Campfire cook out recipes: Fabian Low’s one-wok noodles

Thomas Bywater asks guest chefs to prepare their best one-pot dishes that you can cook anywhere

It’s at this moment in time a backyard barbecue might seem an appealing way to add a little escapism to your meals.

But, faced with another weekend at home, your sausages might no longer cut the mustard.
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Zaandam: An oral history of an infected cruise ship

The cruise ship Zaandam is nine decks of escapism, stretching 781 feet bow to stern, with a casino and spa, a steakhouse and two swimming pools. Its walls are mounted with signed guitars from Iggy Pop and Eric Clapton. It was christened 20 years ago by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who wore matching nautical suits. On March 7, four days before the novel coronavirus was classified as a pandemic, the ship set sail from Buenos Aires for its routine trip around Cape Horn. It carried more than 1,000 passengers from around the world. They were hoping for an unforgettable journey. They had no idea.

Three weeks later, all of Zaandam’s passengers were quarantined in their cabins. Four people had died. Dozens were reporting symptoms consistent with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Port after port had denied entry to the ship, which is operated by Holland America Line, a subsidiary of Carnival. There was nothing to do but float on a beautiful vessel that had become a beautiful prison – one beset by illness and the presence of a potentially deadly virus – and hope for deliverance.

Stranded on the water, the cruise became a microcosm of what’s happening on land, with the pandemic upending daily life in an uneven way. Some people were living in a nightmare, sick and scared. Some people were living in odd inconvenience, doing jumping jacks on their balconies and watching movies. The crew, depleted by illness, had to work overtime – like other essential workers on the mainland. But all were in the same boat, so to speak: on an anxious voyage back to a changed world, unsure when they’d return to solid ground.

This is their story, as told by passengers of Zaandam through phone interviews, social media posts and email correspondence. Some quotes have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Balcony bingo keeps residents entertained in Ireland, Spain

First, it was the Italians singing across their balconies. Now, residents in Spain and Ireland have found a new way to pass the time during lockdown – by playing bingo out their windows.

Videos are doing the rounds on social media of residents in apartment blocks hanging out their windows for a community game of bingo.

In one part of Madrid, balcony bingo is a regular fixture each evening Monday to Friday, starting with music at 6pm to signal residents to get ready for the game.

A woman who organises the bingo games in her building, Cristina Pruenza, told CN Traveler it helps keep them entertained at night.

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10 of the best travel podcasts

The Bike Show

Frustrated about being stuck indoors rather than out on two wheels? Perhaps affable cycling champion Jack Thurston can help. The author of the popular Lost Lanes cycling guidebooks packs his pannier and pedals alongside fellow bike enthusiasts – poets, inventors, adventurers, activists and even the odd politician – to hear their stories of life in the saddle. Sleeping out in strange places is a Bike Show speciality, so you can spend the night with Jack in a snow-bound Welsh bothy, a church porch, or a French field listening to the joyful noises of wild boar rutting. And you can also hear just how close he and artist Jeremy Deller came to an unscripted dunk in the Regent’s Canal.

The Bitter Southerner

A podcast for anyone who really fancies getting under the skin of the American deep south. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, its host Chuck Reece presents a no-holds-barred cultural guide to the southern states. It’s a spin-off from an eponymous magazine whose mission is to counter the stereotypes and false impressions non-southerners have of the region. Every week, Chuck brings his audience enlightening stories about the culture, history, cuisine, language and innovations of the south. Come for a revealing look at Booker T and the MGs and stay for Squidbillies.

Armchair Explorer

Not content with merely interviewing some of the world’s most interesting adventurers, travel writer Aaron Millar makes every episode of the fortnightly Armchair Explorer an immersive experience. The documentary-style podcast uses production values inspired by cinema to tell its stories. It’s the place to go for trekking into gorilla country with a leading conservationist; marching fearlessly into the Antarctic void on the trail of Shackleton; sinking into the depths of the ocean in a great white shark cage; or escaping into the Alaskan wilderness with Olympic gold medal skiers. And if staying on Earth seems a bit restrictive, you can rocket up to the International Space Station for a space walk with John Herrington, the first Native American astronaut.

The Food Chain

The BBC uses its worldwide reach to good effect in this enigmatic, provender-based podcast. You can listen to internationally renowned chefs describing their lives in five dishes; hear about the uncertain future of south-east Asian street food; or find out what wine waiters are really thinking when they pour out that 2012 Blanc de Plonk you chose on a whim. The presenters plough fearlessly into esoteric topics too, providing the answers to questions you forgot to ask, such as what happens when you pump up balloons of gluten, and what on earth space smells like.

Afropop Worldwide

If your knowledge of African music stops at Youssou N’Dour and Fela Kuti, Afropop Worldwide will soon broaden your horizons. As its name suggests, the podcast takes listeners on a trip round the world, going everywhere African music has gone, sampling everything from hot salsa rhythms in Puerto Rico to the spiritual vibes of west African Vaudou in Utrecht (yes, Utrecht). Let the infectious music, fascinating cultural insights and the lovely, rich voice of Cameroon-born host Georges Collinet transport you to places you may never have thought African music had reached – it’s sure to leave you feeling more upbeat.

Wander Woman

Known for her love of adventurous travel and willingness to rough it in a tiny tent, award-winning writer, broadcaster and Wanderlust editor Phoebe Smith invites listeners into her world. On the look-out for wild spaces where you might not expect them, the podcast avoids well-trodden paths, gets down and dirty with wildlife, and meets conservation heroes. Phoebe reports from the first guided walk owned and operated by Indigenous Australians; a cargo boat on Quebec’s remote Lower North Shore; and attempts a 300-mile kayak around Britain’s waterways. The podcast also features the Wander Woman of the Month – shining a light on unsung female travellers.

Watling Street

A fascinating four-part series from the world of psychogeography. Authors John Higgs and David Bramwell head out on a pilgrimage along one of Britain’s most famous pre-Roman ways – the 450-mile route from the White Cliffs of Dover to north Wales (including the section beyond Wroxeter, where the way diverged). On the way, they meet up with Iain Sinclair, Alan Moore, Salena Godden and others whose work has been inspired or moulded in some way by the prehistoric path. Imaginatively produced, the podcast weaves music, poetry, chat and little-known snippets of Britain’s history and culture into a soundscape that transports listeners to a different place and time.

Field Recordings

A podcast with a very simple but effective brief: asking audio-makers to turn on their microphones and “stand silently in fields (or things that could be broadly interpreted as fields)”. The results are extraordinarily evocative recordings that offer a strangely compelling listening experience. Recent episodes have taken listeners to a beach on the coast of Greenland, the streets of Jenin in Palestine, the Beskid Mountains in Poland, and the Sinharaja tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka to hear dawn break. All you have to do is close your eyes and let your imagination fill in the blanks.

National Trust

The bad news is that the National Trust’s sumptuous array of stately homes, parks and gardens is now closed until the current crisis is over. The good news is that you can still pay them virtual visits via this fortnightly podcast. Indeed, while many episodes begin at a trust property, they end up taking listeners much further afield. Audio gems include historian Bettany Hughes’s time-travelling investigation into British landmarks’ European connections; broadcaster John Sergeant’s four-part exploration of historic landscapes; and Clare Balding’s visits to trust sites to uncover little-known LGBTQ stories.

The Big Travel Podcast

Each episode sees writer and filmmaker Lisa Francesca Nand get together with a well-travelled interviewee to explore their life through the lens of their wanderlust. Happy to go off piste, Nand delights in teasing out weird and wonderful anecdotes from her guests. In the most recent programme she heads for Málaga to chat with genial comedian, musician, birder (and linguist – who knew?) Bill Bailey. Their conversation takes in topics ranging from migrating flycatchers, the carnivorous pitcher plant named in Bill’s honour, and the perils of asking an Estonian audience to name their favourite pop song.

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Travel Advisors Come to the Rescue for Stranded Clients

If there was ever a time to turn to your travel advisor, that time would be now. Many travelers were stranded when international travel came to a halt as the coronavirus outbreak spread around the globe, grounding flights, closing hotels and stranding cruise ships.

It became apparent to many that they were not going to be able to change their reservations on their own and travelers turned to travel advisors and their networks of suppliers and foreign contacts to help get them home.

Avery Harris, director of Marketing at Viking Travel and a member of Ensemble Travel Group, rescued clients from Peru when the country closed its borders and canceled commercial flights.

Harris had clients traveling to Peru for a cruise from Lima to Buenos Aires departing on March 15. The clients canceled the cruise portion of the trip but opted to go ahead with their land-based journey to Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo booked with Way to Go Tours, an Ensemble preferred partner.

The tour went on as planned until they returned to Lima on the day Peru initiated the closure of borders and a full stop of commercial flights, stranding Harris’ clients for at least two weeks in Lima.

His clients were frightened after trying unsuccessfully to get on one of the last flights out of Lima, but Harris was on the phone with them the whole time. He contacted Way To Go to inform them of the situation. The tour operator got in touch with its local operator in Lima who had someone meet his clients at the airport to provide some reassurance and assistance.

With flights suspended, Harris and his team worked to get their clients back to their hotel and to find a way for them to get home. There were more than 3,000 Americans stuck in Peru at the time.

Through his network of contacts in Peru, Harris was able to get his clients on a charter flight from Lima to Miami and, after taxi service was also suspended, he got them a private transfer from the hotel to the airport. Finally, after days of negotiating, Harris’ clients made it back to the U.S.

Lauren Doyle has a similar story to tell, rescuing her travelers from Thailand with the help of local suppliers.

Doyle, who is the executive vice president at The Travel Mechanic and a member of Ensemble, was closely monitoring the situation for her clients in Thailand when the State Department announced its Level 4 advisory.

Since her clients couldn’t get in touch with the airlines, Doyle worked directly with Ensemble’s local supplier, Trails to Indochina, to get her clients to the airport where they could change their tickets. She walked them through the whole process at the ticket counter to get them on a new flight. Trails to Indochina handled their transportation back to the airport and ensured Doyle’s clients made it onto their plane.

These are just two incidents that demonstrate the vast power a travel advisor and their subsequent network of contacts, partners and suppliers can provide during a crisis, along with showcasing the benefit of having an advocate on the ground to help when traveling.

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Send us a tip on your favourite travel souvenir for a chance to win £200 towards a Sawday’s stay

Given that we’re all stuck at home for who knows how long, our travel memories are especially poignant. So this week we want you tell us about a souvenir or memento you picked up on your travels that has a special place in your heart or still brings a smile to your face. It could evoke happy memories of the trip itself, or be all about the place you bought it – a magical shop, a colourful market stall or the even more colourful owner. Perhaps it’s a unique, beautiful artefact that now has pride of place in your home.

Please ensure your tip stays around 100 words.

Have a look at our past winners and other tips

We’re sorry, but for legal reasons you must be a UK resident to enter this competition.

It is the text that our judges will consider, but this week a good photo will certainly improve your chances, be it one taken on the trip or a more recent nicely composed shot of your treasure. If you do send photographs please ensure you are the copyright holder.

The prize is £200 for a stay at a Sawday’s property – the company has more than 3,000 in the UK or Europe and the prize will now be valid for 18 months from when the winner receives notification. The winner will be chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet.

The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website and may also appear in print in Guardian Travel.

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of servicehere.

Read the terms and conditions

The competition closes on Tuesday 7 April at 10am BST

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here.

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Skier goes off-grid, returns to another world

Five years ago, I spent the second week of March undergoing my third round of chemotherapy – the 11th week since a cancer diagnosis changed everything in an instant. My red blood cell counts were so low that I couldn’t walk up the stairs in my house without resting halfway up.

This year I spent the second week of March with my boyfriend at a backcountry ski lodge in the Canadian Rockies, acutely aware of how fortunate I was to again have the physical health and strength to take a vacation that required climbing mountains.

The skiing was phenomenal and the scenery stunning. For seven days straight, I had to do nothing but eat, ski and sleep. Icefall Lodge was magical.

Our third day at the lodge, the World Health Organisation declared covid-19 a global pandemic. But I didn’t know this at the time. After a helicopter deposited Derek, me, and 13 other skiers and snowboarders from the United States, Canada and Australia at the lodge – in winter, a 20-minute helicopter flight is the only way to get to Icefall – I was completely disconnected.

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Airbnb pledges empty beds for medical workers as rental market stalls

The accommodation listings platform Airbnb has stepped up to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic by pledging housing for 100,000 health workers.

The website which has over 7 million listings worldwide in some of the areas worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak. By offering to waive all fees for health workers and first responders staying in properties booked through their platform.

First pioneered to coordinate emergency housing for doctors, nurses and support staff, the programme was developed between the French government and Airbnb.

In that country, which is currently battling 22,500 active cases, nearly 4000 hosts have come forward to volunteer their homes to health workers since the scheme was announced on Tuesday.

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South Africa postpones travel trade shows

South Africa’s most popular travel trade shows, including World Travel Market Africa and Travel Indaba, have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Travel Indaba was originally scheduled for the beginning of May. A future date for Africa’s Travel Indaba will be disclosed soon, according to South African minister of tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

“We will review the decision, depending on how the situation evolves and, working in consultation with industry stakeholders, we will advise on future dates,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

Meanwhile, Reed Exhibitions Africa confirmed that Africa Travel Week, which comprises World Travel Market Africa and International Luxury Travel Market Africa, will not take place in 2020. It had been scheduled for April.

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WATCH: Egypt disinfects the Pyramids of Giza to halt the spread of coronavirus

There are currently over 488,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world and over 22,000 deaths. Egypt has 456 cases and only four deaths as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact countries all around the world.


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The Egyptian authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus.

On March 19, the Egyptian authorities announced the suspension of international flights.


And now, to halt the spread even further, the pyramids are being disinfected.

It is one of the latest moves made by the government.

Egypt has also imposed a nightly curfew for the next two weeks, as well as closing schools and stopping flights into the country other than those returning from abroad.

From March 23 to March 31, all archaeological sites in the country have been told to shut shop to halt the virus further.

Some of the sites include the Egyptian museum in Cairo to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor which are huge tourist traps that bring in money to the country.

The world’s oldest colossal stone building the Pyramid of Djoser only reopened at the beginning of March but has now been closed again.

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Now that all the popular tourist sites are empty, they are undergoing a deep clean.

Videos online show cleaners wearing masks and hazmat-looking suits using industrial sterilisation equipment to clean parts of the pyramids.

The clean includes entrances to the pyramids, the ticket offices and the nearby roads to be make sure there is no risk of spreading the virus when they reopen.

However, reportedly the actual pyramids themselves are not being cleaned, according to the New York Times.


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Director general of the pyramids Ashraf Mohie El-Din explained why cleaning the pyramids themselves was more complex than most people realise.

Cleaning the ancient structures requires “specific materials” and a specialised team of excavators.”

He said: “We started the first phase of disinfection, and there are other phases.

“We are in the process of disinfecting all tourist sites, though the artefacts themselves require specific materials and (cleaning) must be carried out by a specialised team of excavators.

“We are making use of this period to sanitise the entire area, but also to carry out some maintenance work and renovation to have this area ready to accept visitors again.”

Most of the cases of the coronavirus in Egypt were linked to a cruise ship on the River Nile – the longest river in the world.

The cruise liner saw both foreign passengers and local crew tested positive.

The deadly virus has dealt a huge blow to the country’s crucial tourism sector.

There are currently virtual tours of the Pyramids and other landmarks available on Google Arts & Culture if you want to checkout the historical structures from home.

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