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The Weekend - Cornwall

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Here at Lodestars Anthology we love a beautiful travel journal as much as the next person (a lot more so, probably).  So imagine how happy we were when we chanced across Cornwall by Weekend Journals, a definitive guide to exploring the fairest English county which features unique and special venues, from verdant gardens to visionary galleries, independent shops and exceptional restaurants. The book is written by Milly Kenny-Ryder and produced by Simon Lovell, who both have strong links to Cornwall, and have been visiting with their families since they were young.  Using these connections they have gone off the beaten track to discover the venues that the locals love, while also showcasing some of Cornwall's most iconic sites and stories.  For a hint of what this edition of The Weekend is all about, read on, and be inspired by all that Cornwall has to offer (or click here to order a copy).

The dining area at the St. Tudy Inn

St. Tudy Inn

Emily Scott is an ambitious and optimistic chef who took over the St. Tudy Inn, determined to offer locals and visitors great food in a delightful setting. This charming Cornish pub is situated in St. Tudy, a quaint village in North Cornwall. After extensive redecoration the pub feels cosy and welcoming, with Nicole Heidaripour prints on the walls and vintage furniture.

All Emily’s cheffing experience has been put to good use in the kitchen, where seasonality and local produce reign. The menu is full of comforting classics with a twist, such as the fish and chips, upgraded to the irresistibly tasty Monkfish tails in rosemary focaccia crumb with fries and citrus mayo. The St. Tudy Inn also runs regular events, including Pig and Cider nights with a hog roast and regional ales, so there's many an enticing reason to visit.

St. Tudy Inn, St. Tudy, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 3NN

01208 850 656

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A spin on the classic fish and chips - monkfish tails in rosemary crumb

Beautifully Cornish floral arrangement at the St. Tudy Inn

Surfside

Surfside is an exciting venture from London-based mixologist Tristan Stephenson, author of The Curious Bartender and part of the drinks company Fluid Movement who founded Purl and The Whistling Shop bars in London. Surfside has become a local hit, serving fresh food and cocktails at the water’s edge in Polzeath. Located on a corner of the beach, the restaurant is only accessible via the sand which adds to the experience.

Lobster crackers at Surfside Restaurant

Although the venue appears casual from the exterior, inside the offerings are for serious foodies with surf and turf platters and inventive cocktails. Thanks to the isolated location Surfside feels intimate and exclusive, with panoramic sea views adding something special to the meal.

Surfside Restaurant, On the Beach, Polzeath, Cornwall, PL27 6TB

01208 862 931

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The choice is yours: drinks at Surfside Restaurant

Trevibban Mill & Appleton's at the Vineyard

Situated on the slopes of the Issey brook near Padstow, Trevibban Mill is one of the newer Cornish wineries but is already producing award-winning wines. Liz and Engin began planting in 2008 with an ambition to produce top quality Cornish wines and ciders. Native sheep graze on the land and their wool is for sale in the vineyard shop. Tours and tastings can be arranged to sample a range of the different wine and cider varieties.

Trevibban Mill and Appleton's at the Vineyard

Also on site is Appleton’s at the Vineyard, where ex-Fifteen head chef Andy Appleton is managing the kitchen, feeding hungry visitors with fine Italian dishes showcasing the local produce. Choose from a beautiful piece of sustainable fish, or a bowl of comforting pasta. The dishes provide the ideal accompaniment to a glass of Trevibban Mill wine.

Trevibban Mill & Appleton's at the Vineyard, Dark Lane, near Padstow, PL27 7SE

01841 541 413

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Pasta and Wine at Trevibban Mill & Appleton's at the Vineyard

Trevibban Mill's Wine and Yarn

Hidden Kitchen

Hidden Kitchen is a supper club and culinary concierge serving unique food to its St Ives clientele. Located on the corner of St. Andrews Street, in the centre of the historic town, it is easy to miss this understated dining room. Chef James Watson and his wife Georgina worked together in the catering business before opening their first venue. The intimate dining experience in the boutique restaurant makes it feel like a dinner party at a friend’s house.

Hidden Kitchen

Reading material at the Hidden Kitchen

James regularly plays host to visiting chefs who provide diners with constantly changing, exciting international cuisines. Guest chefs have included Gordon Ramsay student Lee Skeet and Japanese cook Naoko Kashiwagi. After the meal leave a message to show your appreciation on the blackboard tables.

Hidden Kitchen, The Masonic Lodge, St. Andrews Street, St Ives, TR26 1AH

07792 639 755

hiddenkitchenstives.co.uk

Hidden Kitchen - a feast for the senses

Drinks at the Hidden Kitchen

Espressini

There are more and more promising independent coffee shops in Cornwall; Espressini on Killigrew Street in Falmouth is one of the best. This characterful venue serves a bespoke blend of beans sourced and roasted by Yallah Coffee, selected specially for them from growers around the world. Inside, the café is cosy and familiar with mismatched antique furniture, and the chatter accompanied by a thoughtful playlist. The coffee is bold in flavour and served to your preference. Brunch is particularly popular with a menu of tempting and indulgent dishes displaying a wide range of influences from world cuisines.

Coffee at Espressini

Nearby, on Falmouth harbour, is Dulce, the smaller sibling of Espressini which, as well as offering freshly brewed coffee, sells equipment to help you make the perfect cup at home.

39 Killigrew St, Falmouth, TR11 3PW

espressini.co.uk

Sweet treats at Espressini

Fabulous interior design at Espressini

The Canada Magazine

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This week the Canada issue of Lodestars Anthology - officially released in the UK on October 18 - will be avalible through our online store. So we thought we'd celebrate by sharing some of the wild and wonderful images and illustrations that fill the pages of issue 6. Thank you as always to our truly spectacular contributors - the world is indeed filled with some rather talented beings. You can order the magazine here.

Lodestars Anthology Canada

About the magazine: Canada is a land where lakes glow, mountains soar and island life prevails. Wild, rugged and unfazed by time, luxury resides in unexpected corners, cities delight and outdoor adventure beckons, for nature is indeed all around. You yearn to explore, to get lost, to reconnect with a pristine beauty so hard to encounter in the modern world. The seasons astound - from frozen winters to summer’s never-setting sun - while waterfalls carve canyons, rivers become frozen highways and people smile, aware of their heritage and all that this land has gifted them. You’ll find snow and maple syrup, art and architecture and a landscape both inspiring and eternal. Greetings from the Great White North.

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Some featured destinations:

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort Fogo Island Inn Vancouver Toronto Montreal The flavours of Canada Cosman & Webb maple syrup Left Field Brewery Canoe North Adventures The Yukon in winter Northwest Territories Nova Scotia Halifax Lobster Boil Ontario wines The Canadian Rockies Prince Edward Island Calgary The Canadian

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

 

ODE TO THE ENGLISH PUB

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With our England magazine now sold out we thought it was only right to share one of its stories - a celebration of the country's best pubs. To avoid missing any other back issues, pay a visit to our store by clicking here.

Words by Tom Goble & Illustrations by Emily Fernando

With their ghostly inhabitants, unexpected pasts, famous patrons and general eccentricity, English pubs are decidedly brilliant.

The English pub is a marvellous thing, in fact I’m writing this introduction from one (The White Hart in Sevenoaks since you ask). Come rain, shine or old-fashioned drizzle, a good English pub will restore you. It’ll warm your cockles, quench your thirst and satisfy your need for quirkiness.

Maybe it’s because I’m an Englishman, maybe it’s because I like a drink, maybe it’s because I speak the unquestionable truth, but to me it seems the English do pubs like no other nation. Very few countries have drinking establishments so tied in with their national identity; meaning any number of fascinating pubs could have found their way into this article. On that note, apologies if your particular favourite has been omitted. I’ve attempted to offer a snapshot of the great and the good of English drinking dens. For every interesting story I describe, there are thousands of others from pubs and inns up and down the length and breadth of the country that I might have chosen. The Philharmonic in Liverpool that inspired a young John Lennon, The Eagle and Child in Oxford that counted J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis among its clientele and The Haunch of Venison in Salisbury, which was used by Churchill and Eisenhower during the D-Day landings, are just some of the many I could have picked.

So if you take anything from these ramblings, I’d like it not to be that these are England’s best eight pubs, but rather that England is blessed with some magnificent places to have a drink; and so I’d encourage you to get out and explore them all (sensible drinking is advised, but by no means compulsory).

Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar & Emporium

I’ll tell you the problem with pubs – they’re not a lot of good if you don’t like drinking. Sure they’ll serve you an orange juice and packet of crisps, but any publican worth his salt (and vinegar) will be thinking “Uh-oh! We’ve got another weirdo teetotaller Mildred (his frumpy fictional wife)”. But wait, there is a solution.

Mr. Fitzpatrick’s Bar is the UK’s last and only remaining original temperance bar. Serving a heady selection of herbal drinks, cordials and mocktails to the alcohol-intolerant inhabitants of Rawtenstall in Lancashire, Mr. Fitzpatrick’s has proved quite a draw, with visitors coming from across the globe to sample this quaint snapshot of Victorian Britain.

The temperance movement (one foot in front of the other please sir) began in 1835 in Preston amid concerns about the Industrial Revolution’s equally industrial levels of alcoholism. And although prohibition was never formalised in the UK in the same way it was by our supposedly sober cousins in 1920’s America, a wave of non-alcoholic bars began popping up in most towns to guard against the dangers of heavy drinking.

Although their reach was nationwide, temperance bars found their strongest foothold in the Northern industrial towns, some of the most famous of which carried the Fitzpatrick family name. Originally a family of herbalist Dubliners, the Fitzpatricks established themselves as one of England’s foremost purveyors of Dandelion and Burdock, Blood Tonic and Cream Soda and their empire grew to include more than 40 bars.

The final remaining bar retains many of its original fixtures and fittings, including the ceramic tap barrels and shelves lined with jars of medicinal herbs, and might well be credited with a bit of a revival in ‘dry’ drinking venues. Alcohol-free bars have been turning up with increasing popularly, particularly in London with Redemption and Sobar serving only soft drinks and proving very popular with the after-work set and health- conscious alike.

So popular has the dry drinking culture become in the UK that the proprietors of the Rawtenstall temperance bar have opened a new sister establishment in nearby Chorley, Lancashire. The simply named Temperance Bar serves many of the same cordials and mocktails and its owners hope that temperance bars might once again be a regular feature on most English high streets. Mr. Fitzpatrick would be proud.

Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar Bank St, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, BB4 6QS

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Jamaica Inn

“I took the missus to the Inn” ‘Jamaica?’ “No, she went of her own accord!”

Theoldonesarethebest,aren’tthey? And the Jamaica Inn, sitting between Launceston and Bodmin in Cornwall, is pretty old indeed. It’s also got a fair bit of history attached to it.

Built in the mid 18th Century, Jamaica Inn was originally a coaching inn, the equivalent of Little Chef/ Premier Inn combo on the side of a motorway today. Very much like our motorway services,theJamaicaInn, in bygone days, occasionally played host to some less than desirable clientele, and the inn was often used by smugglers to hide the contraband they’d brought ashore - at this time, half of the brandy and a quarter of the tea arriving into the UK was being smuggled in through the Devon and Cornwall coastline. In fact, it is thought that the inn got its name due to the amount of smuggled rum that passed through it.

The smuggling heritage and history of Jamaica Inn can be relived in the attached Museum of Smuggling, which is open daily and costs around £4 for adults. It is found in what was originally The Stable Bar, a space that (along with The Smuggler’s Bar and an upstairs bedroom) has been of particular interest to curious (or should that be foolhardy) ghost hunters.

It was this atmosphere, thick with history and dubious intrigue, that must have so struck Daphne Du Maurier when she stayed at the inn on a “cold and eerie” night in 1930. Du Maurier’s fictionalised version of Jamaica Inn remains one of her best-selling and most-loved novels and was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock on the eve of the Second World War. The novel Jamaica Inn continues to inspire and the recently broadcast BBC retelling of the tale ought to keep the bar of Jamaica Inn busy with Du Maurier enthusiasts and introduce Cornwall’s murky past to new generations of little smugglers.

Jamaica Inn Bolventor, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 7TS

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The Spaniards Inn

This is not a trendy gastro-tapas- drinking den, as the name might suggest, but rather one of London’s most historic literary pubs. Found on the edge of Hampstead, North London, The Spaniards Inn was originally built as a tollgate inn on the Finchley boundary marking the entrance to the Bishop of London’s estate (the 1755 boundary stone is still in the front garden).

Legend insists that infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was once a regular, and that his father was once landlord, and although neither of these facts can be substantiated, it was known that highwaymen used the inn to watch for approaching traffic.

But highwaymen were not the only inventive professionals drawn to The Spaniards Inn; many of our great literary figures made it their watering hole too. The inn is mentioned by Dickens in The Pickwick Papers and by Bram Stoker in Dracula, and Romantic poets John Keats and Lord Byron were also said to be regulars.

The inn retains much of its historic décor and is often said to have one of the most impressive beer gardens in London – it has been landscaped so that from one artificial mound there is a view of Windsor Castle. It is reported that Keats wrote his Ode to a Nightingale from this sunny hideaway.

So if you too are longing “for a draught of vintage” in a pub garden, then you may like to pop down to The Spaniards Inn. But make sure you bring your notebook, you might be struck by inspiration.

The Spaniards Inn Spaniards Rd, Hampstead, London , NW3 7JJ

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Tan Hill Inn

What’s that?! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in the UK. At a whopping 1732 feet above sea level it’s a good 500 feet taller than the Empire State Building and North Yorkshire Dales enthusiasts would insist it has a better view too.

The current inn dates from the 17th Century and for much of its life was a valued part of the area’s coal mining community, serving the inhabitants of the many nearby mining cottages who in turn served the Tan Hill mines.

With the world still reeling from the Wall Street Crash, it was dealt another blow in 1929 when the last of the Tan Hill mines closed its doors (do mines have doors?) for good, leading to a period of belt tightening for the Tan Hill Inn. The fact that it survived the loss of its sooty patrons at all was in part thanks to local farmers who continued to tread their muddy boot prints into the shag, and also the development of the motorcar.

1951 was a big year for the UK. The Archers was first broadcast, Dennis the Menace appeared in The Beano for the first time, Zebra Crossings were introduced to UK roads, and to top it all the first ever Tan Hill Sheep Show was held. The Sheep Show, now a regular feature on the Tan Hill social events calendar, has been held almost every year since its inception.

Due to the somewhat isolated hilltop setting, Tan Hill Inn might also hold the joint honour of being the most inaccessible pub during winter – one particularly snow-enforced lock-in lasted four days with 60 punters. And in another of the peculiar quirks that makes Britain’s pubs the world’s best, after a mobile phone advert was filmed in the pub, it was forced to invoke a strict no-phone policy. A jar stands behind the bar, full of Nokia 3310s (et al.) as the price of failing to pay the 50p just-turn-the-damn-thing-off fine results in the loss of your phone. Now that’s the sort of rule I like!

If you prefer your inn with a double portion of quirkiness at altitude then do check out the Tan Hill Inn. It’s a warm and cosy free house with a good atmosphere and a non-ringtone- interrupted ambience – and it’s bloody high up.

Tan Hill Inn Richmond, Swaledale, North Yorkshire DL11 6ED

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The Bat & Ball

Erroneously known as ‘the cradle of English cricket’, The Bat & Ball in the sleepy Hampshire village of Hambledon certainly has a place within the history books of the most quintessentially English of sports.

Due to its close association with the Hambledon Cricket Club, many have assumed (incorrectly) that infant cricket let go of his mother’s apron strings and took his first steps on Broadhalfpenny Down (opposite The Bat & Ball). In truth however, the evocative thwack of leather on willow had been heard across the South Downs for hundreds of years previous. Nevertheless, The Bat & Ball and the Hambledon Cricket Club (who used The Bat & Ball as clubhouse and changing room) continue to remain inextricably linked with cricketing folklore; the modern rules of the game were drawn up from the Hambledon Club’s original.

The Bat & Ball itself, as you might expect, is a bit of a Mecca for cricketing enthusiasts, and its walls are bedecked (as all good cricketing Meccas are) with bats and balls and other cricketing flotsam and jetsam. The bar has a white line painted through the middle of it, which apocryphally is said to mark the position of the original Hambledon Club boundary rope.

Cricket is still played opposite The Bat & Ball and I might be so bold as to venture that there’s no finer way to spend a sunny afternoon than sipping cider and watching an innings or two. One cautionary word of warning however, the car park of The Bat & Ball is certainly in range of any decent batsman and a dented roof or smashed windscreen is only a hefty slog away.

Here’s another titbit for you, Britain’s third favourite ale HSB was originally made just down the road - the ‘H’ standing for nearby hamlet Horndean. So if you like to know the provenance of your pint at The Bat & Ball you’re only a cricket ball throw from the origin of what locals would call a pretty ‘Special Bitter’ indeed.

Go on then, press a crease into your trousers, pop on your whites and get down to Hambledon on a sunny afternoon. I promise it’ll be exquisitely lazy, and you’ll love every minute. Howzat!

The Bat & Ball Hyden Farm Lane, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 0UB

The Nutshell

How many people can you fit in England’s smallest pub? Answer: 102 and a dog!

The pride and PR opportunities that accompany being England’s oldest/ biggest/tallest/dustiest/coldest pub are significant, and the crown belonging to England’s smallest pub is a very keenly contested one. Many have thrown their teeny hat into the tiny ring, but only one has emerged victorious. The compact but perfectly formed Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds is generally acknowledged (certainly by The Guinness Book of Records) as the smallest, seemingly by virtue of the fact that it has no outside drinking space/beer garden, unlike many of its puny rivals.

Measuring only 15ft by 7ft the record of 102 people and a dog seems a little far-fetched, but for a local radio feature in 1984 The Nutshell achieved just that. Pretty impressive for pub with just about enough room for 10 patrons ordinarily. In fact, The Nutshell is so small, that it hit the headlines in 2013 for banning one of its taller (he was 6’7 if you were wondering) patrons during peak times as there simply wasn’t room to accommodate him.

Assuming you’re small enough to be allowed inside, aside from getting up close and personal with the locals, you’ll be able to come face to face (literally) with The Nutshell’s famously interesting décor. Having started life as a museum of art and curiosities in the late 19th Century, the current ownership have kept up the tradition and the walls and ceiling display a range of particularly weird and wonderful objets d’art. In keeping with the diminutive theme, The Nutshell boasts the smallest copy of The Times and the smallest dartboard. And when a desiccated cat was found by builders behind the brickwork of the fireplace it was decided it was exactly what the pub needed and they stuck it on the wall.

Whether you simply like invading the space of boozy men, or just fancy a little (normal sized) drink in a tiny (tiny) pub then check out The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds. If you can find it.

The Nutshell, The Traverse, Town Centre, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1BJ

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Warren House Inn

So you’ve been on a brisk winter’s walk across the wilds of Dartmoor. The biting Devonshire wind has chilled you to the core and, fearing hypothermia, you’re on the verge of calling Mountain (Moor) Rescue when you spot a white dot of hope on the horizon; an inn, with its plume of smoke billowing from a chimney hinting at the cosiness within.

With its address of No. 1, Middle of Nowhere, Warren House Inn has offered respite to weary travellers since the mid 19th Century. Like the Tan Hill Inn, this particular establishment originally served the thriving but now non-existent tin mining industry. It’s also quite isolated come winter. During heavy snows in 1963 Warren House was cut off for 12 weeks, meaning provisions had to be brought in by helicopter.

Now over the years many of England’s great pubs have had equally illustrious landlords (Sir Ian Mckellen - Magneto to his friends - co-owns The Grapes in Limehouse, Guy Ritchie owns the Punch Bowl in Mayfair, and chat-show host extraordinaire Michael Parkinson owns The Royal Oak in Maidenhead) and Warren House Inn is no exception, sitting slap-bang in the middle of the estate of the Duchy of Cornwall. By rights it’s Prince Charles’s name above the door.

It says something about a pub when the fact that the landlord is heir to the throne is not the most interesting thing about it, and so I’ll bring you back to the plume of smoke mentioned at the top. The fire that burns in the hearth of Warren House Inn has been doing so continuously since 1845. It’s outlived Dartmoor’s tin industry, survived countless freezing winters and warmed the cockles of who knows how many wide-eyed travellers. Warren House Inn really does keep the home fires burning.

Warren House Inn Postbridge, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6TA

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Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

One of the many pretenders to the wrinkled crown of Britain’s oldest pub is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which purports (according to the pub sign at least) to date from 1189 AD.

Though the current building is only about three hundred years old, The Trip, as it is known to the Nottinghamites, is built on a series of man-made caves, which date to about the same time as the Norman conquest and link up to the castle on the hill above.

The pub supposedly takes its name from the fact that crusade-bound knights used the watering hole as a stop-off point on their way to Israel (the modern equivalent would be needing a wee before you reach the end of the road). Indeed Richard I himself apparently slept at the inn on one of his very infrequent visits to England, though this obviously can’t be verified as he didn’t post a review on TripAdvisor. What is beyond doubt however is that over the years some pretty strange and eerie things have occurred at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.

In The Rock Lounge (one of The Trip’s three bars) a model galleon hangs from the ceiling gathering dust as the last three people to have cleaned it are said to have died under mysterious circumstances within 12 months of doing so. The galleon is now encased in glass, as the centuries of dust covering it occasionally became dislodged and would fall into an unsuspecting drinker’s pint. Other peculiar highlights include an antique chair in the corner of the bar, which is said to improve the fertility and chances of conception of any woman who sits in it. The chair has even been used by local politicians to stress the importance of contraception to bemused teenage residents.

If you like your pubs ancient, and with a healthy serving of haunted spookiness on the side, then stop in to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Perhaps on your way to the Holy Land? Or at least somewhere else suitably sunny.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Brewhouse Yard, Castle Rd, Nottingham, NG1 6AD

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Manhattan in the Springtime

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Words by Sarah Kelleher, Photographs by Liz Schaffer. Armed with a list of recommendations as long as my arm and travel companions who were already familiar with New York, I stepped off the plane at JFK.  My first glimpse of the city was suitably fitting – late at night, through the window of a yellow taxi cab I could see the outline of towering buildings and neon lights.  Exhausted by the flight, I had just enough energy to register the glorious eccentricity of the lobby at The Jane Hotel, originally built as a hotel on the banks of the Hudson River for sailors on shore-leave, complete with bellhops in maroon outfits with brass buttons, dark wood panelling and a pair of antlers.

Rising much refreshed from my bunk the next day (the rooms at The Jane were built to resemble cabins on a ship) I breakfasted in Café Gitane, next to the hotel’s lobby.  The décor is French, as the name would suggest, and the European/ North African/ Middle Eastern cuisine is delicious, perfect fuel for urban adventurers.  I was surprised by the continental flavour of the café, but came to realise that this is very typical of New York, a city that simultaneously wears its immigrant heart on its sleeve whilst remaining distinctly American.

After that first meal my feet hardly touched the ground.  I was lucky enough to be in New York in the spring when the city is at its most romantic, the square lines of tenement builds softened by the pink and white blossom hanging from the roadside trees.  A lifelong bookworm and confirmed geek, I couldn’t pass up on the chance to visit some of the city’s bookshops and took in the Strand, an enormous family-run independent bookstore, and Forbidden Planet, a famous comic book emporium.  Having satisfied one appetite I turned to another, and had lunch at Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant and New York institution that serves tasty pierogi and sweet raspberry pancakes.

A visit to Central Park was in order, so I found my way to this oasis in Manhattan.  Central Park is just extraordinary – a long rectangle of green space carved out of New York’s urban jungle.  You can see the city’s skyscrapers closing in from almost all points in the park, but they seem curiously far away when you’re surrounded by so much nature.  A quiet wander up and down the paths, past New York joggers and tiny dog-walking Manhattanites, followed by a trip to Café Lalo of You’ve Got Mail fame blew away the last cobwebs of jet lag.

My first taste of the city was short-lived, as I had another plane to catch to New Mexico and a road-trip to complete.  Late at night, tucked up in my cabin bed at The Jane, I consoled myself with the thought that I’d be returning to New York in a matter of weeks on my way home.  When I closed my eyes, all I could see were skyscraper lights.

Two weeks later, and New York had progressed from the chill and damp of early spring to the first hints of summer. Returning to The Jane felt like a homecoming of sorts, and I wasted no time in ensconcing myself back in Café Gitane for a coffee and plotting session.  My first stop was to meet up with a friend who was serendipitously in New York at the same time as me; she suggested the High Line.

The High Line is a remarkable piece of New York history – a living monument to the city’s transport past.  Originally a railroad running on an elevated track through the Chelsea district on Manhattan’s West Side, it closed in 1980, only to re-open in 2009 as a public landscape.  Carefully planted with perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees, the planting design is based on the wildlife that sprang up after the tracks fell into disuse.  After ambling through Chelsea Market we ascended to the High Line; on a sunny spring Saturday locals and tourists were out in force, wandering through the trees and tracks and enjoying the views over the city.

If attractions such as the High Line and Top of the Rock demonstrate anything, it’s that you can always find a fresh vantage point to enjoy New York from.  There are so many ways to see this city, whether you’re at the pinnacle of the Rockefeller Centre, matching up the buildings with your map, or down on the streets, wending your way through beeping yellow taxi cabs.  In the evenings, though, I was after a different kind of spectacle.

At the top of my list for New York was written ‘must see the New York City Ballet’.  This world-famous, and world-class ballet company was founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein in 1948 and resides at the Lincoln Centre.  Balanchine, who served as Ballet Master of the company until his death in 1983, choreographed numerous ballets in which he pioneered a new, athletic style, such as Jewels, the one I’d chosen to watch.

I’d picked Jewels for a number of reasons: partly because it was typically Balanchine, energetic and thematic instead of having a traditional plot with a happy or tragic ending, and partly because I was drawn to the story behind the ballet.  Enamoured with the jewellery on display at New York stores like Harry Winston, Balanchine envisioned a ballet where the acts were named after jewels: emerald, ruby and diamond.  Each act embodied different types of music and ballet: the Emerald act was set to Fauré and was choreographed in the French manner, the Ruby act featured Stravinsky and a spiky modern American technique and the Diamond act was danced to Tchaikovsky in the Russian style.  Of all the sights I saw in New York, this was one of the most spectacular – the dancers leaped higher than I thought possible, and danced in formations that did indeed look like glittering ropes of jewels strung together.

I could continue to wax lyrical about everything I saw in New York – tea at the Plaza (decadent, luxurious), a trip to the Tenement Museum to learn about New York’s immigrant history and lunch at Tableau One followed by a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, where I stood, transfixed, in front of Picasso’s ‘Starry Night’ for a good twenty minutes.  At some point though, I had to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to see everything the city had to offer, that I had simply run out of time.  In the end it didn’t matter too much – after all, it wasn’t a case of if I’d return to New York, but when.

Nikoi Island

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Flying from Australia back to London we had wanted to break up the trip by having a week to recharge and plan for the year ahead. Within easy reach of Singapore, and only eight kilometres from Bintan, Nikoi Island seemed to be the perfect option for us. A private island, 15 hectares in size, we stayed in one of the 15 beach houses that all sit facing the water.

Often most content just lounging downstairs in our beach house reading, we almost felt guilty for not taking up some of the activities that were on offer - such as snorkelling, sailing or a rainforest walk. For a week we enjoyed barefoot luxury and witnessed local fisherman on their boats under soft pink sunsets. We were a little sad to leave but grateful to feel relaxed and recharged for the year ahead.

Photographs by magazine contributor Renae Smith.

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Urbino

Urbino Words and Photographs by David Warren Grunner

If on a summer’s day you find yourself standing in il Mercatale, the large piazza-turned-bus terminal beneath Urbino’s ancient city walls—look up. Against a sky of childish blue, you’ll witness an orchestra of swallows filling the air, engaged in dizzying acrobatic feats above the city’s Ducal Palace. The juxtaposition is brilliant—a silent, staid Renaissance structure frozen beneath a sky abuzz with avian daredevils.

Urbino, literally little city, rises almost organically from out of the hilly landscape of the northern regions of Le Marche. The vibrant center of a constellation of small, walled cities and towns that freckle the countryside, Urbino remains, even to this day, unconnected to the intricate system of railways that wind through Italy like a path of steel veins, joining towns and cities to one another. Instead, one must either come by bus or by car. And, yet, this only adds to its charm. Approaching on a July morning, one winds down narrow roads adjacent to sloped fields ablaze with sunflowers until, unexpectedly, the city emerges. The nearly theatrical character of its appearance is intentional—the two towers of Urbino’s Ducal Palace were constructed on angle so as to meet the gaze of visitors and welcome them to Duke Federico da Montefeltro’s court. The dramatic effect—a visible manifestation of the Duke’s prowess—remains as potent today as it was hundreds of years ago. 


Urbino

The pomp and bragging rights are, after all, well earned. One cannot understate Urbino’s Renaissance significance. A city of art and learning, its court served as the inspiration and, later, the setting for Baladassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, the definitive sixteenth century account of courtly life. More importantly, perhaps, Urbino is the birthplace of the Renaissance master Raphael (nee Raffaello Sanzio) whose presence is felt throughout the winding city streets. Walking up the aptly named Via Raffaello from La Piazza della Republica, Urbino’s central square, visitors can duck inside the unassuming and humble birthplace of the artist, once home to his father, an artist and poet before him. For those brave enough to tackle the entirety of Via Raffaello by foot—a city whose central quarters must be taken in on foot, Urbino’s steep hills are not for the faint of heart—a small park dedicated to the artist awaits. From this point, on a clear day, one can spy the Adriatic in the distance, its pellucid blue meeting the sky and obfuscating the horizon. On summer nights, the city’s children gather to play hide-and-go seek, using the marble busts of poets and writers as well as the towering statue of Raphael himself as hiding places.

Urbino

Urbino’s labyrinthine streets are dotted with churches, oratories and chapels, each unlike the other. One of the most striking, the fourteenth century Romanesque-Gothic Chiesa di San Francesco (dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi), rests within the small square near the bottom of Via Raffaello, Piazetta delle Erbe, which is home to a small farmers market throughout the week. San Francesco’s bell tower, speckled with grass, looms large above the small square. A journey through the adjoining winding and narrow alleyways will take you to a true gem hidden behind the city walls—l’Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista (The Oratory of Saint John the Baptist), a small chapel dating from the 1300’s whose walls are covered in frescos painted by the Salimbeni brothers.

The city’s Ducal Palace, a 15th century Renaissance structure and now UNESCO World Heritage site, stands, as it always has, in the heart of Urbino. Entering via the small square adjacent to the city’s cathedral, a vaulted passage way lets onto il Cortile d’Onore, the palace’s interior courtyard, a touchstone of Renaissance geometry and architectural equilibrium. Imposing high ceilinged halls with frescoed walls give way to smaller galleries and balconies that offer views of the surrounding hillsides. Most importantly, the Ducal Palace houses the National Gallery of Le Marche—a stunning collection that boasts works from the likes of Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Titian and Barocci. Perhaps the greatest treasure of Urbino’s collection is the 1470 canvas The Ideal City, attributed to Piero della Francesca, which hangs on the far wall of a smaller gallery and can be read as a portrait of Urbino itself.

Urbino

Urbino

In the summer, Urbino bustles. Its cobblestones streets are filled with tourists, wide-eyed with cameras in hand. International students flock to the city for exchange programs and language immersion courses, mingling themselves with the locals who are generous and known for their hospitality. Throughout these summer months, Urbino hosts literary and artistic events, academic conferences open to the public, and baroque and classical music concerts that go late into the night in the various courtyards throughout the city. Now in its second year, Urbino is also home to a unique and burgeoning program, Shakespeare in Italy, a fourteen day actor’s residence dedicated to exploring and celebrating the Bard’s fascination with Italy. The city’s fortress, tucked within a park commemorating the resistance to Fascist rule, which offers breathtaking panoramic vistas of the city from on high, was once home to the yearly kite flying competition. The height of summer celebrations arrives in mid-August, when Urbino hosts its annual Festa del Duca, a three day long celebration during which the historical center of Urbino is returned to the Renaissance.

Urbino

Urbino

Come the autumn and winter months, however, Urbino becomes a sleepy city filled with those who flock to its University—one mustn’t forget that, for all intents and purposes, Urbino is a university town, home to a 16th century university with, at any given time, to nearly 13,000 students. These students, both Italian and from across the rest of the EU, breathe life into the city, filling the squares and cafes long after the tourists have absconded.

Still, even in the face of its history, its plethora of cultural institutes, its rich and varied culinary offerings and, most importantly, its unparalleled beauty, Urbino remains a secret to many outside of Italy, drawn more to the majestic and fabled cities of Rome, Venice and Florence. Yet, though she be but little, she is fierce—spend a couple of days in Urbino and, as you watch her disappear in the rearview mirror while you meander down the same slender roads you travelled upon to reach her, you’ll find all your stay nearly impossible to forget.

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Hunter Valley

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Hunter Valley When the constraints of work, time, money and life get in the way of international travel, one of my favourite activities is planning an escape of a more domestic kind. I have spent far too many Sunday afternoons plotting weekends in Berrima, Palm Beach and Bowral (to name but a few). All are short drives from Sydney and all are fantastic getaways, and yet, as with so many ambitious weekend plans, they somehow never quite come to fruition. However, recently a combination of tireless campaigning and some kind of mysterious alchemy, I recruited eight friends to go to the Hunter Valley, with the general aim of drinking copious amounts of wine in a picturesque location. More specifically, we planned to attend the highly recommended Pop-Up at Harkham Winery.

Getting to the Hunter Valley from Sydney is a wonderfully easy - although, despite the short length, I recommend using any means necessary to avoid sitting in the middle seat, where you will be subjected to your travelling companions spending about three quarters of the trip attempting to sleep on you, and then complaining that your shoulders are uncomfortable. After two hours of truly remarkable singing, a little bit of complaining and one unfortunate m&m related incident, we arrived at Krinklewood Cottage and Train Carriages. True to its name, guests stay in train carriages that have been so beautifully restored that upon arrival one member of our group announced that she felt like Anna Karenina and another proclaimed that he felt like he was in an Agatha Christie novel. Both were slightly morbid references, but I think they were referring to the opulent and luxurious trains in those books and not the murders and suicides. Moving swiftly along, we stayed in the Victorian Carriage which has a particularly wonderful veranda looking out over the expansive and very picturesque property. It was also equipped with a barbeque, which quickly became the source of great excitement. We spent a leisurely afternoon eating perfectly cooked sausages and taking in the scenery, before getting ready to go to our wine tasting that evening, for which the dress code was obviously ‘country chic’.

Hunter Valley

While there are plenty of fabulous looking wineries within walking distance of our train carriage, we decided to stay on task and ordered a taxi to take us to Harkham Winery, which was about ten minutes away. I should admit, I was vaguely concerned that a wine tasting might be a rather serious affair, which would be completely wasted on my decidedly unrefined palette, and that I would be forced to awkwardly invent adjectives for the taste of wine - 'the distinct aroma of a country walk with just a hint of wet dog'. My fears disappeared quickly when I arrived and was struck by a palpable sense of fun. We were greeted with a tongue in cheek neon sign, and abundance of very cool murals and were regaled with a story of a group of nuns who had come for a tasting earlier that day. It probably goes without saying that our tasting was a light-hearted and delicious affair. Even better, the Harkham wines are organic, which means they are also healthy and you should feel absolutely no guilt about drinking large quantities (this may not be scientifically correct). From the tasting, we went to the Pop Up which featured live music, amazing views over the Hunter Valley and truly delicious Mexican food. Smashing our own guacamole was a particularly appealing feature, as it gave us the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies making your own food, without us actually having to make our own food.

After an evening (let’s be honest, an entire day) of indulgence we decided it was time for some cardio. So, for health reasons we left our very cosy sport at the Pop Up and finished the night by invading the dance floor at Harrigans Irish Pub. In the early hours of the morning we found one wayward member of our group who had befriended a bride-to-be in the ladies room, fought off a crowd for a taxi and snuggled into our train carriage for the night.

We were very sorry to be leaving the following day, particularly because we barely scratched the surface of the plethora of activities the Hunter Valley has to offer. The car ride on the way home included only a tiny bit of complaining (surely it’s against the rules of road tripping to put the same person in the middle seat on the way there and back), and a lot of brainstorming for our next trip. We returned to Sydney with the conviction that a weekend away in the Australian countryside is a surprisingly easy and enjoyable antidote to wanderlust.

Words by & Photography Mikaela Dery by Imogene Grieve & Ursula Jones

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley

Panglao and Boracay

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Panglao and Boracay Whatever you’re looking for in a beach holiday – relaxation and luxury or adventure and activity - you’ll find it on one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines.

Words and Photographs by Jen Broadbent.

Whenever the Philippines is in the news, it’s often for the wrong reasons: political corruption and guerrilla groups, volcanoes and earthquakes, topped off with Typhoon Haiyan last year, the largest recorded storm ever to make landfall. In the gaping spaces between these headlines however, the archipelago and its people are relaxed and friendly. The Philippines is the epitome of laid-back tropical island living - complete with hammocks slung between coconut trees, white sand beaches and cocktails with little umbrellas.

One of the last unexplored gems of South East Asia, the islands are often overlooked by sun-chasing tourists. Separated by more than just ocean, the country has a unique history as a Chinese trading partner, a Spanish colony and a pawn of the Japanese and the US during WWII, before striking out on its own. But while the machinations of political power and Mother Nature rumble away in the background, there is a high probability of having the beach all to yourself, if you dare to skip off the worn tourist trail.

Panglao and Boracay

PANGLAO

Four snorkelers line up along the edge of the bangka, straining forward and almost tipping head first into the clear blue water. Less than two metres away, a green sea turtle casually pokes its beak above the surface to breathe, followed by a joyous gasp as a second turtle makes an appearance. A swimmer jumps in with a splash, but the turtles take no notice and gently glide along. Only a few metres below, thousands of brightly coloured tropical fish dart around like a confetti explosion.

Panglao boasts some of the best and most accessible diving in the country, and it’s easy for snorkelers and divers to come within bubble-blowing distance of coral teeming with underwater life. The resident turtle population soars effortlessly through the water, nonchalantly passing a wall of coral formations in as many crazy colours as a three year old’s artwork. The sheer variety of fish is awe-inspiring, but the hidden beauty is the intricate patterns of the coral itself, minute and unassuming yet perfectly designed. Back on the surface, catch your breath with a cool mango shake at Amorita Resort perched on the cliff above the tucked-away town of Alona. Dive shops, restaurants, souvenir stalls and guesthouses cluster around the bay, peering through the coconut trees to the sparkling waves breaking over the reef.

Many of the resorts on Panglao front onto a private beach, and while it’s easy to collapse into a hammock after a day of snorkeling, the island has more to offer than what’s under the waves. Enjoy Dumaluan Beach ‘pinoy style’: pack a picnic of fish and rice (or ham-and-cheese croissants from French bakery Gavroche) and strike camp at a nipa hut of woven coconut leaves lining the sand. Or, splash around the shallows at protected Doljo Beach and admire the local kids back-flipping off outrigger boats, before scampering back to the cool retreat of the coconut trees when the sun beats down. It’s too hot to do anything other than sink into a siesta, day dreaming about drifting ocean currents and finding Nemo in a fuzzy anemone.

Panglao Island is a 30 minute drive from the provincial capital Tagbilaran, where you can catch a direct flight to Manila (one hour) or a fast ferry to Cebu (two hours).

Panglao and Boracay

BORACAY

For an entirely different flavour in the tropical tasting plate, head to the fun-loving party island of Boracay, one of Asia’s most renowned beaches. First impressions can leave much to be desired - leftover rain puddles in a narrow concrete alley, dusted with a cloud of motorcycle fumes. But suddenly the path spits you straight onto White Beach, and you’ll pull up short and stare. You truly have arrived in paradise.

It’s only a few metres across powder-fine sand to the sea. It’s impossible to resist the magnetic pull, to weave through the coconut trees, sunbeds and umbrellas and finally pause with a sigh, knee-deep in impossibly-turquoise, surely-someone-has-photoshopped-this water. The scene is picture perfect: because this is exactly the kind of beach starring in your island dream.

Despite its hedonistic reputation reminiscent of Phuket or Bali, a break on Boracay can be as restful or active as you want it to be. While 1.3 million visitors a year sounds excessive for an island only seven kilometres long, it does correlate to a superb choice of hotels, restaurants and activities to keep you occupied in any way you choose. Or, alternatively, a superb choice of sunbeds to work on your tan.

Slurp fresh coconut juice and wander along the sandy beach path as touts flourish signboards and call ‘Mam-Sir, you want sailing? Jet-skiing? Kite-surfing? Good price!’ A flotilla of speedboats zips around the bay, trailing lines of parasailers upwards as their parachutes catch the breeze. Up to three people can be strapped into the harness before the crew slowly releases the line. An exhilarating birds-eye view of fishing boats and jet-skis is revealed, across to the sweeping beaches and mountainous jungle of the mainland. Despite feeling like all of humanity has descended onto White Beach sporting sarongs and oversized sunglasses, this widened perspective shows how much remote coastline of the Philippines remains peacefully undeveloped.

Water sports for every level abound in Boracay. The shallow azure waters off Angol Point are ideal for snorkeling and underwater photography of hard and soft corals, anemones and starfish. Adventurous divers can descend down pockmarked coral walls for a glimpse of moray eels, enter the 30 metre long Camia shipwreck to seek its resident red bass and scorpion fish, and even drift dive in the strong currents north of the island. Between December to June, the dominant easterly winds whip up one of the best kite-surfing locations in Asia at Bulabog Beach.

After an exhausting day on the water, sunset cocktails perched on a beach barstool are mandatory. Cloud trails strengthen from pale yellow and pink to vermillion red. Blue triangle sailboats flit across the calm bay as the cooler evening breezes in. Escape from the thumping music and glistening fire dancers to quieter Diniwid Beach, and splurge on exquisite fresh fish and garlic butter shrimp while sipping on chilled wine. The inky water calmly stretches away from the terrace, a gentle pause before tomorrow’s sunrise illuminates another ocean of possibilities to dive right in.

Boracay is a 10 minute boat ride from the busy port of Caticlan. There are regular flights to Manila or drive two hours to Kalibo International Airport for flights to Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and other destinations.

Panglao and Boracay

Panglao and Boracay

Panglao and Boracay

Panglao and Boracay

Panglao and Boracay

Panglao and Boracay

Stockholm

Stockholm

We don’t actually have the words necessary to communicate just how much we adore Stockholm. If you’ve got a thing for serious Northern soul, Scandinavian design, vistas to astound and food you can’t get enough of, this is the cultural capital for you. Bathed in sunlight in summer, found on the Baltic Sea and made up of a series of 13 islands all connected by intricate bridges, Stockholm will get under your skin. And you’ll be more than happy to let it.

Below is our pictorial guide to this outdoorsy, ever-smiling city. Along with a few tips we strongly recommend you take us up on.

Stockholm

Getting Around: Take to your feet, ambling through the Old Town, museum district (watch out for Fotografiska and its thought-provoking photography exhibitions) or downtown shopping district (all hail NK and Illums Bolighus, a Mecca for Danish design), the best way to get your bearings is by wandering, camera in hand and preferably with a hankering for toast Skagen - a Swedish delicacy that’s pretty much shrimp with lemon, dill and mayonnaise served on rich local bread.

Eat Your Heart Out: Stockholm knows how to dish up some real wonders yet few locations are quite as picturesquely perfect as Fjaderholmarnas Krog, a short 20 minute ferry ride from the city centre. Dining in this elegant, light-filled restaurant on a summer evening you are transported to another world, where delicate flavours reign and the seafood is impossibly fresh. The attention to detail here is remarkable and the friendly service makes the fairy tale setting all the more beguiling.

Or stay central and pay a visit to Volt, edgy and elegant, this is an effortlessly cool setting that attracts clued up locals after interesting flavour combinations and a wine selection to savour. With creations made from duck eggs, white asparagus and whitefish or perfectly prepared lamb, cabbage and lovage this is fine dining with an inventive twist. A definite star on the foodie map - and one that will make you swell allegiance to Swedish sponge cake and caramelised white chocolate.

 and  Rosendals Trädgård, a stunning garden open to the public that comes complete with a cafe, nursery and shop. Overflowing on sunny days, this is the epitome of a local treasure.

Stay the Night: A warren of quirky hotels and ancient corners, finding the right place to rest your head can be a little daunting. So you’ll be pleased to know that we can wholeheartedly recommend the stunning and characterful Victory Hotel, part of the renowned Collector’s Hotels. Found in the Old Town, this atmospheric boutique hotel has a naval theme (Lord Nelson is the inspiration) and a bar area, open to non-guests, that invokes a little highland spirit. A decadent and different experience.

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Provence

Provence

All hail the glorious south of France. A sun drenched, eternally elegant, time-stands-still sort of place synonymous with wine, cheese and general decadence. Forever in our hearts and destined to stay phenomenal, Provence should be everyone’s new spiritual home.

For those keen to plan a sun-kissed trip to France’s captivating icon we have a few provincial tips, and a few holiday snaps, to get you feeling sufficiently inspired.

Best Base: We recommend setting up camp in Aix-en-Provence (home of Cézanne and Emile Zola) or Arles (the stomping ground of Van Gogh and your best chance of getting remarkably well aquatinted with the ruins of Roman France).

Where To Stay: If you decide to make Arles your holiday home, promise us you’ll pass a few nights at the Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus, which overlooks Place du Forum and the bright yellow Le Café La Nuit, immortalised by Van Gogh. A historic playground for models, muses (Charlotte Rampling and Napoleon III are just a few famous guests) and matadors, this Spanish-inspired hotel brims with art and verve. Almost every room has taken on a different decorative style yet Suit 10 has to be the cultural stand out. Bullfighters would spend a no doubt sleepless night here before their amphitheatre fight, using the room to dress and greet the awaiting crowds.

Where To Eat: Feel like a local and pass a Saturday morning ambling along the fragrant main street when the local produce market sets up shop - meals made entirely of fresh bread, creamy cheese and a local rose really are the best. For something a little more decadent there is always Restaurant L’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabenel, which focuses on fine, local ingredients and creates dishes with a definite Asian twist - the interiors are also decidedly Matisse-esuqe. The more casual yet equally flavour-focused Le Comptoir du Calendal is also worth checking out.

Get Arty: In the shadow of such humbling artists greatness it is essential to pay homage and if you’re basing yourself in Arles The Van Gogh Trail, which snakes through the town, passing bridges, open spaces and cafes that are immediately recognisable, is absolutely essential. A trail map can be picked up from the local tourist office and highlights include the the Espace Van Gogh and newly opened Foundation Van Gogh.

If Aix-en-Provence is your base pay a visit to Cézanne’s studio, a short walk from the centre of town this light-filled space, overlooking a beautifully overgrown garden, is filled with his paints, easels and the subjects of his numerous astounding works. This is a genuinely moving space.

Discover The Wine: In our humble opinion, the rose hailing from Provence is simply the best. Fresh and fruity, it is largely responsible for the resurgence of this particular, brilliantly-hued drop. If you want to learn a little about the local wine trade and its secrets join a tour with Provence Wine Tours. You’ll travel, with a knowledgeable local guide, to a range of local wineries famed for their colourful chateaux, artistic quirks and unique and passionate approach to wine making.

Parting words of wisdom: Just be prepared to get a little lost, unwind and fall for the brilliance of old stones, blue skies and a sunny French disposition.

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Scenic Rim Trail

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Last week we were lucky enough to venture out on the wonderful Scenic Rim Trail, an other-worldly four day walk through the stunning wilds of Queensland, punctuated by rather decadent stays at Spicers Canopy and Spicers Peak Lodge. The trail itself, sprawled over private land and National Park, is part of the Great Dividing Range and made up of terrain with a fondness for changing every few meters. This is not your average hike. While the full experience shall be appearing in the pages of issue 3, the Australia issue, we couldn't help but share some of these photographs with you now. Happy day dreaming. Scenic Rim Trail

Scenic Rim Trail

Scenic Rim Trail

Scenic Rim Trail

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Scenic Rim Trail

Scenic Rim Trail

Scenic Rim Trail

Scenic Rim Trail

Haggerstone Island

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Haggerstone Island Haggerstone Island

Sometimes you just have to give in to the urge to get away from it all.

The call of azure waters, of seafood you can catch yourself, of white sands, underwater playgrounds and luxurious wooden villas you can really only reach by plane. Sometimes the call of the tropics is just too much to ignore and when you must give in, give Haggerstone Island a thought. It’s really is the place you’d rather be.

Part of the iconic Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s greatest natural treasures, this remote island is where you venture to experience true Far North wilderness. Found beside the Cape York Peninsula (itself a rugged wonderland seemingly untouched by the modern world) and 600 kilometers north of Cairns, the focus on this private island is very much on the sea, sand and stunning world around you. There are no other distractions and nor would you want there to be.

Accommodation comes in the form of the guesthouse, built largely from timber, which is framed by gardens of both the orchid and coral variety, shipwrecks-turned-reef, bird-harbouring forests and beaches you can call all your own.

Here’s to island life and tropical climes.

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

Haggerstone Island

And on a rather important side note, "never go on trips with anyone you do not love." Ernest Hemingway

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth It's rather grand to remember than in order to escape, your really don't have to travel very far.

Just a short drive from the buzzing heart of London is a country getaway that feels decades away. Here Old World elegance mixes with foodie flourishes and literary overtones, and its the resulting sense of charm and wonder that Masion Talbooth, in the heart of soon-to-be-sunny Dedham Vale, is all about.

The hotel is made up of 12 suite-like bedrooms named for the famed English poets whose work adorns the walls and rooms are equipped with baths you can swim in, neutral furnishings you covet and a bed you positively sink into. I'm a sucker for Egyptian cotton. This homely, welcoming space makes you feel at ease the moment you arrive with smiling staff and a light-filled sitting room where you can indulge in a spot of afternoon tea served with what may be the airiest scones around - the not-so-secret ingredient is buttermilk. Breakfast is also served on the ground floor and bringing along an appetite is thoroughly recommended. Masion Talbooth does the classics incredibly well.

What struck me though was not the hot tub, pool house, tennis court or treatment rooms (this is where you venture to indulge, especially when summer is in full bloom) but the view from my room. Rolling fields, distant church towers and trees awaiting the return of their leaves all bathed beneath a soft winter light. This was the countryside of Constable and you can see how the landscape inspired his work.

Having said that, our evening meal at Le Talbooth was sublime. A flavour sensation that showed just how far farm fresh ingredients can take a dish. Found right beside the river, the thoroughly English dishes match this thoroughly English setting, which is charming and swan-framed even by night. I can vouch for the brilliance of the Thetford Forest venison saddle - rich in flavour and beautifully presented on the plate - and the flat mushroom and goats cheese cadeau for its bold freshness. It's the attention to detail that really sets this restaurant apart - original selections of fresh made bread, artistic arrangements, exposed beams and coffees served alongside chocolate in an old cigar box. Who said fine dining couldn't be fun!

To learn more or make a reservation click here.

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

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Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Maison Talbooth

Bath

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England brims with charming escapes, historic communities and townships famed for their iconic residents. However, only the truly magical locations - cities rich in literary history, Georgian charm and architecture built to delight - become icons. Bath is one such regal destination. And it has been for quite a while. This place is old, really old. Founded by a King with a questionable skin condition back in 863 BC, this city has hosted the Celts, Romans, Saxons and contemporary Brits; all looking to take the water (and presumably a pot of tea). It is this water, which can be spied from the Roman Baths and suitably decadent Pump Room Restaurant where afternoon tea is highly recommended, that gives you a real sense of Bath's majesty. It takes around 10,000 years for the soft rain that blesses England to seep through the earth, be heated by high temperature rocks and return, warm and mineral-rich, to the surface. No one knows exactly where the water's source lies (which makes you hope that the picturesque rural communities encasing Bath never develop the desire to expand), yet I do know that you can take advantage of its undeniably soothing properties at Thermae Bath Spa. This decidedly modern, ever-popular venue is dedicated to helping visitors take in easy, breath deeply and bask in the brilliance of floating in 40 degree rooftop pool as snow falls and the sunset illuminates the surrounding stone structures. That said, the experience is just as pleasant when experienced on a faultlessly clear day.

There are more modern attractions too, which tend to take the form of food and shopping. Bath is a Mecca for farm shops and design stores and while there are some wonderful High Street gems (Hay and Found spring to mind), my favourite discovery was The Foodie Bugle, the newest addition to Margaret's Buildings. Full of fresh local produce, homewares, cookbooks and vintage treasures, this is a delightful spot to stop at and savour a pot of tea ... or a charcuterie and cheeses plate for that matter. On the subject of cheese, a pilgrimage to Paxton and Whitfield is essential, your inner foodie will thank you indefinitely. Savouring your purchases within Victoria Park while looking up at the Royal Crescent or the flourishing Botanical Gardens is also highly advised. Other culinary attractions include the quirky Sam's Kitchen Deli, where all of Bath's creatives go to work, and Bea's Vintage Tearoom where time is utterly irrelevant.

For a really remarkable gastronomic encounter book a table at the Olive Tree Restaurant, where even the bread (made with treacle) and butter proves to be a taste sensation. In honour of its West Country setting, the fare is farm fresh and locally sourced with the focus clearly on bringing the very best out of individual ingredients - while getting a little playful with flavours - my passionfruit parfait enchased in chocolate and dotted with popping candy springs to mind here. The restaurant is attached to the relaxed yet refreshingly opulent Queensberry Hotel. Overlooking the Assembly Rooms (lovers of Austen and fashion rejoice) and a leisurely amble from The Circus, this luxury, boutique retreat is the ideal Bath base. Beds are the love child of a cloud and hug, rooms are spacious and homely, details are refreshingly Old World and the service is delightful. However, vagabonds be warned, it is forbidden to duel or ride horses through the lobby - and presumably the atmospheric Old Q Bar. Fanciful and fun, I don't recommend ever checking out. Of either the hotel or the city for that matter ...

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Melbourne

Melbourne Quintessential Melbourne, the city with its soaring streamlined skyscrapers mixing seamlessly with the Victorian era architecture of buildings from the early days of urbanisation. Meandering through the city is the sparkling, yet distinctively umber hued water of the lower Yarra. Its gentrified banks welcome thousands of promenaders enjoying developments that have appeared along its reaches since urban renewal programmes of the 70's (as well as a range of waterside bars and bike paths).

Melbourne

Yet the second largest city in Australia is also unique in so many ways with a seemingly perfect mix of multicultural diversity, sport mania and artistic and creative flair. AFL mad, Melbourne is also home to big events like the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open and the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Supporters jerseys can often be spotted in the numerous cafes that spill out onto pavements on almost every street, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee is enticing to say the least. Vibrant and inviting they are perfect meeting points for a pre match rendevouz. Various streets reflect the 140 cultures that make up Melbourne’s cosmopolitan population with areas such as the Greek precinct, Chinatown and Italian Lygon St heralding restaurants with tastes and sensations from around the world.

Having the chance to just wander is a treat and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to admire the creativity of the distinctive street art adorning public spaces and lane ways. Colourful buildings, park walls and even derelict factories have become public galleries where every passer-by can become an art critic. Officially appearing on approved outdoor locations only, these flamboyant murals contribute immensely to the urban environment and have helped Melbourne gain the reputation as being one of the world’s great street art capitals.

Melbourne

There is no end to the possibilities for filling in your day. Tree lined boulevards and parks lead into the heart of the city yet an efficient tram system takes you to the outskirts where trendy neighbourhoods entice you with cafes, galleries, bookshops and stores that are beguiling in their content (I know Lodestars is particularly fond of Happy Valley Shop, who now stock the magazine). Fitzroy and Collingwood have become known as the Bohemian quarter of the Yarra, and nearby Brunswick, Smith and Gertrude Streets are all vying as having the trendiest shops and boutiques to explore.

Melbourne

After such wanderings though it is always so important to find somewhere to rest your head and ponder your peregrinations. The White Room in the heart of North Fitzroy is the perfect oasis and its understated elegance and restrained luxury is the consummate juxtaposition to the outrageous colour of the street art outside. The converted, utterly original room is a rustic delight, full of well selected design treats - a bed covered in crisp French linen, a wall of framed vintage art, leather chairs you can disappear into and a leaf-covered garden that makes you feel very far away from the rest of the world. Full of character and curiosities (and with a fridge stocked with seasonal breakfast goodies), this is an immaculately curated, utterly white space created to make you feel at home. It's also only a 20 min walk or direct tram to city. Having said that, if you prefer to stay closer to the Yarra, or the National Gallery of Victoria, why not book a night at the iconic Langham Hotel. Decadent yet refined (and incredibly friendly), this elegant venue offers everything you'd expect from a luxury, inner-city escape - we were smitten the moment we saw the orchid-rich floral arrangements of the entrance, the family friendly themed afternoon tea and the panoramic view found in the top floor Club Lounge. Sinking into out cloud-like beds as the city lit up beyond our window was a dream. Of course, you could always stay at both venues - any excuse for an extra night in Melbourne.

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Melbourne

Warsaw

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Words and Photographs by Mikaela Dery. When I told my friends that I was going to Poland an alarming number of them told me that I wouldn’t like Warsaw. Their argument was that it wasn't nearly as pretty as Krakow. I was a little offended that they believed me to be so superficial (because I thought I was so good at hiding that particular personality trait). As a result, I went to Warsaw feeling determined to prove everyone wrong. To my delight I did.

However, in fairness, my friends had a point. Warsaw is certainly not a traditionally beautiful city. Most of it was bombed in World War II and its communist history is evident in the stark, grey buildings that fill the city. The main streets themselves are wide, and often disconcertingly empty. It is not a promising first impression. When we arrived I found myself walking along a completely deserted street, wearing as many layers of clothing as was humanly possible, thinking about how I might be able to convincingly lie to my friends and tell them that they know nothing about me, and that I have always loved bleak wastelands. I was not confident that I would be able to do this convincingly. However, after doing some research I discovered that I might not have to. We were advised to go to Mokotowska, a street known to be a hipster haven. I thought this was a very encouraging recommendation, and it was here that I learned Warsaw is a place for wandering, and it is a place where one must be attentive.

Warsaw

Like most places in Warsaw the street is wide, grey and sparse. However, every now and then we would come across an alleyway and would see a hint of a neon sign, compelling street art or some eye-catching greenery. Often this would be partially obscured by construction sites and general debris but if you are wandering inquisitively enough you will encounter some truly unique boutiques and restaurants. We spent the day gazing longingly at carefully selected and beautifully displayed international designer pieces and getting acquainted with the emerging Polish fashion scene.

Warsaw

After a couple of hours of trying on incredible clothes I resolved to never, ever eat carbs again and to devote myself to being a fabulous clotheshorse. Such resolutions don't last long in Warsaw. We had an amazing meal at the wonderfully kitsch U Fukiera. Located in the Warsaw’s beautifully reconstructed Old Town. It counters the city’s greyness with incredible amounts of the most fantastic flowers, a wonderfully eclectic art collection and a menu full to bursting with traditional Polish comfort food. However, one of our favourite meals came from Warszawa Powiśle. Like many of Warsaw’s delights, it is located in a wonderfully unexpected location - a car park behind a mall. The building was once a communist ticket station and its stark interior is made impossibly cool with neon signs and minimalist furnishings. In summer, we were told, the spacious outdoor area is put to good use as a dance floor and it attracts some of Poland’s best bands. During the colder months it is frequented by Warsaw’s young creatives and is the perfect place from some traditional Polish pierogi and a glass of wine.

Warsaw is certainly a city for the extreme wanderer. Sometimes we would stroll through the grey streets and would be struck by the bleakness of the city and would be reminded of Warsaw’s turbulent history. However, these moments of more sombre reflection often ended as quickly as they began, when we would stumble into an alley and be struck by the palpable creativity of Warsaw’s young artistic community. For an attentive ambler, Warsaw is an infinitely compelling and exciting city.

Warsaw

Warsaw

Warsaw

Daylesford Farm

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Daylesford Farm

Earlier this week we paid a rather delightful visit to Daylesford Farm. Wandering through their Market Garden, learning the tricks of the trade in their cooking school and passing a blissful night in the Wild Rabbit, our overnight trip was the epitome of wonderful. You can read the words of Anastasija Jevtovic below and watch out for our full write up in Issue 1 of This Is Magazine, due out in September.

Daylesford Farm

At our cooking class we are greeted with warm smiles before being led out through the back door to the green pastures where Daylesford's fresh produce is farmed daily. We walk across the grass and through the dew to pick at the rows of purple sprouting broccoli; whose look and feel are nothing short of exquisite. I admire the intensity of the violet green colour, and how strong the roots seem to be, anchored in the mud. I love cooking with fruit and vegetables, and our time back in the kitchen reveals the magic that a gentle toss of olive oil with some sea salt and cracked pepper can create.

Late afternoon walks reveal the romance of the sky in this part of England. The billowing curves of the Oxfordshire hills stretch as far as the eye can see, and descend into orange grey hues. Along the quiet journey we encounter the tiniest of flowers and the most ancient and humble of trees. Cyclists stream past us and it is at this point that I observe the humming of the bumble bee; buzzing in delight over the long shoots of grass in the shrub. Day and night then become one and I wake at 5.30am to morning light and the sound of birds outside my window. Serenity observed.

Daylesford Farm

Daylesford Farm

Daylesford Farm

Daylesford Farm

Daylesford Farm

Daylesford Farm

Lisbon

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Lisbon A city of trams, tiles and iron funiculars, Lisbon remains a glorious European gem. It is one of the world’s oldest (and coincidentally friendliest) cities and has the honour of being the oldest capital in Western Europe. And this sense of history is ever-present. Positively buzzing and regularly drenched in sunlight, there is much to fall for in this city of design, food, beauty and style.

Lisbon

Wander

Lisbon is a labyrinth of steep alleys, secluded corners and stunning vantage points, which are best encountered during hours of aimless wandering. Explore central Baixa, an ancient district packed with tailors, cafes and galleries all occupying prime positions along Baroque streets. Then there’s Alfama, a slightly more eclectic neighbourhood watched over by cathedrals and the 7th Century St George’s Castle (which is well worth exploring). A patchwork of tile covered buildings, this area is incredibly photogenic. History lovers must make for Belém, which is full of monuments (such as Torre de Belém and the extravagant Mosteiro Dos Jerónimos) spared by the infamous 1755 earthquake. While here visit Pastéis de Belém  for the best nata in town – they’re worth the wait!

You can also stroll in and out of museums – the Museu do Azulejo (dedicated entirely to tiles) and MUDE, Lisbon’s design museum, show just how creative and inspiring Portuguese artisans can be. If you’re getting a tad foot-sore (there are quite a few hills to battle) you can always jump on the 28 tram; a Lisbon icon that glides through the city taking the same picturesque, attraction-studded route it has for over a century.

Lisbon

Lisbon

Lisbon

Shop

The city has plenty of offer on the clothing, interiors and antiques front. Shoppers after something from independent Portuguese designers should wander around the Praça do Príncipe Real while those in search of international designers can amble down Avenida da Liberade, which holds antique markets on Saturdays. In town Typographia offers up playful yet elegant graphic shirts and modern jewellery can found at Atelier Plumb. D’orey is ideal for those after something truly Portuguese – their 17th and 18th century tiles are truly covetable. Mini by Luna is great for childrenswear while Muse offers more grown up fashion.

Lisbon

Eat

Lisbon is brimming with culinary delights. Of particular note is A Travessa. Found in an old monastery this dimly lit, perfectly ornate restaurant is full of weighty wooden tables, terracotta flooring, jazz tunes and vintage furnishings (which add charm and character). The ancient brick roof and well-trodden stone entrance give the venue gravitas while the cloisters act as a summer dining haven. The fare here is exceptional and the service is incredibly friendly – the entire experience is designed to make you feel thoroughly welcome. Starters arrive piece-by-piece, elegant tapas that mix flavours rather boldly. The scrambled eggs with truffles, dished up directly from a steaming pan, are delightful while the oysters turned my companion into a seafood fan. After running for 35 years it is clear this restaurant knows what it’s doing.

For something simpler you can sample traditional Portuguese offerings at A Travessa Do Fado. Here the sun-drenched courtyard is decorated with trays of produce and meals have a provincial feel – hearty creations that both entice and warm. The stuffed squid and black pork remind you why Portugal has always been on the European foodie map.

Lisbon

If you like your dinner with a view make for Restaurante Eleven; overlooking manicured gardens, house-dotted-hills and the distant Tagus River, this is a fabulous spot to catch a Lisbon sunset. The interior is suitably elegant – huge glass windows, leather chairs and wooden detailing (as polished as the service) – and the food is delightful. Even the tiniest morsel, creatively arranged on the plate, is succulent and flavour-filled. The focus is on well-sourced produce and their appreciation of fine ingredients really does shine through. The scallops in particular melt in your mouth, cheese tastes farm fresh and somehow the chestnut adorned pumpkin soup looks and feels lighter than air.

When it comes to lunch the Bairro Alto Hotel’s Flores do Bairro is a must. Right by the trusty 28 tram this chic restaurant, with its artistic interiors, warm colour scheme and almost retro furnishing, is thoroughly inviting. There’s even a central table that can be used for communal dining. Tableware comes with a handmade touch and fresh, seasonal seafood reigns supreme.

Lisbon

Lisbon

Unwind

Wandering, eating and generally falling in love with Lisbon can be rather exhausting so it’s great to know that this ancient capital is brimming with pioneering boutique hotels. One such venue is the independent Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, a luxury hideaway with an environmental conscience. This eco friendly hotel is going to great lengths to reduce its environmental footprint (think solar panels on the roof and charity work with Pump Aid). Found on one of the oldest streets in Lisbon, this elegant hotel has a Scandinavian feel on the design front and is own spa, The Retreat, managed by Ritual Spa. For something truly decadent there is also the aforementioned Bairro Alto Hotel, which mixes old world style with thoroughly modern service.

Travel

Sometimes you just have to get out of town. Lisbon is a 40-minute train journey from Sintra, a charming township that’s home to the park and Palace of Pena and Moorish Castle. The later is a 10th Century military fort built by the Muslin populations that occupied the Iberian Peninsula. Stunning when drenched in mist or sunlight, it once acted as a control tower for the entire Atlantic Coast. Similarly, the Pina Palace is the stuff of fantasy. This colourful, tile and turret covered palace is one of the finest examples of 19th Century Portuguese romanticism. Framed by eighty-five hectares of parkland, it’s well worth a daytrip. Clearly this thriving pocket of Portugal has plenty to offer.

Lisbon

Lisbon

Lisbon

Lisbon

Lisbon

Text first appeared in Yen Magazine.

Bordeaux

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Bordeaux

At the turn of the 21st Century Bordeaux was in trouble. Dusty and lifeless, the once majestic stone city was crumbling. So understandably, contemporary Bordeaux feels a little like a phoenix from the ashes. With eons of soot removed from its opulent medieval churches, Baroque-era facades and Art Nouveau town houses and its once questionable docklands transformed into a playground for the hip and design conscious, Bordeaux is once again a European gem.

Surrounded by the ancient vineyards of Aquitaine and one of the world’s largest UNESCO world heritage sites, Bordeaux now blends Old World elegance with cutting-edge design. It’s a classic French beauty with bite.

Bordeaux

Timeless Bordeaux shines bright in the heart of the city. Gothic wonders sit amongst narrow streets and century old squares. There’s the St.-Andre Cathedral, which boast sword-like spires, St.-Seurin Basilica, that sits atop an ancient crypt, and the 18th century Place de la Bourse. This particular attraction comes with a modern twist. An ultra thin miroir d’eau, a haven in the heat, reflects the palace-like building, transforming traditional architecture into contemporary art.

Bordeaux

Tradition also reigns supreme on the food and wine front. Long famed for its culinary prowess, Bordeaux has foodie treasures aplenty. Frequented by Jacques Chirac, La Tupina, and its cuisine de terroir, is both earthy and rich. Here flavours evolve, the cellar is noble, herbs hang from the ceiling and the menu is thoroughly French – lamb cooked for seven hours and French fries cooked in duck fat. Similarly, Chapon Fin, one of Bordeaux’s oldest restaurants, is a Mecca for food and history lovers. Dating back to the time of the revolution in 1789, this Art Nouveau restaurant, which comes complete with a grotto, attracted the Paris elite (who were greeted by valets in period attire) and has had Clemenceau, Sarah Bernhardt and Toulouse Lautrec dine at its tables. Accompanied by perfectly matched wine, their degustation menu is bold, inventive and blissful.

Bordeaux

History also runs thick in the surrounding Chateaus and vineyards. Built largely from stone and prone to glowing in the sunlight, these building, and their wineries, are both imposing and beautiful and come complete with manicured gardens and rich aromas. Wineries can only be visited by appointment so it’s best to join a tour. BordoVino offers small trips with young, wine-loving guides who know the area’s history, impart their wine tasting knowledge (one must see, smell, swirl, smell and savour) and hold rather unconventional degrees.

Bordeaux-architecture

It’s the converted docks alone that prove Bordeaux is no longer ‘La Belle Endormie’. The piece de la modern resistance is Seeko’o Hotel. With a jagged white exterior that plays with light and shadow, high design décor, electric gadgetry aplenty, mirrored ceilings and a chic air, a night spent here feels like a night spent in a living art instillation. This unorthodox urban landmark proves that Bordeaux can do contemporary. And it can do it remarkably well.

Original article appeared in The Culture-ist.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux

Bordeaux