Leading the Way
THIS WEEK ON INDAGARE: Two Indagare travel experts return from Thailand, Zermatt and Vienna full of news and discoveries; gorgeous handmade jewelry from Rwanda that inspires real change; an insider shares San Francisco news, Melissa Biggs Bradley’s review of Lanai, and a private sculpture garden in southwestern France now open by appointment to Indagare members. Plus: A special offer from Napa’s acclaimed Meadowood resort.
Thailand has all of the ingredients of a great trip: mountains, jungles, cities, beaches and delicious food. The country is roughly the size of France, so you can easily have breakfast in Bangkok along the busy Chao Praya river, lunch in the rice paddies of northern Chiang Mai, and dine on grilled fish on a white sand beach at sunset. Indagare’s Brooke Pearson, who recently returned from Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, writes that the pleasures of exploring Thailand go beyond the sites, however: “It’s a country of contradictions, where businessmen and taxi drivers dine on street corners elbow to elbow while orange-robed monks pass by chatting on cell phones. Regardless of how many times you’ve been, you’ll always want to return.” Read her dispatch, including a review of a special resort in Chiang Mai and bonding at an elephant camp.
When an Indagare member recently traveled to San Francisco, we reached out to our favorite insider touring company there to design a very special itinerary. The three-day trip included a sushi-making demonstration at an acclaimed restaurant that opened just for the family; a seaplane excursion above the Bay Area; and private touring of some of San Francisco’s most vibrant neighborhoods. “We created our company to help people truly experience everything that the area has to offer. Sights, bites, sips, stores, walks, art, nature…all in total privacy and completely customized to the guests interests,” says the company’s co-founder who spoke to Indagare about what not to miss on a trip to the Bay Area. If you are planning a trip, contact our bookings team for an introduction. Read her picks on best restaurants, shops and city newcomers.
Same Sky, an inspiring trade initiative in Rwanda that produces incredibly beautiful handcrafted bracelets, was founded on the understanding that hand-outs are not the answer in the Third World. Its founder, New York–based Francine Le Frak, also deeply believes in the tremendous potential for real change brought on by working women: “Empower a woman economically and you change her, her family, her community and her country,” says Le Frak, who launched Same Sky in 2008 working with a collective of women, all survivors of the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s and all HIV-positive. This year, the company expanded into Zambia, a testament to its success and its commitment to reinvest all proceeds into hiring and training more women and thereby spreading opportunity. Made of hand-blown glass beads, the bracelets and necklaces are striking, timeless and wearable. If you missed this week’s Indagare Souk in Southampton, you can purchase Same Sky products at www.indagare.com/souk. Read the moving interview with Francine Le Frak.
Southwestern France is one of the country’s most under-the-radar regions, full of surprises and pleasant discoveries, like the fact that the resort town of Biarritz is only a 45-minute drive to the Spanish Basque country, home to some of the world’s best restaurants and now, a brand-new museum dedicated to fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga. (Biarritz itself has a stunning new museum dedicated to surfing and sea life: Cité de l’Ocean.) It’s an area where it pays to have a friend or insider access; and Indagare members now can have both. The owner of a gorgeous private sculpture garden has agreed to share her family’s special property with art-interested members. The more than fifty masterpieces on display (many were site-specific creations) include works by Rodin, Mirò, Calder, Noguchi, Niki de Saint Phalle and Eduardo Chillida. They are interwoven with the beautiful landscapes, many parts left wild. “The sculptures were meant to incorporate themselves in the landscape, not stand out. One has to go look for and discover them,” says the owner, whose father was the art dealer who started this private enclave. Read about the garden and tips on touring the region.
This month, Indagare’s Alexandra Erdman visited Zermatt, Switzerland, and Vienna, Austria. The first portion of the trip was focused on nature, with challenging hikes in the scenic Matterhorn region, while the second part was filled with cultural discoveries in one of Europe’s most art-rich capitals. Erdman also delved into the rich culinary traditions of both places, scouting the best mountain-side restaurants, local hot spots and even a hidden kitchen in a private residence deep in Vienna’s 13th district (reportedly the chocolate cake dessert alone made the trip worthwhile). Read about Erdman’s trip, including tips on where to stay in Zermatt, best hikes for all levels and where to eat with the locals in Vienna.
ALSO NEW ON INDAGARE: A destination report on Lanai, including reviews of the island’s Four Seasons reorts; London-based contributor Elena Bowes on an artful journey through western Provence, and member queries on British Columbia’s King Pacific Lodge and best new restaurants in Los Angeles.
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