Arts + Culture
As you’ve no doubt heard, today marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth. Besides being a great writer, Dickens was a believer in travel. He did not always put a happy spin on his voyages (On crossing the English Channel: “I am bumped rolled gurgled washed and pitched into Calais Harbour..” or on the world’s great capitals: “Naples is hot and dirty, New York feverish, Washington bilious, Genoa exciting, Paris rainy…”), but he is just as eloquent about the joy of experiencing the world around you:
He went to the church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and for, and patted the children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of homes, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed of any walk, that anything, could give him so much happiness.
And the enduring benefits of travel:
The more man knows of man, the better for the common brotherhood among us all.
Happy Dickens Day!
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo of Dickens World, a theme park in Kent, England, by Robert Bird/Alamy.
Gülgün Özek, Photo Editor (pictured)
Location: Sofyali Sokak, Asmalimescit
“My neighborhood is historic yet cosmopolitan. Inside the Neoclassical buildings you’ll find bars, theaters, and one of the best contemporary art galleries—Arter (211 Istiklal Cad.; 90-212/243-3767).”
Seren Yüce, Filmmaker
Location: Kadiköy Harbor
“I love the view of the Bosporus from the lighthouse. I just had lunch at Çiya Sofrasi (lunch for two $50)—a traditional Anatolian restaurant nearby.”
Mehmet Öktem, Bar Owner
Location: Galata Bridge
“I come here often, just to soak in the city. This bridge connects Beyoğlu—the city’s modern, European heart—and the old peninsula, where I shop at the Spice Bazaar. It’s next to the New Mosque, which is almost three hundred and fifty years old.”
Yasemin Arpaç, Interior Designer
Location: Serdar Ekrem Sokak, Galata
“A lot of artists are moving into the area—it’s very trendy these days. At one end of the street there’s the Galata Tower; at the other is my favorite jewelry boutique, Aida Pekin (44A Serdar Ekrem Sk.; 90-212/243-1211). The designer creates pendants inspired by local landmarks.”
Interviewed by Christine Ajudua
Photo by Kerem Uzel
The prolific YBA artist, Damien Hirst, is continuing his successful career at being…well, prolific. Today, the Gagosian Gallery opens "The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011" in all of their 11 locations. That's 3 in New York, 2 in London, 1 in Paris, Rome, Beverly Hills, Athens, Hong Kong and Geneva. If this is still not enough Damien Hirst for you, the gallery is offering people to take on "The Complete Spot Challenge." Register at their website, jet to all 11 locations, and you'll get a personally signed Spot Print from the man himself. While you're in New York, stay at Le Parker Meridien or the Gramercy Park Hotel, where you'll find his work on their walls. In London, spend the night at 45 Park Lane and eat in the lobby, at Wolfgang Puck's CUT. There, you'll be greeted by even more of his pieces. Hong Kong? No problem. W Hotel, Hong Kong often exhibits his art in their lobby as well. Just make sure you bring some extra cash. A Damien Hirst doesn't come cheap.
Where: Gagosian Gallery (Worldwide)
When: Opens January 12, 2012 (Closing dates vary)
More Information: gagosian.com
Joe Harper is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photo Credit: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2011. Photography by Prudence Cuming Associates
Like the products of an architect’s fever-dreams, the buildings in Victor Enrich’s city portraits morph and strain and sprout new wings that defy logic and gravity. His 3-D illustrations transform cityscapes from familiar boxiness into something distorted and slightly giddy. Yet when one considers some of the outlandish real-world structures that have sprung from the imaginations of big-name designers like Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and Santiago Calatrava, perhaps former architecture student Enrich (with a well-connected and -caffeinated publicist and a budget, of course) could be the next urban design visionary?
“It’s only by seeing the totality of a man’s life that you can get a measure of it,” or so the painter Clyfford Still told the New York Times in 1971. Four decades later, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver—which opened in November—offers visitors as close to a total view of the pioneering Abstract Expressionist’s life as he could have possibly wanted. Actually, he insisted on it.
Famously imperious, egoistic, and cantankerous, Still was one of American art’s great mid-century mavericks, known for his raw, abstract paintings from the forties and fifties, featuring jagged fields and fissures in earthy, fiery tones that manage to feel both primal and transcendent. The artist exhibited his work infrequently, and he only sold or donated 150 or so of the roughly 2,500 pieces he created. When Still died, in 1980, he stipulated that nothing in his estate could be sold or given away. The art, all of it packed into his widow’s house in Maryland, had to go to a city that would agree to build a museum with the sole purpose of preserving and showing his work—and only his work.
Peeling plaster and an unstable foundation are things of the past at the Bolshoi Theater, which recently reopened in Moscow after a painstaking six-year renovation. A major player in the rise of Russia’s dance tradition, the 19th-century, 1,750-seat Bolshoi—which, appropriately, translates as “grand”—is once again fit for a czar. (The word also applies to the project’s price tag—in excess of $600 million.) No expense was spared to recapture its former splendor (embroidered silk from the foyers was rewoven thread by thread) or to enhance the theater with up-to-the-minute stage technology. This month, don’t miss choreographer Yuri Grigorovich’s The Nutcracker (Dec. 27, 29–31). 1 Teatralnaya Ploshchad; 7-495/250-7317.
Photo Courtesy of the Bolshoi Theater/Damir Yusupov
You can build a neighborhood from scratch, but that alone can't give it heart. Luckily for Copenhagen, a flashy tilting hotel is transforming a day-stroll district to a destination with a pulse. Rising from the southern flatlands on land reclaimed by the sea, the 3XN-designed Bella Sky Comwell Hotel (doubles from $420) has fast become a centerpiece for Ørestad City, a master-planned enclave founded nearly two decades ago.
Media mogul, philanthropist and former Miss South Africa shares her holiday season must-dos in Cape Town.
Climb Aboard a Sunset Cruise
Bassie loves the sea, so when she’s in Cape Town, a boat ride at dusk is her idea of a great way to celebrate. “A sunset cruise around the V&A Harbour through MK Exotic Tours is a must if you are here with a group of friends,” she says.
$428 for up to 12 guests (includes drinks and snacks); 27-21-552-0247
Attend a Tree Lighting
“For a truly special treat, where you get to make a difference and have some fun, go to the Tree of Lights Ceremony at St. Luke’s Hospice in Kenilworth,” Kumalo says. On Dec. 4, a local dignitary will switch on the LED decorations adorning a massive Norfolk Pine. You can sponsor a light with an $8 donation, which goes towards the care of terminally ill patients. The evening is also filled with pipe bands, carols and food stalls selling. Tip: Take cues from Capetonians and arrive early (starting at 4pm) with your own snacks to enjoy on the lawn. 27-21-797-5335
“Hong Kong is a busy, busy place. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person to say that. There’s been this massive rush to modernize all over the city, but here in the Sheung Wan district, things seem to slow down. Walking around, you’ll come across loads of graffiti by local street artists and contemporary art galleries like Cat Street (222 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2291-0006). And then nearby on Upper Lascar Row, you’ll see these old Chinese dudes selling antique jade carvings and Buddha heads. There are still high-rise buildings, but they’re generally older, with Man Mo Temple (124-126 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2540-0350) in the middle of them all. It’s a cool mix.” —Thomas Mauritsen,
Interviewed by Christine Ajudua
Photo by Philipp Engelhorn
New York City sparkles during the holidays but this year it dazzles as never before! Just around the corner from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, on display at Christie’s auction house are the jewels, fashion, paintings, and memorabilia that were owned by film star Elizabeth Taylor. And what an assemblage of bling and color. Here, among almost 300 remarkable pieces of jewelry are 80 iconic diamonds, gemstones, legacy jewels, including the 33.19-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (once known as the Krupp diamond), the legendary pearl La Pérégrina (that belonged to the Spanish royal family), and a spectacular group of emeralds and diamonds—ring, necklace, bracelet, earrings—acquired by Richard Burton and Taylor from Bulgari in Rome around the time they made the movie Cleopatra (1963). Serious jewels.