When it comes to great food memories, I find this one hard to beat. Argentina is a long way to go for a sensational meal, but if you happen to be travelling through South America any time soon, make sure you pay Almacen Del Sur a visit. This gourmet ‘delicatessen’ is located at the foot of the Andes in Maipu near Mendoza — Argentina’s wine region.
I was lucky enough to attend the recent launch of the new Australia and New Zealand Guidebook by Mr & Mrs Smith. And let me tell you, if luxe travel is your thing, this is the book. Travel guide publishers have copped a bit of flack recently — especially after Thomas Kohnstamm wrote his hedonistic, “tell all” book Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?, in which he alleged that most of the content he wrote for Lonely Planet’s Brazilian guidebook was either fudged, or written in a drug-induced stupor. However, with Mr & Mrs Smith, Kohnstamm’s version of travel writing couldn’t be further from the truth.
Spending a huge amount of money is easy when you’re without a mortgage, kids or a full time job. To ease my financial guilt, I recently put together this list of fifty fun, bizarre and slightly mad ways in which I managed to blow $50K over the years — buying myself nothing but amazing memories […]
For a seriously good summer holiday destination, it’s pretty hard to beat San Sebastian on Spain’s Atlantic coast. Set on a gorgeous piece of coastline in the heart of the Basque region, this buzzing seaside town certainly packs a punch. It’s got three divine beaches, hundreds of tapas bars (apparently more per square kilometre than any other city in the world), a vast selection of historical buildings and churches (if the urge to sightsee takes over), clubs, boutiques and countless festivals all year round. Plus, if you’re really into your tucker, the area surrounding San Sebastian is arguably the best in Spain for gastronomy – boasting several of the world’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants.
Seriously, is there anywhere in the world more glamorous than the French holiday town of Biarritz? I recently visited Biarritz for the second time, and this visit, was even more wowed by the endless array of buffed, leggy, chain-smoking Europeans — each of them dripping in jewellery, swanning about in their caftans, and sipping champagne like it was water.
I didn’t think there were many cooler buildings in the world than the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain -until I stumbled on another of Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpieces in the unassuming village of Elciego. Deep in the heart of the Rioja wine region, the Marques de Riscal is a luxury hotel, and its contemporary style is certainly at odds with the historic, green surrounds. However, if you’re not prepared to fork out for a meal at the restaurant, or upwards of 600 euro a night to stay there, you can forget getting any closer. Unpaying guests aren’t allowed through the gates, and you’ll feel like a nosey neighbour trying to peer over the towering fence for a glimpse. Even still, it’s definitely worth a try.
Okay, so these days we have global warming, rising sea levels and terrorism to deal with. But you’ve really got to feel sorry for the hapless souls who lived in the seventeenth century, especially if they happened to live in the Basque village of Zuggaramurdi. In this picturesque and seemingly tranquil village, the infamous witch hunts of the Spanish Inquisition reached fever pitch — and it was in the town’s caves that hundreds of alleged “witches” were burnt in front of cheering crowds. Today, you can take a tour of the creepy caves, and in June every year, the locals hold a night-long party in the caves to celebrate the summer solstice. If you dare, you can even stay in a witch-themed auberge for the evening. Spooky stuff!
When Barcelona’s ‘it crowd’ are hankering for some good tucker, I’m pretty sure they head straight to Cuines Santa-Caterina. And why wouldn’t they? Located inside the actual Mercat de Santa Catarina (a fresh produce market) this hip restaurant/bar serves up tasty cuisine from breaky right through to dinner. Ranked as one of Barcelona’s top places to eat and be seen, it’s got several open grills — and you can either sit at the bar, peering into the kitchen, or at large communal tables. Head there early for a tapas-style breakfast, or choose from three oddly grouped cuisines for lunch or dinner: Vegetarian/Sushi, Mediterranean and Asiatic. Thanks to the Scandinavian-inspired decor, you feel like you’re inside a giant warehouse, surrounded by giant shelves topped with boxes, wine, olive oil and vinegar. The prices are surprisingly reasonable, the staff are welcoming, and if you’re there for breakfast, you can hit the market with a full tummy afterwards.
Wow, is this what the end of the world looks like? Over the last few weeks, Sydney has been witnessing some seriously bizarre weather — and now this! Today, Sydneysiders woke to an apparently unprecedented phenomenon, as red-tinged clouds enveloped the entire city in a giant dust storm. Apparently the huge volume of dust was blown in by gale-force winds from the west overnight — leaving the Sydney CBD and most of the suburbs covered in a thick blanket of eerie red and orange smog. So if you’re in Sydney, pop your hayfever tablets and get the tissues ready people. it’s going to be a long, hazy, sneezy day! [photos by Kat Whitehead]
When you wake up on a Sunday morning with a slightly hazy head and a rumbling tummy, what do you need? A damn good brunch! And where can you find one? Well, if you happen to live around Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, I suggest you head straight to Ruby’s Diner, on Bronte Road in Waverley. Ruby’s is owned by a cool dude named Ed, who gained local notoriety at Jed’s Cafe in Bondi.
Last weekend in Sydney, thousands of buffed individuals ran a half marathon around the Sydney central business district. Feeling a little guilty about my lack of participation — or inclination to do so — I started reminiscing about the last time I had blisters worth talking about. Sadly, it was over a year ago, after a two-day hike through the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains National Park.
When the weather starts getting a little frosty around the edges in Sydney, I always start dreaming about steamy European summers and lazy Thai beaches. However, I recently discovered some pleasing autumn relief much closer to home. Port Douglas, in north Queensland, is a gorgeous little town with a tropical climate and a permanently tranquil vibe. It’s an hour’s drive from Cairns, and a stone’s throw to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. So there’s plenty to do if, like me, you’re the type of traveller who doesn’t like sitting still for long. There are some sensational restaurants, and you can’t leave without enjoying a tipple at the famed Courthouse Hotel.
I’ve done a bit of bushwalking in my time, but when I set off on a four day hike into the Chilean wilderness with nothing but my backpack, tent and some dried food, I felt about as intrepid as Edmund Hillary. The Torres Del Paine National Park, at the southern tip of Chile, has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s like something out of a picture book: picturesque aquamarine lakes, snow-tipped mountains, raging rivers, and impossibly romantic fields of wild flowers.
Bird-flu epidemic aside, I’ve found that no matter where you are in the world — from Peru to Paris — there’ll always be chicken on the menu. And while I’ve eaten plenty of chook over the years, I think I recently found my favourite — in a small, family-run restaurant called Los Peches on the […]
There’s something slightly unnerving about camping in a firing range, but last weekend, some friends and I thought we’d give it a try. Located approximately three and a half hours south of Sydney, Honeymoon Bay is a peaceful little oasis which just happens to be inside the Department of Defence’s Beecroft Weapons Range. Owned by the Australian Navy, the area has regularly been used for Defence weapons and other training activities since the 1800s. However, on weekends and during school holidays, the remarkably intact and incredibly beautiful peninsula is also open for camping, bushwalking, fishing and mountain biking. And if you’re not disturbed by the ever-present ‘live firing range’ signs, it’s definitely the spot for a relaxing and surprisingly tranquil getaway. [photos by Andrew Whitehead]