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Published by travellifedesigns, 2017-04-19 09:43:44

Travel Life Magazine - Spring 2017

Travel Life Magazine - Spring 2017

A-LISTER-WORTHY TRAVEL IN SPRING 2017
ANTIGUA
BLOOM
JOURNEY THROUGH Plus
SOUTH AFRICA
KAYAKING SPECIAL FEATURE
GREENLAND
SAILING Happy Trails - CANADA 150
CROATIA

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 1

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 2

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 3

EDITOR’S LETTER

WHERE TO FIND ME FORGET THE CLEANING, START
[email protected]
@tammycecco SPRING DREAMING!

Spring is always such a wonderful turning point in the year… as
the ground starts to thaw and the days get longer, the air is full of
promise. After March Break, which usually involves a warm-weather
destination with my family, my thoughts turn to destinations a bit
further afield.

This issue takes you all around the world and circles back to Canada.
I’ve been inspired by the trips some of our writers have taken that
one wouldn’t always think about doing, such as a long weekend that
can take you from Finland to Estonia to the Netherlands, and a sailing
trip in Croatia. I’ve added Greenland to the top of my bucket list and
someday I hope to enjoy afternoon tea in Dubai.

We are kicking off our celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial
birthday with a few ideas that will maybe take you to parts of the
country that you haven’t seen before. Tourist destinations have
gotten very creative over the last few years by establishing themed
“trails” that allow you to delve into various interests you might have,
from food, to wine, spirits and beer, to crafts and outdoor adventure.
This issue we explore Cape Breton’s artisan trail, Charlevoix, Quebec’s
flavour trail and Vancouver Island’s garden trail. You’ll also find out
how our nation’s capital is celebrating all year long.

Stay tuned for even more Canada 150 coverage in our summer issue!
And keep dreaming, I know I will…

Tammy Cecco

EDITOR IN CHIEF



CONTENTS

2 EDITOR’S LETTER 10 23 PHOTO CREDITS: 10 CASTELL SON CLARET, MALLORCA 20 SIX SENSES SAMUI 24 MICKAËL BANDASSAK 30 TARA NOLAN 34 CROISIEUROPE
FORGET CLEANING, START SPRING 20 16
24
DREAMING! 30
34
7 CONTRIBUTORS

JOURNALS
10 UNIQUE & BOUTIQUE

BLOOMIN’ MARVELLOUS HOTELS AROUND
THE WORLD THAT PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION
TO GARDENS

12 TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

FLOWER POWER: GET READY FOR SPRING
WITH FLORAL-THEMED VACATION MUST-
HAVES

14 HOT DOGS

SOME OF THE FRIENDLIEST FOLKS YOU’LL
ENCOUNTER WHEN YOU TRAVEL ARE OF THE
FOUR-LEGGED VARIETY

17 AFTERNOON TEA, MIDDLE
EASTERN STYLE

ENJOY THE TRADITION THAT MELDS BRITISH
TEA TRADITIONS WITH TRIBAL HOSPITALITY

18 BEYOND THE CASINO

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT ON YOUR NEXT
TRIP TO LAS VEGAS

SPA CORNER
20 THE SIXTH SENSE

HOW SIX SENSES SAMUI IN THAILAND
REINVIGORATES AND REJUVENATES THE BODY

AGENT’S CHOICE
23 3 COUNTRIES IN 4 DAYS

JUDY BYRNE, VIP CORPORATE TRAVEL
SPECIALIST WITH ITRAVEL2000, EXPLAINS
WHAT TO DO WITH A QUICK JAUNT OVERSEAS

THE FOODIE FILES
24 FIRE WORKS

A FEW CANADIAN RESTAURANTS ARE
CREATING INNOVATIVE MENUS AROUND
WOOD-FIRE OVENS

30 HEALTHY VERSUS HEARTY

FRESH, HOMEGROWN FLAVOURS AND RICH
FOOD TRADITIONS FACTOR IN TO SPRING
CUISINE IN FRANKFURT

PAY IT FORWARD
32 ON A ROLL

WOMEN ON WHEELS, A SPECIAL PROGRAM IN
DELHI, EMPOWERS WOMEN TO BECOME TAXI
DRIVERS

34 INSIDE CRUISING
OPTIONS FOR FOODIES

DISCOVER HOW FAR CRUISE LINES HAVE
COME WITH THEIR FOOD OFFERINGS

PUNTACANA RESORT

42 CITY ESCAPES 42 ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY 46 SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM 52 DOUG WALLACE 62 THE BUTCHART GARDENS 64 ALISON KENT
46 38 HIGH SCORE

38 THE FOOD, ARTS AND CULTURE SCENE IN
52 DENVER—A.K.A. THE MILE-HIGH CITY—IS
WORTH AT LEAST A WEEKEND VISIT

ASK THE CONCIERGE
40 SONIA PAPET

THE HEAD CONCIERGE OF LE BRISTOL PARIS
SHARES HER FAVOURITE PARISIAN HAUNTS


DISCOVERIES
42 AN A-LISTER DESTINATION

BOOK A TRIP TO THE LUXURY ISLAND ENCLAVE
OF ANTIGUA

46 SETTING SAIL

THE BENEFITS OF BOOKING A PRIVATE YACHT
TO EXPLORE MARITIME CROATIA

48 3-2-1: A FLORIDA COUNTDOWN

THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITOR
COMPLEX ON THE SPACE COAST OFFERS A
GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE OF AN ASTRONAUT

52 THE SOUND OF SILENCE

KAYAKING THROUGH EAST GREENLAND’S
SCORESBY SOUND OFFERS UP PURE ARCTIC

ADVENTURE

56 THE BIG THREE

A SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNEY THROUGH
JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN AND DURBAN

OH, CANADA! - 150
61 HAPPY TRAILS

CLEVER TOURIST DESTINATIONS ARE CREATING
TRAILS THAT LEAD VISITORS THROUGH A VARIETY
OF THEMED EXPERIENCES—NATURE, FOOD AND
DRINK, ART, AND MORE

62 IN THE GROW

A TRIP AROUND VANCOUVER ISLAND REVEALS A
NUMBER OF PUBLIC GARDEN JEWELS AMIDST
OLD-GROWTH FORESTS

64 AN EPICUREAN ROUTE WITH A VIEW

TRAVEL THE CHARLEVOIX FLAVOUR TRAIL AND
TASTE THE REGION’S UNIQUE TERROIR

66 CREATIVE CLASS

A ROAD TRIP AROUND CAPE BRETON REVEALS
A PERVASIVE, CONTAGIOUS, CREATIVE SPIRIT
AMONG THE ISLAND’S RESIDENTS

68 HOT EVENTS IN THE CAPITAL

OTTAWA 2017 HAS COME UP WITH CREATIVE
PROGRAMMING TO CELEBRATE THE COUNTRY’S
SESQUICENTENNIAL BIRTHDAY

62 64

CONTRIBUTORS PUBLISHER/ Tammy Cecco
EDITOR IN CHIEF
FOR THIS ISSUE, WE ASKED SOME OF OUR CONTRIBUTORS:
Tell us about a place you’ve visited in the spring that left an aromatic SENIOR Tara Nolan
or auditory impression on you. CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

DIANA BALLON DESIGN DIRECTOR Joyce Padilla
PRODUCTION Interact Multimedia Group
FIRE WORKS, PAGE 24 interactmg.com
@interactmg
Diana Ballon has written on travel and/or
health for a variety of Canadian publications, Gregory Alexander
including Best Health, Dreamscapes,
ParentsCanada and WestJet Magazine. CONTRIBUTORS Gurdeep Ahluwalia
Although Diana didn’t travel much as a Diana Ballon
Photo by Eric Fletcher child, she got the travel bug in her early Judy Byrne
twenties, and has been on the move ever Martha Chapman
since. She now enjoys travelling with her Eric Fletcher
own kids and watching as the borders of Katharine Fletcher
their worlds expand, along with their exposure to new cultures and experiences. Waheeda Harris
Alison Kent
“I recall a spring trek I did to Annapurna base camp in the Nepalese Himalayas in the late Tara Nolan
1980s. I remember cresting the top of a hill and being flooded with the sights and honey- Jessica Padykula
like smell of beautiful pink rhododendron forests spread out before me, as far as the eye Chris Ryall
could see.” Diane Slawych
Nathalie Tanious
KATHARINE Doug Wallace
FLETCHER
ADVERTISING, [email protected]
6 HOT EVENTS IN THE CAPITAL, PAGE 68 SPONSORSHIP, Tel: 416.805.5159
OPPORTUNITIES
Katharine Fletcher is a writer, author & EVENT COVERAGE
and visual artist who lives at Spiritwood,
her farm backing onto the wilderness SUBSCRIPTIONS
sector of Gatineau Park, Quebec. An
outdoorswoman, Katharine is happiest Travel Life is published every quarter by
in the wild, whether it’s horseback D.M.E. and is independently owned.
riding in Canada’s rugged backcountry
or snorkelling Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. However, she’s equally at home in Opinions expressed in Travel Life are those of the
urban landscapes, where she reveals what she calls “the unusual in the usual”—like authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of
the gigantic fire-breathing dragon of La Machine, which will wow spectators this July the publisher or advertisers. Travel Life does not
during Ottawa’s 150th birthday celebrations.
assume liability for content.
“Come the first brave days of spring, I love exploring Gatineau Park’s trails to breathe
deeply of that glorious damp-earth fragrance while the forest floor emerges from its snowy All rights reserved. Re-production in whole or in part
blanket. I often lead guided walks here, where I enjoy revealing the delicate ephemeral without permission is prohibited. For re-production
wildflowers, such as Dutchman’s Breeches, Spring Beauties and many trilliums, which
gracefully bow their heads, nodding in spring’s gentle breezes.” request send an email to [email protected]

TARA NOLAN

HEALTHY VERSUS HEARTY, PAGE 30
HIGH SCORE, PAGE 38
IN THE GROW, PAGE 62
CREATIVE CLASS, PAGE 66

Tara Nolan is freelance writer, editor and
author who loves to weave her passion for
cycling and mountain biking, gardening,
soft adventure and creative pursuits into
interesting travel narratives for a variety
of publications. Her work has appeared
in The Guardian, Ensemble Vacations, Canadian Cycling and Design*Sponge, among
others. Tara has also written for Tourism Toronto’s Toronto magazine and is one of
Tourism Hamilton’s #MyHamilton bloggers (she’s The Outdoor Explorer).

“A few years ago, I visited the Keukenhof, a spring-flowering-bulb-filled garden in Lisse,
Netherlands. Besides the fields of tulips and daffodils, and other amazing blooms,
I remember the sounds. There was this giant, amazing, colourful organ, called De Adriaen,
playing tunes near the front entrance.”

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 8

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UNIQUE & BOUTIQUE Our latest Unique & Boutique
HOTELS WITH GARDENS column takes us to hotels
around the world that pay special
Bloomin’ marvellous attention to gardens

BY MARTHA CHAPMAN

Travel is a great way to reconnect with Costa Rica
nature—and it doesn’t have to be in the wild.
We’ve found a handful of very special hotels NAYARA RESORT, SPA & GARDENS
where the gardens are outstanding and
provide the perfect excuse to get out and, as Sure, lots of hotels boast about their views, but how many can claim
they say, smell the roses. to have rooms that look out on a volcano? Gazing at Arenal Volcano
is just one of the charms of this elegant property of villas and casitas
England set in central Costa Rica amidst the teeming jungle. Rooms boast
outdoor showers and wooden terraces with hammocks overlooking
BARNSLEY HOUSE the jungle canopy. This is a hotel at one with nature. As well as its
The Cotswolds region is so quintessentially British, many environmentally friendly initiatives, hosts have thoughtfully
with its achingly beautiful villages of tawny stone provided signs naming the various plants throughout the property,
and thatched roofs, its snug pubs and its tidy farms. and staff are happy to identify the remarkable diversity of birdlife
With just 18 rooms, Barnsley House is more an elegant (and the occasional, very laid back, sloth). arenalnayara.com
country house than a hotel. The gardens, designed by
Rosemary Verey (Prince Charles was another client),
are a huge draw, lovingly cared for by head gardener
Richard Gatenby who writes a gardening blog for the
hotel’s website. Elegant meals feature produce from the
ornamental vegetable garden and the hotel has its own
classic British pub two minutes away. Barnsley House
also hosts regular lectures and events including an
annual garden festival. barnsleyhouse.com

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Newfoundland Czech Republic

FISHERS’ LOFT INN HOTEL ARIA
Steeped in a music theme, the Aria is centrally located
You don’t normally associate Newfoundland’s harsh and near the famed Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Indoors,
craggy terrain with gardens, but John and Peggy Fisher have there’s a fireplace lounge, music concierge and library
crafted a special world at their 33-room inn located a three- brimming with DVDs and CDs, an elegant restaurant and
hour drive from St. John’s. The Fishers believe in serving fresh, opulent guest rooms. But what might really win you over
delicious fare and much of it comes from their acre of kitchen is its location adjacent to the Vrtba Garden, Prague’s oldest
gardens and the greenhouse. Guests of the inn, which dates Baroque garden and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
back 20 years, and features traditional architecture of the The garden is open to the public during the day, but only
region and handcrafted comfy furniture, are welcome to to Hotel Aria guests (from the hotel’s private entrance) in
stroll the meandering gardens as they admire the seascape the evening. (A member of the Library Hotel Collection.)
of Trinity Bay below. Come summer, wildflowers and berries ariahotel.net
sprinkle colour into the landscape and at night the stars steal
the show. fishersloft.com Mallorca

CASTELL SON CLARET
For a hotel to produce its own perfume, you know
the gardens must be special indeed. The Castell Son
Claret, housed in seven heritage buildings in the
countryside of the Spanish island of Mallorca in the
Mediterranean, delivers in spades. The garden doesn’t
just grow an abundance of flowers. The grounds feature
almond and orange trees, and 200-year-old olive trees.
Accommodation in the hotel, which dates back to a castle
from 1450, includes suites right in the gardens. Facilities
include a spa—massages in the garden are available—a
Michelin-starred restaurant and a bar located in the former
chapel. (A member of The Leading Hotels of the World.)
castellsonclaret.com

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Flower PowerFLORALGEAR
Get ready for spring with floral-themed
vacation must-haves

BY JESSICA PADYKULA

Playfully chic passport covers

Dress up your passport for your next adventure with a spring-themed
floral cover designed to hold your passport, customs card and
baggage claim ticket in style. Both the Shadow and Vday Floral
Passport Covers make it easy to stay organized at the airport while
adding a cheerful splash of colour to accessories.
Price: $18
Available at: Select Indigo locations and chapters.indigo.ca

Spring-ready sunnies

Switch up your sunglasses style just in time for a spring vacation
with a pair of eye-catching Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses from the
Flowers Lace collection. The pretty pink hue, detailed floral motif on
the arms and twinkling Swarovski crystal accents give these glasses

a serious splash of spring-ready glamour.
Price: $589

Available at: neimanmarcus.com

Fun and floral flip flops

Flip flops need not be boring, or strictly for pool or beachside use. The Tory Burch
Blossom Jelly Thong Sandal is both durable and waterproof, but the elegant
silhouette make this pair a go-anywhere option. The addition of an intricate
floral design, wherein each petal is moulded and stacked by hand, makes these
flip flops especially primed for showing off beyond the sand.
Price: $163
Available at: toryburch.com

Durable iPhone protection

Accidents happen, but the last thing you want on vacation is a cracked phone
screen (or worse). Ensure your iPhone stays intact with an ultra-durable case
that protects against scratches, bumps and drops. The Otterbox Symmetry
Series comes in several fun patterns, but it’s the floral motif that’s particularly
perfect for spring.
Price: $52
Available at: otterbox.com

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
FLORAL GEAR

A pretty and practical travel pillow

Travel pillows can be tricky. Some do a great job helping you get some
in-flight shuteye, while others make it near impossible to find a comfortable
sleeping position. The Cabeau Evolution Pillow is made of soft but stable
memory foam and has a unique ergonomic design that offers 360-degree
head and neck support, meaning your head
comfortably stays in place while you snooze.
Price: $52
Available at: cabeau.com

Flirty, floral carryall

Keep all your travel necessities close by with a
sturdy yet stylish satchel courtesy of Guess. The

dome-shaped satchel is awash with dreamy
pastel flowers giving it a feminine, flirty look—

perfect for a new season.
Price: $180

Available at: guess.ca

Go-anywhere spring sneakers Sleeveless spring dress

Put some spring in your step with a simple yet stylish pair of floral kicks A versatile sundress is a vacation essential and
that pair perfectly with everything from jeans to shorts. These Tommy this blue and white floral print sleeveless style
Hilfiger Floral Sneakers are just bold enough to accent a neutral outfit makes it easy to switch things up depending on
without stealing the show.
Price: $104 what you’re doing. Pair with neutral flats,
Available at: Select retail locations, tommy.com for a more casual daytime look, or add a belt

and stacked-heel sandals to easily
dress things up at night.
Price: $167

Available at: Select retail locations
and nautica.com

Vintage-inspired sleep mask

Block out cabin light and improve your chances of sleeping
during your next flight with a handmade floral print sleep
mask. This comfortably soft cotton mask with vintage-inspired
design by Aren’t You Fancy! Handmade Accessories is as
functional as it is fashionable.
Price: $15
Available at: etsy.com

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JOURNALS HOT
DOGS
DOG-FRIENDLY TRAVEL
SOME OF THE FRIENDLIEST
MARC AT FAIRMONT CHATEAU LAKE LOUISE FOLKS YOU’LL ENCOUNTER
PARKER THE ONE-EYED PUG AT PARK HYATT CHICAGO WHEN YOU TRAVEL ARE OF
THE FOUR-LEGGED VARIETY…
TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 14
BY MARTHA CHAPMAN

Ah, Thailand. The exotic cuisine. The idyllic beaches.
The Jack Russell terriers.

Okay, one Jack Russell terrier in particular. His name
is Jack, the much-loved ambassador for the Paresa
Resort Phuket. Jack not only greets guests and
inspects the gardens, he has tested many of the hotel’s
adventure outings. And guests don’t only show their
appreciation with friendly pats and ear rubs, Jack
now boasts an impressive collection of collars sent as
thanks from around the world.

People love their pets and other animals, so it’s no
wonder some savvy hoteliers around the world “put
on the dog” when it comes to welcoming their visitors
by actually featuring resident dogs to hang out with.

Sometimes the pet-friendly welcome starts even
before you get on the airplane. Calgary International
Airport launched their Pre-Board Pals program last
year and now have almost 40 dogs working 90-minute
“shifts” with their volunteer owners. Sharon Fast and
her golden lab Cardu report that there’s nothing like
patting a happy dog to lower your stress levels while
travelling!

Famed for their iconic hotels, Fairmont now has 16
special staffers in some of their locations around
the world. Official members of the Guest Services
team, these dogs provide tail-wagging welcomes
at The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews By-The-Sea,
New Brunswick, where Sydney is partial to a game of
Frisbee, and Mount Kenya Safari Club, where Tusker
and Grammy love showing off the 100-acre property.

BIXBY RELAXING IN THE LOBBY OF THE FAIRMONT SCOTTSDALE PRINCESS

Bello at Château Montebello is always happy to pose CARDU WITH SHARON FAST—TWO VOLUNTEERS MAKING INSTANT TRAVELLING
for a photo beside the hotel’s famous fireplace. And, CONNECTIONS AT CALGARY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. WITH YOUR PET
according to Fairmont’s Nancie Hall, Beau and Ella are,
paws-down, the most photographed subjects at Hotel JACK AT PARESA RESORT It’s like leaving a member of the
Vancouver. family behind when you travel…
so why not bring your dog along
South of the border, the Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco on vacation?
not only welcomes dogs, but if you choose to decline
housekeeping services in your room during your stay, By plane: Check well in advance
they’ll donate five dollars to a local dog rescue. At the with both your vet and the airline
Park Hyatt Chicago, you’ll have an instant friend in its regarding rules and paperwork
resident canine concierge: rescue dog Parker, the one- required. Some airlines now
eyed pug. allow small dogs in carriers to be
transported in the passenger cabin.
You can even get a hit of furry love down south. Near
Cancun, Tierra de Animales needs Saturday volunteers By car: There are some excellent
to help with animal care and MexiPaws is always websites full of tips for road trips
looking for volunteers to fly back to Canada with dogs with Rover, including cesarsway.com
destined for their forever homes. In the sunny Turks and pettravelcenter.com.
and Caicos Islands, Ocean Club Resorts has partnered
with Potcake Place, a nearby shelter that welcomes Why not do it in style? If a trip
visitors to walk the dogs. across the Atlantic is in your future,
Cunard’s RMS Queen Mary 2 will
In Switzerland, the Barry Foundation owns the transport your pup in one of their 12
legendary 300-year-old St. Bernard breeding onboard kennels for the regal sum
kennel, now with 34 dogs that regularly accompany of $800 to $1,000 US each way.
foundation staff and tourists on short hikes. Just don’t
get lost (or thirsty): those restorative brandy kegs that No matter which way you travel,
we’re used to seeing around their necks in ads were, ensure collar tags are up to date
apparently, a myth! with your name and cell number.

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 15



JOURNALS
DUBAI

Afternoon Tea,
Middle Eastern style

By Waheeda Harris

Downtown Dubai is an eye-catching, architectural spectacle. It’s like Alexandria,
hard not to be constantly gazing at the new additions to the city’s a mix of green
ever-evolving skyline. But all the buildings are dwarfed by the mega tea and mint;
skyscraper Burj Khalifa, which is also a place to add to one’s bucket Miraculous
list for a sky-high afternoon tea experience. Mandarin, a
black tea with
Completed in 2009, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest structure. lemon, orange
Located in the centre of the city adjacent to the Dubai Mall, this glass and peach;
building has offices, residential condominiums, the exclusive Armani and Earl Grey
Hotel and At.Mosphere Restaurant (atmosphereburjkhalifa.com) Chocolate, a
with its afternoon high tea. blend of the
bergamot
A popular ritual for family and friends and business meetings, classic
afternoon tea in the United Arab Emirates mixes British tea with dark
traditions with the tribal hospitality of the region’s former desert chocolate.
nomads.
The main
Leaving behind the bustle of downtown, those in need of a cuppa event doesn’t
ascend to the 122nd floor where guests are welcomed to the dissapoint—
world’s highest restaurant with an unbeatable view of the city and the food is
surrounding desert. displayed on
a three-tiered
Descending one story on a spiral staircase leads to the modern restaurant’s stand. Diners indulge in the must-have small sandwiches filled with egg salad
lounge, where quiet conversation is the soundtrack of the room and the or curried chicken, vegetarian quiche, baklava, macarons, delicate chocolate-
surrounding view a constant lodestone. Low-slung velvet chairs and benches layered pastries, warm banana cake and classic scones served with cream and
in neutral tones are spaciously laid out and staff are quick to ensure appetites jam. The chefs change the menu seasonally, but adhere to tradition with the
are quickly satiated. must-have finger sandwiches and scones.

Service begins with an aperitif of pomegranate iced tea or a glass of chilled From its high-in-the-sky perch, high tea at at At.Mosphere is a delectable way
champagne— Veuve, Krug or Dom are all on offer. The tea selection includes to spend two hours in the afternoon, a time for conversation and to reflect on
English-style black teas, Indian chai, Chinese oolong, as well as unique blends this ever-changing desert metropolis.

JOURNALS
LAS VEGAS

CLucakys7o!Beyond TheVERBENA COCKTAIL AT THE NEON BONEYARD
THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS THE MOB MUSEUM

Try something different on
your next trip to Vegas

By Diane Slawych

NEON BONEYARD

Hugely entertaining nightly shows and gambling First Friday features more than a dozen live FIRST FRIDAY
tables draw the crowds to Las Vegas, but Sin City has bands and DJs, about 70 vendors selling
so much more to offer. Here are a few experiences unique crafts, art galleries that stay open
beyond the casinos. late and hold special exhibits or events, and
more than two dozen food stalls. The best
1 Lip Smacking Foodie Tours part—the event event is free! ffflv.org

Why spend hours researching the best places to eat 4 The Neon Museum 6 Sky-high yoga PHOTOS COURTESY OF LAS VEGAS NEWS BUREAU AND THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS.
in Vegas when you can join an award-winning foodie
tour? Expect VIP treatment that includes immediate The classic Vegas art form, the neon sign, is the Yoga practice in Vegas is reaching new heights—
seating, greetings from the chef, cocktails prepared star attraction here. Stop in at the La Concha Motel literally. Now you can do your next “Sun Salutation”
tableside and a parade of signature dishes (three Visitors Center lobby, which is a former motel, from a glass-enclosed cabin on the High Roller
to four at every restaurant). You’ll also get a guided then join an hour-long guided tour that ventures Observation Wheel on the LINQ Promenade.
walking tour between stops, with insider information outside into the Neon Boneyard, which features Reaching up to 550 feet above the ground during
on Vegas and sights along the way. vegasfoodietour.com more than 200 signs. Some of the signs have been the hour-long session, the wheel will make two full
restored and are considered to be public art pieces, revolutions allowing plenty of time to take in the
2 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area including Binion’s Horseshoe and The Silver Slipper. expansive views of Las Vegas and the Strip.
neonmuseum.org caesars.com/linq
It seems worlds away from the strip, yet mountains,
canyons, springs and an abundance of wildlife 5 A secret cocktail 7 The Mob Museum
await just 30 kilometres west of Las Vegas in Red
Rock Canyon. A four-hour trip with Pink Jeep Tours Pssst! Have you heard about the Verbena Cocktail Get an authentic view of the mob’s impact on Las
(pinkjeeptours.com) will take you to many of the at The Chandelier bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas history and the imprint it left on America at
highlights. redrockcanyonlv.org Vegas? It’s not on the drink menu, but those in the the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law
know ask for it by name. Before you take a sip of Enforcement, as it’s officially known. The museum
3 First Friday this refreshing and spicy lemony, ginger-infused boasts more than 600 artifacts and the broadest
margarita-like drink, first eat the Sichuan flower collection of mob memorabilia under one roof.
Time your visit to coincide with the first Friday of the garnish on top. Within seconds, your salivary Listen to real FBI surveillance tapes on real wiretapping
month if you want to take in this lively, eclectic event glands will come to life, along with a string of equipment. themobmuseum.org
and see what locals do for fun. The action happens in tingly sensations that will set your mouth abuzz!
the Arts District of Downtown Las Vegas and a typical cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 18

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 19

SPA CORNER
THAILAND

The Sixth Sense

HOW SIX SENSES SAMUI IN THAILAND REINVIGORATES
AND REJUVENATES THE BODY

BY CHRIS RYALL

PHOTO BY CHRIS RYALL

My body and mind weren’t happy. oppressive heat and humidity. With a meditation room and a steam in Thailand. I choose the scent of
The signs were evident: sleeplessness, my forehead chilled, it’s time for the room. The spa offers a range of lemongrass to be added to my
sore muscles, feeling lethargic and rest of my body to chill. aesthetic and body treatments, but is massage oil. Coconut oil is also very
being stressed out. I could hear my especially known for reiki and other popular here at the spa (there are
body imploring me: “Chris we need Six Senses operates 11 resorts and healing techniques. Sripongpunkul is approximately two million coconut
to recharge, eat healthier, shed some 28 spas in 19 countries under the both a reiki master and an expert in trees on the island).
weight and relax. What’s good for the brand names Six Senses, Evason and cosmic healing techniques.
body is good for the soul.” Six Senses Spas. Six Senses Samui My extensive collection of tight knots
is a private island retreat with 66 Thai therapists are probably the best holding my body hostage begins to
Listening intently, I decided on my luxuriously appointed villas with trained in the world and though unfurl. I feel each stroke and pressing
go-to wellness solution: a trip to many having their own plunge pool many are slight of stature, they seem of my therapist’s nimble fingers or
Thailand. The Buddhist culture, the overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The to have the strength and flexibility pointed elbows into my body. The
spicy and aromatic food, the lush entire resort is surrounded by lush of an Olympic gymnast. I am in toxins are finally being released—
countryside filled with tea and rice and natural vegetation. awe of the skill and precision with they’ve infiltrated my body for far too
plantations in the north, and the which they manipulate their hands long. The setting and atmosphere
palm-fringed, idyllic islands in the Tech out, wellness in and body. Private salas—open-air provide the perfect setting for this
south would bring a sense of balance treatment rooms—allow the fresh natural wellness prescription—no
back. Thailand’s luxurious spas, “High-touch is better than high-tech,” breezes from the Gulf of Thailand to pharmaceuticals required.
though, were at the top of my list. explained Keeran Sripongpunkul, drift in during a treatment.
Six Senses Samui’s wellness and spa Comfort in nature
Six Senses Samui, located on the manager. I couldn’t agree more. My I receive a couple of different
island of Ko Samui’s northeastern eyes and hands needed a break from treatments, from a deep-tissue Integrating Mother Nature’s finest
tip, is a short 45-minute flight from looking at tiny characters on a phone massage to a “Synergy Ritual,” that with luxurious comfort creates an
Bangkok. It became my centre for and computer. My well-being would incorporates a combination of intoxicating mix guaranteed to
well-being over the next few days. not result from anything high-tech, holistic techniques. Before each please. My spacious and airy villa
Upon arriving, a chilled face towel but rather from a technology break. treatment, a refreshing shower with its pool looks out to the Gulf of
is a welcome gesture to relieve the The spa has six indoor rooms, five is followed by a foot soak and a Thailand. This is a view I would never
effects of Thailand’s sometimes outdoor rooms, cabanas, a sauna, foot rub—a welcome tradition tire of—one I wish I could pack up

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 20

and take home with me. The plush A sense of good taste One meal featured a chicken roulade, After spending a few nights and days
but tasteful furnishings, private quail egg and white egg espuma in this tropical paradise, relaxing in
plunge pool and deck area, outdoor Six Senses believes in wellness, but (foam), toothfish, a white bean comfort, tickling my taste buds with
shower, sunken tub, thatched roof, thankfully it believes in choice, as purée, chorizo marmalade, spring exotic flavours and having my body
floor-to-ceiling glass walls and well. The menu provides an array of onion and black olive oil. Each experience the skillful and soothing
surrounding emerald green tropical items that would satisfy everyone course was complemented by a Thai touch in spa treatments, Six Senses
forest all contribute to this paradise. from vegans to seafood and meat glass of champagne and Italian and did indeed let me achieve a sixth
lovers. If you want to go on a detox Argentinean wines. Now that suits sense—the sense of bliss. It won’t be
Green with envy diet, they can accommodate that, my sense of taste. Also, I’m leery of long before I return to my senses
too. (But they won’t wag their finger vegetarian or vegan dishes, however, and visit Six Senses again. I’ll take
This paradise is also a committed at you if you desire a chicken or meat my meat-loving palate discovered high-touch over high-tech any day.
green paradise. During my visit, dish or have a Singha beer or glass of it is possible to eat healthily with no
Gary Henden, Six Senses Samui’s wine with your dinner.) taste deprivation.
general manager, lists off numerous
sustainability and environmentally The constant in all their menu items A touch of Thai For more information
friendly business and operational is the use of fresh local and organic on Six Senses Samui,
practices they employ at the resort. ingredients—many of which come It’s easy to just lay back and do visit the website:
Since opening in 1995, it has been from what they call their Farm on absolutely nothing here—especially sixsenses.com/samui
on the forefront of innovative the Hill. Organic eggs, goat’s milk when you have butler service! I did
sustainability practices and has and a variety of fruits, vegetables try during my visit to the island to For general tourist
demonstrated that commitment and herbs are grown here. You can make some headway on my health information about
with a designated vice president of even take a tour of the farm and goals by signing up for a Muay Thai Thailand, go to
sustainability position. There is also set up a private barbecue dinner. boxing class. Held outdoors in a na.tourismthailand.org
a range of waste management and Along with the farm, Six Senses sweat-inducing 35ºC heat with nearly
energy-saving programs. Six Senses also make it a point to only work 100 per cent humidity, I jumped,
has proven to me that luxury and with food suppliers that share their jabbed, punched and kicked for an
sustainability can go hand in hand. sustainability and environmental hour. Sweat was pouring off me by
food practices and vision. the glassful onto the mat below.

TOP AND BOTTOM RIGHT PHOTOS BY CHRIS RYALL; BOTTOM LEFT AND MIDDLE PHOTOS BY SIX SENSES SAMUI TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 21



AGENT’S CHOICE AGENT’S CHOICE

HANODLLEASNTDO,NFIIANLAND 3 COUNTRIES IN 4 DAYS

Judy Byrne, vip corporate travel specialist
with itravel2000, explains what to do with a
quick jaunt overseas.

Let’s say you have used up your vacation We could not resist the description in our As one of the digital leaders in Europe and It took only 10 minutes to get to the airport
days on a winter sun getaway—a week at Michelin Guide of a restaurant called Juuri: the birthplace of Skype, Tallinn blends the early the next morning. With our luggage
the cottage and a busy summer. With only “Authentic flavours, wanton passion, wild modern with the medieval, including Old checked through to Toronto, we were able
three business days left of vacation, how herbs, crazy ideas, love for artisan produce Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We to immediately hop a train downtown
can you possibly fit in a trip to Europe, let and the skill to make incredibly tasty food.” stayed at the Swissôtel Tallinn, a beautiful, when we got to Amsterdam. A relaxing
alone visit three countries in four days? That evening, we ordered a multi-course spotless hotel that afforded a great view of breakfast at a local café fueled us for a
Let me share my adventure and tell you Finnish meal of small dishes called “sapas.” the city. The staff went above and beyond sunny walk along the canals and a chance
how you can have an amazing European our expectations, recommending areas to window shop, sample some Dutch
adventure over a long weekend! The next morning we ate the breakfast that the local residents enjoy. The blend of chocolate and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
included with the hotel, left our luggage old and new was evident on our walk to
The first step in maximizing a limited stay with the concierge and headed to the have lunch at Sfaar, a restaurant boasting When we landed in Toronto, we felt like
is to choose cities that are served by the Design Museum, with its 20th century modern Nordic cuisine We came upon an our time had been well spent. Just like
same airline (or their code share partners). journey through fashion and design. outdoor market and left with bags filled the Finnish “sapas” tasting menu, we had
We chose Finland, Estonia and Holland. At Market Square, near the harbour, we with handmade mittens, gloves and big, experienced our own Nordic-travel tasting
KLM offers flights from Toronto to Helsinki mingled with locals and explored the cosy slippers. The Old Town has many menu of the modern, the medieval and
and on the return from Tallinn, we were rows of stalls overflowing with handicrafts, beautiful, gilded churches, but we opted the maritime!
able to make a connection in Amsterdam clothing and food. for the stark St. Mary’s Cathedral, with its
to Toronto. Most airlinesoffer a maximum stunning city views. From there we could
number of hours for a connection, or You can fly between Finland and Estonia, see the restaurant where I would enjoy an
even an overnight stopover, for no but we opted for a new experience on exquisite meal to celebrate my birthday—
additional cost. To get a full-day stopover board the Tallink. This is certainly not your the magnificent Leib Resto ja Aed, which
in Amsterdam, I booked the earliest flight typical ferry ride—it was like a “mini-cruise,” translates to Bread Garden Restaurant.
departing Tallinn, which which landed in with cabins and multiple dining options.
Amsterdam at 8:15 a.m. and the latest flight We shopped at the Traveller Superstore, Our last full day in Tallinn started with a few
to Toronto, which left at 5:50 p.m. This enjoyed Finnish renditions of Johnny Cash hours to relax and rejuvenate at Swissôtel’s
gave us the final European stopover on our songs at a country western bar, watched Pürovel Spa. The concierge told us we must
exciting adventure. couples ballroom dancing and stopped by see Kalamaja and the “hipster” Telliskivi. A
the casino. By 10 p.m., the ship had docked. short tram ride brought us to an area that
Upon landing in Helsinki, we hopped on a Only a handful of people disembarked with was once closed off as a Soviet border
train and walked from the station to the new us at the port of Tallinn. We later learned zone. These former factories and industrial
Hotel Lilla Roberts, a small luxury hotel that that the Finnish people book the cabins so complexes have been transformed into
put us in walking distance of central Helsinki. they can party all night on the ship. unique cafés, bars and galleries.

AFJUDRVODICMYE • Book your restaurant reservations before you leave home. ! LOOKING TO PLAN A GROUP GETAWAY?
• B uy a Tallinn Card, a great entrance into museums and for Give Judy a call at (905)267-4552 or email
transportation. her at [email protected]
• Stay at a centrally located hotel with a spa that includes TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 23
breakfast.
• Take advantage of the maximum connecting time to enjoy
the country you’re visiting.

THE FOODIE FILES Acclaimed chefs at restaurants across the country are literally
COOKING WITH FIRE playing with fire. This is not so much a new trend as it is an
old tradition. Inspired by the mystique, the romance and the
FireWorks warmth of open flames, chefs are casting aside traditional gas
A FEW CANADIAN RESTAURANTS ARE CREATING and electrical appliances for solid fuel cooking.
INNOVATIVE MENUS AROUND WOOD-FIRE OVENS
BY DIANA BALLON Here are four Canadian chefs who are going back to their roots
to produce innovative cuisine using locally sourced ingredients.
Each uses his or her own brand of creativity and passion to
produce memorable meals over the elegance of an open fire.

Mark Perrier’s restaurant Savio Volpe, located SAVIO VOLPE
in the up-and-coming Fraserhood district saviovolpe.com
of Vancouver, is styled after a classic Italian 615 Kingsway
osteria and serves what Perrier describes as Vancouver, B.C.
uncomplicated rustic Italian fare.
PHOTO BY KNAUF AND BROWN
Perrier relies on the quality and flavour of
seasonal ingredients, rather than fussy technique PHOTO BY KNAUF AND BROWN
or flashy plating, to create simple dishes, like
four-week, dry-aged B.C. beef, whole spit roast
suckling pig, wild boar chops and charred
octopus–all cooked over the wood-burning grill.
Almost every dish has in some way been touched
by the live fire and smoke of the wood grills, says
Perrier, even their pastas. For example, onions are
sometimes buried in the coals overnight to roast
and caramelize, and are then puréed, mixed with
potato and used to stuff ravioli.

The restaurant’s open-fire grill and rotisserie,
fueled exclusively by 100 per cent Okanagan
apple wood, sit at the centre of the open kitchen.

“We wanted to made sure you could see the fire
no matter where you are sitting, blurring the lines
between the dining room and the kitchen,” says
Perrier. This way, guests could enjoy the warmth
and glow of the fire, and relax, “like they are at a
friend’s house,” he says.

Perrier has fond memories of smelling wood
smoke and the elemental quality of cooking over
a fire.

“I grew up camping, hunting and fishing in the
interior of B.C. and spent a lot of time cooking
over and enjoying campfires,” Perrier says. He also
recalls a memorable meal at Chez Panisse in San
Francisco many years ago where much of the
menu was cooked over a wood fire.

Since then, he had longed to recreate the same
feeling of warmth and nostalgia. By all accounts,
he’s succeeded.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 24



BACKHOUSE
backhouse.xyz
242 Mary Street
Niagara-on-the-
Lake, Ont.

PHOTOS BY STEVEN ELPHIC

Sommelier and chef Ryan Crawford and wood to fuel their fires. This is all part of Crawford now uses his wood-fired oven
his wife Beverley Hotchkiss had a unique their “integrated, cool, climate cuisine,” to do everything from baking his own
vision when they opened their restaurant says Crawford. Kitchen staff not only sourdough bread, to cooking larger cuts
Backhouse in a strip mall located a work with what is available nearby, they of meats and vegetables, hot smoking
kilometre off from the main street of help out on the farm, whether digging hams from a local pig farm, and cold-
Niagara-on-the-Lake. up potatoes, or planting, weeding or smoking Kolapore Springs trout caviar in
picking up rocks. the oven’s hood.
“There is no divide, no wall between the
kitchen and dining room,” says Crawford. Crawford and Hotchkiss also use root
The back of the house is part of the front. cellar storage, as well as pickling,
Guests are even invited to move between preserving, fermenting and other
the two—they’re asked to come back storage techniques to be able to use
and roast their own marshmallows on local produce throughout the entire
the wood fire to conclude their dining year, even in cold weather.
experience.
“We started the winter with about
Stepping inside this intimate, 65-seat 1,500 pounds of squash, 600 pounds of
restaurant, guests are immediately potatoes and 500 pounds of onions in
plunged into its warm interior, which is our root cellar,” says Crawford.
dominated by an antique-style wood fire
oven and grill set back only slightly from a The buzzword here is sustainability.
wrap-around chef’s counter. Crawford attributes his interest in open-
fire cooking to enjoying the “simplistic
The restaurant uses all local ingredients, approach” of cooking in a fireplace that
much of them from the couple’s three- he experienced when apprenticing for
acre farm and uses mostly Niagara peach renowned chef Michael Stadtländer.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 26

FOXY
foxy.restaurant
1638 Rue Notre-
Dame West
Montreal, Que.

PHOTO BY MICKAËL BANDASSAK

Foxy Restaurant, in Montreal’s up-and- cooking that way,” the smokiness you smell have a shelf inside the wood oven that mimics
coming Griffintown, is now one of the hot even before you enter and the joy of stoking a salamander: the hottest part of the oven,
new restaurants in the city, and the latest a fire. “I had had experience on a grill before, it’s ideal for charring the outside of roasted
undertaking from Olive & Gourmando but never a wood-fired oven,” she says. “You’re Brussels sprouts or finishing a chicken to
principals Dylan Solomon and Eric Girard. always watching the fire. It’s your companion. bring out its crispiness. And sometimes food
I’d never go back to cooking without it.” is cooked right in the coals, whether that’s to
Here you can expect that everything you eat caramelize onions, roast mushrooms for a pizza
will have been cooked with fire—whether it’s The wood-fired oven at Foxy is used to cook or char a blue steak.
been in in their wood-fired oven or barbecued everything from roasted chicken to baked
on a grill. “It’s all we do,” says chef Leigh Roper, shellfish, flatbreads and pita breads, and “We do very few traditional stock-based sauces.
formerly of Vin Papillon. pizzas, while the grill is perfect for items, like The kitchen’s not built for that,” she says,
steak, sea bass—cooked skin side down so referencing its open concept and location at
Roper says she was really attracted to the it comes out nice and crispy—grilled Arctic the centre of the restaurant.
flavour an open fire creates, “the romance of char and quail, says Roper. She says they also

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 27

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 28

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 29

THE FOODIE FILES
FRANKFURT

HEALTHY
VERSUS
HEARTY

Fresh, homegrown flavours and
rich food traditions factor in to
spring cuisine in Frankfurt

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY
TARA NOLAN

FRESH HERBS TO MAKE “GREEN SAUCE” AT THE KLEINMARKTHALLE

he sun is shining, the birds are singing and despite my jetlagged

T haze, I decide to walk back to my hotel from the Palmengarten, a
botanical garden in Frankfurt. I take a look at my paper map and
choose a route that soon leads me past a strawberry stand. I inhale

the sweet scent of freshly picked berries. It won’t be strawberry

season at home for another month and a half, but here, May yields seasonal

produce, like strawberries, fresh herbs and asparagus, much sooner.

Frankfurt is known as a financial hub (the European Central Bank is here) and is THE KONSTABLERWACHE FARMERS’ MARKET
often merely a stopover en route somewhere else via its busy international airport.
Much of the city’s architecture is fairly new—historic buildings can’t be found at
every turn as they are in other European cities because much of Frankfurt had
to be rebuilt after the Second World War. But what you will discover, and what
surprised me, is a very green city—both in its green spaces and its dedication to
sustainability. And if you’re looking for some history, you’ll be able to uncover bits
of it by eating and drinking.

The next morning, I meet my local tour guide, Mikael Horstmann (grandtourfrankfurt.de),
at my hotel—the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof (en.steigenberger.com)—and we head
out on foot. We stroll past Goethe Haus, where the famous German writer was born
and which is now a museum celebrating the era of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This
area with its shops, cafés and bakeries, is considered part of the Old Town that had to be
rebuilt. We duck into a couple of bakeries selling traditional goodies, including marzipan
ladybugs and frankfurter kranz, a ringed sponge cake covered with buttercream icing
and nuts. Horstmann buys us a bag of bethmännchen—a type of marzipan pastry that
also includes rosewater, flour and eggs—to munch on as we walk.

We head to the Zeil, a popular shopping promenade with retail chains and stop for tea
at Ronnefeldt (ronnefeldt.com), a tea company that’s been around since 1823. Next,
we come across the Konstablerwache Farmers’ Market that is open every Thursday and
Saturday. It’s unlike any market I’ve been to in that locals not only come to buy their fresh
produce for the week, they also socialize, perhaps over a glass of beer or apple wine.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 30 MARZIPAN TREATS

THE BREAD BASKET TRADITION AT DAHEIM IM LORSBACHER THAL

A FOOD TRUCK OWNER SERVING HANDKÄSE guide. I sample handkäse—one of Horstmann’s favourites—a sour
milk cheese topped with caraway seeds that is popular in this region
I ask what Maibowle is—I’m starting to see the word in multiple of Germany. It’s got that rank, stinky cheese flavour that’s reminiscent
places. Horstmann tells me it’s May wine, a beverage served in of other varieties that is somehow both bad and good. And then I
the springtime that is flavoured by the sweet woodruff herb. can’t leave without tasting two types of sauerkraut that accompany a
Herbs figure into much of what I eat in Frankfurt. At Das Eis, German interpretation of döner kebab meat that tastes like peameal
I savour two of the most interesting flavours of gelato I’ve ever
tried: pineapple and parsley, and raspberry with beetroot bacon. Frankfurt tries its best to avoid
and ginger. garbage and I’m impressed by the
fact that at this party, beverages are
Then, in Kleinmarkthalle, I discover the ingredients of the served in glasses instead of to-go cups
ubiquitous green sauce that shows up on every menu I look at and all the containers and utensils are
during my trip. This indoor market hall was the first to be built in biodegradable.
Germany in 1879, but had to be rebuilt. Outside, a mosaic of a
phoenix symbolizes the building coming out of the ashes after At Apfelweinhandlung
the war. Horstmann also points out the only wooden building (facebook.com/janusbecker), I’m
to survive the war in the Old Town. introduced to apfelwein or apple
wine, another beverage that is greatly
We head towards the Eiserner Stag (aka the Padlock Bridge) enjoyed in this area. Owner Janus
that crosses the river Main. Every other Saturday there is a Becker sells his own brand of wine (JB)
flea market along the banks on this side. We walk towards the here and others that he enjoys and
Brückenstraßenviertel neighbourhood and end up at Markt im selects from the region.
Hof (marktimhof.de), which seems to be a hidden food truck
party—I’m not certain I would have found it without my trusty At dinner hour, I get to experience two
restaurants famous for their apfelwein.
At Proletariat Schreiber-Heyne
(apfelweinwirtschaft-proletariat.de),
Horstmann says I have to sample a
frankfurter with my hands, which are
the utensils it was meant to be eaten
with. I dip it in mustard and enjoy it alongside a plate of handkäse and two other cheeses.
My apfelwein comes in traditional glasses with a raised diamond pattern on the sides, which
Horstmann explains was invented back in the day to maintain a good grip after eating greasy
frankfurters.

Daheim im Lorsbacher Thal (lorsbacher-thal.de), our second destination, has been around since

1803. When it first opened, patrons would bring their own food here to eat while they drank

SAUERKRAUT AND DÖNER KEBAB the apfelwein. They could also soak up the alcohol with bread sold by a merchant that would

come in with a basket—a quaint tradition that is carried on today. Nowadays, however, there

is a full menu. Here I get to try the green sauce that is made up of

HORSTMANN’S RESTAURANT RECOS a medley of minced herbs, as well as fresh asparagus (in Europe,
I discover Horstmann is a real foodie who revels in the white asparagus rules).
history of Frankfurt’s food scene, but also loves the modern
interpretations of traditional dishes that you’ll discover in Frankfurt was a brief layover on my way to other parts of Germany,
new restaurants. Here are three of his current favourites: but I’m glad I had the opportunity to savour some of its traditions—
• Aber: aber-frankfurt.de both social and cultural—through food.
• Höchster Genussschmiede: hoechstergenussschmiede.de
• Heimat: heimat-frankfurt.com

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 31

PAY IT FORWARD
WOMEN ON WHEELS

ON A ROLLAspecialprogram PHOTOS BY G ADVENTURES

empowers women to The Planeterra Foundation (planeterra.org), G Adventures’
non-profit, charitable organization, has worked with the Azad
Fbecome taxi drivers Foundation in Delhi since 2014 as the first tour operator to
and provide reliable lying into the Indira Gandhi International contract the program that helps women to train and become
Airport in Delhi, India’s busiest airport, can commercial drivers in the male-dominated world of taxi drivers.
be daunting to even the most seasoned
traveller. And stepping out into that arrivals Women are one of the focuses of the Planeterra Foundation
area to find transportation can also be pretty and have been identified as a real power within the tourism
industry—they make up half of the workforce worldwide.
overwhelming.
The foundation, through the support of G Adventures travellers,
transportation from a For travellers who choose airport transfers when booking a has provided funding for a third of the Women on Wheels fleet
busy airport G Adventures journey in this part of India, they’re not only as well as money for the program’s training. Women who are
getting a reliable ride to their accommodation, they are making part of the program are definitely making a major change in
By Waheeda Harris a difference to local women entrepreneurs via Women on Wheels. their lives by choosing a non-traditional job.

When I arrived in the wee hours in Delhi, I was relieved I had The women are set up for success in several ways. During the
reserved an airport transfer and was happy to bypass the eight to 10 months of training, participants enrolled in the
endless line of drivers shouting for my attention and head program learn how to drive and obtain a license, which isn’t
towards a G Adventures sign. common among women in the lower stratas of Indian society.
Classes include learning skills like map reading, self-defense,
TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 32 After being promptly delivered to first aid, communications, business skills from opening a bank
my driver, I was pleasantly surprised account to managing their money, and knowing their rights
to have a woman navigating as women.
the early-morning traffic of large
trucks and delivery vans. I tried Women on Wheels now has a fleet of 15 vehicles, with 92
to remember the last time I had drivers that are a part of the program. In the past two years,
a female driver in other cities I 3,000 travellers have used this airport transfer service that gives
had visited in previous months. weary travellers a reliable ride to their final destination.
The driver had already made an
impression on me, but I soon
learned how much this airport
transfer had made a difference to
her through Women on Wheels.

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 33

INSIDE CRUISING CrIuNiSsIiDngE NathalieTanious, vice-president, FIT and Cruises
for Travel Brands (parent company of Encore
OPTIONS FOR FOODIES Cruises), talks about how far cruise lines have
come with their food offerings.

W ith all the amazing restaurants, celebrity chef menus and PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL CARIBBEAN
culinary experiences on board today’s ships, it’s easy to forget
that it wasn’t long ago that most cruise ship passengers
congregated in the main dining room at a set time.

In the last five years, with all the new ships coming into the
market, on top of upping the ante on their programming,
cruise lines have dramatically overhauled their dining options.

Flexibility is very big for consumers, especially repeat clients.
We live in a very scheduled world, from when our alarm
rings in the morning until the time we go to sleep at night.
Most ships now don’t require you to eat at set times—their
restaurants allow the passenger to set their dinner hour.
When we’re on vacation, it’s nice to lose some of that structure
and see where the day takes us.

Innovations run the gamut from new technology to the types
of restaurants and dining experiences on offer. High-tech
examples include Royal Caribbean’s robotic arms that pour
you drinks at the bar and Norwegian Cruise Lines allowing
guests to order meals with an iPad.

Among the first to offer à la carte options were Norwegian
Cruise Lines, as well as Silversea Cruises, which has always
been renowned for its gastronomy. It features a bespoke
French menu for La Dame by Relaix & Châteaux.

It’s fair to say that all the cruise lines have created some pretty PHOTO COURTESY OF CELEBRITY CRUISES
unique dining experiences. They also go after top talent to PHOTO COURTESY OF CROISIEUROPE
create inventive menus that will lure even the most discerning
foodies on board. Holland America Line has established a
“Culinary Council” of six celebrity chefs to reinvigorate their
menus. If you’re comfortable with your own kitchen prowess,
Celebrity Cruises offers a Top Chef at Sea program based on
the popular television show. And AmaWaterways boasts an
induction into La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a
prestigious, international gastronomy designation.

You’ll also find some familiar celeb names on various cruise Speaking of main dining room, those big rooms still exist. To book your next cruise
ships. Aussie chef Curtis Stone recently opened Share, his first People love them and the food is still excellent. But it’s nice and pre or post tour, call
restaurant at sea on Princess Cruises. Jamie Oliver has created to have options and the aforementioned flexibility when a cruise professional at
an Italian menu for Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. travelling. Many of the à la carte restaurants are included in
And Carnival Cruise Line enlisted Guy Fieri to come up with your cruise package, but others will charge a cover of maybe 1.855.297.4400
the perfect burger. $10 to $25 per person.

For dessert lovers, MSC Yacht Club has an in-house pastry It’s hard to pick a favourite among all of these choices because
chef and Princess features a Chocolate Journeys program by I think they all have their own cachet. And I love to eat!
Norman Love, whose work has appeared in InStyle magazine
and Martha Stewart Living.

For the super health conscious who don’t want to stray
from their regular diet while on vacation, most cruise lines
offer a healthy menu, even in the main dining room. Avalon
Waterways hired the Wrenkh brothers, who are are popular
in Europe, to create a healthy, innovative and delicious menu
that will include gluten-free options.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 34

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TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 37

CITY ESCAPES PHOTO BY DENVER UNION STATION
DENVER
HIGH SCORE
The food, arts and culture scene in Denver—a.k.a. the Mile-High City—is worth a weekend visit
BY TARA NOLAN

DENVER UNION STATION

“I hope we’re staying close to here,” I say to my husband as we turn a corner in downtown Denver and inch our rental car past what looks to
be a vibrant hub of activity. It’s a warm, sunny day and you can feel the energy emanating from this particular block. After glancing at the

map, we discover this is Denver Union Station and pull over because it is indeed where we will be spending our first night.
This renovated train station, which helped consolidate transit lines and established a bustling collection of shops and restaurants, seems
to have become the beating heart of downtown Denver. This is just part of the charm of Colorado’s capital, often merely a stopover on the
way to the Rocky Mountains. But after we leave the car with the valet, ditch our bags and head out to stroll around the Mile-High City, we

determine it’s worth sticking around to explore for at least a couple of days.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 38

PHOTOS BY TARA NOLAN STAY The Crawford Hotel’s (thecrawfordhotel.com)
lobby is essentially the main floor of Denver Union
Station, with its front desk on one side and elevators
leading to the rooms with their spacious, modern 70s
vibe on the other.

Moving to a different hotel for our second night—the
JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek (jwmarriottdenver.com)
—allowed us to explore the Cherry Creek neighbour-
hood with its eclectic shops, restaurants and little
galleries along quaint, colourful streets.

INSIDE DENVER UNION STATION

DENVER BOTANIC GARDEN

MUSICIANS BATHED IN GREEN LIGHT AT FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK EAT Starving after an early morning flight, we
dropped our bags at the hotel that first day and head-
RELAX Even if you’re not staying overnight, DENVER B-CYCLES WAITING TO BE RIDDEN ed across the street to Machete Tequila + Tacos
venture into the middle of Denver Union Station (machetedenver.com) for a quick, cheap and cheerful
(unionstationindenver.com) where you can get a PLAY Our weekend coincided with a meal. There are lots of great restaurants surrounding
great vantage point of the building from the comfy few events, including the First Friday Union Station and in walking distance, including the
couches. Conceptualized by Dana Crawford, a Art Walk in the Art District on Santa Fe city’s oldest and most historic block Larimer Square
developer known for transforming derelict spaces, it (artdistrictonsantafe.com). We wandered (larimersquare.com ) and around 16th Street Mall, a
is referred to as Denver’s Living Room and is ringed among a throng of people sauntering into busy pedestrian thoroughfare.
by shops and restaurants. galleries and lining up for food trucks.
Mercantile Dining & Provision (mercantiledenver.com)
I fell in love with the comfy vibe of Tattered Cover Another walk revealed small shops and —in the station—was a favourite breakfast spot.
(tatteredcover.com), an indie bookstore in walking outdoor gear behemoth REI near Confluence It offers a really nice selection of preserves, pastries,
distance from Union Station (there also happens to Park where we watched a few girls with inner cheese and charcuterie—perfect for stocking a picnic
be a much smaller version in the station). tubes float down the river, squealing as they basket. Union Station Farmers’Market is also a great
were splashed and sucked into the odd place to grab in-season produce and other artisanal
From our hotel in Cherry Creek, we walked to a rushing whirlpool. There is a lovely path that treats on Saturday mornings.
Denver B-cycle (denver.bcycle.com) bike stand runs along both sides of the river—perfect
and pedalled to Denver Botanic Gardens for a bike ride. We made sure not to let our coupons (issued by the
(botanicgardens.org)—there’s a convenient hotel) for a free scoop from Milkbox Ice Creamery
B-cycle depot out front. This urban oasis bordered (milkboxicecream.com) go to waste. Our sweet tooth
by apartment buildings and stately old homes is also led us intoWhatever Pops Up (whateverpopsup.com)
a great place to spend an afternoon gathering on Larimer Street for caramel corn (I highly recom-
garden ideas and learning about plants. Hive mend sopapilla—caramel with cinnamon and honey,
Garden Bistro offered a shady patio where we dusted with powdered sugar).
rehydrated with fancy lemonades.
TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 39

ASK THE CONCIERGE
SONIA PAPET

ASK THE CONCIERGE: SONIA PAPET

BY CHRIS RYALL

the head concierege of A memorable
Le Bristol Paris SHARES HER guest request
FAVOURITE PARISIAN HAUNTs
SP: One of the most
Sonia Papet knows Paris. It’s not only her job as head concierge for the memorable is we
elegant, five-star grand hotel Le Bristol Paris, but her passion, as well. arranged for this girl to
have a Cinderella-style
Papet made a name for herself in July 2014 amongst the concierge surprise birthday. A
community when she was appointed as the first female head concierge at beautiful carriage with
a luxury Paris hotel (she’s worked in various hotel departments around the horses made its way to Le
world). She broke Paris’ gender barrier even though this is where the first Bristol’s grand entrance
professional organization of concierges began way back in 1929 amongst and surprised the girl. We
11 Paris grand hotels. had a birthday cake made
for her, which she loved. It
Le Bristol Paris is a historic hotel dating back to 1925 with 188 elegantly was so touching to see the
appointed rooms and suites, decorated in 18th century Parisian style, and smile and excitement of
award-winning restaurants. the girl with all the special
arrangements that were
Papet is at the centre of this luxurious bastion handling the guests’ most
routine, unusual and demanding requests. made for her birthday.

GETTING THE PARIS SCOOP
FROM HEAD CONCIERGE
SONIA PAPET

Paris has the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, les Champs-Élysées and so many other
popular attractions, but Papet gives the scoop on some of the lesser-known
places to eat, drink and be romantic.

HIDDEN GEMS

• Musée de la Vie Romantique: Located in the charming and romantic

neighbourhood of New Athens, the museum features permanent and
special exhibitions, a garden, a tea room, a residence and artist workshops.
vie-romantique.paris.fr/fr

• Le Palais Royale: Even though it’s situated across from the Louvre,

many tourists miss this grand palace that dates back to 1634. It is the
perfect place to take a romantic stroll through the courtyard and gardens.
Join other Parisians and have a bite to eat at Le Grand Véfour restaurant.
domaine-palais-royal.fr/en/

• Take a Seine river cruise: Papet has organized many guests to take a

private river cruise along the Seine in a small wooden boat.
river-limousine.com

• Palais Garnier: This ornate, 18th century building now houses the ballet

and is the centre of pomp and ceremony with its grand foyer, staircase and
massive chandeliers. Papet recommends taking the private VIP backstage
tour. operadeparis.fr/en

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 40

Dining, Parisian-style Paris cuisine trends

Allard: A gourmet Paris institution for more than 80 years, Allard is now Papet says the big cuisine trend right now in Paris is young chefs opening intimate
run by famed Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse. Located in the traditional and more simply designed restaurants with prix fix menus. Papillon, Noglu and
Parisian neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this French bistro Clover Grill are examples of this. The other trend is the fusion of Japanese and French
is known for its Burgundy-inspired dishes from fondant beef cheek cuisines with Japanese chefs opening up restaurants like Atsushitanaka.
and roasted Bresse chicken to Challans duck and snails in their shells.
restaurant-allard.fr/

Epicure: Papet would of course recommend her own hotel’s famous
rrestaurant, Epicure, and for good reason. It is led by Michelin-star chef Eric
Frechon, known for his French terroir-focused dishes with some unusual
ingredients added to the mix (i.e. macaroni stuffed with black truffles).
If the weather allows, ask to be seated in the courtyard.
lebristolparis.com/fr/gastronomie/epicure/

Le Jules Verne: Papet says you should experience this at least once on any
visit to Paris. Located on the second floor in the heart of the Eiffel Tower,
Le Jules Verne is regarded as one of the best restaurants in Paris. The menu
reflects contemporary French cuisine and represents the dream of famed
chef Alain Ducasse. lejulesverne-paris.com/en

Caves Legrand: Get a taste of Paris by visiting this multi-generational wine
cellar, gourmet food shop and restaurant that features local wines in a
very traditional Paris setting. Many locals make it a habit to come here and
Papet recommends visiting for lunch and then doing a wine and cheese
tasting. caves-legrand.com

Cafés and croissants

Caffé Stern: Located in a former letterpress shop from 1834, this Italian-
influenced café is owned by a fourth-generation Veronese coffee roaster
and another family. And it’s a local hotspot. alajmo.it

La Pâtisserie des Rêves: No visit to Paris would be complete without a visit
to a Parisian patisserie. Papet suggests stopping by to choose from a range
of melt-in-your-mouth croissants and other pastry delights from galettes to
their famous Mont Blanc. lapatisseriedesreves.com

THE BEST VIEW AND PHOTO
OPS OF THE EIFFEL TOWER

If you want to get the best shot of the Eiffel Tower or have it in the
background with you and your favourite loved one in the foreground,
Papet suggests going up the tower of Notre Dame de Paris (avoid peak
times and reserve ahead). You will get the best and most scenic views
of the Eiffel Tower and Paris. Alternatively, she suggests the Panthéon,
an 18th century grandiose building, which will also provide stunning
views of the Eiffel Tower.

DISCOVERIES
ANTIGUA

An A-Lister PHOTO BY ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY
Destination

BY CHRIS RYALL

If Antigua is good enough for Princess Margaret, Prince Harry, Eric Clapton,
Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson, I figure it is good enough for me. Even
Robin Leach, host of the former TV program Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,
chose to buy a luxury home here. Leach should know the best places to
live and vacation—he travelled to the world’s most exotic and luxurious
playgrounds and homes of the stars.

My feet are perched starboard on the top deck of the Excellence catamaran,
which cruises effortlessly through the azure-coloured Atlantic Ocean. My
sunburn-friendly face feels the penetrating but welcome sun’s rays. On the
horizon, palatial villas of the rich and famous line the shores of exclusive Long
Island just off Antigua’s northeast coast. Apparently Justin Bieber and his
entourage recently paid a visit to this island.

I imagine myself being a resident of this luxury island enclave if only for a
moment. Then reality sets in. My heart is willing, but my bank account isn’t.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 42

Accommodation TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 43
Antigua-style

Antigua is perceived as one of the more expensive Caribbean islands to visit.
It won’t suit backpackers’ shoestring budgets, but you don’t have to be a
millionaires club member to visit. There is a range of accommodation, from
all-inclusive resorts and hotels to quaint inns that will suit most budgets. If
you do want to live it up, though, many luxury villas are available. Why not
rent out rock legend Eric Clapton’s villa estate known as Standfast Point,
on top of a peninsula overlooking the ocean and the nearby islands of
Guadeloupe and Montserrat. His 10,000-square-foot-plus island getaway,
built in 2000 on 45 acres, blends in seamlessly with the craggy hillside.
Gazing out, I unconsciously start humming his 1977 hit song, Knockin’ on
Heaven’s Door. Can you hear me knocking, Mr. Clapton?

Antigua and Barbuda, a former British colony, gained independence
November 1, 1981. Explorer Christopher Columbus, though he never set
foot on the island, named it Antigua in 1493 to honour Santa Maria, an
icon of an old cathedral, in Seville, Spain. The indigenous residents call
Antigua “Wadadli.” This island of approximately 82,000 permanent residents
is a melting pot of nationalities from the Caribbean, United Kingdom,
Africa and even the Middle East. Some vestiges of its British past remain
with washrooms labelled “Ladies” and “Gents,” the traditional currant-red
public telephone box and many British names, including English Harbour,
Jabberwock, St. George and Falmouth Harbour.

PHOTOS: TOP BY CHRIS RYALL; BOTTOM BY ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY

DISCOVERIES
ANTIGUA
DOCKYARD DINING AND CULTURE

Nelson’s Dockyard is Antigua’s most visited and historic attraction And the island is famous the world over for its Antigua Sailing Week
and is situated in a strategic and hidden cove. In 2016, Nelson’s and other regattas.
Dockyard National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage
Site. Dating back to the 1740’s, it’s the only original working For a truly special lunch, dine outside in an English-garden-like
Georgian dockyard in the world and it’s definitely worth a visit. court-yard at the Admiral’s Inn. For a less formal, but equally
English admiral Horatio Nelson spent his formative years here from appetizing meal, I check out Seafood Friday, a tradition for locals and
1784 to 1787 as Senior Captain and Second-in-Command of the visitors, at the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel’s restaurant at Nelson’s
Leeward Islands Station. Dockyard. It’s not formal—I dine under a large tent with long
wooden tables that encourage chatting with fellow diners. I sink my
I stroll the dockyard’s grounds with its meticulously maintained teeth into an appetizer of soft conch fritters capped off with a main
stone buildings that include the Dockyard Museum, Capstan House, course of grilled mahi mahi, corn on the cob and salad. I wash it all
Officers’ Quarters and Master’s Shipwright’s House and a marina. down with a signature and potent rum punch made with Cavalier
Rum. This meal comes with yacht envy. I look out from my table
In centuries past, many enemy vessels met their fate as they could and view the multi-million dollar yachts tied up including a Google
not see the cannons and treacherous harbour traps that awaited executive’s boat with a helipad and helicopter on it. Not a world I
them. There are no treacherous waters these days, just a friendly can relate to, but it’s nice to be close.
welcome to sailors, boaters and visitors. Some buildings have been
restored and are now replaced by inns, restaurants and boutiques.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 44 PHOTOS BY ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY

DISCOVERIES
ANTIGUA

Antiguan adventures HERMITAGE BAY

I love being in the water, underwater and above the water. It soothes, How to
it invigorates and it excites me. Antigua with the Caribbean Sea on get there:
the west and Atlantic Ocean on the east embraces water with 365
pristine, powdery, white-sand beaches, many of them hidden in Air Canada and WestJet fly direct year-
coves, which is perfect for romantic types. There is even one called round from Toronto to Antigua with
Love Beach. I wasn’t in Antigua for love, just outdoor water adventure. connecting flights across Canada.
There are many local operators who offer kayaking, snorkelling,
diving and one of the most popular activities, swimming and Where to stay:
feeding the stingrays at Stingray Bay.
Stay at Hermitage Bay, a 5-star all-inclusive
I was relieved to find out that the interactive interactive experience property, in either one of the 30 spacious and
was not in an enclosure where the stingrays are forced to live. I hop well-appointed suites along the beach or
on a small boat with Stingray City Antigua tours that goes out in the the lush hillside. Tropical gardens surround
open sea, arriving at a stationary pontoon. A brief demo is given on this property and contribute to the organic
how to hold and feed the stingrays. Avoid touching the poisonous and straight from the chef’s garden-infused
stinger—smart advice! Lay your hands under the stingray near the menu. Feast on the food, relax in your plush
front. Watch your hands when feeding it calamari from the pail—its surroundings or at the spa. Experience
mouth is a huge and strong suction cup. I gently hold a four-foot paradise naturally. hermitagebay.com
female stingray. The underbelly feels silky smooth and reminds me
of silk sheets on a bed. The Verandah Resort & Spa is a more
affordable all-inclusive resort with spacious
My water adventures continue with Antigua Nature Tours snorkelling at and comfortable cottage-style suites, two
Great Bird Island, one of Antigua’s best reefs. Brain coral is abundant beaches and a host of activity programs for
here and is home to the Antiguan racer snake. Kayakers will enjoy a all ages. theverandah.com
tour through the thick mangroves of the North South Marine Park
Tours:
off Antigua’s northeastern coast.
Starfish, sea cucumbers and the up- Kayaking, snorkelling and hiking:
side-down jellyfish are just some antiguanaturetours.com
of the sea companions you may see Stingrays: stingraycityantigua.com
on a paddling adventure.
For more info on Antigua and Barbuda:
A circumnavigation boat tour is a must. visitantiguabarbuda.com
Discover how limestone, clay or
ADMIRAL’S INN volcanic rock radically changes the
PHOTO: BOTTOM BY CHRIS RYALL landscape. Lush, verdant rainforests,
organ pipe, teddy bear cactus and
coconut groves compete for space.
While navigating the rural areas
(they drive on the left here), don’t be
surprised to see wild donkeys roaming
the side of the roads at night.

Antigua is an island that breathes in
nature and the water’s bounty and
breathes out history, culture and
relaxation. I’m no A-lister, but even a
lower-grade visitor like me is more
than welcome here.

TRAVELLIFE SPRING 2017 | 45

DISCOVERIES
CROATIA
S E T T I N G SAIL
THE BENEFITS OF BOOKING A PRIVATE YACHT
TO EXPLORE MARITIME CROATIA
WORDS AND IMAGES BY GURDEEP AHLUWALIA

yAPPROACHING THE SHORES OF MAKARSKA Nautical Services (vale-experience.com) after
ou might have heard of Yacht Week— doing a Google search. Keep in mind when
a party bus on the water, of sorts, that you’re booking that you’ll be responsible for
visits various islands and destinations fuel and docking fees at the marinas you visit.
in the Adriatic Sea and along Croatia’s
western coast. Well, that’s one way to You also need to hire a skipper (and cover
experience Croatia. Instead of tight quarters their food costs) who will be with you on the
with too many strangers and pre-selected boat for the week. It’s customary to tip your
destinations, why not captain your own skipper at the end of the week. All told, our
voyage with your closest friends or family boat bill was roughly $12,000, which we
members? split four ways.

During the summer of 2016, I was lucky to The wild card is that your experience is
do just that. Our group of four—all close only as good as your skipper. Our travel
friends—was in search of a good time, but leader who booked the boat was in regular
also craving a taste of authentic Croatian communication with ours to lay out plans
culture. We wanted to dig a little deeper, and get a feel for his “vibe.” Based on
see where the locals ate, swam, lived and research, reviews and speaking with the
spent their free time. In short, we wanted skipper, it’s no surprise we had a very good
the best of both worlds; to get away from one, but I’ll revisit his true value later.
the rowdiness of Yacht Week, which
coincided with our timing, but still have it I also can’t emphasize enough how important
at our fingertips for those few nights we it is to secure your booking early; you’ll have
did want to indulge. a much better selection of boats and pricing
options, which tend to go up the longer
The first step to a sailing trip is to book your you wait. We booked our boat eight months
own private yacht. (I feel pretentious typing in advance.
that sentence, but it’s not as uncommon as
you may think.) We found ours through Val-E A BEAUTIFUL ALLEYWAY IN VIS

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 46

EXPERIENCING A BURA A.K.A. BAD WEATHER

KRKA NATIONAL PARK On the fifth day, we’re about day off, Vale springs into action. He
two hours into a five-hour sail to rents a car and drives us to Skradin,
SWIMMING IN OUR OWN PRIVATE COVE Zadar, relaxing on the boat, eating, a town about an hour away. Here
drinking, playing cards and soaking he instructs us to catch the ferry to
We flew into the airport close to the Port course, pulling our modest 45-foot vessel up the sun. All of a sudden, the Dalmatia to visit Krka National Park.
of Split. That’s a common landing spot for into a completely empty and serene cove. weather changes. Immediately, We enjoy the waterfalls and hiking
most heading out on boats. If it sounds or A man of few words, he drops the anchor, Vale needs our help securing items trails—they are simply majestic
looks familiar, Game of Thrones does a lot lowers the back of the boat, and in a on the deck and moving valuables and make for incredible views and
of filming here. Croatian accent says “swim”. downstairs. A bura (intense wind photo opportunities.
storm) was moving in. For the next
two hours, the yacht sails tilted at So, what’s the main advantage of
a 30-degree angle as Vale fights chartering your own boat?
through intense waves and wind. Think driving manual transmission
It’s nausea-inducing for most of us. versus automatic; you are in
Since we are closer to Split, Vale control Instead of being taken on
suggests we make the executive a hop-on hop-off bus tour on the
decision to turn around and go water, you plan your own journey.
back, rather than risk several more The skipper also requires your help
hours fighting the wind. We are for routine manual tasks onboard,
disappointed because Zadar like opening the sails, pulling rope,
boasts what many consider to be lowering the fenders and such, so
the most beautiful sunset in the you are a co-captain of the voyage,
world, but sometimes Mother as opposed to simply another
Nature has other plans. passenger.

We immediately load up on groceries. Our Surrounded only by a rocky cliff, clear This is where having a great If you’re up for an adventure and
daily routine is to make breakfast and lunch blue water and a small deserted beach, skipper makes all the difference. want a real taste of Croatia, opt for
onboard, then explore whatever island we we jump off the boat, the sound of us While lesser skippers may have chartering your own yacht.
choose to dock at for dinner and drinks. hitting the water piercing the silence of used the inclement weather as a
this hidden gem. We swim around what
If there’s an exact moment I know booking amounts to our very own private cove
our own yacht was undoubtedly the way for over an hour. We may as well be the
to go, this is it. On our second day, en route only ones in Croatia at this point, as the
to Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic curvature of the entry to the cul de sac
Sea, without warning, our skipper Vale completely obscures us from the vast
(pronounced vah-LAY) veers slightly off sea—and vice versa.

ENJOYING A LOCALLY SOURCED DINNER OUR YACHT CREW WITH SKIPPER VALE

A couple of the finer dining options we decided on are two large, circular tables, each capable of seating TRAVELFLARIFME-TOS-TPARBLIENMGEA2L E0X1PE7RIE|NC4E A7T DARKO’S
for Hvar, Makarska and Bol required reservations— about eight people. This IS the restaurant. Tonight we
another thing you can set up with your skipper. Most are eating at Darko’s. This home dining experience
of our dinners in Croatia start with a shot of Rakija, a is the namesake of the man who greeted us, Darko
Croatian brandy that is said to “open up the stomach Agroturizam. He and his wife welcome people in 365
to prepare it for the meal.” Not sure I believed that, days a year to enjoy a locally sourced, organic meal.
but when in Croatia… Through a translator, we learn Darko wakes up every
morning at 4 a.m., goes fishing, then gathers items
The most memorable dining experience took place on from the small farm he’s built by his home. He even
the island of Vis. “Trust me,” says Vale. We dock at the makes his own cheese and dairy from the goats we
marina and jump in a cab. After a 90-minute drive up met outside. The food is one of the truest and more
a winding mountain, we are mildly concerned when flavourful meals I’ve ever experienced. After dinner,
our taxi van finally comes to a stop in front of a home. Darko and his wife explain they do this because it
Where’s the restaurant? We get out and are greeted brings them genuine pleasure to see others enjoying
by a couple of roaming goats. At the front door a man their creations. Sipping Rakija, we chat with them until
who appears to be in his late fifties, with silver hair, almost 11 p.m., at which point we remember they
rosy cheeks and one of those disarming smiles that have to be up in five hours to start this labour of love
makes you feel you’ve met before, welcomes us inside. all over again. It’s time to call it a night.
We head towards the home’s garage, where there

DISCOVERIES
FLORIDA

3-2-1

A Florida
Countdown

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on

the Space Coast offers a glimpse into the life of

an astronaut BY DIANE SLAWYCH SPACE COAST OFFICE OF TOURISM

The roar and vibration of the “engines” shake and rattle my Our visit begins at the new Heroes & Legends attraction, that
body more vigorously than any amusement park ride ever features the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. Along with
did, while the skin on my face feels like it’s being pulled back the names of inductees and a bronze statue of Alan Shepard—
and contorted by G-forces. Astronauts say this shuttle launch the first American in space—we relive the thrills of America’s
simulation at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex earliest space missions and learn about astronaut pioneers
(kennedyspacecenter.com) is as close as it gets to an actual through a 4D multi-sensory theatre and various artifacts,
liftoff experience. including a Redstone rocket suspended overhead.

My favourite part, though, is when the thunderous noise
finally gives way to a sudden silence as we slip into “orbit” and
rise in our seats as if weightless, before the payload bay doors
open to reveal planet earth above us.

Simulations and interactive experiences are just part of what Next, we wander through the eye-catching Rocket Garden,
you’ll find at this sprawling complex on Florida’s Space Coast, with the actual rockets of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
east of Orlando. Here you can meet an actual astronaut, walk programs, making our way past eateries with names, such as
under the largest rocket ever flown, check out real launch the Orbit Café, Milky Way and G-Force Grill, until we reach a
pads and see the most comprehensive collection of personal full-sized replica of the orange external tank and white solid
astronaut memorabilia in the world. rocket boosters that propelled the space shuttle into orbit.

TRAVELLIFE.CA SPRING 2017 | 48


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