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MAKE A GOOD DINNER GREAT WITH

Miami, USA

Cartagena, Colombia

Gudauri, Georgia

Porto, Portugal

Galloway, Scotland

Staffordshire, UK

Parma, Italy 

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Miami, USA

Cartagena, Colombia

Gudauri, Georgia

MAKE A GOOD DINNER GREAT WITH

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Galloway, Scotland

Staffordshire, UK

Parma, Italy 

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For recipes and wine and food pairings visit beroniatxoko.co.uk


THE SKI & SNOWBOARD SPECIAL

Miami, USA

Cartagena, Colombia

Gudauri, Georgia

Porto, Portugal

Galloway, Scotland

Staffordshire, UK

Parma, Italy

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DISCOVER RAS AL KHAIMAH An adventure you’ll never forget Discover 64km of beautiful unspoiled beaches, terracotta desert, lush mangroves and the UAE’s highest mountain, where you can experience the World’s Longest Zipline, Jebel Jais Flight – all just a 45-minute drive from Dubai International Airport


LAS VEGAS LISBON LONDON LOS ANGELES MADRID MARRAKECH MELBOURNE MIAMI MILAN NEW DELHI NEW YORK CITY PARIS PRAGUE REYKJAVIK ROME SAN FRANCISCO SHANGHAI SYDNEY TEL AVIV TOKYO TORONTO VANCOUVER VENICE VIENNA

AMSTERDAM ATHENS AUSTIN BANGKOK BARCELONA BEIJING BERLIN BOSTON BRUSSELS BUDAPEST CHICAGO COPENHAGEN DUBAI DUBLIN EDINBURGH FLORENCE HONG KONG ISTANBUL JERUSALEM


ISSUE 54 • ESCAPISM • 9

EDITOR’S LETTER

E D I TO R I A L

DESIGN

EDITOR

Lydia Winter ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Tom Powell FOOD EDITOR

Mike Gibson SUB EDITOR

Victoria Smith

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Matthew Hasteley SENIOR DESIGNERS

Emily Black, Annie Brooks JUNIOR DESIGNER

Matthew Franklin STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY

Ian Dingle

CONTRIBUTORS

Ally Head, Lucas Oakeley, Rob Crossan, Sam Haddad EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Jon Hawkins

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Mark Hedley SALES DIRECTORS

Mike Berrett, Alex Watson BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Jason Lyon

PRINT ADVERTISING

OFFICE MANAGER

Caroline Walker FINANCIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Cole ACCOUNTS

Jess Gunning, Jenny Thomas MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Charlotte Gibbs, Ellen Cook, Francesca Neal, Lewis McClymont, Lily Barclay, Matt Lincoln, Rhianne Cochrane

Melissa van der Haak

LEAD DEVELOPER

Amber Ahmad, Emily Fulcher

JUNIOR DEVELOPER

Tim Slee

AJ Cerqueti Matt Clayton

I

HAVE A CONFESSION to make: I can’t ski or snowboard. And I don’t really want to learn how to, either. I’m too accidentprone, and the thought of hurling myself down a slope at break-neck pace is, quite frankly, terrifying. The last (and only) time I went skiing, aged 22, I cried. A lot. In fact, despite my surname, I’m not generally a fan of the last season of the year, or the cold in general. I tend to approach the end of summer with trepidation and a daily vitamin C tablet. But while I’m not all that enthusiastic about skiing, I can probably get on board with an alpine lifestyle – any excuse to drink red wine and eat hearty winter food works for me. Which is why I read about the the Georgian ski resort of Gudauri (p60) with interest. Keen skiers and snowboarders can head out on lesser-skied, more affordable slopes, while people like me can eat their fill of local delicacies like khachapuri, the delicious, hot, cheese-filled bread that’s sometimes topped with egg. And there’s more. This issue, I’m pleased to say we’re launching a new mini section: Delicacies, dedicated to bringing you the very best in food and drink from around the world. Head to page 35, where you’ll be able to ogle the best underwater restaurants and read about Miami’s burgeoning food scene, where restaurateurs are bringing together sun-soaked parties with incredible cooking. Because why shouldn’t you be able to dance to world-class DJs while stuffing your face with a bao bun? ◆

Lydia Winter, Editor

MARKETING AND EVENTS

Kate Rogan

MARKETING AND EVENTS EXECUTIVE

@EscapismMag

@escapismmag

CEO

CHAIRMAN

Tom Kelly OBE

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0

15

CONTENTS 52

60

106

THE SKI & SNOWBOARD SPECIAL

15

Miami, USA

Cartagena, Colombia

Gudauri,

Porto,

Galloway,

In The Frame

22

Just Landed

27

On Location

29

Georgia Portugal Scotland ◆

EXPERIENCES

Staffordshire,

Hot Shots Austria

C OV E R S TO RY

54 I S S N

30

Tyrol,

Short Stay Ellastone, Staffordshire

2 3 9 7 - 3 4 0 4

A PISTE OF CAKE

Two riders make the most of fresh snow. Ski season is almost upon us, so you’ll find loads of holiday inspiration, from Europe to North America and beyond, on p52

36

Creativaimage/Getty Image

39

60 ◆ Georgia ◆ Affordable skiing

95

64 ◆ Cartagena, Colombia ◆ Tall stories

106

Ski & Snow Special

Beautiful peaks and delicious food put Georgia on the map for skiing

The Checklist ◆ Essential gear for snowy adventures The Intrepid Series ◆ Star gazing in Galloway, Scotland ◆

Miami

71 ◆ Porto, Portugal City Guide

Everything you need to know

The Selector Christmas markets, winter sun and British boltholes

Exploring the home of iconic author Gabriel García Márquez

Delicacies ◆ Underwater restaurants Delicacies

Take inspiration from our pick of this season’s coolest holiday ideas

Parma, Italy

I s s u e

87

52

UK ◆

EXCURSIONS

114

Rear View ◆ Lara Prior-Palmer

(p52) Jeff Engerbretson; (p29) @patricksteiner; (p15) Simon Prochaska

DEPARTURES

29


nature is waiting Outdoors with Fjällräven since 1960

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enjoy every step with our versatile range of sweaters, jackets and daypacks. All made with Fjällräven’s high standards of sustainability using materials such as recycled wool, traceable down, recycled polyester and organic cotton. And treated with fluorocarbon-free impregnation. Nature is waiting. What are you waiting for?

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oritz otelstm #kulmh festyle li #kulm eling #kulmfe otel h @kulm oritz otelst.m @kulmh

summer dreams come true Discover a summer paradise in the heart of the Swiss Alps, which stands out with its unique views and incomparable mountain landscape. The Kulm Hotel, situated right in the centre of St. Moritz and one of Switzerland‘s undisputed icons of hospitality, provides guests with an incomparable variety of exciting activities, outstanding events such as the Festival da Jazz and culinary offers that leave no wishes unanswered. Come experience the famed #kulmlifestyle!

welcome to the kulm hotel

kulm spa st. moritz - open-air pool

Kulm Hotel · 7500 St. Moritz

back to the roots cuisine @ kulm country club

T +41 81 836 80 00 · info@kulm.com · www.kulm.com


DEPARTURES.

@patricksteiner_photo. An ice cave in Tirol, Austria, p29

15 ◆ In the Frame ◆ Photography 22 ◆ Just Landed ◆ Travel News 30 ◆ Short Stay ◆ The Duncombe Arms, Staffordshire 36 ◆ One the Menu ◆ Underwater Restaurants 39 ◆ Delicacies ◆ Miami, USA


Join Exodus Travels at A Talk on the Wild Side A Talk on the Wild Side will showcase Chris and Paulʼs best photographic work from the past year and be accompanied by an outspoken and often hilarious commentary (both are savage critics of their own and each otherʼs work). Tickets are £25pp, and all proceeds will go to the Exodus Travels Foundation.

Photo credit: Paul Goldstein

Dates and locations: 6th November - The Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa 7th November - Kensington Town Hall, London 12th November - Corn Exchange Edinburgh

For more information and to book your ticket, visit: www.exodus.co.uk/november


IN THE FRAME • DEPARTURES • 15

IN THE FRAME

New book Wanderlust USA tracks some of America’s most incredible hiking trails, from Arizona all the way up to Alaska [

PHOTOGRAPHY

]

escapism’s In the Frame is presented in association with:

Simon Prochaska, Wanderlust USA, Gestalten 2019

ROOM WITH A VIEW:

Denali National Park in Alaska is named after the 6,190m-high beast of a mountain in the background of this pic. It’s the USA’s highest peak, and makes for one hell of a campsite backdrop.


PUT IT ON ICE:

Exploring the Mendenhall Ice Cave in Alaska. It’s found about ten miles from the city of Juneau – the only US state capital that’s unreachable by road.


IN THE FRAME • DEPARTURES • 17

Firstname Surname Brian Browitt, Wanderlust USA, Gestalten 2019


TAKE A HIKE WANDERLUST USA Hiking and the USA: name a more iconic duo. And while you wait, give this new book by Cam Honan a read. It celebrates some of America’s greatest trails, with shots from

some of the finest photographers out there. Available now. ÂŁ35, Gestalten. gestalten.com


IN THE FRAME • DEPARTURES • 19

WALKING IN A GEOTHERMAL WONDERLAND:

A grizzly bear walks through the wintry expanses of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Firstname Surname Shaun Terhune, Wanderlust USA, Gestalten 2019


20 • DEPARTURES • IN THE FRAME

ALL-WHITE EVERYTHING: If you

ever doubt the sheer scale of the USA, take a look at this ethereal blanket of snow covering the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Corey McMullen, Wanderlust USA, Gestalten 2019

escapism’s In the Frame is presented in association with:

EXODUS TRAVELS Exodus Travels has more than 45 years’ experience of taking people on extraordinary adventure

holidays. Our trips include walking and cycling tours that take in awe-inspiring scenery and breathtaking wildlife encounters. And we have adventure holidays designed specifically for families, mixed-activity holidays and

seasonal getaways, perfect for those interested in winter sports. This autumn, we’re thrilled to be joined by conservationists, photographers and presenters, Chris Packham and Paul Goldstein for a series of three

wildlife photography lectures in Leamington Spa, London and Edinburgh. For more information and to book tickets, please visit exodus. co.uk/november


Photo credit: Paul Goldstein

Join Exodus Travels at A Talk on the Wild Side A Talk on the Wild Side will showcase Chris and Paulʼs best photographic work from the past year and be accompanied by an outspoken and often hilarious commentary (both are savage critics of their own and each otherʼs work). Tickets are £25pp, and all proceeds will go to the Exodus Travels Foundation. DATES AND LOCATIONS: 6th November - The Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa 7th November - Kensington Town Hall, London 12th November - Corn Exchange Edinburgh

For more information and to book your ticket, visit: www.exodus.co.uk/november


22 • DEPARTURES • JUST LANDED

DO YOU MIND?

JUST LANDED

Eco-friendly news from a huge cruise line, an unexpected flight route coming to Cornwall, and Lisbon’s hottest new hotel: here’s all you need to know from the world of travel

[

WHAT’S

NEW

IN

TRAVEL

OUTDOOR LEGENDS MERRELL and mental health charity Mind have teamed up for a series of fundraising hikes to help make sure people get the support and respect they deserve. The Mind Hikes are some of the charity’s most popular events, and offer people the chance to explore beautiful locations and smash personal goals. Want in? Sign up and donate at merrell.com

]

WATCH THIS SPACE WHEN IT COMES to space travel, you can forget about secret landing strips in the US desert, because Virgin Galactic is bringing its interstellar enterprise to the Cornish coast. Yep, Spaceport Cornwall will be built just outside Newquay, offering a horizontal-takeoff runway that could rocket the UK into the future. spaceportcornwall.com

Over the last month or so, Norway-based cruise line Hurtigruten has announced two huge leaps in its effort to make the way it sails the seas more sustainable: first, it’s commissioned three new hybrid ships with much more efficient engines and huge battery packs that’ll help to drastically cut their emissions and environmental impact. Second, the cruise line has also launched a range of electric snowmobiles for use on its shore excursions in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Each of Hurtigruten’s eSleds will harness the power of the midnight sun and arctic winds to charge its batteries, meaning there’ll be less impact on the environment and much less noise to disturb the local wildlife. And considering one of the locals is the mighty polar bear, we think that’s probably for the best. hurtigruten.com

SO, SO, SO SCAN-DALOUS IF YOU’VE EVER lost half an hour in the security line at the airport, this one’s for you: thanks to an upgrade in scanners that’s coming to UK airports by late 2020, there’ll be no need to remove liquids and electronic items from hand luggage when going through security. The new scanners won’t just make for safer, more efficient travel either: they’ll cut down plastic use, too.

COOL MOVES:

Hurtigruten’s new eSleds use windpowered batteries, meaning much less environmental impact

(aiport scanners) Erik Odiin; (mind) Sarah Afiqah Rodgers; (spaceport) Virgin Galactic

SAILING AHEAD


24 • DEPARTURES • JUST LANDED

ARRIVALS A quick recap of some of this autumn’s most exciting news

IN THE SNOW New brand alert: one of Japan’s most innovative outdoor companies has landed on UK shores with a flagship store in St James’s Market. Since 1958, Snow Peak has been making high-quality camping and mountaineering equipment. From coffee cups and down jackets to tents, grills and sleeping bags, it’s a new go-to for stylish camp vibes. snowpeak.co.uk

ROCKY ROAD Home to five mighty national parks and sensational ski resorts in the Rockies, the US state of Utah is at the top of loads of travellers’ bucket lists. And even more so now that there’s a more affordable flight route with Delta. Starting 19 December and running into spring, the new route to Salt Lake City will delight skiers, nature lovers and (hopefully) you. delta.com; visitutah.com

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: BAIRRO ALTO HOTEL, LISBON If you’re looking for a slice of stately charm slap-bang in the middle of Lisbon’s historic centre, you could do a whole load worse than checking into the newly reimagined Bairro Alto Hotel. Sitting pretty on the quaint Praça Luís de Camões at the heart of the Portuguese capital, the 87-room boutique has just received a Deco-style facelift courtesy of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Oh, and if you’re not sold by that, there’s more, a cocktail bar, restaurant and pastelaria bakery with menus created by esteemed chef Nuno Mendes. A plate load of pasteis de nata and a rooftop terrace bar overlooking the broad estuary of the Tagus river? We’ve sorted the room, you book the flights. From £234pn. bairroaltohotel.com

TRAVEL RIGHT

it up and dispose of it correctly. Consider visiting marine protected areas because not only do these beautiful sites make truly unforgettable experiences, but the entry fees contribute directly to protecting the areas. Advanced Open Water Divers can further their

qualifications by booking ecology-focussed courses, like Coral Propagation, where you can give back to the ocean by ‘planting’ new reefs. I set up Girls That Scuba to make a difference, offering advice to beginners or those wanting to help save our seas. girlsthatscuba.com

Bairro Alto: @João Peleteiro

Every issue, we share advice on how to travel more responsibly. Sarah Richard, founder of all-female diving community Girls That Scuba, tells us how diving can be beneficial for our oceans

It’s impossible not to want to make a difference to our seas once you’ve experienced the connection scuba diving gives you to the ocean. We’re aware of the consequences of singleuse plastic, so if you see any litter when diving, or near the ocean, pick

Yes, chef: Despite being born and raised in Lisbon, Mendes is most famous for his stint as executive chef at celeb hangout the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone.

JUST WOW Despite its collapse earlier this year, it looks like WOW Air might be on its way back thanks to investment from the USA. It’ll relaunch with two planes this autumn, but that may rise to more than ten by next summer. It’s thought that WOW will branch into lounges and inflight meals from a top chef, too, so it may be a slightly less budget option than before.


You wouldn’t think the humble leaf could cause so much trouble. The once lush trees of spring and summer slowly fade, through shades of yellow and orange, to brown, before their leaves fall gracefully to the ground. Winds carry them towards the railway line, where the rush of air from passing trains pulls them directly onto the tracks, where they are crushed to a pulp. Leaves are made up of around 80% water, with the rest made up of a complex combination of other substances including pectin, cellulose, and a type of fatty acid that, when compressed, have a lubricating effect. When this happens on train tracks, it’s essentially like coating them with Teflon, and the steel wheels struggle to grip the steel tracks. Braking distance can more than double, with trains taking up to 1000 metres to stop.

The wet mulch also messes with the electrical signals used to keep track of where all the trains are on the network. This combination of issues leads to a potentially dangerous situation, so to be on the safe side, we need to move more slowly and occasionally miss out the odd station along the route to make up time. We know that this can be frustrating, but please bear with us. We have special leaf-busting treatment trains running throughout autumn that clean the rails using water jets and then apply a sand-based gel to them to help trains grip the rails. And teams working around the clock using specialist machines to clean the railhead (the top of the rails). It’s an arduous task, but trust us, we’re on it and working hard to minimise disruptions to your journeys.

This autumn we’ll be clearing 50 million leaves from the line to keep trains running on time. southeasternrailway.co.uk/autumn


Travel Insurance with you in mind Travel insurance designed by travellers Up to £10M medical expenses Available for UK/EU Citizens if you’re already abroad Cover for cameras and gadgets available Extreme sports and activities covered, including trekking and winter sports

Get a quote

truetraveller.com or call 0333 999 3140


ON LOCATION • DEPARTURES • 27

ON LOCATION

Batman origin movie Joker is full of iconic moments, but it’s not just Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the comicbook villain that steals the show – the atmospheric streets of NYC play just as crucial a role

[

NEW

YORK

CITY,

USA

]

ON THE FLY Upgrade your commute with one of these cold weather essentials this winter. Thank us later

HEDKAYSE ONE BIKE HELMET You might normally regard foldable helmets with suspicion, but then you’ve probably not seen one made with as much attention to detail as this. Hedkayse’s lid folds down to 50% of its original width to fit in your bag when you’re done riding, but it’s also carefully engineered to deal with multiple different types of impact, so it’ll dissipate both big hits and small bumps. What’s more, it weighs just 495g, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging a kettlebell about, either. £150. hedkayse.com

FILSON DRY BACKPACK This super-tough rolltop backpack from Seattle-based outdoor brand Filson is made of an incredibly durable PU-coated nylon that’ll stop scuffs, scratches and tears. It’s a dry bag, too, so it’ll stop your stuff from getting soggy – even when fully submerged in water. It’s perfect on kayak trips, roomy enough for a weekend away (if you pack light) and isn’t half bad for lugging your laptop to work when you consider just how bad the British weather can get in wintertime. £175. filson.com/uk

J

OAQUIN PHOENIX’S BRISTLING, emotional portrayal of Arthur Fleck’s descent into villainy may be the most arresting performance in new Batman origin story Joker, but if you’re asking us, real-life NYC puts in a hell of a shift as Gotham, too. It’s no secret that real-life New York has been a stand-in for the home of Batman over the years, but in this movie it’s an ode: Joker celebrates New York’s grit, its washed-out looks and its gripping, turbulent spirit. It’s a place where dreams are shattered, where society lets people fall into the cracks and yet somehow it remains full of glamour, atmosphere and life. Here, dilapidated junk shops and movie theatres from real-life Harlem and Newark were paired with old-school buses and 1980s outfits to recreate a city of a bygone era, but this is very much a New York that’s still out there: it’s rough hewn, it’s beautiful and utterly iconic. ◆ Joker is in cinemas now.

THE LAST LAUGH:

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, standing in ‘Gotham’, aka New York City

TIMBERLAND NELLIE BOOTS This pair of women’s chukka boots are a slightly more lowslung, city-friendly version of your classic Timberlands. Their waterproof nubuck leather outer and seam-sealed construction means your feet will stay warm and dry all winter long. The laces are made out of 100% PET from plastic bottles, too. Basically, if you’re looking for a classic pair of kicks that’ll see you from city to outdoors and last you until the sun decides to come back next spring, you’ve found them. £130. timberland.co.uk


D DiiSSC Co oV V e R Yo u R neew w n M o u n ta i n n R e t R e at at D i S C o V e R Yo u R new M o u n ta i n the new RaDiSSon blu Hotel ReuSSen AnderMAtt the new RaDiSSon blu Hotel ReuSSen AnderMAtt R e t R e at A Modern ChAlet At the heArt of the SwiSS AlpS - ideAl for AMoUntAin Modern ChAlet At And the heArt of the SwiSSAll AlpS - ideAl for ACtiVitieS inSpirinG MeetinGS, YeAr roUnd MoUntAin ACtiVitieS And inSpirinG MeetinGS, All YeAr roUnd

the new RaDiSSon blu Hotel ReuSSen AnderMAtt A Modern ChAlet At the heArt of the SwiSS AlpS - ideAl for MoUntAin ACtiVitieS And inSpirinG MeetinGS, All YeAr roUnd

radissonblu.com/hotel-andermatt radissonblu.com/hotel-andermatt radissonblu.com/hotel-andermatt


TIROL, AUSTRIA • DEPARTURES • 29

KAUNERTAL GLACIER

HOT SHOTS

Photographer Patrick Steiner is based in Innsbruck, Austria which gives him unfettered access to the country’s snow-covered mountains. Follow him at @patricksteiner_photo

[

TIROL,

AUSTRIA

Every year when winter starts, I’m shocked how much the glaciers have changed over the summer. This is what made me want to start looking for unique glacier locations and capture those places with my camera, as there’s a good chance that it will look completely different the next year. On the day this photo was taken, we did a splitboard tour to the Kaunertal Glacier and found this beautiful ice cave.

]

WETTERSTEIN MOUNTAINS This photo was also taken in the Wetterstein mountains in the Eastern Alps. It was a really amazing experience, sleeping in a mountain hut and getting up every day to find new powder lines in this incredibly beautiful place. This photo is from the first day, taken the moment when we first saw the morning sun shining on the mountains.

Patrick Steiner (@patricksteiner_photo)

LEUTASCH This photo was taken during our three-day splitboard tour of the Wetterstein mountains. After a long hike through the darkness, we finally made it to our first shooting location. Just when I was getting my breakfast ready, I looked back into the valley and saw the morning light hitting the mountains and woods. It was such a beautiful moment that I had to take a photo.


SHORT STAY

THE DUNCOMBE ARMS

It’s not just a warm welcome that awaits at The Duncombe Arms in Ellastone – this perfect pub with rooms provides fantastic local food, beautiful rural views and more than a little country charm. It’s the ultimate base for a weekend in the great outdoors, writes Lydia Winter

[

ELLASTONE,

STAFFORDSHIRE

]

COST: From

£173 per night ADDRESS:

Ellastone, Ashbourne DE6 2GZ NEAREST TOWNS:

Ashbourne, Bakewell and Buxton GETTING THERE: It’s

around a three-and-ahalf hour drive from London. That way you can explore the Peaks, too TO BOOK: duncombearms. co.uk

WHAT’S THE DRAW

A charming pub with ten rooms in the little village of Ellastone in Staffordshire, just outside the Peak District. And what rooms! The Duncombe Arms added the utterly gorgeous Walnut House last year to provide hungry visitors with a place to rest their weary, wine-y heads after a knockout dinner in the pocket-sized pub. Windows look out over rolling hills dotted with sheep; beds hit that delicious balance between reassuringly

solid and delightfully soft; and the baths will have you wallowing better than a hippo. It all feels a bit boutique hotel-meets-country pub, but the marriage isn’t jarring – instead, the whole thing feels like a home away from (admittedly very stylish) home.

WHAT TO EAT

It’s unusual to start by talking about dessert, but this one warrants breaking the rules: a triumphantly wobbly

ROOM AT THE INN:

[above] Settle in for dinner by the fire at The Duncombe Arms; [opposite] interiors are classic with contemporary touches


SHORT STAY: STAFFORDSHIRE • DEPARTURES • 31

pistachio soufflé served with a scoop of blood orange sorbet. Elsewhere, there’s a market menu (MondaySaturday only), although pretty much every dish has the same local, seasonal approach. Chicken terrine with piccalilli and sourdough brought together crunch and tang; satisfyingly dense gnocchi was topped with umamiladen squidges of black garlic that offset the richness of a fried duck egg; beef bourguignon pie was declared “life changing”. There’s more – including an impressive list of fine wines available by the glass thanks to a Coravin – but you’ll just have to find out about that for yourself.

LOCAL HEROES From active adventures to something a little bit more relaxed, the bucolic surrounds of Ellastone and Staffordshire have got all your bases covered

WHAT TO DO

You’re in the ideal place to walk for hours on end, burning off last night’s dinner and making room for Sunday lunch. Catch a bus from right outside the pub to nearby Ashbourne and head out on the Tissington Trail (go in spring to see fluffy little lambs), or there’s also a loop that’ll take you out for a few hours, starting and finishing at The Duncombe – we’d advise taking a proper map. What’s more, owners Johnny and Laura Greenall are offering walking tours of their extensive gardens, home to an array of exotic trees that are bound to turn any horticultural enthusiast green with envy. ◆

YOU’RE IN THE IDEAL PLACE TO WALK FOR HOURS ON END, BURNING OFF DINNER AND MAKING WAY FOR SUNDAY LUNCH

WOOTTON HALL GARDEN WALK If you’d rather leave time to read the paper with a proper cuppa than head out on a five-hour-long ramble, visit Wootton Garden Hall, the home of Johnny and Laura Greenall, and amble leisurely through their impeccably manicured gardens.

Jake Eastham; (stanage edge) Valdis Skudre / shutterstock; (pennine way) Phil Harland / shutterstock

THE PENNINE WAY NATIONAL TRAIL There are heaps of walks to go on around here that’ll take you through rolling green hills and past burbling rivers. More ambitious walkers can strike out on the 268-mile long Pennine Way National Trail, traversing packhorse trails, ancient Roman roads, peat bogs, moors and mountain tops. If that’s not enough, you can even scale Kinder Scout, the Peak District’s highest, erm, peak.

GO ROCK CLIMBING AT STANAGE EDGE There comes a time when you’ve had enough of London’s over-crowded climbing walls and sweaty hire shoes. And when that time comes, make for Stanage Edge, the longest outcrop of gritstone in the UK and an hour’s drive from The Duncombe Arms. There’s a huge choice of classic routes and problems, and you’ll get cracking views, too.


32 • COMPETITION • SEA CONTAINERS

WIN COMPETITION

Riverside style and substance Sea Containers London combines great food, cool cocktails and stylish surrounds in a prime location on the banks of the Thames. You can win dinner and a stay, and take advantage of a brilliant offer too Mr Lyan’s reimagined Lyaness cocktail bar. You can enjoy an evening combining all three, before relaxing in one of the hotel’s River View Suites to make the most of those unforgettable waterside views. Hello Weekend If you needed any extra motivation to stay at Sea Containers London, until 16 December you can take advantage of its Hello Weekend offer, with 20% off rooms and including breakfast when you book at least two nights. Unbeatable riverside drinking, dining and luxury, at a great price. ◆ For more information about Sea Containers London, other offers, full T&Cs and to book, go to seacontainerslondon.com/special-offers

Inside Sea Containers London’s doors are not one but three amazing places to eat and drink

Win Dinner and a stay

Want to win an experience like no other at Sea Containers London? Of course you do. One lucky reader will win dinner for two at the beautiful Sea Containers Restaurant, as well as a night’s stay at the hotel. Set against the backdrop of the Thames, it’ll be an evening you’ll never forget. For T&Cs and to enter, go to escmag.co/sea-containers-london

[main] Niall Clutton; [inset] @jamesmcdonald

There’s something magical about rivers that flow through cities: the Douro in Porto; the Danube in Budapest; the Arda in Florence – when the sun goes down and city lights twinkle on the water’s surface, it always brings a sense of enchantment. Thankfully, there happens to be one such river right here in London. And not only that, but Sea Containers London is a hotel right on the banks of the Thames, perfectly placed for memorable days and nights. But there’s more to this iconic hotel than its location. Inside its doors, a stone’s throw from the river, are not one but three amazing places to eat and drink: the rooftop bar 12th Knot, the modern British Sea Containers Restaurant, and award-winning bartender


THE TELEGRAPH SKI & SNOWBOARD FESTIVAL • PROMOTION • 33

PROMOTION

peak your interest Stand by: this October, The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival returns for its 46th year, and it’s bigger and better than ever

This October, Battersea Evolution will be transformed into a magical alpine arena for the 46th annual Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival. The four-day event aims to bring the best of mountain ski celebrations to London, with the UK’s largest real snow Big Air, the Crystal indoor ice rink, dog sledding, a mini action sports zone, mountain retailers and a ferris wheel. At Mount Battersea, the UK’s largest real snow Big Air, top athletes will show epic tricks descending from the top of the 50ft kicker. There’ll be demos and competitions, as well

as talks and interviews with riders and skiers including Pyeongchang 2018 medal winners such as Billy Morgan, while Graystone Action Sport Academy will be bringing a mini action sports paradise with free masterclasses in skateboarding and parkour so you can hone your skills off the slopes. This year’s Festival also plays host to some of the best snowsports retailers. Located in the Mountain Village, top mountainwear experts including The North Face will showcase the latest trends and give you top tips to keep you stylish and warm on the slopes.

Photographs by James North

the telegraph ski & snowboard festival brings alpine charm to london with an indoor ice rink

Elsewhere, the Esprit Kids Zone will be packed with winter activities to keep little ones occupied, while the Street Food Village features delicious alpine food and authentic cuisine from around the world. What’s more, craft brewery Redchurch will be pouring the finest brews across all four days of the Festival, as well as running beer tastings. And as for après, from 5pm on Friday night there’ll be exceptional live music acts and DJ sets, thrilling performances on Mount Battersea, a lively bar, delicious street food and much more. But all this is only the beginning... You’ll just have to head down to the Festival to find out the rest. We’ll see you there. ◆ Tickets from £21.64pp. The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival takes place 24-27 October. skiandsnowboard. co.uk


JAMAICA

SAINT

LUCIA

ANTIGUA

BAHAMAS

GRENADA

BARBADOS

2018

V O T E D T H E W23 Years O Running RLD’S LEADING

A LL-INCLUSIVE RE SORTS

Sandals offers all the luxuries of a 5-star resort – but here, everything is included. Every land and water sport. Exclusive 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 16 restaurants per resort, and endless varieties of premium liquors and Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks® wines. The Resorts are situated on the Caribbean’s best beaches and most romantic suites. These are just some of the reasons Sandals has been voted the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resorts 23 years in a row.

M O R E Q UA L I T Y I N C LU S I O N S T H A N A N Y OT H E R R E S O RTS O N T H E P L A N E T

LUXURY INCLUDED®

THE MOST EXCLUSIVE SUITES Our 5-star accommodation, called Love Nest Butler Suites®, are ranked among the finest and most romantic in the world. From Over-the-Water Villas to Millionaire Suites, enjoy Tranquillity Soaking Tubs™ on the balcony, private plunge pools and even the opportunity to have your own personal Butler Service.

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

CALL 0800 742 742 • VISIT SANDALS.CO.UK COME IN STORE - LONDON, SW3 6RT SEE YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT @SandalsResortsUK

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*Mandatory caddies or carts at cost - for selected resorts. ^Cost includes two free dives per day for certified divers . Additional T&Cs may apply.

MORE LAND & WATER SPORTS THAN ANY OTHER RESORTS IN THE CARIBBEAN

From championship golf* to motorised water sports including waterskiing, scuba diving^ and lots more, only Sandals includes more quality land and water sports than any other resorts in the Caribbean. It’s all included, all unlimited, all the time!

U P TO

Sandals has the best pools, most spectacular beaches, delicious food, and sumptuously appointed rooms and suites. But it’s the unrivalled 5-star service provided by our staff that keeps our guests coming back time after time.

16

GOURMET RESTAURANTS

PER RESORT. ALL INCLUDED. ALL UNLIMITED.

Dine around the world without leaving the resort, with up to 16 specialty restaurants per resort. Indulge in 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining including freshly rolled sushi at Soy, to Filet Mignon steak cooked to perfection at Butch’s Chophouse, we serve cuisine to please even the toughest foodie. You can enjoy unlimited premium brand drinks at up to 11 bars per resort. From cocktails at the swim-up pool bar to a glass of fizz on a rooftop bar overlooking the Caribbean sunset, it’s all included in the price of your holiday.


PARMA, ITALY • DELICACIES • 35

THE WHAT ParmigianoReggiano is perhaps the most iconic Italian hard cheese, made in giant wheels to exacting standards decreed by its Indicator of Geographical Protection and aged for up to 36 months (and sometimes more). Here, an inspector verifies a wheel in Parma, Italy, by tapping it with a hammer to gauge the texture inside.

THE WHERE

© 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP.

The cheese is made in and around the vibrant Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, known for its culture of high-quality dairy farming and home to Modena, Bologna, Parma and other great towns and cities for food.

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DELICACIES Your ultimate guide to destination dining

W

ELCOME TO DELICACIES, a new section of escapism dedicated to food and drink. We’ll be munching our way around some of the most far-flung places on the planet, getting stuck into weird and wonderful local cuisines and sacrificing our waistlines in order to tell you about it. In the pages that follow, you’ll find everything from a roundup of food-forward holiday ideas to a feature that takes a closer look at a destination’s dining scene. This month, we’re taking you all the way

from Berlin, Germany to the Maldives for a deep dive into the world’s best underwater restaurants, complete with stellar seafood and mind-blowing aquatic views. Elsewhere, we head to Florida, where the food scene is finally growing up – but with a uniquely and identifiably Miami twist. And on this page, we bring together food and travel in an image that gives delicious produce a sense of place. Here, you’re looking at a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which gets made in Parma, Italy. ◆


36 • DELICACIES • UNDERWATER RESTAURANTS

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ON THE MENU From a sustainably minded restaurant in Norway to a 14-seater dining room with aquatic views, add these to your must-visit list

UNDER, NORWAY This ambitious project in Baly, a remote village on Norway’s southern tip, is probably one of the most Scandi things we’ve seen. And we’ve seen a few. Housed in a 110ft-long concrete tube that extends 16ft below the water’s surface, Under is a seafood restaurant that dishes up locally sourced plates of cod, lobster and truffle kelp (yes, really) while giving you a unique insight into the area’s marine life thanks to a panoramic window. Wavey. under.no

ATRIUM, BERLIN

jumeirah.com

radissonhotels.com

AL MAHARA, DUBAI

SEA, MALDIVES SEA’s wine cellar is the first underwater wine cellar in the world. This makes more sense than you’d think – because the cellar is 6m below the surface, it maintains cooler temperatures that allow the wines to age slowly and more gracefully. You can sit in the cellar for a tasting with paired dishes, or go all out in the dining room with homemade pappardelle, potato-crusted sea bream and more. anantara.com

ITHAA, MALDIVES Ithaa is the original underwater restaurant, and it’s still one of the best. A dazzling jewel in the crown of the overtly luxurious Conrad Rangali resort, this 14-seat glass-walled dining room gives you a glimpse of an underwater world. And the food is excellent, too: fish is caught locally using pole and line and served simply with greens and potatoes. conradmaldives.com

(Under) IVAR KVAAL; (Ithaa) Alison Wright

Neither the walls dripping in gold nor the amount of caviar on the menu will let you forget you’re eating in one of the most luxurious hotels in the world when you dine at Al Mahara in the famed Burj Al Arab, Dubai. OK, so it’s not technically underwater (the dining room wraps around an enormous aquarium), but you definitely feel like you’re sat below the waves –and that’s all that matters, right? As you’d expect, the food revolves around fish and seafood, with wild turbot with truffle cream and parsley, and fromage frais with smoked eel radish and caviar just some of the dishes you can expect on the menu.

Arguably easier to reach than the far-flung shores of the Maldives, Atrium Bar at the Radisson Blu in Berlin makes for a more wallet-friendly underwater dining experience. ‘Underwater’ here is a technicality: you’ll sit below an absolutely enormous, 25m-high cylindrical aquarium while you eat. Travelling on your own? This is a great place to grab a bite – the tank holds 1,500 fish for you to goggle at, and the hotel is in the central CharlottenburgWilmersdorf district.


Bliss.

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Set sail with us and experience a cruise like no other. Unwind in The Sanctuary, our adults only luxury retreat. Relax in our world-renowned Lotus Spa, where you can choose a variety of treatments such as aroma stone therapy or detoxifying wraps. Wake-up refreshed in our award-winning Princess Luxury Bed for the ultimate nights rest.

Experience The Princess Difference at princess.com/unexpected


MIAMI, USA • DELICACIES • 39

[

DELICACIES

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PARTY FOOD

Eating out in Miami has moved from formal to fun thanks to a raft of neighbourhood markets and restaurants where the food is good, the music is loud, and spirits run high, says Lydia Winter

1896

The year Miami officially became a city

26°C

Average temperature in November

I zxvisual / Getty

N THE BATHWATER-WARM air of a December Miami evening, jazz pianist Robert Glasper works his magic on the keys, music filling a courtyard surrounded by palm trees all dressed up in fairy lights, casting their iconic silhouette against an inky sky. Soaking up the ambience with me is a small crowd of 500 or so other appreciators. But this isn’t just an intimate gig with a three-time Grammy Award-winning artist: in the corner blazes a neon sign, its red lines illuminating a Chinese lucky cat holding a phone, and in my hand I’m clutching a plate of delicately gelatinous

Do you believe in magic?: Miami’s nickname came when winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.

800

Art Deco buildings in Miami

handmade shrimp dumplings. Before this, I scarfed down a refreshing bowl of poké; after this I’m eyeing up dessert, likely to be matcha ice cream served in a fishshaped cone and garnished with a rainbow of mochi balls. Because rather than being in an underground club, I’m actually at 1-800-Lucky, an Asian street-food market. I head off in search of my next snack, going inside to where people are sitting eating and drinking, and queuing at the stalls of the market’s seven vendors. Many of these were tracked down in Asia by Lucky’s founders and brought to the Magic City to churn out authentic, >


> delicious food. There’s Hayato ramen from Japan, Cake Thai, inspired by Thai cuisine, Lotus + Cleaver, serving up Peking-style crispy duck, and more. 1-800-Lucky sits in Miami’s up-and-coming Wynwood district. Buildings here are adorned with graffiti, warehouses line the streets, and people drink and dance on the pavements to the point that cars can barely get through. It feels a little tatty, a little gritty, very creative, and, well, cool – think a tropical take on Peckham. But this is a very different type of cool to the one that Miami has long been known for. Until recently, Miami’s idea of cool revolved around the famous South Beach neighbourhood, with its Art Deco buildings and glamorous parties. Restaurants were stuffy, full of sommeliers and heavy on the service; nights out revolved around superclubs and EDM. Lucky flies in the face of this Miami stereotype. “It’s fun because it’s relaxed, casual, there’s not too many people between your food and you enjoying it. No service, no sommeliers,” 1-800-Lucky’s director of operations Ruben Paredes tells me against a backdrop of thumping music and locally brewed craft beer. But where Lucky really comes into its own is with its music. Alongside tonight’s appearance from Robert Glasper (specially booked to kick off Miami Design Week), the market has live music every week, and routinely hosts small gigs with the likes of LA-based rapper Dojacat, DJ Damaged Goods and others that see people dancing and dining until the small hours. “What we’re doing here is unique: we’re well-known for our nightlife. We get great DJs in from all over the world,” Paredes continues, clearly proud. If you’re looking for the face of modern Miami’s food scene, this is it: a marriage between world-class partying and excellent food. The model is similar to that of Coyo Taco, a group of Mexican taco joints that started out in Miami but

has now reached as far as Panama and Portugal, part of the same group as 1-800-Lucky. Head to the Wynwood restaurant for vibrant bites of slow-roasted pork shoulder with achiote and fluorescent-pink pickled onions, washed down with blood-orange margaritas, then make your way to the back of the restaurant, past the bathrooms and you’ll find another space: a mezcal and tequila bar,

Art and craft: Miami Beach is famed for its beautiful Art Deco architecture, most of which was built when the city was largely destroyed by a hurricane in 1926.

WYNWOOD FEELS A LITTLE TATTY, A LITTLE GRITTY, VERY CREATIVE AND, WELL, COOL – THINK A TROPICAL TAKE ON PECKHAM


MIAMI, USA • DELICACIES • 41

conveniently kitted out with a DJ booth. All this is playing a part in a wider renaissance in Miami’s food scene. “Nobody invested in Miami’s restaurant industry. There wasn’t a real movement of cooks or people who wanted to develop great bars. Everything was average,” says Paredes, who spent nine years working in hotels like the Mandarin Oriental. Over in North Bay Village, Anna Robbins, co-founder of 222 Taco agrees. “Miami is a baby city,” she says over a few glasses of Ilegal mezcal. “Finally chefs are coming here and opening up restaurants.” At 222, she’s kitted out the kitchen with a trompo, a special vertical rotisserie for slow cooking meat until it’s juicy and ready to be made into tacos al pastor. Her restaurant is cool and fun, all

low neon lights, dangerously strong margaritas and, on certain nights, pounding music. But for all these trendy new restaurants and craft breweries opening up, you can’t ignore Miami’s deeply entrenched multicultural heritage – and particularly its Latin and Cuban influences. No visit to the Magic City is complete without knocking back heart-attack-inducing cafecitos and scoffing croquetas and cubano sandwiches. Made with roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, a gherkin, light and fluffy Cuban bread, and served with tiny crispy bits of potato chips that you tuck inside for added crunch, these absolutely delicious lunch (or anytime, really) stalwarts are the stuff of legend, and for good reason. They’re so ubiquitous that, come lunchtime, the entire >

COMPARE THE MARKETS: [clockwise

from main] Sundrenched eating at 1-800-Lucky; a cubano sandwich; lunch at Stiltsville


42 • DELICACIES • MIAMI, USA

BEACH, PLEASE: Life

in Miami used to revolve around South Beach, but startups have started to set up on the mainland – bringing discerning hipsters with them

toasted brioche, and bayleaf and citrus-crusted fried chicken. It feels like a more stylish version of beachshack chic, with whitewashed wooden floors and a clawfooted bathtub filled with ice and topped with fresh fish. I come here for lunch, and afterwards head next door to rent a kayak. My friend and I paddle through the glittering water in search of manatees and million-dollar mansions. We stop for a break on an island, and before long more boats pitch up with people, beers and booming music. In Miami, it seems, wherever you go, the party will follow. ◆ Miami Culinary Tours runs food tours of Little Havana, £48. miamiculinarytours.com

MODERN MIAMI’S FOOD SCENE IS A MARRIAGE BETWEEN WORLD-CLASS PARTYING AND WORLD-CLASS FOOD

marchello74 / Getty

> neighbourhood smells of roast pork and Swiss cheese. Most restaurants have ventenitas – small grab ’n’ go windows, a bit like a drive-thru, but for pedestrians – for picking up guava pastelitos, which come in sweet (squareshaped), savoury (round-shaped) and sweet and savoury (triangular-shaped and stuffed with cheese and guava) varieties, and empanadas, which, with a Miami twist, are served with searingly hot chilli sauce. Like at 1-800-Lucky, music pours from every corner, and people dance past me in the streets. Little Havana feels like a world that exists in parallel to Wynwood, but elements of them both are the same: a life-loving attitude expressed through music, dancing and strong drinks. 222 Taco’s Robbins mentions one of the chefs to have woken up to Miami’s charms – and space for inventive cooking: Jeff McInnis of Stiltsville Fish Bar down in Sunset Harbour, previously of Root & Bone, New York. His sun-soaked restaurant is the place to eat vibrant plates of coconut shrimp, lobster rolls served in buttery


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Luxury English gin made in Surrey with 24 botanicals. Full bodied with delicate florals, fresh citrus and velvety local honey. Smooth, refined, refreshingly individual.

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[ INSIDER’S GUIDE ]

UNEXPECTED GREECE

In association with


UNEXPECTED GREECE • INSIDER’S GUIDE • 45

INSIDER’S GUIDE

it’s time to see another side to greece

LAKE KERKINI

METEORA

ARACHOVA

Greece: a country of breathtaking scenery, ancient history, whitewashed villages and rustling pines. But beyond these Grecian holiday hallmarks lies a world of culture, adventure and gastronomic experiences, all waiting to be discovered. Visit a bear sanctuary in Nymfaio, recognised by Unesco as one of the most picturesque villages in Europe, or get your fill of ancient legends with a steam train ride up the myth-shrouded Mt Pelion, the home of the centaurs. If you’re after something more active, rock climbing and white water rafting and other adventures abound. And, of course, the sundrenched beaches and sparkling blue sea will still be waiting when you’re done exploring – what more could you ask for? For more information on holidays to Greece, go to visitgreece.gr

Freeartist


greece: a taste of history Beyond Greece’s whitewashed villages lies a whole world of history, natural beauty and culture that’s just ripe for exploring. Here are just a few of the under-the-radar activities you could get up to... Most of us will be familiar with the stereotypical Greek island setting, with traditional stone buildings glowing against an azure sky. And while this beautiful backdrop is well loved for a reason, there’s a whole different side to this ancient, mythical land that you might not have seen yet. Take, for example, the mountain village of Nymfaio on Mount Vernon, in West

Macedonia. Not only is it recognised by Unesco as one of the most picturesque villages in Europe for its stone houses and cobbled paths surrounded by beech forest, it’s also the home of the Arcturos Environmental Sanctuary. The sanctuary is working to solve the continuing problem of bear and wolf imprisonment, and ex-captive bears live in a fenced area that imitates their

natural habitat. Elsewhere, there’s a lake for laid-back boat rides, and in winter, the snow-covered village develops a magical air. In short, no matter when you visit, Nymfaio is like a village from a fairytale. For another wildlife wonderland, visit the wetlands at Lake Kerkini, one of Europe’s top bird watching destinations. Home to 300 species of bird, this is the place to


UNEXPECTED GREECE • INSIDER’S GUIDE • 47

INSIDER’S GUIDE

BETTER LAKE THAN NEVER: [clockwise from main] The underground lake at Melissani Cave; the fairytale village of Nymfaio; the Pelion steam train

[lake] 2015 Dionysis Kouris; [village] L. Hapsis]; [train] Yannis Skoulas

spot protected species like the pelican and the pygmy cormorant. For a more active adventure, head out on a bike or by boat and you might just be lucky enough to spot flamingos and water buffalos. If you’re more about myth and legend, head out on a steam train up the slopes of Mt Pelion, home of the centaurs. After a breathtaking journey you’ll find the town of

Milies, filled with guesthouses and taverns. Out on the islands, head to Melissani Cave on Kefalonia for a day of stunning natural beauty. Not only is this underground lake a unique geological phenomenon, but its beauty is such that it was an ancient place of worship dedicated to the god Pan and the nymph Melissani, who committed suicide and fell into the lake because Pan didn’t

visit the petrified forest of lesvos and you’ll get an insight into 20 million years of history

return her love. Take to the water with a guided boat tour and you’ll see the ruins of Pan’s sanctuary on a tiny islet. Over on the island of Lesvos is the Petrified Forest, a unique natural monument. Here, intense volcanic eruptions millions of years ago covered a section of woodland, preserving the trees all the way from their roots to their fruit, leaves and seeds. You’ll see hundreds of standing and fallen red, yellow and black conifer tree trunks, including the tallest petrified tree in Europe. A visit here is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get an insight into 20 million years of history. And for an island that offers leisurely walks through pine forests, olive groves and orchards and a rich tapestry of history, look no further than Alonissos. It’s home to the National Marine Park of the Sporades, the place to spot Mediterranean monk seals, rare seabirds and dolphins. As you’d expect from such a beautiful Greek island, it’s surrounded by crystal-clear waters that are perfect for cruising. Head out on a boat trip that’ll take you to the neolithically inhabited stalactite cave that was home to Homer’s Cyclops and the romantically remote and deserted island of Psathoura. If all that’s whet your appetite for more under-the-radar Greek culture, make sure you track down some utterly delicious fouskakia donuts, cheese pie and fresh local figs with honey. ◆


a piece of the action Whether you want to climb to an ancient monastery or stroll along herb-lined paths, Greece is the place to find all the adventure you could hope for

OK, so you’ve eaten the freshest fish in beachside tavernas, you’ve swum in sparkling blue sea, and you’ve soaked up thousands of years of ancient history. But there’s heaps more to explore in Greece – especially when it comes to action and adventure. Sure, you could sunbathe; but did you know you can ski? And you know you can snorkel, but what about rock climbing to an ancient monastery? No matter what type of adventure you’re after, you’ll find it in Greece. Here are some ideas...

Walking trails on Andros and Tinos Let’s start with something gentle: walking along old mountain paths lined with fragrant herbs. Particularly of note is the island of Andros, which has more than 25 hiking trails that’ll take you past old bridges, watermills, waterfalls and lush valleys, with routes that are suitable for both expert and novice adventurers. Over on Tinos, you can meander along cobblestone paths through traditional villages and past chapels and shrines, for a true glimpse of rural Greek life.

Go trekking in Samaria gorge For a hike that’ll get your heart racing you’ll want to head to Samariá gorge on the island of Crete. At 16km in length, it’s the longest gorge in Europe, and descends for about 1,200 metres. Grab your hiking boots and prepare for a challenge on this six-to-eight

ON THE ROCKS: [clockwise from main] Ancient monasteries sit on top of Metéora’s rocks; rock climbing at Kalymnos; skiing at Aráchova


UNEXPECTED GREECE • INSIDER’S GUIDE • 49

INSIDER’S GUIDE

trade indoor climbing walls for climbing with sea views on the island of kalymnos hour walk – but all the effort is worth it, because at the end of the path lies wild swiming, delicious lunches at tiny tavernas or picnics with panoramic views over the Mediterranean sea. White water rafting in Vikos gorge Take in Greece from a totally different perspective by going white water rafting down the Voidomatis River in Vikos gorge in northern Greece. You’ll meet at Aristi bridge near the traditional village of Aristi, right in the middle of the Vikos-Aoos National Park, before setting off on a 5km route downstream that’ll take you past verdant greenery, small waterfalls and picturesque stone bridges. Roughly halfway through your journey, you’ll come to the abandoned 16th century Agioi Anargyroi monastery, where the rock caves were once used as monk retreats. And on the final leg, you’ll pass underneath the gorgeous single-arch Kato Kleidonia – and go for a dip in the water to bring the experience to an unforgettable close. [Metéora] visitmeteora.travel;[climbing] Municipality of Kalymnos; [skiing] GNTO/D. Rozaki

Rock climbing in Kalymnos Trade sweaty indoor climbing walls for climbing with jaw-dropping views of the open sea in Kalymnos, a small island in the southeastern Dodecanese archipelago. The isle started to garner attention from climbers in the mid-1990s who came in search of giant cliffs and beach ambience, and now there are 77 climbing routes and it’s one of the most important climbing destinations in the world. There’s already a strong offering of challenging rock formations to try your hand at – but only 10% of the area has been explored, which means there’s an opportunity to discover new routes, too. There’s even the world-famous Kalymnos Climbing Festival, which brings climbers together here once every two years. But beyond the world-class climbing, the island of Kalymnos makes for an ideal holiday destination in its own right, with endless sunshine and small towns and

villages peppering the rolling countryside. It’s also the place to go trekking, gently amble along walking trails, get rough and ready with mountain bike climbing, go diving in the perfectly clear water or just cool off with a refreshing dip in the Aegean. Go skiing at Aráchova For a completely different Greek escape, head to the mountain village of Aráchova in winter. Nestled at the foot of Mt Parnassós in southern Greece, this traditional village boasts a modern ski resort, where you can ski, snowboard, take part in many other winter sports, or head out on a tour of the mountain by Jeep or mountain bike. If you’re getting hungry, local delicacies abound: hilopites, linguine-like egg noodles; kontosoúvli, big chunks of rotisserie pork;

Plan your visit All this adventure got you dreaming of your next holiday? You’ll find all the adventure you imagined – and some you didn’t – in Greece. For more info, go to visitgreece.gr

sarmádes, stuffed vine leaves; and more. Then there’s plenty of first-rate accommodation ranging from guest houses to luxury hotels, as well as a strong local tradition of textiles and woodwork, so you’ll be able to find that perfect holiday souvenir. And if that weren’t enough, you’re close to Athens’ nightlife, too. Climb to an ancient monastery at Metéora You could walk up the rock steps or take the cable car to Metéora’s historic monasteries. But if you like adventure, don’t miss the chance to climb. These Unesco World Heritage holy sites sit on top of 400m-high stone pinnacles, commanding breathtaking views over the landscape. Metéora is one of Christianity’s holiest places – of the 30 religious communities that were here, today only six remain, making this an even more unique experience. Whether you’re here for a spiritual journey or to take in the landscape, Metéora makes for an experience you’ll never forget. ◆


Flung out halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is a wilderness archipelago of polar-bear-dotted glaciers, dramatic coastlines and historic frontier settlements. For the best in high-Arctic adventure, book with the experts at Best Served Scandinavia.

NORTHERN LIGHTS IN SVALBARD

SVALBARD SUMMER ADVENTURE

This is the ultimate Arctic experience. Alongside a stay in Svalbard’s most luxurious accommodation, you’ll hunt for the Northern Lights in an all-terrain ‘snowcat’ and enjoy a wilderness evening with drinks and dinner at a remote camp. There’s also the option for everything from snowmobiling and snow-shoeing to dogsledding and ice-caving.

Come summer, Svalbard opens up. Iceberg-studded fjords bring you between walrus colonies and historic Russian outposts while, back on land, there’s everything from glacier hikes to fossil hunts and wheeled dog sledding. Each night you’ll be treated to the ethereal Midnight Sun and the open fires of your hand-picked accommodation.

›› PRICES FROM £1,025 pp incl. return flights, 3 nights B&B at Funken Lodge, Northern Lights snowcat excursion & evening at Camp Barentz incl. dinner & wine/beer.

›› PRICES FROM £1,070 pp incl. return flights, 3 nights B&B at the Radisson Blu Polar & dog sledding on wheels excursion in the Adventvalley.

020 7664 2248 | best-served.co.uk Prices correct at the time of going to print and are subject to availability. ATOL Protected.


EXPERIENCES

Affordable skiing in Georgia, p60

60 64

52 ◆ Ski & Snowboard Special Gudauri, Georgia ◆ Friends in High Places Cartagena, Colombia ◆ Two Sides to Every Story 71 ◆ Porto, Portugal ◆ City Guide ◆


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GET THIS SNOW ON THE ROAD Ski and snowboard season is upon us once again. But don’t get caught short – from places you can ski in July to how to get your very own ski butler, let us guide you through all the resorts and holidays you need to know about this year

21 runs

On Mount Parnassos, Greece

T

1,346m

Altitude of Strbske Pleso lake, Slovakia

EMPERATURES ARE DROPPING, nights are drawing in and there’s a very special season on the horizon. No, we’re not talking about Christmas – we’re talking about snow. But no matter how eager you are to get out on the slopes, there’s an absolutely baffling array of choice to get your head around. This year, we’ve done the hard work for you and scoured the globe to bring you a list of resorts and holiday ideas to put at the top of your priority list. Whether you’re travelling with your family, you want to go somewhere completely different, or don’t even want to ski at all, we’ve got you covered... >

305ha

Skiable ground in Tremblant, Canada

Words by ESCAPISM TEAM

Bradford White

RAISING HELI: These skiers have reached this untouched slope in Alberta by helicopter – which, if you ask us, is a pretty baller move


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BEST FOR... THE UNEXPECTED ESCAPE THE CROWDS IN HIROSHIMA, JAPAN

Thanks to the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics, Japan is the current it destination in sports tourism. Throw in a Geihoku Kokusai is legendary ski scene one of the largest ski resorts in western and you’ve got a Japan and gets country that’s hard some of the best to resist. But skip snow in the area. It’s only an hour the famed powder and a half from of Niseko and go Hiroshima City, too. off-piste (geddit?) at Geihoku in the Hiroshima prefecture. It’s got 10km of slopes, five lifts and is easily reached thanks to its proximity to Hiroshima City. NEED TO KNOW: Stay at Geihoku Hiland Hotel from £95pn. geihoku-hotel.jp; Japan Airlines flies from Heathrow to Hiroshima via Tokyo from £604 return. jal.co.jp

HIT THE SLOPES IN SUMMER IN SQUAW ALPINE, CALIFORNIA

Next summer, swap swimmers for snow at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows near Lake Tahoe. No, we’re not joking – the California resort had a record-breaking 2018-19 snowfall season that closed on 7 July, and eight metres of snow in February alone. But there’s plenty of reasons to visit whether you go in summer or not: a high-speed quad chairlift that’ll take you to the piste faster than you can say “après-ski”; a 1970s-style bar in a restored tram car; and more besides. NEED TO KNOW: Ski Solutions offers seven nights at The Village at Squaw from £1,215pp including flights. skisolutions.com

COMBINE SNOW AND ANCIENT HISTORY IN GREECE

Ancient history at the Acropolis; buzzing nightlife in Athens; beaches and calamari on the islands; and, er, skiing. Is there a holiday that Greece can’t do? While the country is better known for its sun-drenched islands, 80% of Greece is mountainous, with its most popular peak Mount Parnassus measuring in at a lofty 2,260m – and easily reached from Athens. What’s more, the slopes are muchloved by Greeks, but not so well-known

elsewhere, which means more space for you to carve to your heart’s content. NEED TO KNOW: Stay at Domotel Anemolia Mountain Resort, Aráchova from £73pn. anemolia-resort.gr; Aegean Airlines flies from Heathrow to Athens from £140 return. aegeanair.com

BEST FOR... NON-SKIERS TAKE THINGS SLOW IN ST MARTIN DE BELLEVILLE, FRANCE This picturesque village offers a tranquil

contrast to the livelier resorts found elsewhere in Les 3 Vallées. Renovated Savoie farmhouses sit side-by-side with cosy bars serving up brandy-laced coffee and shots of génépi, a gently floral alpine spirit made from mountain herbs. St Martin’s small size makes it a good base for non-skiers – you’ll get chatting to locals in no time and everywhere is easy to reach on foot. Arrange a guided snowshoe walking tour through the vast forest trails nearby; as they’re in the opposite direction to the slopes it’s highly likely you’ll be the first person to set foot on the pristine powder in days. Afterwards, head back down to the new Lys outdoor


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spa, where you can appreciate the mountain setting from one of the five hot tubs. NEED TO KNOW: Peak Retreats offers seven nights self-catered at Chalets Caseblanche from £629pp including self-drive Eurotunnel crossing. peakretreats.co.uk

DRINK WINE ON THE SLOPES AT WEIN AM BERG FESTIVAL, AUSTRIA Snow-covered slopes aren’t just for skiing,

SNOW BUSINESS: [clockwise from main] Making the most of the snow in Zermatt, Switzerland; Squaw Alpine, California; ski and sail in Lofoten, Norway

y’know. Head to Solden, Austria, in April and you’ll find the pistes given up in favour of three days of drinking wine and eating food. From high-altitude wine tastings to a Big Bottle Party that serves, erm, big bottles, Wein am Berg – hosted by ice Q bar and the sleekly luxurious hotel Das Central – brings together international chefs, winegrowers and unparalleled mountain views. We’ll raise a few glasses to that. NEED TO KNOW: Stay at Das Central Hotel from £178pppn on a half-board basis. centralsoelden.com; Austrian Airlines flies from Heathrow to Innsbruck via Vienna from £146 return. austrian.com

GO SNOWSHOEING IN THE CATALAN PYRENEES, SPAIN

Swerve the skiing completely and book in for an entirely different kind of snow holiday. The peaks and valleys of the Catalan Pyrenees provide a dramatic backdrop on this seven-night walking tour that begins in the picturesque village of Rialp, on the banks of the Noguera Pallaresa river. You’ll spend your mornings snowshoeing through the wild Parc d' Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici (good luck saying that all in one go) and your afternoons sampling local cheese, tasting local wines and visiting Romanesque villages. Simply delightful. >

(squaw) Jeff Engerbretson; (zermatt) Pascal Gertschen


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> NEED TO KNOW: Exodus offers seven-night itineraries from £1,429pp including flights. exodus.co.uk

BEST FOR... FAMILIES GO SOMEWHERE (SLIGHTLY) MORE AFFORABLE IN SLOVAKIA

With marmots and mountain goats, glacial lakes and waterfalls, and outrageous views, Slovakia’s Tatras National Park has all the staples of a family-friendly adventure in the great outdoors. Take the mountain tram up to Strbske Pleso, the Tatras’ highest The stunning Tatras village, then head Mountains, or High Tatras, are made out on a snowshoe up of about 300 adventure through peaks that extend pine forests or explore for roughly 40 miles along the the Tatras’ hillside Slovakian-Polish meadows, caves and border. rock formations by dogsled. As for the skiing itself, the area has the longest season in Slovakia – at an altitude of 1,346m, the glacial lake at Strbske Pleso is frozen for almost half the year – the slopes are great for both novice and experienced skiers and it’s a tad cheaper than much of the rest of Europe. NEED TO KNOW: Families Worldwide offers seven nights B&B accomodation from £1,099 per adult and £1,059 per child. familiesworldwide.co.uk; Wizz Air flies from Luton to Slovakia from £33 return. wizzair.com

GET AWAY FROM YOUR KIDS IN SOUTH TYROL, ITALY

AT AN ALTITUDE OF 1,346M, THE GLACIAL LAKE AT STRBSKE PLESO, SLOVAKIA, IS FROZEN FOR ALMOST HALF THE YEAR

KEEP LITTLE ONES ENTERTAINED IN TREMBLANT, CANADA

Look to Tremblant, Canada, just a short transfer from Montreal, and you’ll get all the main selling points of a Canadian ski holiday – reliable snow and big mountain skiing – but without the West Coast flight times. The village is bright, colourful and ideal for entertaining younger family members, while the slopes are wide and brilliant for beginners. Elsewhere, there’s ice skating, tubing, an indoor pool complex and the Mont Tremblant Activity Centre with zip lines and a high-rope course. And, as this is Quebec, you’ll also get a soupçon of French charm in the form of creperies and the Chocolaterie chocolate shop – perfect for refueling tired legs after a day on the piste. NEED TO KNOW: From £897 per person, including flights, free first tracks and ice skate hire for kids. crystalski.co.uk >

(St Martin) Gilles Lansard; (Solden) Rudi Wyhlidal

Book in for a stay at Sonnwies in South Tyrol, Italy, and you’ll have access to 70 blissful hours of free childcare. But if you don’t want to be without your little ones, Sonnwies is a one-stop shop for a family-friendly holiday: outdoor adventures range from building snowmen to tobogganing; there’s a weekly

programme of activities that include cooking classes, arts and craft and looking after animals on the farm; and there are three children’s pools, including one that’s heated and outdoor. Leave them to frolic while you kick back and relax in the adults-only spa. NEED TO KNOW: Stay at Sonnwies from £338pn based on two adults and two children sharing on an all-inclusive meal basis. Ski hire and lessons from the on-site instructors are available at an extra cost. sonnwies.com; easyJet flies from Gatwick to Innsbruck from £188 return. easyjet.com


P R OT E S T. E U


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BEST FOR... LUXURY SAIL AND SKI IN THE LOFOTEN ARCHIPELAGO, NORWAY

Why merely go on a skiing holiday when you can go on a skiing and sailing holiday in one? Borrow A Boat (think AirBnb, but for boats) has just launched a new Ski & Sail Adventure in the remote Lofoten archipelago in Norway. The eight-night itinerary will see you explore the outrageously beautiful alpine scenery onboard a 50ft boat, but when you’re not gawping at them from the sea you’ll be able to carve your way down 700-1,000m descents that end on Nordic beaches, making them only accessible from the water. NEED TO KNOW: £1,825 per person. borrowaboat.com; Ryanair flies from Stansted

FLIGHT OF FANCY: If you're looking to literally take your winter holiday to the next level this year, try heli-skiing in Alberta, Canada with CMH

WITH BORROW A BOAT, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO SKI DOWN DESCENTS THAT ARE ONLY ACCESSIBLE FROM THE WATER to Oslo from £33 return. ryanair.com

GO HELI-SKIING IN ALBERTA, CANADA

If you’re going to go on an adventure as epic as heli-skiing, you might as well do it properly. Go to British Columbia with CMH and you’ll get unfettered access to three million acres of skiable terrain. That’s a whopping 20 times larger than all North American ski resorts combined, and most of the time it’s completely untouched snow, as the helicopter gives you access to areas other people just can’t reach. NEED TO KNOW: Heli-ski packages start from £4,425 for five days. cmhheli.com; WestJet flies from Gatwick to Banff from £337 return. westjet.com

SKI IN THE LAP OF LUXURY IN SWITZERLAND

Stay at The Chedi Andermatt and you’ll have your very own ski butler. What's that, you ask? Well, your butler can give you tips about the best free riding spots in the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun, and will even drop you off at the valley stations and pick you up again after you’ve worn yourself making the most of the area’s 120km of skiiable terrain. Then, of course, comes the accommodation itself: think fur, velvet and stained wood with sleek Asian accents – and access to the hotel’s six restaurants and bars. NEED TO KNOW: Stay at The Chedi Andermatt from £650pn. thechediandermatt. com; easyJet flies from Gatwick to Milan Malpensa from £45 return. easyjet.com ◆


24-27 OCTOBER 2019 BAT T E R SE A EVOLU T ION

THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING

LINE-UP INCLUDES: M O U N T B AT T E R S E A I C E S K AT I N G CURLING LIVE MUSIC S K AT E B OA R D I N G APRES SKI BOOT FITTING WOR L D R E SORT S W I N T E R S P O RT S R ETA I L E R S AND MUCH MORE B O O K T I C K ET S N OW AT S K IA N D S N OW B OA R D.C O.U K


GUDAURI, GEORGIA • EXPERIENCES • 61

Words by SAM HADDAD

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FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES Gudauri’s peaks may be covered in snow, but the welcome at Georgia’s premier ski resort couldn’t be warmer, with a crowd of locals and visitors from all over the world making this a winter sports break that’s packed with cultural discovery, too

4 hrs 50 Flight time from London

-2°C

Average temp in November

64km

of ski runs in Gudauri

GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Consider Gudauri for your next winter sports adventure – the slopes are uncrowded, snow is light and dry, and lifts run up to 3,726ft

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HE POLICEMAN STANDING next to the chairlift is definitely not amused. He doesn’t want to share a selfie, a fist bump or even make eye contact with our group of excitable British skiers and snowboarders who are high on the incongruity of finding law enforcement on a ski slope, but also a little thrown to encounter our first aloof local. Because so far, everyone we’ve met in Georgia, including usually surly types such as airport baggage handlers and teenage skateboarders, has been super-friendly and full of chat. We’re in Gudauri, the country’s premier ski resort, set on a plateau high in the Greater Caucasus mountains not that far from the Russian border, with absolutely stunning white peaks all around. Our guide >


THERE ARE FAMILIES FROM DUBAI WHO COME NOT TO SKI, BUT TO SEE SNOW FOR THE FIRST TIME, PURE DELIGHT SHINING IN THEIR EYES > later tells us that the police are there to stop drunken skiing, which we don’t witness at all – or at least nothing approaching Austrian après-ski standards. But perhaps such measures are prudent given that the booze comes cheap and neat here in the form of chacha, Georgia’s grapebased version of vodka, which costs 80p a shot and burns your throat and senses in ways that are not entirely unpleasant. The country also has an ancient tradition of viticulture, producing incredibly flavoursome

organic wine at around £1 a glass that’s often made in amphorae, large terracotta pots which are stored underground. Gudauri scores well on all the things you’d expect from your usual ski trip. It’s not vast, but it has a good piste network for all ability levels with well-maintained, uncrowded slopes, jaw-dropping panoramic views and lovely, light dry snow. Conditions are helped by the high altitude, with lifts running up to 3,276m, higher than most resorts in the Alps, and there’s plenty of technical off-piste

terrain and even heli-skiing opportunities for more advanced skiers and snowboarders. But there are also subtle differences to skiing here. The outdoor stalls selling sheepskin shepherd’s hats, brightly coloured knitted socks, and bunches of churchkhela, a candle-shaped sweet made from nuts and concentrated grape juice, the wild dogs barking at the bottom of the chairlifts, and the groups of families from Dubai, who come wearing regular clothes not to ski but to see snow for the first time. Pure delight shining in their eyes as they step off the lift. They are part of an eclectic visitor mix here, which also feels unique, helped by Georgia’s Central Eurasian location and the government’s decision to subsidise flights to encourage tourism. They are especially keen to boost skiing and snowboarding in a


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country that is 66% high mountain territory. Gudauri is the flagship resort, followed by Bakuriani, which will host the World Ski and Snowboard Championships in 2023, and Goderdzi, an emerging resort in the Adjara near the Black Sea, while Tetnuldi in the You have to fly into breathtaking Unesco Georgia’s vibrant capital city to reach heritage Svaneti Gudauri, but don’t region in the north just pass through – has long attracted spend a couple of days exploring its adventurous skiers eclectic architecture and snowboarders. and history. In Gudauri we meet local families from the capital Tbilisi, two hours’ away, as well as North American expats based in the Middle East, Norwegian, German, Latvian, and Spanish skiers, plus hip young snowboarders from Russia and the Ukraine who are wearing all the latest kit. The growth of ski tourism in Georgia nearly stalled last year when footage of a Gudauri chairlift running wildly backwards went viral. A rigorous investigation by the Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr found the cause to be a freak human error, but additional safety training and lift checks were ordered anyway to put minds at rest and safeguard the future of the industry. We found the lifts modern and efficient during our trip, and the prices very reasonable – a day pass here costs just £12 compared to around £55 in Val d’Isere. It’s perhaps not surprising that investment in Gudauri has brought with it internationally themed cuisine including an alpine hut on the mountain that serves raclette and charcuterie and a burger spot at ‘New Gudauri’, a new base village complex, modelled on North American ski resorts. But we were only interested in Georgian food, which seems to be having a global moment right now. It was named “cuisine of the year” for 2019 by US hospitality-trend forecaster af&co and called “the next big thing” by The New Yorker, while Danish chef René Redzepi described it as “one of the last great undiscovered food cultures of Europe”. Georgian food is also astonishingly good for vegetarians, which is the opposite of my usual experience in former Soviet bloc countries, and not in the typical tofu and falafel sense. Instead these were original dishes I’d never encountered before.

During our time in Gudauri and later in the atmospheric east-meets-west capital Tbilisi – a photogenic city somehow etched into the side of a cliff – we feasted and then some. We gorged on khachapuri, the delicious hot cheese-filled bread, sometimes topped with an egg, that has been tagged more than 43,000 times on Instagram. We had tasty khinkali dumplings made with mushroom; lobio, a rich soup made with fava beans and served with cornbread; lobiani, fava beanfilled bread; pkhali, a spinach and walnut dip; and excellent badrijani nigvzit, fried aubergines rolled with a spiced walnut and garlic paste and topped with pomegranate. None of the dishes cost more than £2, all of them were tasty, local, naturally produced and served in abundance. Georgians seem to eat out a lot in large groups, with frequent and often quite poetic

toasting with wine a massive part of the dining experience. We heard toasts for the memories of the lost ones, toasts for the circle of life, for the parents, for the children, for the land, for the future, for the quest… And, of course, we added our own. To Georgia, for the welcome, the wine, the food, the snow, and for gifting us with a truly original ski and city break holiday that we’ll never forget, and will no doubt return to, especially as it’s just four and a half hours’ flight from London. Though next time we promise to leave the police in peace. ◆ Georgian Airways flies from Gatwick to Tbilisi from £290 return. georgian-airways.com; Stay at the Marco Polo in Gudauri from £48pn; marcopolo.ge; stay at Rooms Hotel in Tbilisi from £102pn. roomshotels.com/tbilisi; For more information on skiing and snowboarding in Gudauri, visit mrg.gov.ge


CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA • EXPERIENCES • 65

Words by ROB CROSSAN OSTILL is Franck Camhi / shutterstock

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TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY Romantic old town charm meets sleek new-build skyscrapers in Colombia’s elegant port city of Cartagena, and nestled in the middle of it all is Getsemani, a colourful and charismatic neighbourhood with its own tales to tell…

15 hrs

Flight time from London

29°C

Average temp in November

971,592

Population of Cartagena

BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL: In recent years, the colourful Getsemaní neighbourhood has been the focus of Cartagena’s gentrification

M

OST PEOPLE WHO win the Nobel Prize for Literature don’t grow up in places like this I don’t think.” So says Jorge, a whippet-thin Colombian with a penchant for expensive sneakers and an almost supernatural ability to eat chicharrón – hot pork scratchings – for the majority of the day without putting on even an ounce of weight. Jorge’s ideals of where an internationally renowned writer should live tally with my own. As dusk awakens the Getsemani neighbourhood of Cartagena from its heatsmothered slumbers, we swap tales of Upper East Side brownstones, Malibu beach houses and several other fantasy residencies we would covert, should either of us have had even a syllable of the talent of Gabriel García Márquez. >


> “Yes, this was his home,” Jorge repeats as we duck into a sodium-lit corner shop where, behind racks of potato chips, bleach and corned beef, foaming glasses of lager are being drawn from a hand pump by the giggling, saucer-eyed eight year old daughter of the proprietor. “He was a journalist in this town before he went to conquer the world.” Drugs, terrorism, kidnap negotiations and, of course, Pablo Escobar. These are the most common word associations that still, to the colossal irritation of locals, define Colombia to the outside world.

Yet, just as Gabriel García Márquez’s works of fiction through the second half of the 20th century were beautiful evidence of the prodigious talent of Colombia, so his home of Getsemani, and Cartagena,

provide infinitely lesser-known evidence that there are parts of this vast Latin nation that avoided the carnage of the years of insurrection between the government and the communist FARC guerrilla group.

WITH ITS ANCIENT AND MODERN CENTRES, THIS IS A CITY THAT THINKS, FEELS, DANCES AND EATS IN UTTERLY OPPOSING MANNERS


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DESIGN DISTRICT: [left and top] Colonial architecture and colourful buildings define Getsemaní; [above] traditional fried plantain

[main]) Mariano Luis Fraga/shutterstock; [street] Gary C. Tognoni/shutterstock; [plantain] nehopelon/Alamy Stock

With a Miami-esque ‘new town’ of sleek high rises, marinas and beach jutting out from the walled Spanish-era Old Town, this is a city that never experienced the violence that plagued Colombia for so many decades. Feeling every bit as Caribbean as it does Latin, this is a city which, with its ancient and modern centres, thinks, feels, dances and eats in two utterly opposing manners. “Like two brothers that have nothing in common but have to live together,” is how Jorge describes Cartagena to me. The Getsemani quarter of the Old City

exudes a quite absurd This isn’t the only level of high charisma place in Getsemani serving fresh takes with its warren of on traditional dishes sagging telegraph – head to fellow poles, street-food newcomer Celele for cutting edge vendors, crumbling Columbianchurches and pastelCaribbean cuisine. painted cottages. These were the lanes and plazas where a young Marquez began listening to and chronicling the far-fetched stories, localised myths and wealth of the eccentric, devious and saintly characters who would play cards on street corners, doze on sun-baked benches and drink rum in corner bars until the early hours. He would eventually morph all this into the fictional Amazonian jungle settlement; Macondo, a place full of ‘the snipping of

the moths in the clothes closets and the devastating noise of the enormous red ants’ that was the setting for One Hundred Years of Solitude, considered to be the greatest Latin novel ever written by almost anyone who has ever cracked its sizable paperback spine. After decades of near total stasis, the young, creative, professional classes of Cartagena have noticed Getsemani’s considerable appeal. The churches are still full-to-bursting on Sunday evenings and the street food vendors still sell dirt-cheap carimañola (yuca, beef and fried cheese) and patacon (plantain fried with cheese) to the descendants of families whose ties with Getsemani go back more than a century. Yet alongside all this are a burgeoning range of newcomers such as Cháchara – a restaurant all but smothered in foliage, offering up high-end Colombian comfort food with a frontage covered in childlike cut-outs of houses filled with human figures neatly torn from discarded newspapers. It’s a piece of surreal public art by legendary Brazilian artist Mr Bel Borba, known as >


68 • EXPERIENCES • CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

> the pied piper of South American street art thanks to his endless peripatetic wanderings across the continent. Vintage and modern fuse together perfectly at the Bazurto Social Club on Avenida del Centenario; a magical realist explosion of purple, yellow and blue bar stools, walls and murals. The centrepiece is a lifesize cut-out figure of Antonio Cervantes, aka Kid Pambelé, a local pugilist who, half a century ago, was twice crowned world junior welterweight champion. The former house band at this raucous joint, the Bazurto All Stars, are now major national stars, while this is the best place around to hear some live champeta grooves, the genre name of the ferocious and funky Afro-Colombian music that aficionados nickname ‘Colombian therapy’. Exhausted from attempting to keep up with the scatter-shot ping-pong rhythms

BACK ON THE STREETS: Getsemaní’s streets have long been home to raucous locals, enigmatic street vendor, bohemian artists – and authors

late one Thursday night, I decide to leave the club and walk back along the now more subdued lanes of Getsemani. Perhaps no longer a locals-only secret, this is a quarter of a legendary city that’s still – blissfully – a long way from Brooklyn or Brixton-type full-scale gentrification. Walking past candle-lit tables and couples swapping kisses outside the crumbling brick walls of stylish Demente bar on Plaza de Trinidad, I spot a discarded copy of El Universal lying on a bench. This was the newspaper that Don’t bypass the Marquez worked opportunity to look into the history for as a cub reporter of Cartagena during his time in while you’re there. Cartagena in the late Officially founded in 1533, the city is 1940s. Still an integral steeped in tales of part of city life, the pirates and gold. newspaper is a slick production nowadays; a different beast to the one where the 20th century’s greatest Latin novelist learnt how to deal with deadlines, dead ends and edits. As I read the smudged pages, I realise

within moments that my eyes are fixed on the wrong place. To my left, two elderly men in battered fedora hats squabble over whose turn it is to pay the bar bill. Removing his hat, one of the men produces an egg which he shows to the other man, maybe as a peace offering, or maybe as a threat. Ahead of me, underneath a street light, a couple begin to dance a slow rhumba together to a soundtrack of absolutely nothing at all, while on the other side of the plaza, a priest dashes into a doorway, his white cassock rippling like a tidal wave against the frayed brickwork. “All of my books have loose threads of Cartagena in them,” García Márquez once said in an interview. “And, with time, when I have to call up memories, I always bring back an incident from Cartagena, a place in Cartagena, a character in Cartagena.” Newspapers are all very well. But, as Márquez quickly discovered in Cartagena, the best stories happen when imagination and a dose of magic are allowed to roam free. ◆ KLM flies from Heathrow to Cartagena from £1,105 return. For info, see klm.com

Franck Camhi / shutterstock


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DiscoverDominica

www.DiscoverDominica.com


PORTO, PORTUGAL • EXPERIENCES • 71

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DOURO REALLY LIKE IT Port may be one of Portugal’s most famous exports, but reasons to visit the city it’s named after extend far beyond wine tasting. Head to Porto for beautiful architecture, rich history, local beers and a forward-thinking food scene

2 hrs 20 Flight time from London

13°C

Average temp in November

PRECIOUS CARGO: Porto’s wine-carrying ‘barcos’ sail down the River Douro as dawn breaks. In the background is the famous double-decker Luís Bridge

270,000

people live in Porto

Michele Falzone/Getty


WHAT TO DO WALK THE LUIS BRIDGE

Cross the double-decker Luís Bridge from Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia for amazing views of the surrounding area, plus a deep-dive into the city’s history. Designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1886 a year before his career-defining work on the Eiffel Tower, it’s named after the then-king of Portugal Luís I. Soak in the views or swerve if you’re scared of heights; it’s a staggering 190ft above the River Douro below.

VISIT THE DOURO VALLEY

If you can spare a whole day, a trip to the bucolic Douro Valley is a great way to learn about port. You’ll find plenty of operators offering packages that take you around the area, but you can also arrange to visit specific wineries like the historic (and utterly gorgeous) Quinta do Bomfim estate [from £22]. But if you’re only here for a flying visit, book yourself for a tour at the Graham’s lodge [from £10] in the city instead – and make sure you eat at its absolutely stellar restaurant Vinum, too. symington.com

LEARN TO MAKE SOAP

Alongside port, Porto is also famous for soap. But these beautiful bars aren’t like the slimy lumps you’ve got lurking in your shower; nay, these are lovingly hand crafted, floral-scented chunks of fragrant heaven. Claus Porto is one of the city’s most famous, longest-standing soap emporiums, and now you can even concoct your own creations, whether you want to make soap, perfume, or recreate one of the shop’s iconic printed wrappings. It’s time to lather up. clausporto.com


PORTO, PORTUGAL • EXPERIENCES • 73

wayfarerlife photography / Getty

GETTING THERE Ryanair flies from Stansted to Porto from £32 return. For more information and to book, visit ryanair.com


WHERE TO EAT Enter this taproom and beer garden by Portuguese brewer Letra and you’ll be greeted by 16 taps of new-school Portuguese beers ranging from fruit-infused IPAs to red ales and sours. But head downstairs and it opens up into a beer garden that feels like an oasis. There’s another bar there, too, so you don’t have to navigate the stairs clutching your pint. R. da Alegria 101; cervejaletra.pt

If it’s street food you’re after, there are a few markets to be found around the city, but Mercado Beira Rio, next to the river at the bottom of Vila Nova de Gaia, offers an eclectic mix of traditional Portuguese and newer-school international traders, wine stores, retail and more. Stop by for a decent version of what’s become Porto’s staple snack, the francesinha – a kind of croque madame made with white bread, cheese and cured meats, topped with a fiery gravy. Av. de Ramos Pinto 148; mercadobeirario.pt

SEMEA BY EUSKALDUNA

Semea [pictured] is the more accessible sister to the Basque-influenced, tastingmenu-only restaurant Euskalduna Studio. Menus change almost daily, but expect modern takes on eclectic dishes: on our visit, we tried everything from a classic bacalhau salad to brioche with foie gras, stuffed veal tongue and cuttlefish stew. There’s a long list of Portuguese wines, too, from classics to new-school pét-nats, topping out at €40 a bottle, with most hovering around €22. R. das Flores 179; semeabyeuskalduna.pt

(dish) Diogo Rocha; (hotel) Luis Ferraz

LETRARIA

MERCADO BEIRA RIO


PORTO, PORTUGAL • EXPERIENCES • 75

WHERE TO STAY INPÁTIO GUEST HOUSE

Sweet and simple yet still sophisticated, this impeccable guest house in the city centre makes for a calm space in which to recharge for even more exploring. Stone walls are offset with crisp white linen; there are cookies in the communal space; and owners Olga and Fernando are warm, friendly and full of excellent recommendations. From £90pn. inpatio.pt

HOTEL INFANTE SAGRES

If you’re looking for a bright, breezy, tastefully decorated and central hotel, Infante Sagres is perfectly located for food, drink and nightlife, and walkable to most of the city-centre restaurants and bars mentioned previously. Decor in the lounges and hallways harks back to the historic port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, rooms are luxurious without going overboard, and its restaurant, Vogue Café, serves ambitious, modern European menus. From £160pn. infantesagres.com

TOREL 1884

See how the other half live, sleep in this outrageously good-looking 19th-century palace [pictured], with its high ceilings, enormous windows, and original sweeping staircase. Tear yourself away from the overtly comfortable rooms and their bathtubs for a meal at the hotel’s brilliant 32-seat wine bar and restaurant, which dishes up tapas-style small plates of locally sourced produce. With surrounds this plush, your only problem will be finding a reason to leave. From £163pn. torelboutiques.com ◆


[ INSIDER’S GUIDE ]

WINTER IN VALAIS

In association with


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Getting There

[Main] Aletsch Arena, Frederic Huber; [Aletsch Arena] Chantal Stucky; [Région Dents du Midi] Sylvain Cochard; [Nendaz] Etienne Bornet

NENDAZ

Found in the south of Switzerland, the canton of Valais is home to some of the most legendary wintersports in all of the Alps. There are iconic mountains and glaciers like the Matterhorn and the Great Aletsch Glacier; there’s more than 2,000km of ski runs to be explored; and multiple activities to give a go that don’t involve donning your skis at all. From sledging and snowshoeing to paragliding, fatbiking and much, much more. So whether your idea of a great winter getaway involves long days on the slopes, long nights out checking out the restaurant and après scene or a long time spent chilling at the spa, you’ll find it in Valais. Flip the page to find out where to get yourself a piece of the action. For more information on holidays to Valais, go to visitvalais.ch

REGION DENTS DU MIDI

ALETSCH ARENA


land of slopes and glory With more than 40 ski areas, guaranteed snow and 2,000km of piste to explore, the Valais region of Switzerland is one of the finest places to ski on the planet – here’s why you need to visit this season

There are lots of things that make winter holidays to Valais unique: the highmountain scenery, the variety of runs, the backcountry adventures you have at your fingertips – it really is one of the most exciting places to go as a skier or snowboarder looking for an active break. With more than 2,000km of piste – much of it interlinked – it’s easy to explore, and has some of the best variety of skiing anywhere

in the Alps. With 45 summits above 4,000m, it’s also one of the highest places you can ski – meaning more snow, and some of the best conditions in Switzerland. With such bountiful natural scenery, it’s no surprise that Valais boasts some seriously unique propositions for snow lovers. For starters, it’s got Europe’s longest ski run, which leads down from the Matterhorn glacier paradise cable car station for 25km,

all the way to the iconic Zermatt mountain resort in the valley below. Slightly further west in Nendaz – part of Les 4 Vallées, the biggest ski resort in Switzerland – experienced skiers can soak up views down towards the Matterhorn at the 3,330m-high slope at Mont-Fort before skiing down towards Siviez on an expert-level run. But Nendaz isn’t just a place for the experts: in January and March, Nendaz and


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valais is the highest place to ski in switzerland, and has some of the most consistent snowfall Veysonnaz offer adult beginners the chance to get comfortable with skiing with an allinclusive day package. It includes a lift pass, a two-hour lesson and a day’s equipment rental for just £90. Once you feel good going it alone, you’ll find 400km of slopes, seven freetracks and four ski touring trails to head out and explore – all just 15km away from Sion, the capital of Valais. It really is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. Head a little further north west towards the French border and you’ll find Région Dents du Midi – a spectacular ski area made up of six villages perched high in the Alps. It’s the gateway to Portes du Soleil – the world’s largest international ski area with more than 300 slopes covering 600km of terrain. There are snowparks, ski-cross, family-friendly ski areas and 228km of trails to ski cross-country. Basically, whatever you fancy giving a go while you’re there, you can do it in Région Dents du Midi. Out east, Valais’ chain of majestic mountains extends into the Aletsch Arena – a vast valley that sits above the biggest glacier

with one of Switzerland’s best views to the Jungfraujoch, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Everything here is set around the dramatic, 23km-long Great Aletsch Glacier, visible from many of the area’s 104km of runs. This sunny, car-free plateau sits between 1,845m and 2,869m in the heart of a Unesco World Heritage Site, and gives you unfettered access to the slopes, as most of its resorts are ski-in, ski-out and located right on the pistes. Such easy access to the hill means that this part of Valais – as well as the gorgeous resorts of Zermatt, Saas-Fee and CransMontana – is the perfect place to set your alarm early and head out just before dawn to make fresh tracks in new, immaculately groomed snow as the sun comes up. There really is no better way to start a day. Whether you want to learn to ski for the very first time, or just make the first tracks in a fresh dumping of snow, in Valais you can. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get booking for the 2020 season. ◆ Find out more about winter holidays to Valais and start planning at visitvalais.ch/offers

[Main] Verbier, Valais/Wallis Promotion – David Carlier; [First track skiing] Aletsch Arena, Chantal Stucky; [Hut] Nendaz, Etienne Bornet


Valais: A winter wonderland Whether you’re after a flavour of fine local cuisine, an amazing night of après or just fancy a day out doing something other than skiing, there’s plenty to do off the slopes in Valais – try these ideas

Because your time on the hill is only half the story, we’ve rounded up some of the finest things to do away from the pistes in Valais. Eat, drink, snowshoe or sledge – we’ve got you covered: Bask in the local food and après culture With 75 Gault & Millau-listed restaurants and ten with Michelin stars, Valais has great food in abundance – meaning you’ll never go hungry when you’re done on the slopes. So much of this comes thanks to its amazing local produce: there are 8 AOP and IGP products, it’s the biggest wine producer in Switzerland, and it has famous local dishes like Raclette du Valais AOP and cholera – a vegetable pie that was originally made during an outbreak of the disease with the same name in the 1830. It’s stayed on menus ever since. When it comes to après ski, Valais is off the charts, too: ride the cable car up to La Croix de Culet in Champéry for panoramic

views with your beer, or try the Edelweiss Bar in Nendaz, which offers live music all winter long – the perfect place to blow off steam after a long day in the cold. Take a snowshoe and raclette tour Fact: there is no food more essential to a good alpine holiday than raclette cheese. And there’s probably no better way to eat it than on a snowshoe tour in Nendaz. On a three-hour tour, you’ll shoe out into the forest as it starts to get dark before lighting a fire and cooking the famous cheese al fresco. Absolute perfection. Dine then fly in the Aletsch Arena For an alpine adventure that stimulates all your senses, you’re going to want to give this a go: fuel yourself with traditional Valais delicacies at the legendary Restaurant Bergfreund, then head out for one of Switzerland’s best paragliding experiences,


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hotel nendaz 4 vallees & spa haute-nendaz Found at the heart of Les 4 Vallées ski resort, this four-star hotel is decked out in Valaisian style, with warm hospitality to match. It’s close to the slopes and the 2,200 sq m spa’s not bad, either. hotelnendaz4vallees.ch

Hotel plein ciel champery, Region dents du midi Clinging to a mountain ridge above Champéry, this hotel affords epic views across the village and the Dents du Midi range. It’s basically worth staying just for the rooftop terrace alone. pleinciel.com [Main] Aletsch Arena, Kaja Gensetter; [Skiing] Nendaz, Florian Bouvet-Fournier; [Toast] Région Dents du Midi, Sylvain Cochard; [Hotel Nendaz] Nuno Acacio; [Hotel Bettmerhof] Hotel Bettmerhof

floating across the Aletsch Arena on a paraglider with skis on your feet, the stunning scenery flooding your eyes and the wind rippling through your hair. Go fatbiking Trade your skis for a custom-built bike and explore the winter scenery with a fatbike. It’s a super easy way to get exploring on days when you just don’t feel like queuing for the lifts. Try it in across Valais in Aletsch Arena, Leukerbad, Obergoms or Crans-Montana. Take the family Yooner sledging Nothing will bring out your competitive side quite like a night of Yooner sledging in Région Dents du Midi. Whizzing down

the slopes on a user-friendly, ski-mounted sledge, you’ll be carving a route to the bottom in no time, and after an hour and half of exhilarating racing, you’ll head inside for a well-deserved fondue. Soak up the moutain views Part of any great winter holiday is seeing epic mountain panoramas first hand. And they don’t come much better than the views in Aletsch Arena, where you can see around 40 4,000m-high peaks, plus the vast expanse of the Great Aletsch Glacier down in the valley below. Buy a View Point Explorer pass (£40 for adults) and you’ll be able to access all the best spots via passenger lift. For more info, go to visitvalais.ch/snow

hotel bettmerhof aletsch arena Voted the best three-star superior hotel in Valais, this bolthole gives you views across several 4,000m peaks, including the mighty Matterhorn. Not sold yet? It’s also got a Guide Bleuawarded restaurant... bettmerhof.ch

INSIDER’S GUIDE

where to stay


The only way to snow If you’re the kind of winter adventurer who seeks out a little bit more than long days of on-piste action when you go away, take a trip to Valais and give one of these unique experiences a go Great ski holidays don’t just mean riding the slopes, hitting the lifts and repeating until you get tired. In Valais, there are tons of different ways to get your kicks, from backcountry touring to one-off events. Here’s what not to miss this winter: Head out on the Nendaz Touring Tracks When it comes to exploring a winter landscape, there are few activities as rewarding as heading out ski touring. But if striking out into the backcountry seems a little intimidating, head out on one of Nendaz’s four signposted trails for a touring experience that’s easy. Graded in difficulty for all kinds of skier, it’s a great way to get that off-piste feel while keeping your cool. nendaz.ch

Take the Glacier Panorama Tour Looking for a serious challenge that’ll take you some of the most stunning locations in

the Aletsch Arena? You should probably head out on the region’s Glacier Panorama Tour, then. Taking in 104km of easy-to-follow interlinked ski pistes, this circuit trail can be joined at any point, works as a single- or multi-day tour and gives you panoramic views of the Great Aletsch Glacier and the mountains of Valais along the way. aletscharena.ch

Experience Snow in Light in Morgins Save the date: on Wednesday 19 February 2020 from 5-8.30pm, Snow in Light will

transform the iconic Foilleuse piste in the village of Morgins into a magical, rideable light show with hundreds of coloured lights twinkling through the forest. It’s a must-see every season in Région Dents du Midi, and is free with your day pass. Even better. Can’t make that date? Try night skiing instead, for a thrilling, high-octane ski experience under the stars that takes place weekly throughout the 2020 season. regiondentsdumidi.ch From fresh tracks tours to backcountry adventures, find out more at visitvalais.ch

snow in light transforms the foilleuse piste in morgins into a magical, rideable light show


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Upgrade your après by visiting Valais at the same time as one of these awesome alpine festivals. From epic weekenders to US-style spring breaks in the snow, there’s something for everyone

INSIDER’S GUIDE

Fests in snow

caprices 16-19 April 2020 crans-montana

Like partying on the slopes? Good. Like underground house and techno? Even better. You’ll probably love Caprices – the famous electronic music festival that brings club culture to one the beautiful resort of Crans-Montana. Regular DJs include the likes of Sven Väth and Ricardo Villalobos – playing against epic Alpine backdrops, naturally. Weekend pass £201. caprices.ch

nendaz spring break

Zermatt Unplugged

11 April 2020, nendaz

14-18 april 2020, zermatt

[Night skiing] Bruno Perrin; [Spring break] Florian Bouvet-Fournier; [Zermatt Unplugged] Valais/Wallis Promotion – Pascal Gertschen; [Rock The Pistes] litescapemedia

This end of season blow-out is an institution in Nendaz, with festivities starting at the summit of the pistes from 10am. The morning sees a waterslide competition, while the afternoon offers open-air dancing with live concerts and famous DJs. nendaz.ch

rock the pistes 15-21 March 2020, portes du soleil This ski season, Rock The Pistes returns for a tenth year, with more than 30 live high-altitude concerts taking place across the slopes of Portes du Soleil’s 12 resorts. The best bit? All you need to see an amazing roster of live music is your lift pass. You can count us in. rockthepistes.com

Since its launch back in 2007, this acoustic music festival has evolved from a local favourite into one of the most important dates in the Swiss music calendar. The weekender rolls into the picturesque resort of Zermatt towards the end of the season, seeing four main stages host some of the finest musicians from around the world playing unplugged sets to rapturous crowds. Outside the main site, there are gigs to check out in more than ten further venues around town, too. Passes from £49. zermatt-unplugged.ch


WELCOME TO THE DESIGN HOTEL

www.matterhorn-focus.ch

N NEXT O I T A C O PRIME L LLEY STATION VA TO THE TERHORN «MAT ADISE» R A P R E I GLAC


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◆ The Checklist ◆ New Season Snow Gear The Intrepid Series ◆ Galloway, Scotland 106 ◆ The Selector ◆ Winter Breaks 114 ◆ Rear View ◆ Lara Prior-Palmer


©M att Geo rges ©Matt Georges

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Ian Dingle

THE CHECKLIST Your essential guide to winter gear

T

HE NIGHTS ARE drawing in, the mornings are getting colder, and although all the bad feelings and furtive mentions of Christmas are a total drag 99.9% of the time, we know there’s one thing that gets us through it: snow season is coming. No, obviously not in the UK – you’ll have to wait till next March’s issue to be hearing about the 5.2 IMDb-rated sequel to the Beast From The East. What we’re talking about is skiing and snowboarding, and the kind of kit it takes to get out in the mountains and carve

to your heart’s content. Whether you’re a first timer looking for some dependable entry level kit, or you’re a backcountry veteran looking for the best new boards, binding and boots (like the nice Adidas Sambas pictured above), we’ve got plenty of great gear for your perusal. From keep-warm kit for alpine adventures to the finest, bestfitting and most sustainable pieces of ski and snowboard equipment that’ll last you season after season, all you need to do is flip the page and get shopping. ◆


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THE CHECKLIST

▶ BURTON

AVALON BIB PANTS, £230: They might

have a retro look, but these lightweight softshell pants have premium waterproofing. burton.com

Winter’s here, and the slopes are calling. We’ve got everything you need to update your ski and snowboard kit, from clothes combining clever technology with bags of style to all the latest must-have equipment…

▼ ROXY

JETTY GLOVES, £50:

These ski gloves are warm, waterproof and made from traceable recycled polyester from plastic bottles. roxy-uk.com

◀ THE NORTH FACE

▼ THE NORTH FACE

Steep Series, this robust ski shell gives you everything you need to conquer the backcountry. thenorthface.co.uk

packable jacket that’ll layer well in the mountains, but serve you for city and après, too. thenorthface.co.uk

PURIST JACKET, £490: Part of TNF’s

◀ SMARTWOOL

▲ DARN TOUGH

A high-performance base layer that’ll keep you toasty and breathe when you get active. smartwool.com

sure-fitting sock that’ll keep the outside out, and your feet blister-free. darntough.com

MERINO 200 INTRAKNIT BASE, £109:

YETI OVER-THECALF LIGHT SOCK, £25: A lightweight,

THERMOBALL ECO HOODIE, £180: A


THE CHECKLIST • EXCURSIONS • 89

◀ NORRONA

LOFOTEN INSULATED PANTS, £379.99:

Seriously warm freeride trousers that clip into the powder belt of the jacket below. ellis-brigham.com

▼ JACK WOLFSKIN KAMUI 24 PACK, £100: A great

everyday backpack equipped with straps for skis, poles and your helmet. jack-wolfskin.co.uk

▼ NORRONA LOFOTEN INSULATED JACKET, £449.99:

This Gore-Tex insulated jacket offers full weather protection for powder-day adventures. ellis-brigham.com

◀ SMARTWOOL BRYAN IGUCHI COLLAB SOCK, £23.99: A toasty,

mountain-ready sock made with legendary snowboarder Bryan Iguchi. smartwool.com ◀ ACLIMA

LARS MONSEN ZIP POLO, £109.95:

Designed by a renowned Norwegian adventurer, this jersey is made for sub-zero pursuits. nordicoutdoor.co.uk

CHECKLIST

GET THIS SNOW ON THE ROAD

Ian Dingle

We love ski season: that one time of the year when you can cut about wearing stuff that you wouldn’t dream of donning in the UK. We’re talking loud colours, old-school accents and big, baggy fits. But there’s a fine balance: for every piece of glorious, retro skiwear, you need something that’s big on function, and that’ll actually keep you warm when you’re out on the pistes. Luckily, we’ve rounded up some of this year’s finest garms. Ladies to the left and gents to the right, it’s time to get shopping.


◀ ADIDAS

▲ JONES

the classic Adidas styling, this is a boot that gives you great flex and comfort. snowboardasylum.com

ing is ultra-responsive, very powerful on turns and looks pretty good, too. snowboardasylum.com

SAMBA ADV BOOTS, £229.95: Beneath

APOLLO BINDINGS, £299.99: This bind-

▶ JONES

FLAGSHIP SNOWBOARD, £569: A

supremely good freeride board made with sustainable wood and resin. snowboardasylum.com

WHAT A CARVE UP CHECKLIST

Ian Dingle

With myriad options, setups and brands to choose from, picking the right ski and snowboard gear for your particular riding style can be tricky business – especially when your next winter getaway is flying closer by the minute. That’s why we’ve rounded up two kit lists for epic adventures. Whether you want to blast the backcountry with a high-functioning, sustainably minded snowboard setup [this page], or want to perfect your on-piste performance with a new set of skis, boots, goggles and a helmet [right] – give this year’s must-have gear guide a quick browse.


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▲ SALOMON

S/MAX 90 W SKI BOOTS, £340: These

boots are lightweight, responsive and have an easily adjustable fit specifically for women. ellis-brigham.com

▲ SMITH

VANTAGE HELMET, £220: This sturdy

helmet doesn’t compromise on airflow, and has a women’s-specific lining for a better fit. smithoptics.com ▶ DRAGON

▶ ATOMIC

These new season goggles bring Dragon’s high-quality eyewear to the market at an incredibly affordable price. dragonalliance.com

award-winning, these women’s piste skis give you a lovely flow when turning. ellis-brigham.com

DX3 GOGGLES, £55:

CLOUD WB SKIS + FT 11 GW BINDINGS, £550: All-new and


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VISOR CHIEFS SALOMON MIRAGE+ HELMET, £235

CHECKLIST

This new helmet from French outdoor legends Salomon blends style, functionality and top-of-the-line safety technologies into one seriously good-looking package. Your helmet comes with two lenses – one that’ll serve you through the glare on bluebird days, and another that’ll see you through overcast and whiteout conditions. They’re easily interchangeable in a few seconds without having to fiddle around with tools, too. Satisfying? Just a bit. salomon.com

Ian Dingle

This helmet comes with all the bells and whistles you need to ski your best. It’s got adjustable airflow vents, perforated ear pads so you can hear properly, and the visor leaves room for glasses.


Scandinavian Outdoor Clothing & Equipment

Scandinavian Outdoor Equipment New Store Now Open - 6Clothing George St. & Richmond New Store Nowwww.nordicoutdoor.co.uk Open - 6 George St. Richmond


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INTREPID

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HIS IS USUALLY the part of escapism where we send our writers to the furthest ends of the Earth in search of a story. But not this time: for the first time ever, this piece is about a place right here in the UK. We did it because we wanted to prove that you don’t need to go a long way to find something that opens your eyes to the world. That’s why we hopped in the car to Galloway Forest Park in Scotland – a 300sq mile wilderness with some of the best dark skies in Europe. Why travel further? ◆

Welcome to the latest installment of the Intrepid Series, this month brought to you in association with Filson. Established in 1897, Filson is the leading outfitter and manufacturer of unfailing goods for outdoor enthusiasts. Built on a reputation for reliability, the brand is a favourite among anglers and hunters, engineers and explorers, and anyone who refuses to stay indoors. Find out more at filson.com/uk


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THE INTREPID SERIES With miles of dense forest, undulating hills and vertiginous trails, Scotland’s Galloway Forest Park is a pretty epic wilderness, but it’s under cover of darkness when this rugged region really shines, finds Tom Powell


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HE DASHBOARD FLICKERS 16:54 as we kill the engine and climb out of the car. The clouds are low and dark, the air is intoxicatingly fresh, and the sun – steadily lowering itself towards the hills out west – sits like a muffled yellow-white orb through the gloom, testing the clouds’ resolve as it pries for holes to burst through. After just shy of seven hours driving, we’re standing in front of our home for the night: a wood-panelled bothy in a field at Brockloch Farm in Galloway – a vast region made up of miles of agricultural and forestry land just over the Scottish border from Carlisle. This morning, we queued for the Blackwall Tunnel in South East London, but tonight we’ll be camped on the edge of 190 acres of fields that regularly see red kites wheel overhead, red squirrels nest in the trees and red deer roam the fields. Glass-fronted and built from sustainable timber, Brockloch Bothy sits up a farm

the struggling rotors on a clapped-out old helicopter. We duck and cover our eyes as they float awkwardly over our heads and across the hedgerow into a nearby field. Continuing down the lane, we forage from a blackberry bush here, spy a bounding hare there, watch buzzards circle high above a quarry and – just before turning off at a row of holiday cottages – two young red deer peer unblinkingly from woodland on the other side of a moss-coated wall. By the time we’ve reached for our cameras, they’ve bounded deep into the woods. Known affectionately by the locals as ‘the highlands of the lowlands’, this land takes on an epic feel given its relatively small scale. Valleys undulate, outcropped hills ripple in the distance and coniferous trees dot the landscape, growing thicker and thicker the closer you get to the forest park. From the cottages, we stroll up the hill as the sun battles the incoming drizzle, trying to get a

VALLEYS UNDULATE, OUTCROPPED HILLS RIPPLE IN THE DISTANCE AND TREES DOT THE LANDSCAPE, GROWING THICKER AND THICKER

Firstname Surname

track and through a bluebell wood near the eastern edge of Galloway Forest Park. Insulated with sheep’s wool, heated with a woodburner and fitted with a four-hob gas stove for cooking, it gives you all the modern necessities – a hot shower, a double bed, a sofa and a solar-powered socket for your phone – as well as plunging you feet first into the Scottish countryside. Drive back down the farm track and you’re a few miles from the largest forest in the UK. Take a short walk in any direction from the bothy, meanwhile, and you’ll soon bump into some of the local fauna. We’re here to do just that: escape the clutches of London for somewhere rugged, wild and completely unlike the capital, and use as little of our dwindling holiday allowance as possible while doing it. Immersion is immediate: as we walk down the lane towards the 300m hill a mile or so in the distance, dozens of juvenile pheasants take flight from the undergrowth – their small, awkward wings making a sound like

vantage point on the surrounding hills and forest from on high. By London standards, this is pretty epic. By Scottish standards, the sight of a local crofter wandering quietly Since Galloway was past us in the rain named a Dark Park in 2009, several wearing a threadbare other locations in bucket hat, jeans and the UK have been a heavy flannel shirt awarded Dark Park status, including the tells you all you need 45,000 acre Elan to know. But we’re not Valley in Wales. here just to see the landscapes and soak up the wildlife – we’re here to see what this place looks like when it gets dark. Why? Because a decade ago in November 2009, Galloway Forest Park was designated the first Dark Sky Park in the UK – and just the fourth in the world. Out in these woods come nightfall, it’s not just a little bit dark, it’s darker than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland. Thanks to its elevation, low population and geographic location, the northeast corner of Galloway Forest Park is >


INTO THE WILD: [clockwise from above] Unloading at Brockloch Bothy; the view from Bruce’s Stone; hiking up Milharay Hill to the east of the park

> the perfect place for stargazing, and has been home to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory since 2012. Looking out across the park from a 280m-high hill, the observatory takes advantage of the 300 square miles of light-pollution-free landscape, giving out towards Jupiter, Saturn and the vast swathe of the Milky Way. Even the 4,000-person-strong town of Newton Stewart – some 20 miles away on the opposite corner of the park – has had its lampposts refitted to glow less brightly and send their light downwards to increase the area’s potential for stargazing. We get back in the car as dusk draws in, the light weighing in red, yellow then blue across the valley, setting the hills and lochs ablaze to our right. Before long, we’re travelling in total darkness, and the drive to the observatory takes on a quest-like quality: flipping through the directions on a stapled-together printout, we follow a Rubik’s cube-like set of permutations that guide you from the village of Dalmellington right up to the observatory’s front door. We cross an old stone bridge, drive for a mile until we hear the car rattle over a cattle grid, take a right turn at a crossroads after another half-mile and head down a single-lane track into the woods. After a quarter of a mile, we open a gate and drive across a narrow, sideless

wooden bridge before winding up hairpins through two further gates. Suddenly, the observatory’s white dome shuffles into view at the top of the hill, and having seen no one for more than an hour in the car, we’re suddenly surrounded by a hive of activity: families hop out of hatchbacks to head inside, young couples pull on their coats and hats for a few hours in the night air and voices echo excitedly out over the valley. Inside, the building is small and simple: a single-room museum, a planetarium for lectures and demonstrations, and a small shop that – among souvenirs and stationary – sells bars of Galaxy, Mars and Milky Way. Someone here has a good sense of humour. Resident astronomer David Warrington guides us into the planetarium to demonstrate the differing levels Visits to the of light pollution observatory must be pre-booked, so plan experienced in cities, your trip in advance suburban spaces and to make sure you countryside on the get a spot. It’s £16 for an adult, and screen above our your session will last heads, then shows around 90 minutes. us some of the sights that have been seen from the observatory since it opened in 2012. Not just limited to stars and galaxies, the observatory has also seen noctilucent clouds of shimmering ice crystals and – on the odd occasion in winter – the Northern Lights. After ten minutes of cooing at projections on the panoramic domed ceiling, we’re up on the rooftop


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EACH OF US IS GREETED WITH THE PRISMATIC GLOW OF A STAR TWINKLING IN FRONT OF A BACKDROP SO DARK IT PLAYS TRICKS ON YOU observation dome for the real deal: squinting into space through the observatory’s halfmetre-lens mirror telescope. As a veil of thin cloud whips across the furry night sky it takes David a minute or so to move the dome and focus in on different stars before calling the group to look at them. We take it in turns to gaze through the viewfinder, each of us greeted with the prismatic glow of a star twinkling in front of a backdrop of black so dark and depthless that it plays tricks on your mind. Hanging almost eerily in the foreground, it’s like looking at a distant, astral Punch and Judy show where stars sit in front of a curtain that blows all sense of distance, depth and perspective. But actually looking through the scope is only a tiny part of the experience: out on deck in the right conditions you’re treated to an absolute light show. We put our phones away, turn our backs on the glow of Glasgow that bleeds over the hills to the north from some 50 miles away and after five minutes or more in the darkness, our eyes begin to adjust to the expanse above. We start by picking faint wisps of cloud out of the darkness and then rest on more and more glittering stars in the sky beyond. Some are immediately obvious, others are minuscule and barely visible, but the longer I look, the

more that floods into my retina. After about 20 minutes of looking, chatting, pointing and waiting, enough cloud moves to unsheath an entire belt of stars – more than I’ve ever seen in the UK – and after that, the grey-cream lick of the Milky Way appears. The process is slow and the shimmer barely visible, but it’s there. Suddenly, David’s voice pierces the silence from inside the dome: “I’ve got it on Saturn!”, he cries, the excitement palpable through the tinny, echoey resonance in his call. We rush inside again, the first few silhouettes walking away from the telescope muttering in hushed excitement: “The rings are so clear,” says one, “I feel emotional seeing it so clearly,” says another before the third or fourth says he can’t see anything through the lens at all. The clouds are back – and for good this time. “This might be one of the best locations to see stars in the UK,” says David, “but the UK isn’t always the best place for telescopes.” Back at the bothy an hour or more later, I can’t sleep. My eyes are heavy, the wind raps lightly at the window and my watch reads 1.45am as I twist my neck to gaze through the skylight above me. Instead of blankets of blackness, I see a compact group of stars through the small rectangle. Getting up, I lift the blinds and look out over the >

David Harrison


100 • EXCURSIONS • THE INTREPID SERIES: GALLOWAY, SCOTLAND

INTREPID > valley beyond the window: the clouds are gone, and the sky is shimmering and full. Early the next morning, we wind out into the forest park to meet rangers Hugh Gunning and Ben Askew, driving through 18 miles of lanky pines past logging trucks and shapely spruces destined for people’s living rooms come Christmas. While the scenery here is big, this isn’t wilderness in the frontier sense: with so much privately owned and maintained land, nowhere in the UK is. About 90% of the land here is actively forested, producing as much as 500,000 tons of timber per year. At one time it was thought to be the biggest tree farm in Europe. But that doesn’t make it feel any less wild. The rangers drive us up to the trailhead at Bruce’s Stone. Halfway up a mountain on the north side of Loch Trool it offers panoramic views of the water and surrounding valleys, and during late summer acts as a showground for rolling cliffs of vibrant purple heather. The stone itself commemorates Robert the Bruce’s first victory over the English in the Scottish War of Independence, while

STELLAR DISPLAY: [below, left to right] The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory; camping in the forest park on a clear night is a stunning experience

the hillsides around the loch are littered with debris from the RAF flight training that went on above the lake during the Second World War. Add to that the abundance of hikes, runs and climbs in the nearby hills and opportunities to kayak and fish nearby and you’ve got a place that appeals to almost every kind of outdoors lover. As we pass the trailhead car park, campers prep tea on stoves, locals harness up their dogs for strolls and serious walkers arrive to start day hikes to the summit of Merrick, southern Scotland’s highest hill. “If we’d bothered to build a big enough cairn up there, we’d probably have a Munro in Galloway,” jokes Ben. “That’d definitely bring people here, but do we want that?” “Part of the charm,” Hugh chimes in, “is that parts of this area are like a mini Highlands – you don’t have to travel far and you’ve got a different type of scenery.” He’s right: half an hour later, we’ve come down from the hillside, left the sweeping loch behind and are staring at a young stag and half a dozen does from the confines Any Scottish mountain over 3,000ft in height is called a Munro. Many hikers try to climb to the summit of all 282 hills in a process known as ‘Munro bagging’.

of a hide at the forest park’s Red Deer Range. Home to roughly 60 red deer, this 200-hectare range of fenced-off moorland habitat allows you to see the UK’s largest land mammal in its natural environment. “I didn’t realise until I went up to Skye for my honeymoon and noticed the similarities in the landscape, but there’s a lot to be said for this part of the country,” says Ben, who’s lived his whole life between a campsite in the forest park and the town of Newton Stewart. “A lot of people get in the car and head for the Highlands,” he says. “I totally understand why – it’s beautiful, it’s famous and it’s the Scotland you see on biscuit tins. But not many come up the motorway and turn left.” And they should: this is a place that boasts some of the most majestic wildlife in the British Isles, and some of the most varied and accessible wild landscapes, too. Six hours up the motorway and a little bit to the left and you’re in a world you didn’t know existed. I think most wantaway Londoners can spare a Friday’s holiday for that. ◆ Stay at Brockloch Bothy from £300 for two nights. brockloch.co.uk; Tour the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory from £16. scottishdarkskyobservatory.co.uk; For more on holidays to Galloway Forest Park, head to visitscotland.com or dumfries-and-galloway.co.uk

[observatory] David Harrison; [Milky Way]


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102 • COMPETITION • NATURHOTEL FORSTHOFGUT

WIN COMPETITION

alpine attraction If you’re looking for the ultimate winter escape, look no further than Naturhotel Forsthofgut in Leogang, Austria, home to incredible eating, generous hospitality and easy access to the piste

We don’t think there’s a better way to start the day than taking in the views over the majestic peaks of Leogang, Austria while drinking your morning coffee in one of Naturhotel Forsthofgut’s gorgeous suites – except maybe getting out on the slopes of Asitz and enjoying the snow yourself. Whether you’re all about alpine relaxation or are itching to get out into nature, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied at this luxurious Austrian hotel spa, surrounded by natural beauty. Located directly on the edge of the piste, it’s ski-in/ski-out, and is just 200m from the Asitz gondola.

NATURAL BEAUTY: Naturhotel Forsthofgut has a prime position to make the most of the landscape

The icing on the cake is Naturhotel Forsthofgut’s approach to hospitality: the family-run five-star hotel prides itself on its cooking, with an award-winning restaurant that serves up either a vegan, alpine-inspired or ‘R50’ menu, where all ingredients are sourced within 50km of the hotel. After all that eating, kick back and relax in the forest spa, considered to be one of Europe’s best. If you needed any extra convincing, Naturhotel Forsthofgut’s 102 rooms and suites are suitable for families, plus it’s just an hour’s drive from Salzburg – making it an easy journey from London, no matter whether you’re after a short break or a week’s getaway. Winter holiday? Done. ◆ Stay at Naturhotel Forsthofgut from £150pn. To find out more, go to forsthofgut.at/en

win a holiday Like the sound of all that? Well, you’re in luck. You could be in with a chance to win a three-night stay at Naturhotel Forstguthof for you and a friend. The stay is on a half-board basis, and you’ll also get an extensive afternoon tea, a massage each, two days of ski equipment hire and airport transfers from Salzburg to the hotel. Nice. For full T&Cs and to enter, head to escmag.co/ forsthofgut


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south tyrol: LA Dolce Vita There’s skiing, and then there’s skiing in South Tyrol, or Südtirol, Italy. Alongside the perfect snow, you’ll find the incredible Dolomite mountains, mouthwatering food, endless sunshine and much more When you first think of la dolce vita, your mind might go to the sun-baked streets of Rome. But in South Tyrol, Italy’s northernmost region, the dolce vita lifestyle extends all the way to the mountain slopes, where you’ll find an irresistible blend of Alpine and Mediterranean culture. This, of course, is reflected in a unique dining scene – and incredible wines. Food

here ranges from homemade pasta to apple strudel, and Michelin-starred restaurants to informal yet excellent farmhouse inns. And where better to enjoy these delights than a region that gets around 300 glorious days of sunshine a year? Throw in modern ski facilities and guaranteed snow, all set against the backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dolomites, and you’ve

got all the trappings of the perfect winter break. It’s not surprising South Tyrol is a popular destination families looking to escape the British winters for a bit of R&R. Val Gardena: a winter sport paradise As for where to stay to make the most of everything South Tyrol has to offer, look no further than Val Gardena in the east. The


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[main] Dolomites Val Gardena/Sebastian Stiphout; [food] Dolomites Val Gardena/ Werner Dejori ; [chalet] IDM Südtirol/Alex Filz

region sits in the heart of the Dolomites, considered the most beautiful mountains in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Val Gardena has three main villages: Ortisei, S. Cristina, and Selva Val Gardena, each with its own distinct character. Ortisei is the most urban, while S. Cristina is quiet and calm, and Selva is the place to go if you’re looking for thrilling action and adventure. Val Gardena is a area where hospitality is deeply rooted in tradition. You’ll find more than 60 mostly family-run mountain huts with sun-soaked terraces – undeniably the

THE ONLY WAY TO SNOW: [clockwise from main] The snow-covered Dolomites; making the most of local cuisine; a world-class chalet

best spot for kicking back and soaking up that sought-after dolce vita. And that’s before you even consider the skiing in the Val Gardena/Seiser Alm resort, with its modern lift facilities, 175km of slopes that are groomed to perfection on a daily basis and the world’s largest ski carousel, the Dolomiti Superski – giving you access to a further 1,000km of slopes. Elsewhere, Val Gardena is home to the famous Sellaronda, a 40km ring of slopes, cable cars and lifts around the Sella massif, through all four Ladin valleys (where you’ll also find the ancient spoken Ladin language). There’s also the Saslong Classic, the Men’s World Cup Downhill and Super-G races, which are held in Val Gardena every year. If that all sounds a bit too advanced, rest

assured: the region is ideal for skiers of every level. There are plenty of slopes for kids, as well as five brilliant ski schools with local instructors. And if you’re travelling with little ones, the region has plenty of excellent family-friendly hotels that’ll keep everyone entertained for hours, too. Whether you’re after active adventure, cultural traditions or unique and delicious food, you’ll find it in South Tyrol. ◆ For more information on Val Gardena, go to valgardena.it. You can reach South Tyrol from London by flying to Innsbruck, Verona or Venice. For more information, go to suedtirol.info/howto-get-there


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w i n t er w i n n ers It’s the season for Christmas markets and cosy getaways, so we’ve picked out the best of both, but if you’re more of a winter sun seeker, we’ve got some ideas for you too…

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ch r ist m as m a r kets A golden opportunity to go and explore a new city, all in the name of Christmas gifting

1) VIENNA AUSTRIA Ah, Vienna, the Austrian capital known and loved for its coffee housepacked backstreets, sugar-crusted apfel-

strudel and towering regal architecture. These all provide an idyllic backdrop for relaxed Christmas market mooching, but make sure you’ve got a steaming cinnamon-spiced punch in hand – the average temperature in December is

a cool zero degrees, so you’ll need it. WHEN: 16 November to 26 December STAY AT: Graetzl Hotel Belvedere from £73pn. graetzlhotel. com GETTING THERE: RyanAir flies to Vienna from £40 return. ryanair.com

2) BASEL SWITZERLAND Of the three main Christmas markets in Basel, you’re spoilt for choice between the traditional – serving melty raclette with potatoes and pickles – and the more modern, offering a rotation of handmade gifts from independent

sellers across Switzerland. No wonder, then, that it’s hailed across the country as the unrivalled place to be come advent time. Prost to that. WHEN: 28 November to 23 December STAY AT: Nomad Design & Lifestyle Hotel. From £130pn. nomad.ch GETTING THERE:

easyJet flies to Basel from £49. easyjet.com


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3) ZAGREB CROATIA It may not be the first location that springs to mind when you think of Christmas markets, but it was voted the winner in Lonely Planet’s best Christmas market category from 2015 to 2017. Head to Zagreb for festive cheer and a truly twinkly specta-

4) SEVILLE SPAIN

(Zagreb) Davor Rostuhar; (Lubeck) Martin Buelow; (Seville) karnizz / shutterstock

Seville has several markets to choose from, but the sheer range of what’s on offer are these markets’ USP. In the main Mercado Navideño de Artesanía spot, browse more than 80 stalls groaning with Andalucian jewellery, wooden toys and crafts; wander along to the Feria del Belén,

cle – the markets are spread across the whole city, so expect incredible light displays and openair entertainment as you enjoy your soparnik chard pie and fritule Croatian doughnuts. WHEN: 30 Nov 2019 to 7 Jan 2020 STAY AT: Hotel President Pantovcak from £94pn. president-zagreb.com GETTING THERE: BA flies to Zagreb from £130. ba.com

now in its 22nd year, to stock up on handcrafted nativity figurines and decorations; or rest your tired legs in the Mercado Navideño’s log cabins and tuck into traditional sweet treats such as polvorones, aka shortbread cookies, or sweet and sticky turrón nougat. WHEN: 13 November to 5 January STAY AT: Casa de Colón from £88pn. hotelcasadecolon.com

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GETTING THERE:

Iberia flies to Seville from £110. iberia.com

5] LÜBECK GERMANY 5

Germany’s Lübeck market dates back to 1648 when it began its life in the city’s medieval centre, which happens to be a Unesco Heritage Site. Take in the extensive Gothic architecture as you bask in the sweet smell of roasted

chestnuts and spicy glühwein, plus don’t miss the legendary German bratwurst, served in a bun warm from the grill and slathered in mustard. WHEN: 25 November to 30 December STAY AT: Fisher’s Loft Hotel from £154pn. fisher sloft-hotel.de GETTING THERE:

Eurowings flies to Hamburg from £135. eurowings.com


wi nt e r warm ers Open fires, hearty meals and hot tubs… Head to one of these cosy UK boltholes to escape the chill cated, with touches including bedheads woven out of local rushes. There are two restaurants headed up by Skye Gyngell of London farm-to-table favourite Spring; and the whole thing puts a refreshingly modern spin on those British classics that can occasionally feel a bit staid.

1) HECKFIELD PLACE HAMPSHIRE This hugely anticipated hotel in Hampshire was originally a Georgian family home – which is probably why it does so well as a bright and beautiful bolthole to cosy up in. But this is contemporary cosiness: the design is warm and sophisti-

NEED TO KNOW:

Heckfield Place is a 75-minute drive from London. From £350pn. heckfieldplace.com

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2) THE YAN CUMBRIA A farmhouse that’s been converted into a bistro with seven snug-yet-spacious rooms tucked under its eaves, The Yan sits nestled in the Central Fells in the Lake District. When you’re not exploring the region’s rolling hills, you’ll be tucking into frankly delicious cooking that leverages the area’s outstanding produce. There’s bike storage and a drying room for active types, and a pub a five-minute walk away for the boozing types. Sorted. NEED TO KNOW:

The Yan is a fivehour drive from London. From £100pn. theyan.co.uk

They don’t do things by halves when it comes to cooking at The Yan – expect the kind of hearty dishes you’ll be craving after a long winter walk. Shepherd’s pie and sticky toffee pudding, anyone?

3) THE CROWN AMERSHAM You want to feel like you’re in the countryside but, well, you can’t be bothered to go anywhere. We present The Crown in Amersham, at the very end of the

Metropolitan line. Amersham’s old town screams quaint rural countryside – think burbling brooks, timber-framed buildings and gently crooked floors – but lies within easy reach of central London. Grab a glass of red wine, cosy up by the fire, and make

sure you reserve a spot at Hawkyns Restaurant, headed up by twice-Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar. NEED TO KNOW:

Amersham is on the Metropolitan line. From there, take a bus to The Crown. From £120pn. thecrownamersham. com


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Can’t stand the cold? There’s only one thing for it – a long-haul holiday to one of these sun-drenched destinations

1) GARDEN ROUTE SOUTH AFRICA Think of South Africa’s Garden Route as a road trip through your bucket list, taking you along winding open roads, through world-renowned wine territory and past sweeping landscapes in one trip. But there’s more: it’ll also take you to safari lodges, the sweet coastal

5) THE SCARLET CORNWALL 1

(Heckfield place) Roman Popelar; (The swan) James Bedford

4) THE SWAN SOUTHWOLD There’s probably nothing better than going for a bracing walk on the beach and then returning to a roaring fire and a sofa primed for snuggling up on. That’s exactly what you can do at The Swan in the picturesque coastal

town of Southwold in Suffolk. Dine in the hotel’s excellent restaurant, or venture forth into the town’s streets for fish and chips or a pint from local brewery Adnams, which just so happens to own all the pubs in town.

Watching rain and wind do their worst from the warmth and safety of a sofa can be oddly comforting, which is precisely why we’re such big fans of The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, a hotel that’s been designed to bring the outside in. What’s more, if the weather plays ball, you can take in the sweeping clifftop views from a hot tub (with a glass of champagne, natch). This is a different kind of cosy to roaring fires and afternoon tea, but one we definitely approve of.

NEED TO KNOW:

NEED TO KNOW:

The Swan is a threehour drive from London. From £200pn. theswan southwold.co.uk

The Scarlet is a five hour-drive from London. From £240pn. scarlethotel.co.uk

towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, the beautiful beaches of Keurboomstrand and award-winning wineries and restaurants in Franschhoek. In addition to all that, in 2017 it was added to Unesco’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Put simply, you should go. STAY AT: Morokuru Beach Lodge. £350 per person per night. morukuru.com GETTING THERE:

Ethiopian Airlines flies to Johannesburg from £715. ethiopianairlines.com

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Beaches aren’t just for summer, and the wide, golden plains of this stunning slice of Cornish coast are just as inviting during the winter. Probably don’t go for a paddle though.


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2) KOH CHANG THAILAND

(Antigua) Jonathan Cole; (Thailand) birdpits / shutterstock

While it might mean Love Actually, Quality Street and awkward family reunions for you, December is actually peak diving season in Thailand. From the baubel-coloured coral to the fairy lights of bright fish, you’ll find festive scenes aplenty under the sea, alongside a fair few

leopard sharks, whale sharks and mantas, too. STAY AT: BB Lonely Beach. From £15pn. bblonelybeach.com

Average temperatures in Antigua from November to January sit at around 26°C, making it the perfect place to wait out winter with a piña colada…

GETTING THERE:

Oman Air flies to Bangkok from £450. omanair.com

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5) AQABA JORDAN Jordan should really be at the top of your list for sunny getaways, and Aqaba is a city bursting with things to do and

What’s even lovelier than Christmas dinner? Fall-apart brisket, pulled pork and enough smoked meat to give Father Christmas the meat sweats… Charleston is a prime place to vacay in winter, offering heaps of American history and excellent BBQ. STAY AT: The Venue. From £143. thevendue.com

4) ANTIGUA CARIBBEAN Winter in Antigua sounds lush to us, especially if you take advantage of the adventure tours dotted around the island. Cycle through St John, kayak through a mangrove reserve, and then cycle to the Fort James National Park with a Triflexcursion tour, from £47pp. triflexcursion.com STAY AT: Curtain Bluff. From £615. curtainbluff.com

GETTING THERE:

GETTING THERE:

Heathrow to Charleston from £650 with BA. britishairways.com

Gatwick to Saint John’s from £447 return with BA. britishairways.com

sights to see. Pay a visit to the old town and you can snaffle some baklava and kanafeh while you soak up the city’s fascinating history. Follow up that pastry consumption with a snorkel in the sea for the ultimate

one-two punch combination of sugar and salt. STAY AT: Feynan Ecolodge. From £166 pn. ecohotels.me/feynan GETTING THERE:

easyJet flies from Gatwick to Aqaba from £314. easyjet.com


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all winter long With sun, beautiful coastlines and amazing culture to explore, Malta makes the perfect winter getaway – and it’s closer than you think we’ve got some good news: you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to get a little sun come wintertime. Fly just three hours from London and you’ll find yourself in the Maltese Archipelago, the vibrant, culture-filled trio of islands in middle the Mediterranean Sea. Blessed with a bounty of beautiful beaches and more than 300 days of sun a year to enjoy them with, it’s the perfect destination for sun worshippers looking to top up their tan. But there’s way more to Malta than just rocking up, unfurling your towel and

chilling for your whole holiday – for active adventurers, there are miles of coast to hike, great climbing routes and hundreds of quiet inlets to explore by yacht or kayak. People that really want to get away from it all can explore the quieter islands of Gozo and Comino, too. And that’s before we even get onto the Maltese capital of Valletta. The city of Valletta is a hub of ancient history that’s so beautiful it’s a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. As such, there’s absolutely tons to explore, from St John’s Co-Cathedral and the city centre’s

Beautiful Destinations

malta is blessed with plenty of beautiful beaches and more than 300 days of sunshine each year

stunning palazzo buildings to the Grand Harbour and the variety of waterside al fresco dining options it offers. This may be a multicultural destination that’s the result of 7,000 years of different inhabitants, but it’s easy for British travellers: the whole of Malta is Englishspeaking and incredibly welcoming. In fact, Malta ranked 1st place on the Europe Rainbow Index four years consecutively, making it the most LGBT-friendly destination in the entire continent. So whether you want to hit the beach, explore the outdoors, soak up the culture and great food of Valletta or fly in for amazing events like the Valletta International Baroque Festival or Annie Mac’s Lost & Found, make sure you do it under the sun in Malta. ◆ Plan your break at maltauk.com


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REAR VIEW The Mongol Derby is the longest and toughest horse race in the entire world. Undettered, Lara Prior-Palmer tackled it at the age of 19…

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About 40% of the riders don’t manage to complete the race. Lots of people drop out because of dehydration; a lot of people ride with broken bones. You ride with an SOS box attached to you that’s tracking where you are, because they don’t want you to ride for more than 14 hours a day. It’s also got a button on it in case you have an accident. It calls the paramedic to your location, and the paramedic is never more than a four or five hour drive away. When you’re that raw, tired and hungry, you become over sensitive. You realise how delicate and tender humans can be when you’ve been alone all day. I rode alone, although lots of people ride together. One day, I passed a boy on a horse with a wooden stick on his shoulder for herding cattle. We didn’t speak the same language, but we slowed and tried to talk to each

other and then ended up laughing. The sun was on his face, and then we both rode on, back into our little bubbles. I really remember that moment; it was beautiful. Later that day, the banks of the river burst and the plain was flooded for miles and miles. I couldn’t find a path through to the next station and it was getting dark. The pony was an experienced horse, but every extra step you ask an animal to take in the wrong direction you feel stupid because neither of you are getting closer to rest. Mongolia is really complex. There’s vast desert and vast forest, although we didn’t see any trees apart from on one occasion. And the weather… It’s sometimes 40°C, or sometimes there’s hail coming at you and you’re trying to find shelter because you can’t really go forwards any more and the horses aren’t always used to it.

Richard Dunwoody

N FRONT OF you lies 1,000sq km of the Mongolian steppe, a vast region of grassland, savannah and shrubland. Your route across? Gengis Khan’s ancient horse messenger system, riding near-wild horses for up to 14 hours a day for ten days. As far as adventures go, this is pretty epic. And this is the challenge that Lara PriorPalmer took on aged 19, with a lifelong love of horses but not much experience beyond eventing – and won, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Greenhouse Sports in the process. Along the way, she faced floods, sickness, and the wilderness of the Mongolian landscape. Prior-Palmer tells us about the highs and lows, and what it took to reach the finish line. “A lot of people ask me why I won,” she says. “But really, the question should be: why didn’t I fail?” ◆ Rough Magic by Lara Prior Palmer is out now.


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Escapism – 54 – The Ski and Snowboard Issue