Author: C.C.

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6 Reasons To Visit Edmonton Right Now

Shopping fanatic, festival-goer or just a lover of delicious locally produced food? Whoever you are and whatever you want from a city, Edmonton’s got something for you.

History – DISCOVER EDMONTON’S PAST

Those craving history on their holiday will be kept busy in Edmonton. Check out Fort Edmonton Park – a living museum that divides the city’s history into four fascinating, defining eras, including the Fur Trading Era of the 1840s, and Metropolitan Era of the 1920s. Elsewhere, you can journey the highest streetcar crossing in the world with a ride on the 100-year-old High Level Bridge Streetcar, or visit the grand Alberta Legislature grounds and building.

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Festival City – THERE’S A FESTIVAL FOR YOU

Forget wellies, mud and damp tents – Edmonton’s festival scene is far more diverse than a weekend in the rain. It’s here that you’ll find entire festivals dedicated to celebrating food like July’s Taste of Edmonton, a gathering of over 60 locally-owned restaurants, and the Servus Heritage Festival celebrating (and sampling!) over 80 cultures from around the world. August brings the world-renowned Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, an 11 – day event with local and international artists performing in unique venues such as pubs and bookshops. Music lovers won’t want to miss the Blues Festival 19-21 August, Sonic Boom on 3-4 September for indie rock and pop, and the Folk Music Festival 4-7 August.

Head Outdoors – CITY STREETS WITH BONUS PARKS

Those looking to combine a cool city vibe with adventurous outdoor activities will find themselves in the right place. In Edmonton you’ll discover the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America. So get ready for mountain biking, hiking and running. For something less strenuous, try renting a canoe and paddling along the North Saskatchewan River. Visiting in winter? Try snowshoeing or skiing right there in the city’s river valley. Find out more on page 78.

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Japan: The Top Combination Between Tradition, Technology And Incredible Nature

At first glance, Naoshima, a teeny five-square-mile island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, doesn’t look like much. Just a quietly unassuming, albeit perfectly pretty rural outpost – a sparing landscape of green mottled cliffs and empty, biscuit-coloured beaches. Then you notice the giant pumpkins. There’s the big yellow one covered in black polka dots at the pier.

Then the even larger, red-spotted pumpkin greeting visitors at Miyanoura Port. Later, strolling between villages along hushed island roads, I’ll spot more bizarre objects -some stuck in the sand, others peeping out from bushes – a huge tea cup, a geometric fishing net I can’t resist climbing inside for a picture, a multicoloured camel with trees growing out of its humps.

What do you think of when you hear ‘Japan’? Blade Runner-style cityscapes, strewn with video megascreens and neon? Robot waiters and cat cafes? Or maybe tranquil temples, and sacred misty mountain tops. Certainly Japan’s ‘Golden Triangle’ – your typical tour that takes in Tokyo, Kyoto and the Japan Alps – can deliver. But, keen to see another side to this famously reserved, futuristic island nation, I’ve scooted further south along the country’s main island of Honshu, where there’s a whole other Japan waiting in the wings to be discovered; an ‘alternative Golden Triangle’, which topples as many stereotypes as it confirms.

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Which is how I come to be on Naoshima. Once a sleepy fishing island, idle in its anonymity 700km below Tokyo, Naoshima is today completely overrun by contemporary art. Part-theme park, part-playground, and all brilliant, wherever you turn here, you’ll bump into an installation, a sculpture, or ultramodern, avant-garde museum. And those psychedelic pumpkins? They’re works by Japan’s greatest living artist: the eccentric, red-wigged octogenarian Yayoi Kusama, who has lived in a psychiatric hospital since 1975, and was an early influence on Andy Warhol. True story.

It’s a concept with just the right balance of crazy and genius to be distinctly Japanese, while offering a very different experience to your noisy megalopolis or reflective Zen garden. Even that most staid of institutions, the museum, is made thoughtfully radical: at Chichu Art Museum, I descend into an ethereal, all-white underground chamber, sparsely decorated with Monets. (Chichu literally translates as ‘in the earth’.) The white-out brings out the becalming effect of the Water Lilies; the silent museum staff are also dressed in head-to-toe white, and as they glide around, I’m left with the distinct impression that I’ve dropped through a portal into a museum from the year 2135.

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Skopje: The Breathtaking City Filled With Confidence

Why do we do it to ourselves? Our lives are short and the world is so interesting. So why do we spend so money of our weekends away in well behaved cities that are so meek and mild, so boring and band? Macedonia’s capital in anything but. Skopje has swagger. It swears and pokes, it jolts and jostles, it preens and poses. Walking around it is like a night out with Alex Higgins. Snowy peaks punch above it, a muddy river slices through it, drivers speed around in mud-caked cars narrowly avoiding fatal smashes, stray dogs bark and pout, beautiful women look dismissive, fat men smoke and squabble, the air is thick with all kinds of opportunities, many of them sinful.

It’s a city that’s alive. Most of all it is exotic, and that exoticism seeps from every pore. North of the River Vardar, minarets puncture a smoggy sky, and the bazaar throbs with a million sensations. The call to prayer echoes from tinny loudspeakers, the smell of Turkish tea wafts along, switchback alleys offer that most delicious possibility: the chance to get completely lost in a place where you see virtually no Western European tourists, hear virtually no English or French or Italian apart from the names of famous football players shouted at TVs. Creaky wooden buildings lean over each other, shoddy souvenirs are flogged by shysters who wink and waggle fingers.

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An Ottoman spice grinder? Yeah, I think, why not? I make a mental note to check nothing’s been stashed inside it before I go through customs. A slice of burek? Yep – the spinach and feta one, always the spinach and feta one. I try to remember the name of the stall where I buy the flaky pastry pie – the Balkans’ second most popular export after Drina fags – but even if I were a better journalist I’d never find it. Just go looking, you won’t regret it.

Serendipity, rather than good research and keen mapping skills, bring me to the Water Inn and then the old hammam that signal how important the Ottomans were during their five centuries of colonisation of these lands. Their dominance ended at the river, where the famous old Stone Bridge sails out from the Muslim world and lands in the Christian one. On a wall, on the Muslim side, graffiti in English (for maximum effect) reads “fuck nationalism”. Someone has tried to scribble it out – probably the police and probably because the current right-wing government is very much for nationalism.

And that’s why the centre of Skopje now looks like nothing less than a Las Vegas mega-resort, an unholy marriage of The Bellagio and Caesars Palace with hundreds of yard sale statues thrown in for free. These new buildings are an absolute architectural abomination with their pediments and whitewash. But they’re gripping and they’re absolutely a part of what this city is all about. This is what happens when former communist countries try to jettison the 20th century. There’s a new theatre that looks like a belle epoque theatre and a new archaeological museum that looks like a casino. The whole point of this Skopje 2014 ruse was to project a civilised, cultured, mitteleuropa feel.

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Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort: Turkey’s Top Luxury Resort By The Sea

Keeping the entire family happy on holiday is no easy feat, but at southern Turkey’s Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, all age groups will feel relaxed and entertained

For a summer escape that will keep the entire family happy, look no further than the luxurious Regnum Carya Golf Sc Spa Resort. Set on the idyllic Mediterranean shores of the Antalya region in southern Turkey, the luxurious all-inclusive property guarantees an easy, sun-drenched family getaway like no other. Here, you’ll choose from 482 elegantly appointed rooms, or you may fancy trying out one of the 100 golf residences, 15 new villas (complete with private pool), or the jewel of the resort, the Crown Villa. All of these make the perfect choice for those looking for a little more space and privacy.

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When you’re not soaking up the sunshine by the turquoise water, or lazing in a beachside pavilion, there are two internationally recognised 27- and 18-hole golf courses to choose from. Alter strolling the lush fairways, why not pop into the Green Door Spa – a tranquil haven where you can relax with indulgent treatments, from traditional hammams to facials.

Children will also be spoilt for choice at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. Along with a treetop adventure park packed with ziplines and climbing walls, there’s a wave pool, slides and crazy river in the onsite aqua park. Catch up each evening at one of five a la carte restaurants – the all-inclusive resort caters to all palettes with an array of delicious cuisine. It’s relaxation guaranteed, for all the family.

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The Elk Island National Park: Exploring The Beauty Of Canada’s Outdoors

If experiencing the great outdoors is as important as strolling the streets of a bustling city, then Edmonton, Canada, is the best summer holiday choice you could hope for. The city boasts some serious green space – you’ll find over 7,400 hectares of land and river valleys, a space equivalent to 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park. In fact, Edmonton is home to the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America. Here’s how to make the most of it…

City-based adventures – To fully embrace the beauty of Edmonton’s green space, you don’t have to travel far – there’s so much on offer right on the city’s doorstep. One of the best ways to take it all in is by discovering the picturesque river valleys 100 miles of trails – great for a gentle stroll or a more challenging hike depending on what you fancy that day. Take a jog with epic views over the cityscape, or pick up the pace and explore on two wheels. Adrenaline junkies will love the off-road mountain bike routes, which offer a chance to break away from the trails and discover the lesser known corners of the city’s spectacular parks.

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For a less traditional way to cover some ground, check out the River Valley Adventure Co.’s Segway tours. The trips will have you blazing your own trail and venturing through the river valleys routes at your own pace. With these tours you’ll have the chance to hear about Edmonton’s rich history, while also soaking up some tips on how to get skilled on a Segway. If you’re looking to just kick back and enjoy the park’s scenery, the company will also lend you volleyball, croquet and football gear – perfect for a picnic session in the park.

After exploring the parks’ tree-packed slopes, it’s time to hit the water. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle your way along the wide and gentle North Saskatchewan River. Bring a fishing rod and throw it over the side – it’s a great chance to catch some sturgeon or walleye along your route. If that’s not your scene then try paddle boarding along the peaceful river — it’s one of the best ways to spend a summer day in the city.

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Enjoying Life: The Best Wonders To Visit On Holiday

The Louvre

FOR THE FIRST-TIMER – Hit the Denon wing, but don’t stay too long—the crowds are insane. Catch the iconic Winged Victory of Samothrace sculpture and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, then head to the ornately gilded Apollo Gallery: it encapsulates 17th-century excess and was a model for Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Come up for air in the Sully Wing: the Venus de Milo is one of the rare sculptures that lives up to the photos.

RETURN TRIP TO-DOS – The Richelieu wing. Napoleon Ill’s apartments have been painstakingly reconstructed in all their over-the-top, gilt-and-red-velvet glory. An in-person visit is the only way to fully appreciate the Second Empire opulence.

MOST OVERRATED – The Mona Lisa. Too packed. Plus, it’s tiny, and your photo will have a hundred iPhones in the foreground. But if you insist on seeing it, don’t bypass Marriage at Cana in the same room—the museum’s largest painting.

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Reasons to Love Basel

Mention this Swiss city and many people immediately think of Art Basel, the king of contemporary art fairs. But with more than 40 design and art museums—about half of which rival the best galleries in Europe—this town of just 1,75,000 deserves its reputation as a year-round cultural hub. Currently winning worldwide acclaim is the Kunstmuseum Basel, the world’s first municipal art collection, which has been renovated and last month unveiled a third building.

The new extension opened with ‘Sculpture on the Move, 1946-2016’ a much-anticipated group exhibition that includes works by Alexander Calder, Joseph Beuys, and Matthew Barney, among others (through September 18). Later this year, the museum will run a major exhibition of Jackson Pollock’s figurative work. “It’s pretty incredible to have such a small population so steeped in art,” says Kunsthalle director Elena Filipovic.

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Latin Flare: Exploring The Amazement Of The Latino Lands

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Atacama Desert – GO FOR: Stargazing Look up in London and you’ll probably see a couple of skanky pigeons, a tower block or two and. if you’re lucky, a tree. Stars, sadly, don’t come out to play in this city much. All the more reason, then, to head across the world to northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, home to the clearest night skies on the planet. If astro-tourism is something you fancy trying, really interesting night tours are available. Nebulas, clusters, galaxies: this place has them all. And the best part? No pigeons.

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BRAZIL

Rio de Janeiro – GO FOR: The Olympics (and beach) Didn’t make the cut for Rio 2016? No matter – the most photogenic city on earth (sorry, Cape Town) is best seen from its long, sandy beaches. Hit bustling Copacabana and haughty Ipanema for a proper look at Carioca beach life, or Prainha for a less hectic vibe and incredible views. This remarkable shot shows the locals jumping the waves at famous Copacabana beach, before playing a bit of footvolley on the sand. Even when the Olympics aren’t on, this is a city that lives for sport.

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Cordillera Blanca – GO FOR: Trekking.  Here’s some good pub-quiz knowledge for you: the Cordillera Blanca is the most extensive tropical ice-covered mountain range in the world. And the Huandoy mountain peak, pictured here, is one of the most spectacular hiking destinations you could hope to trek. Even better, between these dramatic peaks you’ll find Instagram-worthy glacial lakes. It’s a bit of a slog to get there, but you won’t regret the effort for a second once you arrive. Unless you forget your smartphone, obviously…

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BOLIVIA

La Paz – GO FOR: City heights Say hello to the world’s highest administrative capital, one that sits at just under 3,700m above sea level. Once you’ve acclimatised to the altitude, take a wander around the city’s slimline alleys and hilly streets. Wrap up – even when the sun is blazing, it gets pretty chilly. For real fine views, take the subway in the sky – aka the city’s cable car system which links different parts of the city. It’s a great way to avoid the congested roads, and your pics won’t be too shabby, either.

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Canary Islands: Fun, Swimming and Relaxation Anytime Of The Year

The Canary Islands is the place with the best climate in the world for enjoying exceptional holidays any time of the year. Its seven unique islands are perfect for disconnecting from your daily routine, recharging your batteries and returning home feeling physically and mentally refreshed. The beaches, volcanic landscapes, the possibility of choosing from all sorts of outdoor activities, as well as a wide range of quality accommodation and leisure activities mean that the majority of visitors repeat the experience more than once.

Thanks to a wide range of leisure and entertainment services for visitors, the Canary Islands offer fun places where you can enjoy an unforgettable day in one of the zoos, water parks or amusement parks. Climb into a submarine or hire a pedalo to ride the waves and, along with that, watch dolphins and whales swimming freely. You can also choose to ride a camel or a horse or visit a museum and some of the Islands’ archaeological sites. Shopping in its streets and modern shopping centres, attending a show, going out to dinner to enjoy the cuisine followed by a drink on a trendy terrace or relaxing in one of the spas and wellness centres are some of the multiple possibilities on offer.

In addition to the archipelago’s attractive and singular beaches, the seven islands feature an extensive offering of leisure centres designed for endless family activities: aquariums and botanic gardens and the best theme parks are just some of the quality seals that distinguish the Canary Islands for their focus on entertainment that is recreational and educational at the same time. The Canary Islands also offer a range of cultural options to explore, including the monumental site at San Cristobal de La Laguna, which has been awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO, and the work of Cesar Manrique in Lanzarote. Thanks to stable and mild temperatures, the sun usually shines any time of the year.

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CANARY ISLANDS BY DAY – With premium-quality facilities, the Islands’ amusement parks are among the best in Europe. All the parks boast modern and safe rides and are carefully supervised by a large and professional team of lifeguards. They include Siam Park on Tenerife, known internationally as the best theme park in the world. Aquapark Costa Teguise on Lanzarote, Acua Water Park on Fuerteventura and Sioux City and Holiday World on Gran Canaria are the most popular and thoroughly enjoyed by families.

The amazing orca and dolphin shows at the Canary Island water parks are especially popular with young children, who are also fascinated by the hundreds of vertebrates and invertebrates that coexist in the archipelago’s zoos, integrated in natural environments and looked after with great dedication and care. In fact, the Canary Islands is home to the largest display of parrots in the world. Tenerife’s Loro Parque, La Palma’s Maroparque, Aquarium Lanzarote and Oasis Park Fuerteventura are the most popular.

The capital cities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife stage the most striking carnivals that every year attract huge numbers of visitors, such as the Gala events where they choose the Carnival Queen and the Drag Queen, the pageants, the mass outdoor parties and the competitions of murgas (street bands) and comparas (carnival troupes). Across the length and breadth of the archipelago we find examples of these festivals, in some cases notable for their unique features, such as the Indianos in Santa Cruz de La Palma or Los Carneros (Rams) of Tigaday in La Frontera, where young people dress up in furs and ram horns. Other examples include competitions of crazily fast earth-bound and air bound vehicles.

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Valencia: The Spanish Vibrancy Of A Beautiful City

Few cities offer such vibrancy as Valencia. With its year-round attractions such as its climate, long sandy beaches, lively bar terraces and an irresistible programme of activities in store for spring, the City is the ideal destination to welcome in the summer. Valencia offers a combination of avant garde style, culture and Mediterranean spirit, bound to captivate any visitor. Its 300 days of sunshine and average temperature of 19°C make Valencia an ideal destination at any time of year.

VALENCIA BY DAY – Valencia is an amazing city to visit at daytime. It contains influences from Roman, Visigoth, Moorish and Medieval cultures that it had interacted with in its past 2000 years of history. This is evident in many of its iconic monuments and buildings, such as the Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), La Almoina (Roman remains of the city), the Serranos and Quart Towers and the Cathedral. The city has seven kilometres of perfect beaches. Choose from the various city beaches, which you can get to by metro or tram, or the more unspoilt beaches, such as El Saler in the Albufera Natural Park.

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The city converted the former bed of the River Turia, which used to run through the city, into an enormous nine kilometres long park. Today it is a green lung in which you can walk, cycle, play sports, go to cafes, etc. Valencia is a bike-friendly city that is perfect to pedal around thanks to its size. It also has one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in Europe and a unique and fascinating nature area—the Albufera Natural Park. The Huerta de Valencia extends over a surface of about 23,000 hectares that constitute a green agricultural landscape with a rich heritage of rural architecture.

 

Additionally, you have the city’s cutting-edge architecture with its great 21st-century buildings, such as the City of Arts and Sciences designed by Santiago Calatrava, The Conference Centre by Norman Foster and the Veles e Vents building by David Chipperfield. Valencia will fascinate you with its charming little spots that do not appear in guidebooks but that you will discover during your visit.

The mansion house and plazas of the Barrio del Carmen, the Plaza Redonda, the Santa Catalina Church—in whose square you will find the narrowest building in Europe—the frescoes in the San Nicolas Church, the clock of the Santos Juanes Church, San Vicente’s baptismal font in the San Esteban parish church and the alligator over the door of the El Patriarca Church are just some examples of the many hundreds of such surprises that Valencia—has in store for tourists.

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Costa Del Sol: Powerful History And Beautiful Views By The Mediterranean Sea

The Costa del Sol is the ideal tourist destination to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea as well as villages in the hinterland and charming towns with a powerful history. Out where Andalusia meets the sea lies the city of Malaga and its Costa del Sol, a glimmering coastline warmed by the Andalusian sun and refreshed by Mediterranean breezes. A sea that witnessed the birth of Picasso extends a broad array of options to accompany its incomparable climate—326 days per year with more than eight hours of sunlight and pleasant temperatures.

Thanks to its 160 kilometres of coastline, the province of Malaga’s beaches come in an enormous variety—broad and sandy or wild and rocky, nudist beaches and small coves, far removed from the urban hustle and bustle, or highly developed beaches with every kind of tourist amenity such as showers, beach umbrellas, sunbeds, bars, etc. The attractions of the Costa del Sol go far beyond sun and sand; however its cultural heritage has Picasso as its primary point of reference, with the Picasso Museum representing the artist’s return to his native city.

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This art gallery features more than two hundred original works including oil paintings, sketches, sculptures, engravings and ceramics that are of supreme international significance, and their greatest complement is only to be found in this city: the painter’s Birth House Museum. Malaga’s Historical District has also preserved the architectural evidence of more than 3,000 years of human settlement, from the Phoenicians down to the present age. The Roman Theatre, the Nazarite Alcazaba, the Gibralfaro Castle, the Malaga Cathedral and the surrounding streets themselves attest to this rich heritage.

Special note should also to be taken of two majestic cities that stand on the borderline between legend and reality: Ronda and Antequera. The former is the cradle of bullfighters and bandits and a symbol of Romanticism with artistic treasures of incalculable value. The latter is, in the words of Gerardo Diego, “the city of white and gongorian churches”, an ancient town filled with architectural landmarks. The picturesque White Villages that dot the province’s interior shouldn’t be ignored either.