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DEPARTURES ESCAPE THE DAILY GRIND AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM

What’s new this month, from owl cafés in Japan to the sun-baked Coachella fest

“Colourful, sloppy and seeping an acrid whiff” Marrakech, Morocco

70

40

“If ‘Gangnam Style’ is to be believed, it’s all attractive women and Psy riding a horse”

Valencia, Spain Seoul, Korea

“Dressing in black and daubing on corpse paint optional”

76 Antarctica

“We saw nothing man-made and no other people for 105 days”

22

“Our cabbie had us creep towards it from around the corner like a pair of reprobates” Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

35

14 Photography 20 Go With The Flow 21 Means Of Escape 22 Head To Head 24 Checklist 30 Instant Anorak 32 In Brief: LA 35 The Tourist 36 Top Five Breaks 40 Winging It 45 Reader Questions

EXPERIENCES The world’s best beaches, ninja training and Antarctic trekking 52 Life’s A Beach Ultimate beaches around the globe 62 Japan Tokyo, Kyoto and, er, ninja training 70 Marrakech Photography in scenic Morocco 76 Ben Saunders One man’s trek to the South Pole

foodism Eat your way around the world with our tasty guides and tools 84 Foodie Vancouver 92 Taste of London 94 Eat the World 96 Reviews

COMPETITIONS Check the back of the magazine for big competitions and offers 105 Geneva wine 107 Austrian spas


ED I TOR ’ S WO R D P

erhaps it’s because I grew up near the English seaside, or maybe I’m just a sucker for an underdog, but I’ll take a British beach over your white-sand, palm-fringed tropical playa, plage or หาด any day of the week. (Unless it’s raining. Or windy. Or a bank holiday.) In fact, on one of those balmy, summer-in-winter March weekends that briefly seemed to herald the coming of spring (we should have learned by now – it didn’t), I happened to be walking along Bournemouth beach, and it was glorious – a sun-drenched throng picking their way along the prom, kids digging tunnels to Down Under in the sand, surfers paddling out to non-existent waves, and row after row of beach huts packed with Ambre Solaire-slathered optimists. And just the previous week I was in Dungeness in Kent, with its otherworldly, wind-battered tag-team of vast, shingle beach and looming nuclear power station. It was as far away as you can get from Bournemouth’s 1950s seaside charm (not to mention a Caribbean bay), but I felt the same tug of pride – this is our beach, barely 60 miles from London. So when we came to round up our favourite beaches in the world for this issue [p52], we had no hesitation in including three British beaches on the list. M E D I A Don’t worry, there are tropical beaches, EDITOR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jon Hawkins city beaches and beaches for action and Mark Hedley ART DIRECTOR COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR adventure too, because sometimes a bucket Matthew Hasteley Mike Gluckman ASSOCIATE EDITOR SALES DIRECTORS and spade and a 99 with a Flake just won’t Cathy Adams Mike Berrett, Alex Watson SUB EDITOR do. Why not tell us about your favourite by SALES MANAGER Laura Chubb Will Preston tweeting @EscapismMag? e SENIOR DESIGNER PRINT ADVERTISING

KIDS WERE DIGGING TUNNELS TO AUSTRALIA IN THE SAND

Lucy Phillips

Abigail Robinson

2 Ben Saunders is a British adventurer with an unhealthy appetite for extreme cold. In February, he and Tarka L’Herpiniere completed the longest human-powered polar expedition in history, and he tells us all about it on page 76. 3 Laura Millar’s career as a journalist has seen her wrangle D-listers, track down impossible causes and talk people into appearing naked in magazines. But never before had she trained as a ninja and been dressed as a geisha in the name of discovering Japan. Until now, that is. [p62]

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escapism uses paper from sustainable sources

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1 Rosie Birkett is a food writer and stylist, who last year took a research sabbatical which saw her living, eating, cooking and writing in Canada, Mexico and the US. This issue, she gets stuck into Vancouver’s food scene. [p84]

Giles Donaldson, Fairlie Hamilton, Sophie Spencer

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ALPINE WONDERS Win incredible trips to Switzerland and Austria, with fine wine tasting and spa relaxation [p105; 107]


Twice-Daily Cattle Drive

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GO WITH THE FLOW MEANS OF ESCAPE HEAD TO HEAD CHECKLIST: STYLE CHECKLIST: GEAR INSTANT ANORAK IN BRIEF: LA THE TOURIST FIVE MINI BREAKS WINGING IT ASK THE EXPERTS


DEPARTURES

Photograph by ###

ABOVE: Chi Hung Cheung scooped runner-up in the Hong Kong, National Award category of the Sony World Photography Awards with this dazzling snap of Macau’s Fire Dragon festival.

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STILT WALKERS 2014 SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS Picture the scene: it’s rainy season, and you think you can just about sneak across the engorged river home before the heavens open again. Unfortunately, if you’re midcrossing and it starts coming down hard, the most obvious thing to do is hang out on the nearest wooden stilt, right? That’s the view that Chinese photographer Chen Li got at least, winning the Open Travel/ China National Award in the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards with the shot Rain In Ancient Town. It was taken in historic Phoenix Town in southern China, during the wet season (funnily enough). The photo is one of many from the National Awards winners and runners-up, which honoured snappers from more than 30 countries worldwide. For more information, visit worldphoto.org

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DEPARTURES

Photograph by ###

SEE MORE ASTONISHING SHOTS AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM

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RIGHT: Michael Nordqvist takes the ultimate selfie while skydiving over Sweden’s Skydive Sküne drop zone, winning the National Award for the Nordics in the Sony World Photography Awards.

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Go with the FLOW Navigate your way through this month’s top global events…

FEELING FRISKY?

P.A.R.T.Y.?

NO

YES

NO

YES

M U S I C L OV E R ?

L IKE P OW E R F UL WOME N?

NO

YES YES

NO

S P R E E K J E NE DE R L A NDS ?

NE E D SOM E SUN ? YES

A F R A ID OF HE IGHTS ? EH?

YES

YES NO

AMSTERDAM

CALIFORNIA

GERMANY

NEPAL

LIVERPOOL

As if the ‘Dam needed another excuse to party, Queen’s Day at the end of April means even more debauchery and wearing orange on the famous canals. (OK, this year it’s King’s Day, but then the flowchart doesn’t work.)

Coachella music festival returns to Indio, California this April. If you don’t have a ticket yet, you’re too late – but with Muse, Outkast and Arcade Fire headlining, are you really surprised? At least there’s always the afterparties…

Walpurgisnacht (witches’ night), on the Brocken peak in Germany, is like something out of Macbeth: think witches dancing around bonfires on a mountainside after dark. Half Shakespearean, half downright weird.

If you’re feeling nostalgic about ringing in 2014, head to Nepal for its New Year celebrations. The best event is in Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, where you can enjoy tugof-war, a parade and a red powder fight.

Liverpool proves its musical heritage stretches further than The Beatles with arts and music festival Sound City. This year the line up includes Clean Bandit and The Kooks, but there’s plenty of artsy lectures as well.

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DEPARTURES

WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This issue: flaming footie, owl café culture, and jumping over babies INDONESIA Playing football with your standard leather ball is just so last year – in Indonesia, footie is all about setting coconut shells alight and kicking them about. The, er, beautiful game is traditionally played to welcome Ramadan. The rules are exactly the same (although thankfully there’s no offside rule and, well, you risk third-degree burns). Game of fire-a-side, anyone?

MEANS OF ESCAPE Why walk up a hill when you can be carried by a moving staircase? All hail Hong Kong laziness PHOTOGRAPHS by Per Andersen/Alamy; Arief Priyono; Denis Doyle/Getty Images

#8 OUTDOOR ESCALATORS As a major metropolis built on mountainous terrain, Hong Kong has had to get creative with its transport systems. Its revolutionary outdoor covered escalators are the longest of their kind in the world, covering 800 metres and transporting more than 60,000 of the Big Smog’s busy residents up and down the steep hills each day. Linking the city’s Central and Mid-Levels areas, the escalators climb a total of 135 metres and cut straight through the Soho district, which – like its London counterpart – is full of buzzing shops and bars. However, calling them the longest covered escalator in the world can be misleading

– actually, there are a whole host of escalators and Gladiators-style travellators under a big roof, and riders can get on and off at will. But if you thought the escalators at Angel Tube station took ages, bear in mind that on the Hong Kong escalators, the total journey time takes around 25 minutes (although the ‘stand on the right’ rule is still upheld here – hover on the left at your peril). And after 10.30am the escalator only goes up – so you’ll have to use manpower to get back down. The escalator system even reached big-screen fame with a small role in Batman sequel The Dark Knight.

JAPAN As if the cat café weren’t creepy enough, now Japan is lining up nocturnal birds of prey to watch you sip your latte. There’s a whole set of rules that have to be obeyed, though: customers in owl cafés are warned not to scare the birds, use flash photography or talk too loudly around them, so you’ll probably end up drinking your coffee outside. Sounds like a right hoot. (Sorry.)

SPAIN With an almost admirably flagrant disregard for health and safety regulations, Spaniards in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos have been publicly jumping over babies since 1621. The ‘festival’ – called El Colacho – entails grown men dressing in devil attire and lunging over a mattress of one-year-old babies. It’s supposedly to cleanse them of original sin. Obviously.

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Head to

DEPARTURES THINK WE’RE WRONG? HAVE YOUR SAY AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM

This month we’re getting blinded by neon in two of Asia’s most forwardthinking, futuristic cities. But which will win out – themed bars and sushi or sizzling barbecues and Psy?

HEAD

TOKYO Population: 13.2m

SEOUL Population: 10m

Nickname: T-Yo

Nickname: K-Town

INHABITANTS

INHABITANTS

Robots, foodies, people living in those one-bedroom capsules. Basically too many humans for the amount of space available, but that’s all part of the fun. 7/10

If the Gangnam Style video were to be believed, it’s all good-looking women and Psy riding a horse. Seriously? Trendsetters and a rapidly aging population. 7/10

WHAT NOT TO SAY IN TOKYO

WHAT TO SAY IN TOKYO

WHAT TO SAY IN SEOUL

WHAT NOT TO SAY IN SEOUL

“I’m so bored of Hello Kitty”

“Kanpai!” (that’s ‘cheers’)

“Oppa Gangnam Style”

“What’s the problem with North Korea then?”

DO

DO

Tokyo’s buzzy districts are all well worth exploring, but do it on the underground network (although you might feel squashed in). Ueno is the museum district – don’t miss the National Museum of Western Art. See our feature on page 62 for more suggestions. Outside the city, a must-see is the towering Mount Fuji – book a bullet train south out of the city and enjoy the view. 7/10

Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace – a former royal residence – gives an insight into historic Seoul. The Korean capital has street markets in abundance, too. Catch the main ones around Dongdaemun – where there are more than 30,000 shops – before a walk along the manmade Cheonggyecheon stream. No visit to Seoul would be complete without heading to Gangnam, either. 7/10

STAY

STAY

Lost In Translation fans should head straight to the Park Hyatt (tokyo.park.hyatt.com) atop the Shinjuku Park Tower. If you’re not high rolling, head to design-focused Claska (claska.com) in the trendy suburb of Meguro. 8/10

From the outside, the brightly coloured IP Hotel in Itaewon (ipboutiquehotel.com) looks like a rainbow threw up on it. Want something less garish? Head to the loft-style Hotel April (hotelapril.com), which shows bigger is not always better. 8/10

EAT AND DRINK

EAT AND DRINK

Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, but you don’t have to splash out for good nosh. The Tsukiji fish market is a good place to start, and Shinjuku is home to row upon row of tiny, themed bars. 9/10

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8/10

AND THE WINNER IS... It’s a draw! They’re both too cool

8/10

Do it properly and hit a Korean barbecue joint, where you’ll heat meat and veg at your table before covering it in kimchi. Head to Itaewon afterwards – the area is home to Club Volume, which regularly draws world-class DJs. 8/10


GUYS

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2

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1 ADIDAS ORIGINALS, San Diego sunglasses in transparent mint, £75. Style and protection for long sunny days (here’s hoping). blue-tomato.com 2 SANDQVIST, Yellow canvas Stig backpack, £90. Perfect for lugging your gear to the beach, in blazing yellow with Nordic style. opumo.com 3 MOCKS, Mocklite Driver in Syracuse blue, £45. Waterproof and breathable take on the classic summer driving shoe. mocksonline.com

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DEPARTURES

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2

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GIRLS

1 PULL & BEAR, Shopper bag, £15.99. This roomy, colourful beach bag can handle all your sun, sea and sand essentials. pullandbear.com 2 ZARA, Biker trousers with zips, £29.99. Ideal to throw on for casual dinner and drinks after a day sunning on the beach. zara.com 3 TAYLOR MORRIS, Louis Orson, £165. A classic British style from the new name in designer eyewear. taylormorriseyewear.com

THE BIKINI BANG! SWIMWEAR CLARINET BIKINI, £125. Sexy and bright twopiece from the Jamaican design duo. bangswimwear.com

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DEPARTURES

Gear Oakley’s new Garage Rock model combines 1960s style with cutting-edge materials and optical technology. They’re rock and rollers with brains.

The original Frogskins were released in 1985 and discontinued in the mid-1990s, before calls for a revival led to their return in 2007.

THE SUNGLASSES

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Photograph by David Harrison

OAKLEY GARAGE ROCK AND FROGSKINS, from around £100. Though Oakley’s roots are in sports eyewear, the Californians have always had one foot in the counterculture. Garage Rock is the latest model in a lineage started by the iconic Frogskins. oakley.com


DEPARTURES

Gear The Skeletool CX is made from material including DLC (diamond-like coating), stainless steel and carbon fibre for strength, durability and, let’s be honest, sexy looks.

Only the bare essentials – a knife, pliers/cutters, a screwdriver and a bottle opener – are needed on the CX, to keep weight and bulk to a minimum.

THE MULTI-TOOL LEATHERMAN SKELETOOL CX, £84.99. Ultra-light and tough, the minimalist CX is an adventure essential. snowandrock.com

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HOTEL TONIGHT

TIPULATOR

HOPSTOP

FREE IOS, ANDROID

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Essentially a mobile travel wallet, Worldmate holds all your flight, car hire and hotel booking info. Designed to be shared with colleagues or friends, it’s an ideal app for the business traveller. worldmate.com

As the name suggests, Hotel Tonight allows you to book last-minute hotel rooms all over the globe. Ideal if you find you’ve booked Birmingham, Alabama rather than Birmingham, UK… hoteltonight.com

Rather than throw a few coins down on a table after a meal and hope for the best, input details to Tipulator and it’ll tell you how much you should tip. Which also means no more fights over the bill. sophiestication.com

Lost in a city? Hopstop will give you door-to-door directions – on subways, buses and bikes – in more than 300 cities around the world. It even tells you costs and lets you call cab companies, too. hopstop.com

Photograph by David Harrison

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Instant ANORAK April is eclectic, thanks to witches, a penis parade, Africa's answer to Burning Man, ancient bungee jumping and giant omelettes

THE FIRST RECORDED YEAR OF THE WORLD MARBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS, WHICH TAKE PLACE ON GOOD FRIDAY IN A SUSSEX PUB

1588

45 MPH

DEPARTURES

THE SPEED AT WHICH PEOPLE FALL WHEN DOING THE ANNUAL BUNGEE JUMP RITUAL IN VANUATU

THE HEIGHT OF THE BROCKEN PEAK IN GERMANY, WHERE WITCHES CONGREGATE FOR WITCHES' NIGHT AT THE END OF THE MONTH

1,142m THE AMOUNT GENERATED BY THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK, SET UP BY ROBERT DE NIRO

$600M

9m

THE HEIGHT OF THE BURNING EFFIGY AT SOUTH AFRICA’S AFRIKABURN, WHICH IS HELD AT THE END OF APRIL

30

THE NUMBER OF MINUTES THAT IT TOOK FOR TICKETS TO CALIFORNIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL COACHELLA TO SELL OUT. IT TAKES PLACE MID-APRIL

157

4,500 THE NUMBER OF EGGS USED TO MAKE A GIANT OMELETTE EACH YEAR IN HAUX, FRANCE, ON EASTER MONDAY

2.5m THE LENGTH OF THE PINK PENIS CARRIED THROUGH THE STREET FOR JAPAN’S KANAMARA MATSURI FESTIVAL

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DEPARTURES

The sign was first erected in 1923 as a real estate advertisement

news AIRBNB UK GUESTS SOAR

in BRIEF

Cathy Adams packs her autograph book and seeks fame and fortune in La-La Land. While the movie role might not materialise, top food, beaches and scenery provide some solace

LOS ANGELES

L

os Angeles is so sprawling, an urban myth suggests you can fit the entire world population into the city limits. While this might not be completely true, it says a lot about the Californian party city – with more than 80 districts, there’s a lot to see, and a lot to do. You’ll know LA first for Hollywood – the global film industry is based here, and being a fashion, design and art hub, it’s a truly creative city. Clambering up to the crumbling hillside Hollywood sign is often first on the to-do list. Likewise with celebrity spotting: when a destination is as glamorous as this, it’s not uncommon to bump into mega movie stars on its streets. But there’s more to Tinseltown than just Hollywood, so don’t hang around too long on the Walk of Fame. LA is home to some of the USA’s most exciting chefs, as well as upand-coming districts including Koreatown (where you’ll find a mean barbecue) and Mexican food trucks dotted around the city. LA’s beaches are also worth a mention, although for the proper California white-

32

sand strip, head to the suburb of Santa Monica. The wild parks just outside the city – such as Runyon Canyon – also remind us that while LA might be the USA’s secondlargest city, it’s got jaw-dropping natural beauty right on its doorstep. Our advice? Hire a car and cruise down the 12-lane freeways with the top down to enjoy the city in all its glittering glory. (Plus, the public transport is pretty dreadful.) On that note, the only way to visit the world’s most sexy city is to fly in style. Now that British Airways flies the world’s largest commercial jet, the A380, straight to LAX, it shouldn’t be that difficult. e

NEED TO KNOW Seven-night holidays to LA start from £699 with British Airways. Book by 30 April. ba.com/losangeles

Apartment rental service Airbnb has now put up more than one million UK visitors, the business announced last month (330,000 UK travellers used the service in 2013). The most popular holiday spots for UK travellers are Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York. More than 11 million guests have stayed with Airbnb since its launch in 2008. airbnb.com

BA’S GIN COCKTAIL First-class British Airways travellers who pass through the Concorde room at Heathrow T5 will have the chance to try World Class UK bartender of the year Gareth Evans’ official cocktail, Tanqueray BA175. It’s made with pink grapefruit juice, Tanquerary No. Ten gin and apricot liqueur, topped with champagne. Yum. facebook.com/worldclass

ARC’TERYX ACADEMY If you’re aching for the Alps, check out the adventure brand Arc’teryx’s Alpine Academy in Chamonix in June. The three-day event features workshops on mountain rescue and climbing techniques, and even an overnight photography course. It’s an ideal event for everybody, from proper alpinists to those still getting their mountain legs. Workshops start from €30. arcteryxacademy.com


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GOODWOOD REVIVAL

12 • 13 • 14 SEPTEMBER For the latest event news follow us on

and

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DEPARTURES

the TOURIST

FRIGHT NIGHT Forget cocktails and dreams – Kuala Lumpur institution the Beach Club is the stuff of nightmares. Cathy Adams braves an eve in the legendary bar and gets flashbacks to Newquay...

Y

ou can always count on TripAdvisor to really sell a place. “You’ll either get robbed or picked up,” says one. “Leave the wife at home!” screams another. And lastly: rule number one is “don’t talk about Beach Club”. But that’s mainly because nobody wants to hear about that time you careered into Kuala Lumpur’s scummiest address, spaffed all your travellers’ cheques on mojitos with umbrellas in them and slipped over in a pile of sawdust. On entering the Beach Club – which has the feel of a low-budget beach shack despite it sitting on a trunk road in Kuala Lumpur – you’ll be charged over the odds for the pleasure of one free drink, the procurement of which involves elbowing your way to the

I’d been brought here by a friend, keen to drag me down into Dante’s last ring of hell along with him

splintered bar and receiving a weedy vodka and tonic as a reward. Well done you. I’ll start by giving the Beach Club the only credit it deserves – it is, at best, consistent. It must be the only city club that has (tenaciously?) clung to a garish beach theme in the face of rapid gentrification all around it. Evidently, TBC has become so vital a part of KL dogma that nobody pauses to question the neon palm trees, plastic parrots or banana boat visually screeching outside. I haven’t seen this much Hawaiianthemed tat since I drained a pint of piña colada from a coconut and promptly fell out of a dancing cage at a shark-themed club in Newquay in 2006, all while mullet-happy hero Pat Sharp was ‘spinning choons’ on the decks. At least Kuala Lumpur beats a Cornwall caravan park, I suppose. I’d been strong-armed here by my friend in-res, who sadly remembers the Newquay incident and was more than keen to drag me down into Dante’s last ring of hell with him. (Traitors? No, Beach Club-goers.) By 9pm the night looked over before it had even begun, as we could barely persuade a cab to take us. Mention the Beach Club to taxi drivers and they speed off, it apparently having an aura so pernicious nobody even wants to drop you off outside. Instead, our cabbie has us creep towards it from around the corner like a pair of reprobates. If you’re still pondering a visit, consider that first TripAdvisor review. After you’ve ordered a drink and found yourself standing by a chipped and sticky table with no chairs, all that’s left to see is a rather sad band on

TOP THREE KL 1 Head to Marini’s on 57 – the city’s highest alfresco bar, with a great view of the twin towers. 2 It’s not that cheap, but you’ll eat like a king at Michelin-starred dim sum joint Dai Tai Fung. 3 Sack off Petronas and go up the Menara Tower for top-class views over the Malaysian capital.

the stage, playing to a wholly disinterested audience. Not because the music is bad (if you consider a squeaky cover of Sweet Home Alabama a nice little ditty, then sure – the music is great). Rather, it’s because the clientele are engaged in, er, other activities. Young Asian women are shamelessly plying their wares to Western men three times their age – because nothing says love like a yawning age, cultural and geographical gap. Approximately 21 minutes after entering, I was dragged back out. Which was a shame, truth be told: I was just starting to enjoy being propositioned in the toilets, dancing to cover versions of the Now 38 album and feeling everybody’s bleary eyes follow me around the room. Which brings me to rule number two: what happens at the Beach Club, stays at the Beach Club… e

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5 BREAKS IN...

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THE LAKE DISTRICT FAMILY KESWICK

Stay: The Keswick Country House Hotel is set in four acres of gardens – giving the kids enough space to run riot. Doubles from £82, including breakfast. thekeswickhotel.co.uk

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Photography (bottom left, top and top right) golakes.co.uk

Keswick, on the banks of the sprawling Derwentwater lake, has plenty to keep both active- and non-active families amused. For starters, the lake makes a great place to go kayaking or boating. The town even has its own adventure centre, with stand up paddleboarding, canoeing and rock climbing on offer nearby. There’s a gentle ten-mile bike ride along the old railway line that starts and ends at Keswick, too. Younger kids might prefer the Lake District Wildlife Park (lakedistrictwildlifepark.co.uk), just ten minutes out of town, which is full of zebras, lemurs and meerkats.


DEPARTURES

3

FOOD & DRINK KENDAL

22 RELAXATION WINDERMERE

Home of the famous Kendal Mint Cake, this traditional Lake District town also holds an annual food festival (kendalfestivaloffood.co.uk) at the end of March, which, while exhibiting the Lake District’s finest local produce, also teaches you how to make a proper Cumberland sausage, the region’s proudest export. Head to Plumgarths Farm Shop to buy it in all its coiled glory, or take a tour around an original mint cake factory to taste the mountaineers’ snack of choice. Stay: Relax riverside in a luxury apartment with its own balcony and a view of Kendal Castle. Rentals from £150 per night. kendalcottages.com

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Quaint Kendal town centre; the luxurious Gilpin Lake House and its champagne bar; fields of green surrounding Keswick and Derwentwater and one of those typically epic Lake District panoramas

Picture the Lake District in your head, and chances are you’re thinking of Lake Windermere. It’s the largest natural lake in the UK, and the Lake District National Park’s most popular attraction. This long, finger-shaped body of water might well be a popular walking spot, but for something even more low-key, head to one of the many spa hotels dotted around its shores. Then go north to Rydal Water for a change of scene – Romantic Lake poet William Wordsworth lived here for around half of his life.

Stay: If sitting in a hot tub overlooking the lake is your idea of a good afternoon, head straight to the luxury Gilpin Hotel & Lake House. Double rooms from £295 per night. thegilpin.co.uk

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DEPARTURES

CARLISLE CLOCKWISE: Carlisle hosts a spectacular annual fire show around Bonfire Night; the Kings Head pub on Fisher Street, which is the go-to place for a perfect pint of ale; the challenging Scafell mountain range

Photograph by ###

ADVENTURE

5

Border town Carlisle is so up for a party that it renames main street Botchergate ‘Entertainment Alley’ at weekends – the thoroughfare becomes traffic-free on Friday and Saturday nights, making it easier to peruse the packed bars and pubs. Be sure to make a start here, before heading to the Kings Head on Fisher Street (which dates back to medieval times) for a proper cask brew. Then finish the night off at live music venue The Brickyard, where DJs regularly spin tunes from Motown to cheesy classics. Stay: Carlisle Hallmark Hotel is located in the middle of town, set in a rather imposing Victorian building. Doubles from £69 per night. carlislehallmarkhotel.com

Photography above left: golakes.co.uk. Middle: michael walters 2 / Alamy. Below: Mark Titterton / Alamy

PARTYING

SOUTHERN FELLS England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike, is in a group of hills called the Southern Fells – smack-bang in the middle of the Lake District National Park. Unsurprisingly, the high and rocky region is great for hiking and mountain biking; and if you really want to go for it, the Scafell Pike marathon takes place on 15 June. That’s 42 kilometres of trail running up and down a 912 metre-high mountain. Good luck…

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Photograph by ###

Stay: The Scafell Hotel in the Borrowdale Valley is an elegant country house, and is a good place to base yourself for access to lots of top hikes. The Riverside Bar next door is a great spot to unwind after a tough day on the hill. Doubles from £85 per night. scafell.co.uk


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DEPARTURES

Winging IT INSTANT GUIDES FOR THE LAZY TRAVELLER

This month: the wetter the better in Thailand, jazzing it up in Paris and New Orleans, plus getting messy at Tomatina

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND DO: Songkran, 13-15 April Dig out your Nerf Super Soaker if you’re heading to Thailand for the Songkran water festival, which rings in the Thai new year. The most famous celebrations take place in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Thapae Gate is the epicentre, where revellers use the moat to fill their buckets, in the hopes of winning the largest water fight in the world. songkran2014.com STAY: Sala Lanna, 49 Charoenrat Road, Wat Gate. Doubles from £67 Overlooking the Ping River, the Sala Lanna hotel is one of Chiang Mai’s top boutique choices. There are two riverside restaurants, but it’s the rooftop bar that really gets going after dark. It’s on Chiang Mai’s party strip, too, meaning you’re only stumbling distance away from some good, clean (literally) après-soak fun. westernoriental.com

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Fans of the Thai Songkran water fight festival go to great lengths to get their enemies wet; don’t miss Chiang Mai’s legendary (and cheap) street food; rooftop bar at Sala Lanna

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EAT: Khao soi (noodle soup) There’s so much more to Thai food than green curry – and you can’t visit Chiang Mai without ordering a bowl of its signature noodle soup, khao soi, which is served with a curry-like sauce. Khao Soi Samer Jai (391 Charoenraj Road, Tambon Fahham) is one of the most famous khao soi joints in the city and makes for an energyboosting mid-water fight lunch.


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Winging IT

DEPARTURES

VALENCIA, SPAIN

PARIS, FRANCE DO: Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festival, until 11 April Head out to the bits of Paris that nobody pays any attention to for this jazzy fest. It’s on in muchmaligned St Denis, to the north of the city, but still attracts jazz musicians from all over the world. Head here if you can’t afford the airfare to New Orleans… banlieuesbleues.org

DO: La Tomatina, 27 August The ultimate food fight will be splattering the tiny Spanish town of Buñol this summer. Around 150,000 tomatoes are dumped in the centre of town by trucks, and more than 20,000 revellers frolic in the rivers of purée for hours on end. Our advice? Bring a pizza base and get involved. latomatina.info

STAY: Hotel Félicien, 21 Rue Félicien David. Doubles from £155 a night The chic, up-and-coming 16th arrondissement to the west of the city is close to the Eiffel Tower and the Bois de Boulogne, and houses the Trocadéro area. Hotel Félicien is a contemporary boutique hotel, spitting distance from the Seine, and with one huge bonus: it’s got an underground spa to relax in after all that museum-going. hotelfelicienparis.com

STAY: Caro Hotel, 14 Calle del Almirante. Double rooms from £120 a night You could check into a generic hotel, or you could check into Caro, a (renovated) gothic palace. At first look, the Caro, right in the heart of Valencia, is all ultramodern luxury; but look closer and you’ll notice the medieval staircase, the former palace ballroom and the old Arabic wall (the hotel is built from ancient ruins). Dressing in black and daubing on corpse paint optional. carohotel.com

EAT: Pamela Popo, 15 Rue François Miron Cross the river to the Right Bank and you’ll find the hip Le Marais, a world away from the cheap pizza chains dotted around the other side of the Seine. Vintagewallpapered Pamela Popo does a storming weekend brunch – join the rest of the 4th arrondissement and head to this quirky eatery to see off the gueule de bois (that’s ‘hangover’ in French, FYI) with Bloody Marys and eggs Benedict. pamelapopo.fr

NEW ORLEANS, USA DO: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 25 April-4 May New Orleans without jazz is like tea without milk – it’s just wrong. This spring, the Jazz & Heritage Festival’s 45th anniversary brings acts including Eric Clapton, Christina Aguilera and Arcade Fire (none of whom are exactly Miles Davis, admittedly) to town. So put down the air sax and nab a ticket. nojazzfest.com STAY: W New Orleans, 333 Poydras St. Double rooms from £98 a night A hip city deserves an equally hip hotel and, unsurprisingly, the W doesn’t disappoint. Close to the bijou French quarter, this W has a trendy lounge bar – Whiskey Blue – plus a cooling rooftop pool with cabanas to relax in, if the relentless improvised freak-outs get a bit much. wneworleans.com

EAT: Valencian paella Valencia is the proud home turf of Spain’s most famous dish, paella. Traditionally cooked on Sundays (there’s no roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, sadly), the traditional Valencian paella includes more esoteric ingredients, such as rabbit and snails. Available in almost every bar in the old town, and from food stalls along the beach, you can fill up and finish off with fresh churros and chocolate sauce.

DRINK: Bourbon Street Bourbon Street is boozy-central in New Orleans, and it’s one of the only places in America where you can drink on the street. For the ultimate pub crawl, start at the Old Absinthe House, and sip on a signature Absinthe House Frappe. Stagger onwards to Tropical Isle for the city’s ‘most powerful drink’, a Hand Grenade. And don’t leave without trying out a happy hour special at a classic dive bar – try Snake and Jake’s on Oak Street.

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YOU FOUND IT!


DEPARTURES

reader QUESTIONS Hike the hills of Europe, eat and drink your fill of Istanbul and discover the secrets of Parisian street art with the expert Insight Guides team

I’d like to go away for a week in the autumn. I don’t want to go far from the UK, but I want plenty of good walking. Where do you recommend? Deborah Ablitt Dear Deborah, Early autumn can be a splendid time to visit continental Europe, as temperatures are often still very pleasant, yet fall to a level more conducive to walking than in the height of summer. For a short flight – or even a drive – from the UK, try La Grave in the French Alps, which offers stunning scenery alongside ample opportunity for walking before the winter snows set in, when the region is known for its serious skiing opportunities. There are many well-marked routes to cross, as well as the chance to try glacierwalking and cycling, while the village of La Grave itself is resolutely unspoiled by tourism and hosts weekly markets. And all the activity on offer makes the local hearty

ABOVE: Istanbul is jam-packed with top bars and restaurants, and caters to all tastes, whether you’re keen to glam it up or go more low-key and local. BELOW: The French Alps are a sweet spot for some walking in the early autumn, before the snow starts

Haute-Savoie mountain fare even more tantalising. If you’re planning on flying, Lyon or Grenoble are the closest airports. Alternatively, if you want to travel later in the autumn, when the weather in northern Europe is beginning to become less reliable, investigate Spain. With its temperate climate and wide variety of terrains, there is something for everyone. Consider Andalucia, which has many fascinating cities, such as Seville, Granada and Cordoba, to base yourself in, as well as ample opportunities for walks near the coast, or even the long-distance Sierra Nevada route. But with 14 national parks and flights to all corners of the country from the UK, you won’t be short of options. Sarah Clark, Insight Guides’ Asia editor (moonlighting as Europe walking correspondent)

Photograph by ###

I’m heading to Istanbul in May, and need some ideas for good restaurants and bars. Help! Kam Goraya Dear Kam, You’re in luck – there’s no shortage of fantastic bars and

restaurants in Istanbul. After a long day exploring the city’s bustling bazaars and atmospheric mosques, there’s nothing better than winding down over dinner with a view. Not surprisingly, 360 in Beyoğlu (the city’s nightlife hub) boasts an all but 360-degree panorama from its perch atop the grand Mısır Apartımanı building on İstiklal Caddesi. Here, the chefs whip up trendy fusion dishes that complement the vista. For a down-to-earth experience where you’ll be packed in with friendly locals, head to Zübeyir over at Bekar Sokak 28. This staple offers top-quality kebabs at inexpensive prices over its two floors. By the time you get there in May, hopefully the garden will be open, too. Or hit the meze trays hard at Sofyalı 9, an unassuming but intimate meyhane (tavern) along Tünel’s Sofyalı Sokak, a long-time favourite with local fish and rakı aficionados. Choose from more than 20 different types of cold appetiser, before moving on to the hot appetisers and the grilled fish or meat course.  As for bars, while in Sultanahmet (the heart of Old Istanbul), have a pre-dinner

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DEPARTURES

GALLIC GRAFFITI: Tour operator Underground Paris leads guided walks around the City of Light’s street art. Like London, the Parisian cutting-edge art scene centres around eastern neighbourhoods, including Bastille, Belleville and Ménilmontant

Tom Stainer, Insight Guides’ Africa and Middle East editor

I’m planning a trip to Paris. It’s not my first visit, so I want to do more ‘alternative’ stuff this time. Can you suggest the best places to discover the city’s street art or any graffiti guided tours? Izabela Kawecka

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in 1998, it was refurbished as a complex of artists’ studios, rehearsal rooms and performance spaces set around a glazed central hall conceived as an internal street, which is open – if a little windswept – to visitors and local inhabitants. The approach is multi-faceted, so that at any one time the residents here might include artists, musicians, theatre directors, choreographers, DJs or landscape designers. All of them open their studios to the public on a regular basis – although, as this is considered a place for creation rather than presentation, there may not be much to see when you visit. A programme of exhibitions, concerts and performances, children’s workshops and Friday night urban dance sessions offer alternatives. As for a pre-packaged graffiti guided tour, I’d recommend Underground Paris (undergroundparis.org/street-art-tours-paris). Their knowledge of Parisian street art culture, and the people who make it tick, is second to none. e Carine Tracanelli, Insight Guides’ Europe editor. insightguides.com

ASK US Every month we’ll be giving away an Insight Guide for each question answered. Next month, it’s New York. Email experts@ escapismmagazine.com or tweet us @escapismmag

PHOTOGRAPHS by Demian Smith/Underground Paris

glass of wine in the peaceful garden of Yeşil Ev, a restored Ottoman house on Kabasakal Caddesi. Also try Pano Şarap Evi at Kalyoncu Kulluk Caddesi 4, which is in Beyoğlu: this quaint wood-panelled wine bar hasn’t changed one bit since it opened decades ago. Come for a glass from an extensive list and you may want to stay for dinner, too. And don’t forget to have a gin and tonic in the Orient Bar of the period-piece Pera Palace Hotel, where Agatha Christie stayed in 1934 while she was writing Murder on the Orient Express.

Dear Izabela, To really discover the ‘alternative’ side of Paris, I would definitely recommend heading east to the neighbourhoods of Bastille, Belleville and Ménilmontant, following the Canal St Martin all the while and keeping your eyes peeled for a fascinating array of street art. Start your urban art walk at arts and music venue Point Éphémère (No. 200; pointephemere.org), with its terrace stretching along the canal’s quayside. A ‘centre of artistic dynamics’, it contains studios for music and dance, four artists’ workshops, a concert hall, exhibition space and a café. Further north along the canal lies the Belleville area. Like many of the poorer fringes of Paris, Belleville has been settled by waves of immigrants and, more recently, artists and designers – and all of them seem to cram into Aux Folies (8 rue de Belleville), a frantic bar surrounded by graffiti and with a crazy maze of neon on the ceiling. This is the Paris populaire, where wobbly voiced chanson singer Edith Piaf was born. Beneath the Parc de Belleville, you’ll find La Forge (25 rue Ramponneau), an old key factory, now used by around 20 artists. You can also visit other studios during the brilliant Belleville open studios event (en.visitparisregion.com/events), which takes place each May. Recently, a cluster of art galleries has set up here too, such as Galerie Jocelyn Wolff (78 rue Julien-Lacroix), Galerie Crèvecoeur and Galerie Marcelle Alix (both at 4 rue Jouye-Rouve).  Further north along the canal, you can attend an open studio, or shop for organic goodies at a municipal-undertakers-turnedart-space: the CentQuatre, or 104 (5 rue Curial or 104 rue d’Aubervilliers; 104.fr). In its former life, the vast neoclassical building contained storerooms and workshops for making coffins and hearses. After closing


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EXPERIENCES 52 THE WORLD’S BEST BEACHES 62 NINJA TRAINING IN JAPAN 70 PHOTOGRAPHY IN MARRAKECH 76 BEN SAUNDERS ON ANTARCTICA

ABOVE: Portugal’s Sintra, while just outside the capital of Lisbon, feels a world away with its sweeping coastline and green hills. Come here for the powerful surf breaks – they’re some of the best in Europe. [Page 52]

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Wild beaches CHITIMBA BAY, MALAWI

OK, we know it’s not by the sea – but it sure feels like it is. Otherwise called the ‘calendar lake’ (it’s 365 miles long and 52 miles wide), Africa’s sprawling Lake Malawi has Chitimba Bay, which boasts everything you might expect from a traditional beach: golden sands, blue waters and, bonus, it’s surrounded by the Nyika mountains. With beach shacks dotted all along the shoreline, it’s about as wild a beach as you’ll ever see. How to get there: Flights start from around £550 return with Ethiopian Airlines.

PIRATE’S BAY IN TOBAGO IS ALMOST EMPTY, ASIDE FROM THE STRAY GOATS THAT CAME ON THE HIKE TO THE BEACH WITH YOU

Where to stay: Make like Pumba and stay at the Hakuna Matata campsite on the banks of the lake. Basic dorm rooms start from £5. hakunamatata-chitimba.com PARATY, BRAZIL

Follow the Costa Verde three hours south of Rio and you’ll find charming coastal town Paraty. It’s a destination of two halves: the most picturesque parts are the sandy strips flanked by classic Portuguese architecture, but a few steps away are the rocky, unspoilt beaches of Praia Brava and Praia do Meio. They might be wilder and less pictureperfect, but the surfing’s way better. How to get there: The Costa Verde Flights start from comprises 350 miles around £800 return of ‘green coast’ with British Airways. between Santos in São Paulo and Rio Where to stay: Cosy de Janeiro. Its virgin Casa Turquesa has forests are home just nine rooms and is to more than 1,000 species of bird. handily located right by the pier. Doubles from around £300 a night. casaturquesa.com.br PIRATE’S BAY, TOBAGO

Picture the classic beach scene – Pirate’s Bay in Tobago probably isn’t far off. Tucked behind the little village of Charlotteville on the northern end of the island, Pirate’s Bay is only accessible on foot or via boat. When you get there, it’ll be almost empty, aside from the couple of stray goats that accompanied your hike there. It’s so isolated there’s little in the way of beach vendors, but there’s also some good snorkelling around the rocks – if you manage to get bored of your own private paradise. How to get there: Return flights start from around £500 with Caribbean Airlines. Where to stay: Cholson Chalets, on the beach of nearby Charlotteville, are simple but well-equipped. Doubles from £20. cholsonchalets.com

Adventure beaches SINTRA, PORTUGAL

Just outside of Lisbon, you’ll find the coastal historic town of Sintra, where 19th-century romantic architecture is found alongside the natural artistry of huge, crashing waves and the dramatic peaks of the Serra Mountains. Welcome to the Estoril coast, which offers some of the best breaks in Portugal. Package: Powder Byrne offers a seven-night package to Penha Longa hotel on a B&B basis, including transfers and in-resort service from £950pp. Flights are separate. powderbyrne.com

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CLOCKWISE: Be sure to catch the sunset at one of Tobago’s famously wild Caribbean beaches; marvel at the tropical shades of Africa’s sprawling, stunning Lake Malawi; and Sintra in Portugal is renowned for its superior surf breaks and crashing waves


Experiences

BEACHES

MANCORA, PERU

Don’t let the grey fog of Lima put you off. It’s renowned as the gastronomic capital of Latin America – treat yourself to top eats at hot spot Malabar restaurant (malabar.com.pe).

Photograph by ###

Mancora on the north-west Peruvian coast is renowned as the kitesurfing capital of this Latin American nation. It’s famed for its turquoise waters and bright white stretches of beach, but the real star of the Mancora show is its superior surf breaks. The waves often reach three metres, and constant year-round strong winds make it an ideal kitesurfing – or just standard surfing – destination that regularly draws both foreign tourists and homegrown Lima holidaymakers alike. How to get there: Return flights to Lima start from around £500 with KLM, and include a stopover in Amsterdam. Where to stay: Palm-fringed, Balinese-style Kimbas Bungalows is an Indonesian-inspired beach haven. Bungalows from around £10 a night. kimbasbungalowsmancora.com

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Experiences

BEACHES

BORACAY, PHILIPPINES

White sand beaches and an emerging nightlife scene (try Jungle Bar’s Full Moon Party) characterise this teeny-tiny island in the Philippines, but windsurfing is the real jewel in Boracay’s crown. Perennially described as the best spot for windsurfing in Asia, Boracay’s star-attraction beach is 2.5 kilometre-long Bulabog, which benefits from being windward facing. There’s immaculate (and literally named) White Beach, too, for some post-windsurf relaxation. How to get there: Return flights with Philippine Airlines start from around £600. Where to stay: Surfers’ Home is a collection of private bungalows set right on Bulabog beach, with a barbecue area and hammocks. Bungalows start from around £20 a night. surfershomeboracay.com

British beaches TRESCO, SCILLY ISLES

The Scilly Isles might look like the Maldives, but they actually lie 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall. Tresco, the second-largest in the Scilly archipelago, has the pristine sand and turquoise blue sea you’d usually associate with a tropical island. Plus, with its unusually warm climate, you can pretend you’re in the Côte For a weirder sort of d’Azur (er, sort of). watersport, check How to get there: out the bellyboard Skybus flies from championships on Exeter, Land’s End Cornwall’s Chapel Porth beach. Locals and Newquay to St of all ages dive into Mary’s. Return fares the chilly seas every start from £140. September. Where to stay: Sea Garden Cottages are a set of stylish beach residences on the island. Rates start from £160 a night. tresco.co.uk

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This stretch of Welsh coastline was voted into the top ten beaches in the world in the TripAdvisor awards last month (it ultimately lost out to Baia do Sancho in Brazil, so not bad going, really) – and it’s not hard to see why. Watching the sunset over its sweep of biscuit-coloured beach, you’ll wonder whether you’re really in Wales. How to get there: The train journey from London to Swansea takes three hours, and costs around £80 return. Where to stay: The Worm’s Head hotel has been voted as having one of the best views in Wales, and overlooks the Gower. Doubles from £80. thewormshead.co.uk CAMBER SANDS, EAST SUSSEX

Camber Sands probably conjures up memories of family camping holidays, but there’s a reason your parents dragged you here every summer. It’s host to hordes of walkers and sun worshippers, but Camber is also a great watersports hub, with plenty of windsurfing, kitesurfing and kitebuggying going on to keep you entertained. How to get there: Trains from London to Rye take an hour, and cost around £35 return. Where to stay: If you’re after good locally sourced food, head to The Gallivant, which is not far from nearby Rye. Doubles from £115. thegallivanthotel.com

PHOTOGRAPHS by Visit Wales and LA (PHOT)/ Dan Hooper

ABOVE: Wales’s much-loved Rhossili Bay. BELOW: A tropical island? Nope, this is Tresco, 30 miles from the Cornish coast

RHOSSILI BAY IN WALES HAS BEEN VOTED AS ONE OF THE TOP TEN BEACHES IN THE WORLD, AND IT’S NOT AT ALL HARD TO SEE WHY

RHOSSILI BAY, GOWER PENINSULA


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City beaches JUMEIRAH BEACH, DUBAI, UAE

Glitzy Dubai has the ultimate city beaches – think unspoilt stretches sitting mere steps from skyscrapers. Jumeirah Beach, as well as its sparkling seas and tan sand, boasts a great view of the seven-star Burj Al Arab, and burger bars line the beachfront. You might even spot the odd camel, too. How to get there: Return flights to Dubai start from £388 with British Airways. Where to stay: One&Only The Palm is the nearest to a boutique hotel that you’ll find in Dubai. Doubles start from £344 a night. oneandonlyresorts.com GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA

Confusingly, Gold Coast is a city and not an area – but it takes its name rather literally. Home to towering high rises, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia (sorry about that, Sydney), you’ll find great surf breaks here. And, as they’re all right in the middle of everything, you don’t need to eat dinner at a beach shack – just stroll on downtown for your pick of a feed.

How to get there: Flights start from around £800 with British Airways. Where to stay: Hedonistic QT Gold Coast is moments from the beach. Doubles start from around £70 a night. The cheapest way to see inside the Burj Al Arab without booking a room is to reserve a table at the Skyview bar on the 27th floor. Minimum spend £52. Per person…

qtgoldcoast.com.au SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN

Yes, it rains more in San Sebastian than anywhere else in Spain (or at least it sure feels like it), but when the sun shines, the beach is pretty special. The huge, semicircular La Concha Bay is breathtaking, and San Sebastian’s world-class food scene (it’s home to three Michelin-starred Arzak) means it’s a stellar city/beach combo. How to get there: easyJet flies to Bilbao from around £40 return. Where to stay: Astoria 7 is built on the former Astoria cinema, with rooms named after film stars. Double rooms start from £75. astoria7hotel.com

It’s bumper to bumper again on the Intrepid commute. Get off the beaten track and book your adventure today.

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Experiences

Party beaches MIAMI, USA

South Beach is an unbeatable party beach. From world-renowned DJs (including exiled British R&B star Craig David) and tiki bars, to high-end cocktail joints and all-day, allnight beach soirées, anything is possible in the Floridian Sin City. It doesn’t hurt that the golden beaches are gorgeous, either. How to get there: Return flights to Miami start from £582 with British Airways. Where to stay: Newly refurbished The Setai benefits from an original Art Deco design and beachfront location. Doubles start from £406. thesetaihotel.com

CLOCKWISE: Gold Coast is home to some of Australia’s best beaches, and you can enjoy surf that’s never more than a few minutes away from a chic city bar; frolicking in the sea with beautiful people is a staple activity in Ibiza; and the lifeguard huts and boardwalk of South Beach, in Miami

BEACHES

DUBAI HAS THE ULTIMATE CITY BEACHES.THEY SIT STEPS FROM SKYSCRAPERS, AND JUMEIRAH BEACH BOASTS A GREAT VIEW OF SEVEN-STAR BURJ AL ARAB

LAS SALINAS, IBIZA Photograph (Ibiza, mid-right) by Aleksandar Nakic/Getty

The Mediterranean clubbing mecca has plenty of party beaches, but Las Salinas is the most iconic. During the summer months, it’s stuffed to the gills with partygoers, Ibiza hippies and even a minor celebrity or two. Head to Sa Trinxa Beach Bar for a liquid lunch, dinner and, er, brunch, if you stay there long enough. How to get there: Return flights to Ibiza start from around £80 with Ryanair. Where to stay: The Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza opens this summer on Playa d’en Bossa, and in true Hard Rock style hosts live music performances. Doubles from £200. hrhibiza.com

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Experiences

BEACHES

SMALL WONDER: The beaches of Tuscany’s Elba island are lapped by the Mediterranean and surrounded by unspoilt countryside. Its total area size is just 86 square miles, but it is the third-largest island in Italy, behind Sicily

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Honeymoon beaches

The Amalfi Coast draws thousands of tourists every year. It’s most famous for the resort town of Sorrento but, while the landscape is picturesque, there are few beaches.

ELBA ISLAND, ITALY

Tuscany’s Elba Island boasts more than 70 beaches, despite being half as big as the Isle of Wight. It’s less frantic than the Amalfi Coast, plus there’s more sparkling Med sea and green Tuscan hills. Looking for class? You found it. How to get there: Return flights to Pisa start from around £80 with easyJet. Ferries cross from Piombino, 90 minutes south of Pisa. Where to stay: Cernia Isola Botanica makes for a seriously serene Elba escape. Doubles start from £47. hotelcernia.it

DIANI BEACH, KENYA

It’s not all about safari in Kenya – the coastline is pretty lush, too – and it means you can hit both bush and beach in one go. Fringed by palm trees, Diani Beach is one of Kenya’s best coastal resorts, and is plied with honeymooners – but who can blame them when it’s a top-notch tropical spot, where the wilderness meets the coast? How to get there: Return flights to Mombasa start from around £480 with Turkish Airlines. Where to stay: Laze in landscaped gardens and beach gazebos at the boutique lodge AfroChic Diani. Doubles from £150. elewanacollection.com

GRENADA, CARIBBEAN

The island of spice has some of the most beatific beaches in the Caribbean, and there are pretty villages, tropical gardens and top culture to boot. The Lance Aux Epines white sand beach is one of the most secluded on the island – perfect if you need to get away from it all. St David’s is equally isolated, and is only accessible by car. How to get there: Return flights to Grenada start from £593 with British Airways. Where to stay: Intimate Laluna is a romantic retreat right on the beachfront. Suites from around £298. laluna.com e

Photograph by Archives Ufficio Turistico Arcipelago Toscano

TUSCANY’S ELBA ISLAND HAS GREEN HILLS AND MORE THAN 70 BEACHES, BUT IS ONLY HALF AS BIG AS THE ISLE OF WIGHT

GOA, INDIA

Probably the most laid-back of the party destinations, Goa is a tale of two states. North Goa is home to the best of the beach parties (Anjuna and Ashwem are where it all kicks off), while southern Goa, especially around Palolem and Patnem, is relaxed, with silent discos as hectic as it’ll ever get. How to get there: Return flights to Mumbai start from around £500 with British Airways. Where to stay: When in Goa, stay at a yoga retreat. YogaMagic in Anjuna is an oasis of calm after that all-night rave. Doubles from £45. yogamagic.net


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The Land of the Rising Sun offers a fascinating collision of old and new. Laura Millar laps up everything from geisha chic in classic Kyoto to dinosaur dress-up and motorbike-riding robots in ultra-modern Tokyo 62


Experiences

JAPAN

Photograph by ###

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I

t’s a beautiful, sunlit day in a forest deep in the Mie prefecture of Japan, which sits towards the eastern side of the country’s main island. The forest is dotted with a handful of ancient monuments – a Shinto shrine gate here, a pair of carved guardian lions there – and all is peaceful and calm. Until, that is, my hysterical shrieks shatter the silence, as I catapult off the wire rope I’ve been trying to inch along on my stomach, and smack into the mercifully soft earth. It is fair to say that I would make a particularly rubbish ninja. I’ve come to the tiny village of Akame to try my hand at ninjutsu – a martial art of stealth and strategy, practised by ninja in 15th to 18th-century Japan. One of the two best-known ninja training schools in the country originated in this region, and one of the art’s most famous samurais, Hattori Hanzo, is still celebrated, even showing up as a character in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. The ninja school I’m attending in Akame (akame48taki.com) opened three years ago, and is regularly visited by Japanese from all over the country, Sonny Chiba plays as well as Chinese, master swordsmith and a handful of Hattori Hanzo in Europeans and the 2003 Tarantino movie. Chiba also Americans who all played Hattori want to pretend to be Hanzo in the 1980s a ninja for the day. So Japanese TV show ‘Shadow Warriors’. what is their enduring appeal? “Ninja are basically like James Bond,” explains my jovial guide, Professor Hiroshi Ikeda, who has been studying – and teaching – ninjutsu for more than 20 years. “They are trained to get important information from enemies for their masters, the lords and kings who ruled Japan over 400 years ago, without getting caught.” These days, there’s not much call for ninja work, but the opportunity to see how they honed their skills is too much to resist. After I’ve slipped into my purple ninja outfit (complete with black rubber ‘ninja

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shoes’), Professor Ikeda talks me through the 23 training stations in the forest. The overall effect is somewhat Territorial Army, but I will be throwing shuriken (the deadly multi-pointed steel stars that ninja would dip in poison), and wielding a katana (a long curved, single- edged sword – think back again to Kill Bill). “Ninja had to be fit in mind and body,” says Professor Ikeda, before I attempt to heave myself over three high wooden walls.

I CATAPULT OFF THE WIRE ROPE AND SMACK INTO THE EARTH. IT’S FAIR TO SAY I WOULD MAKE A REALLY RUBBISH NINJA


Experiences

TOP TO BOTTOM: Ninja training in the forest and the Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto, which is named after a waterfall within the complex

PHOTOGRAPH (bottom left) by JNTO

It soon transpires I am fit in neither mind nor body. As a final salvo of encouragement, a poster next to one of the training stands reads: “You need eye contact, concentration and force – otherwise you’ll be killed.” Sadly, I suspect I would barely have lasted five minutes as a real ninja. I can just about get over the first of the wooden walls; I fall off the aforementioned wire rope almost instantly; my attempts at scaling a rooftop using a knotted rope fail miserably, as does my attempt to shimmy up a tree. Where I feel more at home is with the weaponry. It turns out I am quite good at hitting a human-shaped wooden target with a six-pointed death star (funnily enough, in the groin area). Dress to impress My immersion in tradition doesn’t end with the class, as I am staying at a nearby ryokan (Japanese inn). Rooms feature tatami mats and low tables, and you sleep on a futon on the floor. First, I get to experience the

ryokan’s onsen – communal naked bathing in muscle-easing hot springs (though men and women are separated). That night, I eat a seven-course kaiseki, a long-established form of fine dining that features a selection of small dishes, which I wash down with Asahi beer. I even wear a yukata – a belted robe – while I’m doing it. Yep, I am eyebrowdeep in Japanese culture. This is just as well, as my next stop is Kyoto, where I will be made over into a geiko. ‘Geiko’ is the Western Japanese term for geisha and means, quite simply, ‘performing artist’. Just a couple of hours away by train, Kyoto is the former imperial capital of Japan, and is awash with temples, shrines and historical monuments. The night before my geiko experience, I am taken by my guide, Kazuko, to Gion, the historic district where geiko have lived and worked since the 19th century. She points out the houses they live in (called okiya), which they share with other geiko and apprentice geiko, called maiko. We also see where the maiko go for their various lessons; anything from calligraphy and guitar playing to tea ceremonies. If you’ve read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you’ll have a sense of what life was like for them in the 1950s (there were, shall we say, certain expectations of other ‘services’ they could perform for clients); these days, however, they are essentially entertainers, who perform music and dance for groups of men and, increasingly, women. I present myself at the Yumekoubou Kiyomizu-dera studio, situated at the foot of the path that snakes up to the KiyomizuThe 2005 film version devotedly dera temple, the recreates the next morning. First, spectacle of pre- and I am given a pair of post- Second World War Japan, and won split-toed socks, then an Oscar for Best am led into a makeup Costume Design chair. After my face is for its efforts. cleaned, it is anointed with the iconic white, paint-like foundation (this was used purely because it made the face stand out in dimly lit rooms), which goes down to the base of my shoulders (this is because the kimono exposes this area, which was thought to be extremely alluring). Heavy black liner covers my eyebrows; red eyeliner is applied under my eyes; and my mouth is hidden under a layer of thick, bright-red lacquer. The whole process takes about 25 minutes. Then I’m dressed in my kimono. This is another elaborate procedure, wherein various ties and belts are draped around me,

JAPAN

ready for the wide, ornamented obi sash. It’s pulled as tight as a corset, which has the effect of snapping my posture straight, before a massive black wig, adorned with various combs and decorations, is planted on my head. When it’s finished, I can only take short, hobbling steps, can barely bend over due to the stiff obi, and my head keeps bumping the ceiling. I last about an hour, going for a walk to a nearby shrine and getting a taste of what it might be like to be Lady Gaga, as I am set upon by groups of schoolgirls who throng around me and won’t stop begging for photos. Gamblers and geeks It’s been a fascinating experience, but it’s time to re-enter the 21st century. Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo are my next stops along the highly efficient Japan Rail system, and I rush headlong into a whirl of karaoke bars, neon signage, and heated toilet seats.

FROM TOP: writer Laura Millar wears her geisha get-up; a traditional ‘kaiseki’ feast, made up of seven belt-busting courses

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Experiences

Osaka strikes me as a mini-Manhattan; its Times Square is the buzzing Dotonbori area, which by day is packed with tourists browsing the high street stores, stopping only for what is practically the national dish, takoyaki (fried balls of octopus in batter), and by night is full of pulsing, glittering, neon-advertising colourscapes, which are reflected in the water that flows under the Ebisubashi Bridge. A brief stopover in Nagoya, the country’s fourth-biggest city, introduces me to the peculiarly Japanese phenomenon of the maid café. A playground for geeky men who would otherwise enjoy very little female contact, the punters are served by attractive young women dressed in revealing costumes, who sing, play card games and pose for pictures in what is, in my opinion, a rather unsettling way. Japanese-invented But it’s Tokyo I Pachinko is a cross truly fall in love with: between a pinball a sprawling mass of machine and an arcade game. While characterful districts, gambling is illegal each one of them in Japan, players more interesting than exchange points the last. There’s the for non-cash prizes.

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JAPAN

ELECTRIC AVENUE: Tokyo’s Shibuya district is one of the capital’s busiest, its neon-soaked streets boasting shops, restaurants and clubs

chaotic outdoor market in Ueno, where you can get anything from pickled octopus tentacles to knock-off designer watches; the electric goods stores, video game arcades and Pachinko parlours of Akihabara, patronised by earnest, pale-skinned men who clearly never get out much; and the upmarket, Bond Street clone that is Ginza, elegantly lined with temples to designer consumerism, from Dior to Gucci. The area I’m staying in, Asakusa, is most famous for a different temple: Tokyo’s oldest

Buddhist place of worship, Senso-ji. The passageway up to the temple itself is lined with dozens of souvenir stalls, frequented by many more chattering schoolchildren (do Japanese school kids actually ever go to class?), all of them especially keen to practise their English. Surreal in the city By far my favourite area, however – even more than Harajuku (where rockabillies dressed as Elvis jive and jitterbug every


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Experiences

JAPAN

NEED TO KNOW ◆ Return flights from London

CROSS TO BEAR: The Shibuya district is famous for its bright advertising, as well as its ‘scramble’ pedestrian crossing ◆

Sunday, and elaborately costumed teens gather in Yoyogi Park) – is Shinjuku. Split roughly into two districts, on the one side is the business area, teeming with skyscrapers (in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, on Nishi-Shinjuku, you can find a free observation platform on its 45th floor, which gives breathtaking views of the city by both day and night). The other side is crammed with narrow streets in which countless bars, restaurants and stores (try discount joint Don Quijote on Kabukicho, which sells everything from sex toys to washing machines) nudge alongside the three best things I did in Tokyo. Firstly, a visit to the Calico Cat Café

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◆ ◆

In light of my epic trip, I come to the conclusion that in Japan, the old and the new sit together quite happily – and that goes for the people as well as the traditions, culture and architecture. I am impressed by the way the elderly are treated with so much respect by the young; by the fact you can order a skillfully cooked bowl of ramen noodles via a vending machine; and that you can be whisked from one shining metropolis to the other by a bullet train going at more than 200mph, while serene scenes of people tending their allotments in the countryside rush past the window. And while I might not have survived if I’d been a ninja here in the 15th century, or a geisha after that, as a visitor in the 21st century, I’m already planning to return. e

PHOTOGRAPH by Getty Images

BIKINI-CLAD WOMEN RIDE ILLUMINATED TANKS, WHILE ROBOTS ZOOM AROUND ON MOTORCYCLES

(catcafe.jp/shop_shinjyuku.html). As you’ve no doubt heard, this phenomenon involves a lot of cats wandering around, sometimes deigning to be petted. It’s highly popular in Japan because most apartment buildings don’t allow pets. Two hours here costs around £10, and if you ask me, it’s money well spent. If I had my way, there’d be hundreds of these cafés in the UK, and I’d be happy if they branched out into puppies, rabbits and guinea pigs. Secondly, the Golden Gai area. Tucked away from the main road (near a 17thcentury Shinto shrine, Hanazono), it consists of six tiny alleys (the low-slung buildings date from before the Second World War). Stuffed into it are more than 200 minuscule bars, The concept of the some only seating cat café has now around six people, made its way from each with its own Tokyo to London. Lady Dinah’s Cat distinct ambience Emporium is the or theme (from the capital’s first, and is cosy Flamenco bar, already fully booked until June 2014. lined with pictures of dancers, to the pulsing, always-busy Albatross, which has seating on three floors). And, finally, the quite insane Robot Restaurant (robot-restaurant.com/E/). You don’t go there for the food (a small bento box of largely unspecial cuisine), you go there to watch bikini-clad women ride on giant illuminated tanks, metallic robots zoom around on Tron-like motorcycles, giant inflatable sharks, people dressed as dinosaurs and so on, in the basement of a three-storey fun palace, which is only slightly more subtly decorated than one of Liberace’s bathrooms. But only slightly.

to Tokyo via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific cost around £578; for more information, visit cathaypacific.com Ryokan Akame Onsen, +81 (0)595 63 1126, doubles from approx. £128 per night, including kaiseki and breakfast Ninja school: contact ninja@ akame48taki.com, or call +81 (0)595 64 2695. Cost: 1,700 yen (approx. £10 per person) Kyoto: hotelkeihan.co.jp, +81 (0)756 61 0321, doubles from approx. £61 per night Osaka: crosshotel.com, +81 (0)662 13 8281, doubles from approx. £82 per night Nagoya: theb-hotels.com, +81 (0)522 41 1500, doubles from approx. £58 per night Tokyo: gate-hotel.jp, +81 (0)358 26 3871, doubles from approx. £140 including breakfast Geiko makeover: Yumekoubou Kiyomizu-dera studio, yumekoubou.info, +81 (0)756 61 0858. 13,050 yen (approx. £77) For more information about Kyoto visit kyoto.travel To organise a city tour in Japan, contact insidejapantours.com; 0117 370 9751 For general info on Japan, visit seejapan.co.uk


PICTU

PHOTOGRAPH by MB Photography

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Experiences

MARRAKECH

Photograph by ###

RFECT

The medieval maze of Marrakech is the ideal place to sharpen your photography skills. Cathy Adams dives into the city’s chaotic souks and famously ‘fragrant’ tanneries on a mission to give it her best shot

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Experiences

MARRAKECH

I

’m sitting on the floor in front of an ordinary-looking gold door (as ordinary as a gilded entrance can look, anyway), angling my DSLR camera straight ahead. Photographer Terry Munson is trying to explain to me – an amateur photographer at best – why this isn’t just any door. It is, he says, about to be the subject of my first good shot. I’m not convinced, given my past history as a snapper. I’m the doyenne of the outof-focus beach and shadowy cityscapes. But things must be looking up, as I’ve been dispatched to Marrakech for the weekend with strict orders to finally learn what all those pesky dials on my flashy Canon camera do. And it’s going well. I think. As part of New York-born Munson’s walking photography tour, we’re spending the morning sauntering around Marrakech’s historic medina, searching for doors, angles, mosaic tiles – basically everything that isn’t the stray animals that I can’t help but aim my camera towards at every opportunity. There are few better places to master the art of photography: over the past few years, Marrakech has hit artistic puberty, and is maturing into a major arts and culture destination. Late last year, for example, the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts opened with an exhibition of contemporary Moroccan photographers. Plus, with cornflower-blue skies and pink

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Tanners utilise terracotta houses, hundreds of concrete it’s one of the most vats to process photogenic cities in animal hides that the world. are then turned into leather. Skins Just before 9am, are softened in a the snaking souks pungent soup of have started to wake pigeon droppings. up, and the bright January light is beginning to fold over the stone houses. It sounds obvious, but there’s something different about the light in North Africa – it’s a world away from the pallid London light – which is proving a boon to my burgeoning photography skills. We hit up the leather tanneries first thing. Colourful, sloppy and seeping an acrid whiff (I’m thankful I stopped at two glasses of home-grown wine the night before), there are hundreds of animal skins being washed and dried in the square. Men are waist-deep in the basins, scrubbing vigorously, as the light scythes off the hides, making a nice portrait of early morning life within the city walls. More prime picture opportunities present themselves in the dense souks. Sunlight streams through the wicker roofs of the shopping streets, lighting up the stalls flogging everything from tin lanterns and bright scarves to the garish slippers that everybody buys but never wears. After a restorative Moroccan mint tea at Cafe Arabe (one of the only places to hold an alcohol licence in the medina – the old

fortified town – making it a party hangout), we head into the medina’s main meeting point, the Djemaa el-Fna. But we’re not here to take staged pictures while petting monkeys and holding sedated snakes. The busy tourist trap – er, square – doesn’t make the best backdrop for a photo, Munson tells me, mostly because it’s too expansive and there’s always a tourist-toting horse or double denim-clad monkey photobombing any picture you try to take.

PHOTOGRAPHS by Magdalena Jankowska/Getty and Cathy Adams

MARRAKECH HAS NOW HIT ARTISTIC PUBERTY, MATURING INTO A MAJOR ARTS & CULTURE DESTINATION

ABOVE: Stacks of spices in the city’s souks make a colourfully exotic picture. BELOW: Our associate editor Cathy’s ‘arty’ minaret


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Experiences

MARRAKECH

SADLY, MY IDEA OF AN ARTY ANGLE ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE I FELL OVER MID-SHOT The Koutubia mosque west of Djemaa el-Fna is a different story. Marrakech’s largest mosque has an ornate minaret tower that acts as a talisman for wanderers across the square. I squint into the sun for the shot – and the lens, frustratingly, grinds back and forth without actually taking the photo. Munson appears and points out I’ve got nothing to focus on, and my idea of an arty off-angle snap with the Koutubia to the edge of the frame actually looks like I fell over mid-shot. Thankfully, we decide to call the tour a day here, before I throw my Canon over the city walls in protest. A photogenic weekend should be spent in an equally photogenic hotel, and the Palais Mosaic Aziza in the topiary-covered Palmeraie (unfortunately) gives me no excuse to put away my camera. Villas, balconies and sun loungers are arranged around the turquoise pool in the courtyard, and from my room’s Marrakech’s main balcony all I can see square is a non-stop is palm treetops, attack on the senses, with everything from which makes a snake charmers particularly smug to dancing troupes Instagram post. and kebab hawkers Over a sun-baked clamouring for your attention (and cash). lunch around the

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NEED TO KNOW ‘Marrakech Through a Lens’ with Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa costs €745pp (around £620), based on two sharing a pavilion on a B&B basis for three nights. Includes hammam and spa treatment each, dinner at Maroliano restaurant with a bottle of local wine, and photography tour of the medina with Terry Munson. easyJet flies to Marrakech from £37.74 one way. mosaicpalaisaziza.com; easyjet.com

gorgeous courtyard, we plan our assault on Marrakech’s remaining photography hotspots: the wild and rocky Agafay desert beneath the snow-capped Atlas mountains, and Yves Saint Laurent’s royal blue Jardin Majorelle. (I’m later told by Escapism’s art director that my attempt at capturing the Agafay’s huge reservoir achieves a ‘passable’ result, but my snap of a giant cactus in the Jardin Majorelle doesn’t cut the mustard.) I realise my newfound talent has been wasted for far too long when, over a tagine later that night at Le Salama, a cocktail bar and traditional Moroccan restaurant down a side street from Djemaa el-Fna, I scroll through the tens of pictures of stray cats and dogs that have filled up my memory card. The art team might disagree with me, but hey, that’s OK. I’ll just run back to Marrakech to give it another go… e


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IN SCO FOOTS Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere pulled sled loads weighing 200kg each. The journey was equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons – in -50°C temperatures.

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OTT’S TEPS

Experiences

ANTARCTICA

Photograph by ###

More than a century after Captain Scott perished on his round trip to the South Pole, a pair of Brits have made history and completed the gruelling, 1,795 mile journey on foot. Jon Hawkins talks endurance with one of the men behind this madness

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Antarctica: The ultimate adventure Our popular Antarctica Base Camp Expedition from £4320pp takes expedition cruising to a whole new level. This exciting trip offers camping, hiking, diving, kayaking and even mountaineering for the Ultimate Adventure. Follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers and visit the world’s last true wilderness. A trip to Antarctica is like no other. Jaw-dropping scenery and close-up encounters with incredible wildlife including penguins, seals and whales are just the tip of the iceberg.

…Live for today Chimu Adventures are the UK’s leading specialist in expedition cruising to Antarctica, offering expert advice, the widest choice and the most competitive prices. www.chimuadventures.com | Phone: 0207403 8265 | Email: uk@chimuadventures.com


Experiences

ANTARCTICA

C

aptain Robert Falcon Scott’s failed 1910-12 expedition to reach the South Pole first is the stuff of exploring legend. Though Scott’s team arrived at the Pole in January 1912, Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition had got there first. Then things got worse – blizzards, high winds, and the decision to pull the sledges themselves (the Norwegians used teams of dogs) conspired against the British. By April, the whole team had died. And until this year, no one had ever managed to complete Scott’s 1,795-mile route from the north shore of Ross Island in Antarctica to the South Pole and back on foot. On 7 February this year, Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere changed all that, completing the journey in 105 days. Here, Saunders tells their remarkable story…

I’d been planning the expedition for more than 10 years. Initially, I just wanted to know why – more than a century after Scott, and given what we’ve learned about everything from treating scurvy, to solar panels, materials, and satellite communications – no one had actually gone further than this in Antarctica. How come that was as high as the bar had been set? I looked at it as an intriguing, almost athletic challenge, rather than exploring in the pure sense of the word; we didn’t go down there trying to find out where the South Pole was. I was just fascinated by the fact this journey hadn’t been finished.

We found out the hard way why no one had attempted the journey since Scott. It’s a long way, it’s extremely cold,

THE JOURNEY PUSHED ME TO MY LIMITS. WE COULDN’T HAVE GONE ANY FURTHER

Scott’s last diary entry and it’s a tough was dated 29 March. “It place to hang out seems a pity, but I do not for 105 days. The think I can write more,” he scrawled. He was found journey pushed on 12 November, having me and Tarka perished in his tent, by to our absolute explorers crossing the limits. We’ve both Ross Ice Shelf. done a lot of big, hard expeditions – I’ve spent a lot of time in the high Arctic, while Tarka’s done a lot of mountaineering. Neither of us are strangers to pushing ourselves, and to suffering in challenging environments, but this was in a different league altogether.

A lot of the enjoyment comes in hindsight. I’d always imagined the last day would be this incredibly emotional moment, with us skiing over the finish line and high-fiving. But we were just exhausted; we crawled over the line. Someone asked recently, “How much longer could you have carried on?” I don’t think we could have gone any further at all.

People assumed we’d toughen as we went on. It was the reverse; you get weaker and and start losing weight, and become very susceptible to things like hypothermia and frost injuries. So you have to really look after yourself. Near the Pole, it was very cold and windy – we were above 3,000 metres a lot of the time, and physically depleted as well.

We found ourselves reflecting on Scott and his team. In some ways we’ve come away with a sense of awe at just how far they got, more than a century ago, and their absolute commitment and risk. We had a safety net that just didn’t exist for Scott – we had daily communication, we were even blogging every night. To have got as far as they did, wearing what they were, eating what they did – it was mind-blowing.

I’ve gone through my Steve Redgrave moment, where I didn’t want to see a sledge or a pair of skis ever again. So yes, I’ve been thinking about what comes next, but at the moment I’m just resting and recovering. Even though outwardly I look back to normal, I feel very tired and fatigued – I need to catch up on some sleep. I’m writing a book about the expedition this summer, so that’s the next big challenge. e Land Rover is a co-sponsor of the Scott Expedition. For more, see: scottexpedition.com

TAKE ON YOUR OWN ANTARCTIC VOYAGE: You don’t have to be a grizzled explorer to visit the polar regions. Chimu Adventures operates Antarctic cruises that take in wildlife, wilderness and jaw-dropping scenery. chimuadventures.com

For me, the appeal of the polar regions lies in the extremity, the climate and the remoteness. Other than the base at the South Pole, we saw nothing man-made and no other people for 105 days. It’s a vast, genuine wilderness, and being there is a pretty special feeling.

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ABOVE: The United Arab Emirates’ capital city, Abu Dhabi, boasts an intoxicating mix of year-round sunshine, scenic cityscapes and historic palaces

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rabian hospitality, warm evenings and spectacular surroundings await you in Abu Dhabi’s buzzing metropolis – home to sunshine, awe-inspiring sights and a captivating mix of old and new. And with great deals on city breaks with British Airways, you could soon be soaking up the atmosphere in the United Arab Emirates’ prize gem. Abu Dhabi has long been the cultural powerhouse of the Arabian nation. Its Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the largest in the United Arab Emirates – is a breathtaking architectural triumph, and is large enough to hold as many as 40,000 worshippers. While it’s undoubtedly a city full of history and beautiful architecture, Abu Dhabi also knows how to let its hair down. Yas Waterworld – an exhilarating water park that the whole family will enjoy – and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the first Ferrari theme park anywhere on the globe, are two popular tourist attractions. Alongside many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historic palaces, Abu Dhabi’s stunning cityscape never fails to take your breath away. But it’s not just history, culture and sun – Abu Dhabi stuns with its natural beauty. The city boasts a plethora of natural islands and more than 400km of pristine coastline – including the gorgeous Saadiyat Island Beach – and many tranquil oases, as well as its traditional

souks in the older part of the city. It’s here that you can watch daily life unfold and sample some delicious Emirati and Gulf food. Plus, owing to Abu Dhabi’s unique location in the middle of the sprawling Arabian desert, you have the opportunity to experience Arabia’s famed hospitality by sleeping under the stars in bedouin-style camps, camel trekking across the sand, or learning the art of falconry. With unbeatable deals on flights and hotels to Abu Dhabi starting from just £519pp with British Airways, this Arabian paradise city is much closer than you think…

THE DEAL Three-night holidays from £519pp. Includes accommodation in a three-star hotel and return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Heathrow. Book by 30 April. ba.com/abudhabi

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INTRODUCING PREMIUM ECONOMY. Enjoy the benefits of Premium Economy service on flights from London to Vancouver and Montreal*. Enjoy the comfort of premium service with: A more spacious seat Two free checked bags Premium meals and hot towel service Priority check-in and boarding Visit aircanada.com or call us on 0871 220 1111

* Premium Economy service to Vancouver starts early March 2014 and will also be available on flights to Montreal this summer.


WELCOME TO foodism A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE

T:280 mm

B:286 mm

S:264 mm

84 FOODIE VANCOUVER 92 TASTE OF LONDON 94 EAT THE WORLD 96 REVIEWS


BLAME CANADA Your trousers will feel snugger in Vancouver, which makes the most of Pacific Coast produce. Sensational flavours abound at both ends of the spending spectrum, finds Rosie Birkett

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foodism

Patti Photograph McConville /byAlamy ###

The Burger Bus offers organic meaty treats on the streets of BC

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T

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CLOCKWISE: Vancouver is one of the world’s most naturally good-looking cities; the pizzas and Vespas at Giovane, a temple to good taste in the Fairmont; and brews from Brassneck

on its beaches. It’s up to you whether you risk a crafty beer – many of the locals hide them in socks and slurp surreptitiously – but if you get caught by one of the city’s eagle-eyed, quad-biking cops, you’ll be faced with a hefty fine. Whether or not these uptight alcohol laws have anything to do with Vancouver’s apparent obsession with the intoxicating stuff, as witnessed by its wealth of newfound craft breweries, superb cocktail bars, urban wineries and now even its own craft gin distillery (longtabledistillery.com), is up for debate, but it sure goes some way towards making up for them. You might be limited in terms of where you can drink here, but you’ll never be short of very good options. Perhaps park your bike up somewhere safe, before heading to new brewery Brassneck (brassneck.ca) on hip Main Street and checking out some of its quirky local sups (try the ‘No Brainer’ pre-prohibition style corn lager), then stroll down the road to The Narrow Lounge (narrowlounge.com) – a lively, subterranean speakeasy located behind an unremarkable door around the corner on 3rd Avenue – for a slightly stiffer snifter.

>> THERE IS NOW A REAL WEALTH OF NEW CRAFT BREWERIES AND URBAN WINERIES, AND EVEN ITS OWN CRAFT GIN DISTILLERY

PHOTOGRAPHS by Stefano Politi Markovina/Alamy; Craig Samuel Photography Inc; Lucas Finlay Photography

here’s no denying it: a sunset picnic on Third Beach, Stanley Park, in the company of various posturing herons, lolling seals and, if you’re lucky, some wandering raccoons, is one hell of a way to absorb the bountiful beauty of Vancouver – a city prized for its natural good looks. And it’s the best way to end a bicycle ride around this famous, sprawling urban park, where age-old Douglas firs, stately cedars, shimmering lakes and hordes of geese greet you along with totem poles, peerless views of the magnificent Lions Gate Bridge, and the surrounding ocean. You can rest up against one of the beach’s many logs and settle in for an evening – stay until 9pm and hear the rumble of the Stanley Park cannon, fired at this time daily. And it’s best to soak up the sunset colours and soaring mountain views with some food – the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Giovane ‘the market’ deli sells an unrivalled selection of Italian-inspired picnic options, including house-cured meats and cheeses, all curated by executive chef Darren Brown, whose passion for fresh, well-sourced produce is clear in the range of single origin olive oils also on offer here. But if you fancy tucking into all this grub with a glass of prosecco, or a nice bottle of local pinot noir from Darren Brown has the nearby Okanagan also cooked at Alain Valley (Canada’s Ducasse’s miX answer to Napa), you’ll have to think again. Because one of the few downsides to this gorgeous city are the archaic licensing laws, which – though currently lobbied for updating – forbid the consumption of alcohol in its parks and


foodism

You’re going to need some decent scran to soak up all this local liquor, and the good news is that Vancouver is a greedy traveller’s hog heaven. If you’re feeling fancy, there are countless fine dining options to please your palate (and deplete your wallet): local uber-chef David Hawksworth trained with some of the UK’s most respected chefs, including Philip Howard at The Square and Raymond Blanc, and his eponymous restaurant (hawksworthrestaurant.com) at the swanky Rosewood Hotel Georgia is the place to taste cracking contemporary Canadian cuisine. Dedicated to showcasing the most pristine Pacific Coast produce, he creates refined, intricately crafted plates, such as smoked sablefish with Jerusalem artichoke, apple kimchi, bacon, and a citrus mustard emulsion. Over in West Vancouver,

chef Quang Dang – a one-time colleague of Hawksworth – is also flying the flag for the finest Pacific Coast produce at the aptly named West restaurant (westrestaurant.com). His menus give you the option of dining from ‘land’ or ‘sea’, Dang began his with dishes that career as a junior name-check local and sous chef at West regional specialities: think line-caught ling cod with chorizo, Helmers’ potatoes, and Dungeness crab vinaigrette, or braised bison short ribs, >> cous cous, Swiss chard and sweet

Real Americas Real Adventure Small Group Adventures from the American Experts Join us on our quest to explore the real Americas. Our tours encompass the most exciting sights and highlights, visits to off-the-beaten-path locations which you wouldn’t find if travelling alone and a whole range of exciting activities. With itineraries designed to make the most of your time, all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the Americas for what they are; thrilling, fulfilling and simply stunning.

Call 0333 003 8231 www.grandamericanadventures.com USA

Canada & Alaska

Central & South America


foodism

ABOVE: The city’s Asian communities are responsible for some of the cheapest and tastiest food in town. INSET: Japanese tuna tataki. BELOW: A long line at a food truck

PHOTOGRAPHS by David Buzzard/

Photograph by ###

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relaxed in 2009. Like Vancouver’s brick-andmortar restaurants, these gourmet street eats are defined by the wealth of wonderful local produce provided by the surrounding Pacific, and nearby agricultural hubs the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys. Fresh Local Wild (Burrard and West Hastings; freshlocalwild.com) makes the most of the aforementioned bountiful >>

Alamy; SoFood/Alamy; Xinhua/Alamy

>> PART OF THE CITY’S AMPLE CHARM IS GOOD, CHEAP FOOD AT EVERY CORNER

>> chilli emulsion. Whatever you do, don’t miss the West Coast oysters, which will delight with their vital, mineral, sea-washed slurpability, punchy hit of horseradish and a subtle, floral elderflower mignonette. But to think Vancouver’s food scene is all about the glam dining spots would be to massively underestimate it. Part of its ample charm is that there’s good, affordable food at every corner. Thanks to its thriving Asian communities, decent sushi, ramen, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese tapas and dim sum are commonplace, and – particularly in the case of sushi – surprisingly cheap. Try the tuna tataki with ponzu and crispy fried garlic chips at funky Guu Izakaya (guu-izakaya.com/gastown) in cool, cobbled, former industrial Gastown. Street kitchens have popped up all over town in vans, trucks and carts, since tight limitations on what food vendors could sell (popcorn, hotdogs and ice cream) were


Nespresso. The origin of it all.

The coffees you love have as their foundation an excellent espresso. Our Nespresso experts select from the finest coffee beans around the world to create our rich and complex blends. Explore the essence of quality coffee at nespresso.com


foodism

>> seafood, and offers local fish and chips with a conscience. The carbon-neutral truck powers its electrics with waste biomass and sources ingredients from local fishermen, ethical farms and sustainable wild forages. Try the BC fish shawarma – a mix of halibut, ling cod and steelhead with hummus, tabbouleh, pita and spice for $10. Japadog (Burrard and Smithe, and other locations in Downtown Vancouver; japadog.com; @japadog) is one street food purveyor you’ll notice more than any other because it has so many sites – though likely you’ll smell its sizzling onions before you see it. These fusion dogs are among the tastiest food you’ll find for under $10, and it doesn’t really matter whether you order the smoky Terimayo with teriyaki sauce and seaweed, or the Kobe Beef with Japanese ketchup and maple leaf-shaped bean curd – a bit like the

Fresh Local Wild re-uses the oil from its fryers for power

city itself, it’s all delicious.

Follow Rosie’s updates on @rosiefoodie and her blog at alotonherplate.com. Rosie’s debut cookbook, Fresh: 100 Delicious Recipes from Market to Table will be published by Hardie Grant in spring 2015. A return flight from London to Vancouver costs from £870 this April with Air Canada, including taxes (aircanada.com). f

PHOTOGRAPHS by Christopher Kober/Alamy; Albert Normandin

>> JAPADOG OFFERS SOME OF THE BEST FOOD THAT YOU WILL FIND FOR UNDER $10 WHERE TO STAY Budget: A recent refurbishment to mid-century motel The Burrard has kept all of the 1956-established property’s retro charm, while adding updated creature comforts, such as in-room Nespresso machines. The Burrard also offers free bike rentals. theburrard.com Boutique: With work from local artists forming the basis for each room’s ‘personality’, kooky boutique Opus is the digs of choice for the cool-hunters. Its Italian restaurant La Pentola della Quercia is worth a visit in its own right: generous, familystyle dining with pristine produce and an award-winning wine list. vancouver.opushotel.com

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Photograph by ###

Blow-out: The city’s tallest building is an elegant confluence of sleek glass and antique Asian fixtures, and is home to Vancouver’s ShangriLa. Treat yourself to dinner in three-Michelin-starred chef Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Market restaurant – the soy-glazed short ribs with apple-jalapeno purée and rosemary crumbs is a must-order. shangri-la.com/vancouver


foodism

Michel Roux Jr. gives a demonstration at Taste of London 2013

WEAPONS OF CHOICE

WEIGHING IN Typhoon Vintage Kitchen Scales, £27

A MATTER OF TASTE We’ve partnered up with London foodie fest Taste of London, which brings the very best of the capital’s cuisine to Regent’s Park this June

H

ere at foodism, we rather like sampling as much of London’s food scene as we can, but we’re also rather hamstrung by time. That’s why a festival that compiles dishes from London’s best and brightest restaurants and chefs across a single weekend seemed like the perfect idea

THE DETAILS Taste of London is held in London’s Regent’s Park from 19-22 June. To see the list of exhibitors or to book tickets, visit london.tastefestivals.com.

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to get on board with. Since it was launched in 2004, Taste of London has become the capital’s go-to food festival, and with 40 London restaurants, more than 200 artisanal producers and a whole host of top chefs in attendance, this year’s line up could well be the best one yet. Taste’s strong suit is merging big and small. World-class chefs such as Francesco Mazzei and Raymond Blanc will be cooking and hosting masterclasses, and headline restaurants including Le Gavroche and House of Ho will be creating dishes to be sold at stands. But there’ll also be hidden gems from London’s burgeoning street food scene and craft producers if you feel like keeping it real. Demand is high, so be sure to book quickly – and bon appétit. f

Whether your electric scales have finally tested your patience enough by inexplicably turning off mid-weigh, or you just fancy a bit of throwback 1950s cool in your kitchen, these scales from Typhoon are for you. redcandy.co.uk

KEEP YOUR COOL Smeg FAB28 refrigerator, £950 A fancy fridge with an ice maker and water chiller might save you a threemetre walk to the freezer – or maybe you just like the contemporary look – but we prefer this bold design classic from Smeg’s 1950s Retro Style collection. smeguk.com

POPPING UP Prezzybox Retro Popcorn Maker, £29.95 If you’ve never made popcorn, you might be surprised to know it’s as simple as, er, popping corn. Just pour the kernels into this 1950s-style popcorn maker and wait. Fresh popcorn whenever you fancy it. prezzybox.com


ETS K C I T ALE S N O ! NOW

The World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival 18 - 22 June 2014 Regent’s Park

Also featuring...

40 Top Restaurants

Masterclasses

Boutique Food Market

Worldclass Chefs

Book tickets at tastefestivals.com/london or call 0871 230 7132


1 2 EAT THE WORLD

SNACKS ON THE WATER

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…

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...and fire in the sky? No, but here are three fantastic floating restaurants

1. LATITUDE 37

Lake Powell, AZ, USA

Moored on the shores of Lake Powell, Latitude 37 serves the likes of smoked brisket nachos and a black and blue chicken burger. lakepowell.com

2. DIM IL L O’S ON T HE WAT E R Portland, ME, USA

A huge ship in Portland’s harbour, DiMillo’s is well-known for its friendly atmosphere and attentive service, and serves traditional Maine seafood and Italian meat and pasta. dimillos.com

3. JUMBO KINGDOM Hong Kong, Asia

It may sound like a soft play area, but Jumbo Kingdom’s actually a huge ‘theme park on the water’, with abounding dining options serving contemporary Chinese. jumbo.com.hk

▼ Celtic Elixir, Caorunn Gin

▼ Breakfast Martini, Salvatore’s

• 50ml Caorunn gin • 35ml fresh clementine juice • 25ml Stag’s Breath Liqueur or Old Pulteney 12yo • 15ml sugar syrup

• • • •

Put all of the ingredients into a mixing glass, shake well and double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a daffodil flower. caorunngin.com

Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a thin twist of orange on top, and garnish with a spiral of orange. playboyclublondon.com

50ml gin 15ml Cointreau 15ml fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon medium-slice orange marmalade


foodism

1 2 EAT THE WORLD

1. LONE EAGLE GRILLE Lake Tahoe, NV, USA

A PISTE OF CAKE

The Lone Eagle Grille’s food matches its surroundings on Lake Tahoe, with seasonal and creative game and meat dishes aplenty. loneeaglegrille.com

2. ICEQ

Sölden, Ötztal Alps, Austria At 3,048 metres above sea level and with a majestic view over the Ötztal Alps, new restaurant IceQ is pretty cool. It serves gourmet Alpine cuisine and pasta. soelden.com/iceq

3. SLOPE FOOD

Alta Badia, Dolomites, Italy As well as some amazing restaurants, Alta Badia is home to ‘Slope Food’ – street food created by Michelin-starred chefs and served out of 14 huts dotted across the piste. powderbyrne.com

Amazing dining right on the slopes is easier than you might think

3

▼ Rye Me to the Moon, Callooh Callay

▼ Kirei on the Way, Shoryu Ramen

• • • • •

• 40ml Kirei Umeshu Japanese plum wine (with added collagen) • 10ml Cointreau • 10ml Peachtree liqueur • 10ml lemon juice

35ml Bulleit Rye 35ml Amontillado sherry 10ml bay leaf syrup 2 dashes Abbott’s bitters 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix the Bulleit Rye, Amontillado sherry and bay leaf syrup in an old fashioned glass with ice, add the bitters and stir. Garnish with orange zest and a bay leaf. calloohcallaybar.com

Combine all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into a tumbler and garnish with a fresh strawberry. shoryuramen.com

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foodism

BRAVAS St. Katharine Docks, E1W 1AT; bravastapas.co.uk

REVIEWS Who passed our taste test of London’s best new bites this month?

The seafood biryani at Trishna in Marylebone Village

There’s a stirring in the water at St. Katharine Docks, and it’s got nothing to do with the yachts. New concept restaurant Bravas, hidden away in a corner, serves elegant, modern Spanish cuisine, flitting between simple but perfectly cooked dishes and complex, artfully presented chef’s creations. Highlights come in the form of Cantabrian anchovies (£5), served in a kitsch tin but fresh and superbly textured, and Moorish spiced lamb chops alongside a light, whipped rosemary aioli (£9). With the patatas bravas that lend the restaurant its name the only ‘staple’ dish on the menu, it’s contemporary Spanish dining that definitely pushes the boat out. – Mike Gibson

TRISHNA 15-17 Blandford Street, W1U 3DG; trishnalondon.com Not many restaurants inspire a Proustian-style flashback the moment you step into them. But Marylebone Village’s Michelinstarred Trishna manages just that – the smell wafting from the kitchen immediately whisks me back to the plates of daal and spicy prawn curries I inhaled in beachfront shacks in Goa. Thankfully, the recently relaunched Trishna, which zones in on south-west Indian cuisine, easily eclipses anything that arrives on a paper plate, not least because there’s a dedicated sommelier to match world wines with the food. The starter plates of baby squid with fennel and mango (£8.50) were beautifully presented, as was our delicate salmon tikka (£13). Order the Kerala Jheenga signature tiger prawn curry (£17) at all costs, and book onto the next flight to Goa while you’re at it. – Cathy Adams

Cold, sushi-style tapas from Bravas’ impressive fish menu

NUMBER 90 90 Wallis Road, London, E9 5LN; 90mainyard.co.uk

A restaurant and bar in the middle of a canalside multi-use arts space on an industrial estate in Hackney Wick, Number 90 sounds suspiciously like a Portlandia-style East London in-joke. But it’s very much real, and even worth checking out. Chef Leon Borja packs his dishes with passion and flavour, and

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when it all comes together – as in melt-in-themouth braised ox cheek with lightly charred celeriac and a caper jus (£14), and sticky, unctuous lamb ribs with soy beans (£6.50) – it’s stonking great comfort food, if hardly subtle. But then, with electrofunk coming out of the speakers, street art on the walls and soaring ceilings, nor is Number 90. Here’s hoping it stays that way. – Jon Hawkins


/graffignawines

IS FOR MALBEC

Drink Graffigna responsibly


SIPSMITH VJOP

foodism

England

London-based distiller Sipsmith has come up with VJOP, or Very Junipery Over Proof. It’s just that – extra juniper is added and the proof is ramped up to 57.7%. 70cl, £39.95. sipsmith.com

CAORUNN

Scotland

Caorunn is distilled entirely in Scotland, infused with five Celtic botanicals – rowan berry, coul blush apple, heather, dandelion and bog myrtle. Serve with a slice of red apple. 70cl, £26.75. caorunngin.com

JAPANESE GIN

England

Created in Cambridge, Japanese Gin may not be quite so Japanese as the name suggests, but with ingredients including yuzu peel and sansho pepper, its taste is pure Japan. 70cl, £64.99. selfridges.com

DÀ MHÌLE SEAWEED GIN

Wales

Photograph Photograph by David Harrison by ###

GINNED UP Small batch distilleries are proving there’s room to experiment with this revived old-school spirit

Welsh indie brand Dà Mhìle’s Seaweed Gin is an instant classic. Made with botanicals chosen to complement seafood, the spirit is then infused with seaweed, producing a fresh taste. 70cl, £30. damhile.co.uk

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Running Wild With active and fitness holidays increasing in popularity and the London Marathon fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to visit Kenya’s world-class running camps

K

enya may well conjure up images of ranging plains teeming with big game, bountiful national parks and white sands on beautiful tropical beaches, but more and more travellers are choosing to take part in its world-class running camps instead. For travellers who like to stay active on holiday and avid runners eager to train in a new environment, there are few better places than Kenya to experience incredible weather, diverse wildlife and first-rate running facilities all in one location. Kenya’s many running camps cater to all participants, no matter the level of experience, with the beautiful East African scenery making the perfect backdrop. All visitors are welcome, from casual runners interested in improving their fitness to fully-fledged athletes training for the London Marathon. With training programmes at highaltitude camps, Kenya’s running facilities are exceptional for building stamina and technique.

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The camps, such as the one led by four times World Champion Lornah Kiplagat, ensure that runners will have the best possible training from some of the most authoritative figures in marathon history. You’ll be in good company too – some of the world’s finest long-distance athletes are training in Kenya for the 2014 London Marathon. Whether it’s sharing a route with big game in the Safaricom Marathon, experiencing Kenya’s cultural roots in the Maasai Mara Marathon, or testing out the Lornah Kiplagat Running Camp’s new all-weather 400m track, there are courses and environments to suit every need, in all corners of Kenya’s rich landscape. With 59 national parks and 500km of Indian Ocean coastline, it’s well worth tagging on a few days of rest and relaxation post-training. Be it dipping your toes in azure waters or taking your chances of spotting an elusive rhino on safari, Kenya has you covered.

LACE UP... LEWA MARATHON AND HALF MARATHON PACKAGE

A six-night package starts at £1,259pp and includes a trip to the Aberdares Highlands, a day at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, entry into the Lewa Marathon or Half Marathon, two days’ safari at Samburu National Park, a stay at The Ark at Aberdares, and a barbecue lunch at the Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi. Accommodation, airport transfers and all meals included. Return flights not included. To book, call 0161 703 8161 or visit sportstoursinternational.co.uk/ running/kenya.


Promotion

KENYA TOURISM BOARD

Elephant, lion and sunset photographs by ©davidlloyd.net; bottom running image by ©Alison Hamlett

THE CAMPS CATER TO ALL LEVELS, WITH AFRICAN SCENERY – THE PERFECT BACKDROP

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Between The Vines Bored with Bordeaux and tired of Tempranillo? For an exciting alternative, head to the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland – picturesque home to 1,300 hectares of vineyards

G

eneva conjures up all manner of evocative images – the majestic Alps, mechanical watches and banking, for starters. Fine wine might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but the green countryside around the city and Lake Geneva is actually home to more than 1,300 hectares of vines. Switzerland’s third-largest wine-growing region is spread over three key areas: the Right Bank, the Left Bank and the section between the Arve and Rhone rivers, spanning an incredibly diverse range of landscapes. More than 30 grape varieties, including gamay, pinot noir and gamaret, are grown here, producing mostly red wine. Some excellent white wines are produced too, led by Swiss grape variety

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chasselas, although chardonnay, pinot blanc and sauvignon are also grown in abundance. You’ll find the Geneva winelands just moments from the city’s buzzing centre. The best way to see them is on foot, following one of the numerous wine trails, which cover 68km of vineyards. Two of the best are the famous ‘Rive Droite’ tour, which passes through Switzerland’s largst wine growing village, Satigny, and showcases many of the local grape varieties; while the ‘Entre Arve et Rhone’ walk focuses on matching the high-quality wine with food from local restaurants and producers. Thanks to its renowned terroir, Geneva throws open its doors during the Caves Ouvertes (open house) weekend in May, and there’s

no better time to experience the Swiss wine experience first hand. It gives the city a chance to showcase its top-flight wines and local viticulture, and offers Genevois and visitors alike the chance to taste some of the country’s best grapes. As Swiss International Air Lines (swiss.com) flies up to 60 times a week from London to Geneva from £84 return, a wine tasting weekend is closer than you think. Geneva also has some of Europe’s most breathtaking countryside, notably around the Lake and in the surrounding Swiss and French Alps. And where better to relax and enjoy a chilled glass of locally grown chasselas? For more information about Geneva’s wines, visit

geneva-tourism.ch


Promotion

GENEVA

GENEVA IS A DIVERSE WINE REGION, WITH MORE THAN 30 GRAPE VARIETIES PRODUCING BOTH RED AND WHITE WINES

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Geneva is home to more than 30 grape varieties; the ‘Open House’ weekend is a chance to taste local wine; locals and visitors are encouraged to taste the wine; vines around Lake Geneva

Caves Ouvertes 24 MAY 2014

Photograph (above) by Geneva Tourism/Olivier Miche, (top right), Regis Colombo, (middle right) Arnaud Childeric-Kalice

Whether you need to stock up your wine cellar or just want to taste some local Genevois wines, the Caves Ouvertes (open house) weekend in May is the best time to do it. Caves Ouvertes is an annual occasion when new wine is launched. The weekend is a fun and relaxed event on many Genevois’ calendar, with many swapping the city for the countryside. The wineries are open from 10am5pm, and most allow walk-in visitors, although individual visits can be booked with certain producers. Wine tasting is free, but guests will have to buy a CHF5 tasting glass first. Taste, enjoy and add to your collection.

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ACCOMMODATION

9 BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS TO CHOOSE FROM Situated in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, 950 miles west of Lisbon, the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores is one of the few unspoilt paradises on the planet.

ACTIVITIES

Something for everyone

A windmill overlooking the sea, a 16th century fortress hotel, or perhaps a quaint Azorean cottage by the sea? We feature over 140 unique properties on our website. visit www.azoreschoice.com for plenty of inspiration.

WALKING HOLIDAYS Nature’s paradise the Azores offers some of the loveliest walking in Europe. With nine diverse islands to choose from there are plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track. climb volcanic peaks, stroll dramatic coastal paths, explore magical crater lakes and take haven in one of the many secluded lagoons.

Whale watching to canyoning With a mild climate, miles of unspoilt coastline and an abundance of sealife, the Azores archipelago is a wondrous place for enjoying a wide range of activities at sea. On land, tour the islands by jeep, go mountain biking and horse riding or try your hand at canyoning.

Whale watching holidays from £868pp

Walking holidays from £839pp

FAMILY HOLIDAYS the Azores make a perfect holiday destination for families who are looking for a shared active holiday experience. Stunning scenery, fascinating sea life and a wealth of activities that can all be pre-arranged by us.

Family holidays from £2999 for family of 4

Pick and choose islands, activities and accommodation to create your very own Azores experience.

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COMPETITION

A GRAPE ESCAPE

Win a tasty weekend for two in Geneva, and find out how Swiss wine growers are taking on some the world’s best

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f a weekend spent in spectacular surroundings and visiting local wine producers sounds appealing, we’ve got the competition for you. We’ve teamed up with Geneva Tourism to give away a weekend for two to visit the city’s Caves Ouvertes (open house) wine tasting weekend on 24 May. Over the weekend, elite wine growers throw open their doors for this exclusive event. There’s wine tasting, entertainment and other oenological experiences on the bill, all taking place in the beautiful countryside around Geneva. The prize includes return flights for two with Swiss International Air Lines (swiss.com) and a two-night stay at the five-star Hotel Les Armures Genève (hotel-les-armures.ch), including breakfast. The winners will also get a souvenir tasting glass and t-shirt as well as a Geneva pass, which allows access to the city’s top attractions and offers free public transport.

SPEND A WEEKEND IN A SPECTACULAR SETTING, VISITING LOCAL WINE PRODUCERS ABOVE: Wine growers throw open their cellars during open house. BELOW: Lake Geneva

HOW TO WIN

Photograph by ###

To win a wine weekend in Geneva, just answer one simple question: which airline will the lucky winners be flying with? To enter, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/geneva-wine. For more details and full terms and conditions, see the website.

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COMPETITION

SPA QUALITY One lucky couple will be whisked off to an Austria’s Finest Experience Hotel for three nights of luxury pampering

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urrounded by nature at its most picturesque, Austria’s Finest Experience Hotels is an exclusive selection of luxurious retreats where experiencing life at its best and winding down in style is of the essence. Each hotel is of the highest quality, full of traditional Austrian warmth and character, with staff dedicated to creating a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere. Spa facilities are of the finest international standards. Alongside spa treatments, a wide variety of outdoor activities are on offer including hiking, Nordic walking, horse riding, mountain biking, golf and both downhill and cross-country skiing. To give you a taste of what Austria’s Finest Experience Hotels are all about, we’re giving away a luxurious spa break for two at the Karawankenhof Thermal Spa Hotel in Carinthia – see the pink box below for details on how to enter. Good luck! For more details on Austria’s Finest Experience Hotels, see austria.info/experience

HOW TO WIN To win a three-night spa break for two to Austria, including return flights from London, half board and one spa treatment each, answer one simple question: in which Austrian region is the hotel situated? To enter, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/austria. For more details and T&Cs, see the website.

Photograph by ###

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The harbour town of Kyrenia; the luxury Malpas Hotel & Casino is an ideal place to relax for a week; the sunbathing terrace; the spa; relax in the pools; the Cotton Jazz bar

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Promotion

NORTH CYPRUS

An Island Paradise Welcome to North Cyprus – an unspoilt corner of the Mediterranean with sparkling seas, green hills and luxury hotels. Stay at the Malpas Hotel & Casino for just £459pp

P

icture Mediterranean paradise – glittering azure seas, green hills and dramatic coastlines. You’re probably thinking of North Cyprus, with a heady mix of stunning and untouched scenery, gorgeous beaches and history to boot. With more than 300 days of sun each year, this unspoilt, European enclave is spread along 200 miles of stunning coastline, making it an

The Deal ◆ Seven nights in luxury five-star

Malpas Hotel

◆ Return daytime flights from London

Stansted

◆ 20kg hold luggage allowance

and 8kg hand luggage

◆ Free in-flight snacks and drinks

ideal summer break destination. Staying in a beautiful environment calls for an equally beautiful hotel, and where better than the luxurious Malpas Hotel & Casino on the stunning northern coast of the island? Situated just outside the charming harbour town of Kyrenia, the five-star luxury hotel and casino boasts its own secluded private beach with a sunbathing terrace. And if you tire of sun worshipping, there’s a top-flight spa and wellness centre to retreat to. The freshwater swimming pool, sauna and hammam will ensure you return to city life as relaxed as can be. After sundown, the hotel comes alive. If you don’t fancy the casino, the Cotton Jazz bar is the ideal place to recover from a hard day soaking up the rays, while listening to live music and admiring the remarkable scenery. Still dancing? Head to the Club Mansion beach club, where famous DJs spin tunes late into the warm Mediterranean weekend nights.

◆ Free half-board upgrade ◆ Superior hotel room

accommodation

◆ Airport transfers

◆ All UK and local taxes ◆ Full ATOL protection

For more information, call 020 3150 1553 or visit CyprusParadise.com/Escapism

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After Bite Fast relief from bites and stings. Don’t let bites and stings stop the family fun – take After Bite away with you. Easy-to-apply, fast-acting After Bite provides instant relief from the effects of mosquitoes, bees, wasps, nettles and jellyfish. From Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Lloydspharmacy and good chemists everywhere. Online at www.afterbite.co.uk Contains ammonia 3.5% w/v. Always read the label.

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Want to work for the UK’s biggest independent travel mag? Join our young, fun sales team. No experience necessary. For details, email: alex@escapismmagazine.com escapismmagazine.com

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FREEDOM FOUND... Allow yourself to imagine a simpler, more beautiful place, like nowhere else in England.

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The exclusive wellbeing retreat for women

L I V E W E L L , E AT W E L L

Word of mouth and local recommendation is the best way to find the right villa for a holiday in Italy. By connecting first with family and friends in his home town of Cefalu, Sicily, then elsewhere in Italy, Massimo has carefully gathered a beautiful collection of Italian holiday villas and a loyal band of guests who return year after year to book a villa recommended by Massimo and his friends. Each with a private pool or by the beach, his villa collection now extends to

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

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REAR VIEW

An alternative look at the world Built in 1931, the Cristo Redentor (‘Christ the Redeemer’) looks out over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from the top of Corcovado mountain. In January, it needed repairs to the thumb of its right hand after lightning struck. Here, it’s seen shrouded in clouds at sunset.

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Photograph by LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH/Alamy

LORDING IT


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YOU OUTSHINE ANY

Lighthouse. TO FIND YOUR PERFECT BEACH GETAWAY

VISIT VIRGINHOLIDAYS.COM

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Escapism - 8 - The Beach Issue  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 8 - The Beach Issue

Escapism - 8 - The Beach Issue  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 8 - The Beach Issue