One of the hallmarks of a traveler, I always say, is curiosity. Curiosity about the world beyond your doorstep, about cultures different from your own, about how societies and the planet are changing. Travel opens our eyes and gives us greater insight into the world; I know it has made me a wiser, more understanding, and, yes, an even more curious person.
Just back from the African country’s dramatic sand dunes and wildlife-filled reserves, T+L deputy editor Laura Begley Bloom shares a few of her favorite finds.
Most Memorable Sundowner: Here I am, having an end-of-day drink while at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge ($$$$), in the Kaokoveld—known for its rare desert elephants and black rhinos.
The Sands of Sossusvlei: Full disclosure: I didn’t quite make it to the top of Dune 45. We stayed nearby at Little Kulala ($$$$$), where I coveted the ostrich eggshell chandeliers, below, and bought this recycled glass necklace.
Local Souvenir: Wood-and-seed earrings from Okahirongo, where I also got the best wakeup call on the trip: an elephant purring just outside my window.
Top View: Watching animals gather around the watering hole at Onguma The Fort ($$$), a hotel near Etosha National Park.
Watch out, B.A.—Santiago is South America’s new culinary capital. Our tip sheet.
Head to the buzzy Barrio Italia neighborhood for an espresso and Chocolatón (a wickedly rich chocolate cake) at Café Emporio Da Noi (1776 Avda. Italia). For pizzas and generous charcuterie platters, wait it out at the scene-y Ciudadano (400 Seminario; $$), where reservations are a tough score. The local music spot Café Bar Cinco Minutos (451 Avda. Santa Isabel)offers a small but standout menu, including a gloriously oozy steak-and-cheese sandwich—often called the city’s best.
Ever wonder what travel editors do on vacation? Get the scoop on the moments that resonated most with the T+L staff in 2012—and see photos of us on location. Happy holidays, and here's to more travel for everyone in 2013!
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Olander
Five days in Cape Town was all it took to confirm its place at the top my personal roster of favorite cities, and T+L readers seem to agree with me—you voted it No. 4 in this year’s annual World’s Best Awards, out this month. The scenic city has no shortage of stylish hotel options, from grand resorts to intimate bed-and-breakfasts, and the two properties where I was fortunate enough to lay my head were a chic study in contrasts: one dramatically glam, the other quietly elegant.
We here at T+L know that our readers are the savviest around. So when I decided to go to South Africa essentially on a whim with three weeks’ notice, I decided it would be prudent to leave the trip planning to the experts. And if Micato Safaris’ impressive showing in our annual World’s Best Awards is anything to go by—they were voted Top Safari Outfitter for the ninth year running in the 2012 survey, out in the August issue—they must be the best.
The Micato experience begins before you’ve even boarded your flight, with the delivery of a mammoth safari bag filled with a bound itinerary, helpful packing list, and some gifts (a handy flashlight and a stylish passport holder), all wrapped in animal-print tissue paper to get you in the safari spirit. But even for someone like me, who likes to plot out every detail on my trips, it was nice to surrender myself to someone else’s expertise for a week and let them handle the logistics.
In Beijing, five years is more like two decades. The last time I was in the Chinese capital was before the 2008 Olympics, when the city was just entering a building frenzy and gaining prominence on the world stage. When my husband announced that he had gotten a job in Beijing, I knew to expect a transformed city—China, after all, has emerged as an economic powerhouse. But the pace of change is still breathtaking.
For starters, I don’t recognize anything. Granted, I haven’t had a chance to visit the historic monuments like Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven. (Expats’ dirty secret: you save the sights for when visitors are in town.) But I thought I'd at least recognize old haunts that survived the construction boom. One night, I confidently told my husband I knew the exact location of Nali Patio, a complex in the Sanlitun neighborhood that’s home to trendy restaurants and bars, where we were meeting friends. What I hadn’t reckoned on was that everything around Nali Patio had been demolished, with a shiny shopping development and dozens of bars in their stead.
We’re wrapping up our May food issue here at Travel + Leisure, and the delectable stories we’ve dished up (don’t read this one on an empty stomach, you just may eat the pictures) simply reaffirmed to me how vital a component dining is to a memorable travel experience. I, for one, explore a locale with both my eyes and my stomach. So, intrepid gastronaut that I am, on my first trip to Vancouver recently I saw all the sights (don’t miss the random Jimi Hendrix shrine tucked into the outskirts of Chinatown, or, if you have children, the wonderful Kids Market on Granville Island) while still squeezing in meals that ran the gamut from high-end to hole-in-the-wall, each worth writing home about. So let’s pretend you all are “home,” and here goes my paean.
years, Myanmar—better known by its colonial name, Burma—has been high on my
list of places I wanted to visit. But the tourism boycott called by Nobel Peace
Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s unstable politics held me
back. The military junta’s brutal crackdown on monk-led protests in 2007 also
left a bad taste for many a conscientious traveler.
though, the country has opened up a bit following elections last year—which
admittedly were engineered in favor of the military-backed party—and Suu Kyi’s
release from house arrest. (Suu Kyi also reversed her stance on tourism two
years ago.) The chance to go to Yangon—or, Rangoon—cropped up recently, and I
leapt at it.
They say Savannah is the most haunted city in America, and that may be true. But no matter how plentiful they are, those Southern ghosts sure are shy. Or, maybe bars weren't the best places to be looking for them.
I took my wife to Georgia's coolest city for her birthday. It was a short weekend trip, but the mild weather, laidback vibe, and friendly folks were exactly what we—angry, anxious New Yorkers—needed to forestall winter's icy lockdown. If you've never been to Savannah, I can't recommend it highly enough.