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Number 11

April 2017

India

Sherry Minnard

‘I’m a yoga warrior’

Snowboard in 4K

Adventure

Sleep in the ‘homes’ of the stars

Luxury

Minorca and the return to a slower pace

NATURE

Contents

Magazine

Contents

contents

Number 11

India

Unravelling myths

India combines the hustle and bustle of Delhi and Mumbai with the calm of its meditation centres. And this contradiction is hypnotising. As Mark Twain wrote, this country has ‘an imperishable interest for alien persons’.

Sherry Minnard

‘I’m a yoga warrior’

Sherry Minnard left the chaos of New York behind her to teach yoga in Rajasthan, in the ‘ashram’ headed by Surajnath Siddh. They both teach how to attain mental and physical calm.

Adventure

Snowboard in 4K

Travis Rice stars in ‘The Fourth Phase’, a new film about snowboarding where he travels over 25,000km, following the hydrological cycle.

48 hours in

Chicago, from gangster to hipster

Chicago does not brag about being hipster, which is why the millennials here go about their lives peacefully. They move around on their bikes, eat hot dogs and drink home brewed beer while listening to music in revamped dens.

Getaways

Unshakeable Comporta

It has been compared to Ibiza, St. Tropez, the Hamptons and even Yves St. Laurent’s Marrakech of the 1960s, though nothing could be further than the truth. Comporta is different to all beach resorts, simply because it just doesn’t look like one.

Luxury

Sleep in the ‘homes’ of the stars

It will be the closest you’ll get to your idols and their lifestyles. Celebrity hotels faithfully reflect their tastes and, in some cases, their principles.

Nature

Minorca and the return to a slower pace

Wellbeing for body and mind, detox getaways to disconnect from routine and noise. The island of Minorca is opting for serenity, and promoting the slow life.

Top 6A

Perfect places to watch the sunrise

These places are worth visiting at any time of day, but if you have the willpower to get up at dawn, you will discover their best side. Getting up early has never been more worth the effort.

Travelbeats

Spring bursts into bloom in the Netherlands

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

Staff

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Report - India

Magazine

Destination

India

Unravelling myths

Text:

Guadalupe Rodríguez/ Patricia Gardeu

Photos

Kreativa Visual and Shutterstock

Kreativa Visual

India combines the hustle and bustle of Delhi and Mumbai with the calm of its meditation centres. And this contradiction is hypnotising. As Mark Twain wrote, this country has ‘an imperishable interest for alien persons’.\n

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rom grandeur to rags and tatters, from opulent palaces to widespread hunger, from Aladdin’s lamps and the jungle to a hundred tongues. According to the writer Mark Twain, India is a series of contradictions; it is a destination you dream of before you embrace it. From the instant you start imagining you’re walking its narrow streets and not simply visiting its great monuments, it becomes a part of you, clutching the literature its settings have inspired, firmly attaching them to our heart. The author of ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ toured India at the end of the 19th century and he described it as ‘the mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition’.\n

India is about learning to find your prejudices to then immediately unravel them

But India is not the country that is idealised by so many. This is a place where you learn to find your prejudices confirmed, only to then see them immediately unravel before your eyes, which is what happens when you arrive in Delhi, Agra or Jaipur, the most visited cities in the northwest of the country. Standing quite a distance from each other, about 250 km apart, they form the ‘Golden Triangle’: a city bursting with life, Delhi; the beauty of the monuments of the centre of the old Mughal Empire, Agra; and the radiant pink of the city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, a land of forts, palaces and desert. 

When you reach these cities –if you’re driving you’ll need a loud horn, good brakes and a lot of good luck– your trip begins to take shape and you understand what it means to share space with so many people. Delhi, with nearly 19 million inhabitants, is one of the most populated cities in the world; a megalopolis in permanent flux, where there are two contrasting areas: Old Delhi, the capital of the Muslim Mughal Empire in the 17th century, with the Great Mosque (Jama Masjid) and the Red Fort (Lal Qila), with the artery of Chandni Chowk market around the edge. And to the south is New Delhi, an area built by the British and characterised by its wide tree-lined streets. You can visit numerous shops and cafés under the white colonnades of Connaught Place or go to Rajpath boulevard, which runs from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s official residence.
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Jaipur acquired its characteristic colour in 1876, especially for the visit of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh issued an order to paint the city pink, the colour of hospitality.

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After all the noise, you will want to try and find some peace by the emblem of the city, the postcard you dreamt about. Agra is home to the most visited monument in all of India: the Taj Mahal. The mausoleum of white marble commissioned by Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife is surrounded by gardens, tuk tuk drivers and photographers who offer to immortalise your visit for 100 rupees; spirituality and entrepreneurship in perfect harmony. This is a place that will never leave you, whether you start off in the garden complex of Mehtab Bagh, on the other side of the Yamuna River, or from the Agra Fort. The main residence of the Mughal emperors is a complex of royal apartments and patios that provides a relaxing retreat from the medieval-like maze of bazaars. After Agra, you can enter the city of Fatehpur Sikri where you might encounter the spirits of the concubines, emperors and servants who once passed through this gigantic red stone gate.\n

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Outside the triangle

Sometimes detours are the best part of a tour. They let you escape the tourist masses and discover treasures like the hundred-odd Shiva temples of Bateshwar, near Agra. For three weeks in October or November, the city is home to India’s second-largest cattle fair, an event with a religious side, too. Even though you probably don’t have a commercial interest in the horses, goats, camels and oxen gathered together under the orange and yellow tents, this is a chance to witness an event that has hardly changed in the past 2,000 years. \n

The road continues until the gate into Rajasthan, Jaipur. The bazaars dotted around the historical centre reach as far as the wall whose colour gives it the name of the Pink City. The inhabitants used this colour as a symbol of good luck but the tradition was forgotten until it was recovered at the beginning of the 20th century. One of the city’s emblems is the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal), with its delicate façade made up of five floors with small windows and screened balconies, from where the women of the royal household could watch what was going on in the street.\n

Rajasthan is also where you will uncover the first seeds of tranquillity. From hundred-year-old palaces converted into hotels that offer visitors the chance to feel like a maharaja of the British Raj, literature festivals, such as the one held in the Diggi Palace Hotel, or camel rides, it’s all here. For the ultimate experience, combine the privilege of camping within the walls of the 350-year-old Ramathra Fort with being taken on a safari with the owner, Ravi Raj Pal. He will drive you through the Daang valley, an arid landscape where tigers and bandits used to roam.

If Jaipur is pink, then Jodhpur is blue, with sights such as the Mehrangarh Fort standing proud at the top of the hill, and the Umaid Bhawan Palace. Rajasthan’s third jewel is Udaipur, with its numerous lakes and floating palaces that have earned it the nickname the ‘Venice of the East’.

Captivated by the beauty of India you might ask yourself what’s left of your preconceptions, of the place you had previously imagined. You’ll find the answer in the ‘ashrams’, centres where they teach yoga and meditation. It is known as spiritual tourism, but it is much more than staying in a retreat, learning these disciplines or taking care of your mind and body. It is about assimilating, after the chaos and deafening noise of the cities through which you have roamed, that if peace is going to be a good travel companion it must be born from within; you have to know how to get rid of all that is unnecessary in order to grasp to the happiness of oneness.  
 
Kundalini is one of the main disciplines taught in these centres. It is about cultivating spirituality through our own emotions, our creativity, our purpose in life. There is a proverb that says ‘There is no tree that the wind has not shaken’. This is exactly what happens when you go to India, when your wish comes true: you feel shaken, exhausted, your beliefs crumble to pieces. As Twain said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness’. India affirms just this, it undoes your prior judgements, though at least you’re left with what you’ve learnt: the real India is far more exciting than you had previously thought possible.\n

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The bench of lost love

The Taj Mahal is a love poem made of marble, built by 2,000 craftsmen between 1631 and 1648. But it has also been a symbol of lost love. In 1980, the press published a photo of the Prince of Wales sitting in front of the monument, with the caption ‘One day I would like to bring my bride here’. In 1992 the prince returned to India, but only Princess Diana visited the Taj Mahal. She sat on the same bench where her husband had been photographed 12 years previously and said, ‘It would have been better if both of us had been here’. Ten months later, the Prince and Princess of Wales announced their separation. Ever since then, the bench has been known as ‘Lady Di’s Chair’.\n

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Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan.

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You can go on a boat trip in what is considered to be the most romantic place in India.

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Interview

Magazine

Interview

‘I’m a yoga warrior’

Passenger of the month

Sherry Minnard

Sherry Minnard left the chaos of New York behind her to teach yoga in Rajasthan, in the ‘ashram’ headed by Surajnath Siddh. They both teach how to attain mental and physical calm.\n

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She began to do yoga classes when her son was born, 25 years ago.

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When Sherry was small, her mother used to tell her that, ‘trees will make you intelligent if you spend enough time in the forest’. These words echoed in her head when she realised that her life revolved around the hustle and bustle of New York, a stressful job, and her three children. So much so that one morning, when she couldn’t even recognise her own  reflection, she made her mind up to start again from scratch.

‘I wasn’t happy with my life or my work and I decided to head for India’, Minnard recalls. Although she wasn’t aware of it, the trip would become her way of finding happiness. She reached an ‘ashram’ –a place that teaches yoga and meditation in accordance with Hindu tradition– located in Rajasthan, the cradle of the ancient Indian civilisation, the land of ‘saints, siddhas (masters) and sadhus (monks)’.\n

There are documents in India that date back over 4,000 years and the discipline is so highly valued that in 2014 the country established a ministry responsible for safeguarding traditional medicine and practices. As a result, it only took Minnard, who had been doing yoga for 25 years, a few days to realise that she had come to the right place. A short time later, she was invited to work as a writer, designer and yoga teacher at the Shri Jasnath Asan ‘ashram’, a mediaeval fort located in the region of Marwar.

Minnard accepted the offer, she adopted the spiritual name of Shreejan Sita and began her new life. ‘I’ve been here four years, I like my work, I love my philosophy of life and the place here in India, so far from the city, where I’ve set up my new home’.

At first she felt asphyxiated by the lack of space. India has a huge population, twice as many people as in the United States live in a space half the size, and a lifestyle based on sharing everything –from beds to food and cupboards– clashed with the individualistic style of the west. ‘I thought it was invasive until I understood that it formed part of my training’, she remembers. However, this state of anxiety didn’t last long. ‘The most important lesson I learnt is that we really don’t need anything. I can survive and be happy with nothing, and for this reason when I look back at my life in New York, I realise how much is wasted’.\n

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The region of Marwar is one of the oldest in India. Minnard claims that her adoptive home is ‘beautiful, but untouchable, uncolonisable’. ‘Colonialism didn’t reach the north, near the Pakistan border, so there’s not much influence from the west’, she explains, though she goes on to say that, ‘It’s on its way’. The yogi points out that despite the increase of western influence –‘We have a lot of English Catholic schools, the influence of western dress, the need to speak English…’, the atmosphere they live in is still ‘traditional, similar to the 15th century as regards women’s dresses, work… They go to the market every day; they live in shacks…’.

Minnard continues, ‘It is a natural way of being in contact with the land, which keeps us healthy whilst we appreciate a simple way of life without owning many material possessions’. You also learn that people ‘can give up a bad habit in just three days’, whereas you need ‘about 21 days’ to adopt new ones. These periods can be adapted to the length of time travellers usually spend in India when they are interested in finding out about spiritual tourism –usually trips of between 14 and 21 days– which includes retreats that are focused on learning yoga, meditation and caring for the mind and body.

‘UNESCO protects yoga as India’s tradition and heritage, and promotes the arrival of tourists with this purpose’, explains Minnard, who notes that yoga is not only ideal for people who suffer an existential crisis; it is also recommended for those who seek to be happier, ‘by acquiring a yoga lifestyle’, even if they aren’t in India, but in their own homes.

As a result, she recommends starting by ‘going to the source’ –‘With luck you’ll find a good guru who will help you fit into modern life’–, she is aware that ‘in India, nobody needs to give up their life for an ‘ashram’ to become a yogi’. ‘To be one you only need some training, a suitable guru and proper teaching’.

‘We can reach people; what is happening in India now could change the world’, says the teacher who believe that the future will bring the West –‘with its system, technology and advertising’– and the East increasingly closer together. “We have yoga, great masters and we want to teach’, she adds. ‘We don’t invent anything, we use ancient practices. We’re only messengers, people with skills and a passion for helping others’, says the yogi, who encourages using spirituality as a weapon. ‘I am a yoga warrior’, she stresses, and ends by saying that anyone who is capable of searching for this happiness and ‘helping the world to be healthy’ can also be a ‘yoga warrior’.\n

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Adventure

Magazine

Adventure

Snowboard in 4K

Travis Rice stars in ‘The Fourth Phase’, a new film about snowboarding where he travels over 25,000km, following the hydrological cycle.\n

‘I think everything starts with the water’, including this film’. ‘The Fourth Phase’ is the result of Travis Rice’s curiosity for this ‘magical substance’. It was Dr Gerald Pollack who lit the spark, and the hyperactive snowboarder became interested in the doctor’s theory, which affirms there is another phase apart from the already-known solid, liquid and gas phases. It is ‘living water’, like that inside human beings and cells, thicker than normal water and capable of storing energy. Rice was fascinated by the concept and decided to use it as the name of his film, a tribute to H2O in all its phases. ‘The medium that we play in, and dedicate our way of life to’, and now also the protagonist of his new adventure.\n

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Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool

The director of the film, Jon ‘JK’ Klaczkiewicz, says that one of the greatest challenges was coordinating the footage of the aerial shots with pilots who couldn’t speak English.

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The water cycle marked the route through the Northern Pacific. On the journey, you can see how the experienced Rice glides his snowboard over the Japanese Alps, across Russia, Alaska and the most inaccessible landscapes of his homeland, Wyoming. He does not do it alone, he is accompanied by 11 professional snowboarders. His friend, Mark Landvik ‘Lando’, Eric Jackson from California, and legends like Bryan Iguchi to name just a few. The production can be summarised as more than three years of work, five helicopters, 8,690km in a ship on the Pacific and 2,000 hours of footage that have been reduced to 92 minutes of acrobatic jumps and pirouettes in the midst of mountains and snow.\n

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Snowboarder by surprise

Travis Rice was born in Jackson, Wyoming, where his father taught him how to love the mountains. He started to shape his own legend at the age of 18, when he went to an event organised by Snowboarder Magazine without an invitation. When everyone saw his performance, they were amazed, and Rice soon became one of the most important figures in the snowboarding world.\n

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The water cycle marked the route through the Northern Pacific

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‘The Fourth Phase’ was released at the San Sebastian Film Festival after a world premiere held in Los Angeles, and the audience was captivated by the spectacular shots filmed in 4K, with a resolution four times better than high definition. To achieve such a carefully made film they had to withstand extreme filming conditions, with temperatures as low as -40 ºC, and adapt a crew that was not used to working in this type of surroundings. ‘It takes a lot of experience, skill and knowhow, mixed with some great problem solving’, explains Rice.

Luckily he has more than enough experience. Rice is one of the most influential snowboarders on the circuit today. His skills on and off the slopes have seen him participate in more than 20 films and documentaries. In 2011, his film ‘The Art of Flight’ became the decade’s most successful action sports film. For the director, Jon ‘JK’ Klaczkiewicz, it was a great inspiration. ‘It was a visual masterpiece’, he affirms, aware of the pressure of maintaining the level of quality in ‘The Fourth Phase’. The chosen locations and the sportsmen’s dangerous acrobatics have helped the film live up to its expectations.

The challenge was to do it only in places where Rice had never snowboarded before. ‘That turned out to be quite an undertaking, especially in my own backyard in Wyoming’. They had to go deep into the mountainous state to find the type of landscape they were looking for, and it is there where the longest descent in the film takes place: 1,025 metres from the summit.\n

Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool

‘The Fourth Phase’ was released on 2 October on several platforms.

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Photo: Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool

The film was shot in 4K ultra high-definition, and up to 10 different kinds of camera were used.

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In Japan they landed to the west of Nagano, in the Japanese Alps, one of the places with the greatest amount of snow in the world and the venue for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Epic snowfalls and rugged landscapes did not prevent Rice and his Japanese companion, Shin Biyajima, from dominating the situation with their innovative tricks on their snowboards.

Entry into Russia wasn’t easy; they spent seven hours on the border with 78 pieces of luggage, but it was worth it. It was the only way to follow the hydrological cycle, which went from the Kuril Islands (in Japan) to the Kamchatka peninsula, right in the middle of Siberia. This part of the world is volcanic and earthquakes are fairly common. The peninsula lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotskis and in one of Russia’s snowiest landscapes, Rice and Eric Jackson complete the longest vertical straight-line descent of 1,829 metres.

‘Alaska is… as far as you want to take it’ says Rice. And this is where his journey comes to an end, against a backdrop of potential avalanches and cliffs on every corner. Freestyle taken to the limit in 4K.\n

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Photo: Tim Zimmerman/Red Bull Content Pool

Rice hadn’t met Victor de la Rue in person, but he had spent years keeping track of his progress.

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The art of flying in three dimensions

‘The Art of Flight’ with Travis Rice was released in 2011 to positive reviews. A year later, the 3D version came out. Venture 3D was in charge of making us enjoy the magic of snowboarding as if we were with Rice in Alaska or the Patagonia. The studio was also responsible for converting ‘Titanic’ into 3D.\n

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Ad Page Baleares

48 hours in

Magazine

48 hours in

Chicago, from gangster to hipster

Chicago does not brag about being hipster, which is why the millennials here go about their lives peacefully. They move around on their bikes, eat hot dogs and drink home brewed beer while listening to music in revamped dens.\n

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lthough Chicago always features high on the list of America’s coolest places, together with Portland, Austin, New York and San Francisco, the self-proclaimed ‘Windy City’ shies away from the usual hipster stereotypes, with any trendy excesses hidden from view. From the shores of Lake Michigan you can see the home of the first skyscrapers to be built in the United States. and the second tallest building in the country, the Willis Tower, rebuilt after the great fire of 1871.\n

Photo: patrick-tomasso_Unsplash

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Chicago is especially well known in the cinema for the organised crime that dominated city life during the Prohibition era, between 1919 and 1933. So much so that these days there are even sightseeing tours that will take you to the spots where Al Capone and Bugs Moran used to frequent. The city’s legendary gangsters share their loved for the underworld with contemporary hipsters, though admittedly it Chicago’s hidden side has undergone significant gentrification since then.\n

Chicago’s authenticity lies in its lack of pretensions and the wide variety of subgroups and cultures that live together in the city

Beyond major events like the Lollapalooza music festival or the Taste of Chicago outdoor food festival, the cultural beat of the city is marked by countless jazz clubs and the tradition of small halls that host works, exhibitions and concerts. There are over 200 theatres in Chicago and most of them are independent venues that can seat fewer than 70 people. Steep Theatre and, less mainstream still, The House, are just two examples.\n

Photo: neal-kharawala__Unsplash

Jazz clubs fill the night in Chicago. One of the oldest places is Green Mill, where you can read ‘Al Capone drank here often’.

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Photo: David Hilowitz via VisualHunt.com

Once a month more than 30 galleries open their doors for the Pilsen East Artists Open House, in the Chicago Arts District. On this day, visitors are invited into the artists’ studios and they can enjoy the artworks on display in different exhibitions.

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Chicago’s authenticity lies in its lack of pretensions and the wide variety of subgroups and cultures that live together in the city. ‘Chicago doesn’t have one definable scene. People here take a very strong, personal approach to style that’s understated, not obvious or overdone,’ affirm Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters, students of the Art Institute of Chicago and founders of the Creatures of the Wind fashion project.

Wicker Park is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the whole of the States and has been a hotbed of ideas since the 1980s. It is also where John Cusack’s character had his record store in the classic film, ‘High Fidelity’. Over the years, the neighbourhood has undergone a number of facelifts and is now a perfect place for college-educated young adults. Located at the ‘Six Corners’ intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen is the mythical music club the Double Door, as well celebrated second-hand vinyl shop Reckless Records, and, of course, the iconic Flat Iron Arts Building, a place where artists and musicians of all disciplines have been meeting for decades.\n

Implacable American taste

The Bangers & Lace restaurant celebrates Chicago’s love for sausages and good beer, something that never goes out of fashion. Homemade doughnuts, vegan restaurants and organic menus live side-by-side with the rich pizzas of Lou Malnatis and, since 1948, the best hot dog in the country, to be found at Superdawg.\n

Photo: ifmuth via VisualHunt.com

Chicago is one of the best cities in the United States for getting around by bike. There are hundreds of Divvy Bikes stations where the general public can hire bikes at an affordable price.

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The artistic movement has now found its home in the Pilsen neighbourhood, well known for its mix of nationalities and Mexican food. It is impossible not be impressed by the street murals, like ‘Unbelievable the Things You See’, by the artist Jeff Zimmermann, and the numerous art galleries. Nearby there are taco restaurants like the Nuevo Leon, which has been one of the neighbourhood’s most popular taquerias for the past 50 years, as well as countless other interesting places, including Architectural Artifacts, a museum and shop of over 7,000 square metres, full of extraordinary antiques.

The new ‘next big thing’ for 2017 is the West Side neighbourhood, the Ukrainian Village. Orthodox churches, museums and old Ukrainian delis blend in with boutiques, restaurants and increasingly popular establishments, such as the Rainbo Club.

Driven by the wind and its creative airs, Chicago moves quickly. As Mark Twain would say, ‘It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago—she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time’.\n

Photo: Busara/shutterstock.com

The metal, state-of-the-art Cloud Gate, designed by the artist Anish Kapoor and known as the Bean, completely freezes over in winter.

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A passion for vintage

The aspiration of all hipsters is to emulate any one of the characters from Mad Men. There are countless businesses in Chicago that cater to this demand. You can’t miss Modern Cooperative for 50s and 60s furniture, Lee Allison, a spectacular industrial loft that sells bow ties and Knee Deep Vintage, where you can find pin-up and retro-style clothes that will make all your Don Draper dreams come true.\n

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Getaways

magazine

getaways

Unshakeable Comporta

It has been compared to Ibiza, St. Tropez, the Hamptons and even Yves St. Laurent’s Marrakech of the 1960s, though nothing could be further than the truth. Comporta is different to all beach resorts, simply because it just doesn’t look like one.\n

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eople come to Herdade da Comporta to waste their time because there’s not very much to do, which is precisely its main selling point. Christian Louboutin, who owns a house in this gigantic Portuguese estate located only one hour from Lisbon, admits he has a weakness for the Alentejo region and its coastline. ‘There is something quite magical about that. It’s so beautiful and so wild. Wherever you go there is this feeling of being in a late-medieval landscape,’ he says.

A stark contrast to the crowded Mediterranean, the spacious Atlantic coast is gaining popularity as a glamorous and attractive alternative. Besides Louboutin, others have found shelter on the coast of Comporta, among them Queen Rania de Jordan, the historic House of Grimaldi, the actress Kristin Scott Thomas, and Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. It is a well-known secret that these VIP visitors, many of whom own a house here, have converted this village into a new eco-chic paradise.

Comporta means ‘door that holds back water’, a name that becomes entirely apparent when you arrive and discover the canals that invade the huge rice paddies, the largest in Portugal. To get here, however, you must first travel along the Alentejo route, where you will see sleepy villages bathed in a relentless sun sitting among vineyards and dust. Between the end of the path and the beginning of the ocean is the Troia peninsula, lying 100 km to the south of Lisbon and home to the Herdade da Comporta. It covers a surface of 12,500 hectares between the estuary of the Sado river and the sea, and comprises seven villages: Pego, Carvalhal, Brejos, Torre, Possanco, Carrasqueira and Comporta.\n

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Behind the Praia da Comporta there is a natural protected sand dune and the first ecological resorts are a less than a 10-minute walk away.

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Photo: Casasnaareia by the architecture photographer Nelson Garrido

There are no fences, asphalt or cement in Casas na Areia. Sandy paths lead through the pine trees from one house to the next.

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Rice paddy architecture

The restrictions imposed on urban planners have helped keep the landscape intact. Properties and accommodation such as 3 Bicas and Sublime Comporta preserve the unique style of the original homes. Open spaces decorated in a boho-casual style, minimalist furniture and glass walls to better enjoy the landscape.\n

The estate is well looked after because it is set mostly within the natural reserve of the Sado estuary. The fields are covered in pine trees, wild flowers and rice paddies that are green all year round, and the limited accommodation on offer here consists of unpretentious low houses, with beams and thatched roofs. Projects like the Casas na Areia, where the houses have sandy floors, or the Cocoon Lodges, wooden cubes hidden amongst the pine woods, blend perfectly into nature, proving that luxury here is largely discreet and understated. The artist Jason Martin, one of Louboutin’s neighbours, lives in Comporta because he thinks it is ‘the last Wild West of Europe’.

The days go by at a leisurely pace and life revolves around the beach. The bravest people go surfing although, despite the blue flag that is nearly always flying, the cold water of the Atlantic means wetsuits are a necessity. Others ride bikes around the rice paddies, go horse-riding or try and spot dolphins swimming in the Sado estuary.\n

Photo: ARoxoPT shutterstock.com

The boats moored to the sticks in the port of Carrasqueira were used as a backdrop for one of Louboutin’s advertising campaigns.

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There are 3,500 inhabitants living here, but during the summer the number doubles, and the elderly people of the village sit outside on plastic chairs watching how the tourists park their BMWs against the kerbs. On the same road that leads to the beaches, numerous improvised stalls pile up and people sell watermelons, artichokes and tomatoes, though this only happens on Sundays. During the rest of the week, peace returns to the sleepy village.

In all, there are 12 kilometres of beaches to keep you happy. The most beautiful are those in Comporta, Pego and Carvalhal. There are only three beach bars to be found along this vast stretch of vanilla-coloured sand. One of the liveliest beaches is Sal, in Praia do Pego, where the afternoons go by and the words of the Portuguese writer, Fernando Pessoa, linger in the air: ‘Never do today what you can leave for tomorrow’.

A visit to the Porto Palafítico (elevated on stilts) of Carrasqueira, an impressive picture of sticks and boats arranged in accordance with the tides, reminds you that before the rich and famous arrived, the fishermen, farmers and salt manufacturers were already here. Storks and flamingos that wander all over the estuary bid farewell to visitors. And when they have all gone, Comporta stays peacefully among the rice paddies, thatched roofs and the shadow of the Atlantic that paints the edges of the land cobalt blue. And that is how it will always be.\n

This warning is given in each one of the five restaurants in the Herdade da Comporta estate: Museu do Arroz, Comporta Café, Ilha do Arroz, Dos Pescadores and SAL. Tomato and sweet onion salad, clams with parsley and lots of steaming pans of rice with seafood and the aroma of coriander, of course. Portuguese gastronomy born in the sea.\n

‘Mind the coriander’

Comporta stays peacefully among the rice paddies, thatched roofs and the shadow of the Atlantic

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Luxury

Magazine

LUXURY

Sleep in the ‘homes’ of the stars

It will be the closest you’ll get to your idols and their lifestyles. Celebrity hotels faithfully reflect their tastes and, in some cases, their principles.\n

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The first person to come up with the idea

After travelling extensively and never finding a hotel that satisfied him, in 1969 Robert Redford decided to open his own, the Sundance Resort. He was the first actor to have the idea and he set the trend. He did it in Sundance, with the aim of providing the people who attended the film festival with a comfortable and welcoming place, where they could wait until the results were announced.\n

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reading on Cristiano Ronaldo‘s footprints that you can see on the rug when you enter the room while listening to the ovation of the fans in the stadium. It is all part of the experience offered by the Pestana CR7 hotels, where the star is the Portuguese sports legend. There are two hotels dedicated to the football hero, in Funchal and Lisbon, and in 2017 the chain will expand to Madrid and New York.

But we are sorry to tell CR7 that he wasn’t the first person to come up with the idea; indeed, the forward of Real Madrid is far from the only celebrity to endow a hotel with their personality. When Marlon Brando arrived on the island of Tetiaroa, in Tahiti, he fell in love with the place and one of its inhabitants. He went there to film ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ and ended up buying the island, marrying a Haitian woman and setting up a luxury eco-resort. He wanted to safeguard the island from urban development and preserve it just as it was. Although the actor died before the building was finished, his wishes were respected. The Brando hotel runs on natural energy and the rooms are separated from each other in order to reduce human interaction as much as possible.\n

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eonardo DiCaprio also demonstrates his fierce defence of the environment in his hotel, the Blackadore Caye, in Belize. This exclusive eco-resort will open its doors in 2018, with luxury and a respect for nature granted equal levels of attention. A bit like ‘The Great Gatsby’, meets ‘The Beach’. ‘The main focus is to do something that will change the world…I couldn’t have gone to Belize and built on an island and done something like this if it weren’t for the idea that it could be ground-breaking in the environmental movement.’ the actor explained to the ‘The New York Times’. In the same Central American country, and also instilled with an ecological spirit, the Coppola family has found the perfect place for establishing one of its luxury residences, Blancaneaux Lodge. When Francis Ford Coppola discovered the hotel it had been abandoned but he turned it into the family retreat. More than a decade later, in 1993, he opened it to the public.

Robert de Niro’s hotel is in the heart of the Big Apple, in the Tribeca neighbourhood. The exclusive Greenwich Hotel offers guests the chance to enjoy cutting-edge technology and gourmet food at any time of the day. And if they go with their pets, they can be sure that their furry friends will be pampered in the same way as they are, or even more so. On the outskirts of New York, mythomaniacs that seek peace and quiet can go to the Bedford Post Inn, owned by Richard Gere. This small hotel focuses on yoga and gastronomy and can make anyone feel as if they were Julia Roberts in the luxury whirlpool bath in ‘Pretty Woman’.

It’s not only actors that enjoy opening up the doors of their favourite retreats. In Dublin, The Clarence hotel is better known as ‘U2’s hotel’, and the members of the band have spent more than one ‘beautiful day’ there. In 1996 Bono and The Edge refurbished the old venue, paying special attention to the Penthouse Suite. The singer was so pleased with the result that whenever he is in his hometown he will always stays there. The restaurant chef has a Michelin star, while the Octogon Bar is one of the city’s social references, and the hotel roof has been the stage for some of the group’s recordings.

Far from the madding crowd are Olivia Newton-John, promoter of the Gaia Retreat & Spa (Brooklet, Australia) and Clint Eastwood, the owner of the Mission Ranch Hotel, located near San Francisco, in Carmel (where he used to be the mayor), and which looks like a scene out of ‘The Bridges of Madison County’. Fans of these entrepreneurial stars are in luck: they can very, very nearly slip into their homes.\n

The Clarence penthouse suite covers a surface of 2,000 square metres distributed over two floors.

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Apart from the amusement park, Dolly Parton is the owner of the luxury hotel DreamMore Resort.

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Dolly Parton’s amusement park

The queen of country music has big dreams and she created a hotel with its own amusement park. In Dollywood, Tennessee, visitors can travel over the forest on a roller coaster known as ‘The Thunderhead’. At the end of the ride, they get off listening to live music. With a bit of luck, Dolly herself might be singing.\n

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Romantic

Magazine

NATURE

Minorca and the return to a slower pace

Wellbeing for body and mind, detox getaways to disconnect from routine and noise. The island of Minorca is opting for serenity, and promoting the slow life.\n

“When we make love, when we tell our children stories... We catch the hurry virus.” That is how Carl Honoré explained it in his book, In Praise of Slow. In the face of anxiety, the author suggests we opt for the slow-life culture, for stopping and savouring the moment. It is about a need where we start imagining ourselves as being lost, without mobile phones, emails or hurry, craving a dream paradise. But, this place actually exists. In the off-season, the Balearic Islands are an oasis of tranquillity, where a detox getaway will help you disconnect infinitely more (and better) than a 10-day holiday at a mass-tourism destination.

This is the calm boom. Travel the island’s lighthouses and take mud baths, walks on the beach and a tour through the Ciutadella. You are in Minorca, a Biosphere Reserve, to slow yourself down. Enjoy a lifestyle of sport, breathing, contact with nature, discovering rural trails, and rejuvenating. \n

There is plenty of choice here. Some options are more intimate, like Elka Mocker’s offering. This health and lifestyle coach, a graduate of the New York Institute for Integrative Nutrition, invites you to enjoy a homely weekend, focused on food as the path to wellbeing. “Accompany, motivate, inspire. Show that through food and a healthy lifestyle, we can recover our health, rejuvenate and feel more alive than ever,” he explains. At his Lala Kitchen, they combine food-based learning with yoga and bike rides.\n

Detox in Majorca, too

Majorca also offers detox tourism. One example is the five-star Font Santa Hotel. Located in the Campos area, it has the only thermal spa in the Balearic Islands. The high presence of minerals, predominantly chlorine and sodium salts, nurtures the body.\n

Hotel Torralbenc

Breakfast at Hotel Torralbenc.

Other options include spaces like Torralbenc, a former farm transformed into a luxury hotel, set on a hill set in vineyards in the municipality of Alaior. Its wellbeing zone, created by Natura Bissé, is a space designed for you to “recover the harmony between body and mind”, with different treatments, including “diamond powder and gemstone re-magnetization”, which eliminates pollution and balances chakras, and “hot-stone massages”.

Besides relaxing experiences, others are designed for your stomach. From the hands of culinary consultant Gorka Txapartegui, of acclaimed restaurant Alameda de Hondarribia, and Luis Loza, executive chef of Torralbenc, you will find a culinary offering that promotes “raw materials transformed in a kitchen that combines its traditional roots with modernity, based on using seasonal products, and blending the flavours of sea and land”.\n

Lala Kitchen

Elka Mocker (Lala Kitchen) offers antioxidant food, with emphasis on uncooked fresh vegetables.

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Minorca, a destination for star gazing

In 2016, doctor of astrophysics and chair of the Starlight Foundation, Antonia Varela, unveiled a project to make Minorca into a destination for star gazing. As well as making the island even calmer, the Dark Park will also help protect the local flora and fauna.\n

Font Santa Hotel

The Font Santa Hotel (Majorca) thermal spa has the only natural thermal waters in the Balearic Islands.

Yoga retreats are also an excellent opportunity to enjoy the island. Sansyoga organises these events in traditional Minorcan country homes, and in Alaior, deep in nature and right by beautiful virgin beaches. During the stay, besides yoga and meditation classes, delicious vegetarian menus are available.

Regardless of where you stay, simply being here will give you the opportunity to enjoy the Minorcan hiking trails. The wilderness is another way of discovering the island, on foot, bike or horse. You can follow the Camí de Cavalls, a spectacular trail with stops in coves and at viewpoints. Enjoy the Windy Island by doing water sports, scuba diving or playing golf. The good climate helps, of course. “We live in a world obsessed with speed, with doing more and more, in less and less time. Every moment of the day feels like a race against the clock. But I want to get back to slower rhythms,” says Carlo Honoré. Minorca makes it easy for us.\n

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Hotel Torralbenc

Besides accommodation, a lot of packages include healthy food and activities related to wellbeing.

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Top 6A

MAGAZINE

TOP 6A

Perfect places to watch the sunrise

These places are worth visiting at any time of day, but if you have the willpower to get up at dawn, you will discover their best side. Getting up early has never been more worth the effort.

Stonehenge (United Kingdom)

Summer solstice is the time of year when this corner of south England receives the most visitors. But any sunrise is magical behind this monolith, aged 5,500 years old.

Adam’s Peak (Sri Lanka)

They say it was the first place Adam walked on Earth. This sacred place is the destination of pilgrims who want to crown its peak. It is best to hike up at night, to watch the sunrise from the summit.

Bagan (MYANMAR)

More than 4,000 temples measuring 42 square kilometres. Bagan is a spectacle in itself, but in the dawn light, it takes on a special aspect. And this is even more apparent from a hot air balloon.

Arches National Park (UTAH, UNITED STATES)

The best-known arch in Arches National Park is shown in the photograph. The sun filters through it at dawn. You will have to be alert to get a photo because the decisive instant lasts just a few minutes.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (AUSTRALIA)

One of the greatest attractions in Australia is in the heart of the desert, in the centre of the country. Ayers Rock is a sandstone formation that takes on different tones depending on the sun. At dawn, it is an intense red.

Haleakala National Park (HAWAII, UNITED STATES)

Three quarters of the Hawaiian island of Maui are occupied by Haleakalā Volcano, whose name means ‘the sun’s house’. At 3,000m high, excursions leave early in the morning for hikers to enjoy a sunrise in the clouds.

Rays between the stones

Sacred dawn

Temple skyline

The decisive moment

The rock that changes colour

The sun’s house

Travelbeats

Magazine

Travelbeats

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Spring bursts into bloom in the Netherlands

The flowers of the Keukenhof may not be in bloom for long, but when they are, the show is like no other on earth. The garden is in Lisse (35 km from Amsterdam) and only opens from 23 March to 21 May. It is known as the Garden of Europe and contains 7 million bulbs and about 800 varieties of tulips. However, the Netherlands doesn’t live off tulips alone; there is enough room for the fragrance of other flowers like hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations and lilies. In all, it’s 32 hectares dotted with old windmills, lakes and fountains that add the final touch to this bucolic and colourful scene. Its appearance changes every year and ‘Dutch Design’ is the theme for 2017. Inspired by artists like Mondrian, the coloured mosaics stand out in the different spaces. During the two months when the gardens are open, several big events are held, including the Flower Parade (22 April), Food & Flower Festival (6 May) and Flowers & Fashion Festival (20 and 21 May).\n

Photo: Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York

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The crystal hotel

The iconic French company Baccarat has been manufacturing crystal of the most exquisite quality for over 250 years. Its name is synonymous with luxury, and that’s what another French company, Gilles & Boisseur wish to convey as they have been entrusted with the decoration of this hotel just a few metres from Fifth Avenue in New York. Crystal is, of course, the star of the show.\n

Photo: © HUISTEN BOSCH

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Welcome to the future

Three robots will welcome you at the reception to check in. Don’t worry if they don’t give you a key to get into your room: the rooms open by facial recognition. The Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki (Japan), aims to be the hotel of the future. All of its employees are robots and the smallest details are designed to be both smart and eco-friendly.\n

Photo: Camp& Furnace

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An everlasting summer

This is much more than a restaurant: it’s a park, a terrace, a music festival, a sports bar…And the best thing is: there’s no need to worry about the rain because it’s indoors. Camp and Furnace, in Liverpool, is a former warehouse that has been converted into the place to be. And no wonder: it has all the good things about summer all year round!\n

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The ‘boutique hotel’ of the seas

The trend might be to build increasingly bigger and more ostentatious cruise ships, but Windstar Cruises reminds us that size isn’t everything. The operator has decided to use a fleet of ‘small’ yachts to create a more intimate ambience and make passengers feel almost as though they were aboard a ship of their own. All the vessels have a wide selection of amenities, with the one major advantage that guests only have to share them with another 148 or 310 people, depending on the model of the ship. Additionally, the yachts are small enough to berth in ports where huge cruise ships cannot call.\n

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