As with men and women, behind every great religion you’ll find a greater kitchen. At least that’s Vikas Khanna’s theory. In his new film series, Holy Kitchens, the 38-year-old chef delves into the relationship between food and faith. For the first installment, Holy Kitchens: The True Business, Khanna visits the Langar (or, community kitchen) of Harimandir Sahib—also known as the Golden Temple—the holiest site in Sikhism, in Amritsar, India. It’s an appropriate debut subject for Khanna, who was born in Amritsar. Though he now lives in Manhattan, he maintains very close ties to his homeland.
For the first time in modern history, the below-ground tunnels of Rome's Colosseum, where the gladiators tied up their sandals and prayed to their gods before entering the arena, have been opened to the public. The hallways and holding areas, and even the workings of the wooden elevator platforms that would hoist the wild animals, slaves, soldiers, and prisoners up to the floor of the arena for mortal combat, are on view following a $700,000 restoration.
Also restored and reopened for the first time since the 1970s is the third tier of the Colosseum from which Rome’s middle class watched the monumental pageants and battles. The Guardian reports, “This level boasts heart-stopping views of Rome, from Palatine Hill to the distant Vittorio Emanuele monument. And, at about 115ft in the air, you're still more than 70ft below where the highest seats would have been.”
The guided tours, open to 25 visitors at a time, must be booked in advance. Call Pierreci, the cooperative that handles ticket sales and tours at the Colosseum, at +39 06 3996 7700, to book the €20 tickets.
Ann Shields in an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of the Rome Cavalieri Hilton's Gladiator Training Program, which has nothing to do with the Colosseum tour but was too good not to use.
This week’s sales surely run the gamut. In Costa Rica, spa-goers unwind in private Jacuzzis high in a cloud forest; in California, lucky travelers will settle into a beachfront getaway just south of L.A.. Prefer to bring the family? Try a villa rental in Riviera Nayarit or a snow lodge in Colorado, or leave the relatives behind in favor of secluded Maradiva, on the west coast of Mauritius. To access these experiences, you know the drill: Sign up to be a Vacationist member, and start packing now.
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Bajos del Toro (Alajuela), Costa Rica
Costa Rica has long been known as an eco-travel destination, but El Silencio—a serene retreat on 500 acres opened in 2008 by the owners of the nearby Hotel Punta Islita—presents an unusual level of luxury for the green-oriented adventurer… (5 days)
L'Auberge Del Mar - up to 35% off
Del Mar, California
The sunny seaside town of Del Mar, between L.A. and San Diego, offers an increasingly hard-to-find slice of old-school SoCal relaxation. Clark Gable and Lucille Ball both stayed at this classic 120-room property… (6 days)
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Images top to bottom: courtesy of El Silencio; courtesy of L'Auberge del Mar; courtesy of Trappers Cabin.
There are two electronic devices that I never leave home without: my cell phone and my iPod. I hate being without either; worse than that, I hate when one dies on me when I forget to charge it. So I was pretty excited when I got the chance to try out mophie’s juice pack air, a new add-on device for my iPod Touch that claimed it would just about double the battery life.
I’m not normally one for protective cases—whether it’s my phone, iPod, or other gadget—because they can detract from the device's style. But I actually like the mophie case. It kind of makes me feel like I’m using some sort of Super iPod. (In reality, it doesn’t actually add that much bulk/weight to the device. And if it gave me a few extra days’ worth of juice, it’d be completely worth it for me.)
Eighteen passengers on a Vietnam Airline flight from Hanoi to Paris were injured this morning when their plane encountered severe air turbulence, according to Agence France-Presse. The plane later landed safely at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and none of the injuries were thought to be serious.
But here's the interesting part: according to the story, these passengers—excuse me while I crank up the old caps lock and put the italics in gear—WEREN'T WEARING SEAT BELTS.
A bullet train capable of traveling 200 mph arrived from Germany today in London's St. Pancras Station, heralding a broad expansion of high-speed Continental rail service from the British capital. It also marks the first challenge to Eurostar's virtual monopoly on passenger service through the Channel Tunnel. If all goes according to plan, starting in 2013 passengers will be able to travel by rail from London to Frankfurt, without changing trains, in only five hours.
My foodie friends used to be horrified by my penchant for street snacks. For years it created a significant rift between us. While they spent their weekends at farmers’ markets, taking knife-skills classes at the Culinary Institute, and trying to snag a table at Wylie Dufresne’s latest chic eatery, I was scarfing down empanadas at random Brooklyn intersections and scouring parking lots for new taco trucks.
This past Saturday, we finally broke bread at the same metaphorical dining table. The source of our new common ground? A one-day street-food extravaganza hosted by New York magazine’s food blog, Grub Street.
Whether you're looking to skip town this winter or just skip some holiday stress, this month's Contest Watch has you covered.
Teva, "Teva House 2011 Fiji Giveaway," Enter Now - January 15
If you need something to look forward to, how about a 10-day trip to Fiji from April 1-11, 2011? Enter at tevahouse.com and you could win a $14,000 trip for two to Fiji, complete with round-trip airfare, seven-day Tui Tai expedition cruise, river tour, and Teva sandals (lest you step on a sea urchin while exploring). The winner will be contacted January 30 when the winter blues are at their worst.
Looking for a fall nature adventure that lands somewhere between "glamping" and actual camping? Look no further than Douthat State Park. Nestled in the Allegheny mountains of central Virginia, a four-and-a-half hour drive from Washington, DC, the 4,490-acre pet-friendly park offers charming cabins and plentiful hikes for the beginner leaf-peeper.
I cannot stress the "beginner" part enough. When we went last weekend, our party consisted of four couples, each lodging in a cabin outfitted with a full kitchen, working fireplaces, central heat and a/c, and clean simple bathrooms (with phenomenal hot water and pressure). The majority of our pre-hike-planning included a map-scan for the dirtiest sounding trail (our choice, Blue Suck Falls) and a very detailed après-walk drinking plan.
Must-pack necessities for the weekend: boardgames, whiskey, family dog, s'mores ingredients, food for the grill, hiking shoes (maybe).
Cabins range from $75 to $102 per night during this fall season, and include parking and park fees. Our cheapest cabin (#6) featured a queen bed and small communal space, while the more palatial options (#9 and #11) have capacious living rooms to enjoy the hearth. Larger groups should consider renting one of the property's three lodges (where, unfortunately, dogs are not allowed).
Charlotte Savino is Travel + Leisure's Listings Editor.
Photo courtesy of the author.
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