vogelkacke said: Sorry to hear that. I grew up in germany as a minority (born here actually) and I have never experienced any racism whatsoever. People here (at least where I lived) have always been very inclusive and I always felt home here. Maybe you went to the wrong cities? Click to expand… Its happened to a few people I know too. The thing is, I am almost white. People treat me differently when they realize I am from Latin America, so I can actually judge how people’s perception changes when they realize it in the US vs Europe. I have friends in the US that experience open racism due to their skin color, mostly Indian and Chinese friends. However, there is very rarely racism towards me due to where I was born. In Europe, people definitely have a change of posture towards you when they realize where you are from. It is extremely noticeable in Spain, for example.
Scramblethink said: The EU has far better food and I’ll happily wait until certain US folks chime in here saying that pizza, chinese food, mexican cuisine and basically all cuisine that you can get in the states is practically American now so they invented it and do it way better than anyone else.
The biggest difference surely has to come down to the people though. You have 27 countries worth of different cultures which are way less homogenised compared to the US… and yeah, you can say that each state has their own quirks and traits and cultural identity but the same can be said of all 27 of those countries and then some. Click to expand… In a major US city you can get 8/10 food from just about anywhere in the world. You can get amazing Japanese, Italian, French, German, Latino, etc. In Europe you can get best in the world 10/10 food, but you have to travel to the major city of each country to find it. French food in Paris might be better than French food in NYC, but you can get a better Argentinian asado, Sushi, Ethiopian Kitfo, etc in NYC than anywhere in Europe.

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20 Food Journalists to Celebrate on World Press Freedom Day

Contributing Author: Katherine Walla
With the help of journalists who provide today’s news, the world learned more about famine in Yemen, South Sudan, and Nigeria; the impacts of floods and other natural disasters on Central American and U.S. farmers; and the harm caused by glyphosate. These stories journalists tell make it easier for all of us citizen eaters to learn about the impacts of the food system.
May 3, 2019 marks World Press Freedom Day , a day to recognize the principles of press freedom that support journalists—and the challenges they face daily to inform the world. Since last World Press Freedom Day, journalists have faced attacks on their independence from many fronts: censoring, backlash, and threats from governments, corporations, and more. On this day, the world also pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives on assignment. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists , since 2016, 156 journalists have been murdered or caught in crossfire pursuing assignments.
To honor the journalists that have advocated for better resources for farmers, improved food policies, healthier options for all people, and more, Food Tank is highlighting 20 journalists we appreciate for their contributions to a more well-informed world.
1. Nastasha Alli
Food writer Nastasha Alli writes to highlight Philippine foodways, culture, traditions, and history. On the Exploring Filipino Kitchens podcast, Alli invites guests to talk about Filipino food, from recipes to initiatives to improve the food system. In 2018, Alli received the Food Sustainability Media Award from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation for exploring how breakfast in the Philippines may transform because of pressures on fish and fishing.
2. Uzmi Athar
Uzmi Athar is a reporter for the Press Trust of India covering social issues like displacement, foeticide, and child marriage. As a member of the foreign desk, Athar also contributes to global reporting on subjects including the U.S. presidential election, Brexit referendum, and The Paris Agreement. As part of Athar’s recent works, the journalist covers food-related topics ranging from India’s growing food waste crisis, farmer welfare, and international uses of Indian flavors.
3. Allison Aubrey
Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for the National Public Radio (NPR) News, where her stories appear on Morning Edition and All Things Considered . As a contributor to the Public Broadcasting Service’s NewsHour, Aubrey won the 2016 James Beard Award for Best TV Segment for her series of stories investigating food waste and the link between pesticides and bee populations. Aubrey’s recent stories covered a coalition of state attorneys general suing the current administration for weakening federal nutrition standards for school meals and the true harm proposed by unhealthy diets.
4. Helena Bottemiller Evich
Helena Bottemiller Evich is a senior food and agriculture reporter for POLITICO Pro. Bottemiller Evich’s reporting covers topics across the political food system—from White House turkey pardoning to North Carolina hog farms—and received a 2018 James Beard Award for Food and Health Reporting. In recent coverage, Bottemiller Evich has reported on the impacts of Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigning and the FDA’s coming limits on sodium in food.
5. Tim Carman
Reporting for The Washington Post , Tim Carman focuses on national food issues and Washington, D.C. area restaurants. Carman’s articles cover food trends nationwide and, recently, the rise of the plant-based burger in fast-food: and its likely impact on other food providers.
6. Serena Maria Daniels
Serena Maria Daniels is an award-winning Chicana journalist and founder and “chingona-in-chief” of Tostada Magazine —a digital media company founded on the premise that food journalism can unify communities and preserve culture. As a freelance journalist, Daniels’s stories cover various topics at the intersection of food, culture, and migration and have appeared in Forbes, NPR, Thrillist, Eater, and more. In recent articles, Daniels covers restaurant development in Detroit and trend developments in various eating traditions.
7. Gloria Dickie
Gloria Dickie is a freelance environmental reporter focusing on sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and environmental law and policy. Dickie’s reporting from around the world tackles topics like community forestry projects in the Yucatan jungle and climate change protests in Paris. In 2017, Dickie was a writer-in-residence in the Banff Centre’s Environmental Reportage program and a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow in Hawaii. In December 2017, Dickie received the inaugural Food Sustainability Media Award.
8. Vince Dixon
As a Senior Data Visualization Reporter for Eater , Vince Dixon writes and uses code, libraries, and visual storytelling tools like photos to tell stories about the food and restaurant industry. Dixon’s stories cover topics from the rise of viral foods to exclusionary practices used by restaurant chains. In 2016, Dixon’s “Thrill Ride” used photos and videos to portray the life of New York City’s food-delivery cyclists.
9. Samuel Fromartz
As a veteran journalist covering the intersection of the environment, food, and farming, Samuel Fromartz co-founded the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN). During Fromartz’s time as Editor-in-Chief of FERN, the organization has won over a dozen journalism awards including three James Beard Foundation Awards for food politics writing. Fromartz’s recent stories highlight a recent U.S. beef packing merger and U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s (D-ME) plan to support farmers against climate change.
10. Heather Haddon
Reporter Heather Haddon covers food retail and policy for The Wall Street Journal . Haddon focuses on the business and financial edge of food and grocery—with topics ranging from supermarket trends to food corporations’ leadership and financial viability. In recent articles, Haddon reports on the impacts of online grocery services and the performance of food companies around the world.
11. Kim Harrisberg
Kim Harrisberg is a multimedia journalist with Health-e News Service in Johannesburg, South Africa. While Harrisberg’s stories explore health inequality, justice, and gender-based violence across the country, her 2018 documentary “Food Apartheid” examines the long-term social divides that malnutrition exacerbates after the end of apartheid. Harrisberg won the Vodacom Online Journalist of the Year Award, the Impact Africa Award in 2017, and the Food Sustainability Media Award for published multimedia in 2018.
12. Jonathan Kauffman
After cooking in Minnesota and San Francisco, Jonathan Kauffman left the culinary world to become a journalist. Kauffman focuses on the intersection of food and culture for the San Francisco Chronicle , covering topics like trends in global cuisines and the impact of technology on the food system. A recipient of awards from the James Beard Foundation, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and the Association of Food Journalism, Kauffman covers plant-based burgers and farmers encountering wildfires in recent articles.
13. Musdalafa Lyaga
Musdalafa Lyaga is a Radio Assistant at the Biovision Africa Trust and an award-winning journalist. Lyaga’s works include documentary and feature videos, radio programs, composed research, and more. In recent work, Lyaga develops farmer-to-farmer training videos and exposes the hardships farmers across Kenya face, like food loss on the farm; Lyaga’s coverage of mango rot helped earn the BCFN and Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Food Sustainability Media Award in 2017.
14. Julia Moskin
Julia Moskin has reported for The New York Times since 2004 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. Moskin reports the news changing the food system, writes profiles of innovative leaders, and spots culinary trends. Recently, Moskin uncovered how chefs, farmers, and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico used food to recover from two hurricanes.
15. Ruth Oniang’o
Ruth Oniang’o is the founder and Executive Director of Rural Outreach Africa , a non-profit community development organization in Kenya, and founder and Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development . The journal publishes research and investigative reporting from African scientists and writers that may advocate for poor and neglected smallholder farmers in Africa. Oniang’o covers topics like empowering farmers, avoiding food waste, and encouraging transitions to healthy diets.
16. Tom Philpott
As the food and agriculture correspondent for Mother Jones , Tom Philpott uncovers the politics, history, and science behind the food system. Philpott also hosts the podcast Bite alongside Mother Jones editors Kiera Butler and Maddie Oatman. In recent features and editorials, Philpott highlights ways to eat with the climate in mind and ways to better care for farmland.
17. Tejal Rao
Tejal Rao is a restaurant critic at The New York Times and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine . Rao not only won two James Beard Foundation Awards for restaurant criticism, but also received a Vilcek Prize for creative promise in culinary arts. In recent reporting, Rao exposed a day in the life of a Mister Softee Truck owner and discovered how Kit Kats became so popular in Japan.
18. Gregg Segal
Gregg Segal uses photography to explore culture—including the food that has long been characteristic of cultures, or the globalized food that demonstrates humanity’s altered relationship to food. Segal’s monograph Daily Bread photographs children among the food they eat over the course of a week to demonstrate how food habits change or remain unchanged. Segal’s photo essays appeared in publications like Time , The Independent, Le Monde, Fortune, and his photography has been recognized by Communication Arts, Investigative Reporters and Editors, The New York Press Club, and more.
19. Mayukh Sen
After working as a staff writer at Munchies and Food 52 , and receiving a James Beard Award in Profile Writing for covering the disappearance of soul food sensation Princess Pamela , Mayukh Sen became a freelance journalist. Appearing in the New York Times and the New Yorker, Sen’s pieces hark on the power of women in food and culinary traditions, while reflecting upon his own identity as a queer Indian person.
20. Mari Uyehara
Mari Uyehara is a food and travel writer for Taste and previously a food editor for Time Out New York and Martha Stewart Living Radio. In 2019, Uyehara won a James Beard Award for her column “What We Talk About When We Talk About American Food” which explores the politics, stories, and inspirations behind American foods. In recent articles, Uyehara covers how Japanese-Americans helped launch the California tuna-canning industry and the life of Margaret Rukin, founder of Pepperidge Farm. print

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Color Us Holi

Expand Indian spring festival takes over Sculpture Fields
After you’ve been immersed in Sculpture Field and the massive festivities and sculpture burn that we discussed last week, you’ll surely be ready for your next trip to the sizably impressive new ode to three-dimensional artwork.
Holi, The Festival of Colors, should by now be a shoo-in for your Saturday calendar. Holi is a Hindu day of celebration that is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
Photographers capturing the elated smiles on pigment-stained faces have given the festivities an aura of joyous community-wide jubilee. It is a competition crusher for photogenic aesthetic. However, the festival is enjoyed most thoroughly through the lens of our very own eyes. A real-life experience offers meaning and memory far beyond the capabilities of any photograph.
While the history of the Holi festival has a long and interesting origin concerning kings who mistook themselves for gods and actual gods who corrected these unfortunate opinions, the special celebration is meant to be a time of glorifying the triumph of good over evil and a welcome to the impending spring season. It is an annual cleansing of sorts, a spring cleaning of the soul, the body, and the mind.
Sush Shantha and Sujata Singh are the event’s organizers. Sush is a leading proponent of diversifying Chattanooga and sharing her Indian heritage with the city. She is effectively a bridge between Chattanooga and India.
Sush teaches Indian cuisine cooking classes at various charity events for worthwhile causes around the city. Though she is known to occasionally teach a private cooking class, too, the list is long and hard to even get on. Sujata, also from India, is co-chair of the event.
In addition to being an avid entrepreneur and propagator for diversity at home, Sush and her husband are partners of a hospital chain in Bangalore, India. Sush mixes her love of cuisine with her master’s degree in public health and spends three months a year in Bangalore running and staffing the hospital’s kitchen and keeping her ties to her home country alive and well.
“I love to share my cuisine with people,” she says. She talks about the spice of Indian cuisine and how people misunderstand its purpose and intensity. “It’s a spice of flavor, not a spice of heat,” she goes on, obviously dreaming of her beloved gastronomy. If pressed, I think she could discuss the subtlety of balancing dishes and spices for hours.
Join the opalescent day of fun presented by V Love Events on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sculpture Fields. Desi Brothers, Chattanooga’s favorite India grocery store, will provide food and drink. DJ Eric of Warsaw International will play Bollywood-themed dancing music as a traditional Indian dhol drummer wanders and plays.
“We are excited to have Chattanooga experience the joy and color of Holi,” say the event’s organizers. “Families will share a wonderful day of games, vegetarian Indian cuisine, and cultural activities, as well as the great fun of the color exchange. Guests may purchase pouches of vibrant color to share by tossing the colors on family members and friends. Once the colors are flying back and forth, water can be splashed on so the colors run together on faces, arms, and shirts.”
The throwing of color will make any photographer’s dream come true. Truly, Holi is an excellent way to experience a new culture, let loose, meet some new friends, and take a little step out of our all-too-restricting comfort zones.
“We gather and have food and music and have fun. Don’t wear good clothes,” laughs Sush.
You can learn more about the event by searching “Desi Chattanoogan” on Facebook. Come hungry, come dressed to get messy, and bring your cameras!

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How globalisation created British cuisine… – Peas please me

T HE ONLY food-based Instagram picture tagged “Hilton’s Café, Barnsley market” shows a bright, colourful salad: golden corn, pink prawns and juicy cucumber topped with a dollop of coleslaw. But look around the dining hall of the market, where Hilton’s shares space with Kay’s and Paul’s, and the tablescape shows a preponderance of browns: chips, strong milky tea and pies served with mushy peas, “as visually off-putting as the town centre itself”, admits Pete Brown, a food-and-drink writer and son of Barnsley in his new book, “Pie Fidelity: In Defence of British Food”.
“People talk about how good British food is in relation to how terrible it used to be,” says Mr Brown as he washes down his pie with a pint of Barnsley Bitter at the Old No 7 pub down the street. “My contention is that it didn’t use to be terrible at all.”
The claim carries a taste of parochialism. But Mr Brown’s argument is built around globalism. His defence is not that a full English bests a croissant (though it obviously does), but that the virtue of Britain’s cuisine lies in the country’s historical openness to the world. The country has long been what David Edgerton, a historian, calls “the hub of an extraordinary gastro-cosmopolitanism”.
Seen this way, the dismal reputation of British food is less a failure of cuisine than the result of the fact that industrialisation happened earlier and quicker in Britain than in its neighbours. One effect was that Britain prized energy over food, producing 100 times as much coal as wheat in the first half of the 20th century. Moreover, the movement of people from the land to cities created a food culture that prioritised convenience and low cost over quality. In 2017 Britons spent only 8.2% of their income on food, the lowest in the EU (the Italians spent 14.2%). Euromonitor, a research firm, puts Britain in second place out of 54 countries for the amount of calories consumed from packaged foods.
The British have also historically been less precious about local produce. Mr Brown writes that the French village of Roquefort was granted a monopoly on ripening cheese in nearby caves in 1411. The British, by contrast, had no interest in protecting cheddar: in 1856 the son of a Somerset farmer came up with a winning recipe and gave it away. It is a similar story with drink. Even as the French were busy defending the geographical boundaries of champagne, the British makers of Bass Ale prioritised protecting their trademark—the first granted in the country—while competing on quality. Britain has a third as many protected foods as France and a quarter as many as Italy.
The openness worked both ways. Fish and chips was a marriage of potatoes, which arrived from Latin America in the 16th century, and fried fish, introduced by Jewish migrants in the early 19th century. Antonio Carluccio, a restaurateur, once declared that spaghetti bolognese, a British favourite, did not exist in Italy. The British version of Indian curry is an indigenous invention, created by Bangladeshi migrant chefs to cater to local tastes.
Even when a dish is recognisably British, its ingredients may not be. In the early 20th century the full English breakfast typically included Danish bacon, Dutch eggs and bread made from Canadian or Argentine wheat, writes Mr Edgerton in “The Rise and Fall of the British Nation”. Like American cuisine, which gave the world takeaway pizza, hard-shell tacos and chop suey, British cuisine is an amalgam of foreign influences, at once national and international. The salad at Hilton’s Café in Barnsley market may be more Instagrammable than the pie—but it is no less British.

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This is the ultimate family guide to Muscat

Posted on Thursday May 2nd, 2019 by Rachael Peacock When it comes to nearby travel destinations, Oman is a popular one, but choosing where to stay and what to do can leave you drawing a blank so here’s a little primer to help with your trip planning
While the UAE is home to grand attractions and a host of luxury hotels, sometimes it’s good to get away and experience something new. Thankfully, we don’t have to travel far to see natural wonders, experience a different culture or embark on exciting new adventures .
Whether you’re looking to trek through the mountains, feast on indigenous food or settle into a relaxing seaside retreat, our friendly neighbour, Oman, is a great place to explore. Getting there
Because we’re neighbours, driving to Oman is an affordable, relatively quick means of getting there, making it the perfect destination for a family road trip. It’s about a five-hour drive from Abu Dhabi to Muscat and aside from a full tank of petrol, you’ll need proof of ownership of the vehicle – or proof that you have permission to drive the vehicle in case it’s a rental – and insurance that covers the vehicle in both the UAE and Oman. If your UAE insurance does not extend to Oman, you can purchase a policy at the border.
If you prefer to fly, a few airlines do offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, including Oman Air and Etihad. Stay and play
Finding the right accommodation is the key to any great trip and self-contained properties like Millennium Resort Mussanah are ideal for families. Like most resorts, this property features award-winning restaurants, a state-of-the-art health and fitness club and Zayna Spa, which is sure to put your body and mind at ease, but it has a big entertainment factor too, and that’s what makes it one of our faves.
There are tennis courts, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a dedicated family pool, zipline and Aqua Fun, a floating water park. Even better, when the grown-ups want to enjoy some down time or perhaps watersports, sailing or snorkelling along the resort’s private 54-berth marina, you can drop the youngest members of the family off at Kids’ Club.
With room options including two-bedroom duplexes with fully stocked kitchens, everyone can retreat to their own space to rejuvenate. Cultural excursions
Whether you’re doing a quick pop over or staying a little longer, you’ve got to get out and experience Muscat. Oman is known for being a welcoming and family-friendly place and its capital is no different. Walk about, interact with the Omani people and learn more about the country’s rich history by visiting cultural landmarks.
Al Alam Palace is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos of Oman, located in Old Muscat. As the official residence of the Sultan of Oman, this is where distinguished guests who are visiting the country are received. The sultan resides elsewhere day-to-day, but if the Omani flag at the main entrance of the palace is raised, Sultan Qaboos is home.
The palace is the centrepiece of a long pedestrian boulevard lined with manicured gardens and surrounding government buildings erected from polished white marble. The front of the building is accented by four eye-popping gold and blue columns and adorned with all the ornate arches, tiling and carvings.
Although visitors are only allowed to view the palace from outside the gates, it’s well worth a visit to admire this beacon of modern Islamic architecture.
Located opposite the Mutrah Corniche, Mutrah Souq has the old world charm of the traditional Arab market with breathtaking views of the ocean. The souq is well shaded beneath timber roofing and is set up along cobblestone pathways that splinter and give way to nooks and crannies filled with traditional Omani and Indian artefacts. You can buy anything from textiles to jewellery and fragrances but be prepared to bargain. Cards are accepted in most shops but cash gives you better leverage. Sat-Thu 8am-1.30pm and 4pm-10pm, Fri 24 hours. Visit: omantourism.gov.om
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a beautiful landmark with a stunning interior, exterior and surround gardens. It’s a great excursion for older children who may be eager to learn more about local religion and culture. Free. Sultan Qaboos Street. Sat-Thu 8.30am-11am, times may vary during Ramadan.
Want to explore the great outdoors? Muscat has some beautiful beaches, particularly Al Qurum Beach , where you can take a picnic, walk along the coast and let the kids play in the sand. You can also take a boat tour to go dolphin watching, snorkelling or swimming. Visit: viator.com
Finally, Bait Al Zubair offers a glimpse into traditional Omani life. The museum recreates houses with displays of clothing, frankincense and more, while a shop sells modern local trinkets. 2RO for adults, 1RO for children aged ten to 15. Al Bahri Road. Sat-Thu 9.30am-6pm, opening hours may differ during Ramadan. Visit: baitalzubair.com Book it
We mean it when we say that lodging can make or break your trip, so we’ve pulled together this list of places, eagerly waiting to host you.
Kempinski Hotel Muscat is nestled within the coastline community of Al Mouj, affectionately known as ‘the new heart of Muscat’. This five-star hotel features ten restaurants and bars, a kids’ club, tennis court, private bowling and entertainment centre, gym, spa and two pools, with one being exclusively for children. Plus, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor and watersport activities. Visit: bit.ly/2Y0gevF
Located downtown near the central business district and prime shopping, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat has a city vibe. This four-star hotel is conveniently located 15km from Muscat International Airport. The hotel’s four restaurants and two bars offer a variety of cuisine including Italian fine dining and an Irish pub. While here, you can sweat it out in the health club or take a dip in the outdoor, temperature-controlled pool. Visit: radissonblu.com/hotel-muscat
Positioned between the ocean and the Al Hajar Mountains, the opulent Al Bustan Palace offers an alluring blend of old and new. Set within a former palace, the resort features a collection of amenities that includes newly renovated guest rooms and suites with sea or garden views, five dining venues, a spa, private beach and four pools, including one dedicated to children. Visit: bit.ly/2INpjUN Before you go
Getting to the border is one thing but actually getting across it is something entirely different. Oman has recently made changes to its visa process and here’s what you need to know to get across the border hassle-free.
All GCC residents qualify for an Oman e-visa so you can apply online at rop.gov.om by submitting the following:
• Two 4x6cm photographs• A copy of your passport, which must be valid at least six months• A copy of your visa and/or a letter from your sponsoring organisation (or spouse) granting permission for travel
Once the visit visa is granted, it will be valid for six months from the date it was issued. The visa is valid for staying in the Sultanate for three months from the date of entry.

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Winner Revealed: Have you won a voucher for Taste of India Letterkenny?

Taste of India Express on Lower Main Street Letterkenny recently held a reader giveaway with Donegal Daily – and it’s time to announce the winner.
Congratulations Ray Callaghan !
Ray has won a €30 voucher to sample the multi-cuisine takeaway.
With an exciting menu and app, Taste of India Express has something f or everyone.
From authentic curries to fast food favourites and pizzas – everyone wants a slice of the action!
A Taste of India has a packed menu of exceptional Indian dishes, including freshly cooked chicken tikka, takeaway favourites and delicious vegetarian options.
But their fresh kebabs, hoggies and munch boxes really tickle the taste buds late into the night.
Their Spice Box, Munchie Box, Mega Box and fresh-cut homemade chips are always in high demand.
As a top Tuesday treat, they have buy one get one free pizzas. So you pay for one and get two!
All special offers and meal deals are just a tap away, as Taste of India have a handy app for all collections and deliveries. Get 15% discount on online orders over €20.
Download the app now for all the latest offers: https://tasteofindia-italianpizza.com and discover all the tasty deals for yourself.
You can order through the app or call 074 91 25753
Winner Revealed: Have you won a voucher for Taste of India Letterkenny? Staff Writer Share this:

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Where to go on holiday in July, from Mongolia to Finland

Where to go on holiday in July, from Mongolia to Finland Posted on May 2, 2019 by admin May 2, 2019
School’s out and the mercury’s soaring. Despite the world and his wife being on their holidays in July, your own slice of paradise can be found in quieter corners of the Mediterranean and Aegean (yes, they do exist), or go all-out with a wild-card adventure in Mongolia or Fiji.
Here’s where to go. Corsica, France We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.
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The Corsicans, it seems, are partial to a festival: there are annual celebrations for everything from guitars (20-27 July) to olives (21-22 July) plus techno-pop bash Calvi on the Rocks (5-10 July). That only adds to the appeal of this sun-kissed French island – along its craggy Mediterranean coast, windsurfers will find paradise in Bonifacio, while for sand-seeking sunbathers it’s all about Porto-Vecchio. To escape the crowds, the mountainous, green interior beckons, threaded with hiking trails and time-capsule villages. Corsica’s dreamiest place to stay has to be Domaine de Murtoli , which has 13 secluded rental properties – let’s call them “shepherd chic” – set within a 2,000-hectare rural estate. 1/52 Puerto Rico: After a devastating hurricane, an island on its way back 2/52 Hampi, India: An ancient archaeological complex becomes more accessible
At the height of the Vijayanagar empire in the 16th century, Hampi thrived as one of the largest and richest cities in the world. Its architectural legacy lives on in the southwestern state of Karnataka with over 1,000 well-preserved stone monuments, including Hindu temples, forts and palaces. Spread over 16 miles near the banks of the Tungabhadra river, and surrounded by a sea of granite boulders, the Unesco world heritage site has been notoriously difficult to reach, until now. TruJet recently began daily direct flights from Hyderabad and Bangalore to Ballari, a 25-mile drive from Hampi. Travellers can stay in the newly refreshed Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace or at Ultimate Travelling Camp’s new Kishkinda Camp, which introduced 10 stately tents in December. The outfitters Black Tomato and Remote Lands now offer journeys in the region, from guided archaeological tours to rock climbing and river jaunts in basket boats. Nora Walsh 3/52 Santa Barbara, California: The ‘American Riviera’ becomes a hip food and wine haven
Long known for drawing movie stars and millionaires to its resorts, Santa Barbara is now a foodie magnet. Acclaimed chef Jesse Singh oversees Bibi Ji, an edgy Indian restaurant – try the uni biryani – with a wine list curated by noted sommelier Rajat Parr. Top Chef alum Phillip Frankland Lee presides over the Monarch, a posh Californian restaurant, and Chaplin’s Martini Bar; he will open Silver Bough, a 10-seat tasting menu venue in January. The Santa Barbara Inn’s Convivo offers upmarket Italian fare and ocean views; nearby, at Tyger Tyger, Daniel Palaima, a veteran of the kitchens of Chicago-based chef Grant Achatz, serves southeast Asian fare (try the Szechuan pepper soft serve ice cream at Monkeyshine to finish off the night). The city has over 30 wine tasting rooms that don’t look like their more staid cousins up north. Frequency and Melville feature modern furnishings and party-ready playlists; vinyl rules at Sanguis, a winery run by drummers. Sheila Marikar 4/52 Panama: New eco-friendly resorts open on the country’s Pacific coast 5/52 Munich, Germany: Theatre. Art. Opera. What more do you want? 6/52 Eilat, Israel: A newly accessible Red Sea paradise 7/52 Setouchi, Japan: Art and nature harmonise in Japan’s inland sea 8/52 Aalborg, Denmark: Architecture revitalises the waterfront
Viking long ships once glided through Aalborg’s mighty Limfjord. Today, the city is turning its most famous natural asset into an artistic one. Wildly innovative buildings have sprouted on its shores, including the Utzon Centre, designed by Jorn Utzon, the architect of the Sydney Opera House – its new exhibition series on inspiring Nordic architects, runs through May. The curvilinear concert hall Musikkens Hus was recently followed by the vibrant Aalborg Street Food market; the pedestrian and cycling Culture Bridge; and the undulating Vestre Fjordpark, with an open-air swimming pool that meets the sea. Nordkraft, a power plant that was converted into a cultural hub, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with events in September. The Aalborg Akvavit distillery is being transformed into a new creative district over the next two years, presided over by a soaring glass polygonal sculpture by artist Tomás Saraceno, Harbour Gate from architect Bjarke Ingels, a hotel and more. Annelisa Sorensen 9/52 The Azores, Portugal: The Caribbean comes to the middle of the Atlantic
In the nippy Atlantic Ocean a four-hour flight from the US, the subtropical volcanic islands of the Azores, complete with Unesco world heritage sites and biospheres, await discovery. Mystical green lushness, oversize volcanic craters now turned into lakes, steaming natural hot springs that puff out from the earth, blue hydrangeas by the thousands and the only coffee growers in Europe distinguish the island chain. New restaurants in Ponta Delgada include the locavore Casa do Abel, the Japanese-influenced Otaka, and Tasquinha Vieira, which specialises in local, organic cuisine, while new hotels include the Lava Homes on Pico Island, and the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico, opening in July. Daniel Scheffler 10/52 Ontario Ice Caves, Canada: See them now, as climate change may pose a threat
The ice caves that emerge from the winds and waves that pound the north shore of Lake Superior have always been somewhat ephemeral. But climate change has brought an element of doubt into their future. For now, the caves are a regularly occurring feature, notably along the shoreline near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Made from snow and ice, the caves vary in size, shape and colour. Large waves before they freeze up are the essential ingredient for large caverns. The wind, shifts in the ice and the effects of the sun constantly remake the formations. February is the most reliable month for a visit. Getting to the caves involves driving one of the more scenic sections of the Trans-Canada Highway. Alona Bay and Coppermine Point are two of the more popular destinations. The staff members at Stokely Creek Lodge, a cross-country skiing and snowshoeing resort just outside of the Sault, keep track of where the most dramatic, but accessible, caves have formed each winter. Ian Austen 11/52 Zadar, Croatia: Incomparable sunsets, a ‘sea organ’ and untrammelled islands
After the Croatian football team captured the world’s attention in the World Cup – its captain Luka Modric’s was particularly notable – fans revved up their search engines and learned that he hails from Zadar, a pretty, compact town on the Dalmatian Coast. Ryanair have added regular flights from Prague, Hamburg, Cologne and Nuremberg, starting this spring. Beyond Zadar’s medieval core, the city’s seaside promenade and music-making “sea organ”, created by architect Nikola Basic, is a must-see (or hear). The magical sunsets alone were enough to wow Alfred Hitchcock, who visited the city in 1964. The town is also a gateway to untrammelled islands, like Dugi Otok; an hour-and-20-minute ferry ride takes visitors to the sparsely populated island with uncrowded beaches and taverns. Seeking ultraclean waters? Then head to the island of Pasman, where the currents often change, making the surrounding waters some of the cleanest in the Adriatic. David Farley 12/52 Williamsburg, Virginia: The cradle of American democracy reflects on its past
In 1619, the area that includes the Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg and Yorktown was home to some of the most significant events in American history: the official arrival of the first African slaves to North America, the convening of the first representative assembly in America and the first recorded proclamation of Thanksgiving in the New World. The area will observe the 400th anniversary of these events all year, highlighted by the Tenacity exhibition at the Jamestown Settlement, which recognises the contributions of women during the Colonial era, along with an archaeology-focused exhibit. Colonial Williamsburg, the expansive living-history museum, will give visitors a taste of life in the 18th century, along with the reimagined American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. For thrill seekers, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the European-theme amusement park, will unveil a new pendulum swing ride, while Water Country USA will unveil the state’s first hybrid water coaster. John L Dorman 13/52 Las Vegas: Sin City bets big on culture
Sure, there are still slot machines, strip clubs and steaks aplenty, but other options for culture in America’s playground abound. The new Park MGM hosts residencies from two music legends through 2019: Lady Gaga, doing one show of her pop hits and another riffing on American classics, and starting in April, Aerosmith. Also a rollicking iteration of the Italian emporium Eataly and Best Friend, a Korean restaurant by Roy Choi, the LA food truck pioneer, that becomes a hip-hop club afterwards. The Wynn recently added live, Dixieland-style jazz to its lakeside brunch; it also offers masterclasses on subjects like dumpling-making. Nearby, the Venetian debuted three craft cocktail bars, the Dorsey, Rosina and Electra, where guests can actually sit down and hear one another talk. Downtown, the Life Is Beautiful festival, which corrals an array of musicians and artists each fall, enters its seventh year; 2018 stars included the Weeknd and Florence and the Machine. Sheila Marikar 14/52 Salvador, Brazil: The country’s original capital gets a makeover
After completing a five-year historical preservation initiative to save its Unesco designation, Salvador, with its sherbet-coloured colonial facades, cobblestone streets and beaches, is gleaming. Rising along the coast of northeastern Bahia, the city’s downtown historic district thrums with vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, ranging from free weekly performances by samba and drum corps to classical music and capoeira. Visitors can also find Salvador’s history exhibited in the new House of Carnival and, opening in 2020, the Museum of Music or catch a live concert at the Convention Centre, opening this year. The Fera Palace Hotel, a refurbished art deco gem, and the freshly minted Fasano Salvador, housed in a former 1930s newspaper building, both overlook All Saints Bay, which in November will host the finish of the International Regatta Transat Jacques Vabre, a 4,350-mile race along the historic coffee trading route between France and Brazil. Nora Walsh 15/52 Danang, Vietnam: A spot for foodies and beachgoers
Vietnam’s third largest city, is known for being a gateway to the nearby Unesco Heritage town of Hoi An. But it’s begun to develop a reputation as the Miami of Vietnam, with a strong foodie scene and new hotels and resorts popping up on a five-mile beach strip. A typical day might start with a morning swim on the crescent-shape Non Nuoc Beach and perhaps a quick stop at the Han Market. Then, an afternoon visit to the Marble Mountains, where travellers can explore the temples and pagodas that look out over My Khe Beach and, later, dinner back in the city, perhaps at Nén, a new restaurant from much-followed food blogger Summer Le. Perhaps finish the day with a visit to Cau Rong Dragon Bridge in the hills above the city. Don’t leave without sampling a bowl of mi quang, the justifiably famous local noodle soup made with a turmeric-infused broth, chicken, pork, local seafood and shredded cabbage, and available for about $1 (78p) at any number of street food stalls. Stuart Emmrich 16/52 Costalegre, Mexico: A beach vacation, without the crowds
Costalegre is a stretch of 43 largely unpopulated beaches, capes and bays along Mexico’s gorgeous Pacific coast, about halfway between the better known destinations of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and one that has so far escaped the attention of vacationers flocking to its popular neighbours to the north, Punta Mita and the surfer’s haven of Sayulita. One factor keeping away the crowds: lack of easy access. Up until now, the nearest airport has been more than a two-hour drive away, in Puerto Vallarta. But that will change with the planned opening of the Chalacatepec Airport in the second half of this year, which will cut travel time by more than half. And a clutch of luxury hotels will soon follow. For now, the best luxury option is Las Alamandas Resort, set on a 1,500-acre nature reserve, with just 16 suites in seven brightly painted casitas, as well as two restaurants, a spa and a large pool. Smaller hotels and even bungalows near the beaches can also be rented. Stuart Emmrich 17/52 Paparoa Track, New Zealand: A new wilderness trail explores a remote national park 18/52 Puglia, Italy: Baroque architecture and Adriatic beaches in Italy’s heel
The ancient fortified farmhouses called masserie, found only in the region of Puglia, are increasingly being turned into boutique hotels, most notably Rocco Forte’s Masseria Torre Maizza, and the 17th century Castello di Ugento, where guests can take cooking classes at the Puglia Culinary Centre. And the region’s 1,000-year-old wine culture, which began when the Greeks planted vines from their land across the Adriatic, is attracting more oenophiles to the area, including the owners of the London restaurant Bocca di Lupo, who recently bought a 600-acre estate in Salento called Tormaresca, where tastings are offered to visitors (you can also dine in their new restaurant in the town of Lecce). Puglia is also home to Europe’s Virgin Galactic spaceport, which is scheduled to open in 2019, with the promise of eventually sending passengers into space. No wonder Abercrombie and Kent’s new Italian cruise includes Puglia and Gargano National Park. Daniel Scheffler 19/52 Tatra Mountains, Slovakia: Off-the-grid skiing, rock climbing and more
While most visitors focus on Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, the soaring Tatra Mountains have emerged as an under-the-radar destination for skiing and outdoor activities, with new gondolas at the Bachledka and Jasna ski areas; slopes planned at Mlynicka Dolina; and new chair lifts at Oravska Lesna in the nearby Fatra range to the northwest. And it’s not just about winter sports: there is excellent hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and fly-fishing, while beyond the Tatras, Kosice, a regional capital, offers colourful street art and plenty of cafes and restaurants, thanks to its three universities and associated night life. Plan on posting plenty of photos: you’ll find untouched folk architecture throughout the region, as well as perfectly preserved gothic and baroque buildings awaiting your lens. Evan Rail 20/52 Calgary, Alberta: A spectacular library adds to a once-neglected neighbourhood
Calgary’s new Central Library, from the architectural firm Snohetta, creates not just a design destination, with daily tours, but also a gateway in the form of an arched cedar-clad passageway linking downtown to the city’s evolving East Village, a booming neighbourhood where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. Calgary was founded in the East Village area in 1875, with a fort built to curb the growing whiskey trade, but the area suffered roughly 70 years of neglect before the Calgary Municipal Land Corp, formed in 2007, began transforming the area, adding parks, attractions and high-rises. The 240,000-square-foot library, with a performance hall, cafe, children’s play area and outdoor electromagnetic sculptures by Christian Moeller, is next to Studio Bell, home to the National Music Centre museum and performance space, and near the just opened Alt Hotel. Later this year, the multiuse building M2 promises more shops and restaurants beside the Bow river. Elaine Glusac 21/52 Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Russia: A natural wonder resisting the threats of development
Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s deepest lake, plunging 1 mile into the Earth’s crust. It contains nearly 20 per cent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water and is so abundant in wildlife – bears, foxes, sables, rare and endangered freshwater seals – that Unesco calls it “the Galapagos of Russia”. The wildlife, like the lake itself, has been under threat for years, from indifferent Soviet industrial policy, from climate change and from today’s rising tourism, especially from China. Even so, it remains largely unspoiled, and activists are working hard to keep it that way. Olkhon Island, Baikal’s largest, and a place that Buddhists consider one of the holiest in Asia, is a popular base for excursions year round, even from December to April or May, when the surface freezes into turquoise sheets of ice that Siberian winds churn into natural sculptures. The Baikal Ice Marathon, a charity devoted to the lake’s conservation, will be held 2 March. Steven Lee Myers 22/52 Huntsville, Alabama: Time to party like it’s 1969
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing will draw crowds to Huntsville – aka Rocket City – home of the Marshall Space Flight Centre, where the spacecraft that launched astronauts to the moon were developed. Throughout the year, there will be daily reenactments of the moon landing at the US Space and Rocket Centre, but the biggest thrills are planned for the anniversary week of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission in July. Beginning on launch day, 16 July, the centre will attempt to break a Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets at 8.32 am, the precise time that rocket engines ignited in 1969. Festivities will continue with a classic car show, concerts, a homecoming parade and a street party in downtown Huntsville – the same location where Apollo workers celebrated after the successful mission. If that’s not fun enough, 2019 also marks the state’s bicentennial, giving Alabamians yet another excuse to party. Ingrid K Williams 23/52 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas): Five kinds of penguins, easier to reach
The Falkland Islands, far off the coast of Argentina, offer an astonishing variety of wildlife that includes five kinds of penguins, hundreds of bird species, seals, sea lions and whales, as well as remote natural beauty that travellers often have to themselves. Two new local touring companies are increasing accessibility to the riches of the islands. Falklands Outdoors opened in November 2018 and offers mountain climbing, foraging, hiking and sea kayaking expeditions to beaches and penguin colonies that can’t be reached by road; in January, Falklands Helicopter Services will start scenic flights to Volunteer Point (home to an enormous king penguin colony), and other isolated spots. While there’s a single weekly commercial flight in and out of the Falklands, the first new route to the islands from South America in more than 20 years is being planned: LATAM is expected to begin weekly flights to the islands from Brazil by late this year. Nell McShane Wulfhart 24/52 Aberdeen, Scotland: The granite city via brand new old-fashioned trains
Just as many famous European overnight train routes have been retired, the Caledonian Sleeper, the train that travels through the night from London to the north of Scotland, is rolling out new carriages for summer. The new cars preserve the romance of overnight trains, in contemporary comfort, with a choice of hotel-style suites, classic bunk beds or seats. The Highlander route to Aberdeen leaves Euston station in the evening and hits the Scottish coast by 5 am, so travellers who take an early breakfast in the dining car can enjoy coastal views as the sun rises (get off at Leuchars for medieval St Andrews). Off the train, Aberdeen and its surroundings offer historic castles set in fields of purple heather, in pine woods and along the dramatic coastline. Hiking trails abound on and around the queen’s estate at Balmoral, and rail buffs can visit the former royal train station in Ballater, closed since 1966, and ride on the Royal Deeside Railway a short drive from there. Palko Karasz 25/52 Golfo Paradiso, Italy: A rare unspoiled gem on the Italian Riviera
The well-known pearls of the Ligurian Riviera – Portofino, Cinque Terre, Portovenere – are overwhelmed with tourists, a problem so acute that in some areas authorities have debated measures to stem the flow of daytrippers. But just a few miles away, between Portofino and Genoa, remains a peaceful sliver of coastline rarely explored by travellers to the region. Known as the Golfo Paradiso, this small gulf is home to five often-overlooked villages, including Camogli, a colourful fishing hamlet as charming as any of the Cinque Terre. Italians will boast about the renowned local cuisine: fresh-caught anchovies, hand-rolled trofie pasta and cheese-filled focaccia from the town of Recco, a speciality that recently earned IGP status, a prestigious Italian designation for quality food products. Between meals, explore blooming gardens in Pieve Ligure, beaches in Sori and the romanesque abbey of San Fruttuoso, which is accessible only by boat or a long, sweaty hike. Ingrid K Williams 26/52 Dessau, Germany: A big birthday for Bauhaus
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of German architect Walter Gropius’ “Proclamation of the Bauhaus”, a radical reimagining of art, architecture and design. To celebrate the Bauhaus centennial, cities around Germany will hold events, from the opening festival in Berlin – several days of art, dance, concerts, theatre, lectures and more this month – to the debut of the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, where the movement was born. But the most compelling destination might be Dessau. Home of the Bauhaus school during the 1920s and 1930s, the northeastern German city still contains the school’s pioneering (and Unesco-listed) Bauhaus Building, the Gropius-designed Masters Houses, and the Prellerhaus studio building (a warren of former Bauhaus ateliers that now contains a hotel). And in September, Dessau opens its long-awaited Bauhaus Museum, a glassy, minimalist rectangle that will showcase typefaces, textiles, artwork, furniture and more from the movement. Seth Sherwood 27/52 Tunis, Tunisia: The spark for the Arab Spring, still lit
Freedom is what makes Tunis unique. Eight years after it kicked off the Arab Spring, it remains the only Arab capital with real freedom of expression, not to mention the peaceful rotation of power. But the city holds many other charms. Among them are the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage, from which Hannibal’s elephants once threatened Rome. The carefully preserved old medina dates from the 12th to the 16th century, when Tunis was a major centre of the Islamic world. The tree-lined Avenue Habib Bourguiba downtown bears the influence of decades of French rule. And the cafes, art galleries and blue-and-white hues of the neighbourhood of Sidi Bou Said, overlooking the Mediterranean, have long lured European painters, writers and thinkers. A short taxi ride away are the beaches and nightclubs of La Marsa. The French-influenced north African food is delicious. The local red wines are not bad. And, in another regional rarity, Tunis in 2018 elected a woman its mayor. David D Kirkpatrick 28/52 Gambia: Hippos and chimpanzees – and a renewed sense of hope
Gambia’s tourism industry was hit hard in 2017, when its long-time authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh refused to cede leadership after an election loss, forcing a political standoff that brought foreign troops in. But with its new president, Adama Barrow, now safely in place, there’s a renewed sense of hope across continental Africa’s smallest country – now more accessible than ever. In January, a new bridge over the Gambia river, three decades in the making, will be inaugurated with a nearly 200-mile relay run to Dakar, Senegal. Peregrine Adventures launches its first cruise up the 700-mile river, with a stop at Baboon Island, home to hippos, crocodiles and chimpanzees, part of Africa’s longest-running centre for rehabilitating chimpanzees into the wild. New and coming hotels, including the African Princess Beach Hotel, and two properties by Thomas Cook, will serve as stylish bases. And new direct flights from Europe make getting to this west African country easier than ever. Ratha Tep 29/52 Northern Rivers, Australia: Along a breezy coastline, boho paradise 30/52 Frisian Islands and Wadden Sea: Oysters, seals, birds and dark skies on Europe’s wild left coast 31/52 New York City: New cultural monuments, and remembrances of the past 32/52 Chongli, China: Witness a winter sports revolution
The leadup to the next Winter Games is well underway in and around Beijing, and the spectacle is breathtaking. The most stunning transformations are happening a four-hour drive north in Chongli, once one of the country’s poorest areas and now home to several multibillion-dollar ski resorts, towering condominiums and flashy hotels. It has transformed into a glistening winter sports hub filled with restaurants, inns and watering holes. At least five ski resorts now surround the city, including places like Genting Secret Gardens, Fulong and Thaiwoo, which has an on-property brewery, a mid-mountain chalet that serves Swiss and Austrian fare, and brand new gondolas. A high-speed train from Beijing to Chongli should open in 2019. The skiing isn’t world-class. Nearly all of the snow comes from a cannon, and runs average about 1,300 vertical feet. But go now to see firsthand how the world’s most populous country is working overtime to become a competitive winter sports nation. Tim Neville 33/52 Orcas Island, Washington: A small island is attracting big-time foodies (and Oprah)
The horseshoe-shaped Orcas, one of the largest islands that make up the San Juan archipelago, has gained fame in recent years for its impressive tide-to-table culinary scene and experimental wines, attracting, among others, Oprah Winfrey (in 2018, Winfrey bought a 43-acre estate on the island for a reported $8.275m). A new wine enterprise, Doe Bay Wine Co, is presenting its Orcas Project in 2019 – a collaboration between acclaimed winemakers and vineyards in the Pacific northwest. Ventures from James Beard-nominated chef Jay Blackinton, who owns Hogstone, a former pizzeria now featuring ambitious nose-to-tail fare, and its more upscale counterpart Aelder, are also on the horizon. Another addition to the island are the luxury suites at Outlook Inn, in the town of Eastsound, overlooking Fishing Bay. If you want to hike, or ride a horse, the island’s Moran State Park will be adding trails to its 38-mile network this year. Daniel Scheffler 34/52 Uzbekistan: Visa-free travel and reopened borders along the Silk Road 35/52 Vestlandet, Norway: A bucolic paradise for mountain-climbing beer lovers Rural Vestlandet, in western Norway, home to some of Scandinavia’s most beautiful landscapes, is piquing the interest of outdoorsy types, especially those who take
Rural Vestlandet is home to some of Scandinavia’s most beautiful landscapes and is piquing the interest of outdoorsy types. The Loen Skylift ferries travel more than 3,280 feet to the top of Mount Hoven in just a few minutes, while fearless climbers can put on a harness, hire a guide and make roughly the same journey in six hours, following a path that features one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe. After sightseeing, relax over an ale made with kveik, a local yeast that has enthralled brewers and scientists around the world in recent years for its fruity aromas and higher-than-normal fermentation temperatures. You can find it at bars like Tre Bror, in Voss, the Smalahovetunet restaurant and brewery nearby. Beer lovers who want to learn (and taste) more can time their visit to coincide with the October Norsk Kornolfestival, which features close to 100 beers made with kveik, often including juniper and other traditional regional ingredients. Evan Rail 36/52 Lyon, France: Soccer, sausage and fresh air
Football fans should set their sights on France this summer, especially Lyon, where we could see the US women will clinch their fourth World Cup title in the final match 7 July. Even if you can’t get tickets – or détestez le football – the city of half a million people and 4,000 restaurants is worth a visit. This year, Lyon plays host to an International City of Gastronomy project. The indoor, one-acre exhibition will include interactive workshops and conferences designed to showcase France’s cuisine and its contributions to health and pleasure. Held at the Grand Hôtel Dieu, a sprawling complex first founded in the 1300s that reopens after four years of renovations with shops, restaurants, public spaces. When it comes time to work off all those plates of pork sausage, hike in nearby Écrins National Park, where traditional working dogs protect herds of sheep. Book a stay at the Temple-Écrins hut, where workers recently wrapped up three years of renovations. Tim Neville 37/52 Doha, Qatar: Avant-garde architecture blooms in the desert
As the next men’s soccer World Cup approaches in 2022, the host nation, Qatar, is loading its capital with structures from the biggest names in international architecture. The sharp-angled, futuristic Qatar National Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas and his OMA firm, opened in 2018; 2019 will welcome the National Museum of Qatar, a sprawling expanse of interlocking tilted circular discs by Jean Nouvel. A contribution from a third Pritzker prize-winner, Zaha Hadid, is slated to materialise in the form of a swooping, curvaceous stadium; another stadium, from Pritzker-winner Norman Foster, is also under construction. The new structures add further dazzle to the Doha skyline, which already includes Nouvel’s syringe-like Doha Tower and the blocky white jumble of the Museum of Islamic Art, by IM Pei. Seth Sherwood 38/52 Batumi, Georgia: A hushed seaside escape 39/52 Marseille, France: An influx of young creatives gives the city a new edge
Six years after Marseille was named European Capital of Culture in 2013, the city’s renewal is still galloping along. Jean Nouvel has just finished his striking new red, white and blue skyscraper La Marseillaise. The real proof of the city’s metamorphosis, however, is that it is attracting young creative types from all over France and beyond. Laura Vidal, a sommelier from Quebec, and British chef Harry Cummins opened La Mercerie, a market-driven bistro in an old notions shop in the city’s Noailles district last spring. Noailles is brimming with shops (don’t miss Épicerie I’ldeal, the best new food store), cafes and restaurants. Other districts in the heart of Marseille are being transformed as well. Near the opera, Tony Collins recently opened Deep, a coffee shop that roasts its own beans and also sells vinyl records; and the mixologists at the Copper Bay bar shake it up for locals and guests from the nearby Les Bords de Mer, the city’s best new boutique hotel. Alexander Lobrano 40/52 Wyoming: A sesquicentennial celebration of women’s suffrage in the Equality State 41/52 Los Angeles: Finally, more than Grauman’s (groan) 42/52 Dakar, Senegal: An oasis of freedom in a region of unrest 43/52 Perth, Australia: A city transformed and enlivened
A decade-long development boom has supercharged Perth. Among the new attractions: Yagan Square, with its distinctive market hall, art park and 147-foot digital tower showcases work by local artists and livestreams events; Optus Stadium, a 60,000-seat venue for concerts and sporting events; and Raine Square, a $200m redevelopment that includes a movie theatre, shopping and restaurants including dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan, considered the world’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant. To accommodate the expected growth in tourism, 31 new or redeveloped hotels have opened in the past five years, including the luxury COMO, the hip QT and a Westin. Since 2007, liquor law reforms, including a 2018 change that let restaurants serve drinks without a meal, have changed the drinking and dining scene with more than 100 small bars opening in the central business district alone. And Qantas started a nonstop flight from London to Perth this year, the first from Europe. Kelly DiNardo 44/52 Hong Kong: Dazzling infrastructure eases travel but could threaten independence 45/52 Iran: Tourism cautiously returns to this Middle East jewel
The appeal of Iran for adventurous travellers is obvious: the monumental ruins of ancient Persia; the spectacular, centuries-old mosques of Shiraz and Isfahan; the Grand Bazaar and Golestan Palace in bustling Tehran. One additional reason to visit in 2019 is a major exhibition scheduled to open at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. “Portrait, Still-life, Landscape” (21 February to 20 April) will take over the entire museum, with a selection of about 500 works, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and Marcel Duchamp, as well as about 40 Picassos recently discovered in the museum’s storage facilities (much of the collection has been kept under wraps since the 1979 revolution). The US State Department discourages, but does not prohibit, travel to Iran by American citizens, and Americans can travel to Iran only as part of an organised tour. Options for 2019 include three expeditions from Intrepid Travel, including the company’s first-ever all-female tour. Stuart Emmrich 46/52 Houston: Rebounding bigger and better after a hurricane
After Hurricane Harvey, the city is back on its feet and showing off the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas attitude. Four food halls opened in 2018, including Finn Hall, which features up-and-coming chefs like James Beard-nominated Jianyun Ye and a downtown outpost of his Chinese hotspot Mala Sichuan and a taqueria from local favourite Goode Co. The five-diamond Post Oak Hotel has a two-storey Rolls-Royce showroom, art by Frank Stella and a 30,000-bottle wine cellar. The Menil Collection, known for its eclectic art ranging from Byzantine antiques to 20th century pop art, underwent a renovation and opened the 30,000-square-foot Menil Drawing Institute. The city’s museum boom continues with an expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to be completed in 2020, a newly built location for the Holocaust Museum, which will move in this spring, and a restoration of the Apollo Mission Centre that will open in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in July. Kelly DiNardo 47/52 Columbus, Ohio: Is this the American city of the future?
With a revitalised riverfront and booming downtown, Columbus is already one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Now, it’s poised to become the model for the future of innovative urban transportation, with self-driving shuttles carrying travellers along the Scioto Mile, recently revitalised, adding 33 acres of riverfront green space for festivals, water sports and outdoor art. Among the newest dining options are Veritas, which specializes in small-plate offerings; Service Bar, run by young chef Avishar Barua, a veteran of New York’s Mission Chinese and WD-50; and, in the North Market neighborhood, veggie-forward Little Eater. The Short North Arts District offers access to the city’s local businesses like the new fashion store Thread and the original Jeni’s ice cream store. But don’t skip Italian Village and German Village neighborhoods, where innovators and dreamers have opened destination shops like Stump Plants and Vernacular and bars like Cosecha. Daniel Scheffler 48/52 Plovdiv, Bulgaria: A city ready for the spotlight
With its colourful, cobblestoned historic centre, well-preserved Roman ruins and lively art scene, Bulgaria’s second-largest city is surprisingly overlooked by tourists who favour the quirky, post-Soviet charm of the country’s capital, Sofia. But as a European cultural capital of 2019, this gem is ready to shine. Organisers have planned more than 500 events throughout the city and its region, including concerts, open-air theatre performances and street-food fairs. Tucked into the heart of central Bulgaria and built on seven hills, Plovdiv features an artistic quarter called Kapana, whose winding streets are lined with galleries and stylish cafes, as well as a beautifully restored Roman amphitheatre that hosts summer opera performances under the stars. The city’s location at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains – with their stunning views of peaks and deep gorges — makes it an excellent launch point for hiking day trips. Ann Mah 49/52 Vevey, Switzerland: A once-in-a-generation winegrowers’ festival on the Swiss Riviera
Everything runs like clockwork in Switzerland, including the Fête des Vignerons, although its timetable is considerably extended. This Unesco-recognised wine festival, which celebrates the viticultural traditions of the Lavaux and Chablais regions near Lake Geneva, takes place every 20 to 25 years in the heart of Vevey, a breathtaking lakeside town beneath sloping vineyards in the canton of Vaud. Since 1797, the date has been decided by the Confrérie des Vignerons, which has spent the past several years (and a reported 99 million Swiss francs, or roughly $98m) planning for the 12th edition, which will run from 18 July to 11 August. For the first time, tickets for the two-hour show can be purchased online. Oenophiles seeking a “full-bodied” experience of Helvetian wines, which are rarely exported, can also download the new app from the Canton of Vaud featuring eight wine-centric hiking routes, including one above Vevey. Erin Levi 50/52 Cádiz province, Spain: Sparkling cities and towns in southwest Andalusia
At the tip of a peninsula thrust into the Atlantic, the city of Cádiz, a trading hub since 1100, has a vibe that’s more Havana than Madrid. A culinary renaissance is underway, with newcomers like Saja River and Codigo de Barra joining classics like El Faro. But the biggest gastronomic news lies across the bay in Puerto de Santa Maria, where Angel León’s Aponiente, which has three Michelin stars, offers a lyric poem to seafood (plankton risotto). A second León restaurant, Alevante, in nearby Sancti Petri just received its first star. Twenty minutes inland, Jerez de la Frontera is a cradle of the fortified wines known as sherry, which are now on the hot list of sommeliers and the craft-cocktail crowd. Beyond the cities, hilltop villages like Vejer de la Frontera lure expatriates with a blend of hip luxury hotels and art by the likes of Olafur Eliasson at NMAC sculpture garden. Add a stretch of Atlantic shore, and the province of Cádiz ticks all the boxes. Andrew Ferren 51/52 Elqui Valley, Chile: Eclipse mania, and nights of dark skies 52/52 The islands of Tahiti: The birthplace of the overwater bungalow ups its ecotourism 1/52 Puerto Rico: After a devastating hurricane, an island on its way back 2/52 Hampi, India: An ancient archaeological complex becomes more accessible
At the height of the Vijayanagar empire in the 16th century, Hampi thrived as one of the largest and richest cities in the world. Its architectural legacy lives on in the southwestern state of Karnataka with over 1,000 well-preserved stone monuments, including Hindu temples, forts and palaces. Spread over 16 miles near the banks of the Tungabhadra river, and surrounded by a sea of granite boulders, the Unesco world heritage site has been notoriously difficult to reach, until now. TruJet recently began daily direct flights from Hyderabad and Bangalore to Ballari, a 25-mile drive from Hampi. Travellers can stay in the newly refreshed Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace or at Ultimate Travelling Camp’s new Kishkinda Camp, which introduced 10 stately tents in December. The outfitters Black Tomato and Remote Lands now offer journeys in the region, from guided archaeological tours to rock climbing and river jaunts in basket boats. Nora Walsh 3/52 Santa Barbara, California: The ‘American Riviera’ becomes a hip food and wine haven
Long known for drawing movie stars and millionaires to its resorts, Santa Barbara is now a foodie magnet. Acclaimed chef Jesse Singh oversees Bibi Ji, an edgy Indian restaurant – try the uni biryani – with a wine list curated by noted sommelier Rajat Parr. Top Chef alum Phillip Frankland Lee presides over the Monarch, a posh Californian restaurant, and Chaplin’s Martini Bar; he will open Silver Bough, a 10-seat tasting menu venue in January. The Santa Barbara Inn’s Convivo offers upmarket Italian fare and ocean views; nearby, at Tyger Tyger, Daniel Palaima, a veteran of the kitchens of Chicago-based chef Grant Achatz, serves southeast Asian fare (try the Szechuan pepper soft serve ice cream at Monkeyshine to finish off the night). The city has over 30 wine tasting rooms that don’t look like their more staid cousins up north. Frequency and Melville feature modern furnishings and party-ready playlists; vinyl rules at Sanguis, a winery run by drummers. Sheila Marikar 4/52 Panama: New eco-friendly resorts open on the country’s Pacific coast 5/52 Munich, Germany: Theatre. Art. Opera. What more do you want? 6/52 Eilat, Israel: A newly accessible Red Sea paradise 7/52 Setouchi, Japan: Art and nature harmonise in Japan’s inland sea 8/52 Aalborg, Denmark: Architecture revitalises the waterfront
Viking long ships once glided through Aalborg’s mighty Limfjord. Today, the city is turning its most famous natural asset into an artistic one. Wildly innovative buildings have sprouted on its shores, including the Utzon Centre, designed by Jorn Utzon, the architect of the Sydney Opera House – its new exhibition series on inspiring Nordic architects, runs through May. The curvilinear concert hall Musikkens Hus was recently followed by the vibrant Aalborg Street Food market; the pedestrian and cycling Culture Bridge; and the undulating Vestre Fjordpark, with an open-air swimming pool that meets the sea. Nordkraft, a power plant that was converted into a cultural hub, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with events in September. The Aalborg Akvavit distillery is being transformed into a new creative district over the next two years, presided over by a soaring glass polygonal sculpture by artist Tomás Saraceno, Harbour Gate from architect Bjarke Ingels, a hotel and more. Annelisa Sorensen 9/52 The Azores, Portugal: The Caribbean comes to the middle of the Atlantic
In the nippy Atlantic Ocean a four-hour flight from the US, the subtropical volcanic islands of the Azores, complete with Unesco world heritage sites and biospheres, await discovery. Mystical green lushness, oversize volcanic craters now turned into lakes, steaming natural hot springs that puff out from the earth, blue hydrangeas by the thousands and the only coffee growers in Europe distinguish the island chain. New restaurants in Ponta Delgada include the locavore Casa do Abel, the Japanese-influenced Otaka, and Tasquinha Vieira, which specialises in local, organic cuisine, while new hotels include the Lava Homes on Pico Island, and the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico, opening in July. Daniel Scheffler 10/52 Ontario Ice Caves, Canada: See them now, as climate change may pose a threat
The ice caves that emerge from the winds and waves that pound the north shore of Lake Superior have always been somewhat ephemeral. But climate change has brought an element of doubt into their future. For now, the caves are a regularly occurring feature, notably along the shoreline near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Made from snow and ice, the caves vary in size, shape and colour. Large waves before they freeze up are the essential ingredient for large caverns. The wind, shifts in the ice and the effects of the sun constantly remake the formations. February is the most reliable month for a visit. Getting to the caves involves driving one of the more scenic sections of the Trans-Canada Highway. Alona Bay and Coppermine Point are two of the more popular destinations. The staff members at Stokely Creek Lodge, a cross-country skiing and snowshoeing resort just outside of the Sault, keep track of where the most dramatic, but accessible, caves have formed each winter. Ian Austen 11/52 Zadar, Croatia: Incomparable sunsets, a ‘sea organ’ and untrammelled islands
After the Croatian football team captured the world’s attention in the World Cup – its captain Luka Modric’s was particularly notable – fans revved up their search engines and learned that he hails from Zadar, a pretty, compact town on the Dalmatian Coast. Ryanair have added regular flights from Prague, Hamburg, Cologne and Nuremberg, starting this spring. Beyond Zadar’s medieval core, the city’s seaside promenade and music-making “sea organ”, created by architect Nikola Basic, is a must-see (or hear). The magical sunsets alone were enough to wow Alfred Hitchcock, who visited the city in 1964. The town is also a gateway to untrammelled islands, like Dugi Otok; an hour-and-20-minute ferry ride takes visitors to the sparsely populated island with uncrowded beaches and taverns. Seeking ultraclean waters? Then head to the island of Pasman, where the currents often change, making the surrounding waters some of the cleanest in the Adriatic. David Farley 12/52 Williamsburg, Virginia: The cradle of American democracy reflects on its past
In 1619, the area that includes the Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg and Yorktown was home to some of the most significant events in American history: the official arrival of the first African slaves to North America, the convening of the first representative assembly in America and the first recorded proclamation of Thanksgiving in the New World. The area will observe the 400th anniversary of these events all year, highlighted by the Tenacity exhibition at the Jamestown Settlement, which recognises the contributions of women during the Colonial era, along with an archaeology-focused exhibit. Colonial Williamsburg, the expansive living-history museum, will give visitors a taste of life in the 18th century, along with the reimagined American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. For thrill seekers, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the European-theme amusement park, will unveil a new pendulum swing ride, while Water Country USA will unveil the state’s first hybrid water coaster. John L Dorman 13/52 Las Vegas: Sin City bets big on culture
Sure, there are still slot machines, strip clubs and steaks aplenty, but other options for culture in America’s playground abound. The new Park MGM hosts residencies from two music legends through 2019: Lady Gaga, doing one show of her pop hits and another riffing on American classics, and starting in April, Aerosmith. Also a rollicking iteration of the Italian emporium Eataly and Best Friend, a Korean restaurant by Roy Choi, the LA food truck pioneer, that becomes a hip-hop club afterwards. The Wynn recently added live, Dixieland-style jazz to its lakeside brunch; it also offers masterclasses on subjects like dumpling-making. Nearby, the Venetian debuted three craft cocktail bars, the Dorsey, Rosina and Electra, where guests can actually sit down and hear one another talk. Downtown, the Life Is Beautiful festival, which corrals an array of musicians and artists each fall, enters its seventh year; 2018 stars included the Weeknd and Florence and the Machine. Sheila Marikar 14/52 Salvador, Brazil: The country’s original capital gets a makeover
After completing a five-year historical preservation initiative to save its Unesco designation, Salvador, with its sherbet-coloured colonial facades, cobblestone streets and beaches, is gleaming. Rising along the coast of northeastern Bahia, the city’s downtown historic district thrums with vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, ranging from free weekly performances by samba and drum corps to classical music and capoeira. Visitors can also find Salvador’s history exhibited in the new House of Carnival and, opening in 2020, the Museum of Music or catch a live concert at the Convention Centre, opening this year. The Fera Palace Hotel, a refurbished art deco gem, and the freshly minted Fasano Salvador, housed in a former 1930s newspaper building, both overlook All Saints Bay, which in November will host the finish of the International Regatta Transat Jacques Vabre, a 4,350-mile race along the historic coffee trading route between France and Brazil. Nora Walsh 15/52 Danang, Vietnam: A spot for foodies and beachgoers
Vietnam’s third largest city, is known for being a gateway to the nearby Unesco Heritage town of Hoi An. But it’s begun to develop a reputation as the Miami of Vietnam, with a strong foodie scene and new hotels and resorts popping up on a five-mile beach strip. A typical day might start with a morning swim on the crescent-shape Non Nuoc Beach and perhaps a quick stop at the Han Market. Then, an afternoon visit to the Marble Mountains, where travellers can explore the temples and pagodas that look out over My Khe Beach and, later, dinner back in the city, perhaps at Nén, a new restaurant from much-followed food blogger Summer Le. Perhaps finish the day with a visit to Cau Rong Dragon Bridge in the hills above the city. Don’t leave without sampling a bowl of mi quang, the justifiably famous local noodle soup made with a turmeric-infused broth, chicken, pork, local seafood and shredded cabbage, and available for about $1 (78p) at any number of street food stalls. Stuart Emmrich 16/52 Costalegre, Mexico: A beach vacation, without the crowds
Costalegre is a stretch of 43 largely unpopulated beaches, capes and bays along Mexico’s gorgeous Pacific coast, about halfway between the better known destinations of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and one that has so far escaped the attention of vacationers flocking to its popular neighbours to the north, Punta Mita and the surfer’s haven of Sayulita. One factor keeping away the crowds: lack of easy access. Up until now, the nearest airport has been more than a two-hour drive away, in Puerto Vallarta. But that will change with the planned opening of the Chalacatepec Airport in the second half of this year, which will cut travel time by more than half. And a clutch of luxury hotels will soon follow. For now, the best luxury option is Las Alamandas Resort, set on a 1,500-acre nature reserve, with just 16 suites in seven brightly painted casitas, as well as two restaurants, a spa and a large pool. Smaller hotels and even bungalows near the beaches can also be rented. Stuart Emmrich 17/52 Paparoa Track, New Zealand: A new wilderness trail explores a remote national park 18/52 Puglia, Italy: Baroque architecture and Adriatic beaches in Italy’s heel
The ancient fortified farmhouses called masserie, found only in the region of Puglia, are increasingly being turned into boutique hotels, most notably Rocco Forte’s Masseria Torre Maizza, and the 17th century Castello di Ugento, where guests can take cooking classes at the Puglia Culinary Centre. And the region’s 1,000-year-old wine culture, which began when the Greeks planted vines from their land across the Adriatic, is attracting more oenophiles to the area, including the owners of the London restaurant Bocca di Lupo, who recently bought a 600-acre estate in Salento called Tormaresca, where tastings are offered to visitors (you can also dine in their new restaurant in the town of Lecce). Puglia is also home to Europe’s Virgin Galactic spaceport, which is scheduled to open in 2019, with the promise of eventually sending passengers into space. No wonder Abercrombie and Kent’s new Italian cruise includes Puglia and Gargano National Park. Daniel Scheffler 19/52 Tatra Mountains, Slovakia: Off-the-grid skiing, rock climbing and more
While most visitors focus on Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, the soaring Tatra Mountains have emerged as an under-the-radar destination for skiing and outdoor activities, with new gondolas at the Bachledka and Jasna ski areas; slopes planned at Mlynicka Dolina; and new chair lifts at Oravska Lesna in the nearby Fatra range to the northwest. And it’s not just about winter sports: there is excellent hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and fly-fishing, while beyond the Tatras, Kosice, a regional capital, offers colourful street art and plenty of cafes and restaurants, thanks to its three universities and associated night life. Plan on posting plenty of photos: you’ll find untouched folk architecture throughout the region, as well as perfectly preserved gothic and baroque buildings awaiting your lens. Evan Rail 20/52 Calgary, Alberta: A spectacular library adds to a once-neglected neighbourhood
Calgary’s new Central Library, from the architectural firm Snohetta, creates not just a design destination, with daily tours, but also a gateway in the form of an arched cedar-clad passageway linking downtown to the city’s evolving East Village, a booming neighbourhood where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. Calgary was founded in the East Village area in 1875, with a fort built to curb the growing whiskey trade, but the area suffered roughly 70 years of neglect before the Calgary Municipal Land Corp, formed in 2007, began transforming the area, adding parks, attractions and high-rises. The 240,000-square-foot library, with a performance hall, cafe, children’s play area and outdoor electromagnetic sculptures by Christian Moeller, is next to Studio Bell, home to the National Music Centre museum and performance space, and near the just opened Alt Hotel. Later this year, the multiuse building M2 promises more shops and restaurants beside the Bow river. Elaine Glusac 21/52 Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Russia: A natural wonder resisting the threats of development
Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s deepest lake, plunging 1 mile into the Earth’s crust. It contains nearly 20 per cent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water and is so abundant in wildlife – bears, foxes, sables, rare and endangered freshwater seals – that Unesco calls it “the Galapagos of Russia”. The wildlife, like the lake itself, has been under threat for years, from indifferent Soviet industrial policy, from climate change and from today’s rising tourism, especially from China. Even so, it remains largely unspoiled, and activists are working hard to keep it that way. Olkhon Island, Baikal’s largest, and a place that Buddhists consider one of the holiest in Asia, is a popular base for excursions year round, even from December to April or May, when the surface freezes into turquoise sheets of ice that Siberian winds churn into natural sculptures. The Baikal Ice Marathon, a charity devoted to the lake’s conservation, will be held 2 March. Steven Lee Myers 22/52 Huntsville, Alabama: Time to party like it’s 1969
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing will draw crowds to Huntsville – aka Rocket City – home of the Marshall Space Flight Centre, where the spacecraft that launched astronauts to the moon were developed. Throughout the year, there will be daily reenactments of the moon landing at the US Space and Rocket Centre, but the biggest thrills are planned for the anniversary week of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission in July. Beginning on launch day, 16 July, the centre will attempt to break a Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets at 8.32 am, the precise time that rocket engines ignited in 1969. Festivities will continue with a classic car show, concerts, a homecoming parade and a street party in downtown Huntsville – the same location where Apollo workers celebrated after the successful mission. If that’s not fun enough, 2019 also marks the state’s bicentennial, giving Alabamians yet another excuse to party. Ingrid K Williams 23/52 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas): Five kinds of penguins, easier to reach
The Falkland Islands, far off the coast of Argentina, offer an astonishing variety of wildlife that includes five kinds of penguins, hundreds of bird species, seals, sea lions and whales, as well as remote natural beauty that travellers often have to themselves. Two new local touring companies are increasing accessibility to the riches of the islands. Falklands Outdoors opened in November 2018 and offers mountain climbing, foraging, hiking and sea kayaking expeditions to beaches and penguin colonies that can’t be reached by road; in January, Falklands Helicopter Services will start scenic flights to Volunteer Point (home to an enormous king penguin colony), and other isolated spots. While there’s a single weekly commercial flight in and out of the Falklands, the first new route to the islands from South America in more than 20 years is being planned: LATAM is expected to begin weekly flights to the islands from Brazil by late this year. Nell McShane Wulfhart 24/52 Aberdeen, Scotland: The granite city via brand new old-fashioned trains
Just as many famous European overnight train routes have been retired, the Caledonian Sleeper, the train that travels through the night from London to the north of Scotland, is rolling out new carriages for summer. The new cars preserve the romance of overnight trains, in contemporary comfort, with a choice of hotel-style suites, classic bunk beds or seats. The Highlander route to Aberdeen leaves Euston station in the evening and hits the Scottish coast by 5 am, so travellers who take an early breakfast in the dining car can enjoy coastal views as the sun rises (get off at Leuchars for medieval St Andrews). Off the train, Aberdeen and its surroundings offer historic castles set in fields of purple heather, in pine woods and along the dramatic coastline. Hiking trails abound on and around the queen’s estate at Balmoral, and rail buffs can visit the former royal train station in Ballater, closed since 1966, and ride on the Royal Deeside Railway a short drive from there. Palko Karasz 25/52 Golfo Paradiso, Italy: A rare unspoiled gem on the Italian Riviera
The well-known pearls of the Ligurian Riviera – Portofino, Cinque Terre, Portovenere – are overwhelmed with tourists, a problem so acute that in some areas authorities have debated measures to stem the flow of daytrippers. But just a few miles away, between Portofino and Genoa, remains a peaceful sliver of coastline rarely explored by travellers to the region. Known as the Golfo Paradiso, this small gulf is home to five often-overlooked villages, including Camogli, a colourful fishing hamlet as charming as any of the Cinque Terre. Italians will boast about the renowned local cuisine: fresh-caught anchovies, hand-rolled trofie pasta and cheese-filled focaccia from the town of Recco, a speciality that recently earned IGP status, a prestigious Italian designation for quality food products. Between meals, explore blooming gardens in Pieve Ligure, beaches in Sori and the romanesque abbey of San Fruttuoso, which is accessible only by boat or a long, sweaty hike. Ingrid K Williams 26/52 Dessau, Germany: A big birthday for Bauhaus
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of German architect Walter Gropius’ “Proclamation of the Bauhaus”, a radical reimagining of art, architecture and design. To celebrate the Bauhaus centennial, cities around Germany will hold events, from the opening festival in Berlin – several days of art, dance, concerts, theatre, lectures and more this month – to the debut of the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, where the movement was born. But the most compelling destination might be Dessau. Home of the Bauhaus school during the 1920s and 1930s, the northeastern German city still contains the school’s pioneering (and Unesco-listed) Bauhaus Building, the Gropius-designed Masters Houses, and the Prellerhaus studio building (a warren of former Bauhaus ateliers that now contains a hotel). And in September, Dessau opens its long-awaited Bauhaus Museum, a glassy, minimalist rectangle that will showcase typefaces, textiles, artwork, furniture and more from the movement. Seth Sherwood 27/52 Tunis, Tunisia: The spark for the Arab Spring, still lit
Freedom is what makes Tunis unique. Eight years after it kicked off the Arab Spring, it remains the only Arab capital with real freedom of expression, not to mention the peaceful rotation of power. But the city holds many other charms. Among them are the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage, from which Hannibal’s elephants once threatened Rome. The carefully preserved old medina dates from the 12th to the 16th century, when Tunis was a major centre of the Islamic world. The tree-lined Avenue Habib Bourguiba downtown bears the influence of decades of French rule. And the cafes, art galleries and blue-and-white hues of the neighbourhood of Sidi Bou Said, overlooking the Mediterranean, have long lured European painters, writers and thinkers. A short taxi ride away are the beaches and nightclubs of La Marsa. The French-influenced north African food is delicious. The local red wines are not bad. And, in another regional rarity, Tunis in 2018 elected a woman its mayor. David D Kirkpatrick 28/52 Gambia: Hippos and chimpanzees – and a renewed sense of hope
Gambia’s tourism industry was hit hard in 2017, when its long-time authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh refused to cede leadership after an election loss, forcing a political standoff that brought foreign troops in. But with its new president, Adama Barrow, now safely in place, there’s a renewed sense of hope across continental Africa’s smallest country – now more accessible than ever. In January, a new bridge over the Gambia river, three decades in the making, will be inaugurated with a nearly 200-mile relay run to Dakar, Senegal. Peregrine Adventures launches its first cruise up the 700-mile river, with a stop at Baboon Island, home to hippos, crocodiles and chimpanzees, part of Africa’s longest-running centre for rehabilitating chimpanzees into the wild. New and coming hotels, including the African Princess Beach Hotel, and two properties by Thomas Cook, will serve as stylish bases. And new direct flights from Europe make getting to this west African country easier than ever. Ratha Tep 29/52 Northern Rivers, Australia: Along a breezy coastline, boho paradise 30/52 Frisian Islands and Wadden Sea: Oysters, seals, birds and dark skies on Europe’s wild left coast 31/52 New York City: New cultural monuments, and remembrances of the past 32/52 Chongli, China: Witness a winter sports revolution
The leadup to the next Winter Games is well underway in and around Beijing, and the spectacle is breathtaking. The most stunning transformations are happening a four-hour drive north in Chongli, once one of the country’s poorest areas and now home to several multibillion-dollar ski resorts, towering condominiums and flashy hotels. It has transformed into a glistening winter sports hub filled with restaurants, inns and watering holes. At least five ski resorts now surround the city, including places like Genting Secret Gardens, Fulong and Thaiwoo, which has an on-property brewery, a mid-mountain chalet that serves Swiss and Austrian fare, and brand new gondolas. A high-speed train from Beijing to Chongli should open in 2019. The skiing isn’t world-class. Nearly all of the snow comes from a cannon, and runs average about 1,300 vertical feet. But go now to see firsthand how the world’s most populous country is working overtime to become a competitive winter sports nation. Tim Neville 33/52 Orcas Island, Washington: A small island is attracting big-time foodies (and Oprah)
The horseshoe-shaped Orcas, one of the largest islands that make up the San Juan archipelago, has gained fame in recent years for its impressive tide-to-table culinary scene and experimental wines, attracting, among others, Oprah Winfrey (in 2018, Winfrey bought a 43-acre estate on the island for a reported $8.275m). A new wine enterprise, Doe Bay Wine Co, is presenting its Orcas Project in 2019 – a collaboration between acclaimed winemakers and vineyards in the Pacific northwest. Ventures from James Beard-nominated chef Jay Blackinton, who owns Hogstone, a former pizzeria now featuring ambitious nose-to-tail fare, and its more upscale counterpart Aelder, are also on the horizon. Another addition to the island are the luxury suites at Outlook Inn, in the town of Eastsound, overlooking Fishing Bay. If you want to hike, or ride a horse, the island’s Moran State Park will be adding trails to its 38-mile network this year. Daniel Scheffler 34/52 Uzbekistan: Visa-free travel and reopened borders along the Silk Road 35/52 Vestlandet, Norway: A bucolic paradise for mountain-climbing beer lovers Rural Vestlandet, in western Norway, home to some of Scandinavia’s most beautiful landscapes, is piquing the interest of outdoorsy types, especially those who take
Rural Vestlandet is home to some of Scandinavia’s most beautiful landscapes and is piquing the interest of outdoorsy types. The Loen Skylift ferries travel more than 3,280 feet to the top of Mount Hoven in just a few minutes, while fearless climbers can put on a harness, hire a guide and make roughly the same journey in six hours, following a path that features one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe. After sightseeing, relax over an ale made with kveik, a local yeast that has enthralled brewers and scientists around the world in recent years for its fruity aromas and higher-than-normal fermentation temperatures. You can find it at bars like Tre Bror, in Voss, the Smalahovetunet restaurant and brewery nearby. Beer lovers who want to learn (and taste) more can time their visit to coincide with the October Norsk Kornolfestival, which features close to 100 beers made with kveik, often including juniper and other traditional regional ingredients. Evan Rail 36/52 Lyon, France: Soccer, sausage and fresh air
Football fans should set their sights on France this summer, especially Lyon, where we could see the US women will clinch their fourth World Cup title in the final match 7 July. Even if you can’t get tickets – or détestez le football – the city of half a million people and 4,000 restaurants is worth a visit. This year, Lyon plays host to an International City of Gastronomy project. The indoor, one-acre exhibition will include interactive workshops and conferences designed to showcase France’s cuisine and its contributions to health and pleasure. Held at the Grand Hôtel Dieu, a sprawling complex first founded in the 1300s that reopens after four years of renovations with shops, restaurants, public spaces. When it comes time to work off all those plates of pork sausage, hike in nearby Écrins National Park, where traditional working dogs protect herds of sheep. Book a stay at the Temple-Écrins hut, where workers recently wrapped up three years of renovations. Tim Neville 37/52 Doha, Qatar: Avant-garde architecture blooms in the desert
As the next men’s soccer World Cup approaches in 2022, the host nation, Qatar, is loading its capital with structures from the biggest names in international architecture. The sharp-angled, futuristic Qatar National Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas and his OMA firm, opened in 2018; 2019 will welcome the National Museum of Qatar, a sprawling expanse of interlocking tilted circular discs by Jean Nouvel. A contribution from a third Pritzker prize-winner, Zaha Hadid, is slated to materialise in the form of a swooping, curvaceous stadium; another stadium, from Pritzker-winner Norman Foster, is also under construction. The new structures add further dazzle to the Doha skyline, which already includes Nouvel’s syringe-like Doha Tower and the blocky white jumble of the Museum of Islamic Art, by IM Pei. Seth Sherwood 38/52 Batumi, Georgia: A hushed seaside escape 39/52 Marseille, France: An influx of young creatives gives the city a new edge
Six years after Marseille was named European Capital of Culture in 2013, the city’s renewal is still galloping along. Jean Nouvel has just finished his striking new red, white and blue skyscraper La Marseillaise. The real proof of the city’s metamorphosis, however, is that it is attracting young creative types from all over France and beyond. Laura Vidal, a sommelier from Quebec, and British chef Harry Cummins opened La Mercerie, a market-driven bistro in an old notions shop in the city’s Noailles district last spring. Noailles is brimming with shops (don’t miss Épicerie I’ldeal, the best new food store), cafes and restaurants. Other districts in the heart of Marseille are being transformed as well. Near the opera, Tony Collins recently opened Deep, a coffee shop that roasts its own beans and also sells vinyl records; and the mixologists at the Copper Bay bar shake it up for locals and guests from the nearby Les Bords de Mer, the city’s best new boutique hotel. Alexander Lobrano 40/52 Wyoming: A sesquicentennial celebration of women’s suffrage in the Equality State 41/52 Los Angeles: Finally, more than Grauman’s (groan) 42/52 Dakar, Senegal: An oasis of freedom in a region of unrest 43/52 Perth, Australia: A city transformed and enlivened
A decade-long development boom has supercharged Perth. Among the new attractions: Yagan Square, with its distinctive market hall, art park and 147-foot digital tower showcases work by local artists and livestreams events; Optus Stadium, a 60,000-seat venue for concerts and sporting events; and Raine Square, a $200m redevelopment that includes a movie theatre, shopping and restaurants including dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan, considered the world’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant. To accommodate the expected growth in tourism, 31 new or redeveloped hotels have opened in the past five years, including the luxury COMO, the hip QT and a Westin. Since 2007, liquor law reforms, including a 2018 change that let restaurants serve drinks without a meal, have changed the drinking and dining scene with more than 100 small bars opening in the central business district alone. And Qantas started a nonstop flight from London to Perth this year, the first from Europe. Kelly DiNardo 44/52 Hong Kong: Dazzling infrastructure eases travel but could threaten independence 45/52 Iran: Tourism cautiously returns to this Middle East jewel
The appeal of Iran for adventurous travellers is obvious: the monumental ruins of ancient Persia; the spectacular, centuries-old mosques of Shiraz and Isfahan; the Grand Bazaar and Golestan Palace in bustling Tehran. One additional reason to visit in 2019 is a major exhibition scheduled to open at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. “Portrait, Still-life, Landscape” (21 February to 20 April) will take over the entire museum, with a selection of about 500 works, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and Marcel Duchamp, as well as about 40 Picassos recently discovered in the museum’s storage facilities (much of the collection has been kept under wraps since the 1979 revolution). The US State Department discourages, but does not prohibit, travel to Iran by American citizens, and Americans can travel to Iran only as part of an organised tour. Options for 2019 include three expeditions from Intrepid Travel, including the company’s first-ever all-female tour. Stuart Emmrich 46/52 Houston: Rebounding bigger and better after a hurricane
After Hurricane Harvey, the city is back on its feet and showing off the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas attitude. Four food halls opened in 2018, including Finn Hall, which features up-and-coming chefs like James Beard-nominated Jianyun Ye and a downtown outpost of his Chinese hotspot Mala Sichuan and a taqueria from local favourite Goode Co. The five-diamond Post Oak Hotel has a two-storey Rolls-Royce showroom, art by Frank Stella and a 30,000-bottle wine cellar. The Menil Collection, known for its eclectic art ranging from Byzantine antiques to 20th century pop art, underwent a renovation and opened the 30,000-square-foot Menil Drawing Institute. The city’s museum boom continues with an expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to be completed in 2020, a newly built location for the Holocaust Museum, which will move in this spring, and a restoration of the Apollo Mission Centre that will open in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in July. Kelly DiNardo 47/52 Columbus, Ohio: Is this the American city of the future?
With a revitalised riverfront and booming downtown, Columbus is already one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Now, it’s poised to become the model for the future of innovative urban transportation, with self-driving shuttles carrying travellers along the Scioto Mile, recently revitalised, adding 33 acres of riverfront green space for festivals, water sports and outdoor art. Among the newest dining options are Veritas, which specializes in small-plate offerings; Service Bar, run by young chef Avishar Barua, a veteran of New York’s Mission Chinese and WD-50; and, in the North Market neighborhood, veggie-forward Little Eater. The Short North Arts District offers access to the city’s local businesses like the new fashion store Thread and the original Jeni’s ice cream store. But don’t skip Italian Village and German Village neighborhoods, where innovators and dreamers have opened destination shops like Stump Plants and Vernacular and bars like Cosecha. Daniel Scheffler 48/52 Plovdiv, Bulgaria: A city ready for the spotlight
With its colourful, cobblestoned historic centre, well-preserved Roman ruins and lively art scene, Bulgaria’s second-largest city is surprisingly overlooked by tourists who favour the quirky, post-Soviet charm of the country’s capital, Sofia. But as a European cultural capital of 2019, this gem is ready to shine. Organisers have planned more than 500 events throughout the city and its region, including concerts, open-air theatre performances and street-food fairs. Tucked into the heart of central Bulgaria and built on seven hills, Plovdiv features an artistic quarter called Kapana, whose winding streets are lined with galleries and stylish cafes, as well as a beautifully restored Roman amphitheatre that hosts summer opera performances under the stars. The city’s location at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains – with their stunning views of peaks and deep gorges — makes it an excellent launch point for hiking day trips. Ann Mah 49/52 Vevey, Switzerland: A once-in-a-generation winegrowers’ festival on the Swiss Riviera
Everything runs like clockwork in Switzerland, including the Fête des Vignerons, although its timetable is considerably extended. This Unesco-recognised wine festival, which celebrates the viticultural traditions of the Lavaux and Chablais regions near Lake Geneva, takes place every 20 to 25 years in the heart of Vevey, a breathtaking lakeside town beneath sloping vineyards in the canton of Vaud. Since 1797, the date has been decided by the Confrérie des Vignerons, which has spent the past several years (and a reported 99 million Swiss francs, or roughly $98m) planning for the 12th edition, which will run from 18 July to 11 August. For the first time, tickets for the two-hour show can be purchased online. Oenophiles seeking a “full-bodied” experience of Helvetian wines, which are rarely exported, can also download the new app from the Canton of Vaud featuring eight wine-centric hiking routes, including one above Vevey. Erin Levi 50/52 Cádiz province, Spain: Sparkling cities and towns in southwest Andalusia
At the tip of a peninsula thrust into the Atlantic, the city of Cádiz, a trading hub since 1100, has a vibe that’s more Havana than Madrid. A culinary renaissance is underway, with newcomers like Saja River and Codigo de Barra joining classics like El Faro. But the biggest gastronomic news lies across the bay in Puerto de Santa Maria, where Angel León’s Aponiente, which has three Michelin stars, offers a lyric poem to seafood (plankton risotto). A second León restaurant, Alevante, in nearby Sancti Petri just received its first star. Twenty minutes inland, Jerez de la Frontera is a cradle of the fortified wines known as sherry, which are now on the hot list of sommeliers and the craft-cocktail crowd. Beyond the cities, hilltop villages like Vejer de la Frontera lure expatriates with a blend of hip luxury hotels and art by the likes of Olafur Eliasson at NMAC sculpture garden. Add a stretch of Atlantic shore, and the province of Cádiz ticks all the boxes. Andrew Ferren 51/52 Elqui Valley, Chile: Eclipse mania, and nights of dark skies 52/52 The islands of Tahiti: The birthplace of the overwater bungalow ups its ecotourism
Average temperature in July: 22°C
Average flight time: 2h 15m (to Bastia) Fiji
The South Pacific isn’t the first place you’d think of for Bastille Day celebrations, but as a former French colony, Fiji goes big on 14 July. Expect fireworks and parades in the capital, Suva; more festivities then follow with the annual Bula (meaning welcome or hello) festival, a week-long shindig celebrating local culture, food and history. Another reason to pack your swimsuit and hotfoot it to Fiji in July is the start of dry season, when temperatures are pleasantly lower and the sea clearer. Scuba divers will be in their element on some of the world’s most dazzling reefs (Fiji is known as the “soft coral capital of the world”, after all), keeping eyes peeled for underwater giants such as whale sharks, manta rays and barracuda.
Pushing the boat out for a special getaway or honeymoon? Arriving by private seaplane sets the tone at Kokomo Private Island, where each villa has its own infinity pool and legendary Great Astrolabe Reef lies metres from Kokomo’s white-sand beach.
Average temperature in July: 26°C
Flight time: 24h (to Nadi via Hong Kong) Baden-Baden, Germany
There’s never a bad time to seek some RR in Baden-Baden, one of the most famous spa towns in Europe. This Black Forest gem is especially glorious in July, though, when the Summer Nights festival brings open-air classical music concerts to the grounds of Belle Epoque landmark, the Kurhaus. Between taking to the healing thermal waters and unwinding with massages – try the 120-year-old domed bathing hall of the Friedrichsbad, or Caracalla Therme for a more high-tech version – the weather should be perfect for hiking up Merkur Mountain and strolling along the tree-lined Oos river. No doubt that’ll work up an appetite for the Grande Dame of German desserts, Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau). As for accommodation, antique-filled Hotel der Kleine Prinz is a super-central hotel with bags of charm.
Average temperature in July: 25°C
Flight time: 1h 25m (to Karlsruhe) Finland
It might seem counterintuitive to head far north for your summer holiday, but Finland is a dreamland for outdoorsy types in July, with an archipelago of more than 40,000 islands and sunset holding off until around 11pm. Taking advantage of great ferry and bridge connections, follow the Archipelago Trail beginning in the medieval city of Turku. After checking out the cathedral and castle, it’s island-hopping time: fresh air pursuits like kayaking, sailing, paddle-boarding and fishing are the order of the day, crashing out in a cute timber cabin or camping under the stars.
Average temperature in July: 21°C
Flight time: 2h 50m (to Helsinki) Tinos, Greece
In-the-know travellers are sidestepping the more famous Greek islands (we’re looking at you, Santorini) in favour of lesser-known Aegean gems, which offer the same white-washed, languorous charms minus the crowds. Enter Tinos, part of the Cyclades chain, where ancient donkey paths (now with the handy addition of hiker-friendly signposting) carve between the olive trees.
Tinos Festival is in full swing in July, a mix of plays, concerts and exhibitions entertaining through the balmy evenings, while Running in Greece arranges various races, from 1km to half-marathons, if you can handle the heat. Looking for a stylish base? Upping the ante for island accommodation is artily-restored former bishop’s lodgings Xinaria House (sleeping up to 13).
Average temperature in July: 27°C
Flight time: 3 hr 40 (to Athens, then a ferry) Mongolia
Raw and remote, Mongolia is for travellers who really want to escape the madding crowd. Experience a slice of nomadic life in the Gobi Desert at Three Camel Lodge, sleeping in a ger (a round tent) and observing the timeworn lifestyles of local families tending to their livestock. If you can time your trip for the Naadam Festival from 11-15 July, so much the better – as competitors throw themselves into wrestling, horse racing and archery, after parading in decorative costumes for the opening ceremony, it’s a real sight to behold.
Meanwhile in Khustain National Park, 100km southwest of the capital, it’s all about wildlife spotting opportunities: from Mongolia’s endangered wild horse, the takhi, to predators like wolves, Pallas’s cats and lynx.
Average temperature in July: 16°C
Flight time: 11h 10m (to Ulaanbaatar)

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Ramen-ya: A Bogotรก eatery thatโ€™s a slurp above the rest

Few things can beat a hot bowl of soup on cold, grey and rainy days in Bogotรก. While Ajiaco, the typical dish of the Savannah is top on the list, there are other options that can please the pallet and make for a satisfying change from the potato-based stew. I’m talking about Ramen, the Japanese king of hot concoctions.
Ramen is a wheat noodle dish cooked in broth and served with different toppings, and Ramen-ya is the term given to ramen restaurants. Ramen-ya is also the name of the Bogotรก eatery that offers four variations of the noodle, and the accompaniments that usually go with it such as gyozas or fried rice.
With two establishments in the city, one in the Navarra neighborhood, and the other on the limits of Zona G, in the Market Food Hall, which specializes in Pan Asian cuisine, Ramen-ya is a no-frills cafeteria that offers satisfying food, good service at the table and affordable prices.
The Pork Ramen ($22,000) will not disappoint, not even those who grew up slurping the broth, or those who have enjoyed a bowl of noodles in Tokyo’s many food stalls, where meals are paid for by using vending machines any hour of the day or night.
The umami experience
Knowing about ramen just makes it more fun. While its origin is Chinese, each region of Japan has developed its own distinct version. There are four major types of ramen: Shio, made with salt; Miso, cooked with soy paste; Tonkotsu, boiled with pork bones and Shoyu, prepared with soy sauce; yet, there are plenty of recipes that make this dish one of the most diverse of the Far East nation.
The umami or fifth flavor, which many still have to accept, with its distinct earthy taste, is characteristic of the broth base that makes up the different types of ramen, and is present in the kitchens of Ramen-ya. While shoyu is used in the chicken and pork ramens, miso is served in the vegetarian one.
The Udon Tonikatsu ($22,000) is a variation of the udon style noodle broth served with Katsu or filets of panko covered pork belly. Cooked with a dashi broth base (bonito flake fish and kelp) and rice wine, it was topped with shiitake mushrooms, scallops and mung bean sprouts. The soup was hearty and heavenly. The crunchy rind added flavor to the savory broth, delivering a true umami experience.
The pork and shrimp gyozas ($9,000) โ€“ a smaller variation of the Chinese dumplings โ€“ were cooked to precision, so too the spring rolls ($7,000) and the Vietnamese edition Lumpia Shanghai ($7,000), which were both tasty and crispy without being greasy. The pork bao ($18,000) with mayo, lettuce and cucumbers is also a good starter to the dining experience and an alterna- tive choice for those on the lookout for non-fried foods.
The chef with a toque blanche
The Vietnamese beef Poh ($20,000) and Thai based shellfish ($23,000) are both spicy noodle-based soups worth trying. Also available are Hawaiian poke bowls ($20,000-$25,000), donburi or rice bowls ($18,000-$27,000) and Pad Thai ($23,000).
Don’t leave Ramen-ya without having dessert. Try the passion fruit and black berry tapioca ($8,000), or the mochi rice cakes filled with ice cream assortment, which includes lychee, coconut, green tea and chocolate ($3,800 each). Delicate and sweet, these bites are a good way to end the meal.
Ramen-ya is one of five food stalls and a shop that makes up The Market Food Hall. Four of which โ€“ including the store โ€“ are owned by importer Best Choice. You might recognize the brand with the faceless white chef wearing a toque blanch behind a steaming bowl.
While the kitchens have distinctive identities, they provide similar dishes, one, Turo Turo, specializing in teppanyaki, wok and robata cooking techniques, and Banyan Tree catering to healthy conscious guests.
The Global Gourmet shop sells specialty foods, from Thai curries, Indian spices and Japanese accessories to noodles, rice, seaweed and beer. Prices are competitive, and the store is convenient for people who work or live in the area.
Having a serious patron with more than 15 years in the business backing the majority of the food court, and supplying most of the goods to the restaurants guarantees viability, and explains the consistent good quality food, the professional and attentive staff and the affordable prices. A good choice, regardless of rain, hail or sunshine.
www.ramenya.com.co
The Market Food Hall Calle 69No 4 – 65 Zona G: 320 5334 / 317 368 1104
Global Gourmet Market
Calle 109 No 18b – 32 Local 2 Tel: 300 2271 / 315 358 1065

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Indian cooking games developer Cympl Studio is aiming 10 million monthly active users by 2019 end

advt. May 2-2019 Indian cooking games developer Cympl Studio is aiming 10 million monthly active users by 2019 end 7:00 pm 02/05/2019 By Poonam Mondal SHARE Tweet
Inevitably video games increase motivation and engagement in players irrespective of age. Today an amazing add-on in the mobile gaming genre is becoming popular is casual gaming. This is not only targeting gamers but also targeting people who have never played video games.
The technology of smartphones and tablets has allowed for the widening reach of new titles, new players and new studios. These casual games are often beautifully illustrated, clever, innovative, and fun to play. The dream of starting a game studio becomes more feasible for brands thus many are following the same footsteps. Taking the example of Cympl Studio, which was founded in April 2016 by the co-founding duo, Ratikant Behera and Rituraj Behera, has made a remarkable impact in the Indian casual gaming market with its casual cooking games.
Speaking with AnimationXpress Cympl Studio co-founder Rituraj Behera shared how he initiated his journey of a game developer. He expressed “ I was already into game development since 2013 in Medha Edutainment, which was an association with another partner. After gaining about three years of experience in the industry, I decided to take my own direction. That is when Cympl Studio was born!”
Currently, Cympl Studio is run by 65 members and are aiming to hire more. It has recently launched a new game Masala Madness , a game around cooking Indian street food. When asked about the inspiration behind making such game he said “Food has always been an integral part of the Indian culture and also something that we have been proud of as a nation. Indian food is also savoured worldwide. We, therefore, wanted to make a game that showcases the variety of Indian street food and expresses the love for Indian food, by travelling around the world to serve all the different varieties.”
Cympl’s Masala Madness is the second cooking game in a row after Masala Express . Masala Express , a cooking game showcasing Indian authentic cuisines, has Indian setting which is more of a third person click-based gameplay. However, for Masala Madness the gameplay is more first-person style, where one feels like they are cooking street food from all over India in an interesting manner and serving quickly to customers who are from all over the world. When asked about why they are publishing cooking games in a row; Behera replied that Masala Express acquired “a huge success and is still doing very well in the market. We realised that most of our audiences are fans of cooking games and we thought another cooking game would help retain our players.”
With the cooking games, they are targeting mainly female audience between 18 and 45 years. In Masala Madness Cympl has introduced multiple meta-features like boosters, recipe book and souvenirs along with many other upcoming features like social, guilds and many more. Though the game is similar to the game Cooking Fever , within 10 days the new title has received a commendable response. It acquired the top six trending position of the casual game on Google Play India, top 33 grossing casual game and top 40 top free casual games.
With this chain of cooking games, Cympl wants “to make strong inroads in the Indian mobile gaming market and since the games have a global quality and appeal it also gets decent installs from the worldwide market as well. But worldwide exposure is more like a cherry on top for us rather than a primary focus.”
India’s growth in the gaming sector is promising but somewhere the industry prospect is still challenging. As per him, “talent in India is still new to game development compared to our western counterparts. Therefore, finding a perfect combination of passion, deep understanding of gaming and the right skill sets for the role is extremely challenging and can create issues when trying to scale the company.”
Currently Cympl’s Masala Express is mostly in the maintenance phase and performing Live Ops to maintain the DAUs and revenues. However, Masala Madness which went live on 10 April 2019 and has already gained a lot of traction from the Indian market. Apart from that the studio is currently working on two projects which they didn’t reveal much about but has shared a hint that most probably one of their games will be an IP partnership with an Indian celebrity.
As he believes that gaming studios should focus both on creating IPs and also leveraging the reach of popular IPs for making their games successful. Says he “IPs in no way guarantee success, as eventually, the game needs to be fun enough for people to stick around and eventually pay. But they definitely work well as a marketing tool to ensure that if the game has strong KPIs then it is a guaranteed success. On the other side, creating one’s own IPs is no doubt tough, but is equally rewarding at the end of the day when you pull it off. But one also needs to understand the science behind most successful IPs so that a similar approach can be taken for making your IPs popular as well.”
Speaking on where the market will be in the next five years he shared, “India will have a massive market opportunity in the next five years in the casual space which has most gamers. As per Google, we will reach over 600 million active users with smartphones and access to the internet.”
For 2019 the studio is planning to increase the employee count to 100 members with four of their games on LiveOps with a strong publishing team. They are exploring plans to work as a publisher for those who want to release their casual mobile games for the Indian market. They are also aiming for 10 million monthly active users with four live casual games by 2019.
Speaking on the success mantra he added that “a developer should never compromise on quality, choose the right genre and the theme of the game is crucial and tweak the game and monetisation to suit the target market is the key to success.”

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Celebrating Culture One Wedding at a Time

Celebrating Culture One Wedding at a Time April 30, 2019 Comments After learning to embrace her own heritage, Petronella Lugemwa decided to help other people celebrate theirs. Petronella Lugemwa is an expert at hiding in plain sight. Growing up as a first-generation Ugandan immigrant in Alabama, she learned to cover up the aspects of her cultural, personal, and racial identity that made her different from her neighbors. She abandoned her last name, donned a Southern accent, and wore Birkenstocks. She wanted to appear like just, “another Southern black girl.” Unfortunately, she couldn’t escape the pain of being different by disguising herself. All Photos © Petronella Lugemwa
Her classmates asked if her family arrived in the US by swimming across the Atlantic and if all of Africa was as poor and starved as the images on TV.
“When you immigrate to this country, assimilation is one of those unspoken things that happens,” Petronella says, “It makes me cry every time that I think about what it means for someone to have to suppress a part of themselves.”
At the beginning of her wedding photography career, Petronella struggled to distinguish her business from others. The years she had spent feeling uncomfortable about being different were now preventing her from creating a unique brand for her photography business. When a friend at a photography workshop told her that she was concealing her identity, she experienced a turning point in her life.
“I spent all this time crafting an identity that revolved around disguising who I really was, that I had such a visceral reaction to someone seeing me for who I really am for the first time.”
Petronella Lugemwa
She decided to embrace the features of her Ugandan-American culture that others might find weird—the food, language, traditions, and her closeness with her family. Now, she would use her own story to help other people celebrate their own cultural heritage.
When Petronella meets with a couple who are interested in working with her, she shares her life story and creates a space where they can also share their story. “Each story is unique,” she says, “and at the same time, there’s an instant recognition.”
Petronella has found that is doesn’t matter whether they are El Salvadoran, Trini, Indian or Chinese. They’ve usually encountered the same struggles, from feeling pressure to assimilate to encountering language barriers. But they also share a similar desire. They want to incorporate their culture’s cuisine and traditions into their wedding, a day of celebrating who they are. Petronella uses this opportunity to learn as much as she can about the couple so that she can capture the elements of their wedding day that make them uniquely beautiful.
She has explained to wedding venues that Nigerian families need extra time to photograph their extended families. She’s told wedding planners that the most important part of a Ugandan wedding isn’t the vows – it’s the kwanjula , or traditional ceremony of giving-away-of-the-bride. She knows how to capture the sensuality of the kompa dance at a Haitian wedding.
Being able to honor the wishes and cultural identities of her clients is important to Petronella because she is ensuring that these moments are documented in the future. By the time they get to her, some clients have spoken to multiple photographers who’ve refused to work with them.
She met with a Colombian-American man who wanted a photographer to document his proposal to his Mexican-American girlfriend in the presence of their families. But photographer after photographer told him that proposals was supposed to be intimate and that having family members around would be so distracting that it would prevent them from getting the best photos. They told him that that’s just not how engagement shoots were done. Petronella didn’t express the same reservations. Of course your family will be there, she said.
In the past, Petronella was an expert at camouflaging herself. Now she’s an expert at identifying other people who are in hiding. “I want people to be who they are in a loud and proud way. People don’t always have that opportunity,” Lugemwa says. “That’s why I do what I do.”

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