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Recommended experiences from AFAR Magazine

Bike Pirates

Toronto
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DIY Bike Repair in Toronto
Toronto's up-and-coming neighborhood Bloordale is home to Bike Pirates, "a DIY bike shop where they don’t repair your gears; they teach you how to fix them instead," says bartender Sandy de Almeida. Read about Sandy's take on Toronto (and, yes, Mayor Rob Ford) here. 1292 Bloor St. W Photo by Gandalf Cunningham. This appeared in our August/September issue.
DIY Bike Repair in Toronto

URSA

Toronto
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Where to Drink Away the Mondays in Toronto
"On Mondays, they hire guest bartenders and DJs, and it feels so intimate—like a party in someone’s living room," says bartender Sandy de Almeida. Read about Sandy's take on Toronto (and, yes, Mayor Rob Ford) here. 924 Queen St. W, (416) 536-8963 Photo by Karon Liu. This appeared in our August/September issue.
Where to Drink Away the Mondays in Toronto
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Ke'e Beach

Kapaa
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Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hiking Along Kauai's Na Pali Coast
There's a hike for everyone along the spiny Na Pali Coast. Burly backpackers can take on the entire 11-mile Kalalau Trail (which, at certain points, is only about a foot wide—yeesh!). But day-trippers have their pick. For all, start at Ke'e beach, which is basically as far northwest as you can drive on the island. Want tropical beaches to bookend your hike? Head for Hanakapai'ai Beach, where you can rinse the sweat off in sandy pools (the tide here can be ferocious, so most people stay out of the ocean). It's a hilly 4 miles roundtrip. Feeling mildly ambitious? Hike to the Hanakapai'ai Falls (8 miles roundtrip), which splits at Hanakapai'ai Beach and heads inland. Prefer sun-induced sweat to the other kinds? Stick to Ke'e Beach, where you'll find picnic tables, super clear water, reefs made for snorkeling—and even shade.
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hiking Along Kauai's Na Pali Coast

Foodgame

Dublin
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Brunch at Dublin's Foodgame: Homemade Soda Bread and Tomato Soup
For weekend brunch at Foodgame (in Dublin 4), try the homemade soda bread with tomato soup or a ham and cheese omelet. Other daily baked goods include scones, cakes, and pies. In a land of tea, this small, quirky café is a favorite for its quality coffee service. –Jessica Colley Photo courtesy of Foodgame. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Brunch at Dublin's Foodgame: Homemade Soda Bread and Tomato Soup

Avoca Café

Dublin
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Visit Avoca's Store and Food Hall for Irish Goodies
After browsing Avoca’s store full of Irish-made gifts, housewares, and clothes, follow locals down the stairs into the food hall. Order a pot of tea and a scone with cream and jam, or buy a loaf of brown bread for a picnic in nearby St. Stephen’s Green. –Jessica Colley Photo courtesy of Avoca Ireland. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Visit Avoca's Store and Food Hall for Irish Goodies

The Chop House

Ballsbridge
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Brown Bread and Beef at Dublin's The Chop House
In the district known as Dublin 4 (south of the River Liffey), the Chop House is famous for dry-aged beef dishes, including a hearty porterhouse for two. Chef Kevin Arundel’s brown bread is on offer with both lunch and dinner. Classic cocktails and a varied wine list expand on the typical gastropub format. –Jessica Colley Photo by Helen Cathcart. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Brown Bread and Beef at Dublin's The Chop House

Number 31

Dublin
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Full Irish Breakfast in a Dublin Carriage House
Located down a lane in Dublin’s city center, this boutique hotel provides breakfast each morning in the carriage house or the conservatory. Delia Behan bakes fresh brown bread daily to accompany such cooked-to-order options as a full Irish breakfast or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. –Jessica Colley Photo courtesy of Flickr user stone-soup. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Full Irish Breakfast in a Dublin Carriage House

Baku

Baku
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Discover Baku's Brilliant Buildings
I hereby nominate Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, for Freakiest First Impression by a major metropolis. As my taxi snaked alongside the Caspian Sea, first it was the Heydar Aliyev Center (pictured), where architect Zaha Hadid seems to have translated tsunami waves into architecture. Then came the 10,000 LED lights that dance across three 600-foot-tall structures appropriately named Flame Towers. As we passed the elegant fin de siècle mansions that encircle the medieval city center, I felt as if I’d entered a locale spawned by Paris and Abu Dhabi. I didn’t know what would come next, but it seemed like anything was possible. —David Farley Photo by Hufton + Crow. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue. For events and exhibitions at the Heydar Aliyev Center visit: http://heydaraliyevcenter.az/#main
Discover Baku's Brilliant Buildings

The Kahumoku 'Ohana Music Workshop

Pahala
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Learn, Create, and Explore at Kahumoku 'Ohana Music Workshop
Darci teaches us to make room for the “O” sounds that float under every word of the lyrics. My mouth feels too full when I try to sing. But by the end of the Kahumoku ‘Ohana Music Workshop on Hawaii's Big Island, I’ve loosened the grip on the neck of my ukulele and the words finally have space. Photo courtesy of Evan Bordessa. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Learn, Create, and Explore at Kahumoku 'Ohana Music Workshop

Egghüttä Summer Farm

Giswil
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Sleep With the Cows in the Emmental Alps
High in the Emmental Alps, off the Glaubenbielen Pass, Rita and Wisi Enz run a small summer farm called Egghüttä. It’s a modest affair surrounded by clichés: towering peaks and lazy cows. I wandered in and Rita fed me a cheesy noodle dish called älplermagronen. As they do with all guests, that night, they led me to a loft where I slept swaddled in wool blankets on a bed of hay. I awoke to cowbells, relaxed and grateful. I could have stayed somewhere with a real bed, but why? —Tim Neville Photo courtesy of Flickr user girsinclair. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Sleep With the Cows in the Emmental Alps

Bandelier National Monument

Los Alamos
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Explore Bandelier National Monument as a Natural Playground
I’m not sure at what age humans develop the skill to stand still and appreciate scenery, but based on a scientific survey of kids who live in my house, it’s not age seven. On a trip to the Canadian Rockies, as my wife and I snapped photos of the relentlessly picturesque mountains, my son, Luke, investigated how quickly he could break his toy helicopter. Luke expects Mother Nature to be his playmate. At Bandelier National Monument, about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico, she is. The visitor center offers kids a booklet of activities that, when completed, earn them a Junior Ranger patch. (You could call it a bribe. We prefer the term incentive.) The scavenger hunt sent us off on the Main Loop Trail in search of birds, trees, and bugs, as well as the feature that sets Bandelier apart and makes it perfect for kids: cave dwellings. Ladders of salvaged wood lead to rooms that the Pueblo people carved out of the cliffs here over 800 years ago. “I don’t want to go up, Daddy,” Luke said. “It’s too steep.” “You’ve got this, buddy,” I said. “Just take it slow.” There were no lines of impatient parents pushing their children to race up the ladder. (We saw no more than 20 people on the trail.) Luke could climb the rungs at his own pace. He paused in triumph at the top, then set off to wander the caves. While Mom and Dad squatted—“Watch out for your bald head, Daddy”—Luke could explore without even hunching. After about 45 minutes, we were walking back toward the visitor center. We crossed a nearly dry creek by hopping hand in hand from one downed log to another and were back in time for lunch, before hunger, fatigue, or boredom could set in. It was a parent’s—and child’s—dream hike. Photo by Kevin Russ. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Explore Bandelier National Monument as a Natural Playground

Guanzhong Folk-custom Art Museum

Xi'an
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Dance to Chinese Folk Music in Guanzhong Folk Art Museum's Courtyard
In a courtyard of the Guanzhong Folk Art Museum, three men saw away on fiddles, another rocks out on a banjo-like instrument called a sanxian. Turns out Lao Giang, the folk music of China’s Shaanxi Province, sounds like a riff on American bluegrass. I don’t understand a word, but within minutes I’m up and dancing. Photo courtesy of Flickr user maleszyk. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Dance to Chinese Folk Music in Guanzhong Folk Art Museum's Courtyard

Taveuni Island

Northern Division
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Take a Romantic Sail Through Fiji
We spent five nights on the three-deck ship, sipping cocktails on daybeds and working through our differences in our cushy stateroom. We, along with a dozen other guests, sailed along the island of Taveuni and out to islands where local chiefs allowed the Tui Tai exclusive access to harbor. The crew Zodiac’d us off to lonely beaches with a picnic basket and a radio to call for a pickup. We named new dive sites, kayaked, leaped from waterfalls, and snuggled as the crew sang breathy songs about the sunset. Five-night cruises from $1,794. —Tim Neville Photo courtesy of Tui Tai Expeditions. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Take a Romantic Sail Through Fiji

Cotopaxi National Park

Latacunga
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Ride Amongst Ecuador Cowboys with Tierra del Volcán
Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of being a cowgirl. Now, years later, I find myself living my childhood fantasy—in Ecuador. As part of a three-day repunte, or roundup, organized by adventure outfitter Tierra del Volcán, I ride alongside 20 local cowboys known as chagras, driving a herd of bravo cattle, the Spanish breed of fighting bulls that graze freely throughout the Andes, to the corrals of the Hacienda El Tambo ranch. I’m in no hurry to keep pace as my horse and I take in the views of the Cotopaxi volcano, and when we reach the corrals I’m little help as the chagras brand the cattle. But come evening, I still have a cowboy’s appetite when we gather around a fire to eat traditional Andean dishes such as locro de papas (a potato and cheese soup) and tamale-like humitas. The more aguardiente we drink, the louder we sing. And “Home on the Range” sounds just as good in Spanish. Three-day repunte $700. Photo by Jonathan Burnham. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Ride Amongst Ecuador Cowboys with Tierra del Volcán

Jamyang School

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Break From Sightseeing and Volunteer at Jamyang School in Ladakh, India
I came to Ladakh, in northern India, to explore the 20,000-foot peaks and ancient monasteries the area is known for. A two-day detour to volunteer at the Jamyang School, which the Dalai Lama founded to provide free education to local children, turned into a couple of weeks. What I took away from my interactions with the Ladakhi people—from the small moments teaching students computer skills to the monks dangling a white scarf around my neck in a simple blessing of gratitude my final day—left a far greater impression on me than any peak I climbed. —Kitt Doucette Photo of a Ladkah monastery courtesy of Flickr user kkoshy. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Break From Sightseeing and Volunteer at Jamyang School in Ladakh, India

Praia do Espelho

Porto Seguro
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Enjoy Comfort Food on Brazil's Praia do Espelho Beach
The dirt road that leads from the hip beach town of Trancoso, Brazil, to Silvinha’s could be a luge run but for the potholes and the stream we had to ford. We arrived queasy and left with the deep calm that often follows deep pleasure. Silvinha’s cottage is on Praia do Espelho, which some call the prettiest beach in Brazil. There’s no menu, but Silvinha, a longtime resident, knows best. She makes homey food: whitefish, plantains, and, of course, caipirinhas. After lunch, some of us canoed in the mangroves; some repaired to hammocks. And now, all of us want to go back, even if it means another luge run. Lunch only, reservations essential. 55/(0) 73-9985-4157 —Beth Ann Fennelly Photo courtesy of Hotel Fazenda Cala & Divino. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Enjoy Comfort Food on Brazil's Praia do Espelho Beach

Livade

Livade
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Get Your Hands Dirty with Locals in Croatia
On the steep hills above the truffle-obsessed town of Livade in central Istria, Croatia, a man named Vlado Tomažič makes olive oil on his family’s farm. When my husband and I rented the apartment, Casa Maršić (casamarsic.com), adjacent to the farmhouse, we found it the perfect base for exploring the nearby medieval hill towns. We visited Motovun-Montona and Oprtalj-Portole, where we ate fuži, traditional Istrian pasta, with fresh mushrooms and grilled lamb chops at the fantastic Tončić agritourism (agroturizam-toncic.com). We happened to be at the farm during the October harvest and helped Vlado’s friendly crew rake the olives from the trees, taking frequent breaks for gemišt—white wine and sparkling water. Classic Journeys offers seven-night tours of Istria. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Get Your Hands Dirty with Locals in Croatia

Faroe Islands

Sandoy
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Delve into Faroe Islands' Local Culture
Think of the most dramatic landscape you’ve ever seen. Now, heighten the peaks, so that they cut into a stormy sky. Make the cliffs sharper, and cover their sides in the greenest grass. Dot them with the fluffiest of sheep, and make the sea below as mercurial as the sky above. Imagine all this, and even then, you’ll find yourself gawping at the awesome beauty of the Faroe Islands. During the five days I spent on the islands, clustered in the North Atlantic halfway between Scotland and Iceland, my jaw grew sore from dropping. Travelers come here to fish the pristine fjords or hike paths that cut up the gentler side of those jutting cliffs. But, however spectacular the scenery, it’s the local culture—hardscrabble and only a few steps removed from survivalist—that truly fascinates. Shepherding lies at its heart. At the shop Guđrun & Guđrun, in Tórshavn, the pretty Faroese capital, a sales­woman told me that just as the Inuit have dozens of words for snow, the Faroese have hundreds of ways to describe sheep’s wool. They spin it into thick yarn, then knit it into the islands’ distinct sweaters, worn so famously by the Detective Lund character in the Danish television series The Killing. The Faroese eat mainly mutton. Faced with so restricted a diet, they expand the range of flavors by air-curing sheep’s meat to different degrees of fermentation. They also carefully tend the skins, which they make into clothing and rugs. On Stóra Dímun, a windswept island inhabited by a single family that dates back eight generations, I get to see all of this. Jógvan Jón Petersen and his wife, Eva úr Dímun, welcome the few visitors who arrive by boat or helicopter. When I visit, Jógvan Jon takes me to a slatted shed where sheep legs hang from the ceiling, and explains that the prohibitively high cost of salt meant that the Faroese learned to cure meats using air alone. Later, Eva will serve some of the fermented mutton at lunch. It is pungent to the point of tasting, well, rotten, but in its powerful flavor I can sense the harsh seas and weather that have shaped these islands over centuries. —Lisa Abend North-West Adventures offers seven-night walking tours of the Faroe Islands. Photo by Erik Christensen. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Delve into Faroe Islands' Local Culture

Off Square Books

Oxford
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Listen to Mississippi's Thacker Mountain Radio at Off Square Books
I could listen to the Thacker Mountain Radio show from my house in Oxford, Mississippi, but when I’m in Off Square Books—shelves pushed aside, folding chairs unfolded—and the house band launches into its rockabilly theme song, something in me is harmonized with the world. Maybe it’s the gospel singer getting the audience to clap along, or the store cat sashaying down the aisle, or the goodwill engendered by the free admission, but a family feeling is created. And then the lights come up, and we do what family does—help put away the chairs. —Beth Ann Fennelly Photo courtesy of Bethany Cooper. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Listen to Mississippi's Thacker Mountain Radio at Off Square Books

Strandvejen

Hals Municipality
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Pedal from Copenhagen to Helsingør During the Summer Solstice
Every June 23, the Danes celebrate the summer solstice (they call it St. Hans Eve) pagan style, carousing and lighting bonfires along their beaches. When my fiancé and I visited Copenhagen, we biked through the festivities, logging 56 miles along Strandvejen, the scenic coast road studded with baroque and rococo villas, white-washed cottages, harbors, and Victorian-era wooden jetties. We cycled through the silvery light, stopping as we pleased. In the town of Skovshoved we passed the distinctive oval canopy of the Uno-X gas station, a functionalist masterpiece designed by Arne Jacobsen in the 1930s (above). We paused to rest at Rungstedlund, the home, now a museum, where Karen Blixen (under the pen name Isak Dinesen) wrote Out of Africa. Reaching the Louisiana Modern Art Museum, we detoured to the beach to get a glimpse of works by Calder and Miró in the sculpture garden, as well as a shoreline view of bonfires being ignited. Back on our bikes, we passed the thatched-roof cottages of a succession of fishing villages that served in 1943 as departure points for Danish Jews being ferried by fishermen across the Øresund, the sound separating Denmark from neutral Sweden. Then came a curve in the road, and the verdigris spires of Kronborg Castle in the town of Elsinore loomed into view. At Brostræde Is, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, we scarfed down cones of vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry jam and a chocolate-covered marshmallow. Excessive, you say? We needed sustenance for the ride back. A train could’ve taken us (and our bikes). But the haunting solstice sky still beckoned. Photo by Alastair Philip Wiper. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue. To take the train back to Copenhagen: Hop on the R-train at Helsingør St. to Klampenborg St., transfer to the S-Train C towards Ballerup St., and finally get off at Kobenhaven H. Rent a bike here
Pedal from Copenhagen to Helsingør During the Summer Solstice

Seabourn

StayDo
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Soak up Luxury on Seabourn Cruises
On Seabourn’s 458-passenger Quest, travelers can prep for the day with a yoga class, then, come evening, wind down with a soak in their full-size tub or a Swedish massage in the spa. Twenty-one-day cruises from $10,999. Photo courtesy of Seabourn. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Soak up Luxury on Seabourn Cruises

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

StayDo
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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises: Spacious Cabins with Spectacular Views
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 175-passenger Hanseatic has the bells and whistles of a five-star hotel: a low staff-to-guest ratio, spacious cabins with ocean views, and perks such as butler service. Eighteen-day trips from $13,700. Photo courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruisese. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises: Spacious Cabins with Spectacular Views

Quark Expeditions

StayDo
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Cruise the Wild Side on Quark Expeditions
Quark Expeditions leads trips with adventure options that range from mild (cross-country skiing) to wild (mountaineering). Twelve-day cruises from $5,595. Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions Passenger. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Cruise the Wild Side on Quark Expeditions

Jacada Travel

DoStay
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Jacada's Adventures on Antarctica's Glaciers
Want to camp on a glacier or retrace Shackleton’s route on snowshoes? Jacada Travel tailors trips to your interests. Ten-day cruises from $9,800. Photo courtesy of White Desert. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Jacada's Adventures on Antarctica's Glaciers

Abercrombie & Kent's Le Boreal

StayDo
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Arctic Penguin Education Aboard the Le Boreal
Days on Abercrombie & Kent’s Le Boreal offer naturalist-led outings—you’ll learn to tell a macaroni penguin from an Adélie—while nights bring time to relax on your private balcony. Twelve-day cruises from $12,495. Photo courtesy of Richard Harker/Abercrombie & Kent. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Arctic Penguin Education Aboard the Le Boreal

Lindblad-National Geographic Explorer

StayDo
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Remote Antarctica Exploration on the Lindblad
The Lindblad–National Geographic Explorer, which hosted writer Chris Jones, carries only 148 passengers. The small size lets it reach some of Antarctica’s most remote places, and pro photographers are on board to help you capture the magic. Fourteen-day cruises from $12,350. Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
Remote Antarctica Exploration on the Lindblad

Lydmar Hotel AB

Stockholm
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Lydmar Hotel: Arrive for the Creativity, Leave with Friends
The Lydmar could just as easily be a re-creation of artist Damien Hirst’s home. Framed photos of rowdy bulldogs are offset by soothing comforts such as velvet couches that beckon guests to take a nap. The real treat, though, is the lobby, ground zero for Stockholm’s creative set. Whether I went for the hearty morning spread of pastries and pancakes or swung by late for a nightcap, I always managed to walk away one friend richer. From $415. Photo courtesy of Lydmar.
Lydmar Hotel: Arrive for the Creativity, Leave with Friends

Hotel Skeppsholmen

Stockholm
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Stay Secluded in Sweden at Skeppsholmen
The 315-year-old Skeppsholmen, located on the secluded little island of the same name, is the former stomping ground of Swedish royals. They retreated here when they wanted some peace and quiet away from the bustle of Stockholm’s Old Town, which is separated by a tiny bridge that takes seconds to cross if you drive slowly. Be sure to order seafood at the restaurant. The fish was probably swimming off the coast of the property that morning. From $260 Photo courtesy of Hotel Skeppsholmen.
Stay Secluded in Sweden at Skeppsholmen
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