Each year, culinary connoisseurs convene in Northern Italy’s Piedmont region to honor the white truffle. This rare and very expensive type of mushroom is only available in this region a few months out of the year. From townies to top chefs, autumn is the season to celebrate the gastronomic treasure whose shavings transform any dish into a luxury item.
Ongoing through November 24, the International Alba White Truffle Fair is one of Italy’s longest-running festivals, celebrating its 89th birthday this year. Held in the old town of Alba, a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy, the Fair initially focused on the food and wine of the region but has now expanded to include immersive experiences and cultural events.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the White Truffle World Market buzzes with exhibitors, purveyors, chefs and local wineries. Within the 2,000-square-yard market, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase truffles certified by the National Truffle Study Centre and hobnob with likeminded foodies, all gathered in praise of the seasonal favorite with the distinct scent and delicious flavor.
“Travel is about fun and exploration, coming out to a stranger is no way to kick-off a vacation,” says Robert Geller, Founder and CEO of FabStayz. “Be your ‘FabSelf’ wherever your travels take you. No more scouring listings for clues if the host is LGBT+ welcoming, an ally or member of our community. FabStayz wants to take away all the guesswork for the LGBT+ traveler.”
According to Geller, property owners listed on FabStayz must meet the platform’s criteria of seven months minimum hosting on another major platform (like Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and HomeAway), with at least 10 great to excellent reviews. Additionally, all FabStayz hosts agree to FabStayz diversity and inclusion statement.
Within weeks of launching, FabStayz had quintupled its hosts and featured a castle in France, tiny homes in Portland, a vintage RV in Los Angeles, and rental listings throughout the United States, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands and the U.K., among others.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall riots, the June 1969 uprising that galvanized the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States and beyond. Each year, Pride honors those who stood at Stonewall, as well as countless others who have fought for equality throughout history.
But beyond the rainbow-themed summer parties, parades, and marches that usher in the June festivities, the rich and complex stories of LGBTQ history are honored at permanent sites around the world. Make plans to visit these eight monuments to a heroic heritage…
And soon their histories will find national representation.
Queer Britain is working to establish the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum. With an anticipated opening in 2021, the brick- and-mortar museum will host permanent and temporary exhibits, with an innovative digital presence. It will feature objects and records from the worlds of art, fashion, film, literature, TV, theatre, news, music, diaries, letters, photographs and legal records.
According to London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, “As Mayor, it’s so important to me that London is seen as a city where LGBTQ+ people feel valued, happy and safe – this sends a clear message to the world that London is a beacon of diversity.”
Queer Britain hopes its museum extends beyond celebrating modern-day gay London and creates historical context. As its website further explains, “Many young people now have a strong sense of freedom about identity, but not how these were formed or the lives of those who came before them. A healthy plant needs deep roots.”
A new hotel concept in Finland features the Northern Lights as the ultimate nightlight.
Three private cabins on skis have been stationed deep in the Arctic Circle, for a glamping experience like no other. The glass-roofed cabins for two include a bed on which to lie back and enjoy the night sky, a table, dry toilet, and gas heater and stove. Together, the mobile rooms create the Aurora Wilderness Camp, near the Finnish Lapland town of Kilpisjärvi. Now available to book through Off the Map Travel, the camp is welcoming guests through mid-April of this year and will reopen in January 2019.
According to Arctic travel expert and Off the Map Travel founder Jonny Cooper, “The wilderness surrounding Kilpisjärvi is known for its remote and uninterrupted Arctic tundra… giving guests the best possible opportunity to experience the Northern Lights and simply enjoy the silence of the Arctic plains.” Statistically, the Kilpisjärvi area boasts more clear nights than any other place in Finland, with more than a 70 percent chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Your adventure starts at 6pm when an experienced guide transports you by snowmobile to your private cabin. After your guide teaches you how to make a campfire and grill local meats, you will have the camp–and the Northern Lights–to yourself. Evening drinks, snacks and next-day breakfast are included in the experience, along with use of the cabin’s snowshoes and kick-sleds for exploring the icy tundra.
This hotel concept delivers a distinct new brand of adventurous comfort: the opportunity to tour the Arctic wilderness and hunt for the Northern Lights from the peacefulness of your warm bed.
For more information and tailor-made itineraries, visit offthemap.travel. Photo credit: Kilpissafarit
It’s the season of resolutions–the time to plan this year’s travel, uncover new destinations and fantasize about exotic trips you may or may not ever take. But with so many “top travel lists” how do you focus your exploration? Fear not. Traveling IQ has combed the pages, clicked the links and collated the suggestions from the most trusted travel publications, to find the ultimate destinations for IQ’s 2018 Travel Top Trilogy.
NEW ORLEANS – Photo courtesy of NewOrleans.com
New Orleans leads the pack as the American city most recommended by travel publications. Celebrating its tricentennial in 2018, the Big Easy promises to make its 300th birthday party a year-long event. And you’re invited! Whether you chomp on po’boys or savor fine Creole cuisine, guzzle Hurricanes down Bourbon Street or sip craft cocktails in hotel lounges, saunter through historical walking tours or dance along with extravagant parades, New Orleans requests the honor of your presence.
MALTA – Photo courtesy of Flickr/DRAS
Malta is stepping into the spotlight in 2018. The small island country off the coast of Sicily has a “vibe that is Mediterranean with a North African twist,” says Travel & Leisure. Already a popular European beach getaway, this year, the world’s artists will descend on Valetta, Malta’s capital, named a 2018 European Capital of Culture. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Valetta boasts Baroque architecture, prehistoric temples and the enviable characterization as “Europe’s sunniest city,” with more than 300 days of sunshine each year.
PYEONGCHANG, KOREA – Photo courtesy of Flickr/Korea
South Korea will be on full display as PyeongChang hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics next month. Now an easy commute with the launch of a high-speed rail connecting the resort town to Seoul in 70 minutes, you can tour the Olympic village, attempt your own Triple Axel, and still make your dinner reservation in Seoul’s trendy Hannam neighborhood. After dinner, don’t forget to stroll through Seoullo 7017, the city’s new high-line park, lined with 24,000 plants atop an elevated former highway.
(These destinations were chosen from the top lists of the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, CNN, Frommers, US News & World Report, Lonely Planet, Afar, the Guardian, Rough Guide, LA Times and National Geographic.)
The Traveling IQ vault is packed with travel photos that have never seen the light of day. They’re lonely and want to say hello.
Here’s a little photo tour of East London, from my November 2011 visit.
East London has undergone a dramatic change over the last decade. The once isolated area beyond the Tower of London, is now home to trendy shops, cafes, art galleries and open-air markets.
During my visit last year, I explored the area with my trusted “insider” Urban Gentry guide and stayed for the grand opening of the Aloft London Excel Hotel–all as the city was prepping to host the London 2012 Olympic Games.