You know the drill. International travel remains at a standstill, and so once again we’re pouring a drink, relaxing in a comfy chair, and preparing to explore the world — virtually. This time, we’re mixing ourselves a cocktail of the tropical variety and focusing our journey on the beautiful, balmy south.
7 Minutes in St. Lucia
A few years back, our Editor-in-Chief, Ramsin Khachi, journeyed to a hidden gem of the West Indies: Petit St. Vincent, a private island that operates as a luxury resort. He fell in love with the island’s white beaches, lush vegetation, and even a secluded private sandbar, perfect for picnics. In the same nook of the Caribbean Sea, where those pale blue-green waters lap against the shores of a string of paradise-like islands, is another little oasis. Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country that has become a popular tourist destination and port for cruise ships. Visitors flock there for its tropical climate and various attractions, including a drive-in volcano (purportedly the only one of its kind in the world), rain forests, zip lining, and its iconic twin peaks known as “The Pitons,” a world heritage site. The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has shifted its initiatives to an online platform as of late. Every Tuesday and Thursday, its official Instagram account features a special series via Instagram LIVE. Known as 7 Minutes in Saint Lucia, this series immerses viewers in the island’s culture, music, dance, food, and more. Past installments have included live footage of a breathtaking Saint Lucian sunset, an aerial tram journey through an ecological park located in the heights of the island’s forest reserve, and a tutorial on plant-based remedies with an expert in local traditional medicines.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand in Brazil
Google Arts & Culture is a virtual gold mine of art, information, and knowledge. This tour of the MASP (the Museu de Arte de São Paulo) begins with a brief backstory on the history of the institution. Founded by Brazilian businessman Assis Chateaubriand in 1947, it was Brazil’s first modern museum. In its early days, its collection, curated by Italian art dealer and critic Pietro Maria Bardi, represented the most important collection of European art in the Southern Hemisphere. Today its offerings have broadened to a more global scale, including 8,000 pieces from a wide range of periods and geographical locations. The museum has also become something of an architectural landmark, and an online tour is the perfect opportunity to admire the structure far from the throngs of crowds. Designed by Lina Bo Bardi, the outside features a glass and concrete volume suspended over a public square. Inside, the architect challenged traditional European models of gallery display by removing paintings from the wall and displaying them on crystal easels. The museum currently offers six online exhibitions, including a fashion exhibition of its Rhodia collection, exhibits with works from Italy, Brazil, and France, and “Histories of Madness: the Drawings of Juquery.”
The Beaches of Mallorca, Spain
In the mood for some straightforward eye candy? Top up your mojito and watch this footage on the biggest screen available to you. Mallorca, located in the Mediterranean, is coveted for its nightlife, thrumming beach resorts, and music festivals, all set against the backdrop of the island’s sheltered coves and limestone mountains. This aerial drone footage from Youtube channel @thedronebook takes viewers on a soaring, bird’s eye view tour of Mallorca’s white sand beaches, craggy cliffs, turquoise waters, the beautiful old architecture of its neighbouring cityscapes, and steep roads for adventurous cyclists.
Coffee Masterclass with a National Judge in Mexico
Noted by publications like Conde Nast Travel and Forbes Mexico, this online Airbnb experience is hosted by Ricardo, a judge in Mexico’s national coffee competitions as well as the founder and CEO of Borola Café (a Mexico City hotspot). Ricardo believes that the three tenets of a great cup of coffee are mindfulness, flavour, and connection. “I think most of us tend to eat and drink out of necessity, doing so in a hurry,” says the professional coffee taster. “I would like to change that, because I believe that by this tiny awareness change, our overall life quality can change in a beautiful way.” Ricardo takes participants through the basic neuroscience of flavor and the theories of brewing practices — all from the comfort of his home in Mexico City’s Coyoacan neighbourhood, where Frida Kahlo once lived. (Fun fact: Ricardo’s house was apparently inspired by hers!)
The Monuments of Easter Island
Here is another Google Arts & Culture journey — this one to Easter Island, an extremely remote volcanic island in Polynesia. The island is undoubtedly best known as the home of the Moai, monolithic statues carved by the Rapu Nui people between 1250 and 1500. Nearly one thousand of these monuments, which look like human figures, stand erect over the island. Their overly large heads (the disproportionate ratio often leads the statues to be referred to as the “Easter Island heads”) bear the faces of the Rapu Nui peoples’ deified ancestors. This tour takes the viewer through Ahu Nau Nau, a restored ceremonial platform with 7 moai statues, providing information and context about the design of the statues. This includes the red hat stones that remain on four of the figures, as well as an ongoing restoration project of Ahu Ura Uranga.