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Cover

Number 5

September 2016

Bali

Bali

The Island of the Gods

"The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike"

Adventure

Shibuya for shopaholics

Weekenders

Travelling Britain by Train

Vacation

Contents

Magazine

Contents

Contents

Number 5

Bali

The Island of the Gods

Bali invites you to dive into its waters, don a mask and dance until dawn, traverse the jungle between volcanoes and meditate in a cliff-top temple.

COK RATIH

“You can’t separate art from life”

A member of the Balinese royal family, Cok Ratih opened the doors of her home to us, to show us the complex cultural and spiritual worlds of this paradise on Earth.

Adventure

The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike

We interview Danny MacAskill, street trials pro and YouTube megastar

Weekenders

Shibuya for shopaholics

If you love high-tech games and trendy brands, and you’re a manga freak, then Tokyo is for you. Above all, head to the downtown district of Shibuya. Here you'll not only find countless shops and super-sized malls, you can also go with the flow and join the masses on the busiest street crossing in the world.

You & me

The Wildest of African Luxury

The traditional big five attractions of the savannah (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses and buffalo), have competition: the five best lodges, otherwise known as luxury accommodation options.

Vacation

Cayman Islands, not only for millionaires

Why go to the Cayman Islands if you don’t have millions to open a bank account? Answer: In the fifth financial centre of the world, there’s more to do than save money.

Culture

Chaplin’s World: The Tramp’s Swiss Hideaway

The first museum dedicated to Charles Chaplin, one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema, has opened at his home, beside Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Top 6a

London takes a stand against minimalism

The word simplicity is not in London’s vocabulary. Wave goodbye to sobriety. In these bars and restaurants more is more.

Travelfancy

Fashionable hotels and restaurants, ground-breaking galleries, new openings and the hottest hotspots on the planet all await you here.

The Latest

Going on a trip? Before shutting your suitcase, make sure you haven't forgotten our essentials.

Staff

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Reportage - Bali

Magazine

Destination

Bali

The Island of the Gods

Text

Marta San Vicente

Photos

Juan Rayos

Video

Juan Rayos

Bali invites you to dive into its waters, don a mask and dance until dawn, traverse the jungle between volcanoes and meditate in a cliff-top temple. \n

E

very morning, Alit leans over the side of his boat and drops a small floating offering into the sea. Made from the plaited leaves of banana trees, it contains rice, incense, flowers or sweet treats. Eyes closed, he performs several hypnotic movements with his hands while talking to the air. \n

All Balinese people carefully elaborate daily offerings, to honour their deities.

“I’m doing this for myself, but for you as well. I think we’ll see a lot of fish today,” he tells us, while watching his offering being carried away by the waves. “I’m going to take you somewhere you’ll never forget.” Alit is our captain today. He shows us his favourite underwater hideaways on the coast of Nusa Penida, a small island, 35 minutes from Bali and famous among scuba divers. They say that going there is like travelling back in time and seeing what Bali was like decades ago, before tourism made it a dream destination for honeymooners and those seeking spiritual retreat. \n

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Like Alit, all Balinese people carefully make offerings, to honour their deities, and they leave them anywhere. This daily gesture has become an almost artistic ritual, which embodies the essence of the Balinese spirit. “It’s as simple as giving and receiving,” the young fishermen tells us. The reason why joy is so ubiquitous on Bali resides in the Hindu doctrine Tri Hita Karana, which literally means three ways of achieving physical and spiritual wellbeing. This philosophy, adopted by most Balinese people, seeks prosperity through triple harmony: with other people, nature and the gods. It is probably this harmony that explains the constant smiles surrounding us.\n

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An underwater Buddhist temple

Bali is located in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific, home to the greatest biodiversity of marine species in the world, with seven times more species than in the Caribbean. The best-known places for Scuba diving are the islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, to the east, and Menjangan, to the west. “Once you have been down among the corals and discovered fish in a thousand colours and shapes, or held your breath to go down to the underwater Buddhist temple, built in the 1950s, you won’t want to do anything else,” explains Andrew, marine biologist and diving guide. \n

Unlike other Indonesians, the majority of whom are Muslim, 90% of Balinese people practise Hinduism. For many centuries, this religion has been taking on Buddhist, animistic and ancestral beliefs and the spiritual fusion, combined with their sustainable, community-based respect of nature, means the Balinese always have something to celebrate. Bali is estimated to have about 20,000 temples, for 4 million inhabitants. The chaos of its towns and road networks acquires a certain order inside the temples. Maintaining harmony between good and bad is the priority at the ceremonies that take place inside them. The mother temple Besakih and the iconic Tanah Lot, built on the seashore, are the most revered.\n

The Balinese have an everyday relationship with culture and the arts, but this connection also has a touch of the divine. “When we dance for an audience, we’re really doing it for the gods. It’s an expression of respect and creativity,” says dancer Cok Ratih. According to Ratih, traditional Balinese culture is still alive because it has the ability to carefully incorporate new stories and techniques from other places into its roots. The dances portray stories from the Hindu Mahabharata, there are theatrical performances inspired by Chinese shadows, and the masks are reminiscent of Japanese aesthetics. In the 1930s, Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias foresaw the disappearance of Balinese culture, and he spent time on the island to immortalise it through photographs and drawings. But, the traditions survive. This is true to such an extent that many young people prefer joining a gamelan orchestra to a football team.
 
On the Island of the Gods, even the natural environment has an almost divine dimension. Nature is also celebrated and given offerings. Enormous ancient trees loom large over temples; volcanoes are home to spirits and gods, which protect the island; water, in rivers and the sea, is a source of vitality and purification. \n

Playing with the sea gods

Surfing is one most popular activities among foreign tourists. Dominating the waves can be understood as a battle or game with the sea gods, for whom the Balinese have great respect. “There are a lot of people here today; the waves aren’t aggressive. But further south, in Uluwatu, it’s another story,” we are told by a surfing tutor on Canggu beach. He is referring to the place where, in the 1970s, surfer Gerry Lopez discovered one of the most legendary waves on the planet world, making this region a favourite among Australians.\n

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The water at the seven Sekumpul waterfalls, which can be as much as 80m high, falls onto swimmers with a supernatural force. You can find them in one of the wilder, lusher areas, to the north of the island, in Singaraja valley. This region is very different to the ordered landscapes of central Bali, where the 19,500ha dedicated to rice farming are sketched into paddies. UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site, owing to a unique irrigation system called subak, which distributes water equally throughout the island.
 
In Bali, everything has a sense of community: the cremation ceremony, characterised by enormous funeral towers, is a perfect example of this. While the adorned figure of a bull, containing the body, goes up in flames, the deceased’s grandson tells us that families and friends attend these rituals with a festive spirit. “This chases away the bad spirits and helps the soul find its way.” Life here is understood as a cycle that takes place in the present.
 
“I didn’t realise that everyone smiled here until I spent time abroad,” confesses Ketut Siandana, architect and manager of NusaBay Menjangan hotel. “That’s why I like it that everyone goes away with the memory that in Bali, there is a sense of union and harmony that is transmitted in many directions.”\n

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Interview - Cok Ratih

Magazine

Interview

“You can’t separate art from life”

This month´s Passenger

COK RATIH

A member of the Balinese royal family, Cok Ratih opened the doors of her home to us, to show us the complex cultural and spiritual worlds of this paradise on Earth.\n

Why did you become a dancer?\n

I inherited the tradition through my family. I began dancing when I was six years old. I was taught by my grandfather, the last king of the royal house of Peliatan. Dance is part of my body because it is a language of movement. It also helps me keep my body healthy. I still dance in public, in shows and at ceremonies in temples. I also teach dance to young girls, including my daughter, the fourth generation of dancers in my family. \n

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Which is the most important temple to visit? \n

Everyone should go to Besakih to pray. They say that all Balinese people, when we die, tour souls first travel to the Besakih temple. That is why it is so important. \n

Where would you recommend people in love to go?\n

Everywhere has something special for people in love. If you want to stay at the beach, there are lots of hotels where you can sleep in a romantic villa. You could also go to Ubud and to the rice paddies, or sleep in the valleys. They are very quiet and there are houses for couples who want to hide from the world. There are a lot of places!\n

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Which is the aspect of Balinese dance that you most try to convey to your students?\n

The basis of Balinese dance is Legong, a story from the Hindu Mahabharata. It is very rich in movement and so it is the one girls start with when they want to learn to dance. Once they have mastered these movements, they can dance anything. Some Balinese dances are designed to be watched up close, because they include a lot of different facial expressions. The intention is to hypnotise the audience and make them feel what you are feeling, to share the personality of the dance with them. It isn’t possible to teach girls this directly. Learning comes with age, maturing alongside the body, until you truly understand dance. When it becomes part of you, you become a dancer.\n

How important is art for dancers?\n

Art can be a profession, but it is also part of the ceremonial life of dancers. Dance, music and offerings go hand in hand; we have never separated them. If tourists had never come to Bali, we would still continue dancing and building our temples as best we could. Art is part of our daily lives and they can’t be separated from it.\n

Further to dancing, you have created a traditional cosmetics brand and act as a guide on spiritual retreats. Why do you think so many people choose Bali for this?\n

Most of them come because they feel that Bali still invites them to pray. For me, Bali is a very profound place. I enjoy travelling throughout the world, but when I come home, I like the feeling of being on my island again. Foreign people perceive our religion and daily life as being different to that of other countries, because of our spontaneity. We don’t change them for visitors.\n

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Are there any options for people who love adventure sports, beyond enjoying the spectacular beaches?\n

There are lots of sports you can do in Bali, including scuba diving, rafting, horse riding and mountain climbing. For instance, if you climb Mount Batur to watch the sunrise, you can bathe in the natural springs and then go to the rice paddies for a bike ride. Western people also come here to go surfing, although the Balinese only watch. Our ancestors didn’t know how to swim. Not even I know how to swim! Today, however, there are a lot of swimming pools and children are learning. This is why surfing is a new activity for us, and a very exciting one. There are huge waves in Bali, particularly in the south and to the west. \n

How would you define the identity of the Balinese people and their land?\n

When visitors come to Bali, everyone is welcome and everybody smiles. Our home is always open, although we also ask them to respect our culture. We always say that you have to give and receive, since that is the only way to be equal. This is why I think people come to Bali, because of our kindness. \n

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Adventure

Magazine

Adventure

“The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike”

We interview Danny MacAskill, street trials pro and YouTube megastar
He has received over 200 million views on YouTube. It makes no difference at all whether he is at the top of a cliff, on his native Dunvegan streets, or in a setting of his own creation, his stunts on two wheels are legendary.
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For Danny MacAskill, viral life started in 2009 when he made a video of a number of his biking stunts in Edinburgh. He added tracks from Band of Horses and went to bed. By the following morning, thousands had viewed his stair hopping and balancing stunts along the top of a fence on his Inspired Bicycles bike. Since then, National Geographic have named him Best Adventurer of the Year, he has appeared in the New York Times, and carried the Olympic Torch on its way through Glasgow.\n

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Foto: © Red Bull Media House

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One morning you got up to find that thousands of people had viewed one of your videos. You were 23 years old at the time. How has that changed your life?

My whole outlook on bike riding has changed. Before the video, that was in April 2009, I was focussed only on riding the bike and learning new stunts. But since then I have begun to see the bike from the point of view of a film maker.\n

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Biography

Danny MacAskill is a professional street trial rider. He was born on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, where he first began to experiment with the bike. When he was 23 years old, one of his videos went viral and launched him to the top of street trial biking. Now he organises street trial shows and has appeared in TV shows and as a double in Hollywood productions.\n

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I now think of the bike from a film maker’s point of view.

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¿When did you begin to take an interest in street trial?

I’ve been obsessed by bikes ever since I first pedalled one. I was four years old at the time. I began to ride what we call trial bicycles when I was around 11, although I had been practising skid outs and wall jumps right from when I had my first bike. I was hyperactive and adventurous as a child. I used to ride along the street, trying out whatever came into my head (and it normally ended in tears). When I was eight or nine, the brother of one of my friends and his gang began riding mountain bikes. I was the typical younger kid who followed them wherever they went, copying whatever they did.

¿How many hours do you have to train to get from amateur to professional level?

I’ve always ridden for fun and had never considered becoming a professional. Riding a bike for me is like what playing football or going mountaineering at the weekend is for others. When I’m not injured, I’m out on the bike an average two or three days a week. I’ve never thought of it as training.

Now you are involved in the ‘Drop&Roll tour’

Drop&Roll brings together the best street trial riders of the world. We do exhibition riding on a specially designed performance platform. Duncan Shaw, Ali C, Fabio Wibmer and I travel around Europe and the rest of the world with the show.

¿What is your favourite place for bike riding?

Where I’m from, no doubt at all about that. The Isle of Skye is one of the best places in the world to ride a bike.\n

Foto: © Red Bull Media House

His video The Ridge has received more that 41 million views on Youtube.

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Foto: © Red Bull Media House

Martyn Ashton and Martin Hayes were the people who inspired him most when he was a child.

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Your homeland, Scotland, has been been the setting for your best known videos, - Way Back Home, in Dunvegan, or The Ridge, on the coast of Skye...

The Ridge was always something I wanted to do from years ago. When I was younger, I used to look at the Cuillin mountains and imagine myself on the bike up there. Videoing it was great fun and one of the most difficult and demanding projects I’ve worked on. But for me it was an act of love because I wanted to show off Skye, where I’m from, to the world.

And a place you'd love to see on two wheels?

I’d love to visit Japan sometime. And the other day I was looking at the moon and I thought to myself that it would be a good place to make a video some day . . .

Tell us something about your next project – possibly something creative like 'Imaginate’?

It’s the only thing I think about: new stunts and new places to shoot new videos. The problem is there isn’t time to do everything. I’d like to work on a short video to ease the pressure I put on myself – I’m always pushing myself to get any new project up a notch. Besides, this year we’re going on tour with Drop&Roll, so keep an eye out for our next shows.\n

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Foto: © Red Bull Media House

Zurich is one of the cities where the Drop&Roll Tour has performed.

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Drop&Roll Tour comes to your city

In the fashion of authentic rock stars, the best street trial riders are going on tour. They have already appeared in Sheffield, Cape Town, Barcelona, Hamburg and Zúrich. Visit their web to see their latest stunts and check out their upcoming performances.\n

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Weekenders

Magazine

Weekenders

Shibuya for shopaholics

If you love high-tech games and trendy brands, and you’re a manga freak, then Tokyo is for you. Above all, head to the downtown district of Shibuya. Here you'll not only find countless shops and super-sized malls, you can also go with the flow and join the masses on the busiest street crossing in the world.\n

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Celebrating a true canine hero

Animal lovers continue to flock to the bronze statue of Hachiko, a dog famed for his loyalty. The Akita dog would greet his master at Shibuya Station every evening and continued to wait for him for ten years after the university professor died.\n

But if you’re not a people-person, stay well away from this, the commercial heart of the Japanese capital. The iconic ‘Scramble’ street crossing found just across from Shibuya Station is made up of five zebra crossings traversing a busy junction. As many as 1,000 people can be on the crossing at the same time, producing a fascinating spectacle as cars give way to huge tides of people rushing in every direction, most of them towards their next fix of retail therapy.\n

“If it has been invented, it’ll be here”. That’s the philosophy of Shibuya. And surely the philosophy of neighborhood’s main streets, namely Bunkamura-dori and Dogenzaka, is “the bigger, the better!” Here, you will find dozens of shopping malls packed with the biggest chains and brands, among them Japanese favourites like Loft, Tokyu Hands, Marui and Seibu.\n

Photo: Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com

The screenplay for the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere, was based on the true story of the famous Akita.

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Tokyo is easy-going and imaginative: from kawaii girls to the extravagant visual kei, the metropolis welcomes all.

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Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Starbuck’s terrace is an excellent vantage point from which to see one of the world’s busiest road crossings in action.

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Meanwhile, other zones have different specialities: Ginza is the place to go for luxury brands, while a more extravagant level of luxury can be found in Ormotesand Street, right by the Zelkova trees. This is also where you will find the huge Omotesando Hills plus it’s close to Shibuya 109 arguably the area’s most famous department store, offering ten floors of temptations and located in a prime position right on the Shibuya crossing. In Shinjuku, meanwhile, it’s all about the latest technology, while Sugamo is the place to go to find small boutiques. And these are not the only dividing lines in this part of the city, as a stroll around the different areas will show.

Take a walk along Takeshita Street, for instance, and you’ll see it’s a big favourite with teenagers and young adults, especially those who have adopted the Harajuku trend, a mix of fashions now synonymous with this pedestrianized thoroughfare. The lolitas can be seen there, sporting their eye-catching mix of Victorian and Edwardian clothing like big skirts and petticoats, and, then there are the ganguro girls, suntanned blondes who would look more at home in California), and, of course, the cosplay enthusiasts, both male and female, dressed up as their manga idols.
If the shopping gets too much, then Shibuya offers a massive variety of coffee shops, bars and restaurants. And, famously, the district is also home to a number of so-called love hotels, offering short-term accommodation and discreet privacy for amorous couples. Just as with the shops and the fashions, these love dens cater to almost every taste and are famous for their over-the-top decorations, bright lights and inventive room features such as themed rooms and vibrating beds.

For Shibuya, the future now looks as bright as the exterior of a Tokyo love hotel. Four projects, to be worked on simultaneously, are in hand to further develop the area. Work will begin in 2018 with all the projects scheduled for completion in 2027. According to Tokyo mayor Ken Hasebe, the ambitious plans for this commercial hub, and above all, moves to improve the transport infrastructure here, will help put Shibuya on a par with London, Paris or New York. Head to the scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station at rush hour and feel the energy there, and you’ll see his vision isn’t so far-fetched.\n

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“If it has been invented, it’ll be here”. That’s the philosophy of Shibuya.

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How to be a ‘kawaii’ girl

It can be hard to choose a style to follow in Tokyo, but one of the most popular is that of the kawaii girl. Here, the emphasis is on cuteness, so think lots of colours, especially pink, and lots of Hello Kitty, usually teamed with a wig or a tamagotchi. Age range? That’s irrelevant. This is Tokyo.\n

You and me

Magazine

You & me

The Wildest of African Luxury

The traditional big five attractions of the savannah (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses and buffalo), have competition: the five best lodges, otherwise known as luxury accommodation options.\n

The southern part of Africa, a wild stop, where you will find the most luxurious lodges in the world, is also the perfect destination for adventurous couples, because a safari does not have to be at odds with comfort. Dipping your toes in the infinity pool at Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania; sampling a dinner worthy of a Michelin star while immersed in nature, and relaxing on a welcoming bed under a tent that is larger than an apartment, are the best ways to end a day roaming the savannah in a Jeep. Here are the ideal lodges to enjoy adventure by day, and the intimacy of remote nature at its wildest by night.\n

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1.Home of the Big Five, Mombo Camp, Moremi Reserve, Botswana

Mombo Camp combines exclusive rooms with an unbeatable location, inside the Moremi Game Reserve. Surrounded by several rivers, it boasts of being one of the best game reserves in Africa, for lions, leopards and the African wild dog, in danger of extinction.\n

Here are the ideal lodges to enjoy adventure by day, and the intimacy of remote nature at its wildest by night.

2.Romance from a Different Time, Sabora Tented Camp and Sasakwa Lodge, Singita Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania

The Singita Grumeti Reserve was created in 1994, to protect the Great Migration path to the Maasai Mara. More than 2 million gnus, zebras and gazelles follow this route each year. One of the most exclusive lodges inside the reserve is Sabora Tented Camp, inspired by the tents used by explorers in the 1920s. Another of the options, Sasakwa Lodge, lets you end your safari in a 4x4 with a private dinner, in the middle of nature.\n

Photo: Singita Sasakwa

The savannah offers much more than safaris, like the most intimate dinners imaginable.

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Photo: Singita Faru Faru Lodge

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3.Colonial Charm, Sabi Sabi Selati Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Selati Camp is perfect for safari lovers. Situated in a bend of the river Msuthlu, surrounded by giant trees, this is a starting point for hiking trails and Land Rover routes. More than 200 species of mammal live in the area, and there are more than 300 birds to discover. An outside bathroom on each suite will ensure relaxation at the end of the day, under the light of oil lamps and the stars.\n

Safari in Hot Air Balloon

At dawn, the hot air balloon lifts off, to provide a bird’s-eye view of the Serengeti. After watching gnus, zebras, lions and elephants for an hour and a half, landing is accompanied by a champagne toast and English breakfast, before going back to camp. Almost all the luxury lodges offer this experience.\n

Photo: Tangarire Tree Tops

The rooms at Tarangire Tree Tops are the biggest of the east African lodges, measuring 65 m².

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4. Return to Childhood, Tarangire Tree Tops, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Located in the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, Tarangire Tree Tops offers accommodation surrounded by elephants and baobabs. The rooms have been constructed several metres above the ground, and offer incredible views over the treetops. Its services include a night-time tour by car, and dinner among a Maasai tribe.

5.The Nerve Centre of the Savannah, Elephant Pepper Camp, Mara North Conservacy, Kenya

To the north of the Maasai Mara reserve, Kenya, you will find Mara North Conservacy, a private area measuring more than 30,000 ha. It is an essential part of the reserve ecosystem, and home to endangered species, like the black rhinoceros, hippopotamus and leopard. However, the true protagonist of the park is the gnu. Millions of specimens of this animal migrate here each year from the Serengeti plain. If you want to listen to the sound of the animals by night, Elephant Pepper Camp is the ideal choice. It is also perfect for lovers of glamping.\n

Photo: Singita Sasakwa

The Okavango Delta is a unique place to enjoy a romantic dinner.

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A Delta but no Sea

Jao Camp is on the Okavango delta, Botswana, where the only population of swimming lions can be found. These animals are forced to hunt antelopes in water, when the flood waters cover up to 70% of their territory.\n

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Photo: Sabi Sabi, Selati Camp

A bathtub under the stars, at the Lourenco Marques suite, Selati Camp.

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Vacation

Magazine

Vacation

Travelling Britain by Train

The Golden Age of Steam, when Britain's railways were the envy of the world, may well be a distant memory, but its legacy remains. All aboard for a great British railway adventure!

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Tracks crisscross the island, linking the biggest cities and offering connections to smaller towns and remote regions. But as with most things, London is Britain's central hub. Its principal stations serve as gateways to adventure: from Paddington to the west country and Wales, from Waterloo to the south, and from King's Cross, Euston or St Pancras towards the north of England and Scotland.

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Just west of central London is Paddington Station, home to one of the world's most loved bears, and also the starting point to explore the west of England and Wales. Regular trains connect the English capital with its Welsh counterpart Cardiff, and Bristol in just two hours. However, it's the London to Penzance route that really captures the imagination. Within minutes of leaving London, passengers can admire the engineering genius of railway pioneer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, as the train passes through countless tunnels towards the coast.\n

On the trail of rail ales

The traditional station pub has had a resurgence. The Rail Ale Trail, from Manchester to Leeds, is one popular pub crawl on wheels: jump off at every station, enjoy a pint of local ale, and then resume your journey.

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Photo:Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

Both Kings Cross and St Pancras stations have recently been reformed to their former glories

After views of the River Exe and the magnificent Powderham Castle, you hit the Dawlish Sea Wall, one of Britain's most popular stretches of railway. Just four miles long, it cuts through steep cliffs on one side and crashing waves on the other.  Passengers are whisked to their final destination: the beaches and fishing villages that make the Southwest of England so sought after.

If you would prefer to be transported to the mountains rather than beaches, you should buy a ticket north. The Caledonian Sleeper leaves London every afternoon. It passes through the Midlands and northern England overnight and then emerges into the stunning Scottish highlands in time for an early breakfast. The route, which ends at Fort William, is regarded one of the finest railway journeys in the world, and a must for fans of train travel. Look out for majestic red deer strolling through the purple heather as you sip your morning tea.

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The Llangolen Railway is one of many volunteer-run steam railways in Wales

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Choose your passport to adventure

International travellers can take advantage of BritRail passes to save money and take unlimited journeys on Britain's rail network. You can decide in advance what parts of the country you want to explore. Choose between all of Great Britain, just one region or even just Greater London.

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The Jacobite steam train passes right by Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain

Fort William is also the starting point of the Jacobite steam railway, running through the glens and mountains to the quaint coastal town of Mallaig. Fans of a certain boy wizard will undoubtedly recognise the train as the Hogwarts Express, especially as it passes over the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous from the Harry Potter films.

Thankfully, for those on a budget or a strict schedule, exploring Britain by railway needn't involve such epic journeys. The Hope Valley Line, running between the northern cities of Manchester and Sheffield, takes less than 90 minutes to complete. Passengers are engulfed by lush green hills, pretty farming villages and dark hills as the train passes through the heart of the Peak District National Park.
Just as thrilling is the Heart of Wales Railway Line. As the name implies, it trundles through the green heart of Wales, cutting through untouched valleys, past old castles. It stops at more than a dozen little market towns, where you are free to get off and explore.  There is a route that runs from Shrewsbury to Swansea, with connections to the main rail network and links to Birmingham, Manchester and London. Alternatively, the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway has breathtaking views of the northern landscape.  


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Photo: Peter R Foster IDMA/Shutterstock.com

The West Coast Main Line passes the edges of the Lake District National Park

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Fort William is also the starting point of the Jacobite steam railway, running through the glens and mountains to the quaint coastal town of Mallaig.

The St Germans Viaduct was one of 42 built for the Cornwall Railway

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Culture

magazine

Culture

Chaplin’s World: The Tramp’s Swiss Hideaway

The first museum dedicated to Charles Chaplin, one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema, has opened at his home, beside Lake Geneva, Switzerland.\n

C

harles Chaplin, son of an English family of music hall artists, and an actor who became famous through the character of a humble tramp, spent his last 25 years at Manoir de Ban, a mansion set in parkland beside Lake Geneva, Switzerland. “With such happiness, I sometimes sit out on our terrace at sunset and look over a vast green lawn to the lake in the distance, and beyond the lake to the reassuring mountains, and in this mood think of nothing and enjoy their magnificent serenity,” wrote the actor and film-maker about the refuge from McCarthyism, where he found peace. The witch-hunt that clamped down on liberal ideas in the United States at the height of the Cold War, led him to exchange Beverly Hills for Corsier-sur-Vevey, until his death, on Christmas Day, 1977.

Making Manoir de Ban into a museum to pay homage to one of the best-known figures from the history of film, and tell people about his achievements, has not been not an easy task. In the year 2000, architect Philippe Meylan and museographer Yves Durand launched the idea, and obtained the support of the Chaplin family. “He wanted people to remember him. That was why he was such a perfectionist when making his films,” admits Eugene Chaplin, one of the eight children of the film-maker and his wife Oona O’Neill. Even though the real reason for the project was not the historic reconstruction of just another house, Grévin, the owner of several wax museums worldwide, was also brought in.\n

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Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

Charles Chaplin lived at Manoir de Ban, with his family, until he died, aged 88 years old.

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The Studio

The professional side of Chaplin is remembered at the Manoir de Ban Studio, through screenings of his work, and original objects, like his iconic walking stick and hat, and an Oscar he was awarded. Scenes from his most famous films have been recreated: from The Gold Rush to Modern Times and The Great Dictator.\n

After a seven-year wait to obtain the building permit, it took two years to restore the mansion, originally constructed in 1840, and to build an extension and convert the farm and garage into an area for offices, ticket sales, a shop and a restaurant. What's more, a complaint from a neighbour, not wishing to see their tranquillity disturbed by thousands of visitors, delayed the project for five years, until it was finally opened in 2016.

Chaplin’s World is an entertaining museum set between lake and mountain, near the Swiss towns of Montreaux and Lausana. Making use of the latest breakthroughs in set design and multimedia, the themed trip around the 3,000 m², designed by Confino, allows the visitor to discover Charlie's private life, and explore his public figure. In some of the rooms of the mansion, furniture and personal items have been recreated, to show how he lived with his family, their customs and visitors, and the celebrations he would organise.\n

Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

Chaplin’s career began in silent film, where his physical humour and gestures triumphed.

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“I spent a large part of my childhood in Corsier-sur-Vevey, where I went to school,” remembers Michael Chaplin, another of his children. “I would often bring friends home to play in the park. I remember how some of them would be disappointed because my father was that old man with white hair. “That isn’t Charlie,” they would say. And it is true that the tramp, whose adventures always ended up on the road, never lived here. But now, in Chaplin’s World, he can finally settle down in a good home.\n

The Théâtre Grévin created the 30 wax figures at Chaplin’s World. Open in Paris since 1882, it was originally a way for the public to see likenesses of the leading figures in the news, when photography was not as common. It has branches in Montreal, Prague and Seoul.\n

Wax Artists

He wanted people to remember him

Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

The film-maker married four times, and three of his children have also worked in the film industry.

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Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

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Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

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Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

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Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

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Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

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Travelfancy

Magazine

Travelfancy

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A romantic supper in a grotto

Set in a clifftop grotto overlooking the old town of Polignano a Mare, just to the south of Bari in Italy, few places on the planet match the romance of the Grotta Palazzese restaurant. With the views matched by the fine food, it’s small wonder so many marriage proposals are made here. The season opens in May and runs until October.\n

Photo: Courtesy of The Beekman

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A hotel in Manhattan’s skies

The Beekman, now part of the Thompson hotel group, was built in 1881, making it one of New York’s first skyscrapers. This legendary Lower Manhattan building, boasting 287 rooms and private residencies, has now reopened its doors for business. Our suggestion: book into the Turret Penthouse, a 111 square metre duplex at the very top of this iconic building.\n

Photo: Jakub skokan, Martin Tuma/ BoysPlayNice

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A rollercoaster in the clouds

Would you dare to walk on the clouds? If so, you can do just this in Dolní Morava in the Czech Republic. Sky Walk is a 55-metre high attraction resembling a classic Big Dipper rollercoaster and located some 1,100 metres above sea level. From the top, you get to enjoy spectacular views over the Morava river and beyond, as well as the chance to slide back down by toboggan. Zdeněk Franek is the architect; Taros Nova the designer. \n

Photo: Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com

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A salty attraction

Inside it houses a bowling alley, a theatre and even a quay. It’s not a shopping centre – it’s Salina Turda, the salt mine in Transylvania where you can learn how the extraction work is done thanks to the guided tours that cover its futuristic 45 km2.\n

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Submerge yourself in relaxation

The hustle and bustle of the commercial streets in the district of Mongkok in Hong Kong does not reach the rooftop swimming pool of the Cordis Hotel. With just the blue sky view, you can begin your day by swimming to music, thanks to the underwater audio system which can only be equalled by relaxing with a cocktail on a lounger in the evening.\n

Photo: © Sergio Tapiro

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A meal with super powers

If you’re a Marvel maniac then you’ll love the DC Comic Super Heroes Café in Singapore. Several of the famous superheroes capes hang from its walls as well as life-size models and a menu that includes Superman hamburgers and Wonder Woman potatoes.\n

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Top 6A

MAGAZINE

TOP 6A

London takes a stand against minimalism

The word simplicity is not in London’s vocabulary. Wave goodbye to sobriety. In these bars and restaurants more is more.

Berners Tavern (Hotel London Edition, 10 Berners Street)

Chef Jason Atherton has come up with a menu that matches the tavern’s elegance - marble interiors, carved ceilings and picture frames that recreate a Belle Epoque ambiance. The menu mixes modern cuisine with everyday standards such as mac and cheese, or fish ’n’ chips, all of which are best accompanied by one of the house’s own cocktails.

Sarastro (West End, 126 Drury Lane)

This Mediterranean-dining restaurant looks to the theatre for inspiration. Masks, velvet hangings, theatre boxes and live entertainment take you to a world of drama. In the West End, London’s Broadway, it is the ideal place for a meal after an evening at one of the city’s many theatres.

Mr. Fogg’s Tavern ( West End, 58 St. Martin’s Lane)

The most unlikely objects hang from the ceiling: cages, suitcases, vases and even a miniature boat. It appears that Willy Fog, the inspiration for this pub, has forgotten all his luggage. Upstairs, there is a cocktail bar furnished with 19th century curtains and porcelain, and a gin parlour with over 300 brands of gin. Anyone for a gin tonic?

sketch (Mayfair, 9 Conduit Street)

A group of chefs and designers have teamed up to convert an old building into a centre of art and fine eating, including a tea room in an enchanted forest, The Glade. For dinner we recommend The Gallery, where everything is rose coloured (including the sofas). 239 new works from David Shrigley line its walls.

Oscar Wilde Bar (Hotel Café Royal, Central London, 68 Regent Street)

Its exquisite, extravagant, Louis XVI style decor has been attracting celebrities since 1865. Oscar Wilde, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor have all reclined in its red sofas. Traditional afternoon tea is served daily from 12pm to 5pm, and includes a London-inspired menu of sandwiches, cakes, scones and champagne.

Sushi Samba (Heron Tower, City of London, 110 Bishopsgate)

The explosive fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine is served in an equally unconventional setting: bamboo draped glass walls with exotic plants and lamps hanging from the ceiling plus panoramic views of the city. The first Sushi Samba restaurant opened in New York over 15 years ago. Today, in addition to the one in London, they have opened in Miami, Las Vegas and Coral Gables, Florida.

Contemporary classics

The after-show

The spirit of the traveller

Tea in a fairy-tale woodland bar

Chic Barroque

The 360º forest

The Latest

Magazine

The Latest

Adidas Originals NMD Trainers

Streetwear collection inspired by classic models from the brand and incorporating innovative technology, materials and styles, to roam the city in comfort. Flexible, resistant and unmistakable.\n

Herschel Supply Little America Backpack

A retro model inspired by early mountaineering, for a bag made of natural fibres, with several pockets. Perfect for day-to-day use and for an excursion or weekend.\n

Levi’s Project Jacquard Wearable Jacket

Jacquard smart fabric by Google has been inserted into the sleeve of this denim jacket. It lets you connect to a mobile device to check information, listen to music or speak on the phone.\n

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

10” tablet with Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, weighing in at just 1.29 kg. Its innovative features include four different positions and a built-in projector, with two stereo speakers.\n

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