Travel

The Incredibly Annoying Prank to Watch Out for in Airports

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 17:39
<p>It’s a dog-eat-dog world for travelers looking for a power outlet in an airport.</p><p>And unfortunately, there are some twisted people on this planet that just want to cause chaos wherever they go.</p><p>Travelers on Twitter have captured some of the most obnoxious pranking ever to happen in an airport. Some anonymous pranksters have been posting photorealistic stickers of wall outlets in random spots in airports around the country, including St. Louis Lambert International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, <em><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-6043117/Travellers-fury-sparked-fake-power-outlet-STICKERS.html" target="_blank">The Daily Mail</a></em> and <em><a href="http://time.com/5362602/power-outlet-sticker-airport-prank/" target="_blank">TIME</a></em> reported.</p><p>Some of the spots look like perfectly sensible places for an outlet (<em>take the hint, airports</em>), and others are downright nonsensical. Some stickers have been found on trash cans.</p><p>These airport sticker pranks aren’t new in 2018. Last year, an internet trickster took a video of an unsuspecting traveler who was hoodwinked by their dubious ruse, <em>TIME</em> reported.</p><p>Some of these mischief makers are even bragging about purchasing the stickers on social media. Such madness.</p><p>The stickers can be purchased on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Outlet-Stickers-Prank-Electrical/dp/B06XR4SD1V" target="_blank">Amazon</a> for about $9. We encourage people to refrain from buying them, though. No one will appreciate this joke.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Snag a $40 Round-trip Flight Just in Time for Labor Day

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:58
<p>If you haven't yet made <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/labor-day" target="_blank">Labor Day</a> plans, it’s not too late to score a cheap flight to visit friends and family or escape to popular destinations across the U.S.</p><p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/frontier-airlines-new-routes" target="_blank">Frontier Airlines</a> is currently having a <a href="https://www.flyfrontier.com/deals/flight-sales/" target="_blank">flash sale</a> with flights starting at $20 one-way for travel between August 18 and October 3. The catch: You'll have to book today.</p><p>Some of the cheapest deals include $20 one-way flights from Albuquerque and Columbus to San Antonio, fbetween Austin to New Orleans, from Greenville to Orlando, and from Indianapolis to Philadelphia. Return fares also start at $20, making it possible to book a round-trip as cheap as $40.</p><p>There are also $24 one-way flights from Atlanta, Greenville, and Cincinnati to Orlando, from Orlando to Memphis and Nashville, and from Austin to Tampa.</p><p>To see what deals are available from your home airport, <a href="https://www.flyfrontier.com/deals/flight-sales/" target="_blank">check Frontier's website</a>.</p><p>Frontier is a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/flight-deals/cheap-airlines#frontier" target="_blank">budget airline</a>, with extra fees for amenities like seat selection and checked baggage. Be sure to check the cost of any additional services you'll want to make sure you're getting a great deal before you book.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Island Is a Tropical Paradise — but Everyone's There for the Giant, Deadly Lizards

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:31
<p>We board the vessel Atika Putri, a lanky wooden boat painted bright turquoise to match the sea, with two stiff benches and a hole in the ground where a toilet should be — an indignity its six passengers are willing to endure for the three-and-a-half-hour ride through choppy waters to <a href="https://www.komodonationalpark.org/" target="_blank">Komodo National Park</a>, where real life dinosaurs — OK, dragons — still live.</p><p>We’ve bartered down to the bargain price of 450,000 Rupiah ($32) to take the trek from Labuan Bajo, Flores, to a 150-square-mile enclave, Komodo Island, where just part of Komodo National Park lays claim. The park, a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/unesco-world-heritage-sites-at-risk" target="_blank">UNESCO World Heritage Site</a>, is home to the largest living lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon, a beast that can grow 10 feet long and take down a deer.</p><img alt="Indonesian beach on the Komodo national park in Indonesia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1530549365/komodo-national-park-boats-KOMODO0718.jpg?itok=vnGbXHBT"><p>They are today’s dinosaur, surviving some 4 million years on Earth, according to fossils.</p><p>Our boat pulls beside a cement pier. Without a ladder, we’re left to leap from the boat’s tip to the top of the walkway, a tough stretch for small legs, to make it to this land of dragons.</p><p>Here, a 250,000-Rupiah fee rents us a park ranger, who walks us along a dusty dirt path lined with bushes and palms and towering tamarind trees. As we amble along, we spot a deer, several chickens, birds, and two pot-bellied pigs before we reach our first dragon, a female our ranger estimates is some six feet long. “She’ll live to be 50 years old,” he says.</p><img alt="Indonesia, Komodo Island, Komodo Dragons(monitor Lizards) "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1530549365/komodos-national-park-KOMODO0718.jpg?itok=6j0zLyH7"><p>I ask the ranger how he knows this dragon is a female. “Because she is so small,” the ranger replies — and we laugh because we know she is almost as long as the shortest NBA player.</p><p>Komodo dragons can run at up to 20 miles per hour, but that doesn’t mean they're apt to go for a jog. As the ranger explains, this dragon often lies still for hours as it waits for its prey to approach. Hearing this, I step a few feet farther away from the reach of the dragon’s finger-long claws, which she uses to slice animals as big as adult water buffalo.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/fantasy-creature-remains" target="_blank">Three Dragons, One Unicorn: Four Places That Claim to Hold the Remains of Fantasy Creatures</a></p><img alt="Aerial view of the island 'Pulau Padar' at the famous Komodo National Park in Indonesia "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1530549365/komodo-national-park-indonesia-KOMODO0718.jpg?itok=VQnLwXEP"><p>I study her hands. With her palms-up, they look like a human’s — a human who’s gone approximately 17 years without clipping her nails or using running water and a bar of soap.</p><p>After 10 more minutes along the trail, we spot a baby who, our ranger says, will live in trees until it’s five years old. Then, it will be big enough to hunt the deer and pigs of the island. Until then, he says, the dragon will survive on the insects and small reptiles in the branches.</p><p>At the end of the trail, we mistake a male dragon for a tree root, a lizard lazing with his hind legs splayed out in the exact way a dog lays in the grass. The dragon opens one eye to take in his audience, then shuts it to resume his nap. We take the opportunity to crouch behind it as the ranger instructs us to stretch out our hands, just so — an illusion so that in a photo, it will appear as if we’ve pet the animal, when in reality, we’re still several feet from its tail.</p><p>Another dragon emerges from beneath a stilted building as we end our walk. As it lumbers along, its body curves in an “S” shape and its tongue, thin and forked like a snake’s, darts in and out.</p><p>We’re lucky, the ranger says, to have seen so many dragons on our trek. (We are here in June, which is mating season for these reptiles.) The land of dragons did not disappoint. One man in our group buys a T-shirt from a vendor beneath a tent near the pier. But our memento will always be the photo of us touching a real-life dinosaur... OK, a dragon.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Harvest Your Own Sea Salt on a Volcanic Hike in Hawaii (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:02
<p>Most visitors are aware that the Hawaiian archipelago was formed by volcanoes, but it’s most apparent on the Island of Hawaii, known as the Big Island.</p><p>On the drive from Kona International Airport, which was built on the lava flow from the Hualalai Volcano, black lava rock surrounds both sides of the road. The youngest of the Hawaiian islands, the Big Island is home to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/hurricane-colliding-with-kilauea-volcano-hawaii" target="_blank">Kilauea</a>, the world’s most active volcano, which has been <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/new-hawaiian-island-kilauea-volcano" target="_blank">erupting since May</a>, spewing ash into the air and sending lava into the ocean, destroying the property in its path. Five other volcanoes had a role in <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/hawaii.html" target="_blank">creating the Big Island</a>, including Moana Loa, the largest active volcano in the world.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/islands-in-hawaii" target="_blank">The Top Islands in Hawaii</a></p><p>The Hualalai Volcano is considered to be active, although its last eruption was in 1800. Since then, the airport and the <a href="https://www.fourseasons.com/hualalai/" target="_blank">Four Seasons Resort Hualalai</a> as well as homes and hotels have been built on its lava flow. The porous black rock is plentiful on the resort’s golf course and along its beaches, an integral part of the environment. World famous Kona coffee is grown on the slopes of Hualalai Volcano, and sea salt is gathered from lava rocks along its shores.</p><img alt="Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532706689/hawaii-lava-sunset-SALTHARVEST0718.jpg?itok=PNVZTUMA"><img alt="Hawaii Lava Salt Harvest "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532706689/hawaii-lava-salt-harvest-SALTHARVEST0718.jpg?itok=cWOZ5ZRS"><p>At the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, guests can hike out to the seaside salt flats and collect sea salt just as the ancient Hawaiians did hundreds of years ago. In this guided cultural experience, guests use a spoon to harvest the fresh sea salt from indentations carved into the lava rock, saving it in fabric bags. The salt then becomes an ingredient in a cooking class that follows.</p><p>“The Salt Harvesting experience is a fun way for our guests to learn about how we cook with our local ingredients,” executive chef Thomas Bellec told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. “The cooking class can be tailored to the guests’ preferences, but typically we suggest making poke using raw, local fish. This dish highlights the different sea salts and allows guests to taste how salt can truly change a dish.”</p><img alt="Hawaii Lava Salt Harvest "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532706689/hawaii-coast-SALTHARVEST0718.jpg?itok=AnDkaThu"><p>It’s not all about food, though, because sea salt is also a detoxifying and healing element used in a body treatment at the Hualalai Spa. Seven varieties are featured in the Salts of the Ocean body treatment, combined with seven Hawaiian essences working in harmony to maintain energy and well-being. Salt was a valued commodity in Hawaii hundreds of years ago, when it was used for trade, medicines, ceremonies, and preserving fish.</p><p>It still partners perfectly with fish in the chef’s poke recipe. “The guests I have done the class with were intimidated to make a dish with raw fish, but after we took them through the preparation step by step, they were excited to make it at home,” he said. “Many told us the dish will always remind them of their time at Hualalai.”</p><p>The Salt Harvesting Experience at the <a href="https://www.fourseasons.com/content/fourseasons/en/properties/hualalai/" target="_blank">Four Seasons Resort Hualalai</a> can be arranged through the hotel’s concierge for $450 which includes the guided hike and the cooking class. The 80-minute Salts of the Ocean body treatment is available separately at a cost of $285.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why 35,000 People Visit a Toxic Pit in Montana Every Year (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:31
<p>Tourists are flocking to a giant toxic pit in Montana.</p><p>Approximately 35,000 people go to Berkeley Pit every year. It’s not the most glamorous attraction in Butte, Montana, but it’s one of the only places in the world where you can pay to see toxic waste.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/montana-flathead-lake" target="_blank">This Lake Is Montana’s Best Kept Secret</a></p><p>Admission is $2 per person to see “51 billion gallons of arsenic, lead, and cadmium-laced liquid,” <a href="https://www.topic.com/postcards-from-the-edge" target="_blank">Justin Nobel wrote on <em>Topic</em>.</a></p><p>Since it opened in 1955, the <a href="http://www.pitwatch.org/" target="_blank">Berkeley Pit</a> has been attracting visitors. Although it wasn’t always a toxic destination. The pit started as an “open pit” copper mine. In the 1960s, there was a viewing deck where visitors could peer over the pit and watch men at work extracting metal. But in 1982, the company in charge of the site shut off their pumps and the pit began filling with toxic water.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/chernobyl-becoming-tourist-destination" target="_blank">The Unexpected Tourist Appeal of Chernobyl</a></p><img alt="Berkeley Pit Superfund Site Forms Largest Body Of Contaminated Water In U.S. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533575776/berkeley-pit-montana-toxic-TOXPIT0818.jpg?itok=5E2CsoY5"><p>But the toxicity didn’t stop the visitors. It just attracted some new ones. The “lake” is tinged a sickly green from iron deposits that never dissolve; they just linger in the water. It measures more than a mile long and a half-mile wide. The pit is currently a 1,085-foot-deep deposit of toxic water, and it’s rising about seven feet each year. By 2023, the water is expected to overflow, break its bedrock, and seep into Butte, Montana, contaminating the drinking water.</p><img alt="Berkeley Pit Superfund Site Forms Largest Body Of Contaminated Water In U.S. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533575776/berkeley-pit-montana-contaminated-TOXPIT0818.jpg?itok=NYYJMUxQ"><p>To put the lake’s effect in perspective: in the ‘90s, a flock of geese decided to roost by the lake. Within a few days, their insides had been charred to oblivion and <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/berkeley-pit"> more than 340 birds were found dead</a>.</p><p>Today the Berkeley Pit has become a symbol of dark tourism. People stop to take pictures and take in the effects of humans on the environment.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Royal Family's Private Nicknames for Each Other Are Adorably Embarrassing (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:01
<p>The British royal family can sometimes come off as a bit stuffy. With their <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-markle-royal-wardrobe-cost" target="_blank">perfectly curated outfits</a>, prim and proper etiquette, and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/queen-elizabeth-bedtime-rule" target="_blank">lengthy list of royal rules</a>, it can be difficult to remember that underneath it all they are simply humans just like the rest of us.</p><p>But a few weeks ago, the world learned that Prince Charles had an adorable <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/prince-charles-nickname-for-meghan-markle" target="_blank">pet name for his new daughter-in-law</a>, Meghan Markle. Charles reportedly calls her “tungsten,” a rare type of metal, because she is “strong and unbending.”</p><p>"Prince Charles admires Meghan for her strength and the backbone she gives Harry, who needs a tungsten-type figure in his life as he can be a bit of a softy," a source told the <em><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5856919/Meghan-Markle-unusual-nickname-Prince-Charles.html" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em>. "It's become a term of endearment.”</p><p>And now, we’re learning that this family is filled with adorable pet names that make them seem much more down to earth.</p><h2>Prince William: Wombat</h2><p>According to William himself, his mother Diana lovingly referred to him as “wombat” as a kid.<br /><br />“It began when I was two. I've been rightfully told because I can't remember back that far,” William shared in a <em>Today</em> show interview in 2007. “But when we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that's the local animal. So I just basically got called that. Not because I look like a wombat, or maybe I do."</p><h2>Kate Middleton: Poppet</h2><p>In 2013, when Prince George was born, Middleton and Prince William not only shared their son with the world for the first time on the steps of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, but they also shared Middleton’s nickname. <br /><br />As William ushered his wife outside for a photo opp, he called her “poppet,” a name he <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2375788/Royal-baby-Kate-Middleton-Prince-William-son-leave-Kensington-Palace-Bucklebury.html" target="_blank">reportedly has called her for years</a> in front of everyone.</p><h2>Prince Harry: Haz</h2><p>Prince Harry has had a number of nicknames over the years, including “Spike” after he reportedly signed up for a Facebook account using the pseudonym “<a href="https://www.glamour.com/story/royal-family-secret-nicknames" target="_blank">Spike Wells</a>.” But now, according to Meghan’s close friend and agent Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, she started calling Harry “Haz” after they began dating and the name stuck.</p><h2>Camilla: Gaga</h2><p>In 2016, during a Royal Variety Performance, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/6036265/prince-george-princess-charlotte-surprising-nickname-camilla-grandma/" target="_blank">told performer Lady Gaga</a> that her nickname is “Gaga” too. That moniker was reportedly given to her by Prince George and Princess Charlotte to set her apart from their maternal grandmother, Carol Middleton, and paternal grandmother, whom they allegedly refer to as “Granny Diana.”</p><h2>Queen Elizabeth: Gan-Gan, Lilibet, Gary</h2><p>Queen Elizabeth may have the best nicknames of all in the royal family. According to reports, the Queen has long been known as “<a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/royals/the-secret-nicknames-royal-family-use-for-each-other/news-story/970ee302509d9b8e52ba311b36211554" target="_blank">Lilibet</a>” by her childhood friends and her husband, Prince Philip. But, to her grandchildren, she is known as “Gary.” Yes, Gary. When Prince William was a young child, he couldn’t quite pronounce the word grandma, and instead <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/queen-elizabeth-hilarious-nickname-gary" target="_blank">called the Queen “Gary.”</a></p><p>Richard Kay, a high society gossip reporter for the <em>Daily Mail</em>, shared the story of how Prince William once fell down inside <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/fun-facts-about-royalty-kensington-palace-tour" target="_blank">Kensington Palace</a> as a kid and called out for his "Gary." When a member of the household staff asked who that was, the Queen reportedly surfaced and responded, "I’m Gary."</p>
Categories: Travel

One of France's Biggest Theme Parks Is Training Birds to Pick Up Trash

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:28
<p><a href="http://www.puydufou.com/en" target="_blank">Puy du Fou</a>, the second largest theme park in France behind <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/disneyland-paris-expansion" target="_blank">Disneyland Paris</a>, is employing six rooks that are specially trained to help clean up trash. </p><p>Rooks, which are members of the Corvidae family, like <a href="https://www.animalwised.com/differences-between-crows-ravens-and-rooks-1196.html" target="_blank">crows and ravens</a>, are <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/106/25/10370" target="_blank">noted for their intellectual abilities</a>. They have been trained by the park's long-time <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/butterfield-robinson-ashford-castle-ireland-itinerary" target="_blank">falconer</a>, <a href="https://blog.puydufou.com/2018/08/08/une-escouade-de-corbeaux-nettoyeurs-au-grand-parc/" target="_blank">Christophe Gaborit</a>, to learn how to collect pieces of waste.</p><p>Gaborit came up with the idea after raising two rooks back in the 2000s and discovering he was able to train the birds to collect trash in return for a treat. </p><p>Gaborit would have the birds place a piece of waste in a double drawer that would then open up to reveal a croquette they could snack on. Eventually, they learned to associate picking up the waste with food.</p><p>While having trained rooks comes in handy for park cleanup, that's not the only perk these feathered employees can bring. </p><p>Park president Nicolas de Villiers <a href="https://www.afp.com/en/news/2265/intelligent-crows-pick-litter-french-theme-park-doc-18a3vm1" target="_blank">told AFP</a> that under the right conditions, the birds “like to communicate with humans and establish a relationship through play.”</p><p>Following Gaborit’s method, park staff will encourage the rooks to deposit trash into a small box and reward them with a piece of food each time they are successful. </p><p>Villiers told <em><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/11/french-park-trains-clever-crows-pick-litter/" target="_blank">The Telegraph</a></em> that the birds are incredibly fast workers, able to pick up enough trash to fill an entire bucket in less than 45 minutes.</p><p>The park, in Les Epesses, in western France’s Pays de la Loire region, is known for its theatrical shows portraying the history of the area with the Puy du Fou castle as a backdrop.</p>
Categories: Travel

3 Elephants in South Africa Stopped for a Drink at a Hotel Pool Where Guests Were Swimming

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:22
<p>Beggars can’t be choosers. And as the wisest in the animal kingdom, elephants know this.</p><p>So when a group of parched elephants in Kruger National Park, South Africa, came across a hotel swimming pool, they didn’t inspect the water for germs, and they didn’t care that there were people watching. They lapped it up.</p><p>The group of three elephants stopped by the hotel swimming pool to quench their thirst. Only two of the elephants stuck their trunks in the pool to drink the water. The third declined to partake, likely <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJrEiWsI4f8" target="_blank">questioning the sanitation</a> of hotel swimming pool water.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="rumble" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://rumble.com/embed/ua55n.v3je41/" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>It was a memorable encounter for the two tourists sitting on the deck of the pool, but just an average stop at a local watering hole for the elephants.</p><p>South Africa is currently experiencing its dry season, when rivers shrivel up and water is scarce to be found. During this time, elephants must be more enterprising about their beverage selection.</p><p>“They are opportunistic animals and will stop at any water for a drink if within their reach,” Ivan Ueckermann, the man who shot the video, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6054591/Tourist-magical-treat-elephant-visits-swimming-pool-refreshing-drink.html?ns_mchannel=rss&amp;ito=1490&amp;ns_campaign=1490" target="_blank">told the <em>Daily Mail</em></a>. “It was just awesome to witness, they are super relaxed with human presence and come and go at their own will.”</p>
Categories: Travel

This Doctor Saved a Man Who Passed Out on a Flight — Here's Her Travel Advice for Staying Healthy

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:06
<p>Even though air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation, that doesn’t mean an issue can’t pop up unexpectedly.</p><p>Linda Reilman, a doctor based in Ohio, was on board a flight from Hawaii to Dallas in May when a member of the crew announced they were looking for someone with medical training to assist them.</p><p>“About two hours into the flight, everyone was sleeping, all the lights came on and they made an announcement,” <a href="https://www.journal-news.com/news/hamilton-doctor-treats-passenger-having-medical-emergency-plane/ccd4j3b1GMWiNrjoXKWHFI/" target="_blank">Reilman told the <em>Hamilton Journal-News</em></a>.</p><p>Two rows in front of her, Reilman joined a nurse and EMT who were also on the flight. A 72-year-old man had passed out in his seat. According to the man’s wife, he had a history of heart problems, but he was not experiencing any issues before he passed out.</p><p>The plane was over two hours from land and was unable to make an immediate emergency landing.</p><p>“The patient was ashen gray and unconscious,” Reilman said. The team laid him out in the aisles in order to help resuscitate him. She and the other medical professionals started the man on IV fluids and he woke up after about an hour.</p><p>“It really seemed like he was more dehydrated and just very stressed from rushing around during the day getting prepared for travel,” Reilman said.</p><p>The flight landed in Dallas around its scheduled arrival time of 6 a.m., and the man received further medical care. Reilman told the <em>Hamilton Journal-News</em> that his case serves as a reminder for everyone to take care of themselves when they’re traveling: “You should make sure you have eaten, and you are hydrated and because your legs are down for six to eight hours and the seat hits the back of your legs, you should move around and stretch.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Hike This Active Volcano Before Dawn to See Its Electric Blue Flames Light up the Sky

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 14:01
<p>There’s beauty and madness in hiking in the dark: beauty because you are free from seeing, literally, the difficulty ahead — and madness because you can’t spot your foot let alone your next step. Yet, on a recent pitch-black morning, that’s the juxtaposition my husband and I faced as we scaled the side of Kawah Ijen, an active volcano in Indonesia’s East Java that soars some 9,100 feet into the air, with a crystal-blue sulfuric lake smack in the center of its 2,369-foot-wide crater.</p><p>As we started on the steep path from the parking lot, a single dim headlamp between us, I turned to my husband and whined, “This better be worth it.”</p><p>It was.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/blue-lava-hawaii-volcano-kiluea" target="_blank">Watch Mesmerizing Blue Lava Erupt From This Hawaiian Volcano</a></p><p>There were points along the path — which, by Indonesian standards, was quite safe — that I thought I might quit. That I needed to quit. I stumbled in the dark, and lost my breath more often than I caught it. I even begged my husband to go ahead of me to spare me the shame of struggling so much to ascend to the summit of this massive mountain that I couldn’t see.</p><p>Sulfur miners, who handily walk the same path every morning before sunrise to scour the lake for hunks of sulfur, passed me on their way down. Some pointed and laughed at my exhaustion. I considered turning around, embarrassed and at times questioning my sanity.</p><img alt="Indonesia, Java Island, East Java province, Mining Sulfur in Kawah Ijen volcano (2500m), blue flames "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1530816813/Kawah-Ijen-East-Java-Indonesia-glow-NIGHTCANO0718.jpg?itok=BDZOpW_N"><p>Then, the sunrise peeked out from behind two nearby mountains, and a pink line, straight as a ruler, reached out across their peaks. Above that line, the trees shimmered in fuchsia light; below it, they remained cast in complete darkness. It was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen, and in that light I found my way to the top.</p><p>I rounded a bend and the thick clouds — paired with the pungent smell of sulfuric acid — hit me before I could make out the drop of the crater’s rim. But there it was: a jagged, 660-foot-deep pit, with a still pool of water the color of a White Walker’s ice-blue eyes. With a sulfuric acid concentration of 0.13, the lake is too treacherous to touch or to sail, but from above, perched uncomfortably on the edge of a white-washed, sandy rock, the lake looks serene, as if an idyllic afternoon could be spent on its calm waters, in the safety of a canoe.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/nature-travel/hikes-around-the-world" target="_blank">6 Hikes That Will Take You Around the World</a></p><p>In the light of the sun — or perhaps in the intoxication of the sulfur fumes — I came to see the trek not as treacherous but as thrilling.</p><p>Less than 24 hours before, my husband and I had ascended to the rim of another active volcano: Mount Bromo, a 7,641-foot-tall crater in the center of what the Indonesians call Lautan Pasir, or “Sea of Sand.” Indeed, the flat plain on which our jeep parked was a desert in the middle of the lush jungle that is Java, so gritty and windy it was almost alien-like. From there, we hiked up a feeble staircase to the top of the mountain, where a knee-high railing separated us from the black lava bubbling below. Mount Bromo last erupted in 2015, closing climbing; Ijen has remained quiet since 1999.</p><p>There, the path around the rim was, at some points, just a foot wide, with two-way traffic — eager Instagrammers angling for a shot among more experienced hikers — making the trail feel even thinner, more dangerous, despite the daylight. The railing protected us from the lava, but left us exposed to the backside of the rocky mountain, just a single misstep to a quick but surely painful death. Ijen, then, by comparison, was more much peaceful and calming.</p><p>Back on Ijen’s rim, I turned to my husband. “This was worth it,” I said. “It really, really was.”</p>
Categories: Travel

How Malta Became the Mediterranean's Latest Hot Spot

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:01
<p>Within minutes of landing on <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/malta" target="_blank">Malta</a>, I was trying to decide what the place reminded me of. Now, I love Morocco, particularly the Atlantic coast, with its <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/places-to-visit-in-morocco" target="_blank">eminently photogenic</a> blue fishermen’s boats. And I really love <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/city-vacations/things-to-do-in-palermo" target="_blank">Sicily</a>, for its wheat-colored landscapes, the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/culinary-vacations-agritourism/exploring-sicily-cuisine" target="_blank">cultural palimpsest of its cuisine</a>, and pretty much everything else. This tiny archipelago nation — which lies some 60 miles south of Sicily and roughly on a latitude with Tangier — feels like a glorious mash-up of those two places. The swaths of prickly pears running riot across the interior put me in mind of the coast near Agadir, and the ornate elegance of the grand palazzo façades had me recalling Catania. But Malta is also entirely, ineluctably its own culture, ambience, and people.</p><p>The preponderance of English package tourists notwithstanding, it’s surprising that Malta has stayed under the radar of Americans for so long. There are white-sand beaches in abundance, particularly along the northern coast of Malta, the namesake main island, and on the smaller island of Gozo. There is an alluring history, a long narrative of colonization and attempted invasion going back to the Phoenicians (around 750 B.C.) and lasting until its formal independence from the British Empire in 1974 — with Carthaginians, Byzantium Romans, Arabs, Normans, the Knights of the Order of St. John, Ottoman Turks, and Napoleon in between. And there is the orderly beauty of Valletta, Malta’s fortified capital, designed on a grid system by those same Knights of the Order of St. John in the 16th century.</p><img alt="The quiet streets of the Mdina area of Malta "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533746517/medina-streets-malta-MALTA0918.jpg?itok=jVe7ON46"><p>When I arrived in early spring, the fields at the island’s center were thick with yellow wildflowers bowing in the stiff breeze. The sun, when it cut through fat white clouds, was instantly warming. (The temperature climbs into the triple digits in late July and August; May through mid-June and mid-September through the end of October are the best times to visit.) The people are inordinately friendly; three out of the four times I asked for directions, I was offered a personal escort to my intended destination. And the country’s size — just 17 miles long and nine miles wide — means it’s a cinch to explore. </p><p>In 2017, Malta had a 38 percent uptick in visitors from the U.S. It continues to rise in popularity thanks to a wave of new development in <a href="https://valletta2018.org/" target="_blank">Valletta, designated one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2018</a> and host to a robust calendar of exhibitions, performances, and events through the end of the year. Here, four reasons why you should visit now.</p><h2>21st-Century Culture Is on the Rise...</h2><p>Malta wears its multi-millennial history with pride, and its patrimony, from the prehistoric dolmens to the Baroque palaces, is everywhere. But the Maltese are now emphasizing contemporary architecture and design, too — starting with Valletta’s City Gate, dynamically reimagined by Renzo Piano. Five gates have existed on this site, going back to 1569; Piano’s, which was finished in 2014, is a glass, steel, and limestone masterpiece that includes the parliament building and an open-air theater. (It’s also one of Malta’s most Instagrammable confluences of beautiful structures and cobalt-blue sky; I must have taken three dozen shots of it from various angles.) The gate is adjacent to the 16th-century Auberge d’Italie, currently being renovated to house <a href="https://muza.heritagemalta.org/" target="_blank">MUZA</a><i>, </i>Malta’s new National Museum of Art, slated to open next summer. Also under way: <a href="http://micasmt.wpengine.com/" target="_blank">Malta International Contemporary Art Space</a><b>, </b>or MICAS, which will put the spotlight on art and performance from abroad. Having broken ground in late 2017, it will be complete by 2021, but in the meantime, exhibitions and performances are being planned on the grounds of micas starting this fall, including a show of mixed-media works by the Swiss-born artist Ugo Rondinone<i>.</i></p><img alt="Renzo Piano City Gates project in Valletta, Malta "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533746517/valletta-city-gate-malta-MALTA0918.jpg?itok=ls9rclbK"><h2>... But the Very Old Still Dazzles.</h2><p>Beyond the beauty of Valletta’s early Baroque façades, from its tall, elegant town houses to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, are far more ancient attractions. A handful of megalithic temples, roughly 5,000 to 6,000 years old, pepper the landscape—some of the oldest man-made buildings on earth, exhibiting early bas-relief techniques and other craftsmanship. The temples at Tarxien, located in the suburb of the same name, and those at Ggantija, on Gozo, are especially compelling.</p><p>In the Three Cities — Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua, ancient maritime redoubts crowded together on two fingers of land extending into the blue water — you can see foundations at least 500 years old. To the west, near Malta’s center, lies Mdina, a tiny fortified town clinging to a low bluff. Known as the Silent City, it was long the seat of Malta’s noblest families, but is today home to only about 300 people. Befitting the town’s name, its center is a hushed maze of improbably narrow lanes. The scent of orange flower drifts from hidden courtyards; hot-pink bougainvillea spills over limestone walls. At sunset, the town all but empties. I walked from end to end in near solitude, kept company only by the calls of mourning doves and starlings, before indulging in an artisanal pistachio ice cream from <a href="https://www.gelatofiordilatte.com/" target="_blank">Fior di Latte</a><i> </i>on leafy Bastion Square.</p><h2>Maltese Cuisine Is Very Tasty.</h2><p>Various Mediterranean culinary traditions found their way here, but the prevailing flavors are those of Italy, Greece, and the Maghreb. Beyond Valletta’s newly restored <a href="https://issuqtalbelt.com/" target="_blank">Is-Suq tal-Belt<b> </b>food market</a><i>,</i> where I was able to enjoy both local sausages and a hard-core green juice, a handful of restaurants are required eating. At <a href="http://rubinomalta.com/" target="_blank">Rubino</a> <em>(entrées $16–$28)</em><i>,</i> an old Valletta institution, I sampled pan-fried <em>involtini</em> of delicate local sea bass, stuffed with pine nuts and mint, and rounds of tangy sheep-milk cheese called <em>gjebna</em><i>,</i> which were pure Greece on a plate (you’ll find the cheese in everything from salads to ravioli). When my table wasn’t quite ready, I was offered a glass of crisp, Maltese white wine by a dapper waiter with a gentle smile.</p><img alt="Food and hotels in Malta "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533746517/phoenicia-room-rubino-food-MALTA0918.jpg?itok=PIAYlG76"><p>The <a href="http://www.medinarestaurantmalta.com/" target="_blank">Medina Restaurant</a> <em>(entrées $23–$34)</em><i>, </i>a beautiful courtyard establishment in Mdina, elevates traditional dishes such as <em>stuffat tal-fenek</em><i> </i>(rabbit stew). Also worth trying in Valletta: <a href="https://rampila.com/" target="_blank">Rampila</a> <em>(entrées $17–$32)</em><i>,</i> where I liked the food but loved the hushed, shaded terrace, with views of Piano’s City Gates, and <a href="http://www.guzevalletta.com/" target="_blank">Guzé Bistro</a> <em>(entrées $18–$32)</em><i>,</i> a convivial, subterranean space emphasizing familiar local favorites like fat red prawns and ravioli filled with gjebna.</p><h2>There Is a Bona Fide Hotel Scene.</h2><p>Five years ago you’d have been hard-pressed to find a stylish place to stay. How things change. At the top of my list was <a href="https://www.casaellul.com/" target="_blank">Casa Ellul</a> <em>(doubles from $336)</em><i>,</i> a nine-suite luxury guesthouse that opened in 2014, across from Valletta’s ornate Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Brothers Andrew and Matthew Ellul converted their 19th-century family palazzo with the help of local interiors architect Chris Briffa. The result is a dynamic, original mix of antiques, iconic 20th-century designs, and pieces custom-designed by Briffa.</p><p>Just outside the city gates is the <a href="https://www.campbellgrayhotels.com/the-phoenicia-malta/" target="_blank">Phoenicia</a> <em>(doubles from $497)</em><i>,</i> built in the 1930s by Baron Strickland, then Malta’s prime minister. Fresh off a two-year renovation, its 136 rooms and suites sing with color, and its private garden has a killer infinity pool. Across the harbor in Senglea is the brand-new <a href="http://www.cugogranmalta.com/en" target="_blank">Cugó Gran Macina Grand Harbour</a><b> </b><em>(doubles from $325)</em><i>, </i>set in a building dating back to 1554. The 21 suites, however, are all resolutely contemporary, the dimensions vast. But it’s Iniala Harbour House<i>,</i> opening early next year, that seems to be the most talked about. A sister property to the ultra-luxe <a href="http://iniala.com/" target="_blank">Iniala Beach House in Thailand</a>, the Harbour House will stretch across several joined properties along St. Barbara Bastion, and each of the 23 suites — some with rooftop terraces, others with frescoed cupolas — will be entirely unique.</p>
Categories: Travel

Delta and Equinox Created a Workout That Fights Jet Lag — Here Are the Moves (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:02
<p>Sitting for extended periods on planes and shifting between time zones can take a toll on the body, but the right exercises might help you battle <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/natural-spa-treatments-fight-jet-lag" target="_blank">jet lag</a>.</p><p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/delta" target="_blank">Delta</a> teamed up with <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/americas-top-brands-hotel-openings" target="_blank">Equinox</a> to develop <a href="https://furthermore.equinox.com/sweatlag" target="_blank">Sweatlag</a>, a do-anywhere workout routine inspired by the airline's <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/delta/delta-a350" target="_blank">A350 aircraft</a>, which comes with jet-lag fighting features like LED lighting, wider panoramic windows, and improved cabin pressurization, to help reduce stiffness and kick your body back into gear once you land at your destination. </p><p>The workout <a href="http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2018/06/delta-jet-lag-workout" target="_blank">focuses on mobility warm-up moves</a>, three different bodyweight circuits, and six cool-down stretches. It's all equipment-free, so you can get it done right in your hotel room.</p><p>The rounds, which target upper body, lower body, and core, consist of three exercises that should be performed for one minute each three times through. You can either choose to complete one round or several depending on your fitness level. All three rounds should take about 30 minutes to complete.</p><p>The first round consists of hopscotch squats (squat with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart as you hop forward before tapping down to the ground), sprawls, and a combination of shuffle and reverse lunges.</p><p>The second round includes sets of hook- and drop-turn lunges (arm hooks combined with split lunges), figure 8s that dip into lateral lunges (trace your knees into a figure 8 shape and then lunging), and traveling planks and airplanes (start in a high plank position and lift one hand and one foot while lowering down to the ground).</p><p>The third round consists of triple skaters and touchdowns (do three skater jumps and land on one foot before touching down to the ground), kneeling lean backs, and straddle rundowns.</p><p>Each of the rounds are followed by six stretches that range from neck releases to chest and shoulder openers. </p><p>The workout is predominantly low impact, because higher intensity workouts can put you at greater risk for injury after a flight, according to Equinox group fitness manager Dana McCaw. </p><p>Besides reducing stiffness, the regimen also helps trigger neuromuscular adaption and wake up your senses with steps like walk around planks, which force you to focus on spacial awareness. </p><p>McCaw recommends travelers complete the routine in their hotel room between 12 and 24 hours after landing to get the full effect. </p><p>“It’s the crucial 24 hour point that if you can get a sweat on, you’re more likely to feel better to go back to your regular workout routine,” McCaw said. “This is when your body is most vulnerable and susceptible to time zone changes, so working out in this time can resync your circadian rhythm, lower your cortisol levels, and impact circulation and mobility; having joint pain and stiff backs will make it much more challenging to get back into the groove if you wait.”</p><p>When it comes to your time on-board the plane, McCaw recommends seat stretches like twists to keep your spine mobile, in addition to leg extensions and deep breathing.</p><p>“Deep breathing is one of the most crucial and simplest things you can do to keep your body and mind calm and instantly improve your mood,” McCaw said. She recommends diaphragmatic breathing, inhaling through the nose and taking a deep breath down to the pit of the lower belly, up to a count of eight, holding for a second, and then releasing your breath back out for a cycle of up to three minutes.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why I’ll Never Ride an Elephant — and You Shouldn’t Either

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:02
<p>If you ever meet my friend Jess, you’ll notice a few things about her. She has an almost undetectable South African accent. She’s a bit shy but vibrant. And when she inevitably uses her hands to talk, you’ll see the elephant tattoo on her wrist.</p><p>Over the past year, as we’ve traveled the world together with <a href="https://remoteyear.com/" target="_blank">Remote Year</a> — building our careers alongside our friendship as we move to a new country every month — I’ve listened as each person she meets asks about that black outline of a friendly giant. In hindsight, she says she might not have picked such an obvious spot. Perhaps she would have placed her favorite animal on the back of her neck, where she inked the outline of her home continent.</p><p>This past January, Jess’s birthday month, we were living in Chiang Mai. So I and another one of our friends, Elizabeth, had the idea to surprise her with a trip to <a href="https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/" target="_blank">Elephant Nature Park</a>, a sanctuary just over an hour away in northern Thailand. There, I expected to watch Jess overflow with happiness, but I didn’t foresee how much the experience would impact me. In fact, I found myself tearing up on the van ride back, feeling a deep empathy for the cruelty too many elephants experience around the world.</p><p>At Elephant Nature Park — and many rehabilitation centers in Southeast Asia — elephants that were once held in captivity are given a second chance at a healthy, normal life. The remnants of tumultuous pasts are visible on many of these giant creatures, in scarring, blindness, and even the hesitant, anxious fear of being beaten. It’s an unfortunate reality the center’s estimated 140,000 yearly visitors must face. And unfortunately, one that will take time to improve, since a photo atop an elephant is still an image many tourists can’t wait to post.</p><p>To make an elephant “rideable,” the founder of <a href="https://www.animalexperienceinternational.com" target="_blank">Animal Experience International</a> Nora Livingstone explained to me, is a grueling process, and often one that begins during infancy and results in the separation of an elephant family. “A baby is taken away from its mother and tortured until it’s broken and timid. Elephants that are used in tourism are often chained up by themselves,” she continued. “Imagine being a 5,000-kg social animal and only being allowed to walk two steps in either direction because of a chain around your leg that digs into your sensitive skin and causes you to bleed. And now, imagine being completely alone [away] from your family.”</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/herd-of-elephants-run-to-meet-baby-calf" target="_blank">This Herd of Elephants Running to Meet a New Baby Calf Will Warm Your Heart</a></p><p>This practice isn’t just native to Thailand but is common in many parts of Africa, too, according to the CEO of <a href="https://www.trafalgar.com/en-us" target="_blank">Trafalgar</a>, Gavin Tollman. He explained that there are 415,000 wild elephants left on this vast continent, a striking (and shameful) decline from the 3.5 million that roamed at the start of the 20th century. Here, in addition to being captured for tourism, they are also hunted for their ivory tusks, with little to no current regulation to stop poachers. And even with laws, hunters discover loopholes.</p><p>The torture of elephants is also rampant in India, so much so that it has a unique name, according to Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of <a href="http://wildlifesos.org" target="_blank">Wildlife SOS</a>. The process used by abusers is called <em>phajaan</em>, she explained, which translates to “breaking of the spirit.” This results in a form of PTSD: “Many elephants used for riding in India have been observed as displaying behavior indicating extreme mental distress and deterioration, such as head bobbing and swaying,” she said.</p><p>Comparisons have been made between elephants to horses — arguing the same riding experience applies — but as Livingstone explained, the biology of these two animals is vastly different. “There are no elephant rides that are ethical,” she said. “All the elephants that have humans on their back experience stress and pain in their vertebrae. Elephants have evolved to have very strong shoulders and necks, but not for pressure directly on their spines.”</p><img alt="elephant nature park thailand "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533916137/Elizabeth-Lindsay-Jess-ELEPH0818.jpg?itok=DXvUyM3k"><h2>How to Vet Your Elephant Experience</h2><p>As travelers who seek out elephant encounters, it’s our responsibility to protect these creatures. Many tourism companies, like Trafalgar and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="http://www.contiki.com/au/en" target="_blank">Contiki</a>, are taking measures to ensure they never offer experiences that endanger or harm any animal. In fact, Trafalgar partnered with World Animal Protection to phase out many popular activities like bullfights, captive whale or dolphin attractions, and, of course, elephant rides on its tours. By booking ethical cultural immersions, you help to end this mistreatment and potentially help a species that’s quickly growing endangered.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/animals/wildlife-tourism-boom-indian-tigers" target="_blank">On the Tiger Trail in Central India</a></p><p>The vast majority of elephants used for riding or other captive for-profit situations are taken from what is left of scant wild populations. “If we want to protect elephants as a wild species, we need to reduce the demand for markets where elephants are exploited for human amusement, and thus impact the black markets that support the poaching of wild elephants,” Satyanarayan said. “It’s important to know that your desire to ride an elephant is affecting their ability to survive in the wild, and their numbers are already painfully low.”</p><p>So how can you read between the lines of advertising to ensure you’re booking with a reputable, humane company? Satyanarayan warns against trusting phrases like “rescued elephants” or “eco-tourism” because many disreputable enterprises have learned to use those catchphrases to entice well-intentioned tourists. She explained that an actual sanctuary that protects and rehabilitates elephants would never allow the following: elephants rides, forced performances or tricks, or anything intended to humiliate. They would also never use any sort of bullhook, spear, or sharp object to lead the elephants. “A reputable sanctuary will keep the interests and welfare of the elephants first and foremost. They’ll have veterinary staff on hand. And they’ll be known for truly rescuing elephants from abusive situations,” she said.</p><h2>What Our Elephant Nature Park Visit Was Like</h2><p>During our visit, Jess, Elizabeth, and I fed the elephants bananas and sugarcane. We walked side-by-side with them through the rainforest toward a watering hole. A calf tried to sit in my lap to cuddle, which was equal parts amazing and terrifying. We helped wash them and watched as they covered themselves in dirt right afterward, an innate sun-protection measure.</p><p>In other words, we merely existed among the elephants. And, trust me, that was enough to capture my heart <em>and</em> get that all-important photo for my Instagram feed. It was an experience the three of us still talk about, and one so special that Elizabeth took her father to visit, too, a few weeks later. Though our schedules didn’t allow, this center also offers the opportunity to live for free in exchange for a week (or two weeks) of volunteering with the elephants, giving you an even more in-depth perspective.</p><p>While I can thank Jess for a lot over the past year — the redesign of my website, a thicker skin for sleeping in hostels, and, at times, the preservation of my sanity — one of the greatest gifts she’s given me is a new dedication to humane tourism. I had never thought much of elephants until that day, and now, I’m counting down the weeks until we venture to her home country of South Africa to visit <a href="http://www.krugerpark.co.za/" target="_blank">Kruger National Park</a> in October. There, I might be lucky enough to see an African elephant in its natural habitat, but I don’t ever need to ride one. I just want to watch them be free, happy, and, OK, <em>adorable</em>.</p><img alt="elephant nature park thailand "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533916137/bathing-ELEPH0818.jpg?itok=V4Ut4Gmf"><h2>Where to Have Ethical Elephant Experiences</h2><p>Satyanarayan, Livingstone, and Tollman gave the seal of approval to these elephant sanctuaries worldwide.</p><p><strong>India: </strong><a href="https://wildlifesos.org/elephant-conservation-and-care-center/" target="_blank">Wildlife SOS’ Elephant Conservation &amp; Care Center</a></p><p><strong>Thailand: </strong><a href="https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/" target="_blank">Elephant Nature Park</a></p><p><strong>Africa: </strong><a href="https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/" target="_blank">David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage</a></p>
Categories: Travel

6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Shoes More Comfortable, According to Podiatrists

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:31
<p>Regardless of what kind of trip you’re heading on — a relaxing and quiet beach getaway or a week-long exploration of a few <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/cities-in-europe" target="_blank">European cities</a> — walking is likely a common denominator. And if you bring the wrong shoes, you might be spending your time suffering from blisters, cuts, or something worse, like a foot or ankle injury, for example. That’s why, before you even start outfit planning, it’s essential to pack the right type of footwear.</p><p>We reached out to four podiatrists for their best advice on how to pick the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-walking-shoes-for-travel" target="_blank">best shoes for your vacation</a> and the steps you can take to make wearing them as comfortable as possible.</p><p> </p><h2>Break in new shoes before you travel with them.</h2><p>“Do not wait until you are on vacation to wear your new shoes,” said Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM (and pretty much every podiatrist we interviewed agreed with her.) “It’s not a great idea to use your own feet to break in the shoes while wearing them for the first time. This can cause cuts, blisters, and pain,” she added. </p><p>So what’s the best way to break in a new pair of kicks? Wear the shoes for an hour or so at a time indoors. If there are any tight spots, you can use a shoe stretcher or place some padding, like some rolled-up socks, in the area. That way, by the time your vacation rolls around, your shoes will have loosened a bit and your feet will thank you.</p><h3>ProFoot Step 1 Stretchers</h3><img alt="step 1 shoe stretchers "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533909685/step-1-COMFORT0818.jpg?itok=W6kaO3Mm"><p>These easy-to-use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JYE2OA2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00JYE2OA2&amp;linkId=e49ff10e9a43250cee65484217475245" target="_blank">shoe stretchers</a> expand tight-fitting footwear to provide relief and comfort. They are ideal to use on heels.</p><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JYE2OA2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00JYE2OA2&amp;linkId=e49ff10e9a43250cee65484217475245" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $7</p><h2>Pack smart and be prepared.</h2><p>Just like you wouldn’t pack a winter coat for a trip to the Caribbean, you want to be mindful of the footwear you take with you depending on destination and the activities you’ve planned. If you are going to be doing a lot of walking or <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/best-hiking-shoes-for-women" target="_blank">hiking</a>, then supportive, comfortable, and protective shoes would be best, according to New York–based podiatrist Dr. Scott Melamed of <a href="http://www.footnyc.com/" target="_blank">Progressive Foot Care, P.C.</a></p><p>“If you get caught in the rain and your shoes get soaked, take out the insoles. If you have orthotics, remove them as well, and let your shoes completely dry. It will make your next day more comfortable,” he advised.</p><p>If you don’t want to spend extra money on <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/best-waterproof-walking-shoes-for-women" target="_blank">water-resistant footwear</a> before your trip, opt for a waterproofing spray (<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KRHF88A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00KRHF88A&amp;linkId=0262510ce7f51913b481e8a84d1da671" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $18) and let your shoes dry for at least 24 hours before you wear them. And speaking of supplies, Dr. Melamed recommends always carrying a few useful foot first aid items with you, such as Band-Aids, a small tube of Neosporin, or blister-protecting bandages.</p><h3>Spenco 2nd Skin Dressing Kit Bandages</h3><img alt="spenco foot dressing "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533909685/spenco-COMFORT0818.jpg?itok=qjZrdEZu"><p>These <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UOTVF2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B004UOTVF2&amp;linkId=f46fd00eccc76c60930621d223e84e79" target="_blank">bandages</a> protect against pressure, friction, and blisters and could be used on larger areas than a Band-Aid would cover. They are flexible and have a cooling and soothing effect.</p><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UOTVF2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B004UOTVF2&amp;linkId=f46fd00eccc76c60930621d223e84e79" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $12</p><h2>Choose footwear with straps or laces.</h2><p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/shoes/best-slip-on-shoes-for-women" target="_blank">Slip-on shoes</a> may be easier to put on and take off, but when it comes to comfort and injury prevention, it is not the best option. Make sure your shoes are firmly attached to your feet: sandals with adjustable straps and lace-up shoes are the best. “Unfortunately, ballet flats look great but will cause you all sorts of problems,” said Dr. Hiren Patel, podiatrist and chiropodist at <a href="http://www.flawlessfeet.com/" target="_blank">Flawless Feet Limited</a>. “However, if you do choose to wear them make sure they have straps to hold the foot in place and have a thicker sole.”</p><p>As for your flip-flops, we really can’t stress enough that this type of footwear should not be worn for an extended period of walking or standing time. Dr. Melamed explains why: “Flip-flops afford little to no structure or stability. Most are not able to provide adequate protection for longer mileage or rockier terrain. Some sandals like <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.zappos.com/birkenstock-sandals/CK_XARC51wFaAsIB4gIDAQIL.zso" target="_blank">Birkenstock</a>, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.zappos.com/teva-sandals" target="_blank">Teva</a>, or <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.zappos.com/naot-sandals" target="_blank">Naot</a> are better constructed, but for a lot of walking, a good, stable, breathable sneaker would be best.”</p><h2>Wear socks that wick moisture.</h2><p>If you are heading somewhere hot and planning to do a fair amount of hiking, avoid wearing cotton or wool socks, which tend to absorb perspiration and stay wet. Also, pack some foot powder (<a data-ecommerce="true" href="http://www.target.com/p/gold-bond-medicated-powder-1oz/-/A-14959089" target="_blank">target.com</a>, $1) or antiperspirant to decrease sweating, suggests Michael J. Trepal, VP for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at <a href="http://www.nycpm.edu/" target="_blank">New York College of Podiatric Medicine</a>.</p><p>Do not wear socks that are too thick, either, as they will cause rubbing. Your feet tend to swell in hot weather, which will result in blisters in areas where you normally wouldn’t get any. Dr. Patel recommends using “silver socks” that kill bacteria and fungi thanks to silver-derived particles that are woven into the fabric.</p><h3>Balega Silver Antimicrobial No-show Compression-fit Socks</h3><img alt="balega silver socks "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/balega-sock.jpg?itok=C0JAFrBU"><p>These <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0722JG7Q2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0722JG7Q2&amp;linkId=9c4e4ed0ad2a6bd9885249428107c285" target="_blank">no-show socks</a> provide high-impact cushioning in the toe and heel areas. They have a tighter fit around the arch for maximum support and will not slip down into your shoe. They also use the silver ion technology that Dr. Patel mentioned to keep feet dry and odor-free.</p><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0722JG7Q2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0722JG7Q2&amp;linkId=9c4e4ed0ad2a6bd9885249428107c285" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, from $14</p><h2>Don’t wear the same shoes all day.</h2><p>Yes, we know — packing more than one pair of shoes takes up precious space in your suitcase, but this may be the difference between enjoying your vacation and staying in your hotel because you can’t take more than 10 steps without feeling excruciating foot pain. “Switch it up from an active morning of sightseeing to a casual, lounge-y lunch and an afternoon of shopping to a dressy dinner and exploration of nightlife,” Dr. Sutera, who is a member of <a data-ecommerce="true" href="http://www.vionicshoes.com/vionic-innovation-lab/dr-jackie-sutera" target="_blank">Vionic’s Innovation Lab</a>, suggested. “If you wear the same shoes all day, they may cause injury if not appropriate for long periods of walking and standing.”</p><p>For sightseeing, wear sneaker-type shoes, or if you are at the beach, opt for <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.vionicshoes.com/orthotic-sandals" target="_blank">cushioned flip-flops with arch support</a>. For dinner, choose a <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/style/best-heels-shoes-for-traveling" target="_blank">dressy pair of heels or wedges</a> that you can make more comfortable by adding a silicone insole cushion. Dr. Patel also recommended using toe protectors when wearing pumps. And you may want to avoid stilettos in favor of a pair with a chunkier heel. “The more surface area under the heel, the more stable you will be and you will ultimately not overuse your muscles and [feel more stable],” he explained.</p><h3>ZenToes Gel-lined Toe Tubes</h3><img alt="Zen Toes Wraps "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533909685/zen-toes-COMFORT0818.jpg?itok=FuLbuItS"><p>These reusable, six-inch <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M3PRHNE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B01M3PRHNE&amp;linkId=ede8a95b1f9fe3750dbb4ad51d252694" target="_blank">toe protectors</a> — made of latex-free gel and soft fabric — can be cut to the desired size to help reduce discomfort caused by rubbing shoes, blisters, and corns.</p><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M3PRHNE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B01M3PRHNE&amp;linkId=ede8a95b1f9fe3750dbb4ad51d252694" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $16</p><h2>Customize your shoes.</h2><p>Don’t worry, we are not suggesting you spend a ton of money on a custom pair of shoes. Pads, cushions, and insoles will do the job for a lot less. Gel pads, for example, won't absorb odors like traditional fabric pads. They also last longer and are washable and reusable. “There are also some really great silicone adhesive gel cushions that stick onto feet instead of inside the shoes,” suggested Dr. Sutera.</p><p>If you really want to take your comfort and health to the next level, opt for custom orthotics, specialized devices that are fabricated by your podiatrist. “They are custom-fitted to your feet based on molds that are taken in the office. These help place your body in a corrected position, which in turn, decreases stress on of your feet and lower extremities when weight-bearing,” explained Dr. Melamed.</p><h3>Alice Bow Insoles</h3><img alt="alice bow insoles "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533909685/alice-bow-COMFORT0818.jpg?itok=_Txhr-DE"><p>Ever wonder how Kate Middleton is able to pull off wearing heels all day? Apparently, the Duchess of Cambridge is a fan of Alice Bow’s <a href="http://us.alicebow.com/collections/frontpage" target="_blank">leather insoles</a> which are designed to provide maximum cushioning and comfort. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and are also customized according to shoe style, available in either heel or flat.</p><p>To buy: <a href="https://us.alicebow.com/collections/frontpage" target="_blank">alicebow.com</a>, from $20</p><h3>Hijinx Metatarsal Pads</h3><img alt="gel metatarsal pads "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/metatarsal-pads.jpg?itok=a3HZiASl"><p>Especially helpful for heels, these <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019VRBQTQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B019VRBQTQ&amp;linkId=9111e8f69917e73f2699df6e02349bdb" target="_blank">reusable gel pads</a> adhere directly to the ball of your foot to cushion each step.</p><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019VRBQTQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B019VRBQTQ&amp;linkId=9111e8f69917e73f2699df6e02349bdb" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $6.</p><h3 id="title">Foot Petals Women's Technogel Amazing Arches Insert</h3><img alt="foot petals arch support "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/foot-petals.jpg?itok=LgZ6wAIT"><p>Need a little extra arch support in your flats? Stick a pair of these <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017TZNEY2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B017TZNEY2&amp;linkId=bba1f132c071949911a8b74a991315ad" target="_blank">gel arch adhesives</a> inside for a day on your feet. </p><p>To buy: <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017TZNEY2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=tlpodiatristtips-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B017TZNEY2&amp;linkId=bba1f132c071949911a8b74a991315ad" target="_blank">amazon.com</a>, $9</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Plan a Destination Funeral

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 14:01
<p>You can spend 99 years in Venice without ever having to deal with tourists.</p><p>Last year, Venetian mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced a radical plan to fund renovations of San Michele “cemetery island”: an auction of five abandoned private chapels.</p><p>With enough cash, <a href="http://live.comune.venezia.it/it/2018/03/riaperto-il-bando-l-assegnazione-di-4-tombe-monumentali-di-famiglia-nel-cimitero-di-san" target="_blank">lovers of Venice could make the city their eternal resting place</a>. Prices for the plots started at around $300,000. But for that price, anybody could spend at least 99 years among the island’s famous underground residents, including Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev, and Ezra Pound.</p><p>While the idea of decaying in the island city may seem unattainable, planning a destination funeral is simpler than it sounds. Much like planning a wedding, there are people and businesses who specialize in taking care of all of the details.</p><p>According to a survey from Co-operative Funeralcare, <a href="https://www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk/globalassets/media-report-funeral-trends-2015-pdf.pdf" target="_blank">half of all American funeral directors</a> have been asked to plan a destination funeral. About 10 percent have done so abroad.</p><p>As less people identify as religious, “we’re seeing a trend towards personalization in end-of-life events,” Walker Posey, a spokesperson for the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. For people whose lives centered on travel, “a destination memorial can help connect to a place someone loved when they were alive.”</p><p>The first step is procuring a cemetery plot abroad while you’re still alive. Highly coveted burial grounds often have stipulations: <a href="http://www.pariscemeteries.com/questions-1/" target="_blank">To get a spot in Paris’s famous Pere Lachaise cemetery</a>, a person must have lived or died in the capital. Highgate Cemetery in London — the final resting place of Karl Marx and George Eliot — <a href="https://highgatecemetery.org/burials" target="_blank">only sells about 30 plots a year</a> and requires an imminent burial.</p><img alt="Gravestones in Highgate Cemetery in London "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532980815/highgate-cemetery-london-DECEASEDTRIP0718.jpg?itok=OoPbZoU9"><p>After you’ve successfully reserved a plot, choose a funeral provider in the U.S. who will make all necessary arrangements. The funeral home will work with a partner provider abroad, notify foreign consulates and complete all paperwork. “It’s not complicated it just takes time,” Posey said. A funeral home accredited with the NFDA will have access to partner homes all over the world who will understand local rules and regulations about importing bodies.</p><p>The cost of a burial abroad depends on the destination and the level of luxury desired. All funeral homes are legally required to provide a general price list, so families should know well in advance the cost of the event. The <a href="https://www.parting.com/blog/funeral-costs-how-much-does-an-average-funeral-cost/" target="_blank">average price for a funeral in North America</a> is between $7,000 and $10,000.<a href="http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/city/city_index/214309-cost-death-funeral" target="_blank"> A funeral in Tokyo can cost up to $80,000</a> while the average price of a funeral in the United Arab Emirates is about $2,300. Information about a specific country’s fees for burying a U.S. citizen can be found on embassy websites.</p><p>In terms of transportation, the cost of sending human remains on a plane is “typically a similar price to buying a seat in advance,” Posey said. Funeral providers may have partnerships with organizations like <a href="https://www.deltacargo.com/Cargo/catalog/products/delta-cares" target="_blank">Delta Cares</a> or <a href="https://www.aacargo.com/learn/humanremains.html" target="_blank">American Airlines TLC</a> to transport remains in cargo holds.</p><p>The more difficult arrangements are for living loved ones. Those planning on a destination funeral should make their last intentions clear before passing. Consider leaving a fund to pay for travel arrangements for funeral attendees.</p><p>At the end of it all, “the gathering together is what’s important,” Posey said. “Getting together family and friends and going to your loved one’s favorite place together and saying ‘their life was important.’ It’s a destination celebration of life.”</p>
Categories: Travel

This Icelandic Craft Beer Is Made From a Giant Whale Testicle (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 13:00
<p>Driving through West Iceland is akin to driving through Middle Earth. The stark contrast between the white-capped glaciers and green rolling farmland make it a unique place for a brewhouse, but so very <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/iceland" target="_blank">Iceland</a>.</p><p>Reminiscent of the Dark Ages, it seems only fitting that the region’s local brewery is making a genuinely medieval beer. <a href="http://www.stedji.com/hvalur-1-2.html" target="_blank">Stedji Brewery</a> is producing a seasonal beer called <a href="http://www.stedji.com/hvalur-1-2.html" target="_blank">Havalur</a>, made with whale testicle that’s been smoked in sheep’s dung.</p><p>I tried it on a private group tour, available upon request, at this family-owned brewery that has been creating all-natural, sugar-free beer since 2012 in the tiny town of Borgarfjordur. When I walked into the wooden tasting room, I was hit with a whiff of hops and smoked meat. I was nervous and hesitant to try it, but it was exactly how they said it would taste: like a porter with hints of caramel and a smoky, almost meaty aftertaste. I washed it down with a homemade hotdog, made sans whale testicle.</p><img alt="Iceland Beer/Brewery "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532380025/iceland-whale-testicle-beer-ICEBEER0718.jpg?itok=Ozcsvh-c"><p>One of the most controversial beers in the world, it’s a brew steeped in Icelandic tradition — and a giant whale testicle, 15 to 18 pounds to be exact. They use one testicle in each batch and joke that is is “the size of a basketball for a troll.”</p><p>Stedji Brewery gets the whale testicles from a company called <a href="http://icelandmag.is/tags/hvalur-hf" target="_blank">Hvalur hf</a>. It is the only Icelandic company allowed to hunt 150 pieces of fin whale every year. However, many animal rights activists have protested this beer for its use of endangered fin whale. “We got a lot of e-mail threats about it from activists abroad when we first started brewing it,” said Dagbjartur Ariliusson, owner of Stedji Brewery.</p><p>Havalur is brewed for the annual Thorri festival, in January and February, when locals celebrate ancient gods like Thor and Odinn from Valhalla and eat the food their ancestors did. “We eat rotten (fermented) shark, sour (cured) whale fat, ram´s testicles and so on because that’s what our ancestors ate,” said Ariliusson. The Havalur beer is designed to pair perfectly with the Thorri feast and is popular among Icelanders during that time of year.</p><p>Eaten with traditional beer snacks, Stedji also make the brew using traditional Icelandic methods. There are no trees on this giant volcanic island, so they use dry sheep’s dung to smoke the whale testicle for an extended period, giving the beer a unique, smoky taste. Then they mix it with a special kind of hops, malted barley and some of the world’s purest water. “We get our spring water from the nearest glacier that has been running for over 600 years, so it's very pure and gives the beer a certain taste,” said Ariliusson.</p><p>The brewing process takes a long time because they have to follow the quality assurance handbook they created in order for the health department to approve the beer. With craft beer becoming a new trend in Iceland, Stedji's continues to perfect the recipe after three seasons.</p><p>Although the location is remote, it's well worth a visit from Reykjavik. You can stay overnight at nearby <a href="https://www.hotelhusafell.com/" target="_blank">Hotel Húsafell</a> and drive to the tasting room when they <a href="http://www.stedji.com/hvalur-1-2.html" target="_blank">open every day from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.</a> Their Icelandic sheepdog will greet you and lead you around back to their tasting room where and can sample a flight of five beers for USD $14.</p>
Categories: Travel

Leave the Crowds in Bora Bora and Visit These 5 Secluded Islands Instead

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 08/12/2018 - 11:00
<p>When daydreaming about an escape to French Polynesia, many think first of Bora Bora, that green-and-blue blip on the radar in the Society Island chain made famous by honeymooners from all over the world. And yes, Bora Bora is a romantic’s dream come true, thanks to its eager-to-please luxury hotels and now-ubiquitous overwater bungalows, but French Polynesia is so much more than that. </p><p>I recently hopped a plane away from reality and straight to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where I got a taste of what the region has to offer by visiting five of French Polynesia’s most distinct islands. Here’s a glimpse into what made each of the islands unforgettable — and a breakdown of the best spots for every type of traveler. </p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/islands-in-australia-new-zealand-south-pacific" target="_blank">The Best Islands in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific</a></p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/rangiroa-reef-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=waXCuvbZ"><h2>Rangiroa: For the Adventurous Traveler</h2><p><a href="https://tahititourisme.com/en-us/island/rangiroa/" target="_blank">Rangiroa</a>, a 45-minute flight due northwest from Tahiti’s Fa'a'ā International Airport, is an even smaller green dot on the map than Bora Bora, though it ranks as one of the largest atolls in the world. Its landscape is made up mostly of compact sandbars covered in coral. </p><p>Only two of Rangiroa’s motus (reef inlets covered in lush vegetation) are inhabited, meaning that less than 3,000 people permanently call the 558-square-miles of land home, which in turn makes you feel a bit like Gilligan and Ginger on your own deserted island (though really, it deserves more than a three-hour tour).</p><p>Upon arriving in Ranigroa I found out there’s only one thing you must do: Find a local, get on their boat, and go diving.</p><p>When we arrived, my travel partner and I stripped off our bags, our clothes, and our jet lag and strapped on a scuba tank at the Top Dive shop inside the <a href="https://rangiroalagoon.com/en/" target="_blank">Kia Ora Hotel</a>. After a crash course in diving, we set out for an area known as the “Aquarium.”</p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/rangiroa-reef-sharks-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=2S8g0ysE"><p>Lurking below the surface are massive schools of fish and some fairly sizable black-tip reef sharks looking for a tasty morsel. At the Aquarium, locals and tourists gather from sun up to sun down to sit on their boats, play a little music, dive into the water, and share a laugh as a shark or two swim up for a visit. </p><p>%image3</p><p>The next morning, we rose with the sun for a day-long trek to a place known as Reef Island. We were picked up by an ageless man named Mana and told to get in the back of his truck with a few other would-be Jacque Cousteaus, and then whisked away by boat to Reef Island, an islet about an hour ride away. After crossing the lagoon, Reef Island emerged, an oasis that seemed so untouched we truly felt like we were the first to ever set foot on it (we, of course, were not).</p><p>There, we snorkeled, explored, ate a lunch of freshly caught fish and breadfruit plucked right from the tree, and mingled with the reef sharks dotting the shoreline before riding back at sunset. </p><p><strong>How to get there:</strong> Fly <a href="https://www.airtahitinui.com" target="_blank">Air Tahiti Nui </a></p><p><strong>Where to stay:</strong> <a href="https://rangiroalagoon.com/en/" target="_blank">Kia Ora Resort and Spa</a> (starting at $579 a night)</p><p><strong>What to do:</strong> <a href="https://www.tahiti.com/activities/reef-island-excursion-with-lunch-3188" target="_blank">Reef Island Tour</a> ($135 per person)</p><h2>Raiatea: For the History Buffs</h2><p>On day three, we jetted off to <a href="https://www.tahiti.com/island/raiatea" target="_blank">Raiatea</a>, the first land inhabited by ancient Polynesians. Upon exiting the doors of Raiatea’s airport, we were delighted by vendors selling freshly cut coconuts, plump pineapples, and sweet-smelling vanilla as far as the eye could see.</p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/Yoram-polynesian-Raiatea-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=pRU5iVH5"><p>Our guide for the day was yet another Polynesian who had drunk from the fountain of youth — Yoram Pariente, the owner and operator of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/polynesianescape/" target="_blank">Polynesian Escapes Tahirarii</a>. He, like Mana, swooped us up in his truck to take us on a day-long journey, though this time it included a crash course in Polynesian history. </p><p>Yoram spoke with an unabating passion about the history of French Polynesia, and really, there’s no one better to learn from: Before returning to the island to run his company, Yoram spent time living in places like England and Scotland, where he preserved and reconstructed Polynesian artifacts for some of the most prominent museums in the world. </p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/unesco-site-raiatea-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=3GCgzu4J"><p>On the island, he drove us to a few of his favorite destinations, including the <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1529" target="_blank">Taputapuatea marae UNESCO</a> site. While sitting in the grass, he explained that Polynesians first set out into the oceans from this exact spot to explore what was beyond the horizon, eventually finding the islands of Hawaii, more than 1,000 years ago. All of Tahitian history, he noted, is passed down as an oral tradition. There are no early written documents, but through song, dance, and a common bond with other Pacific islanders — along with dedicated people like Yoram — the history is preserved well.</p><p>At the end of our time together, Yoram dropped us off on yet another boat, this time a taxi, which would take us to our next excursion. He even stayed and waved until we could no longer see him.</p><p><strong>How to get there:</strong> Fly <a href="https://www.airtahitinui.com" target="_blank">Air Tahiti Nui </a></p><p><strong>Where to stay:</strong> <a href="http://www.opoabeach.com/" target="_blank">Opoa Beach Hotel</a></p><p><strong>What to do:</strong><b> </b>Tour with <a href="https://www.facebook.com/polynesianescape/" target="_blank">Polynesian Escapes Tahirarii</a></p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/tahaa-island-sunrise-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=QiRgTbEh"><h2>Taha’a: For the Wellness Traveler</h2><p>The only way to get to <a href="https://tahititourisme.com/en-us/island/tahaa/" target="_blank">Taha’a</a> is by boat, and that boat also only docks at the end of a restaurant. If you can pass through without ordering a meal, then bless your soul because it smells too good to be true. But we were on a mission, so we swiftly exited to get to our next hotel destination: <a href="http://www.letahaa.com/" target="_blank">Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa</a>.</p><p>What we learned almost immediately is that there really isn’t anything to do on Taha’a island, except sit back, relax, and enjoy the view of Bora Bora just a few miles away. And there’s no better place to do it than right from the end of the hotel’s overwater bungalows. Be ambitious and get up with the sun, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with a sky that turns a mixed shade of burnt orange, red, and pink that you didn’t even know was possible.</p><p>Of course, if you’re really ambitious, you can also book a Tahiti Air Charter flight like we did, which will pick you up at the end of the hotel’s dock and take you away on a stunning 10-minute flight over Bora Bora.</p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/tahaa-island-plane-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=XClnm3QM"><p>The plane is about the size of a car, so it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but on our return trip, we spotted what we thought was a mirage: a massive, angelic manta ray floating under the clear blue water below. Watching it drift and flap its wings made us feel like we were in a Disney movie — and made the turbulent water landing well worth it.</p><p>When we returned, the hotel invited us to take a sunset glide down its own lazy river. The hotel is built along a small inlet, which is covered from side to side with a coral reef. The natural tide makes it the ideal destination to walk to the end, hop in, and float right back to your room. That’s how relaxing this island really is. You don’t even need to swim. And, because of its location, it’s like you’re getting the Bora Bora experience, minus the crowds and still teeming with marine life below.</p><p><strong>How to get there:</strong> Fly <a href="https://www.airtahitinui.com" target="_blank">Air Tahiti Nui </a></p><p><strong>Where to stay:</strong> <a href="http://www.letahaa.com/" target="_blank">Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa</a></p><p><strong>What to do:</strong> Take a <a href="https://www.tahiti-air-charter.com/en/" target="_blank">Tahiti Air Charter</a></p><h2>Moorea: For the Culture-seeker</h2><p>After experiencing true zen on Taha’a, it was time to jump back into Polynesian action mode, and <a href="https://tahititourisme.com/en-us/island/moorea/" target="_blank">Moorea</a> delivered.</p><p>Unlike Rangiroa’s flat and long landscape, Moorea’s mountains feel powerful and looming as they pierce through the clouds above.</p><p>Following a flight and ferry to Moorea, we met with Sam, a Polynesian with a story to tell.</p><p>Sam, the owner of Moorea Maori Tours, offers an experience called “My Polynesian Life,” which is what we opted for as we wanted to see what a local's daily life was really like there. And Sam, with his traditional tattoos from forehead to fingertip, was just the man for the job.</p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/sam-polynesian-moorea-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=iPQ26dO4"><p>After a quick car ride out of the tourist zone, Sam told us to leave our things behind. We then walked to the water’s edge and found an outrigger canoe with an awaiting captain who couldn’t have been more than 17 years old. Sam told us we had to go catch our own fish that day just as Polynesians have done for centuries. So off we went, with our friendly teenage guide, to a reef about 10 minutes out. We anchored and dove in to try our hand at spearfishing. Spoiler alert: The Polynesians are far, far better at this than we were. But we managed to bring back a few parrot fish (and what was left of our pride) when we once again met Sam on the shore.</p><p>Salty, muddy, and pleased with our haul, Sam took us to his personal home, which was nothing short of a utopia. There, hidden among the lush greenery of Moorea, sat a miniature plantation filled with coconut trees, a fruit and vegetable garden to rival Martha Stewart’s, and a roly-poly pit bull who looked more like a chubby bear cub than a dog.</p><p>At the house, Sam introduced us to his wife, Sylvie, a French expat with new Tahitian tattoos to match. She was waiting for us in the family’s outdoor kitchen, where she would help us prepare our catch. At the house, Sam walked us through how to harvest and prep coconut meat and coconut milk for our appetizer, Poisson Cru, a scrumptious meal made of raw tuna, coconut milk, lime, and cucumber. We paired that with a bit of breadfruit, rice, and our freshly seared parrot fish and sat down at their table to learn more about Sam’s story.</p><p>He walked us through his origins and how he can trace his ancestral roots for hundreds of years. He pointed out each tattoo stretching down his body, showing how every single one had special meaning connecting back to Moorea. He talked about the ups and downs experienced by Polynesians once the French missionaries arrived. Before long, Sam's strong connection to his home had us supremely jealous that Moorea wasn't our home, too.</p><p><strong>How to get there:</strong> Fly <a href="https://www.airtahitinui.com" target="_blank">Air Tahiti Nui</a> or take the <a href="http://www.aremiti.net/" target="_blank">ferry from Tahiti to Moorea</a></p><p><strong>Where to stay:</strong> <a href="https://sofitel.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0566-sofitel-moorea-ia-ora-beach-resort/index.shtml" target="_blank">Sofitel Moorea</a></p><p><strong>What to do:</strong> Spend a day with Sam on <a href="http://moorea-maori-tours.com/en/" target="_blank">Moorea Maori Tours </a></p><img alt="French Polynesia - 5 Islands "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533162772/french-polynesia-from-above-FRENCHPOLY0718.jpg?itok=MAIukAgj"><h2>Tahiti: For the Adrenaline Junkies</h2><p>Something that’s often overlooked when visiting French Polynesia is <a href="https://tahititourisme.com/en-us/island/tahiti/" target="_blank">Tahiti</a> itself. It’s used more as a launching pad than a destination, but travelers are making a crucial error by not spending at least a day exploring what the island has to offer.</p><p>And, as a lifelong surfer, I knew there was one thing I had to do while I was there: feel the power of Teahupoo.</p><p>For the uninitiated, Teahupoo is regarded as one of the best surf breaks in the world. It’s also one of the most dangerous. Before getting up close and personal with the waves, we first met up with a true legend of both Tahiti and the surfing community, <a href="https://www.surfer.com/blogs/fantasy-surfer/tahiti-insider-raimana-van-bastolaer-edition/" target="_blank">Raimana Van Bastolaer</a>.</p><p>Raimana has helped some of the world’s most famous people see the massive waves. Raimana told us he recently took <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/cindy-crawford-canadian-vacation-home" target="_blank">Cindy Crawford</a> and her family out for a boat ride and has sailed around the islands with his personal friend, Julia Roberts.</p><p>And really, it’s easy to see why people flock to him. Within 10 minutes of meeting him, he set up a Jet Ski to send us out to the break and said goodbye with a hug and an “I love you.”</p><p>We hopped on the back of the Jet Ski and said hello to our driver. “Hold on tight,” he replied. </p><p>Within a few minutes, we were there, just a few feet away from the world’s heaviest wave. Because of the way the waves breaks into a bowl, viewers can sit on the edge as the waves continue to crash below. But the sprayback from the wave was a powerful reminder of just how close we were to peril.</p><p>We sat with the gathering locals and watched as surfer after surfer paddled in. Together, we cheered for the ones who made it and waited with baited breath for the others to return to the surface.</p><p>After an hour or so we returned to shore, drove to the airport, and boarded our plane back to our day-to-day lives. What we were left with from our trip was a sense of renewal, a sincere appreciation for a culture that puts its people’s happiness and wellbeing over everything else, and a new love of both reef sharks and raw tuna drowned in coconut milk.</p><p><strong>How to get there:</strong> <a href="http://www.aremiti.net/" target="_blank">Ferry back to Tahiti</a> or Fly <a href="https://www.airtahitinui.com" target="_blank">Air Tahiti Nui</a></p><p><strong>Where to stay:</strong> <a href="https://tahiti.intercontinental.com/" target="_blank">Intercontinental Tahiti</a></p><p><strong>What to do:</strong> Tour Teahupoo with <a href="https://www.tahitisurfari.com/teahupootahitisurfarienglish" target="_blank">Teahupoo Surfari </a></p><p>So go to French Polynesia, just make sure to stay long enough for it to sink deep into your heart. That way, you can at least escape back there in a daydream any time you want.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Has Become the U.K.'s Most Popular Tourist Attraction Thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:02
<p><a href="http://travelandleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-markle-royal-wedding-dress" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s beautiful wedding</a> helped the world believe in fairy tales again — and it also helped the local economy.</p><p>An <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/how-much-money-royal-wedding-will-bring-to-uk" target="_blank">estimate by Britain's Office of National Statistics</a> before the wedding predicted it would bring in about $680 million thanks to visitors, souvenirs, and hotel stays. According to <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/tonifitzgerald/2018/05/21/royal-wedding-ratings-how-many-people-watched-prince-harry-wed-meghan-markle/#4c75ff1455c6" target="_blank"><i>Forbes</i></a>, an astonishing 29 million Americans tuned in to watch the royal couple say their vows. And one little town is still feeling some positive effects.</p><p>As <a href="https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/culture-news/a22675112/the-royal-wedding-has-made-this-attraction-the-most-popular-in-the-uk/" target="_blank"><i>Harper’s Bazaar</i></a> reported, the town of Windsor, where the wedding was held, has become quite the popular summer tourist destination.</p><p>For example, since the wedding took place in May, Windsor Castle’s bookings have increased by a whopping 92 percent. Though really, this isn’t a huge surprise for those who oversee tourism in the United Kingdom, including Patricia Yates, from VisitBritain.</p><img alt="England, UK. Windsor Castle is official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen and hostage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding on 19 May 2018. "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533850068/windsor-castle-uk-ROYWEDUK0818.jpg?itok=4wSsH6LV"><p>“It’s the fairy story of an American girl marrying a British prince,” she told the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/20/royal-wedding-effect-will-see-tourism-boom-windsor/" target="_blank"><i>Telegraph</i></a> after the wedding celebration. “We expect it to lead to a boost in tourists coming over in the weeks and months ahead, who will then travel to our heritage sites across Britain.”</p><p>Beyond Windsor, several other destinations across the U.K. also saw a boost. According to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i>, which analyzed data from <a href="https://www.isango.com/" target="_blank"><i>Isango!</i></a>, an online retailer of global tours, Windsor Castle has become the leading summer attraction, followed by the London "Hop on Hop Off" bus tour. Next, the data showed, guests still love visiting the Tower of London, where they can check out all the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/meghan-markle-wears-tiara-with-queens-crown-jewels" target="_blank">royal family’s crown jewels</a>, followed by a cruise down the River Thames.</p><p>In total, the data showed a 56-percent overall growth in ticket sales in the U.K. And hopefully the good times will keep rolling as Princess Eugenie and her fiance Jack Brooksbank are also expected to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/princess-eugenie-jack-brooksbank-royal-wedding" target="_blank">walk down the aisle at Windsor Castle</a> this fall.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Every Food Lover Should Visit the Twin Cities

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:02
<p>Let's talk about the sweet potatoes at <a href="https://www.youngjoni.com/">Young Joni.</a> How they're blackened like campfire marshmallows, the insides all gooey and sweet. How they're spiked with gochugaro and topped with barely-there ruffles of bonito flakes. And, underneath it all, clinging to the plate, an enlightened schmear of crème fraîche and smoky charred scallions.</p><p>And, sure, let's talk about how the mushrooms are freakishly juicy — water-balloon juicy — because they're confited in olive oil before they hit the grill. Or how my favorite of Minnesota's embarrassment of lakes is the miniature one made of chestnut-miso butter pooled beneath those plump mushrooms.</p><p>We could talk this way about a lot of what's coming off the wood fire at this handsome Korean-ish pizza-and-other-stuff restaurant in the artsy, low-slung <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/minneapolis-st-paul" target="_blank">Minneapolis</a> neighborhood of Northeast. But I'm inclined not to belabor the thesaurus-taxing explications and dutiful prepositions of the professional food describer (this thing atop that one, and a dollop of something else) and just say it directly: this stuff is really good. Get here and eat it if you can. Even if that means strapping on a pair of cross-country skis and braving the whiteout of a freak spring blizzard, as it did for some undeterred Young Joni devotees just before I visited in late April.</p> <img alt="Yong Joni in Minneapolis, Minnesota" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/young-joni-bar-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=Zd5njNHl"> The bar at Young Joni, a Korean-influenced restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis. Christopher Testani <p>"I want you to walk in here and feel like the restaurant is giving you a big hug," said Ann Kim, chef-proprietor of the two-year-old establishment, who also runs <a href="https://www.pizzerialola.com/">Pizzeria Lola</a> and <a href="https://www.hellopizza.com/">Hello Pizza,</a> in Southwest Minneapolis. Call it Korean-Midwestern hygge. Call it the embrace of fire and spice by an often-freezing city newly hip to the multidimensional tastes of its increasingly diverse populace. Call it the embodiment of quirky, cosmopolitan Minneapolis, St. Paul's ever-so-slightly showier younger sibling. Whatever it is, it's working. The place was packed to the wood-beamed rafters. Guests ordered the amatriciana pizza, a meat-heavy pie called the Yolo, and another topped with fennel sausage, mozzarella, onion, and a dusting of fennel pollen.</p><p>Kim grew up in the suburb of Apple Valley in the late 1970s when, it's fair to say, the full spectrum of the Asian pantry had not yet permeated the markets or mindshare of America's Casserole Belt. With her parents working, her grandmother ran and fed the household.</p> <p>"Every November, we'd help her make enough kimchi to last the year," Kim said. "The only vessel we had that was big enough was our plastic kiddie pool. She'd let the cabbage brine in there, and then, in summer, my sister and I would clean out the pool and swim in it again."</p><p>Another pizza served at Young Joni comes topped with arugula and Korean barbecue, which Kim served at Lola as a lark years ago. "For some people, their first experience with Korean food is on top of a pizza pie — I love that."</p><p><img src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><p>In 1850, the Swedish novelist Fredrika Bremer toured the territory that eight years later would become a state and declared prophetically: "What a glorious new Scandinavia might not Minnesota become!"</p><p>And so, over the next century or so, it kind of did. Swedes and Danes and Norwegians joined Germans, Italians, and other settlers. The power of the St. Anthony Falls was harnessed, and the flour-milling industry blossomed on the shores of the Mississippi River. Minneapolis and its next-door neighbor, St. Paul, grew large and prosperous, and everyone agreed, in their Midwestern, non-braggadocious way, that they were pretty nice places to live if you didn't mind the winter. Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale's presence on the national stage gave the Twin Cities a reputation as a bastion of liberalism, even as they remained mostly white.</p> <img alt="Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/stone-arch-bridge-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=AC6Miz3r"> The Stone Arch Bridge over St. Anthony Falls, in Minneapolis. Christopher Testani <p>But in more recent decades, the demographics have shifted. The Twin Cities have benefited from a transformative influx of immigrants from Mexico, Korea, and Vietnam, among others. Hmong refugees from Laos and Thailand began arriving in the mid 1970s. Today, there are thriving populations of Somalians, Liberians, and Ethiopians, and a dynamic South Asian community. The state's foreign-born population has more than doubled since the early 1990s.</p><p>Sitting at Young Joni's bar, I was joined by Cameron Gainer, an artist and publisher of a literary arts-and-culture quarterly called <a href="http://thirdrailquarterly.org/">the Third Rail.</a> Gainer came to town a decade ago from New York, when his wife, Olga Viso, took over as executive director of the <a href="https://walkerart.org/">Walker Art Center.</a></p><p>"Back then, it was difficult to find anywhere to go after 8:30," Gainer said. "I'd tell people where we'd moved and they'd say, "Oh, Milwaukee's great!"" Now, he explained, living here feels like being at the center of something rapidly expanding and evolving: a vibrant creative class; a community of engaged artists, architects, and chefs. An American city like no other.</p> <img alt="Scenes from Minneapolis, Minnesota" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/north-loop-askov-finlayson-grain-belt-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=UAv7qoAy"> From left: The North Loop neighborhood, in Minneapolis; menswear shop Askov Finlayson; the famed Grain Belt sign by the Mississippi River. Christopher Testani <p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/andrew-zimmern-interview-for-more-adventure" target="_blank">Andrew Zimmern</a>, host of Bizarre Foods and outspoken booster of his adopted hometown, added to the list of reasons to love this place: "Prince was from here. You can swim, sail, or canoe on our lakes — on your lunch hour. We have the Minnesota State Fair, the single greatest party on planet Earth. And we've gone from not having a single oyster bar in town to being a national powerhouse as a restaurant city. All in one generation."</p><p>The Twin Cities' pioneering cultural institutions have continued to reinvent themselves. The Walker, which was reclad and expanded in 2005 by Herzog &amp; de Meuron, last year completed a lengthy overhaul of its iconic sculpture garden, adding 18 new works by artists such as Katharina Fritsch and Theaster Gates. The 55-year-old <a href="https://www.guthrietheater.org/">Guthrie Theater</a> unveiled a striking new Jean Nouvel–designed home in 2006, with its Endless Bridge cantilevered out toward the Mississippi. St. Paul's <a href="http://mmaa.org/">Minnesota Museum of American Art</a> is in the midst of a massive expansion. Also last year, the century-old <a href="https://new.artsmia.org/">Minneapolis Institute of Art </a>put on the first major exhibition of contemporary Somalian artwork. Artists have colonized the industrial buildings of Northeast Minneapolis, converting the brick husks into studios and galleries. This dynamic cultural scene is by design: Minnesota ranks second in the nation after Washington, D.C., for per-capita government spending on the arts. "There's a let's-make-stuff vibe that's amazing," Gainer said. "There are opportunities to collaborate, to do things that don't exist yet, like start an art journal or open a Korean pizza joint."</p><p><img src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><p>"Give us one fried-chicken sandwich as a <em>garnish</em>, please," Sameh Wadi said. We were wearing plastic bibs and slurping frozen daiquiri slushies at <a href="https://www.grandcatchmn.com/">Grand Catch,</a> the bright and buoyant Asian-style Cajun seafood-boil restaurant that he and his brother Saed just opened with Thien Ly, a Vietnamese chef, on St. Paul's leafy Grand Avenue.</p><p>Sameh, a Palestinian-American chef and restaurateur with a general air of mischievous merriment, was ordering lunch for the two of us. The sandwich, he emphasized, was a mere palate cleanser to be shared between the main events: copious platters of pungently spiced crawfish, corn, gangly shrimp, and a Dungeness crab the size of a large chihuahua, whose carapace we'd lift and drink from as if it were a sacred chalice filled with brothy crab-innard delights.</p><p>He met Thien Ly when a friend brought him to Cajun Deli, Ly's hole-in-the-wall seafood-boil spot in suburban Brooklyn Park. For Sameh, who'd opened and closed a Middle Eastern fine-dining restaurant and moved on to run an eclectic street food truck and restaurant called World Street Kitchen ("burritos with fried rice and curry chicken, shawarma tacos — everything's delicious and makes no sense"), the border-bending Viet-Cajun boil was a revelation.</p><p>"It burned my face, but it's so addicting," he said. Returning obsessively for years, he got to know Ly. Eventually, he and the Wadi brothers talked shop and decided to open one.</p> <img alt="Seafood boil from Grand Catch, in St Paul" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/grand-catch-seafood-boil-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=WMBTPh-U"> The Viet-Cajun seafood boil at Grand Catch, in St. Paul. Christopher Testani <p>And here we were, bibbed and broth-splattered, drinking pink slushies in coupe glasses in this bright spot on a flush avenue, and there was a neon sign on the wall that read WHAT'S CRACKIN? and crab dip with fermented crab paste and Middle Eastern spices and an ice-cream machine nicknamed Betty Lou that dispensed raspberry-lychee soft serve to help cool the burn. I kept forgetting what state or country I was in — and hoping I didn't have to leave.</p><p>I wondered, were the Twin Cities ready for this 10 years ago? "Absolutely not," Sameh said. "Ten years ago, people weren't ready for my white-tablecloth Middle Eastern restaurant with foie gras on the menu. Now people are just game. Now you can go to a Vietnamese restaurant, and they're doing Minnesota walleye in clay pots. It's a gorgeous thing."</p><p><img src="http://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/orange-line-3.jpg" /></p><p>"Last week people were so angry!" the chef Gavin Kaysen said with a laugh. Happily, I'd missed the late-season blizzard. The Great Thaw had come to the Cities and nobody seemed angry about anything.</p><p>Kaysen's restaurant, <a href="https://www.spoonandstable.com/">Spoon &amp; Stable,</a> is in Minneapolis's North Loop, a fast-changing riverfront neighborhood of broad avenues, where old stables and warehouses are now populated by start-ups and coffee bars. A Minnesota native, Kaysen left for a decade or so to work in <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/napa-valley" target="_blank">Napa Valley</a> and New York City, where he ran kitchens for Daniel Boulud and won a James Beard Award. When he came home in 2014, he had a sense that the city's restaurant scene was ready for its close-up. There's been a line out the door for his impeccable modern American food with regional ingredients (bison tartare with watermelon radishes; birch-smoked cobia; pea-leaf fusilli with lamb and morels) ever since.</p> <img alt="Scenes from Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/grand-catch-hai-hai-parallel-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=JzEUyyNq"> From left: Grand Catch, a St. Paul Viet-Cajun seafood spot; Balinese chicken thigh at Hai Hai, in Minneapolis; a sever at Parallel espresso bar. Christopher Testani <p>I met Kaysen and his pastry chef, Diane Yang, a first-generation Hmong-American, at <a href="https://www.yelp.com/biz/hmong-village-saint-paul">Hmong Village,</a> where we ate chicken wings stuffed with vermicelli noodles and ogled bitter melon vines. I’d arrived at the market with Carolina barbecue sauce on my shirt, slightly sauced myself on Old Fashioneds made with Dr. Pepper syrup and a proprietary bourbon peculiar to the restaurant <a href="https://www.revivalfriedchicken.com/">Revival,</a> in another part of St. Paul. There, I’d received useful instruction from Thomas Boemer in both the proper coloring of North Carolina-style fried chicken (“golden retriever slash labradoodle”) and the subtle differences between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Thomas grew up in the South, but his family is old St. Paul blood. It’s here he and his business partner run a group of Revivals and are opening a gigantic Basque-inspired live-fire restaurant, food market, and event space in the soon-to-be-revitalized Keg &amp; Case warehouse next to the historic Schmidt Brewery in the Bluffs. “You’re not going to see a cat café here,” Boemer said, a subtle dig at flashier, more cosmopolitan Minneapolis which has, in point of fact, just opened its first cat café. “I was going to go, but my wife gave shamed me out of it.”</p><p>I mention the barbecue sauce at Hmong Village not just to emphasize that it had been a busy period of eating. (As the hometown hero Prince sang under different circumstances, "Touch if you will my stomach/Feel how it trembles inside.") Taken together, the Twin Cities today are less a New Scandinavia and more a varied, singularly American cultural smorgasbord.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/things-to-do-in-minneapolis" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Do on Your Next Trip to Minneapolis</a></p><p>Another thing that's changed is the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/winter-vacations/unique-winter-activities" target="_blank">embrace of winter</a>. Eric Dayton and his brother, Andrew, sons of Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and vocal supporters of modern Minnesota, own the men's boutique and lifestyle brand <a href="https://askovfinlayson.com/">Askov Finlayson,</a> which has the motto "Keep the North Cold." The Daytons are among those working to rebrand the state as the "North" and reposition its famously cold winters as a point of pride.</p><p>Eric recalled a trip to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/copenhagen" target="_blank">Copenhagen</a> at a time when the global spotlight was on all things Nordic. "I thought we had a lot of the same strengths in our city and our state, yet we were getting written off as flyover country," he says. "We had allowed the rest of the country to tell our narrative for us." The effort started with a line of beanies emblazoned with NORTH. Now Eric is among the leaders of the midwinter Great Northern festival, a 10-day food-and-activity-filled celebration that unites three of the Twin Cities' most popular cold-weather events: St. Paul's winter carnival, a cross-country ski festival, and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. (Tagline: "Hockey. The Way Nature Intended.")</p><p>What are we getting wrong about this place, I — East Coast outsider, air-dropped in to tell this place's story because we'd heard there was good food and endless cultural diversions — asked, a little sheepishly.</p><p>"When I went off for college, people I'd meet would tell me they'd seen Fargo," Eric said. "I don't think we get credit for what a vibrant city this is, the strength of the creative community, the dining scene, and world-class museums. These things get overlooked when it gets lumped in with this catchall idea of the region."</p> <img alt="Food and landscape in Minneapolis, Minnesota" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/west-river-parkway-parallel-croque-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=MiAZKRFF"> From left: A view along the West River Parkway, in Minneapolis; a croque madame at Parallel, an espresso bar in Minneapolis. Christopher Testani <p>For a sense of the changing face and can-do spirit of the North, head over to artisan glassblowing factory <a href="http://www.hennepinmade.com/">Hennepin Made</a> and <a href="https://www.parallelmn.com/">Parallel,</a> the sleek espresso bar inside. Jackson Schwartz, a friend of Kaysen's, trained in glassblowing in Australia but came back to make his mark in Minnesota.</p><p>"I don't want to compete at a level of what Minneapolis has to offer," Schwartz told me. "I want to compete on an international level. If you walked into this café in Amsterdam or Seattle or wherever, you'd think, Okay, this fits here. This is the place to be. That's the level I want to be at."</p><p>Another glimpse of the new can be found at the <a href="https://hewinghotel.com/">Hewing Hotel</a> in the North Loop, a recent arrival that has the familiar hallmarks of a hiply converted industrial building (the exposed brick walls, the naked light bulbs), along with bear-patterned wallpaper and framed axes. There's a fireplace in the lobby and a rooftop spa pool that converts to a hot tub in the winter. It's a stylized Paul- Bunyan-goes-to-Brooklyn kind of atmosphere that might feel hokey were the Hewing not housed in a former farm-machinery warehouse, in a city still in touch with its outdoorsy, hunting-fishing-axe-wielding side.</p><p>I'd come to the Twin Cities to wander their side streets and waterfronts and to feast on the fat of their land. At <a href="https://www.grandcafemn.com/">Grand Café</a> in South Minneapolis, I feasted, tiny fork in hand, on the fat itself. Described on the menu, simply and weirdly, as "Beef fat slowly roasted in bay leaf," the dish is a lip of fat from a rib eye, gently poached with rosemary and thyme and bay leaf, then rolled and cut and served warmish. Jamie Malone (chef, owner, soft-spoken enabler) had upgraded the situation with caviar that crowned nickel-size disks of opaline fat. On paper, it sounds like comical overkill. In actuality, it's just really nice, understated (if caviar-topped fat can be understated), and suave. Which pretty much sums up this generous, comfortable but not grandly proportioned dining room and everything Malone's doing in it.</p><p>Next, because I am an adult and can eat whatever I want even if it kills me, I ordered the Paris-Brest pastry filled with chicken-liver mousse, a recent cover star for this publication's sister magazine, Food &amp; Wine. The choux was crisp, burnished with a glaze made of black honey and luster dust (which sounds like something you'd encounter in the loo of a louche 70s Parisian nightclub, but is actually a product bakers use to make their cupcakes sparkle). Was it good? It's an uppity, sweet, salty, fatty, crunchy, creamy, savory doughnut that's luster-dusted Instagram gold. Bien sûr, it was very, very good.</p> <img alt="Food and design in Minneapolis, MInnesota" src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533227403/hewing-decor-grand-cafe-custard-TWINCITIES0818.jpg?itok=EX5utTea"> From left: Lobby décor at the Hewing Hotel, in Minneapolis's North Loop; sturgeon custard in an eggshell at Grand Café, in South Minneapolis. Christopher Testani <p>The Grand Café is descended from a bakery that opened on these premises in 1951. Fifteen years ago it morphed into a café with a neighborhood following and minimal culinary aspirations. When Malone took over last year, she was committed to not sprucing the place up any more than she needed to. The walls are dusky pink, the wood tables uncovered, the tin ceiling hasn't been tended to in a while. The effect of the whole is quietly chic, a captivating, relaxing space that doesn't try too hard to be any one of those things.</p><p>"I want people to feel transported. I want it to feel whimsical," Malone said. "And — this is going to sound really stupid — I want you to feel genuinely cared about, because there's a lot of love and respect in this room. Oh, and I want it to feel like a Wes Anderson movie."</p><p>"We spritz our pepperoni with red wine," said the server at <a href="https://www.travailkitchen.com/pigatemypizza/">Pig Ate My Pizza</a>. His T-shirt said SURLY BREWING. His bearing said: Not surly at all. He was earnest and enthusiastic about the spritzing and maybe a little distracted by the cloud of flavored smoke rising off the Morning Maple pizza as he lifted up a cloche with a flourish. This is, by a rather wide margin, the second-looniest place run by <a href="https://www.travailkitchen.com">Travail Collective,</a> a merry band of chefs and DIY showmen whose flagship enterprise, Travail, serves ticketed, "20+ course" tasting-menu dinners twice a night, Wednesdays through Saturdays.</p><p>"It's about disconnecting people from their reality and bringing them together in our reality," said chef and cofounder Mike Brown, of a communal dining style that might include eating off meat hooks dangled above your head, or a vegetable dish choreographed to musical accompaniment by a cello player (Brown's neighbor). One memorable engagement involved, as Brown put it, "a liquid-nitrogen bomb exploding and a person in a rabbit suit running around."</p><p>“Oh I remember that,” said Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, affectionately. Dara’s the restaurant critic for <em><a href="http://mspmag.com/">Mpls. St. Paul</a> </em>magazine and host of “Off the Menu” on Minneapolis CBS radio. After two pizzas and a gigantic platter of house-made charcuterie at Pig, neither of us had the energy for twenty plus more courses, so we were snacking on a reuben sandwich at Travail’s bar. “I’m talking to a puppeteer and a robotics guy,” Brown went on. “Sometimes an idea like Chuck E. Cheese will just come into our mind and we’ll construct a dish around that.” </p><p>I’m not sure animatronic Chuck E. Cheese servers are the future of fine dining, in Minneapolis or anywhere. But I do like talking to Mike. I like his antic schemes and I like the general genuineness with which they seem to be received. The room is full of happy people.</p><p>Brown has a theory about why Minnesotans are so earnest and easygoing. Coming back to Minneapolis after a long absence, he recalled, "I stepped off the plane and breathed in this tasteless, smell-less winter air and just thought, Oh, thank god, the great equalizer is here! You kind of have to respect each other for surviving winter here. You have to put up with each other and help them shovel their car out of the snow."</p><p>Ahmed, an Uber driver from Mogadishu who picked me up on my way home, agreed. "Winter is hard," he said, "but it keeps the bad people away. That's what they say."</p><p>I hadn't heard that said, but it made sense to me. In those last few days of wandering and eating, I hadn't met a single one.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Could Get Paid to Live on a Greek Island and Cuddle Cats All Day

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:39
<p>It turns out dreams really do come true, at least for cat lovers.</p><p>Earlier this week, an organization known as <a href="https://www.facebook.com/godslittlepeople/" target="_blank">God’s Little People Cat Rescue</a> announced it’s hiring a new caretaker to oversee its cat sanctuary and to take care of its few dozen kittens.</p><p>The job posting seems normal enough until you learn that the sanctuary isn’t in some sad brick building lined with cages, but is instead located on the stunning <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/beach-vacations/how-to-travel-to-the-greek-islands" target="_blank">Greek island of Syros</a>, where all the cats run free.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/lanai-cat-sanctuary-hawaii" target="_blank">You Can Play With Adorable Cats All Day on This Hawaiian Island</a></p><p>“A very special position and living circumstance on offer on a little Greek island called Syros (a small paradise no less!) for a mature and genuinely passionate cat lover who knows how to handle many cats and would love their company,” the job posting stated. It added that they are specifically on the hunt for someone who can “take over the daily running of my Greek cat sanctuary in my absence. You will have 55 cats in your care and need to be able to overview them all + feed and medicate (big added bonus if you’re trained vet. nurse!).”</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/nutella-ferrero-italy-taste-testers-hiring" target="_blank">Ferrero Will Pay You to Move to Italy and Become a Professional Nutella Taster</a></p><p>With the job, you’ll not only have the love of many cats, but you’ll also have a fully paid for, modern little house with its own garden that also has a view of the Aegean Sea, and a small salary to boot.</p><p>Moreover, you’ll have plenty of time to explore, as the job is just four hours a day.</p><img alt="Cats on the island of Syros, in Greece "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533912338/cats-syros-island-greece-GREEKCATS0818.jpg?itok=lyXSv7RT"><p>Those looking to apply must also be able to drive a manual car, as that’s all that is provided on the island. Applicants must also be OK with frequent visits from tourists in the summer months.</p><p>“We are located in a secluded nature preserved area which is very tranquil and quiet in the winter time but busy during the summer. You’ll no doubt thrive best if you are the type of person who appreciates nature and likes tranquility - and rest comfortably in your own company,” the listing says. “That said, you’ll never feel lonely in the company of the cats and you’ll be expected to live with a small handful of cats in your house.”</p><p>According to the posting, this job is likely most suitable for those who are 45 years of age or older, and someone who is “responsible, reliable, honest, practically inclined - and really, with a heart of gold!”</p><p>If this sounds like your dream gig all you need to do is send your resume and photograph to <a href="mailto:joanbowell@yahoo.com">joanbowell@yahoo.com</a>. Then, once you’re there, invite us to come to visit and cuddle the cats with you. </p>
Categories: Travel

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