilean and Argentinian wines. The only sounds at La Casa de Campana were natural ones: the trilling of cicadas, songs of wild birds, and an occasional round of portentous roaring from a group of howler monkeys somewhere in the nearby forest. One day, I went for a hike with La Casa de Campana’s resident guide and trained yoga instructor, a young man named Valentín. We walked along a dirt road that zigzagged downhill through an old coffee plantation and then along a path into the forest. After a couple of hours, we reached a waterfall: A cascade of cold mountain water crashed off a vertical rock face into a large pond. As I swam, Valentín did yoga stretches and stood on his head. A pair of ocelots had been watching us. As we set out on the return hike, there, in the mud of the trail overlooking the pond, were the perfectly formed tracks of the two wildcats.

N Northeast of Santa Marta lies Tayrona National Park, a natural reserve where the Sierra Nevada’s foothills meet the sea. No cars are allowed, and so to reach the beach it is necessary to walk in or ride a horse. I hiked a couple of hours on foot to El Cabo San Juan. It was a pristine point of land with several crescents of yellow sand fringed with giant boulders and coconut palms lapped by waves from a turquoise sea. Thanks to a nearby eco-hotel and campground, I shared it with a hundred or so foreign youngsters who were ogling one another and burning themselves pink in the hot Caribbean sun. The night’s destination, however, was a more exclusive spot several miles down the coast, the excruciatingly named Reserva One Love. Its centerpiece is an open-sided thatched-roof longhouse built on a slope that overlooks a green expanse of lawn and flowering trees on one side, and a bend of the Palomino River on the other. The longhouse is filled with pillowed nooks, a fireplace, a few hammocks, and a spacious open kitchen. One Love is the dream-come-true refuge of Allan Kassin, a Colombian

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flower child who bought a piece of riverside jungle adjacent to the Kogi reserve a few years ago, where he opened his own reggae-inspired eco-hotel in 2016. Guests stay in private thatched huts—there are only seven—amid landscaped copses of palms, hibiscus, papyrus, and heliconias. Each hut has four-poster beds, mosquito netting, and an outdoor Jacuzzi, and is decorated with a variety of embroidered pillows and other local handicrafts. Meals were laid out in the communal longhouse, and these were downright glorious concoctions, thanks to the creative ministrations of a young chef from Bogotá and a bevy of jovial local woman who assisted him. Their open kitchen was a festive place, full of conversation and laughter. Usually barefoot, Kassin was followed everywhere he went by two dogs, a shorthaired pointer named Jimmy Spliff and a Weimaraner named after Bob Marley, although he always addressed the latter, with respectful formality, by the late musician’s full name: Robert Nesta Marley. Kassin received a stream of visitors in the longhouse, including his mother, from Bogotá, and, one evening, Manuel Coronado, an elderly Kogi mamo, or shaman, who had walked several hours from his own village, Tungheka. Kassin fed him and invited him to stay the night. The mamo, who had a wrinkled brown face, wore his black hair long, as all Kogi men do, and was dressed in a traditional white robe. After dinner, Kassin and the mamo and I sat in rocking chairs and talked. The mamo asked me questions: How many children did I have, and were my parents still alive? Did I live by the ocean or in the mountains? In response, he nodded musingly. He was friendly but enigmatic, and I found it impossible to read his thoughts. The next morning he had gone. One day I left One Love to visit Tungheka, two hours away by jeep up a rutted track and then on foot. One of a few communities built in recent years on the mountain’s lower slopes to be nearer to ancestral lands along the coast, Tungheka consisted of a dusty clearing and several dozen round mud huts with thatched roofs. It was situated next to a boulder-strewn river and overlooked by deeply forested, emerald-green hillsides, but despite its idyllic setting, Tungheka was a dreary place, without electricity or a clinic. While their children scampered around in the dirt, Tungheka’s women sat weaving little string bags from a natural life fiber. The men sat separately, chewing coca leaves, and had vacant stares. Around the village there was a cleared area where cattle were grazing. I asked about the cattle. The Kogi explained that they belonged to outsiders, people who lived in a settlement down on the main road and paid them for grazing rights. I had seen the settlement earlier, where several hundred mestizo Colombians had built houses on the land next to the river. It was, of course, Kogi land. In the end, I surmised, the grazing-rights arrangement was a pragmatic way for them to extract something of value from an adverse situation. The Kogi of Tungheka existed in a state of unresolved limbo with the outside world that was neither ideal nor calamitous, but, perhaps, given Colombia’s bloody history, it was their key to survival—even a victory of sorts. That afternoon, back at One Love, Kassin was happily organizing another evening meal. From his longhouse, at sunset, there was the squawk of parrots, and the night sky soon filled with stars. Despite its name, One Love had a reassuring effect on me. Kassin had created a space that was respectful of its surroundings and of its neighbors, and I left wanting to return. In Mompox, in the Sierra Nevada, and on the Palomino River, I felt I had also caught a glimpse of a potential new Colombia, a place of great past injustice that showed the glimmerings of a better, fairer future.


Lunch in the clouds at La Casa de Campana.


TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME LOS ANGELES–BASED CHEF LUDO LEFEBVRE RETURNED TO HIS NATIVE BURGUNDY, LOOKING BACK AT THE FOOD AND PLACES OF HIS CHILDHOOD AS A WAY TO LOOK FORWARD

by

Hugh Garvey

photographs by Linda

Pugliese

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If you’ve ever taken a in

road trip

France

chances are you’ve come across the station at 98.2 on the radio. The signal is strong up and down the A6, from Paris to Lyon. The station is called Nostalgie and plays ’70s French disco pop, like Gilbert Montagné, in heavy rotation with the Bee Gees and PREVIOUS SPREAD: Michael Jackson. To an American traveler, it’s the perfect soundtrack for a French vacaCHEF LUDO tion. To chef Ludovic Lefebvre, it’s a time machine. COOKING WITH HELEN JOHANNESEN Ludo sings along to Claude François’s sunny 1977 hit “Je vais à Rio” as a cloudburst AND MOLLY KELLEY; LA ROTISSERIE drenches the A6. But we’re passing every car on our way south out of Paris. Ludo knows DU CHAMBERTIN, these roads well. He cooked in Paris for years after growing up in Burgundy, but that was IN BEAUNE. OPPOSITE: LUNCH two decades ago, before he became famous: first in Los Angeles and then in the rest of AT AU VR AI CHABLIS, America for his experimentalist cuisine pop-ups, his fried-chicken truck, his gruff judgIN THE TOWN OF CHABLIS. ments on culinary reality-TV shows, and then his French restaurant mini-empire of Trois Mec and Petit Trois, soon to be joined by another Petit Trois, in Studio City. We’re with the Trois group’s beverage director, Helen Johannesen, and its sommelier, Molly Kelley, on a wine-scouting trip. We’re heading to Burgundy, one of France’s most famous, and also most impenetrable, wine regions. Despite been happier with the so-so food and bad service. its being the spiritual home of chardonnay and pinot noir, if And that becomes a pattern on our trip. While Helen and Molly are here you’re not a serious wine collector or don’t know someone to taste the latest, Ludo wants to taste the most traditional. At Lipp, Ludo who knows someone, it’s tough to access the best versions of these beloved wines. The grand châteaux that draw people to ordered the tartare and frites, the tartare pale with Dijon and yolks, the heat the Loire and Bordeaux are, in Burgundy, few and far between. from the Tabasco pronounced. There’s a through line from this to the tarIt’s a humble region that reveals its charms over low stone tare on the menu at Petit Trois. While the rest of modern American chefs walls as you drive through the countryside or in the glass at were deconstructing and getting conceptual with theirs, Ludo went full-on classic: finely chopped, a puck of yielding, near-paleo deliciousness, almost a restaurant recommended by an insider, not in art-directed millennial pink instead of dark and rosy. It goes down easy, with the crisp tasting rooms. It’s also where Ludo was born, was kicked out fries offering just the right salty, crunchy counterpoint. of school, and then found redemption in the kitchen. During this three-day road trip, Nostalgie is the station Ludo Lunch is two hours behind us as we arrive in Auxerre. It’s a sleepy river keeps tuning in to as we trace a path from his hometown, town with a preserved medieval center of half-timbered houses and crooked Auxerre, in the north, down to the Côte de Nuits, and to Beaune, cobblestoned streets. Leisure boats are moored along the quay of the Yonne in the south, stopping in six towns in half as many days, tasting River, which is lined with three-star hotels and open-air brasseries. “I’ve wine by upstarts and traditionalists, and eating very well. The napped in that church,” Ludo says, pointing to the medieval Saint-Etienne landscape of northern Burgundy is lush and rolling. The beauty cathedral. At his grandmother’s house, we make our way down the steep here is quiet. It requires attention—and a guide. Luckily, we have stone stairs into the vaulted basement that was once connected to a warboth. Helen and Molly are here to meet favorite winemakers ren of tunnels during World War II. We retrieve a few dusty amber bottles and update the Petit Trois and Trois Mec wine lists; Ludo is of Ludo’s chablis. The hope was that he’d have something good enough to here to get in touch with his roots, as he does nearly every year. serve at his restaurants, but it’s too acidic and tannic from neglect. Ludo So it’s fitting that an actual root cellar is the first destination shrugs it off, and we push forth. on our list. Beneath Ludo’s grandmother’s house in Auxerre, On every return trip to Auxerre, Ludo makes a point of dining at Le Ludo has stashed cases of chablis from a wine project he Rendez-Vous, run by the first chef he cooked for. But before that, we cleanse started years ago, for which he doesn’t have high hopes. But our palates at a bar called Le Maison Fort. Inside there’s a foosball table and before we head there, Ludo had insisted we fuel up at Brasserie billiards—a dive bar in a centuries-old building. The owner offers us a glass Lipp in Paris, where he wanted Helen and Molly to get a taste of of aligoté, the daily drinking wine in Burgundy. Not the stuff of Petit Trois classic French service. Helen pronounced the house Mercurey, and Trois Mec wine lists, but a worker’s drink. “My dad and his friends used a Burgundian wine, “a little oaky”; still, Ludo couldn’t have to drink this at lunch,” Ludo says, and sips a glass of the wine he used to

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THIS PAGE: WINEMAKER ATHÉNAÏS DE BÉRU AMONG THE VINES AT CHÂTEAU DE BÉRU. OPPOSITE: HELEN TAKING NOTES DURING A TASTING.

sneak out and drink with friends as a kid. It’s dry, with notes of apple and little else—not a wine to talk about but one to quench your thirst. After schooling us at foosball, Ludo is inspired. “We have to get one of these for the new restaurant!” At Le Rendez-Vous, Ludo asks after Jean-Pierre Saunier, the chef who employed him when he was 13 at the urging of Ludo’s father. “I was a horrible kid,” he says. “Very angry. Always getting into fights,” he adds as we sit down. “I remember the first time I walked into the kitchen. It was noisy. The chef was yelling. I felt at home.” The front of the house is calm tonight, the serene room full of French vacationers. “Notice how everyone’s acting,” Ludo says as the staff efficiently keeps the diners happy. “You can tell Jean-Pierre is in the kitchen. And believe me, he’s not afraid to yell.” Jean-Pierre comes out; a hug and a double kiss. As Ludo walks back to our table, Jean-Pierre snaps his towel at Ludo’s backside. We drink Premier and Grand Cru chablis, grown and bottled just five miles to the east. The acidity and minerality cut through the fat and stand up to the sauces. Ludo orders oeufs en meurette, poached eggs in a red-wine reduction. The sauce is tannic and thick. “I’m definitely putting this on the menu at the new Petit Trois,” Ludo says. “Oh, my God,” says Helen. “That’s dope.” For the first of three times in three days, Ludo orders the jambon persillé, the jellied-and-parsleyflecked pork terrine served with a bracing salad. And so begins a repetition of eating the same dishes, as one might sample ramen in Tokyo over and over. Twice he has the andouillette, a preposterously funky sausage of intestines stuffed in an intestine casing and served with rough country mustard and salad. Twice he has chablisienne, country ham topped with tangy tomato sauce and tender boiled potatoes. He hums in ecstasy over a shared Café Liégeois ice cream sundae, his favorite dessert as a kid. It’s like he’s literally downloading sense memories to upload, recode, and reinterpret back home at his restaurants. I ask him which of these he would re-create back in L.A. “All of them,” he says. “But maybe not the andouillette.”

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“I used to

pick

grapes

around here

as a summer job,” says Ludo the next morning as we drive a road that winds deeper into the rolling hills. “It was hard work, but it wasn’t as hard as picking cornichons. They’re so prickly.” Unlike the grand châteaux of Bordeaux with their sweeping acreage, Burgundy’s vineyards are a patchwork of plots owned by small holders who historically sold their wine in bulk to powerful négociants; they, in turn, would finish aging the wine in their cellars and then bottle and sell it under a single name. It was only in the late 20th century, as Burgundian wine came into fashion, that growers truly became winemakers and bottled their own. But there’s a humility that remains. Even the famed appellation of chablis is just 21 square miles, and you need to plan days ahead to get into a tasting room. Helen wants to stop in at the château of a winemaker whose chablis she serves at Trois Mec. And soon we’re drinking chablis, in Chablis. At 9 A.M. We’re at the elegant 16th-century estate of Château de Béru in a tasting room in a converted stable. Athénaïs de Béru, who worked in finance in Paris before moving here in 2006 after her father, Count Éric de Béru, passed away, runs things. She spent years transitioning the operation to organic and biodynamic methods, and is part of a new breed of winemakers using as little sulfite as possible and making minimal interventions. In the corner is a wine crate full of fossils and rocks. The pretentious-sounding terms minerality and salinity become head-smackingly appropriate when I rummage through the box and find a rock studded with tiny oyster shells. It was pulled from the vineyards just outside the stable door—150 million years ago, this entire area was underwater. Over the next few days, while the tourists sit on sunny patios at brasseries, we go underground into caves where glass siphons dip into barrels and into our glasses. The talk of terroir is unavoidable as we descend into the cellars to taste the wine that pulled nutrients from the soil that surrounds us. We taste more than a hundred wines. By some magic, despite using the spit buckets and splashing wines wildly, Ludo finishes the tastings with his white Givenchy sneakers pristine and unspattered.


We trade the elegance of Château de Béru for the rustic charm of the walled medieval town of Avallon, where in an alley draped with hydrangeas and patrolled by a shaggy mutt, we visit Nicolas Vauthier at his Vini Viti Vinci winery. Vauthier is wearing cut-off shorts and a canvas barn jacket, and old-school jazz plays as he pours wine that is biodynamic and stunningly complex. The sauvignon blanc is unfiltered and delicious. Vauthier’s wines aren’t appellation wines, but simple vin de France: wines unbound by the rules of the A.O.C., made in a freewheeling spirit with the right grapes for the job. This is the stuff that even a French hipster would recognize as très Brooklyn. From Vauthier forward, our trip is a master class from the heroes of Burgundian natural winemaking. This new generation breaks the rules, playing with lesser-known varietals and fermentation techniques while still respecting the craft. The next morning we visit Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott’s winery, Chanterêves, in Savigny-lès-Beaune. Underneath a house that feels downright suburban is the laboratory where they vinify grapes they buy from small holders, making vin de soif, wine designed to drink, and vin de cave, wine designed to cellar. We visit Domaine Berthaut to meet Amélie Berthaut, who has taken over from her father. It’s an old operation, but she uses the witchy language of biodynamic winemaking. (“I believe in the moon; we try to touch the vines on the good days.”) And then it’s on to Sylvain Pataille’s tiny, 20-by-40-foot cellar, where we crowd around a barrel under a bare bulb as he pours us aligoté made from reclaimed vines grown on a single vineyard that would be categorized as Premier Cru: limestone gravel, little clay, good drainage. The resulting aligoté doré is not humble: It tastes of honeysuckle, ripe but fresh and energetic. We’re here with Paul Wasserman, son of Becky Wasserman-Hone, a well-known Burgundy importer. He marvels over the wine. “After aligoté like this, chardonnays taste dumb.” Fighting words in Burgundy, but he’s the man to back them up. We’re all a little buzzed at this point, and upon leaving Avallon, Ludo says, “Fuck, man, I don’t want to go back to America. A house in Paris, a house in Burgundy—that’s the answer.” Claude François’s “Alexandrie Alexandra” comes on the radio. Another jaunty ’70s disco pop song, this time about young love on the Nile. Ludo turns up the stereo and sings along.

It’s our last night in

Burgundy

and we’re in the tiny town of Bouilland, where Ludo is cooking dinner at the home of Becky Wasserman-Hone for the assembled winemakers of the trip. It’s a rambling stone house, with an overgrown walled backyard, a modern kitchen, and, of course, a well-stocked wine cellar. Long-emptied bottles dating from 1865 line the bookshelves in the dining room. Behind the house, a cliff that’s home to peregrine falcons rises out of the forest. It was from here, almost four decades ago, that Wasserman-Hone first started exporting wine to the U.S. She’s now one of the legends of the industry and still exports


OPPOSITE: AT THE WASSERMANHONE HOME, ROCKS INDICATE EACH DOMAINE. THIS PAGE: LUNCH AT BR ASSERIE LIPP IN PARIS.

some of the rarest and best wines from the region. While 40 years might seem a long time, it’s a blink in Burgundian years. Farrah Wasserman, Becky’s daughter-in-law, is in town from Brooklyn, where she works at a wine store. As we sit down to eat in the vaulted dining room, Farrah says, “These people talk about the 14th century like it was yesterday.” While we tuck into an appetizer of tomato tart made with Comté crust, I ask Becky what distinguishes Burgundy from other wine regions. She’s quick to answer: “Burgundy remains

rural. And so they know the land. When I first started planting my garden when I moved here, people would tell me exactly where in the yard to plant my strawberries. That respect is deep. And while the wines might be famous and drunk by the well-off, farming is hard, physical work. So when they relax, they make sure to enjoy themselves. And they do so with wine.” As we finish our meal, which includes poulet de Bresse à la crème spiked with smoked paprika and chablis, Becky makes one more point: “People miss this, but the grapes themselves here have little taste of their own. They’re interpreter grapes expressing the terroir: where they are from and how they were treated as they grew.” I realize, watching a fully relaxed Ludo seated with the winemakers, sipping eau-devie and telling bawdy stories of his youth, that instead of grapes she could be talking about him. And instead of the word terroir you could just as easily substitute the word home. And what is a chef but an interpreter of where he came from and what he knows? It’s midnight as we drive out of Bouilland. Nostalgie is playing in the van. Full of food and inspiration for the Trois restaurants’ menus, the new Petit Trois, and the new vintages to order for the wine lists, the team is exhausted yet also relieved to have reached its southernmost point. The next day, Ludo’s off to visit his relatives on vacation in Antibes. Helen’s back to Paris; Molly to the Loire to taste more wine. Ludo pulls a ripe nectarine out of his pocket with a grin, as Toto’s “Africa” soars on the radio. We are driving past a fancy villa with a walled and gated garden. Ludo slides open the van’s side door, and we watch as he takes aim, winds up, and pitches the ripe fruit, lit for a brief moment by the moon, back to the soil.

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Burgundy in Three Days

You could nerd out and book a bunch of tastings at wineries, but frankly, ducking into cellars at every stop would get a little repetitive and rob you of the nonvinous pleasures of this pretty and remarkably untouristed wine country. Here’s how to make the most of the region over a long weekend.

Day One: Rent a car at either Paris airport to skip the arduous escape from the city center. Drive about two hours to the river town Auxerre for lunch at the unpretentious Le Rendez-Vous, where Ludo’s first kitchen boss cooks up local dishes like pinot-hued oeufs en meurette and tomato-spiked jambon chablisienne. Toast the beginning of your sojourn with a bottle from the impeccably curated wine list. Afterward, head east on the D965 for 30 minutes to Chablis for a tasting and a tour of the vineyards at the stately Château de Béru with winemaker Athénaïs de Béru. Be sure to book ahead. Wind your way back to Auxerre and sleep off your jet lag at the riverside three-star Hôtel Le Maxime, just a short walk from the old town, full of the city’s iconic half-timbered medieval houses.

Day Two: Today you’re heading south to the heart of Burgundy. Stop 45 minutes in at the medieval hilltop town of Vézelay for a visit to the aptly named Vézelay Abbey and sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. The abbey marks one of the French starts of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. If you don’t mind taking the long road, get on the A6 heading south and east and you’ll wind through the forested Morvan Regional Nature Park before reaching the town of Gevrey-Chambertin (home of legendarily rich pinot noirs) at the tip of the Côte d’Or. The rustically elegant La Rôtisserie du Chambertin

is perfect for a light lunch of jambon persillé. Keep going south for about 30 miles to reach your room at La Poste in Beaune, a gracious, delightfully friendly, old-fashioned hotel with crisp service, hyperclean and comfortable rooms, and a Graham Greene sort of vibe. Have dinner in town that evening at Caves Madeleine (where all the winemakers eat), a welcoming little restaurant with a chalkboard menu offering classics like meat terrines and buttery pommes purée alongside prettily plated fish carpaccios and roasted meats with delicately prepared vegetables.

Day 3: Visit the Hospices de Beaune, the stunning 15th-century almshouse that’s a museum for much of the year but transforms into the home base of the

grandest wine auction in the world on the third Sunday of every November. Drive the nearby stretch of the D974 slowly and peer up at the tiny Grand Cru and Premier Cru plots of the vineyards Richebourg, Échezeaux, and La Tâche that yield the priciest wines in Burgundy. You’re not here to drink such highfalutin pours, but it’s some of the most expensive real estate in the world and worth a look. Back in Beaune, have lunch at Maison du Colombier, a casual, supersmart gastronomique tapas bar serving Franco-Catalan small plates (baby sardines on toast, Iberico ham of the highest grade) and a serious and wide-ranging wine list with a mix of old-school and innovative bottles. Order the groaning board of a charcuterie plate before you get on the road back to Paris. H . G .

OPPOSITE: LUDO AND MOLLY IN THE FRONT SEAT. ABOVE: THE VIEW FROM AVALLON.

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ON A

WING

PRAYER AND A


PLUNGING INTO THE NATURAL MAGNETISM OF K AMCHATKA AND THE KURIL ISL ANDS AT RUSSIA’S E ASTERN EDGE

by

Sophy Roberts

photographs by Derek

Henderson

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BERRY PICKING IN T HE

RUSSIAN TAIGA IS TRICKY BUSINESS, I THINK, AS I GRAZE ON A BOWL OF

MOUNTAIN ASH

BERRIES

AND PICTURE

THE

SWAMPY FOREST OUTSIDE.

It’s September in Kamchatka, and I’m standing in the predawn darkness by the kitchen sink of a cabin in Yelizovo village. My host, Martha Madsen, who runs the guesthouse and is the only American living on the Kamchatka Peninsula, picked the berries during these few weeks of melt. Recently, another local went collecting in the woods and got lost in the huge thicket, never to return. The weather, too, is always against you. In Kamchatka, spring, summer, and autumn pass so quickly they feel like one brief season. Even now the freeze is pinching the last leaves off the trees, with cold air sweeping down from the Arctic to chill the bones of this volcanic peninsula on Russia’s eastern rim. On a map, the Kamchatka Peninsula is the part of Russia that curls into the upper northwest Pacific like a dog’s ear. At its southern tip, it peters out into the Kuril Islands, also known as the Fog Archipelago, which scatter down into the Sea of Okhotsk just northeast of Japan. The region’s geopolitical sensitivities are as fragile as its tectonic plates, with an ongoing territorial dispute in the southernmost Kurils. (Because

of that, Russia and Japan still haven’t signed a peace treaty putting a formal end to World War II.) This is where the Asian continental shelf meets the Pacific seabed, one plate subducting under another to create violent tsunamis, curious vents, and uninhabited islets that, over time, have been commandeered as submarine bases by the Russians and naval hideouts by the Japanese (who set out for Pearl Harbor from the Kurils). Among Russians, Kamchatka is synonymous with Boris Pasternak’s oftquoted description equating it with the back of the classroom where the worst-behaved kids would sit. Among Westerners, the name instantly conjures the board game Risk, Kamchatka being the best territory from which to attack North America. Whatever the associations, the reality here is deeply challenging. There is no road connecting the neck of the Kamchatka Peninsula to the rest of Russia, nor any fully paved passage dissecting its spine of ice caps and volcanoes. Since I arrived, these peaks have been hidden for days behind skies bruised black with rain. Out the window this morning I search for the twinkle of Vilyuchinsk—a Soviet naval base founded in 1968, and one of several “closed” cities still left in Russia that deny entry to foreigners and Russians without permits. Even traveling outside the capital, PetropavlovskKamchatskiy, requires approval from the Federal Security Service, a cat’s cradle of red tape. With all these apparent hurdles, my motive for coming here not just once but twice in recent months might seem suspect, or eccentric. The first time, I was in Russia to interview a pianist for an ongoing book project. I digressed for a two-week adventure on a small expedition ship, the Spirit of Enderby, along Kamchatka’s coast and south through the Kuril Islands. I also ventured inland when Kamchatka was still under snow, with a driver who told me everything about life in this Previous spread: The view into a distant backcountry: how to drive a monster truck (our ride into the sunken caldera mountains); where she bought her fake Y-3 sneakers; how this part on the Kuril Islands. of Russia had been colonized in the 17th century by Cossacks on the This spread: Flying into the hunt for sable. But she would reveal nothing about her childhood Kamchatka in the secret port I imagined to be so cluttered with nuclear submainterior with rines you could cross the water using periscopes as stepping stones. Natural World Safaris. The idea of a closed city held an almost cartoonish allure for me,


Map by Peter Oumanski

encompassing everything impenetrable, paranoid, and sinister a foreigner fears about this country. But I soon stopped asking questions. In Kamchatka, you don’t want to attract attention, especially when Russian relations with the West are tense. Besides, I wasn’t here for politics, but to go deeper into the landscape, which had snagged me like one of its berry briars.

AT FIRST, I’M THANKFUL to be grounded at Martha’s guesthouse by the weather. It allows me to get on top of the jet lag that comes from flying to a place nine hours from Moscow, in the same time zone as Auckland. I make friends with the pony that wanders around Yelizovo waiting for the schoolboy who leads it home each day. I eat my fill of Russian borscht, and visit the capital’s fish market for its caviar (sold in buckets), where I gorge on the sweet pink flesh of Kamchatka’s red king crabs. From Martha’s kitchen, I watch a babushka come out of her house to walk her plot with a broken gait: In one corner is a pile of potatoes; in another, a blue tractor; in another, a patch of bright dahlias, which she delicately deadheads with fingers plump as sausages. I read books under quilted bedcovers that make the four-bedroom cabin feel like it belongs to a homesteader on the American frontier, which arguably it does. Martha’s migration was an accidental one: She befriended the captain of a Russian sailing boat that turned up in her hometown of Homer, Alaska, three years in a row, and decided to visit him and his family in Kamchatka. She fell in love with a hydrologist, married, and imported two German draft horses to pull a cart. Beyond the cabin, I can hear stamping hooves in the paddock. Finally, the weather is clearing, which means we’ll be able to helicopter out to Kuril Lake in Kamchatka’s south, where the bears are gathering for the spawning salmon. Along with a few millionaire fishermen—acolytes include entrepreneur Toby Rowland (husband of Plum Sykes) and Evgeny Lebedev (newspaper mogul and London socialite)—the Russian far east attracts hard-core heli-skiers and wildlife connoisseurs. Tourists travel by Russian Mil Mi-8 twin-engine helicopters, stopping off at the Valley of the Geysers, Russia’s Yellowstone, where volcanic vents spout boiling water 30 feet into the air. The choppers land at the pale-blue Uzon Caldera, visit hot springs, and do a flyover of the Gorely volcano, caves, and calving glaciers.

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Yankicha, in the Kuril Islands, where Silverseas expeditioners walk the crater rim.

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THE HELICOPTER LEAVES from a base a few miles from our guesthouse and growls rather than whirs into action—a heavyweight military-style machine filled with our group of 15. There are Russian tourists, the photographer, myself, and our British fixer, Will Bolsover, who organizes private wildlife tours throughout Russia. Bolsover, who is well versed in the Siberian tiger country to the south, is visiting Kamchatka for the first time, on a reconnaissance mission. His clients, who are wildlife obsessives, have been pressing him for trips to this frontier, where the bears pack Kuril Lake like a Black Friday sale. The group includes everyday citizens who’ve saved up for a vacation to Russia’s ultimate wilderness, which they seem to hold in the same regard as Americans do Alaska: an adventure playground in their own backyard. There are two naval recruits in blue-and-whitestriped jerseys, a blogger who asks me to take pictures of her doing yoga poses in front of hot springs, and our guide, Kirill Kiselev, who is both a snowboard instructor and in a Russian rap group. Soon we’re pulling away from the horseshoe-shaped Avacha Bay flanking Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. If the helicopter seems like a rocketload of eccentrics undertaking a cruise to the moon, the deeper one travels into Kamchatka, the less bombastic that analogy appears. The landscape is otherworldly. We fly over valleys with snow slicked into place like icing. A silver river curls through the endless taiga, creating calligraphic loops and oxbows. Smoke trails from volcanic peaks. With every gaping crater, we all let out a collective groan—and sometimes a little shriek. The helicopter carries an engineer to fix technical issues as they arise, which they do: For an hour, we watch as three crew members tinker with the propellers, treating the grind we’d heard with the kind of nonchalance I might show my car’s dodgy side-view mirror. This edgy adventure ratchets to a new level when we swap our heli for a powerboat, which we use to cruise across Kuril Lake. On its shores, a mother bear tends her family of three cubs; she snatches at the sockeye salmon, which circle like giant carp in luminously green water. The next day, we splinter off from the full group and head out on a three-night road trip to reach the lava field at the foot of the two Tolbachik volcanoes, a landscape so fierce the Soviets used it to test their moon rovers in the ’70s. The burnt-out forest beneath the crater looks like a sea of stubble; the birch trees are as thin as matchsticks, the scene an apocalyptic Mordor from when Tobalchik erupted in 1975, sending a flow of lava that turned 150 square miles of Kamchatka into desert.

It’s a tricky journey into a disorienting heart of darkness, in the hands of a driver with a grin of golden teeth. We get stuck in mud so deep our local guide has to winch us out—the same man who produces an ax to cut open a road where some unidentified source, be it storm or earthquake, has brought down trees to block our passage. We ford a high river. For days we lose cell-phone contact. At times I’m scared of how far we are from any kind of help, but the experience is so deeply exhilarating that all vulnerability is eclipsed by respect for my protectors. I love every one of our Russian guides: the pilot who offers me a cigarette while he stands beside our chopper full of fuel; the driver in camouflage fatigues who tells me my luxury English camping food tastes like muck; and our guide, Igor Sesterov, who works for Kamchatka’s mountain rescue team. You’ve got two days to survive alone in the Russian taiga before you’re dead, he tells me, as our four-wheel drive crawls up a glacier at a 30-degree angle. A camaraderie takes root. In a larger world that seems to be narrowing its state of mind, Kamchatka does the opposite. It demands endurance (long journeys), humility (can’t complain when there’s only gristle-y soup on the menu), and a great deal of patience. It’s one of the last places left that isn’t geared toward high-end tourism (though it gets high-end visitors), with only one or two cozy cabins and no luxury hotels. But all of this pales in significance when you’re traveling beyond wilderness to a place that brings a glimpse of self-discovery. I learn I’m more prejudiced than I’d believed (Russians with gold teeth can be as gentle as puppy dogs), and a tiny bit braver. This is why I travel: to demythologize fear of the unknown. Which also makes me hesitant to recommend this swath of Russia to everybody. Because there’s preciousness, too—an ecological fragility. Earlier, in May, when I took that boat trip south from Kamchatka through the Kuril Islands, our ship dropped anchor off Yankicha—a small, uninhabited caldera midway down the chain. The anchor snapped into place in a sea that swelled into blisters, then dipped to reveal a cluster of perpendicular rock stacks. A pod of killer whales seemed to warn us off, circling close to our dinghy when we tried to enter a sunken caldera. We let the swell push us through the narrow gap; then, once inside, we walked along a shoreline that bubbled with springs of yellow sulfur. An arctic fox sat and watched us, fearless in our presence. Then the birds started to fly in under a dusky evening light. Inside this tiny ellipsis on Asia’s eastern boundary, I was witnessing one of the world’s great natural wonders. The ornithologists I was with, who pursue “edge species” to their last surviving breeding grounds, were speechless with excitement. Within 30 minutes, seemingly billions of birds— crested and whiskered auklets—were rafting on the sea’s surface until their numbers turned the water black. Then they swirled up into thick balletic curls to find their nesting burrows in the cliffs. It was a mesmerizing show of life—a deafening cacophony inside the caldera, the swarms blocking the sun’s last light. Nobody, not even a Russian border guard, could have interfered with the sensation that I was deep inside a wild, primordial pinprick of our planet that few humans get to experience. In easier parts of the world, such plenitude would This spread, from top: A bear bring with it an equal concentration of tourists. But at Kuril Lake; a then I remember Risk. Because as long as Kamchatka local bus takes the is still seen as the edge of a country that outsiders fear high road toward Gorely volcano. like a Bond villain, the birds’ world is safe.


INTO THE WILD GETTING THERE Whether you fly via the Pacific or Atlantic route, the journey to Kamchatka is an arduous one. You’ll want at least a week to take in the inland highlights before picking up a cruise along Kamchatka’s coast and through the Kuril Islands. To get to PetropavlovskKamchatskiy, the region’s hub, Yakutia Airlines flies a Pacific route in summer from Anchorage (fourplus hours). Alternatively, you can fly via Seoul to Khabarovsk, in Russia’s far east, which is three hours by plane from Kamchatka. Moscow has direct flights to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy operated by both Aeroflot and S7 (about eight hours).

CRUISING THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST The few ships that go are without doubt the most comfortable way to experience the region. I used Heritage Expeditions, which operates Spirit of Enderby for just 50 passengers. It is unpretentious, with simple cabins and intellectual gravitas: The guides, who include both Russian and international ornithologists, marine biologists, and natural historians, are second to none. Because it is a Russianregistered vessel, it benefits from more liberal permitting than the very few foreign-flagged cruise ships. Silverseas’ expedition ship Silver Explorer is the only true luxury ship in

these waters. Our photographer used this larger boat for the Kurils; it makes fewer stops but has more sophisticated food and wine. The ship also has a spa on board, and the kind of service you would expect from a five-star hotel. Departures run May to October, when the Sea of Okhotsk isn’t frozen. August and September are best for bear viewing, and April is ravishing for short inland excursions: There is still snow, and there are few visitors.

INLAND TOURS OF KAMCHATKA The Russian Federal Security Service deems parts of Kamchatka a pre-border area, with the Kuril Islands an even more sensitive military zone. Your travel fixer needs to provide all the correct permissions, which take time to process. But do not be fearful of traveling here. Kamchatkans are exceptionally hardy, deeply hospitable, and some of the most professional wilderness experts I’ve ever encountered. For a Kamchatka mainland-only visit, with helicopter touring, volcano treks, and seasoned guides and drivers, U.K.-based Will Bolsover at Natural World Safaris has put some pioneering groundwork into trips for wildlife-centric Englishspeaking visitors. For heli-skiing, there’s Heliski Russia (I worked with their Russian guide Viktor Zakharin, who is first-class). I didn’t fish, but U.S.-based Ouzel Expeditions has nearly 30 years of experience in Kamchatka. S . R .

Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

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Intel

O U R T R AV E L TIPS, TRICKS, AND MISCELLANY

A GUIDE T O T R AV E L I N G BETTER

LOVE IT The low-cost airline Norwegian just continues to add flights to Europe from the U.S., helping keep transatlantic airfares down and giving us another option for getting to Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Milan, and Paris, all of which are seeing more flights from the States in the first half of 2018. They’ve stepped up service to the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique too.

HATE IT Resort fees are getting worse. These sneaky charges were once only seen in spots like Las Vegas and Orlando, where you’d have to fork over an extra $25 a night just to use the pool. Now, hotels in New York City are hitting guests with surcharges so they can advertise superlow rates online but pad the bottom line at checkout. A good reminder to always read the fine print.

Map by Peter Oumanski

CAN’T BELIEVE IT Spring Break in Saudi Arabia? Maybe, now that Prince Sultan bin Salman, the country’s tourism minister, said the kingdom would start issuing tourist visas for the first time this year. Mecca will remain off-limits to non-Muslims, but seaside Jeddah and the Petra-esque Mada’in Saleh could soon be in play. An expert like Rami Girgis at Abercrombie & Kent can help you organize it.

Six Islands You Gotta See to Believe

3

These blips were once the sort of places you’d dream about but never visit. Now, thanks to better air links and new openings, they’re completely doable. 4

1. St. Helena The long-delayed opening of its first airport, in 2016, has made this ultraremote island way more accessible. Getting there used to take five days aboard the spartan RMS St. Helena cargo ship; now you can get there in about six hours on an Airlink flight from Johannesburg. The Mantis St. Helena opened in November in the capital city of Jamestown (population: 629) with 30 basicbut-cozy rooms set in a trio of restored Georgian buildings.

2. Príncipe São Tome’s sister island is home to some of Africa’s best beaches, yet they’re practically unheard of here in the U.S., in part because it takes at least two

layovers to get there. But a duo of just-opened hotels are bound to lure the intrepid: Roça Sundy is a pair of refurbished villas on a former cocoa plantation, and Sundy Praia is a 15-tent resort set beneath banana and almond trees.

3. Fuerteventura Everyone knows Tenerife, the biggest of Spain’s Canary Islands, but this lesser-known isle will be trending after the May release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was filmed in part on its gorgeous golden sands. Getting there is easiest if you’re already in Europe, thanks to budget-airline nonstops, like Easyjet’s from Gatwick or Condor’s from Frankfurt, but Iberia has one-stop flights from the U.S.

4. Rubondo Tanzania’s Lake Victoria is home to the continent’s

5

largest national park on an island, one filled with elephants, giraffes, sitatungas, and terrapins. Stay at Asilia Africa’s Rubondo Island Camp, where guides can show you a population of now-wild chimpanzees that were relocated here from European zoos in the 1960s.

5. Likoma Crystal-clear Lake Malawi is the third-largest in Africa and a hushhush favorite of adventurous honeymooners, divers, and kayakers, who

6

find the lack of stuff to do an asset, not a liability. Most inns on Likoma Island, in the middle of the lake, are seriously bare-bones, but the stone-and-thatch Kaya Mawa, with 11 beachside rooms, is a step up.

6. Mogundula Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago feels like an abandoned outpost at the edge of the world, filled with haunting, derelict Portuguese colonial buildings. There’s new life, though, at this private island retreat, with five recently finished teak-andcoral villas and plenty of diving, snorkeling, and castaway vibes.

Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

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TRAVEL ALERTS WE CAN ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND

Silvercar may not have the name recognition of bigger car rental firms, but we love its no-fuss, everything’sincluded MO and its fleet of Audi A4 sedans with builtin Wi-Fi and nav systems. Now it’s adding Audi Q5 SUVs—with car seats, should you need ’em—from $69 per day in 16 U.S. cities.

Ricky Arnold

Drew Feustel

MOST OF MY FLYING IS to and from

WHEN TRAINING I spend about 65

Moscow. I usually allow my-

percent of my time away

self a movie before the meal

from home, and usually for

comes, then get some sleep.

a period of four weeks or more. But I don’t think the

ONE THING I ALWAYS PACK IS a

amount of travel we do is

book, because you never know

unique or excessive if you

when you’re going to end

compare our work to corporate

up sitting somewhere for an

travelers. Maybe we go to

extended period of time.

some unique places, though— especially when we go off

WINDOW OR AISLE? I’m an

for a launch.

aisle guy. I don’t like being

MY PACKING STRATEGY IS carry-on,

It’s funny: In the Soyuz, I’m

like any veteran traveler.

sitting in a capsule shoul-

I’m all about using as limit-

der to shoulder with no room

ed a space as possible.

24

to stretch out. But it’s

I’ve realized I really only

just eight and a half min-

need two pairs of pants.

utes to low Earth orbit.

Nobody will notice, as long

THAT’S WHEN DELTA WILL START ITS FIRST NONSTOPS FROM JFK TO PONTA DELGADA, IN THE AZORES, THOSE ENCHANTING, UNTRAMMELED PORTUGUESE ISLANDS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ATLANTIC.

NO MATTER HOW MUCH I TRAVEL

THE OTHER MACHU PICCHU

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ADVANCE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS INC. COPYRIGHT © 2018 CONDÉ NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. VOLUME 53, NO. 3, CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER (ISSN 0893-9683) is published monthly (except for combined issues in Jan/ Feb, May/June, July/Aug and Sept/Oct) by Condé Nast, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. PRINCIPAL OFFICE: Condé Nast, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. Charles H. Townsend, Chairman; Robert A. Sauerberg, Jr., President & Chief Executive Officer; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial Officer; Pamela Drucker Mann, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer. Periodicals postage paid at New York, New York, and at additional mailing offices. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration No. 123242885-RT0001.

102

Astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel, who rocket to the International Space Station in March, share packing hacks and travel tips.

penned in on long flights.

MAY

Peru’s all-but-unknown Choquequirao archaeological site got an average of just 16 visitors per day in 2016. That’s a shame, since the hilltop citadel is every bit as majestic as Machu Picchu, which saw 3,566 people per day last year. There’s just one thing standing in your way: It’s a challenging four-day hike to get there. Knowmad Adventures can help you do it.

70 Million Miles Logged*

as I change my shirt!

I pack. We have a large

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EARTH TRAVEL AND SPACE TRAVEL IS

bathtub at home, and I put my

that usually there’s a laun-

luggage, my shaving kit,

dry machine where I’m going

anything I need in there to

on Earth. We don’t have that

make sure it’s ready to go.

up there.

I have to “stage” stuff when

*Estimated, by the end of their mission

POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. (SEE DMM 507.1.5.2.); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, Box 37629, Boone, Iowa 50037-0629. FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS, ADDRESS CHANGES, ADJUSTMENTS, OR BACK ISSUE INQUIRIES: Please write to CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, Box 37629, Boone, Iowa 50037-0629, call 800777-0700, or email subscriptions@condenasttraveler .com. Amoco Torch Club members write to Amoco Torch Club, Box 9014, Des Moines, Iowa 50306. Please give both new and old address as printed on most recent label. 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. If, during your

Condé Nast Traveler / Vol. III 2018

subscription term or up to one year after, the magazine becomes undeliverable, or you are ever dissatisfied with your subscription, let us know. You will receive a full refund on all unmailed issues. Address all editorial, business, and production correspondence to CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, One World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. For reprints, please email reprints@condenast.com or call Wright’s Media 877-652-5295. For reuse permissions, please email contentlicensing@condenast.com or call 800-8978666. Visit us online at cntraveler.com. To subscribe to other Condé Nast magazines on the World Wide Web, visit condenast.com. Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services which we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers and/or

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Illustrations by Denise Nestor

RENT THIS FOR YOUR NEXT ROAD TRIP

The U.S. Department of State has simplified its once-opaque travel advice, making it much easier to gauge how risky a destination may be—and how to stay safe once you’re there. Countries are graded on a scale of 1 to 4: The higher the number, the riskier the place. Level 1 countries (like Iceland) call only for “normal precautions,” like keeping an eye on valuables; obvious stuff. Level 2 places (Tanzania) merit “increased caution,” like staying vigilant while using ATMs. People should “reconsider travel” to Level 3 countries (Turkey). A few places (Iran) rate at Level 4, for “do not travel.” For a full list, visit travel.state.gov.


P O S T

PROMOTION

APRIL 2018

N E WS, U P DATE S, A N D E V E N T S FRO M T H E P U B L I S H E R O F C O N D É N AS T T R AV E L E R

TRAVEL DONE DIFFERENTLY CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD AND ARIZONA BILTMORE

Condé Nast Traveler Voyages offers a curated collection of customizable itineraries and bespoke journeys. While each trip takes inspiration directly from the pages of the magazine, our expert travel planners can tailor an adventure to any destination of your choice. Where will you go next?

For more information, visit voyages.cntraveler.com

IGNITE YOUR PASSION FOR EXPLORATION IN SINGAPORE Imagine a city that awakens something you never knew existed within you, and where you are empowered to do what you love. If you enjoy discovering new places, get lost wandering amongst Singapore’s 164-feet-tall Supertrees, visibly striking icons representing the city’s spirit of sustainability. If you seek one-of-a-kind experiences, head to Singapore’s ethnic enclaves to immerse yourself in a vast array of vibrant cultures. Visit goway.com/singapore-2018 to start living out your passion for exploration with specially curated travel packages to Singapore.

LIVE UNFORGETTABLE Since 1929, Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort has exuded a sublime combination of Frank Lloyd Wrightinfluenced architecture and Art Deco design, with a splash of Old Hollywood glamour. As a Phoenix landmark, this historic hotel remains a celebrity playground and you never know who you might see. The resort resembles a secluded city sprawled across 39 acres, with gardens, golf courses, pools, and endless outdoor activity. Learn more about the property’s All-Inclusive Package by calling 602-955-6600 or visiting arizonabiltmore.com

Visit cntpost.com for more


ROOM WITH A VIEW

Z E R M AT T, S W I T Z E R L A N D

104

Condé Nast Traveler

The only way to reach this simple, quintessentially Swiss timber mountain hut is by taking the Blauherd cable car near Lake Stellisee, and then hiking the last mile. Its single beds and spare furnishings make you feel like you’ve stepped into the past, and the view of the Matterhorn is amazing. I’m Swiss—I’ve seen this peak countless times. But when the mountain is visible through that window, early on a summer evening with soft light, it compels even me to sit down and look at it. M A T T I A S N U T T

Submit your #roomwithaview photo and DM @cntraveler.

Photograph by Mattias Nutt

Room 9, Fluhalp

V O L.I I I 2 0 1 8


Cond 233 nast traveler usa 04 2018  
Cond 233 nast traveler usa 04 2018  
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