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CASTING A SHADOW: Nothing says impending doom quite like stormy skies shrouding a solar eclipse. But that did nothing to deter aerobatic glider pilot Luca Bertossio, who showed off his talents against the backdrop of this natural phenomenon on 20 March 2015. Taken in Premariacco, Udine, in Northern Italy, Red Bull snapper Daniele Molineris captured the serene moment Bertossioâ€™s glider traced a smoky arc in front of the eclipse.
SKYE HIGH: Knowing the solar eclipse was a chance not to be missed, photographer Rutger Pauw and Scottish biker Danny MacAskill took to one of Scotland’s northernmost islands to document the moment. Taken at the Quiraing landslip on the Isle of Skye, the shot perfectly combines dramatic scenery with heart-stopping action. And the team only had a few minutes to get the shot just right. “It’s a bit like the scene in E.T.,” says Rutger. “If you can find a point between you and the moon that actually fits that focal length, then it looks amazing.”
LUNAR LANDSCAPES: It’s no easy feat reaching the Moon – so French moto trials rider Julien Dupont needed an alternative for his ‘Riding to the Moon’ shoot. Instead, he travelled to the beautiful Greek island of Milos, where he used the rocky surfaces of Sarakiniko beach as a breathtaking backdrop. Explaining the night-time image, taken by Red Bull photographer Samo Vidic back in August 2013, Dupont said “If we cannot go to the moon, we will bring the moon to us.” redbull.com
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Never mind Glasto – isn't it about time asparagus got its own festival? Too late, it already has. Also happening this month: water-throwing, marbles and crying kids
NUMBER OF BABIES IN JAPAN’S KONAKI SUMO FESTIVAL – TWO SUMO WRESTLERS HOLD OUT THE BABIES TO SEE WHICH CHILD CRIES FIRST
FIVE HUNDRED THE PRIZE MONEY FOR THE WINNER OF THE BLOODY MARY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN NEBRASKA
140 NUMBER OF COMPETITORS IN ENGLAND’S ANNUAL WORLD MARBLE CHAMPIONSHIPS
WILL MARK 10 YEARS SINCE THE FIRST YOUTUBE VIDEO WAS UPLOADED, ENTITLED “ME AT THE ZOO”
THE HEIGHT OF THE PHALLIC SYMBOL ERECTED IN THE TOWN OF KHALNA TOLE TO CELEBRATE NEPALI NEW YEAR
THE NUMBER OF DAYS THAILAND’S WATERTHROWING SONGKRAN FESTIVAL LASTS
THE NUMBER OF YEARS BRITAIN HAS CELEBRATED GREEN VEGETABLES AT THE BRITISH ASPARAGUS FESTIVAL FOR MORE, SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
WEIRD world Dispatches from the frontline of the bizarre. This month: speedy weddings, torture chambers and ginger cats LAS VEGAS, USA Church = dull. Converted barn = dull. Town hall = dull. They say marriage is a rollercoaster, and that’s certainly the case in Vegas. Ditching the traditional options, couples can get hitched on the Big Apple coaster, travelling at 67mph. It’s also cheap (in wedding terms) – $600, including a minister. If we ever needed a reason to get married, this is it. We doooooooooooooo.
MEANS OF ESCAPE Plunge down a Blue Mountain on the steepest ever cable-driven funicular. Thanks, Australia #17 SCENIC RAILWAY IN KATOOMBA
Photograph by Joanne Moyes / Alamy
Fun being the operative part of the word: the Scenic Railway in Katoomba, in Australia’s Blue Mountains, is the steepest cabledriven funicular in the world (so says the Guinness World Records plaque). It’s been blowing tourists’ minds since it opened in 1945 to transport them through the picturesque Jamison Valley. Carrying 84 passengers and leaving every 10 minutes, it’s a slick operation. Chairs have an ‘Original’ setting, to transport you down at an angle of 52 degrees, but don’t-give-a-hoot wild types can crank their seating position to ‘Cliffhanger’ (64 degrees) for a truly thrilling 310m descent.
A 2013 refurb gave the carriages glass roofs for a wider view of the Blue Mountains’ eucalyptusinduced cobalt haze. Passengers then zoom through a cliffside tunnel (originally cut in the 1870s for coal miners) into Jurassic rainforest (or ‘bush’ if you’re Aussie) with shaded walking trails. Katoomba is pretty great, too – the town itself is like walking into a timewarp, where tearooms and doilies are the order of the day and cheesy puns reside above a disproportionately large number of shop fronts. In complete contrast, it’s also home to a glass-floored cable car over a gorge, and an annual 100km trail run. Yes, 100km.
SAN DIEGO, USA We’re not judgemental, but you are a massive weirdo if you’re one of the 24,000 people on the waiting list for McKamey Manor, an interactive haunted house in San Diego. A veritable Crystal Maze for horror fans, the eight-hour tours of the blood-drenched manor include ‘activities’ that have reduced America’s toughest to tears. Even writing about it is pure torture.
AOSHIMA, JAPAN The southern Japanese islands are famous for many things, but until recently they haven’t been known for their cats. Furry felines were first brought to the island of Aoshima to stop mice damaging fishing boats, but after a few too many romps they’re taking over – 120 cats vs 22 people. But if you like cats, particularly ginger ones, it’ll be your own version of purradise (not sorry).
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Head to HEAD HASTINGS, UK Population: 86,900
SCARBOROUGH, UK Nickname: Astins ('Aiy-stins')
Nickname: Skaraborg (if you're a Viking)
Arty types, deserters priced out of south London, frustrated fishermen and secret Morris dancers. 7/10
Fishermen, coach builders, printers, creative types and internet lovers (the town's seafront is the first in the UK with free Wi-Fi). 7/10
WHAT TO SAY
WHAT NOT TO SAY
WHAT TO SAY
WHAT NOT TO SAY
"Traffic on the A21 to London is terrible. I'm never leaving."
"Actually, I'm from St Leonards, which is much better."
"It's not just the tea that's better oop north."
"This Wi-Fi's rubbish. What's wrong with dial-up?"
EAT & DRINK
EAT & DRINK
Dancing water displays and 37 fountains? The mini golf is the finest in Europe, and Hastings hosts the World Crazy Golf Championships. The Jerwood Gallery's collection of 20th and 21stcentury British art is cool, too. 7/10
The Laindons is the chicest option in the old town – the Grade II listed B&B has bright bedrooms and stripy nautical wallpaper. Breakfast is a sausage and egg extravaganza, with home-roasted coffee. 8/10
Boulevard is a pre-owned book den by day and Thai cafe by night. Webbe's Rock-aNore offers beach and boat views, seafood platters and beer-battered cod. Get to the First In Last Out pub for real ale and bitter. 7/10
Take a walk up to Scarborough Castle – it's so good that a headless ghost returns to haunt it each night (maybe). Pints are cheap, so spend your spare change on the slots at the Olympia Leisure arcade. 6/10
Accommodation options are a bit on the musty floral curtain side, but the Sands offers modern self-catering apartments with views. Come summer there will also be colourful beach huts lining North Bay. 6/10
The Harbour View Cafe (AKA the Tea Shack) is the place local fishermen come for tea and a yarn. The fish and chips are the best in town – huge portions, crispy batter, mushy peas, mugs of tea, smiles and fuss-free decor. 7/10
AND THE WINNER IS… Hastings… the crazy golf sealed it
HANNAH SUMMERS IS…
THE TOURIST A BURGERGIRL WRITES
from ancient sites with eager ramblings about spicy street burgers (in the Chinese city of Chengdu). In Istanbul, I cajoled conferencegoers I barely knew to share 'wet burgers' with me; they’re as bad as they sound – bun and meat parcels steamed in sweaty glass boxes. But the worst repeat offender is perhaps the most surprising: the cradle of culinary civilisation, Italy, just can't get them right. But then who goes to Italy for a burger, anyway? I do, apparently – and I'll be back. e
Illustration by Mark Boardman
Holidays are supposed to be relaxing, but they're not if you're holidaying with me – as my long-suffering boyfriend would testify. He'd also tell you that November 2012, when we travelled deep into the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur in search of Malaysia’s best burger, was a particular low point. Lower even than the time I fed coins into a burger vending machine in the eerie glare of Amsterdam’s red light district (not my finest hour). Running a blog about burgers (burgersandbruce.com) requires strict dedication. First, we took a shuddering taxi through rush-hour traffic before its engine finally blew up three miles out from our destination. Then we hiked along the Known as side of a motorway in 'automatieks', torrential rain to a stall the machines are called Burger Bakar operated by chains FEBO and Smullers. Kaw Kaw until, three
hours after setting out, we were eating the worst burgers of our lives. Staring grimly at the gritty ‘meat’ and luminous orange ‘ketchup’, my boyfriend looked a man defeated. “I’m not doing this again,” he announced. At least not until two months later, when we forced down tripe burgers in Florence – grey ribbons of boiled cow’s stomach curled into a bun so dry that I chipped a tooth. You may think it’s a waste to travel to incredible destinations and shun local food in favour of a greasy American export, but I don’t, I just eat both. To me, burgers are like churches, or temples: a) I worship them b) virtually every town has one, some more impressive than others. The best I’ve had were on the street in Venezuela, where the buns were squashed and fried, then doused in ‘mice sauce’ (I misheard – it was ‘maize’, thankfully). My friends suffer as much as my boyfriend. “Just one more meal,” I’ve willed them, “these burgers are the best in Miami/ Lisbon/Madrid/the Isle of Wight!” In fact, no one gets off lightly. I’ve dragged my fellow journalists away
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Mark di Suvero, Eviva Amore, 2001, steel. Overall: 424x564x360 in. Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas. © 2015 Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.
CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF MEXICO IN THE UK WITH ARTISAN PRODUCTS, LIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS OF AUTHENTIC DISHES AND EXCLUSIVE DINING EXPERIENCES HOSTED BY MEXICO’S TOP CHEFS
DOCK OF THE BAY A fort on the Solent, a lochside boathouse or a canal boat – let these wet and mild UK breaks soothe you into a state of bliss The Water Mill, Snowdonia Here’s a fact (probably): the gentle sound of running water helps you sleep. And that’s definitely the case at this peaceful 12th-century home, with beamed ceilings, comfy beds and rural woodland surroundings. So gather up seven of your mates and bed down for a few nights in Wales, taking day trips to 13th-century Harlech Castle and the sandy shores of nearby Portmeirion beach. (Sleeping naked also helps you sleep better, FYI.) How: Sheepskin offers 7 nights at The Water Mill from £1,600 (sleeps 6/8). sheepskinlife.com
Narrow boating, Warwickshire Photograph (Water Mill) by © Sheepskin / Fisher
It’s not as easy as it looks, steering a barge, but it is a good way to explore the waterways of the UK (and there are 2,200 miles of navigable canals and rivers to choose from). You could glide along the 136 miles of waterways between Edinburgh and Glasgow, or for something more challenging try the ‘Warwickshire Ring’ – 100 miles and 95 locks. You’ll need a fit crew to tackle it, particularly at the Stairway to Heaven, which is a two-mile corridor of 21 locks. Reward yourself with a beer or two – there’s always a good pub by the river.
The Raft at Chigborough, Essex The word ‘raft’ may conjure up images of a big rubber dingy hurtling down white rapids, but this floating wooden cabin is a serene holiday version – with no capsizing. The peaceful location on Chigborough Farm in Essex means you’ll hear trout splashing around in the lake while you snooze on the deck. You can reach the banks (and your lakeside hot tub) by rowing boat. How: Canopy & Stars offers nightly rates from £195 per cabin. canopyandstars.co.uk
Dipper Boathouse, Scotland For a romantic lochside escape for two, head north to the silent shores of Loch Tay in Scotland. Hovering beside the water
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: No Man’s Fort looms ominously in the Solent; the Water Mill, Snowdonia; from the Raft at Chigborough’s lakeside hot tub
is the Dipper boathouse – complete with log-burning stove and a huge bathtub – and it offers some of the best views in the country. A 4x4 is provided for easy access to rural rambles. How: Boat Houses offers a three-night break on Loch Tay from £438 per cottage. lochtay.co.uk
No Man’s Fort, the Solent Built in the late 1880s as a way to protect Portsmouth from Napoleon III, No Man’s Fort is a man-made island in the middle of the Solent, just a couple of miles from the Isle of Wight. It’s had a bit of a spruce since the Napoleonic days, and has just been unveiled as a new private island hotel with plush nautical interiors. It’s ideal for big groups or parties: there’s a pool room, a private nightclub, speedboat trips and a Laser Quest Arena for retro fun. e How: Amazing Venues offers nightly rates from £450 per room. amazingvenues.co.uk
How: Black Prince offers narrow boat holidays from £150 per person. black-prince.com
A SERIES OF EXCLUSIVE DINING EXPERIENCES
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IN YOUR DREAMS REVAMPED MARGATE Fans of the Great British seaside, this one is for you. Dreamland was once Margate’s place to hang, with arcade games and concerts from acts including the Rolling Stones. It went through some tough times and closed, but the theme park is being re-imagined to open again this summer with a retro-style pleasure park, a ‘pinball parlour’ and a restored, grade II-listed wooden rollercoaster. dreamland.co.uk
Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock to us Brits, towers 604 metres above Lysefjorden in Ryfylke, southwest Norway. The hike up to the plateau takes around two hours.
EASY BRINDISI NEW FLIGHT TO ITALY EasyJet has been churning out some great new flight connections this year, and the once-distant corners of Italy’s southeast are now easily accessible thanks to a new route to the sun-drenched port town of Brindisi. From £35.99 per person. easyjet.com
EGGSTREME HIKE NEW BUS LINKS IN NORWAY It’s now possible to combine three of Norway’s most iconic hikes in one epic day trip. Billed as the ‘Kinder Egg’ of hikes (though we’re still wondering why), you can zip between Pulpit Rock, Kjerag and the Troll’s Tongue via a handy express bus, saving your legs for the proper hiking territory. visitnorway.com; tidereiser.com
TUSCAN TUNES ITALIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL
The line-up for Lucca’s annual music festival has been unveiled, and this July’s roster of acts includes John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Alabama Shakes, Snoop Dogg and, er, Billy Idol. Make the most of Tuscany’s countryside and coast by staying a short drive from both: La Locanda al Colle is a 12-bedroom boutique hotel set in tranquil gardens with panoramic coastal views and a heated salt-water swimming pool. From £130 per room per night. expertoitaly.com
UNDERGROUND ZIP-LINING Enough of namby pamby assault courses – for the UK’s newest adrenaline rush, try a new fivekilometre underground obstacle route in an abandoned mine. You’ll be hurtling down nine zip lines in the pitch black as you spend a day navigating the deepest, darkest caves of Snowdonia, Wales. Let us know if you bump into Batman. go-below.co.uk
KEEP PEDALLING CYCLE THE MOTHER ROAD Route 66 is one of the most famous drives in the world, but get this: a new bike-friendly map of the US highway has been created, detailing cycling shops, prairie grasslands and hazardous stretches. There are 2,500 miles to cover from Chicago to LA. Let us know how that goes, yeah? adventurecycling.org
NEW KICKS SAUCONY TRAINERS Slippers are the most comfortable type of footwear – fact. But you can’t wear slippers in a beer hall in Prague, they’d get ruined! The next best option is a pair of trainers, and these retro-inspired kicks provide a bit of style without compromising on comfort. Do we sound old? Actually, don’t answer that. saucony.co.uk
FIRST RESORT LUXE MEXICAN GETAWAY
SET (SHORT) SAIL TURKISH MINI CRUISES Turkey’s coast is so damn dazzling and unspoiled that you might think you’re in the furthest-flung parts of the Philippines. If you don’t have the annual leave to commit to a two week-long sailing trip along a far-away coast, try a new mini cruise on a gulet (a traditional masted sailing boat) from Turkey experts Exclusive Escapes. The 2-4 night itineraries take you past hidden bays and forest-clad mountains. Bliss. Two nights from £650pp including all meals. exclusiveescapes.co.uk
Photographs by Cultura RM / Alamy; Johansen Krause
To holiday with the Hollywood A-listers, get your ass to the sundrenched Baja California coast of Mexico. One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, is one of the most luxuriously decked-out resorts in the area, and will soon be unveiling a facelift to make it even more droolinducing. oneandonlyresorts.com
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Wings For Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation, UK registered charity no.1138804, invests an amount equal to the value of entry frees, net of vat, to spinal cord research projects.
HOT E L OF THE MONTH
Live like a superstar at the five-star Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, with top cuisine, its own private beach, a world-class spa and unparalleled service in an iconic location
IN A SS O C I ATI O N W I T H
ubai needs no introduction. Its heady mix of sugar-white beaches, glittering skyscrapers and traditional Arabian culture makes it a city break like no other. The five-star Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, on the iconic Palm Jumeirah archipelago, is where you can enjoy the absolute best of what the sun-soaked city has to offer. With panoramic views of the aquamarine Arabian Gulf as well as the world-famous Dubai skyline, the luxury resort boasts 200m of private beach, two shimmering swimming pools and spacious rooms with balconies. While Dubai’s dynamic city scene is a short taxi trip away, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah has plenty to keep you within its
opulent clutches. If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to try Social by three Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck, explore Southeast Asian flavours at LAO or experience classic afternoon tea at the New York-inspired Peacock Alley. Plus in true Dubai tradition, the hotel hosts two brunches on Friday – one New York style and the other serving Italian cuisine – to usher in the weekend in style. Spend your days snorkelling, paddleboarding or waterskiing on the azure waters. Or those wanting to experience the Dubai luxury lifestyle at a more leisurely pace can try the indulgent Waldorf Astoria Spa with VIP treatment rooms, thermal relaxation rooms and a wide variety of spa journeys. Welcome to R&R in the most decadent of surroundings.
IF YOU’RE A FOODIE YOU’LL WANT TO TRY SOCIAL BY THREE MICHELINSTARRED CHEF HEINZ BECK
P ROMOTI ON
How To Book Three-night stays on a half-board basis start from ÂŁ579pp. Price includes return British Airways flights from London Heathrow. To book, and for more information, please visit THE DEAL
DETAILS: T&Cs apply. Availability may be extremely limited. Price includes return British Airways flights from London Heathrow and is based on two adults sharing for selected travel between 16 June and 15 July 2015. Book by 12 May.
HAMILTON POOL Home to spring-fed pools and lush green spaces, the Live Music Capital of the World速 can give your next performance a truly spectacular setting.
Book now at ba.com or through the British Airways app. The British Airways app is free to download for iPhone, Android and Windows phones.
Live. Music. AustinTexas.org
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BEACHES SICHUAN DUBAI MONTENEGRO CHICAGO HIGHLINE LIFE
IN DEEP: There’s more to Chicago than deep-pan pizza, the Bulls (of the basketball variety) and windy politics. That epic skyline was the backdrop for TV series ER, while the tall buildings blew Cathy Adams away... [p66]
KING O SAND C 30
REFLECTIONS NEED SORTING
OF THE CASTLE From party beaches to coves so remote you can only access them by boat, we’ve rounded up the best places to get sand in your pants. YOLO…
Photograph by ###
City CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Whether you’re a surfer or a sunbather, Cape Town’s location (where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans converge) means you’re sure to find your kind of beach. Camps Bay is a honeypot where glitzy locals hang in upmarket beach bars (and look at the freezing water), while False Bay offers warmer and less frantic waves, and colourful cabins line the sands. When you’re not basking in the sun, there’s a vibrant city to Long Street is the explore – Table best place to soak Mountain for up the heady Mother views, Long Street City nightlife. Head here and you’ll be for drinks. Done. joining bar-hopping locals dancing to anything from rock to reggaeton.
How: Ellerman House is a splash-out option. Flights and seven nights’ accommodation from £2,419 per person with ITC Luxury Travel. itcluxurytravel.co.uk LISBON, PORTUGAL
Lisbon is a city of seven very steep hills, and after a few hours slogging up and down to see the sights you’ll be sprinting towards the sea to cool off. Luckily the Portuguese capital’s beaches are just a 15-minute train ride away from the city, and there are several lively bays to choose from in Cascais. Locals chug insanely cheap litres of Sagres beer on the breezy sand, then return to the city centre for a night out in the heaving bars of the Bairro Alto. We recommend you do the same.
How: LX Boutique hotel is a zingy and central boutique option, from £40 per person per night. lxboutiquehotel.com; easyJet offers return flights from £60 per person. easyjet.com
The French Riviera has long been the playground of the rich and famous, and it’s no wonder – the water’s just as dazzling as the outlandish luxury hotels lining the
STRING THEORY The Keen UNEEK is billed as a ‘sandle unlike anything you’ve seen before’, and they’re not lying. The land-to-water transition’s never been easier or more comfortable – the UNEEK’s, er, unique two-cord, one-sole construction moulds to the shape of your foot for a perfect fit. £89.99. keenfootwear.com
coastline. But there’s no reason to ignore the urban environment, and in Nice you have a selection of bars, museums and great beaches to choose from – La Reserve is public, pebbly and easy to walk to. For a taste of the A-list life without the big spends, splash out on a lounger on a private beach. How: Rent a high-ceilinged Airbnb in the city centre. airbnb.com; easyJet offers return flights from £50. easyjet.com
Off the radar NORTH BEACH, BARBUDA
Hovering just off the coast of Antigua, Barbuda is a taste of how the Caribbean used to be in the 1970s. Princess Di beach (where Princess Diana retreated to dodge the paparazzi) is a blow-your-mind curve of dazzling pinky-white sand and jade water. At the tip of the island you’ll find North Beach; accessible only by speedboat, it’s a rugged stretch of sand speckled with conch shells and a roaming resident donkey, Douglas. It’s the place to switch off – the
CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: Camps Bay, Cape Town; trademark colourful huts at St James Beach; Remote Brazilian beaches
WHEELIE HANDY Brighten up that dreary overhead locker with this beach-inspired wheelie carry on from Tumi. Its neat dimensions mean you won’t be getting any jip from airline staff as you take it on board, and its sturdy exterior will keep your gear protected when you sit on it in that passport control queue. And the beach scene should keep you happy, too. £495. uk.tumi.com
LOCALS CHUG INSANELY CHEAP LITRES OF SAGRES BEER ON THE SAND, THEN HEAD FOR A NIGHT OUT
beach’s rule of ‘no iPhones, no internet, no interruptions’ insist it. So grab a Wadadli beer, swing in a hammock, and do absolutely nothing at all.
Noronha, an archipelago of 21 sparkling, untouched islands. It’s hard to choose, but the secluded Baia do Sancho creeps in as a favourite.
How: North Beach arranges small-plane flights to Barbuda airport; nightly rates from US$200 including meals. barbudanorthbeach.com; Virgin Atlantic offers return flights to Antigua from £510. virgin-atlantic.com
How: Bespoke Brazil offers tailor-made beach itineraries to Brazil, taking in the best of the country’s pousadas. bespokebrazil.com
Unexpected LAKE IVAG, SWEDEN
FERNANDO DE NORONHA, BRAZIL
Brazil is as generous with its beaches as it is with its charm – you can’t help falling for the country, and probably several of the beautiful residents too. On the north-east coast you’ll find Jericoacoara (or Jeri, for short) where bikinis Dalsland is a are small, and the traditional Swedish beaches large and province or quiet. For something ‘landskap’ located in the southern part further off the radar of the country. No (we’re talking 354km other part of Sweden out to sea), get to has as many lakes as this peaceful region. the Fernando de
You may associate Sweden with hipsters, snow and Ikea meatballs, but the Scandi country also boasts idyllic lakeside beaches perfect for those balmy summer months. The remote and scenic province of Dalsland is home to 450km of freshwater swimming opportunities, and if you’re looking for peaceful rural sunbathing, take a trip to the tranquil, tepid-water shores of Lake Ivag for something a bit different. How: Off the Map Travel offers a sevennight stay from £899 per person, excluding flights, including activities and car hire. offthemaptravel.co.uk
ISLE OF HARRIS, SCOTLAND
Scotland’s Outer Hebrides call to mind eerie winter breaks involving open fires and whiskies, but in the summer they take on a whole new look, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking them for the Caribbean – Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris is particularly special (although it comes
without the balmy Caribbean temperatures). You may be able to fly to Barbados in the same time it would take to drive to Isle of Harris, but as UK-based stretches of sand go, these are some of the best you’ll find. How: Fly with Flybe from London City for £50 return. flybe.com; see visitscotland.com for more
Party PAG ISLAND, CROATIA
Before the 1990s, the only things Pag was famous for were unspoiled beaches and sheep’s milk cheese. Nowadays it’s a hedonist’s heaven, and the island hosts some of the world’s biggest dance festivals. They’re mad cheap (£120 for a whole week at some), and range from Croatia Rocks (your best bet for EDM and boat parties) to Hideout (with pool parties). It’s not all raving 20-somethings, though – you won’t find a single wide-eyed youth on the beaches surrounding the village of Stara Novalja. How: Forget camping in that Mediterranean
Photograph by © Nino Marcutti / Alamy
PAG IS HEDONIST HEAVEN, WITH SOME OF EUROPE’S TOP BEACH PARTIES
GALVESTON ISLAND, TEXAS, US
Texas boasts cowboys, ribs and rodeo, but you guessed it, there’s more. The Lone Star state has beaches too – a stretch the locals retreat to on sticky summer days. OK, it’s not your typical swaying palm postcard picture, but Galveston Island’s East Beach does come with a rollercoaster-packed Pleasure Pier. If that’s not your scene, there are 32 miles of beach to explore. HOW: See discoveramerica.com for accommodation options. British Airways offers return flights to Houston from £700 return. ba.com
heat, rent an Airbnb with air con for your down time, airbnb.com; Zadar is the closest airport (80km from Pag). Ryanair offers return flights from £45. ryanair.com IBIZA, SPAIN
ABOVE: Join the thronging crowds at open air parties in Papaya’s beach club, on Zrce beach on the Croatian island of Pag
There’s another side The White Island has to Ibiza, away from 210km of coastline the tourist-wedged, and more than 50 party-loving resort beaches – and over 300 days of sunshine towns. But you can’t a year. Oh, and the hit the White Island world’s biggest club and not be lured into (Privilege), with room for 10,000. at least one night out. Or day out, it seems, because it starts (or finishes) early on this island, so lounge around in the Nikki Beach bar to get things going. Once all that gets a bit tiresome, chill out at the sheltered cove of Cala Tarida, about 15 minutes’ drive from San Antonio. It’s the place to soak up the island’s natural beauty and glorious Balearic sunshine. But don’t get too comfortable –
ABOVE: The partying in Ibiza’s good, but (shhh, don’t tell anyone we said this) the beaches might be even better, with blue seas and rocky coastlines to explore
There’s a gallery of high-rise hotels backing the beach in the Mexican city of Cancun, but you can’t fault the aquamarine water leading into a sky dotted with paragliders, and the talcum powder sand that’s as white as the holiday makers’ teeth. For spring breakstyle cheese, get your ass to CoCo Bongo for foam parties and Michael Jackson tributes. For a more sophisticated party, sip cocktails in a setting of billowing white fabrics and tarted-up clientele at the ME Hotel. How: Nightly rates at ME Cancun from £250 per room; Thomson offers return flights from £500. thomson.co.uk The Mayan translation for the Cancun is ‘the nest of snakes’. It began as a tourist project in 1974, and has since evolved into a crazily popular holiday destination.
Family MAURITIUS, INDIAN OCEAN
It’s worth shipping the family over to Mauritius for the fine-
SPEAKER-EASY It may look unassuming, but this compact gadget (you can call it the Monster SuperStar BackFloat) is not your average speaker. This crafty new piece of tech is 100% waterproof, AND it floats in water, so listening to your favourite tunes on your hols has never been easier. Bluetooth allows you to link it with your mobile and make calls while lolling around in the pool. HELLO? SORRY MUM, CAN’T TALK, I’M SUNBATHING. £129.95. selfridges.com
sand beaches and shallow, warm water. The Indian Ocean island may be a honeymoon favourite, but children are welcome at many of the hotels – the Residence offers Rugbytots sessions for three to seven-yearolds to let off some steam on the kilometrelong stretch of sand. How: Seven nights from £6,999 per family of four. turquoiseholidays.co.uk
Photograph by © 2014 Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola
CANCUN IS HOME TO TALCUM POWDERSOFT SAND AS WHITE AS THE SPRING BREAKERS’ TEETH
this is all about partying, remember? How: Try the Hard Rock Hotel for music-inspired decor and live concerts. hrhibiza.com; Ryanair offers return flights from £40 per person. ryanair.com
SET ON THE
CARIBBEAN’S BEST BEACHES Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa Resort, Great Exuma, Bahamas
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GOURMET DISCOVERY DINING
EVERY DAY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE GET UP AND FIND THEIR GET UP AND GO. BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT, #JOIN THE EXODUS. JOINTHE EXODUS.COM WALKING & TREKKING • CYCLING • WINTER
• WILDLIFE • CULTURAL
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Child-friendly beaches at the Residence, Mauritius; beach huts in Norfolk; turquoise water and sheer cliffs line parts of the Turkish coast
We’ve been drooling over Hillside Beach Club’s Instagram feed through the winter months, and it’s finally open again for the season. It’s a laid-back, sprog-friendly option on Turkey’s unspoiled (think sheer cliffs and azure water) and underrated coast. When you’re not lounging on the pebbly beach there’s
mum and daughter yoga, and dad and son kayaking to try (or vice-versa, obviously). Need some peace? You won’t find either children or music at the Serenity beach. How: Nightly rates from £198 per room (based on two adults and one child sharing), hillsidebeachclub.com; British Airways has launched flights to Dalaman from £138 return. ba.com NORFOLK, UK
Photograph by Kenan OLGUN
Bit mean the way beaches charge you for parasols, isn’t it? Here’s a better way to dodge the rays – Field Candy has created a range of beach shades in various sizes, meaning you can shelter under the sun-resistant canopy instead of turning a deeper shade of red. Forget lugging a tent, this streamlined canopy is faff-free to pitch. £99. fieldcandy.com
Carting loads of clobber to the beach is no fun – how much better would it be if you could just leave it all there? On Wells-next-theSea beach you can – the Wells beach huts come equipped with a decked veranda, kitchen, chairs – plus buckets and spades and the like. The beach is pretty damn nice, too – the long strip of sand is bordered by pine woodland, and the harbour town of Wells is brimming with child-friendly pubs. And don’t even think about leaving without a trip to the seafront for crabbing – them’s the rules. How: Wells Beach Huts cost £25 a day, book with Norfolk Hideaways. norfolkhideaways.co.uk
HILLSIDE BEACH CLUB IS A LAIDBACK SPROGFRIENDLY OPTION ON TURKEY’S UNSPOILED COASTLINE 39
Paradis Hotel and Golf Club
The best choice of luxury hotels on the island
As the first hotel company in Mauritius, Beachcomber Hotels had the first pick of the most stunning locations and the best of the beaches when choosing to place its hotels. We are now fortunate to have a choice of eight individual and exceptional hotels dotted around the island.
Weâ€™ve got everything from indulgent luxury to superb all inclusive options. For families all of our resorts are family friendly offering a great range of free land and water sports, free childrenâ€™s clubs for 3 to 12 year olds, a choice of spacious family accommodation and family friendly dining options.
For the ultimate luxury stay at the best address in Mauritius, the Royal Palm Hotel. For golfers challenge yourself on the Paradis Golf Course. And for the perfect family holiday choose one of our luxury villas at Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa, Paradis Hotel & Golf Club or Trou Aux Biches Resort & Spa.
For the very best Mauritius holidays call 01483 445 634
GET BEHIND THE WHEEL IN OZ
ROAD TRIPPING DOWN UNDER WITH AUSTRAVEL
MALDIVES, INDIAN OCEAN
SWATCH IT Ever wondered how many times you’ve actually managed to get the ball over the net during a game of beach volleyball? Or how loud the crowd is cheering? Ever-inventive Swiss brand Swatch can help; its new Touch Zero One watch is designed for Beach Volleyball and will count your steps, your power hits and your power claps. Next up, lawn bowls. (Or not.) £110. swatch.com
Active MARGARET RIVER, AUSTRALIA
Photograph by seanscott; AndreaWillmore; Tourism Queensland
East Australia does a good job of luring tourists to its endless stretches of sand (Shark Bay in Melbourne even rebranded itself as Safety Beach to up the number of bikini bods). For something less obvious, check out the west coast’s Margaret River region, where 75 top-class surf breaks are spread over 130km. Inland, there’s abseiling and bush-walking, but make sure you visit the sparkly waters of Hamelin Bay, where you can swim, snorkel or bat-and-ball away the hours. Clammy red (happy) face likely. The Margaret River (nicknamed ‘Margs’ by the locals) is a renowned surfing destination. It’s also famous for boutique-size wine producers (for after surfing, obviously).
Once you find your beach in the Maldives, you won’t venture far from it. No, really, your hotel is a beach, on an island, and you’ll have to kayak to a neighbouring patch of sand if you want to escape. But why would you? The water is crystal clear, the sand bone-white, and you’ll drift in and out of a buffet-infused slumber. Depending on your holiday preferences you might start to get a bit restless, so make the most of the watersports opportunities – which include big sea fishing, diving, snorkelling, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, whizzing around in an inflatable doughnut. Some hotels even offer off-reef surfing, and at five-star resort Atomosphere Kanifushi, you can work out on-island, with volleyball, tennis and more. How: Atmosphere Kanifushi offers nightly rates from £325 per villa, on an all-inclusive basis including watersports. atmosphere-kanifushi.com
Our favourite thing about Australia is that it has everything – beaches, cities, mountains, desert and unique wildlife. And the best way to see this epic continent is from behind the wheel with Austravel. Park your motorhome by a secluded beach and sleep under a sky of ultra-bright stars, then wake up for an alfresco breakfast before getting back on the road. There are various routes, each with something different (but equally photogenic) to offer. Try the Queensland coast for Great Barrier Reef diving and some of the world’s best beaches; the Red Centre for the Outback experience; the Great Ocean Road for wild coastline; or the South Australian loop for wine and wildlife. With their excellent local knowledge, Austravel’s Travel Designers can provide a set itinerary or work out a journey tailored to your personal needs. If you don’t fancy a motorhome, they’ll arrange a car and accommodation – or if you want to go on an epic rail journey, they can arrange that too. All you need to do is watch out for wild kangaroos. Austravel offers 14-night Motorhome Adventures from £795, including return flights to Perth. Selected travel between May and June 2015. Book by 30 April. Speak to a Travel Designer on 0808 163 6043 or visit austravel.com
How: Beach Houses from £140 per night. margaretriverbeach houses.com.au; Return flights to Perth from £760 with Qantas. qantas.com
FROM TOP: The Maldives are a divers’ paradise; try canoeing, surfing, swimming and abseiling in Margaret River. Tired yet?
Calls are free from landlines, mobiles and other providers’ charges may vary. For full terms and conditions visit austravel.com.
ABOVE: The Danish coast has one of the best windsurfing locations in the world – Klitmøller. It’s also great for regular surfing, earning it the nickname ‘the cold Hawaii’
How: Stenbjerg Inn offers doubles from £65 per room per night. visitdenmark.co.uk; Norwegian offers return flights from £70 per person. norwegian.no
Food ST LUCIA, CARIBBEAN
St Lucia’s a hilly volcanic island, and home to the world’s only drive-in volcano. Aside from the occasional waft of sulphur, it also means that the seabed shelves off dramatically, resulting in an abundant marine life. Seafood travels from boat to BBQ in minutes, with mahi mahi served up with the local beer, Piton. Local markets in capital Castries and tiny Soufriere are packed with produce – bring your picnic back to the west coast beaches.
How: Boutique beach hotel Cap Maison offers gastronomy breaks (creole cuisine and rum plantation visits) capmaison.com; Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from £510, virgin-atlantic.com PUGLIA, ITALY
For food to rival the beaches, get to south-east Italy. In the region of Puglia you’ll feast on simple but delicious cucina povera (peasant cooking) including heaving bowls of pasta,
GET UP, STAND UP We’re big fans of inflatable beach items, so it was with serious glee that we discovered this blow up stand-up-paddleboard from Sevylor! That’s all our logistical supping dilemmas solved – there’s no need for a roof-rack or trailer, this new range of SUP boards comes with a handy bag and pump, so you can inflate it right there on the sand. From £699.99. sevylor-europe.com
Photograph by Wengler@Photo
WHEREVER YOU ARE IN DENMARK YOU’RE NEVER MORE THAN 50KM FROM THE SEA, WITH 7,000KM OF COAST TO EXPLORE
NORTH WEST JUTLAND, DENMARK
No matter where you are in Denmark, you’re never more than 50km from the sea, and with 7,000km of coastline, you’ll have your fair pick of sand. One stretch is particularly celebrated by the Danes – Klitmøller beach. Dubbed the ‘cold Hawaii’, it’s one of Europe’s best windsurfing spots, and hosts the European Championships and the World Cup (of windsurfing, obviously).
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IN SOUTHEAST ITALY THE FOOD RIVALS THE BEACHES – EXPECT SAND AND CLIFFS with salami and artichoke sides. The beaches are crazily good, benefiting from the Adriatic and Ionian Sea and alternating between sheer cliffs and sandy stretches – Punta Prosciutto is our favourite. Avoid the peak months of July and August when generations of Italian families flock south; instead visit Puglia’s elegant coastal towns in the spring or autumn. How: Enjoy Puglia’s countryside with a farmhouse stay, agriturismo.it; easyJet has return flights to Brindisi from £70 per person, easyjet.com OKINAWA, JAPAN
How: Inside Japan Tours offers a 12-night island trip from £1,340 per person including accommodation and domestic flights. insidejapantours.com; British Airways offers flights to Tokyo from £750. ba.com e
FROM TOP: Japan’s coast is a match for its food; the coast of Puglia in Italy is a treasure trove of fantastic food and hidden beaches; Smuggler’s Cove at Cap Maison, St Lucia
BAGS OF FUN The Poler Camera Cooler is probably the best dual-purpose item since James Bond’s car/submarine. Depending on your mood, this piece of gear can function as a camera bag – housing an SLR, lens and accessories – or (our favourite) remove the padded insert and there’s space for six cans AND sandwiches in there. “Say cheese!” (And pickle.) £45. polerstuff.com
Photograph by © caia image / Alamy
The combined coastline of Japan’s islands is a staggering 21,000 miles. The result? A hell of a lot of foodie ingenuity from both land and sea – no more so than in Okinawa. The region, in the country’s Southern Prefecture, is an archipelago of more than 100 islands, each bringing with them some jaw-dropping beaches and some great grub, too. You might know Japan for its ramen and sushi, but Okinawa’s unique food identity – there are Chinese and other southeast Asian influences – owing to a long history of trading in the region, makes it well worth a visit for adventurous gastronomes.
TWO WEEKS DOWN UNDER Whether it’s your first time down under, or you’re a returning traveller, there is so much to see and do in Australia. With four time zones, three million square miles and twenty two million people, it’s not easy to sum up a country that stretches so far and takes in so many different climates and diverse landscapes.
PERTH & WEST COAST
SYDNEY & REEF
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Based on selected travel May - Jun 2015
Based on selected travel Jun 2015
GREAT OCEAN ROAD & KANGAROO ISLAND
TOP & ROCK
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Includes: 3nts 3★ Darwin hotel, 6 day Top End Discovery self-drive, 1nt The Ghan in Gold Service (Darwin to Alice Springs), 6 day Explore the Red Centre self-drive and return international flights.
Based on selected travel Oct 2015
Based on selected travel Aug - Sep 2015
Call our expert Travel Designers on 0808 271 8462 or visit austravel.com/twoweeks
We don’t just go there, we know there Calls are free, mobile and other providers’ charges may apply. ATOL protected. Book by 30 April 2015.
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Endangered giant pandas only live in a few mountain ranges in central and southwestern China, mainly in Sichuan. There are around 1,590 now living inÂ the wild.
PAN TO T MA
NDA THE SSES
Direct flights from London Heathrow are opening up Chinaâ€™s less-travelled, historic central Sichuan province to Brits in search of spicier climes. Jonathan Thompson explores the land of the giant panda â€“ and home of the fiery hotpot
Photograph by Nature Picture Library/Alamy
he fight starts in the middle of the park. First a jostle, then a shove, then a wild haymaker to the side of the head with a Margaret Thatcher-style handbag. The two middle-aged combatants are finally separated, amid a pile of bamboo poles in a muddy flowerbed. Welcome to Sichuan, where the food isn’t the only hot stuff. The women here are considered to be the most beautiful in China, and competition for partners can get fierce. In fact, it can get downright dirty. These two soiled 50-something brawlers are both seeking Chinese parents at love – but not for marriage markets themselves. This such as this hang up is ‘Marriage Match résumé-style lists of Corner’ at the their single child’s personal informasprawling People’s tion, including age, Park in Sichuan’s height, salary and capital, Chengdu. education level. And the women are advertising their adult offspring. In this shaded pocket at the park’s heart, hundreds of parents attach their children’s headshots and vital statistics to bamboo poles, along with a list of potential deal-breakers. “Must not wear glasses”, translates our sweet guide Sugar. “Not from a single-parent family”; “Must not be over 33”. It’s like analogue Tinder, but it’s the parents doing the merciless swiping left and
CHENGDU IS A CITY MORE OBSESSED WITH BEARS THAN CHICAGO AND FURRY FACES ARE EVERYWHERE 48
right, in order to secure pole position in the flowerbed. The stakes are high: in a country where over-25s are dubbed “Christmas cakes” (nobody wants them after the 25th), Marriage Match Corner produces more than 100 weddings a year. And that’s a cake people do want a piece of. The two things most uninitiated Europeans are likely to know about Sichuan is that it’s famous for spicy food and giant pandas. But there’s considerably more to China’s intriguing southwestern province, particularly blossoming Chengdu itself. The celebrated Chinese poet Li Bai once described the journey to this isolated territory, as “harder than the road to heaven”. But British Airways recently made a mockery of that by introducing direct flights from London five times a week. Always a backpacking hub thanks to its giant pandas, Chengdu is being transformed into a major business centre by the Chinese government’s ‘Go West’ initiative, which offers tax breaks to companies investing in the west of the country. More than
FIVE PANDA GREATS 1. SU LIN The first live panda ever taken out of China, Su Lin was captured as a cub in 1936 by US socialite Ruth Harkness, before being taken back to the US. For a time she lived in Harkness‘s Manhattan apartment before transferring to Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, where she became the star attraction.
2. ‘THE FAMOUS MING’ In 1938, four giant pandas were brought to London Zoo in a blaze of publicity – they were the first ever seen on British soil. Of these, the most renowned – and long-lived – was Ming. She was evacuated to Whipsnade Zoo during the war, and died on Boxing Day 1944.
3. CHI CHI
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: The traditional Qintai Road district in Chengdu; Mount Emei, also known as Emeishan; a sculpture at the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre
Born in Sichuan province in 1957, Chi Chi rose to fame after her arrival at London Zoo the following year. Although her visit was only planned to last three weeks, she proved so popular that she stayed until her death 15 years later. Chi Chi was immortalised when she became the inspiration for Sir Peter Scott’s simple but distinctive black and white WWF logo.
4. MING MING
Photograph by Sean Pavone/Alamy; National Geographic Image Collection/Alamy
Believed to be the world’s oldest ever giant panda, Ming Ming lived to the grand age of 34, dying of kidney failure in 2011 in her enclosure at the Xiangjiang Wild Animal World in Guangdong province.
5. TIAN TIAN Currently resident at Edinburgh Zoo, Tian Tian and her breeding partner Yang Guang became the first pandas in the UK for nearly two decades when they arrived in the Scottish capital in 2011.
6. PO Star of the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise, Po – voiced by actor Jack Black – works in a local noodle restaurant before training to become an unlikely martial arts hero in order to protect his family. Think WWF meets, er, the other WWF.
T R AV E L E X P E R I E N C E D
FACE TO FA CE W IT H
T H E HOLY L AN D This beautiful and intriguing region has been one of the world’s great religious and cultural hubs for millennia. Its fascinating history resonates in sites such as Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth and Jaffa. In contrast, Tel Aviv is a lively, modern, cosmopolitan city, benefitting from a delightful Mediterranean beachside setting.
DISCOVER THE HOLY LAND 8 DAYS FROM £1,745 • Visit Masada, one-time fortress of King Herod • Stay at a traditional working kibbutz in Galilee • Visit the Baha’i terraced gardens & shrine • Float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea
ATOL 2815 ABTA V2999
• Small group size – maximum 25
www.coxandkings.co.uk Houses and a street in the Jewish Quarter, Israel (© Noam Chen for Israeli Ministry of Tourism)
To speak to an expert or request a brochure, call 020 7873 5000 quoting reference ESCM
ABOVE: The peaks of Mount Emei in the snow. It’s the tallest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China and a World Heritage Site. Emei is home to 1,000-year-old trees and the first Buddhist temple in China
250 of the Fortune 500 companies now have offices here, the city’s population has swollen to 14 million, tourism was up by 20% in 2014 – and suddenly the rest of the world has started paying attention. With a history reaching back more than 2,500 years, Chengdu was once nicknamed ‘Jin-Cheng’ or ‘City of Silk’. Situated at one end of the South Silk Road, its woven fabrics were sought after as far away as the
Photograph by Jason Mooy; Lou Linwei/Alamy
SOME HOTELS EMPLOY DOOR STAFF IN FULL GIANT PANDA COSTUMES TO HUG ARRIVING GUESTS
Roman Empire. Today the city is buzzing once more. The People’s Park is full of music, laughter and energy (as well as mudwrestling mothers), while daily business is conducted at a relaxed pace over cups of steaming jasmine in the city’s teahouses. At Chengdu’s centre, the pretty Wuhou Temple is a wonderful throwback to the romantic pseudo-Arthurian legends of China’s Three Kingdoms, while ancient Jinli Street next door throbs with life. Here, on a narrow thoroughfare best described as Carnaby Street meets Diagon Alley, the hot street food on offer includes such delicacies as fried duck tongues, roasted trotters and boiled rabbit heads. Then, of course, there are the pandas. Chengdu is a city more obsessed with bears than Chicago, and their furry faces are everywhere – from badges and bridges to billboards and buses. Some of the major hotels even employ door staff in full giant panda costumes to hug visitors as they arrive from the international airport. The real bears are six miles outside the city, at the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Starting with a handful of rescued pandas in the late 1980s, the base now has nearly 100. The successful breeding programme is thanks in part to ‘panda porn’ being screened to the bears on the solitary day of the year when females are fertile. Aside from pandas, there’s another giant in Sichuan. Two hours’ drive away in
Leshan is the world’s biggest stone Buddha. Towering over the convergence of three wild rivers, it was hoped that the gargantuan 230ft figure, hewn from the face of a mountain in the 8th century, would calm the hazardous waters and protect shipping to and from Chengdu. It worked: rubble from the project inadvertently choked the rapids and made the The Three Kingdoms rivers safe. Today period is one of the Giant Buddha the bloodiest in is best viewed in all Chinese history. The population dropped his splendour from from 54m in 156 AD a boat on the murky to 16m in 280 AD due waters at his feet. to violent wars and natural disasters. But even the
ABOVE: The 71m-high Buddha of Leshan was carved into the landcsape in the 8th century. It’s the largest buddha sculpture on earth
Mount Emei is the mighty Buddha of cradle of Buddhism Leshan is dwarfed in China. The by Sichuan’s biggest ancient religion was introduced to attraction, nearby the country in the Mount Emei. One 1st century AD from of the four sacred India, via the Silk Road. Buddhist mountains of China, it soars to 10,200ft, and is criss-crossed by 65km of trails connecting a multitude of ancient temples all the way to the summit. The good news for tourists is that there’s no need to undertake the full two-day hike to reach the top. Instead, a new high-speed rail link with Chengdu, paired with a stateof-the-art cable car and regular shuttle buses mean you can bust through the clouds to Emei’s peak on a day trip. So good are the new transport connections and so popular is Mount Emei as a destination that a cluster of world-class hotels are already springing up at its base. Among the more impressive is the Anantara Emei Resort, boasting a spa that even the most relaxed of Buddhists will be thankful for after a day tackling the mountain.
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THE HOTEL WILL TOOL YOU UP WITH STICKS AND CATAPULTS TO KEEP THE LOCAL RESIDENTS AT BAY Perhaps most importantly – and most refreshingly for a five-star property – the Anantara will tool you up with fighting sticks and catapults to keep the local residents at bay during your ascent of the mountain. Like sly Dickensian cutpurses, they hunt in packs and they’ll lift your wallet, camera or phone within seconds if you leave them unprotected. However, to be frank, they’re always going to be more interested in your lunch. Known by a number of (not always complimentary) names, but most commonly as Tibetan macaques, the furry felons are surprisingly dextrous when it comes to opening bags, unscrewing bottles and peeling Mars bars from their wrappers like bananas. Of course there’s better food on offer in Emei itself, and Sichuan as a whole, particularly if you like it spicy. Many of the dishes, including the signature hotpot, are laced with a mouth-tingling combination of heavy-duty chillies and dried Sichuan peppercorns, producing the famed mala effect – ‘hot and numb’. Don’t be put off, though, there’s plenty of pleasure to be had in this kind of pain. (OK, perhaps not from the mala rabbit heads.) One of Chengdu’s most famous residents, the 8th-century poet Du Fu, wrote: “Wind,
GRIN AND BEAR IT: A giant panda’s diet consists almost exclusively of bamboo – they must eat between 12 and 38kg of it every day
Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage in Chengdu is a museum and memorial for the famous poet, in homage to his writings about the wind blowing the roof off his house.
light and time ever revolve; let us enjoy life as best we can.” An important international city in antiquity, Chengdu’s fortunes have again revolved to the top. As international business floods in, so do restaurants and luxury hotels. A second major airport is already under construction, while the population continues to swell. Once the start of a famous continentcrossing trail, China’s Silk City is going places again. e
GETTING THERE Jonathan Thompson was a guest of British Airways (ba.com), which flies direct to Chengdu from £740 per person return, and of Anantara Emei Resort & Spa (anantara.com) which has double rooms from £141 a night, B&B. Both group and tailor-made holidays can be arranged through Wendy Wu Tours (084 4288 5396, wendywutours.co.uk).
COME BACK WITH A STORY TO TELL Choose from more amazing destinations and experiences than any other cruise line. From whale watching off the coast of Alaska and swimming with giant turtles by the white sands of the Caribbean, to watching movies under the stars, and soaking up the local culture before you’ve even set foot on shore. Embark on a voyage of self-discovery that’s as much about the destination as it is the journey, and bring home stories you’ll never tire of telling. Come back new, from a Princess cruise. To book or request a brochure contact your travel agent, call 0843 374 2261 or visit princess.com
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Dubai isnâ€™t only about skyscrapers and spending more than you can imagine on more than youâ€™ll ever need. Ed Cooper explores the surrounding Bedouin territory 57
t’s a searing Wednesday afternoon in Al Fahidi, Dubai’s ‘old-town’ (relatively old, that is), and a group of local men are sitting down to enjoy the last of the December sun before they return to work the next day. Their afternoon is soundtracked by the sounds of a habban (an Arabic bagpipe), sheepskin drums and – oddly – iPhone ringtones. At a glance, their abode – built entirely from local palm trees and perfectly juxtaposed with a Rolex skyscraper on the opposing riverbank – sparks my curiosity. A Samsung HDTV sits next to pictures of Cherie Blair, and two children in traditional garb are engrossed in Candy Crush, barely acknowledging the shuffling group of tourists who gasp, gaze and guffaw around them. One item in the room, however, stands out. A photo of ‘old’ Dubai hangs on the wall, jaunty and faded. A few sand houses and a dirt track are backed up against the bright blue sky, with no signs of skyscrapers or shopping malls. Hung alone, the photo reads, boldly: ‘THE LIFE THAT WAS’. Steeped in an intrepid history, the photo is a humble reminder of Dubai’s past; the transformation of its people from desert Bedouin to city-dwelling entrepreneurs. To really go beneath the surface of Dubai, set your sights on the sand. Like a heat-seeking missile, that’s where I’m headed. More specifically, I’m leaving Dubai for Rub’ al Khali. An enlightening 50-minute drive provides an astonishing overview of the area’s metamorphosis: a massive overhaul ready for the World Expo
THE HIGH LIFE AT 30,000 FEET Warm nuts! Hot towels! Wi-Fi! Fly from London to Dubai with Emirates, with prices starting at £361pp. Choose from economy, business or first class to start your adventure in Dubai in style. Escapism flew in Emirates’ double-decker A380. Emirates.com
in 2020, with the skyline-dominating hotels, shopping malls (unbuilt or otherwise) and entertainment megacomplex Dubailand soon fading between undulating sand dunes. We turn off towards the desert, with ‘THE LIFE THAT WAS’ remaining etched in my brain. I’m on the third day of my stint in Dubai and have found myself gravitating towards situations in which I am not gasping at skyscrapers and shopping malls but – instead – on a personal mission to experience the side of Dubai that may have faded in the wake of the all things new. Falconry? Sign me up. Camel polo? Definitely. Dune buggying? Pass me my driving gloves. The desert – in true Arabian temperament – promised these adventures (and more), even Bedouins descended if we were still on from nomads whose the fringes of Dubai territory stretched (now 75km away) across the deserts of North Africa and merely flirting and the Middle East. with the desert, The Arabic word which stretches out translates to ‘those in the desert’. endlessly towards
THE LAMB HAS BEEN COOKED UNDERGROUND FOR 24 HOURS, ROASTED WITH ONIONS, CINNAMON AND ALMONDS
EMIRATI ESCAPADES No visit to Dubai – be it for adventure, luxury or anything in between – would be complete without a guided trip you through the desert city. Offering sightseeing tours, desert safaris and outdoor activities, Arabian Adventures perfectly mix heartfelt cultural tradition and heart-racing thrills, alongside countless insights into the marvels of the seven Emirates. Tours from £26pp. Arabian-adventures.com
FROM TOP: Camel-riding is a popular pastime in the vast desert that surrounds Dubai; sample an array of exotic spices, including ginger and cinnamon, from a local market; a traditional abra water taxi
Photographs by Getty/ Buena Vista Images; Lucy Millson-Watkins
Oman. Aching for a more authentic Bedouin experience, I step out of our urban 4X4 and climb into something a little more appropriate: a rough-and-ready-but-retired Army Land Rover. Wide-grinned and armed to the teeth with a juvenile sense of adventure, we arrive at Rub’ al Khali, also known as ‘the Empty Quarter’, for a desert safari. Swallowed by the spectacular symmetry of the sand dunes, we race the setting sun (and a few goats) back to camp. Nestled – almost romantically – beside a clump of palm trees and atop a dune in the heart of the conservation park, the camp carries aromas of lamb ouzi and Arabic coffee. The lamb is delectable, having been cooked underground for 24 hours, roasted with onions, cinnamon
and almonds, partnered with rice; the ultimate post-safari smorgasbord. As the desert night draws in and the camels grumble, the Bedouin camp illuminates under the night sky, the starlight bouncing off the sand to showcase a lifestyle doubtlessly a world apart from that of Dubai. Interestingly, the Bedouin camp remains in touch with many elements of modern lifestyle. They’ve replaced oil lamps with chains of atmospheric electric lanterns and harness the power of the unrelenting Arabian sun with solar panels dotted around the camp – and it creates a haven for all swashbuckling wannabeaction-adventurers. The following day begins with a desert sunrise and a mug or three of Arabic coffee with a local Bedouin. “We’re enjoying this life now,” he begins. Ami Hamad Saeed Alkutbi (or simply, Ami Hamad) is originally from The Empty Quarter and the last Bedouin to leave what is now a conservation area. “Communications make things easier – in the past we used to suffer for food and water, but now we share it with the city, and a lot of other things work the same way.” Showing off his calm disposition, Ami Hamad is well-versed in the changing face of Dubai. “They may continue to build, but they’ll never have the whole desert – there will always be space for the young
SAILING INTO THE SUMMER
TICKLED PINK: The Bastakiya Mosque can be found in the Al Fahidi District, previously known as Al Bastakiya. The historic district was established by wealthy local traders in the 19th century, and has been fully restored
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to continue playing Bedouin music. Echoing Ami Hamad, it seems – inevitably – you should “never travel without a Bedouin”; whether sipping Arabic coffee in the shadowed souks of Dubai or racing the sunset between Rub’ al Khali’s sand dunes. Moreover, ‘the life that was’ is far from a faded memory but, instead, is an apt reminder of the sense of history that permeates day-to-day life in Dubai – from social gatherings in Al Fahidi to the supercars crawling past hypermodern skyscrapers. Though you can’t always see it, the influence of the Bedouin is everywhere you go – just be sure to take one with you (and add him on Facebook, too). e Ed was a guest of Emirates and the Dubai Tourism Board. Desert Safari in Dubai is available through Platinum Heritage, with prices starting at £155pp. Platinum-Heritage.com
JA OASIS BEACH TOWER Helpfuly located on the Walk and a quick pace from the beach, the JA Oasis Beach Tower boasts 180 luxury serviced and self-catering apartments and sumptuous sea views. The lavish two, three and four-room luxury apartments come with views of Jumeirah Beach, the Palm and Dubai’s impressive skyline, perfect for both business and pleasure. JAresortshotels.com
Photograph by © Westend61 GmbH / Alamy
Imagine sailing the open sea, on your own private yacht. It’s not as tricky as it sounds. In fact, with The Moorings it couldn’t be more simple. Experts in private getaways at sea, The Moorings give you the chance to explore the world by traditional monohull, catamaran or power yacht, dropping anchor in some of the world’s best harbours and picturesque coves. Whether you choose to wander the ancient ruins of Greece or dive into the cool blue waters of Croatia, you’ll have the freedom to do what you want, when you want. Wake up in your spacious cabin and decide where you fancy going that day – your holiday is as limitless as your imagination when on a Moorings yacht charter. Even better, you don’t need to be a sailing pro to holiday like this. Every Moorings yacht comes with the option to hire a private skipper, so you and your group can really kick back and enjoy the landscape. To really make sure your holiday is care free, try an all-inclusive Crewed Yacht charter. Your professional captain knows all the undiscovered coves and most lively coastal towns. The charter also includes your own gourmet chef who’ll whip you up breakfast, lunch and dinner, leaving you maximum time for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing.
people to have an adventure.” With Dubai’s increasing wealth, the prospects for the next generation of Bedouins are endless, as they find themselves travelling around the world to London, Spain and Germany as well as nearer neighbours Syria and Iraq. “Never travel without a Bedouin”, he elaborates. “They mark the desert with their mind, the trees and the dunes are all like a GPS.” The testament of passing on the Bedouin culture to the next generation is paramount. “They will not forget their past because they still tell stories.” He begins to chuckle, “You’ll see them in Dubai, driving Lamborghinis and Ferraris, but at the weekends you’ll find them in the desert, looking after – and racing – their camels!” I wasn’t here for the Lamborghinis and Ferraris, but instead to harness my new-found alertness (owing to the Arabic coffee) to roar around the desert in a brainmelting 1500cc dune buggy. Smaller than your average hatchback, it serves a bigger purpose: a perfect blend of Dubai’s two faces. With the supercars in the city centre and the expanse of desert further out, this golf-buggy-on-steroids accommodates fast-paced luxury and stripped down, sand-flecked necessities perfectly. Stepping out of the dune buggy and receiving a post-lap analysis from my instructor Bilal, my time in the desert had come to a close and Dubai’s city skyline was beckoning. Putting down his habban and picking up his smartphone, one of the locals in Al Bastakiya asks a tourist for a photo together. He smiles, takes the photo, uploads it to Facebook and sits back down
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Watch out, Croatia â€“ your next-door neighbour is on the up. Montenegro is fast becoming a celebrity playground, and it has plenty going for it, finds Estella Shardlow
Photograph by ÂŠ Maryana Lyubenko / Alamy
know it’s rude to stare, but when faced with the row of gleaming white superyachts lined up along the Porto Montenegro marina, I find myself unable to stop ogling at the people on board. Mainly I’m curious as to who exactly is willing and able to drop a hundred million-odd euros on a boat (admittedly a very sleek, sizeable boat). I’m wondering if that’s Roman Abramovich and Roberto Cavalli chilling out on the deck; or Brangelina’s brood round the dinner table in that one; perhaps Pierce Brosnan docking over there – all have holidayed in Montenegro in the past couple of years. The ritzy clientele may seem surprising when you consider that just 20 years ago the region, not long after emerging from behind the iron curtain, was in the midst of the Bosnian war. Then it was still a part of Serbia, only gaining independence in 2006. But developers soon spotted the potential of Montenegro’s 183 miles of coast, 117 beaches and lush, mountainous landscapes reminiscent of the Italian lakes
THE SMALL SIZE MEANS YOU CAN EXPERIENCE BEACH PARTIES AND WILDERNESS IN ONE TRIP
or Norwegian fjords. They’ve been making it holiday-ready for the super wealthy since, building some of the largest marinas in the Adriatic – Porto Montenegro has 400 berths – alongside chic beach clubs and upmarket real estate such as Luštica Bay and Dukley Gardens, where buyers snap up sea-view penthouses at €1.8m a pop. Thankfully, though, change has been gradual and considered so far – a ‘boutique’ take on tourism, let’s Stretching over 690 say. There’s still a hectares, Luštica blissful lack of big Bay consists of brands here, not a luxury bespoke homes, boutique single Starbucks hotels, spas, bars, or McDonald’s in a marina and a golf the whole country. course, plus whitesand beaches. The dramatic vistas remain unhampered by high-rise hotels, and the luxurious new-build villas sit in small, clustered communities along the northern coast. The next Costa del Sol this isn’t. Perhaps it’s got something to do with Montenegro’s size – after all, we’re talking
(starimlini.com), a picturesque old flour mill. What’s more, Kotor’s natural surroundings are just as impressive as its historic architecture: climb St John’s Hill to get the best view of the deep, turquoise bay, with the town spilling dramatically down the slope beneath you.
Budva: Best for party people By far the buzziest town on Montenegro’s coast, Budva’s array of bars and clubs made it the natural choice to host the new offshoot of Exit music festival: Sea Dance (15-18 July 2015, seadancefestival.me). The Prodigy, Rudimental and Sigma are due to play at the second incarnation of the festival this year. But while the party scene tends to hog the limelight, Budva also boasts a rather lovely medieval Old Town hiding a wealth of galleries, churches and boutiques beneath its terracotta rooftops, plus open-air theatre performances – Romeo and Juliet was on when I visited.
MONTENEGRO SUMMER 2015 25 JULY - 10 AUGUST: PURGATORIES A summer theatre festival organised by the Cultural Centre in the coastal town of Tivat.
13-15 AUGUST: REFRESH An electronic music festival in Kotor with world-class DJs and fresh Montenegrin names. Bob Sinclar and Underworld’s Darren Emerson have played in the past.
22 AUGUST: BOKA NIGHT In this three-century-old festival, imaginatively decorated boats cruise along Kotor’s harbour, which is festooned with lights. visit-montenegro.com
Ulcinj: Best for beach bums
ABOVE: Yachts mingle with natural beauty in a Montenegrin marina BELOW: Aerial view over one of the islands and sandy beaches on the ‘Budva Riviera’ – a 22-mile-long stretch of sand along the Adriatic coast
Photograph by Batareykin/Alamy; Robert Harding World Imagery/Alamy
about a country the size of Northern Ireland or Connecticut, with a population of just more than 600,000 people. The small scale means you can experience several different places on a single trip, moving from Budva’s beach parties to the wilderness of a national park via the stately island of Sveti Stefan in less than an hour. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite spots, each offering up a different slice of Montenegrin life. Superyacht not required (though I wouldn’t say no to a quick spin)…
Head down towards the Albanian border and you’ll leave the glitzy marinas behind for wilder sandy stretches, including the eight mile-long Velika Plaža and the kite/wind-surfing island hotspot Ada Bojana. Ulcinj itself is a small town with one main street of shops and restaurants as well as a fortified Old City.
Durmitor: Best for outdoorsy types Montenegro’s mountainous interior is just as beautiful as its coast, but as yet relatively few foreigners are in on the secret. Did you know, for example, that Europe’s biggest canyon is found here? The
waterfalls, caves and pine forests of Tara River Gorge in Durmitor National Park make it a paradise for summer rafting. Then there’s skiing: Kolašin 1450 (kolasin1450.com) offers 40km of uncrowded slopes and deep powder from December to April. Formed by a river delta, Ada Bojana is a triangular island at Montenegro’s southernmost tip. As well as being a windsurfing hotspot, it’s also a designated naturist area.
British Airways now flies from London Gatwick to Tivat, a few miles from Kotor and Budva. Alternatively, Dubrovnik airport in Croatia is a 90-minute drive from Kotor. e
Kotor: Best for culture vultures Exploring Kotor’s twisting cobbled alleys and café-lined piazzas, I wasn’t surprised to learn this Unesco-listed town – often called a ‘mini Dubrovnik’ – was built by the Venetians. Once you’ve marvelled at its shuttered, stone buildings, 9th-century fortifications and Romanesque Cathedral, head for a lunch of fresh seafood carpaccio and local white wine at Stari Mlini
Photograph by ###
The boxy art deco, modern and postmodern skyscrapers of Chicago convey more authority than the shoulder pads of a 1980s power suit. Cathy Adams is, ahem, blown away by the impactful architecture in the ‘Windy City’ 67
90-second lift journey takes you to the viewing platform of Chicago’s chunky Willis Tower. A few more steps and you’ll reach its star attraction, a glass box suspended four feet out over South Wacker Drive. Look down for an aerial view of 103 floors of air, while on a clear day you can see four separate states on the horizon. Formerly the world’s tallest building, the Willis Tower – or the Sears Tower, as it’s still known to many US Midwesterners – is now nowhere near the height of the supertall, peacocking structures in the Middle East. But that’s OK. It’s part of Chicago’s landscape, where in one panorama you get a Lego-esque line-up of 19th- and 20thcentury architectural movements. It’s a bricks-and-mortar paean to a city constantly reinventing itself. Start with the Loop – or downtown – which is Chicago’s financial heart, with its clutch of skyscrapers along the Chicago River and the shore of Lake Michigan. The district is a roll call of the most important movements of the past 100 years, with modernism, post-modernism and art deco bumping up against one another. And if you thought Mies and Le Corbusier were luxury
CHICAGO’S SKYLINE IS FASTIDIOUSLY PRE-PLANNED, AND EVERY STRUCTURE IS DESIGNED TO FIT IN SEAMLESSLY 68
kitchenware brands, hook up with the Chicago Architecture Foundation: it runs cruises down the river, with guides pointing out the importance of gargantuan art deco landmark Merchandise Mart, the mammoth post-modernist glass wall of the Trump Tower and the boxy black lines of the 860880 Lake Shore Drive apartments. Chicago’s skyline is fastidiously pre-planned, and every structure has been designed to fit seamlessly into the city’s built environment. Chicago isn’t just about the buildings, though. Board the elevated ‘L’ train, which rattles ten feet above the Loop, or wander the area’s wide corridors to find public art installations. Alongside the brilliant Art Institute – which The Loop owes its includes the seminal name to the L train American Gothic (slang for ‘elevated’). All Chicago’s L trains by Grant Wood, circle the Loop at a collection of some point on their impressionist route, and some pass paintings and a within a few feet of the buildings. modern wing
ARCHITECTURE CHEAT SHEET PRAIRIE STYLE Frank Lloyd Wright was famous for his prairie-style houses in the Midwest, and you’ll find them in Chicago suburb Oak Park. They are typically low-rise, with flat roofs and overhanging eaves to reflect the landscape of the American prairies.
ART DECO Art deco is everywhere on the Chicago riverfront – a giveaway is the armchair feature, with a huge setback midway up the building. Prime examples are the Civic Opera House and the Carbide & Carbon Building, designed to look like a champagne bottle.
MORE ARCHITECTURE... GOTHIC Or neo-gothic, as it is in Chicago. A revival of the gothic movement, buildings feature buttresses, spires and decorative patterns. Compared with modernist architecture, it is ornamental – look for the Tribune Tower, which has buttresses at the top.
MODERNISM Modernism is all about form following function. Made up of clean lines and sheets of glass, modernist buildings in the city typically look like black minimalist boxes. Conversely, Marina City’s wave-like cylindrical towers are also an example of Chicago’s modernist architecture.
POST-MODERNISM ‘Contextual’ is the key word with post-modernist buildings – they’re designed to adapt to the environment around them. A good example is 333 Wacker Drive, which features a curved glass wall facing the Chicago River to reflect the bend of the running water.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, often known as the Bean by locals, opened in 2006; Lincoln Park’s Nature Boardwalk; the Lake Michigan shore; an art installation at Fulton Market Kitchen
Photograph by NiKreative / Alamy; 2014 Clayton Hauck
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK BEATRIX Think huge plates of fluffy lemon pancakes, breakfast burritos and waffles – this West Loop staple is the place to go if you partied too hard in the meatpacking district the night before. Speciality coffee comes with huge tumblers of freshly squeezed juice, and the pastries are as big as your head. 519 N Clark St, beatrixchicago.com
ABOVE: View of Chicago and Lake Michigan from the 94th floor of the 1,127ft-tall John Hancock skyscraper, home to offices, shops, restaurants and a 360-degree observation deck. It took five million man hours to build
conceived by Shard architect Renzo Piano – is a collection of street art that ranges from Anish Kapoor’s iconic, bean-like Cloud Gate and Frank Gehry’s wiry Jay Pritzker Pavilion to the abstract Chicago Picasso outside the Daley Centre. The latter is a huge metal sculpture that looks either like a horse or a duck depending on how you come at it. It’s on the fringes of the city that things are changing fast, particularly in the West Loop area. The former meatpacking district of Fulton Market retains its gritty industrial feel, with low-slung lofts and
warehouses, murals, and – the ultimate sign of gentrification – a new Soho House in a refurbished six-storey belt factory. Bars and restaurants are opening here faster than the lift ride up the Willis Tower and the area is starting to host the tech millennials, as Uber and Google ink leases in the district. Plus, some of the city’s best nightspots call Randolph Street home (tip: try the CH Randolph Street is also known for food. Distillery, the city’s The annual Taste of first vodka distillery Randolph festival with a cocktail showcases the city’s bar attached). best food alongside music acts. The Chicago’s green Kaiser Chiefs lung, Lincoln Park, played last year. has been given a design shot in the arm by local architects. The park’s curved, wave-like pavilion is used for open-air yoga sessions, and sits alongside the Nature Boardwalk. The patio of the park’s Brauer Café – two miles north of downtown – may be level zero, but from here the skyscrapers and tower blocks along the Lake Michigan shore peek out over Lincoln Park’s groomed pond. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright said Chicago was the “most beautiful great city left in the world”. Whether you view it from 103 floors up or with your feet on the ground, it’s easy to see what he meant. e My America Holiday offers four nights at the five-star Palmer House Hilton from £995pp on a room-only basis, including return flights from Heathrow with British Airways. Call 020 8290 9797 or visit myamericaholiday.co.uk/chicago-holidays
A super-local Italian in Chicago’s Old Town with an impressive cocktail list ranging from bitter negronis to saccharine-sweet daiquiris (try the strawberry no.1 with elderflower and prosecco). Dinner here involves the traditional middle pasta course – the pork ragù is thick and decadent – while mains range from bass to duck breast. N Halsted Street, balenachicago.com
FULTON MARKET KITCHEN Pop art affixed to the walls, tiled floors and spinning leather chairs might sound like they belong in a dodgy Route 66 diner – but Fulton Market Kitchen is anything but. Opened last year, it’s part of a growing trend in the meatpacking district for doing cool, creative things with food. Halibut comes baked in paper, and the brussels sprouts are laced with chili. 311 N Sangamon St, fultonmarketkitchen.com
RIVER ROAST Home of whole chickens, bellinis and jazz at the weekends, River Roast offers views of the Chicago River and accompanying ‘scrapers from practically any seat. Come for the brunch: burritos, French toast with mascarpone, and rabbit and waffles – washed down with bloody marys. 315 N LaSalle St, riverroastchicago.com
Photograph by Jim Zuckerman / Alamy
THE FORMER MEATPACKING DISTRICT OF FULTON MARKET RETAINS ITS GRITTY FEEL
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“IF YOU FALL AND HIT THE GROUND AND YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO DIE THAN SURVIVE, IT’S PROBABLY A HIGHLINE”
highline,” is Dickey’s blunt explanation. Her progress in the sport has been spectacular. After just a few months walking highlines with a safety rope attached, Dickey felt able to ditch the restrictions and wobble across canyons with no leash. This is a specialised, less commonly attempted discipline of highlining, known as free soloing. “At some point I felt the need to push myself to my absolute limit mentally,” she tells me. That strength of mind has made the sport very much Dickey’s domain. She jokingly refers to herself as ‘That Slackline Girl’, and has travelled the world racking up endless world records, ticking off highlines in high heels, slacklining between two moving lorries and snagging the record for the longest highline for a woman – a head-spinning 350ft. For Dickey it’s not as horrendous as it looks: “It appears death defying, but when it’s done properly it’s extremely safe.” Using double lines, athletes plan for instances where lines may break, and every aspect is backed up, so “no one is going to get hurt or die if something goes wrong”. She modestly accepts that huge skill and an ability to bury fear are major factors in
Photograph by Judith Dozieres (above); Basia Sobanska (right)
hen Faith Dickey lowers her eyes she sees an inch-wide cord, a 3,000ft drop and a distant floor of brutally hard desert rock. For most, it’s the stuff of nightmares – the moment we wake up clammy, gasping and thankful for a plump mattress. But Dickey isn’t like most of us – not by a long way. One of the world’s only professional female slackliners, the 26-yearold Texan’s passion, and day-job, is walking a loose line across the world’s highest canyons – no fear, no safety harness and, terrifyingly, no second chances. Slacklining hasn’t always been this extreme – the sport originated in Yosemite Valley, California in the late 1970s, when rock climbers started slinging webbing (a flat woven band) between two points. Walking across the length of nylon soon provided its own source of fun for climbing rest days; move the webbing up a couple of hundred metres and you have highlining, a more extreme sub-category of the sport. “If you fall and hit the ground and you’re more likely to die than survive, it’s probably a
That’s 50% of the challenge for her. “It’s such a mental feat, because you are aware that if you mess up, the risk is huge.” It’s a process that involves being in tune with her body and brain. “Walking with no safety means getting to know the difference between intuition and fear. Am I feeling fear, or is it intuition telling me that this is not a good day, not a good time?” Her instinct is pretty sound, too. Dickey’s walked around 40 highlines without leashes, and believes they’ve all been the right decisions – to date she hasn’t felt caught out, or faced what she describes as a “near-death experience”. Take Yosemite Valley, home to one of the first highlines in the world. Talking about this 2,900ft-high line is the only time Dickey seems to lose her calm demeanor. “Starting the line is like sitting over an abyss with the entire valley sucking you to its floor. It’s not that long in the grand scheme of things, but it’s so high up and so scary.” Scary isn’t the kind of word I expect from a free-soloing highliner, but it highlights the psychological battle she faces with every walk. This particular line – which she calls her “project” – has frustrated her for years, and with each free solo attempt she’s been unable to remove her leash. “It just hasn’t felt like the right time or place,” she admits.
her record-breaking success, but tells me that conditions are just as important – warm but not too hot, a slight breeze but nothing too strong. Any extremes make it even harder – wind can move the line in a way that makes it impossible to cross. Irrespective of the weather, training her body and mind is Dickey’s biggest challenge. She keeps fit surfing and climbing, telling me that the first step towards slacklining success is physical – she needs to feel iron-clad confidence Professional surfers, in her abilities. snowboarders and Strangely, that cyclists have all used confidence is less slacklining as part of their training. about balance and The discipline helps more about holding improve their core on, and she’s made strength, endurance and mental resolve. herself proficient in catching the line when she falls: “It’s my safety net – when I walk without a leash I know that my ability is giving me an extra chance if something were to go wrong.” Never doubting her skill then allows the next step: using logic to combat the fear – Dickey knows she has the physical ability to walk the line, and that it’s only her mind separating her from success.
Dickey’s success is inextricably linked to her ability to quieten the voices during the walk. She is constantly “battling the ego”, fighting different personalities in her mind that can help or hinder her crossing. The best thing to do, she says, is block out the constant stream of thoughts, and relish the chance to be in a silent space in a culture where “we’re so connected that we’ve lost the ability to be alone”. For Dickey and other highliners it’s a chance to enjoy the best of the world’s Californian Andy natural surroundings, Lewis, known as although music – ‘Sketchy Andy’, holds dance or hip hop the most accolades for slacklining and – creates a rhythm performed alongside for a successful Madonna during her line cross. It also Superbowl halftime show in 2012 helps her remember why she’s scooting across yet another canyon: “It reminds me that what I’m doing is supposed to be fun, because sometimes you can get overwhelmed by fear. It makes me realise that I’m totally privileged and I’m not going to die.” Making it to the other side brings euphoric relief – the best way to “purge all the verbal bullshit” we deal with every day. And that’s why she can’t stop; if you have the skill to see the world in this way, it’s a
LINE OF BEST FIT: Highlining is hugely psychological, so Dickey’s faith in her gear and ability to catch herself if she falls is vital
ABOVE: Dickey takes to the highline, crossing the majestic Yosemite Valley
pretty rad (as Californians would have it) way to do it. It’s taken her from the world’s most iconic lines in California (“Yosemite Valley is so beautiful and demands respect – no line is less than 2,900ft from the ground.”) to the staggering cliffs of France’s Verdon Gorge (the 820ft-high site of her highest free solo highline), and the “magical, fairytale” scenes of rural Czech Republic.
SLACK STATS Slacklining was born from tightrope walking, also called funambulism, which dates back to Ancient Greece. The first highline was set up in 1983 in Pasadena, California. Climbers Scott Balcom, Chris Carpenter and Chongo Tucker suspended the 22ft long line under a bridge between two support beams, 80ft in the air. Slackline Yoga – also known as YogaSlacking or Slackasana – is the art of pratising traditional yoga poses while balancing on a slackline to improve your physical and mental health. The Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite is the world’s most coveted highline, with only a few dozen people having walked the line. Tricklining is a tangent of slacklining, which involves jumps and flips. See it for yourself at the Bristol Slackline Jam on 18 and 19 July. maverickslacklines.co.uk
Photograph by Jordan Tybon
YOU’RE SITTING OVER AN ABYSS WITH THE VALLEY SUCKING YOU TO ITS FLOOR
Travelling to take on her next highline challenge has given her the chance to meet other like-minded slackliners. California may be the birthplace of the discipline, but Europe has really embraced it as an outdoor sport, and Dickey spends three months highlining across Europe, returning to the Czech Republic each year to host her Girls Only Slackline A study by Festival. It’s an event psychologists Eric she’s created to Brymer and Robert encourage equality Schweitzer found that understanding among slacklining the fear behind participants, and to extreme sports make a space for is good for your emotional wellbeing. women. It should help spur on some healthy competition too – Dickey’s in the habit of breaking her own world records, and is keen to see some female challengers pushing her, and the sport, further. “I’d love to see more women participate and reach the level of men, or surpass them. I often see that women don’t believe in themselves as much, but this particular sport is so mentally focused that women don’t have any disadvantage.” If you’re tempted, just learn to manage your doubt. “Fear is like a muscle,” Dickey tells me. “If you work on it, you can gain control of it, and not let it direct your life.” Ladies, form an orderly queue. There’ll be no pushing from me at the back... e
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TUMI is proud to celebrate 40 years of design excellence and outstanding product innovation. This commemorates meticulous craftsmanship, technical innovation and TUMIexclusive is proudcollection to celebrate 40 years ofthe design excellence and outstanding product innovation. functional superiority that TUMI is renowned for and pays homage to 1975, its founding year. This exclusive collection commemorates the meticulous craftsmanship, technical innovation and functional superiority that TUMI is renowned for and pays homage to 1975, its founding year. Designed in America for Global Citizens everywhere, this American-made, limited edition series is craftedin from leather inspired by the variety this TUMI imported from South America Designed America for Global Citizens everywhere, American-made, limited edition series in the early years and TUMI’s signature ballistic nylon. is crafted from leather inspired by the variety TUMI imported from South America in the early years and TUMI’s signature ballistic nylon. We invite you to continue with us on our journey. We invite you to continue with us on our journey.
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STYLE FOR GIRLS STYLE FOR GUYS SUNGLASSES FRAGRANCES
SPEAKERS CORNER: Portable, weather-proof and packing decent punch, the Slix speakers from i-box are beach- and Bluetooth-ready. Buy two together (Slix2) and you’ll have stereo sound – and they won’t get lonely. [p82]
GET MORE GEAR AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
CHECKLIST ★ GIRLS ★
2 BE BEACH READY
It’s the beach, not the club – but that doesn’t mean you need to look like a big old scruff. We’ve found some beach gear that’ll convert quite nicely from beach to bar…
1. KARMA BEACH, White cotton kaftan, £195. Overcooked it? Cover up your red bits with this lightweight kaftan. karmabeach.co.uk 2. UNISA, Coimbra suede high espadrilles, £89.90. Pimp up your look with these glitzy wedges (also not too bad for walking in sand). unisa-europa.com 3. MASSIMO DUTTI, Two-tone striped bikini, £54.95. Avoid tan lines with detachable straps (those fully lined bottoms are pretty handy, too). massimodutti.com 4. MODALU, Just Beachy shopper bag, £65. This robust beach bag with sturdy rope straps is strong enough to handle all your beach clobber. modalu.com
Photograph by David Harrison
5. DARLING LONDON, Florence Floral Shorts, £42. Arghh, patterns! Flowers are better off on high-waisted shorts than your curtains. darlingclothes.com
6. KARMA BEACH, Clutch, £95. You might not be hitting the clubs, but this’ll keep your important bits and bobs in one place, and keep you looking good. karmabeach.co.uk
7. SEAFOLLY, Sherbet towel, £33.99. A towel crafted with soft cotton may not be your biggest concern on the beach, but it’ll be nice against your skin. surfdome.com
8. CHLOBO, Necklace and bracelets, from £45. Wearing jewellery on the beach is a bit J-Lo in our humble opinion, but it’s good to sling on when you leave. chlobo.co.uk 9. ORLEBAR BROWN, Maya rubber flip flops, £35. These 100% rubber flip flops have been made to look a little bit chic with Orlebar Brown’s popular geometric print. orlebarbrown.co.uk 10. CRESSI RONDINELLA, Snorkel set, £38.99. Guaranteed to fit the biggest heads on the beach, and fog resistant. And no, that wasn’t a shark, it was seaweed. surfdome.com
Photograph by ###
SEE MORE TRAVEL GEAR AT ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM
★ G U YS ★
1. HACKETT, Dockside shoes, £135. You don’t need a yacht to rock a boat shoe (but it helps, obviously). hackett.com 2. HACKETT, Straw hat, £55. Boring health warning alert: it’s really important to protect your face. So do it with style. hackett.com
3. HAVAIANAS, Hype flip-flop in steel grey, £22. These Brazilian classics are a summer essential – forget the beach, they’ll do just fine for London parks, too. havaianas-store.com 4. PERCIVAL, Blue shirt, £125. When the sun doesn’t play ball, you need something to keep
the wind at bay. This super-soft shirt from London brand Percival should do it. percivalclo.com 5. CHAPMAN, Helvellyn rucksack, £299. This waterproof sack holds 25 litres of beach gear (or anything else, for that matter) and it works for the commute, too. chapmanbags.com
6. SIMON CARTER, Shirt, £130. Enough of that Hawaiian monstrosity – ramp up your shirt game with some flamingos. simoncarter.net 7. HACKETT, Bat and ball set, £40. You could buy your bat and ball from a naff tourist shop, or you could go for design and longevity with this wooden set. hackett.com
8. I-BOX, Slix2, £59.99. If you’re the type to bother sunbathers with music on the beach, make sure you have nine hours of battery life. iboxstyle.com 9. SAMSØE & SAMSØE, Jam o-n ss T-shirt, £44.95. A good bet for some simple Scandinavian cool. samsoe.com 10. FRESCOBOL CARIOCA, Striped linen towel, £95. Every master of beach style needs a go-to towel. This is yours. frescobolcarioca.com
11. VILEBREQUIN, Moorea shorts, £160. If you like your shorts on the funky side, Vilebrequin has you (and your thighs) covered. vilebrequin.com
8 Photograph by David Harrison
★ GEAR ★
1. TAYLOR MORRIS, Rollright, £170. Look the part on a trip to Cuba with these classic brown and yellow Havana tortoiseshell sunglasses, with basalt grey mirror lenses. Cigar optional. taylormorriseyewear.com
3. QUAY, Dixi, £25. It’s pretty sunny in Australia, where Quay is based, so we trust its sunglasses-making skills. This 100% UV protective pair also comes in pink, purple, blue and black. quayaustralia.com
2. OAKLEY, Moto Frogskins, £100. Much like The Terminator film franchise, these frames are, er, back from their 1980s heyday. They’re light, strong and super protective against UV rays. uk.oakley.com
4. NIKE, Achieve in matte crystal grey/cyber, £139.90. A new style that’s part of a range of shades inspired by pro snowboarder Spencer O’Brien. Ideal for beach days or on the slopes. nikevision.com
The lenses in the Oakley Moto Frogskins are made from plutonite, which is said to maximise clarity and impact resistance. It also filters UVA, UVB and UVC rays.
You know those shades with handy straps that stop them falling off when you’re windsurfing, playing volleyball or being slapped round the back of the head? Get rid. For looking good on the go, try these for size instead.
Photograph by David Harrison
EYES ON THE PRIZE
Photograph by ###
The Quaysâ€™ frames and lenses are made from polycarbonate, which is both super-strong and ultra-light. Perfect for an impromptu, Top Gun-inspired game of volleyball.
★ F RA G RA N C E S ★
HEAVEN SCENT Rooibos tea, coriander, pistachio – these fragrances bring the aromas of the world closer to home…
3. CAROLINA HERRERA, CH Africa EDT, 100ml, £TBC. Top notes of the sunny African tiger orange combine with the scent of rooibos tea and vanilla. carolinaherrera.com
2. EIGHT & BOB, Egypt EDT, 100ml, £125. Created by Parisian perfumer Albert Fouquet and inspired by the unusual flowers he found on a trip to Egypt. fortnumandmason.com
4. TOM FORD, Noir Extreme EDP, 100ml, £71.10. At the heart of this fragrance is the Indian kulfi – an ancient royal dessert. Expect hints of pistachio and rose. worlddutyfree.com
Promising a ‘journey through the African savanna’, this new Carolina Herrera fragrance for women also includes notes of Somalian frankincense, cinnamon and violet.
Photograph by David Harrison
1. PAUL SMITH, Sunshine EDT, 100ml, £25.50. An oriental woody fragrance for men, with notes of grapefruit, pepper and coriander. paulsmith.co.uk
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Exclusively Yours With its long stretch of private beach, spacious suites and new exclusive experiences, a break at The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, is sure to be relaxing and hassle-free
magine waking up in a spacious modern suite, opening the blinds and gazing out over your private infinity pool to views of the crystal-clear Ionian Sea. At The Romanos Resort, sitting on the peaceful shores of Costa Navarino in southwest Greece, it’s an everyday sight. Located in a setting of olive groves and greenery, this stylish contemporary hotel is now offering guests the Romanos Ionian Exclusive experience – a chance to enjoy luxury accommodation with exceptional benefits.
YOU’LL HAVE A 24/7 BUTLER SERVICE, ON CALL TO MEET YOUR EVERY NEED
This means your dream holiday can be even more relaxing. Forget the normal check-in routine, you’ll be whisked straight to your room so you can settle in straight away. Then it’s time to check out the beach – guests enjoying the Romanos Ionian Exclusive rooms can make the most of a private area on the white sands of the Dunes Beach, complete with sun-loungers and beach service that will leave you to do nothing except soak up the blissful surroundings. Need some shade? You can make the most of the private, shaded pool-side pavilions, or to really relax, guests have full use of the salt water and thalassotherapy pools, along with the sauna and steam room, at the tranquil Anazoe Spa. For something more active, those staying in the Romanos Ionian Exclusive rooms and suites will enjoy priority tee times at the two signature golf courses, as well as golf clinic sessions from PGA professionals. Villa guests will also be offered welcome champagne and a host of authentic Greek activities to enjoy throughout their stay. It’s your time to relax, so make your Greek holiday even more luxurious with the Romanos Ionian Exclusive experience. ◆
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Relax next to your private infinity pool; the sparkling, turquoise waters of the Dunes beach; signature cocktails with Ionian views
Need to know For further information on the Romanos Ionian Exclusive experience, and to make your reservation, visit: romanoscostanavarino.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Keep a little bit more for that escape
A Shore Thing Whether your dream escape involves dozing under a palm, sipping cocktails at sunset or snorkelling the day away, the perfect Caribbean beach awaits you at a Sandals Resort
or an unrivaled Caribbean holiday, look no further than Sandals. Born and raised in the Caribbean islands, the family-owned company knows the very best, most pristine beaches around the world. And that's where Sandals locates its resorts – on the calm, blue waters of the Caribbean shores, where offshore reefs protect the beaches, creating clear waters perfect for swimming, boating, playing or just soaking up the warm sunshine in opulent surroundings.
LAZE ON THE SHORES OF ANTIGUA, READ A BOOK ON THE SANDS OF SAINT LUCIA, OR SIP A RUM COCKTAIL IN JAMAICA
There are a range of stunning destination to choose from. You could be lazing on the perfect shores of the small island of Antigua, reading a book on the sands of Saint Lucia, or sipping a rum punch on the most beautiful stretches of white sand in Jamaica. Wherever you are, Sandals’ beaches have been specially chosen to be picture-perfect, lined by shimmering turquoise waters and emerald-hued landscapes. So how about trying a Sandals Luxury Included® holiday, for quality, choice and hospitality? At each Sandals resort you can indulge in a whole host of complimentary inclusions – from endless water sports, including waterskiing and the Caribbean's most comprehensive scuba diving programme (free for certified divers), to unlimited rounds of golf with complimentary green fees. There’s no shortage of dining choices either, with up to 16 gourmet restaurants included per resort, featuring culinary concepts and top chefs from around the globe. Entertainment options are endless, too, with as many as nine bars serving premium brand drinks, along with six varieties of Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines. Accommodation is also the height of luxury, if you can bare to drag yourself away from those perfect, palmlined beaches.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Laze on the idyllic shores of Sandals Grande Antigua; indulge in a couples' massage on the edge of the crystal-clear waters
Getting There Sandals resorts are always located on the Caribbean's best beaches. What's more, everything is included – it's all unlimited, all the time. If you like the sound of world-class dining, sunbathing, swimming, diving and more, then explore the extensive Caribbean collection at sandals.co.uk, or call 0800 742 742.
The World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival ◆ 40 of London’s Hottest Restaurants ◆ World-Class Chefs ◆ The Interactive Masterclasses Producers’ Market ◆ World’s Greatest◆ Artisan Restaurant Festival
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A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME: Taste of London isn’t just about tasting great food and drink – there are masterclasses, interactive demos and much more for foodies to enjoy
Hunger Games You don’t have to be sat in a restaurant to experience the best dining in the world – and Taste of London, the capital’s number one festival for food-lovers, is back in June to prove it
tantalising selection of world-class chefs from London’s hottest restaurants will descend on Regent’s Park from 17-21 June as Taste of London returns. Nearly 50% of this year’s restaurant line-up is new, so there’s plenty to see and do. You can create your own tasting menu with dishes from The Clove Club, Tredwells, Modern Pantry 2, Sushisamba, aqua kyoto, Opera Tavern and more. Or why not pick up tips from a host of top chefs, including Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, Atul Kochhar, Thomasina Miers, and Nuno Mendes. Unleash your inner sommelier with a range of masterclasses, including whisky and champagne, or pull your own pint at the Pilsner Urquell tent. Cocktail lover? Get the amazing team at Havana Club to create a bespoke mojito just for them. Then get hands-on in AEG Cooking Club interactive cooking classes, and finish up with a dance at Mortimer’s Orchard Silent Disco! ◆
Get £15 tickets We are delighted to offer an amazing discount for Escapism readers, to help you enjoy the ultimate foodie day out of the summer. To get a weekday ticket for only £15, and to discover more, visit london.tastefestivals.com and enter the code escapsim15.
PICK UP TIPS FROM A HOST OF TOP CHEFS, AND CREATE YOUR OWN TASTING MENU WITH DISHES FROM THE CLOVE CLUB, TREDWELLS, OPERA TAVERN & SUSHISAMBA 93
IT’S THE HIP WAY TO HOP If sun, swimming and good times are what you’re into, we’ve got just the ticket. Win eight nights of island hopping in Thailand, courtesy of Contiki…
ontiki believe life’s greatest experiences are made better by the people you share them with, and we agree. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the group-travel pros to offer you the chance to win an eight-night island hopping trip to Thailand, including flights. This is a chance to explore one of Asia’s most exciting destinations, with a group of people who share your passion for adventure and good times. One lucky
HOW TO WIN Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? If hopping your way around the best beaches in Thailand sounds like your idea of a good time (of course it does), just answer this simple question: during which month is Thai New Year celebrated? To enter your answer, and for full terms and conditions, visit escapismmagazine.com/ Contiki-Thailand
winner will be joining a group of likeminded folk who will help you create memories from your epic trip. The Thai Island Hopper holiday is the best way to explore the country’s hottest hotspots with minimal logistical effort. The eastern itinerary is an easy pace option that could see you jumping from Koh Samui to the unspoiled beaches of Koh Tao, before finishing up at one of the legendary parties on Koh Pha Ngan. Spending multiple nights on each island allows you to explore everything from isolated beaches to pulsing nightlife. Or you might prefer the western island adventure, which takes in some of the country’s best beaches – from the famous white sands of Phuket, to the azure water and paradise vibes of Koh Phi Phi and Krabi. Whether you’re the type to sunbathe for hours, snorkel the day away or party into the early hours, a Contiki holiday is a guaranteed good time, spent with people who know how to have fun. Island hopping in Thailand has never been better. contiki.com
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Kick back on the beach with other like-minded Contiki travellers; try the best of Thailand’s fresh cuisine; take time to snorkel and swim in pristine waters; have some fun on group trips
Photograph by Mark Bader 2011
THE PRIZE Contiki is offering one lucky winner the chance to jump from island to island , lapping up the best sights and the crystal clear shores of Thailand. There’s an eastern and western itinerary to choose from, and the prize includes return flights, eight nights’ accommodation, transport and sightseeing costs, tips, local taxes and a Trip Manager to take care of all the logistics.
ISLAND HOPPING WITH CONTIKI ALLOWS YOU TO EXPLORE THE VERY BEST BEACHES AND NIGHTLIFE 95
GREEK RETREAT The north-eastern corner of Greece offers outstanding beauty, gastronomy and tranquil beaches. Here’s your chance to win a trip to this stunning region...
ucked away in a beautiful corner of north-eastern Greece sits one of the country’s best kept secrets, the stunning region of Evia. It’s here that you’ll find the Thalatta Seaside Hotel, a tranquil boutique hideaway of just 50 rooms. Located just a few hours from Athens, the sophisticated hotel is surrounded by lush pine forest and looks out over the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean sea. And this issue, we’ve teamed up
HOW TO WIN One lucky pair will have the chance to win a five-night stay at the Thaltta Seaside Hotel. The prize includes five nights’ accomodation, breakfast, evening meals and return airport transfers. To enter, visit escapismmagazine. com/competion/Greece and answer this simple question: what is the capital of Greece? Visit the website for T&Cs.
with the Thalatta Seaside Hotel to offer one lucky reader and a guest a five-night escape to the award-winning Greek retreat. During the trip, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a stay in one of the most acclaimed hotels in the country. Wake up to a sea view, before an al fresco breakfast in the warm Aegean sun. Then move on to 5km of beach – stroll along the coast, stretch out on a lounger, or try out the hotel’s very own beach library, right on the sand. If you’re looking for something faster paced, there’s a range of ways to explore the local area. Charter a yacht and lap up the pristine coastline, swim in nearby waterfalls, or take in the idyllic countryside by horseback or mountain bike. It’s the perfect way to work up an appetite, because dining at the Thalatta Seaside Hotel is a serious gourmet affair – whether it’s sampling the slow-cooked traditional dishes of the region, or making the most of the fresh seafood, with waterside dining on the beach. Relax afterwards in the adult only Exedra Lounge, the place to enjoy the peaceful, rural setting with a cocktail in hand. Whether it’s relaxation, delicious food, or exploration you’re after, you’ll find all that and more at the Thalatta Seaside Hotel. thalattahotel.gr/en
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Soak up the sunshine at the pool; stroll 5km of beach; enjoy contemporary interior design
SPACE ODDITY An alternative view of the world
Photograph by BAE Inc/Alamy
This remarkable satellite shot from NASA captures the Sundarbans, which translates to ‘beautiful forest’ in Bengali. It’s the largest remaining tract of tidal mangrove forest in the world (at 10,000km2) and stretches across part of Bangladesh and into southeastern India.
Escapism Magazine, Issue 18, The Beaches Special