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Mark di Suvero, Eviva Amore, 2001, steel. Overall: 424 x564x360 in. Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas,TX. © 2014 Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.
DEPARTURES What’s hot this month, from white squirrels in Illinois and Vikings in York to Venetian masks
PHOTOGRAPH: NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center)
ESCAPE THE DAILY GRIND AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
“The bar knocks up concoctions called Screaming Orgasm, Holy Shit and Lucifer“
10 Photography 16 Go With The Flow 17 Means Of Escape 18 Head To Head 20 Checklist 24 Instant Anorak 26 In Brief: Cancún 29 The Tourist 30 Top 5 Breaks 34 Winging It 37 Reader Questions
“If you can see past the traffic jams, you’ll find hipsters, tourists and street hawkers“
Spend 2014 diving in the Maldives, cycling in Italy or pack-rafting in NZ
44 Fitness Travel Canoe, climb and ride your way to health 54 St Lucia In the swim at the island’s first triathlon 60 Salvador Out on the town in Brazil’s colonial capital 66 Iceland Beers and bathing in rowdy Reykjavík
“No one would dare steal from me. I’m the big fish here“
Hoi Chi Minh City, Vietnam
30 Galway, UK
“Expect a lot of bare flesh, rainbow flags and an unbeatable atmosphere“ Sydney, Australia
”The microbrewery pulls pints of Buried At Sea – a dark chocolate stout“
foodism Eat your way around the world with our tasty guides and tools 78 Hoi An eating 86 Eat The World 89 Kitchen Ninja 90 Tools for cooks
COMPETITIONS Check the back of the magazine for big competitions and offers 92 Tignes Win a week’s skiing in Tignes for two
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1 Cathy Adams’ idea of a great trip involves either an infinity pool or a drink at a rooftop bar (and ideally at the same time). This month she’s on ground level, drinking her way around Reykjavik’s famous rúntur and enjoying the famous pools. [p.66] 2 Victoria Stewart has just returned from travelling around Australia and South East Asia where she spent the trip tracking down street food and unusual snacks. Usually food editor of the Evening Standard, she explores Hoi An’s food scene for us. [p78]
have a chronic problem with staying still on holiday. I can rattle off a chapter or two of my book, sit back in a kerbside cafe and watch the world go by for as long as it takes me to neck a coffee, or laze around in the sun until it feels like I’m lying in a microwave – then I start getting fidgety and whiny, like a bored kid. On the one hand, I can appreciate it’s annoying (who wants to go on holiday with a moaning manchild, after all?) but on the other, it’s an opportunity. At least, that’s how I see it. It means I always pick a trip that allows me to do the usual holiday stuff – like burning my nose, taking pictures of ancient monuments I’ll later have no knowledge of having visited, and forgetting crucial items of clothing – and throw in something active so I can run/cycle/trek around in circles until I’m too shattered to stand up. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love our rundown of 20 of the best fitness and active trips round the world [p44], from the most beautiful city marathon in the world (it’s in Cape Town, naturally) to Mayan pyramids – and pyramid training – in Mexico. For those inclined more towards the intake of calories than the burning of them, we’ve also been sniffing out some of the greatest street food on Earth, including Brazilian spice in Salvador [p60] and super-fresh seafood in Vietnam [p78]. EDITORIAL DIRECTOR EDITOR And if all that feasting and beasting Mark Hedley Jon Hawkins COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR ART DIRECTOR sounds too much like hard work, we sent Mike Gluckman Matthew Hasteley Cathy Adams to Iceland, under strict orders SALES DIRECTORS ASSOCIATE EDITOR Mike Berrett, Alex Watson Cathy Adams to relax [p66]. Someone had to do it, and SALES MANAGER SUB EDITORS Will Preston Chris Borg, Laura Chubb, Guy Weress it sure as hell wasn’t going to be me… e PRINT ADVERTISING
I NEED TO RUN, CYCLE OR TREK UNTIL I’M TOO SHATTERED TO STAND UP
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3 Estella Shardlow has written for a number of publications, including Condé Nast Traveller, GQ and Beach Tomato. Good food, wine and culture is her ideal trip – no wonder she loved Salvador’s street life. [p60]
For your chance to win a trip for two to Tignes with Skiset Holidays, including accommodation and flights, turn to page 92…
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SOUTH AFRICA TOUR 14 NIGHTS FROM ÂŁ2199 Everyone wants something different from a holiday which is why we personalise each of our breaks to make them as individual as you. Our Grand Tour of South Africa unveils a country rich in history and culture. Enjoy an exhilarating safari in the Kruger National Park, take in the heritage of Swaziland, soak up the atmosphere of Cape Town and explore the spectacular Winelands. This fascinating tour is the perfect way to discover the true spirit of South Africa.
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GO WITH THE FLOW MEANS OF ESCAPE HEAD TO HEAD CHECKLIST: STYLE CHECKLIST: GEAR INSTANT ANORAK IN BRIEF: CANCUN THE TOURIST FIVE MINI BREAKS WINGING IT ASK THE EXPERTS
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ABOVE: In this shot from Steve McCurry, taken in 1995 and included in National Geographic’s new Around The World in 125 Years collection, Sinhalese fishermen attempt to spear spotted herring while the monsoon waves lash at Sri Lanka’s southern coast
SPOT OF BOTHER NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: AROUND THE WORLD IN 125 YEARS A pair of toothy jaguars probably isn’t the first thing you want to see crawl out of a canoe when you’re on holiday on the Mexican coast. Fortunately, in 2001 Steve Winter kept his nerve and snapped these beautiful creatures as they greeted him with a languid growl. The shot is also from National Geographic’s Around The World in 125 Years – published by TASCHEN – a three-volume collection of its iconic photography from across the globe. It presents some of the magazine’s most impressive images from nature, conservation and travel. £349, available exclusively at taschen.com.
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ABOVE: An emperor penguin flies through a hole in the ice in Antarctica – no doubt to escape the jaws of a hungry leopard seal – as snapped by Paul Nicklen in 2012
WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This issue: sheep’s eye drinks, phony Britain, and pampered rodents MONGOLIA We’re guessing you woke up on Saturday feeling like death warmed up, so spare a thought for the people of Outer Mongolia, who at some point adopted the tradition of drinking pickled sheep’s eyes in tomato juice to ward off a hangover – because nothing cures nausea like body parts. We’ll stick to Bloody Marys and leave the Bloody Mary’s Little Lamb to them, thanks.
MEANS OF ESCAPE Before the monorail there was the suspended monorail, and Germans get the credit, again #6 SUSPENDED MONORAIL
Photograph by Thomas Saupe/Getty
Hanging upside down from a rail bridge perhaps isn’t how you imagined modern public transport in Germany. But after you’ve been on top, you might as well try being underneath – the rails, that is. Yes, there’s more to the industrial – yet very green – city of Wuppertal, just outside Dusseldorf, than an extensive local park system and its rep as the birthplace of aspirin: it’s also home to the world’s oldest suspended monorail, inaugurated in 1901, that runs for a princely 13.3km throughout the town. The picturesque, somewhat hilly ‘San Francisco of Germany’ wasn’t the first choice for the suspended railway, which carries more than
82,000 of Wuppertal’s 350,000 residents daily. Built for Berlin and trialled in Cologne, it eventually came here, where – totally uniquely – it has been chugging along for more than 100 years. If you like the look or idea of the Schwebebahn (‘floating train’) you can catch a leisurely, elevated ride between two of the 20 stops along the route – or go all out, wait for the Kaiserwagen (the car Wilhelm II rode in for the system’s launch) and catch it all the way to the end of the line. That’s 30 minutes at an average speed of 26.6km/h in a wonky diagonal line across town from Vohwinkel to Oberbarman – now that’s German efficiency.
THAMES TOWN, CHINA With tudor fronting, a classic English pub and a red phone box, Thames Town could be another Home Counties suburb. Or could it? Upon closer inspection, it’s actually in the Songjiang district of Shanghai, China. Part Truman Show, part MGM Studios, expect to see Chinese newlyweds queuing up to get their wedding snaps in front of a fake Westminster Abbey. Say “qie zi”!
OLNEY, ILLINOIS And you thought your local park had a squirrel problem. Spare a thought for the town of Olney in Illinois, which has around 200 pure white ‘albino’ squirrels parading about, with all sorts of special permissions: they have right of way on all public streets, and you’ll have to stump up $750 if you run one over. Will it be all white on the night? Maybe, er, not.
DEPARTURES THINK WE’RE WRONG? HAVE YOUR SAY AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
This month we’re off to South-east Asia, where Thai capital Bangkok and Vietnamese powerhouse Ho Chi Minh City do battle. Which of these vibrant places will take the crown?
BANGKOK Population: 8 million
HO CHI MINH CITY Population: 7.5million
Nickname: Sin City of Asia
Nickname: Saigon, HCMC
Chances are you’ll see a fair few backpackers stopping off on their way to a full-moon party – or wandering slowly along some of the city’s sleazier streets. 4/10
If you can see past the traffic jams, you’ll find a city packed with young professionals, tourists and street hawkers – all of them, apparently, riding scooters. 6/10
WHAT NOT TO SAY IN BANGKOK
WHAT TO SAY IN BANGKOK
WHAT TO SAY IN HCMC
WHAT NOT TO SAY IN HCMC
“Where are all the ladyboys then?”
“Long live the King!”
“Show me the pho!”
“This place needs a zebra crossing”
Bangkok is a busy city filled with Buddhist temples, skyscrapers and (probably) the odd protest. One of the most impressive temples is Wat Pho, which is home to an enviably chilled-out giant reclining Buddha. Swing by Bangkok’s dazzling Grand Palace (palaces.thai.net), home to the king, or just drink a bucket with all the other travellers on the Kho San Road. 7/10
Vietnam’s biggest city packs in great food, a quaint French hangover and a buzzing feel. Rent a scooter to avoid getting run over by one, and head to the Reunification Palace. Zip down to pick up trinkets in the Ben Thanh Market, and don’t miss wider southern Vietnam: the Mekong Delta is a criss-crossing section of waterways, with plenty of river cruises. 7/10
The Mandarin Oriental (mandarinoriental.com), on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, is one of the oldest and finest hotels in the city and is as expensive as it is historic. A less ostentatious option is the LUXX XL boutique hotel (staywithluxx.com), which you’ll find in the upmarket Lang Suan area, close to a string of upscale bars and restaurants. 7/10
In a city as overloaded as this one, The Park Hyatt (saigon.park. hyatt.com) is a top-scale colonial-style hotel that is regularly voted one of the best in Asia. If you want to escape from the smog, An Lam Saigon (anlam.com/saigonriver) is a private retreat on the Saigon river. And the best bit? It’s only a short speedboat ride away from downtown HCMC. 8/10
EAT & DRINK Join the high rollers at the SkyBar, atop the Lebua Tower in central Bangkok. Chinatown’s Thanon Yaowarat and Soi Texas markets offer good food. 8/10
EAT AND DRINK
AND THE WINNER IS... Bangkok’s close, but HCMC takes it
The traditional soup, pho, is the nosh of choice – head to Phoa Hoa, the best pho joint. Chill Skybar (chillsaigon. com) has some great drinks. 8/10
THE BAG MULBERRY SCOTCHGRAIN MEDIUM CLIPPER HOLDALL, £595. Ideal for a stylish weekend escape in town or country. selfridges.com
1 KG BY KURT GEIGER, Lucca glitter trainers, £85. These glittery trainers are great for walking city streets (and partying later on). selfridges.com 2 FREDERIQUE CONSTANT, Worldtimer quartz watch, £830. An elegent and, er, timeless watch from Frédérique Constant. selfridges.com 3 J CREW, Golden Bear varsity jacket, £390. An elegant take on the classic varsity jacket, this tailored piece looks good over anything. jcrew.com
1 HAMMOND & CO BY PATRICK GRANT, Designer red hooded jacket, £85. Lightweight jacket from Savile Row’s king of sewing. debenhams.com 2 RIDGEMONT, Outback in waxed full-grain leather, £99. Tough and waterproof, minus the outdoorsy looks. ridgemontoutfitters.com 3 TUMI, Bashford duffel bag in canvas and leather, £695. Old-school safari form, new-school function from the luxe luggage brand. tumi.com
THE WATCH ELLIOT BROWN CANFORD, £325 With a case machined from marinegrade steel, the Brit brand’s Canford has substance to match its rugged style. elliotbrownwatches.com
THE TRACKER JAYBIRD REIGN FITNESS TRACKER, £tbc. Tells you when to work out, and even how much sleep you need. jaybirdsport.com
THE GADGET AUTOGRAPHER £299. You don’t even have to tell this tiny cam when to take photos – it does it automatically. autographer.com
THE CAMERA FUJIFILM FINEPIX XP60, £130. Waterproof up to six metres, not to mention so bright it’s nigh-on impossible to lose. pcworld.co.uk
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No more sitting on the suitcase until it heaves shut. Build lists with upcoming trips, and it’ll suggest what you and your friends need to pack. Never forget to set your out of office ever again. quinnscape.com
Away on holiday and unsure where to, er, spend a penny? This app will load the nearest public toilets and tell you how good they are. With 70,000 loos listed, you’ll never be caught short again… betomorrow.com
lf you’re road-tripping, check out Waze. It uses locally sourced information to share real-time traffic and road problems, although it’s still gaining traction across the world. waze.com
Long layover? No problem. Loungebuddy checks out local airport lounges and lets you know how to get into them. It also lets you browse images and amenities of the lot. loungebuddy.com
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Instant ANORAK Fight for your right to wear masks in Venice, race on camels and across frozen ice, toss eggs and oranges and make big pancakes. It’s winter festival madness
The length of the entrance procession at Bolivia’s Oruro Carnival held around Ash Wednesday. About 20,000 dancers take part
1268 The year a law was passed to ban wearing masks and throwing perfumed eggs at the Carnival of Venice, in mid-February. Masks were soon adopted again, though
3.2km THE LENGTH OF THE CANOE RACE ACROSS THE ST LAWRENCE RIVER AT THE CARNAVAL DE QUÉBEC. ROWERS CROSS FLOATING ICE AND ENTIRELY FROZEN STRETCHES OF RIVER
400,000 4 THE APPROXIMATE WEIGHT IN KG OF ORANGES THROWN AT ITALY’S BATTLE OF THE ORANGES IN IVREA AT THE END OF FEBRUARY
THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE JENADRIYAH FESTIVAL’S CAMEL RACE IN SAUDI ARABIA IN LATE FEBRUARY
The area of the largest pancake ever made (and flipped), in Rochdale, Manchester in 1994
THE NUMBER OF FLOATS AT NEW ORLEANS’ MARDI GRAS CELEBRATIONS. THERE ARE 15,000 DANCERS
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DEPARTURES Based on Mayan pronunciation, Cancún translates as ‘nest of snakes’
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conditions, Playa Delfines is less of a magnet for sunseekers but closer to Mayan relics. If it’s weirdness you want, the Underwater Museum features 500 submerged sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor – snorkellers and divers can appreciate some or all, including the surreal sight of a seabed office set-up. For food and drinks, meanwhile, you can’t go past La Parrilla, an absolute veteran by Cancún standards. The city was five years old when it was established, and its enduring popularity with locals and visitors is as good a recommendation as you need. Traditional food is accompanied by traditional sounds, with live mariachi music a speciality. e
NEED TO KNOW British Airways flies to Cancun from London Gatwick, with seven-night all-inclusive holidays starting from £849pp. ba.com/cancun
LUXURY EXPANSION Luxury air travel has moved along apace in recent years – more carriers have followed Singapore Airlines’ lead and offered private cabins (Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and others) and top-flight airlines are eternally expanding their repertoires – new routes in the wings are London-Perth (Etihad) and Edinburgh-Doha (Qatar). flightcentre.co.uk
CELEBRATE ANZAC DAY For those who aren’t familiar, Anzac Day (25 April) is a day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate those who served in various 20th-century wars. Anzac Tours organises trips to Gallipoli Cove in Turkey – where the Ottoman army decisively routed Australian and NZ forces during World War I – from only £69pp for two days. anzactours.co.uk
Photograph (above) by Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty, (middle) by Qatar Tourism
t’s a tale you’d expect from Victorian Britain: build a new resort near a nice beach or two, get some lovely hotels to spring up, then launch a bit of ‘fresh air and fun’-type marketing and watch the holidaymakers come flocking in. The Mexican government did exactly that – in the 1960s – and the result was Cancún. A bit of brainstorming resulted in the choice of location – the thinly-populated south-east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula – and work on the dream resort got under way in 1970. Four years later, Cancún was open for business. And 40 years on there’s more to Cancún than spring break – four million visitors a year can’t be wrong. Even allowing for the relative youth of the city itself, characterful nooks and corners – with good food and quiet bars – abound. But it’s all about the beaches – miles of white sand and bright blue seas, with good accommodation options a stone’s throw away. Take Playa Langosta, a beach offering beautiful swimming and snorkelling, warm, shallow waters and white coral sand. With darker sand and less predictable swimming
Before Dubai, there was… Cancún, the resort town that rose out of the sands in the ‘70s and never looked back
Love snowsports so much that you fancy your own snowy bricks and mortar? The Edenarc development in the Alps’ Paradiski is a top-flight resort with views to Mont Blanc – where better to base yourself than on the slopes? There are 48 cosy apartments – many with incredible views – available to buy, fashioned with contemporary architecture. edenarc1800.com
More luxury. More Destinations.
NAVARiNO DuNES, cOSTA NAVARiNO
Inviting luxury and authentic Messinian hospitality Overlooking the ionian Sea, The Romanos, a luxury collection Resort and The Westin Resort costa Navarino welcome you to experience a memorable holiday escape at the new prime destination in the Mediterranean. Explore exciting relaxation and entertainment possibilities, including two signature golf courses, a 4000m2 Anazoe Spa offering unique oleotherapy® treatments, an elite selection of venues with international and local flavors, amazing children facilities, multiple outdoor activities, local events and many historic landmarks. For more information or to make a reservation visit romanoscostanavarino.com, westincostanavarino.com or call +30 27230 97000 THE ROMANOS, A luxuRy cOllEcTiON RESORT THE WESTiN RESORT cOSTA NAVARiNO
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A BAD ROMANCE
’ve spent it skiing in Bulgaria, watching X Factor repeats in Nottingham and, er, sharing a dorm bed in a grey Albanian hostel. Yep, enjoying Valentine’s Day in one of the lesser-visited outposts of Europe rightly tops that particular list. Arriving in the capital, Tirana, you’ll be asked several questions. Not because they’re suspicious of you – they’re just super confused as to why you’re there. “So you got lost on the way to Athens?” asks our hostel manager. “You’re going back via Croatia?” he tries again, bamboozled. “Why are you here?” he asks, finally. In the halcyon pre-credit-crunch days of 2007, the obvious place to spend the most
romantic day of the Gregorian calendar was in Europe’s weirdest capital – said no one, ever. Albania: land of raki, thousands of sheep, ex-communist bunkers built into the hillside… and definitely not a chic European mini-break destination. Rather than hole up in a boutique hotel (although let’s be fair – there were none), we booked two dorm beds at Tirana’s only backpacker hostel, despite the fact we’d arrived with wheeled cabin bags and it was Valentine’s Day.
A brief guide to what you can expect from Valentine’s Day in Albania: + Having to bunk in a hostel filled with
pissed-up Australians and a barking husky guard dog, convinced this is not the way a romantic weekend should begin. Sharing a skinny top bunk bed with your other half. Not because you want to snuggle, but because it’s February and when you paid less than a tenner a night for a bed, did you really think there would be heating? Not only sharing a bed, but sharing your room with some gloomy-eyed Eastern European men who seem to spend all day asleep, facing the opposite wall. Quite the amorous atmosphere. Indulging in a ‘romantic’ V-Day meal that involves sitting cross-legged on wicker mats and balancing mysterious, rather dubious-looking plates of food on an unsteady wooden table. The power cutting out a total of eight times during said dinner, and having to cringe while the waiter and fellow (goodhearted) restaurant patrons make animal noises and flap their arms around like a chicken to explain the menu, which is
Valentine’s Day provides the perfect excuse to hit the road for a saucy weekend away. But Cathy Adams learns the hard way that when it comes to amore, the Albanian capital of Tirana doesn’t quite strike the right note
THE TOP THINGS TO DO IN TIRANA 1 Check out trendy area Blloku (‘the block’), with its pretty streets full of cute boutique shops and restaurants. 2 Take the Dajti Ekspres cable car up Mount Dajt for a stunning view over Tirana. Spot the bunkers hidden in the hillside. 3 Eat. Albanian grub is closest to that of Greece and Turkey, but, happily, is half the price. Stop at one of the city’s many cafes for cups of rocket-fuel coffee that’ll give you change from a quid.
written in Albanian – not that you’d be able to fathom it anyway, because you’re looking at it upside down. + Post-dinner, turning up at a ‘key’ party in a dodgy club, and fending off equally dodgy men who are testing their keys in your lock – which hangs depressingly around your neck before you ditch it in the disabled toilet – while your other half is standing right next to you. + Saying “Gëzuar ditën e Shën Valentinit!” – which we never actually said to each other over that weekend. This year, I’m threatening to spend February 14 on my own in a Premier Inn off the M25 – after my Albanian adventure, it could hardly be worse. e
5 BREAKS IN... ireland CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The world-class waves of Sligo draw in the pros; grab a post-surf drink at the Sligo Park Hotel; Strandhill Beach in Sligo; inside Dublin’s legendary Copper Face Jacks; jawto-the-floor views at luxury Park Hotel Kenmare in County Kerry; the hotel’s exclusive retreats
Waves reached up to 12 metres at Sligo on the West Coast of Ireland during the storms last month, and professional surfers took full advantage, flocking to the icy seas. Unsurprisingly, Sligo is Ireland’s adventure capital, and has everything from high-octane surf to paddleboarding, abseiling and kiting. Dunmoran Strand and Strandhill Beach are two of the best for surfing, with the latter one of the best in Europe for riding waves. The harsh terrain of surrounding Sligo makes it an adventurer’s dream – whether it be in the water, underneath it or high above.
Stay: The Sligo Park Hotel (sligoparkhotel.com) is close enough to the waves to minimise the trip between your bed and the surf first thing in the morning. It’s not the most remarkable of hotels, but when the surf is this good, do you really mind? Double rooms start from €69 a night.
Dublin stands proud as the party capital of Ireland – it’s certainly seen enough stag and hen groups. But steer away from the obvious pubs and clubs lining Temple Bar (templebar.ie) – there’s a wealth of other great nightspots for dancing the night away. Chic cocktail bar The Liquor Rooms (theliquorrooms.com) has a vintage feel and great drinks (try the prosecco punch bowl), while Fallon & Byrne (fallonandbyrne.com) is an upmarket wine shop and bar boasting shelves stacked with more than 600 wines. Or, if you do fancy joining the hordes at a club, head to Dublin stalwart Coppers (copperfacejacks.ie) at the Jackson Court Hotel. Stay: The Merrion (merrionhotel.com), right in the heart of Dublin’s city centre, is one of the capital’s best luxury addresses. If you can, opt for a room in the Garden Wing – it’s total opulence, and a short stumbling distance from Temple Bar. Rooms start from €276 a night.
RELAXATION COUNTY KERRY
When you think of Ireland and conjure up an expanse of green and craggy bluffs, you’re thinking of Kerry. It’s one of the most picturesque areas of the country, best seen from from the 179km Ring of Kerry, a day-long tour around the county. Home to sparkling lakes and lush green hills, Kerry also benefits from its smattering of top-flight spa hotels, including Park Hotel Kenmare (parkkenmare.com), Aghadoe Heights (aghadoeheights.com) and Parknasilla (parknasillaresort.com). Stay: Park Hotel Kenmare (parkkenmare.com) has been voted one of Ireland’s top hotels in the past. This should come as no surprise – its destination spa packs in unparalleled views over Kenmare Bay and the Cork and Kerry mountains, and also offers a private retreat if you really want to get away from it all. Rooms start from €142 a night.
Donegal is that weirdlooking bit on the top left of the island, neighbouring Northern Ireland as part of the Border Region. Long, deserted beaches abound in this breathtaking county. The Donegal Bay Waterbus (donegalbaywaterbus.com) makes an ideal family day out, and cruises mercifully slowly around Donegal Bay’s many islands and nearby seal colony. Younger children will love nearby Lurgybrack Open Farm (lurgybrackopenfarm.town.ie) or a run around on the beach. But be sure to wrap up warm – it can get pretty windy. Stay: Who doesn’t want to stay in a proper, 15thcentury castle? With groomed grounds, Lough Eske Castle (solishotels.com/lougheskecastle) is big enough to lose the kids in and sneak off to the spa, which has views over Lough Eske. Family rooms start from around €195.
FOOD & DRINK GALWAY
the right side of pink and sparkly – if you don’t believe us, just consider that this boutique bolthole was designed by Galway’s most famous export, milliner Philip Treacy. Rooms start from around £87.
Photograph by Paul Mcerlane/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Once known purely for its oysters, Galway is cementing itself as a foodie destination, and over the Easter bank holiday weekend stages the third edition of its food festival (galwayfoodfestival.com). Galway farmers’ market, each Saturday outside St Nicholas church, is also a must-visit. For amazing tapas, head to recently re-opened Cava (cavarestaurant.ie). But it’s not just food that Galway is renowned for. Oslo Bar is the home of Galway Bay Brewery (galwaybaybrewery.com), Galway’s only microbrewery, which pulls handcrafted pints of Buried At Sea (a dark chocolate stout) and Full Sail IPA. Stay: The city’s G Hotel (theghotel.ie) errs on
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The bracing Donegal coast, perfect for a family escape; Galway’s famous oysters, a must-try for foodies; boutique hotel The G, designed by Galway-born Philip Treacy; and don’t forget to explore Galway’s lively warren of cobbled streets by night
The Wild Atlantic Way Out at the very edge of Europe, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches for 2,500 km (1,500 miles) along Ireland’s western seaboard. From Malin Head in Co. Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork, through regions like Connemara, Galway Bay and Kerry, it’s the longest deﬁned coastal drive in the world. Sligo Park Hotel is ideally located on the Wild Atantic Way and all of the Must See Attractions in Sligo and the Top Secret Sligo Gems.
T: 00353 (0) 71 919 0400 | E: email@example.com | W: www.sligopark.com
Winging IT INSTANT GUIDES FOR THE LAZY TRAVELLER
This month, we track down masked balls in Venice, arty parties in Dubai, flesh, flamboyance and frolics in Sydney, and Holi – north India’s crazy, chaotic festival of colours
VENICE DO: Venice Carnival, February 15 to March 4 At first glance, it looks like the city has thrown a huge fetish party. But the annual Venice Carnival is a centuries-old institution, harking back to 11th-century glamour and opulence, brought alive by the elaborate costumes and Venetian masks worn by revellers all over town. Grab your own from one of the city’s many shops and try to sneak into one of the decadent carnival balls. carnevale.venezia.it STAY: Luna Hotel Baglioni, San Marco. Rooms from £230 a night The stunning Luna Hotel Baglioni, close to the main square, Piazza San Marco, is housed in a historic Venetian palace that opens out onto the water, so you can arrive in a gondola (or a dinghy). Book early if you’re coming to carnival: this is about as Venetian as it’s ever going to get. baglionihotels.com
TOP: The elegant Luna Hotel Baglioni faces directly on to Venice’s canals. FROM LEFT: An iconic Venetian mask; Philippe Starck-designed PG’s Restaurant; Dubai’s ultra-luxurious ‘seven-star’ hotel, the Burj Al Arab; Sydney’s Opera Bar, overlooking the famous Opera House; India’s nationwide Holi festival of colour
EAT: PG’s Restaurant, Ramo Grassi Don’t be sucked in by those awful pizzerias in Piazza San Marco or by the Grand Canal. Instead, head to this Philippe Starck-designed restaurant inside the Palazzina G Hotel for a twist on tradition: think simple Venetian food using local ingredients, but with a hint of the exotic Far East. palazzinag.com
DO: Art Dubai, March 19-22 Though Dubai’s contribution to the pantheon of great artists might not be particularly notable, its contribution to the art world in general certainly is. Art Dubai, now in its eighth edition, is the leading contemporary art fair in the Middle East and South Asia. The programme, which takes place at Madinat Jumeirah, ranges from a pop-up radio network to film and music, alongside live performances. artdubai.ae
DO: Holi Festival, March 17 India is synonymous with the annual spring festival of colours, and there’s no better place to see it than the country’s bustling capital, Delhi. There’s no official place to experience it – rather, walk the hectic city streets and prepare to be pelted with brightly coloured paint. And it doesn’t just last a day (you can expect a weeklong art attack). Not really much point in showering, then. holifestival.org
STAY: JA Palm Tree Court. Rooms from around £312 a night Dubai has no shortage of showy hotels, and the JA Palm Tree Court, within the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, is no exception. It ticks all the Dubai boxes: beachfront access, a diving centre and four swimming pools. Oh, and a championship golf course. jaresortshotels.com EAT AND DRINK: Barasti, Le Meridien Hotel An expat favourite, there’s never a dull day at Barasti. There’s always something going on, from ‘80s themes to ladies night, where women drink for free. Come to watch the sunset, and the next thing you know, the sun might be coming up. Fortunately, the morning after you can stuff yourself with the Barasti Big Breakfast – if you really want to return to the scene of the crime. barastibeach.com
SYDNEY DO: Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, March 1 Welcome to Sydney’s premier LGBT event, a three-week Mardi Gras party that takes over the city. The highlight is a dazzling parade of 10,000 people trussed up in lavish costumes, riding spectacular floats – expect a lot of bare flesh (it’s the height of summer in Oz, after all), rainbow flags and an unbeatable atmosphere. mardigras.org.au STAY: The Star Leo DiCaprio stayed in the penthouse (where else?) at this luxury complex while he was filming Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Alongside two separate high-end hotels – The Darling and Astral Tower & Residences – The Star boasts a massive casino and a sky terrace overlooking Darling Harbour. If it’s good enough for Leo, it’s good enough for us. star.com.au
STAY: Taj Mahal Hotel, Mansingh Road. Rooms from £215 a night Just to be clear, despite the name Taj Mahal, this hotel is not one of the wonders of the world. But its old-school glamour and charm means it comes pretty close. Smack-bang in the centre of Delhi, this Leading Hotel of the World property is a haven away from the sensory overload of India’s mega-metropolis. Kick back in your colonial-style suite, escape to the spa, or just peer out of the window at the mayhem of Delhi below. lhw.com SHOP: Chandni Chowk Meaning ‘moonlit market’, Chandni Chowk in the centre of town is as old as it is rammed, spilling over with everything from traditional Indian sweets to battered electronic goods. Just don’t stand still, as the sheer volume of people means you’ll be carried along with the swell.
DRINK: Opera Bar, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point Opera Bar, overlooking the, well, Opera House – and Harbour Bridge – is the ultimate Sydney drinking spot. Sure, it’s a bit style over substance, but seeing as you can drink a chilled glass of sauvignon while gazing out over a Sydney sunset, we’ll let it off. operabar.com.au
reader QUESTIONS Get the lowdown on high culture in Venice, unique Med diving spots, and experience central Beijing with the expert aid of the Insight Guides team
I’m going to Venice this spring for my first anniversary. What would you recommend? Is there a great restaurant with a nice view that won’t break the bank? Emily Spencer Dear Emily, You just can’t beat Venice as a romantic destination. Despite its watery character, most of the city is best explored on foot, with the occasional boat trip adding a new perspective or whisking you to far corners of the lagoon. The magnet is always Piazza San Marco, home to several of the city’s main landmarks, including the magnificent basilica and the Palazzo Ducale. But dip in and out of the square, as Venetians do, before exploring the rest of Venice. Start your day at the Rialto markets. Watch barges offload at the quayside and browse in local delis for spices, coffee and cheeses. From the Rialto take the water-taxi (vaporetto) No. 1 towards San Marco/Lido. Glide past the parade of palaces and alight at Accademia, in the Dorsoduro district, an art lover’s haven. See the world’s greatest collection of Venetian art in the revamped Accademia, then the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. For lunch with a view, take your pick from the open-air cafés and restaurants on the Zattere, the panoramic quayside on the Dorsoduro’s southern side. Then pop into the Gesuati church to see the Tiepolo ceiling. Head to the tip of the peninsula where the Punta della Dogana has been transformed into a cutting-edge contemporary art gallery, then admire the monumental La Salute basilica. Take a vaporetto across the
Grand Canal to Vallaresso, pass Harry’s Bar (dropping in for a celebratory bellini, of course!) and head north to Salita San Moise and Calle Larga XXII Marzo to browse some of the smartest shops in town. Leave the crowds behind and explore the Castello region behind the Riva. Join locals in a bar for a spritz (a Venetian aperitif), accompanied by cichetti (tapas-like snacks). For a romantic dinner, book a table at Ristorante Lineadombra (Ponte de l’umiltà, on the Zattere) a simple, elegant, designconscious restaurant that is challenging Venetian stereotypes. Cross the Giudecca Canal by vaporetto to Skyline, a cool rooftop haunt in the Hilton Molino Stucky, suspended over the lagoon. With its superb views and stylish cocktails, Skyline is the best way to toast your anniversary in Venice. Carine Tracanelli is senior commissioning editor for Western & Eastern Europe at Insight Guides
BELOW: The many submerged caves of coastal Cyprus await the intrepid international diver
What is the best snorkelling destination in Europe? Billy Weston Dear Billy, Despite its tempting crystal-clear waters, the Mediterranean Sea is poor in nutrients and overfished, so there are few places where you will find large numbers of colourful fish. It’s hard to say which is the best destination, so here are some good spots to choose from. Cyprus is one option. The water is warm all year round and you can explore submerged cliffs, valleys and caves and get a close-up view of sea anemones, sponges and crustaceans. You can also dive over several wrecks, best of all being the ferry Zenobia, which sank off Larnaca in 1980. You’ll find certified diving centres at Paphos, Coral Bay, Larnaca, Limassol, Agia Napa and Protaras. Alternatively, Sardinia’s coastline is dotted with coves and grottoes that make for interesting snorkelling, and a number of marine parks make wildlife more abundant here than elsewhere in the Med. The island provides excellent facilities for divers of all standards, with dozens of diving centres. Popular spots for snorkelling and diving are Alghero and Stintino in the northwest, the Maddalena Archipelago in the north, the Golfo di Orosei on the east coast and the Isola di San Pietro in the southwest. For something a little further afield, try Greece. The rock formations flanking the Seitani coves on Samos are worth exploring and there’s a remote chance of spotting a local monk seal; shoals of fish are more reliably seen at the east end of Tsamadou.
ABOVE AND BELOW: Crowds throng the entrance of central Beijing’s ancient Forbidden City; and the Great Wall of China, a short drive from the capital
On the mainland, on the northeast coast of the Pílio peninsula, the adjacent coves of Lambinoú and Limniónas are known for their clear water and rock formations. The ultimate aquarium, though, is in the far southeast corner of the country, on Kastellorizo, where Návlakas fjord has numerous fish inhabiting sheer rock walls in impeccably clear water. On Kálymnos, at the opposite end of the Dodecanese, tiny Aptíki and Pezónda coves have a phenomenal amount of submerged World War II debris to ponder, as well as more dangerous moray eels and skates lurking on the bottom. Rachel Fox is head of content at Insight Guides
The ultimate aquarium is on Kastellorizo, where Návlakas fjord has numerous fish inhabiting sheer rock walls in impeccably clear water 38
I have four days in Beijing and I’m not sure how to spend them – I want to see the Great Wall and get a taste of the culture. What do you suggest? Priya Sen Dear Priya, There is so much to see in Beijing that you’ll really be spoiled for choice. Our top picks for a four-day trip would include the following: Tiananmen Square is the symbolic centre and political heart of Beijing, and it is to this immense plaza that most first-time visitors are initially drawn. This is where classical heritage and revolutionary symbolism meet head-on. Imperial gateways, representing the feudal centuries of the Middle Kingdom, face the gigantic monuments erected by the communist regime that flank the square. Overlooking all is the iconic Tiananmen Gate, entrance to the Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace, one of the few remaining parts of the ancient city and top of many visitors’ lists – so get there early to avoid the crowds. The Great Wall is the largest fortification in human history and was built to prevent invasion by nomadic tribes from the north.
Today it is China’s most popular monument. The Wall’s most accessible section – and consequently the most crowded – is at Badaling. Equally spectacular but less busy is the section at Mutianyu. It’s a steep one-hour climb to the top, or you can take the cable car. For a relaxing break from the crowds and the traffic, Beihai Park is a wonderful spot – as well as the beautiful landscaping, you can see the Beijingers practising their early-morning tai chi, ballroom dancing, calligraphy and martial arts. North of Beihai, on the shore of a complex of lakes, lies Shichahai, one of the most attractive parts of Beijing. Lotus Lane and Yinding Bridge are good places to head for leafy strolls as well as bars, restaurants and coffee houses. For a glimpse of the fast-disappearing traditional life, take a tour of the city’s hutong – the crumbling, narrow alleyways that were once home to thousands of Beijingers. As a contrast, make your way to the city’s creative centre, 798 Art Zone, a thriving community of contemporary artists, shops, studios and galleries. e Rachel Fox is head of content at Insight Guides
ASK US Every month we’ll be giving away an Insight Guide for each question answered. This month, it’s US National Parks West. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @escapismmag.
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Down Mexico Way Mexico’s stunning Caribbean coast is ideal for sunworshippers seeking a tropical escape. With these great deals from British Airways and Occidental Hotels & Resorts, it’s within easy reach
ccupying a prime spot on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the Yucatán Peninsula offers an unbeatable blend of blue sea, azure skies and luxury. Here, British Airways and Occidental Hotels pick four top deals in Playa del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera…
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Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be limited. Selected travel between 1 September and 31 October. Book by 6 March, visit ba.com/occidental
EXPLORE THE REMAINS OF A MAYAN VILLAGE, SNORKEL UNDERWATER GARDENS AND SWIM WITH DOLPHINS, ON TOP OF STAYING AT A BEAUTIFUL GRAND HOTEL
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Royal Hideaway Playacar is a tropical haven; Polynesian style at Occidental Allegro Playacar; Occidental Grand Xcaret’s dining room; a taste of Caribbean life at Royal Hideaway Playacar
ANNELISE NELSON, 29 Management Consultant London, UK
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EXPERIENCES Photograph by Angelos Venetsanos
44 BEST FITNESS TRAVEL TRIPS 54 SWIM, BIKE, SUN IN ST LUCIA 60 CARNIVAL SPIRIT IN SALVADOR 66 BEERS AND BATHS IN ICELAND
ABOVE: Runners pound the road during the Spartathlon, an ultra marathon that takes place every September in Greece. It follows the footsteps of Pheidippides’ journey to Sparta in 490BC. Tunic wearing not obligatory
Why spend the weekend in PJs or your annual break haunting the neighbourhood cafes when active trips abound that will leave you both fit and happy? Here are just 20 of the bestâ€Ś
REASO DO A R
ONS TO RUNNER 45
Canoe your way to riches
The Canadian territory of Yukon is roughly twice the size of the UK yet most of it is wilderness, so getting around can be tricky – unless you have a canoe. On Exodus’s Yukon Expedition you can travel 400km in eight days past mountains, lakes, forests and gold-rush towns, powered by paddle and setting up camp each night by the river. The 15-day trip also takes in gold panning in Klondike Creek – and while you might not find your fortune, you’re likely to come back with bulging biceps.
From £3,049 including return flights from London to Whitehorse; exodus.co.uk
Become a ski-racing hero
Britain’s list of Olympic ski-racing stars may not be a long one, but it’s possible you’re just the saviour fans of Ski Sunday have been waiting for. OK, so probably not, but at least with Powder White’s ski-racing package in Courchevel 1650 you can prove yourself against the clock with intensive giant slalom training followed by head-to-head races on a run built for the 1992 Winter Olympics. We tried it out last month – let’s just say we’ll give Sochi a miss. For the sake of the pros… From £410 per person, including seven nights in fully-catered accommodation, plus six hours of giant slalom training; powderwhite.com Russia’s subtropical and snowsports playground Sochi stretches idyllically along the Black Sea for 148km, making it the “second-longest city” in the world, after Mexico City.
Work out with the Mayans
It’s not strictly essential to get fit within spitting distance of some
MOBILE ‘PHONES For sounds on the move, Yurbuds are hard to beat. Designed with exercise in mind, they’re waterand sweat-resistant, stable and comfortable, and allow enough ambient noise through for you to stay aware of hazards. The rugged Venture Pros have Kevlar cords and a three-button control. Venture Pro, £85; yurbuds.co.uk
MOST OF THE YUKON IS WILDERNESS SO GETTING AROUND CAN BE TRICKY – UNLESS YOU HAVE A CANOE of the world’s most spectacular beaches and the relics of ancient civilisations, but it sure helps. The Fitness Travel Company’s Mexican Well-being Adventure takes exercise and throws the Mayan Riviera’s peerless combination of culture and nature into the mix. It’s a potent combination to give your mind, body and soul a proper workout. Trip departs 8 August 2014; £6,400 per person including flights, accommodation, meals, transfers and tours; fitnesstravelcompany.com
Dominate the Dolomites
Weekend warriors and mountain junkies will know the Dolomites by their reputation as one of the greatest cycling destinations on Earth. But if the hassle, cost and risk of putting your bike on the plane to Italy puts you off, Leading Bike may be the answer. Based at Hotel La Perla in Corvara, the four-night, five-day trips take passes made familiar by the Giro d’Italia stage race, with experienced guides, massages, and cyclist-focused food, too. As part of the package you’ll be riding a Pinarello bike (good enough for Team Sky), so you’ll have no excuses when you bonk on the Passo Pordoi… From £600 per person, including all excursions, bike hire and meals. Flights to Venice Marco Polo with easyJet from £80 return. hotel-laperla.it
FROM ABOVE: The Italian Dolomites are heaven for road cyclists; getting air isn’t the fastest way down the slopes, you know…
Shape up in Cornwall
Obviously you can walk, run, surf or bike the north Cornish coast under your own steam, but for those needing a guiding hand (who don’t mind splashing out for the privilege), eco-hotel The Scarlet’s fitness breaks could be the way to go. A collaboration with experts 30° North, the courses include workouts on the beach, yoga, running, mountain biking and surfing. Three nights, including meals, activities, use of the hotel’s facilities, spa treatment and a fitness consultation from £1,259. scarlethotel.co.uk
Photograph by ###
Get fighting fit in Thailand
Some go away to kick back – but if you’re after more kick and less back, why not use your holiday to immerse yourself in martial art Muay Thai, “the art of eight limbs”? With W Hotels’ Muay Thai Experience you’ll return from Thailand leaner and meaner – it starts with a three-
TOE-TO-TOE Vibram’s revolutionary barefoot FiveFingers are perfect for runners on the go. They’re light, naturalfeeling and pack almost flat – you can learn to love the looks. KomodoSport LS, £125, vibrams.co.uk
day training course at W Retreat Samui on the island of Koh Samui, followed by two nights at W Bangkok and the chance to see how it’s done at a live professional fight. Five nights from £1,900 per person, including flights and transfers; ampersandtravel.com
Dive into the deep blue
The Maldives has some of the best reef-diving on Earth, with clear waters and abundant marine life including dolphins, manta rays, green turtles and several shark species, and the deep atolls near The Residence Maldives are full of great dive sites, some as yet unexplored.
Though the diving’s fairly leisurely, galeophobes (people who are afraid of sharks) might work up a sweat once the hammerheads turn up… Seven nights from £1,950 per person including breakfast, transfers and flights with Emirates from Gatwick; turquoiseholidays.co.uk
THE DIVING’S 8 LEISURELY, BUT YOU MIGHT WORK UP A SWEAT WHEN THE SHARKS TURN UP
Walk tall in Slovenia
An active trip doesn’t have to involve cycling hundreds of miles, sailing around the world or running up mountains – on foot you’ll see even more of the location, and you needn’t be an athlete. North-west Slovenia has beauty, wildlife, culture and great food in spades, and you can get a taste of it on Headwater’s eight-night Slovenian Alps Adventure, a self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking trip through Triglav, the country’s only national park. Located on the Italian and Austrian borders, it’s home to Slovenia’s highest mountain – the 2,864m Mt Triglav – which you can summit en route. From £1,047 including accommodation, breakfast, four evening meals and transfers. Easyjet flies from London to Ljubljana from £60 return; headwater.com
Bernhard Langer OBE is Germany’s greatest golfer – he went pro at the age of 15 and in 1986 was the world’s first No. 1. These days he’s just sitting on top of the Champions Tour.
IWC’s legendary Aquatimer divers watch has been refreshed for 2014, with a mechanical internal bezel that prevents the dive-time counter being moved by accident. The bronze case of the Charles Darwin edition will develop a unique patina as it ages, for vintage aquatic style. Aquatimer Chrono Charles Darwin Expedition, £8,250; iwc.com
Be an Olympic hero
As the cradle of the Olympic Games, you’d hope Greece would cater for those after an active trip – and you’d be right. The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, on the Peloponnese peninsula, is a year-round destination for sports lovers of all ages, with a programme of active breaks above and beyond the golf, watersports and racket sports the resort is famous for. The 2014 sports calendar includes a triathlon, sports camps for kids, a yoga week, cycling and running challenges, and a marathon training camp. There are three golf tournaments, too, making use of the resort’s two signature courses, including the Bernhard Langer-designed Dunes. For accommodation info and a full calendar of events, go to westincostanavarino.com
Catch a tropical breeze
Sometimes it takes more than just staring at yourself in the mirror after two months of gluttony and
SEAFORCE CHRONO 01.0643.103 RRP£ 295 www.classic-time.co.uk 01189482674
have to ride the bike yourself though… From £1,079, including return flights, hotel and most meals, departing 17 July 2014; exodus.co.uk
Get higher in Nepal
A certain large-ish mountain isn’t the only draw in Nepal – if it’s an adventure sports holiday you’re hankering for, there’s plenty to do that’s not Everestshaped. Lost Earth Adventures can organise the trip with an action-packed itinerary – go white-water rafting on the Bhote Kosi river in the heart of the Himalayas, rock climb and abseil up and down some of the biggest natural canyons on Earth, or throw the wind some caution and go paragliding or downhill biking in the Annapurnas. Best of all, you’ll always have the breathtaking views to take your mind off all the paralysing fear. Tours start at £1,450. Flights to Nepal are around £600 per person return; lostearthadventures.co.uk
FROM TOP: North-west US national parks may provide slightly more than you bargain for, and put your picnic at risk; take on a Tour de France stage with the Étape du Tour
binge-drinking to kickstart a personal fitness revolution. Disguising exercise as a thrill-ride in tropical paradise, however – that could work. Dinarobin Kitesurf School – attached to the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa – on the Morne Peninsula in Mauritius caters for newbies and experienced kiters alike, in spectacular, sunny surroundings. Seven nights bed and breakfast including flights and transfers from £1,810 per person; beachcombertours.co.uk
Get down with the grizzlies
If you feel like a break from the day job to go all Grizzly Man, the American North-west’s untamed National Parks combine incredible landscapes, packed with volcanoes, hot springs and geysers, with amazing wildlife from bisons and birds to bears – and the grizzly kind at that. In fact, Grand American Adventures’ trips through the Rockies, Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges will make you feel like a regular Bear Grylls – albeit without the eating of grubs and spontaneous conduction of homemade enemas. From £2,099 based on a 14-night stay; grandamericanadventures.com
Ride Le Tour (almost)
No matter how good a cyclist you are, unless you’ve already got a pro contract your dreams of racing in the Tour de France are probably over. Sorry. But worry not, because the Étape du Tour offers the chance to emulate your heroes for one stage. The 2014 route starts from Pau in the Pyrenees and takes in the daunting Tourmalet and Hautacam climbs. You can make things a little easier for yourself with Exodus’s four-night package, including warm-up rides and vehicle support. You’ll
Annapurna I has the highest fatality-tosummit ratio (38%) of any 8,000m-plus peak. However, the Annapurna Circuit is a popular (and safe) 230km trek through the Nepalese massif.
Run into history
For the more athletic history fans among you (come on, there must be some), you can combine your two passions with a 246km foot race that retraces the steps of ancient Athenian Pheidippides, who put in a shift and walked all the way to Sparta from Athens to seek help in the Battle of Marathon, getting there in a day and a half. The epic long-distance Spartathlon Ultra Race race has taken place every year since 1984, with more and more runners joining each time. This year’s race takes place place on 26-27 September, leaving you plenty of time to stock up on industrial-sized quantities of plasters. Return flights to Athens start at around £250 per person. spartathlon.gr
THE HOOD LIFE Going on holiday doesn’t guarantee immunity from rain – quite the opposite, if our experience is anything to go by – but Icebreaker’s lightweight Stealth Hood, with a merino wool lining and water-repellent outer, means wet weather might not get in the way. Stealth Hood, £220; icebreaker.com
Make a difference (and climb a mountain)
If most adventures are about the end result, the Inspired Challenge model takes a different – and altogether more impactful – approach to epic, active trips. Each challenge doesn’t just fundraise, but enables travellers to help effect social
change in the local area while they’re on the trip itself. The Mount Ararat challenge is a hardcore trek to the summit of Turkey’s highest peak (a dormant volcano), and you can choose to fundraise for your own choice of charity or the challenge microfund – a shelter for Syrian refugees. From £1,199 for eight days, including accommodation, guides, permits, transfers, food and local support staff (plus minimum £500 fundraising donation); inspiredchallenge.com
Carry a boat on your back in New Zealand
A pack-raft is a small, inflatable boat that’s big enough to carry you and your belongings calmly along a serene river, or calamitously down a batch of white water, while being light enough to carry on your back when a body of water isn’t coming at you. If that sounds like a fun holiday – and let’s face it, it does – New Zealand operator Expedition X in Queenstown has launched the first tour designed to make use of this
EFFECT SOCIAL CHANGE IN THE LOCAL AREA WHILE ON THE TRIP ITSELF versatile little vessel. A mixture of hiking, rowing and negotiating rapids, the tour will take you into some of the country’s largely unseen stunning wilderness. From £158 per day, per person, including boat, all kit and lunch. Return flights from £855 with Air New Zealand; expeditionx.co.nz
Conquer new heights Machu Picchu, Peru
Challenge your body Make 2014 the year to try something new. Book an Intrepid Travel small group adventure today.
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DOES A RACE AROUND THE WORLD QUALIFY AS A FITNESS BREAK?
Take on the most beautiful marathon in the world
The Two Oceans marathon in Cape Town brands itself as ‘the world’s most beautiful marathon’, and who are we to disagree? Held on the Easter weekend, the ultra--marathon (56km) route winds through the city and its jaw-dropping surroundings, from the foot of Table Mountain via a slog up Chapman’s Peak to the finish at the city’s university. Entry from 900 rand (£49), with other distances also available. Return flights to Cape Town from £758 with British Airways; twooceansmarathon.org.za
Go on a Welsh adventure
You don’t have to travel to the far side of the world for an active trip with a big shot of adrenaline –
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in fact, Wales should do. You’ll find some of the UK’s finest and most beautiful coastline in North Pembrokeshire, perfect for kayaking along, jumping off, trampling over (responsibly, of course) and surfing in. Preseli Venture runs adventure weekends year-round where you can do all those things and more from an adventure centre just a mile’s walk from the beach.
FROM TOP: Give your calf muscles something to think about on a backwoods bike tour of the remote and stunning Cairngorms; forget Queenstown – Wales offers all the adventure sports an adventurer could possibly require
From £215 per person for two nights, including food, equipment and two half-days’ guided activities; preseliventure.co.uk
Put the ‘mountain’ back in mountain biking
Let’s face it, most of the mountain biking any of us get to do in the UK – let alone London – doesn’t involve much of the ‘mountain’ part of the equation. In the Cairngorms it’s a different story – the UK’s highest and most massive range of mountains is a playground for those on two fat wheels. Wilderness Scotland’s four-night, five-day trip takes riders from west to east in the UK’s largest national park at a pace even newbies to mountain biking will be able to hack. Riders looking for a hardcore challenge should check out the Coast to Coast trip, which crosses the Highlands over mountain and through forest. Riding the Cairngorm Trail with Wilderness Scotland from £695, including B&B, some meals and snacks, entry fees, vehicle support and luggage transport; wildernessscotland.com
Started in 1995 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and kicking off every two years in London, Clipper’s 2015-16 race will host a record 14 boats and 780 crew. The race has trained more than 3,000 crew in its 19-year history.
Sail the world
Does a 60,000km sailing race around the world qualify as a fitness break? Well, given crew members will have to give up a large chunk of their year (around 11 months for all eight legs and up to 53 days for individual legs) and can burn 5,000 calories a day, the Clipper Round The World race could be the ultimate active trip – if you’ve got the nerve and savings. The tenth-anniversary race sets off from London in August 2015 and is set to attract applicants from all walks of life in search of a huge test for body and mind. e
The race costs £45,200 for the whole roundthe-world experience, with legs costing around £5,000 each. clipperroundtheworld.com
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After pushing herself through St Luciaâ€™s first ever triathlon, Lucy Fry takes the chance to enjoy the more relaxed side of life on the island
Photograph by ###
TWIN PEAKS: Spectacular views of the Pitons can be enjoyed from the hills around Soufrière; (BELOW) Lucy Fry finishes
t’s not every day you find yourself soaking wet, sporting some impressive goggle marks and powering up a series of hills in the Caribbean on a bike you borrowed from a local property magnate’s daughter the day before. But that’s the scene on a Saturday morning in November as I complete the first ever St Lucia triathlon (tristlucia.com). Thankfully, I’ve had a few days to acclimatise – swimming, sunbathing and eating at the nearby all-inclusive St James’s Club in Morgan Bay – but still, the humidity makes it harder than normal to breathe and the possibility of a torrential seasonal rain shower looms large in my mind. (When it comes to it, the weather holds out hotly for us, saving the rains for that afternoon.) We dive into the sea around eight in the morning, with a refreshing breeze blowing off the coast and rippling across the numbers stuck onto our swimcaps. By 9am, it’s 30 degrees and I’m on the bike; so hilly is the cycle ride, in fact, that the usual sprint and Olympic distances (20km and 40km)
WE DIVE INTO THE SEA AROUND EIGHT IN THE MORNING, A REFRESHING BREEZE BLOWING
Pigeon Island Beach
SWIM CYCLE RUN
IN THE SWIM It’s not just St Lucia that’s offering holiday opportunities with a distinctly active twist…
Photograph (above) by St Lucia Tourist Board
have been cut by about a third (to 13km and 26km), though secretly I suspect this may have something to do with the organisers’ fears of potential accidents. This might be the only asphalt road on the island, but there are still potholes, mini-trenches and speed bumps, not to mention local drivers for whom the sight of a cyclist has, until now, been about as rare as the sight of snow. So I’m relieved to step off the bike and start to run, though my legs feel leaden and I’m as thirsty as hell. But it’s hard to feel dispirited with this view: surfers catch Atlantic waves as I weave back from Pigeon Island along a beautiful avenue of palms, and local supporters shimmy and strut their stuff while traditional music blares from every parked car. London-born Daley I’m even grinning Thompson won as I cross the finish decathlon gold at line, not least both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, and because double broke the world GB Olympic gold record four times. medal winner He has also played professional football. Daley Thompson
(the triathlon race ambassador), throws a medal around my neck. I’m not the first over the line by any means, nor is this the toughest of tropical triathlons by a long way – the infamous ‘Kona’ Ironman in Hawaii should surely take that title, having taunted endurance junkies annually since the 1970s – but this is, nevertheless, a special moment. As my first triathlon comes to a close, the real holiday beckons. I start off with a deep tissue massage and lunch at The Body Holiday hotel, where holistic wellbeing is as much the order of the day as organic, locally-sourced food. After returning to this week’s triathlon hub, The Landings, for the post-race party, I’m whisked off down south towards the colourful fishing village of Soufrière. Only a 90-minute drive from the relatively modernised north, I find myself standing amid the lush green of the forest, where it rains so much that the sun doesn’t even bother to go in (‘liquid sunshine’ is what the locals call the bright, wet combination of weather) and vivid rainbows appear on an almost daily basis.
Olympic gold-medallist freestyle swimmer Becky Adlington and her fiancé, butterfly sprint swimmer Harry Needs, will be offering two hours of coaching per day to guests of the Palm Island resort, in the Grenadines, between 4 May and 7 May. Virgin Holidays is offering a ‘Swim Palm Island with Becky Adlington’ package, which incorporates a free swimming workshop with the Olympian, from £1,899pp. The package includes seven nights at Palm Island, with scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Barbados and onward transfers and accommodation at the resort, on an all-inclusive basis. To book, visit virginholidays. co.uk and for more details, see palmislandresortgrenadines.com
And what better place to refuel, posttriathlon, than in the thick of the forest at Hotel Chocolat? Boucan, the restaurant at this boutique hotel, is set among the cocoa groves of the island. If you don’t know that when you arrive, you’ll find out soon enough as every dish involves chocolate made on
BAYWATCH: Marigot Bay, on the western coast, was once the scene of battles between the French and British navies
WHERE TO STAY IN ST LUCIA St James’s Club in Morgan Bay (morganbayresort.com) is an allinclusive and fun family resort which is a 20-minute drive from Gros Islet and Pigeon Island. Cap Maison, a luxury boutique hotel located at the island’s north-western tip (capmaison.com), has been the site of many marriage proposals (hence a pulley system that sends champagne down to couples on the private seaside deck), and plenty of happy diners enjoy its fine food with a French-Caribbean twist. The Body Holiday (thebody holiday.com) promises its guests: ‘Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.’ It offers fitness classes, treatments and delicious nutritious meals from dawn to dusk – but there’s plenty of scope for you to drink, party and lounge here too. Hotel Chocolat (hotelchocolat.com) is surrounded by forest above the south-western fishing village of Soufrière, and within the cocoa groves of St Lucia’s oldest plantation, Rabot Estate. It’s calm, indulgent and undeniably beautiful. Its menu is rich in dishes featuring chocolate manufactured on the premises, including steak with a red wine and chocolate sauce. Jade Mountain (jademountain.com) offers luxury of the wackiest and most wonderful sort, with this south-western clifftop hideaway boasting living areas that look straight out onto the sky. Social animals (or those who are on less of an unlimited budget) might try the beachside sister hotel, Anse Chastanet (ansechastanet.com), which is just down the hill.
THE BREATHTAKING VIEW OF ST LUCIA’S FAMOUS PITONS IS ENOUGH TO OPEN THE TIREDEST EYES me back here, the liquid sunshine and the St Lucia Triathlon certainly will. e The St Lucia Triathlon will return on 22 November. For more details, see tristlucia.com. British Airways offers seven nights at the St James’s Club Morgan Bay in St Lucia from £999 per person, based on two sharing, for selected dates in June, including return flights from Gatwick and all inclusive accommodation. ba.com/stjamessclubmorganbay
Photograph by St Lucia Tourist Board
the premises: home-made bread dipped in dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, or rib-eye steak with red wine and chocolate sauce. By dessert, even this chocoholic has reached saturation point – I head to my wooden cabin and let the forest’s birds and insects
chirp and croak me to sleep. Despite my tri-tired limbs and the earplugs provided, I don’t get much sleep – unsurprising, perhaps, given nature’s lively sound effects and the amount of caffeinated dark chocolate consumed. But the breathtaking view of St Lucia’s famous Pitons is enough to open even the sleepiest of eyes; two different-sized mountains, two miles apart, so unspoilt and perfect as to seem superimposed against the backdrop of a bright blue morning sky. “Nothing in the world could beat this view,” I think as I enjoy a coffee and a tub of complimentary dark chocolate flakes from the mini-bar. But I’m wrong – because later that day I head to the Jade Mountain hotel, where bedrooms are ‘sanctuaries’ with jacuzzis, infinity pools and no fourth wall, just an open-air view of the Pitons from your four-poster bed. Every guest is assigned a butler and a little mobile phone on which to call them should they need food or drink, information of any sort, a ride to the beach or (in my case, having lost my way among the granite walkways of owner Nick Troubetzkoy’s multi-level design) escorting to dinner. Heading home – back to work, freezing temperatures and The Pitons, two doing my own volcanic spires that washing – is going rise side by side from to be difficult, no the sea, linked by the Piton Mitan ridge, doubt. But if the are a UNESCO World chocolate balsamic Heritage Site – and St vinegar and the Lucia’s most famous landmark. butler don’t bring
Salvador’s spicy, Africaninfluenced street food is unlike that found anywhere else in Brazil. Estella Shardlow samples the tastes, sights and sounds of a Tuesday night street party – and meets a larger-than-life character ABOVE: An acrobatic display of capoeira, a Brazilian martial art and dance, takes place in Salvador’s Campo Grande neighbourhood
S ST LIF
SA L V TR AD E FE. ET OR Photograph by ### Photograph by EDUARDO MARTINS/AP/Press Association Images
BAHIAN STREET FOOD GLOSSARY
ABOVE: A riot of colour awaits visitors to Pelourinho – the old Portuguese colonial city centre – where homes and shops are painted in a dazzling array of shades; while (BELOW) two women wearing traditional dress dispense an array of fresh fruit and drinks
oil, is thick in the air. Bahian girls arrive squeezed into too-tight denim shorts and diamante-encrusted tube tops. The boys look like flocks of parrots in their garishly coloured fake Ralph Lauren polo shirts. It may look like Old Havana but it sounds like Africa, the beat of djembe drums threatening to drown out the MC on the stage. The food is another legacy of this region’s close ties with Africa. As the colonial capital of Brazil, Salvador was the first port of call for the hundreds of thousands of slaves shipped across the Atlantic from the 16th to 19th centuries, the reason why its spicy street food is unlike that found elsewhere in the country. This boded well: frankly, the food I’d experienced in Brazil hadn’t been worth writing home about. It had consisted of a lot of papaya, bread with any flavour or nutritional value bleached out of it, and gluey balls of cheesefilled bread known as pão de queijo. The difference can be experienced in Bahia’s signature dish, acarajé, which has its origins in Akara, Nigeria. Balls of mashed black-eyed beans sizzle away in vats of dendê on every other stall in the square. Once crisp and golden, the orbs are sliced in half and crammed with vatapá (a creamy paste of shell-on shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and more palm oil) or caruru (very similar, but with the addition of okra), and topped with hot pepper sauce and toasted cashews. They’re served
wrapped simply in squares of paper. The results are hit and miss – I visit a variety of sellers through the evening, and while some of their wares are stodgy and bland, with good ones the balls are soufflélight and offset perfectly by the brininess and crunch of the shrimps. Apparently, the secret to achieving this is to use very fresh oil and fry them as quickly as possible. Many of these stalls also offer abará. Again these are made from mashed beans, but rather than being fried they are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, similar to Mexican tamales, which means they are chewier, less crisp and less tasty.
Photograph (above) by Christopher Booth/Alamy, (right) by Bahiatursa
uesday night is carnival night in Salvador. The fondantcoloured colonial buildings of Pelourinho, the city’s historic pedestrianised quarter, are festooned with fairy lights, and the metal skeleton of a stage rises in Terreiro de Jesus square. Groups of women in traditional dress – wide crinolined skirts and white headscarves – appear, carrying tarpaulins, tables and cans of cooking oil and erecting their food and drink stalls with well-practised efficiency as darkness falls. It’s a warm, breezeless evening and the smell of bubbling dendê, a type of palm
ACARAJÉ: Fritters made from mashed black-eyed beans, cooked in dendê (palm oil) before being sliced open and filled with vatapá. VATAPÁ: Creamy paste of shrimp, coconut milk, bread, finely-ground peanuts and palm oil. ABARÁ: Mashed black-eyed bean balls that are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. FEIJOADA: A hearty stew of black bean and mixed smoked and fresh meats, which is usually served with boiled rice. MOQUECA BAIANA: Saltwater fish slow-cooked in a clay pot with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coriander, palm oil and ground manioc flour. QUEIJO COALHO: Strips of salty, chewy cheese spiked on kebab sticks and grilled over coals.
Bahians certainly take their food seriously, and acarajé and abará are imbued with a religious significance. In the region’s polytheistic Candomblé faith, they are given as an offering to the Orixás gods and goddesses, with only women in the religion permitted to make them – a rule that has led to tension with other businesses trying to cash in on the dishes’ popularity. And even as you wolf these down while sitting on one of the red plastic chairs filling the spaces between the stalls, more food finds its way to you. Young girls weave between the tables carrying little handheld grills. “Queijo coalho!” they call, struggling to make themselves heard above the drums.I wave one girl over and she squats beside my chair and places sticks of white cheese over the glowing coals. She turns each one until it is bubbling and charcoaled on all sides, then sprinkles dried rosemary over the top. The result is salty, chewy and squeaky, like a Brazilian take on halloumi. For every acarajé stand, there’s also one selling caipirinhas, laden with plastic tubs
IT’S A WARM, BREEZELESS EVENING AND THE SMELL OF BUBBLING DENDÊ, A TYPE OF PALM OIL, IS IN THE AIR
of limes, ice cubes and sugar. The citrus sweetness is the perfect foil to the hot, salty street food, but they make them strong here compared to the versions you’ll find in London cocktail bars, so ask them to go easy on the cachaça. Then, just as I was draining my second glass of caipirinha, Anderson happened. He’s got nothing to do with Brazilian food or cooking, but it would seem wrong to
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WHERE TO STAY IN SALVADOR: CASA DO AMARELINDO
write about that night and leave its main character out of the story. Anderson is the sort of person you only meet when travelling, probably because that’s the only time you are so amenable to strangers. If someone like him struck
head out of one of the windows above it and starts yelling in Portuguese. Anderson barks back what I can only assume is a string of expletives. “That’s Anderson’s wife,” one of his friends whispers to me. “Why is she so old and so... angry?” I’m told she’s a relative of Mussolini and paid Anderson $20,000 for a sham marriage to get a Brazilian visa and escape Italy. Now they hate each other. His other friend sidles over. “Anderson’s mother is very angry.” Hold on, I protest – she can’t be his wife and his mother. I suggest that they mean she’s like a mother to him. They frown at me and insist it is true. Several minutes of confusion ensue, but I don’t manage to get to the bottom of it. I just hope it was a case of lost in translation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson goes to the street party every Tuesday night to recruit tourists to his personal soap opera. Just make sure you stock up on your caipirinhas and queijo coalho first – once The Anderson Show begins, you’re in for a long, but entertaining, evening. e
Photograph (above) by Bahiatursa
I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED IF HE GOES TO THE PARTY EVERY WEEK TO RECRUIT TOURISTS TO HIS OWN SOAP OPERA
up a conversation with me on the tube, I’d be leaping off at the next stop. But I am in Brazil, so I have the patience and good humour to observe his antics. First, he initiates conversation by ostensibly ‘saving’ us from a souvenir seller, launching himself at a poor guy clutching carved wooden toucans despite the fact he’d already been backing off when we had said we didn’t wanted to buy. “Trust me, I’m a tour guide,” Anderson beams at us by way of introduction. This is one of the least reassuring things I’ve ever heard. Without invitation, Anderson and his friends (a couple who admittedly seem quite normal and embarrassed by him) pull their stools over to our table. Within the space of five minutes, he’s denounced westerners for branding South Americans drug dealers, but also tries to offer us cocaine. He tells us that the whole district was built by Illuminati, something he knows because his tourist groups are all members (they’re the best tippers, apparently). Our hotel receptionist had told not us to bring any valuables to the street party – no smartphones or credit cards, just cash to buy drinks. But Anderson has a shiny new Samsung tablet sticking out of the back pocket of his jeans (whenever he isn’t flicking through photos to show us his various girlfriends, that is). When we ask if this is wise, he declares: “No one would dare steal from me. I’m the big fish here.” He ushers us round the corner to see his shop, but a silver-haired woman sticks her
A stay at Casa Do Amarelindo, a few metres from bustling Terreiro de Jesus, puts you in the heart of the historic quarter and the street party action. Not that you’d know it – soundproofed French windows ensure the 10 guest rooms are peaceful. With its terracotta floor, tropical courtyard and lashings of Brazilian hardwood, this Frenchowned boutique hotel retains the look and feel of a colonial mansion. An alfresco rooftop bar and swimming pool are ideal for watching Bahia’s glorious sunsets, caipirinha in hand, but huge breakfasts may make you wish you hadn’t scoffed quite so much street food the night before... Casa Do Amarelindo, Rua das Portas do Carmo 6, Salvador, Brazil, +5571 3266 8550, casadoamarelindo.com
Photograph by Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon
& ONIC Hot springs, geothermal pools and jaw-dropping scenery prove a good way to recover from Reykjavik’s Friday night pub crawl, as Cathy Adams discovers…
Photograph by ###
ABOVE: The Blue Lagoon, the most famous geothermal pool in Iceland, really does live up to its name and is turquoise in colour
NEED TO KNOW
THE RUNTUR IS A REAL REYKJAVIK INSTITUTION. EVERY WEEK, RESIDENTS DASH TO THE BAR TO SEE IN THE WEEKEND
The boutique, design-focused Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina overlooks the port, a coldly beautiful inlet filled with cargo ships. Ask for a room with a view so you can watch the sun slide over the hills in the morning. Rooms have toiletries sourced from volcanic mud, which will do your skin a world of good after a night on the runtur. A three-night stay at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina costs from £192 per person, based on two sharing a double room, including breakfast. Visit icelandairhotels.com Return flights with Icelandair from Heathrow to Reykjavik cost from £239, based on travel in March.
Photograph (above) by RGB Ventures LLC dba SuperStock/Alamy
he fire’s lit, pints of Gull are being poured and the sun is still shining pinkly over the marina – it’s happy hour at Reykjavik haunt Slippbarinn. I’m not here only for the cocktails (although they’re excellent – the bar knocks up concoctions with names like Screaming Orgasm, Holy Shit and Lucifer), but also to begin the traditional Friday night runtur – a wild pub crawl through the tiny Icelandic capital. It’s only 5.30pm, but the atmosphere is already bubbling with the anticipation of getting, er, inebriated. Slippbarinn, housed in Reykjavik’s boutique Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, has become something of a hotspot on the runtur, which means ‘round tour’ and is a real Reykjavik institution. Every week, residents dash to the nearest bar to see in the weekend. The Prohibition laws reason? It gets dark came into effect in early and there’s Iceland in 1915 and not much else to lasted, in different forms, until 1989, do, apparently. The with the runtur runtur starts at a product of the Slippbarinn with country’s renewed drinking culture. cocktails, the
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RIFF Held every autumn, the Reykjavik International Film Festival is one of the quirkiest in Europe – rather than the usual screenings in city venues, RIFF organises them in more unusual locations. Films are shown in caves outside the capital (bring beer and blankets), and there’s even a ‘swim-in’ cinema in the huge Laugardalslaug indoor pool. It puts Iceland’s film industry in the spotlight, while its national focus this year looks at Greek film. Our tip: sneak into the wrap party at the Gamla Bio theatre to meet the silver screen glitterati. en.riff.is
barman tells us, before heading into the city centre’s cobbled streets for a proper Scandinavian end-of-the-week lash-up. We’re game – but first we need to eat, so we move from the marina to stylish restaurant VOX, in the Reykjavik Hilton Nordica, to line our stomachs. There’s a long night ahead, as most bars and clubs stay open until dawn – which can mean mid-morning in the winter months. Alongside the restaurant there’s a glass eighth-floor bar, which is a good place to enjoy a sundowner while looking out at the sunset over the city. The Icelandic delicacies of smoked puffin (very gamey) and reindeer (so tender it almost slides off my fork every time I try to skewer a piece) are top of VOX’s tasting menu. The steaming platefuls of food also come with wine, beer and cider matching, so by the time we’ve Smoked puffin – sampled 11 courses the bird was an we’ve also had as Icelandic culinary many drinks to match staple in bygone centuries – is often – a good start to the served with a legendary pub crawl. blueberry sauce. By 11pm, we’ve The dish can also be served salted. drunkenly hailed a
Discover Iceland Iceland Full Circle Fly-Drive
The water in the taxi outside VOX and Blue Lagoon is rich barked at the driver in a wide variety to “take us to the best of minerals, salts, blue-green algae bar in town”. The and silica. These runtur is just getting elements are going in the centre believed to possess of Reykjavik’s large therapeutic powers. village. Main street Bankastræti, and the alleys off it – home to trendy all-day, all-night joints Solon and B5 – are a good starting point, as is the old town square: expect to see locals mumbling and stumbling from one bar to the next. While beer is high on the Icelander’s weekend to-do list, so is bathing. Taking a dip is as ingrained in the 322,000 inhabitants as taking a sip of that first Friday night pint – and, with myriad natural geothermal ‘hot pots’, it’s the best way to see off a hangover. The Blue Lagoon (bluelagoon.com), on the outskirts of the city, is the most famous Icelandic geothermal pool and, true to its name, is beautifully aqua in colour. We splash in on a blue, sunny morning, and the steam rising off the milky water means we can’t see more than 10 metres in front of us. Typically, the water temperature hovers
BOOK NOW FOR SUMMER 2014
Discover Iceland’s stunning natural beauty on a two week ﬂydrive. Travel full-circle and encounter the incredible waterfalls and geysers of South Iceland before driving the spectacular east coast where narrow fjords carved by Ice Age glaciers create clam natural harbours. Cross the Mörðudalsöræﬁ highland pass en route to the volcanic Lake Mývatn region and continue to Húsavík - Iceland’s whale watching capital. Speak to a Regent Iceland Specialist about tailor-made Iceland holidays.
NORTHERN LIGHTS | REYKJAVIK CITY BREAKS | FLY-DRIVES | GROUP TOURS | TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAYS To speak to a Regent Holidays Iceland Specialist call
020 7666 1290
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THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
FEELING BLUE : The geyser regularly hurls columns of boiling water 70 metres into the air. It’s been active for around 10,000 years
Photographs by Visit South Iceland
EXPECT TO SEE SUMMER DAY-TRIPPERS PARK UP AND SUN THEIR MILKY SKIN, HOPPING INTO THE HOT POT TO WARM UP
around 40 degrees and, for those not totally obliterated by the runtur, the Lagoon bar opens in the late morning. It’s definitely worth a visit, but savvy Reykjavik bathers know of better geothermal pools elsewhere. Laugarvatn Fontana (fontana.is) is a series of pools and steam rooms overlooking the hills, while Nautholsvik geothermal beach, in Reykjavik itself, is a man-made strip of white sand with a shallow geothermal pool. Expect to see plenty of weekend summer day-trippers park up and sun their milky skin, hopping into the hot pot to warm themselves up. Although we could keep up with Reykjavik when it came to bathing, our attempt at the Friday night runtur wasn’t so successful and ended, asleep, on the bar of Damon Albarn’s Kaffibarinn, off Laugavegur, after one too many glasses of schnapps. Iceland might share Nautholsvik’s its name with a geothermal beach frozen food chain, was opened in the but Reykjavikois summer of 2000. Sand was imported know there’s more to for its creation, the weekend than a while large sea walls prawn ring and a Sara were constructed to form a lagoon. Lee meringue. e
There’s only so much to keep you in Reykjavik for a few days. Iceland is far better known for its stunning scenery, and a Golden Circle tour is the best way to see it. It takes in Geysir, where the Strokkur geyser shoots up a column of boiling water every six minutes; Thingvellir National Park, which features both Iceland’s biggest lake and the border between the North American and European tectonic plates; and the powerful Gullfoss waterfall, created by the river Hvítá. On top of all that, you’ll pass by Iceland’s unique lava fields and get a peek at Europe’s biggest glacier, glimmering in the distance. There’s an option to add on a trip to the Blue Lagoon too. A Golden Circle tour costs around £50 – visit re.is for details.
LUXURY DESIGN HOTEL
ANTON & BERGUR
LOCATED IN CENTRAL REYKJAVIK
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Relax by the beachside pool at Occidental Allegro Playacar; enjoy a drink in the rustic lobby; spend your days by the white sand and turquoise blue waters of Mexicoâ€™s Caribbean coast
Holiday of the Month In Association with British Airways
Grab a slice of Mexican charm for just £849 with a beach break at Playa del Carmen’s Occidental Allegro Playacar
his year, holidaymakers in the know are flocking to magnificent Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Yucatán Pensinsula – and who can blame them when there are fabulous all-inclusive packages to enjoy? British Airways has partnered with popular Playa del Carmen resort Occidental Allegro Playacar – one of the most desired on the exclusive Playacar development – to offer sun-
The Deal All inclusive seven-night packages at Occidental Allegro Playacar start from £849pp. Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Price based on two adults sharing a superior room on an all inclusive basis and include return British Airways World Traveller flights. Prices valid for selected travel between 1 September and 31 October 2014. Book by 6 March. ba.com/occidentalallegro
seekers a chance to enjoy this lively, beautiful stretch of Mexican coastline. With seven nights all inclusive for £849 per person, what’s stopping you jetting off into the sun? Located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, on the beautiful Mayan Riviera, the charming four-star Occidental Allegro Playacar boasts direct access to the famous beach. It offers the ease of an all inclusive hotel with the unique charm of a boutique Mexican hideaway. Ideal for families and small groups, the hotel offers great value for money but still boasts all the facilities you’d expect: a full range of water sports, a Kids Club, daily entertainment around the stunning pools, and Polynesian-style villas complete with hammocks. And if a location on a stunning strip of Mexican beach weren’t enough, the hotel is a short walking distance from Playa del Carmen’s buzzing shops, bars and restaurants, including its star attraction: the pedestrianised 5th Avenue strip, which comes alive at night with Mexican musicians and dance parties. With this outstanding deal from Occidental Allegro Playacar and British Airways, your dreams of far-flung tropical paradise could be tantalisingly close to reality.
New culinary holidays – with the experts MasterChef Travel is an inspiring new collection of culinary holidays, revealing the wonders of the world’s great food destinations in the company of experts and like-minded travellers. Including time with local culinary experts who share their passion for cooking and who pass on an authentic understanding of regional cuisine, there is also plenty of time for exploring many of the countries’ most captivating sights. A number of tours feature MasterChef personalities, with trips in 2014 accompanied by former MasterChef contestants.
Tours accompanied by former MasterChef contestants in 2014 Andrew ‘Koj’ Kojima - Thailand Ash Mair - Spain Dhruv Baker - India & Mexico James Nathan - Vietnam Keri Moss - Turkey & Morocco Larkin Cen - China Sara Danesin Medio - Italy
The inaugural MasterChef Travel tour, departing on 25th March 2014, visits Marrakech in Morocco. Featuring MasterChef: The Professionals 2012 joint Winner Keri Moss, the 5-day trip is priced from only £1,395 per person. For full details visit mastercheftravel.com or call 020 7873 5005 quoting reference ESCM .
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A passion for food, a taste for discovery
WELCOME TO foodism A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE
78 LOCAL COOKING IN HOI AN, VIETNAM 86 EAT THE WORLD 89 KITCHEN NINJA 90 WEAPONS OF CHOICE
LOCAL FLAVOUR Hoi An may be small â€“ but this ancient Vietnamese trading port punches well above its weight on the culinary front. Victoria Stewart tries her hand at rustling up local delicacies
Hoi An fishermen still use these light and agile basket boats
The n贸n l谩, or leaf hat, is a genuine Vietnamese icon
Photograph by Stoksy: Gary Radler
At sunset, big fishing nets are lowered into the Thu Bon river
WHITE SAILS CAFE 134 Tran Cao Van Usefully situated just off one of the main drags, White Sails slightly lacks atmosphere during the day – but its staff are friendly and the delicate fried wontons come crispy and topped with piles of fresh roasted vegetables that work as a substantial snack or a prelude to a main course. Need wifi? Sit outside in the afternoon and watch the street food traders set up opposite.
The fish market sells fresh catches straight from the river
BALE WELL 51 Tran Hung Dao
MERMAID 2 Tran Phu Come to the first restaurant from the unstoppable Ms Vy for the impeccable pork-stuffed squid. One portion of this – thick, chewy and filled to bursting point with rich ground pork and its own sauce – is plenty for two to share. Bike over for an early lunch (it gets crowded) and order this with rice and a plate of local veg sautéed in garlic.
One of the Vietnamese country food staples is the banh xeo (pronounced zeo) pancake – mostly eaten wrapped in a lettuce leaf with salad. It looks a bit like an egg omelette but is actually made with coconut milk, tamarind – lending it its distinct yellow colour – mung bean flour, chilli oil, a tiny piece of pork and a few prawns and stuffed with bean sprouts. Come here for the set menu, all-you-can-eatpancakes, served with barbecued satay pork loin, lettuce and veg, for around 90,000110,000 VND.
Photographs (left) by Glen Allison/Getty and (White Sails and woman at market, right) Victoria Stewart
AM standing in a local market smelling fresh ginger, turmeric and lemongrass. Six of us crush herbs between our fingers, sniff bags of fivespice and wince at the sweet-sourness of a tiny mandarin. Next, we wander into a nearby restaurant to watch a chef pulling noodles through a machine, taste unusually flavoured mustard leaf pickles and crunch just-toasted sesame seeds. Now it is time to put everything we’ve seen into practice – for I am in Vietnam, about to take part in a local cooking class. Perched on the edge of a river, and a brief bike pedal from two sandy beaches, is a little town called Hoi An. Situated near Danang, one of the country’s most important cities, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that last month celebrated its 1.6 millionth tourist visiting. But it is not just the guidebook brigade who come to tick it off their list;
Hoi An’s charm attracts everyone from explorers and partygoing backpackers to the most luxurious of tour groups. Some spend time wandering around the quiet old town (motorcycles are banned during the day) visiting textile museums, pagodas or the beautiful Japanese bridge (a $6 coupon grants access to five sights). Some order a custom-fit shirt from one of many outfitters, while others bike into the countryside or take boat trips down the river. Moreover, the town is a food hotspot with Chinese, Indonesian and Arabian influences, and the impressive range of restaurants, street snacks and cooking classes ensures that tourists never go hungry. “Hoi An people never stop eating,” says Caroline Mills, a writer and expat. “Freshness and flavours are king here, and for that you eat at the source – imported goods are shunned in favour of herbs and vegetables picked daily >> at dawn in Tra Que. It is
>> FLAVOURS ARE KING – PEOPLE NEVER STOP EATING
ABTA No.88888 ABTA No. Y544X
SRI LANKA MALDIVES THAILAND VIETNAM CAMBODIA LAOS BURMA INDONESIA BORNEO
The fish arrives fresh each day and is sold at the market
GREEN BAMBOO COOKERY CLASS greenbamboo-hoian.com
>> seasonal, organically-farmed produce, free-range meat and fish that has been plucked straight from the ocean.” Special regional dishes include cau lau – a hearty, pork-topped rice noodle treat made using water from a particular well and
Photographs by (top) Gary Radler/Stocksy and (food) Victoria Stewart
>> CAU LAU IS A PORKTOPPED RICE NOODLE TREAT
served with vegetables – and rose-shaped, shrimpfilled white rose dumplings. Along with these, there is a miscellany of grilled fish and meat, papaya, green mango or banana leaf salads, banh mi (the nationwide word for a baguette-like sandwich filled with pate and pork), and sweet street treats including candied coconut, and exotic fruits. Meanwhile in the kitchen, our teacher Lulu stands at the front under a mirror, carefully describing how to cook our first dish, shrimp and cabbage dumplings in vegetable soup.This class, the brainchild of an astute local restaurant owner called Ms Vy who was keen to share her collection of food memories, was previously held at the back of her Morning Glory restaurant. Last year, she opened a huge premises called The Market Restaurant and Cooking School, where 30-strong groups are split into four-person >>
If you have the time and want to make your own beef pho, curries, stir fries, or the Hoi An speciality cau lau, schedule in half a day for this excellent cooking course. Everyone picks a dish by email, all ten of you shop around together for your ingredients in the market, and then you head to the owner’s home to learn how to make and taste all the dishes. It is personal, exceptional value for money, and Van is a brilliant teacher. No previous cooking skills required. $40 per course, 8am-3pm.
WHITE ROSE DUMPLINGS SHOP 533 Nha Ba Trung The local dish is ubiquitous, and if you don’t mind not sitting in a tourist-friendly spot to try white rose dumplings, come to this family-run stopoff to taste them at a place that supplies many of the restaurants. Expect small, chewy shrimp-filled dumplings and little else. It’s basic, but it's fun – oh, and they are made to a secret recipe.
CHE HA inside the Hoi An Market (Cho Hoi An) building
>> cooking stations, each with a teacher to guide pupils at their own speeds. As instructed, I drop two quenelle spoons of shrimp mousse into boiling water. After the fish turns pink, I wrap each one inside a thin cabbage leaf and tie it with spring onion before dropping them back into the same water, to which I have just added carrots, spring onions, peanut oil, salt and pepper, sugar, coriander and fish sauce. A few minutes later, I try mine: it is delicious, peppery and wholesome. Next up is a chicken skewer, for which we must combine orange sugar with black pepper, garlic, fish sauce and spring onion to make a marinade, then crispy pancakes – banh xeo – and a crunchy, fragrant salad. By 2pm I am stuffed, with recipe cards in one hand and the satisfied smile of someone who has learned a lot. e
Set in the heart of the market, this lady is the only person in the area to serve this Chinese-influenced dish, a tiny bowl of sticky rice dumplings filled with pork (che troi nuoc). You may struggle to find this miniature stall without an expert to guide you – but if you do track it down, try the dish for breakfast or at the end of lunch as a snack. One portion (10,000 VND) is usually four big dumplings and small plain ones.
BUN THIT NUONG STALL opposite White Sails Cafe Tran Cao Van This tiny street food project, popular with locals, gets going from 5pm. Mum runs the fruit juice stall on the left-hand side, while her teenage daughter will serve you a scowl along with a bowl of bun thit nuong – white bun noodles, slices of juicy marinated pork, lettuce and peanuts - for around 40,000 VND. Sit down, add in your sweet chilli sauce, garlic, lime or extra chillies and mix it all up.
Morning Glory cooking classes run daily; $30pp (beginners welcome); restaurant-hoian.com
Photographs by Kevin Miller/iStock and (Bun Thit Nuong) Victoria Stewart
THE LITTLE MENU 12 Le Loi Small and homely, with brick walls and deep orange lighting, this charming place has attentive staff and a pleasingly short menu, with specials chalked onto a blackboard next to a series of local paintings. The fixed couples' menu is popular, and simple noodle stir fries are fresh and flavoursome. If you’re lucky, the chef will come out later to chat.
1 2 EAT THE WORLD
3 HAPPY HOUR Bring the bar into your home with four cocktails for sophisticates. Or, if you’re lazy, get the pros to mix them for you…
Wherever you go, there’s always a char pit to get smoky flavours back in your nostrils and hair
1. PI T T C UE CO
This Soho diner started life as a humble trailer, serving up slow-cooked pork and tasty bourbon cocktails. pittcue.co.uk
2. R OPE R’S R IB S St Louis, Missouri, USA
Roper’s Ribs is internationally renowned for its baby back ribs – but its pulled-pork and beef brisket are also hugely popular with diners. ropersribs.com
3.B I G B OY B B Q Melbourne, Australia
The locals took to this Melbourne BBQ restaurant pretty quickly – especially its astronomically-sized platters of pulled pork, ribs, lamb shoulder and beef brisket. bigboybbq.com.au
▼ Casa Rita Margarita, Cantina Laredo
▼ The Avalanche, Bar Blue
• • • •
• • • • • •
100ml tequila 40ml Cointreau 85ml lime juice simple syrup
Add the tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake to ensure thoroughly mixed. Strain and serve immediately over fresh ice. Garnish with lime. cantinalaredo.co.uk
45ml Whitley Neill gin 5ml absinthe blanche half a pink grapefruit 1 dash Abbott’s Bitters 20ml lemon juice 15ml sugar, egg white, ginger
Shake all ingredients over ice and pour into a Catalina glass. Garnish with pink grapefruit zest and ginger. barbluevinopolis.com
1 2 EAT THE WORLD
1. GAT H ER
Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA Set in this contemporary art gallery, Gather invites a different chef each month to cook up US classics with a modern twist. gatherbydamico.com
EAT AND LEARN Obligatory museum cafe? Pass. Try a gourmet eatery as close as you can get to the action
2. G REAT C O URT
British Museum, London, UK Underneath the vast roof of the museum’s famous Great Court, it’s an epic eating experience that somehow also manages to be airy and casual. britishmuseum.org
Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain Nerua, led by Michelin-starred chef Josean Alija, is a small but hugely renowned lunch spot where the food is just as art-inspired as the museum. nerua.com
▼ Chivas Tribute, The Ritz
▼ Momoshu and Ichi… Go!, Shoryu
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• • • •
45ml Chivas 12 15ml tawny port, 10 years old 15ml Domaine de Canton 15ml honey 2 drops orange bitters orange rind, twisted, to garnish
Begin with a large glass half-filled with large ice cubes. Add all the ingredients and stir, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the orange rind. theritzlondon.com
30ml vodka Kirei Momoshu peach wine 15ml strawberry liqueur dash of lime juice, yuzu peel
Combine all ingredients (except the lime) together with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake, and add lime juice to a chilled martini glass before pouring in the contents. Garnish with yuzu peel. shoryuramen.com
Do your culinary skills need sharpening up? We call on London’s experts for a helping hand…
1. BE A MASTER OF THE LIME Martin Morales, founder of Ceviche Bad news: chances are, you’ve been squeezing limes incorrectly your whole life. But fear not, top lime-tamer Martin Morales can show you the way. “Roll the lime with the palm of your hand and press down to release the juice. Slice it, and squeeze only threequarters of the lime – any more and the pith will make the juice taste bitter.” cevicheuk.com
3. MAKE SALSA LIKE THE MEXICANS Felipe Fuentes Cruz, executive chef of Benito’s Hat in Farringdon
2. STEAK YOUR CLAIM John Woodward, executive chef at carnivore’s paradise Stripbar & Steak
Photograph (Ceviche) by Paul Winch-Furness
No one holds the humble steak in higher esteem than us, and we have a powerful ally in beef guru Woodward. Here, he explains how to cook his favourite cut. “Pan roasting is my preferred way to cook New York strip steaks. Get a heavy-based pan very hot, season the steak on both sides, then place a small amount of oil in the pan and add the meat. Leave for three minutes, then turn and seal the other side for the same amount of time. Add a large knob of butter, and when it foams, spoon it over the steak, turning it every 30 seconds for three minutes so it cooks evenly. If the butter burns, add more. Take the steak out and rest for as long as it took to cook.” stripbarsteak.com
The New York strip comes from the short loin behind the ribs
Here are three top tips from a master of the art to help you make authentictasting salsa at home. If you don’t have a molcajete, use a pestle and mortar or any stone bowl, but it’s fundamentally important to use something heavy, like stone, to mash the salsa with. 1. “Roasting ingredients for your salsa is a great way to ensure that there is depth to the flavour, no matter how hot you like it.” 2. “Always grind the chillies, garlic and onions first with a pestle and mortar to get the right texture. Grinding the drier ingredients into a paste first will give your salsa a nice, even flavour.” 3. “Varying the texture of a smooth salsa by adding some chopped onion gives a different dimension and can transform the eating experience completely.” benitos-hat.com
The molcajete was first used by Aztecs and Mayans
foodism The word ‘calzone’ comes from the Italian for ‘trouser leg’
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Your pizza deserves better than a fan oven and a blunt knife. Get a slice of Italian action with this top kit
The cordierite stone can cook a pizza in under four minutes
CUTTING IT FINE Joseph Joseph Scoot Wheel, £13 No, it’s not Kanye West’s new album – this futuristic-looking piece of kit is actually a pizza cutter. The blade is readied by pushing the button in the centre, which snaps back the plastic sheath and bares the blade for your bubbling caprese to feel your terrible wrath. Or, you know, you could just cut it normally without pretending to be a badass warrior – but that’s no fun. josephjoseph.com
ONE IN THE OVEN Weber Pizza Oven, £149 Whether you’re dishing up a cosmopolitan alternative to steaks and sausages at a barbecue, or just want wood-fired pizza at home without splashing out on a whole bricks-andmortar setup, this clip-on pizza oven from Weber is a great investment. It attaches easily to the top of your kettle barbecue – just remember it won’t need flipping over halfway through. johnlewis.com
Push the button in the middle to bare the circular blade
PRESSING MATTER Pizzacraft Calzone Press, £17 If you prefer your pizza toppings protected from the elements, you can always make a calzone. This device may look like a cross between a bear trap and one of those teeth-shaped gummy sweets, but it’s actually a pretty handy calzone press. Just put in the dough, then the toppings, and press together. At a pinch, it’ll also make a family-sized Cornish pastie. pizzacraft.com
Busaba Eathai Wardour Street Store Street Bird Street Panton Street Old Street Westfield London Covent Garden Kingâ€™s Road Westfield Stratford City Bicester Village
Kingston Riverside & Shoreditch opening this summer.
A WEEK ON THE PISTE Need your fresh powder fix? We’re offering one lucky couple a week’s skiing in the Alpine resort of Tignes with Skiset Holidays
nspired by the Winter Olympics in Sochi but think you missed the boat for a ski holiday this year? Don’t fret – we’ve teamed up with Skiset Holidays to offer one couple the opportunity to get their winter sports fix. The lucky couple will be whisked to Tignes in the French Alps, which hosted events for the Albertville Winter Olympics in 1992 and at up to 3,450m is one of Europe’s guaranteed snow resorts. Whether you’re a wannabe downhill champion or are in the process of finding your ski legs, the resort has something for everyone. Not only will
TIGNES HAS EVERYTHING FROM AWESOME OFF-PISTE TO SWEEPING RUNS YEAR ROUND 92
you find great off-piste – with some of the Alps’ best back-country itineraries – but the vast Espace Killy ski area between Tignes and Val-d’Isère offers sweeping pistes year round on the Grande Motte Glacier – all covered by one lift pass. After a long day on the slopes, relax in a premium apartment at the Résidence L’Ecrin des Neiges. The ski-in ski-out residence is in a prime location in the popular Val Claret village – high up in the valley and known for its bars and restaurants – and offers an authentic taste of Savoyard luxury in the mountains. Guests can also take advantage of Skiset’s rental facilities at its Val Claret Centre, just moments from the apartment. Skiset offers the world’s largest ski and snowboard rental network across Europe and the USA. With the launch of Skiset Holidays, put your entire winter sports adventure in the safe hands of the experts. skiset-holidays.co.uk
HOW TO WIN To win a week’s ski holiday for two in Tignes, just answer this simple question: in which mountain range is Tignes? To enter, visit escapismmagazine. com/competition/tignes. For more information and full terms and conditions, see the website.
THE PRIZE We’ve got a week’s skiing in Tignes for two to give away, in association with Skiset Holidays. Here’s what the prize includes: ◆ Return economy flights
from London to Geneva ◆ Six days of skiing or riding ◆ Seven nights lodging in a
Photograph by ###
self-catering apartment at the four-star l’Ecrin des Neiges in Val Claret ◆ Six days evolution-category ski or snowboard rental ◆ Two SK Clothing fleece-lined skiing hats
Be Special Be DeStineD for BaroS For 40 years, we have been dedicated to one single goal: making you happy! You are special to us; we know you by name, not villa number. We are delighted to have you staying with us so we can attend to your desires and make your holiday special too. Come to Baros to celebrate the best there is; discover the Essence of the Maldives, and the holiday of your dreams!
firstname.lastname@example.org . www.baros.com Baros Maldives is a small private coral island in the Indian Ocean ringed by a sun-kissed beach and a vibrant house-reef. The awardwinning boutique luxury resort is proud of a long and outstanding history of service excellence. Awards include the Travellerâ€™s Choice by TripAdvisor in 2013 as the Number 1 Hotel in Maldives, Number 8 Hotel in the World and Number 5 Hotel for Romance in the World as well as The Most Romantic Resort in the World by World Travel Awards 2013.
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The exclusive wellbeing retreat for women
L I V E W E L L , E AT W E L L
A four-star luxury resort in South Iceland. The location of Hotel Rangá is excellent for viewing the Northern Lights, which has become our trademark. Hotel Rangá is perfectly located to discover everything South Iceland has to offer.
Our signature retreats are designed to be a complete wellbeing break for mind, body and soul in beautiful luxurious surrounds. These include: BALANCE YOUR LIFE • YOGA & HEALTHY EATING • PUT YOURSELF FIRST GOODBYE DIETS, HELLO LIFE • CONFIDENT YOU • PRIVATE 1:1 RETREATS The Retreat, Split Farthing Hall, Bagby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 2AF +44 01845 597 041 • email@example.com • www.splitfarthinghall.co.uk
Hotel Rangá · 851 Hella · Tel. +354 487 5700 Fax +354 487 5701 · firstname.lastname@example.org · www.hotelranga.is
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BEST EXCHANGE RATES FOR TRAVEL MONEY • Over 50 foreign currencies available at our City, Regent Street & Oxford Circus offices. • Free delivery directly to your office in the City of London (including Canary Wharf). • Prepaid currency cards now in stock in all 3 offices. Unrivalled rates on USD & Euro currency cards. • Specialists in international payments. Improved rates & no transfer fees on all payments over £5000. • Fully FCA regulated for international payments, rest easy that any funds sent are fully protected. • Pre-order your travel money online for same day collection and lock in our unbeatable rates. www.TEFX.co.uk City Office 48 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AJ 020 7256 7457
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RISING STAR An alternative look at the world
Photograph by Romina Amato/Red Bull Cliff Diving; redbull.com
Photograph by ###
Photograph by Corey Rich/Red Bull Content Pool; redbull.com
Two years after alpine wunderkind David Lama made his astonishing first free ascent of Patagonia’s Cerro Torre peak via the torturous Compressor Route, his story has finally been committed to film. With Nepalese-Austrian blood and a name just a consonant away from the local llama, he was made to climb this 3,128m devil – and after controversially plugging bolts into Cerro Torre’s face in 2009, doubly determined to do so.
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ITINERARY DAYS: 1–2: DELHI
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Explore Delhi with our expert guide. Visit the battlemented Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque – and Raj Ghat, a marble memorial where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated after his assassination. We also visit Humayun’s Tomb and India’s largest mosque, Qutab Minar. 2 nights at the 3★ Almondz hotel
DAYS 3–4: JAIPUR The Pink City of Jaipur with a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar. An optional balloon ride over the rooftops and an elephant ride to the Red Fort. 2 nights at the 3★ Shahpura House
DAYS 5: BHARATPUR Experience village life en route to Bharatpur and the Keoladeo Ghana NP – a UNESCO World Heritage site. 1 night at the Udai Vilas Palace
DAYS 6–7: AGRA - DELHI
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Travelling by private car we visit the Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s ﬁnest Mughal buildings. During its history it has been a palace, a fort and a prison! We conclude the day visiting what is considered the most extravagant monument ever built for love; The Taj Mahal. 2 nights at the Raj Mahal Hotel
DAY 8: DELHI Back in Delhi, shop till you drop, roam and explore the city to your heart’s content. 1-night at the 3★ Almondz hotel
STARTS: DELHI ENDS: DELHI – 8 DAY CLASSIC JOURNEY Explore the icons and discover the secrets, culture and traditions of the famous Golden Triangle. Travel in a chauffeur driven private vehicle and enjoy unique inclusions: · Spend the night in a heritage hotel in Jaipur · Visit Chand Baori step well, featured in the Batman: Dark Knight Rises ﬁlm · Visit a rural village for a unique look into traditional life and culture in India · Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the Keoladeo Ghana National Park · A stay in a heritage hotel
INCLUDES International ﬂights in and out of Delhi | 7 nights in our bestselling 3★ hotels | 7 breakfast and 2 dinners | All travel in a chauffeur driven private vehicle with English-speaking guide
0800 856 0079
ENTER NOW roundtheworldexperts.co.uk/escapism Conditions may apply, subject to date restrictions and availability. Prices are per person, please check with your consultant for conﬁrmed prices, availability & special oﬀers. Oﬀer is subject to change at any time. Prices correct as of 21 Jan 14. For full competition terms and conditions visit the website.
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DESTINATIONS The UK’s biggest round the world travel specialist can build you a multi-stop itinerary to your budget and travel wishes including great tours from destinations specialist On The Go Tours.
0800 856 0800 856 0079 0079 roundtheworldexperts.co.uk
Conditions may apply, subject to date restrictions and availability. Prices are per person, please check with your consultant for conﬁrmed prices, availability & special oﬀers. Oﬀer is subject to change at any time. Prices correct as of 21 Jan 14.
Image by Chris Sisarich
TAILOR-MADE MULTI-DESTINATION TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD