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*Price shown is per person based on two adults travelling on 12 Jun ‘15 on a room only basis for 10 nights with Virgin Atlantic return economy flights and include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are correct at time of print and are subject to change. Price advertised is for online bookings only; when booked in-store or by telephone a higher price may apply. Peak season and weekend supplements may apply. Offer is for new direct bookings made before 30 Jan ’15, is subject to availability and Virgin Holidays standard terms and conditions please see virginholidays.co.uk for full details. When booking by telephone or in-store a
GEORGE, 57 CARPET FITTER
non-refundable booking fee applies. Offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offer, promotion or discount including the Frequent Virgin Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Tesco Clubcard. Credit card payments will incur a 2% charge. All calls charged at 5p per minute at all times from a BT landline including VAT. Charges may vary from other networks or mobile networks. Offer valid for Virgin Holidays division of the Virgin Holidays Group only, for definition visit virginholidays.co.uk/ourfamily. ATOL protected (2358) and ABTA (V2043).
EGYPT CAIRO • THE NILE • LAKE NASSER Anyone with a keen interest in archaeology and ancient history will want to visit Egypt, but beyond the famed sights, it is a fantastic holiday destination too. With year-round sunshine, the large number of luxury hotels and superb cruises offer excellent value.
SPLENDOURS OF EGYPT 8 Days / 7 Nights from £825
The perfect introduction to the highlights of Egypt; includes 2 nights in Cairo and a 4-night full board Nile cruise and sightseeing.
EGYPTIAN GRAND TOUR 11 Days / 10 Nights from £1,995
This tour visits Lower and Upper Egypt, and Lower Nubia. Includes 2 nights in Cairo and 7 nights cruising on the Nile and Lake Nasser.
OBEROI ZAHRA NILE CRUISE 12 Days / 11 Nights from £2,595
Stay at Cairo’s famous Mena House for 3 nights before joining the stylish Oberoi Zahra for a leisurely 7-night cruise on the Nile.
SMALL GROUP TOURS • TAILOR-MADE TRAVEL • 020
7873 5000 • WWW.COXANDKINGS.CO.UK/EGYPT
INSTANT ANORAK MEANS OF ESCAPE HEAD TO HEAD IN BRIEF UK BREAKS STYLE: WOMEN STYLE: MEN GEAR GROOMING
Photograph by Ioulia Chvetsova/2015 Sony World Photography Awards
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MASS WITH FLYING COLOURS: The start of spring can mean a few things: baby lambs, hayfever, oh and dirty clothes. The latter particularly in Nandgaon, India, where Hindu devotees throw brightly coloured powder at each other while celebrating the spring festival of Lathmar Holi. This striking image, by Ioulia Chvetsova, is an entry into the Sony World Photography Awards competition. For more information visit worldphoto.org
Instant ANORAK THE YEAR THAT UP HELLY AA, THE ANNUAL SCOTTISH FIRE FESTIVAL, BEGAN. THERE ARE COSTUME PARTIES, PARADES AND THE BURNING OF A VIKING BOAT
THE CHINESE LUNAR YEAR THAT WILL BE RUNG IN AT THE END OF JANUARY. THE CELEBRATIONS USUALLY LAST 15 DAYS, AND 2015 IS THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP
THE NUMBER OF FILMS SHOWN AT THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL IN UTAH IN MID JANUARY
THE HEIGHT OF SOME OF THE TALLEST ICE STRUCTURES AT THE HARBIN ICE & SNOW FESTIVAL IN NORTHERN CHINA
January’s shaking off its reputation for being drab. Here are just some of the weird and wonderful festivals that are taking place this month
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE PSYCHEDELIC RAINBOW SERPENT FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA AT THE END OF JANUARY
million THE NUMBER OF VISITORS TO THE DUBAI SHOPPING FESTIVAL, WHICH RUNS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH
THE NUMBER OF DJS THAT PLAY AT THE ELECTRONIC DANCE FESTIVAL BPM IN MEXICO
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WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This month: jockey-bots, deadlifts and the loneliest place in New York UNITED ARAB EMIRATES If ever there were a dystopian vision of camel racing, this is it. In the United Arab Emirates, human jockeys have been replaced with, er, robots. In fact, it's been so popular that the idea has been (mechanically) rolled out across a number of Middle Eastern nations. We'd like a robot to do all of our work, please.
MEANS OF ESCAPE Been punting up the River Cam but noticed a distinct lack of alligators? Try this instead... #15 MOKORO RIDE IN THE OKAVANGO DELTA
Photograph by BROKER / Alamy
Chances are you've been in a kayak before. You might even have been in a canoe. A punt? A gondola? Possibly. But a mokoro? We'd be mightily impressed if you've made your way upstream in one of those bad boys. These boats, if you can call them that (you can't), are made from the hollowed-out trunks of giant trees like the ebony or the kigelia. Or at least they used to be – they're most commonly made out of fibreglass nowadays, to give old Mother Earth a bit of a break. We bet you're wondering where you might lay your hands (or bottom) on a mokoro – well, the Okavango Delta in Botswana
is the perfect place. If you want to explore the river properly, then the only way to do it is in one of these. An experienced guide and oarsman will be your navigator and stands at the back, much like a gondolier, and pushes you (out of the way of alligators) around the shallow river with a pole. If this doesn't sound like the sturdiest mode of transport, you're right – the smallest irregular turn could send you to Drench Town, population: you. Luckily, your guides are experts and have been using mokoros almost all their lives – so as long as you're not a ‘rock-the-boat-on-purpose’ moron, you should be just fine. e
SAGADA, PHILIPPINES We're sorry to tell you that if you're a resident of Sagada in the mountain province of the Philippines, your ashes might not hang around in an urn on your family's mantelpiece after you pass away. Instead, you and your wooden coffin will be winched up a steep cliff face to your final resting place. There is one silver lining: no expensive headstone.
NORTH BROTHER ISLAND, NEW YORK Finally, somewhere in the Big Apple that you won't have heard of – North Brother Island. It's in the middle of the East River, but nobody actually visits. The island used to house those with infectious diseases, and later a drug treatment centre. Now it's just full of abandoned buildings and overgrown weeds.
DEPARTURES THINK WE’RE WRONG? HAVE YOUR SAY AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
Head to HEAD AUSTIN, TEXAS Population: 890,000
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA Population: 380,000
Nickname: Bat City
Nickname: The Big Easy
Musicians, hippies, self-confessed weirdos, musicians, nonsmokers. Oh, and did we mention musicians? 8/10
It's a city with many festivals and celebrations, so there are a lot of party-goers. Plus some jazz players and French colonialists. 7/10
WHAT TO SAY
WHAT NOT TO SAY
WHAT TO SAY
WHAT NOT TO SAY
"Whisky-infused bacon! Craft beer! Music! Cool."
"I can't stand live music. It sounds much better on a CD."
"I've sorted my Mardi Gras plans ten months early."
"Jazz? Meh. I prefer cheesy pop music myself."
EAT & DRINK
EAT & DRINK
If you're not in town for ACL or SXSW, catch live music at one of Austin's many dive bars. Aside from being the coolest city in the US right now, Austin's also known for its architecture – so check out the AIA Austin. 8/10
It's got to be a boutique hotel here. The Heywood Hotel (heywoodhotel. com) is a colourful homage to Austin's creative spirit, while the Hotel Saint Cecilia (hotelsaintcecilia. com) is cosy and has a pool. 9/10
Franklin Barbecue does brisket like it's going out of fashion, while Qui is known for its esoteric dishes such as rabbit consommé. Drink the night away at cocktail den Midnight Cowboy or in Easy Tiger's beer garden. 8/10
For cutting-edge jazz head to the French Quarter, and swing by The Old US Mint state museum to see Louis Armstrong's first horn. The City Park (bigger than NYC's Central Park) is a pretty place to relax after nailing the jazz. 7/10
Hotel New Orleans Downtown (hotelneworleans downtown.com) has a rooftop pool with cabanas and a trendy lounge bar. Melrose Mansion (frenchquarterhotel group.com) in the French Quarter knows Southern hospitality. 7/10
Bourbon Street is a great place for a bar crawl, and it's one of the only places you can drink on the street in the US. Try creole cuisine at Galatoire's, or head to the New Orleans institution the Commander's Palace. 8/10
AND THE WINNER IS... Super-cool Austin just edges it
CATHY ADAMS IS...
THE TOURIST One of the best things about my job is being able to stay at top-draw hotels, and then brag incessantly to my friends – or, at least I hope they’re still my friends, given the dwindling number of Instagram likes – about how wellstocked the bar is or how superior the thread count of the sheets is. The other good thing about my job is that it’s made me realise how great staying in hostels is – or at least how great it was before I could visit nice places with buffet breakfasts and free minibars for 'work'. I’ve slept in mixed dorms, beach huts, rooms so tiny you can touch all four beds with just three limbs, usually while being peered at as you try to catch forty winks on a knobbled mattress. Krakow was the I’ll start with the capital of Poland good ones: the dreamy for centuries, until dorm in Krakow, Warsaw stole the Poland. There was an limelight
place was ruled by an old Russian matron who shouted every time we dared to pour a strong vodka and lemonade (out of necessity) in the communal kitchen. And where the room was so small, with no windows or ventilation (aka ‘The Box’), one friend woke up, shrieking, in the middle of the night because she thought she was being buried alive by the bunk above. I probably can’t say this is the worst place I’ve ever visited, though, because I’m yet to spend a night in, say, Benidorm. Or Faliraki. But there’s still time… e Benidorm's popularity shot up in 1953 when the mayor allowed bikinis to be worn on the beach.
Illustration by Mark Boardman
HOSTELS VS HOTELS
underground bar that sold cherry vodka and banana juice cocktails, and a screening room where I could watch Mr & Mrs Smith over and over again. And there was a microwave, in which I cooked pesto pasta with a side of cheese for three days on the trot. Or the colourful, fun one in Valencia, where the showers were so clean I went back for seconds, and the owner helpfully handed over a bottle of aloe vera for my scorched skin. Then there are the bad ones. Such as when I rocked up in Tel Aviv between Christmas and New Year along with the rest of the UK’s church groups to find I'd booked my hotel for 27 November, not 27 December. The only place with any space at all – despite begging several hotels in the crap end of town to PLEASE let me pay triple price for a private room the size of my kitchen counter – was a dingy, salmon pink-walled townhouse where I got shoved on a camp bed in the corner of the kitchen, replete with the sound of guitar-strumming coming from outside. And I still had to pay triple price. Or that one time in Moscow, where thanks to some anti-Putin demonstration the only affordable place was a bleak, communist box on a dodgy backstreet near a McDonald’s. Said
THE SNOW IS HERE, THE SALE HAS COME
The mountain is waiting Book your place on the piste at crystalski.co.uk ATOL protected. For info please see our booking conditions.
WINGING IT INSTANT GUIDES FOR THE LAZY TRAVELLER
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND DO: NORTHERN LIGHTS
There’s 160km of beach in Mauritius. Plenty of space for your towel, then.
January is peak season for the aurora borealis – otherwise known as the Northern Lights. You’ll have to get out of Reykjavík to see them, though, so take a night bus or stay outside the city for a few days to peer up at super-clear skies. Check with the Icelandic Met Office for when they might appear. en.vedur.is
SWIM: BLUE LAGOON
Want to fish, hike, horseride, sunbathe, feast – and pack it all into one holiday? Mauritius is your multitasking paradise
the best in big game deep-sea fishing off the coast of the Rivière Noire region, where you can try and hook some marlin, barracuda and three types of tuna. The French-speaking destination is also a rich mix of cultures, including, but not limited to, French, Mauritian Creole, Chinese and Indian influences. The food reflects this: dholl puris (Indian-style flatbreads), dim sum, gajak (deep-fried vegetable snacks) and sweet pineapples are all delicious, popular street food options. With so many different things to do, your only problem will be figuring out how to pack for all eventualities. e
NEED TO KNOW Seven-night holidays to Mauritius, in a three-star hotel (including half board), start from £849pp. ba.com/mauritius
DRINK: BRENNIVÍN Reykjavík has a reputation for nightlife, and local herbal liquor Brennivín, otherwise known as ‘the black death’, is where it all begins (and ends). If your liver can handle it (it’s 80 proof), knock back a shot at Kaffibarinn, which was once part-owned by Blur’s Damon Albarn. Make it your last stop on a Reykjavík bar crawl. kaffibarinn.is
Photograph by Hemis / Alamy
ooking at the spread of worldclass luxury hotels, extensive watersports, and Mauritius’s reputation as a perfect romantic getaway, it’s hard to believe that the island was best known as a haunt for pirates in the 1700s. Now, the island’s treasure is much more along the lines of palm-fringed, white-sand beaches and hiking trips than buried chests filled with gold. Measuring 38 by 29 miles, the Indian Ocean island may be lacking in size, but it manages to squeeze a huge amount into an area that’s smaller than most English counties. And while the population is small, at just one million, the list of activities on offer certainly isn’t – whether your idea of holiday nirvana is sprawling out on the beach or going ziplining through the forest. Thousands flock to the laid-back highend resorts of Mont Choisy or Flic en Flac to have an unforgettable scuba diving experience. Nature lovers can explore volcanic mountains and vast sugar cane plantations. Fishing fanatics can experience
Iceland has a hell of a lot of geothermal energy, which means there are plenty of hot pools around Reykjavík. The best of the bunch (it’s a tourist favourite for a reason) is the Blue Lagoon, just outside the city. It’s milky blue in colour and in the middle of a lava field, which means it’s both toasty warm and scenic. Oh, and a great hangover cure. bluelagoon.com
LET US PLAN YOUR HOLIDAY DOWN UNDER There’s no better way to start your Australian adventure than by exploring the vibrant festival city of Adelaide, flanked between outstanding coastline and the rolling Adelaide Hills. Your next stop will be the delightful Barossa wine region, before staying amongst Australia’s most famous furry residents on Kangaroo Island. Contrast the south with the Red Centre – a landscape of red sand, blue skies and boundless horizons. Here you’ll visit Alice Springs, the dramatic Kings Canyon and take in one of the great natural wonders of the world, Uluru, rising from the flat outback landscape. There’s nowhere else in the world quite like Australia’s outback.
8 days Adelaide, Kangaroo Island & Red Centre Adventure From just £1,095pp Includes: 2nts Adelaide, day trip to Barossa, 1nt Kangaroo Island (2 day tour), 1nt Alice Springs, 2nts Uluru with sunrise tour, 1nt Kings Canyon, internal flight and 5 days car hire in Northern Territory.
Call our expert Travel Designers on 0808 256 6803 or visit austravel.com/oceanstooutback
We don’t just go there, we know there Visit austravel.com for full T&Cs. Offer subject to change and availability. Price quoted is ‘from’, based on twin share and will vary according to departure date and time of booking. Offers includes an internal flight in Australia but do not include international flights. Calls are free, mobile and other providers’ charges may apply. ATOL protected. Facebook “f ” Logo
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BRIT FLICK PICKS Photograph by Into The Woods/ Disney Enterprises, Jean-Luc Benard email@example.com
There’s no business like show business. We’ve picked five films to watch in 2015, and where to stay if you want to check out their UK locations Into the Woods Broadway musical to Hollywood blockbuster is a well-trodden path these days, and Into the Woods is the latest to make the jump to the silver screen. A mash-up of classic children’s fairy tales, the Disney epic was shot in Dover Castle and other leafy parts of Kent, Surrey and Buckinghamshire. Where to stay: Rooms at the Lighthouse Inn in Folkestone start at £70pp. the-lighthouse-inn.co.uk
ABOVE: James Corden and Meryl Streep star in Into the Woods. BELOW LEFT: Dover Castle in leafy Kent. BELOW RIGHT: Clivedon House’s fountain
Cinderella You’d be lying if you said you hadn’t seen Disney’s 1950 animated classic movie Cinderella, and Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 reimagining brings it firmly up to date. The film’s standout location is the quintessentially English Blenheim Palace – a perfect fairytale location if there ever were one. Where to stay: A double room at the Manor at Weston-on-the-Green near Blenheim Palace starts at £189pn. themanorweston.com
A Little Chaos If it’s period drama you’re after, look no further: A Little Chaos, set in 18thcentury France, tells the story of a female landscape gardener tasked with building the grand gardens in Versailles. It stars Kate
Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Alan Rickman, and also used Blenheim Palace as a shooting location, as well as a slightly Gallicised Cliveden House in Berkshire. Where to stay: Stays at the stunning Cliveden House start at £200pppn. clivedenhouse.co.uk
Far From the Madding Crowd Acclaimed actors Michael Sheen and Carey Mulligan unite in May for Far From the Madding Crowd, based on Thomas Hardy’s novel. It was shot in Hardy heartland, Dorset, and the surrounding area lends many of the film’s locations, including Mapperton House, Cogden Beach and the brilliantly named Purse Caundle – a town that could only exist in the Southwest. Where to stay: Rooms at the Kings Arms, a fivestar hotel near Sherborne, Dorset, start from £135pn. thekingsarms.co.uk
Photograph by ###
Best known for playing a certain bespectacled child wizard, Daniel Radcliffe’s career is back on track and on the up. In his latest film, an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein, he plays hunchback Igor opposite James McAvoy. It was shot in Manchester, Chatham and London. e Where to stay: Rooms at the Midland hotel in Manchester start at £143pppn. qhotels.co.uk
checklist ★ GIRLS ★
2 SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
Being active doesn’t have to mean dressing like a 10-year-old boy who got JD Sports vouchers for Christmas. We’ve found brilliant new fitness gear you can take on your travels or wear to the gym without dropping any style points on the way…
1, J BRAND, Eluise tee, £80. Lightweight and super-soft jersey tee for comfort and style on the go from the Californian denim gurus. More high street than high-intensity. selfridges.com 2. EVERY SECOND COUNTS, Time To Hydrate water bottle, £12. You need to drink, you want to look good. Why not do both at the same time? everysecondcounts.co.uk 3. ART DISCO, Pharaoh t-shirt, £25. Hand-printed in the UK with eco-friendly inks, which won’t make you go faster but will make you feel better. artdisco.co.uk 4. LULU GUINNESS, Doll face large clipper bag, £135 Enough room for even the most overloaded gym bunny, and great for weekend trips too. The eyes have it. luluguinness.com
5. BELLFIELD, Kostroma Jacket, £50. Bundle yourself up in this cosy quilted jacket. It has plenty of pockets for your post-workout Mars bars. bellfieldclothing.com 6. NIKE, Nike Free 5.0 TR FIT, £67.89. Predictably on-point blend of form and function from the sports giants. nike.com 7. BANANA REPUBLIC, Heritage Tweed sweatshirt, £38. The humble sweatshirt gets a fashion remix. bananarepublic.co.uk 8. SWEATY BETTY, Criss Cross Ski Seamless Legging, £50. Cold legs = sad face. Beat the chill with tribal shapes. sweatybetty.com 9. HYPERGRAND WATCHES, Rubicon NATO 01, £90. What time is it? Time you got off the treadmill and hit the bar. notonthehighstreet.com
Photograph by David Harrison
★ G U YS ★
1. EBBETS FIELD FLANNELS, Homestead Grays cap, £45. In 100% wool cloth for peak performance. opumo.com 2. TUMI, Stannard duffel, £295. Luxury overnighter with a cool, East London-inspired edge. uk.tumi.com 3. CAFÉ DU CYCLISTE, Heidi winter jacket, £163. Stay warm without compromising on style, on and off the bike. cafeducycliste.com 4. ORLEBAR BROWN, Perry long-sleeved t-shirt, £75. Great for layering, in lightweight pima cotton. orlebarbrown.co.uk
5. ORLEBAR BROWN, Tommy T denim pigment t-shirt, £60. Possibly the perfect holiday top. orlebarbrown.co.uk 6. TED BAKER, OhShort chino short, £80. Unconventional and stylish bikewear for commuters and travellers. wiggle.co.uk 7. SAUCONY, Jazz O premium sneakers, £75. Updated and sexed-up take on the classic athletics shoe from 1981. opumo.com 8. CAFÉ DU CYCLISTE, Berthe merino hooded top, £102. Versatile top from Nice-based rouleurs. cafeducycliste.com
Photograph by David Harrison
COLIN, 59 HAIRDRESSER
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*Price shown is per person based on two adults travelling on 15 Jun ‘15 sharing a room at Time Out Hotel on a room only basis for 7 nights with Virgin Atlantic return economy flights and include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are correct at time of print and are subject to change. Price advertised is for online bookings only; when booked in-store or by telephone a higher price may apply. Peak season and weekend supplements may apply. Offer is for new direct bookings made before 30 Jan ’15, is subject to availability and Virgin Holidays standard terms and conditions please see virginholidays.co.uk for full details. When booking by telephone or in-store a non-refundable booking fee applies. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offer, promotion or discount including the Frequent Virgin Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Tesco Clubcard. Credit card payments will incur a 2% charge. All calls charged at 5p per minute at all times from a BT landline including VAT. Charges may vary from other networks or mobile networks. Offer valid for Virgin Holidays division of the Virgin Holidays Group only, for definition visit virginholidays.co.uk/ourfamily. ATOL protected (2358) and ABTA (V2043).
DEPARTURES The Virb Elite has ANT+ connectivity, so you can pair it with a fitness device and overlay the data.
THE SMART ONE GARMIN: Virb Elite, £219.99. Garmin’s big shot at the action cam market is a tech feast. It shoots in 1080p HD, has high-sensitivity GPS built in and there’s a 1.4” screen on top. garmin.com
★ GEAR ★ ACTION CAMS
THE LITTLE ONE
The AZ1’s remote enables you to see what you’re shooting and control the cam from your wrist.
Photograph by David Harrison Photograph by ###
SONY: AZ1, £251.10. Small but undeniably clever, Sony’s AZ1 is ready to roll, with waterproof housing (to 5m – the wrist remote goes to 3m) and a 170º Zeiss wide-angle lens. wiggle.co.uk
THE UK’S LEADING WINTER SPORTS SPECIALIST CLO THI NG , EQ UI PM EN T & F O O T WEA R
S T O R E S N ATI O N W I DE Shop online at www.snowandrock.com
★ G U YS ★
Rab worked with waterproofing gurus Nikwax to create a hydrophobic down. It absorbs 13 times less water than untreated down, with no cost to weight or loft.
THE DOWN JACKET
The jacket weighs in at 305g (in a large), with 110g of that 850 fill power hydrophobic down from responsible sources.
Photograph by David Harrison Photograph by ###
RAB: Continuum jacket, £200. All we want is remarkable warmth, ultra-light weight and high performance in the wet. We’re not asking a lot, are we? Luckily, Rab has it figured out. rab.uk.com
EVERY MONTH THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FIND THEIR SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE. BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT, JOIN THE EXODUS. JOINTHE EXODUS.COM #JOINTHE EXODUS
★ R E V I TA L I S E ★
3. LEA JOURNO, Hydra-riche Hydrating Shampoo, 90ml, £10. Infused with nourishing plum oil. cultbeauty.co.uk 4. NINA RICCI, Ricci, EDP, 50ml, £45. Floral freshness with rhubarb zest and fragrant bergamot. ninaricci.com 5. ELEMENTAL HERBOLOGY, Grapefruit & Mandarin Body Wash, 100ml, £5. The wake up for when the cold bites. elementalherbology.com
PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###
1. RAMON MONEGAL, Umbra, EDP, 50ml, £130. Unisex fragrance with earthy vetiver and tree moss for a woody and spicy scent. ramonmonegal.com 2. G BALDWIN & CO, DeToxifying Body Oil, 100ml, £6.79. With grapefruit, fennel and juniper essential oils to renew dimpled and discoloured winter skin. baldwins.co.uk
SHARON, 38 CAB DRIVER
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*Price shown is per person based on two adults travelling on 10 Jun ‘15 and sharing a standard room at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai on a half board basis for 3 nights with Virgin Atlantic return economy flights and include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are correct at time of print and are subject to change. Price advertised is for online bookings only; when booked in-store or by telephone a higher price may apply. Peak season and weekend supplements may apply. Offer is for new direct bookings made before 30 Jan ’15, is subject to availability and Virgin Holidays standard terms and conditions please see virginholidays.co.uk for full details. When booking by telephone or in-store a non-refundable booking fee applies. Offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offer, promotion or discount including the Frequent Virgin Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Tesco Clubcard. Credit card payments will incur a 2% charge. All calls charged at 5p per minute at all times from a BT landline including VAT. Charges may vary from other networks or mobile networks. Offer valid for Virgin Holidays division of the Virgin Holidays Group only, for definition visit virginholidays.co.uk/ourfamily. ATOL protected (2358) and ABTA (V2043).
the chill FACTOR You don’t need us to remind you of the sun-starved miseryfest January serves up, but you can certainly use our help to pick a winter break with sunshine and R&R
The Balinese people live by the philosophy of Tri Hita Kana, which embodies within it the spiritual relationship between god, the human world and nature.
If there’s any such thing as the quintessential tropical paradise, Bali might just be it, thanks to outrageous natural beauty, friendly people and abundant history and culture. WHAT TO DO: To paint Bali as an island of beach resorts is selling it desperately short – this is a place with an undeniable spirituality to go with the jaw-dropping backdrop of volcanoes, rainforests and tropical coves. There’s nightlife, too, if the surfing, diving and sunbathing aren’t enough. WHEN TO GO: Indonesia’s rainy season lasts from October to March, and for Bali that means higher humidity and occasional downpours, though it also means there are great deals around for those happy to take a chance.
You don’t have to be on a beach to get a dose of summer sun – how does lying poolside on a Havana rooftop, mojito in hand, sound? WHAT TO DO: The Cuban capital is full of atmosphere and great things to do, and if it’s not on your travel bucket list, that’s probably because you’ve already been. Apart from just soaking up the post-colonial faded glamour, you can brush up on your salsa moves, learn to roll cigars, explore museums and galleries and – yes – escape the city in a taxi and head to the beach. Or those rooftop bars sound pretty good to us. WHEN TO GO: It’s a city, so whatever the weather throws at you shouldn’t be a holiday-wrecker, but expect mild temperatures in the low 20ºCs between November and April, which is also the dry season.
Dubai’s year-round heat, megahotels and unabashed glitz have serious winter appeal, and there’s a hidden seam of authenticity to mine, too. WHAT TO DO: To say Dubai has everything is obviously stretching it, but few destinations can match the emirate’s blockbuster lineup of attractions – from white-sand beaches and soaring dunes to art galleries, world-class restaurants and bars and clubs. Friday brunch is when Dubai lets its hair down, and it’s not to be missed. WHEN TO GO: The British winter is slap-bang in the middle of Dubai’s temperature sweet-spot – not too hot but still roasting by UK standards – though keep an eye out for the odd bit of rain in January.
Photographs by #
GETTING THERE P to RO of p) T DIG in Ha he AL a ab va C SU Ka rchi und na uba N: Z lu te an ha n c (fr lik anz tara ctur ce s hi ap om e ea f iba in e i ; se sto ital rth ew r d Sr n D a ry ; s ot oe i L ub and ur he s s an ai fin r p un ka ; g la se ; in ce ts Ba s li on
• To find out more about how you can travel to all of these destinations with Virgin Holidays, visit virginholidays.co.uk
KALUTARA, SRI LANKA
A rising star in the sun-seeking world, Sri Lanka’s combination of natural beauty, culture and glorious beaches make it a brilliant escape from the winter gloom. WHAT TO DO: Whether you’re in search of history, culture, wildlife, adventure or relaxation, you’ll find it somewhere on this island off the southern tip of India. Kalutara is a former spice-trading centre, with long stretches of beach fringed by palms and plenty of old colonial charm. It’s also a great place to experience Sri Lankan cuisine. WHERE TO GO: Confusingly, the island has two monsoons, but high season for the south-west beaches and hill country is from December to March, when the north-east coast is wettest.
The island off the Tanzania coast has picture-perfect beaches and sunsets your friends and family will think you’ve photoshopped when they see your photos. WHAT TO DO: Capital Stone Town’s cobbled streets are worth a visit, but most will spend their time on the beach, with good reason. Crystal clear seas are a magnet for divers and watersports lovers, and you can swim with dolphins, too. Many visitors twin a trip to Zanzibar with a safari in Kenya or Tanzania, while others hop over to neighbouring island Pemba for untouched tropical beauty. WHERE TO GO: Zanzibar’s main dry season runs from June to October, but there’s a window in January and February. Whenever you go, it’s likely to be hot.
Blue Sky Thinking With romance, relaxation and year-round sun, Couples Sans Souci in Jamaica has it all – and there’s even more reason to visit with great deals from British Airways Holidays
hat’s your idea of paradise? For some, it’s crystal clear seas and endless sandy beaches, while for others it’s peace, quiet and knowing you don’t have to lift a finger. At Couples Sans Souci, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort on Jamaica’s beautiful north coast, you can have it both ways. Located at the foot of the lush cliffs of the island’s Emerald Coast, Couples Sans Souci is the perfect marriage of stunning natural scenery and all-inclusive luxury. The resort’s buildings, gardens and features are seamlessly woven into the natural environment, from the blissful spa with a natural spring, to suites set among tropical vegetation, looking out across the Caribbean Sea. But where Couples Sans Souci really comes into its own is the premium all-inclusive package, which includes 24-hour dining, selected watersports and activities, excursions and shopping transfers and free wifi. Guests can also make use of the nearby 18-hole golf course, with complimentary transport and green fees. For
active couples, there’s also a fully equipped gym with aerobics, aquasize and yoga, freshwater and mineral pools, and tennis courts. You can even take an all-inclusive trip to the beautiful Dunn’s River falls, where water cascades over 180m of terraced rocks and out into the Caribbean Sea. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking, too, with three restaurants and six unique bars in the resort – and special gala nights and parties throughout the week. Casanova – with its colonial-style design and exceptional service – is the perfect setting for a romantic evening meal, while the Beach Grill has a laid-back, authentically Jamaican feel. You can even dine on the beach, with a threecourse candlelit meal and a backdrop of stars soundtracked by the gentle lapping of the waves. If that doesn’t sound relaxing and romantic enough, a visit to Charlie’s Spa may be in order. With private cabanas at the ocean’s edge, and a wealth of revitalising treatments to soothe body and mind, it’s little wonder Charlie’s is regularly named as one of the Caribbean’s finest spas. With great holiday deals available from British Airways Holidays, your dream Caribbean holiday at Couples Sans Souci could become a reality – one where blissful relaxation and romance take centre stage. ◆
THE DEAL FREE DOUBLE ROOM UPGRADE
Enjoy a free upgrade to a One Bedroom Beachfront Suite with a Jacuzzi bathtub and beachfront views, when you book a Deluxe Ocean Verandah. Seven-night holidays to Couples Sans Souci from £1,529 per person. For more information and to book, go to ba.com/couplessanssouci
Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Price based on selected travel between 1 May and 18 June and includes return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Gatwick. Book by 27 Jan.
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CATCH A BREAK: Surfing’s a great workout – it can burn around 250 calories an hour – and it’s even better when you’re in Kerala, India, where the waters are consistently warm and there’s year-round sun. [p.36]
Grinding out the miles on the treadmill is no fun. To save you from the gym, we’ve rounded up the best fitness holidays around the globe – from ziplining to upside-down yoga – to start the new year as you mean to go on…
BOOTCAMP IN THE SUN, FUERTEVENTURA
Doing squats at the crack of dawn on Clapham Common while some ex-Army dude shouts at you doesn’t work for everyone. But to pack it all up and take it to a Spanish island off the West African coast? Now that’s something we want in on. SunFit is a week-long boot camp that combines fitness sessions, seminars and relaxation (honestly) at top fitness resort Playitas on Fuerteventura. You’ll burn 2,000 calories a day, too – what better excuse for sangria? The next boot camp takes place 7-14 February. From £800pp excluding flights. sunfit.co.uk HUSKY TRAINING, THE ARCTIC
Obviously, you like dogs. So obviously you’ll want to live like an Arctic musher (that’s husky trainer to you and me) for five days – right? It’s a hardcore Some facts about trip, as you’ll live as husky dogs: they the musher does, have double thick training the huskies coats, they often have different each day. But in coloured eyes, and return, you’ll get an they’re super cute. unparalleled sledding One of these isn’t a experience across real fact.
some of the world’s most incredible terrain, and learn how to live like man’s best friend while you’re at it.
The BodyHoliday’s Quadrathlon means 13km of cycling, a 4km run, a 335m abseil and a 2.5km sea kayak – from the beaches of Donkey Beach to Pigeon Island on St Lucia.
Magnetic North Travel offers a five-day trip from £895pp, excluding flights. magneticnorthtravel.com EARN YOUR LUXURY, ST LUCIA
If your brain – and body – is broken after burning the candle at both ends, check yourself into the BodyHoliday. It’s a luxury all-inclusive resort in St Lucia (brace your wallet) but it offers a DIY health and fitness break, with everything from yoga on the beach and archery to golf and scuba diving on offer. A little more high octane is the Quadrathlon, including a bike ride, a run, abseiling and sea kayaking. There’s no cheating with the food, either – everything is unashamedly good for you. Sorry… Rates at the BodyHoliday start from £413pppn, on an all-inclusive basis. thebodyholiday.com
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Swap your yoga mat for the beach at St Lucia’s the BodyHoliday; cycle one of 25 stages in Ride25, which takes place all over the world; learn how to train huskies for five days in the freezing Artic
YOGA AT THE ORANGE TREE, YORKSHIRE
Who says the only sport Yorkshire is known for is cricket? The Orange Tree retreat, in the rugged North York Moors, runs yoga weekends for stressed-out city types. You’ll have the opportunity to do yoga either in the studio, or in the grounds – and there’s NO MOBILE SIGNAL. Bliss. From £245pp, based on two sharing a room. theorangetree.com RIDE AROUND THE WORLD (OR A BIT OF IT)
From £1,100pp per stage, including accommodation and meals but excluding flights and transfers. See ride25.com
North Wales has everything you need for a smasher of an activity holiday – it’s got Snowdonia and myriad opportunities for walking and hiking; there are rugged beaches perfect for strapping yourself to your surfboard, and – wait for it – it also has Europe’s longest zipline. OK, so there’s little effort involved in zipping through the green hills of the region, but every adrenaline
NEWTON BOCO AT, £110 Newton’s uncompromising shoes look and perfom in a way that doesn’t inspire fence-sitting. We love the way they look and the running style they encourage, and we really love the new Boco AT (named after the brand’s home in Boulder, Colorado), which puts all-terrain, allconditions performance in a typically Newtonian package. newtonrunning.co.uk
Photograph above: Andreas von Einsiedel 2013
You know what they say – the best things come in 25 stages. Or at least they do when it’s Ride25: a round-the-world cycle ride in 25 stages, meaning you can join in or leave whenever you please. Most stages are between 70-100 miles, and will take around four days. Close to home, you can join the classic London to Paris route, but also the less ridden Geneva to Milan, or Paris to Geneva, taking you through the tough and scenic Alpine landscapes on the way down. It’s not all hard work, though: the atmosphere promises to be convivial, and at the end of the day, Ride25 will shout your first beer. Which almost excuses the pain they’ve put you through…
HIKING AND ZIPLINING, NORTH WALES
TRAIN THE HUSKIES EACH DAY AND IN RETURN YOU’LL GET AN INCREDIBLE SLEDDING EXPERIENCE IN THE ARCTIC
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OCEANS TO OUTBACK WITH AUSTRAVEL Experience The Ghan – Darwin to Adelaide There are great train journeys – and then there’s The Ghan, which runs through the heart of Australia between Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. Whether it’s your first visit to Australia or your 100th, this is a magnificent way to see some of the country’s wild beauty, diversity and iconic sites. Begin this 1,851 mile adventure in tropical Darwin. Take advantage of the off train excursions included in Premium and Gold Service; from the adventure town of Katherine where you can enjoy a cruise through Nitmiluk Gorge to the welcoming outback town of Alice Springs. Make sure you explore the underground town of Coober Pedy. For the ultimate adventure, hop off at Port Augusta to take in the rugged landscape of the Flinders Ranges before transferring to the vibrant city of Adelaide. Start planning your Australia adventure today by speaking to Austravel’s expert Travel Designers on 0808 256 6803. They have travelled this route to bring you firsthand recommendations for planning your holiday. Plus, book early and save up to 20% in Gold Service. Discount is subject to terms and availability and can be withdrawn at any time. Calls are free, mobile and other providers’ charges may apply. ATOL protected.
ABOVE: Tropical kayaking through the waterways of Madagascar, and BELOW: drink in Swissotel’s Vitality programme
rush counts, right? There are two locations in North Wales, so take your pick. visitwales.com KAYAKING IN MADAGASCAR
Why see a country on foot when you can paddle through it instead? The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar is home to miles of undiscovered waterways, and a trip kayaking through the untouched mangroves between Fort Dauphin and Manafiafy is the best way to explore them. The St Luce Reserve among the mangroves attracts all kinds of wildlife (expect to see lemurs, geckos, chameleons and frogs) as well as countless birds. If you’re in town from June to November, it’s whale watching season. From £1,625pp for ten days, including all accommodation, meals, kayaks and transport. Excludes flights. jenmansafaris.com CYCLE AROUND SLOVENIA
The tiny eastern European country is a great place to wear in your two wheels – not only is it super scenic, but Slovenia is compact enough to cover off the best bits in a week. Cycling Slovenia offers self-guided tours, but its Mt Triglav trip takes you around two of the best lakes – Bled and Bohinj – and up and down some serious hills, guaranteeing beautiful alpine landscapes. It’s not for the faint-hearted, especially the bit where you ride up 2,000m over the Mangart pass on the Italian border. Good luck with that one. Helia Travel Agency offers eight days from €580pp (around £460pp), including accommodation, luggage transfers each day and ride information pack. cyclingslovenia.com
Lemurs are indigenous to Madagascar, and you’ll know them for their huge, wide eyes. See the primates while you can: 90% of them could be extinct in the next 25 years.
Trade your weekend run along the South Bank (because obviously we always do that) for a jog around Estonia’s starkly beautiful capital Tallinn. For January, hotel group Swissôtel has launched special jogging routes around the city, led by the hotel’s sports manager – and you can join either in a group, or they’re available as self-guided trips. It’s part of the hotel group’s healthy Vitality programme, so if you don’t fancy Tallinn with its spires and skyscrapers, there are plenty of other cities worldwide to pound the streets in. See swissotel.com for more details of participating hotels.
CONQUER A MOUNTAIN FIGHT HEART DISEASE Choose your adventure bhf.org.uk/world
ÂŠBritish Heart Foundation 2014, registered charity in England and Wales (225971) and in Scotland (SC039426).
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Burn off multiple Christmas dinners by hiking and biking the Annapurna Circuit; offset caipirinhas at the Island Experience in Brazil; parkour in the grafittied facility at NYC’s Brooklyn Zoo
The word ‘Ipanema’ comes from the Tupi language, and means ‘bad water’, probably because it wasn’t good for fishing. Bad news for Robson Green, less so for us.
HIKE AND BIKE, ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT, NEPAL
It’s not often you can say that a holiday will burn 165 Mars Bars, 26 full Christmas dinners, or 317 glasses of wine. So if you, er, ate 26 Christmas dinners over the festive season, the only polite way to work it off is to head to the highest mountains of Nepal on the gruelling Annapurna Circuit. The eastern side of the circuit is prime ground for some serious hiking, while the western side is home to a good three days’ worth of
SUUNTO AMBIT3 SPORT SAPPHIRE, £360 Photograph top) © Seb Rogers / Alamy
The new women-specific version of Suunto’s Ambit3 Sport multisport watch is a head-turner that’s ready to go wherever you are. There’s route navigation, GPS, heart-rate and smartphone connectivity, so you can see calls, messages and push notifications on the watch, and share your adventures on the go. And, despite the sleek appearance, it’s incredibly tough. suunto.com
downhill mountain biking (or, just slamming the brakes on continuously). Lost Earth Adventures runs the Hike and Bike trip, which costs £1,250pp, including accommodation, all meals and transfers. Flights are extra. lostearthadventures.co.uk THE ISLAND EXPERIENCE, BRAZIL
It’s the best country in the world, but it’ll ruin you: late-night samba sessions in Lapa, downing caipirinhas on Ipanema Beach, and street parties in the hills. How to recover? Check yourself into the Island Experience, on beatific Ilha Grande off the coast of Brazil. The beaches are supreme – pure white sands and cornflower blue seas – and it’s the ideal place to purge your blood stream of all that cachaça. The Island Experience lays on a week of detoxing: yoga at the crack of dawn, fitness activities and healthy, nutritious food. Perfect for the week-long cocktail hangover.
THE WESTERN SIDE IS HOME TO THREE DAYS’ WORTH OF DOWNHILL MOUNTAIN BIKING
From $1,900pp (around £1,210pp) for a week, based on two sharing a room. This includes six days of accommodation, meals, most activities and transfers. theislandexperience.com PARKOUR, NEW YORK
For the unitiated, parkour basically involves running at walls (and other solid things), and launching yourself off them. There’s plenty of courses happening in London – we tried one in Archway once, to miserable effect – but New York’s Brooklyn Zoo has
ODLO LOFTONE, £150 Getting the balance right between staying warm and not overheating is, as any cold-weather runner knows, a tough one to strike. Odlo’s clever Loftone jacket helps you tread that fine line, thanks to Primaloft insulation, windproof fabric and excellent breathability. There’s even a gap in the cuff so you can read a fitness watch without rolling up your sleeve. odlo.com
taken it one step further and opened the city’s best parkour training facility. At 4,500 sq ft, Brooklyn Zoo has a sprung floor, a wall, various structures to leap over and off and a huge dance floor. There are also ninja classes (which, obviously we don’t need). Failing that, go rogue Chengdu is the and jump off a rock capital of the in Central Park. Sichuan Province, and home to the giant panda. According to estimates, there are around 1,000 pandas left in the wild.
brooklynzoony.com/about SURF MOROCCO
Get the best of both worlds in Morocco
– superior surf (its Atlantic coastline is regularly voted one of the top surfing spots in the world) and a vibrant culture in its towns and cities. It doesn’t hurt that the temperatures are consistently warm, either. Access Trips runs a Morocco surf camp in Agadir, which not only introduces you to the top-class breaks, but offers the chance to trek in the nearby Atlas Mountains and visit The local PitjantjatBerber settlements, jara people call the as well as meandering giant red sandstone rock Uluru, but it around the souks of also goes by Ayers Marrakech. An eight-day surf camp to Morocco costs $2,140pp (around £1,365pp), excluding flights. accesstrips.com
Rock after former Chief Secretary of South Australia, Henry Ayers.
CYCLING CHINA BACKROADS
We already knew there were nine million bicycles in Beijing, but it turns out the backroads of China are pretty decent for cycling, too. Exodus’ tour takes you through the largely undiscovered region of southwest China on two wheels to explore the cities of Chengdu and Yangshuo, as well as the rural hills, streams and communities of the region. Combine rice paddies, ancient villages and, er, giant pandas – and shed the pounds while you’re at it.
ABOVE: Trade the beaches of Cornwall for the surf of Agadir, Morocco. BELOW: Take your two wheels to the China backroads
First departure 12 April 2015, priced from £2,899 per person, including flights from London, all accommodation, most meals and a tour leader throughout. exodus.com BASE WALK, ULURU, AUSTRALIA
The base walk in Uluru – or Ayers Rock – is one of the most epic walks in the world. It’s just over 10km all the way around, and means you can escape the crowds and discover the wildlife and plants too. It’s fitness disguised as a cultural history tour. Organise your Uluru base walk through Austravel. austravel.com
Photograph by ###
COMBINE RICE PADDIES, ANCIENT VILLAGES AND GIANT PANDAS – AND SHED SOME POUNDS 45
PATAGONIA ASCENSIONIST PACK 25L, £90 Built with climbers in mind, this streamlined pack holds enough for a day on the wall without getting in the way of your harness and gear. Every aspect has been designed for maximum practicality and minimum fuss when the last thing you want to be worrying about is your bag, and it’s light and good looking enough for everyday use. patagonia.com
destinations – Varkala, in Kerala (that’s the tip of India) is where the surf is at this year. Soul & Surf has only been going for just over a year, but its mix of yoga sessions, hearty Keralan cuisine and surf safaris has been drawing wave hunters in (that, and the 28ºC waters all year round). New for this year are two pop-up residencies – one in nearby Sri Lanka, and one in Banda Aceh in Indonesia.
AERIAL YOGA, ARIZONA
If you think Armenia sounds like a faraway land, come back to earth – it’s a hot trekking destination for this year, and Secret Compass has just launched a trip to climb two of southern Armenia’s peaks (they’re both 3,200m above sea level, so brace yourself) and reach the Tatev monastery, a natural rock fortress and UNESCO world heritage site in the little-travelled Central Asian nation. But you’re here for the adventure, and there’s plenty of that too – you’ll carry your own rucksack and wild camp, which will burn a few pounds if your tent-pitching skills are anything like ours.
You could do yoga on the floor, or you could do yoga while suspended from the ceiling from a giant piece of cloth in Scottsdale, Arizona. You’ll spend a lot of time hanging upside down, and as well as a giant rush of blood to the head, it should help give a new perspective on the downward dog, anyway.
The next trip takes place 29 August – 6 September, and costs £1,599pp. Includes transport, meals Secret Compass and accommodation runs some insane but excludes flights. expeditions all over secretcompass.com
SURFING, KERALA, INDIA
Never mind the traditional surf
the world, including climbing the peaks of Iraq’s Kurdistan, climbing a Siberian volcano and crossing the Sinai Desert.
See scottsdaleprincess.com for more details. e
Photograph by ###
CLIMB TWO OF ARMENIA’S HIGHEST PEAKS, PASSING MONASTERIES AND HUGE FORTRESSES
TREKKING IN ARMENIA
Photograph above: © Bigstockphoto.com
A week’s stay at Soul & Surf starts from £210pp on a B&B basis. soulandsurf.com
Photograph by ###
Thought you had to choose between safari and sealife? Think again. Rob Crossan visited Kenya for the sun-drenched surf-andturf adventure of a lifetime 49
hey say elephants never forget. Yet, while gazing silently upon the two beasts in front of me, as the late afternoon orb of the sun turned the sky a scorched shade of a thousand reds and oranges, I felt pretty sure that it would only be me who would remember this encounter forever. Frankly, the way they looked up from the long sable coloured grasses suggested utter indifference to my presence. For me, as I stared back into those glassy pupils, I realised I was infatuated with a region famed for man-eating lions, shimmering coastlines and a sense of time being slowed to the speed of the soft evening breeze. You might not think you’ve been to Kenya before. But part of you has. When our simian ancestors first came down from the trees and started walking on two feet they did it in what is now Kenya. Nelson Mandela, Justin Bieber and everyone in between has some Kenyan ancestry somewhere. As far as the human race is concerned, coming to Kenya is the ultimate adventure in getting back to our roots. Tsavo West is one of the biggest, yet least visited parks in Kenya. Deep in the south of the country it’s a wild place of rolling savannah, crenulated mountain peaks and bulbous baobab trees. As our Land Rover trundles along cocoa- and blood-coloured sandy tracks, our guide Gideon regales our small group with tales of the man-eating lions of this park who killed 135 labourers posted here to lay the tracks of the Kenya-
THREE ADVENTURES TO GET YOU OFF THE SUN LOUNGER KITE SURFING The adventure sports store right next door to the Forty Thieves bar on Diani beach can, in just a day, get you up to Grade One standard in the art of kite surfing. Expect aching shoulders, to fall down a lot and, just maybe, let the wind carry you across the ocean while harnessed to what is essentially a giant hankie.
MOUNTAIN BIKING Chui Tours, based in Diani, (chuiadventurecentre.com) can arrange mountain biking tours which delve deep into the local villages where you can get an insight into how locals live, including trying some palm wine in the village pub.
PADDLE BOARDING You’ll need a decent sense of balance but the warm, still waters near the shores on the southern coast are perfect places to master the gentle act of standing on a surf board and using an oar to ease yourself over the waters. The Leopard Beach Resort (leopardbeachresort. com) is one of many hotels in the region that can arrange guides and equipment hire.
Uganda railway in the late 19th century. The descendants of these fearsome beasts remained elusive during my visit, but the park teems with life. As well as the rather diffident elephants, we passed giraffes masticating on branches, kudu making sporadic sprints along the plains, and even a lone jackal idly meandering alongside, plaintively staring at us. One of the great advantages of southern Kenya is that it’s Jackals might possible to combine have a bad rep as the bush with the mangy scavengers, beach in barely a day. but jackal couples stay with the same One morning is all mate for life and it took to get from vigorously defend Tsavo West to Diani, their territory as a pair. Awww! one of the most beautiful stretches of sand on the East African coast. Here lie glistening blue waters, swaying coconut fronds, a straight ribbon of vanillacoloured sands and some superb diving and snorkelling. Plunging into the olive and silver coloured waters of the Indian Ocean felt like jumping into a giant gin and tonic; I glided over the top of rugged coral teeming with parrot fish, octopus and (harmless) sting rays. The ocean here is alive and the protected status of these
Photograph by Jim Tampin / Alamy
IN SOUTHERN KENYA, YOU CAN COMBINE THE BUSH WITH THE BEACH IN BARELY A DAY
LEFT: Perfect the art of kite surfing off Diani beach. BELOW: Zebras cooling off at a watering hole in Tsavo West National Park
Luxury Beach & Safari Holiday Sale Safari bush & beach escape from £1105
Zanzibar beach retreat from £429
Tanzania safari from £985
Call 020 8423 3000 or visit www.somak.com/offers
H O L I DAYS
The Safari Specialist
BELOW: The stunning Diani beach is perfect for snorkelling and has great beach bars RIGHT: Elephants frolicking at Tsavo West
waters means that the only real threat to the fragile subterranean ecosystem comes from the baking sun, which can get extreme enough to actually bleach the coral white. Back on land in Diani, as the temperatures reached the mid-30s, the ultimate cocktail was being mixed for me in the straw-roofed grotto of the beachside Forty Thieves bar. An institution for over three decades, the bar specialises in a concoction known as the ‘dawa’, consisting of honey, vodka, brown sugar, limes and crushed ice. Served with a crooked grin by the waiter, Isaac, I asked him why, despite the eye-watering beauty of the coastline, the bar, and the hotels were all but empty.
traditional dhow boat out into the waters and towards a spit bank at low tide. Here, on this sliver of yellow softness, a picnic rug, some bean bags and a cooler box complete with champagne was waiting for our small group. As the sun slowly turned the colour of molten lava, it seemed only right for us to fall silent for a moment and absorb the sensation of being in a place where mobile phones and busy diaries have never felt more irrelevant. While Kenya caters for the most adventurous spirits, sometimes the most brilliant moments come from little more than an epic sunset and a soundscape of rippling waters and humming cicadas. e
GETTING THERE For more info on visiting Kenya go to magicalkenya.com Rob stayed at Salt Lick Game Lodge, visit sarovahotels.com for details. For more on The Funzi Keys, visit thefunzikeys.com Kenya Airways (kenya-airways. com) flies direct from London Heathrow to Nairobi with prices starting from around £543 return, including taxes.
Photograph by John Warburton-Lee Photography / Alamy
AS THE SKY TURNED THE COLOUR OF MOLTEN LAVA, IT SEEMED ONLY RIGHT FOR US TO FALL SILENT
“People just want to see lions”, he says. “Visitors think you have to choose between the beach and the bush. But you can have both here. In the bush, there’s a chance that you might not see a lion. But if you come to the beach, there’s no chance at all that you’re not going to get a tan!” Heading down the coastline, just before the Tanzanian border, our Land Rover makes a sharp turn at a typically chaotic row of shops While 4x4s might emblazoned with be abundant, public garish hand-painted transport in Kenya is fairly dicey. Only signs including one in 2004, passengers that reads ‘Joseph’s were banned from Safe Driving School standing on the – because hospital back of matatu minibuses. ceilings are boring’ and careered down a dirt track to meet a motor boat at the end of a rickety wooden jetty. Skating across these clear waters surrounded by bulging mangroves is the only way to reach Funzi Keys, a tiny private island that’s home to an eco-lodge run by a Swiss-Columbian couple and their three children. Consisting of 17 palm-roofed cottages, many with Jacuzzis inside, the pointed triangular roof of the restaurant and bar area has a slightly Alpine shape to it – Bern meets bush, if you will. Feasting on lobster, crab and giant prawns caught by local fishermen on a table semi buried in the floury sand, I barely needed cajoling into taking a
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The economic crisis had Greece on its knees, but thereâ€™s an exciting new art scene emerging from the rubble. Laura Millar visits Athens to meet the graffiti artists heralding a new Hellenistic style. But this has nothing to do with temples or marble statues
L E G
n a bright, autumn Saturday afternoon, on a patch of pavement in front of the rather humdrum environment of a retail shopping park a few miles from Athens airport, two young men sporting hoodies and scruffy facial hair are putting the finishing touches to a stretch of canvas. Clutching spray cans and rolls of masking tape, they step back from their work, revealing a mishmash of abstract, graphic designs in bright yellows, greens and pinks. Around them, a crowd of people applauds, celebrating the intensity and energy that has gone into their performance. The two men smile sheepishly, unused to working in front of an audience, or in full view. Both are street artists, who’ve spent the past few years covertly putting their marks and designs on Greece is officially walls and buildings home to the world’s without the owners’ oldest dirty graffiti. permission. 24-yearAn etching of a penis carved into a rock old ‘Opium’, all on an Aegean island brown cords, straggly is estimated to beard and Vans, is be around 2,500 years old. an Athens native, while his half-French half-Greek friend, ‘Cacao Rocks’, is 25, and sports glasses with fashionable electric blue frames, and a moustache that twirls up at the ends. Now, they are freely indulging in their craft in public. In Greece’s capital city, street art has recently moved above ground from its subterranean roots, thanks to the launch, in 2013, of its very first street art festival. It was the brainchild of 39-year-old Andreas Tsourapas, himself a street artist who goes under the name LosOtros, and came about in response to the recession. “In 2012, I was disillusioned with how things were,” he says. “I wanted to show people that the Greeks can be resourceful and organised; that we’re not as the media had painted us. And I was keen to bring some light and colour back to the country.” A sleepy-eyed, slightly rumpled-looking figure with grizzled five o’clock shadow, Andreas’ appearance belies a steely core of determination. Once he’d come up with the idea, he spent the next 18 months – as well as a significant chunk of his savings – getting the project off the ground. “I used to live in Paris, and was involved in the streetart scene there, so I knew a lot of artists outside of Greece. We invited 29 street artists, both local and from different parts of Europe, to come and make art over
O L EC R G Photograph by ###
ROAR POWER: This bold image of a lion baring its teeth is by Zurich-based street artist Fabian Florin (known as BANE)
a month, from June 2013. We couldn’t pay them, but we covered the costs of their flights, accommodation and materials.” Artists came from as far afield as Israel and Switzerland, with Andreas directing operations. As in most countries, street art is seen as criminal activity in Greece, resulting, at best, in a large fine, and at
ABOVE: Though street art in the city is nothing new, getting local government to accept it is recent, and important, progress
side profile of what looks like an African warrior, to a woman in a ’50s-style circle skirt doing swing dance. Some designs are more playful than others; a massive bunny sporting phallic-shaped ears and chewing a carrot, Bugs Bunny-style, by local artist Billy Gee, adorns one wall. Others have more of a message; a Swiss artist, BANE, has created a powerful image on the side of a different school. Against the blue-and-white backdrop of the Greek flag, a giant lion snarls, exposing its sharp teeth. “This represents Greece,” explains Andreas. “It says that we were hurt and wounded, but now we are defiant and roaring back to life.” Local and national media seized on the inaugural festival, and for 2014 Andreas decided to make it a year-round affair after he was approached by the owners of Smart Park, the retail area outside the city centre, which now hosts live painting demos every Saturday. Attracting crowds in their thousands, it’s another way for artists to showcase their work and to help the public understand the process. “Greeks painted on walls in ancient times,” says Andreas. “This is just a revival.” Several more schools have been painted this year, and this year he hopes that more artists will come and add to what’s already been done, so it can evolve. The festival has had a wider impact on both Greece and the artists. “It’s given a platform to people, and brought street art into the mainstream.
Photograph by Laura Millar
“GREEKS PAINTED ON WALLS IN ANCIENT TIMES,” SAYS ANDREAS. “THIS IS JUST A REVIVAL”
worst, jail time. Andreas’ challenge was to get local government on board with his plans; and the municipality of Nikaia, a traditionally immigrant and industrialised suburb to the west of the city, gave permission for the artists to use several of its high schools for the purpose. “I made the point to the mayor that getting the walls decorated in art – for free – would save them thousands in maintenance costs!” he laughs. A drive around the area with Andreas and his friend Maria Kappatou, a visual artist, proves that his original aims have succeeded on both counts; vast, sprawling, colourful images, some more than 6m high and wide, attract the eye and brighten an otherwise ordinary neighbourhood. And the willpower required to marshal so many artists, some with big egos and their own agendas, has nonetheless resulted in 14 schools, and over 13,500m², being decorated. But ultimately, what Andreas wanted to achieve was getting artists to collaborate on works together. “Street art has always been a solitary pursuit,” he says. “Everyone has their own style, and their own patch, and works in isolation. I wanted to create dialogue between artists; bring together rivals who don’t normally talk. I want to foster unity in the street art scene, and ultimately, I’d love to see unity within Greece too. In Greece, people don’t talk to each other about difficult issues – that’s one reason why we have so many problems.” There are primary- and pastel-coloured graphic abstract shapes, more recognisable forms, and images of people – from a
STREETLIFE DRAWING: The revolution in Athens street art is as much about collaboration as individual expression
THE FACTS Flights from London to Athens direct cost from £122 with Aegean Airlines. Visit aegeanair.com for details and to book. A double room at Hotel Alexandros costs from €99 [£78] per night. To book, visit airotel.gr/hotel/ alexandros To find out more about the Athens Street Art Festival, visit athensaf. eu. Its forthcoming app will detail all the sites the artists are working on, so you can visit them yourself.
Tailored off-the-beaten-track tours with Athens Insiders are available. Visit athensinsiders.com To find out more about Athens, and the rest of Greece, visit discovergreece.com
interiors, as well as for private residences. But going mainstream comes with its own set of problems. In the narrow, hip backstreets of Psiri, a bohemian neighbourhood just behind the main thoroughfare of Ermou, Athens’ most popular shopping street, is the city’s only urban art gallery, Sarri 12. Curated by painter Antonakis Christodoulou, it opened in 2013, and shows there’s more to street art than just tagging and graffiti. Down a steep set of stairs next door is Opium and Cacao Rocks’ studio; a chaotic, colourful space, they’re preparing for their own solo shows and both are candid about working underground versus going mainstream. “On The debt crisis hit one hand, you can Greece hard. 400,000 develop ideas better people lost their jobs and in more detail, in the first half of 2012 alone. Three taking more time,” million have lost says Opium. “But their healthcare, and sometimes having tens of thousands were made homeless. your work in a gallery is boring,” counters Cacao Rocks, who cites ’80s urban artist Keith Haring as one of his influences, “and you want more than just an elite few people to come and see it. You want it to be outside, on show for everyone. It’s about compromise.” Later, I take a tour of some of the up and coming areas of the city with Nathalie Kontou and Anthia Vlassopoulou, two Athenians who set up Athens Insiders, which offers bespoke tours. Like so many young people, they lost their jobs during the recession. “The crisis has made people come together and collaborate more,” says Nathalie. “There’s a big crowdfunding scene here now, new bars and businesses are springing up all the time. The 2012 demonstrations led to communities working together to try to get what they want.” On the outskirts of achingly fashionable neighbourhood Gazi – named after the local decommissioned gasworks, which in the last couple of years has sprouted nightclubs and neon-signed bars like mushrooms – one huge wall next to a main road is covered with a massive painting, which is by local artist iNO, a fine art graduate, like so many of the street artists. The painting is a massive eye watching over a robotic figure, which is trying to run away. It’s powerful and disturbing at the same time, and it reminds me of something Andreas said earlier: “Street artists are not here to entertain. We’re here to stir things up.” Job done. e
Photographs by Laura Millar and Andreas Tsourapas
For a tour of street art in Monastiraki and Psiri, visit dopios.com/ experiences/greece/athens/1076street-art-tour-in-monastiraki-andpsiri-area
There are now 15 or 16 smaller festivals throughout the country, in places like Mykonos and Kalamata, who ask for our input and advice.” Adds Andreas: “It’s created admiration and acceptance, and led to the partial legalisation of street art here. I want to give people a way to make a living from their work.” In the upscale neighbourhood of Kolonaki, where designer boutiques rub shoulders with five-star hotels, is high-end art gallery Aenaon. All cool cream marble and spotlit canvases, Kalamatan olives are arguably the best its owner and dealer George Tzilalis, in the world, but the whole of Greece does an elegant man in a roaring trade in his sixties, hosted olives and produces his first ever show 147,500 tonnes of them a year. That’s a featuring street art in whole lot of nibbles. May. The artists who took part included BTOY, who uses airbrush techniques to create beautiful, colourful pop-art style portraits of women, and FKDL, a French artist who works with collage. “Smaller artworks can sell for around €1,200 [£950],” says George, “larger ones for €2,000 [£1,500].” It’s a long way from spraying images on to shopfronts under the cover of darkness. These days, thanks to their higher profiles, street artists are landing commissions for bar, hotel and restaurant
PAINT THE TOWN RED 60
Photograph by Angelo Cavalli / AGF Srl / Alamy
The party never ends in Buenos Aires. But that doesnâ€™t mean it lacks culture â€“ Argentina is home to fine wine, tango and great architecture, as well as lakes of beer and an unstoppable nightlife, says Christopher Beanland
Photograph by ###
he first time you see the sun rise over Buenos Aires, your eyes glued to the horizon, it’s like being reborn. You’re a new person in a new world where the water goes the wrong way down the sink and the sky is studded with millions of stars you’ve never seen. Argentina is obsessively Catholic, and its most-visited attraction is a tomb – Eva Peron’s tomb, to be precise. Look out for the craggy-faced nonnas The Quilmes brewery paying their respects was founded in BA by lighting incense. in 1888 by a German Historically, immigrant, and has practically become everyone who arrived an emblem for the in BA was seeking a city in its own right – 17 million hectolitres new life. Rebirth is emblematic of this are bought a year. place. I am thousands of miles away from home, and yet in some ways I feel so near. Palermo’s boulevards evoke Paris or Milan, people speak Spanish. Walking around upper-crust Palermo feels like being in a 1980s soap. People play polo and fast cars skid round corners. This time of day is when Argentines slope home from clubs. Incredibly, they still manage to make it into work. The women look so perky on two hours’ sleep – I guess heavy smoking and drinking Cuba Libres until 6am isn’t bad for your skin after all. Buenos Aires’ raucous nightlife has long inspired hedonists and writers. The latest is Luke Brown, whose debut novel My Biggest Lie summons up the sweat, the icy bottles of Quilmes beer, the hospitality and the fiery
THIS IMAGE: Torre Monumental and the Retiro neighborhood. RIGHT: Food and football at El Cuartito. LEFT: Picturesque Palermo
THE WOMEN LOOK SO GREAT, I GUESS SMOKING AND DRINKING UNTIL 6AM ISN’T BAD FOR YOU AFTER ALL
Photograph by Bernardo Galmarini / Alamy, Hemis / Alamy
shouting matches of the city. People always seem to be shouting. Brown follows in the footsteps of great Argentine writers such as Jorge Luis Borges who brought the seething city to life with words. While in Buenos Aires, I meet a fellow British writer who’s taken up residence in a new restaurant called Sucre (sucrerestaurant.com.ar), which is free from the tourist rabble. It’s full of the kind of affluent Argentines who haven’t had to bang their pots and pans outside government buildings every time the politicians in charge make their latest controversial decision. Invade some nearby islands? Devalue the currency? The latest word is that they want to move the capital away from Buenos Aires to a small city in the north. Sucre is a wonderfully relaxing experience away from the madness, with its white walls and low lights – its customers look like models, and its waiting staff look like models too. The malbec we have with our bife de chorizo is perfect, of course, but I know more of that is to come. I’m taken to a backstreet tango club, I have no idea where. Middle-aged couples seethe with barely repressed lust. That’s completely normal here. At Bar 878 (878bar.com.ar) later, the sexual tension is even stronger. I’m given cigars and Japanese whisky by new friends and somehow make it to my hotel in one piece. My mind is in the lost and found; I haven’t tracked it down yet. The next day I pass the Planetario, a great dome with modernist flashes built by Enrique Jan in 1966 – a compelling sight in a city whose modern architecture often plays second fiddle to Brazil. Before I leave I have to pay my respects to two institutions that Argentina does better, and which overlap at El Cuartito in Recoleta: pizza and football. Two of my favourite things, coincidentally. At this legendary backstreet eatery, the walls are plastered with photos of footballers, shirts Brazil and Argentina and programmes both have a rep for from matches. And extraordinary the pizza is sublime futuristic buildings that look like – spongy dough with spaceships. Check mozzarella spilling out Oscar Niemeyer over the thick bases. and Lúcio Costa to It’s not like any pizza see what we mean. you’ve tasted, just as Maradona is not like any footballer you’ve seen. He made his name playing for Boca Juniors, and I wonder round their compact ground imagining what it must have been like when he took the field, the roar and the passion. BA is a city bursting with
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the stuff. The next day, I leave it all behind and fly to Mendoza. Mendoza is an hour and a half flight away, and there’s a dramatically calmer feel here. It’s a colonial city at the foot of the Andes and I’m reminded how close they are when I open the blinds in my room at the Hyatt and see the things looming right over me. I stroll around Mendoza’s leafy centre. The park in Plaza Independencia is supremely chilled out. Trees sway in the cool mountain breeze as the low sun casts long shadows. The trickle of fountains drowns out the constant beeping of cars – the unofficial soundtrack of any South American day. Main strip Avenida España is throbbing with shoppers and the architecture is an intriguing buffet – a bit of white-walled colonial here, a kitsch ’80s attempt at Americana there. But I can’t dawdle in Mendoza. This is the capital of wine country, and it would be a crime not The Andes is the to explore some longest mountain vineyards. To get into range on earth, the wine growing and birthplace of the Inca Empire. districts you need to Plus, tomatoes traverse the famous and potatoes both Uco Valley. The originated from these mountains. roads seem to go on
THIS IMAGE: La Boca in BA is home to Maradona’s second football club, and is famous for its brightly coloured buildings
forever in straight lines on the flat plains you find just in front of the Andes. Highway 7 is the best because you know you could follow it all the way over the mountains to Santiago. My Motorcycle Diaries fantasy wills me to steal the car and just drive into Chile. The hills rise steeply and by the side of the road is a shrine to Gauchito Gil, a local approximation of Robin Hood. Passing travellers have left all the necessities for Gil’s afterlife picnic: beer, wine, fruit juice, bread and cigarettes. Lots of cigarettes. I spend a night at Club Tapiz’s ranch, or, more accurately, finca (tapiz.com.ar), which oozes rustic charm. There are just simple wooden buildings and trailing ivy. At night the silence is almost overwhelming. At lunch I taste a syrah, some torrontés and of course the ubiquitous malbec. Each is sensational. The tasting oils my talking wheels and helps me to hold the longest conversation in Spanish I’ve ever managed. On the other end of my new conversational confidence is a raven-haired winery marketer who, incredibly, is half Argentine and half Welsh – a descendant of the tiny Welsh community that colonised Patagonia in the 1860s. And that night, at the nearby Bodega Salentein (bodegasalentein.com), I get to see one of the most interesting pieces of modern winery architecture – the 2007 Killka Art Gallery by Bórmida & Yanzón, which houses a collection of Argentinian paintings the winery’s ruling dynasty have
collected with the profits of flogging malbec to the world. I drink more of it over an asado, an al fresco barbecue boasting dishes so rich in flavour that the tastes have stayed with me: empanadas, spicy sausages, steak – cuadril, ancho, churrasco. And the kind of red wine that soothes your tongue. I find myself drunk, looking at the stars, almost without realising, trying to make sense of the constellations. Popular folklore Argentina makes hero Gauchito Gil you feel like this. So was a farmworker much here is new, in the 1800s who had an affair with a and yet the stars and wealthy widow and the land and the spirit was killed by police. of the country is so It is believed he can work miracles. old. It reels you in. e
GETTING THERE Direct flights from London Heathrow to Buenos Aires start from around £474 each way from British Airways. There are plenty of flights via Madrid, too, which start at £424 each way. Visit ba.com. A round trip from BA to Mendoza costs around £280, flying with Lan Argentina. Visit lan.com for more information.
Photograph by Bernardo Galmarini / Alamy
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DOUBLE TROUBLE Double the holiday, double the fun. Why go to just one place when you can have two in the same trip? We pick out the top twin-centre breaks – prepare to take your holiday to the next level…
If you get bored of non-stop animal action in the Maasai Mara, switch up the bush for the serious beaches of the Seychelles.
KENYA Where do we start with this East African country? Home to some of the world’s best safari (and of course the Big Five – buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino), some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll ever lay your beadies on and a rich African culture. Kenya is a jaw-dropper. And all that animal spotting gets exhausting after a while, right?
SEYCHELLES We could call the Seychelles, a collection of more than 100 islands in the Indian Ocean, paradise – but we’d be selling it short. It’s not just white sand beaches and turquoise lagoons (although let’s be honest, it does these better than most): some of the islands are ringed by coral reef, which means loads of good opportunities to strap on your scuba gear or snorkel. But if you don’t fancy getting up close and personal with the marine life, try a glass-bottomed boat instead.
To find the perfect twin centre holiday, play Mojomatcher on the new Virgin Holidays app. It matches you to your ultimate holiday. Download it free from the iTunes app store or Google play.
New York is the world’s most photographed city, and surprisingly it’s not pictures atop the Empire State Building that top the list – it’s the Guggenheim Museum.
The best way to recover from New York overkill is a trip to the Caribbean – luckily the golden beaches, laidback atmosphere and rum cocktails of Barbados are just a short flight away.
NEW YORK So good, they named it twice. We know why – the trendy east coast US metropolis never sleeps, which means there’s a constant stream of hot bars and restaurants to see and be seen in all night long, as well as all the classic sights. Head to the Top of the Rock for an unparalleled view over the city, explore hipster Brooklyn or run amok in Central Park after an afternoon wandering around the Met and the Museum of Modern Art. And don’t even get us started on the shopping – warn your bank manager…
Photograph by ###
Barbados couldn’t be more of a contrast to New York and its fast-paced life. With local Bajan culture everywhere you turn (not to mention rum cocktails, palm trees, coconuts and gentle lilts of calypso and Rihanna), Barbados does picture-postcard pure white sand beaches and azure seas like they’re going out of fashion. There’s plenty of opportunity for wildlife spotting, too: the Caribbean island is home to many turtles, too. And yes, you can pretend that you’re in the Bounty advert if you really must.
They’re both major cities, but Abu Dhabi and Cape Town couldn’t be more different – that’s the fun of a stopover…
ABU DHABI The UAE capital has the best of both worlds: 249 miles of pristine beaches backed by the Arabian Sea, and a rich culture, too. The huge Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque can hold up to 40,000 worshippers, and the city’s man-made Yas Island is home to its world-famous Formula 1 circuit. Plus, it’s scorchingly hot all year around.
CAPE TOWN The Mother City needs no introduction: whether you come for the street food, the imposing Table Mountain or just the miles of rugged coastline and penguin colonies, Cape Town has something for everybody. There’s a burgeoning food and drink scene – in the bars and restaurants of the city’s buzzy Long Street, as well as in Cape Town’s sprawling suburbs and townships – and the widlife ranges from humpback whales to mongooses atop Table Mountain. And that’s without even mentioning wine – the winelands to the north of the city are bursting with boutique grape growers.
Amp up your apres-ski by finishing off a ski trip to California’s Lake Tahoe with a few nights in hip city San Francisco.
LAKE TAHOE Trade Alpine ski resorts for the fresh powder in the US. Lake Tahoe has the highest concentration of ski resorts in North America, meaning there’s a huge range of resorts and runs for all abilities. The resorts are arranged around the eponymous lake, which means you’ll be crushing the pistes with incredible views of both the lake and the pine trees that flank it. Plus, in typical Californian fashion there’s more than 300 days of sunshine a year up here, so it’s a true year-round playground, even when the snow’s melted.
SAN FRANCISCO Thanks to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is recognisable anywhere – and is just a short drive from Lake Tahoe. We’re not saying that the apresski on the mountains isn’t good (it’s great), but when you’ve got the buzz of this vibrant Californian harbour city on your doorstep, a couple of days retoxing among the steep hills – try hiking yoga overlooking the Bay, which does exactly what it says on the tin – dynamic architecture and street markets could be just what’s needed to rest your aching body.
MAN VERSUS WORLD 68
With just two wheels and a scraping of cycling knowhow, Ollie Slee rode from South Africa to Cornwall, and then from the West Country to Laos. Jon Hawkins meets an unlikely twowheeled adventurer
Photograph by ###
hatever you imagine an adventurer to look like, it’s probably not this. Ollie Slee isn’t a grizzled tough guy with a special forces career behind him, a rucksack full of multitools and a raised-by-wolves gaze – nor is he one of those throwbacks to the good old days when a bunch of public-school chums would stiffen their upper lips to take on one of the unconquered greats of global exploration. What he is, though, is a slightly built, softly spoken Cornishman in his late 20s who says of himself: “I’m not rich, I’m not clever, I’m not an amazing athlete and I’m terrible at planning.” He looks – and is – like an ordinary bloke, albeit one who just happens to occasionally drop everything and cycle a few thousand miles because, well, he feels like it. If you’re a football fan, there’s a good chance you spent 28 June 2010 licking your wounds and nursing a hangover. If your memory needs a jog, that was the day after England were hammered 4-1 by Germany in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and knocked out of the World Cup. It was also the day Ollie Slee, who’d been in the country for the tournament, slung the bike he’d brought along with him on the roof of a bus in Johannesburg and headed to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique to begin a six-month, 9,000-mile ride home to Cornwall, completely solo except one week when his brother flew out to join him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very well prepared. “I didn’t know how to change a puncture and I didn’t know anything about camping either,” he admits, and his training had been disastrous – not just because it climaxed with a month of drinking and watching football. His one attempt at a long-distance bike ride back home had ended with him being pulled out of a bush exhausted, hungry and dehydrated. “The ambulance dropped me at a petrol station and the paramedics gave me a couple of quid to buy a drink and a Mars bar,” he says. When it came to it, he figured, he’d have to learn on the job – start small and build his fitness – and After a gruelling slog that’s exactly how to 3,000m through it worked. “Within apalling weather, a couple of weeks I Ollie and Dan pitched their tent in was covering 100km the mountains near a day pretty easily.” Lake Song-Köl in His route took Kyrgyzstan, and the skies cleared. him through
OLLIE’S ROUTE BY COUNTRIES
England France Belgium Luxembourg (back into France) Germany Austria Slovakia Hungary
Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt; through desert and jungle and built-up cities, and he found a welcoming continent a world away from the dangerous one friends back home “who’d never been there” had warned him about. “The trouble is, people like to paint everything with a broad brush,” he says, pointing out: “It has more countries than any other continent, but to many it’s all just ‘Africa’.” Slee arrived back in Cornwall in early 2011, having left Africa on a ferry from Egypt ridden through a cold, wintry Europe. Though the urge to get out on the road again hit fast, it was more than two and a half years before he started out on his next adventure. On his bike once again, but this time accompanied by his friend Jodie Bellamy, Slee set off from his home in Looe, Cornwall, for Laos in Southeast Asia. “We had a horrible start to the trip, it rained solidly for two weeks and was so
MONKING AROUND: (clockwise from top LEFT) The sun rises on a Hungarian river; room for a small one, in Kyrgyzstan; another cyclist takes the road to Luang Prabang in Laos; monks on the China-Tibet border
Serbia Romania Bulgaria Turkey Iran Turkmenistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan China Laos
cold and wet,” he says of the first few weeks’ riding through Europe. By Istanbul, Bellamy had had enough and headed home, and another of Slee’s friends – Dan Marshall, a man Slee describes as “even more clueless than me” – came out to join him for the remainder of the trip. The pair took a circuitous route [see above] that skirted south of the Black and Caspian seas, before looping up into Kazakhstan and The Black Sea is finally into China, the subject of many before dropping into different legends, Laos from the north. but the best is that it’s believed Noah’s Of the 18 countries Ark landed on a they passed through, mountain just off the Slee has no hesitation shore of the inland body of water. in naming Iran as the friendliest. “It was almost strange how much people wanted to help us,” he says, recalling the time he and Marshall were stuck in the capital, Tehran, struggling to get entry visas for their next destination. The owner of an electronics shop took it upon himself to help them, even though he spoke no English himself. “He found someone who could understand what we were saying, closed his shop down and spent the rest of the day taking us around until we had everything we needed, and he wouldn’t let us pay for anything.” That next destination was Turkmenistan, a country that provided one of the trip’s highlights. With only a five-day visa for the country, and a fork in the road that, whichever way they took, would mean outstaying their welcome, the Brits decided to follow a thin line on the map that bisected the two longer routes. It turned out to be a vast expanse of flat, hard-packed
sand. “We eventually realised that there was no road, it was just a direction so we just followed a compass bearing north for two days until we hit a road,” Slee says. “There was nothing to look at but it was amazing, with a feeling that no one else was doing the same thing as us at that moment.” They reached Laos in September 2014 after ten months on the bike, yet after all this Slee still doesn’t think he’s much better on a bike than he was when he fell into that hedge on his first ever training ride, and nor does he love it. “I know the mechanics a lot better but I’m still not very fast, and I still wouldn’t call myself a cyclist,” he says. “I just like exploring the world.” e To read more, visit supersizedadventure.com, and look out for his new column next month.
WE FOLLOWED A COMPASS NORTH FOR TWO DAYS UNTIL WE HIT A ROAD
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THE WHEEL THING: Bike trails wind through the lush countryside around The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, past secret coves, lagoons and historical sites. Expect mild and sunny weather throughout the year
Action Stations The Westin Resort Costa Navarino on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula offers everything you could want from an active holiday, in a sun-drenched and unspoiled coastal setting
f you’re anything like us, you want to make the most of every last drop of your precious holiday time – and few places offer more in one place than The Westin Resort Costa Navarino on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. The resort is a sport-lover’s paradise, with a list of activities that runs the full gamut from adventure to yoga, in a beautiful natural setting with year-round sun and crystal clear seas. The Bay of Navarino is a haven for water-
THE BAY OF NAVARINO IS A HAVEN FOR WATER-SKIING AND WAKEBOARDING
skiing, wake-boarding and tubing, while mountain biking and hiking trails snake through scenery dotted with historic sites. Or it can be the starting point for a fully crewed sailing trip or a diving excursion to explore plentiful marine life. The latest addition is a rock climbing experience at nearby Proti Island – sure to keep both novice and skilled climbers challenged and happy. If ball-sports are more your thing, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino is well-equipped to look after you. There are two 18-hole golf courses – one, The Dunes Course, designed by US Masters champion Bernhard Langer – while the Navarino Raquet Academy offers tennis, squash and badminton for kids and adults alike. When the time comes to relax and recharge, you’ll be well looked after. The 445 rooms and suites, inspired by old Messinian mansions, are perfect luxury retreats, while the resort’s restaurants use local produce to create delicious and healthy dishes from a range of cuisines. There’s so much to do at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino that you’ll need a return visit to fit it all in. Which sounds like a good plan to us. ◆
For more information: westincostanavarino.com
Island Paradise Start the New Year as you mean to go on by escaping to the idyll of Mauritius, where you’ll find watersports, fine dining, spas and more at the island’s Maritim Hotels
ne of the best ways to beat the New Year blues is to escape to a tropical paradise – and on that front there aren’t many places better than Mauritius. With its powdery white sand beaches leading down to sparkling blue seas, it’s a beautifully relaxing place to start the year. Find your island haven at one of the top-draw Maritim Hotels.
Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius
This luxury five-star, all-inclusive resort overlooks the enthralling Turtle Bay, a secluded spot on the north-west of the island. The world-class resort mixes tropical and colonial architecture, and all 215 elegant rooms and 18 suites boast views over the lush gardens or azure ocean from private balconies. If it’s a luxurious experience you’re after, you’re in the right place: the hotel’s Tropical Flower Spa offers a range of fabulous treatments, to the sounds of cascading waterfalls and island birds. There’s an excellent choice of watersports available – how does waterskiing, sailing and snorkelling along the pristine coastline sound? And when night falls, there’s five restaurants to indulge in, including Chateau Mon Désir, known for its fine dining and impeccable service. There’s a reason people keep coming back for more…
Maritim Crystals Beach
If it’s something a little more contemporary you’re after, then the four-star all-inclusive Maritim Crystals Beach should fit your needs perfectly. Located on the beautiful stretch of Belle Mare beach to the eastern corner of Mauritius, the modern resort boasts a huge choice of watersports – from canoeing and
windsurfing to paddleboarding and snorkelling. And if relaxing by the glistening ocean doesn’t appeal, the inviting swimming pool and elegant daybeds should more than convince you of this beachfront utopia. Plus, with two bars and four restaurants including an international buffet, there’s more than enough chance to recover after all the watersports when the sun goes down. ◆
SAVE 15% PLUS FREE NIGHTS
Seven-night 5* all-inclusive holidays to Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius start from £1349pp. Seven-night 4* all-inclusive holidays to Maritim Crystals Beach start from £1229pp. For more information and to book, visit ba.com/mauritius
Terms and conditions apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Prices based on selected travel between 7 June and 7 July 2015 and include return British Airways World Traveller flights from London Gatwick. Book by 27 Jan 2015
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WITH ITS POWDERY WHITE SAND BEACHES LEADING DOWN TO SPARKLING BLUE SEAS, IT’S A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO BEGIN THE NEW YEAR IN THE TROPICS: The lush scenery of Indian Ocean island Mauritius – the powdery beaches, the sparkling seas or the wonderful hospitality at hotels – is more than a match for the New Year blues
Coast with the Most Explore Sydney’s unique blend of world-class restaurants, fine wine and relaxed coastal living on a trip to New South Wales, flying with Qantas – the Spirit of Australia
here’s no better time than the new year to start planning your next adventure, and if a trip to Australia has always been at the top of your list, what are you waiting for? Here are some compelling reasons to book a holiday in one of the most exciting places on earth… The vibrant city of Sydney and its surrounding areas should be your first stop. As a world-class creative hub, Sydney is bursting with great food and wine experiences, stunning
SYDNEY IS HOME TO EVERYTHING FROM AWARDWINNING CHEFS AND RESTAURANTS TO FOOD SPOTS WITH GREAT VIEWS SUCH AS CAFÉ SYDNEY OR QUAY 76
natural scenery and a vibrant outdoor lifestyle. New South Wales has everything you would imagine from an Australian adventure, and there’s no better way to get there than by flying Qantas, the Spirit of Australia. Dining is just one of the many things that Sydney and New South Wales does exceptionally well. The city is home to everything from award-winning chefs and restaurants to buzzy food spots with great views such as Café Sydney or Quay, and a hot new place to try this year is World Square’s Burger Project, the brainchild of Sydney native Neil Perry – also the consultant chef for Qantas. Great food needs excellent wine, which wider New South Wales has in spades: the state is home to 14 winemaking regions. Sydney itself is only two hours’ drive to the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine country, which is home to more than 150 vineyards and fine dining restaurants. Accommodation is plentiful, too, so it’s easy to overnight in the Hunter Valley and make the most of your time in these historic winelands. First up on the region’s natural landscape hitlist is the majestic Unesco World Heritagelisted wilderness of the Blue Mountains. Then there’s Port Stephens, which boasts gorgeous white sandy beaches as well as the chance to spot whales and dolphins – the beautiful marine animals love to frolic along the New South Wales coastline. But if it’s long sweeping beaches that you’re after, you’re in the right place. There are around 70 beaches in and around Sydney, from iconic Bondi to smaller, hidden beaches and rock pools. New South Wales, which has more
LIFE’S A BEACH: Sydney – and New South Wales – has a vibrant mix of coast life, local food and wine experiences and culture ready for you to explore. It couldn’t be easier to get there, flying Qantas
accessible surf beaches than anywhere else in Australia, also counts the popular beach town of Byron Bay within its borders. The laid-back surf town will give you a warm welcome, and plenty of entertainment in the form of surfing, beach yoga, cycling trails, organic dining and kayaking with dolphins. Back on dry land, Sydney has enough entertainment options to keep even the most tireless travellers busy, with a packed events calendar that stretches far beyond its famous NYE celebrations. January’s Sydney Festival celebrates arts and performance, the Sydney International Arts Series brings the world’s best exhibitions to Sydney each year, and Vivid Sydney – a festival of lights, music and ideas taking place between 22 May and 8 June – is a feast for the senses. With so much on offer, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get under the skin of this dynamic city. ◆
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Get on board with Qantas FLYING YOU IN STYLE
Photographs: (clockwise from main) Zenith beach in Port Stephens by Hamilton Lund, Destination NSW; Qantas A380 Business; Qantas A380 Premium Economy; Cape Byron Bay lighthouse by Hugh Stewart, Destination NSW
On a Qantas flight to Sydney, your holiday begins before you even touch down in Australia. Every aspect of the inflight experience is designed to provide a stress-free and enjoyable journey, from a cleverly thought-out dining service to seats that offer exceptional comfort and space. The new International Economy dining experience brings with it a welcome drink after take-off, a refreshed menu – including a greater choice of meals and larger portions – and a no-tray service that keeps things clutter-free, plus tasty snacks during the flight. Those travelling in Premium Economy can enjoy dishes designed by Qantas consulting chef Neil Perry, complemented by fine Australian wines, and with Select on Q-Eat you can order online before you fly. In the International Business cabin, the Qantas experience begins before you even meet your flight with Chauffeur Drive – a luxury vehicle will deliver you from your home to the airport, and collect you on arrival to take you to your destination. The high-end service continues once onboard, where a fully-flat, two-metre Skybed – complete with mattress and duvet – awaits. When the time comes to eat, enjoy a menu inspired by Neil Perry’s Rockpool restaurant, and an exceptional drinks service thanks to a Sommelier in the Sky and wines from Qantas’ award-winning cellar. No matter which cabin you’re flying in, the onboard entertainment choices are plentiful – there are more than 1,500 different options, from the latest blockbuster films and box sets to music, games and news. The airline offers daily flights from London Heathrow to Sydney via Dubai, on the award-winning Qantas A380, and on every flight you’ll be well looked after by crew dedicated to making every aspect – from take-off to touch-down – just as you want it. Which is exactly the beginning and end your Sydney holiday deserves. qantas.com
WELCOME TO foodism – A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE
82 FOODIE LISBON 86 REVIEWS
ON A ROLL
Travelling Lisbon by motorbike and sidecar may lack glamour, but Hannah Summers finds itâ€™s the best way to seek out the finest food and nightlife the city has to offer. This is a three-wheeled foodie odyssey
’m going to be famous. It won’t take long. “Half a day with me and you’ll be Lisbon’s main attraction,” promises our guide, Daniel. Hard to imagine given the city’s faded imperial beauty: its tumbledown tiled buildings, cobblestones and baroque churches, topped off with a grand castle. I buckle my helmet and swing one leg over my shiny black ride, bum landing with a thwack. My mortified friend sinks lower into her seat. In a world of ever more zany city tours – St Petersburg’s roof climbs, LA’s celebrity-spotting jogs, Copenhagen’s Segways – Lisbon’s motorcycle and sidecar is the pick of the crop. One of the first urban sightseeing excursions, it remains a brilliantly practical way of taking in the seven steep hills of this joyfully inexpensive city pegged by gourmands as the next epicurean hotspot. Keen to check out the architectural wonders, flurry of new eateries and rumours of €5-a-litre caipirinhas, we’ve chosen this vintage Russian transport over the yellow open-top tourist bus, rickety No.28 tram and vertiginous, knackering walks. I’m perched on the back, my friend Alex is in the sidecar. A twist of throttle and we’re bumping across the cobbles of the Alfama district, the spotlight finding us at speed. Locals stop and stare, and a group of sniggering teens point and take pictures. I wave. Alex’s helmet slips over her eyes. We’re not dignified but we are famous. Heads lolling, boobs bouncing, we zoom through the warren of narrow streets, ducking underneath washing lines of floral granny undies as we hurtle up to the medieval São Jorge castle. The >>
>> LOCALS STOP AND STARE, TEENS SNIGGER AND POINT 83
BIKE MY SIDE Find the spotlight and revel in half a day of fame with Daniel of ‘Bike My Side’ motorbike and side car tours. Prices start from €65 per person for a half day touring Lisbon’s main attractions. www. bikemyside.com
EAT DRINK WALK Conquering Lisbon one dish at a time, we take a gourmet walking tour with Celia, a food journalist and founder of Eat Drink Walk. She knows Portugal’s food scene inside out, and shows us the best spots for 10am cherry brandy, 12pm wine and a mid-afternoon port. Don’t fret, though, you eat enough of the city’s delicacies to soak it all up, including tempura beans, salty pork sandwiches and, naturally, custard tarts. Prices start from €69 for a half day tour, including copious amounts of food and drink. eatdrinkwalk.com
PENSÃO AMOR The queues can be hefty at this cool bar, but for good reason. Formerly a brothel (the location was handy for sailors docking on the River Tagus), the 18th-century historical building now has mirrored walls, frescoed ceilings and knockout cocktails. It demands a visit purely for the bathroom, where the walls are covered with X-rated ornaments. It’s on Rua Nova do Carvalho, Lisbon’s liveliest street once Bairro Alto starts to calm at night. pensaoamor.pt
>> combination of Moorish historical fortress, catapult (the souvenir shops are top notch in Lisbon) and 1940s motorbike makes me feel like a female Indiana Jones. Alex instantly punctures the illusion: “We look like the Two Fat Ladies.” Thankfully, where we fail, Daniel triumphs. Our effortlessly cool tour rider has got the nonchalant explorer look down to a T. Kitted out in Ray-Bans and a leather jacket, he’s both relaxed dude and expert guide, lacing historical facts and anecdotes with witty jokes. We remount, take in a few miradors, and cruise downtown to Chiado, pulling up at the roofless Carmo Church and Covent. A striking but eerie site, the fallen ceiling of the structure is a stark reminder of the 1755 earthquake that flattened much of Lisbon. Today the sunshine floods through the open roof. The peaceful setting also marks the location of the Carnation Revolution of 1974, when a group of young idealistic army officers and flare-wearing youths spearheaded the downfall of Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano and the authoritarian Estado Novo regime. The convent is just one side of the city’s history. Sunglasses on,
the pace picks up on the open road to Belem, with a brief pit stop at the Belem Tower to marvel at Lisbon’s best example of sumptuous 16th-century Manueline architecture – its ship-like silhouette was designed as a decoy to pirates on the Atlantic. Further up the road we stroll around the handsome Jerónimos Monastery, another staggering symbol of
ABOVE: The coloured houses in Lisbon catch the light perfectly at dusk BELOW: Visit the Ribeira food market to pick up fresh produce or a fantastic Portugese dinner
LX BOUTIQUE HOTEL A seriously peachy accommodation option, where Lisboa-themed feature walls collide with turquoise zings, and the trendy staff (square glasses and wrinkle-free skin) lay on complimentary wine and sushi for guests. The location in Cais do Sodré is ideal for those keen to sample the city’s nightlife. Scramble up the slope for the good-time vibes of Bairro Alto, then roll back down the hill to your cosy bed. We rise early, throw open the white wooden shutters, and make the most of the indulgent breakfast complete with deliciously decadent Portugese pastries. Doubles from £63 a night, including breakfast. lxboutiquehotel.com
MERCADO DA RIBEIRA Swing by Mercado da Ribeira for a taste of Lisbon’s food scene. A new hub of 35 food kiosks, here many of Lisbon’s top chefs offer informal stall versions of their restaurants. It has long communal wooden tables, and the latenight opening hours make it a handy option for a post-beer snackette. Avenida 24 de Julho
Photograph by ###
crazy gothic Manueline design and the riches of European colonialism. It’s hard to drag our eyes from the intricate detail, but the equally outstanding, if more understated, Pasteis de Belem bakery beckons. Floored by the aroma of coffee, cinnamon and custard tarts, we rest in the maze of blue-tiled rooms, faces sprinkled in flaky pastry as we munch through plates of pasteis de nata. The bakery echoes with the natter of old dears who’ve come for a catch up, leaving hours later with a day’s worth of gossip and boxes of pastries piled higher than their heads. With sales of up to 20,000 heavenly parcels a day, it’s a delicious conveyer belt of Lisbon’s finest tarts. You won’t regret getting in the queue. Giddied by sugar and with our sightseeing tour coming to an end, we’re dropped off by Daniel at the River Tagus. Now we get to explore independently. And inconspicuously. Map in hand, we clamber our way up the hills of Bairro Alto, and ride the Elevador da Gloria funicular back down (in hindsight it makes more sense to do this the other way round). It turns out that Lisbon is enjoyably, although calf-quaveringly, walkable, and the civilised wrought iron kiosks (there are countless in the city) make handy rest points for an Alentejo ham sandwich and a refreshing Sagres beer. It’s the first Sagres of many, and the drinking continues that night as we check out the other important sites of Lisbon. After a brief dalliance with fado – Lisbon’s signature sorrowful music – it’s on to the upbeat pulse of hip and happening Bairro Alto, which we fondly rename ‘Bally Ally’ after one too many. Here in the backstreets of the city, the narrow roads are packed with bars serving 50c beers and litres of caipirinhas. The rumours are true. Your hangover awaits. Embracing the electric festival atmosphere, Lisbon’s residents spill out onto the pavements until the early hours. Laughter mingles with bands treating revellers to impromptu kerbside jams. In this part of town it really doesn’t matter which bars you go to, which is handy, because I can’t remember any names. After a night on the turquoise tiles, the Cascais beach is our place to recuperate. 30 minutes by train from the city centre,
MEMMO ALFAMA Tucked down a side street in Alfama, this chic hotel is a minimalist’s dream. The alfresco terrace is a winner: by day we lounge by the pool watching the ships docking on the river. At night the terrace is sultry, with twinkly views over rooftops. Doubles from £100 a night including breakfast. memmoalfama.com
CERVEJARIA RAMIRO If seafood is your thing then dining at Ramiro – the ‘seafood temple’ – is a compulsory activity. Efficient waiters charge around the loud and lively Lisbon institution, doling out platters of the day’s catch, from salty percebes (the coastline’s famous barnacles) to crab. As my friend slips into a food coma, I squeeze in a prego – a garlicky steak sandwich some locals choose to finish a meal with instead of dessert. Avenida Almirante Reis 1, cervejariaramiro.pt
the small town has several pretty coves to choose from. Bleary eyed, we soak up the sun and take a dip in the bracing water, keeping one eye on the sea view and another on the preening pro footballers tensing their abs and posing for selfies. It’s hard to imagine them stuffing down custard tarts, or riding in a sidecar, gelled hair blasted by the breeze. But who cares? The motorbike and sidecar's a glorious way to start your sightseeing in a city that’s hugely generous with its charms. It’s the vain footballers’ loss. And our win. f
GETTING THERE EasyJet flies to Lisbon from five UK airports, starting at £34.99 one way. easyjet.com
KOUZU £ £ £ £
REVIEWS This month we’ve eaten everything from Japanese barbecue to British ceviche
21 Grosvenor Gardens, SW1 0JW; kouzu.co.uk Nearest Tube: Victoria
What’s the draw: Zuma’s Kyoichi Kai
brings his brand of authentic but modern sushi and barbecue, along with an all-Japanese kitchen staff, to a mansionturned-restaurant in the heart of Belgravia.
What to drink: Want authenticity?
Stick with Japanese whiskies, sake, and ‘twisted’ cocktails infused with Japanese flavours by the in-house mixologist.
What to eat: Superb marinated amiyaki
sirloin arrives beneath a pile of fresh, crunchy vegetables, and you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything from the traditional sushi bar, but black cod with fennel miso is the standout performer. Inventive, and utterly delicious.
HOUSE £ £ £ £
South Bank, SE1 9PX; nationaltheatre.org.uk Nearest Tube: Waterloo
What’s the draw: An elegant dining room in the National Theatre, serving modern European classics.
What to drink: Once you’ve worked
through the considerable wine list, try a classic cocktail from the compact menu – we liked the French 75 with gin and champagne. And for the final curtain call (sorry) there’s the champagne menu. When at the theatre, after all…
What to eat: Classic dishes like steak
tartare (the best we’ve had in ages), liver parfait and Waldorf salad take centre stage for the starters, while the mains run along similar lines – the roasted halibut was a particular highlight. Come for the plays but stay for the excellent food.
PACHAMAMA £ £ £ £ 18 Thayer Street, W1U 3JY; pachamamalondon.com Nearest Tube: Bond Street
What’s the draw: Ultra-contemporary
Peruvian with a thoroughly British twist, including seasonal ingredients entirely sourced from these shores.
HUBBARD & BELL £ £ £ £
199-206 High Holborn, WC1V 7BD; hubbardandbell.com Nearest Tube: Holborn
What’s the draw: Taking residence at
the buzzy new Hoxton Hotel in Holborn, H&B could just as well stand for hustle and bustle. Get ready for a whole lot of meat, prepared simply and cooked with real skill.
What to drink: Aside from some eclectic Latin American wines, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any cocktail on the menu. In particular, the Fig Flores, a fig-twisted margarita with a pistachio rim, is fantastic.
What to drink: Make sure you try the
What to eat: The ceviche is great (go figure) and its josper oven fires out a mean rack of sweet, tender ribs, served with a punchy sauce. Save room, though – the chocolate fondant with salted peanut is as close to a religious experience as a dessert can get.
What to eat: With categories like ‘pig’, ‘cow’ and ‘bird’, the mains shouldn’t take you by surprise; the real creativity comes from sides like ricotta toast with fig and mint, and there’s an unlikely star of the show in the fantastic brussel sprouts with bacon and sour cherry.
shrub cocktails, each with a different foraged infusion.
More house than public. PUBLIC HOUSES & DINING ROOMS • CUBITTHOUSE.CO.UK
HELLO SYDNEY We’ve teamed up with Qantas and Destination New South Wales to offer one lucky reader and guest a trip to Australia, including the chance to experience Vivid Sydney – a festival of light, music and ideas…
f you’ve been planning a holiday to Sydney, there’s no time like the present – the Australian metropolis is a bigger draw than ever, with a world-class food and wine scene, as well as stunning natural scenery and culture. We’ve teamed up with Qantas – the Spirit of Australia – and Destination New South Wales to give away a ten-night trip for two to Sydney. You’ll enjoy everything the city and its surroundings have to offer, including
SYDNEY IS A CULTURAL AND FASHION HUB, AND A LEADING DESTINATION FOR FOOD AND WINE 90
Vivid Sydney – a festival of light, music and ideas, taking place from 22 May to 8 June. The ten-night stay includes five nights at the boutique QT Sydney hotel, which features a strong design aesthetic, the cutting-edge Gowings Bar & Grill, and a location right in the heart of the city. Sydney is a global cultural and fashion hub, and a leading culinary destination. The city is home to award-winning chefs and restaurants, and has Australia’s oldest wine region – the Hunter Valley, with more than 150 vineyards – just a two-hour drive away. You’ll also have the chance to explore the surrounding nature and wildlife, with the majestic Blue Mountains just 90 minutes’ drive. Don’t forget about Byron Bay – a laidback beach town, where you can surf, swim with sea turtles, try yoga on the beach or kayak alongside dolphins. Getting there will be part of the fun, thanks to the new International Economy experience from Qantas. From the moment you take your seat you’ll enjoy the best of Australian hospitality, including a completely refreshed dining service, delicious drinks and the kind of friendly and attentive service you would expect from a Skytrax award-winning airline. Plus, with more than 1,500 inflight entertainment options and seats designed for comfort, you may never want to get off. To be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize, see the pink box…
HOW TO WIN To win a ten-night holiday to Sydney, flying the awardwinning Qantas A380, answer one simple question: how many entertainment options are available on international Qantas flights? To enter, visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/qantas For more info and T&Cs see website. Closes 25 January. Entrants must be over 18 and a UK resident.
CITY OF LIGHTS: The Vivid Sydney festival, which this year takes place from 22 May to 8 June, fills the city with light, music and art installations. You could soon be enjoying your own Sydney experience, flying with Qantas
THE PRIZE ◆ Return Economy flights to Sydney
from London for two with Qantas ◆ Ten nights’ accommodation in
Sydney, including five nights at QT Sydney ◆ Four-course dinner for two at Quay ◆ BridgeClimb for two people
Photograph (clockwise from main) Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney by Hugh Stewart, Destination NSW; Qantas A380 Economy cabin; yacht sailing on Sydney Harbour; (above) a room and (below) the lobby at QT Sydney; Qantas A380
WIN AN ISLAND ADVENTURE If your New Year’s resolution is to get more excitement and adventure in your life, then how does an eight-day island-hopping experience in the gorgeous Philippine archipelago sound?
e’ve teamed up with adventure enthusiasts, Inspired Escapes, to give away an eight-day trip to Bohol in the
TAKE AN EXHILARATING JOURNEY THROUGH THE NATURAL WONDERS OF BOHOL 92
Philippine archipelago. With its rolling hills, crystal springs, verdant rivers and palmlined beaches, this vibrant island province is all set to be the new Bali amongst the more adventurous travel crowd. Inspired Escapes’ signature islandhopping experience is sure to be a lifechanging adventure, with the perfect blend of thrilling activities, unique wildlife experiences and quality time spent with local people. Staying in luxury accommodation, you’ll get to experience life on five different islands, as well as getting to know the local Bohol people when you spend a couple of days at a livelihood farm project – a great way to experience the rich Philippine culture first-hand. You’ll also go “cycle zip-lining” and hiking through Bohol’s Chocolate Hills and visit its Tarsier Sanctuary, home of the smallest monkey in the world. There’s plenty of water sports included too, such as paddleboarding along the Loboc River, snorkelling with turtles and diving the archipelago – the crystal-clear waters around the islands are all world-class diving spots. If you’re looking for a change of pace in 2015, then this is sure to be the fix. To win, see the pink ‘how to win’ box on the right.
ABOUT INSPIRED ESCAPES Inspired Escapes offers unique travel experiences to some of the most awe-inspiring destinations in the world. Every trip is designed to connect travellers with local communities to provide lifechanging, unforgettable adventures that will stay with you for the rest of your life. For more information about any of the trips, visit the website: inspiredescapes. com
ISLAND PARADISE: Inspired Escapesâ€™ eight-day Philippine island itinerary gives you the chance to relax on its beaches, explore its rivers and waterways and get involved with a local community project.
HOW TO WIN To win this eight-day Inspired Escapes island-hopping adventure, answer the following question: In which country will you find Bohol? To enter visit escapismmagazine.com/ competition/inspired-escapes For more details, ts&cs and to find out whatâ€™s included in the prize, please see the website.
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SEA LEGS: A boat charter with The Moorings is the perfect opportunity to discover new and exciting destinations in a totally new way
Escape the City Try something new this year and charter a boat with The Moorings. You could soon be sailing around the islands of the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean…
magine sailing the open sea, pulling into ports for a wander around town or relaxing on a premium yacht as you eat lunch overlooking the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean. You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to be a millionaire to holiday in the lap of luxury – chartering a boat is now more accessible than ever before, thanks to The Moorings. Why not start the new year as you
Photographs by Julian Love
NO EXPERIENCE? NO PROBLEM. GET READY TO DISCOVER NEW AND EXCITING DESTINATIONS
mean to go on by choosing to do something totally different? Whether you’re a casual holidaymaker or a seasoned sailor, The Moorings is guaranteed to have a holiday to suit you. Its trips range from sail boats and power yachts to all-inclusive crewed charters through the Caribbean, North America, Mediterranean, the Far East and through the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific – offering you a chance to discover new and exciting destinations under your own steam. The Moorings is adept at catering to the exact kind of holiday you want, and you don’t have to know anything about sailing to enjoy it. If you want to take it easy and spend more time relaxing, you can hire a private skipper who will take care of navigating. And if you really need to relax, there’s the ultimate in luxury cruising – a Moorings Crewed charter. Equipped with a private captain and a gourmet chef, you’ll be treated to an all-inclusive array of meals, snacks and drinks while at sea.
Get there Visit moorings.co.uk/escapism or call a holiday planner on 020 3773 6329 to reserve the holiday at sea you deserve.
However, if you want a more high-octane, hands-on experience, choose a sail-it-yourself charter and enjoy sailing around a variety of worldwide destinations – the choice really is completely up to you. There may be a range of different options to choose from, but one thing always stays the same – a charter with The Moorings offers an unforgettable escape from the ordinary. ◆
Great Street, Bath BA2 4DB Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2Pulteney 4DB www.holburne.org Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB www.holburne.org Supported by
Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB www.holburne.org Supported by
—— AN EXHIBITION FROM THE ROYAL COLLECTION 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 TO 8 FEBRUARY 2015
—— —— AN EXHIBITION THE ROYAL COLLECTION AN EXHIBITION FROM THE ROYALFROM COLLECTION 27 SEPTEMBER 20142015 TO 8 FEBRUARY 2015 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 TO 8 FEBRUARY
—— AN EXHIBITION FROM THE ROYAL COLLECTION 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 TO 8 FEBRUARY 2015
Thomas Rowlandson (1757–1827) Doctor Convex and Lady Concave, 1802, handcoloured etching, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
P ROMOTI ON
ABOVE: London City Airport is conveniently located just 22 minutes from the heart of the City, and boasts one of the best views in the world – it’s been voted in the world’s top ten airport landings
Fly Away Home
Spend less time getting to the airport, and more time relaxing at your destination when you fly with London City Airport, the only airport actually situated in London
ith new routes, new airlines, international awards and recordbreaking weeks, 2014 has been a stellar year for London City Airport. The airport in London’s Docklands is the only one actually in London – located in Zone 3, it is less than 15 minutes from Canary Wharf, 20 minutes from Bank and 25 minutes from Westminster. It’s also the most punctual airport in the UK, with the most on-time flights. Popular with business travellers due to the speed, convenience and customer experience it offers, London City Airport has become increasingly popular with leisure travellers. The ski season is a busy time at London City, with plenty of daily flights to Geneva, Basel and Zurich as well as several French and Spanish destinations, with both British Airways and SWISS allowing you to take your skis for free. Or, if you don’t want to leave the UK, try the new regular flights to Inverness with Flybe. If you prefer the sun to the snow, British Airways operates the UK’s only year-round flights to Ibiza from London City, as well as
the UK’s only direct flights to Granada. Palma de Mallorca, Mahon, Malaga, Nice and Faro are all also among the favourite destinations on the departure board. For those looking for a short break, three airlines offer flights to Dublin, with up to 18 flights per weekday and more choice than any other London airport, on one of the world’s busiest routes. Add to that flights to Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, Florence, Milan and many others, and there are plenty of reasons to shed the business suit for a few days and find your perfect weekend break, golf trip or summer getaway. And when it takes just 20 minutes from front door to departure lounge, with a 15-minute arrivals process, you can leave your desk on a Friday evening and be back at work on Monday morning without wasting a minute. ◆
Ski Competition To see the destinations that London City Airport serves and to book a flight, visit londoncityairport.com. To win a £10,000 luxury ski holiday for four with Powder Byrne in the Swiss region of Graubünden, visit londoncityairport.com/ski.
THE DROP ZONE
An alternative view of the world Thereâ€™s nothing more annoying than when youâ€™re casually carving your way down the nursery slopes, only to find the piste suddenly gives way to a sheer drop off a massive cliff. Swedish freeskier Matilda Rapaport seems to be handling it better than we would in Courmayeur. redbull.com
Photograph by Mattias Fredriksson/Red Bull Content Pool
not just a hotel,
a way of life
Escapism Magazine, Issue 15, The Health and Fitness Special