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To From MARCH/APRIL 2013

the Bucket Listissue




ISRAEL & PALESTINE Where religious history and modernity meet

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ITALY What to see, do and eat

42 HONY IN IRAN Humans of New York in Iran


A girls’ trip to paradise!



DIVE HOTELS Two hotels worth checking out ANIMAL PLANET Following animals in the environments where they thrive

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64 MUST-SEE SPAIN Spanish experiences to fulfill your bucket list (even you didn’t have one for this country!)


FABULOUSLY FRENCH The Editor and Founder of La Petite Peach curates a list for the Francophile in all of us

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HOW I TRAVEL: AGGY An interview with the travel blogger behind DEW

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Editor’s Letter Contributors Street Shooter You Need Everything Language Lessons Book It Food: Persian Bucket List of Popularity Contest?

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Happy Spring! So what’s in your bucket list? I tend to ask a lot of questions. And I enjoy asking people what’s in their bucket list since everyone has an answer. The March/April contributors are no different, and they are the reason I got wanderlust many times over while I poured over the pages in this issue. (Beware: wanderlust is contagious.) On a different note, this is the one year anniversary of To & From. I’m proud of the work that has been done and grateful to those who have helped make this magazine what it is. There is still quite a bit more work to do, and I look forward to the challenges as the magazine continues to grow. In the meantime, I want to thank all the contributors and readers who have been on this journey with To & From! I love hearing from people. Feel free to write me (diana@ about the magazine, your travels, your interest in contributing, or heck, tell me what you had for lunch. I’ll listen (and ask questions). ‘Til next time.

Diana Nguyen Editor & Founder

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contributing editor

guest editor

copy editor

Sail around the world with my love / Island hop in Greece / Explore the Galรกpagos Islands / See the Northern Lights in Scandinavia

Scotland / Dublin / Patagonia / Amsterdam / Cape Town,South Africa / Switzerland

Tokyo / New Zealand / snowboarding in Sierra Nevada region of Spain / diving in the Philippines


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book editor

graphic designer



Italy for the food / Paris for the experience / Russia for the culture!

Amsterdam / Bali / pretty much anywhere in Greece!

South Africa and Thailand :)

Island-hopping in Thailand / Plitvice Lakes in Croatia / Lake Bled in Slovenia / a safari in Tanzania / sun and fun in Australia

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Street Shooter

I’ve always thought it’d be cool to document street fashion. However, I have a hard time approaching strangers on the street for an impromptu picture. But if my situation were ever to change, these are some of the things I’d tote with me. -Diana, EIC

Canon 50D & lens I’ve been eyeing this camera for awhile now. (It will happen.)

loose tank I love comfort and bright colors. In addition to being at kick ass price point, this shirt rocks.

Luckily, I’m already prepared as I have the 50mm f/1.8 camera lens. This is the best lens to take someone’s portrait. (Your subject will thank you for the flattering shots.)

jeans I’m a sucker for the flare looks (even though the hems drag and I eventually create fringe at the bottom). But hey, they start off really cute!

backup camera comfy shoes If I’m on my feet all day, I need flats. 12 To From

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I’m all about bringing back the Polaroid and am a huge fan of the Impossible Project.

take note! I always have something going on in my head. Most of the ideas leave my head as quickly as they come in...unless I write them down! These are a beautiful place to put down my thoughts.

agua, por favor I’m always totting a bottle of water with me. Staying hydrated is important to me. (Plus, I drink a lot of coffee so I need to offset all the caffeine.)

the new Polaroid I bought a couple of packs of film from The Impossible Project. I LOVE playing around with this revived art.

grab your cards If you have more than one memory card, you need something to keep them organized and in one place. (At least I do.)

where am I? No matter where I am, it’s likely I’ll get lost. I have a horrible sense of direction, so I embrace and love GPS apps and am currently digging WAZE.

bag it A camera bag that carries like a fashion piece. Love this ONA Brooklyn premium leather camera satchel.

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Fabulously French

Compiled by Desiree Spinner

France is a place that is a dream and an inspiration for many. Desiree Spinner (Editor and Founder of La Petite Peach) is one of those people and finds ways to incorporate her favorite culture into her American lifestyle. Here are a few things she swears by - take note if you want to tune into your inner Francophile!

MY BELOVED DIOR COAT I spent almost every dollar I had the last week I was studying abroad [back in college] to get this coat. It [similar to the one pictured here] was so worth the spurge, even if I had to eat street food until my departure home.

DRESS THE PART If you shop at Petite Bateau you are bound to look Parisian. I love their iconic striped shirt. It pairs beautifully with my JCrew Matchstick Jeans and these Chloe flats.

YSL LIP STICK/GLOSS IN DEWY PAPAYA I LOVE YSL’s makeup and this sleek lipstick/gloss is so silky that it keeps my lips from getting chapped even in the winter months.

SMELLS LIKE PARIS I fell in love with this scent when I was studying abroad in Europe, and it has been my goto scent ever since. It smells so clean - like a combination of flowers and laundry.

HUNTER BOOTS! Perfect for those rainy Parisian days...

la l a.. ..oui s ’il vous plait.

Oo o

MY LIFE IN FRANCE I love Julia - I love her cooking and her dedication. She inspires me every day!

ROSÉ I always give this super cute French rosé as a hostess gift. It is cute and has a great taste!

PERFECT YOUR FRENCH My Little Paris! I love this blog and it helps me catch up on my French.

PARIS VOGUE! It’s like Christmas when this arrives., even if it comes about a month or two after the issue date (in overseas snail mail fashion).

LA PETIT PRINCE I read this to my son when he was a baby. It’s such an amazing book about being a dreamer. FRENCH MACAROONS I wasn’t a fan of macaroons until I tried Ladurée. Now I can’t get enough of them and ask for them for my birthday every year. The strawberry flavor is my favorite!

COOKING TOOLS If I have my Fleur de Sel and my Le Creuset I can make anything!

MY QUICK ACCESS TO FRANCE When I am yearning for some amazing French food I go to Pain D’Avignon - a local French bread company and gourmet restaurant. I order the salade ocale and the pomme frites and pretend I am at a little Parisian café. The best part is that they send you on your way with a baguette at the end of dinner!

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YOU NEED EVERYTHING The Museum of Everything is Britain’s traveling exhibition “for undiscovered, unintentional and untrained artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries”. Currently in Paris through the end of March, it will move onto to Moscow. If you can’t get out to see this museum for yourself, take a browse through its online store for all cool and quirky items they have available. You may not find items like these anywhere else. -Diana, EIC

THE CANDLE OF EVERYTHING Supposedly, this is what Everything smells like. I’m willing to put my nose in this. £30 16 To From

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THE TEAPOT OF EVERYTHING Every tea lover needs a white, enamel teapot on hand. £35

PORT-A-CAN OF EVERYTHING To cart that liquid warmth with you wherever you go. £35


Artwork: this is where Everything starts. Browse through the inventory and perhaps you’ll find something you’ll want sent to your home. £80-250

We can’t think of anything sweeter than Everything on a stick! £2 CARDHOUSE OF EVERYTHING If you’ve never been successful at building a house made of cards, this will ensure your architectural ambitions. £35

I want a Kate version!.

BAG A PRINCE For the Prince William fans. £35

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XIN CHÁO VIÊT . NAM! If you haven’t heard, traffic is crazy in Vietnam. Crossing the street is not for the faint of heart, especially for first timers. (You can view a video here.) We’d love to tell you that the language is easier to manage, but with all the intonations, it really isn’t. Still, it doesn’t hurt to know a few words here and there.

How are you? Khoe khong? [Kwea kaong? ] Thank you. Caùm ôn. [Come ung.] How much does it cost? Bao nhieâu tieàn? [Bow new tien?] I want a bowl of pho. Toâi muoán moät tô pho. [Toi moung mot do pho.] I love your áo dài*! Toi thich ban áo dài. [Toi thic bang ow yie.] I need a beer. Toi can mot ly bia. [Toi kan moat le bi-a.] *Traditional Vietnamese dress

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XE CÔ [seah coh] traffic

XE NAÏP [seah dap] bicycle BAN CÔN [ban cong] balcony DUONG [do-ung] street

XÍCH LOÂ [sit low] pedicab

XE MAY [seah my] motorbike

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Photographs and text by Diana Nguyen

The Colosseum: This the most essential thing to see in Rome, IMHO.

For a long time, Italy was on my Bucket List and when my family and I took a trip there, I was not disappointed. (Traveling with family is another story!) Although I’ve only been to Italy once, I would have no problem revisiting these places and eating the same things again. However, I know there’s a lot more of Italy to see, so consider this a short list!

ROMA The Trevi Fountain!

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Go into the dark Pantheon and then look up. You’ll see the light.

My brother resting on the Spanish steps. (If you have a water bottle, take it with you to one of the fountains across the way to refill it.)

I was not excited about going to the Vatican. But after being bribed with a pistachio gelato, I went along with it. I’m so glad (I was wrong and) that we made a stop here!



Eat pizza at Pizzeria Brandi (the place that invented the Margherita Pizza). You’ll love it. Get a cab to take you to Pompeii. Expect to spend at least half a day here.

Forget your diet and indulge in some gelato. People watch in Naples. (Really, you should steps city.) be doing this inRoman every Italian


Eat at a trattoria..

For the fashion (or souvenir) fanatics, don’t miss the San Lorenzo Market. (And try your hand at bartering) Drink wine.

End your time by taking in the view at the Piazzale Michelangelo. (And take a picture with your mom!)

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Six Months, Six Continents

ALL EXPENSES PAID Your choice of destinations

$50,000 CASH PRIZE

Win it all!

in partnership with

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For more information go to

SO...WHAT’S NEXT? My Destination’s Laura Dale is growing jealous from all the buzz around the Biggest Baddest Bucket List. Dreaming of her own next adventurous escapade, she ponders what to pick next... Sat in a dreary, mist-ridden London, my ears still cold from the walk to work, I can’t help but think: I need a holiday. Like millions of others I’m searching for a little something extra; an unknown thing, a thrilling experience, a new adventure. But where do I start? I’ve jumped off cliffs in Spain and abseiled down rocks in Germany, I’ve skied in France and seen an eclipse from a mountain top, eaten bugs in Thailand, been buried alive in South Africa and bowled over by a silverback in Rwanda. So what’s next? A sun-lounger holiday unlikely to please, I trawl through my bucket list ideas. I could sky dive in New Zealand. Maybe I’ll climb Kilimanjaro or drive down route 66, go cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa or bungee jump in Oz. I could run with the bulls in Pamplona, go to the Arctic to see the northern lights or wing-walk in... wherever! I gaze around me, the grey sky drawing closer, and ponder: what’s next?

What would you like to do next? Enter My Destination’s ‘Biggest Baddest Bucket List’ competition for a chance to win a 6 month trip plus $50,000.

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Photo: Locals in Bethlehem.



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It is a need for answers and a spark of genuine curiosity that first lures many travelers to Israel and Palestine, but it is often the unexpected self discovery that becomes their parting gift. From the luxurious beaches of Tel Aviv to the religious splendor of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, get ready for a road paved with Biblical history, ancient ruins and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

ISRAEL: A Cosmopolitan Contrast Judging Israel by its geographical size would be a rookie mistake. Although roughly the size of New Jersey, most travelers need at least a full week to see all of Israel’s bucket list-worthy landmarks. As if proving how varied a country can be, top attractions range from archeological sights like Caesarea National Park and Mount Masada to the salty waters of the Dead Sea and the secret city of Akko - spanning everything in between. Conveniently located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s only airport serves as a starting and ending point for travelers. While both cities boast a slew of trendy cafes, boutiques and cultural museums, Tel Aviv attracts a much more artsy, beach-bumming urban crowd. From the sultry beaches to the bike-friendly city streets, Tel Aviv has emerged as a center for art and design, as seen in the rotating exhibitions at Design Museum Holon and the Carmel Open-Air Market featuring local crafts, fresh food and flavorful spices. Proving a sharp contrast to the modern streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem’s four quarters (Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian) offer varying takes on the holy city. People from all corners of the world come here for religious renewal and spiritual enlightenment. Walking along the Via Dolorosa path that ends at Church of the Holy Sepluchre is the main highlight for Christian tourists while Muslims worship at the vibrant Dome of the Rock and Jews flock to the Wailing Wall for personal self-reflection.

This page (from top): front of Ethiopian church; a glimpse into masada; caesarea National Park / Opposite: Art market in Tel aviv

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ISRAELI BUCKET LIST [pictured from top] Sample authentic street food (like this Shakshuka dish) in Jaffa....and indulge in the cafe culture! / Marvel at Haifa’s Baha’i Shrine and Gardens / Say a prayer at the Wailing Wall [opposite page] Give yourself a mud bath in the Dead Sea (and swim with the locals!)

Photo: Local life in Jerusalem. 30 To From

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Photo: walking through a cemetery in Jerusalem

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“People from all corners of the world come here for religious renewal and spiritual enlightenment.� The Bucket List Issue

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PALESTINE: A Quiet Refuge While Israeli and Palestinian relations are certainly strained, this hasn’t put a huge damper on travelers visiting both areas on their trip. Just a bus ride away from Jerusalem, tourists can reach the famous Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without much difficulty. A stunning display of mosaic tile, stone pillars and majestic religious decor greet visitors with a sensoryoverload welcome. The church is home to three religious authorities: Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian.

“...get ready for a road paved with biblical history, ancient ruins and awe-inspiring natural wonders.” Not far from the Church of the Nativity is Shepherd’s Field, (in the town of Beit Sahur) the spot where an angel announced the news of Jesus’ birth to shepherds watching their flock. Also found here are the ruins at al-Ruwat, which include a cave that served as a church dating back to the 4th century. A scenic drive to Jericho showcases an impressive landscape of mountains, clear blue skies and ripe banana trees. Situated in the Jordan Valley just twentytwo miles east of Jerusalem, Jericho sits on an estimated 10,000 years of civilizations, making it the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.

Photo: City view of Bethlehem

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PALESTINIAN BUCKET LIST [pictured from top left] Visit Jesus’ birthplace at Church of the Nativity / Make a wish at Milk Grotto / Uncover Jericho’s Ancient Excavations / View the Tree of Knowledge at Hisham’s Palace

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“A stunning display of mosaic tile, stone pillars and majestic religious decor greet visitors with a sensoryoverload welcome.� 38 To From

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Photo: Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem - Armenian prayer service The Bucket List Issue

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Photo: a relic at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

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Back in December, street photographer Brandon Stanton took his Humans of New York (HONY) blog international when he traveled to Iran for two weeks to photograph life around the country. While we adore his NYC photos, we have a soft spot for the photos he took on this trip. Flip through HONY’s archives and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Brandon, you’re awesome.

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The world is full of beautiful, luxurious hotels that provide the best accommodations and service. What usually impress hotelgoers includes a combination of the service, backdrop and uniqueness of the accommodations. For us, it’s about using one of nature’s best elements: water. Dive into one these hotels where the main attraction is the water surroundings.

Photo: Taj Lake Palace

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Look familiar? Scenes from James Bond’s Octopussy were filmed here. The Taj Lake Palace Udaipur is also known for being the Venice of the East and has been called the most romantic hotel in India. Originally built as one royal members’s summer palace in 1743, today it functions as a 294-room hotel on its own island in Lake Pichola. For rates and availability, check the Taj’s website.

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THE WATER DISCUS HOTEL Not yet in existence, the Water Discus Hotel (a project belonging to Deppe Ocean Technology) will be the largest underwater hotel to be built in Dubai. While parts of the hotel will be above sea level (seen here), a portion will be about 33 feet under water, including 21 rooms. For more pictures, visit DOT’s website.

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Photo: Under the sea - a room at the Water Discus Hotel. 52 To From March/April 2013

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Reviews by Stephany Reihing

Avid reader Stephany Reihing shares her reviews on books that might be familiar to you, but in the spirit of getting away, are all worth (re)reading.

Cheryl Strayed finds herself at a crossroads in her life: her mother has passed, her husband is divorcing her, and she finds herself in a downward spiral of sex and drugs. What’s a lost girl to do? Hike the Pacific Crest Trail, apparently! In Wild, Cheryl Strayed sets out on a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness as she fights with nature and herself hiking 1,100 miles of blistering heat and miserable cold. She loses toenails, makes lifelong friends and does it all on her own. It’s a tale of redemption and readers will find a kinship with this author through the pages.

Designed by Danielle Schisler

Elizabeth Gilbert needed a change. She needed something drastic. Her marriage had fallen to pieces and she was in a volatile relationship with a guy she couldn’t live with or live without. She was unbalanced and a wreck. She decided to throw away conventions, throw away what she should be doing at this time in her life, and take a soul-searching journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Eat, Pray, Love is a book about one woman searching for balance in a crazy world. She spends months in each location, with no certain plan in place but to just be Liz. She was lookng to find who Liz really is and what Liz really wants. This is an incredible story of strength, sadness, and determination.

Imagine this: You wake up one morning to find out the Earth’s rotation has begun to lose its normal speed. In the beginning, it’s barely noticeable. But as the weeks and months go by, the days and nights grow longer and longer until suddenly, you’re experiencing 48 hours of sunlight for every 48 hours of darkness. Welcome to The Age of Miracles. The main character, Julia, is just 11 years old when the Earth’s rotation begins to slow and this is her story. The novel is part sci-fi, as author Karen Thompson Walker explains in detail how gravity and environment are thrown into madness with the slowing but there’s also a sweet coming-of-age counterpart in Julia’s story. The slowing causes her to grow up quickly with her best friend leaving, her family secrets coming to light, and the cute boy in her class taking an interest to her. It’s a novel unlike any other, with writing that will have you on the edge of your seat.

It’s a peculiar little book by a peculiar little author. An Extraordinary Theory of Objects by Stephanie LeCava is a memoir of sorts, as she takes you on a journey of life as an outsider in Paris. The book is filled with footnotes and drawings and there’s a dark fluidity to the writing that will have you turning one crispy page after the other to find out what happens next. There are themes of depression and anxiety present as LeCava tries to discover where she fits in the grand scheme of life, but the underlying tone of finding magic in the everyday is what takes center stage.

Blogger’s Book Picks:

What was the last book you read that made you want to travel? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s the ultimate “traveling” book. (Who wouldn’t want to explore Egypt to search for treasure?) What was the last book you enjoyed reading? I really enjoyed reading the book The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It’s a collection of life lessons written by a professor fighting for cancer. Although he already knows the outcome of his fight, he had this glowing optimistic energy in him which you can sense just by reading his book. The book has become one of my biggest motivation and inspiration. For more on Aggy, flip to page 74.

Aloha Waikiki!


TEXT BY ADRIENNE JORDAN PHOTOS* BY JASMINE CRESTWELL *Unless otherwise March/April 2013 noted. 56 To From

Hawaii is never a bad idea. When it was time to pick a girls’ trip vacation spot, writer Adrienne Jordan and her friends went with this obvious choice. After a 5-day stay on the island, Adrienne shares a few tips that might turn your girls trip an unforgettable time in Hawaii.

PHOTO: Along the shores of Waikiki (Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau)

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ith its multitude of white sandy beaches, verdant mountains, and throbbing nightlife scene, it’s no wonder Oahu is the perfect destination for a friends getaway. Staying in Waikiki Beach is your best bet, with its rows of bars, lounges, shopping destinations, and miles of beach to keep you moving and excited for the entirety of your visit.


Out of the 369-rooms at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach, 69 are two-bedroom suites - convenient for traveling with a group of friends. According to sales manager, Susan Koehler, “What makes the property stand out from other resorts is our extra space, value, and location.” The sundeck, Jacuzzi, and pool-side bar are perfect amenities for a chill out session. The hotel also hosts a manager’s reception in the evenings, where you can mingle with your friends for complimentary drinks and canapés-a great prelude to nights on the town.


First Fridays in Chinatown is the place to view the local artists and showcases; the downtown area is lively with bars and lounges open for the streams of visitors. Addiction Nightclub is located at The Modern hotel and caters to the 21 through 30 year-old crowd. They play a range of music from Hip Hop to Pop, and many locals gravitate to the club Thursday nights. The Sheraton has an outdoor bar/lounge called Rum Fire that attracts 58 To From

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a grown and sexy crowd from 21 through 40; lighted torches surrounding the bar and a glowing pool give off an aura of a sultry Hawaiian night. Moose McGillycuddy’s is the go-to dive bar for inexpensive drinks and a packed crowd.


A 2-3 minute walk from the Embassy Suites puts you right on the strip of the Waikiki Beach, where you can find scenic areas with mountain backdrops to take pictures with your friends. A 20-minute ride from Waikiki puts you in Hanauma Bay, an ancient volcanic craterturned bay, which is packed with marine life; excellent for snorkeling. Enjoy hiking? Check out Manoa Falls (pictured left), a waterfall surrounded by a verdant rainforest that can be reached via a hiking trail (the destination is site of many films, including Jurassic Park and Hunger Games). For an authentic luau, try Germaine’s Luau, which offers a Hawaiian cultural ceremony at sunset, an all-youcan-eat buffet, and 3 free drinks.

From left to right: The girls at Manoa Falls; Adrienne (far right) and her friends get chummy on the beach; and the beautiful Embassy Suite Waikiki Beach hotel

Photo: ŠEmbassy Suites

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March/April To From 60 PHOTO: Along the shores2013 of Waikiki (Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau)


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WHAT TO Bare essentials for fun in the sun..

Hat Attack metallic raffia braid fedora, $139 / Forever 21 Butterfly Sunglasses, $3.50 / Tory Burch catarina halter $130 and Brazilian tie bottom bikini, $95.00 / Victoria’s Secret glitter flip flops, $28 per pair 62 To From

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. .and for the Waikiki night life.

ModCloth midnight sundress, $42.99 / Forever21 cutout geo cuff, $4.80 / Express ruched mini wristlet, $19.90 / Michael Kors gold metallic Jedda sandal, $275.00

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SPA I N Text & Photographs by Christine Medina Designed by Danielle Schisler

Spain is a country that holds a lot of allure for many. I had always dreamed of living here before I had even set foot in the place and committed to a job here before knowing what la vida española was all about. Thank goodness I didn’t just fall in like with Spain - I fell head over heels. And three years and some odd months later, I still call it home. Throughout the years of living here, I’ve accumulated an array of Spanish experiences and take great joy in helping friends, family and even readers of my blog plan their trips to Iberia. I want visitors to fall in love like I did and experience the side of Spain that’s beyond the well-beaten sun and sangria trail. Though many of the places that the tourists go to in Spain are well worth your time and money, I’m all for authenticity. The following are experiences you need to fill your bucket list with if you’re planning a visit to Spain. 64 To From

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GO WINE-TASTING IN LA RIOJA The popularity of Spanish wine has exploded in recent years and with good reason. Head to the heart of Spanish wine country, La Rioja, for tourism that not only delves into an international wine scene; but goes beyond it. Here in La Rioja you’ll find historic towns, UNESCOHeritage sites, an impressive culinary scene (capital city Logroño was named the Gastronomic Capital of Spain in 2012) and diverse landscapes perfect for an active vacation of hiking and camping.

VISIT THE WHITE TOWNS OF ANDALUCÍA Andalucía is the region of Spain whose culture is best known in the world. This is the quintessential Spain where flamenco, bull fighting, warm weather, siesta and fiesta all intersect, but it’s also much, much more. My favorite parts of Andalucía are the white towns that dot the Mediterranean landscape. They’re almost always in a stunning location, usually up high as they once needed protection from attacking Berber tribes. They’re painted white to reflect the intense summer sun and offer a peek into a life that remains for the most part, largely unchanged in recent years. You’ll still find elderly women sweeping their patios in ankle-length sheath dresses, the odd gentlemen sitting in front of his house watching passers-by and a general feeling that the clock isn’t watched much.

DISCOVER MOORISH SPAIN IN GRANADA, SEVILLA AND CÓRDOBA A visit to Spain wouldn’t be complete without a stop in the three strongholds of Moorish history: Granada, Sevilla and Córdoba. Here, The Moors—a mix between Berber tribes and Arabs, slowly conquered southern Spain and Granada was their last kingdom before retreating back to Northern Africa in 1492. Granada’s La Alhambra is a majestic palace and fortress complex overlooking the city. It’s intricate, captivating, and one of the best-preserved sites of Moorish Spain. In Córdoba, La Mezquita is a grandiose mosque, staggering both in its size and amount of detail. In Sevilla you’ll find La Alcázar, once a Moorish fort, later turned into the residence for the Catholic Kings, and still serving as a royal palace to this day.

EXPLORE MEDIEVAL SPAIN Spain is a treasure trove of medieval towns and cities. History-buffs will swoon over the castles of Navarre, the medieval synagogue of Toledo and the cobbled-stone streets in villages that look straight out of a storybook. 68 To From

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EXPERIENCE MICHELIN STARS AND PINTXO BARS IN BASQUE COUNTRY Northern Spain is the country’s best-kept secret, but word is slowly getting out to the masses about this lush, green area that’s home to beautiful beaches and delicious, award-winning cuisine. Here in Basque Country, you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped off in a different country: the rolling green hills dotted with sheep aren’t the average traveler’s first mental image of Spain, nor is hearing the local tongue, Euskara-Europe’s oldest language. From the modern-classic mix that’s big city Bilbao, to stunning San Sebastián on the coast and all of the attractive coastal villages in between, Basque Country deserves at least a few days on your itinerary.

BASK ON THE VIRGIN BEACHES OF COSTA DE LA LUZ Spain has thousands of miles of coastline and no shortage of pristine beaches. Some of the most remote, untouched strips of shoreline are found on the Costa de la Luz, situated between the country’s oldest port city, Cádiz, and the popular windsurfing town of Tarifa. The coastline is also home to a few relaxed beach towns like Conil de la Frontera and Bolonia (where you can also find the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia.)

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Spain is a beautiful country diverse in its culture, landscapes and people. It’s a place where those who come find themselves returning; addicted to its laidback lifestyle and incredible cuisine. It’s a place of many surprises found everywhere from it’s big, cosmopolitan cities of Madrid and Barcelona to small, medieval villages. No region is like any other, which makes it a complete destination and one very worthy of any bucket list.

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HOW I TRAVEL An interview with travel blogger Aggy - the voice behind dream explore wander (otherwise known as DEW).

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Dracula’s view

“Transylvania is a beautiful region set in the Carpathian mountains full of myths and legends.”

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NAME: Aggy PROFESSION: Student SITE: dream explore wander (dew) How would you describe your blog? Fun and honest travel experiences. My blog is about my experiences of travel - the way I dream, explore and wander around the earth. I don’t cover up: I write about the good AND bad experiences. I hope that it can inspire more people to do the same. When did you get the travel bug? On a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland with my dad when I was about 13. We went on a trip for 4 days, and it didn’t stop raining the whole time we were there. We explored the castle, saw men in kilts playing bag pipes, enjoyed the city’s atmosphere - all in the rain! He showed me how to turn what could be a miserable stay into one unforgettable travel experience, that’s when I realized that I wanted more of this. Where did your last trip take you? Right now I’m in Italy, but my last trip before this was to the Transylvania region of Romania - to the cities of Brasov and Bran. Why did you pick Transylvania? For obvious reasons! Transylvania is a beautiful region set in the Carpathian mountains full of myths and legends. It also had the famous “dracula” castle and old cities - and I have to say they are my travel weaknesses. What did you enjoy most about it? The view from Bran castle. The castle itself was gorgeous but the view you get from the top of the castle was breathtaking. Tall trees and small houses covered with snow, all I could do was stand in awe and say “WOW” endlessly. What did you like least about it? The buses running from Brasov to Bran were quite confusing. There was no obvious bus stop neither 76 To From

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was there an announcement to say that we have reached Bran, but I managed as there were a lot of people who were in search of Bran. What was the best thing you ate? The best thing I ate was Papanasi. Papanasi is a famous Romanian dessert, almost like doughnut served with cream and jam. It’s an absolute comfort food and my favourite thing to eat in Romania. Would you do it again? Absolutely. There are some places that I still want to visit in the region. Next to Bran, there is a small town called Rasnov which I stopped by for a while but didn’t do much exploring since it started getting dark and foggy. I would also love to go back to Brasov in spring to get a different feeling from snowy, cold winter and also for more daylight. Any advice for those planning the same trip? If you’re travelling in the winter, make sure to bring an extra jumper and a warm pair of boots. Both Brasov and Bran are great for walking, but in the winter it’s awfully cold and without a pair of warm boots, I could barely feel my toes! Also, do take the train, you can see so many beautiful views during the train trip. What do you typically travel with? I always travel with my music and Kindle. They are both my best friends during a journey, especially long ones. How do you spend your time on long flights? Sleep! I am a sleeper, even on short flights (I can even sleep on hot, stuffy buses)! When I’m not sleeping, I usually listen to some music or watch a movie or two before snoozing again. Do you have any travel habits? I like to get lost. Most of the time it’s the best way to

Bran Castle

“The castle itself was gorgeous but the view [page 74] you get from the top of the castle was breathtaking.�

The Bucket List Issue

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explore the city. Getting lost has taken me to beautiful cobbled stones aisles, gorgeous views, strange street arts and sometimes unique cafes with delicious food. Are there on-the-road beauty products or secrets you swear by? Vaseline. It keeps me moisturized during my winter and summer trips. It’s my skin life saver! Since this issue is focused on bucket lists, I have to ask – what destinations are in your bucket list? And are you going to accomplish any of these things in 2013? One place I would love to visit this year is: NEPAL. I have a friend from Nepal and she showed me so much of her country. The more she talks about it, the more my curiosity of the country increases. I took some time to do some research and I was blown away. I really hope this year I can set foot in this stunning country. Where are you now? North Italy on a trip and visiting my friends.

“I like to get lost. Most of the time it’s the best way to explore the city.” Where will your next adventure take you? I will hopefully be living in Switzerland for around 5 months for my study (depending on the outcome of my VISA). It will be such an adventure. I have always loved Switzerland and I can’t wait to explore more of it when I live there. 78 To From

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A Brasov Encore?

“I would also love to go back to Brasov in spring to get a different feeling from snowy, cold winter and also for more daylight.�

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When I’m traveling I feel...

Free Content Home! 80 To From

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The Bucket List Issue To From 81 PHOTO: Aggy captures a moment of losing herself in Clisson, France.


IT’S THEIR WORLD. WE’RE JUST LIVING IN IT. Following animals in the environments where they live and thrive. COMPILED BY DIANA NGUYEN 82 To From

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Photo: Jennifer Agrawal

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AFRICAN SAFARI We all want to go on an African safari to see lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and other animals in their natural habitats. “It felt a bit like a zoo, but it was still incredible to see animals native to Africa,” a friend described to me. I didn’t need anymore convincing. I was sold.

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Photos: Jennifer Agrawal

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Photos: Kym White 86 To From

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DOG SLEDDING While March and April is the end of the winter season for most dog sled tour operators, Alaska starts its summer season up in May. “Alaska summer dog sledding is a bucket list adventure that’s complete with beautiful huskies surrounded by Alaskan glaciers and helicopters too,” says Kym White, a tour guide for Alaska Icefield Expeditions.

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MONKEY ISLAND Monkeys are cool. Monkeys inhabiting their own area of land is so much cooler. In Nha Trang, Vietnam they’re free to roam as they please on Monkey Island. And if you happen to have food with you, they may be inclined to make you their new best friend.

Photo: Lance Leong

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PENGUIN COLONY Penguins in South Africa? Absolutely! While Alaska or Antarctica might be a more logical place to check out a waddle of them, observing them in Hermanus, South Africa is worth a mention. Why? Well, when you’re done with the penguins, Hermanus is also a place to enjoy one of the best whale-watching sites in the world.

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Photo: Jennifer Agrawal

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I will admit to having an admiration for the Persian culture. While yes, I am slightly addicted to Shahs of Sunset, this love affair started a few years ago with Funny in Farsi (a memoir about growing up Iranian in the United States), which snowballed into Persepolis and An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah. During this time, I was coincidentally introduced to a Persian restaurant in Chicago. The food helped cement my fascination for the culture. Because I want to keep Noon-OKabab in business, I will have to urge you to make a trip to the north side of the city to get a great Iranian meal. Otherwise, do what I do when I can’t make it out there: stay in, cook and turn your kitchen a Persian eating experience.

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Baba Ganoush

Serve with warm pita and you won’t be able to stop yourself from finishing off entire bowl.

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Persian-Herb Plate A starter to a good Persian meal: parsley, feta and radish served with a warm pita or flat bread. You’re probably wondering if this is really necessary. Try it. You’ll love it.

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A Perfect Bite No exaggeration.

The Bucket List Issue

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Saucy Dish

It’s messy. It’s rustic. It’s the humble eggplant (swimming in tomato sauce).

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Dill Rice

Don’t have a Persian meal without this somewhere on the table.

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lamb kebob

Lamb Kabab Meat on a stick. What more do you need?

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Baba Ganoush

In the same pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Add garlic, onion and cinnamon. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes soften. Add water, bouillon and lime. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. When the liquid boils, add eggplant pieces back into pan. Cover and place into oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with rice.

Poke eggplants with a fork to create airholes. Broil on high for 10-12 minutes on one side. Flip and broil for another 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before proceeding.

Kabab Koobideh (Lamb Kabab)

2 medium eggplants (about 2.5 pounds) 6 cloves of garlic 1/2 cup parsley 1/4 cup tahini juice of 1/2 lemon 2-3 tablespoons olive oil salt & pepper

Place garlic in a food processor and chop on a low setting. Add eggplant. Process until pureed. Remove from food processor and add chopped parsley, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita or flat bread. NOTE: You can substitute the eggplant for about 1-1/2 cup of chickpeas for homemade hummus.

Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

(THIS RECIPE CAN BE HALVED) olive oil 2 medium eggplants (about 2.5 pounds) 3 small onions, thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 5 medium tomatoes, diced 1 cup of water one vegetable bouillon (optional) juice of 1 lime (optional) salt & pepper Cut each eggplant in quarters. Then, cut all the remaining pieces in half. To remove the bitterness in the eggplant, rinse quickly with water and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. In dutch oven or oven-safe pan, add 3 tablespoons oil. Brown eggplants on each side. (You may need to do in this several batches.) Place eggplants aside. Preheat oven to 350.

1-1/2 pounds of ground lamb 2 small onions, chopped 1 tablespoons sumac 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon paprika

In a bowl, combine lamb, onion and all the seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and let the meat marinate in the fridge for at least 4 (and up to 24) hours. TO SKEW Soak skewers for 20 minutes (to prevent burning over grill or in broiler). When it’s time to skew, take a golfball-sized portion of meat and wrap it around the skewer. You will have roughly 9 skewers with two “meat balls” on each stick. Grill for about 10 minutes on each side. Serve with grilled vegetables (tomatoes, onions and bell peppers work best) and dill rice.

Dill Rice

1-1/2 cups basmati rice 3 cups water 4 cloves garlic, minced pinch of saffron in 2 tablespoons water (optional) 1 cup dill, chopped 1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil salt, to taste Soak basmati rice for about 20 minutes. In saucepan, heat oil. Add garlic. Add rice. Cook for about a minute or two until in the oil. Add water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add dill. Season with salt. The Bucket List Issue

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POPULARITY CONTEST? Sometimes you have to follow the path of others to find what’s really worth seeing. BY DIANA NGUYEN

The most popular girl in the world.

The Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting in the world. Chances are you’ve seen it yourself, or know someone who has. When my husband and I went to Paris for the first time, the Louvre was - without question - on our list of places to visit. I had to see the Mona Lisa with my own eyes. No if, ands or buts. The morning we arrived at the musée, I giddily approached the glass pyramid outside and was in awe. Although I had seen it many times in pictures, there was just something about seeing it in person. Inside, we made our way toward the Mona Lisa. Not surprisingly, there was a large crowd already gathered around her. We managed to make our way to the front and what we saw was...a really small painting. We didn’t realize that the Mona Lisa was a petite gal. Yup, there she was. All 2’6” x 1’9” (according to Wikipedia) of her. Hmmmm..... 102 To From

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We weren’t disappointed, but at the same time, we weren’t as excited as we had been with the glass pyramid. After a few minutes, we left our spots to give others their moment with the famous painting. We spent the rest of the day strolling through the other galleries in the Louvre where we found Spanish art, rich in color as well as Egyptian artifacts that made us fanaticize about a future trip to the Nile. But nothing was as breathtaking as the Greek sculptures. We took in their company for a long time. Like many visitors before us, we fell in love with the Louvre that day thanks to the painting that brought us there. Like the life of most parties, she was surrounded by others whose presence she overshadowed. Most of them aren’t - for reasons unknown - as sought after, but still are worth getting to know.

Check out our special issue on Paris. COMING SOON!


To & From, March/April 2013  

The online travel lifestyle magazine. In this issue, we feature bucket list destinations.