Travel

Travel

Six amazing places to stay for free around the world – if you volunteer

At Helga’s Folly, a boutique hotel in historic Kandy, central Sri Lanka, amateur artists add to the distinctive murals – and get free bed and board via the Workaway website. Plus: 5 more places where skills can be swapped for stays

For almost 30 years, Helga de Silva Blow Perera, the flamboyantly attired owner of Helga’s Folly, a 30-room boutique hotel overlooking the Sri Lankan city of Kandy, has covered the walls of her estate with frenetic and dreamlike murals. In 1988, she began painting the hotel – at that time, run by her parents – after divorcing her second husband, and while still in recovery from the suicide of her first, British writer and historian Jonathan Blow.

“My father suggested that I ‘doodle it out’,” Helga said, referring to her grief. She painted one room black. Her next project was a trio of gold and shimmering “hear, see, speak no evil” monkeys. True to her father’s word, Helga discovered a form of self-healing in art. Walls soon glittered floor-to-ceiling with psychedelic flowers, suited animals, skulking devils and spinning folk dancers.

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Architecture

Tiny baby kangaroo having a yawn after eating is just like you

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More about Watercooler, Videos, Video, Australia, and Animals

Travel

10 of the best new summer activitiy holidays in the Alps

From ziplines in Switzerland to walking holidays in Italy and France, plus mountain bike breaks and an outdoor festival, the Alps are worth a ‘peak’ this summer

Car-free family ski resort and outdoor activity base Arc 1950 has opened another bike route for the summer, one that goes through the centre of the village – so if staying in the resort, you can pedal right back to your apartment. Buying a mountain bike pass provides access to 180km of marked trails for all levels; that’s 23 trails with nine downhill runs and two cross-country circuits among the count. A short drive from Chamonix, the village enjoys spectacular views of Mont Blanc.
Half-day mountain bike pass €15 adult, €12 children, arc1950.com

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Architecture

Russell Westbrook goes back to where it all started in new Samsung ad

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Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has had quite the season with his triple-double average in 2016-17. Although it wasn’t quite enough, as his team fell short against the Houston Rockets in the playoffs. 

In a new ad for Samsung titled Driven, Westbrook takes it back to where it all began, where he grew up in Los Angeles. The ad is of course littered with shots of Samsung products, but also heartfelt tidbits about the point guard’s life — like how much getting back to his roots matters. Read more…

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Travel

All in a roe: the secret of Sardinia’s bottarga

Cabras lagoon in the island’s south-west is home to prized bottarga, cured and air-dried grey mullet roe that’s perfect as a nibble or grated over pasta

Still think spaghetti carbonara is best made with bacon – or pancetta if you’re being authentic? One taste of the Buzzi brothers’ version at their A Galaia restaurant in Carloforte, Sardinia, and the piggy version will probably never cut it again. That’s because they make their carbonara with bottarga, the cured, air-dried roe of grey mullet (in Sicily they use tuna).

Thought to have been introduced by the Phoenicians 3,000 years ago, bottarga (from the Arabic battarikh) is made in several places around the Med, but the variety made in the Cabras lagoon in the west of Sardinia, is regarded by many as the best.

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Travel

Getting Bleaker: penguins, pens and finding inspiration in the Falkland Islands

In search of solitude, Nell Stevens headed for the isolation of Bleaker Island to finish her first book but what she discovered changed her plans – for the better

If you could go anywhere in the world, anywhere at all, where would you go? It was a game I played as a child: close your eyes, spin the globe, stop it with a finger. Wherever I happened to be pointing, I imagined, would one day be my home. I plotted out futures for myself in Greenland, Mongolia, Hawaii: snow, mountains, waves. After a year studying fiction at Boston University, I was given the opportunity to go anywhere in the world for up to three months to focus on writing a novel.

In my student apartment, I opened Google Maps and zoomed all the way out. My gaze fell on the southernmost tip of South America, pointing like an arrowhead towards Antarctica, and then, hovering off the coast, the Falkland Islands.

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Travel

Learning to sail on the Côte d’Azur

A week exploring France’s Mediterranean coast offers a touring holiday without a bus, a sailing trip without millionaire prices, and Riviera beaches without crowds. Plus: more sailing trips for softies

Several superyachts are bobbing in the warm sunshine in Cannes’ Vieux Port. Europe’s largest boat show has just been to town and among the hulking shadows of the multi-millionaires’ craft sits our more modest 15-metre sailing boat, Aruba.

I’d always envisaged yachting in the south of France as the preserve of the rich and famous, but I’m on an eight-day trip sailing between Nice and Marseille to sample, “a champagne lifestyle on a sparkling wine budget” (the trip, with Intrepid Travel, is on offer for less than £750pp in June).

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Architecture

Relive SpaceX’s historic rocket launch and landing with this video

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More about Space, Nasa, Science, Spaceflight, and Elon Musk

Travel

Top 10 restaurants and bistros in Zagreb

Croatia’s capital is bursting with good-value places to eat and drink. And new flights from the UK have made getting there cheaper too

The epicentre of Zagreb’s bistro revolution is busy Nikole Tesle street, whose pavements almost exclusively contain restaurant terraces. Bistroteka particularly excels at breakfast. For health, order millet flakes, chia seeds, apples and cinnamon; for indulgence, poached eggs on toast beside cream cheese, spinach and bacon.
• From £2.50, Nikole Tesle 14, +385 14837 711 on Facebook

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Travel

San Francisco, 50 years on from the Summer of Love

The scent of marijuana still lingers in the air, but what about rebellion? Half a century on from the year the world was told to turn on, tune in and drop out, we revisit the birthplace of 60s counterculture

California’s signature scent of marijuana permeates the warm air in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park. Dogs pant and people strip off. The arrival of an early summer has caught the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood off guard. It is a distinctive, blissed-out atmosphere but still an age away from the drug-fuelled, music-drenched summer of 1967, when 100,000 people converged on the Haight.

Back then, people came to embrace a higher consciousness and obey the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” message that Timothy Leary had delivered earlier that year to 30,000 people in Golden Gate Park at the “Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In”.”

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Architecture

Self-driving cars could create a massive new $7 trillion economy

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The race to create self-driving cars is on—but what happens when they’re everywhere and nobody has to drive?   

That could lead to a “passenger economy” worth $7 trillion by 2050, according to a new report by Intel and analyst firm Strategy Analytics.

While the name of the potential new market is lame, the amount of cash it’s estimated to drive is not: the study predicts self-driving cars will free up 250 million hours of commuting time per year, providing the backbone for a thriving $800 billion industry by 2035, when the study predicts fully autonomous vehicles will begin to proliferate globally.  Read more…

More about Intel, Economy, Sharing Economy, Self Driving Cars, and Tech

Tech

Sherpa turns Instagram’s best photos into a travel guide

 There are a number of places to find travel inspiration – Pinterest, Google Destinations, travel blogs or media sites like Condé Nast’s Traveler, among others. But a new application called Sherpa launching this week believes that some of the best travel ideas can be found on Instagram. The iOS application curates photos from top Instagram photographers, and turns them into… Read More

Travel

The Fritton Arms, Norfolk: hotel review

Plenty of hotels have a pool, but this one comes with its own swimming lake. And exploring the extensive grounds provides the perfect excuse for tucking into the estate’s excellent fare

My weekends away usually involve a lie-in and a fry-up, not shivering at the edge of a lake at 8am, trying to find the nerve to jump in. But that’s the Fritton Arms’ USP: its extensive grounds encompass two-mile-long Fritton lake, and guests can join thrice-weekly open-water swimming sessions.

The swimmers at my Saturday-morning session look pretty serious, with wetsuits and talk of triathlons. But they welcome an ill-equipped interloper in a bikini, doing one lap of leisurely breaststroke to every three of theirs at a furious front crawl.

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Architecture

The tech world is becoming more political, and not everyone likes it

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“Seventeen agencies, all in agreement… they concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign to influence voters in the election.”

This is Hillary Clinton uncensored, speaking on a stage, railing against Russia and the Trump administration, playing to her base, and generally urging the world to #resist.

This wasn’t a political rally or event, though. Clinton was headlining the Code Conference, an annual tech event where leaders from Silicon Valley and the greater tech world congregate, typically to talk about the latest innovations, ideas, and gadgets. Read more…

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Lifestyle

Motorola still believes in modular phones

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Modular phones dead? Motorola doesn’t think so.

The company’s still very much committed to pushing the modular system it introduced with last year’s Moto Z series, even if Google and LG are done with them. The latest addition to the family is the second-generation Moto Z2 Play.

Arguably the best thing about the original Moto Z Play is its long-lasting battery life — it can last 48 hours on a charge depending on your usage. Which makes it all the more disappointing that the Moto Z2 Play doesn’t go further and comes with an average 3,000 mAh battery that’s rated at up to 30 hours. Instead, Motorola has focused its attention on the design and camera. Read more…

More about Android, Motorola, Modular, Moto Mods, and Moto Z2 Play

Travel

Hippy hangouts around the world: readers’ tips

Fifty years on from the Summer of Love, readers reveal the laid-back spots around the world where it’s still possible to turn up and drop out

Nothing quite spells Summer of Love like Madrid, New Mexico, a multi-hued, gloriously ramshackle artists’ colony lying on the scenic Turquoise Trail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, a few miles from Cerillos Hills state park. The Mine Shaft Tavern, on whose shaded deck I sat sipping cold beer, bears testament to the town’s coal mining past. There I chatted to Noah from Weasel and Fitz (an art shop specialising in recycled crafts). He persuaded me to make an unscheduled stopover at the charming Ghost Town Lodging House (from $135 a night). “Why the rush, man? Stay and watch the sunset.”
visitmadridnm.com
Moiraash

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Architecture

La Croix got its very own song, because seltzer is the new champagne

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If you have an unhealthy obsession with La Croix, you’re about to fall in love. Rapper, Big Dipper has created the perfect love song for fans of the flavored seltzer aka “water juice.”

The “LaCroix Boi” music video has slow-mo bottle popping, sexy water pouring, 2000’s R&B vibes, and bubbles. Basically, it has everything you could want in a seductive music video dedicated to sparkling water.

Grab a cold one, crack it open with the bois, and enjoy.

[h/t: AV Club] Read more…

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Lifestyle

Samsung’s Bixby is delayed (again) because English is too hard

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Galaxy S8 owners are in for a bit longer of a wait before they’ll be able to use one of the smartphone’s most important features.

Samsung’s highly anticipated digital assistant is delayed — again — according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal.  The reason for the delay: English is just too complicated.

The voice-enabled assistant, which has been available in Korea since the smartphone shipped, is “struggling to comprehend English syntax and grammar,” according to the report.

“Bixby Voice benefits from time to further enhance natural language understanding, and we are currently growing our user testing in the U.S. to prepare for launch,” a Samsung representative said in a statement, noting that other Bixby features, like Bixby Vision, which uses the S8’s camera, are already live. Read more…

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Lifestyle

What the Essential Phone means for the iPhone 8 and all future phones

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Apple deserves all the credit in the world for transforming smartphones from ugly chunks of plastic with physical QWERTY keyboards into sleek metal and glass touchscreen devices.

In recent years, however, the company’s ability to innovate with iPhone has been questioned. Despite some big internal upgrades like water-resistance and dual cameras — on top of the controversial removal of the headphone jack — the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus bear the burden of looking old with a design that hasn’t changed much since the iPhone 6.

And though leaks for the iPhone 8 are aplenty, it’s still somewhat difficult to pin down what will and won’t make it come announcement time this fall. Read more…

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