THE LAUNCH ISSUE
T o r o n t o
I s s u e
Relax, rejuvenate and recharge in Montego Bay. To book your Jamaican vacation, go to westjetvacations.com or call your travel agent.
Recharge your OMG
Recharge your wow
1 877 390 9050 gadventures.com
MORE TRAVEL, LESS FILTERS. From your outlook to your Instastories – get ready to see the world differently. G Adventures small-group tours are all about connecting you to the places on the globe you want to see, but in a way you couldn’t do on your own. We’ll get you to all the must-see, must-do, mustmeet experiences you’ve been dreaming of, while adding our favourite I-never-knew-that-existed moments. When you know the world as well as we do, it’s easy to share it. Over 700 trips. 7 continents. Countless lives changed.
Gin made the way it used to be, the way it should be.
SIPSMITH.COM | @SIPSMITH
Photo taken by co-founder Tim. View from the quinine plantations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
WE GO TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH FOR THE PERFECT G&T Gin is only as good as the tonic it’s paired with. That’s why at Fever-Tree, it’s all about taste. One might even say our founders Charles and Tim are a little obsessed. In their quest to create the world’s first premium Indian tonic water, Charles and Tim spent days in the British Library researching quinine sources before travelling to some of the most remote parts of the world in search of the finest ingredients – even as far as the Democratic Republic of the Congo to find quinine of the highest quality. It’s this unique ingredient that gives our tonic its essential bitter flavour and, when balanced with naturally-sourced botanicals like orange oils, makes for a gin & tonic that’s crisp, clean and like no other. However, Charles and Tim didn’t stop there. Since no gin is the same, they developed a selection of awardwinning flavoured tonics – each one individually crafted to complement the varied flavour profiles of gin. Find the perfect tonic for your favourite gin at fever-tree.com
OF YOUR DRINK IS THE MIXER, MIX WITH THE BEST
TM Fever tree Ltd.
SPAIN, no passport
Find us in the Spanish aisle at your LCBO.
ISSUE 1 • ESCAPISM • 11
E D I TO R I A L
EDITOR AT LARGE
Suresh Doss STAFF WRITERS
Jessica Huras, Andrea Yu COPY EDITOR
David Ort EDITORIAL INTERN
Teresa Donato CONTRIBUTORS
Jon Hawkins, Mijune Pak
Matthew Hasteley DESIGNER
April Tran STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY
Julien Pelletier, Daniel Chaney, Stian Servoss, Fran Venter, Sandro Pehar
OME OF THE best driving I’ve done in my life has been in Italy. Sicily especially. On a recent trip we started on a route that tightly hugged the Tyrrhenian coast, as we left the cerulean waters of Cefalu to head towards Messina. Blue waters on the left, we buzzed through seaside communities. If you’re planning a trip through Europe, I urge you to consider renting a car. With a country as geographically diverse as Italy, the only way to truly appreciate its coastal and mountainous beauty is behind the wheel. Detours are much easier, too. The sun was setting on our drive up from Crotone when we spotted a roadside fruit vendor with the most delicious canary melons I’ve tasted. In Martina Franca, we found a cheese shop that ended my quest for the best burrata. The view driving into Tropea was so breathtaking, we pulled over and stared in reverie. If you love experiences like that, you’ll love our new magazine, escapism. You’ve seen the previews in the past few issues of foodism and now we’re thrilled to introduce you to our first standalone issue. The same team is behind escapism and we’re excited to offer our take on all things travel. Our inaugural issue puts the spotlight on Europe from a look at Copenhagen’s rejuvenated harbour (pg. 53), to a guide to East London (pg. 60) and a visual tour through Budapest (pg. 44). We’ve created a magazine for today’s traveller; someone who is equal parts curious and daring, but always seeking those lifechanging moments. Like what you’ve read? Want to share a cool snap you took on vacation? Message us @escapismTO. ◆
Krista Faist ADVERTISING
Nicole Aggelonitis, James Dalgarno, David Horvatin LEAD DEVELOPER
AJ Cerqueti CHAIRMAN
Tim Slee PRINTING
Mi5 Print and Digital Communications
Made possible with the support of Ontario Media Development Corporation. omdc.on.ca
Suresh Doss, Editor
◁ Get your weekly dose of Escapism, direct to your inbox. just visit: escapism.to/newsletter
© Twenty Two Media 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Twenty Two Media cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Twenty Two Media a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Twenty Two Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Twenty Two Media endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.
17 ◆ In the Frame 24 ◆ Just Landed 26 ◆ The Escapist 28 ◆ Room Service ◆ Cambridge, Ontario 32 ◆ Short Stay ◆ Montreal, Quebec 34 ◆ Long Stay City, Mexico
C OV E R S TO RY
38 ◆ Europe Off the Beaten Path
The problem with classic destinations is that everyone else is also heading there, so we round up lesser-known alternatives to Europe’s most popular spots. 44
Whether or not Hungary’s capital already had a spot on your bucket list, this photo series will soon have you booking a flight.
EXCURSIONS 53 ◆ Copenhagen, Denmark
We discover how Copenhagen’s recent harbour developments merge with its storybook past to create a new modern identity for the Scandinavian city. 60
Even if it never shakes the association with its working-class past, East London continues to evolve. We find out where to eat, drink and be merry east of the City.
71 ◆ The Checklist 77 ◆ The Intrepid Series: Sardinia, Italy
Jon Hawkins takes on an adrenaline-pumping challenge by tag-teaming a triathlon along the southern coast of Sardinia. 92 ◆ Like a Local
94 ◆ The Selector 98 ◆ Rear View
Smile all the stay in the Maldives.
Welcome to the new LUX* North Male Atoll, Maldives. Opening April 2018. What’s next ? MAURITIUS
I TA LY
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. PRODUCED & BOTTLED BY SAZERAC COMPANY, NEW ORLEANS, LA, USA 35% ALC/VOL (70 PROOF) LIQUEUR
In the Frame
Mexico City, Mexico
ONLY IN EUROPE Slow it down....
with a tailor-made Europe vacation. Experience the difference, book with an Expert Traveller
FLIGHTCENTRE.CA | 1844 801 6615
IN THE FRAME • DEPARTURES • 17
IN THE FRAME
Dutch Instagram photographers the Sizoo Brothers share wanderlustinducing photos from around the world in their book, Depart. [
French photographer Julien Pelletier woke up before sunrise to get this beautiful shot of Kvalvika Beach in Norway’s Lofoten Islands.
READY TO SNAP “DEPART” BY THE SIZOO BROTHERS AND FRIENDS Depart is a collection of inspiring travel photos by over 40 photographers from across the globe. Selected by Instagram heavyweights the Sizoo Brothers, in collaboration with Mendo Books, Depart
transports readers to some of the world’s most captivating destinations through hundreds of colourful photos. It also has practical information on the journeys. $67.50; amazon.ca
IN THE FRAME • DEPARTURES • 19
This eyecatching shot, by photographer Daniel Chaney, depicts Cape Kiwanda the southernmost of the points on the Three Capes Scenic Loop on Oregon’s coast.
IN THE FRAME • DEPARTURES • 21
Although Norwegian photographer Stian Servoss’s homeland is known for its striking natural scenery, he was mesmerized by the landscapes of Iceland’s rugged southern coast.
22 • DEPARTURES • IN THE FRAME
SEEING THE LIGHT:
Photographer Fran Venter captured this enchanting shot of South Africa’s Blyde River Canyon when the sun briefly broke through the clouds on an overcast day.
ONLY IN EUROPE
Live it up....
with a tailor-made Europe vacation.
Experience the difference, book with an Expert Traveller
FLIGHTCENTRE.CA | 1844 801 6615
TOURISM TALLIES FROM 2017
From Chile’s new national parks to Ritz-Carlton entering the luxury cruise industry, this is where travel is heading right now.
INTERNATIONAL TOURISM HAS hit its highest peak in seven years, according to new research released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Based on data reported by destinations around the world, international tourist arrivals grew by 7 per cent in 2017 to a total of 1,322 million. Europe led the pack with 671 million arrivals, representing an 8 per cent increase, with destinations in southern and Mediterranean Europe doing the best. The good times are expected to keep rolling in 2018 with the UNWTO predicting arrivals growing at a rate of 4 to 5 per cent.
A WALK IN THE PARK
ABOVE: G Adventures
SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE G Adventures recently announced a line-up of new tours for 2018. The company’s first-ever tours to Oman and Hawaii are among the highlights of the 34 new itineraries added to their Classic trips collection. The tour operator has expanded its National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures collection to 83 tours, with new destinations for 2018 including Mongolia, Borneo and lesser-known wildlife parks in Tanzania and Botswana. G Adventures also became the first adventure travel company to offer sailing tours along Sri Lanka’s southern coast with the launch of its Sri Lanka sailing itineraries in February 2018. The tour operator already offers sailing itineraries in seven other destinations, including Croatia, Indonesia and Montenegro.
CHILE HAS CREATED five new national parks and expanded three others. More than one million acres of parkland were donated by philanthropist Kristine Tompkins who, together with her late husband, Doug, has been acquiring land for decades. The Chilean government contributed nine million acres of federally-owned land to the project.
became the first in their class to offer sailing tours along Sri Lanka’s south coast.
Kristine Tompkins: The Tompkins are American entrepreneurs who founded the North Face, Patagonia and Esprit clothing brands before moving to Chile in the 1990s.
EUROPE LED THE PACK OF POSITIVE STATS WITH 671 MILLION ARRIVALS, REPRESENTING AN 8 PER CENT INCREASE
JUST LANDED • DEPARTURES • 25
SNOWED IN A new luxury chalet offers guests the opportunity to sleep on a glacier. Set on a private five-acre property on the edge of Alaska’s Denali National Park, the Sheldon Chalet is perched 1,829 metres above sea level on the Ruth Glacier. The lodge’s five swish guest rooms afford impressive views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Activities include glacier trekking, aurora viewing and skiing. All-inclusive rates cover the usual, plus a “flightseeing” tour while en route to and from the hotel by plane. Food menus emphasize local seafood.
PUTTING ON THE YACHTZ RITZ-CARLTON HAS ANNOUNCED the launch of their own yacht collection. The high-end yachts are expected to offer 149 suites with private terraces, plus two penthouse suites. Features will include a spa and a restaurant from Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the RitzCarlton’s three Michelin-starred dining venue. Reservations are expected to open in May 2018, for sailings in 2019. Destinations will include the Caribbean, Latin America and northern Europe.
THE HIGH-END YACHTS ARE EXPECTED TO OFFER 149 SUITES WITH PRIVATE TERRACES, PLUS TWO PENTHOUSE SUITES
LEFT: Ritz-Carlton will
Greece by Andre Benz; Chile by Shutterstock
set sail on the high seas of luxury cruises sometime in 2019.
athletic facility: Ten X Toronto will feature indoor tennis courts, glass-back squash courts, two rooftop pools, spa treatment rooms and more.
X MARKS THE SPOT LIBRARY HOTEL’S NEWEST property, Hotel X Toronto, is set for its long-awaited soft launch. Guest rooms, event spaces and an all-day restaurant will debut this March with additional amenities (set to open later this spring), including Ten X Toronto a 90,000 squarefoot athletic facility; a three-storey rooftop bar; and a garden event space designed around the restored Stanley Barracks. Billed as a “luxurious urban resort,” Hotel X is located on the Exhibition grounds. Most of its guest rooms and suites feature views of Lake Ontario, Mississauga or downtown Toronto’s skyline.
26 • DEPARTURES • THE ESCAPIST
FLY-FOR-LESS FINDERS These apps can help you snag your next airline deal.
Suresh Doss writes how connecting with a guide can work wonders for unlocking like-alocal experiences for everything from Guadalajara’s architecture to Barcelona’s markets.
someone is there explaining its culinary intricacies and food history. (What ingredients are regional? What preparations are unusual?) I find that after these tours I have a deeper understanding compared to what I could have learned in a book or online. During a recent trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, I spent time with a local guide who was well versed in the city’s architecture. We enjoyed an hour walking through cathedrals and public squares, and I got a crash course in the city’s classical and modern movements. On another trip in Italy, I had the chance to sample the cuisine in the coastal old-town corners of Bari with local food guide Augusto Salomone of ADPugliaM tours. Spending time with a local gives you a rare chance to get a more informed sense of how diverse and different the world can be. With sites like Meetup, ShowAround and ToursByLocals, it’s becoming much easier to find someone regardless of what type of guide you want. The next time you travel to a new destination, consider finding a local guide. They will enhance your experience beyond what any travel book can offer. ◆
SKYSCANNER This easy-to-use app searches over 1,200 airline and travel sites for the best flight deals. For inspiration, try searching “everywhere” to see the cheapest domestic and international flights right now. HOPPER A massive historical archive of flight prices helps Hopper predict when your flight will be cheapest. Search your destination and dates and the app will give you the “buy” or “wait” signal. MOMONDO Momondo sets itself apart by including low-cost and lesser-known airlines in its flight comparisons. Search results are filtered by cheapest, quickest and best flights. Use it to find hotel deals, too.
through the quarters of Bari’s old city with food guide Augusto Salomone of ADPugliaM tours.
OR TODAY’S TRAVELLER, there’s no shortage of guidebooks and travel tips to inspire your next big vacation. Sunseeker, backpacker or gourmet, there is a long list of apps, books and blogs to lead the way. Many didn’t exist a decade ago, but still, nothing rivals the experience of spending time with a local guide. It can be a gourmet expert who is known for her knowledge of food markets in Rome or an architecture admirer who can share the history behind every beautiful building in Barcelona. Guidebooks and travel apps will help plan the skeleton of a trip but they rarely dig under the surface. A local guide can offer a personal introduction to a city’s culture and the lives of its people. Most tourists overlook the benefits of connecting with a local when planning a trip. From my experience, they can enhance the trip without busting your wallet (you can find a good tour for $50-100 per person). One of my favourite things to do when travelling is to find a local food guide or writer who can offer a few hours of her time to show me around a specific neighbourhood. Decoding the food language of a country is easier when
28 • DEPARTURES • CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO
FROM RACQUET SPORTS TO A RELAXING SPA
THE NEWLY-RENOVATED WELLNESS centre is over 7,500 square feet, replete with a tennis court, a croquet lawn, an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool and gym. You can spend an entire day escaping the world here with a spa menu that runs from facials and pedicures to full-body hot-stone massages and acupuncture or oil treatments. Finish with a drink on the garden patio.
Langdon Hall offers fine dining, walking trails and spa services to support its reputation as a top-notch retreat.
A RAMBLING RETREAT OUTDOORSY TYPES WILL love that Langdon Hall has a 12-km network of winding nature trails. Start at the estate gardens where the Langdon Hall team grows their produce year round, then from there, explore Cambridge’s bucolic countryside. Do it by foot, or hop on one of the bicycles available at the main gate. Just make sure you’re back in time for afternoon tea.
ITUATED 90 MINUTES from Toronto’s downtown centre, Langdon Hall has a long history of winning global accolades for its deluxe hotel accommodations robed by country-house aesthetics. Visiting here feels like a retreat to the French countryside, from the moment you pull up to the 120-year old mansion to afternoons spent strolling through the delightful gardens. The property was built in 1902 as the home of a wealthy fur trader and real estate magnate. It opened as a luxuriously renovated country hotel in 1989. Today Langdon Hall is one of 14 Canadian properties that are members of the Relais & Châteaux family – a gathering of independently owned and operated upscale boutique hotels and restaurants around the world. The hotel is the epitome of cozy. Sip and snack by the fireplace in Wilk’s Bar or shoot billiards with a glass of scotch. For an escape from the endless racket of urban life in a sumptuous environment, this is it. ◆ langdonhall.ca
100-METRE FINE DINING Jason Bangerter: The chef helmed the kitchens at Luma and Auberge du Pommier in Toronto before joining the Langdon Hall team in 2013.
A LUXURIOUS SETTING like this demands five-star dining, and that’s exactly what exec chef Jason Bangerter’s team delivers. He decamped to Cambridge a few years ago and has built a meticulously seasonal dining experience. A tasting-menu meal at the restaurant is an exploration of produce from the estate gardens weaved through modern French gastronomy.
The TyrconnellÂŽ Single Malt Irish Whiskey 43%-46% Alc./Vol. 2017 ÂŠKilbeggan Distilling Import Company, Chicago IL
30 • DEPARTURES • LISBON, PORTUGAL
We’ve picked our three favourite Instagram accounts devoted to capturing and sharing the beautiful scenes that best represent the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
As its name suggests, this feed, curated by local tour guide Diogo Costa, is all about highlighting Lisbon’s beautiful cityscapes. Costa thinks there’s a unique quality to the natural light in Lisbon that makes it look unlike any other city in the world – a trait exemplified by this enchanting sunset shot over the Santa Catarina area with the Estrela Basilica visible in the distance.
@FABIOBF Fábio Figueiroa’s artistic feed captures the intriguing faces and places of his home, Lisbon, and beyond. From the cheerful trams to the facade of the Praça do Comércio building, yellow is a recurring motif throughout Lisbon. This vivid shot, taken by Figueiroa during a morning stroll in the Alcântara neighbourhood, is a nod to the city’s signature shade.
@RODRIGOO Rodrigo Antunes’s soft, muted shots of Lisbon capture the city’s timeless charm. This shot of Praça do Comércio is a fitting representation of the city’s ever-evolving relationship with newcomers. Set on the edge of the Tagus Estuary, this square has long been the gateway to the city for visitors arriving by boat. Today it still feels like the entrance to Lisbon, as a hub for ferry and tram transportation as well as a social centre for tourists and locals alike.
Montreal’s picturesque charm manages to enchant even the most seasoned travellers. We plan a weekend getaway that takes in the city’s best restaurants, sights and shopping.
WestJet, Air Canada and Porter offer multiple daily flights to Montreal from Toronto, which take just over an hour. westjet.com; aircanada.com; flyporter.com BY LAND:
Via runs regular train service to Montreal, or Megabus offers a low-cost alternative. Driving time by car from Toronto averages around 6 hours. viarail.ca; ca.megabus com
OLD WORLD AMBIANCE
As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Montreal has a sense of historic charm that you won’t find elsewhere. The best way to take this in is by visiting Old Montreal, located by the Saint Lawrence River. Remnants of Montreal’s French roots are here, dating back to the early 17th century. The district is famous for its cobblestone paths and town squares that are emblematic of a place with centuries of history. Start your stroll at the Old Port.
WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK
With plenty of boutique hotels in Montreal, we can be picky about location. Hôtel Alt Montréal is situated in Griffintown, a quick cab ride from the train station. It’s walking distance to the old city and Chinatown, but off the main strip so you can sleep soundly. Alt’s contemporary design spans from lobby to room while keeping room rates affordable. Ease into your day with a visit to the excellent breakfast pastry bar.
ABOVE: The narrow,
cobblestone streets of Old Montreal are packed with charming ambiance and are perfect for a leisurely, afternoon shopping stroll.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC • DEPARTURES • 33
BOUTIQUES FOR EVERY BUDGET
Not only do Montreal’s cityscapes set it apart in North America, but its inhabitants also exude a distinctive brand of confidence and style. Name your preference, and there’s a district for it – from budget hipster shopping on St. Laurent to the bohemian shops in the Plateau. The city’s up-and-coming boutique designers congregate around Avenue Laurier, and for all things vintage head to Avenue du Mont-Royal. The main commercial strips of Rue Sherbrooke and Rue Ste.Catherine are both home to major international retailers and will keep you occupied for hours.
Avenue du Mont-Royal: This area’s vintage boutiques are known locally as “friperies.”
BON APPÉTIT As the bistro’s second home, Montreal brings in foodsters from all over North America. Here are three must-visit spots.
Old Montreal by Songquan Deng; Ste. Catherine and Jean-Talon by Tourisme Montréal, Pierre-Luc Dufour; Lawrence and Plaza by Suresh Doss
Before craft beer’s current vogue, Montreal’s independently-owned Dieu du Ciel! was pouring pints of imperial stouts and American IPAs. The brewery turns 20 this year and their brewpub is a must-experience hot spot for beer lovers. No pushovers here, Dieu du Ciel! has built a reputation for complex, layered beers throughout the years. They’ve made over 200 types of beer, but many rarely find their way on to store shelves outside the province. Start your visit with a flight. The staff working the counter are some of the nicest people you will meet in Montreal and they’ll gladly take you on a tour of the craft-brewed highlights. ◆
LAWRENCE You had us at kedgeree. Lawrence is a hotspot for its English-meets-French menu, which includes tweaks on classic egg and bread dishes. lawrencerestaurant.com BELOW: Shopping
for big-name brands? Head to the retailers that line Rue Ste.Catherine.
MONTREAL PLAZA The latest restaurant from veteran Montreal chef Charles-Antoine Crête is a modern French bistro – seen through a world lens. Small plates predominate here. It’s loud, super delicious and tons of fun. montrealplaza.com
NO PUSHOVERS HERE; FOR 20 YEARS, DIEU DU CIEL! HAS BUILT A REPUTATION FOR COMPLEX, LAYERED BEERS
JEAN-TALON MARKET The bustling Jean-Talon market makes for a great snack stop. Start with a plate of oysters and cider, then move on to smoked meat sandwiches. marchespublics-mtl.com
We find out why Mexico City is a gourmet go-to and answer the critical sightseeing and accomodation questions.
First-time visitors should start at the city’s Zócalo. The central plaza is an important historical remnant from Mexico’s colonial period. Prior to that, it was the main ceremonial centre for the Aztec empire in the 15th century. Today, the Zócalo is home to cultural events and street food vendors. For a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the square without the crowds, head to the nearby Holiday Inn Zócalo and grab a seat on the terrace.
The Soumaya Museum – known as both a distinctive architectural feature of the city and popular attraction – sprawls over the San Angel district. Built by business magnate Carlos Slim Helú as a non-profit cultural institution, its collection of over 65,000 items spans 30 centuries and six building levels. Their treasury of Auguste Rodin sculptures is a big draw in its own right. But the free admission is an even bigger plus.
MERCADO DE SONORA
The country’s largest indoor and outdoor market is a tight-quartered mash of mysticism, witchcraft and various esoteric cultural arts. It can be a busy place (go first thing in the morning), but its otherworldly atmosphere is worth waking up early to experience. If you’re not a fan of the exotic arts, there’s also a section dedicated to artisanal pottery.
REST GRAN HOTEL CIUDAD DE MEXICO
Set in the city’s famed public square, Gran Hotel’s lavish Parisian-style facade towers over the Zócalo. The meticulously maintained hotel offers the historic charm of old-fashioned elevators, along with a vast sunroof. Its prestigious terrace restaurant features a spectacular view of the square and city.
CAMINO REAL MEXICO
This expansive hotel in Anzures has elements like bright pink and orange walls that were inspired by Aztec era art and architecture. While it feels like a resort at 700+ rooms, Camino Real Polanco Mexico manages to have something for every type of traveller. Whether you want a daily dip in the outdoor pool or a different meal every night (there are nearly a dozen bars and restaurants including one by Iron Chef Morimoto), the hotel has you covered.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL MEXICO CITY
A five-star luxury property conveniently located near the city’s biggest park and the upscale Polanco district. Guests have the option of enjoying views of the Paseo de la Reforma, or can head to the hotel’s quaint courtyard if they prefer the quiet over the grand. Then when you’re ready to head out, the Polanco is one of the best shopping districts in the city.
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO • DEPARTURES • 35
DO STREET ART CHILANGO TOURS
With 30 million people, and endless neighbourhoods, you can imagine that Mexico City’s street art culture is as diverse as its people. Maps and lists won’t help; it’s best if you book a Saturday tour with a local who can walk you through the various corners of the ciudad. Chilango’s walking tours offer a different perspective on the city outside of the air-conditioned confines of a museum, and the street graffiti is pretty damn cool. If taking street photography is your thing, don’t miss this.
The “Bosque de Chapultepec,” a sweeping city park that spans over 680 hectares, is one of the largest green spaces in the Western Hemisphere. Often referred to as the city’s “lungs,” the park’s phalanx of trees replenish much-needed oxygen for the Valley of Mexico. More than just a hike, the park is home to the city zoo, the museum of anthropology and the Rufino Tamayo museum, which is known for its impressive and varied collection of modern and contemporary art.
ABOVE: The greenery
in Chapultepec Park serves as a place of recreation as well as a filter for air in the Valley of Mexico.
EAT MEXICO CUILNARY WALK
Downtown by iStock; Soumaya and Chapultepec by Shutterstock
Mexico City’s food culture is not only recognized all over the world, but it has played a critical role in how we see street food in the Americas. Foodies visit the city just for the opportunity to eat in its diverse neighbourhoods. Exploring on your own can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Eat Mexico offers the right balance of introductory and advanced tours for those with adventurous palates. Bonus, Eat Mexico keeps each group to an intimate six people. ◆
Rufino Tamayo: The museum holds over 300 works from artist Rufino Tamayo’s private collection, including works by René Magritte.
MERCADO DE SONORA IS A TIGHTQUARTERED MASH OF MYSTICISM AND ESOTERIC CULTURAL ARTS
DAY 11 • BEST OF SPAIN Seville Sightseeing
2018 IT’S TIME To fuel your soul and discover our hidden gems
ON WORLDWIDE TRIPS* + AN ADDITIONAL $50 OFF PER PERSON** EXCLUSIVELY FOR ESCAPISM READERS BY QUOTING PROMO CODE PPTESCAPISM
BOOK AND PAY IN FULL BY APRIL 26, 2018
Call 1 800 352 4444 Visit trafalgar.com See your travel agent *Save 5% early payment discounts on the land-portion of selected Trafalgar trips when paid in full by April 26, 2018. **Save an additional $50 off per person from now until April 30, 2018. Combinable with applicable early payment discounts. Valid on new bookings only. Subject to availability and may be withdrawn at anytime. Not valid on Costsaver, custom groups or any other offers. Other conditions apply. TICO # R50015870
Europe Off the Beaten Path 44
Copenhagen, Denmark ◆
EUROPE OFF THE BEATEN PATH • EXPERIENCES • 39
Words by JESSICA HURAS & SURESH DOSS Yulia Grigoryeva
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED The problem with classic destinations is that everyone else is also heading there (especially during high season), so we put together a helpful guide to the best off-the-beaten-path alternatives to Europe’s most popular spots.
Distance from Toronto to Luxembourg City
Average spring temperature in San Sebastian
367.6 km2 Size of Bratislava
LEFT: Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, has an old town packed with historic and colourful buildings
HAT DESTINATIONS COME to mind when you think of a trip to Europe? Paris, Rome or maybe Amsterdam? Whether you’ve already made your way through Europe’s most visited hot spots and are ready to delve deeper; or it’s your first trip across the Atlantic and you’re looking to venture off the standard tourist trail, we’ve got you covered with this fresh approach to the classic European tour. We’ve rounded up our favourite, lesser-known alternatives to Europe’s most popular destinations, where you can experience the best of the continent’s rich culture and history but take a pass on the crowds. >
ABOVE: The view from the top of Palermo is one to rival any in all of Italy BELOW: The Church of St. Elizabeth is among Bratislava’s top attractions
of migration and trade that has played a crucial role in shaping the city’s colourful landscape. There are two big reasons to spend quality time in Palermo: For the warm blue waters of the Mediterranean and for the food. Stunning beaches range from the sandy shores of Acqua dei Corsari, to the calm and pristine waters of Mondello, which also happens to be situated next to the Capo Gallo Reserve. Food wise, Palermo’s multiculturalism sets it apart from other parts of Europe. Here you’ll find food markets and streets dedicated to cuisines of the Persian Gulf, India and North Africa.
CRAVE VENICE? TRY STOCKHOLM
> FANCY PRAGUE? TRY BRATISLAVA Separated from the Czech Republic when Czechoslovakia dissolved in the 1990s, Slovakia tends to take a backseat to its former sibling in the minds of travellers. A shared history means that Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, has many of the same enchanting qualities that draw visitors to the Czech capital of Prague, but on a smaller scale and with fewer crowds to slow you down. Low-key restaurants, cafés and bars dot Built in the early 20th century, the Bratislava’s charming Blue Church gets old town – most its nickname from streets are off-limits the more than 50 shades of blue decto car traffic, so it’s orating its interior easy to explore on and exterior. foot. Head up to the
hilltop castle for a stunning view of the city from above, and save time for a visit to the Art Nouveau Church of St. Elizabeth, known to locals as the Blue Church.
READY FOR ROME? TRY PALERMO
While Italy’s capital gets a lot of love for its architectural accomplishments and historic monuments, Palermo wins over our hearts for its cultural diversity and gorgeous seaside landscapes. Sicily’s capital is over 2,700 years old and has a long history
Venice is often cited as a cautionary tale about the risks of over-tourism, and the city recently imposed a ban on large cruise ships in response to the outcries of residents. If you’re drawn to Venice’s waterways and historic architecture, consider skipping the Floating City and heading north to Stockholm instead. Waterways play an equally important role in the life of the Swedish capital, which is spread across a series of 14 islands. Get a feel for its rich history in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s beguiling old town. After getting your fill of 16thcentury architecture, head to the hipster enclave known as Södermalm to explore cool cafés and trendy bars.
FOND OF FRANCE? TRY GEORGIA
While France might be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of a wine-focused European getaway, Georgia (that’s the country, not the US state) is an alternative that gets you off the beaten path and enjoying excellent wine. Soviet occupation and subsequent wars kept Georgia hidden from travellers for most of the 20th century, but conflicts with Russia
SICILY’S CAPITAL IS OVER 2,700 YEARS OLD AND HAS A LONG HISTORY OF MIGRATION
EUROPE OFF THE BEATEN PATH • EXPERIENCES • 41
have calmed over the last decade and the country is now garnering the recognition of sommeliers and wine lovers across the globe. The world’s earliest evidence of winemaking was uncovered in Georgia and the tradition is still very much alive today. Most Georgian wine continues to be made using traditional methods, which have been recognized by UNESCO with intangible cultural heritage status.
BIG ON BERLIN? TRY BELGRADE
Serbia’s capital, Georgian white wine part of the former grapes are typically Yugoslavia, has fermented with been drawing their skins on before comparisons to pressing, resulting in a characteristic Berlin in recent years orange- or amthanks to its buzzing ber-coloured wine. nightlife, thriving café culture and burgeoning arts scene. In the hip Savamala district, crumbling Art Nouveau buildings and abandoned warehouses have been transformed into cool bars, clubs and galleries. The city’s extensive riverfronts
THE TOWN OF PILSEN IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF PILSNER BEER serve as the backdrop for hundreds of floating nightlife spots, known as splavovi. Knez Mihailova, the main pedestrianized street running through the old town, is lined with picturesque 19th-century buildings and inviting cafés. It’s easy to eat well here too, with traditional restaurants serving up affordable Serbian staples, alongside an increasing number of international options.
YEARN FOR MUNICH? TRY PILSEN
Munich’s many beer halls and annual Oktoberfest celebration have made it a must-visit for beer drinkers, but it’s not the only European city that’s known for its brews. The town of Plzeň (Pilsen in English) in the Czech Republic is the birthplace of pilsner beer. Naturally, a tour of the Pilsner Urquell brewery, where the pale lager style was invented in 1842, is an essential stop. Hop heads can also visit the Pilsen Beer
Spa and Wellness Hotel for brew-infused treatments like beer oil massages and beer baths (with potable beer available on tap from a barrel while you soak).
IDOLIZING ICELAND? TRY FINLAND Iceland is another destination that’s been feeling the strain of over-tourism in recent years, so we suggest heading to Finland to experience similarly pristine wilderness and intriguing Nordic culture. Finland might not have Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon, but instead, there are saunas to unwind in – more than 2 million of them. From ice fishing and snowmobile treks to hiking and kayaking, the call of the wild >
BELOW: Knez Mihailova, Belgrade’s primary pedestrianized street, is lined with some of the city’s most striking 17th-century architecture
42 • EXPERIENCES • EUROPE OFF THE BEATEN PATH
ABOVE: The Alzette river cuts through Luxembourg City. The picturesque city is one of the three official capitals of the European Union
> beckons strongly in Finland. Lapland, the country’s northernmost region and home to a semi-nomadic people called the Sami, is particularly alluring for visitors. But the country certainly isn’t all remote and rugged. The youthful capital, Helsinki, is known for its avant-garde architecture and an exciting food scene that takes full advantage of the country’s natural bounty.
GOT A CRUSH ON BARCELONA? TRY SAN SEBASTIAN
LOVE BELGIUM? TRY LUXEMBOURG
Flanked by Belgium, France and Germany and spanning just over 2,500 square kilometres, it’s easy to see why little Luxembourg tends to get overshadowed by its big-name neighbours in northwestern Europe. It may be small but this tiny nation punches above its weight with a sophisticated capital city, medieval-villagedotted countryside and a remarkable dining scene (the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in the world). In Luxembourg City, walk along medieval ramparts surrounding the UNESCO-listed old town, which is dramatically laid out across two river gorges. Beyond the capital, explore the vineyards of the rolling Moselle wine country or hike through the Müllerthal region, known for its unusual rock formations. ◆
LA CONCHA BEACH IS PERFECT FOR THOSE WHO PREFER SAND WITH A SIDE OF CITY
From hiking to sunning on the beach, to enjoying some of the best food and drink in Europe, San Sebastian may have it all for every type of traveller. The historic city is highly walkable, and setting out by foot is the best way to take in Donostia’s (its name in Basque) neighbourhoods and corners. Start with a stroll through Gros; this is the heart of pintxos (cousin of tapas) culture
with hundreds of small bars specializing in cured meats, fish and wine. Work off your gluttonous crawl with a hike up Pasajes de San Juan for a bird’s-eye view of the city. And let’s not forget the beach: The Playa De La Concha is usually the first thing visitors The Sami people, who live in the will see when they northern areas of arrive in Donostia. Finland, Norway The crescent-shaped and Sweden, are the only indigenous strip of sand is perfect people of the for those who prefer European Union. silky, sandy beaches with a side of city backdrop. A bonus, the relatively shallow Concha Bay means the water is a bit warmer than the cold Atlantic water out in the Bay of Biscay. If you’re in search of a bit more privacy, grab a cab and head across town to the secluded Zurriola beach.
ETHE THE N
ICE G UA
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HUNGARY FOR MORE As one of eastern Europe’s revived and modern metropolises, Budapest brings in visitors searching for postcard views and plenty of relaxation in the city’s baths fed by underground hot springs.
Hungarian Forint to 1 Canadian dollar
Average temperature in spring
ITH COMMANDING VIEWS from both banks of the Danube River and a picturesque cityscape defined by a mix of baroque, neoclassical, Art Nouveau and postmodern architecture, Budapest looks like it was designed with photographers in mind. Home to 20 per cent of Hungary’s total population, Budapest is the country’s capital and also its cultural, political and commercial heart. Here, the grand boulevards and stately buildings of the past form the backdrop for a lively, progressive present. Whether or not Budapest already had a spot on your bucket list, these images from photographer Sandro Pehar will soon have you booking a flight.
Direct flight time from Toronto
Photography by SANDRO PEHAR
RIGHT: The twin cities of Buda (left) and Pest (right) were officially joined in the 19th century. A series of beautiful bridges connect the two across the Danube River
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY • EXPERIENCES • 45
GETTING THERE Air Canada and Lufthansa have several direct flights weekly to Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport. aircanada.com; lufthansa.com
BELOW: Light streams through the neo-gothic pillars of the SzĂŠchenyi Spa Baths, one of the largest bathing complexes in eastern Europe.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY • EXPERIENCES • 47
ABOVE: With over 100 thermal springs around the city, bathhouses are an integral part of life in Budapest and a favourite tourist attraction.
BELOW: At dusk, guards prepare to retire the Hungarian flag outside of the Parliament building, a symbol of the city thatâ€™s easily visible from almost anywhere on the riverside.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY • EXPERIENCES • 49
ABOVE: A view through Elizabeth Bridge, which was erected in the 1960s to replace the original bridge that was damaged during the Second World War.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY • EXPERIENCES • 51
BELOW: The Buda Castle Tunnel at dusk. Built in the middle of the 19th century, the tunnel leads under Castle Hill, and connects the Buda and Pest sides of the city.
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK • 53
LIFE ON THE HARBOUR We discover how Copenhagen’s recent harbour developments merge with its storybook past to create a new modern identity for the Scandinavian city.
Distance from Toronto
to 1 Canadian dollar
’M CONVINCED THAT the sky looks bluer in Copenhagen. Now, it could be that I’ve got my azure-coloured holidaymaking glasses on. Or that I’ve just lucked out with a sun-soaked summer weekend in a Scandinavian city that’s notorious for its cold, wet and moody weather. That’s the Copenhagen I know from a decade ago, when I was last in the city completing a year abroad. I’m back now to reunite with a dozen-strong group of exchange student friends who have flown in from across Europe (including all of Prague, Hamburg, Geneva, Munich) and as far as Melbourne for the occasion. >
Length of cycle lanes
Words by ANDREA YU Martin Heiberg
BELOW: Nyhavn, which translates to “new harbour” in Danish, is actually the city’s oldest port dating back to the 1600s
> But it’s not only these familiar faces that I’m meeting again. I’m also reuniting with a city whose bike-lane-lined streets, colourfully charming facades and unpronounceable language were once my everyday. It’s not my home anymore, but I don’t feel completely out of place. My favourite landmarks, thankfully, still stand. From historic sites like the twisting spiral staircase on the spire of Vor Frelses Kirke and the cobblestoned main pedestrian strip, Strøget, where I held a part-time job at one of the first Urban Outfitters in Europe (I’m convinced they only hired me for my American-sounding accent) to
contemporary structures like the Royal Library of Denmark, where I used to study for exams. It still overlooks the harbour with its polished, black granite exterior that juts out at irregular angles, earning it the nickname “Den Sorte Diamant”, or the Black Diamond. It accompanies a This cube-like collection of modern Danish dormitory is actually designed buildings along as a double spiral. It the harbour: The encircles a central playhouse, opera courtyard that lets plenty of natural house and theatre. light into common We even managed areas of each floor. to sneak into the
dormitory I once lived in – Bikuben Kollegiet. Ours was the first round of students to live in the brand-new building, which itself was such a marvel in design that I would frequently run into groups of architecture students touring the space. But like any progressive city, there’s plenty that’s changed since I left. Just south of Bikuben, a former industrial region of abandoned warehouses and silos (where I attended the occasional rave during my year in Copenhagen) is now a revived district of both new apartments and old factories repurposed into trendy residences. Copenhagen native Andreas Hansen lives
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK • EXPERIENCES • 55
BELOW: Waterfront factories and silos were converted into residences in the 2000s after manufacting industries moved out of the city
Silos by Adrian Cowo; Sydhavnen by Thomas Høyrup Christensen; Bikuben by Michael Muraz
in one of them. Wennberg Silo, a former soybean processing plant built in the 1950s, stood vacant for decades before it was renovated for residential living in 2004. Hansen has been renting here since 2009 and his apartment spans between two former silos – a living room and kitchen in one connected to a bedroom and office – all of which look out into the harbour. Situated on the second floor of the building, he’s not far from the water. In fact, standing in the middle of his living room, he says, it looks and feels like you’re on a boat. Also visible from Hansen’s apartment is Langebro, the main bridge connecting
I’VE LUCKED OUT WITH A SUN-SOAKED WEEKEND IN A CITY THAT’S NOTORIOUS FOR ITS COLD, WET AND MOODY WEATHER Amager Island (where you’ll find Hansen’s building and my old dormitory) to the main city. It’s where we find ourselves traversing by rented city bike on our first full day in the city, with the sun still streaming down. In light of the fortuitous weather we have donned our bathing suits and flocked to the water, where reflections of the sky’s cerulean hue seem to deepen. We’ve set up our makeshift camp of towels and blankets along a grassy expanse on the western coast of Amager Island, not far from Wennberg Silo. At this man-made harbour bath, we’re joined by a healthy gathering of both local Copenhageners and tourists. The harbour park, which opened in 2002, quickly became a popular spot to enjoy a refreshing dip in the seawater-fed harbour. I didn’t think that I would have the opportunity to work on my tan in one of the northernmost countries I’ve ever visited. But here I am, sizzling in my swimmers. A Vancouverite in the group, who has since relocated to Oslo to be with his Norwegian wife, reminds me that the rays up north are stronger than you’d think. I dutifully slather on SPF 60 as I’m squinting in the sunlight. While I’m soaking in these unexpected rays, the more adventurous members of the group are waiting in line for their turn to cannonball off a platform set out in the harbour. It’s another fine display of Scandinavian design – a triangular structure modeled after the hull of a ship. At a safe distance from the platform, children swim in shallow zones while others practice their freestyle stroke along a separate lane. Copenhagen has a long history of harbour swimming, with open-air bathing houses dating back to the 1800s. But as the city’s manufacturing and shipping industries grew through the 19th and 20th centuries, the water became murky and heavily polluted with toxic chemicals and harmful microorganisms by the 1980s. Copenhagen’s main container ports, dockyards and manufacturing hubs were
moved to newer facilities outside of the city, and officials saw the opportunity to transform the harbour into a liveable, swimmable area for all. Wastewater systems were modernized and the water was painstakingly cleaned. By 2002, the city opened its first harbour bath on Amager Island followed by three more public baths between 2002 and 2011. An important part of the harbour revitalization was the construction of several pedestrian and bicycle-only bridges that connect Amager Island with the city centre, making it easier for Copenhageners to access the baths and spend time along its recently revitalized waterways. >
> These bridges are a nice example of how the city takes any and all opportunity to make a functional item fashionable. Mastlike structures on the Circle Bridge, which opened just two years ago, harken back to the city’s history as a shipping port. The staggered, snaking circles also cleverly force speedy cyclists to slow down while they’re biking alongside pedestrians. These developments have created a new distinctive identity for Copenhagen that combines the city’s fairytale-like street scenes (it is, after all, the birthplace of author Hans Christian Andersen) with striking monuments to modernity. New residential areas have mainly expanded south of the city to Sydhavnen, where ground-level apartment units are have docks set directly in the harbour. But The revered Danish writer is best known another former for his fairy tales. industrial district in He authored The the northeast corner Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and of Copenhagen – a Thumbelina, among bankrupt shipyard others. – is on the brink of transformation. A short, 15-minute cycle from the city centre (yes, here distances are measured by minutes spent on a bike) gets us to Refshaleøen. This is where we find ourselves on the second day of our trip and our continued hunt for seaside revelry. In contrast to the tight, cozy cobblestone streets and bustling city, Refshaleøen retains the rugged industrial atmosphere of its former life. Disused shipping containers are stacked next to vacant graffitied buildings and boarded-up windows. Like any gentrifying district, Copenhagen’s trendiest operations are quickly springing up here. The Michelinstarred Amass Restaurant, from former Noma head chef Matt Orlando, set up shop here in 2013 and earlier this year, Noma themselves launched their much-anticipated second location on the industrial island. Owners of the acclaimed Italian restaurant Il Buco opened their own >
RIGHT: The Circle Bridge’s modern design encourages speedy cyclists to slow down while biking alongside slower pedestrians
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK • EXPERIENCES • 57
58 • EXPERIENCES • COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
ABOVE: On Refshaleøen, a ferry passenger waiting room is converted into a casual café – one of many repurposed structures on the island
> seaside shack, La Banchina, in a former waiting room for ferry passengers. The café sits on cottage-country-esque piers set in a quieter cove off the main harbour. When the sun is shining, space on these docks is harder to come by than a patch of spare grass at Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park. The locals are still finding their way around here, it seems, as a middle-aged Copenhagener stops to ask us for directions, unaware of the fact that we are ourselves attempting to orientate. Matters are made worse by the fact that nearly all the streets on this island are named “Refshalevej.”
As a result of a refIt’s easy to miss erendum in 2000, the turnoff from Denmark rejected the road (one of the introducing the many Refshalevejs we euro and chose to retain their “krone”, cycle through) to our which translates to destination but a keen “crown” in English. eye from our group spots a ramshackle sign pointing to an opening in a wooden fence that we carefully clamber through. The sound of low-key house beats gets louder as we cycle down the lane – we’re heading in the right direction. Unlike yesterday’s family-friendly day in the sun, we’ve chosen to spend our last day together at Halvandet – which is best described as Copenhagen’s closest equivalent to a glitzy, Ibiza-like beach club. We sprawl out on cushy king-sized sun
GETTING THERE Air Canada and SAS fly directly from Toronto to Copenhagen in 7 hours and 30 minutes. Return tickets start at $1,200. Bycyklen, electric-powered bikes, can be rented at over 100 stands across the city. aircanada.com; flysas. com; bycycklen.dk
NEARLY ALL THE STREETS ON THIS ISLAND ARE NAMED “REFSHALEVEJ”
loungers and pitch in for bottles of rosé for the group, a rare moment where I allow myself to forget the pricey conversion rates from dollars to krone. Grains of sand from Halvandet’s man-made beach volleyball courts are stuck between my toes. We linger at Halvandet for hours until the sky develops a pink complexion not unlike the wine we’ve drunk, reflected in the blue harbour that for a moment glows with the warmth that I feel for this city. ◆
LONDON, ENGLAND • EXPERIENCES • 61
LONDON CRAWLING Even if it never shakes the association with its working-class past, East London continues to evolve. We find out where to eat, drink and be merry east of the City.
Flight time from Toronto
Words by JESSICA HURAS
Average temp in spring
to 1 Canadian dollar
BELOW: Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s acclaimed Red Rooster restaurant is one of the many flashy amenities you’ll find at the Curtain hotel.
DO WHITECHAPEL ART GALLERY
This historic gallery is known for hosting cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions. Household names like Jackson Pollock, David Hockney and Frida Kahlo held some of their first UK shows here, and the gallery is also known as the only British space to have shown Picasso’s Guernica. Because they don’t have a permanent collection, each visit is a new experience. Film screenings, lectures and other events fill out the schedule. While some special exhibits have an admission fee, most of the gallery is completely free to visit. whitechapelgallery.org
OLD SPITALFIELDS MARKET
Spend an afternoon browsing the eclectic wares of the stalls in Old Spitalfields Market. The main market is set in a 19th-century hall covered by a glass canopy, making it worth a stop for the architecture alone. The best market days are Thursday to Sunday, with each one bringing different sets of vendors. Sunday is the busiest day, with almost 100 varied stalls, while Thursdays bring an antique market and Fridays are best for hunting down indie fashion. There are tons of food stalls and restaurants, too, so there’s no need to leave the market to grab a bite. oldspitalfieldsmarket.com
EATING LONDON TOURS
Eating London’s food tours combine food tastings at popular eateries with stories of the neighbourhood’s rich history and explorations of its vivid street art. The tour’s eight tasting stops take you through Shoreditch and other areas of East London, offering compelling insight into how immigration has shaped the area. As you tour crumbling Georgian-style mansions and Roman burial grounds, you’ll discover that dishes brought by immigrants, like salt beef bagels and Indian curries, are equally ingrained in the neighbourhood’s culinary culture as classic London eats like fish ‘n’ chips and bacon sandwiches. eatinglondontours.co.uk
LONDON, ENGLAND • EXPERIENCES • 63
BELOW: A pair of disused trains have been transformed into a well-known Shoreditch landmark
BELOW: Rooms at the Curtain combine the aesthetics of a warehouse loft with luxuries like a fullystocked bar cart
LONDON, ENGLAND • EXPERIENCES • 65
STAY THE CURTAIN
Michael Achenbaum, co-founder of the swish Gansevoort portfolio of hotels, partnered with Michelin-starred chef Marcus Samuelsson for the Curtain, one of East London’s buzziest openings of 2017. The lower floor is home to the only remote location of chef Samuelsson’s famed Harlem soul-food restaurant, Red Rooster. After tucking into southern comfort food, you can work it off at the hotel’s sleek 24-hour gym. Rooms at this posh property are worth the splurge, decked out with handsome, warehouse-style decor and swish features like bar carts with crystal glassware and glass-walled steam showers. thecurtain.com
This unfussy, modern hotel is an excellent option for travellers looking for a comfortable, affordable base. They preserved the 19th-century arched entrance, but the space is otherwise simple and contemporary. Rooms feature soft mattresses handmade from natural materials, 40-inch TVs and polished bathrooms decked out with frosted glass. There are plenty of hip bars, clubs and restaurants within walking distance, along with the Old Street tube station. Bonus: The hotel hosts free wine-and-cheese sessions every evening in its on-site restaurant. thezhotels.com
TOWN HALL HOTEL
Set in Bethnal Green’s former civic headquarters, the Town Hall Hotel pairs the building’s historic architecture with artsy design. Rooms are individually decorated – from Edwardian heritage to a more modern, subtly luxurious aesthetic. The hip neighbourhood offers plenty of quality drinking and dining options, or Bethnal Green tube station is a five-minute walk away. The on-site restaurants are worth sticking around to try, with the Typing Room serving exceptional tasting menus and the Corner Room offering equally well-prepared but more economical fare. townhallhotel.com
66 • EXPERIENCES • LONDON, ENGLAND
ABOVE: Dinerama features over a dozen food stalls set in a repurposed bullion truck depot
This outdoor food and drink market, housed in a repurposed bullion truck depot, comes from Street Feast, a company that has converted disused spaces around the city into eating and drinking spots. Dinerama features a host of food trucks, shacks and bars serving Taiwanese steamed buns, handpressed burgers, wood-fired pizzas and other creative eats, along with plenty of boozy drinks. The 1,000-seat dining area is open to
the elements except when a roof and heating are added during the winter. streetfeast.com
that has technically been required to drink alcohol in Bombay since 1949. dishoom.com
The Shoreditch branch of well-loved Indian restaurant Dishoom serves cuisine inspired by the traditional Irani cafes of Bombay (now Mumbai). Consistently ranked among the city’s best Indian restaurants, Dishoom’s small-plates menu mixes classics with inventive modern dishes like the Lamb Raan Bun, slow-cooked pulled lamb piled on a sourdough roll. Cocktails are served in the Permit Room, a nod to the personal permit
Chef/owner David Carter honed his craft at the now-closed restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, then moved to Texas to perfect the art of barbecuing. The restaurant’s signature dish is the brisket bun, which sees richly flavourful beef brisket tucked inside a toasted bun and topped with fresh red chilies. Cocktails like the burnt peach old fashioned take inspiration from the food menu’s smoky flavours. smokestak.co.uk
Terroir symposium TERROIRNOMICS THE POWERFUL ECONOMICS OF LOCAL Join us at the Terroir Symposium to gain practical knowledge, grow your professional network and glean inspiration from the community powered by the economics of local. Together, weâ€™ll learn how our terroir supports economic profitability, a healthy corporate culture, environmental and vibrant communities wherever you may stand.
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Forget romantic getaways. Some places are better experienced with just you, yourself and you. Here are the best places to travel solo this February.
Austin, Texas Austin may be Texas’s state capitol, but this ultra-cool city’s friendly vibe makes it feel more like a small town. Welldeserving of its nickname, “Live Music Capital of the World,” you can catch performances in Austin almost every night of the week. If you’re not comfortable dining out solo, the city’s thriving food truck scene means you can eat well without having to endure a sit-down meal in a restaurant.
The Irish are known for their exceptional friendliness and the country’s capital is no exception. Discovering Dublin is less about checking off bucket list sites and more about wandering down cobbled streets and admiring pretty Georgian squares and townhouses — though the striking Long Room in Trinity College’s Old Library is worth a stop.
Dublin, Ireland The Irish are known for their exceptional friendliness and the country’s capital is no exception. Discovering Dublin is less about checking off bucket list sites and more about wandering down cobbled streets and admiring pretty Georgian squares and townhouses — though the striking Long Room in Trinity College’s Old Library is worth a stop.
Tokyo, Japan Tokyo’s fast-paced, salaryman culture means that dining alone is common, with many casual restaurants offering counter seating for single diners, so solo travellers out experiencing the city’s dining scene fit right in. If you feel like having company for a day, you can take advantage of one of the city’s free guiding services, which are generally staffed by locals looking Tokyo, Japanto practice English.
SIGN UP AT ESCAPISM.TO/NEWSLETTER Tokyo’s fast-paced, salaryman culture means that dining To see the rest of the list click here. alone is common, with many casual restaurants offering counter seating for single diners, so solo travellers out experiencing the city’s dining scene fit right in. If you feel like having company for a day, you can take advantage of one of the city’s free guiding services, which are generally staffed by locals looking to practice English.
THE CHECKLIST • EXCURSIONS • 71
ELCOME TO THE Checklist, where escapism becomes your personal
shopper, helping you choose the essential gear you’ll need for your next trip. We’re kicking it off with a guide to the best gear to bring on a trip to Europe, whether you’re taking on marathon sightseeing days through capital cities or active countryside excursions.
The cool Arakys Approach shoes you see above are fit for either. Their grippy sole and durable construction allows them to stand up to tough terrain, but they’re also light and comfy enough to wear as an everyday shoe. Whether your next trip across the Atlantic involves strolling the streets of Belgrade or hiking in San Sebastian (or both), you’ll find what you need in the following pages. ◆
◀ THE NORTH FACE
WOMEN’S CITY MIDI LONG JACKET:
This classy trench will keep you warm and dry when the temps drop. Built-in waist-shaping flatters your silhouette without sacrificing comfort and coziness. $199.99; sportchek.ca
Prepare to hit the road with our list of essential travel gear to pack for your next trip to Europe, from the best sunny shades to featherlight rain jackets for layering up.
◀ HYDRO FLASK
timeless standard since they were first released in 1969, these always-stylish shoes feature a comfortable leather upper and a herringbone-pattern rubber sole for traction. $99.99; sportchek.ca
Keep your drink cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours with this stainless steel water bottle, which features a wide opening for quick filling. $47.99; sportchek.ca
WOMEN’S SUPERSTAR SHOES: A
32 OZ WIDE MOUTH WATER BOTTLE:
▶ RAY-BAN ▶ ARC’TERYX
A2B COMMUTER PANT, WOMEN’S:
Made from a stretch fabric that repels water and wicks away sweat and moisture, these slim pants transition easily between active days and evenings out. $170; arcteryx.ca
CLUBMASTER SUNGLASSES: Make
a style statement with these high-quality frames from the biggest name in sunglasses. They feature a retro design inspired by 1950s glamour. $190; sportchek.ca
ARAKYS APPROACH SHOE, WOMEN’S:
Lightweight and supportive, this durable shoe is equally well-suited to sightseeing as it is to rock climbing. $160; arcteryx.ca
THE CHECKLIST • EXCURSIONS • 73
COVERT CASE C/O:
Use this padded, carry-on case as a duffle or a backpack. It opens up suitcase-style for easy packing, and the silicone-treated exterior resists dirt and water. $230; arcteryx.ca
NILA TRENCH COAT, WOMEN’S: This
double-breasted trench is breathable and waterproof but will also allow you to pass as a fashionable European. $600; arcteryx.ca
FUTURA LIMITLESS TRUE SNAPBACK CAP: A unisex clas-
sic, this snapback cap has an embroidered logo, plus an adjustable closure for a comfortable fit. $32; sportchek.ca
◀ HELLY HANSEN
WOMEN’S LOKE PACKABLE ANORAK RAIN JACKET: Be
prepared for wet weather with this lightweight jacket. Side-entry pockets and a zippered front pocket are handy for storing small belongings. $139.99; sportchek.ca
LEXICON PROFESSIONAL REFORMA:
Stay organized on the road with this twill-lined padfolio. It features a handy front pocket for quick access, and inside there’s a notepad and tablet holder. $129; victorinox.com
ROSHE ONE SHOES:
Lightweight, comfy and flexible, these sleek shoes can be worn with or without socks and go well with just about anything. $99.99; sportchek.ca
DELUXE DUFFEL LAPTOP BACKPACK:
With gear loops and cords for securing items, along with a hidden zippered laptop pocket, this versatile backpack is ideal for city breaks, countryside excursions and everything in between. $199; victorinox.com
74 • EXCURSIONS • THE KIT LIST
THE KIT LIST Ready to go mirrorless? Want to shoot 4K video? Here are our favourite sturdy, lightweight cameras for various photography skill levels.
▶ PANASONIC GH 5: The weather-sealed body resists dust, splashes and freezing temperatures. This sturdy camera is one of the best mirrorless models on the market that’s also capable of taking excellent video (4K 60/50p). $1,999.99; shop.panasonic.com
▲ GOPRO HERO6: GoPRO’s flagship model has a waterproof body and simple controls that allow you to capture photos or 4K videos at the touch of a button. $529.99; sportchek.ca
EOS REBEL T7I: The
latest release in Canon’s much-loved Rebel series, this entry-level DSLR features lightning quick autofocus, intuitive controls and built-in wireless connectivity. $1,399.99; canon.ca
◀ CANON EOS M100: Canon’s mirrorless model is a great choice for newbie photographers ready to upgrade to their first interchangeable lens camera. $779.99; canon.ca
INSTAX MINI 9:
Take retro-style photos and selfies with this colourful instant camera. A simple brightness adjustment dial lets you capture sharp photos in various lighting conditions. $84.00; amazon.ca
◀ SONY A6500: Intuitive for beginners but enough performance for pros, Sony’s 24.2 MP mirrorless camera can autofocus almost instantly and features an excellent stabilization system for shooting sharper movies and still images. $1,649.99; sony.ca
You will understand why it is the lager for those in the know.
Universally regarded as one of the world's great lager conditioned beers, we only use the ďŹ nest ingredients, ďŹ rst-class cones from locally grown Saaz hops, natural soďż˝ water from ice age lakes and carefully selected grains of a unique strain of the Moravian barley make our Czechvar B:Original a truly great beer.
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THE INTREPID SERIES • EXCURSIONS • 77
THE INTREPID SERIES
ELCOME TO THE Intrepid Series, where our writers go above and beyond the average traveller, and put their minds and bodies to the test in search of in search of a deeper or more adventurous experience abroad. To kick off the first issue of escapism Toronto, we thought it would be fitting to bring you a story from the editor of escapism’s UK edition as the torch is passed to a new team of adventure-seeking writers. In our inaugural Intrepid Series,
Jon Hawkins travels to Sardinia where, rather than gorging on pasta and prosciutto (although we have a feeling he may have done some of that, too), he gets a hardcore perspective on Sardinia as he takes on the Chia Sardinia Triathlon 70,3 (with a little help from his brother-in-law). The two embark on a challenging course involving a 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike ride and 21-km run. Turn the page and get ready to follow their extreme journey along Sardinia’s dreamy southern coast. ◆
THE INTREPID SERIES Beyond Italyâ€™s historic cities and culinary revelry, Jon Hawkins takes on an adrenaline-pumping challenge by tag-teaming through a coastal triathlon in Sardinia.
ABOVE: Expansive Sardinian views are part of the motivation for these triathletes
SARDINIA, ITALY • EXCURSIONS • 79
F I HAVE to pinpoint the exact moment I realize things have got serious, this would be it. I’m sitting at a table in the restaurant of the Chia Laguna Resort, on the south coast of the Italian island of Sardinia, accompanied by a bottle of beer and a plate piled so high with food that it’s threatening to keel over and dispense a mixture of pasta, meat, fish, salad and more meat onto my lap. I’m quietly pleased with myself – quiet Positioned off the west coast of because I’m at a table Italy – just south for one, and pleased of the island of because I’ve just Corsica and north raided the buffet with of Tunisia – Sardinia is the second all the restraint and largest island in the finesse of a child let Mediterranean Sea. loose in the aisles of a candy store, and I’m about to shovel it all into my gob. But then I look up and around, and in the few minutes since I sat down with the fruits of my buffet raid (which contains no actual fruit, obviously) the room has filled with people, none of whom have beer or mountainous plates in front of them; many of whom are wearing branded sportswear and hats (indoors! imagine!); and all of whom have the wiry, muscular look of properly conditioned athletes. This is, unmistakably, a room full of function – food, clothes and bodies designed to do things (like fuel, or wick moisture or run) rather than be things (like fashionable, lumpy or tasty). I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, because in two days almost everyone staying in the resort on this balmy evening in April will compete in the Chia Sardinia Triathlon 70,3, which is roughly twice the distance of a standard, Olympicdistance triathlon – or, to put it another way, half the distance of an Ironman. I’m racing, too, though I’ve drafted in my brother-in-law, Ross, to share the load – by which I mean he’ll take on the 1.9km >
I’VE JUST RAIDED THE BUFFET WITH ALL THE RESTRAINT OF A KID IN A CANDY STORE
> sea swim, before handing over to me for the 90-km bike leg, and he’ll then run the 21km half-marathon distance to the finish. As my sister put it a few weeks ago: “I can’t help thinking Ross drew the short straw here…” At this point, though, Ross is still in the UK, so it’s left for me to scope out the opposition and scout the course – and by “scout the course” I mean wander down to the beach and go for a quick swim, then cycle down the road for a bit to make sure I’ve managed to put my bike together properly after flying it over in pieces. Chia is at the southernmost tip of the island, about an hour’s drive from the Sardinian capital, Cagliari, and it sits just back from the coast, separated from the sea by a lagoon with its own population of flamingos. I have a short walk to the beach, skirting the edge of the lagoon, and the scene that emerges through the scrubby clumps of bushes is genuinely stunning. Other than a lone seagull, it’s just me, a
beach and drop my bike off in transition (that’s the area in a triathlon where competitors change between disciplines) so it’s ready for the start the following morning – even if the two of us aren’t. Race day, it’s an early start and, after loading up on breakfast, we wander down to the beach, where the other competitors are beginning to gather for the start of the 1.9-km swim around a course marked out by buoys. There’s barely a cloud in the sky, though it’s not yet warm and the wind has now turned yesterday’s glassy pool into a wild and wavy mess of bluey-green foam. As the first group of athletes sets off – those like us who are doing the race as a relay are in the last group to go – we watch as the waves and a fearsomely strong current pull them out of The flamingos of Sardinia (there are thousands of them) are pink, due to the pigments found in crustaceans in their diet. Most are found in the lagoons of southern Sardinia.
I HAVE A SHORT WALK TO THE BEACH AND THE SCENE THAT EMERGES THROUGH THE SCRUBBY CLUMPS OF BUSHES IS GENUINELY STUNNING vast stretch of white sand extending east towards a tower-topped headland, and iceblue water lapping and fizzing gently at the shore. This isn’t the point at which Ross will start the race the following day – to get to that I follow a narrow path that winds west along the coastline past a rocky outcrop, until I’m spat out at a small beach where barriers are being put up and a few people in wetsuits are testing out the water. I have a quick dip (this is April, so it’s freezing) then head back to pick up my bike. The wind – as it’s apparently inclined to do round these parts – is whipping along the coastal road, while the mid-afternoon sun beats down on the tarmac. I follow the road west for a few winding, undulating kilometres before turning back, which is just far enough for me to get some idea of what we’ll be in for tomorrow. When Ross arrives later that afternoon, we have just enough time to scope out the
line on the charge to the first buoy. Ross, now wetsuited up and waiting to be called to the start line, looks back at me with the wry grin of a condemned man. I stick around for a few minutes and watch him battle through the first few sets of waves before I squeeze through the small crowd of spectators and find my bike in the transition zone. It’s conspicuous for being a regular road bike – most others are aeroefficient monsters that, like their owners, are purpose-built to go fast. I loiter alongside it while the lead athletes stream out of the water, shed their wetsuits, grab their bikes from the rack and set out on the bike leg. When Ross arrives he looks remarkably fresh (which is no small piece of luck, considering he’s still got a half marathon to run). He peels off the timing chip around his ankle, and I strap it onto my own leg before haring out of transition and hopping onto the bike. My route is a classic >
ABOVE: Competitors take in stunning views of the Chia lagoon while completing a challenging triathlon
SARDINIA, ITALY • EXCURSIONS • 81
82 • EXCURSIONS • SARDINIA, ITALY
RIGHT: Swimmers in wetsuits prepare for the first leg of the triathlon BELOW: Triathlons based at resorts mean plenty of pool time for recuperation
> out-and-back – it snakes along the hills overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea before cutting inland, reaching the turnaround point, and then retracing the same roads back to transition. It’s not exactly a conventional or a particularly relaxing way to see this part of the island, but it’s impossible not to be seduced by the epic coastal scenery. As lush hills and cliffs rise up from the turquoise sea, the road traces it – which means steep climbs that etch their way up wind-battered peaks before plunging down the other side. It’s hard work – and god knows it would be harder if I’d just completed a 2-km sea swim – but whizzing (or wheezing, really) past small harbour towns, and beaches that look like they’ve been stolen from the Caribbean and dropped into the Mediterranean, softens the blow. Once the route dives away from the coast, things start to flatten out, and the sun that’s been gently bathing the landscape (and me) is beginning to warm things up a bit. I’m making good progress, though – passing some, being passed by others, trying to remember to throw the odd energy bar or gel into my fuel tank/mouth – and my legs feel surprisingly good. When I reach the turnaround point at Porto Pino, a little under an hour and a half in, I’m actually looking forward to the second half of the ride. I start identifying “targets” to overtake further up the road ahead of me, which is all well and good until my legs suddenly start feeling wobbly, just as
I START IDENTIFYING “TARGETS” TO OVERTAKE FURTHER UP THE ROAD AHEAD OF ME those steep climbs from the way out begin to loom on the horizon. I’ve ridden much further than this plenty of times before, but rarely have I ridden as fast as I can for more than 50 miles without pulling over for cake and a strong coffee at least once. It hurts. A lot. Not as much, it Named for the turns out, as running area’s vast pine forests, Porto a half marathon in Pino is home to the baking, latea beautiful beach morning Sardinian known for its sand sun. I hand over to dunes and clear, shallow waters. Ross in transition and he’s looking relaxed,
GETTING THERE Several airlines, including Air Canada, fly to Cagliari. From Cagliari, Chia can be reached via a short bus ride of around 90 minutes or just under an hour by car. Room rates at Chia Laguna Resort start at $394 per night. aircanada.com; en.chialagunaresort.com
having spent the past couple of hours chilling out in the hotel. Next time I see him, he’s making a decent pace but throwing cold water over himself and puffing out his cheeks. In fairness, he’s far from alone – there are some raggedlooking bodies out there by this point – but the crowds that have assembled to cheer on the competitors are doing their best to pull people around the course. Finally – five hours and forty minutes after we set off, and more than an hour and a half after the winner rolled in – Ross crosses the finish line, and I saunter over just in time to sheepishly grab my finisher’s medal. It’s hard not to feel a little guilty – after all, not only did I share the burden with someone else, but all I had to do was ride my bike along one of the most eye-poppingly gorgeous bits of coastline in Europe. Still, you’ll have to take that medal out of my cold, dead hands. Maybe I’ll be back to do the whole three-leg shebang. Or maybe I’ll find another mug to rope into it – which shouldn’t prove all that tricky: plates of Italian food, balmy weather, breathtakingly pretty beaches, and just a bit of temporary pain. What’s not to like about that? ◆
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A dose of vitamin sea Home to flavourful cuisine, historic architecture and exciting activities for almost every interest, get ready to discover that beautiful beaches are just the beginning in Barbados. When you think about Barbados, sun and sand might be the first images to come to mind, but there’s so much more to this lively Caribbean island than picturesque beaches (but, don’t worry, you’ll certainly find plenty of those, too!). Barbados has dubbed 2018 its Year of Culinary Experiences, which means there’s no better time to find out why the island is often described as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. A diverse mix of African, Caribbean, Asian, West Indian and European influences combine to make Bajan cooking truly distinctive and delicious. You’ll find over 100 restaurants across
the island, ranging from sophisticated fine dining venues to informal, toes-in-the-sand beachside eateries and casual street stalls. Barbados is sometimes known as the land of the flying fish for the foot-long fish that can often be seen gliding over the warm waters found off its coast. The fish also features prominently in the island’s cuisine,
with flying fish served alongside cou-cou, a mix of cornmeal and okra, recognized as Barbados’s national dish. Don’t miss the Oistins Fish Market on Friday and Saturday nights, which sees dozens of open-air stalls serving up grilled and fried fish, along with classic sides like plaintains and breadfruit (all of which are
A diverse mix of influences make Bajan cooking truly distinctive
BARBADOS • PROMOTION • 85
best washed down with a local Banks Beer). Live music and dancing make for a festive atmosphere that continues into the night. By day, explore the island’s UNESCOlisted capital, Bridgetown, home to the oldest consecrated Jewish synagogue in the Western hemisphere and Victorian-era Parliament buildings, not to mention prime duty-free shopping – be sure to pick up a bottle of Mount Gay rum to take home. Head to the rugged east coast for surfing and hiking. Enjoy prime snorkelling and swimming at Needham’s Point and Dover Beach or simply find the perfect spot on the sands for a well-deserved rest. With pink sands set against a dramatic cliff backdrop, Crane Beach is a perennial favourite. For a change of pace, head to the island’s lush interior, where you’ll find scenic gardens and historic plantation houses dotted amid vast sugar cane fields. St. Nicholas Abbey, the island’s oldest plantation home, is an essential stop for culture vultures. The home dates back to around 1650 and the on-site rum distillery uses a 19th-century steam press. If you’re looking to splurge, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to live large in Barbados, from luxurious catamaran cruises that take in the island’s idyllic tropical scenery to stays at high-end resorts. Whatever you’re seeking in a vacation, you’ll find it in Barbados. Add in the warm welcome from the island’s famously friendly locals that you’re sure to receive and you might just find you never want to leave. ◆ To find out more, go to visitbarbados.org
Food & Rum Festival Oct 18-21, 2018 This appetizing annual festival highlights the best of Barbados’s food and drink. Celebrating its 9th year, the festival will feature a cook-off, fine dining events presented by local and international chefs, food and rum pairings, along with a giant beach party to cap off the four-day event.
CASH OR CRUNCH
86 • EXCURSIONS • MIAMI, FLORIDA
CASH OR CRUNCH We take you on a tour of the “Cruise Capital of the World” with high-and-low tips on what to eat, the best accommodations and how to stay busy.
Crunch: Versailles One of the city’s best Cuban restaurants also happens to be easy on the wallet. Versailles has long been a gathering place for Miami’s Cuban community. Classic plates like ropa vieja are served in a kitschy space inspired by the restaurant’s namesake palace.
Crunch: Circa 39 Featuring direct beach access and cheerful decor, Circa 39 offers plenty of charm at an affordable price (rates start at $140 per night). It’s an attractive base for those who want to be on the oceanfront but away from the hustle-and-bustle. They have a lovely pool and a restaurant with outdoor dining.
Crunch: Art Walk in Wynwood Wynwood is home to some of Miami’s coolest galleries and art studios, eyecatching public art displays and eclectic shops. On the second Saturday evening of the month, galleries and shops open their doors after hours for Art Walk and the area takes on a street-party atmosphere. ◆
Cash: NAOE Kevin Cory’s intimate Japanese restaurant is one of the most exceptional omakase experiences in Miami. NAOE has only eight spots at two highly coveted nightly seatings, priced at $220 per person. The menu changes daily. A boutique brewery owned by Cory’s family supplies the sake, while the soy sauce is made in house.
Cash: Fontainebleau Miami Beach A $1-billion renovation in 2008 gave the facilities on the 22-acre oceanfront property a contemporary makeover but maintained the Art Deco design. It’s close to Miami Beach’s main strip – although, with 9 restaurants, the famous LIV nightclub and a huge spa, you might not want to leave.
Cash: Rent a private boat Tour the Magic City in style by renting a private yacht. Miami Sailing Adventures has boats ranging from a six-person vessel to a mini-yacht. You get a captain, a personalized itinerary and you can BYO food and drink. It’s the perfect vantage on Biscayne Bay, Star Island and Millionaire’s Row.
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suits for every body Feel confident this beach season with Swimco’s selection of swimwear for bodies of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re taking a sunny escape this winter or already looking forward to summer days spent lakeside, you’ll need to pack your bags full of swimwear and beachwear that’s the perfect fit for your style and shape. Swimco believes that everyone deserves to have swimwear that fits and flatters them, the basis of their promise to help Canadians “feel good half naked.” For over 40 years, Swimco’s team of Fit Experts have been committed to helping customers find swimwear that makes them look and feel their absolute best. Rather than promoting classic swimsuit model bodies, Swimco encourages each person to appreciate their body for the aspirational life it lets them live. To promote body positivity, they use models with diverse figures in their shoots. When you feel confident in your
swimwear, you’re able to focus on living your life to the very fullest. Canadian owned and operated, Swimco began as a mail-order swimwear business. Now in its second generation of family ownership, Swimco is managed by Lori Bacon, the daughter of its original president. Swimco has grown to become one of Canada’s top swimwear retailers, with 24 store locations across the country as well as an online shopping platform. It carries over 100 brands for women, men and kids, including names like Miraclesuit, Seafolly and Billabong. In addition to swimsuits, Swimco offers everything else you’ll need to hit the sands, from beach bags to UV shirts. With over four decades of experience helping Canadians gear up for beach getaways, you can be sure Swimco’s Fit Experts will help you find the suit that makes you “feel good half naked.” ◆
win a $1,000 swimco shopping spree how to win One escapism reader will win a $1,000 Swimco shopping spree to create a dream vacation wardrobe. Contest closes April 13, 2018. For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter, visit the website at: escapism.to/competition
go all in(Clusive) Take the hassle out of trip planning with Club Med’s unique, we-handle-everything holiday experiences.
Whether your perfect vacation is about trying adventurous, new activities, relaxing with friends and family or simply shaking up your everyday routine to gain a new perspective, it’s easier to focus on making the most of your trip when someone else takes care of the details. Club Med pioneered the all-inclusive concept in the 1950s and continues to be a leader in comprehensive vacations, with 70 resorts in some of the world’s most impressive destinations. Airport transfers, dining and accommodation, as well as a variety of exciting activities are all included
with your stay, so your vacation can be the fun, hassle-free experience it should be. With the choice of resorts in 26 countries (across five continents), your Club Med vacation might see you discovering the wonders of Tulum or Chichen Itza at Club Med Cancun Yucatan, enjoying an oceanfront massage in Punta Cana or getting a unique perspective on the night sky in a stargazing lounge in Ixtapa, Mexico. For a truly luxurious experience, there’s nowhere in the world quite like Club Med Kani Maldives, which is set on a private island in the Maldives and features
overwater bungalows with direct access to the turquoise waters of the sea. This summer, Club Med Turkoise will transition from a three-Trident (the company’s star rating system) resort to a four-Trident, adult-only property following a series of renovations. Guests can look forward to upgrades like a new oceanview terrace for the resort’s main restaurant, a beautifully designed infinity-edge pool and digital bracelets that give guests one-touch access to their rooms. Club Med does beach vacations, but they can also level-up your winter vacation with
CLUB MED • CONTEST • 89
P R OW M ION TION
their all-inclusive ski resort properties, found in top ski destinations across the globe from Italy to Japan. Their newest ski destination, Samoëns Morillon Grand Massif, is set on Plateau des Saix, offering ski-in ski-out access in France’s Grand Massif ski area. Guests can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on 266 kilometres of slopes. The resort’s apres-ski scene is equally enticing, with Gourmet Lounge restaurant featuring panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and intimate “discovery dinners” created by Michelin-starred chef Edouard Loubet.
Regardless of which resort you choose, you can expect distinctive accommodation and dining tailored to reflect the culture of each resort’s location. They also offer engaging children’s programming; spa services designed in partnership with the world’s biggest names in beauty and wellbeing; and a diverse sports and activities lineup that could include rock climbing, paddle boarding, golfing or even flying trapeze. Club Med destresses vacation planning, so that you can concentrate on turning your travel dreams into a reality and creating lasting memories. ◆
expect accommodation and dining tailored to reflect the culture of each resort
win a one week club med vacation for two how to win One lucky escapism reader and a friend will win a one week stay at their choice of one of five sunny Club Med properties, with meals, drinks and activities included. You could be heading off for a seven-night vacation to Club Med Ixtapa Pacific; Club Med Cancun Yucatan; Club Med Punta Cana; Club Med Sandpiper Bay; or Club Med Turkoise. The choice is up to you. Club Med will take care of the rest. For a full list of terms and conditions and to enter, visit the website at: escapism.to/competition
90 • EXCURSIONS • VALENCIA, SPAIN
SPECIALTIES OF THE HOUSE
SPANISH JAMON Don’t forget jamon. There are many versions of Spain’s iconic dry-cured ham for sale in the building, and vendors are happy to offer you a slice. Pigs are raised on an acorn diet in oak forests to make the finest, Ibérico de Bellota. The meat tastes sweet and buttery with intense nutty flavor.
Mercado Central, in Valencia, combines cathedral-like architecture with some of the region’s freshest produce and finest prepared goods.
PAIN ARGUABLY HAS some of the finest food markets in the world. From Barcelona’s La Boqueria to Madrid’s San Miguel, every public market in the country has its own rich history, personality and style. While La Boqueria is often touted as a rite of passage for foodies eating their way through the country, Valencia’s Mercado Central may be the country’s best hidden gem market for those with big appetites. The coastal city’s mercado is not only one of the oldest markets in Europe, it also happens to be one of the biggest. While most food markets don’t put much effort
VALENCIA ORANGES Valencia is home to some of the sweetest oranges around, and they’re everywhere. You’ll spot orchards throughout the city from backyards to public parks. Nearly every reputable café will offer you a glass of freshly squeezed, but the best stuff can be found in the market.
MARCONA ALMONDS They are regarded as the “Queen of Almonds” and the market has the best selection from plain to seasoned.
FAN OF SEAFOOD? THIS IS THE MARKET YOUR DREAMS ARE MADE OF
into their façade, Valencia’s is striking from the moment you spot it. The large, twofloor building was designed by two Catalan architects, and construction finished in the late 1920s, so its style mixes Valencian gothic with art nouveau styles. Inside, it almost feels like you’re in a cathedral, with its tall ceiling dressed with iron beams, a beautiful centre dome, ornate mosaic tiling and ceramic adornments. The market is home to over a thousand vendors throughout the week, selling not only local produce but also prepared goods from all over the country. What makes this market special is its high-quality selection of meat, produce and packaged goods. Fan of seafood? This is the market your dreams are made of. Valencia sits by the Mediterranean, and many of the foodstuffs for sale in the market are derived from the coast’s bounty. With an entire section dedicated to seafood, it’s no surprise that locals flock here. ◆
LIKE A LOCAL
As the creator of popular Vancouver food blog Follow Me Foodie, Top Chef Canada judge Mijune Pak has been sharing her favourite city spots for nearly a decade. Here are her top places to hit.
It’s a tourist hotspot but lots of locals come to this beautiful destination that deserves its spot on all those top-5 lists. I’ll rent boats here in the summer. Inside Edible Canada there’s a retail section with local products like shortbread cookies and vinegars. It’s great for grabbing small gifts and souvenirs that are chef-driven. granvilleisland.com
Travelling for work involves eating out at so many restaurants that it’s nice to be able to pick up whatever I want to eat and walk down to the beach for a picnic. English Bay is the most popular beach, but to me, it’s very touristy. I like Jericho Beach because it’s a little bit further out past Kitsilano and not in the thick of downtown.
HK BARBECUE MASTER
This is a little hole-in-the-wall underneath a Superstore parking lot. I go for their barbecue pork. For under 12 bucks you can get three kinds of barbecue meat on rice – that rivals what you get in Hong Kong. 4651 No. 3 Rd., Richmond
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA • EXCURSIONS • 93
LIKE A LOCAL
ABOVE: Granville Island and dozens of skyscrapers huddle around Vancouver’s False Creek
Shutterstock; Jericho by Howard and Harriet Greenwod; seawall by Gabriel Santiaga
This Burnaby restaurant flies under the radar because of its location. Chef-owner Scott Jaeger is a culinary heavyweight in Canada, but nobody knows his name. It’s not stuffy – just well-executed, elegant food. You could go here for a nice dinner but it’s so underpriced for what you’re getting, it’s ridiculous. peartreerestaurant.net
I’m not a big hiker, but walking along the seawall is one of my favourite things to do. You don’t have to worry about hills so you can also rent a bike or rollerblades and head out for a leisurely ride. It’s easy to take views of mountains and the ocean for granted, so when I come home it’s one of the things I look forward to. ◆
GETTING THERE WestJet flies directly from YYZ to YVR multiple times a day. The journey is just over five hours and return flights start at $407. Air Canada also has flights from $423. westjet.ca; aircanada.ca
See the world’s biggest and best showpiece cathedrals, get a taste of Europe here in North America, and find out which hostels don’t compromise quality.
G o w it h g od Europe is packed with churches, but these five masterstrokes offer stunning, sky-scraping architecture.
2) CATHÉDRALE NOTRE DAME, CHARTRES
that blends Byzantine, Islamic and Western European architecture. The present building was completed in 1094 but was continually enhanced over subsequent centuries. Shimmering gilded mosaics cover the
The UNESCO-listed Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres (not the one in Paris) is considered one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral’s relatively short construction period (just 30
1) BASILICA DI SAN MARCO, VENICE Venice’s most famous church is an ornate masterpiece
walls and ceilings of the church’s magnificent interior and the Pala d’Oro, is a gold altarpiece inlaid with precious stones. Don’t miss the outdoor Loggia dei Cavalli area, which offers panoramic views.
The cathedral is also known as the home of a relic called the Sainte Voile (or Holy Veil), which is said to have been worn by the Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus.
years in the early 13th century) gives it an impressively unified architectural style. It was one of the first churches to incorporate flying buttresses for building support, which allowed the cathedral walls to be twice as high as earlier Romanesque ones. The original medieval stainedglass windows are one of the standout features and are admired for their rich colours.
THE SELECTOR • EXCURSIONS • 95
3) SAGRADA FAMÍLIA, BARCELONA Architect Antoni Gaudi’s avant-garde cathedral is one of Barcelona’s most well-known landmarks and a mustsee for first-time visitors. Construction has been ongoing since 1882 and is due to be completed
4) ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA, BUDAPEST Cathedrals 1-3, New Orleans by Shutterstock; Cathedrals 4-5 by Shutterstock
It’s one of the biggest tourist draws in Budapest for a good reason. Construction on the building began in 1851, stretched over half a century and suffered a collapse and deaths of multi-
in 2026 on the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. Gaudi’s belief in the link between nature and the divine is a prominent theme on the four contrasting faces: Tree trunks replace buttresses and amphibians guard the doorways instead of gargoyles. An unconventional masterpiece to some, a monstrosity for others; see it in person and decide for yourself.
Gaudi is responsible for many other Barcelona landmarks, including the Parc Güell garden complex and Casa Vicens, a 19th-century house in Gràcia known for its striking, colourful tiled facade.
ple architects before it was completed in 1905. Named after Hungary’s first king (his mummified hand is in the cathedral’s shrine), the basilica is lauded for its neoclassical architecture and excellent acoustics. On Thursdays, they host organ concerts that offer an opportunity to experience the auditory excellence in person. Book concert tickets well in advance.
5) ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL, PRAGUE Constructed as part of the sprawling Prague Castle complex, most visitors to the Eastern Euro-
pean capital think of St. Vitus Cathedral as the actual castle. One glimpse of its striking Gothic design and you’ll understand why. The structure was built over a painstaking six centuries. Of its many side chapels, St. Wenceslas’s is the one not to
miss, with its gilded semi-precious stone slabs framing Gothic paintings. Give yourself plenty of time to walk around the cathedral’s exterior facades because they have plenty of nooks and crannies (and the requisite gargoyles) to admire at a leisurely pace.
T h e C lo s er Eu ro p e
Find picturesque settings and Old World charm in these Europe-like cities not far from home. 5
1) NEW ORLEANS Settled by the French and later taken over by Spain – it’s been La Nouvelle-Orléans
and Nueva Orleans – its food, music, language and architecture are shaped by European influence. With its gaslight-style lamps, centuries-old buildings and courtyard gardens, the city’s French Quarter
could easily be mistaken for a charming European town. The way of life in New Orleans is inspired by the other side of the Atlantic, from leisurely days to a lively nightlife scene on par with Amsterdam or Berlin.
Mo re C ont in en ta l C h a r act er
3) QUEBEC CITY
From cobblestone streets and handsome brownstone buildings to Harvard’s enchanting collegiate architecture, one of the oldest cities in America feels deeply tied to its British colonial roots. Roughly 20 per cent of its citizens claim Irish ancestry, so there is no shortage of pubs. In the North End, pastry shops, restaurants, delis and gelato stands reflect the neighbourhood’s Italian roots.
Their official tourism slogan, “so Europe, so close” is an apt description for its old town, the only walled city north of Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking along the winding cobblestone streets under the enchanting silhouette of the Chateau Frontenac, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you’re only a 90-minute flight from Toronto and not in a picturesque town in France.
This Quebec City landmark was built in 1893 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as part of a cross-country series of luxurious stopover hotels for its passengers.
4) CAPE BRETON ISLAND Rustic coastal landscapes bordered by moss-covered rock formations may be the stuff of Scottish
5) SANTA BARBARA The sun-soaked California coast is home to an unexpected hub of European history and culture in Santa Barbara. As the home of Spanish missionaries back to the late 1700s, the city has retained the
tourism ads, but Canada’s east coast is home to similarly captivating maritime vistas. In Scotland, endless hikes are the thing to do, whereas in Cape Breton it’s the famed Cabot Trail road trip with plenty
of stops. Must-see landscapes include the semi-saltwater Bras d’Or Lake and the cliffs of Highlands National Park. Local pubs and inns frequently host traditional ceilidhs, celebrating Celtic dance and culture.
charm and essence of its earliest European settlements. The white stucco exteriors and red clay rooftops of buildings like the County Courthouse and Old Mission are in the Spanish colonial style. Santa Barbara’s scenic coastline and mild climate help earn its nickname – the American Riviera.
Ride the elevator, at this National Historic Landmark, to the top of the courthouse’s 25-metre-tall clock tower for panaromic views of the city, mountains and ocean.
THE SELECTOR • EXCURSIONS • 97
H aut e Host e ls Cheap and cheerful aren’t the only attributes of the hotel’s communal cousins as demonstrated by these eclectic hostels.
Europe 2 and 4 by iStock; 3 and 5 by Shutterstock; Crircus by Alex Korting; Sophie’s by Miss Sophie’s; Kex by Donald Cardwell
1) CIRCUS HOSTEL, BERLIN
2) SOPHIE’S HOSTEL, PRAGUE
Everybody from 20-something backpackers to seasoned travellers stays at this hip yet approachable hostel. Rooms range from shared dorms for ten to private rooms with ensuite amenities. The ambiance is simple, cheerful and invitingly clean. Activities include guided street art walks, trivia nights, food tours and live performances.
A distinctive setting, in a 19th-century Art Nouveau building, pairs well with smart, contemporary decor. Each bed in the dorms features its own shelf, light, electrical outlet and locker. Shared bathrooms have rainshower heads, and no more than two rooms share a single bathroom. Private rooms add extras like TVs, kitchenettes and
air-conditioning. The location in Prague’s New Town offers a break from the hustle-and-bustle of the city’s tourist centre, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby and Old Town is a pleasant walk or tram ride away. There’s a guest kitchen, free luggage storage and top-notch hot and cold breakfast.
The heart of Old Town is Old Town Square, where you’ll find most of the city’s main attractions, including the Astronomical Clock and the Týn Church.
3) COCOMAMA, AMSTERDAM 1
communal kitchen and a pleasant backyard patio. The hostel building was a brothel in a previous life, and a dedicated history corner displays photos from its illicit past (along with an original stripper pole). Located on the outskirts of the popular Canal Ring neighbourhood, attractions like the Albert Cuyp Market and the Museum Quarter are a short walk away.
4) KEX HOSTEL, REYKJAVIK
5) SWANKY MINT, ZAGREB
The name (Icelandic for “biscuit”) is a nod to the building’s former factory life. The hostel plays up its industrial setting with decor that blends vintage pieces with upcycled objects. Trendy spaces and activities make this a spot for locals to hang out alongside hostel guests. A retro-styled boxing gym doubles as a venue for conferences, film screenings, parties and other events. They also have an equally old-school barber shop along with a gastropub specializing in Icelandic fare. Dorms and private rooms are available, with many of the latter offering photogenic views of nearby Faxa Bay.
A one-time dry cleaning and textile-dye factory, Swanky Mint’s cool design incorporates raw concrete, exposed pipes and original brickwork. Bunks are built from chipboard and dorms have colourful en-suite bathrooms. They also have private rooms and studio apartments with living rooms and kitchenettes. They do tons of events like movie nights and live DJ performances, plus the onsite bar has a leafy terrace area that attracts a buzzy crowd of locals and guests. The hostel’s location is a handy base for exploring.
The rooms in this quirky hostel are decorated in eclectic Dutch themes like Delftware, tulips or windmills. Beds offer cushy feather duvets, and even the dorms have en-suite bathrooms. Weekly events range from free pasta nights to pub crawls. Amenities include a
98 • EXCURSIONS • LUOPING, CHINA
HE SLEEPY COUNTY of Luoping in eastern Yunnan, China gets a Midas touch each spring when fields of blooming canola flowers turn its farmlands yellowish gold. Canola is the trade name for a Canadian-developed, low acid cultivar of the rapeseed plant. While canola is grown across China, the producers of Luoping combine to make one of the country’s largest crops,
so a field-full is a particularly spectacular sight. In some areas, the canola is grown in sloping patterns similar to rice terraces that follow the contours of the landscape, adding to the striking appearance of the fields. Jinjifeng (Golden Rooster Hill) is one of the most well-known viewpoints for admiring the flowers when they reach peak bloom between February and March. ◆
Recharge your chill
Get away from it all and recharge in Jamaica. To book your Jamaican vacation, go to westjetvacations.com or call your travel agent.
Recharge your OMG
Feeling drained these days? Recharge in Jamaica. To book your Jamaican vacation, go to westjetvacations.com or call your travel agent.