Journey of discovery: Three travel trends to try in 2019

The Local asked our travel Facebook group to vote on what they thought would be 2019's top travel trends. These are the top three trends as told by group members who have already experienced them.

Journey of discovery: Three travel trends to try in 2019
Photo: Hayley Rose Budd

For those who enjoy wandering the world and are wondering where to go next, perhaps the next question to ask is: What should you do once you get there?

We asked our Facebook group of European travel fans to vote on what they thought would be the biggest travel trends of the year. The results spanned from ecotourism to spiritual wellness — naturally, we dug a little deeper and discovered several community members who had already tried and tested these trends.

Here are three of 2019’s most popular travel trends, as chosen and tested by our community.

1. Foodie tourism


Une publication partagée par Tatem (@tatem_k) le 5 Janv. 2019 à 9 :08 PST

Eat your way around the world, one city at a time. Food tourism is a way to immerse yourself in the local culinary culture of a place, prioritising your stomach above your other senses! We spoke to Joanne Monica an avid foodie who has travelled to many places to sample culinary delights.

Take a look at Lufthansa’s city guide to Los Angeles

Why do you think food has such an important role in the experience of travelling?

I feel that food reflects the intersections of a place, culture, and society. It’s a way of connecting with individuals on a personal level. There is nothing more rewarding than cooking and then sitting at a dinner table to share a meal with fellow travellers and locals.


Une publication partagée par Tatem (@tatem_k) le 16 Janv. 2019 à 6 :17 PST

Where have you visited just for the culinary experience?

I have been to Israel, Los Angeles and Amsterdam mainly for the food.

Food is always a central focus during my travels. I always research the foodie scene before travelling and often go out of my way to experience specific markets or restaurants I’ve heard of.

Take a look at Lufthansa’s city guide to Tel Aviv

What was your best experience and why?

One of my favourite experiences was in Israel. I met a Palestinian family, went to the Arab market with them and we all cooked together in their home.

Another one was during a trip to Los Angeles. I bought beautiful produce from the Santa Monica food market and cooked for my host, who is now one of my closest friends.


Une publication partagée par Tatem (@tatem_k) le 5 Févr. 2019 à 6 :35 PST

Which cities or countries are on your list in future for foodie visits?

There are so many on my list: Hawaii, Brazil, Mexico, Rwanda, Uganda, Lebanon, Japan. The list goes on an on.

2. Wellness tourism


Une publication partagée par hayleyrosebudd (@hayleyrosebudd) le 1 Mai 2017 à 1 :31 PDT

You can’t get closer to true RnR than a trip solely to rejuvenate and improve both mental and physical wellbeing. It’s the reason Hayley Budd a yoga devotee and London dweller, has gone on many yoga retreats around the world since 2014.

Have a read of Lufthansa’s Ibiza city guide

Where and when did you spend your yoga retreats?

I have been practising yoga for around six years now and went on my first retreat in 2014. I try to go on at least one retreat a year, or on a ‘yoga holiday’ with friends. I have been to Catalonia and Bali for a teacher training retreat as well as India, Ibiza, Grasse, The Cotswolds, Devon and most recently, Iceland. I always pick places I’ve never been to before, preferably in remote locations whether in the countryside, the jungle or the desert.

Why do you go to yoga retreats?

I fit the mould of the ‘stressed out City worker in London’ pretty well. I try and practice yoga regularly in London, but it’s more about making time here and there and then rushing off to the next thing. Going away on a retreat gives me the opportunity to immerse myself in the practice and switch off from my regular life – even if it’s just for a couple of days.


Une publication partagée par hayleyrosebudd (@hayleyrosebudd) le 16 Févr. 2016 à 4 :24 PST

What do you gain from it?

I find yoga retreats important for my mental health to de-stress and unwind. It’s always a great excuse to switch off my phone and my laptop. They’re also a great way to meet new and exciting people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a new group of friends from all walks of life who I now get to travel with.

The other thing, if you’re serious – or want to get serious – about your yoga practice, is that retreats give you the opportunity to learn a lot more and spend some proper one-on-one time with a teacher.

I’ve also had crucial realisations about changes I needed to make in my life while sitting on a rock in a remote place.

Would you encourage others to try it?

Definitely. I was a bit nervous before my first retreat, being new to yoga and going on my own. But all my worries disappeared pretty quickly. Most retreats will cater for all levels, even for complete beginners. Just do your research about what you want to get out of a retreat, or follow your favourite teacher somewhere.

To borrow a popular concept right now, yoga retreats are the ultimate exercise in ‘self-care’.

3. Ancestry tourism

Consider yourself something of a detective? Bring your family history to life and discover where you came from, like Jess Arnold, a travel enthusiast from the United Kingdom who travelled to Lithuania with her mother in 2015.

Photo: Jess Arnold and her mother in Lithuania

Where and when?

I went to Lithuania in 2015. My great grandmother was Lithuanian, from a place called Kaunas, and my great grandfather was Polish. They met in Lithuania during the war.

Have a read of Lufthansa’s Vilnius city guide

Why did you want to visit your ancestors’ land?

My mum really wanted to go so we went together. We both just wanted to explore Lithuania, have a look and find out more about our heritage. And we’d spoken to my grandad about it and he talked about how much his mother had loved it there.

Can you recall a special moment from the trip?

My mum and I got the train from Vilnius down to Kanaus, which is where my grandmother came from so we knew she would have obviously spent time there. We got the train down and explored the town, then there was a massive thunderstorm. We were exploring a castle and got stuck with the storm raging outside, it was absolutely hilarious. My mum and I were laughing and had such a fun time. It’s something that will stick in our minds forever: Trapped in the castle where my great grandma used to be!

Photo: Lithuania

Did it change your idea of your family?

It did. My grandfather never really spoke about his heritage and my great-grandmother was quite a terse, strict woman. Having gone there and learned about what they had been through, it gave me a good understanding to why she was how she was and everything they had been through. And it’s interesting to have a better understanding of our ancestry and have walked (slightly) in their footsteps. It felt really special.

Are you keen to try any of the trends we mentioned? Have you already been on a wellness, or even a silent retreat? Curious about retracing your ancestral steps across the globe? Let us know in our Facebook travel group.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Lufthansa.

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IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images