The Incredible Wonders Of The Modern-Day Bilbao

Long before Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao put Spain’s little-known northern Basque city on the bucket-list tour, and with it coined terms like “starchitecture” and the “Bilbao effect,” there was the city of Bilbao—a 19th-century industrialized maritime stalwart that had fallen on harder economic times in the latter half of the 20th century. What hasn’t changed since this port town was founded, in 1300, despite Spanish Civil War bombings and the decline of shipbuilding, are its undercelebrated rolling hills, superior sheep’s-milk cheese, and sparkling wine. We say make your pilgrimage to the deconstructivist, titanium monument to postindustrial optimism, and then eat your way through the rest of your stay.

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The best way to understand the region’s “a little bit often” philosophy is to go on a txikiteo, a Basque pub crawl: You’ll sip small glasses of txakoli, the region’s slightly effervescent white wine, and nibble pintxos—the Basque tapa, which, according to locals, you have to be able to eat while standing up and in two bites. If you start early, you’ll have time to hit one of the city’s rustic taverns or siderias (hard-cider houses), which crank out traditional—and more substantial—tortillas de bacalao and grilled steak Or go the modernist route and check out the city’s gastro scene that, long the bridesmaid to those of neighboring San Sebastian and the Rioja, has come into its own.

To get your mind around the insanely high-level architecture that’s cropped up post-Gehry, take a walk along the winding Nervion River. From the Guggenheim, head south past Santiago Calatrava’s cantilevered Zubizuri footbridge. Turn inland to the affluent Indautxu neighborhood and Philippe Starck’s 2010 Azkuna Zentroa, a 1909 wine warehouse turned cultural center. Walk northwest toward Cesar Pelli’s glass Iberdrola tower, Alvaro Siza Vieira’s Bizkaia Aretoa hall, and cross the river and head west to the late Zaha Hadid’s Zorrozaurre, a massive urban-renewal project converting a 148-acre peninsula to a live-work island complex.

Most Amazing Boats That Should Be Booked

The Mothership – Eleven Experience’s foray into boating has those destination-specific luxe touches we expect of the brand (like the floating pods in its Icelandic spa). Sailing in southern Florida, after a day of bonefishing in the Marquesas Keys or sportfishing for tarpon in the Everglades, you’ll eat snapper ceviche and wagyu tenderloin aboard your 74-foot, three-stateroom Hatteras motor yacht. If the fish aren’t biting, you can always take the boat’s stash of snorkel gear and paddleboards to explore historic Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.

Tusitiri – This 60-foot wooden dhow was found abandoned on a Kenyan beach by its new Norwegian owners (who also run Enasoit Game Sanctuary in Laikipia) and restored over eight years. It sails with up to 10 guests from August through March alongside the humpbacks, dolphins, and eagles of the Lamu Archipelago (specialists are on board to school you on the surroundings). At night, brass lanterns cast a glow on linen bedrolls out on deck as you fall asleep to the dull cries of egrets and terns. (Yup, you’re literally sleeping under the stars.)

Tusitiri

Tusitiri

Blue Deer – Stefano and Giorgia Barbini—former CEO of Escada France and Italy and scion of Brioni, respectively—own this 74-foot custom catamaran, which sails the Italian Med from June through October and the Caribbean from December through April. Like their White Deer San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Dolomites, every detail of the vessel feels especially considered. And then there’s the food: Stefano keeps the wine cellar stocked with Piedmont reds that go perfectly with that uni pasta made with urchin scooped from the sea that day.

Amandira – Since early 2016, Aman has been chartering weeklong voyages into Raja Ampat on its handcrafted 170-footphinisi, a two-masted Indonesian ship. Having 14 staff on hand means the up-to-10 guests can get in-cabin massages and bubbly top-offs around the clock. The real draw, though, is the specialty Nitrox diving, which allows for longer dives alongside wobbe-gong and reef sharks off Kawe Island. Novices, not to worry: An onboard scuba instructor can train you for mid-level plonks into the coral reefs.

Amandira

Amandira

Satori – The rose-lined pathways at Borgo Santo Pietro are alone worth a trip to Tuscany. So it’s not surprising that we fell hard for the property’s five-month-old sister ship on first glimpse of its 121-foot mast Danish owners Claus and Jeanette Thottrup gave this high-style Turkish yacht five staterooms with marble baths (the master has a to-die-for freestanding walnut tub), high ceilings, and a cozy on-deck cinema. Though our favorite touch is the salon, constructed eight inches below deck, ensuring clear views of the Spanish Med from every leather-saddled seat.

Haida Gwaii: Takes You Back To The Beginning Of Time

“Yes, I know it,” my Vancouver cab driver said when I asked him about Haida Gwaii, the torch-shaped archipelago flung some 70 miles off the coast of British Columbia, across the choppy Hecate Strait. “It’s our there.” The 175-mile-long chain has benefited from its extreme isolation, with some of the largest and oldest spruce trees on the planet; 20 kinds of whale, dolphin, and porpoise; and animal subspecies that exist nowhere else—like the Haida Gwaii black bear, which has developed especially large teeth and jaws due to a steady diet of crabs and salmon. Only a dozen visitors at a time are allowed to set foot on some of the islands. (Though Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge did manage to swing a visit to the area last September.)

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Aside from the Imax-like wildlife encounters— Sitka black-tailed deer flit across your path, and sputtering gray Minke whales surface off your boat’s bow—much of the archipelago’s almost mystical energy owes to the fact that it’s the ancestral home of the Haida First Nation, which comprises roughly half the islands’ population of 5,000. Haida culture thrives in the towns of Old Massett and Skidegate on Graham Island, where street signs are in English and Xaat Kil; the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate stages dance performances in a longhouse-style theater. On Anthony Island in Gwaii Haanas, I wandered through an ancient, mossy forest and peered up at 19th-century carved cedar mortuary poles housing remains of bygone chiefs. It all conjured a neck-tingling echo of an old Haida proverb I’d scribbled down: “When you walk this earth, you must walk carefully. Underneath your feet is the knife’s edge, and you could fall off this world.”

Hotel De Russie, Rome

Every June, for all of my 26 years, I’ve taken an overnight flight from JFK to Rome to visit my mother’s side of the family. As soon as we touch down, all I can think about is a panino stuffed with paper-thin slices of prosciutto. But when I walk into my grandmother’s house, jet-lagged, with a roaring, empty belly, I’m met with an espresso, a bowl of apricots, and a single dry biscotto. The truth is, despite the fact that Italians are the world’s reigning food champs, they don’t do breakfast.

hotel-de-russie

It’s usually taken standing up at the nearest bar, if it’s eaten at all. The only place to find a truly decent spread (and a comfortable seat) is at a hotel, and the paragon of the form is served in the garden at Rocco Forte’s de Russie. The pastel-pink staircase in its courtyard opens onto a sprawling terrace shaded by palms and potted lemon trees where you’ll get your frothy cappuccino, crostini, freshly squeezed orange juice, and aperitivo-worthy salumi. Next time, I’m taking a detour on the way in from Fiumicino.

Carbon Beach: California’s Most Prized Stretch Of Coastline

As a Los Angeles native, I’ve always been grateful for the glacial pace of Malibu’s transformation. Since the iconic Alice’s Restaurant on the Malibu Pier reopened under new management as Malibu Farm Restaurant in 2015, with Helene Henderson’s breezy elevated surfer menu, it seems that everything along the cove between the pier and Carbon Canyon has upped its game. The chic coastal outpost of Soho House opened, and then something miraculous happened: The Malibu Beach Inn, once a ho-hum motel-style property with nothing but views, was transformed by visionary veteran hotelier Gregory Day, whom the Mani Brothers smartly lured from Shutters on the Beach, into just the kind of quietly luxurious ocean hideaway every Angeleno dreams about.

 The Malibu Beach Inn

The Malibu Beach Inn

The 47 rooms with private terraces that cantilever over this gentle cove master that elusive Scando art of the cozy, or hygge: They are minimal yet warm, with strong Danish Modern-meets-California beach design references, and upscale in that plush-bedding, Toto-toilets sort of way. An appropriate avocado-, egg-, and seafood-forward menu from Gatoalum Cody Dickey (not to mention great cheese and charcuterie platters and burgers) served on the terrace overlooking the ocean means you’ll never have any reason to leave the property. Just east, the impressive if considerably pricier Nobu Rvokan Malibu opened 16 ample rooms in April with spare-no-expense teak-and-ipe-wood millwork, some of which have traditional timber soaking tubs. At press time, there was no on-site restaurant. Of course, guests have special access to the nearby Nobu Malibu.

WHERE TO EAT

Hip and Healthy – Malibu Farm Restaurant for best-of-Cali grain salads, tacos, and sandwiches.

Upscale Italian – Giorgio Baldi, a delicious but slightly too expensive icon on West Channel Road, is as far as you’ll need to venture for authentic Italian.

Fish Shack – Reel Inn, with its hanging surfboards and chalkboard menus, is as old Malibu as it gets. So is Malibu Seafood and its no-frills but superfresh seafood platters.

Pasta, Pizza, Playground – Tradi Noi at the Malibu Country Mart is easy Italian. Order for the kids first, let them loose in the sand-filled playground within eyeshot, and tuck into a bottle of something.

Family Beach Day – Park your car in the lot at Paradise Cove, and then seat yourself in an Adirondack chair right on the water. The beachfront restaurant serves slightly trashy but delicious chilaquiles and a nice Worcester-and-Tabasco-heavy Bloody Mary. Or you can just pick up sandwiches and ice-cold beer at the takeout place next door.

9 Reasons To Love The Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

IT’S HOUSED IN A BEAUTIFUL BUILDING

The oldest museum in Mumbai, the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum (formerly the Victoria & Albert Museum) cocoons collections that showcase the city’s cultural and industrial heritage within an impressive edifice on the city zoo grounds. This two-storey structure, with its Palladian exterior, high Victorian interior, Corinthian columns, detailed woodwork, etched glass and gold ceiling, along with Minton tiled floors, is a well-preserved testament to 19th century architecture.

IT OFFERS FREE PUBLIC TOURS

The museum organises free public tours on weekends. The tours are conducted in English and Hindi or Marathi.

IT’S GOT RARE TREASURES

The curated repertoire includes a vast collection of archaeological finds, maps and historical photographs of Mumbai, day and silver models, pottery and paintings. Its permanent collection includes miniature clay models, dioramas, maps, lithographs, rare documents and books that capture life in the erstwhile city of Bombay in the 19th century.

Dr-Bhau-Daji-Lad-Mumbai-City-Museum

IT’S GOT GREAT WORKSHOPS FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS

The museum organises workshops tor children thrice a month, designed around the permanent collections, at which young enthusiasts could learn the art of raagmala painting or how to throw a pot. Pre-registration is a must. Adults can also sign up to learn to make terrariums, films on their phone, or go on a photo walk around the Byculla neighbourhood.

IT ORGANISES SCAVENGER HUNTS!

In a bid to open up the museum space to a younger demographic, the museum puts together scavenger hunts tor children, with clues revolving around the building’s collections. Other activities include the Byculla for Kids Walks, and story-writing sessions for kids and adults.

IT SCREENS MOVIES!

The Movies at the Museum series hosts public screenings of art movies, documentaries, and animation movies in association with the Alliance Francais of Mumbai and the Consulate General of Canada.

IT HOSTS INTERESTING TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS

There’s always a great photography or natural history exhibition or some other installation awaiting your attention.

IT’S GOT COOL MERCH

The revamped Museum Shop is, happily, a trove of wares you’ll want to take home, inspired by many of the historical items on display, you’ll find calendars, notepads and tote bags engraved with images of old Bombay, boxes with enamel paintings and filigree work and, of course, postcards and envelopes with designs harking back to a rich past.

IT OFFERS INTERNSHIPS AND DOCENTCOURSES

Don’t be surprised if your tour guide looks a little young. The museum offers internships and docent courses to young adults and adults with an interest in history, art history and design, and in the workings of a museum. The year-long courses otter them a chance to participate in research activities and curation, and lead a museum tour for the public.

dova-new-york

Cool Cafes In New York City

The cafe Doma, meaning ‘home’ in Czech, is certainly home for many freelance scribblers, actors, filmmakers, and other creative types who use this cafe as a more spacious alterative to their tiny apartments nearby. Although often as quiet as a library (albeit a see-and-be-seen library, where eyes swoop to the door when it opens), the cafe has an unspoken rule that sitting at the central table means you’re open to conversation – friendships, romances, and business deals have all sprouted here. Doma (pictured above) also serves light cafe fare (omelets, salads, and gourmet sandwiches), as well as wine and beer in the evenings.

Set in a former garage, Grounded is a more hipster alternative to Doma, priding itself on a post-hippie, lived-in feel with kitschy thrift-shop mugs, politically-correct coffee, and a soundtrack that alternates between ‘70s staples and current indie Brooklyn bands. Like Doma, Grounded has a social common area of wooden benches and a couch grouped around a coffee table, where it’s acceptable to chat with the person next to you.

grounded-cafe

Grounded Cafe

Joe’s has won best cafe in the New York press because of the quality of the coffee, but the atmosphere isn’t quite as enticing as at Doma or Grounded. It’s smaller here, usually quite crowded, and the tables and chairs are less comfortable. However, getting a spot outside on one of two benches and watching activity on this pretty street is an ideal way to spend an hour or two on a warm day. There’s a second Joe’s by Union Square (9 E. 13th St), where it’s easier to get a table.

the-marlton-hotel

Live Your Life Like The 19th-Century New Yorkers

A great way to kick off a tour of New York’s neighborhood-of-the-moment is to get a glimpse of fashionable life in the 1800s at Merchant’s House on East Fourth Street. This elegant red-brick row house was home to a prosperous merchant family, and today it’s the only home in New York preserved intact from the mid-19th century, with much of the original furniture, decor, and family belongings still in place.

A block away is the Bowery, a once dodgy thoroughfare now home to some of the city’s hippest new hotels and buzz-worthy restaurants. Have a drink at the sleek cocktail bar at The Marlton Hotel (pictured above) or enjoy the intimacy of the vaulted dining room that’s lined with quaint shuttered windows and trailing plants.

Down the street is The Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel, where Ashton threw a birthday party for Demi, and Mark Anthony for J-Lo. Settle into oversized velvet chairs and take in the opulent French château hunting-lodge feel of the place with its marble fireplaces, wall-mounted antlers, and oriental carpets. The hotel’s rustic restaurant Gemma is a good place for a casual meal or coffee.

the-bowery-hotel

The Bowery Hotel

Bowery Bites

Big-name chefs are now on the Bowery: Daniel Boulud’s DBGB’s Kitchen and Bar (299 Bowery, tel: 212-933-5300) – named in homage to the Bowery’s defunct rock club CBGB’s – features upscale burgers and sausages, while hit-making restaurateur Keith McNally has opened his latest rustic Italian, Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria (282 Bowery, tel: 212-226-1966) on this trendy stretch.

washington-square-park

Socialize and Enjoy The Music in Washington Square Park – New York City

Following a $16 million renovation which took over six years to complete, Washington Square Park is a pleasant spot to sit on a bench with a paper and maybe a spot of lunch, listen to music, and enjoy the ebb and flow of Villagers, bohemians, tourists, students and academics from surrounding NYU buildings, workers on breaks, and local residents with their dogs.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be there when the fragrant food cart of Sri Lankan-born Thiru Kumar is parked on the south edge of the park at Sullivan Street (Mon–Fri 11am–4pm, but times can vary depending on the weather). His mild or spicy dosas are praised by foodies across the city.

The park has been a draw for musicians since World War II, when folkies would gather near the fountain on weekend afternoons. Buddy Holly, Woodie Guthrie, and Bob Dylan have all jammed here over the years, and the tradition continues. Classical concerts are held in the northeast corner of the park in July, and Christmas caroling takes place around the arch in December.

In the southeast corner of the park, regular chess players do battle, while ‘chess hustlers’ take on passersby in an attempt to make a few bucks. On Sundays, champions from the National Scrabble Club gather here to compete.

hudson-river

Hudson River Offers Beautiful Views of New York

Over the past decade, more than $400 million have been poured into converting industrial land and abandoned piers along the Hudson River into the Hudson River Park (www.hudsonriverpark.org) a 5½-mile stretch of parks, bike and pedestrian paths, tennis and basketball courts, and places to fish or launch a kayak. It’s quickly become a favorite escape for nature-starved, stressed-out New Yorkers and tourists. The paths run from Battery Park up to 59th Street, passing more than half a dozen converted piers with green space, outdoor theaters, and benches. But most New Yorkers agree the best stretch lies below 23rd Street.

Pier 45 is perfect for lying out on the grass and taking in a rare sense of open space. Enjoy the views of the Statue of Liberty and the New Jersey shoreline, a sunset, or watch the river traffic ballet of police and tourist helicopters, tugboats, cruise-ships, and kayaks. The last can be rented for free for 20-minute trips further south at the Downtown Boathouse, Pier 40 (www.downtownboathouse.org, Sat–Sun 9am–6pm, life jackets and brief instruction provided.

For intrepid individuals looking for an upside-down view of the Hudson River, the New York Trapeze School offers 2-hour lessons for about $50–60, also at Pier 40 (tel: 212-242-TSNY; www.newyork.trapezeschool.com).

But one of the best ways to enjoy the new park is on two wheels. Bike rentals are available in Midtown from Pier 84 at 44th Street (www.bikeandroll.com) or at Battery Park.