UR N’ YO NI UT ET N O Y G RU D WA ST R EA H O US TO H IG M O N O D H E R O ET M N HE TH NTU IPS AN A T H N IT E TR PL O W DV D E A A TH RO
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IS SU 0 E 1 1 4 4 THE UK’S BIGGEST INDEPENDENT TRAVEL MAGAZINE
REVVED UP ON ROUTE 66 + NEW ZEALAND FROM ABOVE + FOODIE CORNWALL
Abarth 595 50th Anniversary fuel cons mpg (l/100km): urban 33.6 (8.4) / extra-urban 52.3 (5.4) / combined 43.5 (6.5), CO2 emissions: 151g/km.
ABARTH 595 50TH ANNIVERSARY. THE CHARM OF THE LEGEND, THE PERFORMANCE OF A CHAMPION.
Write 595, read 100% Abarth - in 1963 Abarth launched the original 595. The exclusive New Abarth 595 50th Anniversary is a celebration of this iconic car. Limited to just 1 of only 50 cars in the UK, each finished in stunning satin white paint, the 595 50th Anniversary comes with historic badging and decals to reflect the heritage of its predecessors. As you would expect of an Abarth, outstanding performance and
For a limited period, the purchase of the Abarth 595 Anniversario now includes a personalised track experience at your choice of one of four circuits, so that you can fully appreciate the dynamic abilities of Abarth cars.*
INSTANT ANORAK MEANS OF ESCAPE HEAD TO HEAD IN BRIEF UK ADVENTURE STYLE: MEN STYLE: WOMEN GEAR: CARRY-ONS GROOMING SKI EUROPE
Photograph by David Kirkpatrick
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THE COLD SNAP: British photographer David Kirkpatrick – a dab hand in moody wilderness shots and commended in this year’s Landscape Photographer of the Year competition – persuaded his friend to walk out as close as possible to the edge of this snow cornice in the Scottish Monadhliath Mountains. Being late March, the cornice was just about hanging on in spite of the post-winter thaw.
Photograph by ###
Strong winds and heavy snowfall in the Cairngorms National Park – merely training for a Himalayan expedition – provided Scotlandbased photographer Tim Taylor with the perfect inspiration for a desolate winter storm shot. Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 8 (AA Publishing, £25). Taylor’s image came runner-up in the Living the View adult category. take-a-view.co.uk
Instant ANORAK November means Bonfire Night, spooky celebrations, Americans stuffing their faces in gratitude and – if you live in Rajasthan – a hell of a lot of camels THE NUMBER OF YEARS THAT DAY OF THE DEAD HAS BEEN CELEBRATED IN MEXICO
THE NUMBER OF CALORIES IN AN AVERAGE MEAL AT THANKSGIVING THE NUMBER OF CAMELS AT THE PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR IN RAJASTHAN
THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN THE ANNUAL PIRATE WEEK CELEBRATIONS IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
26,000 THE NUMBER OF TORCHES LIT AT THE LEWES BONFIRE NIGHT CELEBRATIONS IN SUSSEX
THOUSAND YEARS THE CLOCKENFLAP ARTS AND MUSIC FESTIVAL IN HONG KONG, HELD AT THE END OF THE MONTH, HAS BEEN RUN
## 1999 THE FIRST YEAR OF REYKJAVIK’S ICELAND AIRWAVES MUSIC FESTIVAL, WHICH WAS HELD IN AN AIRPORT HANGAR FOR MORE, SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This month: famous cats, banned letters and far too many doors SEOUL, KOREA Why settle for just one front door when you can have a whole wall full of them? Seoul's 1,000 Doors art installation, by local artist and designer Choi JeongHwa, is a ten-storey building made just of reused – and colourful – front doors. If you have trouble finding your own front door after a few drinks or if you get a lot of stuff delivered, then don't try this at home.
MEANS OF ESCAPE Like bikes but don’t fancy the exercise? Then visit Norway and ride uphill without the effort #14 BICYCLE LIFT
Photograph by Benh Lieu Song, Tango Chan
Riding your bike to work has many upsides: you get fit, you save yourself a bunch of cash and it’s a great excuse to wear skin-tight spandex. But let’s concentrate on the first point, the one about getting fit. The reason you get fit when you ride a bike is because it’s knackering. However, the people of Trondheim in Norway don’t fancy turning up to work drenched in sweat, so they’ve devised an ingenious alternative. The Trampe Bicycle Lift is the world’s first and only example of this particular method of fat-loss avoidance. It stretches for 130m up the side of an especially long and steep hill, and transports riders
to the top with minimum effort. To use the lift, travellers need to place their right foot on a special footplate and their left one on their own bike pedal, then lean forward and let the lift push them forth to glory. This interesting mode of transport takes getting used to, and if your stance isn’t correct, chances are you’ll fall off. The Trampe was originally installed in 1993, then removed in 2012, before being reintroduced in 2013 with a fancy facelift and a snazzy new name – the CycloCable. This lift is free, too. Riding up the hill yourself is also free, of course, but just think what that would do to your armpits.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY Until last year, the letters Q, W and X were banned in Turkey – it was part of the 1928 law of Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters. We're not hugely keen on them either, but in 2005, 20 people were even fined for holding up placards containing Q and W at a New Year's party (seriously). Imagine living in a world without the words xerox, quincunx or twixt – grim.
HONG KONG, CHINA Say hi to Brother Cream – he lives in a convenience store in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He's so famous that when he went missing a few years ago, the disappearance made the front page of several local papers (he's back now, though). At last count he had more than 170,000 likes on Facebook – it's basically the kind of fame of which us mere humans can only dream.
WINGING IT INSTANT GUIDES FOR THE LAZY TRAVELLER
MELBOURNE DO: NYE FIREWORKS
The city of Dubrovnik is completely surrounded by walls and forts.
DUBROVNIK Croatia may now be known for dance festivals and Game of Thrones, but it’s not all dragons and ravers, says Gary Ogden
a botanical garden and if you fancy really letting it all hang out, there’s a nudist beach. Although if nudity isn’t your thing, there are plenty of normal beaches in Dubrovnik too. The city also holds its own annual kneesup: the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. It’s not like its dancier counterparts along the coast, though. It’s a 45-day-long celebration of theatre, opera and dance, held in more than 70 open-air venues around the city. As an antidote to the pounding chaos of some of the country’s more hedonistic destinations, Dubrovnik is a serene city drenched in history and culture. Oh, and the Game of Thrones thing is quite nice too. e
NEED TO KNOW Three-night breaks at a 3* hotel (inc breakfast) from £179pp. Three-night breaks at a 5* hotel (inc half-board) from £209pp. ba.com/dubrovnik
DRIVE: GREAT OCEAN ROAD The Ronseal of road trips, the Great Ocean Road features spectacular slices of ocean (go figure) and some of Australia’s best wildlife. It hugs the coast from Torquay (an hour’s drive outside Melbourne) to Allansford. The road famously passes the Twelve Apostles limestone formations, penguins and plenty of koalas – six million of them live in the area.
SEE: STREET ART Melbourne is the street art capital of Oz, and many of the laneways near Flinders Street in the centre are covered in graffiti and stencil art. Street artists such as Banksy and America’s Shepard Fairey have come to shake their cans at Melbourne’s bricks and mortar. If you only see one street, make it Hosier Lane. visitmelbourne.com
Photograph by Eyebyte/Alamy, Chris Phutully, Richard Mikalsen, Shepard Fairey
o you watch Game of Thrones? If the answer is yes (it’s probably yes), then you’ll be familiar with the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. The city stands in for King’s Landing, so you may have spent a bit of time there already (through the TV, at least). Dubrovnik is a city steeped in history, with relics of a bygone age peppered about its coastline, from medieval fortresses to monasteries and palaces. The Old Town is exactly that – old. It served as an important Mediterranean base for maritime trade as far back as the 13th century. For a taste of the city’s relics and architectural wonders, you could visit the Franciscan Monastery, which houses more than 70,000 books. Or there are a number of Gothic palaces within the Dubrovnik city walls, such as the Rector’s Palace, which now houses a museum, or the Sponza Palace, home of the city archives. Or why not travel to the 72-hectare wooded island of Lokrum? It’s a 15-minute taxi boat away and has an ancient fortress,
If you really want to brag about your NYE plans (well done you for getting organised early) – wing yourself over to Melbourne for its New Year smash-up. Not only will you escape the dreaded English winter, but you’ll see a huge firework display, music and live entertainment throughout the city on New Year’s Eve. Beats paying £50 for entry to a dingy pub.
THE MOUNTAIN IS CALLING
Book early for the most choice Get ready for winter at crystalski.co.uk
ATOL protected. For info please see our booking conditions.
UK TOP FIVE
ADVENTURE TRIPS ‘Tis the season to do something active and keep off those festive pounds. Try one of these UK adventure breaks for size Hike: Scafell Pike
Photograph by (below) David Martyn Hughes/Alamy
Scafell Pike is England’s tallest peak, and any adventurer worth their salt should have it on their bucket list. It’s an exhilarating 3,209ft to the top, and if the weather plays ball you should be able to see across the rest of the Southern Fells hills. If you don’t fancy hanging out with some of the toughest sheep south of the border, then bike rides around some of the smaller lakes at Scafell’s ground zero should satiate your thirst for some proper Cumbrian adventure. Where to stay: Lindeth Howe Country House hotel is set in acres of private gardens, and is a great place to rest those sore muscles after clambering up Scafell. Plus, it’s right by Lake Windermere. classicbritishhotels.com
ABOVE: Dartmoor’s tors make great climbing spots (or sitting perches if you run out of steam); cycle across structures like Ironbridge in the serene Severn Valley, built in 1779 and still standing tall
Climb: Dartmoor Dartmoor is full of granite tors (or rocks sticking out of the hills to you and me) and the larger, more hardcore outcrops make great climbing or ‘bouldering’ companions. The Dewerstone, with its tall craggy rocks, is a great spot for keen climbers, as is the aptly named Central Groove. Where to stay: Moorland Garden Hotel has the best of both worlds: on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park as well as close to the centre of Plymouth. moorlandgardenhotel.co.uk
Cycle: Severn Valley Rather than spending the days between Christmas and New Year eating tins of Quality Street, take your bike west around to the Severn Valley, which runs from Wales through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Here’s the good news: it’s fairly flat. Bad news: it’s 210 miles long, so good luck choosing where to begin. Where to stay: Number Thirty Eight in Bristol makes a good base before you point your wheels north. number38clifton.com
Canoe: Northern Ireland
Photograph by ###
Northern Ireland has a vast network of canoe trails, and you can see a lot of its spectacular countryside while strapped into a fibreglass boat. If you’ve only got time to try one, head down the 50km-long Lough Erne Canoe Trail. Take your tent along for the ride and pitch up at the side. Check out canoeni.com for more information.
Walk: Inverness-shire Inverness-shire is prime Scottish Highlands territory, and makes a (bracingly cold) walking destination. Loch Ness is one of the best places to start. There are more trails than you can shake a (walking) stick at, from gentle strolls to demanding hill climbs. Try the South Loch Ness Trail – a 28mile tramp around the quieter, less familiar (to most) side of the huge lake. e Where to stay: To hole up away from the cold, check into one of Eagle Brae’s Canadian-style log cabins with stunning views out over Loch Ness. eaglebrae.com
Scale Scafell Pike in the Lake District and hang out with some of the toughest sheep south of the border 19
checklist ★ G U YS ★
ICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s cold – properly, genuinely cold. Oh, you’d noticed? Good, in which case the next step is to sort yourself out with gear to keep you warm, dry and stylish at home or on the road. This lot should do it.
1. HESTRA, Charcoal and black wool tricot gloves, £50. Keep your hands warm and stylish on the move. opumo.com 2. HAN KJØBENHAVN, Timeless grey clip-on glasses, £125. Beat the glare with retro shades, handmade in Denmark. opumo.com 3. FINISTERRE, Nidus Rib, £125. Untreated British wool for supreme warmth and comfort, with suede elbow pads. finisterreuk.com 4. MA.STRUM, Journeyman’s bag in freight grey, £349. Deep holdall built to take plenty of hits. mastrum.com 5. BELLFIELD, Melo jacket, £70. Never get lost or cold in this futuristic orange parker. bellfieldclothing.com
6. TID, Black No. 1 Military watch, £189. Stealthy, black ion-plated watch designed for optimum readability and sharp, utilitarian looks. opumo.com 7. ON, Cloudrunner Winter Edition, £140. Weather-proofed version of the Swiss brand’s clever Cloudrunner to keep you fast and warm until the sun returns. on-running.com 8. FUJIFILM, X30, £479. Retro-flavoured shooter with top specs in a compact body. Perfect for pulling out on the go. fujifilm.eu 9. FINISTERRE, Camber jean, £150. Like the Nidus Rib, these are from Finisterre’s new CWS line. Japanese denim combines with merino wool for post-surf toastiness.
Photograph by David Harrison
★ GIRLS ★ 1. BERNSTOCK SPEIRS, Tweed bow beanie, £85. Cute and warm. bernstockspeirs.com 2. BERSHKA, Leather jacket, £119. Ready for rebellion without a cause. bershka.com 3. AKA CLOTHING, Pag Long Tee, £50. Patterned chic from the streetwear designer. thisisaka.com 4. SUNDAY SOMEWHERE, Little God, £140. Angular specs for winter sun. sundaysomewhere.com
5. BERSHKA, Jeans, £39.99. Ribbed stonewash jeans = road trip companion. bershka.com 6. DARLING, Macy necklace, £25. Add instant glamour to any outfit. darlingclothes.com 7. LEE COREN, Classic grey gala silk scarf, £69. Scarf or picnic blanket? You decide. redrubyrouge.com 8. BERSHKA, Print slip-ons, £25.99. A bright, patterned spin on the classic plimsole. bershka.com
Photograph by David Harrison
★ GEAR ★ THE TOUGH ONE SAMSONITE: Paradiver 55cm, £145. Durable, skydiving-inspired wheeled duffle, with shoulder and chest straps so it can also be worn as a backpack. samsonite.co.uk
THE SEXY ONE
GATE8: Garment Mate, £149. Fiendishly smart wheel-on bag with crease-free garment storage and a zip-off laptop bag. Perfect for business trips and city breaks. gate8-luggage.co.uk
Photograph by David Harrison Photograph by ###
TUMI: Alpha 2 International in olive, £595. Sleek, stylish and deceptively strong four-wheeled carry-on from Tumi. With two stages of expansion for added space. tumi.com
THE CLEVER ONE
Thereâ€™s more than meets the eye
Discover Gozo www.visitgozo.com
★ F RA G RA N C E S ★
4. JO MALONE, Tuberose Angelica Cologne Intense, 100ml, £80. Warm and aromatic fragrance. worlddutyfree.co.uk 5. COMME DES GARÇONS, Wonderwood, parfum, 50ml, £57. The clue’s in the name: an intense and masculine woody hit. comme-desgarcons-parfum.com
5 PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###
1. JOHN VARVATOS, Classic, EDT, 125ml, £60. Bold and sophisticated masculine fragrance. johnvarvatos.com 2. PACO RABANNE, Black XS for her, EDT, 50ml, £38.50. Floral and woody notes combine. pacorabanne.com 3. ISSEY MIYAKE, Nuit d’Issey, EDT, 125ml, £59. Nocturnal scent for men. isseymiyake.com
KRONPLATZ, ITALY Kronplatz is one of the world’s most modern ski resorts, yet it’s virtually unheard of – in Britain at least. The lift system is highspeed, and last year saw the installation of a new gondola with WiFi in its cabins. The resort is part of the much-fêted Dolomiti Superski area, which is home to 12 linked ski resorts. On its own, Kronplatz offers 116km of slopes, and this season it becomes home to a brand new snowpark. WHERE TO STAY: Crystal Ski has added the resort to its roster for 2014/15 and offers a week’s half board at the Bella Vista Hotel Emma from £755pp, including flights and transfers. crystalski.co.uk
Ben Clatworthy runs the rule over the European resorts set to go big this season, while we pick the new gear you’ll want to take with you
Photograph by (main) Stockbroker / Alamy; (right) Dory / Alamy
PACK SMART Filling a bag with snowsports gear just isn’t the same as packing for a week on the beach – you need a pack that’s up to the task. Eagle Creek’s ORV Trunk 30 ticks all our clobber-lugging boxes, thanks to bomb-proof construction, separate waterproof compartments for damp gear, well-placed straps and handles, and large, durable wheels. £280, eaglecreek.com
Think the European ski scene is already well mapped out? Think again
MARIA ALM, AUSTRIA One of the lesser-known Austrian resorts, Maria Alm offers visitors a traditional skiing experience, yet thanks to a link with the Hochkönig ski area, there are approximately 125km of pistes to be explored. The quaint town is typically frequented by well-heeled Austrians looking for a relaxing holiday, and you’ll find a notable lack of British tourists. This year, Thomson has added the resort to its portfolio, although Maria Alm’s tranquil atmosphere is likely to keep the crowds pretty quiet. WHERE TO STAY: A week’s B&B at the three-star Pension Annerlhof costs from £549pp, including flights to Salzburg and transfers with Thomson. thomsonski.co.uk
ABOVE: Maria Alm in Austria is an under-the-radar ski resort with plenty of slopes to be explored. It’s ideal if you want to avoid bumping into other Brits
CHÂTEL, FRANCE Situated in the vast Portes du Soleil ski area – with 600km of slopes – Châtel is a traditional resort with small snow-clad chalets and an elegant church. This winter sees the opening of the resort’s new €13m Forme d’O aquatics centre. With one outdoor and two indoor swimming pools, you’ll be able to loosen your muscles after a hard day on the slopes with a few lengths, before sinking into the bubbling hot tub. There are saunas and steam rooms if smashing out post-ski laps seems too much like hard work. WHERE TO STAY: Ski Solutions offers a week’s chalet board at Chalet Cannelle from £895pp based on two sharing, including flights from Gatwick and resort transfers. skisolutions.com
GOING DOWN We love down jackets. Wet down jackets, not so much. The Fenrir, from British brand Jöttnar (set up by a pair of ex Marines), solves that problem with a waterproof outer membrane and 850 fillpower water-repellent down, so it stays dry and retains its shape in all conditions. Damp-prone areas such as cuffs, hem and collar are reinforced to shut out moisture. £200, jottnar.com
Photograph by (left) David Burton/Alamy; (right) Photopress/Denis Emery
Dubbed the ‘pearl of the Alps’, car-free Saas-Fee resembles a Christmas card scene in winter. Little has changed since it was the filming location for Wham’s Last Christmas video, which turns 30 years old this December. It’s perfect for mixed-ability groups: there’s a vast beginner’s area at the bottom, while higher pistes offer challenges for experts. WHERE TO STAY: The new WellnessHostel4000, with a swimming pool, spa, and hot tub – and mountain views – is Switzerland’s newest, and most upmarket hostel. Shared rooms cost from £40pppn, while double rooms start at £103pn. saas-fee.ch
TO ENTER SCAN
or go to
Get closer to a FREE holiday with London City Airport London City Airport is delighted to offer you the chance to win a luxury Powder Byrne ski holiday for four to the beautiful Swiss region of Graubünden. The winner will stay in a 2 bedroom apartment for seven nights in the world-class rocksresort in Laax. The prize is redeemable on selected weeks in both the 2015 and 2016 winter seasons. This prize includes return flights with SWISS from London City Airport to Zurich.
London City Airport flies you to the most scenic slopes… as well as 45 business and leisure destinations across Europe and also New York. With a unique 20 minute check-in, front door to lounge, and 15 minute arrival, tarmac to train, it’s ideal for business travel. London City Airport is the only airport actually in London - just
14 minutes from Canary Wharf, 22 minutes from Bank and 25 minutes from Westminster, why fly from anywhere else?
For timetables or to book flights visit londoncityairport.com /londoncityair
Quicker, more punctual and actually in London T&Cs apply.* Full details can be found at lcy.co.uk/ski
Thick with powder and 1,899m above sea level, Gratlspitze Mountain in Austria’s North Tyrol provides some epic views. It is also used to be the site of a silver mine
ALPBACH, AUSTRIA The popularity of freeride skiing has rocketed in recent years – and with such an adrenaline rush on offer, it’s not surprising. New this season, Alpbach Tourist Office is offering training camps for competent piste skiers looking to make their first freeride turns. The three-day camps run monthly from January to March. You’ll receive four hours’ tuition each day, and avalanche safety equipment is also included. WHERE TO STAY: Freeride courses start from £310pp, including three nights’ B&B (alpbachtal. at). Inghams offers a week’s half board at Hotel Alphof from £694pp, including flights from Gatwick. inghams.co.uk
BACK FOR GOOD When you need to take a bag out on the slopes, Jack Wolfskin’s Gravity Flow 20 has all the answers. A slim-cut, close-fit and elasticated waist belt keep it in place, and there are plenty of clever touches, such as straps for attaching skis, an insulated drinks tube and loads of internal pockets. £110. For a range of rucksacks, visit a Cotswold Outdoor store. cotswoldoutdoor.com
Photograph (above) by imageBROKER / Alamy; Hemis / Alamy
Expect blaring jazz, champagne and camp cabaret as the Folie Douce adds the glitzy resort of Megève to its portfolio this winter. The après-ski venue – which hails from Val d’Isère – will offer a new pace of life to the otherwise serene resort. However, the Folie’s upmarket La Fruitière restaurant won’t be one iota out of place on Megève’s slopes, which already boast some of the best mountain restaurants in the Alps. WHERE TO STAY: Megève specialist Stanford Skiing has a week’s chalet board at the Chalet Hotel Rond Point from £525pp, including transfers. stanfordskiing.co.uk
#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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mean STREET EATS Exhausted London’s street food options? Time to get on a plane and find out how they do things elsewhere, from LA’s food trucks to roadside Indian thattukada
If the street food world has a capital, there’s good reason to think it would be Bangkok in Thailand. The simplest foods, like this curry, are often the tastiest.
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES
Bangkok is the main contender on the world map of street food. Open-air markets and stalls dish up plates to be eaten standing up in between haggling for knock-off designer bags or sitting (sweating) on plastic chairs. WHAT TO EAT: Thai green papaya salad; pad Thai (of course); brothy, beefy noodle dishes; fish balls and satay. Tip: the simplest dishes can also be the tastiest. WHERE TO FIND IT: Start on Sukhumvit Soi 38, which has remained in favour with locals, despite being a favourite with visitors. It comes to life from about 5pm. Then try Soi Ari, Tha Phra Chang Pier and Victory Monument.
Mobile meals in LA can be found in big, badass American trucks on sidewalks and in parking lots. WHAT TO EAT: American classics, old and new. Get your lips round slow-smoked Southern barbecue from Peaches’ Smokehouse & Southern Kitchen. Also check out Mexican treats, such as Homeboy’s chilaquiles, try Say Fish Tacos’, er, fish tacos, or blow your mind with a Jogasaki sushi burrito. WHERE TO FIND IT: Helpfully, the trusty Roaming Hunger website (roaminghunger.com/la) maps out food truck locations whether you’re after breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late-night bite. Or plan your trip for June, in time for the LA Street Food Fest (lastreetfoodfest.com).
KOCHI, INDIA Get yours from a thattukada – this overarching term covers roadside fast food joints that are either small, temporary or mobile. It was popularised by the Pai Brothers, renowned for their dosa. Thattukada are a cheap and tasty way to try authentic Keralan food. WHAT TO EAT: Thattukada favourites are spongy thattu dosas, like pancakes and served with chutneys, beef curries and Keralan roast beef with chapatti. You’re on India’s Spice Coast, so also think curries and seafood. Local fish dishes worth sampling are coconutty stew-like fish molly or a chilli-laced meen molagitta curry. WHERE TO FIND IT: Step outside pretty much anywhere in the city after dark and you’ll find street food. MG Road is a hotspot.
Photographs by #
GETTING THERE • Kochi, India: The Images of India tour from Virgin Holidays takes in some of southern India’s most remarkable destinations. • Melbourne, Australia: Virgin Holidays’ Australian Highlights tour visits cities and sights across the country over 16 days. • Mexico City, Mexico: The Treasures of Mexico tour from Virgin Holidays spans Mexico’s ancient and colonial past. Visit virginholidays.co.uk for more information on these tours and where to stay in LA and Bangkok.
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
Trucks, trucks, and more trucks. Did we mention trucks? Melbourne is the holy grail for discerning gluttons, so it makes sense that its street food is less rough and ready, more affordable decadence. WHAT TO EAT: You can get almost anything you want from around the world at a street food truck in Melbs. Burgers made with prime Wagyu beef, fresh gumbos and curries, and Greek kalamaki (trans: street food) are all here. The Brûlée Cart – guess what it serves – is a good example of the breed. WHERE TO FIND IT: Around Moreland and Darebin, plus along Somerville Road in Yarraville. Visit wherethetruck.at or download the Where The Truck iPhone app to keep track of trucks.
Mexicans call street food antojitos, which translates as ‘little cravings’, and Mexico City’s offerings have the chops to rival Bangkok when it comes to streetside eating. WHAT TO EAT: Pambazos, a Mexican sandwich made with white bread rolls soaked in chilli sauce; camotes (sweet potatoes) slathered with condensed milk, cream and berry marmalade; and tacos, real, genuine ones (not the rigid American-style ground-beef versions), with soft tortillas and filled with all kinds of different meats and fish. WHERE TO FIND IT: Get initiated in Mercado San Juan, then head to the more working-class Arcos de Belém or around Metro Chilpancingo.
If it’s white beaches, tropical lagoons and divine cuisine you’re after, then Mauritius should be top of your list. And where better to stay than a Beachcomber Hotel?
auritius is undoubtedly a paradise – if you’re looking for an antidote to the hustle and bustle of urban life, then its serene atmosphere and tropical climate will fit your needs perfectly. From vast, sandy beaches that descend into glassy and tranquil waters to lush tropical gardens and marine parks, Mauritius is an ideal place to relax and recuperate. And there are few places better to kick back than Beachcomber Hotels, which has a string of luxury beachfront resorts in Mauritius. Here are four great deals…
5* Dinarobin Hotel Golf and Spa
Surrounded by lush island vegetation, this top-class all-suite resort is set on the south-west coast – the most scenic shoreline in Mauritius – and backs onto the spectacular Le Morne Brabant mountain. Add to this an exclusive Clarins spa and access to all the facilities of the neighboring Paradis Hotel and Golf Club, and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect holiday. Lie back (or enjoy a yoga class) on the huge sandy beach, opposite one of the island’s most picturesque
lagoons, or indulge in the renowned cuisine over four separate restaurants, each with a different setting and theme. You’ll be pushed for time to experience every aspect of this wonderful resort. Stay seven nights including breakfast from £1,479pp
VAST, SANDY BEACHES DESCEND INTO GLASSY AND TRANQUIL WATERS; MAURITIUS IS A PARADISE
5* Paradis Hotel and Golf Club
It’s all in a name, and this one is no different, with its own sprawling 18-hole golf course. If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline, then you needn’t look far – the resort boasts one of the largest sports centres on the island offering tennis, watersports and much more. If you’re after something more relaxed, you can just as easily set up camp at any point on the 5km of beach front and while away the day. Evening entertainment is catered for too, with a wealth of varied restaurants. As an added plus, you can use any of the facilities in the adjacent Dinarobin Hotel. Stay seven nights including breakfast from £1,299pp
5* Trou aux Biches Resort and Spa
Turquoise lagoon might sound like a theme park, but it’s simply a description of the dazzling gulf that surrounds this top-tier timeless hideaway, which is perfect for families. Tucked away on the north-west corner of the island, Trou aux Biches Resort and Spa also happens to be the island’s first eco-friendly
P ROMOTI ON
TROPICAL HIDEAWAY: Blue skies, white beaches, lush vegetation – the unmistakable spectrum of colour that makes up the coastline of Mauritius can be yours to experience from just £1,299pp with British Airways
resort. With sweeping, dramatic sunsets there’s no surprise it is billed as the most romantic hotel in Mauritius, and boasts suites and villas with private pools and a remarkable 35 hectare tropical garden. Alongside a kids’ club, there’s also a teens’ club with games consoles, table tennis and table football. Stay seven nights including breakfast from £1,309pp
4.5* Shandrani Resort and Spa
Finding it hard to choose a beach? Well, this resort has three, so you can try them all out for size. It’s set on a private peninsula and surrounded by the Blue Bay marine park, which has more than 50 different species of coral. As with the rest of Beachcomber’s hotels, the Shandrani Resort and Spa also offers a wide range of lip-smacking cuisine over five restaurants to fill the evenings and your stomach. Plus, the resort’s Serenity Plus All Inclusive Package includes all branded spirits, champagne by the glass after 6pm and over 30 bottles of wine on the wine list. Stay seven nights including half board from £1,349pp ◆
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Travel between 9 January and 19 December 2015 and book by 30 November 2014. Seven-night holidays start from just £1,299pp. To book, and for more information, visit ba.com/beachcomber
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ROAD TRIPS ROUTE 66 NEW ZEALAND CORNWALL QATAR
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND: Aside from the cosmpolitan city of Doha, most of Qatar is covered in sand, meaning it’s the perfect place for dune bashing and desert 4x4ing. Just take care in August – it’s 45ºC. [p74]
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Photograph by ###
UK THE ORIGINAL: THE ATLANTIC HIGHWAY
The drive along the Southwest’s north coast starts in Lynmouth with a descent from the hills of Exmoor, passes through quaint seaside towns such as Bude and ends just outside Newquay. ROUTE: Lynmouth – Newquay STATS: Around 150km, two days Trains from London to nearby Barnstaple take around four hours. thetrainline.com
a reason to take the route? Get to Giant’s Causeway in time for sunset. The result of an ancient volcanic eruption, Giant’s Causeway is made up of block-upon-block of layered basalt columns and deserves a bird’s eye view from the surrounding cliffs. ROUTE: Belfast – Londonderry STATS: Around 110km, two days One-way fares to Belfast start from £26.99pp with easyJet. easyjet.com
THE TWIST: GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, NORTHERN IRELAND
A road trip along the Northern Irish Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to Londonderry is a rewarding one. Start in Belfast and take a quick detour inland to see the nine Glens of Antrim, each of which has its own myth in Irish folklore – Glentaisie, the northernmost is named after Taisie, princess Now a tourist attracof Rathlin Island, tion, the mansion is whose beauty is full of architectural said to have sparked oddities – doors and stairs that go off a battle when nowhere, windows the King of Norway that look into other tried to capture and rooms. It's meant to be haunted. marry her. Still need
USA THE ORIGINAL: PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY
Travel along America’s West Coast, taking in iconic sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or San Jose's spooky Winchester Mystery House. ROUTE: Leggett – Dana Point STATS: Around 1,000km, at least two weeks Return fares to Los Angeles start from £346pp with Norwegian Air. norwegian.com THE TWIST: FLORIDA KEYS
If you like your water (big bits of it on the ground, not coming from the sky), then a trip through the Florida Keys will
ABOVE: Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland at sunset, made up of layered basalt and BELOW: the Florida Keys archipelago makes a tropical road trip destination – bolt on a trip to Miami while you're at it
THE GARDEN ROUTE'S SO NAMED FOR ITS GREENERY. THROW IN BABOONS AND WHALES FOR ONE NATUREFILLED TRIP probably be your bag. Start off at Key Largo, don your wetsuit and experience some of the best diving in the US. Afterwards, grab a slice of key lime pie and then head on towards the village of Islamorada (which is actually six islands). You’ve got loads to do here, including chilling with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Centre, or if you fancy something a little more lively, then head to the Tiki Bar on Holiday Isle. Finish up in Key West and enjoy some watersports before chowing down on a local conch fritter. ROUTE: Key Largo – Key West STATS: Around 180km, three days Get return flights and seven days' car hire for £479pp with British Airways. ba.com/avis
South Africa THE ORIGINAL: THE GARDEN ROUTE
Photograph by ###
Twisting along the south coast from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape, the Garden Route gets its name from all the vegetation you’ll see on the way. Add baboons, whales and 300 bird species to the mix and you’ve got one nature-filled journey. ROUTE: Mossel Bay – Storms River STATS: Around 200km, three days
ROAD TRIPS PROMOTION
DRIVE ITALY If lush green landscapes, historic cities and delicious food and drink at every corner sounds appealing, you’ll like Italy. And you can get the most out of your holiday when you book a flight and an Avis car with British Airways – here are its top three Italian road trips… Pisa Tuscany, with its rolling hills and stunning hilltop towns, is ideal to explore on two wheels. Pick up the car in Pisa, and see the city’s iconic Leaning Tower before driving over the hills of Northern Tuscany and to Florence, which stuns with its history and art. Return flights to Pisa and seven-day Avis car hire with British Airways starts from £119pp. ba.com/avis Milan Milan is the gateway to the beautiful Italian lakes, in particular sparkling Lake Como. That doesn’t mean Milan isn’t worth exploring too, but it’s Como – a 90-minute drive – that impresses. Spend a couple of days meandering around its borders, stopping off at lidos and for fresh fish at one of the many lakeside cafés. Return flights to Milan and sevenday Avis car hire with British Airways starts from £149pp. ba.com/avis Rome Rome is an overload to the senses – there’s incredible art to discover, a buzzing food scene and history at every corner. But head north to Lake Bracciano for a more relaxed slice of life – the beautiful lake attracts the rich and famous. Return flights to Rome and sevenday Avis car hire with British Airways starts from £129pp. ba.com/avis Join the Executive Club for free today to earn Avios on every rental and enjoy a free additional driver. T&Cs apply. Prices based on selected travel between 01/01/15 and 15/03/15. Subject to availability. Book by 14/12/14. ba.com/avis
Return flights to Cape Town start from £516pp with Turkish Airlines. turkishairlines.com
THE TWIST: THE PANORAMA ROUTE
For eye-popping views, point your wheels towards Mpumalanga in the east for waterfalls, canyons and thick forests. Essential stops include Blyde River Canyon – one of the largest in the world – the 700m cliffs at God’s Window and waterfalls such as Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls and Mac Mac Falls. Pan for precious metals at 1873 goldrush town Pilgrim’s Rest, and head to Graskop for high-adrenaline sports including a high wire slide and cable gorge swings. Wildlife is abundant on this trip too – expect eagles, jackals and bushbabies. Just don’t get too close… ROUTE: Sabie – Graskop STATS: Around 300km, three days Return flights to Durban start from £522pp with Emirates. emirates.com
Iberian Peninsula THE ORIGINAL: COSTA BLANCA
If you want a trip that nails plenty of beach time, head to the Costa Blanca – beginning in Alicante, stopping off in Benidorm before exploring buzzy university town Valencia. ROUTE: Alicante – Valencia STATS: Around 170km, two days Return flights to Alicante and seven days' car hire from £99pp with British Airways. ba.com/avis THE TWIST: PORTO TO LISBON
ABOVE: Bourke's Luck Potholes on the Panorama Route in South Africa BELOW: Houses in the historic centre of Porto
AN AUSSIE ROAD TRIP MEANS CHISELLED BODS, BLONDE DREADLOCKS AND LOTS OF SURFING
ROAD TRIPS IN POP CULTURE On the Road – Jack Kerouac The beat generation writer thumbed the road from New York to California via the Midwest and back again via the Southern States. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig The tale of a summer motorbike trip across the American Northwest. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe A group of LSD users cross America in a bus – sounds like, er, fun? Y Tu Mamá También A coming-of-age film about a drive around rural Mexico.
Photographs by (left) ARoxo/Getty Images; (above) Image Broker/Alamy
The drive between Portugal’s two largest cities – Porto and Lisbon – can easily be finished in an afternoon (but where's the fun in that?). Give yourself a couple of days,
Taking a break to Florida together certainly has its benefits
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Availability may be extremely limited, particularly during peak periods. Price is in GBP per person based on two adults sharing Avis car hire in lowest car group with insurance with return flights from London Gatwick to Orlando or Tampa for selected travel between 01/01/15 â€“ 31/01/15. Price correct as of 23/10/14. Bookings must be made by midnight 14/12/14. Some payment methods attract a handling fee. Holidays are ATOL protected (number ATOL5985). For full terms and conditions, visit ba.com.
ABARTH 595 50TH ANNIVERSARY. THE CHARM OF THE LEGEND, THE PERFORMANCE OF A CHAMPION. Write 595, read 100% Abarth - in 1963 Abarth launched the original 595. The exclusive New Abarth 595 50th Anniversary is a celebration of this iconic car. Limited to just 299 examples, each finished in stunning satin white paint, the 595 50th Anniversary comes with historic badging and decals to reflect the heritage of its predecessors. As you would expect of an Abarth, outstanding performance and specification come as standard; a mighty 180bhp coupled with paddle-shift control “Abarth Competizione” gearbox are brought together with a bespoke leather trimmed interior, 17” alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and Record Monza exhaust; the ultimate interpretation of the 595. To�ﬁ�nd�out�more�visit;�www.abarthcars.co.uk
Abarth 595 50th Anniversary fuel cons mpg (l/100km): urban 33.6 (8.4) / extra-urban 52.3 (5.4) / combined 43.5 (6.5), CO2 emissions: 151g/km. Abarth range from £14,560 to £33,487 OTR. Fuel
consumption and CO2 ﬁgures based on standard EU tests for comparative purposes and may not reﬂect real driving results.
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Availability may be extremely limited, particularly during peak periods. Price is in GBP per person based on two adults sharing Avis car hire in lowest car group with insurance with return flights from London Gatwick to Alicante for selected travel between 01/01/15-31/01/15. Prices correct as of 23/10/14. Bookings must be made by midnight 14/12/14. *Bonus Avios valid on group C cars or above, and rentals of 3 or more days â€“ book and travel by 14/12/14. Some payment methods attract a handling fee. Holidays are ATOL protected (number ATOL5985). For full terms and conditions, visit ba.com.
Cathy Adams revs up an American muscle car for the ultimate road trip down Route 66, stopping off at Native American reserves, the Grand Canyon and stepping into Breaking Bad territory
Photograph by Jon Arnold
Photograph by ###
t’s only when picking up the car – a grotesquely large, shiny white Dodge Challenger – at Albuquerque’s airport that we fully appreciate how barren New Mexico is. From the unglamorous vantage point of the Alamo car rental office, what seems like most of the scorched, brown state spreads out for miles in front of us, like a thin layer of Marmite. The only break in the land is the clutch of skyscrapers downtown, which marks the start of our journey on Route 66.
Albuquerque If your only Albuquerque frame of reference comes from Breaking Bad, it’s a good place to start. The cornflower blue skies, ironing board-flat parking lots and uniformly beige high rises where illegal narcotics are made and sold on the silver screen look bigger, bluer and more bleak in real life. It’s desolate and dusty, and Central Avenue – downtown John Steinbeck gave Albuquerque’s section Route 66 its ‘Mother of the Mother Road – Road’ moniker in The is a seven-block-long Grapes of Wrath. He called it ‘the road of dive bar crawl, full flight’ as thousands of neon-fronted bars left Oklahoma from which locals following a drought in the 1930s. erupt on a Saturday
Albuquerque to Gallup Life drains away when you leave the city proper, and the yawningly empty Route 66 cuts through red cliffs on either side. This part of the Mother Road makes for the archetypal road trip postcard – deserted roads, spectacular scenery, motels and drivein diners serving brain-freeze milkshakes. Crossing the Rio Grande river, surrounded by lush farmland, we trace Route 66 through empty desertscapes and old Indian reservations towards Gallup, the last town before the road breaks into Arizona. Our first stop is the barren To’hajiilee, a Navajo reservation just off Interstate 40 and the scene of a particularly Three villages brutal episode of make up Acoma Breaking Bad. Pueblo: Sky City (Old The minute we Acoma), Acomita and McCartys. It kill the Challenger’s is estimated that engine, the tinny the town has been beat of Ginuwine’s inhabited for more than 2,000 years. Pony stops and
THE YAWNINGLY EMPTY ROUTE 66 CUTS THROUGH RED CLIFFS ON EITHER SIDE we’re standing high up on a dusty orange cliff in total silence. All that’s around is the occasional road sign pointing down a track to ramshackle camps or makeshift houses. Further along the interstate is Acoma Pueblo, a hilltop reservation that’s said to be America’s oldest settlement. Sky City is the first thing you’ll see from Route 66, atop the table-shaped sandstone mesa. From the top, it provides a jaw-dropping view of the road into the distance. Still within New Mexico’s rocky orange clutches, following freight trains chugging from Chicago to LA, we stop for lunch in
Photograph by ABQ Tourist Board
Breaking Bad did to Albuquerque what The Wire did for Baltimore, and several tours have popped up to show visitors some of the most famous sites from the show. Thanks to swingeing tax cuts for the film industry and a smasher of a backdrop, Albuquerque is the Southwest’s hottest new destination when it comes to the silver screen. The Candy Lady, based in the Old Town, runs luxury tours in an eightseater limousine, trailing around sights such as the car wash, Walter White’s house and Los Pollos Hermanos (disappointingly just another branch of fast food chain Twisters). It feels weird to pose outside somebody else’s house, but that’s all part of the fun. Plus, each tour includes The Candy Lady’s home-cooked blue meth sweets. Costs $85.25pp including tax. discoveramerica.com
night. (Tip: head to Andaluz Hotel on the corner of Second Street and Copper Avenue for dinner at its hip tapas restaurant MÁS.) New Mexico is historic Navajo territory, and Native American heritage is still alive in the quaint Old Town, which is awash with touristy stalls selling jewellery (and burritos). If you don’t fancy a coarse poncho or feather earrings, grab a slice of oldschool Albuquerque from the Golden Crown Panaderia, which sells Mexican bolillos and empanadas laced with green chilli.
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BLINDFOLD YOURSELF BEFORE YOU GET TO THE LIP OF THE RAVINE – IT’S AN 1,800M DROP TO THE RIVER Gallup, where a third of the population has Native American roots. It’s not a pretty town – streets are slathered in neon signage, some working, some not. The only place open is Jerry’s Cafe, serving burritos and tacos, coated in thick chilli-cheese sauce, with an obligatory splodge of Mexican black beans.
Gallup to Flagstaff The dramatic scenery we got used to doesn’t immediately change over the Arizona border, and the viscerally named Petrified
THIS IMAGE: New Mexico highways stretch over dusty orange land. BELOW: Chilli features heavily in cooking in the Southwest
We’ve been smugly informed by locals that the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is by far its best side, and it’s just a threehour trip on the endearing Grand Canyon Railway (in the luxury parlour car, no less) from former mining town Williams. (It’s not
strictly on Route 66, but when in Arizona, right?) Whether or not you choose to blindfold yourself before you get to the lip of the ravine – great advice that, given it’s a 1,800m drop to the Colorado River below – there’s little that can prepare you for the vastness of it. From the South Rim, there are various hiking trails both around and down into the canyon.
Seligman to Kingman The last section of Arizona’s Route 66 rolls through some of its most stereotypical places: deserted Seligman, which is little more than a handful of gas stations and motels strung together on the roadside, and Kingman, the last proper town before California, where we stop for an arteryexploding lunch of hot dogs, milkshakes and Elvis memorabilia at Mr D’z Route 66 Diner. My waistline has expanded after four days of tipping processed meat and cheese through my maw – but with fascinating Navajo culture and some of the best scenery in the world to discover, who’s counting? e
NEED TO KNOW Double rooms at the Andaluz Hotel in Albuquerque start from around £105. andaluz.com. Rooms at the Super 8 Motel in Flagstaff start from £31. super8.com. Return flights to Albuquerque start from around £550 with American Airlines. aa.com For more information on Arizona, visit visitarizona.com.
Photograph by Bob Stefko/Getty, ABQ Tourist Board
Forest National Park and Painted Desert (entry fee $10) are a nice warm up for the Grand Canyon just 300 miles west. The Petrified Forest isn’t a forest at all, more a landscape of burnt stumps of wood, while the Painted Desert is easier on the eye, and is a flatter version of the Grand Canyon. Rolling into Flagstaff, the landscape changes dramatically, One of the seven from expanses natural wonders of of brown with the world, the rock sparse terracotta on the bottom of the Grand Canyon is rocks to swathes around two billion of tall fir trees. years old. The upper The temperature rim is around 230 drops dramatically: million years old. there’s snow on the mountains, and shorts and sandals suddenly aren’t suitable when I wrench myself from the Challenger to find it’s 12ºC outside. Mountain town Flagstaff is vintage Route 66 at its best. At night, the network of streets around downtown light up with neon signs promoting hotels, theatres and clubs, and the Museum Club, a ski chaletesque wooden bar that puts on live music most nights for beleaguered drivers, is reminiscent of its past as a stopover town. It’s got a burgeoning craft beer scene, too – Beaver Street Brewery does a storming menu of home-grown beers (try the raspberry-flavoured Bramble Berry Brew) and pizzas out of its wood-fired oven.
For sightseeing with a healthy dose of real adrenaline, the only way is up. Clare Vooght finds the most vertigo-inducing ways to view the mountains, lakes and beaches of New Zealand
Photograph by ###
’m flying at 3,500ft and with a flick of my right wrist I can turn the horizon vertical. Next, it looks like the land’s stacked on top of blue sea, then vertical again, and moments later the sky is rotating back round to the right place. It’s terrifying, but surprisingly easy to manoeuvre a 200-horsepower 1977 Pitts Special S2A stunt plane 360-degrees sideways into an aileron roll. Where you look is the most important part: dead ahead to roll right, or out to the side to steer into a loop. The view’s not bad here in New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park. Snowy-peaked mountains tumble down to really green fields, stretches of sandy beach and the crystal clear waters of the Tasman Bay. Telling people back home I’d be seeing New Zealand in the most vertiginous ways possible prompted a sharp intake of breath and a “rather you than me”. But luckily I quite like heights. And being in this tiny redand-white stunt plane – with U-Fly Extreme flight instructor Instructor Vincent Vincent D’Ath in D’Ath has more the open one-man than 30 years of cockpit behind aviation experience, including time spent mine – feels a lot in the Royal New more real than flying Zealand Air Force as a passenger in a and 17 years of flight instruction. Boeing 747.
An aileron roll Each aileron roll is an aerobatic brings a stomach manoeuvre in lurch and a dose of which a plane does a full 360adrenaline. Then degree rotation come the quarter on its longitudinal rolls, and my instant axis, with no change in altitude. reaction is to cling onto my harness with my free hand when we pause halfway, belly up. But (spoiler alert) I don’t end up falling head-first out of the plane. One last swoop over the Tasman Bay, and we’re skimming fluffy white clouds as we head back inland – it’s an incredible feeling to be at the helm of this beautiful metal bird. It’s only when we’re on the ground again, playing back the video footage, that I notice Vincent spent half the time waving his hands in the air to prove to the in-flight camera that he wasn’t touching the controls. Next to U-Fly Extreme in Motueka Airport is Skydive Abel Tasman. Skydiving options are 9,000ft, 13,000ft and a maximum 16,500ft, and on a clear day divers can see both the North and South Islands while they freefall. Not one for doing things by halves, I choose a way-above-the-clouds, requires-anoxygen-mask 16,500ft. Before I know it, I’m strapped to Rod – a dude I’ve just met, but who assures me has years of experience and has done more than 10,000 jumps – with my feet dangling from the open door of a plane.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: A paraglider over Queenstown, South Island; skydiving the Abel Tasman; New Zealand mountain flight
Photograph by Lachlan Currie, iStock
ONE LAST SWOOP OVER THE TASMAN BAY AND WE’RE SKIMMING FLUFFY WHITE CLOUDS AS WE HEAD BACK INLAND
We don’t hang around long enough for me to think about the fact I’m about to hurl myself out of a plane, and tumble straight out of the door, somersaulting through the air into a 70-second freefall. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before: disorientating, amazing. Blues and greens are whooshing and whirling around me, adrenaline zings through my body. The plummeting stops with a lurch as the parachute goes up, and things become weirdly serene. Even though we’re falling at 40km/h, I feel like a floating feather. The weather’s not good enough to see the North Island in the distance, but I can cop a
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THIS IMAGE: Wharariki Beach on the South Island has some interesting rock formations thanks to the wind and waves
AUCKLAND TOWER SKYWALK AND SKYWIRE
proper bird’s eyeful of the South Island landscape below – the lush trees covering the mountainsides and the saturated greens that piece together the fields below – as we glide back to Earth. This drifting vantage point definitely beats hiking up one of those peaks to look out in the other direction. Kaikoura, on the east coast, is another incredible spot where thrillseekers can get an aerial view of the Kiwi landscape – snowcapped peaks on one side, the big blue Pacific on the other – and spot some sea creatures at the same time, if they’re lucky. Whale-watching might seem like one of the more tame travellers’ pastimes, but zooming over the ocean in a four-seater plane is a pretty exhilarating way to do it. As always, wildlife is too unpredictable to fully guarantee a whale sighting, but Wings Over Whales promises there’s a 95% chance. Kaikoura’s resident Twenty minutes sperm whales can in, when it seems be seen all year we may return to round, as can dolphins. Spot land disappointed, a killer whales from sperm whale the size December to March of a bus surfaces. and humpbacks in June and July. He cruises along
Look down through a glass floor into the lift shaft on the way up and you’ll get a true sense of the tower’s height. Then, depending on your courage levels, tiptoe all the way around the circular tower’s ledge, or put your trust in a safety wire for a 192m base jump. skywalk.co.nz
HAPUKU LODGE & TREE HOUSES Luxury tree houses in the canopy of a manuka grove, with OMG views of powder-dusted mountains on one side and whirlpool baths that look out to secluded bush and Pacific coastline on the other. Creature comforts include wood-burning stoves and a fine-dining restaurant. hapukulodge.com
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER HELI HIKE One of three glaciers in the world that travel down to a temperate rainforest. Take a chopper up, then don some crampons to explore the blue ice formations, which change almost every day. Unwind in toastywarm Glacier Hot Pools after. franzjosefglacier.com
Photograph by Nelson Tasman
WHALEWATCHING IS PRETTY EXHILARATING ZOOMING OVER THE OCEAN IN A FOUR-SEATER PLANE
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FOOD AND DRINK STONYRIDGE VINEYARD, WAIHEKE ISLAND Edible flowers, Pernod mayonnaise and citrus pear salsa made our John Dory fillet one tasty bit of fish. The food, and condiments, are amazing, but people really visit Stonyridge for another kind of sauce: the vineyard’s 1987 Larose snared the accolade of greatest red wine ever made in New Zealand. stonyridge.co.nz
SUGAR CLUB, AUCKLAND At the top of the Auckland Tower, this restaurant already scores maximum points for its view. And the duck fat roasties, kumara miso mash and signature beef pesto are as swanky as the 1930s art decoinspired design, inspired by the Tilda Swinton film I Am Love. skycityauckland.co.nz/ restaurants/the-sugar-club
THE BOAT SHED CAFÉ The chef in this seafood restaurant – in an old boat shed in Nelson, round the bay from Motueka – is only interested in local produce. Watch the sunset here on a drawn-out evening with the six-course ‘Trust the Chef’ degustation menu. boatshedcafe.co.nz
spraying everywhere as we circle above, wings almost vertical, until he’s gone with a Free Willy-style flip of his tail. Last stop on the agenda is the charming Waiheke Island, off the North Island, a short hop from Auckland. Boarding the Auckland Seaplane with me are a couple, celebrating the husband’s 40th birthday. “That’ll never happen to me,” quips our pilot, Stephen. “Not the way I fly.” Despite the banter it’s the tamest flight of my trip, but it has the best view and the added novelty of taking off from the water. Leaving the cityscape behind us, we soar above the crater of the 600-year-old Rangitoto Island, Auckland’s newest – but now dormant – volcano. With a good view of the sprawling Waiheke greenery up ahead, we land back down on the shallows, jump out and paddle to the shore. Once known for hippies and marijuana production, it’s more of a home for foodies and vineyards now. Thanks to its off-the-scale beaches and laid-back attitude, Waiheke’s now seen as a sanctuary for “lifestyle refugees” keen to ditch the city. Thus it’s one of New Zealand’s most desirable – and expensive – places to live. It’s also a great place to view the Auckland skyline. Auckland is EcoZip has three dubbed the ‘city of 200m flying fox volcanoes’. Auckland zipwires: the Museum is built on Pukekawa volcano, Vineyard Cruise and one of 48 craters the appropriately that have erupted named 50m-high in the region in the past 250,000 years. Kurinui (big dog)
are pretty fun, but the best is the City View option. Breezing over treetops and ferns that form geometric patterns when viewed from above, I get an end-to-end picture of the skyline, Auckland Sky Tower and all, across the water. If I wasn’t sure before, I definitely am now – and can prove it to all the naysayers – that sightseeing is best done from up high, and it’s even better when it’s served up with a big hit of adrenaline. e For help planning a New Zealand trip, visit Tourism New Zealand. newzealand.com
ABOVE: Base jump from the Auckland Tower with a wire for safety. THIS IMAGE: A seaplane on Lake Te Anau, South Island
Photograph by Blaine Harrington III/Alamy, John Elk/Getty
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YOSEMITE WHERE: Central California, USA WHAT UNESCO SAYS: “[Yosemite]
vividly illustrates the effects of glacial erosion of granitic bedrock, creating geological features that are unique in the world.” WHY: Nothing can prepare you for the sight that awaits once you cross the park’s boundaries and get your first glimpse of the dramatic forms carved out of the granite. Better still, lose the car and hike to escape the crowds and get the views all to yourself. If that seems too much like hard work, kick back and watch as tiny, ant-like climbers scale near-vertical peaks.
GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS WHERE: 1,000km off the coast of
Ecudaor, South America WHAT UNESCO SAYS: “Its location
at the confluence of three ocean currents makes it one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world.” WHAT WE SAY: The 19 islands of the Galápagos have been immortalised by their starring role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, but they’re a natural and geological wonder in their own right. The volcanic island chain’s abundant wildlife include the marine iguana, frigatebird, Galápagos giant tortoise and 13 species of Darwin’s finch.
BRIDGETOWN WHERE: Barbados WHAT UNESCO SAYS: “Historic
If it’s not on the UNESCO World Heritage List, it’s not coming in. To our round up of the epic global sites (and sights) you need to see, that is, from California to northern China
Photograph by Bluegreen Pictures / Alamy, Kimberley Coole, BANANA PANCAKE / Alamy
Bridgetown and its Garrison was the focus of trade-based English expansion in the Americas.” WHAT WE SAY: There’s more to Barbados than rum and beaches – Bridgetown and its historic Garrison show British colonial architecture in all its glory. Walk the twisting city streets (the haphazard layout of them is even similar to Britain) to see examples of the heritage architecture, and watch out for the Garrison’s Changing of the Sentries ceremony on certain days.
HOW TO DO IT 1 Galápagos Islands, Ecuador: The Virgin Holidays Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands tour takes in rainforest, Andean cities and the volcanic Galápagos islands. 2 Petra, Jordan: Take the Virgin Holidays Highlights of Jordan tour to see Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum. 3 Yosemite, California: Visit virginholidays.co.uk for the latest San Francisco deals. 4 Bridgetown, Barbados: Visit virginholidays.co.uk for the latest Barbados deals. 5 The Great Wall, China: The Splendours of China tour from Virgin Holidays is a 15-day trip through ancient and modern landscapes. For more information on tours, visit virginholidays.co.uk/tours
THE GREAT WALL WHERE: Northern China WHAT UNESCO SAYS: “Continuously
built from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD on the northern border of the country as the great military defence project of successive Chinese Empires.” WHY: When it comes to the Great Wall, the numbers do the talking: 13,170 miles, 15 provinces spanned and almost 2,000 years in the making. Yet it’s the magnificence of the structure, much of it built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) that stands out. Badaling is a good place to start.
UNESCO BY NUMBERS
WHERE: Jordan, Middle East WHAT UNESCO SAYS: “One of
Photograph by ###
the world’s richest and largest archaeological sites set in a dominating red sandstone landscape.” WHAT WE SAY: You enter the ancient city – established by Nabataean Arabs in the 6th century BC and carved out of the rose-coloured rock – through a winding gorge (the Siq), and can then spend days exploring the archaeological remnants of lost civilsations. The Bedul Bedouin people still inhabit the surrounding valleys.
THE NUMBER OF SITES ON THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LIST. 26 SITES WERE ADDED IN 2014
ELEPHANT POACHING IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO AND TANZANIA MEAN SITES IN BOTH ARE IN DANGER OF REMOVAL FROM THE UNESCO LIST
SITES ARE IN DANGER OF BEING DELISTED
ITALY HAS THE MOST SITES WITH
Water levels in Padstow’s inner harbour are controlled by a tidal gate, meaning it’s kept wet all the time. Prior to this, it would dry out on every ebb tide
SORRY, RIC IT’S NOT A ABOUT YO 68
CK: ALL OU
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Oysters, crab, lobster and other seafood delights â€“ not to mention Sunday lunches and the winner of the National Fish and Chip Awards. Donâ€™t tell Neil Davey dining in Cornwall begins and ends with Padstow and Rick Stein 69
s it possible to write about Cornish food and not mention Rick Stein? Well, er, no, apparently not. Wherever you go in Cornwall, Stein’s shadow seems to touch everything. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course. But the more you explore, the more you realise that while Stein undoubtedly helped push things forward, the real star is Cornwall itself. Neil Haydock, executive chef at the Watergate Bay Hotel, agrees. “Obviously Rick started it off, then so many of us came here, all guns Rick Stein, wildly blazing, thinking we’d famous for his seafood restaurant revolutionise the in Padstow, once place, but we’re the told an interviewer ones who changed. he’d like to be Cornwall does remembered for cooking a ‘nice that. We’re really bit of fish’. chilled out and that’s influenced our food.” And, in turn, the food – “I think we have a better source of ingredients than even London”, he says – has influenced Haydock and all of the cafés, restaurants, hotels and pubs we visit on our all-too-brief tour of this beautiful corner of England. The ‘Padstein’ effect may have got the culinary tourism ball rolling, but Cornwall is a place with a food culture that’s so much bigger than one man. It’s also a place with the sort of scenery that has poets waxing lyrical and artists reaching for the oils. Its tumbling
MERCHANTS MANOR Billing itself as a country house hotel doesn’t paint the entire picture for Falmouth’s Merchants Manor. The main house dates from 1913, while the accommodation – bright, modern, with a hint of beach chic – is more recent. Ditto the large swimming pool, the compact but well-appointed gym, the gardens and dining areas in this pleasingly Tardis-like establishment. It shows that the owners have spent nearly £1m on a refurb in the past year, and their relaxed but professional attitude permeates everything. They do a damned fine Sunday lunch too. merchantsmanor.com
hills, expanses of water, chocolate box villages, windswept coastlines and miles of beaches, such as Watergate Bay, are all lit and shadowed in dramatic fashion by meteorological extremes. “We’re the warmest county,” says Haydock, “but we’re also the wettest.” As for the whole ‘grockle’ thing and hostility towards non-Cornish folk, we see no evidence, receiving the warmest of welcomes at every juncture. The week started in Falmouth, a port town of great maritime heritage and, yes, a certain degree of tourist bait. Even so, it’s a town not without its foodie charms – for example Harbour Lights, winner of the National Fish and Chip Awards 2012 – and
it’s a pleasant place to walk off a delicious, robust Sunday lunch from Merchants Manor, then work up an appetite for a wellcooked fresh lobster dinner at Amélies At The Smokehouse in nearby Porthleven. Being in a contrary mood, we shunned the more obvious destinations – sorry Land’s End – and instead spent a happy morning exploring St Michael’s Mount, a National Trust property around 400m off the coast at Marazion and, according to legend, the setting for Jack the Giant Killer’s exploits. You can take that as you will, but the more provable history – of the 12th-century church and priory, and the castle that’s still home to the St Aubyn
Photographs by Christopher Marsh / Alamy, Kirstin Prisk 2012, Andrew Ray / Alamy
CORNWALL’S SCENERY HAS POETS WAXING LYRICAL AND ARTISTS REACHING FOR THE OILS
ABOVE: blahEpora? Opublic ipsesinat, nonsultuitem nosulis curo menatua strorum iae quis. O teris, IMAGES FROM THE TOP: Kids playing on the beach at Watergate Bay, near Newquay; the pool terrace at the Watergate Bay Hotel; St Michael’s Mount is reachable via a man-made cobbled causeway – when the tide’s out
ABOVE: Bird’s eye view of Port Isaac, which is home to restaurants that serve up fish so fresh, chefs have to wait for rigor mortis to end. RIGHT: Houses atop the cliffs at Port Isaac
family – is fascinating and the views, both back across the causeway and further up and down the coast, are terrific. And should there be any doubts of that sense of pride in the local larder, the café here should dispel them: the crab in my sandwich is so fresh a vet could have it scuttling sideways again. It’s a similar story elsewhere, from the Porthilly oysters at The Old Coastguard in Mousehole (the sweetest I’ve ever had, anywhere) to the geographically annotated menu – Camel Estuary mackerel, Padstow crab – at the lovely St Moritz Hotel. Perhaps the best example comes in the
I ASK WHERE THE CRAB CAME FROM. THE LADY ON THE COUNTER GESTURES AND SAYS ‘THERE’ 72
Porthilly oysters are aforementioned, hand picked from ludicrously perfect beds in the estuary village of Port Isaac. of the River Camel, near Porthilly in The setting for Doc north Cornwall. The Martin – and a quite oysters won gold in remarkable amount the British Oyster Championship 2013. of Martin Clunesinspired international tourism – you’d forgive them a little for selling out. Instead, it’s a place of immense charm. Having bypassed Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant – it’s brilliant, but we already knew that – we stumble across Cupcakes Café, a quirky local spot offering slices of homemade battenberg cake the size of my face and a delicious crab rarebit that would have some London chefs weeping. When I ask where the crab came from, the lady on the counter gestures to a shack 20 yards away, overlooking the cove. “There,” she says. “Caught this morning.” It’s an exchange that comes up again the following day – after I check into the oh-sochilled Watergate Bay Hotel – over a beer with Haydock. He laughs and nods. “We have a couple of guys who bring fish to us off the boat. We have to leave it in the fridge overnight because it’s still got rigor mortis when we get it. “It’s inspiring. We don’t have to think about seasons, it’s what’s in the fridge, it just appears on our doorstep.” Almost literally: Haydock gestures to the hill overlooking the hotel. “I mean, we’ve got Red Ruby cows in that field up there,” he says. Later, as I take a mind-clearing stroll along the spectacularly vast beach at Watergate Bay – “the world’s best spa” as
Haydock calls it – the reason I’m struggling to separate Cornish food and Cornwall becomes clear. The sea is stunning and teeming with delicious life, the countryside is glorious and contains farms and wild game – it’s all inextricably linked. Cornwall doesn’t have a larder. Cornwall is the larder. A delightful and beautiful one at that. e For further details, see visitcornwall.com, or call 01872 322900 for the Visit Cornwall brochure. For more about the hotel, visit watergatebay.co.uk, call 01637 860543 or email email@example.com
ST MORITZ HOTEL Glorious white against the Wadebridge hilltops, the St Moritz Hotel neatly combines a classic, art deco-inspired look with all the mod cons, ably straddling the chic world of the 1920s with everything you’d expect from a modern hotel. Service is efficient but with a sense of fun, and the rooms – particularly the suites with vast balconies overlooking the sea – are sleek and comfortable. Facilities are top notch, with a beautiful pool, and the spa is highly recommended, as are the restaurants where head chef Jamie Porter – ex-Stein, almost inevitably – is doing marvellous things with local ingredients, of course. stmoritzhotel.co.uk
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E M NA T H AT DUNE 74
Patrick Macdonald discovers Qatar’s adventurous side – while pitched at impossible angles in a 4x4 ride to a tidal lake in the desert
R The Unesco World Heritage site Khor Al Adaid is an inlet of the Persian Gulf. The tidal lake splits Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and has shores in both countries.
Photograph by ###
umbling south from Doha on the straight, wide roads, the powerful Land Cruiser eats up the miles. Without warning, my driver Ibrahim – who has managed to field all my questions about Qatari life with commendable aplomb, between multiple phone calls in Arabic, Urdu and English – suddenly announces, “We’ve reached the end of the road.” And so we have. The paved highway comes to an abrupt end at the Sealine Beach Resort. Ahead, I can see the desert dunes stretching to the horizon. But here at the entrance to the sands, a makeshift village of tents and small businesses has sprung up like a latter-day caravanserai. Want to hire a quad bike? No problem. How about a camel ride? Just hop on. And, of course, there’s food and drink to sustain us intrepid adventurers before we head into the desert. After partly deflating our tyres for better grip in the soft sand, Ibrahim wanders off to chat to his fellow safari drivers. There’s clearly great camaraderie among them, which is just as well. You never know when you’ll get stuck in the sand, or suffer a breakdown or puncture miles from anywhere. The drivers depend on each other for help, a modern manifestation of a venerable Bedouin desert tradition. Once in the sand the previously mildmannered Ibrahim undergoes a personality transplant. Like a madman he has us charging up the precipitous dunes, then sliding down the other side at improbable 45-degree angles. His next trick is to tear along the face of the dune with the vehicle almost keeling over sideways, then we’re off to the hard-packed sand of the plain for some serious high-speed doughnuts. But we’re not finished yet. We crest the brow of a dune, and there before me is the haunting vista of Khor Al Adaid, better known as the ‘Inland Sea’ where an arm of the Gulf encroaches deep into the heart of the desert, a great view and fitting culmination to a very enjoyable half-day trip. Highly recommended and, depending on the time of day, many safaris also take in the spectacular desert sunset followed by a Bedouin-style barbeque under the stars.
Qatar’s adventure tourism offerings are, in the main, easily accessible and not too physically demanding, so they’re ideal for everyone. Whether your taste is for historical discovery, cultural experience, desert adventure, physical activity or urban exploration, there is something for everyone. Two important points to note: first, the country is so compact (about the size of Yorkshire) that every part of it can be explored within a day’s travel from the capital Doha and, second, Qatar’s leading domestic tour operators have put together some great packages to maximise the visitor experience and minimise the hassle. To take an example, imagine a half-day tour that combines the sounds, colour, excitement and pandemonium of the camel races, with the tranquillity of a farm dedicated to preserving and breeding the Arabian oryx (Qatar’s national animal), then a tour of the Sheikh Faisal Museum with its 15,000 exhibits including archaeological finds, Bedouin artefacts, textiles, coins, antique weapons, furniture and even a collection of vintage cars. Doha has a number of essential attractions [see next page]. For visitors with limited time there are organised halfday, full-day and special interest tours that cover these and other main sights. Also
WE’RE OFF TO THE HARDPACKED SAND FOR SOME HIGH-SPEED DOUGHNUTS 75
DOHA HIGHLIGHTS DOHA CORNICHE: This waterfront promenade and park, stretching the length of Doha Bay, offers stunning vistas of the city and a vehicle-free oasis in the heart of the city.
SOUQ WAQIF: For an authentic taste of lively traditional Arab street life, commerce, cuisine and local architecture, nothing beats a stroll through the bustling lanes of Souq Waqif and the nearby Gold Souq.
available are ‘hop-on, hop-off’ doubledecker tours operated by Doha Bus. Among the less-explored attractions of Doha is Al Shaqab. A haven for any equestrian enthusiast, Al Shaqab is a magnificent stud farm devoted to the breeding and promotion of the Arabian horse, the progenitor of the world’s thoroughbred racehorses. Then there is the Falcon Souq, a fascinating area of Souq Waqif devoted to these magnificent hunting birds and all things to do with the ancient sport. Architecturally, Doha offers a treasure trove ranging from Al Bidda fort and traditional mosques to the innovative ultra-modern skyscrapers of the central business district. Although Qatar’s deserts have been roamed by nomadic tribes for centuries, the harsh, arid conditions of the peninsula’s interior meant that most of the permanent
RAS ABROUQ PENINSULA IS KNOWN FOR ITS LUNAR-LIKE LANDSCAPE 76
Dhows are traditional sailing vessels primarily used as trading boats. Their long, thin hulls are used to carry heavy items such as fruit, water or goods to sell.
settlement was in coastal areas, where fishing, pearl-diving and dhow trading could support life. This venerable seafaring tradition lives on. Wooden dhows, largely unchanged in design over the years, still frequent Qatar’s waters today. A number of these have been converted, or specially built, to serve the tourist trade. Day and evening sightseeing cruises, including a meal, can be arranged through local tour operators or directly from the dhows moored along the Doha Corniche. Sunset voyages, offering a panoramic vista of Doha’s beautifully lit skyline, are especially recommended. Some 100km northwest of the capital is Al Zubarah, a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising the immaculately restored Al Zubarah Fort and surrounding archaeological site. The latter covers the remains of a sizeable town, built in the mid-18th century, which became the most important pearl-diving and trading centre on the Qatar peninsula and one of the leading ports in the Gulf. On Qatar’s west coast the area around Zikrit and the isolated Ras Abrouq peninsula is noted for its unspoiled beaches, wild deer reserve and lunar-like limestone rock landscape sculpted by the wind. Because of its oil and gas wealth, until now Qatar has always been seen as a business destination – but that could all be about to change. As I discovered, there are plenty of surprises out there for the rest of us, too. e
MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART: Nobody can fail to be impressed by this collection of 14 centuries of the finest art and artefacts from the Islamic World. Housed in a dramatic IM Pei-designed building on the waterfront, it ranks among the world’s leading cultural landmarks.
KATARA CULTURAL VILLAGE: A purpose-built cultural district, Katara stages theatre performances, concerts, film festivals and more. It also has a public beach with watersports, restaurants and cafés.
THE PEARL QATAR: The Pearl is a man-made island, built on one of Qatar’s major pearl diving sites. It offers fine dining, Mediterranean-style yacht-lined waterfront walks, stylish cafés and boutiques stuffed full of the world’s leading luxury brands.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Dubrovnikâ€™s stunning harbour; Dubrovnik sits on the coast of the sparkling Adriatic; the Old Town sparkles at night; shimmering waters look great at dusk; see the quaint, historic Old Town from up high
P ROMOTI ON
Old Town, New Cool Dubrovnik is a haven of beautiful food, architecture, history and scenery – and with British Airways’ affordable winter breaks, it’s a chic city just waiting to be discovered
teeped in history, surrounded by gorgeous scenery and with an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cuisine, Dubrovnik isn’t known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ for nothing. The city, with its famous, walled Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and where acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones is filmed – and beautiful harbour, has surpassed ‘up-andcoming’ status and is now a popular city break destination in its own right. And with good reason – its old-world charm, sparkling blue waters and quaint backstreet restaurants make it the perfect place to explore over a few days. But more and more people are discovering the magic of this beautiful city during the winter. It’s easy to get there: during the winter months, British Airways operates two flights a week, on Fridays and Mondays so you can make a long weekend of it. During the cooler months, the cobbled streets of its historic quarter are lit up with twinkling lights, and the Stradun – the
The Deal British Airways’ breaks in Dubrovnik start at £169pp based on three nights at the 3* Berkeley hotel. A three-night package at the 5* Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik starts at £209pp, with a free upgrade to half-board. For more information, rates on a range of packages and to book, go to ba.com/dubrovnik.
main street in the Old Town – shimmers in the quaint surroundings. Without the summer crowds, Dubrovnik is all the more relaxing as its labyrinthine backstreets are freer and easier to navigate. If activities and festivities are what you’re looking for this winter, Dubrovnik has them in spades. The city has a rich seasonal tradition, which kicks off with the Christmas fair at Sponza Palace, which becomes a hive of food, drink, music and festive cheer. Alternatively, explore the Festivity of St Blaise. Celebrated on 3 February for more than 1,040 years, this unique event is both a catholic and cultural event, and is listed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list since 2009. There’s never been a better time to discover Dubrovnik’s rich array of winter attractions, and with affordable breaks from British Airways, you’ll find that discovering its charms is far easier than you think. ◆ Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Prices based on selected travel between 5 Dec 2014 and 27 Feb 2015. Includes return flights from London Gatwick.
WELCOME TO foodism – A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
82 CAPE TOWN STREET FOOD 86 RESTAURANT REVIEWS 88 BEST OF BOURBON 98 THE REAR VIEW
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
Chicken feet, Nutella bombs and sheep’s liver disguised as popcorn. Hannah Summers heads to the car parks and townships of Cape Town to discover a burgeoning street food scene
Photograph by ###
t’s just like popcorn,” my guide Michael grins, pushing the package into my hands. It’s a warm, oily parcel hidden in the folds of yesterday’s newspaper. I unwrap it warily. Ribbons of something grey, rubbery and worryingly unrecognisable wait inside. “That’s not popcorn.” I state. “No. It’s sheep’s liver. Salt will help.” I’m unconvinced. It’s 8am in the viciously hot township of Langa, on the outskirts of Cape Town. Langa was one of the sprawling urban areas designated for black South Africans during apartheid. Standing next to a shack of corrugated iron and string, I’m 15 minutes into a trip through three of the city’s townships: Langa, Gugulethu and Rylands. It’s a stomach-led mission to sample the city’s street food. The helping of sheep’s liver in my hand is the first thing I will eat this morning and, after a night of beers on Long Street, it’s do or die for my hangover. I hold my breath and chew. The salt does help. The liver is soft, but the combination of the hot sun, the early hour and the distinct whiff of sheep leaves me struggling. Under the watchful eye of two ladies fanning large vats of hot oil and offal, I force down the bundle. Michael, chief guide at the Coffeebeans Routes urban tour company, leads me down the dusty road towards another treat. He is well versed in the joys of street food in the 25 townships. “We eat the sheep’s liver watching films or football, just as you would with popcorn,” he attempts to persuade me again. I nod warily, already thinking ahead to our next food stop. Here in the Mother City townships, street snacks like this are the norm. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion people globally eat street food every day. From graband-go ducks’ tongue skewers in Chinese markets, to fried chicken from a stall in Bangkok, the low-cost and convenient cuisine has been popular since time >>
>> immemorial. Originally the choice for those without the need or facilities to cook inside, street food now varies massively. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the fashionable side of street food culture. The cheap eat trend accelerated in the US post-recession with a flurry of colourful food trucks – Portland is now home to more than 700. In the UK, organised street food events including Kerb and Street Feast bring droves of hipsters to gorge on London’s finest quick-eat cuisine in a sociable setting. By comparison, sun-kissed Cape Town appears to have a way to go, but one person is successfully striving to change that. In 2010, Italian-born chef Luca Castiglione decided to ditch his popular restaurant Limoncello and go mobile, signalling the beginning of a street food revolution in South Africa. Serving up Napoli-inspired cuisine from his pastel Ford camper, he reverses into parks, beaches and festivals across the city, sharing his whereabouts on Twitter and Facebook. I soon track him down in a Cape Town park and I tuck into cheesy calzone, followed by oozing chocolate Nutella bombs. Affectionately known as ‘the Godfather’ by other mobile foodies, his efforts to create the informal ‘Food Truck Agency’ are an attempt to drive more entrepreneurs onto the food wagon. With the Godfather’s help, more than 30 colourful vintage trucks serving anything from espressos to cakes and spring rolls are now pulling up all over the city. But they represent just one side of the street food offerings here, and true gastronauts dip into the townships for culinary tours with Michael. Undeterred by my breakfast, my township street food quest continues in Gugulethu for another local popcorn-style delicacy: meat and doughnuts.
From a counter (or hole) in a wooden shed, I’m handed three heavy balls of savoury dough with several flaps of thick ham. We fold the vivid pink slices into the greasy ball and eat our second snack of the morning from a plastic bag, leaning against a wall in the car park – perfect street food etiquette. Further up the road I’m led into a dark, steamy shed, where cauldrons of food bubble and men in royal blue overalls wait patiently for their lunchtime feed. Confused by our request for small portions, Madlimi – the larger-than-life vendor – dollops huge hunks of chicken onto china plates, ladling
LADY BONIN’S TEA PARLOUR ladybonin.com @Lady_Bonin
A boho tea parlour in a converted 1975 Jurgens caravan. Lady Bonin only uses tea leaves (no bags) and recommends anything from a Chinese white tea to refreshing Moroccan mint – a helpful digestif after sampling all that street food goodness.
THE GRUBBERY thegrubbery.withtank.com @GrubberyTruck
New York-inspired food has landed in Cape Town courtesy of twin brothers Scott and Nicholas Walker who in 2013 CUT a white cartoonset up The Grubbery, scrawled food truck. Track down the van’s location via its Twitter account and try the cheesy burgers, Southern fried chicken wings and the pulled pork sandwiches. Yes, all of them. At once.
WEMBLEY ROAD HOUSE wembley.co.za/roadhouse
An institution in the townships, ‘The Gatsby’ is a Mother City speciality. It’s a long baguette crammed full of masala steak, chips, onions and spicy sauce; the Cape Town equivalent of a British kebab.
THE SOFT MACHINE thesoftmachine.co.za @thesoftmachine1
You won’t find preservatives or artificial ingredients here, only quality natural ingredients combined to create adult-friendly soft-serve ice cream. Caramel with Mebos Brittle is a favourite.
COFFEEBEANS ROUTES TOURS coffeebeansroutes.com @coffeebeansrout
An insight into Cape Town culture from music to art and cuisine. For a lesson in culinary traditions, take a half-day township food tour, from R880 per person (approx. £60).
Photograph byHoberman Collection / Alamy, Eden Breitz / Alamy, Johan Sjolander (www.johansjolander.com)
LOTUS FOOD TRUCK lotusfoodtruck.co.za @LOTUSfoodtruck
Expect contemporary Asian street food at this red and white-striped truck, serving braised beef short ribs, spicy green mango salads, pork belly and chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce. Top it off with a swig of Vietnamese coffee.
>> SHEEP’S HEADS HAVE YET TO MAKE IT TO THE UPMARKET PARTS on gravy and squares of stewed carrot. Then the finishing touch is a generous splodge of umngqusho, made of samp (crushed corn kernels) and beans. It’s traditional, hearty and delicious. In the midday heat it starts to make me drowsy, but it’s so satisfying I struggle to stop. “Save some room for walkie-talkies,” Michael tells me. Next to Madlimi’s shed, women line the sandy street. Wrapped in patterned headscarfs, bright aprons and dark smoke, they tend to their handmade barbecues and buckets crammed with amanqina enkukhu. These are the ‘walkies’, also known as chicken feet. High in protein, low in calories, they’re a popular snack for South Africa’s township residents. The ladies submerge the feet in boiling water (removing the outer layer of skin) season them with turmeric and curry powder, before braaing (barbecuing) them over the hot coals. We take the feet,
crunching through tendons and skin. It tastes, unsurprisingly, like salty, tough chicken. I feign fullness and decline a ‘talkie’ – it’s too early for a chicken’s head. Although common in this part of the Mother City, true kasi (township) cuisine such as ‘smileys’ (sheep’s heads) and ‘walkie-talkies’ are yet to make it to the food trucks serving their wares at the upmarket honeypot parts of town. At the hipster Old Biscuit Mill and seaside setting of the Oudekraal lookout back in Cape Town, it’s fashionable cuisine setting the scene. At these food trucks I satisfy my caffeine, burger and ice cream cravings in one calorific yet fulfilling swoop. Although securing the necessary council permissions makes the location of food truck get-togethers tricky, vendors are determined to continue. Cape Town’s mobile traders are driving the new and (for now at least) trendy side of street food culture forward with pavement parties. It’s still a far cry from the US and UK, but in the townships and on the trucks, Cape Town street food culture is alive and well. f Hannah writes Burgers and Bruce, a travel, food and music blog. burgersandbruce.com
GETTING THERE Virgin Atlantic flies daily to Cape Town from London Heathrow between October and April. Economy fares start from £573. For more information call 0844 209 2770. virgin-atlantic.com
LIMONCELLO capetownfoodtrucks.co.za @CTFoodTrucks
The first truck on the streets of the city, ‘the Godfather’, otherwise known as Luca Castiglione, brings Italian passion to the Cape Town pavements. Favourites include cheesy calzone, pastas galore and gooey chocolate Nutella Bombs.
STK London, in the Me London hotel, majors on US steak but the seafood is just as good. Try swordfish sashimi, we say
Frog’s legs masquerading as fried chicken, pan-Indian in Soho and DIY tasting menus
STK £ £ £ £ 336-337 The Strand, WC2R 1HA; togrp.com Nearest Tube: Temple
What’s the draw: Modern American
STK gives the London steakhouse model a contemporary makeover – from the textspeak name and unabashedly loud music to the abundant purple neon.
What to drink: A huge selection of largely New World wines to suit any discerning steak-lover’s palate.
What to eat: Swordfish sashimi is excellent, and no prizes for guessing the star of the show: the steak is as good as any in the capital. Sideswise, parmesan truffle chips are crispy and fluffy, and mac ‘n’ cheese is an oozing, comforting aside. – Mike Gibson
BLANCHETTE £ £ £ £
9 D’Arblay St, W1F 8DR blanchettesoho.co.uk Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
What’s the draw: French classics, beautified and miniaturised, in a charmingly quirky Soho setting.
What to drink: The (really pretty good)
wine list borrows from the Henry Ford school of thinking – you can have a bottle from any country, as long as it’s France.
What to eat: Too sophisticated for fried chicken? Try Blanchette’s crispy frog’s legs instead. The chargrilled beef fillet, with a tingly peppercorn dressing, is so good you’ll eat it as though you’ve not been fed for days. – Jon Hawkins
CAROM £ £ £ £ 100 Wardour Steet, W1F 0TN; caromsoho.com Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
What’s the draw: A far cry from your
local curry house, Carom brings an eclectic menu of contemporary pan-Indian dishes to its newly refurbished, barebricked Wardour Street restaurant.
What to drink: As well as a bar stacked full of spirits, there’s a good wine list and a couple of signature cocktails, including the refreshing Indian Colada.
What to eat: Meen Varuval – pan-fried
spiced mackerel on toast – was our favourite dish. And make sure you try the signature dishes (they’re the ones written in red on the menu) from Chennai curry to a rich black lentil daal. It’s Indian cooking, but a million miles from the way your local takeaway does it. – Mike Gibson
CANVAS £ £ £ £ 1 Wilbraham Place, SW1X 9AE canvaschelsea.com Nearest Tube: Sloane Square
What’s the draw: A build-your-own-
tasting-menu concept underpins this relocated (from Marylebone) restaurant on a quiet street off Sloane Square.
What to drink: Let the sommelier pair
wines with your bespoke menu, or head to the experimental cocktail bar for some liquid science to go with your food.
What to eat: The clue’s in the name – everything’s beautifully and artfully constructed, none more so than scallops with a smear of juniper and cauliflower prepared in several styles. Tender lamb with porridge is warming and autumnal in all the right ways. – Jon Hawkins
Taiwan: Flavours of a beautiful Island 10-days from £2,345pp | 26 May, 8 Sep, 13 Oct & 3 Nov 2015
A country’s culture and character are often revealed in its food and trying out local dishes is one of the great pleasures of travel. On a MasterChef Travel holiday you’ll not only discover local sights and flavours but also learn the culinary secrets of local experts, seek out exotic ingredients and have a go at creating dishes for yourself. Our Taiwan: Flavours of a beautiful island small-group tour includes these highlights • Cooking lesson with a renowned local chef in Tainan • Tour Taipei and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall • Walking tour and dinner at Shilin night market • Boat ride on Sun Moon Lake
mastercheftravel.com | 020 7873 5005 © Shine Limited Licensed by Shine 360°
Exclusively operated by Cox & Kings ATOL 2815 ABTA V2999
WO O D FORD R ESERVE
Woodford County, KY
Smooth, smoky and with a natural sweetness, Distiller’s Select is Woodford’s flagship bourbon. It’s been distilled and coopered in the same distillery for more than 230 years, and its founder played a key role in setting up the now fastidiously observed bourbon trade definitions. How’s that for provenance? 70cl, £28.75. woodfordreserve.com
B ULLE IT
The story goes that Augustus Bulleit, grandfather of current owner Tom, made his bourbon with a secret recipe in a shack in the 1800s. His legacy was thought to have been lost, but Tom resurrected the drink in 1987. Bulleit is renowned for its caramel nose and high rye content. 70cl, £25.96. bulleit.com
If you know Kentucky better for chicken than bourbon, you need to wise up. Here are four very important lessons for you
M AK E R’S M AR K
No doubt you’ll recognise that distinctive red wax seal – Maker’s is a rising star in the premium bourbon market, having been distilled since 1954. Aged for around six years, it’s bottled only when its tasters deem it to be ready – and never before. 70cl, £26.95. makersmark.com
R E B E L YEL L
Once named for the much less evocative WL Weller & Sons distilling company, this bourbon became Rebel Yell – a term for the war cry of Confederate soldiers – in around 1949, and was the first bourbon to use a primarily wheat-based mash bill. It’s known for its honeyed raisin scent and buttery finish. 70cl, £28.45. amathusdrinks.com
Photograph Photograph by David Harrison by ###
THE STATE OF PLAY 88
BUY S ET K C I T Y! A D O T
OF LONDON WINTER
London’s Greatest Restaurant Festival 20-23 November 2014 ◆ Tobacco Dock Indulge in mouth-watering dishes from... Andina ◆ Assado ◆ Action Against Hunger 5* Restaurant ◆ Barbecoa ◆ Benares Brindisa ◆ Club Gascon ◆ Ember Yard ◆ Gaucho ◆ Hixter ◆ Kurobuta Roti Chai ◆ Shake Shack ◆ The Truscott Arms
See star chefs live on stage... Raymond Blanc ◆ Michel Roux Jr ◆ Monica Galetti ◆ Nuno Mendes ◆ Theo Randall Ben Tish ◆ Neil Rankin ◆ Mark Hix ◆ Atul Kochhar ◆ Cyrus Todiwala ◆ Omar Allibhoy Pascal Aussignac ◆ Martin Morales ◆ Simon Rogan ◆ Jason Atherton ◆ Valentine Warner
World Class Chefs
Book Tickets at london.tastefestivals.com or 0871 230 7132 Raising Funds For
Fusion of Flavours Macau, on the southern coast of China, is a food lover’s paradise, with a unique cuisine influenced by the flavours of both Asia and Europe. Grab a fork and tuck in…
f you think China’s cuisine is all noodles and sweet ’n’ sour pork, think again. In the Special Administrative Region of Macau, just 40 miles from Hong Kong, there’s a vibrant and diverse food scene just waiting to be discovered. Macau squeezes a lot into its 11 square miles. The Portuguese landed here in the 1500s and the mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultures is still strong today, especially in the beautiful temples, churches and squares of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Centre. This intoxicating mixture of European and Asian influences has also created a unique and world-class food scene. All types of international cuisines are available here and there are 11 Michelin-starred restaurants including two with three stars. Chinese food is top notch, with dim sum that is native to southern China featuring
ALONGSIDE AN EXCITING FOOD SCENE, THERE’S LUXURY HOTELS, THE 338M-HIGH MACAU TOWER AND GLITTERING SHOPPING MALLS 92
strongly, and Macau is also home to some of the best Portuguese restaurants outside of Portugal. But unique to Macau is the local Macanese cuisine, which offers a delicious lens into local cooking culture. One of the world’s first fusion cuisines, it combines flavours and techniques from China and Portugal as well as South America, Africa, India and Malaysia thanks to Portuguese explorers’ trading routes. Speciality Macanese dishes include African chicken, while the famous pasteis de nata (egg custard tarts) are a favourite local snack and absolutely delicious! Macau has plenty to offer travellers on a Far East holiday or en route Down Under. The 338m-high Macau Tower offers great views as well as the world’s highest bungy jump, while the vibrant nightlife includes an incredible choice of bars, nightclubs, casinos and shows, and the most ardent shopaholic will enjoy the bustling markets and glittering shopping malls. In fact, with so much on offer, you might not want to continue your journey... ◆ For more information, visit macautourism.gov.mo or call 0845 498 9983
Taste of Macau This month, Londoners will have the chance to discover Macanese cuisine for themselves at the renowned A Wong restaurant in Victoria, as well as the chance to win a luxury holiday to Macau. See page 95 for more info.
P ROMOTI ON
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Rua do Cunha is known as ‘Food Street’; a popular local salad dish; traditional Macanese ‘Tacho’; Macau’s skyline at night; egg custard tarts; Portuguese architecture
We are an innovative ski & snowboard school offering onpiste, off-piste and adventure activities in the best resorts in the French Alps. We do whatever it takes for our clients to have an amazing time with us. Whether you are a beginner skier or off-piste shredder, youâ€™ll enjoy every moment with us. From our popular ladies-only sessions to heli-skiing adventures, weâ€™ll help you get the most out of your holiday. We can even organise everything from night skiing and sledging to ice-driving courses, private jewellery viewings and unforgettable Michelin-starred dining experiences. Visit www.oxygene-ski.com to find out how we can help craft you an incredible winter adventure.
P ROMOTI ON
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Chef Andrew Wong aims to introduce guests to Macanese cuisine; gambas a Macau; Chinese New Year in Macau; the Macau skyline
Savour Macau Experience Macanese cuisine in London from 17-29 November at renowned Chinese restaurant A Wong and you could be winging your way on a luxury holiday to Macau!
or a taste of Macau that’s a little closer to home this month, head to Victoria. From 17 November, renowned Chinese restaurant A Wong – recently awarded a Bib Gourmand in the 2014 Michelin Guide – is launching an eight-course ‘Taste of Macau’ tasting menu, to give Londoners a chance to discover the delights of this Far East foodie paradise. As you might expect from a destination immersed in European and Asian influences, Macanese cuisine reflects Macau’s unique
MACAU’S FOOD REFLECTS ITS CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Portuguese and Chinese culture, as well as flavours and cooking techniques from South America, India, Africa and Malaysia. Created by owner and head chef Andrew Wong in collaboration with Macau resident and Macanese cuisine expert Florita Alves, the tasting menu will feature beautifully presented tapas-style dishes in keeping with A Wong’s grazing dining concept. Available for both lunch and dinner, it’s a delicious way to discover the unique fusion cuisine of Macau. Highlights will include bolinhos de bacalhau (salt cod fishcakes), African chicken, tacho chau-chau pele (a meat and vegetable casserole with Chinese sausage) and pasteis de nata (Portuguese-style egg custard tarts). All dishes can also be ordered individually. What’s more, each guest booking into A Wong for the tasting menu will be entered into a draw for the chance to win a luxury holiday for two to Macau. Fabulous food and the chance of an incredible holiday – what could be better? ◆
Macau Flavour The Macanese tasting menu, costing £45pp, will be available at A Wong, 70 Wilton Road SW1V 1DE, between 17-29 November. All dishes can be ordered individually. For more details and prize draw conditions, see awong.co.uk, call 0207 828 8931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOME COMFORTS Get all the benefits of fine dining at home with Room Service, and we’ve got £500 in vouchers to give away
icture the scene: it’s Friday night, you’re at home and you’re hungry. Rather than trek out to the local restaurant for dinner, there’s no need to even leave the house with Room Service. It delivers fine dining from London’s top restaurants straight to your door in less than an hour – from Italian and Chinese cuisine to American and Thai, it caters to every palate. But it’s not just in London that you can enjoy Room Service’s delivery service. In January 2014, it joined Resto-in, which started in Paris in 2006 and quickly spread to Berlin, Brussels and Madrid among other major European cities. Resto-in enables you to get top-notch gourmet food from some of the best European restaurants delivered straight to your hotel or apartment. And it couldn’t be simpler: all you have to do is log on, type in your postcode, order whatever takes your fancy and then enjoy. We’ve teamed up with Room Service to give one winner £500 in vouchers, and three runners up will also win a bottle of champagne delivered straight to their door. You never know – you might never want to leave your house for dinner ever again…
For more information, see roomservice.co.uk
HOW TO WIN
ROOM SERVICE DELIVERS FINE DINING TO YOUR DOOR – THERE’S NO NEED FOR YOU TO EVEN LEAVE HOME
To be in with a chance to win £500 in food delivery vouchers, or one of three bottles of champagne delivered straight to your door, just answer one simple question: where can you order Room Service? To answer, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/room-service. For more details and full terms and conditions, see the website.
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JUMP STREET An alternative view of the world What would you do with a spindly bike and a near-vertical slab of Utah canyon below you? That’s right: nothing. Unless, like racer Szymon Godziek, you’re competing at this year’s Red Bull Rampage, where the only way is down. Touching the ground: optional. redbull.com
Photograph by John Gibson/Red Bull Content Pool
Technical cloThing for mounTaineering, winTer climbing anD all-mounTain skiing Mark Thomas – Elite Mountain Guides and Jöttnar Pro Team. Pamirs, Tajikistan
ToTal mounTain focus New 2015 range now available
R ALPH BACK STROM Photo by: Ralph Backstrom
Escapism Magazine - Issue 14 - Road Trips