DRIFT Travel Spring 2022

Visit the exclusive Les Bordes Golf Club in France’s Loire Valley, cycle in New Zealand, enjoy Afternoon Tea at some of the finest hotels around the world and check out the strange, yet wonderful site in Nevada. All this and more in the new issue of DRIFT Travel Magazine. Come along on the journey - no passport required.

Visit the exclusive Les Bordes Golf Club in France’s Loire Valley, cycle in New Zealand, enjoy Afternoon Tea at some of the finest hotels around the world and check out the strange, yet wonderful site in Nevada. All this and more in the new issue of DRIFT Travel Magazine. Come along on the journey - no passport required.


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inside this issue | 14 countries & 38 must visit destinations



DRIFT Travel Magazine

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When sinking in life’s unyielding

wave of technology, disconnect from

the rush and slip into island-time.

Cast off with The Moorings, let your

worries melt away, remember how

to live in the moment—one nautical

mile at a time.


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14 Les Bordes

Golfing in France

A picturesque old course with rolling

fairways and a challenging par 72

new course are just two of the special

offerings that await the avid golfer at

Les Bordes in the Loire Valley.





6 Travel Bites

28 Travel Gear

46 Hotel Spotlight

72 #WheretoNext




22 Hawaiian Dreams


Hawaii is rooted in community, and its

welcoming spirit embraces every traveler.

32 Beautiful Belgium


A scenic photographic journey through

Belgium’s cities and countryside.

48 Afternoon Tea Around The World


A look at the ten best places to

experience afternoon tea on the planet.

54 New Zealand on Two Wheels


Cycling from the North Island to the

South Island’s spectacular glaciers.


60 Nevada’s Weird Wonders


It begins with alien research and

gets weirder by the desert mile.

66 America’s Great State Parks


A sneak peek at a few of the 10,000 state

parks that span 18 million acres across the USA.



On the cigar and

cocktail trail in

Old Havana


A man’s voice crackles over an antiquated loud speaker system as he

reads a chapter from a García Màrquez novel, the words filling the

vast room where dozens of men and women listen. With heads bowed

over wooden workbenches and with their hands methodically rolling,

chopping and tucking, they create Cuba’s most famous product.



am lucky enough to be one of

the last people to take a cigar

factory tour at the original

Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás

(Partagás Cigar Factory) in Old

Havana (Calle Industria No.520)

behind the Capitolio Nacional

building, before it moved to its new

location on the corner of Calle San

Carlos in Central Havana. One of

Havana's oldest and most famous

cigar factories, the landmark Real

Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás had

been making cigars here since 1845.

For a cigar aficionado like myself,

this is 'the pilgrimage' for it is here

that some of the world's finest

cigars are handcrafted, from the

powerfully rich Cohiba Robusto to

the magnificent Partagás Double


Whatever your views are about

smoking, it's a fascinating cultural

insight to take a cigar factory tour.

Being Cuba, factory tours can be

ad hoc. Tours take around one

hour, and cover the various stages

of cigar production. Starting in

the selection room, where sorters

grade the various tobacco leaves

and ending in a tiny room where

the finished cigars are packed into

cedar boxes, which are pasted

with their official green and white

seals to confirm authenticity.


But it's in the rolling rooms, the

galeras, the very heart and soul

of the cigar-making process that

I am able to fully appreciate the

craftsmanship that has been handed

down through generations of cigar

rollers. The pungent aroma of rich

tobacco leaf mingles with cigar

smoke as several rollers enjoy the

fruits of their labor while they work.

Rolling is a prestigious job, and only

the skilled get to roll famous cigar

types like the Cohiba Esplendido

and Montecristo No.2. Using only

a metal knife, a wooden board, a

small guillotine and a bit of vegetable

gum, most rollers make around

100 to 150 cigars a day. But I have

to say; I’m a little disappointed

not to witness any Cuban women

rolling them on their thighs.

In the next room, Roberto Gomez's

job is to inspect the gauge size

and uniformity of the finished

product. The quality control is

thorough, and he carefully places

to one side any cigars that don't

make the grade. "I've been doing

this job for nearly forty years now,

and reckon I can tell a good cigar

from a bad one,” he says taking a

deep puff on a Bolivar Belicoso.

If a Partagás factory tour is the

pilgrimage, then the Holy Grail is

the Havana cigar itself, smoked in

any of the city’s time-honored cafés

or bars. Before leaving the factory

it’s almost mandatory to visit the

cigar shop on the ground floor to

select a cigar (or a box of cigars),

which confusingly is still housed in

the factory's old location. Naturally,

it sells some of Havana's best

smokes, including the deep, earthy

Partagás brand, and you needn’t

go any further than the adjoining

La Casa del Habano bar to smoke

it. The faces of various Hollywood

celebrities that have enjoyed the


combination of a fine cigar with a

Cuban cocktail in this atmospheric

saloon, smile up from their

autographed photos in an album

on the bar top. This is definitely

the place where you wouldn’t be

surprised if you bumped into the

likes of Jack Nicholson or Arnold

Schwarzenegger enjoying a fat cigar

or two. A block or so away from the

rebranded 'Modern Partagás Cigar

Factory' (where factory tours are

available) is the Romeo y Julieta

Factory (which also offers tours and

produces several sizes of handcrafted

Cohiba, Montecristos, H. Upmanns

and of course, Romeo y Julietas.

It's early evening and lighting up

one of my favorite cigars, a superbly

spicy Montecristo No.2, I hit the

streets and stroll past the grand

Capitolio Nacional inspired by the

US Capitol building in Washington

D.C and hang a right into the back

streets of Old Havana. Despite

decades of economic decline, the

old magic of Havana shines through

like a scratchy, crackling scene from

a 1950s Cary Grant movie. It was

this very magic that attracted people

like authors Ernest Hemingway and

Graham Greene, most of Hollywood,

the Windsors and the Churchills.

Smoking my cigar, I'm easy prey for

the black market street peddlers who

zero in. "Hey my friend, where are

you from? You want good cigars? I

have Montecristos for a good price?"

"Sorry, I already have some," I reply,

having bought a genuine box of

cigars earlier, and escape through the

doors of El Floridita, to imbibe the

bar's infamous cocktail, the daiquiri.


In addition to cigars, Havana has

long been famous for its cocktails,

and while El Floridita didn't invent

the daiquiri, it certainly reinvented

it by introducing an electric iceblender

into the equation in the

1920s. Served up by red-jacketed

barmen who make a great show with

their cocktail shakers, these frosty

dreams of rum, lemon juice, sugar,

maraschino and crushed ice are just

the thing to combat the heat outside.

Ernest Hemingway spent over 20

years living in Cuba and many

an hour sipping daiquiris and

smoking cigars in this hallowed

haunt. Another Cuban cocktail

is the mojito (rum, lemon juice,

sugar, soda, mint leaf and ice

cubes, stirred) made famous by

the Nobel prize-winning novelist

when he penned 'my daiquiri in

the Floridita and my mojito in the

Bodeguita' on one of the walls of the

La Bodeguita del Medio bar. Since

Hemingway's time, a visit to this

funky bar has become de rigueur,

and other notables such as Nat

King Cole and Fidel Castro have

left their autographs on the wall.

The streets of Communist Havana

are living testimony to tough times.

To say that time seems to have

stopped ticking somewhere back in

the 1950s is to state the obvious. An

ancient Oldsmobile rumbles down

Calle Obispo, Old Havana's main

thoroughfare, as I head for the La

Bodeguita, nearly pinning me against

the crumbling walls of a building as

its hulk practically fills the narrow

street. When I arrive, the place is

crammed with hordes of tourists all

drinking mojitos, so I decide to visit

the nearby La Lluvia de Oro instead.

Besides, the mojitos here are half

the price and go down well with the

sizzling salsa beat of a live band.


In my boutique hotel suite tucked

away in one of the residential

streets, I'm surrounded by the

hum of Havana life. I wake every

morning to roosters crowing and

mothers getting children off to

school and fall asleep each evening

to the sound of a dozen different

television sets floating in through

my open balcony windows.

The following day I’m back exploring

the streets of Old Havana. In

addition to walking, another great

way to see the sights is to jump in

the back of one the cities’ colorful

three-wheeled taxi cycles. “How’s

your stay in Havana so far,” Gustavo

my cigar-puffing driver asks me,

as we head off past the grand steps

of the Capitolio Nacional with its

dominating dome that cost USD

$17 million to build in 1926, then

throw a left into the back streets of

Old Havana. At the speed of peddle

power, we pass by the popular

lunchtime haunt of Café de Paris

and the cool neo-deco atmosphere

of Café Del Oriente, just two other

great venues to pursue the hedonistic

delights of sampling various cocktails

while savoring on the palate the

rich coffee-laden, spicy overtones

of a hand-rolled Cuban cigar...


CUBAN CIGARS – Tasting Tips and Etiquette

Select: When choosing a cigar the

wrapper can offer the first clue.

Lighter wrappers generally indicate

a milder flavor with darker wrappers

offering a more full-bodied smoke.

When squeezed, a cigar should give

slightly and then when released,

spring back into its original shape

without the wrapper leaf cracking

As a general rule, milder cigars are

more suited to earlier in the day,

while the full- bodied choice is best

saved to finish off a good meal or to

pair with a dark rum for example.

A good cross-section of fullbodied

Havanas include the

Cohiba Esplendido or Robusto,

a Partagás Lusitania Double

Corona, the Montecristo No.2,

Romeo y Julieta Belicoso, Bolivar

Royal Corona, an H. Upmann

Monarch, a Punch Double Corona,

a Romeo y Julieta Exhibicion No.

2 or the powerful Exhibicion No.

4. Before cutting and lighting,

survey the wrapper for consistent

color, smoothness, and sheen

and savor the scent of the cigar.

Cut: Some cigar smokers swear

by using one’s teeth, but it’s best

to use a proper cigar cutter for

the job. A good rule of thumb is

to cut about 3mm from the head

of the cigar. This is sufficient to

give a good draw, without the

risk of loosening the wrapper.

Light: Using a good quality butane

lighter hold the cigar just above

the flame (do not let the flame

touch the cigar) at a 45-degree

angle so that the heat, not the

flame, causes combustion and the

outer ring of the cigar is evenly lit.

Rotate the cigar through the first

few puffs to assure an even burn.

Listen to the faint crackle as you

light your cigar, the soft exhalation

as you release the smoke...these

are the sounds of satisfaction.

Savor: Roll the smoke around your

mouth and enjoy the rich bouquet

of varied flavors. A long solid

cylinder of white ash indicates a

good soil and more taste. Don’t be

tempted to tap the ash, just let it

fall off naturally in the ashtray. As

the cigar burns down its length, the

tastes and aroma will change, most

likely becoming more pronounced.



This tropical country seems to have

cornered the market it cocktails.

Here's a little history behind some

of the delights you can order:

Cuba Libre

This rum and coke blend was created

during the Spanish-American

War. This cocktail is quite clearly

a nod to the home team as Cuba

Libre is Spanish for free Cuba.


The origins of the mojito have been

linked back to a 16th-century drink

named after Sir Francis Drake. The

lime juice and rum mix was said to

help combat scurvy and dysentery.


Supposedly invented by a US

mining engineer who was in Cuba

during the Spanish-American

war. This rum, citrus and sugar

mix could be named after a

beach or a local iron mine.


This is the drink that the daiquiri

is believed to have derived from.

The rustic lime, honey and rum

beverage is believed to be created

by early freedom fighters.


Golf Travel to France


Tucked away in the French woodlands of the Loire Valley, you'll find the

exceptional Les Bordes Golf Club. Originally established by Baron Marcel

Bich, a French entrepreneur and inventor who was also the founder of BIC,

the company that brought us the iconic x`pens and lighters.

Opened in 1987, the club is known for high end amenities and its prestigious

private membership.


Widely considered to be Von

Hagge’s greatest masterpiece,

the Old Course has been

consistently ranked amongst

the top three courses in

Europe over the past 30 years.

The Old Course


t has been said that when the great Texan Robert von Hagge designed

this course, his intent was to throughly mess with even the best who

comes to challenge his creation. I could not agree more.

As you begin to walk the course, you might say there is a bit of an American

feel, but a quick look around and there is no doubt that you are in France.

Large balls of mistletoe growing high in the trees, a 600-year old abandoned

monastery, and every once and awhile a mighty stag will march across your

path, as if he is the keeper of this enchanted forest. Yes, this is France.

With gently rolling fairways, this

par 72 Old Course is lush and well

established, so be watchful of where

you place (or should I say misplace)

your tee shot. A miss here will leave

you with a difficult second shot.

Most of the greens are well protected

with water and there is sand


As you approach the 6th green

there is an old cross just beyond the

bunker that runs along the right

side. Like a beacon of hope for those

whose shots have gone astray. The

perfect spot for a quick prayer...

you’ll likely need it.


...but it’s the New Course that

everyone is talking about

The Les Bordes New Course is

an amazing par 72 that wanders

through the Loire countryside.

Designed by golf course architect

Gil Hanse, this is a course you will

love or hate, and even if you hate it...

you’ll love playing it.

Just a few short months

after the New Course

opened, it was included

in GOLF Magazine’s

Top 100 Courses in the

World 2021-2022.

Standing on the first tee, you will feel

a sense of calm. The fairway ahead

looks wide and receptive and looks

like an easy opening hole. Right, not

so easy after all. From here on out,

this is what you will discover hole

after hole. Most of the fairways offer

a well defined bailout areas, hit it

here and you’ll pay the price when it

comes to your next shot. So firsttime

players beware.


The New Course is vastly different

from the Old Course. More wild and

a little more daring. The greens are

well bunkered, yet receptive to a well

placed approach shot. Peninsulas of

heather and broom are strategically

placed along the fairways, with

several holes featuring forced carries

over water or sand, all to challenge

even the most experienced golfer.

It’s almost like the course is taunting

you, like the Siren of Greek mythology

calling you to play a little closer to the

hazards. But don’t fall for it, there is

a path to your target and by design

Hanse will reward those who find it

with par and better.

The New Course is worthy of all the

praise, and like a fine French Cabernet,

will only get better with age.

Gil Hanse | Golf Course Architect

Gil Hanse has always been

interested in design and

construction. After completing an

undergraduate degree at Clemson

University, Hanse worked for

several years as a land planner and

civil engineer before returning

to school to study landscape

architecture. His unique approach

to golf course design has won him

numerous awards, and his courses

are enjoyed by astute golfers around

the world.


The Club House

The club house is a phenomenal centerpiece with rustic

architecture and the finest of details. With seating for

over 200 guests inside and out, members and visitors can

enjoy the simplicity of relaxation or world class dining

while marveling at the structure. The restaurant offers

exceptional views across the entire course.


The facilities are built to very high

standards with lush green fairways

and immaculate bunkering. The

perfectly maintained practice area

will have you feeling ready to test

your abilities from the first tee. A

large putting green and chipping

area is complemented by an

impressive driving range allowing

golfers of all levels to warm up

in preparation for their round.

Twenty four of the thirty nine

member cottages have been

fully renovated by Londonbased

architects Michaelis Boyd

and they are spectacular.

Yet to come, a partnership with

Six Senses will transform the onsite

19th century ‘Chateau Bel

Air’ into a luxury hotel and spa.


Cour du Baron Residences

A twist on the traditional, the

classical homes feature a mixture

of local stone and timber cladding.

Exposed rafters lend a countryside

feeling to living spaces, and big

windows create an openness

that connects the interiors to the

surrounding landscape and beyond.

Morpheus & Co, the international

interior design house behind some

of the most exclusive hospitality

and residential developments of

the last 25 years, are the creatives

behind the residential interiors.

World-renowned for their turnkey

delivery and groundbreaking interior

architecture, interior design and

highly tailored furniture solutions,

from signature collections to

completely unique pieces, they

have designed bespoke “Cour du

Baron” furniture collections to blend

intimately with property design and

the local environs.

They are in active consultation with

owners from across the world –

including the UK, US, Switzerland,

France, Sweden, Germany and

The Netherlands – to deliver their

dream interiors at Les Bordes,

combining tactile, relaxing interiors

and timeless design with biophilic

features for a feeling of comfort and

inspiration, and immersion into

the surrounding environment both

inside and out.


Some of the enriching amenities

include natural fishing lakes, walking

and cycling trails, an animal petting

farm for children, outdoor play

areas, and a natural swimming lake

with its very own white sand beach –

completely unique of anywhere else

in the Loire Valley. Others include a

renowned equestrian club, archery,

tennis courts that will soon become

a full club for training and leisure,

and for younger family members,

go-kart track and pony riding, with

a kids’ club, ice-cream shop and

zip lines coming later this year.

Governed separately from the

residential community and

rest of the estate, the worldfamous

Les Bordes Golf Club

remains exclusively private.


aloha from



Visiting Honolulu is much

more than visiting a big city.

Before I stepped off the plane onto

the island, I thought the tropical paradise

would be limited to me experiencing just

Waikiki, but I quickly learned that I had access

to much, much more—I could see the entire

island! What I didn’t know is that when people

say they are going to visit Honolulu, they can

easily get from place to place all around

Oahu. From one side of the island to

the other, it may only take only

a couple hours drive.


We booked our trip to celebrate our 3rd year wedding anniversary, but also

to see a good friend who lived in Waikiki. Lucky for us, our friend Tanner

was able to play as tour-guide during our visit. As soon as we landed, the first

thing we did was pick up poke-bowls and walked to Waikiki beach to touch

the ocean. The color of the water blew my mind. I had never seen such radiant

turquoise in my life. It really was stunning as I remembered always imagining

that the photos I had seen of Waikiki being overly saturated by photo-editing,

but the photos truly does not do justice to seeing the water for yourself.

Between bites of fresh Ahi Tuna with spicy mayo, we waded through the warm

water absorbing all the sights and sounds of Hawaii’s most touristy beach. We

didn’t want to spend long there, as Oahu is full of much more beautiful and

secluded beaches. But we knew we had to at least experience a bit of Waikiki,

especially in just arriving. Wading into the water was like a warm hello, a

welcoming hug from the island.

The spirit of the island is that of community. Everyone we met made us feel

like we belonged there from the moment we arrived. After finishing our Poké

bowls, we found a new friend at Kaimana’s Beach, just down the way from

Waikiki. After enjoying a couple beers at Kaimana’s Beach and taking in the

view, he took it upon himself to offer showing us some of his favorite spots

around the island. I can’t think of anywhere else on earth that has people like

this, who will drop everything at a simple hello and befriend you in an instant.

We came to Hawaii with nothing planned and nothing pertinently scheduled

so as to truly encompass the meaning of Aloha, the Hawaiian laid-back spirit

towards life. So, at the offer of seeing the island through a new friend’s eyes, we

took it to heart and accepted to meet up the next day.


After a cheap but delicious

breakfast of spam musubi from

the neighborhood 7-11, with our

new friend from Kaimana’s Beach,

Michael and I piled into Tanner’s

car to embark across the island to a

place we had just heard about, Polo

Beach. Known to locals as not only

an LGBTQ+ friendly location, but

also a popular clothing-optional

stretch of pristine golden sand on

Oahu’s Northern coast. Umbrella

and snacks-in-hand, we found an

open space and set-up our camp

for the day. Often when we travel,

we try to fit in as much as possible

and see absolutely everything there

is to see. Reflecting on trips like

that, I’m reminded of how tired I’ve

returned home and feel sometimes

like, “I need a vacation from my

vacation.” On our second day on

Oahu, I started to understand the

appeal and draw of the island. It’s

a place I can finally unwind and

relax. I didn’t feel the same rush

of needing to go and experience

absolutely everything that the island

had to offer. I felt perfectly content,

sitting on a beach surrounded by

crystal blue water, feeling the sun

on my face and in the company of

good friends. In a word, paradise.

In an experience, more than I could

ever express on paper. Friends of

our friends arrived at Polo Beach

to join us, one of them gifting us a

home-grown mango from his tree.

Since we were already in the area, we

decided to hike to Ka’ena Point, the

westernmost edge of Oahu. Known

for its remote coastal lava-crusted

shoreline, Ka’ena Point’s rugged

hiking trails lead to incredibly

beautiful vistas providing Oahu’s

largest Laysan albatross sanctuary.

The hike in total is 3 miles to

the edge, and 3 miles back from

the starting point on the North

Shore. We watched the sunset as

albatross flew overhead, and it

truly was a sight I’ll never forget.


Following our adventurous hike to the Western Point, we made plans to

explore more of Oahu’s North Shore the following day, including seeing the

famed Lanikai Beach. The destination certainly did not disappoint, as the color

and clarity of the water exceeded even what we had seen at Waikiki or Polo

Beach. The small islands Moku Nui and Moku Iki provided further magic to

the backdrop as we sat perched on the sand. After a long day in the sun, the

drive back provided even more beautiful surprises. Along the North Shore, the

cliffs that were used for scenes from the movie, Jurassic Park stunned us as we

drove around the bends. We stopped at Haolna Beach Cove to find a craterlike

beach surrounded by steep and rocky cliffs. Many were taking advantage

of the last hours of sunlight snorkeling in the turquoise waters.

Though lounging and experiencing some of Oahu’s best beaches was a definite

highlight of the trip, there was so much more to experience. On our last full

day on the island, our friend Tanner surprised us with a catamaran sailing

cruise along with friends we had met during our trip. The day-cruise departed

from Waikiki Beach and sailed around the bay, providing plenty of drinks to

enjoy as we enjoyed the view of the city from a different perspective. To cap off

the trip, we went out to experience the nightlife with our newfound Hawaiian

chosen family.


Even though we stayed just a week on the island, it felt like we had been there

for years. We connected closely with those we met incredibly fast, and that

wasn’t just because we like to meet new people when we travel. It’s because

of the laid-back and friendly Hawaiian way of life, and the idea that all who

walk on this earth are connected in some way or another. As a relatively small

island, Oahu is a tight-knit community—and though it’s one of the most

popular tourist destinations in the USA, the community is still incredibly

welcoming. So if you find yourself on the island, let go of any sense of strict

planning, allow yourself to make a new friend, and go with the flow with that

incredible Hawaiian sense of Aloha.



BRUTREK beverage bottles

Features an innovative dual lid system that makes carrying, sipping and

pouring easy. The leak-proof top lid, which screws into either the second lid

or the bottle, has a handle with rounded edges and a large opening for holding

onto or fastening to a backpack. The second lid, which screws into the bottle,

has a spout that’s large enough for smooth sipping and pouring, but will still

keep ice contained. Use both lids or only the top lid as needed.


HUNTER canvas desert commando boot

Designed to be worn in the warmer months, the women’s canvas desert boot is designed

in breathable natural cotton canvas. It keeps feet cool on a hot summer day while still

providing natural insulation in cooler weather. The cotton-based fabric is highlighted with

rubberized foxing, a high-grip outsole and kickspur to aid removal.



MODERN PICNIC the backpack

The chic, functional, and sustainable backpack is a great travel

companion. The interior is insulated, includes a sleeve to protect

your laptop, and even has compartments for your silverware. The

backpack is also perfect for travel whether you are planning a picnic

in the park or packing for a weekend getaway!


WHITNEY LINEN resort wear

Linen is one of the strongest fibers, making it an inherently sustainable

choice. The Resort 2022 Collection features pieces designed for

getaways and city stays. The collection showcases Whitney Linen’s

take on safari style with a tropical twist!




SKYDIO skydio 2+ drone

A drone which builds on the industry-leading

autonomy of the Skydio 2 drone with important

hardware and software improvements. Plus

enhanced wireless range and battery life to get

the most out of every adventure. Also, Skydio

announced new groundbreaking autonomous

flight capability, Skydio KeyFrame. Skydio

Keyframe is an AI skill that allows a user to

design and capture smooth, complex camera

moves with just a few taps.


THE ROLLING STONES luggage collection

A tribute to the pioneers of hard rock. The suitcase

collection feature a branded telescopic trolley

handle that locks in 2 different positions, and

single 360° spinner wheels, for precise control

and smooth, quiet rolling. The inside includes

a signature Rolling Stones lining, dividing

panel, tightening straps and various pockets for

optimized packing that remains in place during

your trip.


SPINN CP.02 camera carrying system

A new carrying system for almost every DSLR and mirrorless

camera. Let your camera rest bombproof in any position

without swinging or slipping, and enjoy unrestricted access

and perfect view of all controls.



A nighttime wedding party lights sky lanterns to remember loved ones who

have passed on. One is for the bride’s father, a beloved friend.



A Photographic Journey

Featured Artist: Shelley Coar

Instagram: @shelleycoartravel

Website: shelleycoar.com

Gear: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon EF

16-35 f/2.8L, RRS Ultralight Tripod

& BH-40 Ball Head

Shelley is a travel photographer and

write who lives in Denver, Colorado,

with her husband and son. She enjoys

photographing low light landscapes and is

most inspired in her second home country

of Belgium.



The lively daytime canals of Bruges are normally packed with boats of

tourists, but not at night. The up-lights of the iconic Belfort tower caught

my eye as evening blanketed the city.


The secluded Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint Remy is home to the

Cistercian monks who brew the world-renowned Rochefort beer.




Symmetrical white cabanas await the daytime throng

of beach-goers at the Knokke-Heist on the North Sea.


Walk down a dusty lane, and you will inevitably find a hidden countryside

chapel like this one secluded near Hoegaarden.


Windmills make for a serene bike stop along the canal from Bruges to Damme.


Belgium is best explored on bike and has a myriad of mapped cycling

routes covering the countryside and cities alike.


Tree lined esplanades run parallel the canals flowing from Bruges to the

North Sea and make for a perfect escape by bike or foot.


The glassy pre-dawn River Lys reflects the facades of Ghent, a tranquil view of the

medieval city before the crowded and energetic day begins.



xenodocheio Milos


xenodocheio Milos is located in downtown Athens

opposite Old Parliament, an area bursting with history

and celebrates the best of Greek heritage, art and

cuisine. Elegant and refined, this authentic culinary

hotel experience is the very first luxury boutique hotel of

the world-renowned Greek restaurant estiatorio Milos,

carrying the inspiring story of Milos to its next chapter.


A World Renowned Gastronomic Experience

Offering some of the world’s finest Mediterranean

dishes from acclaimed founder and chef

executive Costas Spiliadis, the hotel brings a

symbol of iconic simplicity to life through divine

gastronomy. Simple and refined Mediterranean

food packed full of rich flavors awaits, serving

the finest fresh seafood from mouth-watering

Oysters, fresh Greek Ceviche and wild red

Madagascar shrimp to celebrated Greek desserts

including the delicious Karidopita and Baklava.

Unwind in the heart of the city, and enjoy a

selection of blissful and rejuvenating wellness

experiences from rooftop yoga to pilates in the

boutique gym. Those looking to host exclusive

private events can pick from a number of

stunning meeting rooms or take matters to

new heights in the open-air entertainment

terrace. Offering perfectly crafted suites with

soft velvet furnishings and wooden floors

for whatever the occasion, xenodocheio

Milos goes above and beyond to ensure

guests needs and desires are exceeded.


Top Hotels for

Afternoon Tea



There is no question that afternoon tea is always in style, and it has certainly evolved significantly over the last

two hundred years. Culinary chefs these days express their own creative flair and are continually adding new

twists to this indulgent British tradition.

Afternoon tea was introduced in England in 1840 by Anne, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. It is said that the Duchess

would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably

late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea,

bread, and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit, and she soon began inviting

friends to join her for this ritual.

Tea quickly became a stylish social event, and during the 1880’s upper class and society woman would change into long

gowns, gloves, and hats for their afternoon tea which was served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock

complete with silver teapots, fine linens, elegant teacups and world renowned teas.

Traditional afternoon tea typically consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones served with clotted cream and

preserves, as well as an assortment of cakes and pastries.

There are a few tea etiquette rules that still exist today. Eat sandwiches first and with fingers please, not the cutlery.

Warm scones should be enjoyed next and proper etiquette advises that these should be broken in two by hand, not with

a knife. Please also remember that extending your pinky finger is a “don’t” when enjoying afternoon tea, and please

never cradle the cup in your hands!


The Plaza - New York City, USA

The historic Plaza in New York City has been an iconic

destination for afternoon tea for more than 100 years.

Magnificently situated in the hotel’s Palm Court, tea

guests allude to the fact that they feel as though Central

Park has been brought indoors while they enjoy a

delightful tea experience under a stained glass dome.

Tea choices include selections such as Chinese green tea,

English breakfast, and lavender oolong. Patrons dine on

delicate sandwiches, pastries and scones all served on

Bernardaud china and custom tableware. There are a

variety of tea menus, such as the classic Manhattan Tea,

or for special occasions guests can order the indulgent

Grand Imperial Tea for two, complete with caviar service.

There is a signature tea for children featuring peanut

butter and jelly finger sandwiches, cake pops, cotton

candy and caffeine-free tea. After Eloise, the children’s

book character, lives at the Plaza and in her books often

enjoys afternoon tea here.

Claridge’s - London, England

Claridge’s has been serving afternoon tea for 150 years.

For a century or more, their Executive Chefs have

remained faithful to the classic combination of finger

sandwiches, scones served warm, and sweet pastries.

Prepared and served fresh each day, the menu faithfully

follows the traditional combination of sweet and savory.

The ingredients include British specialties such as

poached Scottish salmon, and their pastries change to

reflect the fruits of the season. Of course, at the heart of

the experience is the tea itself. From a rich Oolong to the

refreshingly complex Claridge’s Blend, there is a tea that

will complement your tea experience perfectly.

Afternoon tea is served from a specially designed stand

and on the very finest bone china and silverware, both

made to a unique Claridge’s design. Guests enjoy their

experience while being immersed in the 1930s art deco

design of the Foyer and Reading Room.


Fairmont Empress Hotel - Victoria, Canada

Tea at the Empress has been as they say, “hot and

steamy since 1908” when the hotel first opened. A

grand tradition for over a century, the world renowned

Fairmont Empress has served England’s most beloved

ritual of afternoon tea to famed royalty, celebrities and

dignitaries alike. Afternoon tea is elegantly served in the

timeless Lobby Lounge overlooking the beautiful inner

harbor, and provides live classical piano accompaniment.

The Empress offers twenty one rare, ethically produced

teas showcasing varieties from all major growing areas

around the world.

Indulge in delicate sandwiches, freshly baked Empress

raisin scone with homemade clotted cream and jam,

as well as a decadent dessert tier. Tea at the Empress

can also be enjoyed by their tiny Prince and Princesses

between the ages of 5 and 12 years old to feel like royalty

while partaking in this coveted tradition.

Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel – Paris, France

Located just off the famed Champs-Élysées, one will find

the Hôtel de Crillon. This stunning hotel opened in 1909

and is a must do Parisian destination at tea time for both

travelers and locals alike.

Afternoon tea at Jardin d’Hiver, which translates to

winter garden in French, is a glamorous affair served

in a gorgeous room filled with plump couches, plush

armchairs and dripping with chandeliers. There is also an

outside terrace that is very popular.

Tea service brings out the sweet desserts supplied by head

pastry chef Matthieu Carlin. The surprising menu also

has some original inclusions, such as a lobster roll and

puffed brioches as an alternative choice to scones. Sip

on a hot drink and munch on savory finger sandwiches,

three pastries, homemade scones or homemade brioche,

and jam and clotted cream.


The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

The elegant Tea Lounge in the Majestic Wing of the

hotel is open to the breezes off the lawn fronting the

hotel. The old-fashioned grid ceilings feature classic cutglass

lighting with antique brass fittings. Cozy arrays of

comfortable arm chairs with subdued lighting from table

lamps provide the perfect setting for English Afternoon

Tea with a Malaysian twist.

Indulge in a high tea set that’s fit for royalty with the

Colonial Cafe’s Majestic Afternoon Tea, featuring a classic

spread of scones with clotted cream and jams, finger

sandwiches, cakes and delicious savories served piping

hot. Your own individual tea pot is put on a warmer so

servers don’t have to constantly add hot water.

Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe – South Africa

Elegant and refined can best describe the High Tea at

the Victoria Falls Hotel. Traditional afternoon silver tea

service can be enjoyed every day on an outdoor terrace

with stunning views of the Victoria Falls Bridge. You

can hear the thundering of the falls while you sip on

your tea and nibble on decadent pastries, scones and

sandwiches. One of the oldest hotels in Africa, enjoying

tea on Stanley's Terrace comes with all of the traditional

accoutrement, as guests are transported back in time

thanks to the elegant, historic location. Built by the

British in 1904, this expansive Edwardian hotel features

dazzling manicured lawns and gardens, and stands right

next to the Falls.


Gunners Barracks Tea Room – Sydney, Australia

Built in 1873 from locally quarried sandstone, the

Gunners Barracks which has now been beautifully

restored, was formerly an officers’ mess, forming part of

the fortifications at Georges Heights built for the defense

of Sydney.

Tables are covered with damask table cloths and set

with pretty “Country Roses” Royal Albert bone china,

and high tea was presented on an elegant plated tiered

stand. Relish freshly baked scones with clotted cream

and preserves followed by finely cut sandwiches, savory

pastries and delectable petit cakes all create daily by our

highly skilled team of chef ’s. To compliment is Asia’s

largest selection of Ronnefeldt teas, a total of 41 specialty

teas for you to choose from.

Grand Hyatt – Hong Kong - China

The popular afternoon tea served in Tiffin Restaurant,

features three tiers filled with savory and sweet delicacies

with a distinctly French flavor. This is complemented by

the live dessert stations and ice-cream counter.

Echoing Tiffin’s namesake and heritage, the takeaway

version of the afternoon tea set consists of three

compartments meticulously stacked together to resemble

the famous “tiffin” boxes from the British Raj era. The box

is adorned with Tiffin’s signature tableware pattern for

you to recreate an elegant tea time at home.


The Biltmore Mayfair, LXR Hotels & Resorts –

London, England

Stepping inside the Tea Lounge at The Biltmore

Mayfair, guests will find a classic London afternoon tea

experience beckoning to them. Located in London's

luxurious Grosvenor Square, surrounded by parks

and gardens, tea at The Biltmore Mayfair is a definitely

sumptuous experience.

The afternoon tea menu highlights fresh classic UK

produce featuring English cucumber, black truffle, and

heritage tomato sandwiches, scones with Cornish clotted

cream, fresh Kent strawberries, and chocolate mousse

with Scottish raspberry jelly.

Whether you keep things simple with just a cup of

tea from the trolley and a scone, or add a glass of

Champagne to the full afternoon tea service, this English

tradition is a must-do for anyone hoping for a classic

teatime experience.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai - India

With an established tradition of afternoon tea dating back

to the early 20th century, the landmark Taj Mahal Palace

Hotel is a historic city institution. Tea is served in the Sea

Lounge, with art deco furnishings and old colonial charm

from 1903 when the hotel was first built. This iconic room

is aptly named, as guests can catch great views of the ships

on the harbor before they set sail on the Arabian Sea. In

the evenings, guests can enjoy live music. The tea service

is offered buffet style, with local Indian favorites along

with a nod to the classic British favorites.


Freewheeling to the glaciers in



“It’s magnificent cycling country,” declared 65-year-old Andy Bremner when I met

him inside the Adventure Cycles shop in Auckland. Tanned, fit and sporting a milewide

grin, Andy was completing his third season pedaling New Zealand and had so

far clocked up 3000 km. "There’s nothing I like better than to pack up each morning,

load the panniers on the racks, look over the handlebars and head off down that open

road,” he said.

With its magnificent volcanic landscapes, gushing geysers and rugged coastlines

backed by prehistoric rainforest, there can be no better way to experience this cool

green land, and certainly no better speed, than by bicycle.


My plan was to cycle from the

North Island to the glaciers

on the South Island, but

when I got down to the actual route

planning, the line on my map zigzagged

all over the place in an attempt to take

in just some of the abundant points of


It was a gray drizzly Auckland

morning when I caught the ferry to

the Coromandel Peninsula – a densely

forested coastal strip across the Firth

of Thames. The boat had barely pulled

alongside the dock before I was off,

legs pumping, and the salt air fresh in

my lungs, the bitumen rolling steadily

beneath my wheels.

Cycling along the coast I passed through

the characterful towns of Manaia,

Waikawau and Tapu. By late afternoon

I'd covered my first 50 km with just

enough time to set up camp in Thames,

and cook quick pasta on my stove before


Day two is always the hardest on a cycle

tour. The reality of stiff muscles and a

tender behind hit home as I loaded up

the bike and hit the road. But a couple

of hours later the stunning scenery was

enough to distract my mind from aching

body parts. And besides, the first of

many highlights was within reach.

In the coming days I turned inland to

the Rotorua region, well-known for it's

geysers, hot springs, mud pools and

shimmering lakes. I spent endless days

in the saddle skirting the very heart of

the North Island, along the shores of

beautiful Lake Taupo, New Zealand's

largest lake and onto the Tongariro

National Park where I camped for a

couple of nights to take a break from

cycling and experience one of the

world's best day walks - the Tongariro

Alpine Crossing.


With its fine collection of active volcanoes, Tongariro National Park is one of New

Zealand's most spectacular parks, and the 19.4 km Tongariro Alpine Crossing (which

takes about 7-9 hours) traverses this surreal landscape dominated by three volcanoes:

Mt Ruapehu (2797m) the highest and most active, Mt Tongariro (1968m), the oldest but

still considered active, and the much younger Mt Ngauruhoe (2291m). Volcanic craters,

brilliantly colored volcanic lakes, hot springs, glacial valleys, cones and lava flows are some

of the many highlights of this stunning World Heritage Site.

The crossing from the North Island to the South Island is always a psychological milestone

for any cyclist. Leaving the cultural and artistic hub of Wellington, I rode the ferry to the

pretty little town of Picton, situated at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound on the

South Island.

The lack of traffic was immediately apparent as I pedaled off towards Nelson, reveling

in magnificent coastal views over the Marlborough Sound. For the weary cyclist like


myself, the laid back town of Nelson

represented a cosmopolitan oasis;

waterholes at local pubs, great

restaurants and the best chance to stock

up on provisions for my 2-3 day journey

inland and across to Westport on the

west coast.

Cycling New Zealand is certainly a

challenge but despite its hilly nature, it

attracts cyclists from all over the globe

and stopping to chat is a common

occurrence. “You’ve got about 5km of

climbing ahead of you, but it’s a great

downhill after that," is typical of the

comments from fellow cyclists you meet

on the road.

From Dutch couples, members of the

Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society,

single Kiwis, to super fit German

couples towing trailers of gear behind

the latest in bicycle technology, there

seemed no limit to age or nationality, all

sharing a great sense of adventure and


From Westport to Greymouth, South

Highway 6 hugs the west coast as tightly

as a pair of Lycra bike shorts. In a series

of dramatic switchbacks the road snakes

between the white-capped breakers

out to sea, and the foothills of the

rainforest-clad Paparoa Ranges, cloaked

in tree ferns and stands of ancient

beech, rata and rimu.

After days in the saddle sampling some

of the world’s most glorious scenery,

I was finally within reach of my goal,

the Franz Josef Glacier situated in the

World Heritage Westland National

Park. The glacier along with nearby Fox

glacier is unique, for nowhere else on

earth at this latitude have they advanced

so close to the sea.


But cycling is not the way to go in this land of ice; it’s much better to take the helicopter.

The whir of the chopper’s blades sounded like a gigantic insect when it came in to land,

sending a blast of wind towards the small group of waiting travelers. The athletic figure

of outdoor guide Murray Naylor crouched low beside the helicopter as he beckoned each

person over one by one.

This was the start of my heli-hike – and within a few minutes the helicopter was flying

over an immense river of ice that tumbled down a densely forested valley towards the sea.

After superb panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, we landed

high up on top of the glacier between the icefalls for the start of our two-hour guided trip.


“This is one of the most dynamic glaciers in the world,” Murray told us as we donned

warm hats and jackets to combat the sudden blast of cold air. “At times the glacier can

move at up to five meters a day, over ten times as fast as glaciers in the Swiss Alps.”I

quickly found myself immersed in a surreal landscape, surrounded by the sculptural

beauty of ice. Fluted towers, eroded pinnacles, tunnels, pools, crevasses and frozen waves.

The surface looked thin and brittle in places, but can in fact be up to 150 meters thick. It

was an awesome opportunity to experience the type of scenery that is usually the domain

of mountaineers.

Leaning on my ice axe I took a breather and savored the view. Back down the glacier’s

flank a group of hikers created a snaking ribbon of color that contrasted vividly against the

white of the ice, putting into perspective the immensity of this frozen world. It seemed the

perfect moment to reflect on my bicycle journey.

Within a month I’d accomplished what I had set out to do, ride from north to south and

reach the glaciers by pedal power-a journey of nearly 2,000 km. Now all that was left was

the bus, ferry and train back to Auckland. The thought left me feeling flat. Already I was

yearning to be back in the saddle again, with the wind in my face and the beguiling beauty

of this green and mountainous land filling my view.





Travelers looking for a super strange or off-thebeaten-path

trip idea, look no further. Travel

Nevada released its inaugural list of the state’s

Seven Weirdest Wonders. Just like the Seven Wonders

of the Ancient World are proof of humanity’s

ingenuity, Nevada’s Seven Weirdest Wonders are

definitive proof that the Silver State is filled with

abundant unique places. These locations aren’t just

fun to see and talk about – experiences like these can

transform vacationers by opening their eyes to things

they never imagined.


Alien Research Center


Almost everyone has heard of Area 51. While you

definitely can’t storm it (seriously, you’ll be arrested

before you can say “ET”), you can go inside the Alien

Research Center and get a feel for what those little green

creatures might have found after crash-landing in the

area. As the gateway to the world-famous Extraterrestrial

Highway, the Alien Research Center is the perfect way to

start your own alien hunt. Extraterrestrial enthusiasts and

skeptics alike won’t want to miss stopping at the gift shop

to stock up on various alien-related knick-knacks at this

one-of-a-kind Nevada experience.


International Car Forest of the Last Church

Rethink any preconceived notions of a typical forest with

trees and greens. This open air gallery comprises more

than 40 graffiti cars, each a unique masterpiece. The

“forest” has no artist statement or bulletin, so visitors are

free to interpret the surrounding art in limitless ways.


Clown Motel

If you haven’t stayed in a hotel since… well, who can

even remember? Make the first overnight one you’ll

never forget. The Clown Motel in Tonopah is the perfect

place to get over your fear of clowns — or maybe make

it worse? We’ll let you decide. No matter your goal, this

motel has arguably the largest private collection of clownthemed

memorabilia, and is a landmark that makes

Nevada unique. Oh, and did we mention it’s situated

right next to a historic (allegedly haunted) cemetery? Of

COURSE it is!


Goldwell Open Air Museum

Among some of the world’s most distinctive pieces of

experiential art is the Goldwell Open Air Museum. More

an “experience” than a “museum,” Goldwell boasts seven

colossal structures, including a ghostly, life-size version

of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper; a

25-foot pink woman constructed of cinder blocks; and

a gleaming tangle of chrome car accessories. Forget

the velvet ropes of a traditional museum – visitors are

encouraged to step right into these pieces of art.


Fly Geyser

Imagine digging a hole in the middle of the desert and

suddenly getting sprayed by hot water as if you hit a pipe.

You walk away, only to learn that years later, that hole is

still spewing, but is now a 12-foot geyser with a rainbow

of colored rocks surrounding it. That’s essentially how Fly

Geyser came to be, and, after more than 100 years since

the first “pipe” was hit, people can still come see this everspewing

natural fountain in all its beauty.




to visit this summer


State parks across the United States are typically established by a state to

preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or

recreational potential. These parks are managed at the State level as opposed

to the federal level as in the National Park System.

The United States has over 10,000 state parks that span more than 18 million acres

across the country. These spaces have become invaluable these last two years when

borders were closed and people scrambled to follow their wanderlust. These parks

have become extensions of our own back yards providing both exciting adventures as

well as peaceful reflection experiences. State parks have some of the most beautiful

landscapes and very often are much less busy than the National parks. With

thousands to choose from the list is endless so here is a tiny sampling of some of the

most popular. Get out the hiking boots and hit the trails!


Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park - California

Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park contains the most old-growth redwoods per

acre in California, and in fact seven percent of all old growth redwood trees in the

world. The park is located just inland from Northern California’s rugged coastline

and near the banks of the Smith River. The almost spiritual track of dense ancient

redwood forest is best for hiking, forest bathing and swimming, with 20 miles of

hiking and nature trails offered in this lush rainforest. The park was named for

Jedediah Strong Smith, who in the 1820s became the first white man to explore the

interior of northern California. Marvel in the incredibly humbling experience of

standing at the base of an old growth redwood tree as you walk through misty ferns

and ancient greens.


Harris Beach State Park – Oregon

Harris Beach State Park is a Pacific Northwest coastal paradise located on Oregon’s

rugged south coast. This beautiful park is known for birdwatching, whale watching

and beach combing. Sandy beaches are divided by rocky cliffs. Tide pools are

home to an abundance of marine life for tide pool exploring. You will spot seals

swimming off-shore as impressive wave’s crash around you. This is also home to

Bird Island, a National Wildlife Refuge where you will find puffins, Aleutian Canada

Geese and terns. In the spring and fall seasons be watching for the migrating gray

whales. Bird Island, also referred to as Goat Island, is Oregon’s largest off-shore

island. There are campgrounds and yurts available for visitors and the park is

suitable for year round camping.


Custer State Park – South Dakota

Custer State Park, one of the country’s top wildlife parks is comprised almost 100,000

acres located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The park draws comparison to

Yellowstone National Park when it comes to spectacular scenery and abundant

wildlife. The park is home to a large variety of wildlife including Antelope, elk,

and nearly 1300 bison offering visitors the chance to have close encounters with

these permanent residents. Trail rides, scenic drives, bike rides and safari tours

are perfect ways to explore this impressive South Dakota attraction. Enjoy water

recreation in Custer State Park’s lakes, and appreciate panoramic views of the Black

Hills with incredible vantage points of Mount Rushmore.


Cheaha State Park – Alabama

Cheaha State Park is a publicly owned recreation area located in northern clay and

southwestern Cleburne counties in Alabama. It is the oldest state park in Alabama

dating back to 1933. It is located on the southernmost tip of the Appalachian

mountain chain. Almost three thousand acres of granite bounders and ancient

trees sitting high above sea level. This woodsy retreat and lush waterfalls offer miles

of hiking paths to sink your hiking boots into. The park is surrounded by the

Talladega National Forest and has all the comforts you need including a restaurant

serving burgers and stone baked pizzas. You can rent stone cabins or opt for the

campground. There are also two fascinating museums within the park. The Native

American history museum and the Civilian Conservation Corps.


Devil’s Den State Park – Arkansas

Devil’s Den State Park nestled in the Lee Creek Valley was selected as a state park

site in the 1930s. The Civilian Conservation Corps used native materials to build

the park’s rustic-style wood and stone structures that mirror the surrounding

natural beauty. It now stands as one of the most intact CCC sites in the U.S., with

a legacy you can see in its trails and buildings. The park is built for year round

recreation with trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding leading

to the surrounding Ozark National Forest. There are also cabins and campsites

ranging from modern to primitive to suit your individual wants. Fossils of coral

and crinoids can be found along the banks and within Lee Creek at Devil’s Den

State Park. The renowned Ozark Mountain Biking Festival is held here each spring.




Join us as we journey in high style through the magnificent

Canadian Rockies aboard the iconic Rocky Mountaineer.


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