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07.24.2017

From the herbs and flowers that grow in the mountains around Lake Como - and the passions of Marco Rivolta and his mother Gianna - a new gin called Rivo Gin has been born in Lombardy with a fresh, balsamic aroma, that is already promising to take the world by storm. We asked Marco to tell us more about this amazing venture. Why did you choose gin and not a more traditionally Italian spirit?MR: Gin is commonly perceived to be an English product but it must be said that the first traces of wine distillates with juniper infusions were born in Italy and date back to 1055. They can be found in the Compendium Salernitanum of Salerno's medical school. With Rivo Gin we wanted to create something that was different from Italian tradition but also tied to our region, Lake Como. And I think we succeeded. What are the secrets of a good gin, and yours in particular?MR: I think they're the same as any other product: ensure the highest quality throughout the production chain and be authentic. In Rivo we only use the best ingredients, and those which are local are selected and picked by hand from the mountains around Lake Como. We then take advantage of the one of the oldest distilleries in Italy's experience, to transform our botanical ingredients into a spirit. We always like to highlight this authenticity because it differentiates us from the world of more commercial gins. We know that behind the "foraging" mentioned on the label lies Mrs. Gianna Rivolta's work of picking and selecting ingredients. Is she a botanist by passion or profession? MR: Foraging is the art of sourcing herbs directly from nature. It is a task that requires patience and dedication and a team effort run by my mum, who is passionate about botany, along with a group of botany professionals and pickers. The fascinating and magical aspect of foraging, and botanical picking in general, is the ability to identify the botanicals. It seems obvious but in nature everything is green! Knowing how to recognise even the most obvious botanicals is not easy. Fortunately foraging is now growing in Italy, a few years behind the Nordic countries. In addition to the idea of picking, it brings in an intrinsic respect for nature and love of discovery. In their dishes, famous chefs are rediscovering many botanicals that were used by our grandmothers in the kitchen or for medical remedies. Gin is based on juniper however many other herbs (or "botanicals") contribute to the construction of the bouquet. Can you explain the process from picking to distillation?MR: We wanted RIVO's bouquet of flavours to come from local botanicals, in order to represent our and the product's connection to Lake Como, where we come from. We pick the botanicals 3-4 times a year but the wonderful thing is that it is influenced by many factors that are beyond our control and closely related to natural cycles: the rain, wind, sun and, not least, the timing of the seasons. Once picked, the various botanicals are individually distilled and subsequently put together. Let's talk about the label. It is really beautiful but also very complex and full of different references. Can you tell us about them? MR: For centuries, local women have searched the meadows around Lake Como for herbs and flowers to make medicines and remedies. The history books would call them witches. We consider them pioneers of unique potions. And it is the idea of witches and magic that inspired the packaging. Geometrical lines chase each other, creating abstract figures, which capture two elements of the region in their details: the mountains and the waves of the lake. In addition, the geometric lines hark back to Italian Rationalism whose birthplace was in Como. In general, the idea was to create a design that references Italian craftsmanship whilst still being modern and able to present itself on an international level. You have already been to London, the world's gin Mecca, with Rivo. How did it go?MR: I would say very well. We are being distributed in the UK. It is like going into the lion's den, but unlike other equally complex markets London is always open to new, and above all authentic, craft productsWhat is the perfect cocktail recipe to best appreciate gin, and Rivo Gin in particular? And what is your favourite recipe? MR: RIVO is quite a versatile product. My mum loves a classic gin & tonic. I love a Negroni. Just to level the playing field.  

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07.24.2017

진에 대한 특별한 열정을 가지고 있는 Marco Rivolta와 그의 어머니 Gianna는 코모 호수 주변의 산에서 자라는 허브와 꽃들의 향기를 모아 만든 새로운 진을 Rivo Gin 라고 불렀다. 신선하고 발사믹 향기가 담긴 진으로 롬바르디아에서 생산되고 있는 이 술을 알아보기 위해 슬로 저널은 마르코를 만났다. 진 만들기에 전념을 다하는 그의 가족들 그리고 정열과 유니크한 향기를 담은 진을 생산하기까지 이야기를 들어보았다.     이탈리아 전통주가 아닌 생산을 선택한 이유는 무엇인가요? MR: 진은 일반적으로 영국 문화를 반영하는 주류로 인식되어 있습니다. 하지만 역사적으로는 진을 생산한 것이 이탈리아가 더 오래되었다고 해도 과언은 아닙니다. 주니퍼 베라를 주입하여 향기를 내는 방법을 사용한 증류 액을 처음 이탈리아에서 생산된 것은 1055년으로 거슬러 올라갑니다. 이러한 사연은 Salerno 지역 의과 대학 Compendium Salernitanum에서 찾아볼 수 있습니다. 하지만 Rivo Gin은 이탈리아 전통과 역사와는 다르게 코모 호수 지역에서 지역성을 가지고 생산되었고 그리고 결과는 성공적인 것으로 나타났습니다. 좋은 진을 만든다는 것은 무엇이며 당신은 어떤 노하우를 가지고 있나요?MR: 모든 제품이 그러하듯이 제 생각에는 주류인 진 역시 고품질 상품은 재료의 선택과 생산 체인에서부터 품질을 보장하고 확신해야 한다고 생각합니다. 저희 생산품인 Rivo는 재료의 선정부터 신중한 주의를 기울입니다. 지역에서 생산되는 재료를 사용하고 코모 호수 주변의 산에서 직접 손으로 생산되고 선택된 제품을 사용합니다. 우리 제품은 이탈리아에서 가장 오래된 기술과 노하우로 생산되고 보타니컬 재료를 음료에 투입하여 다른 지역의 진과는 향과 맛이 다른 제품을 생산한다는 것이 특징입니다.    저희가 알기에는 생산되는 제품에는 Gianna Rivolta가 열정을 가지고 손수 수렵 채집”작업한 재료를 사용한다고 하는데요 그녀야말로 열정을 가득 담은 전문가라고 생각됩니다. 이를 어떻게 생각하시는지요?   

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07.21.2017

A farm-to-table philosophy, a passion for innovative cooking techniques and a sustainable ethos: with these excellent ingredients, East Dining has definitely brought a breath of fresh air to the Australian restaurant scene.Located in Mount Martha, Melbourne, and surrounded by the stunning Mornington Peninsula, East Dining revolves around the idea of creating unique dishes where the ingredients such as seafood have been harvested fresh from the Peninsula waters and where the herbs used to garnish the dishes are foraged directly from the surrounding coastline.While allowing East Dining to create and enhance original and distinct flavors, using fresh locally sourced seasonal ingredients also reduces the restaurant’s overall impact on the environment, an aspect which is deemed very important as well as their ability to condone sustainable practices and minimize as much waste in the process. Beyond its sustainable ethos, East Dining uses innovative cooking techniques to create inspired dishes that reflect a sophisticated yet playful delight. The house favorites include their nitro caramel popcorn, which is drizzled with maple bacon, saltbush and chili, and their oysters, which are served with shaved scallop and beach herbs. The restaurant also offers foraging tours where staff members share their knowledge and expertise about hidden treasures from the ocean and land and what the surrounding area has to offer. These tours provide a great opportunity to gain insight about how natural ingredients of the peninsula can change cooking practices at home, unveiling the distinct potential for the use of fresh seasonal ingredients in your everyday life.   

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07.21.2017

Yakushima is a round-shaped island with a 130km circumference, located about 60km south-west of Cape Sata, forming part of the Ōsumi Islands, along with Tanegashima and Kuchinoerabu-jima. With an area of 500km², it is the seventh largest island in Japan. You can drive around Yakushima in about 2 hours. Despite being very small, Yakushima has as many as 46 mountains over1,000m-high, called the Offshore Alps. With 7,200-year-old cedars and a rich flora, Yakushima was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1993. 90% of the island is covered in approximately 1,500 plant species that make up 70% of the indigenous species in Japan. For its extraordinary biodiversity, Yakushima is known as “the Asian Galapagos”“It rains 35 days a month in Yakushima”. The saying was supposedly penned by author Fumiko Hayashi while doing research for her novel Floating Clouds, and clearly describes how rainy it can be in Yakushima. The steam rises from the warm Kuroshio Current over the mountains and forms clouds, causing heavy rainfalls from March to June. Even when the island is not struck by a typhoon, rain falls to different degrees at least once every other day in summer and autumn. Yakushima’s typical fauna includes the deer and the monkey, which are slightly smaller than common Japanese species, with an estimate of 3,000 deer specimens, and 2,000-3,000 monkey specimens. You can also see dolphins and large sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs from March to August. Trekking, climbing, waterfall explorations and photo tours are a few of the many activities you can do in Yakushima. If you are looking for something different and unique, you can take a tour, which includes a night walk in the woods and turtle watching, a mystical experience with Nature as a soundtrack. If you are lucky, you may see turtles coming ashore to nest and turtle eggs hatching. AccessEvery day there are five flights from Kagoshima Airport to Yakushima. It takes about 40 minutes by plane. There are also high-speed boats connecting Kagoshima and Yakushima in about 2.5 hours. Finally, there are also ferries which take about 3h45m. FoodThere are many specialities that you can have in Yakushima exclusively, like the flying fish, served both cooked and raw, or miso soup with shellfish and crustaceans. A popular ingredient, kibinago is a small fish of the herring family. Other delicacies include frog crab, broken-neck mackerel and deer. In addition to the local cuisine, a number of French and Italian restaurants, gelato shops and fancy cafés are available. AccommodationIn order to preserve the environment pristine, there are no large-size hotels and resorts. Guesthouses get the lion’s share. Notwithstanding its small size, Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima offers the amenities of a modern resort with spa. On the Yakushima Tourist Association website you can find information about guided tours and accommodation-Yakushima Tourist Association  

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07.19.2017

Its highest height is large enough to house an entire New York City block complete with 40 story skyscrapers, yet Hang Soon Dong Cave’s grand stature is not the only thing at large - it is also one of the world’s most in-demand tourist excursion, resulting in a two-year waiting list to experience this extraordinary sight up close and personal. Located in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam, the largest cave in the world is a fascinating natural cavity that was formed as a result of the mighty Rao Thuong River, which over time has eroded the limestone surface resulting in a craved out tunnel and later into an enormous sink hole in the earth’s surface.What make this cave even more mesmerizing are its magical openings to the sight of lush green jungles and fluffy clouds, which were created when the roof of the cave collapsed creating what is known as dolines. With its vast landmass and size it’s no wonder that that this underground eco-system has its own distinct localized weather system, lakes, rivers and jungle and has been described as something that offers a sort of out-of-body experience where one feels like they have been transported onto another planet. As caves goes, Hang Soon Dong Cave is considered to be fairly new. Its discovery was made by Ho Khanh, a native Vietnamese farmer in 1990. Despite his fascination with this unusual landscape and the sounds of underground water gushing, he was unable to find his bearing back to the Cave after his return. 18 years later, while hunting for food, Ho Khanh stumbled across the entrance to the enormous cave once again and was able to alert professional from the British Caving Research Association of the spectacular discovery. In 2013, the cave’s entrance opened to the public for the first time with Oxalis Adventure Tours having exclusive rights to providing 5-day tour excursions through the depths of the cave. This once in a lifetime experience is extremely physically demanding, involving a two-day jungle trek and river crossing in order to reach the entrance in which trekkers must first pass through the Ban Doong Ethnic minority village. The Oxalis Adventures tour includes two cave experts, three native guides, and two chefs to join along in every expedition to ensure a comforting “home away from home” feel.   

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07.17.2017

With lush rolling hills, breathtaking scenic views and a world of natural adventure, Carmeron Highlands represents the largest hillside landscape in Pahang, Malaysia. Today, as one of the more popular destinations for eco-travellers, much of the highland character remains untouched and altered reflecting its true British influence and charm that was infused through the British officers in the19th century during colonial encounters. What once was just a landmass of forest vegetation and hill sides is now home to a diverse population of inhabitants of indigenous, Chinese and Indian descent. However, human diversity is not the only one that flourishes in this landmass: the hillside are also home to an array of flora and fauna species along with extensive jungle trails that lead to cascading waterfalls, scenic spots and a variety of aboriginal villages. Due to its rich terrain and natural elements, the hillssides provided perfect opportunity for the local population to grow an abundance of tea plants, fruit and vegetables in the local farms, which they use to sustain their food supply. Other pleasurable and relaxing adventures to uncover in the hillsides are visiting the butterflies, strawberry and bee farms

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07.13.2017

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With rising population density in urban areas and food scarcity and diminishing able land reaching an all-time high, the demand to find alternative solutions to maintain the human food supply has never been more prevalent. Though not a new phenomenon, urban farms are gaining popularity all around the world, especially in the US and UK where commodity farms have been popularized for many years as a means to combat food shortages. Traditionally, most societies relied on rural farms to meet food supply needs. However, with the increasing capability and techniques of growing fresh fruits and vegetables for your own consumption, a super trendy affair has emerged where city rooftops, unoccupied warehouse and community gardens have been transformed into lush food centers for the urban population. Picking up swiftly on the urban farm movement is the bustling metropolitan city of New York.  Despite the abundance of towering skyscrapers, buildings and infrastructure, New York is home to a multitude of indoor farms and garden centers. Driven by the desire for fresh, locally produced and organic produce, urban farming advancements have been gradually reaching the limelight in New York. Some of the most popularized alternative farming techniques is hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, which are normally considered to be the more energy efficient and sustainable options to greenhouse farming. Here is a guide to five of the most remarkable urban farms in New York City and the techniques these use to reap the most organic produce in the concrete jungle. Bell Brook and Candle RestaurantA true sustainable gem, this restaurant ensures that its ingredients and produce are indeed the freshness of the bunch. By supplying 60% of the produce to the restaurant from its automatic hydroponic system rooftop garden these green growers were actually the first restaurants in NYC to employ this “grow what you need” commercial technique.   Riker island GreenhouseRun by the Horticultural Society of New York, this greenhouse acts more as land-based therapeutics. Located in New York City’s main Jail complex, this is where inmates are taught crop rearing techniques and gardening skills as a means to create a meaningful connection between human senses and nature.  La Finca Del Sur/ South Bronx FarmersTucked away between the Metro-North Railroad tracks and a congested highway in the Bronx is the unusual site of a farmland. Operated by women of color in the Bronx, this hideaway farm is used as a community unifying space where providing a means of education through nutritional awareness to the surrounding communities is that the core of their initiative. Growing an array of fruits and vegetables that reflect a diverse ethnic background such as English lettuce and thyme they truly bind the society together with the love of organic produce. Gotham GreensAs one of the most recognized commercial urban green rooftops NYC, Gotham Greens represent one of the most sustainable farms in the country. Powered by 100 percent renewable energy, it uses various forms of efficient farming techniques that are able to reap 50% more crops that the normal greenhouse using 25 percent less energy. Brooklyn Grange Another one of the most eminent rooftop green house In NYC is Brooklyn Grange. With over 50,000 pounds of organic produce harvested annually, Brooklyn Grange prides themselves as the largest soil based rooftop farm in the world. Beyond producing and selling vegetables to customer they have also incorporated the use of egg-laying hens to produce organic, free-range eggs. 

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07.10.2017

An unusual site for the typical overcrowded vibrant coastline of Brazil, the serine sand dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park stretch for miles and miles with blindingly white natural landscape.It is no wonder that the literal meaning of Lençóis Maranhenses translates to “Bedsheets of Maranhão” in Portuguese: to the naked eye, this natural wonder resembles everything of picture perfect desert with horizons of white sand and little to no vegetation- but surprisingly its not.Located on the border of the Amazon Basin, Lençóis Maranhenses receives about 47 inches of rainfall annually. Here, the unique phenomenon occurs giving rise to this specular sight as fresh water collects in the valley between the dunes creating thousands of turquoise magical blue lagoons. At its peak, lagoon waters can reach up to 10 feet deep, making it ideal conditions for swimming and relaxing. Even though it’s hard to believe, life does exist on this park: interconnected lagoon link up with the neighbouring rivers creating a stream for fish to live amongst the temporary lagoons. In the dry season fish species such as wolfish spend the dry season dormant taking cover burred under the sand floors. With its immense beauty, these lagoons are only a temporary escapade. With the dry season approaching in the months starting In October, the winds begin to pick up and the sandy landscape becomes less bearable. The best time to visit the park is in July when the temperatures are scorching and the lagoons are at their deepest. To visit Lençóis Maranhenses​, it's best to fly into São Luís, the capital of Maranhão. From there, visitors can book tours or take public transportation to the town of Barreirinhas, which is located just outside the Park.   

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07.07.2017

The Caribbean, the land of pristine turquoise waters, magical reefs and the effortless and infectious island vibe. However, as one of the most popular tropical destinations in the world, it is sometimes hard to find peace and quiet among the large number of tourist jet setting from all over the world to enjoy these same pleasure. Have no fear; we have provided a list of three Caribbean under the radar destinations that offer everything from quaint seaside towns, plush beaches, slow paced mountain adventures and some of the world’s best underwater marine sites- all without the frustration of the crowd and masses.  Bequia – St. Vincent & the GrenadinesKnown as the “Small Little Island” this tiny under the radar paradise might only be 9.5 miles in size, but makes up for it with its enormous magical island charm. A true slice of paradise, Bequia (Beck-way) is the second largest island in the Grenadines and a popular destination for yachter, divers (over 300 diving sites around the island) and beach lovers alike. Its unique mountainous terrain makes it an ideal destination to enjoy the slow island pace, while been immersed in its lush natural flora and fauna. One of the more secluded and picturesque beaches these shores have to offer is Friendship bay.  Rarely ever crowded and only accessible by foot or water taxi, this beach will truly feel like it belongs to just you. AnguillaThis luxurious leeward isle will seem miles away from the crowed hustle and bustle typical of popular Caribbean islands. Anguilla’s rich local culture, beautiful beaches and scenic seaside towns makes it a popular destination among jet setters looking for a secluded genuine island experience. Though all Caribbean islands are synonymous for turquoise beaches, Anguilla is like no other. With more than 30 beaches island wide, each one perfectly unique and spectacular in one way or another, Anguilla provides nothing less than show-stopping beauty. Carriacou- Grenada Welcome to the island that uses the absence of things to enhance its meaning of genuine island life, just like it was 50 years ago. Carriacou (Carry-a-Cou), a small almost forgotten island of Granada, gives the perfect opportunity for pure relaxation and disconnection from the world as we know it. Here, most actives involve either being submerged under the crystal clear waters while snorkeling sensational reefs or experiencing the scenic view from the sandy white palm tree shorelines. All dive sights are graded based on proficiency; so beginners and more advanced divers can all enjoy the magical underwater marine flora and fauna.   

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07.07.2017

If you ask anyone, they will tell you that beer and gyōza are the best combination. Nowadays, from mere ramen side-dish, gyōza dumplings have become the pièce de résistance in a growing number of restaurants, where they are paired with wine and Japanese sake, in addition to the more traditional beer. This trend has brought about new variations on the theme, from traditional Japanese to ethnic, from casual to chic. Here below you will find a short list of gyōza shops to try out, alone, with your friends or on a date. Gyōza Shack (Sangenjaya)It is a New York style restaurant with wood-panelled walls, where the speciality is gyōza paired with wine and Japanese sake. The dumplings are prepared with Shōnai pork from Yamagata prefecture, garnished with organic vegetables and accompanied by a careful selection of wines and junmai daiginjō sake from Yamagata prefecture, such as TatenokawaGyōza & Tapas Rai-Mon (Shinjuku Sanchōme)Located at the heart of Shinjuku and operated by Marugo, Rai-Mon offers gyōza-based tapas and a rich selection of wines in a stylish ambience. Rai-mon’s forte is gyōza with no garlic that can be enjoyed without worrying about the morning after. On top of the usual hanetsuki grilled gyōza (“winged dumplings”), at Rai-Mon you can taste boiled gyōza seasoned with sesame, coriander or ginger, served with a Shanghai style sauce or in a spicy hot soup. Ikejiri Gyōza (Ikejiri)The restaurant was opened by famed chef Madame Rose after Higashi-Shinjuku’s Aoba closed down. Every item in the menu is a sure hit. The dumplings are strictly additive-free. They are served grilled and stuffed with shrimps, seasonal vegetables or chicken and coriander. The boiled version with ponzu sauce is pleasantly refreshing. Another recommendation is the tare sauce based on sambal from Bali and adjusted to the Japanese taste. As a starter, you can have a taste of one of each type, paired with a nice pint of beer. Chinkairō (Meguro)At this Asian-style shop located in Meguro you can have a beer and four types of gyōza: grilled, boiled, steamed or fried. The deep-fried dumplings stuffed with hand-squeezed vegetables are so irresistibly crispy you will just have another helping. Compared with the chive-rich boiled version, steamed gyōza have a softer dough and a clearer yet rich flavour. Finally, size is not something they skimp on at Chinkairō. Quality and quantity go hand in hand. Ryūkyū Chinese Tama (Shibuya)It is a famous shop named after its chef and owner Fumihiro Tamayose, whose grandmother was Shanghainese-born and whose mother was Okinawan-born. The cuisine is therefore a unique Shanghainese-Okinawan mix. The restaurant serves boiled shrimp wontons, with a soft texture and a rich flavour. The sesame and hot-chilli oil sauce will envelop your mouth with heat and extraordinary flavour. The drink selection is dominated by wine, with as many as 180 labels. 

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07.05.2017

New Orleans’ rich and vibrant cuisine is soaked in years of culture and history. Commonly referred to as the “melting pot” city, its distinctive cuisine is the result of the complex blending of cultural influences from African, European and Native American decent.   The quintessential New Orleans cuisine is defined through the tasty marriage of Cajun & Creole dishes and flavors, sharing interchangeable ingredients and commonly confused and mistaken as the same thing. However, there is a distinct cultural difference between the creations of these two styles.  For simplistic measures, Creole cuisine also known as “city food” originated from urban areas and it’s a unique mix of traditions, flavors and smells with influences from all over the world – France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Native America and Africa – relying on a wider variety of ingredients.  On the other hand, Cajun cuisine, referred to as “country food” originated from rural areas with influences from European and Native American cultures - the word Cajun stands for  Acadians, an ethnic group of former French colonists from the Acadia region of Canada who were later deported  to Lousiana - and its main feature is the abundance of seasoning.   Among the classics of Creole and Cajun are  gumbosoup, with shrimps, oysters, shellfish or meat,  po'boy  sandwiches filled with vegetables and fried seafood or meat, and  Jambalaya, a delicious spicy rice-based dish that somewhat reminds of Spanish  paella.  Since for many of these dishes there are both Creole and Cajun recipes, if you’re not an expert chances are you’ll keep mistaking one kind of cuisine for the other. Yet according to locals the best way to tell a Cajun from a Creole dish is the absence or presence of tomato, because Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and proper Cajun food does not.  As the only place to experience true authentic Cajun and Creole dishes is in Louisiana, here are three restaurants in New Orleans to whet your appetite.    R’evolution  Located in the heart of the French Quarter, R’evolution offers an imaginative interpretation of the classic Cajun and Creole ensemble. With a refined and elegant atmosphere, this eatery truly covers all bases with its exhaustible food choices and diverse flavors. On top of that, R’evolution features a custom-built glass and wood wine cellar featuring over 10,000 variations. A true cut above the rest and by far to most photographed and raved about dish is the famous “Death by Gumbo” which is spectacular in both flavor and presentation. This highly desired dish is made with boneless quail stuffed with rice, oysters and sauces served in a gumbo like soup.    Commanders  As one of the oldest continuously operating family restaurants in New Orleans, Commanders represents a true historic icon of restaurant royalty. Located in the middle of the tree-lined Garden District, this Louisiana Charm is highly distinguished by its commander blue stripes and historic storyline. A colorful and flavorful tribute to haute Creole cuisine, expect to experience the very best of classic New Orleans cuisine such as turtle soup, pecan-crusted gulf fish and the house favorite creole bread pudding soufflé drizzled with a whiskey cream sauce. Beyond its tasteful dishes, guest can enjoy up to three 25c martinis to accompany their meal- what a catch!    Galatoire’s  One of the most legendary and elegant restaurants; dinning in Galatorie is truly an experience to savor. Ushered and served by tuxedoed staff, this classic medley of French-creole cuisine is a hard one to come by and a favorite to the city’s most elite. With a no reservation policy for the main dinning room, guests are accepted on a first-come-first serve basis. A true local delicacy, the most popular time is on Fridays for lunch, where flocks of patrons gather in lines outside hoping to get a spot in the bustling vibrant main room where personal camaraderie between guest and waiters is the core of the dinning experience. The drinks are stiff and dishes such as stuffed eggplants and lump crabmeat blanketed by butter and artichokes are patrons most desired and loved. Galatoire is about as New Orleans as it gets.  

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07.03.2017

Australia, the land of iconic cityscapes, adventurous road trips and the wild outback is one of the most desired travel destinations in the world. It has immense diversity of breathtaking landscapes and terrains and an even more fascinating cultural history. Uncover its beauty from inside out with these five unusual places to visit on your journey through the outback.   The Pink Lake You truly have to see it to believe it: Australia is home to one of the world’s most astonishing mysteries, the pink lakes. Lake Hillier, a huge saline lake in Western Australia, is just one example of these bubble gum hue bodies of water that capture the imagination of many who witness them. This pink phenomenon is he pink colour is considered to be due to the presence of the organism Dunaliella salina. Explore it from the air and fully embrace this natural anomaly.   Camel Riding & Glamping  Saddle up and climb on board one of the many camels of the Australian Camel Experience. This tour takes you on a journey to the most breathtaking landscapes of Australia all in a comfortable ride. Explore the true natural environment from day to night with their overnight fully catered Camel Safari allowing for plenty of actives such as sightseeing, relaxing in a hammock or a fire wood dinner.      Slumber in an Underground Cave Hotel  With a vast abundance of aboveground natural landscapes to be discovered, Australia’s underground also deems to be a gem to be discovered. Transformed from an old opal mine, Desert Cave Hotels provides a unique 4 star quality accommodation to those willing to experience the “dug out style of living”.  Just like any other hotel, Desert Cave Hotels provides shops, bars, display areas and dining experiences all through the depth of the underworld.    Be In Two Places at Once    Ever wanted to be in two places at the same time? Cape Tribulation is the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas collide- The Great Barrier reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Not only does this give birth to a magnificent landscape scene where turquoise waters meet lush verdant forest, but also the Daintree is one of the world’s most ancient and primeval forests.    The Sinkhole to Eden Nothing might seem particularly magical about a natural sinkhole; however, Australia’s Umpherston Sinkhole has been transformed into a one of a kind fantasy garden. Known as the“ Sunken Garden”, this natural disaster formed when the ceilings of a number of small caves collapsed together leaving a large crater in the earth surface. Today, its depths and floors have been transformed into perfectly manicure rows of lush vegetation and blooms. At night, it comes alive with floodlights and is a regular gathering sight for locals and visitors.  

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06.29.2017

Resort trains are the latest trend in Japan, with all sorts of comforts, where the ride is more important than the destination. If you are in Tokyo, Izu Craile provides the perfect weekend getaway, offering a wondrous journey across the beautiful landscape of the southernmost part of Izu Peninsula, in a comfortable space and with the most delicious food. Izu Craile is a four-car train running from Odawara to Izukyū-Shimoda Station. You can enjoy the magnificent sea view while sitting back in different types of seating fashions, be they the ordinary face-to-face arrangement, the counter or the compartment seating. The ride also has a slow side to it, since a number of brief stops will allow you to fully enjoy the scenery from the train window. The interiors are elegantly decorated with sakura, sea breeze and ripple motifs. One further point of appeal is the bentō, assembled and packed under the supervision of Sakura Akimoto, the owner and chef of the renowned French restaurant Morceau, with the freshest ingredients of the area, original sweets and craft beer from Izu. The users of car no. 3 are also free to partake of the all-you-can-drink wine bar. The functional amenities and the tremendous attention to the details will make your Izu Craile ride a truly unique experience. 

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06.28.2017

Radiohead, July 5, Manchester Arena, Manchester (UK)A rare opportunity for experiencing the live performance of the acclaimed A moon shaped pool album outside the summer festival circuit. And hopefully, the twentieth anniversary of Ok Computer will be the excuse for a complete performance of the band’s masterpiece album Primal Scream, July 14, Convento dell'Annunziata, Sestri Levante (Italy)From the psychedelic years of Sonic Flower Groove and the lysergic electro sound of the 1991 masterpiece Screamadelica, Primal Scream have never ceased to astonish and change. And if you wish to be surprised again, just head to the beautiful Convento dell’Annunziata in Sestri Levante, Italy. Coldplay, July 15-16-18, Stade de France, Paris (France)It is no coincidence for a band to reserve three dates of their tour to perform to one of the largest stadiums in the world. And since their hit single Yellow, Chris Martin & friends have scored hundreds of concerts and millions (over 80) of copies sold.Bjork, July 30, Naeba (Japan)The former Icelandic enfant prodige returns with a mini-tour whose most striking date is - no doubt - that of the Fuji Rock Festival, the major Japanese festival taking place in the green mountain resort of Naeba. Erykah Badu + Mary J. Blige, July 12, Piazza Napoleone, Lucca (Italy)In the beautiful setting of Lucca Summer Festival’s Piazza Grande, controversial soul singer and songwriter Erykah Badu meets  the ‘Queen of Hip Hop-Soul’ Mary J. Blige. U2, July 22, Croke Park, Dublin (Ireland)U2 come back home for the tour that commemorates the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, the LP that turned them into rock legends. To fans’ delight, the 1987 album will obviously be performed in its entirety. Muse, July 22, Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh (USA)Enjoy one of the most spectacular and theatrical rock bands ever performing at one of the greatest and most extravagant US concert venues, the Jones Beach Theater, whose peculiarity lies in its unique location, with the stalls’ staircases of the clinging to the shores of Zachs Bay and the stage suspended above the waterThe Who, from July 29 to August 11, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas (USA)For die-hard mods and for those who have never seen Pete Townshend live as he spins his right arm before hitting his Fender during Baba O'Riley's intro, this dates held at the legendary Colosseum in Las Vegas may be just the right opportunity. Feist, August 2, Circus Krone, Munich (Germany)Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist, who rose to fame 10 years ago with her hit single 1234, takes her Pleasure to the unusual setting of the bizarre and colorful Circus Krone in Munich, one of the few permanent circuses still active in EuropeInterpol, August 13, Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade (Serbia)This summer, the standard-bearers of the early 2000s post-punk revival will celebrate their 2002 debut album Turn on the bright lights. Among the most fascinating tour dates is the one in Belgrade's Kalemegdan, a medieval fortress at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Van Morrison, August 13, Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle (Northern Ireland)If you are near Newcastle in mid-August, take the opportunity to see the man who wrote some of the most beautiful songs of the last 50 years - Glory, Brown-Eyed Girl, Domino, Wild Night - sing in the intimate atmosphere of the Slieve Donard HotelBelle and Sebastian, August 16, Chicago Theatre, Chicago (USA)Stuart Murdoch takes his Belle and Sebastian's bedroom pop from Scotland to the architectural splendor of the early 20th century Chicago Theatre. Patti Smith, August 16, Stadtpark, Hamburg (Germany)For 40 years, the huge and green Stadtpark in Hamburg has been hosting some of the best open air concerts in Germany. This summer, among others, the park will play host to American art rock veteran Patti Smith. Depeche Mode, September 9, Madison Square Garden, New York (USA)They managed to survive a career in synth-pop and never ceased to look for new sounds and ideas: over 35 years after their first LP, Depeche Mode return with a concert at Madison Square Garden that promises to be a true celebration. Gorillaz, September 18, Fox Theatre, Detroit (USA)The emblem-band of 21st-century cultural and musical crossover takes its live act to an icon of the twentieth century: the impressive Detroit Fox TheatreJesus and Mary Chain, September 21, Liverpool Olympia, Liverpool (UK)For many, the release of Damage and Joy was a real surprise: nearly 20 years have passed since the previous Jesus and Mary Chain album. And knowing the band’s low prolificity, fans would better not to miss this Liverpool Olympia Theater date. Beach House, September 23, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles (USA)Baltimore-based dream pop band performs in one of the world's most famous amphitheatres, the historic Hollywood Bowl, where artists of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Kanye West, the Beatles and Nine Inch Nails have played from the late 1920s. Fleet Foxes, September 27, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Red Rocks, Morrison (USA)The flagship band of American indie-folk music is finally back after over five years. There will be plenty of tour dates and occasions to see them lives, but few locations can rival with the beauty of the Red Rocks natural amphitheater, immortalized in the famous U2 concert film Under a Blood Red Sky. Mogwai, October 22, Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht (The Netherlands)To promote their ninth album expected in Autumn, the Scottish post-rock band will tour Europe and North America. The date at TivoliVredenburg, whose halls have been designed to host the best contemporary European music ensembles, promises to be an acoustically perfect experienceFather John Misty + Weyes Blood, November 18, Sala Razzmatazz, Barcelona (Spain)He’s one of the funniest and most unlikely American songwriters of the next generation (and the former drummer of the Fleet Foxes), and she’s a rising star of the new psychedelic folk wave scene. This concert at the iconic Sala Razzmatazz in Barcelona is the perfect opportunity to see them both live.  

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06.26.2017

A true reflection of its vibrant and booming downtown location in Beirut, Kaleo offers a contemporary and artful twist on European fine dining. This cosmic eatery was crafted through the talented vision of David/Nicolas design studio. Motivated by a retro-futuristic spirit and inspired by architectural details of Old Byblos Churches, this duo created a space where design ethos and fine details are the key ingredients to stimulate a culinary experience. Living in an abundance of color, hues of pale pink and blue are the main focus with balancing accents colors of fern green and white. As a crucial component of their visual codes, patterns and textures are seamlessly integrated through velvet fabrics on the furniture, popcorn-like texture finishes on the walls and geometric shape-like details on the walls, tables and floors. For Kaleo, the use of texture goes beyond perfecting interior aesthetics rather, acts as a human storyteller to unleash infinite emotions and arouse senses for their guest.   Specializing in creative European cuisine, dishes are prepared with the best sourced seasonal meat, fish and vegetables accompanied by delicate desserts that might seem too picturesque to consume. To spice things up, international chefs often visit for occasional residencies to provide their very own spin on European cuisine.  

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06.23.2017

“Aging well is an art, for men and rum alike”. This quote truly is an accurate depiction of the persisted craftsmanship, refinement and delicacy of rum making at Mount Gay Rum Distilleries in Barbados for the past 300 years. As the oldest active rum distillery in the world, Mount Gay prides itself on providing the best rum blends, using century old techniques and unparalleled excellence to carefully carve its distinct and complex edge in the spirit world. To understand a rum’s craft we must first know its history. Hundreds of years ago, settlers sailed the sea in search of lands with ideal climates and terrains for growing sugar cane -which they found on the island of Barbados. The knack and abundance of harvesting sugar cane soon developed into experimentation with rum distillation, setting the stage for Mount Gay Rum’s excellence for years to come. As complex as it is in taste and stature, crafting an exquisite rum only requires a few key ingredients. At Mount Gay, these hero ingredients consist of water, molasses (a byproduct of sugar refinement) and years of cultivated techniques and expert taste palates. One distinguishing element in the rum making process is the use of wooden barrels - specifically, American white oak barrels that once contained American whiskey. As the rum matures it becomes smoother and rounder, infusing and harmonizing smokey oak notes and hints of whiskey along the way. Such a thoughtful technique seems purpose driven, but this distinctive process was actually stumbled upon accidentally when wooden barrels were used to transport rum across the sea. On its arrival, the rum was considerably superior and complex in taste. Creating a master blend can be an unpredictable and delicate process, especially in a warm climate where evaporation occurs 5 time more than the average rate. According to the master blender at Mount Gay Allen Smith, equal amounts of persistence, balance, flavor and pleasant arrogate are the cornerstone to a perfect blend. How to Drink your Mount GayIn the first casino scene in Casino Royale, where Bond wins the Aston Martin DB5 in the One & Only Club, he orders “a Mount Gay Rum with soda”. How you drink the renowned Mouth Gay rum is totally up to you, and how your feeling, but the classic way to enjoy this invigorating drink is on straight ice or mixed with your desired soda. If you ever have the pleasure, add drinking a rum and coke at one of Barbados’s many rum shops island wide to your bucket list. Mouth Gay Rum offers a unique experience to tour the distillery in Barbados, inviting guests to discover the mysteries and secrets behind Barbados’ finest and most celebrated spirit - all while sipping on rum blends which date as far back as 1703. 

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06.21.2017

The domino effect of overproduction and food waste continues to haunt our environment daily. Toast Ale, a British brewer, has unlocked the creative solution to sustainable beer production by turning fresh bread scraps and surplus into crafted ale beer. Tristram Stuart, the mastermind behind this venture, has been battling issues surrounding food waste for over 15 years. As an environmental activist, Tristram founded Feedback, an international environmental organization that strives to fight food waste at every level of the food system. With 100% of Toast Ale’s profits going towards Feedback’s campaigning mission to influence governments, international institutions and change society’s attitude toward food waste, Stuart remains one of the most recognized and respected environmental activist of today.   We briefly spoke with Louisa Ziane, Chief Brand & Finance Office at Toast Ale, about how companies and consumers alike can reduce food surplus and its negative domino effect on the wider environment. “Food production is the biggest impact we have on the environment with huge amounts of resources - land, water, fuel and energy - going into producing our food resulting in negative consequences such as climate change.” Even though some levels of surplus are inevitable to prevent, she notes, “every effort should be made to keep it in the human food chain through redistribution or, where not possible, as animal feed”.  At Toast Ale, they stand by the statement: “if you want to change the world, you've got to throw a better party than those destroying it”. Through fun and inclusive means, their charitable initiative, Feedback, aims to create awareness and shift consumer expectations and preconceptions that “shelves can’t always be fully stocked with cosmetically perfect produce”. Creating an engaging community around a specific goal is at the core of their initiative, and “what better way to engage people than over a beer?”, Louisa Ziane remarks. With sustainability at the epicenter, Toast Ale sets the standard for eco- driven companies through distribution realignment and sustainable production processes. “We work with a sandwich maker situated very close to our brewery partner, and they deliver the bread as part of their usual distribution routes.” With expansion on the horizon, they plan to do so by setting up operations in the countries that they wish to expand, such as brewing American Pale Ale in New York rather than exporting it from the UK. In her final remarks, Louisa Ziane spoke about how we as consumers can participate in simple everyday rules and rituals to contribute towards the movement against food waste. “Consumers have huge buying power and can influence the practices of the supermarkets. The first step is to ask supermarkets to report their food waste figures, as this puts pressure on them to reduce whilst helping entrepreneurs identify opportunities to develop brilliant solutions. Also think about what you buy - we can prove consumers prefer taste and nutritional quality over cosmetic appearance by choosing to buy imperfect produce. And of course, do everything you can in your own home to reduce waste - only buy what you need and eat what you buy.”  

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06.19.2017

Situated in the heart and soul of Brooklyn,  1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge  provides a pure breath of fresh air to the bustling city life of the New York City. Committed to sustainability and preserving the environment, this sophisticated boutique hotel seamlessly combines eco-conscious designs and architecture with  refreshing nature inspired experiences  and services.  Entirely powered by wind energy, the hotel is conceived so that every facet and all its amenities speak to conserving the environment with complex rainwater reclamation systems, low energy light bulbs Throughout the hotel to custom blend hemp mattresses and  access to premium electric vehicles Tesla .  The 10-story sustainable oasis was thoughtfully constructed to preserve the environment, with more than half of the building materials being reclaimed  and woods and steel from old Sugar Factories and Distilleries Crow. Beyond its natural elements, most rooms of the hotel enjoy the luxury of  a full panoramic skyline view  of the iconic landmarks of New York City such as The Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty.  The use of pure and natural elements is diffused mindfully throughout the hotel interior. Crafted by landscape architecture firm Harrison Green, the lobby opens dramatically to a 25-foot green wall, featuring an abundance of lush botanicals and rich fauna that are used to set the mood of a nature haven. Thoughtful touches of nature are also incorporated into the guest rooms and into an array of experiences and rituals offered to guests, including the Lobby Farm Stand  featuring the freshest ingredients grown by local farmers and purveyors within the community. Last but not least, guests have full access to the Bamford Haybarn Spa offering a wide selection of holistic treatments along with the Botanically inspired roof top cocktail bar.   

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06.15.2017

As summer hits, ramen shops throughout the country will display the message “We now offer hiyashi chūka”, an excellent way to stimulate the appetite and to cool in the hot Japanese summer. Originally from China, hiyashi chūka is chilled ramen topped with a variety of ingredients and one of the must of the season. The recipes are countless. Here is a list of the best hiyashi chūka in Tokyo. Yōzusaikan (Kanda)Established in 1906, Yōzusaikan is the birthplace of the original hiyashi chūka, with the freshest ingredients beautifully laid out on top of the cold noodles. It is a dish prepared in the most orthodox fashion, definitely worth a try. Masa’s Kitchen (Ebisu) Masa’s hiyashi chūka blends Japanese tradition and Western innovation, in a dish full of umami, which is, unsurprisingly, very popular. The speciality is ramen topped with boiled chicken, spring onion and coriander, with a little bit of Japanese pepper for spicy flavour reminiscent of Sichuan. Cantonese Cuisine Ryūtenmon (Mita)Located inside Westin Hotel Tokyo, at Ryūtenmon serves hiyashi tantanmen – a reinterpretation of the spicy Sichuanese dandanmien – all through the year. An extremely popular version of tantanmen, which was not originally included on the official menu, consists of a creamy sesame-based soup with fine, smooth and firm to the bite noodles. There is a hot version of the dish. Keiraku (Yūrakuchō)Established in 1950, Keiraku also appears in Ginza Diary by famed writer and gourmet Shōtarō Ikenami. The restaurant is known for its tasty goma hiyamen, a bowl of fine noodles in a chilled soup of rich sesame tare and rice vinegar, a refreshing delight for the throat. Menkoidokoro Isoji (Yoyogi)Menkoidokoro Isoji is not the usual ramen shop, in that the home-made noodles are served in a fish and tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, flavoured with a rich sesame tare and topped with a sort of sorbet made with the same ingredients of the broth. The finishing touch consists in a colourful decoration of shiso leaves and seasonal vegetables.  

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06.14.2017

Tucked away in-between the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, Dominica's under the radar identity miles has worked to its advantage. Promoting itself as the Caribbean "Nature Isle", it attracts the new generation of conservative, tree loving eco-travelers looking to be immersed in all of nature's splendor and glory. A truly encapsulating nature haven, this lush verdant island is home to over 365 beautiful rivers, volcanic landscape and translucent waterfalls. Perched on top the cliff tops of the Dominican tropical rainforest, lies the secluded, eco-luxe resort paradise of Secret Bay . This hideaway treasure is made up of eight secluded villas and bungalows akin to sumptuous treehouse enveloped in an Eden of lush vegetation and surrounded by tranquil bays and beaches. Combining the perfect balance of sustainable practices, five star amenities and extraordinary experiences, Secret Bay invites its guest to slowly melt into the soul of the island through an experience of a lifetime for nature lovers alike. Beyond its immense beauty and design, what is interesting about Secret Bay is their ongoing responsibility and commitment to preserving the environment. All the materials used to build the resort are composed entirely of local, sustainably-sourced materials assembled by the hands of Dominican locals. Finally, as if staying in a luxury tree-house was not enough, Secret Bay offers a wide range of unfathomable experiences to truly embrace the moment. For the adventures, exploring caves, hiking, whale watching, kayaking, exploring river and even night snorkeling are just a few options to consider while visiting. Beyond adventurous activities, take the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate with yoga and meditation classes, stand-up paddle boarding or just a quick dip in the crystal clear beaches just minutes away. 

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06.12.2017

Have you ever heard of ley lines? According to some, these alleged "alignments" between geographic points corresponding to places or monuments would be characterized by special energies, either magical or spiritual. Among them is the so-called St. Michael Alignment which, esotericisms apart, is a perfect excuse to visit some truly magnificent places, following this ideal line across Europe from Ireland to Israel whose path touches seven splendid shrines, some of them very well known and accessible, and others so secluded and impervious that they offer an authentic chance for adventure. What they all share is the strong spiritual vibe, and of course the cult of St. Michael, the Archangel believed by Jewish to be the defender of the people of Israel and by Christians to be the opponent of the devil, the one whose mighty sword blow - symbolized precisely by the ley line – killed Satan. Here are the seven steps of what might prove to be an exciting tour and, for the most part, one far from the great tourist flows. Skellig Michael, Ireland17 kilometers from the coast of Kerry, in south-western Ireland, is a pyramid-shaped rocky islet on top of which sits the most impervious place in Ireland: a monastery dating back to 588 (and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996) founded by a group of monks devoted to Saint Michael. In addition to being definitely inaccessible, this fascinating sacred place is duly protected by the Irish government: only 10 boats have permission to sail to the tiny island from the Kerry coast, with a maximum of 12 people aboard and only once a day. Yet this did not prevent it from becoming the set for a bunch of scenes from the movie The Force Awakens, a.k.a. the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga. St. Michael’s Mount, CornwallAlso on an island, this time in front of Marazion, Cornwall, in the south west of England, the local version of the well-known French monastery of Mont Saint-Michel was built on the site where the Archangel supposedly appeared in 495 by a group of Benedictine monks coming from Mont Saint-Michel. Since the abbey was later replaced by a fortress, the church and the refectory are all that remain of it. Just like Mont Saint-Michel, the tidal island can be reached by ferry or by walking along the causeway that appears at low tideMont Saint-Michel, NormandyThe most celebrated and visited among the sanctuaries of the Line is undoubtedly the Benedictine abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, on the coast of Normandy, perched on a tiny tidal island. The Mont was connected to the mainland thanks to the construction of a roadway back in 1879, but lately the build-up of silt around the old dam was slowly destroying its insular nature, so the roadway was recently replaced by a new bridge. A Unesco World Heritage site since 1979, Mont Saint-Michel owes its name to the legendary apparition of the Archangel who, in the year 709, asked Saint Hubert to build a church carved in the rock in his name. Completed by Benedictines monks around 900, the church features a unique and fascinating stratification of different styles. The natural landscape and the Medieval village that surround the Abbey are also quite graceful, albeit very touristy. Sacra di San Michele, PiemonteThe spectacular view of this great religious complex dating back to the year 1000 on Mount Pirchiriano is without a doubt one of the most impressive postcards from the beautiful Val di Susa. Dominated by the ancient Abbey, the sanctuary, which has always been a popular destination among pilgrims and worshippers, can be reached by foot from the village of Chiusa di San Michele or from Sant'Ambrogio, yet the best way to enjoy its mysterious beauty is from one of the surrounding peaks, where you’ll be able to admire it from a distance, wrapped in the clouds like a timeless vision – and such a unique one that it inspired Umberto Eco’s his most famous novel, The Name of the Rose. Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, ApuliaA thousand kilometers further south along the Italian peninsula, in Monte Sant'Angelo, is yet another very important stop along the Saint Michael Alignment, a sanctuary whose construction, dating back to around the year 490, is due to the first appearance of the Archangel to the eyes of Saint Laurence Maiorano. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2011), the sanctuary consists of two levels: the upper one with the beautiful Romanesque basilica and the bell tower erected by Carlo D'Angiò as a thanksgiving to the Saint for the successful conquest of southern Italy, and the lower (and oldest) one, with the cave and the crypts. Saint Michael’s Monastery, Symi, GreeceOn the small island of Symi, north of Rhodes in the Greek Dodecanese, is the next sanctuary dedicated to St. Michael on the Line. It is a Venetian style Orthodox monastery erected around the 12th century and rebuilt in the 18th century, whose greatest pride is a huge icon of the Saint, highly revered by the Greeks, about three meters high. Needless to say, the opportunity is also perfect for enjoying the many beautiful beaches of the island, all within easy reach since Symi has an area of merely 58 square kilometers. Stella Maris Monastery, IsraelThe last stop of this tour suspended between faith, culture and natural beauty is located on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Upper Galilee. Despite not being technically a sanctuary dedicated to St. Michael, this is a highly significant spiritual place, deemed sacred ever since the time of ancient Egypt, dear to the Jews, quoted in the Bible and a popular hermitage destination. The birthplace of the Carmelite Order in the XII century, the original monastery was destroyed by the Turks in the 18th century and later rebuilt. The actual building dates back to 1828 and the interiors are decorated with modern paintings dedicated to the Order's history. 

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06.07.2017

Judging from what has been happening in recent times on the Milan restaurant scene, ramen is no longer some niche delicacy for Japanese cuisine experts and enthusiasts, but rather all the rage - just like sushi used to be quite a few years ago. As the number of new restaurants specializing in the preparation of this traditional Japanese (although originally Chinese) bowl of hearty broth filled with noodles increases, people are growing to love it, although for us Westerners it can be pretty complicated to eat - especially for those who just can’t come to terms with the fact that, according to Japanese etiquette, ramen must be eaten quickly and slurped loudly, nonchalant of the occasional spatter. Yet what is it about this dish that allowed it to win even the most fastidious Milanese palates? First of all, it is basically a one-course meal: in its traditional version, it includes fish, meat or pork bone (tonkotsu) stock, wheat noodles and miso, and it is often enriched with seaweed, marinated eggs, sliced ​​roast pork, spring onion and spices. Secondly, there are many different ramen versions, either regional or creative, either more or less spicy, either with meat and or with vegetables. Not to mention the fact that its delicious hot broth is perfect to warm you up in winter, whereas in summer you can try cold ramen, without broth and topped with crisp veggies and meat. In short, this is a dish for all tastes and all seasons.Here is a list of the best only-ramen places in Milan. Casa RamenOddly enough, the pioneer of ramen-focused restaurants in Milan is actually Italian. His name is Luca Catalfamo and he learned how to master the art of ramen-making in the course of his many journeys to Japan. At his two Milan restaurants, Casa Ramen and Casa Ramen Super (both located in the Isola disctrict), you can try traditional ramen along with a bunch of variations including a brothless and a vegetarian one. The menu also features a small but inviting list of Japanese snacks and bites. Zazà RamenOverlooking the central via Solferino, Zazà is another very popular address for ramen in town, offering a laid-back atmosphere and a lot of interesting options; two types of flour for the noodles, three kinds of broth and six different ramen variations, including vegetarian and crab-based ramen. Among the snacks are Japanese gyoza dumplings and glazed chicken wings. MisoyaAlso in via Solferino, Misoya is the Italian branch of the Japanese ramen restaurant chain of the same name. It serves traditional ramen in various versions, including spicy, yasay (with mixed veggies) and vegetarian ramen in a casual ambience. RyukishinThe Milanese home of Japanese chef Tatsuji Matsubara, also owner of the Osaka, Kyoto and Valencia Ryukishin restaurants, is located in via Ariberto (Porta Genova district) and it offers various ramen variations along with a selection of popular Japanese comfort food dishes such as gyoza and fried chicken. Their signature ramen is called paitan ramen and its peculiarity is the creamy chicken and vegetable broth. They also have vegetarian options and a kids’ menu. Bottega del RamenClassic, vegetarian or with fish: these are the three ramen variations offered at this new all-ramen Navigli restaurant which marks the Milan debut of the Japanese catering giant Toridoll. The menu also includes a bunch of don (rice and meat) dishes and the summer ramen, served cold and without broth.   Niko Niko Ramen & SakeFrom traditional ramen to white or black sesame seed, tomato and cream broth ramen, this great place in via Garibaldi has a creative and fresh approach to its house specialty. Other options include Japanese appetizers, rice-based dishes and onighiri (rice balls with nori seaweeds). Vegetarian and summer ramen are also available. Mi-Ramen BistròAt this tiny Porta Ticinese eatery, ramen is served at a bunch of tables with high chairs. Options include pork, shrimp balls and vegetable ramen as well as a list of dim sum bites such as rolls, gyoza and kakuni bao, a steamed bun filled with braised pork belly and vegetables. 

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06.05.2017

Museums without painting, canvases or sculptures, but filled instead with sounds, memorabilia and musical instruments: among musicians and music lovers, music museums are as popular and as loved as concert halls. And that is probably why these cultural institutions devoted to the history of music and instruments or to the life and the work of a specific composer or artist are almost inevitably pervaded by emotion and nostalgia. From the traditional ones, which offer a classic museum experience, to the most interactive and experimental ones, where all the senses are involved, they can truly be a blast to those who consider music a relevant part of their existence. Follow us on this virtual journey through five unique music museums, regardless of genres and ages. MIM, BruxellesListen to the sound of the most diverse musical instruments – from the classic Western ones to mechanical, electric, African and Tibetan instruments - as you stroll around the halls of a beautiful Art Nouveau building wearing infrared headphones. An authentic journey through time and space conceived for music enthusiasts. Beethoven-Haus, BonnVisiting Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthplace and childhood home is not something you experience every day - the simple thought of walking on the same floor where one of the greatest musical geniuses of all times moved his first steps can be frankly overwhelming. The core of the Beethoven-Haus collection is represented by pictures, musical instruments, mementos and original manuscript scores, including the one of the Moonlight Sonata. Musée Edith Piaf, ParigiInside the tiny Menilmontant apartment where Edith Piaf used to live at the beginning of her singing career is now a small museum housing a small treasure of personal belongings, billboards, portraits and memorabilia - including her legendary black dress. Every piece contributes to epitomizing the unique spirit of France’s most beloved singer-songwriter ever, sublime and tragic, criystal-clear and flamboyant just like Paris itself. Motown Museum, DetroitMarvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five... these are just a few of the artists whose career started at Motown, the legendary rhythm & blues and soul music label based founded in Detroit by Berry Gordy back in 1959. This museum celebrates the Motown years and preserves its cult through a huge collection of artifacts, photographs memorabilia and original instruments and equipment, including the famous Studio A, where The Supremes recorded Stop in the Name of Love in 1965. Icelandic Punk MuseumIf you don’t know a thing about Icelandic punk or had no idea it even existed until this very moment, then this exciting and unusual museum built inside a former public toilet building in Reykjavik is the right place to learn about it. Inaugurated last year by John Lydon - a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols - in person, it focuses on the punk and new wave scene of the 1970s and 1980s, which somehow contributed to the birth of the musical universe of The Sugarcubes, Bjork, Sigur Ros and other famous Icelandic artists. 

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06.05.2017

In the north-western part of the Nagano prefecture sit the Hida Mountains, with summits exceeding 3,000 meters, like Mounts Kashimayari, Jii and Renge. In 2001, Ōmachi was designated “Mountain Culture City”. Known as the gateway to the Nagano prefecture from the side of Kurobe Dam and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Ōmachi is a hiking and mountaineering destination where you can enjoy outdoor activities that go well beyond skiing in winter. In the northern part of Ōmachi, the three lakes of Nishina – Kizaki, Nakatsuna and Aoki – are a popular destination for cruises and wondrous firefly-watching in summer. Furthermore, Ōmachi is famous for the tunnel under Mount Tate leading to Kurobe Dam. Its arduous construction in the Fifties and Sixties inspired the 1964 novel The Sands of Kurobe by Shoji Kimoto, adapted into a 1968 feature film by Kei Kumai as well as into a couple of TV movies in 1969 and 2009 respectively. The breathtaking landscape of the Hida Mountains (aka the Northern Alps) is just about to host a magnificent art festival directed by Fram Kitagawa and centred on the themes of water, wood, earth and sky, with numerous artists from Japan and elsewhere exhibiting, as well as performing arts, music and food events. Local women will entertain visitors with folk tales and okohiru, snacks customarily eaten by farmers in their breaks from the work in the rice fields. Last but not least, Yōsuke Yamashita’s Special Quartet will delight the audience with the finest jazz performances that will echo through the valleys and soar over the peaks and into the hearts of the listeners. For a summer to remember and cherish. 

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06.01.2017

White sand, warm turquoise water, and a magnificent coral reef. Thanda truly is the proverbial tropical island we all sometimes dream of - a small corner of the world that seems to have been subtracted from Paradise. And by small we mean really, really small: merely 8 hectares, 350 meters in width and one kilometer in diameter - yet there is no risk of feeling alone, because here nature is really a presence. In the context of a beautiful marine reserve located between mainland Tanzania and the island of Mafia, this private island only houses a villa with five suites and two bandas, the typical Tanzanian tents. The protection of the marine environment is the core of the island's philosophy: Thanda is deeply committed to the conservation of the region’s sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, whale sharks and the rehabilitation of the coral reef, and its community partner, Sea Sense, works closely with the coastal communities to protect endangered marine species. Depending on the season, guests can swim with whale sharks, the good giants of the seas, and observe the nesting of turtles and hatching of eggs. Another great asset is the careful management of the island’s natural resources: the Island is powered by solar energy, while rainwater tanks maximize water storage and use of this precious natural resource, and an on-site desalination plant provides water, whilst grey water is recycled for the rehabilitation of the Island's vegetation. Of course, Thanda's guests can simply relax and practice a variety of water sports or enjoy other exploration activities. A special mention goes to the fresh cuisine of chef Melissa Macdonald, which uses strictly local ingredients including herbs, tropical fruits and a delicious homemade coconut milk. 

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05.29.2017

Versilia is a destination that has always looked to the sea as a place of fun and inspiration, conceiving summer vacations as an extension of the life in the nearby cities, Lucca and Florence, sharing their refinement and their taste for beauty. Here, the long and cozy beaches are the perfect counterpart to the clubs and the cafes of the city centers, where the Art Nouveau villas unequivocally reveal the golden era of these places, dating back to the late 19th and early 20th, when the rich families from the hinterland first took an interest in the shores. Versilia is part of the Apuane Alps, its virtual southern border being Tenuta San Rossore, an area of ​​extraordinary natural interest that is part of the Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Natural Park, with its flooded forests, wetlands, its long and wild free beaches and the rich bird life, bordering the city of Pisa. From Forte dei Marmi to Pietrasanta and from Camaiore to Viareggio, this long stretch of coastline which was historically under the influence of the city of Florence has been able to mix worldliness and culture, the silence of the pine forests and the dunes (especially between Torre del Lago and Viareggio) and the frenzy of famous nightclubs such as La Capannina in Forte dei Marmi, which have truly left a mark on popular culture of 1960s Italy and whose legend still lives, making "the Forte" one of the most exclusive holiday resorts in the country, despite the undeniable fact that it has changed a lot since those glorious times. Yet this is also an area where culture and literature found a very fertile ground. Torre del Lago was home to the famous composer Giacomo in the second half of the nineteenth century, writer and Nobel Prize winner Gabriele D'Annunzio composed one of his most famous poems, The Rain in the Pinewood, in Pietrasanta, and poet Giosuè Carducci was born in Valdicastello, where his home is now a museum in his memory. Finally, Viareggio is the perfect incarnation of the twofold, fascinating soul of Versilia: on the one hand there are the beautiful Art Nouveau villas surrounded by pine forests and the splendor of the old cafés such as Gran Caffè Margherita, inspired by oriental architecture. On the other hand, there is the irreverence of the local Carnival, one of the richest and most beloved ones in Italy, the artsy invention of a group of young goliardic aristocrats who used to meet at local Caffè del Casinò back in 1873. 

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05.26.2017

Warm wooden surfaces, a post-industrial décor and London in its most contemporary version right beyond the huge windows. The view of the city, which becomes part of the interior design like a living picture, is undoubtedly one of the main assets of Bokan, the new scenic restaurant at Canary Wharf, in the former dockland area of Isle of the Dog, East End London. Located on the 37th floor of a Novotel, Bokan is the kind of place you want to go even if it is a hotel restaurant – because of the view and of the sophisticated design, of course, but also because of its European tasting menu designed by chef Aurélie Altemaire with an eye to the place and its essential role in London's history, which offers an affordable culinary journey between traditional and imported British ingredients accompanied by a rich list of wines and craft beers. Upstairs on the 38th floor is the bar, featuring the same spectacular view, where Italian bartender Danilo Tersigni offers an intriguing list of cocktails created by taking inspiration from the Docklands and their history, featuring exotic names like West Indiaman and Estivador. And speaking of unbeatable views, do not miss the chance to climb to the fantastic Roof Terrace on the 39th and top floor, where the atmosphere is informal and you can taste gin-based cocktails at the tables or lying on the daybeds. Definitely an unmissable address for anyone who is not yet tired of London and of its wonderful complexity as seen from above. 

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05.26.2017

Sun, sea, mountains and everything you can expect from an authentically cosmopolitan city. Cape Town, on the southern tip of the African continent, dominated by the imposing Table Mountain and overlooking the Ocean, is undoubtedly a unique city whose charm is hard to resist. Even the climate is different from what one would expect: pleasant, Mediterranean, ever so graceful in the Spring months, when a nice breeze blows. In addition to being beautiful, Cape Town also has a very special flair: not entirely African and at the same time not entirely European, it is a city not without contradictions, problems and social inequalities, yet, compared to the rest of South Africa, it definitely appears safer, more open, and more relaxed. Perhaps it is because its history has deep roots: the first European settlement in South Africa (and therefore also called the ‘Mother City’), Cape Town was founded by the Dutch in the seventeenth century, and it has retained many marks of that era, in particular the many "grachts "- Buitengracht, Heerengracht, Keizersgracht – former channels that used to collect water at the foot of Table Mountain and provide it to the newborn city, later covered over. And speaking of heritage, the British domination also left another major city landmark: the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, the harbor built in 1860 by Prince Alfred, son of Queen Victoria, with its beautiful waterfront. The city center, also known as City Bowl, is compact and can be explored on foot – which is a very European feature, in a sense. Amongst the most lively streets are Long, Bree and Loop Streets, where most of the best, cafes and restaurants are - but it is also worthwhile venturing into the side streets because the atmosphere is really fantastic. And the finds continue far beyond City Bowl: east of the center, in the former industrial areas of Woodstock and Salt River, a combination of gentrification and urban regeneration programs has brought some new air, and there are plenty of cool areas like Albert Road and Victoria Road, crowded with galleries, cafes and design studios. Not to mention the many natural beauties around town, from the Table Mountain Natural Park to the beaches, particularly Boulders Beach with its penguin colony, vibrant Camps Bay and surfer paradise Llanduna Beach, but also the pristine Sandy Bay, and the quiet Glen Beach, protected by sand dunes and granite rocks. Not to be missed CultureDistrict Six MuseumA very special museum that will help you to better understand the history of the city. The Sixth District, founded in 1867, was a mixed and multiethnic neighborhood where liberated slaves, merchants, artisans, workers and immigrants lived together. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, a process of marginalization (which started against black South Africans) began, leading to the eviction of the entire population of the area in the 1960s, with the demolition of their houses. The museum aims to preserve the memory of this community, remembering their houses - marked on a map om display and recalled by recreated interiors - and their touching stories. Cape Town International Jazz FestivalThe music scene in Cape Town is really vibrant, however you do not necessarily need to hit the underground clubs to listen to some good music: music is everywhere in the city, even in the streets. Yet the most important event is certainly this festival that takes place every year on the last weekend of March or on the first weekend of April at the Cape Town International Convention Center: 5 stages, over 40 artists (half South African and half international), 2 shows days and an average of 37,000 viewers. NatureTable Mountain National Park The territory of this protected area on the southern tip of the African continent stretches from Signal Hill, the famous flat-topped hill from on which you can climb to enjoy a magnificent view of the city, to the spectacular rocky promontory of Cape Point, north- east of Cape of Good Hope. The only place in the world where an area of such rich bio-diversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area, the Park is a succession of rugged peaks, sandy flats, valleys, bays and beaches. Besides taking scenic drives, you can catch the cableway to Table Mountain and the funicular to Cape Point. Kirstenbosch Botanical GardensThis magnificent 36-acre botanical garden on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain was created in 1913 to showcase the variety and richness of South African flora - over 7,000 species, many of which are rare or endangered. There is also a large greenhouse displaying plants from the arid regions that cannot survive outdoors. EatChef’s WarehouseThis unmissable address at 92, Bree Street is a small foodie paradise with a bookstore and a kitchenware shop where there are really special items. Loved by chefs, the restaurant offers gourmet tapas-style cuisine with elaborate presentations. The setting, albeit definitely cool, is informal, just as the service - the food is under the spotlight. No reservations accepted. Fish on the RocksPerched on the rocks at the end of Harbour Road in Hout Bay, this simple takeaway restaurant has been here for 30 years. It serves possibly the best fish & chips in town, traditionally served with salt, vinegar, lemon and tartar sauce. DrinkTjing TjingA cocktail bar in the attic of a historic City Bowl palace, where to enjoy a drink under wooden vaults or on the terrace, along with tapas and indie and electronic music. Mother’s Ruin Gin BarA sleek lounge bar entirely devoted to the cult of gin revival. There are 82 varieties available, from all over the world, along with classic and creative gin-based cocktails. SleepThe SiloHoused inside the former grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex overlooking the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, this spectacular design hotel designed by London-based architect Thomas Heatherwick occupies six floors above what will soon become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). The greatest visible change to the building’s original structure is the addition of pillowed glass windows inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors, bulging outward as if gently inflated. By night, this transforms the building into a glowing beacon in the harbour. Grand DaddyConsidered a true classic of Cape Town hospitality, this stylish Long Street boutique hotel has been here for 120 years, inside a heritage building that is now a landmark in the city. Its most famous features are the Flamingo Rooftop Cinema and the Thirty Ate restaurant, not to mention South Africa’s only rooftop Airstream Trailer Park.  

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05.24.2017

Adjacent to the exact center of the peninsula, the province of Perugia is the largest one in Umbria, an amazing region that seems to sum up all the best of continental Italy. Perugia literally showcases the very quintessence of Umbria itself: the plains framed by gentle hills, the mountains, the thick and lush forests and the great Lake Trasimeno. Scattered through these beautiful landscapes is an incredible amount of historic towns and art cities - not to mention the sacred architecture that made these places an must-go-to destination for Catholic pilgrims looking to explore the hige inheritance left by St. Francis, who was born here. Perugia, the gorgeous capital, is a vibrant and international city where culture, thanks to the ancient university, the University for Foreigners and the Academy of Fine Arts, remains the at the center of the public and social scene, strengthened by history whose traces are jealously guarded in the five downtown districts. A major Etruscan settlement and later a powerful medieval town, Perugia can be explored starting from its 450 meters high ancient Etruscan acropolis, on which the old town lies and from which it spreads on the ridge of the surrounding hills. The entrance to the Acropolis is the Rocca Paolina enclosing the Medieval city and crossed by a pedestrian path. Strolling through the old town’s steep alleys lined with tower houses, stop to contemplate the beauty of Piazza IV Novembre with its 13th century fountain, the Cathedral of Saint Laurence and the palazzo dei Priori, as well as the Etruscan Arch, one of the seven gates of the Etruscan walls dating back to the 2nd century B.C. Like a crown studded with precious gems, lots of beautiful places surround the city of Perugia, beginning with Città di Castello, the main village of the Upper Tiber Valley and the hometown of artist Alberto Burri, one of the major exponents of Italian informal art, whose works are collected at Palazzo Albizzini and Ex Essicatoi del Tabacco. A little further south there is Gubbio, an ancient Medieval city-state at the foot of Monte Ingino whose heart lies in its hanging square, Piazza della Signoria, surrounded by the 14th-century Palazzo dei Consoli, the remarkable XII century cathedral and the Convent of St. Francis, built on the site of the residence which hosted the Saint when he left his paternal home to devote himself to religious life. And speaking of St. Francis, the most important destination for his devotees certainly is Assisi, 26 km east of Perugia, hometown of the Saint and a UNESCO Heritage Site. Its stunning churches, and particularly the Saint Francis Basilica, represent an exceptional concentration of artistic and architectural masterpieces as well as a major spiritual destination. A little further south, the gaze is captured by the small hamlet of Spello, with its narrow streets lined with ancient churches, towers and old houses whose balconies brim with flowers. From here, the view of Mount Subasio and of the plain with Assisi in the distance is simply breathtaking. Galleria Nazionale dell’UmbriaHoused in Perugia’s Palazzo dei Priori, this gallery collects more than 3,000 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, fabrics and gold objects, including works by Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Pinturicchio, Perugino, Orazio Gentileschi, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and more. Museo-laboratorio di tessitura a mano Giuditta Brozzetti Inside the 13th century church of San Francesco delle Donne, the first Franciscan settlement in Perugia, Giuditta Brozzetti founded her textile school back in 1921 with the aim of preserving the Medieval and Renaissance Umbrian textile traditions. Four generations later, Giuditta’s descendants continue to make art fabrics and reproductions of Medieval and Renaissance designs for tapestries, curtains, tablecloths, bedspreads, and lampshades on wooden handlooms dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. La Bottega di PerugiaA tiny and very popular place in the old town where you can taste authentic Umbrian products at more than affordable prices on the few available stools or at the counter. Sandwiches, salami platters, cheeses and of course wines and artisan beers, for casual dining or an aperitif with a local flavor. Basilica di San Francesco, AssisiBuilt starting from 1228 where the Saint had decided to be buried, the Basilica is the major monument in Assisi. It is actually made of two overlapping churches: the Gothic Upper Basilica, with its slender architectures, and the lower basilica, which has an almost Romanesque appearance. The latter houses the crypt and the relics of St. Francis, as well as works by the great masters of the Florentine and Senese school of 1300, particularly Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti. Piazza della Signoria, GubbioGubbio’s main square has a very unique feature: it is an authentic hanging square, a sort of panoramic terrace overlooking the city and the countryside supported by a sturdy wall on which four large arcades open. On this spectacular square sit the 14th-century Palazzo dei Consoli and the Neoclassical Palazzo Ranghiasci.