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Auckland International Italy Netherlands Sailing Spain Sports

Next Edition of Ocean Race To Commence in 2022

The next edition of the Ocean Race, one of the toughest competitions in the sailing sport, has been scheduled for October 2022. The event will start from Alicante, Spain in October 2022 and finish off in Genova, Italy in 2023, the year that marks the 50th anniversary of this prestigious race.

This international sailing competition has scheduled stops in ten international cities across six continents. The organisers, for the first time in the history of the race, have released the confirmed event schedule for the next 10 years. A feasibility study for the European race slated for the next summer is also underway. This 10-year plan is a result of an effort to help the sailors, sailing teams, partner cities, and associates across the world to face the changing reality during the current pandemic crisis as well as through the post COVID-19 times. The organisers have invested time to collaborate and develop a positive way forward to an improved and stable future for all stakeholders.

The impact of COVID-19 on sailing, just like any other sport, has called for strategic planning involving the stakeholders and consultants to device a path forward in the current circumstances impacted by COVID-19 and beyond, through the changing sporting landscape.

Richard Brisius, the Race Chairman of The Ocean Race, shared “Since 1973, The Ocean Race has been one of the toughest challenges in sport. Winning teams have showcased that proper preparation is the foundation for success. We now find ourselves in unprecedented times and our first priority is with all those who have been and continue to be affected by the pandemic.”

“Winning The Ocean Race is still a big ambition for me”, says Peter Burling, Olympic and America’s Cup champion. He debuted in the Ocean Race in 2017-18.

“I know how much effort and planning and preparation it takes to put together a successful campaign. Building in this extra year ahead of the next race increases the likelihood of strong, well-prepared teams being ready on the start line in Alicante. I think this is a well-considered and good decision.”

A six-time race veteran and the co-founder of W-Ocean Racing, Chris Nicholson says, “The world has changed with COVID-19 and again we will witness the resilience of sailors, stakeholders and organisers of The Ocean Race. We have all lost significant time right at the crucial moment and this change is the right move. This will now allow us the time again to re-focus our efforts and be part of this great event.”

Racing with Purpose

Racing with Purpose, the prizewinning sustainability programme, is built upon the commitment to create a healthy marine ecosystem. Innovative workshops and summits are planned as part of this program, and the Genoa, Italy will be hosting the first edition. As an effort to inculcate the values in children, Racing with Purpose has developed a multi-lingual, curriculum-based immersive learning programme for school children, helping them understand the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystem and our planet. It tells them how they can participate and contribute to the good cause. On the racing front, they are continuing to expand their ground-breaking innovations such as state-of-the-art technology using renewable energy on their racing boat classes like VO65 and IMOCA 60.

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Asia Destinations Europe France Lifestyle Relaxation Singapore Spain United Kingdom

The Best Places to Relax in Any City (Other Than the Spa)

Did you know? National Relaxation Day is an internationally celebrated annual event, held every August 15th. The day was first founded in 1985, by an American fourth-grader, Sean Moeller. The intention is simple — to take a day off for yourself to refresh and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.

Most of us live in a fast-paced, constant state of ‘doing’, but as the founder of this day suggests, it is important to find ways to relax and unwind from a busy lifestyle. So, in honour of National Relaxation Day, take a moment for yourself and explore the following places to let your hair down:

The park

With dozens of shades of green, fresh air, and a sense of expansion, parks top the list in terms of being ideal places for relaxation. Research has shown time and time again that there is a strong link between nature therapy and a decrease in physiological stress and immune function levels — because of our evolutionary history, it is thought that we are essentially adaptive to nature.

A recent study supports this, and shows that these stress-relieving benefits can easily be achieved in as little as 10-minutes. If you live in a concrete jungle, opt to take a stroll through the nearest park or spend a lazy afternoon picnicking with friends and family for the ultimate rejuvenation.

Hot picks

Some of the biggest cities in the world also feature the most stunning pockets of green —  from Hyde Park in London to Central Park in New York City. Indulge in an urban oasis — your body will thank you for it.

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Pixabay

The beach

If parks are not your thing, the beach is a fantastic alternative for outdoors relaxation. There’s a reason tropical vacations are in vogue — the mere visualisation of aquamarine waters and powder soft beaches can have a calming effect on the body.

Because beaches are often not centrally located, they’re best for the days you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With no shortage of relaxation activities — ranging from getting that Vitamin D with friends to swimming and walking along the beachfront — it is easy to spend a whole day at this invigorating location.

Hot picks

While the Mediterranean cities in Europe (think Spain and Portugal) offer some of the coolest beaches in the world, Singapore comes a close second. Check out Sentosa Island in Singapore, for some of the island’s prettiest beaches.

The museum

Beyond being educational institutions of the arts, museums are also restorative sanctuaries of the mind and body. The beneficial effects of art on human health and well-being have long been documented, and art therapy is very much a trend.

A fascinating article by Psychology Today makes a strong case for museums as healing places, arguing that museums can provide the same revitalising effect as spending time in nature by offering the same characteristics that enable one to shift mental gears, and refocus attention in a less effortful way. Findings from a 2008 study showed that museum goers have reported benefits like restored attention, tranquility, and reflection, further corroborating the association between museum visits for leisure and stress reduction.

Hot picks

Home to the Renaissance, Europe is the best continent to visit for some of the most spectacular masterpieces of the world. Other than Le Louvre in France, check out The British Museum in England or The Uffizi Gallery in Italy for national collections that have withstood the test of time.

The library

Given that reading a book can help provide a welcome escape from routine and everyday demands, it makes sense to head to the one place where books are the ‘cells of life’. And in a world filled with distractions and white noise, the library provides a safe haven for those seeking absolute peace and quiet.

Cosy nooks offer the passing traveller comfortable corners to while away the afternoon, while a cornucopia of resources promise to entertain and inform. Individuals will face little difficulty in finding a new world to lose themselves in with columns of books and magazines to choose from. According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading can reduce up to 68% of stress, and just 6-minutes of reading can reduce your heart rate and improve your overall state of being.

Hot picks

As with museums, Europe showcases some of the most beautiful libraries in the world due to the rebirth of the literary arts during the Renaissance. Trinity College Old Library in Ireland is one of the most magnificent of the lot, with dark mahogany arches and millions of rare manuscripts collated since 1712.

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A café

Often cosy and well-lit, cafés are great places to chill out in a city, be it for brunch or a mid-day break. For a lazy afternoon, bring along a book to read, or have an intimate setting with a couple of close friends or your date. If you run out of things to do, take up people watching — you’ll find that the conversations and interactions around you can be disarmingly familiar and pretty funny, usually unintentionally.

Hot picks

Korea and Japan feature some of the quirkiest and most Instagram-worthy cafés in Asia. Settle in with a cup of coffee or tea, and relish in a quiet afternoon amid a comfortable, affable ambience.

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Football Spain Sports

Gareth Bale-d Out of Real Madrid?

Gareth Bale came to Real Madrid with much fanfare and a hefty price tag. Alas, he is now deemed as a grumpy benchwarmer and was voted as the club’s worst player of the 2019/20 season by Real Madrid’s fans.

More antics, less minutes

His antics haven’t exactly endeared him to the media or the club’s faithful, which include pretending to fall asleep during a game and appearing to make a ‘binoculars’ gesture on the bench during his side’s 2-1 win at Granada. When Real Madrid won its first 34th La Liga title, and it’s first in three years, he appeared subdued and left out from most of the celebrations. This season he has scored just three goals and made 14 starts across all competitions. When those figures are placed up against his reported earnings of £350,000 per-week after-tax, the numbers did not simply add up.

With that being said, most would agree that Bale has accomplished what most footballers could only dream of – 105 goals, 4 Champion League’s titles and 2 La Liga titles. Alas, he has suffered an unfortunate relationship with the club and in particular, coach Zinedine Zidane. Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero shared with Sky Sports, “Their relationship is broken. They don’t even talk and they don’t have a good relationship. It’s purely professional. It’s not like the relationship he has with Sergio Ramos, Casemiro or with Luka Modric.”

“He’s the most expensive player in Madrid’s history, but Zidane has counted on Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio has come back into the fold after nine months out injured, Eden Hazard will get better while even Rodrygo, Vinicius and sometimes Lucas Vazquez are ahead of him.” 

“Bale was a superstar four or five years ago, and when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus, he was counted on to be the one who would replace his goals, but now he’s perhaps the sixth option.

“It’s impossible for him to resurrect his career at the club. He’ll be on the bench again next season and may play even less. It’s impossible for him to recover.”

Bale’s teammate, Toni Kroos, has also admitted the situation at Real Madrid is ‘unsatisfying’ for everyone at the club. Kroos, who has played with Bale for six years, told the Lauschangriff podcast, “There’s no getting around that the situation is unsatisfying for everyone. He certainly wasn’t brought in to play as little as he does now.”

What’s next?

In a shocking move by Real Madrid, Bale’s bid to join Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning last summer was cancelled by his team. The sooner he leaves, the better it is was the general consensus, but it appeared that offloading Gareth Bale is now a difficult task for Real Madrid with the forward still having two years remaining on his current deal at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Transfer to Manchester United? 

The transfer links that reported Gareth Bale to Manchester United amplified over the past few months as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are still in the hunt for a star forward. However, Manchester United are reluctant to pay the wages given Bale’s value and age.

Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, spoke to BBC Sport  and said: “Gareth is fine, he’s got two years left on his contract and going nowhere, he likes living in Madrid.”

It seems Bale isn’t going anywhere for now as Montero shared, “My feeling, however, is that Zidane is now going to stay and there won’t be the same surprise as there was two years ago. It doesn’t make much sense to me for Bale to stay, but he will because there’s no club who’s going to make a satisfactory offer for Madrid.

“It’s a marriage still, but they sleep in different bedrooms.”

Categories
Culture Lifestyle Local Spain

All You Need to Know About the Basque Burnt Cheesecake That’s Going Viral

Move aside, Levain-style cookies. There’s a new viral bake that’s taking the digital world by storm. Introducing the Basque cheesecake.

But before we delve into the magical qualities that made this cheesecake go viral, we’ve got to answer the most important question: What in the world is a Basque cheesecake?

The Basque cheesecake originated from the city of San Sebastián, the capital city in the Basque region in Spain. The city sits on the Spain-France border, which has led to a cultural mish-mash, that pays homage to the two countries.

A quick Google search revealed that this unusual form of burnt cheesecake comes from La Viña Restaurante, helmed by 60-year-old head chef Santiago Rivera. The cake was first created back in the 1990s but gained its virality only 30 years later — I guess the saying ‘great things take time to develop’ is highly apt in such context.

Pixabay

The cake is no looker with its burnt top and irregular circular shape. Its looks hold a candle to none when compared with the classic New York style cheesecake. So what makes this burnt cheesecake so popular?

Its appeal lies not in its looks, but its simple recipe that is honestly harder to mess up than expected. Thus, this burnt cheesecake makes for a really good recipe for beginner bakers who want to dip their toes in the world of hobby-baking, with a foolproof, sure-achievable recipe.

And that explains how it has gained virality only in this decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic has consigned us to stay indoors, forcing us to find new hobbies or rekindle old passions that we never had the time to do with a busy 9-to-5 job. People have been picking up home baking worldwide, and what better way to restart the baking engines than to bake a good ol’ cheesecake, one that’s literally foolproof and impossible to mess up?

The cheesecake is to be cooked at a high heat. You are expected to burn the surface (as with its name), giving it its signature brown sheen. You dump the cheesecake into a baking tin, haphazardly lined with parchment paper sticking out from every corner. The cheesecake is supposed to sink-in in the centre, a sight that promises the creamy and gooey centre that is achieved only through underbaking. Hearing these terms without any context would make a professional baker go ballistic, but hey, that’s the beauty of what makes the Basque burnt cheesecake so unique.

dcberan/Instagram

Despite the lack of attention and subpar job in making the cake, the results would astound you. The cheesecake, just like it’s New York cousin, retains its light, fluffy, and pillowy texture, with a beautiful pasty pale yellow hue beneath its brown surface. The charring on the top gives it an extra burst of flavour, a combination of caramel and molasses, achieved only through the successful charring of sugar. For some bakers, who prefer living on the edge, push the char to the extreme, which gives off a toasty bitterness, that oddly complements and cuts the sweetness of the cream cheese. But the star of the entire cheesecake would be its viscous cream centre, accomplished only through (proper) underbaking. The gooey centre is reminiscent of a lava cake, and gives a delightfully unctuous mouthfeel that wraps up the whole eating experience.

The Basque burnt cheesecake has made its mark globally, popping up in both high-end and off-the-street bakeries worldwide. Although you can’t directly compare it with the richness and more sophisticated taste with its New York counterpart, the Basque burnt cheesecake still has its appeal. A rustic appeal, that is. Its shabby ‘plating’ gives off a sense of warmth and homeliness, as if it was done with the purest intentions of a mother feeding her kids. The cheesecake is usually styled with a more austere theme in mind, where simple is more, and appearances are secondary to taste.

As with many other viral dishes, bakers enjoy creating alternate flavours of the classic, and the Basque burnt cheesecake is no exception. A speculoos rendition seems to be a favourite among home bakers, probably because its nutty and toasty flavour compliments the char of the cheesecake. More posh bakeries are experimenting with using beurre noisette, or commonly known as brown butter, to give the already flavourful cheesecake an extra oomph to its profile.

Singaporeans are not short on imaginativity as well. Local bakeries have been giving a local twist on the otherwise exotic offering. GRUB Burger Bistro, located in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, offers a kaya rendition ($9/slice) alongside the classic burnt cheesecake ($9/slice), that is dyed a minty pastel green and filled with coconut and pandan flavours. Brown sugar bubble tea fanatics would go crazy over the Da Hong Pao Burnt Cheesecake ($51.90/7-inch cake) offered at Teaspoon of Love, an online bakery offering a myriad of imported tea leaves and baked goods. However nothing spells out a quintessential Singapore flavour than the Mao Shan Wang Burnt Cheesecake ($86/7-inch cake), offered at Keong Saik Bakery.

Whether you are craving for a classic Basque burnt cheesecake or one that is peppered with our local culture, one thing’s for sure: this easy-to-make cheesecake has won the hearts of everyone worldwide and is most probably here to stay for the long-run.