Lockdown may have eased but it’ll be a while till we’re back to normal. Here are our favourite Culture Trip online experiences from across the planet.
Withlocals Virtual Curry Cooking
Live from Colombo, £13
Did you have a trip to Sri Lanka planned for their summer that you now won’t take? Or do you simply want to brush up your curry skills? Why not book in for this hour-long class live from Colombo, in which you’ll learn to make a chicken curry and a potato curry under the tutelage of a local chef, both adhering to a ‘secret’ Sri Lankan recipe. You’ll need to buy the ingredients ahead of time. With a bit of coordination, this could make a great Zoom activity date followed by dinner of your creation.
Authentic Chinese Dim Sum
Live from Singapore, £27
We are, thank goodness, past the early days of total closure and you may well now be finding that some of your favourite restaurants are delivering takeaway. But wouldn’t it nonetheless be nice to master the art of dim sum, so that you can make it any time you fancy, all fresh and from scratch? This 90-minute class is lead by ‘food explorer’ Karni Tomer, who promises that you’ll come away with the skills to create, stuff and steam vegetarian and/or non-vegetarian dim sum to impress your dinner party guests with. One day, anyway.
Online Shakshuka and Hummus Cooking Class
Live from Israel, £15
Shakshuka was all over menus everywhere in our pre-Covid world. We loved ours for brunch, with coffee and the papers and, speaking frankly, we’re missing it. The good news? Shakshuka, which literally translates to ‘mixed up’ – is simple to make at home. Now chef Atalya Ein Mor will share her own superior recipe straight from her Jerusalem kitchen. Although the dish originally hails from North Africa, it is, today, one of Israel’s best-loved cuisines, and one that everyone has their own particular recipe for. In this class you’ll also learn to make hummus – in our books, a life skill no self-respecting foodie should be without. Don’t forget the flatbreads to scoop both up with.
Virtual Sightseeing Experiences
Rome, one hour, £9
This one makes our heart sing as well as ache a little too. Our favourite city in the world may be harder to jet off to right now, but we can still feast our eyes on some of its majesty thanks to this licensed guide-led webinar. You’ll be led around the Sistine Chapel as well as the biggest and most extraordinary basilica in the world. Did you know that Michelangelo wasn’t keen to take on the commission for what is now known as one of the world’s most extraordinary masterpieces? Or that Botticelli worked in the chapel before Michelangelo and you can still see panels of his work there too? There’ll be live Q&As at the end, so do come with questions.
Berlin Cold War Tour
Berlin, from £8
Whether you’re a long-time fan of this coolest of cities longing for another glimpse at it; a Berlin newbie; or a history buff, this interactive tour is just the ticket. Go behind the iron curtain to feel immersed in a world beset by spies and intrigue – all lead via Zoom. There is plenty of opportunity to ask questions live, or to type them into the group chat.
Withlocals Explore Amsterdam
Amsterdam, from £13
Sebastian is a German who has been living in his adopted home of Amsterdam for seventeen years. Book a place on his tour and he promises to usher you round the city’s veritable ‘cabinet of curiosities’. Did you know there were some 30,000 discarded bikes lurking at the bottom of its famous canals? Or that the poezenboot is the only houseboat in the world that is full of stray cats? We can’t get enough of the city’s quirks – see you on the tour.
Whistler Glacier Discovery Tour
There are some experiences that, even in a pre-lockdown world, would be hard to access. This is one. Now, courtesy of these intrepid online guides you can take a two-hour tour on the top of Whistler Mountain, and learn about its formation some 10,000 years ago. A cool one to do with your children (though do note, the recommended age is eight+).
For Art Lovers
Islamic Architecture: Ancient to Modern
Have you always wanted to learn about the history of architecture but never found the time or known where to start? This two-hour video course introduces you to Islamic architecture’s foundations, looks at some of the most decoratively striking examples from across the world and details its regional differences. A great way to unlock your understanding of this huge topic.
Art History – Renaissance to Twentieth Century
Do you know bits about pockets of art history but long to join up the dots, Pointillism style? This expert-led course rattles you through the movements that have defined art, from the revival of classicism and the explosion in the representative during the Renaissance, right through Late Gothic, Neoclassicism and Pop. Expect online textbooks, study guides, workbooks and 24-hour on-demand video.
How To Paint From Beginner To Master
Perhaps you’ve immersed yourself a couple of the online art history courses on offer here and felt inspired to take to the canvas yourself. If so, you will need your own supplies as listed for this four-hour video course (with downloadable resources) in oil painting, but you’ll learn in detail how to construct a painting from start to finish and, it promises, emerge able to paint a full colour portrait. Cool, no?
Travel Writing – Explore The World And Publish Your Stories
Travel writer and international tour guide Dave Fox has worked in some fifty countries. It’s safe to say he knows how to dig out the most enriching experiences and then put pen to paper to communicate and share what he’s learnt. Sound easy? Have you ever come across an old journal from your travels? If your 19-year-old observations are as cringe as ours, this video course (with downloadable resources) could be three-and-a-half hours and £39.99 very well spent. And while travel is limited, it’s a wonderful way to re-live experiences from the past, bring them to life in our minds, and tell great stories. It is, after all, stories of humanity that unite us.
By Nancy Alsop
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