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10 of the best virtual travel experiences: readers’ tips | Travel



Winning tip: A bird’s eye view of Norway

One of my joys of travelling is listening to music on a train while watching a new country spool by outside the window. During lockdown I discovered how to replicate this experience while confined to the house: by watching drone footage of faraway places on YouTube. My favourite was Flying Over Norway, an hour-long feature flying above fjords, bays and fishing villages. The footage offers a bird’s-eye view of deep valleys in shadow, winding roads and bridges connecting rocky islands. I was close enough to see people walking along the beach yet could also see how the landscapes fit together.

Virtual Christmas in Brooklyn

Holiday lights and decorations in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood this year.
Holiday lights and decorations in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood this year. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP

I went on a tour of Dyker Heights with out of sheer boredom. The destination is an area of Brooklyn notorious for its absolutely ridiculous Christmas lights. I think Brits intrinsically enjoy simultaneously marvelling at and disapproving of American extravagance. Aaron and Patrick, our guides, were warm and funny and surprisingly I actually felt a little sense of community when I contemplated my fellow virtual travellers: each of us sat in our own bubbles around the world with a cup of tea or something stronger. It’s the only time I felt connected with anyone outside my household over the holiday period.
virtualtrips/io, tipping guides encouraged
Caitlin Evans

Eyeballing the king of the jungle

A giant African lion male in the Serengeti National Park,
Photograph: Douglas Klug/Getty Images pretty much had me addicted to its Africams section for about four months and I learned to identify the different sounds and best times to watch. It helped that I hit the jackpot the very first time I clicked: there in nightvision was a majestic lion with humongous mane staring at me (and just me, of course!) Shout out to live safaris on too. These are more controlled as you have a guide, but you get such unrivalled intimacy with the animals. And you can’t beat an African sunset.
Antony T

Dance music and jazz, livestreamed

Tia Fuller’s Diamond Cut at the Monterey Jazz Festival
Tia Fuller’s Diamond Cut at the Monterey Jazz Festival Photograph: Getty Images

I can’t describe how immensely grateful I am for the creation of livestream. From working while jamming to California’s live Monterey Jazz Festival in the background to watching new premieres of Boiler Room’s global Streaming From Isolation series with friends on Zoom (taking us as far as the dance scenes of Mexico and India), it’s testament to how music can transport us anywhere in the world, no matter how far we are from one another.
Rohan Chakraborty


Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Sawdays stay


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Birds and bands via webcam

Northern Cardinal male on a feeder
Photograph: Janet Griffin-Scott/Alamy

I’ve fallen in love with webcams! I have watched enthralled as bluejays, red cardinals (pictured), sparrows and starlings feast at a feeder in Akron, Ohio. I also then learned that house sparrows and European starling populations have thrived in the US (they are thought to have had a negative effect on native bird species), having been released in the 19th century. I’ve watched snow fall in obscure Russian cities and bands play in bars in Florida. On New Year’s Eve I watched the celebrations in Times Square … I can’t go anywhere but I watch the world and it’s fabulous!
Tia McGregor

North Atlantic in my living room

Northern Lights in Lofoten, Norway
Northern lights in Lofoten, Norway
Photograph: Yigit Yuksel/Alamy

Exhausted after Covid and unable to concentrate enough to read, I came across skyline webcams – live webcams from around the world. I settled on the Lofoten islands, Norway, and particularly the fishing village of Henningsvær, where I marvelled at the changes in the weather, the light, the shortness of days, the fishing boats, the lifeboat, the ferry arriving and people embarking and disembarking going about their days, the glowing winter lights in the houses on the jetty. I’m hoping to see the aurora borealis from here. I’m now mostly recovered and working from home but have this on in the background and check in throughout the day.

Zooming around Hong Kong

A woman burns incenses as she prays at Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong
Photograph: Ümit Bektaş/Reuters

Hong Kong Greeters’ live Zoom tour ($88) covered HK’s past and present, our guide leading us through Sheung Wan’s traditional dried seafood streets to the incense-heavy Man Mo Temple (pictured), where worshippers send up a quick prayer for fortune en route to the office. We relived our former commute on the world’s longest outdoor escalator before heading to Tai Kwun, a colonial-era police station-turned-arts hub, where we heard fascinating tales of its former life as a prison. Having relocated mid-pandemic from Hong Kong to Manchester, I’ve desperately missed my home of 12 years. This virtual tour was perfect for assuaging my homesickness.
Kate Farr

Birding in Colombia without the mosquitoes

With more species than other country, and music based on birdsong, Colombia was a good destination for virtual birding. The Birders’ melodic journey through northern Colombia (on YouTube) is an immersive tour led by biologist Diego Calderón-Franco and filmed by Keith Ladzinski from National Geographic. I experienced the desert heat, the cloud forest chill and the jungle humidity. Fortunately, I did not feel the mosquito bites or get covered in monkey poo. Columbian culture and music enhanced my appreciation of stunning landscapes and fascinating birds. Some birds were identified; many more appear in shot. Download the provided species list and see how many you can spot. Debbie Rolls

Virtual Vincent, Amsterdam

Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Photograph: Sara Magniette/Getty Images

My virtual visit to the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam was brilliant: it allowed me to get much closer and linger longer at the paintings of the maestro than any real tour would have done, which was a real boost for my uni degree in art, given all the restrictions. The detail is amazing and the zoom-in button lets you get really close up to more than 200 drawings, including some famous ones. The opening self portraits really draw you in and the colours and lines of landscapes, nature and flowers are stunning in the virtual tour. You can also see handwritten letters, telling you of his life, love, torment and inspiration.
Peter Riley

The Camino on YouTube

The Lindsey Hikes & Travels vlog on the French Camino de Santiago is a 52-video marathon full of natural and architectural highlights along the camino, by an ego-free solo American woman who gives her own take on this massive undertaking. It’s a vicarious treat that will not only show you the best sights, but will also bring you to tears as you get involved with Lindsey’s spiritual and emotional journey. It is amazing to share someone’s life-changing experience with them.
James Fairham

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Amanda Gorman signs modeling contract following acclaimed inaugural performance | US news




Amanda Gorman, whose performance of her poem The Hill We Climb during Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration drew widespread praise, has signed to IMG Models, the same agency as Gigi and Bella Hadid.

The 22-year-old US National Youth Poet Laureate, has already become a fashion sensation. The red satin Prada headband she wore during the inauguration ceremony led to the item selling out, while her yellow coat (also Prada) caused searches for “yellow coats” to increase 1,328% percent (according to fashion search engine Lyst) in the wake of her appearance.

“I’m a black woman with a powerful pen and a big heart, and I like my look to reflect that pride,” Gorman told Harpers Bazaar, speaking about her love of style. She told the magazine she loves “loud, regal-looking dresses embroidered with flowers – a nod, I think, to my Afro-flower-child upbringing in Los Angeles. I’m also a fan of Victor Glemaud’s super stylish and comfy knitwear.”

The signing of Gorman is seen as a shrewd one by fashion insiders. As labels struggle to adapt to the changes in the fashion industry as a result of the pandemic, Generation Z shoppers are disengaging with fashion labels who do not reflect their own social, political and environmental concerns.

Gorman, who founded the charity One Pen, One Page, which supports underprivileged young people through writing, is perfectly poised to be the face of a fashion label which would want to do more than sell a piece of clothing, but to connect on a deeper level with its customers.

Earlier this month tennis player Naomi Osaka, who publicly made a stand against police brutality and racial injustice through her choice of face masks during tennis matches became the face of Louis Vuitton. “(She) represents her generation and is also a role model for everyone. Her career and convictions are inspiring,” said Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere in a statement.

At IMG Models, which also represents Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and Ashley Graham, Gorman will “be represented by the modelling agency for brand endorsements and other fashion-adjacent opportunities,” according to industry publication The Business of Fashion. The appointment was praised by Gigi Hadid who wrote in Instagram stories: “Werk @amandasgorman @imgmodels faaaaam! Major.”

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7 common dinner habits that are shortening your life




Gulping down your dinner too fast can make you fat and harm your heart, says research presented at an American Heart Association scientific conference in 2017.

Fast eaters are 11.6 per cent more likely to have metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster disorder including high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and high triglycerides levels. Eating fast is also associated with weight gain.

When you eat fast, you do not chew the food properly, which can also affect the number of nutrients you are getting from healthy food.

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Kim Jones Fendi show: Kate Moss and daughter Lila grace catwalk | Fashion




One has been a British fashion superstar for 30 years; the other is a British designer who is becoming fashion’s next global power player.

A rare catwalk turn by Kate Moss marked the moment that Kim Jones, lauded with industry awards but a little-known name in the wider world, took his place at fashion’s top table with his first womenswear collection, for Fendi haute couture. Moss was joined by her daughter Lila, 18, the first time the pair have walked a catwalk together. The actor Demi Moore opened the show in off-the-shoulder black satin; Naomi Campbell closed it in a silver cape with cathedral-length train. Such stellar casting, on a show filmed behind closed doors with no live audience, was an unmistakable flexing of strength.

Demi Moore opened the show in off-the-shoulder black satin.
Demi Moore opened the show in off-the-shoulder black satin. Photograph: Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty

Jones is a sneakerhead who also collects first editions of Virginia Woolf. He has five trophies from the British Fashion Awards, has been awarded an OBE, was mentored by Alexander McQueen, and counts the Beckhams as well as Moss in his circle of close friends. By aligning with Supreme during his tenure at Louis Vuitton and with Air Jordan at Dior, he pioneered a pivot to streetwear which transformed and energised the menswear world. His talents have long been recognised and rewarded by his bosses at LVMH – as is attested by his personal art collection, which includes a Francis Bacon and a Rene Magritte.

Jones has arrived to design women’s clothing at a house with a strong heritage of matriarchal leadership and female creativity. Silvia Fendi, the current menswear and accessories designer, is the fourth generation of Fendi women at the helm of the brand. Jones has enlisted Kate Moss as a consultant on accessories at Fendi, as well as a model, and the mother-and-daughter Moss casting was his way of honouring the Fendi tradition.

Kim Jones walks the runway after presenting his Fendi spring-summer collection.
Kim Jones walks the runway after presenting his Fendi spring-summer collection. Photograph: Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty

Jones said before the show: “Fendi is all about family … I am surrounded by strong, powerful women who I love and respect, and want to bring their energy into what I do.” He describes his own role at Fendi as “guest starring”.

Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando was Jones’s jumping-off point. The gender-blurring classic novel has become a go-to reference point in modern fashion, a book that is to the early 21st-century catwalk what the film Breakfast at Tiffany was to the late-20th. It has been the touchstone for collections by Christopher Bailey at Burberry, and Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy.

Jones grew up near Charleston, the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury group, and has amassed a collection of first editions of Woolf’s Orlando, which includes those owned by Vita Sackville-West and Vanessa Bell, two of the most important women in Woolf’s life.

Naomi Campbell closed the show in a silver cape.
Naomi Campbell closed the show in a silver cape. Photograph: Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty

“I admire the way they lived their lives, the freedom they created for themselves and the art that they left behind for the world,” Jones says of his connection to renegade Bloomsbury energy. This manifested itself in ways both straightforward – as with lines of Orlando inscribed into tiny mother-of-pearl minaudière handbags – and more oblique. The model Adwoa Aboah’s look was inspired by a sketch in the Fendi archives from Karl Lagerfeld’s tenure at the house, a nod to the time-travelling that is central to Orlando.

After walking the catwalk, each model struck a pose inside glass rooms which slotted together in the shape of Fendi’s double F logo. A chic take on the Covid-secure “bubble” – or perhaps on Woolf’s passion for a room of one’s own.

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