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From Da Vinci to Delos: our favourite things for April 2019

From cultural highlights to uber-cool openings, we’ve picked our brains for the best in travel

Published 3 Apr 2019, 19:03 BST, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 05:46 GMT
Antony Gormley exhibition, Delos, Greece
Antony Gormley exhibition in Delos, Greece.

Strike a pose
The uninhabited Greek isle of Delos is set to welcome its first (stationary) residents in millennia. In partnership with cultural organisation NEON, artist Antony Gormley has created SIGHT: an exhibition that sees his signature ‘bodyforms’ dotted across the island. The figures aim to highlight the importance of art in human history. Until October.

Show-stealer
New Orleans’ Roosevelt Hotel is asking former guests to return any items ‘stolen’ during its 125-year history. The most scandalous object wins the ‘thief’ seven nights in the hotel’s Presidential Suite.

Back to business
British Airways: Launching this July, the new business class Club Suites will let you nod off in true (private jet) style, with 40% more storage, high-definition TVs and vanity units.
Qatar Airways: In its signature burgundy hues, the four-seater Qsuite quads are designed for cross-seat conversation, detailed with touches of rose gold.
Delta: Heading stateside? The carrier’s new offering, Delta One, has flat-bed seats, premium dining and, of course, your own dedicated flight attendant.

What lies beneath
Archaeologists have made a revolutionary discovery beneath the Mayan site of Chichén Itzá in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. While searching for underground aquifers, National Geographic explorer Guillermo de Anda stumbled upon a trove of Mayan objects left untouched for over 1,000 years. A collection of more than 150 ritualistic artefacts, including ceramics, vases and incense burners, were found in the cave of Balamku, an underground chamber sealed off since its discovery in 1966.

The iconic Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci.
Photograph by Getty

Strokes of genius
It’s not often the world sees a mind as brilliant as Leonard da Vinci’s, so it’s little surprise the art world is celebrating the 500th anniversary since the artist’s death with a host of illuminating events this year.

Naturally, Italy’s the epicentre of the year’s celebrations: in TURIN, the Royal Museum is hosting Leonardo da Vinci: Drawing the Future, where more than 50 of the genius’ drawings will be on show, including his famous self-portrait (15 April-14 July); while in VENICE, the rarely displayed Vitruvian Man will be making an appearance at the Gallerie dell’Accademia until 14 July. FLORENCE, meanwhile, is where he trained as an apprentice under the masterful eye of Verrocchio, and the Palazzo Strozzi is exploring the partnership between student and star pupil with its exhibition, Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo (until 14 July). And if you’re heading to MILAN, then call into the Castello Sforzesco where, after two years of renovations, the Sala delle Asse will finally reopen to the public from 2 May. Newly discovered motifs and designs were unearthed during the restorations — painted by the master himself, of course — and visitors can admire the twisting, florid designs brought to life through animated lighting and holographic displays.

The UK’s also muscling in on the action — 144 of da Vinci’s works from the Royal Collection are currently on display at venues across the country in Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. They’ll be reunited for an exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace from 24 May before heading north to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in November.

The Mile-high club (sandwich)
Forget those bland in-flight meals — launching at Not Just Caviar at Stansted Airport, the Sky High Salt Beef Deli Sandwich has been developed to stimulate the taste buds at altitude. It’s rich in umami, a flavour sensation that isn’t affected by the noise and pressure of flying. On sale for £8.50.

In numbers: Burj Khalifa lounge

1,886ft
Above sea level, the world’s highest lounge

154th
Floor, the uppermost of the lounge’s three floors

30
Floors higher then the building’s other lounge

600
Dirhams (£123), the price of a drink and unlimited canapes

Published in the May 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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