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T R AV E L E X P E R I E N C E D

FACE TO FACE WITH CHILE

Chile is a ribbon of dramatic scenery and fascinating culture running from the magnificent Atacama desert, through Santiago and the wine-growing region, to the stunning Lake District and the icy wilderness of Patagonia. Cox & Kings organises small group tours and tailor-made travel arrangements covering the length of Chile.

For your chance to WIN the holiday of a lifetime to Chile visit

coxandkings.co.uk/chile To speak to an expert or request a brochure, please call 020 7873 5000 quoting ref: ESCM


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INSTANT ANORAK MEANS OF ESCAPE HEAD TO HEAD IN BRIEF AUTUMN BREAKS SKI CANADA STYLE: WOMEN STYLE: MEN GROOMING GEAR


DEPARTURES

Photograph by ###

POINT BREAK: Surreal and epic are the two words that best sum up the photographs from this daring mission. Californian photographer Chris Burkard shunned Santa Barbara for the Arctic Ocean with a group of hardy pro surfers. “It makes you realise how at the mercy of the elements you are,” Chris explains. Here, surfer Dion Agius prepares to paddle out in the Icelandic sea, while looking for a gap between the frozen waves. We don’t know what he’s waiting for – the water looks lovely.

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RIDING THE TUBE THE MOST INTENSE SURF TRIP EVER?

It’s incredible what some people will do to for a good profile picture. Here, Sam Hammer braves air and water temperatures of 2ºC in order to get pulled into a barrel off the Lofoten Islands, Norway. Watch a video diary of the expedition at smugmug.com

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DEPARTURES

Photograph Photograph by Chris Burkard by ###

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50,000

Instant ANORAK

THE NUMBER OF SPECTATORS AT THE 'COMBAT DES REINES' COW FIGHT IN SWITZERLAND. IT TAKES PLACE AT THE START OF OCTOBER

Being single's great, isn't it? The endless possibilities, the freedom, the ready meals for one. Maybe head to Northern Ireland for this year's matchmaking festival, eh?

THE EDITION OF THE ANNUAL HALLOWEEN DOG PARADE AT NEW YORK’S TOMPKINS SQUARE

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THE HEIGHT FROM WHICH MORE THAN 450 BASE JUMPERS FALL OFF THE NEW RIVER GORGE BRIDGE AT THE ANNUAL BRIDGE DAY IN VIRGINIA

million

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800 ft

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THE FIRST YEAR OF LAS VEGAS’ LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL FESTIVAL. KANYE WEST AND THE FOO FIGHTERS HEADLINE LATER THIS MONTH

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THE NUMBER OF ACRES IN ZILKER PARK, HOST TO AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FESTIVAL AT THE START OF OCTOBER

20,000 THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD EXPECTED TO CELEBRATE DIWALI, THE HINDU FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, THROUGHOUT THE MONTH

THE NUMBER OF SINGLETONS EXPECTED TO DESCEND ON THE TOWN OF LISDOONVARNA IN IRELAND FOR THE ANNUAL MATCHMAKING FESTIVAL FOR MORE, SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM


DEPARTURES

WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This month: Upside down living, chewing gum art and commuter chaos PHUKET, THAILAND Upside down houses are surprisingly common (there’s even one on Blackfriars Road), but none come weirder than this version in Phuket. Enter through the attic and you’ll find everything – as you’ve probably guessed already – is stuck to the ceiling. There’s even an upside down tuk tuk, though sadly there isn’t an upside down road. So that’s going to end in tears…

MEANS OF ESCAPE It’s a Madeiran laundry basket on skis that can reach 30mph. Do not try this at home #13 MONTE TOBOGGAN Photographs by Travel Pictures / Alamy; Willy Thuan; Kevan/Flickr

A trip to Madeira conjures up images of pristine coastline, fresh seafood and indulging in the local wine. Whizzing down the narrow streets in what is essentially a wicker basket with greased-up skis? Not so much, but people in Monte, Madeira, just can’t get enough of it. The downhill trip is made specifically on the two-mile-long slope between the towns of Monte and Funchal. The journey takes around tenminutes and you can get up to speeds of around 30mph as you navigate the hairpin bends running down the hills. While it’s thought the prototype was introduced to the island by a

British Army officer who wanted to help his disabled wife travel down the cobbled streets, it’s now only really used by tourists. All you have to do is sit in the cushioned box, while your drivers, or Carreiros do Monte, hang on the back, using the soles of their shoes to break. And you’d better tip them afterwards – there are no seat belts, meaning that your safety relies on them putting their feet down at just the right moments. It might look a little silly, but swashbuckling author Ernest Hemingway described it as “the most exhilarating experience of my life”. And if it’s good enough for the most badass writer of all time...

LONDON, UK Weird comes a little closer to home here – the Millennium Bridge, to be precise. If you look closely at the grooves in the floor, you’ll see that chewing gum artist Ben Wilson has created over 400 pieces of gum art on the bridge, which basically involves taking bits of discarded gum and making them look cool. “Is that a Jackson Pollock?”. “No, it’s a Wrigley’s Extra”.

TOKYO, JAPAN If you can’t handle Clapham Junction in rush hour, look away now. Shinjuku station in Tokyo is the world’s busiest, with more than 3.5m people passing through it each day. It’s made up of five smaller stations, 36 platforms, an underground arcade and more than 200 exits – so probably give that “c u outside Shinjuku stn at 8” text a miss, eh?

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

Head to HEAD MEXICO CITY, MEXICO Population: 8.8m

OAXACA, MEXICO Population: 3.8m

Nickname: City of the Palaces

Nickname: The Green Antequera

INHABITANTS

INHABITANTS

Office workers, policemen and fans of Despicable Me – you'll see a mind-blowing amount of Minion merchandise on sale. 7/10

Artists, writers, jaded American hippies and mezcal enthusiasts all flock to the cute-as-a-button state capital. 8/10

WHAT TO SAY

WHAT NOT TO SAY

WHAT TO SAY

WHAT NOT TO SAY

"Cool murals, guys, I love the colours"

"Sorry, I'm vegetarian. And hold the chilli sauce"

"Local handicrafts? Yes please! I never buy anything else"

"Local handicrafts? What did we invent factories for?"

DO

STAY

EAT & DRINK

DO

STAY

EAT & DRINK

There's art everywhere you look, but a visit to Frida Kahlo's enchanting house is still a must (museofridakahlo. org.mx). Later, have a beer while watching the lucha libre wrestling at the Arena Mexico. 10/10

Charming hotels are few and far between. A night at clean-butuninspiring Hotel Maria Cristina won't blow you away, but the huevos rancheros for breakfast will make up for it (hotelmariacristina. com.mx). 5/10

In Mexico City, it's all about eating standing up. Pick up a torta – a fried sandwich – or plate of soft tacos from any street corner. Whatever you go for, finish it with a dollop of blistering salsa and a good squeeze of lime juice. 9/10

Shop! Oaxaca is paradise for craft lovers. Start at the Benito Juarez market for everything from leather bags and embroidered clothes to chillies, and visit La Mano Magica on Alcalá for high-end homewares. 9/10

If you like all things homey, head to Casa de la Tía Tere (casadelatiatere. com), which has a selection of lovely rooms kitted out in local fabrics. Or try Palacio Borghese if you're after something ritzier (palacioborghese. com). 8/10

Traditional, quirky Los Danzantes serves cricket tacos and silky soups in the courtyard (losdanzantes. com). Make sure to visit edgy La Casa del Mezcal and try the local booze – it seems intimidating at first, but the staff are fantastic. 9/10

8/10

AND THE WINNER IS... Hipster Oaxaca just nudges it

9/10

CATHY ADAMS IS...

THE TOURIST ISTANBUL, TURKEY

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with locals spilling out of their doors, dancing in the street, insipid shots in hand. And the best bit? Waiters come out with shot sticks and serve you in the street. We bob about to some tunes straight from a Now That's What I Call Music! album, and order more. The next morning dawns just as hot (or should that be shot?) as the previous, the only difference being the cracking raki headache. In the sweaty heat, getting rid of the grogginess isn't easy, and it refuses to shift after several cups of bitter Turkish coffee and a bag full of cheese borek pastries. By 2pm, after a miserable morning exploring the Asian side of the city, I fall asleep standing up. Istanbul – you broke me. e

Illustration by Mark Boardman

There's only one way your night can go when you order a bottle of raki with dinner (if you don't want to read my tale of woe until the end, then spoiler alert: it's not up). Istanbul hardly ranks up there with Prague and Warsaw when it comes to top Watered-down raki drinking cities, but I've is called 'lion's milk' just come back, and can say with total certainty that it's a first-class ticket to hangover hell – if you're so inclined. For the unfamiliar, raki is an aniseflavoured aperitif popular in Turkey and the Balkans (after my first sip, memories flood back, Proust-like, of drinking it for lunch in some scruffy Albanian town), and is between 80-100 proof – it's so strong, you could use it to disinfect wounds. And somehow, I've ended up ordering it in a kebab 'restaurant' down a back alley off Taksim Square, mainly because everybody else is. After several straight sips it

makes my mouth feel like a dragon's nostril, before I figure out that others are diluting it like squash until it turns ominously cloudy. Even after doing this it's still grim, but I eventually struggle through a Coke can's worth of it, chasing gulps with warm white wine, on a stomach lined with a pitiful weak combination of vine leaves and baba ghanoush. From the restaurant terrace in Beyogˇlu – which by now I've taken to leering dangerously off the edge of – we move to 360, a slick rooftop bar on top of an apartment building on busy I˙ stiklal Caddesi for cocktails, and then to a shots bar where the party is spilling out into the street. (I'd like to say I was drawn in by its atmosphere, but in truth it was the poorly remixed r'n'b tracks and promise of aspartameheavy drinks.) Tektekçi opened a few years ago, and is Istanbul's first fully-fledged shots bar. It sells shots, and nothing else (unless you count the free peanuts and smarties in bowls on the bar that I wipe my hand in). Down one small alley, there are three different branches of it hemming in what is probably a perfectly respectable shopping street during the day – although I can't decide whether that's just because I'm so hammered I'm seeing triple – all


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DEPARTURES

WINGING IT INSTANT GUIDES FOR THE LAZY TRAVELLER

NEW YORK DO: NEW YORK WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL

in BRIEF

XMAS MARKETS Don’t know your gluhwein from your feuerzangenbowle? Head west to the festive markets of Prague, Vienna and Berlin

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in the Czech Republic. Not only does it make a vibrant city break destination (and the stag groups that troop around the city would probably agree with you here), but it turns into a proper winter wonderland at the end of November. Stalls overtake beautiful Wenceslas Square in the Old Town with a wide variety of hearty traditional Czech food (try trdelník – a hot sugar-coated pastry). The Prague Christmas outpost is also well known for its carols (presumably including Good King Wenceslas) – groups of singers travel from all around the country to sing at the Prague’s markets. And what is more Christmassy than that? e

NEED TO KNOW A two-night break to Prague at a 3* hotel starts from £139pp with British Airways. For more info and to book, visit ba.com/prague

STAY: VICEROY HOTEL You know that NYC’s slightly stuffy Midtown district is finally becoming cool when a slick hotel opens up – check into the recentlyopened Viceroy for design-heavy rooms and suites and towering views over Central Park. Oh – and did we mention the rooftop bar (unsurprisingly called The Roof)? It’s the place to see and be seen. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

MOVE: VINTAGE TRAIN OK, so getting on a regular subway doesn’t sound that much fun, but this is a vintage train decked out in old posters, that runs between 2nd Avenue and Queens. It’s only on between the end of November and New Year, and runs on Sundays – but it costs exactly the same as any other train. web.mta.info

Photograph by Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy, Richard Levine / Alamy

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f you need a little help to get into the festive spirit, a trip to a Christmas market is the fastest (and most fun) way to do it. From the end of November onwards, cities across Europe light up with twinkly lights and huge fir trees for their annual Christmas markets, and the biggest and blingiest take place in Prague, Vienna and Berlin. Berlin is home to around 60 Christmas markets in its grand squares and small alleyways, selling everything from currywurst to feuerzangenbowle, a traditional alcoholic drink where rumsoaked sugar is dripped into mulled wine. Meanwhile, there are around 25 different festive markets each year in the Austrian capital, Vienna. The biggest (and best) takes place outside the grand City Hall, and is thought to originate from the December markets of a few hundred years ago. Be sure to check out Vienna’s elaborately decorated Christmas trees, too – the Austrians know a decent bauble when they see one. But if you really want to blow your Christmas market socks off, head to Prague

Just in case you needed another excuse to eat and drink like a glutton in the Big Apple, one of the best foodie cities in the world – the New York Wine and Food Festival’s a pretty good one. From 16-19 October, there are dinners, tastings and brunches all around the city with celebrities and chefs. Bring your stretchy trousers. nycwff.org


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DEPARTURES

UK TOP FIVE

AUTUMN ESCAPES Christmas markets, festivals dedicated to Welsh poets and lots and lots of beer – the UK knows how to usher in autumn Bath: Christmas Markets

Photograph by CW Images / Alamy

If you’re too busy to make it to the festive markets of Berlin or Vienna, and too Londoned-out to head to the Southbank’s pop-up version, try Bath – the so-called Christmas capital of the West. From the end of November until mid-December, the city’s narrow streets and the square in front of Bath Abbey turn into a veritable winter wonderland, with festive gifts, decorations – and of course, gallons of mulled wine. And if the markets aren’t your bag, there can’t be many better places to usher in the festive season than Bath Spa’s alfresco rooftop pool – and don’t worry, it’s heated in winter. Get there with First Great Western. firstgreatwestern.co.uk; bathchristmasmarket.co.uk

ABOVE: The sweeping beaches of the Gower peninsula, a short drive out of the Welsh city of Swansea. BELOW: dinner at The Varsity in Cambridge – expect spookier food on Halloween

Belfast: Belfast Festival at Queen’s Held at Queen’s University in the Northern Irish capital, the annual arts and culture festival runs from 16 October – 1 November with a mixture of everything from film premieres, dance productions and classical music. In past years, the festival has hosted big names including Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison, so expect a decent shindig. For more details, see belfastfestival.com

Birmingham: Oktoberfest There aren’t many things that Birmingham and Munich share, but a love of beer is apparently one of them. The festival (actually in October, unlike its German counterpart) is putting on Oktoberfest with a huge tent for 2,500 drinkers, live schlager music and huge steins. And as you might expect, there will be plates of schnitzel served to you by staff in Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl – what else? For more information, see birmingham-oktoberfest.co.uk

Cambridge: Halloween

Photograph by ###

Sure, you can celebrate Halloween anywhere, but when it comes to proper ghosts and ghouls, Cambridge does things properly. Check into the city’s Varsity Hotel & Spa for a ghost tour and spooky supper, including black death salmon, devilled chorizo and pumpkin pie. No trick, all treat. £40pp, see thevarsityhotel.co.uk

Swansea: Dylan Thomas Festival If your idea of a wild weekend away involves bashing out some tercets and quatrains, then we’ve got just the break for you – Swansea’s Dylan Thomas festival, which this year celebrates the centenary of his birth. Swansea’s most famous export is celebrated for two weeks (27 October – 9 November) through talks, special guests and workshops. And if you need a break from rhyming couplets, the sweeping Gower Peninsula, with its picture-perfect golden sand beaches, is just a short drive away. e For more information, see dylanthomas.com

There are few better ways to usher in the festive season than with a dip in Bath Spa’s heated rooftop pool 21


snow CANADA! JASPER, AB

The ‘True North’ is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders, with fresh, dry powder, world-class facilities and uncluttered pistes. We’ll see you on the first lift for fresh tracks…

WHAT? Alberta’s Jasper National Park has natural beauty and world-class skiing in abundance, alongside empty pistes and a warm and friendly vibe. WHY? Nature lovers will be right at home in Jasper, where elk, moose and deer roam free, and anyone with a thirst for snow will find plenty of action in the Marmot Basin from November right through until May. INSIDER TIP Jasper Brewing Company makes six different beers, and there’s a bar and restaurant on-site too.

WHISTLER, BC

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FERNIE, BC WHAT? A laidback former mining town in the Rocky Mountains, famed for its plentiful powder and five bowls, criss-crossed with runs of varying difficulties. WHY? There’s plenty to keep experienced skiers busy in Fernie, with 30% of the 142 runs designated as advanced, though beginners won’t feel left out. INSIDER TIP Strong skiers and riders should take the lift to the top of polar peak, for staggering views and a challenging, thighburning run down.

Photographs by Jasper National Park, ©Paul Zizka Photography, Randy Lincks

WHAT? One of the best-known resorts on the planet, the vast Whistler ski area, about two hours’ drive north of Vancouver, spans two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. There’s more skiable terrain than any other resort in North America, and more than 200 runs. WHY? There’s something for everyone, from hardcore powder hounds to complete beginners, with hotels, bars and restaurants that leave other resorts trailing in its snow wake. Pedestrianised Whistler Village has over 200 shops, all within walking distance of one another. INSIDER TIP Xiggy’s Meadow, on Blackcomb, is a trek to get to, but on snow days you’ll be rewarded with epic, untouched powder.


DEPARTURES

BANFF & LAKE LOUISE, AB WHAT? You get three for the price of one in Banff National Park – Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and the huge Lake Louise resort, all set within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. WHY? Lake Louise manages to be at once a ski mecca and a peaceful, welcoming mountain village. There’s a vast 4,200-acre ski area to play in, spread across four mountainsides. INSIDER TIP The alpine bowls on the backside of Lake Louise are packed with tricky chutes and drops for experienced skiers and ‘boarders.

TREMBLANT, QC

Photograph by ###

WHAT? An idyllic mountain village an hour and a half by car from Montreal, with great skiing and French-influenced patisseries. WHY? Tremblant’s perfect for families, with a friendly atmosphere and plenty of long, easy runs. The resort also has one of North America’s most sophisticated snowmaking systems (there are more than 1,000 snow guns), so snow conditions are usually good. INSIDER TIP Nansen is a long, cruisy green/blue that stretches for more than three and a half miles.

READER PROMOTION Travel to all these destinations with Virgin Holidays and if you book before 31 October you’ll receive a £150 discount per couple. Valid for all USA and Canada ski packages for seven nights or more for departures between 1 December and 30 April 2015

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checklist ★ GIRLS ★

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THE CHILL FACTOR Colder days don’t necessarily call for colder clothes. You can still wrap up and look scorching with our pick of the best autumn clothes and accessories – guaranteed to see you through city breaks, escapes to the country and après-ski.

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3 HUNTER, Original clear mini tote, £190. Water-resistant, with a rubber base and the Hunter moustache motif. hunterboots.com 4 BANANA REPUBLIC, Jacquard elbow-sleeve top, £29.50. Pretty and versatile. bananarepublic.co.uk

5 OLIVER BONAS, Purse, £18. Fill it with travel essentials. 6 OLIVER BONAS, Pointelle snood, £18. Wrap up and stay warm on cooler nights. 7 OLIVER BONAS, Anali necklace, £26. Toughen up any outfit with these chunky black spikes. oliverbonas.com

8 BAILEY NELSON LONDON, Mim, £98. Shades in winter are still acceptable – providing you’re not indoors. baileynelson.co.uk 9 GENETIC X LIBERY ROSS, Plaid mid-rise skinny jean, £250. Sharp and stretchy in plaid. net-a-porter.com

Photograph by David Harrison

1 HUNTER, Original Clear Leg Boots, £175. Don’t hide away good legs in rubber – choose this clear pair instead. hunterboots.com 2 MINIMUM, Adelyn jacket, £100. Sleek and hard-wearing outerwear from the Danish brand. minimum.dk

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DEPARTURES

★ G U YS ★ 1 ORLEBAR BROWN, Frank, £45. Reversible beanie in tangerine lambswool. orlebarbrown.co.uk 2 PROTEST, Ponzo shirt, £44.99. Super soft and super light in blood red check. protest.eu 3 VANS, Sk8-Hi MTE, £70. Fleece-lined and Scotchguardtreated for winter. vans.co.uk 4 NUDIE, Antonsson belt, £58. Vintage patina and gunmetal buckle. nudiejeans.com

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5 ELLIOT BROWN, Bloxworth watch in gunmetal grey with leather strap, £475. Ready to take on the elements. elliotbrownwatches.com 6 NUDIE, Grim Tim, £115. With extra-compact construction for great comfort and warmth. nudiejeans.com 7 MCNAIR, Heavyweight virgin merino mountain shirt, £375. British-made jacket for all but the most extreme conditions. mcnairshirts.com

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Photograph by David Harrison

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Winter Collection 2014/15


DEPARTURES

★ GROOMING ★ COLD WEATHER PROTECTION

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1 MRS WHITE’S, Absolute Gentleman protective barrier cream, £25. With rose, beeswax and zinc. roullierwhite.com 2 AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES, Rose Radiance skin serum, £40. Food for skin. aromatherapyassociates.com

MY HONG KONG GUIDE

SEASONAL CITIES

HITLIST

FOODSPOTTING

FREE | IOS, ANDROID

FREE | IOS

FREE | IOS, ANDROID

FREE | IOS, ANDROID, B’BERRY

Choose from thousands of attractions, restaurants and shops in the Asian megacity and compile your perfect Hong Kong itinerary using the app. Plus, you can share your experiences over social media. guide.discoverhongkong.com

As the name suggests, Seasonal Cities covers 11 key cities across the world and recommends what to do in them based on real-time weather updates. Rainy in NYC? Head to a gallery. seasonalcities.com

Got too many places on your travel hit list and can’t decide where to go next? Make your bucket list on the app and it’ll tell you the best time to visit, and find you cheap airfares and itineraries to boot. hitlistapp.com

Warning – this app will make you super hungry. Users post pictures of dishes from local restaurants so you can decide where to eat while on holiday, so you don’t end up in the McDonald’s AGAIN. foodspotting.com

PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

★ APPS ★ 28

3 THE REFINERY, Shave oil, £27. Replenish and fortify damaged skin. the-refinery.com 4 ORIGINS, High-potency NightA-Mins, £29.33. Skin renewal cream. worlddutyfree.com 5 AVEDA, Dry remedy, £19.50. For hydrated hair. aveda.com


THE LEGENDARY HAWX FIT. NOW WITH MEMORY FIT, 3M™ THINSULATE™ AND SOLE FLEX.

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DEPARTURES

★ GEAR ★

RUCKSACKS THE ALL ROUNDER

OSPREY: Quasar 28L, £55. With more straps and pockets than you’ll have things to stash in them, the Quasar’s scarily capable on the commute or trail. ospreyeurope.com

THE HIPSTER

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INOV-8: Race Ultra 10L, £120. High-performance running and biking vest from the County Durham brand, for when you want to go long. inov-8.com

Photograph by ### Photograph by David Harrison

PATAGONIA: Toromiro 22L, £45. Retro sack with an eco-friendly heart: it’s made from recycled polyester with a waterrepellent finish. patagonia.com

THE ATHLETE


Born in the Canadian Coast Mountain wilderness, Arc’teryx is built on the principle of obsessive, precise design and production. Unrivaled performance at the point of extreme need.


Life’s A Beach Whether you’re a family seeking a relaxing break or a couple after a romantic escape, check into one of the Fairmont hotels in Bermuda, and get two free nights for a seven-night stay with British Airways

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t under seven hours’ flight from London, the Atlantic isle of Bermuda has plenty to keep all kinds of traveller busy – whether you’re after a family break or a chilled-out couples’ escape. And with two great deals from British Airways – both offering two free nights for a seven-night stay – to take advantage of this autumn, you could soon be enjoying Bermuda’s intoxicating mix of yearround sun, pink sands and turquoise waters in one of two stunning Fairmont resorts.

Fairmont Southampton

Located at Bermuda’s highest point, the vibrant Fairmont Southampton overlooks the famous pink sand beaches of the island’s south shore as well as lush bougainvillea and swaying coconut palms. It’s got serious credentials as a worldclass luxury resort, but is also a top choice for families looking for a year-round holiday. Children and adults alike will find endless opportunities for fun and relaxation with its unparalleled amenities like the oceanfront beach club, tennis club, jet ski rentals or the

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18-hole championship Turtle Hill Golf Course. There’s also a daily kids’ programme to keep them entertained, and an events calendar full of the month’s hottest happenings and special promotions – what more can you ask for on a relaxed break with your nearest and dearest?

Fairmont Hamilton Princess

If you’re after a sophisticated couples retreat, choose the romantic Fairmont Hamilton Princess, a luxury urban resort overlooking the azure waters of the Hamilton Harbour. Known as the ‘pink palace’, it has the best of both worlds – boasting breathtaking ocean views, but only a five-minute walk from the vibrant shopping and nightlife of downtown Hamilton. It’s a true urban oasis, with a dazzling infinity pool overlooking the harbour, two elegant restaurants from which to watch Bermuda’s stunning sunsets and a whole host of adventure activities – expect sailing, golf, kayaking and jet-skiing and more. It’s the ultimate mix of relaxation and adventure – look no further if you’re looking for a romantic getaway. ◆

The Deal ENJOY TWO FREE NIGHTS FOR EVERY SEVEN NIGHT STAY

1. Seven-night holidays at Fairmont Southampton start from £1,099pp including return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Gatwick. 2. Seven-night holidays at Fairmont Hamilton Princess start from £1,299pp, including return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Gatwick. To book, and for more information, see

ba.com/fairmontbermuda

Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Free night offer is valid for travel until 31 Mar 2015 when you book by 31 Dec 2014. Prices based on selected travel between 13 Jan and 19 Feb 2015. Book by 16 Nov 2014.


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SKI SPECIAL RACE COURCHEVEL OLD IN OKINAWA ECO COSTA RICA SKYE’S THE LIMIT

HIGH ROLLER: When you’re not drinking snake-infused moonshine or having a bottle of champagne winched to your table, Courchevel in the Trois Vallées makes for some of the best skiing on earth. [p52]

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Experiences

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Photograph by ###

It’s that time again: freshly groomed pistes, backcountry adventures and walking home in ski boots after heavy après. We’ve got the best resorts, chalets and gear for the new season 39


#loveskiing ELLIS BRIGHAM SHOPS NATIONWIDE London: Covent Garden, St.Paul’s One New Change, Westfield London, Westfield Stratford & Kensington High St • Cambridge Lion Yard • Xscape Milton Keynes • Tamworth Snowdome • Bristol • Manchester • Chester • Liverpool • Xscape Castleford/Leeds • Glasgow intu Braehead • Aviemore • Fort William The North Face Stores London: Covent Garden, St.Paul’s One New Change, Westfield London & Westfield Stratford • Cambridge Lion Yard • Sheffield Meadowhall

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Experiences

the e i b w ne

SKI

Eider women’s Manhattan jacket, £249.99; Killy women’s Eyeliner pant, £249.99. Both ellis-brigham.com Killy women’s Cute jacket, £549, killy.com; Killy women’s Eyeliner pant, £249.99. ellis-brigham.com

Banker: Northstar, California Northstar, on California’s Lake Tahoe, benefits from the best of both worlds: it’s a world-class resort, but it’s also got enough blue and green runs to appeal to beginners and intermediates. There’s a great ski school as well as a snowboard academy to learn the basics, and if you get fed up of hitting the powder one afternoon, Northstar has snow tubing – which does exactly what it says on the tin. Grab a rubber ring and bounce down the mountain instead. northstarcalifornia.com WHERE TO STAY: Located mid-mountain, the

Ritz-Carlton Northstar California is a luxury snow bolthole with ski-in, ski-out access. From £164pn in winter season. ritzcarlton.com

Newcomer: Pamporovo, Bulgaria

Photograph by (right) Bill Stevenson

Sure, Bulgaria might not have the dramatic peaks of the Alps or the Dolomites that Western Europe does so well, but it’s quickly becoming one of the top snow destinations east of Berlin for newbies. Pamporovo, to the south of the country, is ideal for first-timers who don’t crave steep runs, banging après-ski and a bleak-looking bank balance after a week. There are plenty of sunshine days up here – 270 a year, to be precise – which means great visibility for skiers of all standards, and the snow coverage and quality are good.

IF YOU GET FED UP OF HITTING THE POWDER ONE AFTERNOON, TRY SNOW TUBING

Killy women’s Chic jacket, £549. Killy women’s Eyeliner pant, £249.99. Both ellis-brigham.com

SALLA, FINLAND As you might expect, there’s quite a lot of snow in Lapland. Salla, in northern Finland, is an ideal resort for beginners, with just 15 pistes and most of the accommodation grouped very close to the main ski area. There’s plenty to keep the non-skiers amused, too – starting with a northern lights reindeer safari and a snowmobile excursion to the Russian border. If it’s good enough for Santa… lapland.fi WHERE TO STAY: Check into the cosy and comfortable Sallatunturin Tuvat resort – each cottage is decked out in traditional Finnish style, and they’re right by the slopes. A week’s stay costs around £440. sallatunturi.fi WILD

CARD

WHERE TO STAY: Crystal Ski offers a week’s

full board at the Hotel Orlovetz from £475pp, including return flights from London. crystalski.co.uk

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Experiences

SKI

ABOVE: Hemsedal has great backcountry and a world-class snow park. LEFT: Breckenridge has been expanded for this season

the

Banker: Davos-Klosters, Switzerland Let’s get a misconception out of the way first: everyone who’s never been to the Davos-Klosters ski area assumes it’s a snowy playground for tax exiles and holidaying barons. Wrong. Well, it is, but it’s also a lot more accessible than you’d think and, most importantly, the skiing and ’boarding is off the chart. Not only does this huge ski area (comparable in size to France’s Espace Killy) boast super-long runs, like the 12km red that snakes from the top of the Weissfluhgipfel down into the valley, but the backcountry terrain is among the best in Europe and full of snow stashes when the conditions are right. You can even

ski over the alps and across the border to tackle Austrian slopes in Gargellen. This season, a brand new cable car –faster, smoother and with twice the capacity – will whisk people to the top of the Jakobshorn, which was one of the first mountains in the region to welcome the snowboarding crowd. As a result, it’ll be even easier to access the mountain’s runs (and bars) – not to mention the JatzPark, whose jumps, rails and slopestyle course make it one of the biggest freestyle parks in the Alps. WHERE TO STAY: Double rooms at the two-star

Sporthotel Clavadel in Davos start from £92 per night including breakfast. sporthotel-clavadel.ch

Newcomer: Breckenridge, USA

HEMSEDAL, NORWAY

WILD CARD

If you’re a snowboarder, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of Hemsedal – it’s a rider’s mecca, with a world-class freestyle park, epic backcountry and the added bonus of a long, Nordic season. Look out for the late-night skiing on freshly groomed slopes from 6-10pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 23 December and 26 March. WHERE TO STAY: The Skarsnuten is a spectacular design hotel in Hemsedal, made entirely from glass, steel and rock. From around £47pppn including breakfast. skistar.com

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In many ways, there’s nothing new at all about iconic Colorado resort Breckenridge – it’s a former gold rush town with the rough and ready miners’ saloons to prove it – but the addition of a whole new ski area makes it a fresh proposition. Peak 6, which opened on Christmas Day last year, joins peaks 7,8,9 and 10, and the expansion adds a massive 23% of skiable acreage to the resort – some of it lift-served and nearly a quarter hiketo. At the heart of the development are two new state-of-the-art chairlifts, which give access to a range of pistes and alpine bowls – and they’re only good news for skiers and snowboarders looking for a challenge. There are two new high bowls with cliff bands to either side, and 20 new diamond- or extreme-rated chutes. It’s not all daredevil stuff, though – the expansion’s designed to open up a bigger variety of runs to skiers and riders of all abilities. WHERE TO STAY: Seven nights at the Beaver Run

Resort, including flights, from £1,161 per adult with Crystal Ski. crystalski.co.uk

Suunto Ambit3 Sport in blue, £275

Hestra Sonata men’s gloves, £99.99

Armada Triad poles, £35. All ellis-brigham.com

Photograph by (above) Hemsedal.com/Kalle Hägglund

expert

DAVOS HAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST FREESTYLE PARKS IN EUROPE


e e i n k i al jun

the dren a

The Rockies always have been, and always will be, a worldwide skiing hotspot – and deservedly so. But while some of the resorts dotted across the range are great for the intermediate skier, Whistler, in British Columbia, is placed firmly in the ‘serious’ category. As well as testing out any of its seven parks – one of which includes a staggering 22ft half-pipe – you can try your hand at the piste used for the downhill slalom at the 2010 Winter Olympics. That’s not to mention the Peak 2 Peak gondola, which features the longest unsupported span in the world and has been known to attract unauthorised base-jumpers. Phew... WHERE TO STAY: Pan Pacific Mountainside

provides the best of resort-style living right on the slopes. From around £120pn. panpacific.com

Newcomer: Niseko, Japan Set against the monolithic Mt Yotei, Niseko, in the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido, is a resort that’s got plenty to offer all year round – but its beautiful pistes and natural hot springs, known as onsens, make winter the best time to visit. If you like your skiing fast and furious, look no further: the resort sprawls over more than 48km of pistes, and with a moisture content of 8%, the powder is dry and light, meaning you’ll barrel down

ABOVE: Whistler, in the Canadian Rockies, is one of the great snowsports playgrounds, with no fewer than seven freestyle parks

the slopes faster than almost anywhere else. Japan’s all about the off-piste – with slopes that are much less populated than their European resort counterparts, you can pick and choose where you want to ski, snowboard, snowmobile or even snow raft (think a giant dinghy packed full of people and flung down the mountain at speed and you’re on the right track). That means you’re in control of when, where and how fast you’re skiing, with natural light that lasts longer and floodlit runs into the night. And after you’re done tearing yourself a new one, you can retreat to the warm, steamy embrace of the onsen for a well-earned dip. WHERE TO STAY: Stays at Kasara Niseko Village

Townhouse – Alpine-style chalets that fit six just a stone’s throw from the lifts – start from around £1,220pn. kasara.com

Full Tilt Drop Kick, £290.

Salomon women’s X-max 90, £300. Both ellis-brigham.com

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Photograph by (above) by David McColm

NISEKO’S POWDER IS LIGHT, SO YOU’LL BARREL DOWNHILL

Banker: Whistler, Canada


Experiences

Oakley women’s Elevate goggles with VR50 pink iridium lens, £120. Giro women’s Era helmet, £90. Both ellis-brigham.com

Nike Khyber Volt goggles with transitions lens, £280; Bern Watts helmet, £85. Both ellis-brigham.com

SKI WILD CARD

LES ARCS, FRANCE We’re reliably informed that in order to learn the extreme sport known as speedflying, you have to be a proficient enough skier to be able to handle a black run on any kind of snow. Needless to say, it’s not one for the faint-hearted, and the centre at Les Arcs, part of the huge Paradiski ski area, will teach anyone who’s an accomplished enough skier and willing to give it a go. The premise? Buckle into a parachute and let mountain winds rip you off the piste and into the air as you descend the slopes – because skiing’s just boring without a bit of flying thrown in... paradiski.com WHERE TO STAY: Five-star Mineral Lodge has five B&B rooms, decked out in sleek wood and stone. Stays start from £136prpn. i-escape.com

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Experiences

SKI

Arcteryx Sidewinder jacket, £499.99; The North Face NFZ pant, £239.99. ellis-brigham.com

Colour Wear Falk jacket, £289.99. ellis-brigham.com

the

apres s kier Banker: St Anton, Austria

Known as the après-ski capital of the Alps, and with good reason – it’s stuffed full of hard-skiing, hard-partying types from November to April. So much so that popular bar MooserWirt reputedly sells 5,000 litres of beer a day over the winter. If you don’t fancy some of that, Club Kandahar – which pumps out dance music into the early hours – has a happy hour in the potentially apocalyptic 11pm-12am slot, while lowerkey Underground on the Piste is a small, candlelit bar with great live music. The skiing in St Anton is challenging, too – and that’s not just because you sank too much lager the night before.

local beer like it’s going out of fashion. The après-ski options run the gauntlet from restaurants that’ll serve you a flagon of beer to nightclubs like Genesis and Armstrong, which often hosts international DJs. And the best bit? It’s cheap as chips – a beer will set you back around £1.50. Zakopane’s got some tough runs too, including the six-mile long descent from the Kasprowy Wierch peak – but definitely don’t try this after those ill-advised, one-for-the-road shots of Zubrowka. You can thank us later…

WHERE TO STAY: The Belvedere Hotel

(belvederehotel.pl) is well-located to the slopes, and has a cosy 1920s feel. Or, if you’d prefer a package, Sunshine World offers seven nights’ accommodation at a catered chalet in Zakopane, including six days’ ski hire, ski school and lift passes from £395pp. sunshineworldpoland.com

Killy Contest jacket, £650. ellis-brigham.com

LAS VEGAS

WILD CARD

Bear with us – Sin City is genuinely a decent ski destination, and the après-ski (if you can call it that) back on the strip puts most alpine bars to shame. The Ski and Snowboard resort on Mount Charleston doesn’t exactly nip at the heels of other US resorts, but there are a handful of decent red and black runs (one even called ‘The Strip’) to warrant a visit. It’s probably the only place in the world you can zip from roulette table, to ski resort, to bigticket shows in the space of a day. skilasvegas.com WHERE TO STAY: The Cromwell is right at the heart of the strip – just 35 miles from slope to bar. From around £97pn. thecromwell.com

WHERE TO STAY: Mooser Hotel, connected to

MooserWirt, is really the only option if you’re only here for après-ski, not least because it’s stumbling distance from the bar. Rooms start from around £90. mooserhotel.at

Newcomer: Zakopane, Poland Poland already has a superior reputation as a drinking destination – and its ski resorts are no different. Zakopane, at the foot of the Tatra Mountains near the Slovakian border, is known locally as the ‘winter capital of Poland’ and does mulled wine and

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ER D N U O R -

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THEALL

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Banker: Val d’Isère, France One of Europe’s consistent big hitters, Val d’Isère delivers on several fronts: there’s superior skiing (it’s also linked in to neighbouring resort Tignes and you can even ski into Italy if you’re feeling particularly energetic); fun après-ski (try Dick’s Tea Bar or La Folie Douce, which can get going at midday); and great atmosphere to boot. There’s a handful of decent ski schools for beginners, too – so don’t worry if you can’t hack the Olympic run. WHERE TO STAY: The Black Pearl chalet is just ten

minutes’ walk from the centre of Val d’Isère, and close to the Funival funicular. It’s traditional Val luxury with a contemporary design twist. From £1,980pppw. summitretreats.com

Newcomer: San Cassiano, Italy The Dolomites are a good option for European powderhounds after a refined Italian resort. San Cassiano (and neighbour ABOVE: The Black Pearl in Val d’Isère puts a contemporary spin on the classic ski chalet formula, for high-rollers after something new

Salomon Assassin snowboard, £370. ellis-brigham.com

La Villa) in the Alta Badia ski area are better known for families and beginners, but the Sella Ronda trail, skiable in both directions, will keep the experts happy too. This area of north-east Italy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s also a mecca for foodies: three Michelin-starred restaurants are within 15 minutes of one another. e WHERE TO STAY: Get seven nights from £1,914pp

staying at Cristallo Hotel from 14 February on a half-board basis with Powder Byrne. Includes return flights and transfers. powderbyrne.com

Atomic Cloud 9 women’s skis (with bindings), £440. ellis-brigham.com

IN VAL D’ISERE YOU CAN EVEN SKI INTO ITALY IF YOU’RE FEELING ENERGETIC VOGEL, SLOVENIA

Line Sir Francis Bacon, £480. ellis-brigham.com

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WILD CARD

Tiny Slovenia (which often gets ignored for neighbouring Croatia) has many things going for it, not least its powder. Ski resort Vogel, around beautiful Lake Bohinj in the Triglav National Park, is making a dent in the European ski market: there’s 22km of mainly red and blue runs, as well as a huge snow park for powder junkies who fancy a change from racing really quickly down a hill. vogel.si WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Bohinj doubles as a lake- and slope-side property, with stunning views out over the eponymous lake. From around £24pn. hotel-bohinj.com


6 5 8 0 s t. c h r i s t o p h a m a r l b e r g 路 a U s t r i a + 4 3 ( 0 ) 5 4 4 6 2 8 0 4 路 s tay @ m a i e n s e e . c o m 路

w w w. m a i e n s e e . c o m


There is a winter wonderland waiting in Vienna, and British Airways’ flight and hotel packages mean it is now easier than ever to get into the festive spirit this autumn

C

hristmas is a time to be wistful; to bask in the glow of roaring fires and twinkling lights, and to submit yourself to the cheer and festivity the season brings with it. With that in mind, there’s nowhere better to get in the mood for the holiday season than Vienna’s Christmas markets. Running from 15 November, the city’s array of markets are a great way to ease yourself into the season, to do some truly unique Christmas shopping or just to pack in some seasonal eating and drinking ahead of the big day. You won’t be surprised to learn that there’s a little something for everyone in Vienna at Christmastime. Whether you’re after a grandiose, ornate, traditional marketplace, like

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the one on Rathausplatz, next to the austere City Hall; or a more cozy and quiet experience such as the one you’ll find at the Arts & Crafts Market in front of Karlskirche church, your tastes will be catered for, and then some. It goes without saying that those looking for festive food and drink won’t be left disappointed, either. Chocolate and mulled wine, hallmarks of the Christmas season in the UK and even more so in Europe, are well-represented at markets and stalls all over the city, so if shopping works up an appetite, you’re never far from a seasonal treat. Despite the antiquated charm and festivity to be found, there’s still the chance for some more contemporary shopping, too. The

WeihnachtsQuartier and the MuseumsQuartier are both hotspots for designer clothing and products – it’s not all about hand-crafted goods. There’s even room for some romance, too – a wander through Vienna at nighttime reveals the essence of the season, as the city is blanketed in Christmas lights that light up the streets and the markets. From twinkling bulbs strung along more than 40 streets, to huge red globes on Rotenturmstrasse, enormous chandeliers on Graben, Vienna’s streets become a true winter wonderland. There’s even a 60m Christmas tree made entirely of lights to be found on Schottenring – a reminder, if any was needed, that there’s nowhere more Christmassy you could be this festive season. ◆

Photographs (clockwise from top): Legend Christmas at Belvedere Palace by WienTourismus/Christian Stemper; Legend Christmas Rathausplatz by WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud; Legend Christmas Lights on Graben by WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud; Legend Christmas Market at Rathausplatz

Play the Markets


Promotion

BRITISH AIRWAYS

The Deal CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The Christmas village at Belvedere Palace lights up a winter’s evening; a child’s wonder at the market at Rathausplatz; huge chandeliers suspended in the streets above Graben; the huge Rathaus creates a perfect backdrop

THE CITY’S ARRAY OF MARKETS ARE A GREAT WAY TO EASE YOURSELF INTO THE SEASON, TO DO SOME TRULY UNIQUE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Two-night breaks start from £169pp, including return British Airways flights and 4* accommodation. To book or for more details, go to ba.com/vienna

Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Prices based on selected travel between 15 November and 16 December.

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Experiences

COURCHEVEL

E GLORY Jon Hawkins went to Courchevel to try his hand at ski racing, but found his chances of victory foiled by his own idiocy. And a bottled snake‌

Photograph by ###

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’m staring at the snake across a rickety table and the snake’s staring straight back at me. There’s one big difference between us, though – the snake’s dead and I’m not. In fact, it’s not just dead, it’s coiled up inside a glass bottle full of moonshine looking like a slapdash Damien Hirst artwork, and there’s an empty cup in front of me just begging to be filled. Santé! This isn’t what most people would expect from one of the world’s most exclusive ski resorts, but Courchevel, in France’s hallowed Trois Vallées ski area, turns out to be full of surprises – only one of which, thankfully, contains a pickled snake. The maker of the serpentine hooch is Pascal, the sort of unreconstructed mountain man whose comfort and ease in his exposed mountain refuge makes a city groundling like me feel utterly useless. Refusing his homebrew would be

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The resort’s name is derived from local patois. The word ‘écortzevé’ was used by farmers to describe the damage the area’s harsh grass did to their cows’ tongues.

unimaginable, so I pour a couple of fingers, knock it back, and wince. Pascal, who runs Refuge de la Traye, high up in the mountains behind Courchevel, makes the viperine in spring, before the snakes – vermin, he explains – have shed their skin. First, he distills an eau de vie (made from marc de raisin, or grape skins) until it reaches 70 proof, at which point he bottles it and drops in a live snake, which – predictably enough – goes beserk, releasing venom as it tries to bite its way out. He’s not allowed to sell it, unsurprisingly, but he can serve it to guests alongside the considerably less barbaric (and actually quite pleasant) liqueur sapinette, distilled from fresh pine shoots and marc de raisin.

A MAGNUM OF CHAMPAGNE SAILS OVER OUR HEADS IN A CAGE, WINCHED INTO THE VIP AREA


Experiences

PEAK PERFORMANCE: Courchevel’s spectacular scenery is a welcome distraction for skiers, but even better when seen on foot

Photographs by (main) Patrice Mestari and (top right) David Andre

To reach the refuge there’s a thighburning snowshoe slog from the tiny hamlet of Villard, on the outskirts of Courchevel, along a hard-packed forest track peppered with patches of ice and melted snow. As we gain height, we leave the trees behind and the path opens out into snow-covered fields, flooded with the pink last light of the day. I’ve never walked across the surface of a giant meringue, obviously, but I imagine this is what it would feel like. There hasn’t been a dump for days, and the snow – exposed to the sun and miles from traffic, human or otherwise – is deep and smooth, with a hard surface that occasionally gives way under my snowshoes to reveal a soft, fluffy middle. The views across the valley are remarkable, and with eagle eyes I might even to be able to see Courchevel and Méribel, with their boutiques selling €10,000 raccoon-fur Bogner jackets and a pair

of Vilebrequin shorts with 24-carat gold embroidery, bought (by a Russian, naturally) that day for €8,200, a shop attendant tells me. Only a few hours before I finally prised off my snowshoes and ducked into the refuge, I’d been at the piste-side La Folie Douce bar in neighbouring Méribel, tucking into a lavish spread of highly evolved mountain food while models sashayed up and down a nearby catwalk, a man on a balcony played jazz flute and the occasional magnum of champagne sailed over drinkers’ heads as it was winched in a cage from the raised DJ booth to the ground-level VIP area. But what Courchevel really does well – better even than liqueurs made from snakes and coats fashioned out of small mammals – is skiing. The Trois Vallées ski area, to which it belongs, is the largest in the world, and the resorts within it include the five Courchevel villages as well as Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, La Tania, Val Thorens, Saint Martin de Belleville, Orelle and Les Menuires. The range of accommodation, activities, prices and Snowshoes of one technical difficulty on kind or another offer throughout the have been used for valley is staggering – thousands of years, put simply, whatever but modern versions are tough, lightyou want from a weight and loaded skiing holiday, you’ll with technical probably find it here. features. And what I want is a break from the norm, hence swapping skis for snowshoes and sanity/mind for local moonshine, and it’s also why the following morning I’m trading pretend punches with a complete stranger at the top of an icy piste. This is one of several, slightly humiliating,

COURCHEVEL

CHALET R If you’re tired of identikit, cuckooclock chalets with swathes of wood panelling and antique skis nailed to the wall, Chalet R in Courchevel Village might just be the antidote. The styling is unashamedly modern, with big white sofas, modern art on the walls and huge windows that frame the dramatic scenery. Chalet R has five bedrooms and room to sleep up to 12, along with an indoor jacuzzi, a hammam and a terrace. There’s also a heated boot room and ski storage, and it’s only a short walk (or shuttle, if you’re trying to preserve your legs) to the Grangettes gondola, which will whisk you up to the centre of Courchevel for access to the enormous Trois Vallées ski area. For more chalets: powderwhite.com

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Experiences

COURCHEVEL

LIGHT FANTASTIC: Construction work on Courchevel’s first hotel – L’hôtel Départemental des Trois Vallées – began in 1946

dynamic exercises designed to prepare my body and mind for a lesson in giant slalom racing – that’s the one where skiers pelt downhill, weaving between flags with a knife-edge balance between carving a perfect line and spiralling off into the orange netting that lines the edge of the piste. A course has been set up on part of one of the runs used in the 1992 Winter Olympic Games, and we start with a series of sensitivity exercises that will – theoretically, at least – improve our feel for the snow

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my balance is noticeably better. Or perhaps it’s the snake venom still coursing through my veins, in which case it’s served me better than its previous owner. Sorry, mate… e Powder White offers seven nights in Courchevel from £349 per person, including fully catered chalet board. Powder White can arrange lift passes, transfers, ski lessons and guiding and in chalet ski fitting prior to departure. Five-hour refuge trip, including guide, snowshoe hire and food, from £108 per person through Powder White. 020 8877 8888; powderwhite.com

NEED TO KNOW ◆ Return flights to Lyon from £29.74

with easyJet. easyjet.com ◆ Two-day ski racing packages

start from €189, including four hours per day, video analysis, competition and prizes. skinewgen.com ◆ Courchevel day lift passes from €48 (3 Vallées €57). courchevel.com

Photographs by (top) Patrice Mestari and (inset) David Andre

I’M SO SURPRISED THAT I MISS THE FINISH GATE AND THROW AWAY THE WIN

under our skis and encourage us to trust the sharp metal edge on the hard-packed, icy piste. The trial runs are an education: my turns are tentative and slow, and I reach the finish each time with a sense that I’m not so much racing as lurching between flags. But all that changes once we start the competition The length of a giant proper, with two near slalom course – and identical courses how many gates laid out parallel to it has – varies according to the one another and vertical drop. each round run in a Competitors aren’t head-to-head, best allowed practice runs on the course. of three knockout format. Now, with an opponent in my peripheral vision, I’m suddenly squeezing all the speed I can from the skis and my turns begin to flow. Race 1: I’ve edged ahead of my opponent by the end, surprising myself so much that I miss the finishing gate entirely and throw away the win. Idiot. Race 2: This time I’ve figured out where the gate is and strung together a flawless (for me, at least) run, drawing the scores at one each. It’s winner takes all in the final run. Race 3: Competitive instinct gets the better of me and technique goes out the window as I try to edge my way in front by sheer force of will. It’s scrappy, it’s ugly and I’m out. No matter, because once I’m out of race mode and back on regular slopes I can already feel the benefits of the training. I’ve gained an extra degree of confidence in my skis, my carved turns are tight and fast and


EXPERIENCE THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY IN THE WORLD’S LARGEST SKI AREA. ENDLESS SLOPES AND NO QUEUES. STUNNING VIEWS AND AUTHENTIC VILLAGES. RELAX IN THE COMFORT OF AN EXCLUSIVE LUXURY CHALET. DESIGNER INTERIORS, PRIVATE SPAS AND INDULGENT CINEMAS. THEN THERE’S THE FOOD. FINE DINING CREATED BY PROFESSIONAL CHEFS AND DELICIOUS WINES FROM EXCLUSIVE DOMAINS. YOUR CHAUFFEUR ON HAND TO WHISK YOU AROUND. A PERSONAL CONCIERGE TO ARRANGE THE FINER DETAILS. THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY. BESPOKE. FOR YOU. EXPERIENCE THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY IN THE WORLD’S LARGEST SKI AREA. ENDLESS SLOPES AND NO QUEUES. STUNNING VIEWS AND AUTHENTIC VILLAGES. RELAX IN THE COMFORT OF AN EXCLUSIVE LUXURY CHALET. DESIGNER INTERIORS, PRIVATE SPAS AND INDULGENT CINEMAS. THEN THERE’S THE FOOD. FINE DINING CREATED BY PROFESSIONAL CHEFS AND DELICIOUS WINES FROM EXCLUSIVE DOMAINS. YOUR CHAUFFEUR ON HAND TO WHISK YOU AROUND. A PERSONAL CONCIERGE TO ARRANGE THE FINER DETAILS. THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY. BESPOKE. FOR YOU. EXPERIENCE THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY IN THE WORLD’S LARGEST SKI AREA. ENDLESS SLOPES AND NO QUEUES. STUNNING VIEWS AND AUTHENTIC VILLAGES. RELAX IN THE COMFORT OF AN EXCLUSIVE LUXURY CHALET. DESIGNER INTERIORS, PRIVATE SPAS AND INDULGENT CINEMAS. THEN THERE’S THE FOOD. FINE DINING CREATED BY PROFESSIONAL CHEFS AND DELICIOUS WINES FROM EXCLUSIVE DOMAINS. YOUR CHAUFFEUR ON HAND TO WHISK YOU AROUND. A PERSONAL CONCIERGE TO ARRANGE THE FINER DETAILS. THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY. BESPOKE. FOR YOU. EXPERIENCE THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY IN THE WORLD’S LARGEST SKI AREA. ENDLESS SLOPES AND NO QUEUES. STUNNING VIEWS AND AUTHENTIC VILLAGES. RELAX IN THE COMFORT OF AN EXCLUSIVE LUXURY CHALET. DESIGNER INTERIORS, PRIVATE SPAS AND INDULGENT CINEMAS. THEN THERE’S THE FOOD. FINE DINING CREATED BY PROFESSIONAL CHEFS AND DELICIOUS WINES FROM EXCLUSIVE DOMAINS. YOUR CHAUFFEUR ON HAND TO WHISK YOU AROUND. A PERSONAL CONCIERGE TO ARRANGE THE FINER DETAILS. THE PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY. BESPOKE. FOR YOU.

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Experiences

OKINAWA

Is it possible to live forever? The people of Okinawa, Japan, are certainly giving it a go with

sky-high life expectancies. Joe Minihane explores the foodie fountain of youth

Photograph by ###

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Experiences

OKINAWA

THIS IMAGE: An okonomiyaki (fried egg-andcabbage pancake) stall does a steady trade. BELOW: A local woman shows off her good health by dancing with sake on her head

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‘delights’, but it’s exactly this kind of offkilter eating experience that has brought me to Okinawa. 1,500km south of Tokyo, this chain of small islands is known mostly for its vast US military bases and for the fact that it consistently tops global lifeexpectancy charts. One of the reasons? Its extremely healthy, balanced diet. Admittedly, sea snake isn’t the first thing that comes to mind Goya, known as when you think of bitter gourd in clean, Japanese India, is part of the cucumber family. It’s living. But the island’s good for you thanks reliance on a blend of to its phytochemical ingredients including compounds but it succulent, rare breed doesn’t taste so great uncooked. pork known as aguu, specialist veg such as goya (also known as bitter melon) and purple sweet potato, helps women here live for an average of 87.02 years. That’s only beaten by Nagano in the north of Japan, where female residents live until 87.18 on average. Male life expectancy, though, has dipped to 79.4, believed to be due to an increase in fast food on the island. Traditional Okinawan food is based around the concept of nuchi gusui, which literally translates as ‘life medicine’, and it’s these kinds of dishes that I’ll be helping Kazumi make. We work our way from stall to stall in the Makishi Public Market in Naha city, Okinawa’s capital, picking up fresh produce. Kazumi seems to know everyone

and introduces me to locals selling eyepoppingly colourful veg, dried tuna used to bulk out miso, and even a man who specialises in local awamori spirit steeped in dead python. This may well be part of Japan, but the market itself has a far more Chinese or Southeast Asian vibe than

OKINAWAN FOOD IS BASED AROUND THE CONCEPT OF NUCHI GUSUI, OR ‘LIFE MEDICINE’

Photographs by (above) Eric Anderson/Alamy; (left) Chris Willson/Alamy

harred eyes and deep black skin definitely don’t fit my definition of a tasty snack, I think, as the tightly coiled sea snake dangles just inches from my face. The tempura veg I’ve just wolfed down, on the other hand, is my idea of heaven. Fresh local veg dripping in a thick, gooey batter, it’s everything that cursed reptile is not. “Want to give it a try?” says Kazumi, my culinary guide and owner of Yonner Food, a cooking school where I’ll be cheffing up local delicacies later in the evening. I shake my head vigorously as the stall owner laughs at my squeamishness. I might have baulked at such alternative culinary


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Experiences

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THIS IMAGE: Don’t try to feed the clay shisa talismen in Ryukyu Mura – they’re supposed to ward off evil. BELOW: Freshly caught fish on sale at the Makishi Public Market

THE AMERICAN INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN ALL OVER THE ISLAND. FAST FOOD JOINTS ARE HUGELY POPULAR

why you wouldn’t want to eat traditional Okinawan food. The crunch of the goya and the melt–in–your–mouth rafute are unarguably some of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. I can feel the extra years piling up as I demolish another bowl of rice. I wake up early next morning to see fishermen bring in their catch to Naha’s fish market. Huge yellow tail tuna are sliced up expertly and packaged for sale or sent straight to a series of small restaurants selling breakfast sashimi. But having gorged on healthy food last night, and despite Kazumi’s warnings, I’m desperate to try some more Americaninfluenced food. So for lunch I head to Yu-Yu-Ra-San, a log-cabin-style restaurant nestled in American food first Okinawa’s interior. arrived in Japan Healthy dishes after the Japanese are up for grabs surrendered during WWII in 1945. US here, but while food-distribution my guides Yoyoi programmes and Yoko carefully helped people in bombed-out areas. eat a meal not

Photographs by (above) Chris Willson/Alamy; (left) JTB Media Creation/Alamy

anywhere I’ve been on the mainland. Okinawa is closer to Taiwan than Tokyo and it shows as we buy our final ingredients and head to Kazumi’s place to start cooking. Under Kazumi’s watchful eye, I get going on four different dishes. Chanpuru, a blend of goya, tofu, pork and eggs; rafute, boiled pork cooked in soy and awamori; jushi, mixed rice with pork and shiitake mushrooms; asa, seaweed soup with tofu; and goya juice with Okinawan lime to drink. As I show off my haphazard knife skills, Kazumi explains how the prefecture’s food differs from that of Japanese knives the mainland. are known for being “Okinawan food the most precise in can be divided into the world. There are many techniques for two types,” she says. cutting specific in“Court food, from gredients, including our time as part of ‘hidden knife’, which helps veg cook faster. Ryukyu kingdom, which is a mixture of Japanese and Chinese flavours. And more basic food, which is more traditional.” “With traditional food, we remove the fat as we cook,” she says, as she slices off a juicy lump of pork belly fat and throws it straight in the bin. “If you want to make healthy food, you should use fresh meat, not the processed stuff.” It’s an issue Kazumi keeps coming back to. Younger people, she says, don’t care about eating healthily. The American influence can be seen all over the island. Fast food joints are hugely popular, with touring troops and locals alike. Kazumi worries this is going to affect life expectancy on the island. Obesity in Okinawa is already the highest in Japan. But sitting down to eat her handiwork (I’m thankfully pushed to one side once the serious cooking starts), it’s hard to imagine

OKINAWA


Experiences

OKINAWA

WHERE TO EAT ASHIBIUNAA, 2-13 SHURITONOKURACHO, NAHA Hyper-local ingredients with a focus on umami (that’s savoury taste to you and me) are the big draw at this popular joint. Set menus are served on tatami overlooking a meticulously kept, immaculate courtyard.

KALAHAAI, 8-11 MIHAMA, AMERICAN VILLAGE dissimilar to the one Kazumi cooked last night, I daringly opt for the aguu burger. Aguu is a black pig, a rare breed unique to Okinawa and renowned for its taste. When the burger appears, I can see why Kazumi’s so worried about young peoples’ diets. It’s huge, the patty the size you’d

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A four-course lesson at Yonner Food costs ¥9,000 (£50), including ingredients. yonnerfood.jp

Local folk music is played every evening at this beachside spot. But it’s the menu, which mixes local and American dishes, that’s the real draw. Try the taco rice – jalapeños, chilli and cheese slathered over rice.

FUMIYA, 3-17-9 MAEJIMA, NAHA This family–run establishment doesn’t have English menus and is nestled away down a Naha side street. Pull off your shoes when you enter and be dazzled by the homestyle cooking. The sea grapes are especially tasty.

YU-YU-RA-SAN, 4205, NANJYOU CITY, TAMAGUSUKU Sure, you can get steaming bowls of noodles and mixed rice at this rural establishment. But why go healthy when you can chow down on their legendary aguu pork burger? Those with room to spare should attempt the mango ice cream too.

UPSTAIRS AT MAKISHI PUBLIC FOOD MARKET, 2-10-1 MATSUO, NAHA Bold food fanatics can trawl the stalls at Naha’s superb food market, before taking the ingredients upstairs to be cooked by local chefs for a flat fee of ¥500 (£2.80).

Photograph (above) by age fotostock Spain S.L./Alamy

I CAN SEE WHY PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT OBESITY. THE PORTION SIZE IS MORE NYC THAN JAPAN

expect to find in downtown New York rather than rural Okinawa. I’m up to the challenge and waste no time, tearing into the juicy meat and polishing it off in record time. “You ate that so quickly,” laughs Yoko. My terrible western manners mean my hands are dripping in ketchup and juices from the pork. I blush with embarrassment. But I can’t deny there was something brilliant about eating this heady blend of Okinawan and American food. On the way back to Table etiquette in Naha, we stop off Japan is great. Say to buy dragon ball ‘itadakimasu’ (“I doughnuts, greasy humbly receive”) before you eat, and little treats made when you’ve finished using tapioca, arrange your dishes that complete my as they were put in front of you. unhealthy afternoon. Later that evening, I head to Fumiya, a small family– run restaurant. Set menus of gooey sweet potato, mixed rice and peanut tofu are brought out by an older lady who smiles at my awkward attempts to sit cross–legged on the tatami mats. This is a much–needed healthy intervention after my earlier excess. Washing down my meal with copious amounts of green tea, I survey the empty bowls and give thanks that, despite the unique dishes on offer here, not one of them was sea snake. e


RICH COAST PICKINGS Y

ou can’t go far in Costa Rica without hearing the phrase pura vida. In simple terms it means ‘pure life’, but for Ticos (the Costa Rican people), pura vida’s much more than that – it’s a greeting, a superlative and a reminder to enjoy what you’ve got. Perhaps that’s why this small Central American country, flanked on either side by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is a global pioneer in preserving its remarkably diverse environment for future generations. You’ll find everything from white sand beaches to mountains, rainforest and volcanoes, with some 25.6% of the country protected for conservation. And there’s plenty to protect: Costa

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Rica covers only 0.03% of the world’s surface but has 5% of its biodiversity. The opportunity to see some of these species in their natural habitat is one of Costa Rica’s biggest draws for visitors, with capuchin monkeys, the blue jeans frog (pictured) and toucans all abundant. For a glimpse of the endangered green turtle, head to Tortuguero National Park – the most important nesting site for the species in the western hemisphere. There’s adventure, too, from ziplines over the rainforest canopy in Arenal to 4x4 trips along coastal dirt roads, and some of the best surfing in Central America on both coasts. No single country has it all, but Costa Rica has more than most, and a burning desire to keep it that way. e

79.5%

Costa Rica is aptly named, with two incredible coasts and one of the richest natural environments on earth. No wonder Ticos are desperate to protect their country

PERCENTAGE OF COSTA RICA’S ELECTRICITY DERIVED FROM HYDROELECTRIC SOURCES


Experiences

500,000 30

COSTA RICA

GETTING THERE

THE NUMBER OF SPECIES FOUND IN COSTA RICA

0 0 0,0

Virgin Holidays Worldwide Journeys runs two tours to Costa Rica. The ten-day Highlights of Costa Rica trip (from £1,695pp) passes through the Tortuguero National Park, volcanic Arenal and the Manuel Antonio National Park. The Costa Rica Family Adventure (14 days; adult from £2,195, child from £1,295) takes in volcanoes, rainforests and beaches. virginholidaysjourneys.co.uk

SE THO CTS F O R SE MBE ARE IN U N THE ES THAT I SPEC THE AMOUNT OF COSTA RICA’S COASTLINE THAT CONTAINS PROTECTED AREAS

50%

THE YEAR COSTA RICA’S GOVERNMENT HOPES TO BECOME THE WORLD’S FIRST CARBON-NEUTRAL COUNTRY

Photograph by ###

THE AMOUNT OF COSTA RICAN LAND PROTECTED FOR CONSERVATION

26%

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Winter Is Coming Find a winter wonderland and escape to colder climes this season with one of Airbnb’s unique snowy properties

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he final months of the year mean crisper days, snow on the ground and clear blue skies. But you don’t have to miss out if you’re not a powderhound, as there are plenty of cooler destinations to visit that can involve little more than wrapping up and relaxing by the fire. Start your winter adventure by browsing some of Airbnb’s listing – the accommodation rental platform has more than 800,000 unique places to stay in 190 countries. If you’re feeling uninspired, we outline three unusual winter destinations ideal for a snowy break.

Iceland

Iceland is famous for its winters – it’s when the stunning northern lights are remarkably vivid and capital Reykjavik is at its most vibrant. The hot springs – particularly the Blue Lagoon – takes on an almost magical quality and become real social hubs. The Golden Circle – including the impressive Strokkur geyser and the Gullfoss waterfall – around Reykjavik becomes even more captivating in winter. And where better to stay than in this Golden Circle house (main image, top left)? With views stretching out over the Hvítá River, it’s close to the main sights, and has some beautiful furnishings to snuggle up in.

Morocco

Morocco might be best known for its hot weather, but just a few hours’ drive outside bustling market city Marrakech lie the dramatic Atlas mountains, where the weather is noticeably cooler. They provide endless opportunities for winter sports, including climbing Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. Check into Airbnb’s mountain chalet with views out over onto Morocco’s mountainous terrain (bottom left and middle).

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Austria

Austrian winters might be more famous for their ski season, but why not trade the ski chalet for this unique igloo in Kühtai outside Innsbruck? (far right). You won’t freeze, don’t panic – you sleep on sheepskin-covered mattresses, and insulated sleeping bags should keep you warm after a day playing with huskies, hiking in the snow-covered peaks or having a go at traditional Tyrolean curling. There's space for up to six, so why not bring your friends along for a proper ice-cool party? ◆ airbnb.co.uk

Check In For more winter holiday inspiration, check out airbnb.co.uk


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THERE ARE PLENTY OF COOLER DESTINATIONS TO VISIT THAT CAN INVOLVE LITTLE MORE THAN WRAPPING UP AND RELAXING BY THE FIRE

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Iceland’s stunning Golden Circle makes an ideal wintry break; check into this Austrian igloo; Morocco’s Atlas Mountains are dramatic in winter; snuggle up in Icelandic furnishings

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SKYE HIGH 70


Experiences

ISLE OF SKYE

Thrilling outdoor pursuits, unbeatable chippies and soaring views. Alistair MacQueen, who’s descended from a long line of ancestors from the Isle of Skye, writes a love letter to the island

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taring towards the carefully stacked circular ends of timber at an axe-throwing range in the glorious midmorning sunshine, I have a target in my sights. I let my arm go loose and relaxed at my side, before pitching the tomahawk behind my head and hurling it forward, letting it fly out of my hand and spin towards the target – a card, the King of Clubs. The axe strikes dead on, nearly splitting the card in two. “Not bad,” says Matt Harrison, director of Armadale Activities at the Clan Donald centre on the Isle of Skye. “That means you get to keep the card. Now let’s get you on the throwing stars.” Whatever your preconceptions of the sleepy island off the west coast of Scotland, forget them – Skye is a destination for

Photograph by Sebastian Wasek/4Corners

WHATEVER YOUR IDEAS OF A SLEEPY SCOTTISH ISLAND, FORGET THEM. SKYE IS A PLACE FOR ADVENTURERS

adventurers. My family are descended from Skye and only left for the mainland two generations ago, and even though I’ve visited the island more times than the Pope has kissed airport tarmac, I still find it an awe-inspiring place. And it just keeps getting better with every visit. Small-scale businesses like Matt’s are springing up and thriving all around the island, making Skye perfect for those who prefer their holidays a little more rugged. After we’ve satisfied our primal urge to destroy a deck of cards, my wife and I take the hour’s drive to the In 1946, naturalist spectacular working Gavin Maxwell harbour of Elgol. bought Soay in order Here, crested waves to extract shark oil from the local give way to a view of basking sharks. It the Cuillin mountain was, unsurprisingly, ranges, beloved of a failure and he gave up after three years. walkers, tourists and photographers alike. We climb aboard a boat – the Bella Jane – and, fuelled by Tunnock’s biscuits and cups of tea and coffee, we’re taken on a no-nonsense, informative tour past the small island of Soay (at last census, population = 1). Docile seal colonies relax in the sun (and, more often than not, in the driving rain), unperturbed by the humans gawping at them. The boat also stops at the start of the Scavaig River, where you can hop off and follow the river upstream to walk around the magnificent Loch Coruisk a sea loch whose name translates as Cauldron of Water. This is paradise for sealife buffs – on the way back, a call from the bow alerts us to two dolphins swimming alongside the boat. The crew say that on some days it’s not uncommon to see sperm whales, and the sighting of magnificent sea eagles is increasing as their numbers steadily grow. Once back on dry land, a visit to the chippy is in order. It’s not often you get to order battered haggis and chips, and nothing could complete the meal better than a good dollop of Highland gravy (brown sauce) and a can of Irn Bru (what else)? Serious calorific indulgence deserves some serious activity to undo the damage,

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Experiences

PERHAPS IT’S JUST THE THIN AIR, BUT NOTHING HAS GOT UNDER MY SKIN AS MUCH AS THIS VIEW and Skye’s challenging terrain has plenty to offer anyone with a sturdy pair of walking boots, some gaiters and waterproof trousers. The task for today? Tackling the ascent to Blaven (Blà Bheinn). Laden with bags, we set off from the car park next to Loch Slapin up a deceptively easy track, which soon gives way to a punishing slog up the 928-metre-high mountain. Leg muscles go into overdrive as the track steepens before narrowing to a gully just short of 45 degrees – Imagine running up a moving escalator with two flat-packed IKEA tables under each arm and

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WHAT TO DO KAYAKING

you’re close. After more traversing of scree, plus another 45-minute climb parallel to a small waterfall, we reach a plateau that contains the incongruous sight of a small loch. We pause to shovel down some lunch and stare out at Loch Slapin below and over to the mainland – accompanied by a curious sensation of floating. Perhaps it’s the thin air, or a few too many bottles of Skye Red the night before, but nothing has got under my skin as much as this view. The following day we give our weary legs a rest and head to the north-east of the island. Portree, Skye’s biggest town, has colourful cottages and fantastic local businesses such as the Isle of Skye Baking company, which serves exactly the sort of bread and cakes our bodies are craving. Drive west towards Dunvegan and you’ll begin to see the Cullin close up, with its range of mountains screeching “Climb me!” to even the most unenthusiastic walkers. On your way there, turn off at Carbost and pay a visit to the Talisker whisky distillery, the only one on the island. There we take a tour, sample its notes of sea spray and pepper, with a toffee aftertaste, then I buy a bottle for my dad from the As well as waterfalls, Skye is replete with ‘fairy pools’ – crystal-clear pools that wild-swimming enthusiasts go to great lengths to find. Word of warning, they’re very cold.

To get closer to the elements and wildlife, and get a good workout while you’re at it, nothing beats the thrill of sea kayaking, whether you’re a novice or a more advanced paddler. Skyak Adventures offer personalised courses in groups of up to six lasting from one to five days for all levels, and course leader Gordon Brown (not that one) and his team of dedicated and well-trained coaching staff are on hand to offer advice and information whenever needed. The hot tub to soak in after a day on the water is the icing on the cake. skyakadventures.com

MOUNTAIN BIKING If you really want to tackle the hardest of Skye’s terrain then it’s better to bring your own bike, but there are still a number of places on Skye to hire them from. Island Cylces (islandcycles-skye.co.uk/ bike-hire, 01478 613 121) in Portree offers Ralegh, Falcon and Claud Butler bikes, which are renewed every season, and prices start at £8.50 for half a day’s rental. Meanwhile, Alan Cope of Copestar Cycles (skyebikehire.com) charges £15 for a day/£8 half a day, for good-quality bikes for the terrain, and includes a helmet, hi-viz jacket, pump and a tool kit. The effort, we’re afraid, is all yours.

AQUAXPLORER Run by the same company as the Bella Jane boat trips, the Aqua Explorer offers a thrilling ride in a 9m RIB that reaches up to 40mph.

Photograph (top) by Fortunato Gatto/NATURALIGHT/SIME

ABOVE: The Red Cuillin mountains catch the sunset. THIS IMAGE: 200-year-old Armadale Castle was largely destroyed in a fire

ISLE OF SKYE


Experiences

ISLE OF SKYE

CONTINUED... However, it’s not just sheer speed that this trip offers, but a guaranteed and intense amount of wildlife spotting, too. As you cruise around the isles of Canna, Soay, Rum and Eigg, you might see minke whales, dolphins, puffins, porpoises and basking sharks. Get booking before you go, as it offers a variety of trips and is very popular. aquaxplore. co.uk, 0800 731 3089

SLIGACHAN RUN So you think you’re fit? Can you run 5k without breaking a sweat? Then let the people of Skye show you what real running is during the brutally challenging David Shepherd Memorial Glamaig Hill Race. Inspired by two 19th-century British climbers, and Harkabir Thapa, a Ghurka who ran the route, it was left to David Shepard of Carnethy Hill Running Club to put this annual race into motion (usually in early July). It may only be 4.5 miles long, but it is up the Glamaig Hill, which rises to 2,500ft. And the fastest time yet? Finlay Wild’s 2012 effort of 44 minutes and 27 seconds. Men’s Health readers take note, you’ve got some work to do yet. carnethy.com/ri_glamaig

VISIT THE TALISKER DISTILLERY, BUY A BOTTLE FOR YOUR DAD THEN DRINK IT YOURSELF 74

Claigan may be

distillery’s shop known for its (and drink it myself). coral-white sands, but the beach is For more actually made of fossensations that are silised, sun-bleached unique to the island, algae, giving it that we try the easy walk pure-white effect to Claigan Coral Beach close to Stein. There, we find white sands and cerulean sea to rival the British Virgin Islands, plus enjoy the stirring sights all the way to the Outer Hebrides. Once we’ve had our fill of stunning scenery, we’re desperate to try one of Skye’s most famous exports: seafood. A lot of the salmon, mussels and scallops found in these waters makes their way south and into Europe. We stop off in the Loch Bay Seafood Restaurant (open WednesdaySaturday from 6:30pm, and you’re wise to book ahead April-mid October, lochbay-seafood-restaurant.co.uk). With seven tables and a loyal customer base, this whitefronted eatery serves freshly caught king prawns, halibut, monkfish and, depending on the weather and availability, scallops with hand-cut chips, all in a setting so friendly, you imagine they’d put you up for the night in their own bed. After driving back to the cottage the night has truly settled in. We stand with our eyes locked to the intense panoply of constellations and shooting stars. As I climb into my bed that night, without a sound to be heard, I think about the wonders of the isle and how only two generations after my family left it, I’m back, enjoying its sights, lorne sausages, and a very different game of cards. e Fly from Gatwick, Luton or Bristol to Inverness with easyJet, see easyjet.com. Skye is a two-hour drive away, visit focusvehiclerental.co.uk

WHERE TO STAY SELF-CATERING COTTAGES The Isle of Skye has a big range of self catering cottages located throughout the island. Some are privately let, while some are available through letting agencies such as Islands and Highlands and may offer exhilarating views of the best of Skye’s scenery. islands-and-highlands.co.uk

BED AND BREAKFAST Sligachan Hotel lies halfway between Broadford and Portree, and it serves as a great base from which to explore the Cuillin mountains and see nearby Old Man of Storr. Family-owned and with a selection of self-catering bunkhouses and camping facilities, the Sligachan Hotel has a restaurant, two bars and its own microbrewery on site. Rooms from £68 for two including breakfast. sligachan.co.uk

HOTEL For a more classic setting, the Skeabost Country House Hotel is just five minutes from Portree. With elegant grounds offering stunning views and tranquility on the shores of Loch Snizort, facilities include a nine-hole golf course and the nearby waters teem with salmon and trout. Rooms start from £160 bed and breakfast, for a double room. bespokehotels.com


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A HOME IN THE SNOW How about doing your ski holiday differently this year and renting a chalet with Airbnb? We’ve got £500 in vouchers for one winner to spend on a unique property

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t’s ski season, and even if you don’t know your snowplough from your slalom, you might still fancy disappearing off to the slopes this winter. But if you’re up for doing things differently, why not ditch the package holiday chalet and opt for an Airbnb rental instead – it’s what all of ice-cold kids are doing. Accommodation platform Airbnb has more than 800,000 properties in 190 countries across the world, which means there’s a unique holiday home out there for everybody. That includes some great homely options out there on the on the slopes, and the best ski resorts in the world. Just in time for winter, we’ve teamed up with Airbnb to give away £500 worth of vouchers to one lucky winner. You could spend it on that ski lodge – all you have to do is pick where to hit the powder. In need of some inspiration, we’re here to help. Lake Tahoe in northern California benefits from the best of both worlds – excellent fresh powder, but a drive away from the stunning Californian coast. And Airbnb’s Tahoe lodge, on the south shore of the lake, (top right) has trails right out of the back door. It sleeps eight, so prepare to get your mates involved, too... Or how about The Foxes in Salzburg (bottom right), if you’re after something closer to home? The apartment, overlooking the mountains and the town, is a great base for all kinds of activities (think skiing, mountain biking and motorbiking) in and around the Salzburger Saalachtal province.

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Meanwhile, the ski chalet in Switzerland’s Valais (bottom left) has contemporary decor, great views and is right on the slopes. It’s just ten minutes’ walk into the nearest town, where you’ll find alpine après-ski bars and restaurants. Plus, after a hectic day on the slopes there’s a steam bath in the basement to really help you relax. Airbnb can find you a home in plenty of ski resorts – just browse airbnb.co.uk for more inspiration. Of course, if you’re not a powderhound, there’s plenty of options on dry land, too – how does a beach hut in Bali, a city apartment in New York or a barge in Amsterdam sound? Good luck... e airbnb.co.uk

HOW TO WIN We’ve got £500 of Airbnb vouchers for one lucky Escapism reader to spend on a holiday home booking anywhere in the world. To enter, all you have to do it answer this one question: how many properties does Airbnb list? For your chance to win, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/airbnb-ski-vouchers. For more details, as well as a full list of terms and conditions, see the website.


COMPETITION

Photograph by ###

WE ARE GIVING AWAY £500 – ALL YOU DO IS PICK WHERE TO HIT THE POWDER 77


Asian Flavour

LEFT: quidel est faccatio des aut mint es nime reped maxim doluptias elicaborae mos volent acillori tem re nonecte si dem ipitese quibus dolessi bea doluptur, ut veligni mintem ilias expliquias nu

Modern meets traditional with stunning effect in the Asian megacity of Hong Kong. Immerse yourself in its vibrant dining scene, world-class shopping, historic temples and dynamic nightlife on a fun-filled city break from just £769pp with British Airways

W

hatever you want from a city break, chances are that Hong Kong has it. It’s a city where east meets west, and modern meets traditional with stunning effect – on a walk through the city, expect to see glittering skyscrapers standing cheek by jowl with old markets and temples, making it a fascinating place to spend a few days. The best way to orient yourself with this Asian megacity is to take a tram up to The Peak – the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island – for jaw-dropping views over Hong Kong’s iconic

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skyline. Or how about boarding the famous Star Ferry for a trip across picturesque Victoria Harbour? For a taste of a more traditional Hong Kong (minus the skyscrapers), visit the traditional fishing village of Tai O, take a trip the beautiful Po Lin Monastery on nearby Lantau Island or check out one of the many temples dotted around the city. But while Hong Kong has plenty of sites and activities to enjoy, it’s also home to a vibrant gastronomic scene. There’s everything from casual eateries and street food stalls to

Michelin-starred restaurants and fine dining – it’s possible to eat three meals a day in a different restaurant for ten years and still not eat at the same place twice. For a true Hong Kong foodie experience, check out the freshest seafood by catching a ferry to the old fishing village of Sok Kwu Wan, explore Cheung Chau Island’s seafood street or take in the traditional, familyrun restaurants in downtown Kowloon. Shoppers won’t be disappointed here either – not only are there handfuls of local markets, but many top-end shopping malls and luxury shops


Promotion

HONG KONG

The Deal

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE: Skyscrapers dominate Hong Kong’s skyline, but there’s much more to the city than just high rises. Expect old markets and temples, the great outdoors as well as great food and drink

MODERN MEETS TRADITIONAL HERE – SEE GLITTERING SKYSCRAPERS SITTING CHEEK BY JOWL WITH OLD MARKETS AND TEMPLES

FOUR NIGHTS FROM £769PP WITH BRITISH AIRWAYS

are set among the glittering skyscrapers. Wander around the maze of stalls, boutiques and shops in Causeway Bay, or explore the neon-lit streets of the famous Ladies’ Market in buzzing Mongkok – you’re guaranteed to find almost anything you want here. And as the sun goes down, Hong Kong really comes alive as the city comes out to play. Lan Kwai Fong is Hong Kong Island’s best party zone, full of drinking dens, while trendy SoHo has plenty of cosmopolitan bars and nightclubs to have fun in. Or for something a little more relaxed, order a cocktail and watch the hive of activity around Causeway Bay. And don’t forget that the world’s largest casino, in Macau, is just a short hydrofoil journey away. Whatever your perfect city break looks like, Hong Kong will have it – and it’s all here for you to enjoy from just £769pp. ◆

Four night holidays to Hong Kong, including return flights, start from £769pp with British Airways. British Airways flies twice daily non-stop from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Hong Kong, with a four cabin service offering First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and finally World Traveller classes. For more info and to book, visit ba.com/hongkong

Terms and conditions apply. Based on selected travel between 6 Jan 2015 and 14 Mar 2015. Subject to availability. Book by 11 Nov 2014.

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

83 FOODIE HONG KONG 86 SCHOOL OF WOK 87 REVIEWS 88 TOP TEQUILAS AND MEZCALS


HUNGRY FOR MORE? This December, foodism is getting a whole magazine to itself. Pick up your free copy from all good Tube stations. Prepare to tuck in‌

OUT: EARLY DECEMBER London, one bite at a time

@FOODISMUK FOODISM.CO.UK


foodism

Hong Kong’s foodie scene runs the full gamut from rustic Chinese street food to Michelin-starred gastronomic flair. Clare Vooght picks out her favourite spots and dishes

Photograph by ###

THE DIM SUMS ADD UP 83


B

reakfast: a big, steaming bowl of brothy, meaty rice porridge. I’ll admit, congee, or jook, is a pretty punchy breakfast decision, but ask the Chinese and

LUK YU TEA HOUSE 24-26 Stanley Street, Central Hong Kong’s most famous tea house Luk Yu is elegant and known for its traditional colonial style. There’s delicious dim sum on the menu, which changes often, and a large assortment of exquisite Chinese teas. The tea house takes its name from a Tang Dynasty poet, somewhat confusingly named Lu Yu.

FOOK LAM MOON Shop 3, Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wanchai This traditional, one-Michelin-star restaurant offers a luxurious setting for diners to enjoy a wide variety of seafood and meat dishes such as giant grouper, giant eel, pigeon and seasonal seafood. It made number 19 on Asia’s 50 best restaurants 2014, and it’s well worth a stop off on your Hong Kong foodie adventure. fooklammoon-grp.com

HO LEE FOOK 1 Elgin Street, Central With a name like this, you know you’re in for playful cooking at Ho Lee Fook, inspired by New York’s oldschool Chinatown hangouts. Come along with “an open mind and a strong appetite” to enjoy Taiwaneseborn Jowett Yu’s clever dishes, including octopus with wakame seaweed. holeefook.tumblr.com

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they’ll tell you they always start the day with something hot and savoury. The Scots salt their porridge, and us Brits love a full-on cooked breakfast with sausages, bacon and extra hash browns. As a recent convert to the breakfast burrito, I’m all for this full-on hearty, glutinous sustenance, which has to include rice, but beyond that can have meat, veg, seafood – the lot. It’s pure PJs-and-blanket comfort food before the day even begins. Cantonese is the biggest regional style of cooking in Hong Kong, championing freshness, less seasoning, steaming and stir-frying. Think vegetables in oyster sauce, wonton noodles and dim sum. If any food were made for sharing, it’s dim sum. And in China it’s all about sharing food – and lots of it. Families and friends share tables that are stacked up with plates of fluffy steamed buns injected with barbecue pork, hot noodle soup with big shrimp wontons floating in it and glass-like jellyfish with sesame. I find the Michelin-starred Duddell’s in Central makes a satisfying feasting stop – the gallery-cum-restaurant serves free-flowing Veuve Clicquot with a dim sum brunch menu. For a lunchtime meal, wandering the streets of any of Hong Kong’s unique neighbourhoods should turn up a gem or two. Fiery Szechuan; sugary, booze-laced Shanghainese; and delicate, pescatarian

SEVVA 10 Chater Road, Central Alfresco rooftop bar Sevva overlooks the Hong Kong Harbour, which also means it’s a great place to watch the nightly Symphony of Lights show. It serves signature cocktails and has an impressive wine list, with small tapas dishes alongside smooth jazz music in its Taste Bar and famous terrace. sevva.hk

Chiu Chow are all easy to find, and restaurants dishing up Peking duck are ten a penny. Cosmopolitan Hong Kong is also a decent bet for international cuisine, and after a month-long schlep round mainland China that involved eating a whole spectrum of unidentified meats – some good, some not so – I found the city’s varied French, Italian, Spanish, Thai and Japanese offerings surprisingly welcome. FrenchCantonese fusion is also a thing here. Western influences are, not surprisingly, everywhere in Hong Kong. Thanks to the UK’s 99-year-long lease, fish and chips and pub food in Hong Kong are really quite good. And wherever you are, you’re not far from a decent coffee house. I’m told to head to the ultra-hip Coffee Academics for an afternoon hit of milky latte. sweetened with New Zealand manuka honey. They’re so serious about their blends here that they offer customers classes on latte


foodism

PIERRE 5 Connaught Road, Central Housed on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, this two Michelin-starred restaurant showcases excellent modern French cuisine in a stunning environment. Led by chef Pierre Gagnaire, diners can expect inventive twists on classic French dishes. mandarinoriental.com

ABOVE: The garish neon lights and colourful buses of Mong Kok, Kowloon. INSET: You’ll find dim sum on every corner in Hong Kong

Photograph by Gavin Hellier / Alamy

>> THE STREETS OF SHAM SHUI PO ARE FILLED WITH STREET FOOD STANDS

art and making the perfect brew. Visitors are encouraged to take time and consideration over their caffeine hit. Michelin-starred restaurants are also plentiful in Hong Kong: at last count it has 62. Sham Shui Po, on the city’s fast-climbing

Kowloon peninsula, is home to the cheapest restaurant in the world to snare a Michelin star: Tim Ho Wan. Locals, and now knowledgeable tourists, queue up to eat in the canteen-style dim sum joint. This hotbed of culinary action, colours and aromas is worth a wander for an authentic, local idea of food in Hong Kong. The hectic streets around Sham Shui Po MTR station are filled with street food stands hawking fish balls, and roasted eggs and potatoes, plus a huge choice of noodle bars and dim sum canteens. For a sweet ending to dinner, head to one of the many dessert bars. French-style cakes, pastries and macarons are big here, as are fruity tapioca-based treats. Months later, I still think of the dim sum in Hong Kong whenever I’m in the mood for Chinese food at home. So far, though, I’m still on the hunt for a pork steamed bun that lives up to the ones I gorged on in HK. f

FOODIE TOUR

MAN MO CAFE

Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

40 Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan

Take a foodie walking tour through the vibrant Kowloon neighbourhood of Sham Shui Po. It will take you to family-run restaurants to taste Hong Kong specialities, from pineapple buns, milk tea and tofu desserts to wonton and hand-pulled noodles. By the end, you’ll have learned how to work your way through Hong Kong food like a Kowloon native. hongkongfoodietours.com

Man Mo Cafe isn’t your typical ten-apenny dim sum restaurant (and there are many in Hong Kong), rather giving an innovative, East-meets-West twist on the classic Cantonese dish. Swissborn chef Nicolas Elelouf makes dim sum an art form at this trendy Sheung Wan eatery – think delicate glazed buns, truffle brie dumplings, foie gras xio long bao and an Asian spin on onion soup – delicious.

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UK CHEFS IN HK JAMIE OLIVER Jamie’s Italian, 1 Tang Lung Street

The Essex chef’s first Hong Kong restaurant opened at the end of July, in the bustling foodie district of Causeway Bay. It reflects the district’s heritage as a fishing village. jamieoliver.com

JASON ATHERTON Aberdeen Street Social, 35 Aberdeen Street; 22 Ships, 22 Ship Street As the name suggests, Aberdeen Street Social is a ‘social’ venue, set within the design hub PMQ. Or try 22 Ships, a tapas bar. aberdeenstreetsocial.hk

GORDON RAMSAY Bread Street Kitchen, 33 Wyndham Street Having just opened, this place is a hot ticket. It will mirror its London counterpart using warehouse-style design and serving up a modern European menu. facebook.com/ breadstreetkitchenandbar

WOK STAR

School of Wok founder Jeremy Pang talks dim sum and his favourite Hong Kong foodie experiences

I

f you don’t know your soy from your fish sauce, then 61 Chandos Place might be the best place to start. It’s the home of School of Wok, set up by Hong Kong food aficionado and Cordon Bleu chef Jeremy Pang in 2012 to teach people how to cook Chinese food in their own homes.

On dim sum Pang teaches various classes, but one of the most popular involves making the traditional Hong Kong dish dim sum. But it’s not just dim sum. “Dim sum is a really difficult thing to get right,” Pang says. “The ingredients are the most flexible part – if you understand the basic techniques, you can use whatever ingredients you want.” Traditional dim sum hails from Hong Kong teahouses – “that’s why you have it with tea”, Pang says, adding that Chinatown’s Harbour City is the closest you’ll get to proper dim sum here.

On the Hong Kong food scene “The great thing about Hong Kong is that everyone loves their food so much – everything revolves around it,” Pang says. His Hong Kong foodie hit list is endless,

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although when he’s in town, he heads straight to Mong Kok for traditional claypot rice and street food, Jordan for street restaurants that serve great seafood, and peninsula town Sai Kung for the freshest fish straight off the fishing boats to barbecue on beach BBQ pits. But the best food he’s had “in years” was sweet and sour pork at a simple street stall in the Mid Levels – sometimes the street food is just as good as the fine dining.

On Chinese food in London And if you can’t get away to Hong Kong, head to Chinatown or Bayswater – just remember balance. Pang adds: “Order a sweet and sour dish, a steamed fish, a grilled dish, a vegetable dish and rice alongside” for a true Cantonese meal. Sorted. f

COMPETITION To win a home-cooked dinner for six by Jeremy Pang, or two vouchers for the School of Wok, see escapismmagazine.com/ competition/jeremy-pang

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foodism

LIMA FLORAL

REVIEWS Greek food for groups, more ceviche, high-rolling Asian dishes and hipster pizza

£ £ £ £

Calzone translates as ‘stocking’ or ‘trouser’. We’ll stick to the Italian, thanks

14 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BJ; limafloral.com Nearest Tube: Leicester Square

What’s the draw: A bit more accessible

than its Michelin-starred cousin, LIMA’s new Covent Garden restaurant serves executive chef Virgilio Martinez’s signature brand of modern Peruvian.

What to drink: Cocktails. As you’d

imagine, the Peruvian classic pisco sour reigns supreme, with ginger-based chilcanos a punchy variant.

What to eat: LIMA’s fabled ceviche lives up to its lofty reputation, hot or cold. Be sure to finish with the suspiro ardiente – an audacious mix of dulce de leche, beetroot and Peruvian limo chilli. – Krista Faist

OPSO

£ £ £ £

10 Paddington Street, W1U 5QL; opso.co.uk Nearest Tube: Baker Street

What’s the draw: ‘Social’ Greek food (which, FYI, means more than just hummus and slices of pitta bread).

What to drink: There’s a decent wine Photographs by: (Pizza Pilgrims) Giulia Mule

list – some of it hailing from Greece – but cocktails really impress: try the Grape Republic, with tsipouro and lychee.

What to eat: Everything is designed to be eaten en masse, so fight over the sticky ball of feta, flaky salmon with glazed green beans and tender chicken drumsticks (it’s all too tasty to share). – Cathy Adams

PIZZA PILGRIMS £ £ £ £ 11 Kingly Street, W1B 5PW; pizzapilgrims.co.uk Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus

What’s the draw: From a converted

TĪNG £ £ £ £ 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU; shangri-la.com Nearest Tube: London Bridge

Piaggio van to two restaurants in little over two years, the guys spearheading the pizza revolution bring their doughy wares to a second London location.

What’s the draw: Meaning ‘living

What to drink: Craft beers from London

What to drink: You’re obviously a high roller, so choose from the extensive champagne menu – and there are plenty of elegant still wines, too.

What to eat: Pizza (obviously) –

What to eat: The Southeast Asian specialities are hard to beat – Hainanese rice and curry laksa are excellent. For something with a more European flavour, the John Dory with sweet potato, burnt butter and wild mushrooms is a top choice. – Cathy Adams

and Italy, as well as the restaurant’s signature limoncello (named Sohocello), co-created with Chase Distillery.

stretchy, airy dough with toppings that pack a punch. Grab some frittatine di maccheroni (deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese) and, if you’re feeling particularly decadent, the salty-sweet Nutella and ricotta pizza ring to finish. – Mike Gibson

room’ in Chinese, TING is Shangri-La at the Shard’s resident modern European restaurant with an Asian twist.

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foodism

MEXICO WAY

J OSE C U E RVO T RADIC IONAL SILVE R

Blanco tequila

A silver tequila made from pure blue agave, this may surprise Cuervo fans with its laid-back flavour and hints of sweetness. Best served frozen. 70cl, £29.75. cuervo.com

The humble agave plant has a lot of hangovers to answer for. Tequilas and mezcals, reporting for duty...

L U NAZUL

Reposado tequila With a history spanning 250 years in Tequila, Mexico, Lunazul is effortlessly authentic. This, its reposado tequila, is subtly fruity, with a creamy and smoky finish. 70cl, £28.55. lunazultequila.com

I LEGAL

Blanco mezcal Living up to its name, Ilegal was brought to these shores after being smuggled from Oaxaca to Guatemala by barman John Rexer. It’s strong and peppery, with a smooth finish. Happily, it’s now legal to drink. 50cl, £45.

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Reposado mezcal

Created by the eponymous restaurantcum-distillery in Oaxaca, Mexico – the mezcal capital of the world – it’s robust on the palate, with just enough sweetness. 75cl, £64.60. amathusdrinks.com

WIN THESE

Want to win all four bottles? Go to foodism. co.uk/competition/ tequila-mezcal. T&Cs apply.

Photograph by ###

harveynichols.com

L OS DANZ ANT E S


OF ORIGI N

OTECTED PR

SIGNATIO

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DE

INTERNATIONAL

CHEESE AWARDS

NANTWICH 2013 EST.1897

GOLD AWARD


WIN A TRIP TO MELBOURNE We’ve teamed up with Qantas to fly one lucky reader and their guest to Melbourne for the 2015 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne 12-15 March

Y

ou’ll know Melbourne as the unofficial sporting capital of Australia – thanks in part to the 2015 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix. As the Official Airline of the Australian Grand Prix, Qantas will fly one lucky reader and their guest to Melbourne for the 2015 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne 12-15 March. Even if you’re not a Formula 1® fan, the buzzing atmosphere, Melbourne’s warm

THE PRIZE ◆ Two return Economy flights from

London Heathrow to Melbourne ◆ Four nights’ accommodation in

Melbourne ◆ A Paddock Tour ◆ A Race Day Preview with a

Formula 1® ambassador

◆ Pit Lane Walk passes for four days ◆ Webber Grandstand tickets for

four days

temperatures and the chance to clap eyes on some of the best drivers in world might be enough to tempt you... The lucky winner and their guest will enjoy four days of excitement while in Melbourne, including an exclusive Paddock Tour on 14 March, a Race Day Preview with a Formula 1® Ambassador on 15 March as well as passes for the Pit Lane Walk and Webber Grandstand tickets for four days. You’ll be travelling in style from London to Australia aboard award-winning airline Qantas, the ‘Spirit of Australia’. When you board a Qantas flight you can expect friendly service, extensive in-flight entertainment and quality dining options. And as it flies a daily A380 service from London to Melbourne via Dubai, you can connect to more than 50 destinations across Australia. To enter, all you need to do is answer one simple question – see the pink box on the right for more details. Good luck! You must be able to depart for Australia from London Heathrow on Tuesday 10 March 2015, and will leave Melbourne on Monday 16 March. qantas.com

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Buzzy Melbourne is a great city to visit at any time of year; the Formula 1® is where the real action begins; relax in comfort on a Qantas daily A380 service from London Heathrow to Melbourne


COMPETITION

HOW TO WIN To win a four-day trip to the 2015 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne 12-15 March, just answer one question: how often does Qantas fly to Melbourne from London? To enter, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/qantas For more info and Ts&Cs see the website. Closes 14 November. Entrants must be over 18 and a resident of the UK.

EXPECT FRIENDLY SERVICE AND QUALITY DINING ABOARD QANTAS 91


COMPETITION

PEAK RETREAT We’ve teamed up with hip hideaway experts i-escape to give away four nights in an alpine chalet near Morzine – just answer one question…

HOW TO WIN

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f you’re yet to book your ski break for this year, then we’re here to help. We’ve teamed up with boutique hotel and hip hideaways experts i-escape.com to offer one lucky Escapism reader a four-night catered stay for two at stunning alpine boutique hotel La Ferme du Lac Vert near Morzine, to celebrate the launch of its new dedicated Ski Collection. This relaxed bijou hideaway is just one of i-escape’s hand-picked alpine Ski Collection, with properties that range from greatvalue lodges to igloo-style eco-camps with stunning snowy views, via a whole range of quirky, chic and utterly spoiling options for families, friends and trips à deux. Located in a traditional village near Morzine in the French Alps, La Ferme du Lac Vert has bags of mountain-chic charm and a chef serving experimental twists on classic French cuisine. You’ll be within easy reach of the mighty Portes du Soleil, one of the biggest ski areas in the world. With 650km of slopes, there’s something for everyone, from the beginner to the blackrun skier and hardened off-pister. Just answer one simple question for your

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FUR THROWS AND ROARING FIRES MAKE A COSY WINTER BREAK chance to win four nights at this fabulous ski retreat, where fur throws and roaring fires make for an ultra-cosy winter break. Oh, and did we forget to mention there’s an outdoor hot tub? See you there…e

We’ve got a four-night break to i-escape’s La Ferme du Lac Vert for two to give away – just answer one simple question: the property is near which wellknown French ski resort? To enter, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/i-escape For more details, as well as a full list of terms and conditions, please see the website.


Promotion

QATAR TOURISM AUTHORITY

City of Dreams If you’re after culture, luxury and exploring an up-and-coming destination, then the fastmoving Qatari capital of Doha makes an ideal city break. Discover it before anyone else

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xhausted Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam? Why not try a new city break destination – one that it so on the rise that you’re guaranteed to see it before anybody else. Doha is the capital of Qatar, a country that is fast putting itself on the map as an up-andcoming holiday destination, and makes for a very new, and very different city break. From culture, nature, sports and wellness – alongside its endless beaches, sprawling desert landscapes and year-round sunshine – Qatar is a diverse destination, with something to suit every kind of traveller. Plus, the Gulf state offers you a chance to explore the country as it’s always been, and its vibrant capital Doha gives a lens into life in this fascinating nation. Doha boasts varied scenery of both city and desert, with the traditional corniche juxtaposed against its ultra-modern high rises. If you don’t want to discover Doha under your own steam, a tour is the best way to orient yourself with this enthralling and fast-moving city. It takes in the Katara Cultural Village, which hosts the Ajyal Youth Film Festival and Qumra Doha Film Festival; the Pearl, a man-made island featuring a range of top international restaurants, exclusive branded boutiques and luxurious residential properties,

and the traditional Doha Souq Waqif, offering an authentic taste of local culture and traditions, with a special appeal to tourists seeking a truly authentic holiday experience. Or, enjoy a panoramic drive along the sea front, the corniche and the West Bay district, and well as a guided tour of the Museum of Islamic Art. If your visit coincides with a weekend, make sure to check out Doha’s famous brunches. Held on Fridays in many of the luxury hotels, they’ll offer a chance to taste some excellent local and international cuisine, alongside a wide selection of drinks and a sociable vibe. But it’s not all about the city. Qatar is dotted with naturally stunning sights such as the Khor al Adaid, an azure inland sea surrounded by desert, where you can get involved with thrilling activities like dune bashing. The country also boasts many historic sites, including the 18th century settlement of Al Zubarah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as many other lovingly preserved forts and historical buildings. You could soon be exploring Doha and relaxing on some of the country’s miles of beautiful beach – it’s all here waiting for you. ◆

The Deal FIVE NIGHTS FROM £1,255PP

Thomas Cook offers five nights from £1,255pp. This includes a five-night stay at the 4* Hilton Doha on a B&B basis and direct flights with Qatar Airways. For more information, terms and conditions and to book, call 0844 871 6650 or visit thomascook.com/holidays/qatar

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ROYAL ALBERT HALL

3 - 7 DECEMBER 2014

Featuring the Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits match on Sunday 7th December benefitting the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Visit website for more details

WHERE CHAMPIONS BECOME LEGENDS FEATURING MCENROE • HENMAN • PHILIPPOUSSIS • BAHRAMI • RODDICK Players subject to change at any time. More top names soon to be announced.

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COMPETITION

BRITAIN PRETTY The Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa is a classic example of stately British lodging, and one winner will win a Cotswolds break courtesy of Classic British Hotels

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f the phrase ‘British hotels’ conjures up images of sprawling palatial courtyards, lush green gardens and storied history, you’re on the right track – and in England’s glorious Gloucestershire countryside you can

Photograph by ###

PALATIAL COURTYARDS, LUSH GREEN GARDENS AND STORIED HISTORY

find just that, in the form of the Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa near Stow-on-the-Wold. Surrounded by tiny villages and with acres of picturesque gardens, this is Britain at its best, and we’re offering one lucky reader the chance to win a break for two at this luxurious hotel, including a champagne afternoon tea at majestic Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The winner and their guest will be whisked off to the Cotswolds for a two-night stay in a Manor House Suite at the four-star hotel, with a bottle of chilled prosecco to welcome them, before a trip to Blenheim Palace, and a three-course meal at the hotel’s restaurant on one night. There’s no better time to take advantage of Britain’s glorious stately homes and hotels, there’s no better place than Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa.

HOW TO WIN To enter, go to escapismmagazine. com/competition/classic-britishhotels and answer a simple question. The break must be taken by 31 August 2015, and is subject to promotional availablity and bank holidays. For a full list of T&Cs, please see the website.

escapism readers can also get exclusive deals, with breaks starting from £49.50pp, including breakfast and a three-course dinner. Find out more at classicbritishhotels.com/ escapism

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REAR VIEW

RING THEORY An alternative look at the world

98

Photograph by Robert Boesch

The top of Switzerland’s Jungfrau might not be the most obvious place for a game of Ring a Ring o’ Roses, but if you’ve gone to all that trouble, at least get a drone to photograph you. Which is exactly what this lot did for outdoors brand Mammut’s Peak Project. mammut.ch


WINTER IS COMING If you’re new to skiing or boarding, then we’d love to let you in on why a mountain holiday is so awesome, and if you’re already in love with the mountain then you won’t find anyone more passionate to hit the slopes with.

WE’VE GOT IT COVERED

You can find all the favourites from the Alps to the Rockies - but we’ve also found amazing alternative resorts in places like Norway, Bulgaria and Finland. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a ski holiday you’ll find it in one of our 130+ resorts.

MUCH MORE THAN JUST A RIDE TO RESORT

Head to the slopes with us and get access to loads of info from our staff who live and breathe the mountain. You’ll get first-hand knowledge of the resort you’re going to, along with an info pack that has everything you need to know. The Crystal Ski Explorer iPhone app has the best routes around the mountain, plus piste maps, GPS tracker and loads more.

Mayrhofen | Söll | Pas de la Casa | Cervinia | Tignes | Val Thorens and loads more


GET ON BOARD Pick your ights and accommodation, then compare prices online to build the right winter trip for you. You can also tap in to our community of skiers and snowboarders via Facebook or Twitter, or give us a call to help you find your way to the mountain.

crystalski.co.uk | 020 8939 0709 |

ATOL protected. For info please see our booking conditions.

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Escapism - 13 - The Ski Special  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 13 - The Ski Special

Escapism - 13 - The Ski Special  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 13 - The Ski Special