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2015

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V I S I T O U R L U X U R Y T R AV E L S T O R E A T 1 3 5 F U L H A M R O A D , S W 3 6 R T Behind the doors of this one-of-a-kind store in the heart of London is a multi-sensory experience waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in a range of our engaging and interactive experiences and either make an appointment with one of our expert travel advisors, or simply stop by for a refreshment in our Research Lounge.

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EDITOR’S WORD SOON YOU’LL BE SHARING A BOTTLE OF RUM AND TALKING ABOUT THE WORLD WITH SOMEONE YOU’VE NEVER MET BEFORE ED ITO RIA L

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Jon Hawkins

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Christopher Beanland, Laura Chubb, David Harrison, George Norris, Ronan O’Shea, Nate Robert, Clare Vooght

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wouldn’t usually advocate flashing as a good way of getting in with the locals on your travels, but the world’s a funny old place with some strange customs. (And just in case you’re wondering, I mean flashing your headlights, not… well, yeah, that.) I made this discovery in Barbados recently, where the driver of the car I was in was trying to prove a point to me about the friendliness of his fellow islanders. “Watch this,” he said, and as an approaching car emerged from the shimmering sun haze of the coastal road, he flashed his lights. The other car’s lights flashed in response. He hooted at the next car and its driver hooted back; no aggression or malice, just a friendly acknowledgment, like saying hi to a stranger in the street. And just like saying hi to a stranger in the street, it’s exactly the kind of thing you won’t find going on in London any time soon. As another Bajan tells me: “You can pull up at a rum shop and meet someone you don’t know, and soon you’ll be sharing a bottle of rum and talking about the world. That has nothing to do with tourism at all, it’s just good manners.” You’ll find a welcome like that all over the Caribbean, along with a never-ending list of things to do, from diving and sailing to eating and relaxing. Read our guide to the best of the region from page 30, and you’ll he honking and flashing with the best of them. e

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DEPARTURES What’s happening in travel, including hot hotels, new flights and the scariest way to cross an icy river 10 . Photography 14 . Just Landed 18 . Means of Escape 22 . UK City Focus 25 . Short Stay

EXPERIENCES We’ve found the hottest (yet coolest) trips on the planet 30. Hello, Caribbean! A round-up of the best experiences in the Caribbean, from budget trips to big-money blowouts 40 . Nevis, the Caribbean Exploring the best Caribbean island you’ve probably never heard of 48 . Latin America Looking for inspiration for your next break? Try Latin America for size 56 . County Kerry, Ireland A trip to the Star Wars sights of Ireland, with bonus puffins 63 . The other Golden Triangle, Japan The alternative ‘Golden Triangle’ – Naoshima, Hiroshima and the islands 68 . Skopje, Macedonia Macedonia’s capital is the place to get your brutalist architecture fix

CHECKLIST Looking good takes work, so we’ve put in the effort for you. You’re welcome 84 . Guys 86 . Girls 88 . Gear

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COMPETITIONS In need of a break? Here’s your chance to get away for nothing… 95 . Win a stay for the whole family at Fairmont The Palm in Dubai


KINDLE your holiday READ IN ANY LIGHT • BATTERY LASTS WEEKS • A LIBRARY IN YOUR HANDS

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D E PA R T U R E S 10 PHOTOGRAPHY 14  JUST LANDED 18  MEANS OF ESCAPE 22  CITY FOCUS 25  SHORT STAY

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D E PA R T U R E S

SO WRONG IT’S RIGHT: India’s Taj Mahal is great and everything, but how many different pictures can you take of it? Oliver Curtis would seem to agree – for his series Volte-face he visited the world’s most famous sights and pointed his camera in the opposite direction, to get an entirely new perspective on favourite tourist spots. Nice bench.

Photograph Photograph by Oliverby Curtis ###

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BACKS TO THE WALL: Follow Curtis’s example and swivel 180 degrees at Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer and you’ll be greeted with this view over the city. With a few Brazilian men thrown in, too. See Oliver Curtis’s ‘Volte-face’ collection in person from 19 September-14 October at London’s Royal Geographical Society. rgs.org

D E PA R T U R E S

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Photograph by Oliver Curtis

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Come over and play at my place!

Tamarit Beach – Costa Daurada


D E PA R T U R E S

JUST LANDED WHAT’S NEW IN TRAVEL

Though they’re about the size of a monkey today, members of some lemur species in Madagascar 2,000 years ago were bigger than gorillas.

BEST PRIMATES

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Every wondered whether the missing link in your weight-loss plan was a trip to the ultimate party island? Us too. Well, you can do just that, in the idyllic countryside of Ibiza, thanks to 38 Degrees North’s new week-long ‘DNAFit’ retreat. The more virtuous way to experience this hedonistic party isle starts with a cheek swab, before a food and exercise regime is created based on analysis of your DNA. Expect circuits and five-star lodging. From £2,295. thirtyeightdegreesnorth.com

For a hippy holiday without compromising on the luxe, divert your funds to the new W Goa, which is set to open on the shores of Vagator beach this September. The 160 rooms are heavy on the funky mirrors, with splashes of purple, turquoise and sea views, too. Lounge by your private pool in your plush bathrobe or head to the nearby Chapora Fort. Rates TBC. starwoodhotels.com

Your DNA reveals a whole host of info that’s helpful when improving your fitness levels, including your ideal diet type, antioxidant needs and aerobic potential. Photographs by: (Goa) Ralf Tooten

You’re not likely to spot a baby ring-tailed lemur down the park, so you’re best off heading to Madagascar with Natural World Safaris. The company’s new nineday safari is a chance to see two-monthold baby lemurs setting out on their first explorations of Isalo National Park, carried on their mum’s backs. Along with the chance to see 12 lemur species, you’ll also get to explore dramatic canyons, coastlines and forests. Nine nights from £1,900pp excluding flights. naturalworldsafaris.com

COIL RUNNINGS

GOA GET ‘EM


MIND THE BATS. Sounds Great! Look up! Most nights you’re guaranteed to see a colony of Mexican Free-Tailed bats flying overhead as you head downtown.

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.

Find out more at AustinTexas.org


D E PA R T U R E S

BIT ON THE SIDE Tour companies are two-a-penny, but for in-depth knowledge as opposed to someone just winging it, try Sidestory, a travel concierge-come-tour company with an edge. Each London-based tour taps into a niche part of the city – from cool interiors to a look at the royal family’s favourite shopping spots. Our pick? A gander inside the Trellick Tower – one of the city’s most loved and loathed examples of Brutalist architecture. sidestory.co

FULL HOUSE If the wallet won’t stretch to a week hiring Cugo Gran, an uber-luxurious 11-bedroom villa on the Spanish island of Menorca, in its entirety, try out the estate’s new bed and breakfast offering, which launches in September. You can hire individual rooms in the restored farmhouse – that’s set in 250 acres of sun-dappled olive groves, with sea and pool views as standard – from £250 per room per night. cugogranmenorca.com

By booking one room on a B&B basis in the glorious Cugo Gran villa, you get all the benefits of the private-home feel, but for a fraction of the price (minimum stay of three nights).

WET AND WILD

MAXIMUM CHILE

Ever had your shampoo explode in your suitcase? If so, that’s a messy nightmare you won’t want to (rinse and) repeat. SplashMap is here to help. The makers of waterproof, 100% recyclable maps have teamed up with Lush cosmetics to launch five new SplashMap Knot Wraps for London, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. The idea is to wrap the map around your toileteries and then use it to find your way around on your next city break. You can also wear your map as a scarf, they tell us. Think we’ll pass on that part, tbh. £20 each. lush.co.uk

Sod planning this year’s trips, it’s time to start thinking about 2017. First up: British Airways’ new fourtimes-a-week service to Santiago, Chile, launching in January. The leafy city is crammed with galleries and museums, while it’s a great jumpingoff point for adventures in Patagonia, towards the south of the country. From £541 return. ba.com

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Chile’s capital city is home to 40% of the country’s population, and with a mix of varied culture and striking scenery, it’s easy to see why.

Photographs by (Cugo Gran) Emily Adlington; (Trellick) D Burke/Alamy; (Santiago) Radius Images/Alamy

Even if you’ve lived in London your whole life, it’s likely you’ll learn something new on a Sidestory tour, whether it’s how to buy antiques or where to eat in Soho.


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D E PA R T U R E S

WEIRD WORLD Japanese hedgehog cafés, thumb wars in Suffolk and the risks of dating in Iceland SUFFOLK, ENGLAND

Thought canoeing through water was hard? Try manoeuvring your boat over ice instead… #31 ICE CANOEING

Imagine having to hop in a canoe to get to the doctor. Better yet, imagine having to hop in a giant canoe and paddle furiously across ice-packed water in -30ºC temps to get to the doctor. Well, that’s what the residents of Levis, Quebec, had to do back in the 1800s, when Canada’s St Lawrence river was too chocka with ice for ferries to manage a safe crossing. Like everything, this transport method has evolved. No longer a journey for pregnant women on their monthly check up, ice canoeing

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is a full-blown adventure sport that hardcore Quebecois like to practice during their time off. Although, caneoing? Not really. It’s more a combination of running your giant boat across the thick blocks of ice (known as scootering) before clambering in and furiously rowing across any stretches of river that happen to be liquid, not ice. And let’s not get into the metal spikes you have to wear on your feet and oars. Sound like your kind of get up? Head to Quebec City where you can try it for yourself. e

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND It’s the same old story – boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy and girl bump iPhones to check they’re not related. Yep, next time you’re having a moan about the lack of totty on Tinder then spare a thought for Icelanders, many of whom have to rely on an app to check they’re not about to start dating a relative (the small population makes this particularly likely). And we thought London’s dating scene was bad.

TOKYO, JAPAN Does the idea of stroking a hedgehog while sipping your morning macchiato prick your curiosity? Then, frankly, you’re a little odd. Fortunately, you aren’t alone. There’s now a hedgehog cafe in, you guessed it, Japan. Hot on the heels of Tokyo’s Owl Café, Rabbit Café and, erm, Snake Café, Harry (short for harinezumi, Japanese for hedgehog) offers a new and h-edgy way of drinking your morning brew.

Photographs by (Iceland) Christian Kober/Alamy; (Japan) Anadolu/Getty; (ice canoes) Robert Harding/Alamy

MEANS OF ESCAPE

Finally, a way to put those talented digits to use. The World Thumb Wrestling Championships is a fastpaced event held every August in the sleepy village of Beccles, Suffolk. All fairly self-explanatory and normal, until you hear that later this year a supermarket in Hong Kong is shipping the judges and referee to China because they’re so enamoured by the idea of a competition. Us Brits? Weird? Seems so.


Six luxurious suites, a new way to discover Barcelona

www.elpalauet.com


ESCAP ISM E VE NTS

A N IGHT WITH SANDALS

We teamed up with Sandals Resorts at the brand’s flagship store to give escapism readers a taste of the Caribbean. Guests were entertained by a steel-pan band, with beer from Estrella Damm, wine from Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo and Jacob’s Creek, and Sauvelle Vodka cocktails. Congratulations to our reader Celine, who won a sevennight stay at Sandals Barbados.

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Photograph by Rudi Netto Photography

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IN FOCUS LEEDS Leeds folk are proud of their city and would balk at the idea that anyone would even consider visiting Manchester or Liverpool instead. George Norris rounds up the best bits

DRINK Leeds' nightlife is just one of the reasons The Independent named it the Best University City. Despite being the thirdbiggest city in the country, the centre is small enough to navigate by foot even when you’re half-cut. Beer enthusiasts ought to try Tapped, an American-style brewpub with over 27 draft beers, more than 100 bottles from all around the world and stone-baked pizzas to soak it all up. Bundobust is another craft beer bar with a rather spicy twist, coupling the beer with vegetarian Indian street food. Since its inception in 2013, the

collaboration between Indian restaurant Prashad and The Sparrow Bier Café has won the hearts of locals and visitors alike; make sure you try their truly fusion Coriander Pilsner. Whitelocks, having just celebrated its 301st birthday, is the oldest pub around and is more popular than ever. With cheap beer and excellent pub grub, this little boozer is loved by all, from hip teenagers to hip-less pensioners. Gone are the days when a cocktail in Leeds meant a Jack Daniel's and Diet Coke: 51% Bourbon stocks over 100 bourbons and serves old fashioneds in a contemporary setting. Have the next couple of cocktails at The Maven, which is nearby on Call Lane, the main street for a Leeds night out. The atmospheric bar takes its inspiration from the US era of prohibition, so don’t expect to see a sign telling you where to go…

EAT Locals need no invitation to tell you how great Leeds is. But if you need proof (and we don’t) you only have to look at The Real Junk Food Project. These pay-what-youwant cafés not only feed the hungry but repurpose food otherwise destined for the bin (a cardinal sin in these parts). All over the world there are now versions of these cafés that are doing great things but it all started in Leeds. Pop into see the original Real Junk Food Cafe at Armley Junction. For centrally located grub, Friends of Ham is a popular bar that has an excellent charcuterie spread with an equally good selection of beer and wine. For Sunday lunch look no further than The Lamb and Flag, a 19thcentury building where bare-brick walls come with your big-portioned roasts. Hyde Park’s Boss Burgers comes out on top in a city with an abundance of burger and BBQ joints – its Smokeback Mountain burger is probably the best pun in a bun in town. Yorkshire folk can be viciously defensive about what constitutes fish ‘n’ chips. The Fisherman’s Wife, around the back of Kirkgate Market will offer an education in Northern chippy etiquette. They’ll also offer scraps (bits of old batter) with your chips. Take them. It would be sacrilege to be this close to Bradford and not try a curry. Responsible for the food half of Bundobust, Prashad is a way out of town, 20 minutes on the 254/255 bus route to Drighlington. This family-run neighbourhood restaurant serves north Indian vegetarian cuisine and manages to convince hordes of Yorkshire folk to surpass meat for a meal – no mean feat.

GETTING THERE Virgin Trains offers direct trains from King's Cross to Leeds from £14.50 one way. See virgintrainseastcoast.com for more information and to book.

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D E PA R T U R E S

SEE & DO

MUSIC Although Leeds lacks the musical history of its neighbours from across the Pennines, there's still loads going on. Borne out of the thriving student population, a number of intimate venues guarantee great shows from local bands. Two small venues that are always a good bet are Brudenell Social Club, which regularly hosts secret shows for bands like Franz Ferdinand and the Kaiser Chiefs, and Headrow House, where you can sip some of the only fresh unpasteurised Czech beer available in the north of England. Another great venue for music is the Belgrave, a haven for northern hipsters. The bar sells craft beers, generous slices of pizza, and has possibly the best rooftop garden in the city. The Belgrave also hosts a street-food festival every second Saturday of the month.

Walk off the hangover in one of the Leeds’ many parks (Leeds is one of the greenest cities in the country). The historical ruins of Kirkstall Abbey are well worth a visit, and you should also make sure you see Tropical World, which is home to the largest collection of tropical plants in the UK outside Kew Gardens. Roundhay Park, one of the largest in Europe, is the perfect place for a morning stroll and located just to the north of the city centre. It's also the setting for the oldest piece of film in existence. Sheffield may have The Full Monty, and Barnsley may have Kes, but Leeds has the Roundhay Garden Scene, a two-second silent film shot in 1888.

The city has a love of cinema, and the Hyde Park Picture House is one of the oldest in the country and always worth a visit. Leeds’ often overlooked relationship with cinema is celebrated every year at the Leeds International Film Festival (3-17 November). Leeds has a number of free museums that are a must on any trip, if only to take a break from the pub. Between them, Leeds City Museum and the Royal Armouries will bring out the inner kid in just about anybody, while Abbey House Museum is another must-see.

STAY Any football fans will understand why we’ve avoided discussing sport. The city’s only football club, Leeds United, resembles a tragicomedy fit for Shakespeare played out on a weekly basis. Fortunately, the city fares a little better when it comes to cricket and Rugby League. You can even stay in a room overlooking the cricket pitch at the Headingley Lodge

Hotel, which is conveniently located right slap bang in the middle of the student part of town. City Atmosphere offers apartments with panoramic city views for as little as £69. Alternatively, if you’re looking to relive your uni days, University Rooms offers just that. Jägerbombs at the ready! Art Hostel is one of the newest options – each dorm and double room offers a totally different design, all thought up and executed by local artists.

SHOP Some of the best shopping in the city is to be had at the beautiful Grade I listed Corn Exchange. There’s no better place to take a few snaps than this photogenic building, so a visit to West Yorkshire Cameras is a must. Head upstairs for some vintage clothes shopping at Mad Elizabeth, then get stuck into some gourmet hotdogs at Primo’s. For a bit of fun bargain hunting, try Kirkgate Market, one of Europe’s largest

indoor markets and the best place to mingle with all the colourful characters that make up this diverse city. Here's a fact: Marks & Spencer began life at this market as a stall in the 1880s. Elsewhere, vinyl lovers will get some serious kicks out of Jumbo Records. The store started life back in 1971, and no music fan should be visiting the city without popping into this gigantic den of

Photograph by nagelestock.com/Alamy; Justin Slee; travellinglight/Alamy; RidgePics/Shutterstock

neon posters and LPs. It’s fair to say that the town planners in Leeds are going a bit shopping centre mad, and yet another shopping centre housing the city’s first John Lewis store is scheduled to open later this year. However, for now Leeds still strikes the perfect balance between indoor and outdoor shopping that's resulted in it gaining a reputation as one of the best shopping destinations in the UK.

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DOLOMIT RESORT DOLOMIT RESORT

VIEW FROM THE TOP – AT THE CYPRIAN DOLOMIT RESORT – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL EXPLORE THE DOLOMITES VIEW FROM THE TOP – MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLDRESORT AT THE CYPRIAN DOLOMIT – THE EXPLORE THE–DOLOMITES The new CYPRIAN Dolomit Resort, has one ofMOST the mostBEAUTIFUL extraordinary views of any hotel in the Italian Dolomites. Set in the isolated splendor in the Dolomites Nature Park “Rosengarten”. MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD

Outside the impressive nature is visible from every window – inside a natural and modern mountain style gives– aDolomit cosy feeling. After extensive walkingor mountain The new CYPRIAN Resort, hasan one of the most extraordinary viewsbike-tour of any hotel in the surrounding Dolomites – the most beautiful mountains in the World, the real“Rosengarten”. luxury comes Italian Dolomites. Set in the isolated splendor in the Dolomites Nature Park at the Alpine-SPA: Swimming theevery heated pool is–pure joyaor being and pampered Outside the impressive nature outdoors is visible in from window inside natural modern with an alpine Thefeeling. serviceAfter is excellent and food is a great interpretation mountain stylemassage. gives a cosy an extensive walkingor mountain bike-tour of Alpine Dolomites cuisine with Italian infl uence. mountains in the World, the real luxury comes in authentic the surrounding – the most beautiful at the Alpine-SPA: Swimming outdoors in the heated pool is pure joy or being pampered Request for booking at: is excellent and food is a great interpretation with an information alpine massage. The service www.cyprianerhof.com of authentic Alpine cuisine with Italian influence. Request information for booking at: www.cyprianerhof.com


D E PA R T U R E S

SHORT STAY KEEP IT AT FARM'S REACH Want rural tranquility and food sourced on the doorstep? Then The Bildeston Crown in Suffolk is for you, writes Mike Gibson What’s the score? If the rolling green fields and farms full of plump, healthy animals didn’t give it away, you’re not on a city break if you’re staying at The Bildeston Crown. The food-forward hotel takes pride of place at the centre of the quiet village of Bildeston near Ipswich, which is lined with multicoloured houses.

The rooms In what was far from my proudest moment, I casually assumed that the hotel’s rooms were each named after farm animals, until I realised the sign that read ‘duck’ outside ours was a warning about the hallway’s low beams. The rooms themselves blend sleek modernity with the building’s cottage-like structure – twisting beams and occasionally creaking floorboards are combined with lots While it's probably of space, a smart TV best-known for cider production, Suffolk and an enormous, also produces luxurious bathroom impressive grapewith a rain shower based tipples, from a variety of vineyards. so big you couldn’t

reach either side. Perfect for winding down after all that strenuous eating and relaxing.

The restaurant With local produce as good as Suffolk’s, chef Chris Lee’s food – served at the hotel’s airy restaurant from two à la carte menus, or via a tasting menu – doesn’t need to overcomplicate things. Sun-yellow yolk oozed from the first cut into a tangy haddock fishcake, and asparagus – as seasonal as it gets – was bursting with flavour, too. My main, a braised collar of Suffolk ham, drenched in warming mustard sauce and served with crispy croquettes, was another example of a light touch applied to a piece of local meat that sang with flavour.

Nearby Ideally, you’ll want a car to travel around this part of the world – train stations aren’t exactly in abundance. Make sure you check out Hollow Trees farm, a 15-minute drive away – say hello to happy goats, pigs, cows and chickens on the farm trail, and save time to browse the enormous farm shop, full-to-bursting with local Suffolk meats, cheeses, wines and more. Given where you are, you’d be remiss to overlook it. e

THE BILDESTON CROWN ADDRESS 104 HIGH STREET, BILDESTON, SUFFOLK, IP7 7EB

PRICE FROM £90 PER NIGHT B&B GETTING THERE 1H30 BY CAR FROM LONDON,

FROM TOP: One of the cosy bedrooms; drink in comfort and style; Chris Lee's locally sourced food

My main course is a braised collar of Suffolk ham, drenched in a warming mustard sauce

OR TRAIN TO IPSWICH THEN TAXI INFO THEBILDESTONCROWN.COM

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Holiday Hacks The brilliant Amazon Kindle might just be the ultimate travel companion, and here’s why. Plus, a few more of our favourite ways to make your next holiday a winner Take loads of books – without actually taking loads of books

When it comes to holiday reading, you simply can’t beat an Amazon Kindle. Not only can you carry thousands of books in one compact device, but features including an anti-glare screen and the ability to last for weeks without a charge* mean there’s no better way to read and transport your books when you’re going away. Plus, Kindles are dedicated e-readers, unlike tablets, so you won’t be disturbed by emails, messages and notifications. From the best-selling Kindle Paperwhite to the all-new, lightest-ever Kindle Oasis, there’s a device to suit all tastes, requirements and budgets, so you’re guaranteed to find a Kindle that will become your perfect travel companion.

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Roll, don’t fold, people. Endless numbers of YouTube videos will teach you how to roll your clothes into compact bundles that are easier to pack tightly together, so you’ll save valuable space. With most of us going hand-luggageonly these days on short-haul flights, that’s essential – particularly if you’re travelling with kids (and all their associated clobber) in tow.

Save cash before you go away… and spend it when you get there

We don’t mean stashing money in a holiday fund, though you can do that too – we’re talking about saving lots of little amounts wherever you can. Start with your flights – flying midweek can save you a packet over weekends, while signing up for airlines’ alerts mean you’ll be the first to know when there’s a flight sale. You can also save by organising a few essentials before you get to the airport – order your currency in advance and book airport parking as soon as you know your flight times to make small but helpful savings. Use it to pick up a Kindle in duty free, and make your holiday even more of a winner.

Book a luxury stay, minus the price tag

Think it’s impossible to stay in the lap of luxury for the price of a budget hotel? Think again. Club together with a group of friends or family on a designer villa or homestay, and your strength in numbers can get you access to extraordinary properties at ordinary night rates. Better still, if you’re bringing the kids you’ll be able to share the child-minding duties and make the most of your stay.

Get winter sun with a short-haul flight

If you’ve ever wished summer never ended – and god knows, we do – there’s one sure-fire way to get what you want: follow summer around the world. That, of course, is easier said than done – unless you travel smart and track down the sun without trekking across to the other side of the globe. The Canary Islands, for example, are barely four hours away, but temperatures are balmy all year round. Portugal’s Algarve, too, sees plenty of sun throughout the winter, even if it’s not quite roasting hot. Or try Marrakech in Morocco, where the weather’s cooler but the mercury can hit 20ºC in December – perfect for exploring this magical North African city. And don’t forget to bring your Kindle – its anti-glare screen means you can read and soak up the rays at the same time. Bon voyage! ◆

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON AMAZON KINDLE, GO TO AMAZON.CO.UK/PAPERWHITE

*Based on 30 mins reading per day, wireless off and light setting at 10. free 3G available abroad on Kindle Paperwhite, Voyage and Oasis

KINDLES ARE DEDICATED E-READERS, UNLIKE TABLETS, SO YOU WON’T BE DISTURBED BY EMAILS, MESSAGES AND NOTIFICATIONS

Pack smarter


P ROMOTI ON

Paperwhite vs Paperback Performance on the beach

You don’t need to worry about being dazzled by the sun when you’re kicking back on your lounger – Kindle’s anti-glare screen means you can read easily even in bright sunlight. A library at your fingertips

You can carry thousands of books with you at once, and it’s simple to add to your Kindle library while you’re away with free 3G. Try squeezing thousands of paperbacks into your cabin bag… Packability

Kindle Paperwhite is slim and compact, taking up less bag space than a paperback. You won’t have to find space on your bookshelves for all your holiday reads when you get home, either. Win win. Long-term value

Kindle books are great value, and you’ll be able to carry all of your purchases with you wherever you go.

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EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES 30 CARIBBEAN 40  NEVIS, THE CARIBBEAN 48  LATIN AMERICA 56  KERRY, IRELAND 63  ALTERNATIVE JAPAN 68  SKOPJE, MACEDONIA

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FLAT EARTH: Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is one of Latin America’s most photogenic sights. See more on page 48.

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FIND MORE TRAVEL INSPIRATION ESCAPISMMAGAZINE.COM

INTO BL 30


EXPERIENCES

O THE LUE Photograph by Schafer & Hill/Getty

From Barbados on a budget to sanctuaries in St Lucia, here’s our insider’s guide to holidaying in the Caribbean Words by Hannah Summers 31


Barbados

Wallet friendly: Tour the rum shops Just because Simon Cowell’s always papped on the beach in Barbados, it doesn’t mean you can’t swig a cocktail or two on the white-sand shores, too. On this island, rum is more than just a spirit – it’s at the heart of the sun-drenched culture. Start at John Moore Bar in Weston – the front sits on a potholed road while the back looks out over a beach so There are tons of dazzling you’ll put different rums to try money on it having in Barbados, but a been P-hotoshopped. good place to start is Mount Gay – it's Just 1,799 to go – the oldest rum brand there are over 1,800 in existence and has rum shops on this been made on the island since 1703. island, and at a

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couple of dollars a drink you’ll be able to take down a few – our favourites include Judy’s Watering Hole in St Thomas (expect calypso tunes), Hercules Bar in Oistins and One Love Bar in Holetown. DETAILS: Sea-U is a cute guest house with hammock-clad verandas. Nightly rates from £72. Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from £450,

virgin-atlantic.com

Splash the cash: Sleep with celebs The Caribbean isn’t short on luxe hotels, and Sandy Lane is one of the most iconic. The glitzy seven-star resort (yep, that exists) is home to 112 rooms, fuschia-coloured

THERE ARE OVER 1,800 RUM SHOPS TO VISIT IN BARBADOS

sunloungers and a whole playground of paparazzi-pleasing celebs. If that floats your yacht, there’s also a mega spa, golf course and one of the most famous restaurants in the Caribbean nearby – The Cliff. As the name suggests, the swanky outdoor dining space occupies a pretty impressive patch of rock on the island, with some memorable sea views. Elsewhere, The Crane hotel is racking up awards for best-looking beach in the region. If you’re looking to live life like a millionaire, these are good places to start. DETAILS: Classic Collection offers a seven-night stay at The Crane from £2,553pp including flights, classic-collection.co.uk

Photograph by (main) mediacolor's / Alamy; Bruno Frontino; David Noton Photography/Alamy

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hink the Caribbean is a place for lazing on a pretty beach sipping on a rum cocktail? You bet it is. But beyond that, this is a region full of diverse wildlife, crazy-fun activities and stonking scenery. Better yet, you don’t need loads of cash to visit. Here are a few of our favourite ways to enjoy the Caribbean’s coastline and islands, whether you’re looking to totally blow the budget or holiday on a shoestring. Either way, expect rum. Lots and lots of rum.


EXPERIENCES

Grenada

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Barbados's beaches are a big draw; Laluna guesthouses, Grenada; one of Barbados's rum shacks

Splash the cash: Try deep-sea fishing Fancy trying something new? The Caribbean may not be the most obvious extreme sports destination, but if you’re talking sport fishing then it offers it by the boatload. Grenada is known as one of the best deepsea fishing venues in the Caribbean, with marlin and yellowfin tuna fishing (with an average size of over 100lb). There’s a conservation aspect to this, too – all

DETAILS: Petit Anse is a pretty guesthouse run by a couple who grow their own fruit and veg and make their own ice cream. Nightly rates from £45 per room, petiteanse.com. Flights from £600 return, check cheapflights.co.uk

A private luxury beach villa which combines natural beauty, priceless seclusion and unparalleled luxury into a getaway destination. Watamu, Kenya

Photograph by ###

Wallet friendly: Run with the locals When seeing a Caribbean island from the back of a mini bus just won’t cut it, try sprinting around the place instead. The Grenada Hash Harriers are a local running group who show visitors the sites of the island on a jog around rainforest and beach trails. It’s not as hard as it sounds, either – being a little fit will help, but teens to tourists in their seventies take part – the focus is on having fun and seeing cool stuff as opposed to a sprint to the finish line. Every Saturday at 4pm they meet outside a pre-designated rum shop; the group's mantra is 'drinkers with a running problem', so you’ll be pleased to know that the tour ends with a well-deserved beer-fuelled knees up down at a local beach shack. It’s exercise just as we like it. And it’s free.

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marlin and sailfish are released back into the sea. If the fishing’s not your bag, have a snooze on the deck while someone else gets on with it. As well as big fish you’re in dolphin- and whale-spotting, territory too. DETAILS: Book half-day trips from £90, yesaye.com;

Laluna is a design-led hotel with nightly rates from £400, laluna.com; Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from £474, virgin-atlantic.com

Dominica

Wallet friendly: Learn about turtles If the ‘swaying palms and turquoise water’ holiday isn’t your bag then try the island of Dominica. It’s brilliant for wildlife lovers, especially those keen on turtles – on the island’s shores you can see three types of globally endangered sea turtles as they nest on the beaches. Leatherbacks come ashore to lay their eggs between March and August, while hawksbills and green turtles will head for the sand between May and October. The nesting females are protected by law and closely monitored by the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation. For US$10pp, trained guides can tell you more and take you to an active nesting site. Set the alarm clock for early. Elsewhere, the island is full of adventurous hiking trails – all for the price of… absolutely nothing. DETAILS: Picard Beach Cottages are airy wooden Dominica is home to the Caribbean's first long-distance hiking trail, the Waitukubuli National Trail, which covers 115 miles of the island. So take some decent footwear with you.

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structures right on the sand, with nightly rates from £102, picardbeachcottages.dm; Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from £527, for info see virgin-atlantic.com

ON THE SHORES OF DOMINICA YOU'LL FIND THREE TYPES OF GLOBALLY ENDANGERED SEA TURTLES Splash the cash: Swim with sperm whales For a safari with a difference, head to Dominica for one hell of a close encounter. Natural World Safaris has launched a sevenday swimming with sperm whales trip that’s led by world-renowned photographer and videographer Patrick Dykstra. You’ll spend four days in the water swimming with the 20m-long creatures, while dolphin sightings are likely, too. When you’re not in the sea snapping some of your greatest holiday selfies, you’ll have a chance to visit the

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Cigars are a big part of Cuba's culture; Marigot Bay in St Lucia; travel to Dominica for the chance to swim with whales on an underwater safari


EXPERIENCES

Photographs by (Cuba) Rachel Lewis/getty/Lonely Planet; (St Lucia) Banana Pancake/Alamy;

island’s hot springs and also make the most of the refreshingly un-touristy beaches and rugged landscape. DETAILS: Natural World Safaris offers the weeklong trip and accommodation from £5,175 excluding flights, naturalworldsafaris.com

airbnb.com has some

good self-catering options (book ahead for a decent choice). Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from £510, virgin-atlantic.com

St Lucia

Wallet friendly: Don the snorkel and fins How far will a tenner get you in St Lucia? Pretty far as it turns out – and it’ll keep you occupied for days. First stop – the supermarket, for a snorkel and fins. Because it’s not just what’s above sea level in St Lucia that’s breathtaking – the crystalclear waters are packed with marine life and it won’t cost you a fortune to see it. Head to Soufrière in the south west, and don your rubber gear to explore the reef below. Look up and you’ll see the magnificent Pitons rising out of the sea above you. Seeing fish doesn’t get much more epic than this. DETAILS: If you like to do things your own way,

These impressive peaks dominate St Lucia's skyline, and will take your breath away. Quite literally, if you attempt to climb up one of them – it's quite a hike to the summits.

Splash the cash: Take a helicopter tour Travelling in a helicopter is a treat in itself; combine it with the lush, mountainous landscape of St Lucia and you’re in full-on Jurassic Park helicopter scene territory. Take a 30-minute tour of the island and you’ll be cruising over all of its spectacular sights – from the city of Castries to the sleepy fishing towns along the coast, and the mountainous, rainforest-packed interior of the island where you’ll see numerous waterfalls, rivers and valleys. A tour of the north and south of the island will also have you hovering over the sulphur springs of the Soufrière volcano. Let’s not

forget the island’s most famous site – so famous that you’ll find them on everything from postcards to beer bottles – The Pitons. The 771m-high volcanic plugs look pretty cool from ground level – add a few rotors and you’ll have your mind blown. DETAILS: Try open-air rooms at Jade Mountain. Nightly rates from £833, jademountain.com. BA offers return flights from £550, ba.com

Cuba

Wallet friendly: Explore a cigar factory Ever wondered how a cigar is actually made? No, we hadn’t either, but it turns out it’s proper fascinating stuff, and requires some serious patience and skill. Escape the heat and chaotic streets of Havana and opt for a mooch around the Corona cigar factory in the country’s capital. It’s one of the biggest government-run cigar factories in the city, and you’ll see the production of over 30,000 cigars (that’s a day) in a space that’s like walking into the 1920s. It takes

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EXPERIENCES

BELIZE'S CARIBBEAN COAST IS A HOTBED FOR DIVING unique opportunity to take drumming and percussion sessions in a musical style that you won’t find elsewhere in the world, all for just over a tenner. DETAILS: For basic lodging with plenty of personality try the Lebaha Cabanas from £12pp per night, lebeha.com/stay

CLOCKWISE FROM THIS IMAGE: Paradise Island beach, Belize; cigar rollers in Havana; Cuba's architecture. BELOW: Diving in Belize

Photographs by (main) Roberto Machado Noa/Getty; Adalberto Roque/Getty; Rodger Klein/Getty

nine months of training to become a cigar roller, and years to become one of the best – while books are read out to workers over booming loud speakers. For an unusual insight into one of Cuba’s most celebrated products, this tour’s just the ticket. After exploring the city, head west for the beaches and pick a guesthouse from around £20pp per night.

trip. Many of Cuba’s Casa Particulares (which essentially means guesthouses) are listed on newly launched Airbnb – hundreds of them are crammed with pretty tiles, paintings and rocking chairs (Cubans really love a rocking chair). If you like eclectic homey spaces that offer an artist’s house vibes, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice. DETAILS: Book with Airbnb, airbnb.com; Virgin

DETAILS: A close-knit network of guesthouses

Atlantic offers return flights from £500,

exists in the country. Try Casa Vitrales, cvitrales.com; flying indirect can save you money, visit skyscanner.net for options.

virgin-atlantic.com

Splash the cash: Stay in a historic home If you’re looking for luxe hotels with infinity pools, turn-down service and couples massages then Cuba’s not the island for you. But if you’re fascinated by history and love a laid-back road trip it’s absolutely spot on. The island may be famous for its vintage cars – sadly you can’t rent them for weeklong jaunts, but you can pick up a nifty Renault sedan and If you're keen on take to the potholed taking a ride in one roads to explore. This of the old-school alone isn’t expensive, vehicles Cuba's famed for, take a so we recommend vintage car tour splashing out on thorough the streets some epic historic of Havana and see the city in style. homestays on your

Splash the cash: Dive for weeks The Caribbean coast of Belize is an absolute diving hotbed, and if you’re really into the sport, you’re best off joining a tour that’ll whizz you around the best underwater sites. Journey Latin America’s 15-day diving group tour starts off on the turquoise-water beaches of Tulum, Mexico, before travelling on to dive the region’s famous freshwater cenote, the famous Great Blue Hole of Belize (trust us, it’s worth a Google) and the other famous diving spots in this part of the Caribbean Sea. When you’re not below water you’ll be checking out some of Mexico and Belize’s ancient Mayan

Belize

Wallet friendly: Take drumming lessons Belize may not be the first country that springs to mind when you’re planning a Caribbean break, but the central American country’s coastline has some spectacular sweeps of beach. Based at the northern end of Hopkins Village on the pretty shores of the Caribbean sea is the Lebaha Drumming Centre, a place where local children – and travellers – can learn all about the drumming, dance and cultural heritage of their Garifuna ancestors. Hopkins, a shack-crammed sleepy fishing village, is one of a handful of similar places located on the Caribbean coast with an active Garifuna population and a fascinating culture that merges Carib and African influences. Embrace a very cool and

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EXPERIENCES

HEAD TO SURF SCHOOL ON THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS ruins and chatting all things divey with your fellow buddies. Sounds like easy work. DETAILS: Journey Latin America’s 15-day trip costs from £2,978pp including flights, diving and accommodation, journeylatinamerica.co.uk

British Virgin Islands

Wallet friendly: Catch some waves With train travel costs these days, you might as well opt for surfing off the Caribbean coast than the Cornish coast. OK, that’s an exaggeration (and we love you, Cornwall), but falling in warm turquoise water over and over again is far more appealing than the bracing waves found here in England. If you agree, then try out the BVIs – where you’ll find some of the best waves in the Caribbean. Josiah’s Bay on the main island of Tortola is a great starting point; long waves break slowly and gently on the beach, making it the ideal base for beginners. Head to Surf School BVI for morning lessons, then try out your new moves each afternoon.

HAITI connecting BVI Air link from Antigua – are priced from £1,182 per person, bvitourism.co.uk

Splash the cash: Party with the cool kids Parties? Check. Island? Check. Boatloads of similarly minded folk up for some boozefuelled jokes? Check, check, check. There are hundreds of sun-lashed islands in the BVIs to choose The British Virgin from – pick one and Islands occupy a you’ll be holidaying space approximately in a dazzling colour 58sq m in size. There are more than 50 board of blues and islands and cays, of whites. But if that’s which about 15 are not enough, you can inhabited, and the capital is Tortola. sail your way around your pick of them. Renting a yacht can be an expensive business, but with Yacht Week – the pre-arranged sailing weeks for good-time seekers – you have most of the logistical hassles taken away from you, and replaced with rum-infused beach parties. Predetermined dates and itineraries are in place (the next one is over Christmas and New Year – Mum will understand. Won’t she?); all you need to do is gather up a couple of your mates and book a yacht. e DETAILS: Prices start from £852pp inclusive of experiences and tourist taxes. Exclusive of flights, f&b and fuel, theyachtweek.com

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Head to the 19th-century Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince for RAM’s (the house band’s) voodoo roots musical night. It's Haiti squeezed into one loud evening.

CAYMAN When you're not below the sea diving, get below ground to visit the Cayman Caves, a collection of ancient stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures.

ST MARTIN Not up for hiking or biking? View the island’s Loterie Farm nature reserve from a zipline that’ll have you whizzing through the island’s 200-year-old mango trees.

COLOMBIA If you can drag yourself from the pretty walls of Cartagena, take a day trip on a boat around the spectacular jade-watered Islas del Rosario and soak up some rays.

JAMAICA You don’t have to go to the Maldives for over-water accommodation – Sandals has unveiled new villas on stilts that ramp up the luxe experience even more.

Photographs by (Yacht Week) Marcus Olsson; (Tortola) De Agostini/Getty

DETAILS: Try Mongoose self-catering apartments from £99per night, mongooseapartments.com; return international flights – including the new,

FROM ABOVE: Yacht Week is the perfect excuse to explore as many of the BVIs as possible; one of Tortola's pretty beaches

AND THE BEST OF THE REST


DESERT ISLAND DINING 40


EXPERIENCES

As well as offering up a slice of quintessential Caribbean culture, Nevis’s cuisine is a big lure, finds Clare Vooght

Photograph by ###

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FESTIVALS AND EVENTS CULTURAMA Music, steel-pan drumming competitions, poetry readings, food and ‘Ms Culture Swimwear and Mr Kool’ contests are held across the island during this lively festival. 23 July-4 August 2016 culturamanevis.com

ABOVE: Nevis’s beaches tick all the ‘Caribbean dream’ boxes, and then some

E

very aspect of this moment adds up to make a big, glorious Caribbean cliché. I’m in a beach bar on the island of Nevis. The night air is balmy, waves are crashing, there’s a gentle wind in the palms and I’ve had a few rum punches. In fact, this island really can drink. The barman is mixing Nevisian snakebites – short drinks made with CSR rum and

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Start on the beach, swim a course in Gallows Bay by Charleston, do two laps of the island (including the ‘Anaconda’ hill climb) and finish with a run through Charleston. November 2016 nevistriathlon.com

NEVIS BLUES FESTIVAL A small music festival on Oualie Beach, celebrating blues, soul and gospel performed by local and international artists. 7-8 April 2017 nevisbluesfestival.com

Antigua. The island is tiny. A drive along its roads, which are so quiet they don’t have traffic lights, will take you past brightly coloured houses and ruins of 18th-century sugar mills – there’s even a restaurant in one, called Mill Privée – but watch out for roaming goats straying off the verges. Speaking of goats, goat water is the national dish. Its lacklustre name, though, is definitely an undersell. It’s a hearty, ever-so slightly gamey stew of tender meat and potatoes, with extra heat provided by generous helpings of chilli.

Photographs by (main) Robert Harding/Alamy; (fishermen) Peter Phipp/Travelshots.com/Alamy; (bar) Andrew Woodley/Alamy

NEVIS AND ST KITTS HAVE BEEN STEADILY GAINING A REPUTATION FOR FOOD

Courvoisier – then he produces an old wine bottle full of local moonshine, and quietly pours a few of us a shot. We knock back the slightly sweet, scorching hooch. I ask how it’s made. “A bunch of ingredients, like molasses. You leave it to ferment for a while,” the barman replies nonchalantly. “And infuse it with turtle penis.” Understandably, I find this really distressing, and can’t stop thinking about Finding Nemo. I Google it later in disbelief, hoping this isn’t actually a thing. But there it is. Infusing rum or other alcohol with ‘turtle toon’ is apparently quite common in the Caribbean, for its supposed virilityenhancing properties. Needless to say I wake up with a bad hangover. But as well as dodgy booze – consider this a warning, watch out for the moonshine – the islands of Nevis and St Kitts have been steadily gaining a reputation for their food. While the restaurants on St Kitts cater more for tourists, restaurants in the tiny Nevitian capital Charlestown and on the rest of the relaxed 93 km² volcanic isle are far less showy, and much more local – basically a reflection of the island in general. Nevis can be accessed via ferry from St Kitts, though we arrived on a 15-minute flight in an eight-seater charter plane from

NEVIS INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON


EXPERIENCES

ABOVE: Fishermen haul in the catch of the day on Nevis. LEFT: view over the island

WHERE TO STAY PARADISE BEACH

THE NATIONAL DISH IS ‘GOAT WATER’… IT’S BETTER THAN THE NAME SUGGESTS 44

follow us. Amazingly, he keeps pace with the bikes, running along, ears flapping, for most of the 4km journey, but we end up losing him just before we reach the town. Charleston – the island’s tiny capital, with its small supermarket, library, market and small shops and cafés – is coated with fresh pastels and tropical colours, and because of its history as a colony it has an edge of Victorian seaside charm. Just on the outskirts is Culturama Bar, which serves a great chicken roti, big in the region thanks to its Indian influence, but with a Caribbean twist courtesy of the local spices. For one final pit stop, we head to the easy-going Café des Arts for a notorious (non-alcoholic) ginger beer. It’s freezing cold, but the copious fresh ginger makes it like firewater – strong and refreshing. A few tables over, we spot the same stray puppy we thought we’d lost, lounging in the shade with a new human friend. e For more information visit nevisisland.com

ST. KITTS WILD AT HEART Neighbouring St Kitts is larger than Nevis, and capital of the two-island nation. Much like Nevis, it’s known for its natural beauty, with rainforestcovered mountains and beaches with white and black sand. In fact, a quarter of the island is a National Park, so expect a visit to include plenty of hiking and treks over volcanic peaks. That said, one of the best ways to see the island is on board its coastal railway – the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.

Photographs by (aerial view) Hiral Gosalia; (fishermen) Peter Phipp/Travelshots.com/Alamy

This collection of villas opened on the island’s west coast earlier this year, with views of Mount Nevis, the Caribbean Sea and St Kitts. Each thatched villa has a plunge pool, outdoor showers and grill deck, while impressive gardens are planted with ixora, firecracker and hibiscus flowers to attract hummingbirds. Get creative with local produce in the villas’ wellstocked kitchens, or have your meal cooked for you – ask the chefs and they’ll give you a lesson in local cooking. From £680 per villa per night, based on four sharing a two-bedroom villa. paradisebeachnevis.com

I order the dish – which comes out steaming, in a terracotta pot – at Bananas restaurant, accessed via a secret tropical garden, illuminated with fairy lights. The purple-walled restaurant is built in the plantation style and also serves a fresh take on the piña colada – a skinny colada made with coconut water Nevis Peak is a instead of cream. potentially active After making volcano, situated some room with right in the centre of the island. Although beachside yoga, for it hasn’t erupted breakfast we try that for a long time, hot Caribbean favourite, springs suggest some volcanic activity. salt fish with Johnny cakes – salted white fish cooked with onion, peppers and tangy hot sauce, with doughy, flour-based, deepfried dumplings. If you see the cryptic ‘tree mutton’ on the menu, it’s monkey. But it isn’t doing the island’s vervet population much harm – there are roughly 24,000 on Nevis, double the number of people. If you walk around the island – say, on a rainforest track up the 985m volcano (it’s a tough walk, FYI) – you’ll see traps ready to catch them. But seafood is the Nevitian showstopper: in beachside restaurant Sunshine’s we’re served a peppery mahi mahi that came out of the sea 20 minutes earlier. A little way along the sand, Turtle Time (which sparks another pang of guilt) serves up huge plates of shrimp in creamy sauce under the watchful eyes of the vervets. Next door is Lime, for reggae on a Friday night and a live saxophonist on the rooftop on Thursdays. Newcastle Beach is great for fresh fish when the market opens on a Friday and Saturday. On our final morning, we cycle into brightly painted Charleston. One of our group befriends a stray puppy on the beach that morning, and the puppy decides to


the best caribbean hotel you’ve never heard of Nisbet Plantation is the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn on the beach. Named the #1 hotel on Nevis and the 11th best hotel in all the Caribbean by TripAdvisor. Come live in the moment.

NisbetPlantation.com

001.869.469.9325

Arrive via St. Kitts (SKB), stay 5+ nights and your transfers to Nisbet on Nevis are free.


© 2016 TUMI, INC.

NE EW TTHHEE N W VV33. . I GHHTTEESSTT L LU ER OO UU R RL LI G UG GGGAAGGEE. . E EV V E .R .

211 Regent Street • Westfield Shepherds Bush • London City Airport Case • Harrods • Selfridges

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08/07/20


P ROMOTI ON

CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: Natural beauty meets modern style at Belmond La Samanna; many suites have ocean views; take to the water for stellar views

One of a Kind Belmond La Samanna brings a luxurious touch to the natural beauty and charm of St Martin, with fantastic food, spacious suites and the best sunsets in the Caribbean

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t’s easy to leave your cares behind when you’re gazing out over pure-white sands, fringed with palms and lapped by the turquoise Caribbean Sea. It’s even easier when you’re doing so from your spacious ocean-view suite at Belmond La Samanna – the most exclusive resort on the beautiful island of St Martin.

AS SOON AS YOU CHECK IN TO YOUR ROOM, YOU’LL KNOW YOU’RE SOMEWHERE TRULY SPECIAL

Belmond La Samanna is an elegant contemporary resort, perched right on the soft white sands of Baie Longue and set among lush greenery, where everything is designed for pure enjoyment and relaxation. From the moment you check in to your luxuriously appointed room or suite, many with sea views and private balconies, you’ll know you’ve arrived somewhere special. That’s a feeling you’ll become familiar with at Belmond Samanna, from the year-round warm sea – where you can kick back in a cabana, or enjoy complimentary watersports – to the stellar lineup of fantastic restaurants and bars, which range from the formal to the relaxed. Begin the day with a lavish breakfast at Interlude, then head to the Beach Bar for lunch, where you can dine on grilled fish and light bites right at the foot of the ocean. Later, try Trellis for locally caught lobster in an elegant bistro setting, with wine from the private cellar – it houses more than 20,000 bottles. For a special occasion, you can even dine in the cellar’s private dining room. If laid-back dining and pristine beaches aren’t relaxing enough, the decadent Elysée Spa

will soon have you in a blissfully tranquil state. Choose from a first-class selection of massages and treatments, using products by Sisley and Pure Altitude. Or just pull up a lounger by the infinity pool and soak up the Caribbean sun – then watch the spectacular sunset at the end of the day, with a signature cocktail in your hand. Beyond Belmond La Samanna itself, there’s the whole of beautiful St Martin to explore, from the quieter French side (on which the resort sits) to the popular Dutch half. There are more than 450 restaurants to seek out, plus bars, nightclubs, casinos and outstanding beaches. But you’ll find the very best of St Martin at Belmond La Samanna. It’s paradise, with added luxury. ◆ belmond.com/la-samanna-st-martin

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LATIN FLARE It’s big on space and even bigger on views – Latin America is crying out to be explored. So what are you waiting for?

Photograph by Eric Hanson/Getty

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EXPERIENCES

CHILE

Atacama Desert GO FOR: Stargazing Look up in London and you’ll probably see a couple of skanky pigeons, a tower block or two and, if you’re lucky, a tree. Stars, sadly, don’t come out to play in this city much. All the more reason, then, to head across the world to northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, home to the clearest night skies on the planet. If astro-tourism is something you fancy trying, really interesting night tours are available. Nebulas, clusters, galaxies: this place has ‘em all. And the best part? No pigeons.

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EXPERIENCES

BRAZIL

Rio de Janeiro

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Photograph by SambaPhoto/Cassio Vasconcellos/Getty

GO FOR: The Olympics (and beach) Didn’t make the cut for Rio 2016? No matter – the most photogenic city on earth (sorry, Cape Town) is best seen from its long, sandy beaches. Hit bustling Copacabana and haughty Ipanema for a proper look at Carioca beach life, or Prainha for a less hectic vibe and incredible views. This remarkable shot shows the locals jumping the waves at famous Copacabana beach, before playing a bit of footvolley on the sand. Even when the Olympics aren’t on, this is a city that lives for sport.


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Cordillera Blanca GO FOR: Trekking Here’s some good pub-quiz knowledge for you: the Cordillera Blanca is the most extensive tropical ice-covered mountain range in the world. And the Huandoy mountain peak, pictured here, is one of the most spectacular hiking destinations you could hope to trek. Even better, between these dramatic peaks you’ll find Instagram-worthy glacial lakes. It’s a bit of a slog to get there, but you won’t regret the effort for a second once you arrive. Unless you forget your smartphone, obviously…

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Photograph by Sava Alexandru/Getty

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BOLIVIA La Paz

GO FOR: City heights Say hello to the world’s highest administrative capital, one that sits at just under 3,700m above sea level. Once you’ve acclimatised to the altitude, take a wander around the city’s slimline alleys and hilly streets. Wrap up – even when the sun is blazing, it gets pretty chilly. For real fine views, take the subway in the sky – aka the city’s cable car system which links different parts of the city. It’s a great way to avoid the congested roads, and your pics won’t be too shabby, either.

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Photograph by Robert Seitz/Getty

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designed by Travellers for Travellers


WHERE STARS A Ronan O’Shea revisits his ancestral home, County Kerry, and discovers that it has become as renowned for Star Wars as it has for stargazing 56


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THE ALIGN Photograph by ###

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The scenery is idyllic: mountains tower above the villages, pockmarked with grazing cattle and sheep. The houses in the towns are painted in various lightly coloured hues, and traditional Irish pubs mingle with cafés and pottery stores. The fields are lush, and while the fuschia and montbretia are yet to flower, they soon will, making the county even more beautiful. But beauty doesn’t pay the rent, and Cahersiveen is indicative of much of rural Ireland. Young people have left in droves in search of work. There are limited opportunities for manual workers, and graduates who have studied in the cities rarely choose County Kerry is to follow the farming Ireland’s fifth-largest life of their parents’ county and situated generation. Ireland’s in the south-west region. It’s home young, as always, to around 145,000 have been on the people, as well as move of late. But some breathtaking scenery. things are changing.

MOUNTAINS TOWER ABOVE THE VILLAGES, POCKMARKED WITH GRAZING CATTLE AND SHEEP

Photograph by Shutterstock

’ve played a hell of a lot of Nintendo in these parts. Why, you ask? Well, it rains here. Often. As a child, I spent many an afternoon lying on Grandma Mac’s couch playing Super Mario on my Nes. As a teenager, a dearth of attention from the local girls (and more rain) had me N64-ing with gusto, while the heavens poured onto the grassy plains outside. They don’t call this the Emerald Isle for nothing. It comes as a surprise, therefore, to find myself in County Kerry on a gloriously sunny Friday afternoon. Weather aside, the sights and smells are certainly familiar. Miles of golden sand sit at the foot of rugged cliffs, the scent of turf fires fills the air. All of it reminds me of my childhood visits to Cahersiveen, my father’s hometown, Waterville, where my aunt lives, and Portmagee, birthplace of my grandparents and more recently home to the production crew of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


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Those who’ve seen The Force Awakens will recall its final scenes, as Daisy Ridley veers the Millennium Falcon towards two remote, rocky islands, in search of Señor Skywalker. Those islands are the Skelligs. Eight miles out to sea, I’ve seen them from afar many times, but this is my first visit. Even on a good day, the waters here can be choppy, but our boat journey is a relatively calm one. The old, flat-cap wearing skipper is relaxed, letting a pretty Dutch journalist steer the ship while he plays with her Wildlife thrives in high-end camera. the waters surroundThe boat is steady, ing the Skelligs, as only veering slightly well as on land – the remote islands are leftwards when the considered one group heads portside of Europe’s best to watch a pod of destinations for birdwatching. dolphins. Seals bob their heads out of the water from time to time before disappearing beneath it in search of elevenses. We sail around Skellig Beag, the smaller of the two islands. With a population of 60,000, no running water and limited room, it’s a crowded place but, thankfully, the entire population are gannets. They float around the air like angel dust, or perch on the rocks, their collective din oddly calming. From there we head to Skellig Michael, where a group of monks set sail in 650 AD (give or take a century) in search of religious solitude. Here they built St Fionan monastery, where they lived in stone,

beehive-shaped huts, surviving on fish, veggies, and the odd puffin or seal. I think back to the days when I tired of having only three video games in my grandma’s house, and feel somewhat spoiled. As a Unesco site, the Skelligs are heavily protected, but JJ Abrams and company managed to negotiate their way into filming on them. Since then, interest in the islands has soared, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy. Disembarking the boat, I climb the first of 650 steps towards the monastery, as puffins whizz past my ears, their wings chopping the air like helicopter blades. Witnessing the sheer drop to my right, the phrase ‘don’t look down’ comes to mind, but I continue upwards. It’s worth it.

CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: Kerry’s coast is watched over by the county’s resident sheep; the view from Skellig Michael; an aerial view of the island; puffins are a regular sight

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FROM ABOVE: A view of the Skelligs and Puffin Island from Valentia Island; Ross Castle in Killarney National Park

The views are stunning. The water gleams, the cliffs on the mainland jut out into the Atlantic sea, provoking it with their sharp edges. It feels like the ends of the earth. We stay on the island for a couple of hours, and my fear of heights evaporates as I take close-ups of the tame puffins. It reappears when I see them slip off the rocks – they can fly, I can’t. I’ve seen much of this Ireland, from Giant’s Causeway to the Wicklow Mountains, but the Skelligs top the lot. Locals in the nearby fishing village of Portmagee, home to fewer than 200 people, worried tourism might ruin the town’s identity. But according to hotelier Gerard Kennedy – who admits he thought Star Wars was a cartoon until two years ago – this

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NEED TO KNOW The Butler’s Arms in Waterville is a good launch pad for visits to the Skelligs. Standard Atlantic view rooms start at €120 and executive Atlantic rooms start at €170 B&B. Barney National Park and the Ring of Kerry road are both stunning. Take a jaunting (horse and cart) ride around the park. Air Lingus offers daily flights to Kerry Airport. For more information about visiting Ireland, head to discoverireland.com

Photograph by Valerie O’Sullivan

KERRY OFFERS SPECTACULAR STARGAZING, AND YOU CAN SPOT SATURN AND MARS

hasn’t happened. Visitors come because of the franchise, but they leave talking about the landscape, the Kerry has its own monks and the ‘Dark-Sky Reserve’ history. Yes, there are (the only one in T-shirts saying ‘May Ireland), and it’s the place to head to if the craic be with you’, you’re into stars. The but ultimately guests Milky Way is clearly appreciate what the visible without the need for any kit. area has always had to offer: fantastic food, great live music and beautiful scenery. That said, some of the area’s most spectacular views come to life at night. Kerry is one of the best places in the world to stargaze, and the following evening we make a late-night jaunt to Ballinskelligs, where Mars, Saturn and the Big Dipper come out to play. My advice, however, would be to do as the locals do: stroll home after closing time with your neck craned to the skies, and you’ll be greeted by a blanket of black and white splendour. Just be careful not to fall into a ditch, and watch out for the – occasional – oncoming car. The following day we head back to Portmagee, and over to the Spanishsounding Valentia Island. A number of exotic plants thrive here due to the Gulf Stream, which comes all the way from Mexico. However, it’s the more typically Irish views up on Geokaun Mountain we’ve come for. I hold my breath as our driver grinds gears, willing the coach up the steep incline, and feel like I’m on a pirate ship ride, stuck mid-swing. Thankfully, we make it to the top, and the 360° views

of the surrounding region are impressive. The fields and mountains are verdant. My father’s hometown is visible in the distance, the spire on the old barracks poking up above the houses. Only when I step on a large rock to take a picture do I realise I was here a year ago. Back then, the rain came down in sheets, and the mountains were hidden behind the clouds. When my father met my mother at Christmas in the seventies, he came up here to have his photo taken. A sailor, he was heading out to sea shortly after and – deeming himself the catch of the day – wanted her to have a picture to take home. When I stood here last year, I failed to see why he chose this place. But now, it’s clear. The mountains are breathtaking, the wild Atlantic sea endless, the cliffs humbling with their scale and reach. It may have taken a Jedi and some droids to put this place on the map, but these scenes have captivated people for thousands of years, and the world at large is finally taking note. Super Mario can take a hike. You know what, I might even join him. e


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Laura Chubb heads off the beaten track in Japan, and uncovers a whole new side to the country 63


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t first glance, Naoshima, a teeny five-square-mile island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, doesn’t look like much. Just a quietly unassuming, albeit perfectly pretty rural outpost – a sparing landscape of green mottled cliffs and empty, biscuitcoloured beaches. Then you notice the giant pumpkins. There’s the big yellow one covered in black polka dots at the pier. Then the even larger, red-spotted pumpkin greeting visitors at Miyanoura Port. Later, strolling between villages along hushed island roads, I’ll spot more bizarre objects – some stuck in the sand, others peeping out from bushes – a huge tea cup, a geometric fishing net I can’t resist climbing inside for a picture, a multicoloured camel with trees growing out of its humps. What do you Also known as ‘art think of when island’, Naoshima you hear ‘Japan’? is one of the main Blade Runner-style venues of the Setouchi Triennale cityscapes, strewn contemporary art with video megafestival that’s held screens and neon? across 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Robot waiters and

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cat cafés? Or maybe tranquil temples, and sacred misty mountain tops. Certainly Japan’s ‘Golden Triangle’ – your typical tour that takes in Tokyo, Kyoto and the Japan Alps – can deliver. But, keen to see another side to this famously reserved, futuristic island nation, I’ve scooted further south along the country’s main island of Honshu, where there’s a whole other Japan waiting in the wings to be discovered; an ‘alternative Golden Triangle’, which topples as many stereotypes as it confirms. Which is how I come to be on Naoshima. Once a sleepy fishing island, idle in its anonymity 700km below Tokyo, Naoshima is today completely overrun by contemporary art. Part-theme park, part-playground, and all brilliant, wherever you turn here, you’ll bump into an installation, a sculpture, or ultramodern, avant-garde museum. And those psychedelic pumpkins? They’re works by Japan’s greatest living artist: the eccentric, red-wigged octogenarian Yayoi Kusama, who has lived in a psychiatric hospital since 1975, and was an early influence on Andy Warhol. True story. It’s a concept with just the right balance of crazy and genius to be distinctly

JAPAN’S ‘ALTERNATIVE GOLDEN TRIANGLE’ TOPPLES AS MANY STEREOTYPES AS IT CONFIRMS


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This artsy wonderland is mostly funded by Benesse, an educational publishing company with its name on Naoshima’s biggest art institution, Benesse House. Here, I’m admiring a painting of upturned black and yellow rowing boats when, through the window, I notice those exact same boats are lying on a beach in the distance – an exact mirror image of the picture on the wall. It’s at once everything you think you know about Japan – visionary, meticulous, undeniably odd; and the opposite – calm, muted, bucolic. It’s also a more cerebral form of Japanese surrealism than a goat café – but just as much fun.

BEST OF THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE Going off the beaten track is a great way to get under the skin of a country, but they don’t call this triangle golden for nothing. Don’t miss these essential spots when taking the classic route:

TOKYO

Photographs by (pumpkin) Gunta Podina/Alamy; (house) age fotostock /Alamy; (museum) Sean Pavone /Alamy

SEE: The maze of tiny bars that makes up the Golden Gai district – local nightlife at its best. EAT: Line up outside Daiwa Sushi in Tsukiji Fish Market at 5am to get your mitts on a fresh sushi breakfast – high-end restaurant quality at a quarter of the price. STAY: The Peninsula in Ginza cannot be matched for class. Rooms have huge walk-in wardrobes and baths big enough for two; tokyo.peninsula.com

CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: One of artist Yayoi Kusama’s giant pumpkins on Naoshima island; Naoshima is chock-a-block with contemporary art, such as this installation that looks like a house; Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum

KYOTO SEE: Wander around Gion at night and feel like you’ve stepped centuries back in time. EAT: Hiro restaurant serves beef so melt-in-the-mouth it’s like eating meaty butter; yakiniku-hiro.com STAY: The Ritz-Carlton offers luxurious Japanese style in an incognito spot on the Kamogawa river; ritzcarlton.com

JAPAN ALPS SEE: Hike to the Karasawa valley in the autumn months for impressive panoramas of peaks covered in rich reds and yellows. EAT: Book in at a traditional ryokan (inn) and enjoy an 18-course kaiseki (fine-dining) dinner. STAY: The Imperial Hotel in Kamikochi is a cosy Alpine-style lodge with roaring log fires and a bearskin-bedecked bar; imperialhotel.co.jp

Japanese, while offering a very different experience to your noisy megalopolis or reflective Zen garden. Even that most staid of institutions, the museum, is made thoughtfully radical: at Chichu Art Museum, I descend into an ethereal, all-white underground chamber, sparsely decorated with Monets. (Chichu literally translates as ‘in the earth’.) The white-out brings out the becalming effect of the Water Lilies; the silent museum staff are also dressed in head-to-toe white, and as they glide around, I’m left with the distinct impression that I’ve dropped through a portal into a museum from the year 2135.

The heart of Japan The next point on the triangle, 175km southwest, is Hiroshima. Visiting here might sound about as much fun as a mini-break in Chernobyl, but unlike the Ukrainian disaster site, this is no ghost town left to rot. Far from it: I step off the Shinkansen, or bullet train, into a pleasantly busy city of wide, leafy boulevards, where commuters to and fro on a quaintly trundling street car system. There’s an unexpectedly peaceful, idyllic feel; though just a few hours’ ride from Tokyo, Hiroshima seems a world away from the capital’s frenetic, urban throb. “People in Hiroshima are the friendliest in all of Japan,” a Tokyo local once told me, and it’s true that there’s an open-heartedness here in stark contrast to the famed Japanese restraint. One afternoon, when blue sky and blazing sunshine turns to driving rain, I find myself caught out in a flimsy T-shirt, clinging miserably to my clammy skin. Suddenly, a car pulls up. The Japanese guy behind the wheel winds down his window and hands me a towel. Nonplussed, I’m still trying to formulate a proper thank you as he nods, smiles and drives off. More conventionally, Hiroshima, like other Japanese cities, The name for this is utterly obsessed enormously popular with food. It’s most savoury pancake famous for a local dish is derived from the words ‘okonomi’, take on okonomiyaki meaning ‘what you – Japanese like’, and ‘taki’, pancakes – to which meaning ‘grilled’ or ‘cooked’. it adds noodles and mountains of cabbage, pork and egg. “In Japan, every town is famous for something,” explains a Dutch guy I meet one night, who has been living in Japan for a year. “It could be a type of turnip or style of ramen. And there’s prestige in being seen waiting in line for wherever does it best.” His words

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prove on point when I spot a pancake joint with a queue snaking down the street before its doors have Hiroshima’s Peace even nudged open. Memorial Museum, Obviously, I have to which opened in join. Ninety minutes 1951, examines the history of Hiroshima later, I’m the only City before the non-Japanese with bombing, as well as a pancake frying on all of the damage the hot plate in front that it caused. of me, which I’ll then slather in okonomiyaki sauce (ketchup, soy and, improbably, Worcestershire). When I come out, the queue has tripled in size – some of these folks will wait up to five hours. Of course you can’t come here and ignore why we’ve all heard of Hiroshima. It’s 70 years since the city turned to dust in the flash of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, which unloaded the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT over a built-up civilian area of just five square miles. The numerous images of wrecked buildings and burned children in the Peace Memorial Museum look more like

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CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Hiroshima’s Hall of Remembrance; Shinto Ohtake’s ‘Shipyard Works’; the Hiroshima Peace Memorial

stills from a disaster movie than something that could have ever really happened; a melted lunch box and torn school uniforms mere props over brutal historical fact. I take a stroll around the surrounding Peace Memorial Park, its sculpted gardens soothing queues of people offering quiet prayers at cenotaphs and monuments, and cannot reconcile the present-day serenity to all of the past chaos and horror. In contrast to typically polite but distant Japan, Hiroshima seems more apt to wear its heart on its sleeve. At the Hall of Remembrance, where a panorama of the city’s destruction has been painstakingly put together with 140,000 tiles – each one representing a death – a plaque regretfully recounts how “mistaken national policy”

was responsible for “loss of precious life”. Later, I cross over the Motoyasu River, and come face-to-face with Hiroshima’s most haunting A-bomb relic: the shell of a building miraculously left standing at the hypocentre of the explosion, a tattered ghost of violence among modern prosperity. Maybe this is why Hiroshima has risen so successfully from its literal ashes; it has moved on, but it refuses to forget.

Over-sea cycling My last stop of the trip sounds suitably pioneering for forward-thinking Japan: I’m going to go island hopping… by bike. Not that they’ve engineered hover cycles, but rather a series of impressive suspension bridges – with excellent bicycle lanes – that

Photograph by (Shipyard Works) Stephen Fleming/Alamy; (memorial) Sean Pavone/Alamy; (hall) Ian Trower/AWL Images/Getty

PERHAPS THE REASON THAT HIROSHIMA HAS RISEN SO SUCCESSFULLY FROM ITS LITERAL ASHES IS THAT IT’S MOVED ON, BUT REFUSES TO FORGET


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Photograph by ###

connect six small islands in Hiroshima Prefecture to each other. The route is short and flat enough for me to entertain taking along my girlfriend, notorious for her lack of skill on two wheels. We rent Mary Poppins-esque, sixgear bikes, and determine to ride 30km to the third island, Ikuchijima. Again, we find ourselves oft rescued by friendly locals: when said girlfriend careers into a ditch after losing control on a quiet country lane (with, I might add, no pedestrians, no other cyclists, and minimal traffic), the lone nearby driver screeches to a halt and reverses back up the road to check she’s OK. That afternoon, when the chain falls off her bike, two passers-by come to the rescue and fix it with chopsticks. Island hopping by bike might sound cutting-edge, but this proves to be Japan at its simplest. We bring real meaning to the word ‘tootle’, gently pedalling rural roads, passing the occasional farm, and not a neon sign in sight. The pace only ever quickens at the bridges, which whizz with cars and trucks. But the bike lanes are niftily

separated, leaving you safe to absorb the views of citrus groves and hills dotted with wooden houses, while cycling over the sea. It’s really quite something. The islands become progressively prettier with every pedal, and we enjoy a particularly spirit-lifting final few kilometres along a coastal road. The distinctly unJapanese rows of palm trees end at Sunset Beach, man-made Ikuchijima was but appreciated as until recently a spot to watch the only accessible by sun dipping low all boat. The pretty island features the the same. We find a intricate Kosanji night’s lodging at a temple, which took snoozy guesthouse more than 30 years to build. with its own onsen – a traditional Japanese hot-spring bath. In lieu of any other guests, it becomes our private spa, with a view out over fishing boats bobbing on the water. It’s not lost on me that this final night encapsulates everything I’d hoped for from my journey: a place at once distinctively connected to the stereotypical Japan, and yet entirely, and thrillingly, separate. e


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TY All photographs by Nate Robert

With its iconic brutalist architecture and intriguing new buildings, Skopje in Macedonia has an identity all of its own, finds Christopher Beanland Photography by Nate Robert 69


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hy do we do it to ourselves? Our lives are short and the world is so interesting. So why do we spend so many of our weekends away in well behaved cities that are so meek and mild, so boring and bland? Macedonia’s capital is anything but. Skopje has swagger. It swears and pokes, it jolts and jostles, it preens and poses. Walking around it is like a night out with Alex Higgins. Snowy peaks punch above it, a muddy river slices through it, drivers speed around in mud-caked cars narrowly avoiding fatal smashes, stray dogs bark and pout, beautiful women look dismissive, fat men smoke and squabble, the air is thick with all kinds of opportunities, many of them sinful. It’s a city that’s alive. Most of all it is exotic, and that exoticism seeps from every pore. North of the River Vardar, minarets puncture a smoggy sky, and the bazaar throbs with a million sensations. The call to prayer echoes from Skopje’s bazaar is tinny loudspeakers, the largest in the the smell of Turkish Balkans outside of Istanbul. It’s the place tea wafts along, to go to see examples switchback alleys of Ottoman offer that most architecture, with delicious possibility: some Byzantine remains too. the chance to get completely lost in a place where you see virtually no Western European tourists, hear virtually no English or French or Italian apart from the names of famous football players shouted at TVs. Creaky wooden buildings lean over each other, shoddy souvenirs are flogged by shysters who wink and waggle fingers. An Ottoman spice grinder? Yeah, I think, why not? I make a mental note

to check nothing’s been stashed inside it before I go through customs. A slice of burek? Yep – the spinach and feta one, always the spinach and feta one. I try to remember the name of the stall where I buy the flaky pastry pie – the Balkans’ second most popular export after Drina fags – but even if I were a better journalist I’d never find it. Just go looking: you won’t regret it. Serendipity, rather than good research and keen mapping skills, bring me to the Water Inn and then the old hammam that signal how important the Ottomans were during their five centuries of colonisation of these lands. Their dominance ended at the

THIS IS A CITY WITH SWAGGER. IT SWEARS AND POKES, JOLTS AND JOSTLES, IT PREENS AND POSES

river, where the famous old Stone Bridge sails out from the Muslim world and lands in the Christian one. On a wall, on the Muslim side, graffiti in English (for maximum effect) reads “fuck nationalism”. Someone has tried to scribble it out – probably the police and probably because the current right-wing government is very much for nationalism. And that’s why the centre of Skopje now looks like nothing Skopje 2014 is a less than a Las Vegas government-fimega-resort, an nanced project. The unholy marriage of intention has been to give the city a more The Bellagio and classical appeal, Caesars Palace with conveying its history hundreds of yard to visitors through architecture. sale statues thrown in for free. These new buildings are an absolute architectural abomination with their pediments and whitewash. But they’re gripping and they’re absolutely a part of what this city is all about. This is what happens when former communist countries try to jettison the 20th century. There’s a new theatre that looks like a belle epoque theatre and a new archaeological museum that looks like a casino. The whole point of this Skopje 2014 ruse was to project a civilised, cultured, mitteleuropa feel. The end result is the exact opposite – it looks like a despot’s playground in Central Asia or the Gulf. Macedonia wants to connect with Europe, to be more western. This comical building spree makes the place feel as sinister as Bahrain or Baku. Still, you can’t stop looking – the city is like a huge theme park. Skopje today is trying to look back. A huge guy on a horse in Macedonia Square is supposed to make you think

FROM ABOVE: Brutalist buildings dominate Skopje’s skyline; the Skopje State Hydrometeorological Institute, built in 1975

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THE SENSE OF SURREALISM AND TOTAL CONFIDENCE ON DISPLAY IS BREATHTAKING of Alexander the Great. He was the Macedonian icon who cowed even the Persians, a national hero who also has the airport named after him. And looking on to the square is a new Marriott hotel, which is currently being built. Except it looks like something from fin de siècle Paris. The sense of surrealism and absolute confidence on display is breathtaking. Sensibilities are offended at will. And in a sense that’s nothing new. Because the city’s best buildings were doing that when they were built in the 1960s. The difference is that they were looking towards Although Tange’s an exciting, rational plan for Skopje future, too. The was only partially problem for them realised, it changed the face of the city now is that future completely, and was a communist paved the way for one. Skopje was structures to be built in a similar style. flattened by an

ABOVE: The brutalist Goce Delcev student dormitory complex. BELOW: Concrete detailing on a residential apartment block

earthquake in 1963 and the rebuild was spectacular. It could have been even more spectacular. The famous Japanese architect Kenzo Tange proposed a whole series of superblocks that would have made Skopje look like the most futuristic city on earth, never mind in Europe. Some of the plan was realised, and space-station chic is still alive and well in the telephone exchange and post office complex, which is a perfect piece of brutalist bluster – hard, heavy, abstract and annoying. It’s a headscratching delight. The railway station is zen; minimal – austere concrete boxes rise above eerily empty platforms creating one of the most remarkable railway stations you’ve ever laid eyes on. The Skopje City Mall is a multi-level riot of shops, markets, picture framers and clothes menders. By its side, jutting up to the river, are dozens of bars that pump out Eurodisco into the

The Goce Delcev early hours. Plonked student dorm on top of the mall complex was is the Holiday Inn, designed by Georgi Konstantinovski in with its mix of 1969. It’s one of the communist kitsch Skopje’s most iconic and décor from an buildings and houses 1,200 students. episode of Dallas. I love it, and eating a solitary breakfast of fat olives and crumbly sheep’s cheese, plump tomatoes and aubergines in a room surrounded by mirrors, I allow my mind to play out my war reporter fantasies – didn’t war reporters in the Balkans always stay in a Holiday Inn? There’s so much to look at in Skopje – the remarkable 1960s towers of the National Bank of Macedonia, the postmodern museum on the site of the house where Mother Teresa was born, the shocking new triumphal arch leading off Macedonia Square. Your lungs will fill with ciggie smoke, exhaust smoke, the stench of chestnuts roasting at stands on corners, the noise of banging and clattering as yet more new monuments go up. Skopje is busy, buzzing, bolshy. This is an old city in a very new country that’s finding its feet. And, despite the way it all overwhelms you, there is a spirit that’s pure at the heart of it all. The people here are welcoming and friendly, even the dogs are – they won’t bite you, they’ll just look mournful. Life’s too short to go to boring places. Come here instead. e

Chris flew to Skopje with Wizz Air. Wizz flies direct from London Luton to Skopje several times per week – this is the only direct flight from Britain to Skopje (wizzair.com). Return flights from £98. Chris stayed at the Holiday Inn (holidayinn.com/skopje). Doubles from £40.

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Edmonton, Alberta has the best of Canada distilled – from buzzing city neighbourhoods and world-class sports venues to vast areas of parkland and wilderness. Here’s how to make the most of this great Canadian city.

Contents 76  THE VERY BEST OF EDMONTON 78 GO OUTDOORS 80 WHAT’S ON IN FESTIVAL CITY

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S I X REASONS TO V I S I T E D M O NTON RIGHT NO W Shopping fanatic, festival-goer or just a lover of delicious locally produced food? Whoever you are and whatever you want from a city, Edmonton’s got something for you

History DISCOVER EDMONTON’S PAST

Those craving history on their holiday will be kept busy in Edmonton. Check out Fort Edmonton Park – a living museum that divides the city’s history into four fascinating, defining eras, including the Fur Trading Era of the 1840s, and Metropolitan Era of the 1920s. Elsewhere, you can journey the highest streetcar crossing in the world with a ride on the 100-yearold High Level Bridge Streetcar, or visit the grand Alberta Legislature grounds and building.

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Festival City THERE’S A FESTIVAL FOR YOU

Forget wellies, mud and damp tents – Edmonton’s festival scene is far more diverse than a weekend in the rain. It’s here that you’ll find entire festivals dedicated to celebrating food like July’s Taste of Edmonton, a gathering of over 60 locally-owned restaurants, and the Servus Heritage Festival celebrating (and sampling!) over 80 cultures from around the world. August brings the world-renowned Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, an 11-day event with local and international artists performing in unique venues such as pubs and bookshops. Music lovers won’t want to miss the Blues Festival 19-21 August, Sonic Boom on 3-4 September for indie rock and pop, and the Folk Music Festival 4-7 August.


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Food & Drink EAT AND DRINK IN THE CITY

Head Outdoors CITY STREETS WITH BONUS PARKS

Those looking to combine a cool city vibe with adventurous outdoor activities will find themselves in the right place. In Edmonton you’ll discover the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America. So get ready for mountain biking, hiking and running. For something less strenuous, try renting a canoe and paddling along the North Saskatchewan River. Visiting in winter? Try snowshoeing or skiing right there in the city’s river valley. Find out more on page 78.

Whether you’re looking for fine dining and top-notch wine bars or food trucks and cosy craft breweries, Edmonton has it all. The city’s growing foodie scene is putting the region on the map for grub-searching travellers. Grab a coffee at Little Brick, a century-old brick house turned café and general store, Duchess Bake Shop for decadent French pastries and snacks, and El Cortez Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar, for gourmet tacos and contemporary twists on classic cocktails. We’ll drink to that.

The Ice District IT’S ABOUT TO GET BIGGER AND BETTER

Go Shopping A CITY OF GREAT BOUTIQUES

Edmonton’s packed with a range of shopping districts, ranging from boutiques to big complexes – and they don’t come bigger or better than West Edmonton Mall, which spans the equivalent of 48 city blocks. Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona has been named one of the country’s best shopping areas – it’s a laid-back bohemian paradise with quirky boutiques, galleries and specialist shops. Elsewhere, 124 Street is home to vintage stores, indie coffee shops and cool eateries.

New for 2016 is the Edmonton Ice District, a 25-acre entertainment space that’s crammed with some of the most exciting activities in the city. Taking shape in the heart of downtown Edmonton, the space will include Rogers Place, the most advanced sports and entertainment venue in North America, where you’ll be able to catch a concert or take-in an NHL ice-hockey match (an absolute must for any trip to Canada). The Ice District will also be home to a luxurious new JW Marriott hotel, a bustling public plaza, and Winter Garden complete with ice rink and casino.

Need to Know Fly Icelandair via Reykjavik to Edmonton and stopover in Iceland for no additional airfare. Book now at icelandair.co.uk

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OU T DO ORS IN THE C I TY AN D BEYON D For a taste of Canada’s great outdoors, combine the cool city streets of Edmonton with the area’s spectacular parks

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f experiencing the great outdoors is as important as strolling the streets of a bustling city, then Edmonton, Canada, is the best summer holiday choice you could hope for. The city boasts some serious green space – you’ll find over 7,400 hectares of land and river valleys, a space equivalent to 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park. In fact, Edmonton is home to the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America. Here’s how to make the most of it…

City-based adventures

To fully embrace the beauty of Edmonton’s green space, you don’t have to travel far – there’s so much on offer right on the city’s doorstep. One of the best ways to take it all in is by discovering the picturesque river valley’s 100 miles of trails – great for a gentle stroll or a more challenging hike depending on what you fancy that day. Take a jog with epic views over the cityscape, or pick up the pace and explore on two wheels. Adrenaline junkies will love the off-road mountain bike routes, which offer a chance to break away from the trails and discover the lesser known corners of the city’s spectacular parks. For a less traditional way to cover some ground, check out the River Valley Adventure

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Co.’s Segway tours. The trips will have you blazing your own trail and venturing through the river valley’s routes at your own pace. With these tours you’ll have the chance to hear about Edmonton’s rich history, while also soaking up some tips on how to get skilled on a Segway. If you’re looking to just kick back and enjoy the park’s scenery, the company will also lend you volleyball, croquet and football gear – perfect for a picnic session in the park. After exploring the parks’ tree-packed slopes, it’s time to hit the water. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle your way along the wide and gentle

AFTER YOU’VE EXPLORED THE PARK’S TREEPACKED SLOPES, HIT THE WATER IN A CANOE

North Saskatchewan River. Bring a fishing rod and throw it over the side – it’s a great chance to catch some sturgeon or walleye along your route. If that’s not your scene then try paddle boarding along the peaceful river – it’s one of the best ways to spend a summer day in the city.

Discovering Elk Island National Park

Just 22 miles from the city of Edmonton there’s even more to explore in the pristine, remote wilderness of Elk Island. Barely an hour by car from the city, you’ll discover another world of pure Canadian wilderness. This is a region packed with history and wildlife, all of which you can experience in a day trip from the city. Wildlife lovers’ will be in their element in Elk Island National Park. The park protects the nature of the aspen parkland, while also working to save and preserve the area’s bison species. It’s also now home to a bison conservation facility – take a behind-the-scenes tour and you can learn about the techniques behind the successful conservation facilities with demos and hands-on activities, not to mention some incredible picture opportunities. Not only that, but the aspen parkland is a lush oasis that’s home to moose, elk, deer and over 250 species of birds. It won’t take you long


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AT ELK ISLAND NATIONAL PARK YOU MAY CATCH THE INCREDIBLE NORTHERN LIGHTS

Explore Jasper National Park A BIG-ADVENTURE EXCURSION

FROM ABOVE: An hour outside the city of Edmonton you’ll find the peaceful wilderness of Elk Island National Park; see the Northern Lights from Elk Island and Jasper National Park; Elk Island is home to bison

to be blown away by Canada’s native animals in their natural habitat. When not spotting wildlife in Elk Island National Park, you’ll get to see one of the area’s other spectacular sights: the sky. The park is set within a dark sky preserve, which means you’re in prime territory for seeking out star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. You may even catch nature’s most jaw-dropping light show – the Northern Lights. With a backdrop of pristine Canadian wilderness, it’s sure to be the highlight of your year’s adventures. You won’t be short of fun outdoor activities in Elk Island National Park, either. Astotin Lake is surrounded by trees and beaches, and great for canoeing, kayaking and sailing along the calm water. It’s animal-spotting heaven – keep an eye out for birds including the rednecked grebes, common loons, white pelicans and blue herons. In the rest of the park there are hundreds of trails waiting to be explored – whether you’re a beginner or experienced hiker, you’ll find something to suit you. To up the ante, the park is home to eight geocaches. Each geocache needs to be sought out, and contains a clue and a secret message for you to crack – meaning you can embark on your own real-world, adult treasure hunt in one of Canada’s most stunning natural parklands. For a tee-time with a difference, be sure to check out the park’s nine-hole golf course, close to Astonin Lake. All equipment can be rented from the shop, and there are plenty of beachside picnic spots to head to after a round. If all that sounds like too much to squeeze into a single day, then you can stay the night in the park itself. Depending on what camping style you fancy, you can go for a backcountry tent or a fully equipped campsite. Better still, you don’t need to lug any camping and cooking gear with you – it’s all available to rent when you get to the park. When you’re craving a summer city break with some outdoor adventure thrown in, it’s fair to say that Edmonton, Canada, has it covered. ◆

To get an even bigger taste of Canada’s untouched playgrounds, take the epic road trip from Edmonton to Jasper National Park. The 365km drive between the city and Jasper is one of the most spectacular routes in the country. Winding its way through the famous Canadian stretch of the Rocky Mountains, the wide, easy-to-drive roads are lined with towering pines, picture opportunities and wildlife. Once you reach Jasper – Canada’s base for adventure – you’ll be set to discover one of the most awe-inspiring natural destinations in North America. The area is crammed with ancient glaciers, roaming wildlife (expect to see bears and moose during your trip), and crystal-clear lakes. Then there are the remote waterfalls, deep canyons and evergreen forests – all of which are surrounded by the towering Rockies. Of course, this epic scenery lends itself to some pretty cool activities. Try canyoning, canoeing and hiking in the summer, or ice climbing and dog sledding in the winter. Round it all off with some stargazing; Jasper National Park is a designated Dark Sky Preserve and home to the world’s #1 Dark Sky Festivals – and the perfect place to catch the Northern Lights.

Need to Know Fly non-stop to Edmonton from London Gatwick with WestJet, Canada’s high-care, low-fare airline. Book at westjet.com or call your travel agent. Seasonal service, May-October

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WH AT’ S ON IN S U MMER/AUTUM N They don’t call Edmonton Festival City for nothing – here are some of the events worth making the trip for in the coming months

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Athletics

Music

EDMONTON MARATHON (20-21 AUG; RACE WEEK (1-5 SEP)

EDMONTON FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL (4-7 AUG); SONIC BOOM (3-4 SEP)

If you have the energy (and you’ve put in the training), there are few better ways to see Edmonton’s beautiful river valley and vibrant neighbourhoods than the 25th annual Edmonton Marathon. If you’d rather see how the pros do it, the ITU World Triathlon Series comes to the city from 3-4 September for its penultimate round. It overlaps with the Tour of Alberta – a six-stage road cycling race that takes in the province’s stunning scenery – which hits Edmonton on 4 and 5 September.

Now a summer institution, Edmonton Folk Music Festival brings artists from all over the world to perform in a relaxed and atmospheric setting, overlooking the city and river valley. Artists confirmed this year include Calexico, the Tallest Man on Earth and Willy Mason. For alternative music – accompanied by pop-up stores and the city’s best food trucks – check out Sonic Boom, where this year you can catch the Lumineers, Jake Bugg, AWOLNATION, Twenty One Pilots and Edmonton’s own the Royal Foundry.


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Arts & Culture EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL FRINGE THEATRE FESTIVAL (11-21 AUG)

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival isn’t just the city’s biggest cultural event of the year – it’s the biggest (and oldest) fringe festival in North America. This year’s fringe will be the 35th running, and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever, with more than 1,600 live performances over 11 days at nearly 40 different venues. Alongside world-class theatre, look out for acrobats, jugglers and fire-breathers on the outside stages, and late-night cabaret, music and comedy at midnight every evening.

Action Sports FISE WORLD SERIES (16-18 SEP)

If you’re into live action sports, it doesn’t come bigger or better than the Festival International des Sports Extreme (FISE) World Series, which comes to Canada for the first time this September. Look out for some of the world’s best extreme sports athletes performing with Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park as a backdrop. Expect mountain bike slopestyle, freestyle and flat BMX and skateboard, all served up with the usual FISE good vibes. And best of all? It’s free for anyone to attend.

Need to Know Fly KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from 17 UK airports via Amsterdam to Edmonton. Book now at klm.com

#EXPLOREEDMONTON | EXPLOREEDMONTON.COM

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CHECKLIST

CHECKLIST 84 GUYS 86 GIRLS 88 GEAR 98  REAR VIEW

PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

FEELING FRUITY: Stand out on race day, or just down the beach, in this Rio-inspired Speedo swimsuit. The flattering cut (with exposed back) combines with durable sunscreen-resistant Endurance®10 fabric. £35; speedostore.co.uk

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CHECKLIST ★   GU YS  ★

WITNESS THE FITNESS If your holidays are more about working out than working on your tan, this selection of gear’s for you. Ride with it, run with it, hike with it – but for god’s sake don’t leave without it.

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1. ON, Cloudventure in grey and sulphur, £125. The Swiss brand’s first trail-running shoe has off-road style and substance. on-running.com 2. SAUCONY, On Track sleeveless top, £42. Functional running kit minus the sportsgeek aesthetics (and the sleeves). achillesheel.co.uk

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On Running’s Cloudventure features a micro-engineered sole with four types of grip. The two-layer upper combines excellent off-road support with a waterrepellent finish.

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Photograph by David Harrison

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CHECKLIST

3. HAIK, Logo day pack, £41. A drawstring bag that’s perfect for active (and inactive) trips – not to mention the gym. haikwithus.com

Jack Wolfskin’s Grand Valley softshell is perfect for active escapes, and its Hyproof-impregnated Stormlock fabric will protect you from all but the worst wind and rain.

4. JACK WOLFSKIN, Grand Valley softshell jacket in dark coral, £75. Versatile jacket for basic protection from wind and rain. jack-wolfskin.co.uk

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5. 2XU, Ice-X short sleeve top, £45. Designed for high performance when the weather gets hot. So not in the UK, basically. 2xu.com 6. ODLO, Kanon running shorts in charcoal and blue, £55. With integrated tights to help you run like the wind. Maybe. odlo.com 7. HYDRO FLASK, 21oz flask, £23.99. Vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottle that’ll keep liquid cold for 24 hours or hot for six. ellis-brigham.com 8. MADISON, Recon glasses (three-lens pack) in yellow, £79.99. Peloton ready, with precision-fit frame and durable hydrophobic Carl Zeiss lenses. madison.co.uk

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9. 2XU, Ice-X compression tights, £85. Muscle fatiguereducing tights with 2XU’s cooling, jade-embedded fabric. No excuses… 2xu.com

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★  G I R LS ★ 2

1. ARTOGI, Elenaughts yoga mat, £69. Made with natural tree rubber to keep it odor free and, er, rubbery. artogi.com 2. NICCE, unisex hoodie, £45. Nothing beats slouching around in a big jumper, least of all one that looks this good. nicceclothing.com

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3. OBEY, backpack, £70. Remember the days when backpacks were worn on one shoulder? Now they’re cooler on two. obeyclothing.co.uk 4. JAM, Rugged speaker, £79.99. Splash-proof and drop-proof, the Rugged lasts eight hours without charging. jamaudio.com

Combine cool art with yoga with this limited-edition yoga mat from Artyogi. Several colourful and good vibe-inspired designs are available to choose from.

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CHECKLIST

HANGING AROUND

Photograph by David Harrison

The 360 degree multi-directional sound tower on this Jam Rugged speaker also works as a speakerphone. Because everyone wants to hear your call AND your music.

Wearing normal clothes is old hat – nowadays you’re nothing if you’re not cruising around a new city in your sports gear. Luckily gym clothes have had a revamp. Here’s our pick.

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5. ANIMAL, Zhanna running leggings, £35. These pull you in in all the right places while looking pretty cool while they’re at it. animal.co.uk

8. KARTEL, Tarbet grey/white tweed watch, £90. Spruce up your lounge look with some heritage Harris tweed. kartel-time.com

6. TINY FISH, Marble yoga leggings, £59. No one needs to see your bum when you’re pulling a yoga move. Try these. tinyfishco.com

9. ADIDAS, UltraBOOST, £129.95. Promises your greatest run ever, with a sock-like fit around the ankle. adidas.co.uk

7. SAUCONY LIFE, On the Run tank, £38. Works just as well for working out as it does for hanging out. Job done. achillesheel.co.uk

10. ELLESSE, Ellesse logo sports bra, £18. Break a sweat in style with this fastdrying racer-back sports bra. jdsports.co.uk 11. STANCE, Frazzled socks, £14.99. Crafted with suprima cotton, these knee-length socks are spot on for post-gym chilling. stance.com

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CHECKLIST

TWO WHEELS GOOD There are few better ways to explore a destination (and your own tolerance for pain) than by bike. Preston-based Ribble’s Aero 883 is built for doing it at serious speed.

The Aero 883’s frame is light and stiff, though by no means unsuitable for long days in the saddle. Put simply – it’s fast and responsive, but comfortable on even the lumpiest roads.

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PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

1. RIBBLE, Aero 883, from £1,299.95 (£1,552.88 as pictured). The blade-like carbonfibre frame isn’t just there to look pretty (though it does) – it’s designed to cut through the air with minimum resistance, and even to reduce turbulence. Yes, turbulence – we’re that fast. ribblecycles.co.uk

Ribble’s bike builder allows you to choose every aspect of your perfect ride. This has Shimano’s Ultegra 6800 groupset and RS11 wheels, plus an ITM cockpit and Selle Italia X1 Flow saddle.


ADAPT TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT

10:02AM

TREKKING THE KUNGSLEDEN TRAIL, SWEDEN With its advanced adjustment technology Axiom fits to you. Globe trotting or wilderness trekking, the incredible carry always supports your load. Whichever path you tread, adapt to your environment with Axiom. www.lowealpine.co.uk/axiom


CHECKLIST

SEE YOU ON THE FLIP FLOP SIDE If you’re not going to be putting on your trainers and competing in next month’s Olympic Games in Rio, wear these special-edition versions of the Brazilian icon instead.

The stretch of beach in Rio that runs from Leme to Leblon has 12 lifeguard stations, or ‘postos’. Each marks out a particular section of beach – Posto 2 is on famous Copacabana.

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PhotographPhotograph by David Harrison by ###

1. HAVAIANAS, Posto Codes, £22. In celebration of the legendary Rio beach culture, Havaianas has launched 12 editions of their Posto Codes flip flops, each with a different design and colour. Almost as good as actually being there… havaianas-store.com


BELMOND LA SAMANNA, ST MARTIN

A LEGENDARY RESORT FOR MODERN LEGEND MAKERS SET BESIDE ST. MARTIN’S MOST EXCLUSIVE BEACH, LAPPED BY THE CARIBBEAN SEA, BELMOND LA SAMANNA IS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY RESORT. ENJOY THE SOFT, WHITE SAND AND TURQUOISE WATERS OF BAIE LONGUE AND THE LUXURY OF OUR SPACIOUS, BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED SUITES.

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Sun and Smiles

Keeping the entire family happy on holiday is no easy feat, but at southern Turkey’s Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, all age groups will feel relaxed and entertained

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or a summer escape that will keep the entire family happy, look no further than the luxurious Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. Set on the idyllic Mediterranean shores of the Antalya region in southern Turkey, the luxurious all-inclusive property guarantees an easy, sun-drenched family getaway like no other. Here, you’ll choose from 482 elegantly appointed rooms, or you may fancy trying out one of the 100 golf residences, 15 new villas

SOAK UP THE SUNSHINE BY THE TURQUOISE WATER, OR RELAX IN THE CRAZY RIVER

(complete with private pool), or the jewel of the resort, the Crown Villa. All of these make the perfect choice for those looking for a little more space and privacy. When you’re not soaking up the sunshine by the turquoise water, or lazing in a beachside pavilion, there are two internationally recognised 27- and 18-hole golf courses to choose from. After strolling the lush fairways, why not pop into the Green Door Spa – a tranquil haven where you can relax with indulgent treatments, from traditional hammams to facials. Children will also be spoilt for choice at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. Along with a treetop adventure park packed with ziplines and climbing walls, there’s a wave pool, slides and crazy river in the onsite aqua park. Catch up each evening at one of five à la carte restaurants – the all-inclusive resort caters to all palettes with an array of delicious cuisine. It’s relaxation guaranteed, for all the family. For more information visit regnumhotels.com

FROM MAIN: Spend an afternoon gazing out at the Mediterranean sea; relax by one of the tranquil pools; luxurious and spacious accommodation

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Return with us to Nature’s perfect playground

Set on 11, 000 hectares, Gondwana is the only Fynbos reserve in the world with free roaming big 5 species. Luxury accommodation in Kwena Lodge suites or private bush villas ideal for families. Enjoy exhilarating game drives in a spectacular landscape. Ideally located only 4 hours from Cape Town and 45 Minutes from George Airport. Fun Junior Ranger Experience for Kids.

Contact Details: Tel: +27 (00 21 555 0807 Email: reservations@gondwanagr.co.za Website: www.gondwanagamereserve.com GARDEN ROUTE -SOUTH AFRICA


COMPETITION

HIT THE BEACH

We’ve teamed up with the five-star Fairmont The Palm to offer you the chance to win a relaxing, sun-drenched family holiday for four people in Dubai

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raving sunshine? You’re in luck. This month we’ve teamed up with the luxurious Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, to offer you the chance to win a three-night stay at this fivestar hotel. Travelling with the family (two adults and two children), you’ll discover a

HOW TO WIN For your chance to win a three-night stay for a family of four at the beautiful Fairmont The Palm in Dubai, head to escapismmagazine.com/ competition and answer a simple question. See the T&Cs online.

luxury beach break that everyone will enjoy. Located on the Palm Jumeirah, Fairmont The Palm is beachfront resort boasting one of the most spectacular views in Dubai. Why not settle down on a sun lounger on 800 metres of private sand and take in sensational views of the Arabian Gulf? In the evening, enjoy a meal and cocktails in one of six restaurants, with unrivalled views over the Dubai Marina skyline. When the kids aren’t making the most of the beach’s warm, shallow water or playing in the resort’s pools, there’s the Fairmont Falcons Kid’s Club to enjoy. Suitable for 18-month-old babies up to 16-year-old teens, the club’s activity programmes are crammed with games and splash-park adventures. Then retreat to one of 381 elegant and spacious bedrooms, each luxurious with Arabian accents – it’s the perfect place to recharge before the next day’s fun. ◆ For more info visit fairmont.com/palm-dubai

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- France 0 203 eldespecheurs.com

CONTACT US TO RECEIVE MORE INFORMATION

ecnarF - esroC - oicafinoB 961 Via S. Maria a Marignolle 10 350124 02Firenze 02-7Italia594 33+ xaF - 936 Tel. +39.055.3920401 moc.sruehcepinfo@villatolomeihotel.it sedletoh.w w w - moc.sruehc www.villatolomeihotel.it


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REAR VIEW

ROCK SOLID AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW Move over, Grand Canyon – Arizona has another claim to fame. Step up the Lower Antelope Canyon, a colourful formation of damn sexy Navajo sandstone. The spiral rock arches, or hazdistazí, as named by the indigenous Navajo people, are only available to visit on guided tours due to the risk of flash flooding. Don’t let that put you off – holiday snaps don’t get better than this. Even better: Faceswap? e

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Photograph by Michele Falzone/Getty

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2015

ALL INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF YOUR HOLIDAY:

FREE † WEDDING

Say ‘I Do’ in Paradise Sandals are the most romantic resorts on earth and the perfect backdrop to say “I do”. As the experts in destination weddings and honeymoons, Sandals offer a FREE† Beautiful Beginnings wedding so that you can celebrate your special day with elegance and simplicity.

PREMIUM BRAND DRINKS Unlimited and included

At Sandals, premium brand drinks are always included, always unlimited, 24/7, at up to 11 bars per resort. Each bar includes Appleton Estate rum and unlimited pours of six varietals of Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines, bottled exclusively for guests at our resorts.

UNLIMITED GOLF

Including complimentary green fees Others may claim to offer golf, but our resorts include unlimited golf with complimentary green fees and roundtrip transfers in Jamaica and Saint Lucia*. We’ve got some of the most challenging and prestigious courses in the Caribbean and there is something for every level of skill.

RED LANE ® SPA Indulge in you

Luxurious quality and over-the-top indulgences are hallmarks of Sandals Resorts. Inspired by the beautiful traditions and majestic natural backdrops of the Caribbean, our signature Red Lane® Spa experiences are like nothing else on Earth. Indulge in a relaxing massage or make use of the complimentary hot & cold plunge pools and saunas. *Mandatory caddies at cost. †Minimum 3 night stay. Government & administration fees apply.

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S E E Y O U R L O C A L T R AV E L A G E N T


WE’VE BEEN VOTED

THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS FOR 20 YEARS

2015

IDE INS HY OK W LO O SEE T

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Escapism - 32 - Caribbean Special  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 32 - Caribbean Special

Escapism - 32 - Caribbean Special  

Escapism Magazine - Issue 32 - Caribbean Special