City Guide to Portland (New England)
Not to be confused with its namesake in Oregon, this charming New England city is a collage of bobbing fishing boots, pretty historic houses and abundant lobsters.
Portland, New England is known for
Lobsters, lighthouses, longfellow
Sitting right on the pier, J’s Oyster serves lobster (of course) and oysters with water views.
With a new twist on New England classics, Evantide Oyster Co. has a funky vibe and an interesting bar menu.
Central Provisions does a great brunch in historic surrounds.
Out & about
This historic east coast city, which irresistibly describes itself as a place where grey flannel and plaid flannel coexist companionably, is a quaint mix of old-world charms and modern sensibilities.
One of the joys of exploring here is strolling the historic heart of the city, taking in the pretty houses of clapboard and red brick; head towards Congress Street, State Street and the old harbour.
Greater Portland Landmarks has self-guided tours.
Also, the Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in the state, dating back to 1791 when it was commissioned by George Washington.
Cruise Casco Bay on one of Maine Sailing Adventures' two-hour sails, which offer up everything from sunset soul music to sunrise yoga sessions.
Maine is a shopping haven, with hip fashion, local design and vintage pieces in abundance.
Check out Portland Trading Company, with its quirky roster of goods including kitsch Maine Wildlife Conservation patches and frisbees.
Portland Dry Goods Co. has preppy designs for men and women.
Portland Flea-For-All is a vintage, antique and artisan market in the Arts District.
The ultimate experience
Grab a take-away lobster roll – fresh, juicy chunks of lobster on a New England split-top bun toasted until golden and then covered in mayonnaise, with potato chips and coleslaw on the side – and head to a picnic table at East End Beach to take in the stunning view.
Housed in a 1960s gas-station-turned-laundromat-turned-bakery, Tandem Coffee & Bakery roasts its beans locally, and baker Briana Holt’s baked goodies are much celebrated. Bard Coffee in the old port brews seriously serious coffee too.
Stay & play
Each room at the gorgeous Pomegranate Inn is filled with lashings of colour and personality.
The light and bright Mercury Inn provides ‘modern sustainable lodging’, with vintage pieces throughout and locally sourced seasonal breakfast included.
Housed in a former newspaper headquarters, The Press Hotel has 110 rooms and suites inspired by 1920s writers’ offices.
City guide to Sucre, Bolivia
Bolivia’s constitutional capital is an elegant city of narrow streets and colonial architecture set deep in the country’s central-south.
Sucre, Bolivia is known for
Its beauty, it being bolivia’s capital and Bolivian chocolate.
Sucre's Eat streets
For a small city, Sucre has a diverse dining offering. For snacking, explore the three levels of Sucre’s Mercado Central – with its cafe dedicated to Bolivian cuisine at the top, and jugo ladies on the ground floor making freshly pressed juices.
Make a beeline for El Patio or Flores to try Sucre’s best salteñas; a type of Bolivian baked empanada, or savoury pastry, usually filled with meat and a sweet and spicy sauce.
For main meals choose from humble home cooking at Pension Dona Petra and fine(r) diner La Taverne.
Sucre is also good for vegetarian fare.
Try El Condor and El Germen, which serve meat-free Bolivian dishes among others, or newcomer Prem – El Arte de Vivir, which is all-out vegan
Out & about
Sucre is Bolivia’s first capital city and its symbolic heart. Although La Paz has been its administrative capital since 1899 (holding the seat of government and treasury), Sucre retains its capital status according to the constitution and in the eyes of its proud citizens.
Sucre has a moderate (for Bolivia) altitude of 2790 metres, which makes it a good stopover for those wanting to ease into high-altitude living and fend off soroche (as Bolivians call altitude sickness).
It means you can navigate Sucre’s elegant, narrow streets with ease, taking in the white-washed buildings that earned the city its nickname La Ciudad Blanca, ‘The White City’; and the wealth of religious buildings that date to the 16th century.
In 1991, the city was declared a World Heritage Site. Most stops on your itinerary will be within a five-kilometre radius of the main square, 25 de Mayo.
You’ll find tribes of digital nomads in sucre’s cafes: the wi-fi’s good for bolivia.
If you’re in the market for some Bolivian textiles, you’ll find a colourful and high quality selection at the Sucre store of not-for-profit organisation Inca Pallay, which seeks to improve lives of indigenous weavers in some of Bolivia’s poorest communities.
And then there’s chocolate.
With its long history of chocolate production, Sucre lays claim to yet another moniker: the ‘chocolate capital of Bolivia’.
You’ll find the best at Taboada and Para Ti, which uses local ingredients such as quinoa, coffee and chilli.
The ultimate experience
Sucre was founded by the Spanish in 1538 as Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo (Silver Town of New Toledo), on the lands of the Yampara people.
In 1825, the region became the Republic of Bolivia and it was at the Casa de la Libertad (House of Freedom), in Sucre’s main square, that the declaration of independence was signed.
Today, the building – originally a chapel constructed in 1621 as part of the Convent of the Jesuits – exists as a museum dedicated to this period in Bolivia’s history and provides a fascinating insight.
Sucre’s cafe scene is ever-expanding: try Abis Cafe, Metro Cafe and Cosmo Cafe on the Plaza 25 de Mayo for a decent cup of joe.
Stay & play
Casa Verde B&B is a homey stay with clean, comfortable rooms plus a pool.
Mi Pueblo Samary Hotel Boutique, has sleek rooms that open out to patios overlooking a lovely central courtyard.
A five-star hotel, Parador Santa María La Real is set in an 18th-century colonial mansion just one block from 25 de Mayo square.
City guide to Windhoek
A green oasis in a dry, mountainous landscape, Namibia’s capital is surely one of the most surprising African cities, retaining striking connections to its Germanic past.
Windhoek is known for it's
African crafts, German castles and a gateway to the Namib wilderness.
Eat streets in Windhoek
For an upmarket South African menu and its fine wines head to The Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Bistro. Joe’s Beerhouse is great for a selection of craft beers and well-cooked game
Out & about in Windhoek
Head to the old heart of Windhoek for a stroll past its intriguing German colonial buildings, some of which are as old as the city itself.
Start in the middle of it all at the city’s most recognisable landmark: the striking German Lutheran Christuskirche.
It’s a rather photogenic, curious mix of neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau influences, designed by Gottileb Redecker, who also created the country’s parliament building just down the road.
The official name of the parliament is the Tintenpalast, or ‘ink palace’, perhaps a cheeky reference to the vast quantities of ink spent drafting red tape.
Rest your legs a while in the ornate gardens before heading over to the city’s oldest building, the imposing Alte Feste, the ‘Old Fort’, built in 1890 to house the Schutztruppe, Germany’s occupying forces in Africa.
The fort marks the beginning of the modern city of Windhoek, and you’ll find the National Museum of Namibia here too.
Housed in the industrial setting of the Old Brewery complex you’ll find the fantastic mixed-use arts space that is the Warehouse Theatre.
Join office workers for their post-work drinks in its cosy bar, the Boiler Room, and adjoining courtyard, before going on to watch everything from a play, stand-up and live bands at one of several stages. warehousetheatre.com.na
The people of Namibia produce some stunning art and fabrics that you shouldn’t leave the country without.
Head to the Namibian Crafts Centre for more than 30 stalls selling everything from woven baskets, beadwork jewellery, tribal masks, and exquisite sculptures fashioned from the roots of the country’s ironwood trees.
A 10-minute walk away you’ll find the colourful and bustling Post Street Mall for more arts and crafts, the centre of which is marked by a public installation incorporating meteorites from the famous Gideon Meteor that exploded over Namibia in prehistoric times.
The Ultimate Experience
Of the three German castles in Windhoek it’s Heinitzburg Castle that you can’t leave the city without paying a visit, if just for a cocktail or two.
Commissioned by Count von Schwerin in 1914 for his fiancé, ensuring he positioned it with the best views of the city, the castle is now a luxury hotel and the ideal spot for an evening drink to take in the city and the mountains beyond from its Garden Terrace.
If you’ve settled in for the night then stay for dinner at Leo’s at the Castle; the priciest restaurant in town but also the best.
With easy access to beans from across the continent, Windhoek has experienced a surging coffee culture in recent years.
The Kaffee Bar in the Wecke & Voigts store, is a ‘national treasure’ of a cafe, to get your fix for the day.
Stay & play
Winnie Guesthouse has well-appointed rooms, a restaurant, bar and an outdoor pool to escape the African heat.
In the heart of the old town, the Hilton Windhoek has restaurants, bars, a rooftop pool, spa and gym.
Stay in the regal setting of Heinitzburg Castle with fantastic views out across the city.
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