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I Don’t Like Nostalgia Unless it’s Mine

Should that Lou Reed quote read instead “I don’t like nostalgia (unless it’s mine)”? But it is sort of this trip,it is sort of this travel diary blog. I wonder if he said it sober? I mean, I’d like to…

Cathedrals of Broadway

The picture at top, Florine Stettheimer’s Cathedrals of Broadway, 1929, (cropped by WordPress, I’m not clever enough to know how to prevent that irritating preset), part of four “cathedral” paintings, I only came across by accident: In the interest of…

Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free

What a glorious fall day. I cut through Central Park to the Upper East side; my ticket to the Met Cloisters yesterday gave me three days of visits to the Met. Today, en route to the Breuer at Madison and…

The Odour of Chastity

Tuesday morning started dull and grey, warm to almost muggy, eventually clearing.  After breakfast I walked over to the NY Public Library for the J D Salinger exhibit.  Never before seen artifacts and paraphernalia: family photographs, candid Polaroid snaps, typed…

Across 110th Street

The Bronx is up. The Battery is down and the Bronx is up. I was thinking about that days ago. I was thinking about that when Criterion streamed a restored version of On The Town (Frank Sinatra bored, Comden and…

I Happen to Like New York

I’ve never arrived in NYC on a Saturday evening.  That was a trip.  But I’ve definitely never arrived at Penn Station, which is the Madison Square Garden subway stop, on a Saturday, with a UFC fight on tap, for which…

Substance is Style

So it goes; another spectacular trip down. Spettacolare. Didn’t ever post any pics of the Yard hotel, bar and restaurant common areas. Bric a brac meets shabby chic meets a reactionary aversion to minimalism meets hoarding meets collectible obsession. Yeah,…

God in the Middle & Verdi’s “Ugliest Opera”

We didn’t go to a church today, literally, but we did go to the high temple of opera. More on that later. First, let’s go to a museum of a church! Three great things about the Duomo Archaeological Museum. First,…

Plastic Dynamism, Synthetic Definition and Historiographical Taxonomies

It was all art, all day.  All art baby.  Cans of Love in Preserve art. You might not even see a church in today’s post. We did a tour of the Museo de Novecento, which sits in the Palazzo dell’Arengario…

Old News & Other Oxymorons

We checked into a quirky hotel in Milan. Make of it what you will, it’s not run of the mill. Rooms have a theme; ours is hunting lodge. Go figure As with most tourists, we set off to the centre.…

I Don’t Know Why You Say “Goodbye” I say “Hello”

That’s the thing with ciao, isn’t it? Only less confusing than I Am the Walrus. Worse is prego. If you bother to say thank you, grazie, you are virtually forcing an Italian to say prego; often you can hear the…

Sunshine Enough to Spread

We decided to go to the beach.  But which beach?  SS found a decent lido nearby with a website; they had a bar graph which showed typical client traffic, hour by hour, in real time.  At 8 a.m. on a…

Changing of the Guard

When you really think about it, nothing happens when the guards change; the same uniforms, the same job descriptions, the same duties, one sentry called Oliver is replaced by another called Charlie replaced by another called Archie.  Yet there is…

Melonville, Springfield or Porpoise Spit?

Who knows.  Who knows?  Was yesterday’s post two days ago?  Is today the fourth day we went to the beach or the seventeenth day we looked at a church?   Was it 36.5 degrees yesterday or was that the day before,…

Ad Meliora

That’s French Baby. I mean, That’s Latin Baby. I got my Marvin Gaye mixed up with my Quintus Horatius. We walked Lecce for the last time after breakfast.  What a beautiful morning (if a tad hot; 28.5 at nine a.m.).…

If the Walls Could Talk (it Would be in Latin)

Twenty years ago a guy decides to open a trattoria with his sons.  They’ve got this nice piece of property in the Lecce old town perfect for the tourist trade. Minor thing, the toilet keeps backing up.  So they decide…

Jesus H. Christ…

…does Lecce have a lot of churches.  Mama Mia Cher and Meryl a lot.  90,000 people and 40 choices in the old city alone.  We set out to discover them all.  Not.  However, we did the rounds, and it was…

What Can I Do It?

My late friend Giuseppe had a unique and lovable take on English grammar.  He inadvertently created spoonerisms, usually by perfectly mimicking pop music then purposely twisting the inane lyrics, often used the definite article wonderfully inappropriately (my favorite was “the…

The Blight on the Piazza

Our first Saturday here, which we spent in Naples (and even at 2 a.m. on a Monday is noisy, busy, chaotic and unpredictable) was noisy, busy, chaotic and wound down around Sunday mass.  Our second Saturday, in Matera, resembled the…

The Greatest Blog Ever Told

Our longest drive of the holiday, just under 300 kms, was today: From the coast through mountain passes and snaking along valley floors, merging onto the autostrada north, then veering east on the E847.  For all the driving on all…

The Poseidon Adventure

Another hot sunny day.  Since we were toast from the beach yesterday we opted to drive up the coast to Paestum, a Greek ruins that has some spectacular temples in not bad repair.  I refused to trace our steps along…

Put on Your Noseguard. Put on the Lifeguard. Pass the Tanning Butter.

Woke up very early and couldn’t sleep so threw on yesterday’s clothes and went out for a 6:30 a.m. walk; got 7000 steps in before the day had started.  The air was ripe with oleander and jasmine, which litter the…

Hard Brexit

More words than pictures today; we were mostly in transit.  We checked out of our hotel just after nine, took a cab to the central station.  Seat belts are optional in Naples (they constrain the body, which must be free…

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles. Oh yeah.

Go to Capri or stay in town? We were torn. I voted stay. We started uphill towards Capodimonte, to see the largest catacombs in southern Italy, which are under the church of Madre del Buon Consiglio. En route, we passed…

It May Sound Vain with a Latin Name

So today a couple of things: An amazing experience seeing both Pompeii and Herculaneum.  Stupendous.  And then something else: Getting there and back. At our age we could have hired a driver; pick us up at the hotel, drop us…

In Napoli Beside the Sea

Air conditioning and insulation; modernity is heaven.  We took breakfast in the hotel, included in the rate, then set out to explore.  Hazy to begin with it was hot from the get go.  A welcome breeze off the water did…

YVR FRA NAP, or a more thoughtful title…

Here’s a pleasant diversion: Nearly a month in Italy. Everything went pretty smoothly at YVR, the magic of leaving an Evo at Park N Fly and avoiding the hassle (and the meter) on a taxi brings some minor joy to…

It’s New York Baby

Four days in the city that never sleeps.  Sort of a cultural exchange.   Well I guess the first thing is that getting out of YVR wasn’t so easy, the perks of “Diamond” status with Aeroplan somewhat elusive and then…

Up, Up and Away

It’s going to be two flights up to get away home: Japan Airlines 736 Hong Kong to Tokyo, Narita, then transfer to JL 18 Narita to Vancouver, overnight.  We were packed and showered and out of the W shortly after…

Happily the Fishes Leap

It’s red knots, red balloons and miniature orange trees everywhere you go; Chinese New Year is just days away.   As for us, it’s the end of the road less and more traveled.  No more turndown service with pillow chocolates……

La Grande Bouffe

      Saturday was quite beautiful (as the hazy weather in HK goes) and I was able to get a few decent view pics from the room, day and night.   The mish-mash above is the ludicrous design in…

Bright Lights Big City

I shaved this morning and my Australia tan disintegrated into the sink.  Ditto SS.   This morning we woke up on the 33rd floor of the W Hong Kong.  It’s an uneven brand, as hotel chains go, but by gosh…

ME Time: Thai Across Asia

This morning SS woke up, took a shower, walked out of the hotel, across the street, checked in at Cathay, had breakfast in the lounge, takes a seat up front, and then around five in the afternoon arrives in Hong…

A Change is Gonna Come

  Great picture.  I forgot to post that the day after MONA in Hobart.  I can’t recall the artist exactly, my recollection is he was into “architectural modelism” but had no architecture training.  There were beautiful modernistic renderings of towns…

Canadian Convicts, Tasmanian Devils and an Old Brew

I neglected to write about our ferry trip yesterday (vis-à-vis BCF).  There was one ferry employee at the island on departure (it’s a pay on the mainland free return like Salt Spring Crofton).  There was one deckhand directing traffic on…

Goin’ South

We did art Sunday so it was only suitable to do nature Monday.  And we did nature as far south as, I guess, we’ll ever be.   Antarctica isn’t on the bucket list.  Although we’ve done Argentina and Chile we…

The Compulsion to Create

We took breakfast at a really authentic bakery (in the Jim Lahey style ) called Pigeon where they made the most delicious Eccles cakes.  We passed a restaurant on the pier playing contemporary jazz to keep the boarders and ne’er…

Grapes, Oranges, Walnuts. Who Says Wall Tackle?

  Gorgeous morning.  Spectacular.  Low 20s, light warm wind, just heavenly.  Pic above is view from the living room deck.  We had some breakfast then walked the beach barefoot for about an hour.  I was going to take a full…

Wineglass Bay, the Isthmus Track, Promise Rock & Granite Mountains

Friday morning, February 2, looked a little bleak; cloudy and mild and looking like it might rain; but we are only here for a couple of nights so it was onwards and upwards.  Outside it turned out warm.  And, in…

Two Petticoats, Courting Purposes and Other Unseemly Conduct

Thursday AM, February 1, we did a little green grocer shopping and, just down the street from where we were staying was a Roman making fresh pasta, so we bought one of his lasagnas, then headed out to the east…

No Use of Catapults. No Sign of Lance Murdock

  We spent a big chunk of the day walking/hiking at the Launceston Gorge.  The Gorge is to Launceston what Stanley Park is to Vancouver, not just spectacularly beautiful but right in the heart of the city.  In the late…

Pelicans, Penguins & a Links Course

There is a wine route, a mere two-and-a-half-hour loop drive from Launceston, but once you factor in all the stops and deviations it’s a full day.  We started out early, in the clouds; it went 39 degrees Sunday, 31 degrees…

Jetsetting on Jetstar

    Yesterday when I was at the tennis SS went to the National Gallery of Victoria which had a free evening at the current show titled Triennial Extra.  There was art, DJs, bars, food, ideas, dance, design.  He saw…

I Got What I Came For

In 2017 Nadal was up a break on Federer in the AO Final.  It looked like he would close the gap to one slam apart.  A year later it’s a done deal; Nadal will never close that gap and it…

The Dane in Three

I was going to call this post Hot Pants and a Unique Sweet but then Caroline Wozniacki made history and it seemed flip.   We dropped off laundry first thing.  You know how vacation plus humidity plus staying in a…

Happy Australia Day 2018: Protest in Peace

So said the tabloids; the movement to reject Australia Day as a testament to European presence was dominating social media.  Happy Invasion Day some were calling it. Celebrating Australia Day. Celebrating Australia Day. Flowers laid at State Parliament to celebrate…

In Search of Real Bread

  The food at the Australian Open is an affront: to taste, the senses, nutrition and satiety.  All the fried stuff of an exhibition midway, $14 sandwiches made with white foam and coloured paste, more fried items, stand alone chip…

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

There’s so much to like about Melbourne.  So much.  But I guess not the traffic.  So I walked for a while.   Spent the morning getting exercise by walking Fitzroy; it’s a mish mash of heritage buildings, gentrification, lovingly restored…

I Don’t Just Adore a Penthouse View

Caught an Uber to the airport.  It took a mere 17 minutes at the speed limit.  Central business district to the suburban airport.  There is a tunnel that virtually skirts the city, the traffic, but is also a vortex in…

Snaps Means Sausages

Started with a four lap swim in The Johnson’s 50 meter fifth floor swimming pool.  Nearly died!   Hot and alternately cloudy and sunny and overall wonderful in Brisbane (which, to be fair, I expected to be more crass, flash…

14.5 Hours in the Air: AC35 Vancouver to Brisbane

You know your flight leaves in the witching hour when the airport looks like this.  AC flies Melbourne direct followed by Sydney direct followed by Brisbane direct.  Long flights. First time in the newly renovated AC international lounge; during renos…

Yes, I do Know the Way to San Jose

It’s about an hour SE of SFO on the 280. Sunday, November 19: We had to wrap it all up by early afternoon for the flight home.  Awoke to another spectacular sunny mild perfect fall morning.  We took an Uber…

Remnants of the Street of the Dead

Saturday, November 17, 2017: Up pretty early, Nespresso in room, snack from Starbucks, then Uber to Golden Gate Park to visit the de Young Museum.  The Teotihuacan show was spectacular.  Spectacular.  Objects from an unearthed tunnel, unseen for 1700 years,…

City by the Bay

November 17, 2017:  A weekend away in San Fran. Passing through US Customs at seven in the morning at YVR. Agent asks me why I’m going to San Francisco. I say there’s a show on at a museum I want…

There May Be a Protest

Well the last day was a long one but not much to report except several hours in the Galleries First and then a pretty smooth flight home.  An early check-out unfortunately, an uneventful cab ride to Paddington, a delayed express…

I Did Not Dare Miss It

An empty platform midday.  Imagine that.   First thing, in the blaring sun, I went to Camden Town to run an errand.  The 46 gets there in about seven stops from the flat.  I had to see someone about a…

Racket Abuse

It was the second double double header of tennis.  The morning crowds were not as thick and testy as Tuesday: Monfils had dropped out of the tournament due to his lingering rib injury.  But at the year end event, they…

Lift not working. Use other lift.

That was my favorite random sign of the day, Wednesday, November 16, maybe the week.  Most of the day I spent walking anyway; no lifts required.  It started sunny, like Tuesday it was mild, 15 or something.  I stopped at…

Fewer Seniors, More Axe Body Spray

I had an affair with a tennis pro once.  Love meant nothing to him. It took me 45 minutes to walk to Waterloo, 15 more minutes to walk to the Jubilee line, 12 minutes to walk from the arrival platform…

“I don’t want to be smart because being smart makes you depressed.”

A trip to London without a stop at the V&A is criminal.  So I waded through the Theobald’s Road traffic towards the West End and took the tube to SW10.  Of the three current exhibitions, two appealed to me: A…

“Not that it matters, but most of it is true”

And just like that it was Monday. The weekend was positively somnolent.  I put a load of laundry in and accidentally somehow entered in a code for the “childproof lock” which I solved after an hour on Google (and now…

Look: It’s BAFTA Winning Actor, the New Q and Limping Man From The Lobster Without an Entourage

Remembrance Day: Friday was set to be glorious.  I dragged my sorry jetlagged ass out of bed and did something I’ve never done in London: Took the train to Hampton Court, then walked the Thames Path to Richmond.  I was…

On the Way the Paper Bag was on My Knee

…didn’t get to bed last night.” Flying is a drag.  It doesn’t matter where you sit or what they feed you the human being is not meant to spend much (if any) time at 39,000 feet, let alone nine hours. …

Walking Out

“Walking out” was one of the customary amusements of society life in Madrid…  It’s also what we’re doing today.  Last day of the last leg of Euro 2016. The pic above, a few steps from our hotel, is the Palacio…

It’s the Thought That Counts Uno, Dos, Tres

This morning was lovely but Vancouver cold, around 14 degrees, I felt like a Parisian at Roland Garros; sunny skies with fair weather clouds and a wicked wind.  But it did mild up as the wind died down. We walked…

We Go Dendrochronological

Yesterday 29 degrees, today 21; beautiful weather but mainly a wind of “mistral” proportions keeping it temperate.  Pleasantville in the sun, coolish in the shade.  We didn’t add on (or need, at this point) a hotel breakfast, so were two…

You Have to Experience This Experience

Our last day in Prague.  We were packed, then down to breakfast, then running up the Fitbit steps before nine, to get to the Old Jewish graveyard.  It was used for over 300 years, 1439-1787, but the land allotted to…

Sound, Fair and of Marketable Quality

This morning we picked up laundry.  Sooner or later on vac you have to suss out a drop off laundromat.  Then we headed out to the southwest of the city, to an area called Vinohrady.  The weather was crazy: First…

Themes and Variations, Variations on a Theme, and a Really Good Meal, er Meals

This morning started mild, but quickly turned hot and humid.  We took a very long walk to the south; in fact, we exceeded 10,000 Fitbit steps well before noon.   Along the way we walked through Wenceslas Square, the largest…

Do Not Hold Your Water, Nor Your Winds

This morning dawned cool, under 20 degrees (!), with a light drizzle; not enough to get wet, but enough to irritate anyone who wears glasses.  By noon it was dry and humid and by late afternoon back to summer, blue…

A Person Could Go Crazy in This Dump… 49,000 Acres of Nothin’ But Scenery and Statues

We started our day as many tourists do, at the Prague castle (Prazsky Hrad).  But unlike most, we walked there, which is mostly uphill and something of a trek from our hotel.  There are ten different sites to see, you…

I Smell Home Cooking. It’s Only the River, it’s Only the River

Our driver met us just before 10 a.m. in “CK” as he called it.  He was an interesting guy, with two degrees, one in civil engineering and another in psychology.  We had an unusually in-depth and considered conversation en route,…

Wait Master, It Might Be Dangerous. You Go First.

Can you tell it was a beautiful day? Our pension put on a nice breakfast spread, toast, jam, fruit, yogurt, eggs, meats, cheese, cereal, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, crudités (?), salad and, for what reason I don’t know, dill pickles. …

A Postulant in the Abbey

Well, so long Vienna: with your cool retro cars in mint condition… your ludicrous deserts, especially your ice cream pasta… your every second store selling chocolate… your literal translations… your cafe signage… …your naked people running through the streets. This…

Pediments, Portals, Palaces, Pastry, Not Necessarily in That Order

An absolutely priceless weather day: hot, but not scorching, a light breeze and a few fair weather clouds which offered periodic relief. We had some strawberries, cherries, yogurt and Nespresso at the apartment, then wandered into the centre. We stumbled…

One More Embellishment and We’re Done

Six statues? Six statues? I asked for eight statues. This is a disaster!   If there’s nothing to do in Vienna there’s a museum you haven’t seen. There is even a Third Man museum (which, alas, is open once a…

Cue Harry Lime Theme

The Valens Aquaduct: Goodbye Istanbul. IST to VIE, TK1885: We were checked out of the hotel at 8:30 without breakfast. It was sunny and steaming up but the city doesn’t really come alive before noon. We had booked a comfortable…

Now It’s Istanbul Not Constantinople…

Why did Constantinople get the works? That’s nobody’s business but the Turks. Of course I’ve been waiting a week to write that. Above: Christ healing the paralytic at Capernaum.  What parable is that? A shout out to Jarome for recommending…

Don’t Miss This Splendid Tour

An inscription which means “I am the city of learning and Ali is its gate.”   Part of an exceptional collection of Islamic scripts we saw in the afternoon. The one above, a long elegant scroll, painfully detailed, is simply a…

Courtyard of Favorites

June 1 already! Feral cats are to Istanbul what vending machines are to Tokyo. Today after breakfast we returned to Sultanahmet to the Topkapi Palace, the royal residence of sultans for over 400 years from the mid-1400s to the mid…

Warning Explicit Beauty

It was very hot in the sun, 27 plus, but lovely in the shade, with an uplifting sea breeze.  After breakfast at the hotel we navigated transit (not without difficulty), taking the tram to the tourist zone of Sultanahmet.  Here…

East is East

Why are we flying Montréal Istanbul, a five hour flight and a nine hour flight with a four hour layover? The cryptic rules concerning how additional costs are levied. The sweetest part is that two biz class tickets on points…

Weekend in Banff, June 2015

On the afternoon we arrived in Banff there wasn’t a lot of time until dinner so we climbed Tunnel Mountain, a sort of local “Grouse grind” in the late day heat; 4.8 kms but only 260 meters.  Gorgeous views and…

Words Fail Jake Gyllenhaal

Or so says the NYT.  We found he handled them quite well. As for the four day weekend, I could get used to this. In 1927 the entire cast (all 57) of the Mae West production The Pleasure Man was…

A Delicate Balance on The Twentieth Century

Happy Valentine’s Day!   Pier-ing across to Jersey We scheduled four sessions of sitting for today so first thing we headed out to the High Line, the re-purposed elevated spur of an old railway, now a 2.5 km park, for…

A Helluva Town

  Helluva, used on Broadway, was changed to “wonderful” for the movie as Comden and Green’s lyric was too racy for Hollywood.  New York is many spectacular and awe-inspiring things, but, truthfully, wonderful “honk honk” isn’t one of them.  Still, where…

Ingenious Imitation of Nature by Man

I have no idea what that title means but it’s the title of a garden SS went to this morning.  Although it was our most beautiful day in Hong Kong, mostly blue sky, warm but not too hot, no humidity,…

The Cause is in the Way

  Don’t let the pictures below fool you: It was gorgeous today.  A fair bit of cloud, and only intermittent blue sky, but 24 degrees, a light breeze, zero humidity. It always gives me a thrill to be somewhere outside…

Sheung Wan is the Bomb!!!

Our hotel is in Sheung Wan, the end of a subway line, a transitional mix of massage parlors with cutting edge galleries, cool shops and cafes and old school market stalls with remnants of a colonial past.  It’s a wild…

Go Eat and Drink and Feast Go East

Except we’re old men. (If you remember the Elvis song.) Most boring blog ever.  Wake me up when there’s a Kalli Wag in site. At any rate, early rise on Friday, out of the hotel at seven, wheeled our baggage…

Sayanora

My transistor radio comes from far away And when it’s night over here over there it’s breaking day Buck Owens, Made in Japan                               Nourish twist.…

Spirited Away Trailer

We did not have the Healthy Breakfast at $34, nor the American Breakfast at $35.  After a bit of lounging we went downstairs to Starbucks and had a reasonable facsimile for $6.  Typhoon Nuri, which passed Japan, was supposed to…

I have simple taste. Only the best.

That’s an Oscar Wilde quote.  Still: Stephen got a very nice Christmas gift last year–two night’s at the Shangri-La Tokyo. So we packed up the bags and took the train two stops down the tracks then 28 floors up to…

We Do Kaiseki

When I arranged for our Kamakura guide we emailed quite a few times to sort out the itinerary and lunch.  The tour is free but you pay for your guide’s lunch.  She asked if we were vegetarian and what type…

Stephen and Glenn’s Shogun

Or so it seemed, one shrine following the next. A day away in Kamakura, the ancient Edo capital about an hour away from Tokyo where, arguably, many of the defining moments of Japanese history occurred.  A military coup of sorts…

The Remains of the Edo

Another spectacular November day, sunny, occasional clouds, up to 20 degrees, light breeze.  No complaints. SS in front of a water lily lake     We headed up to Ueno, a large park with almost a dozen museums, a zoo,…

Mt. Fuji Makes an Appearance

There, you can see it in the distance from our hotel room just over top of the skyscraper, underneath the clouds.   What a beautiful morning. Sunny and bright.  It clouded over but remained warm.  At one point my phone…

Things Change With the Change of the Times

And L’As, alas.  Worst wordplay ever.  My apologies. Foie Gras Sandwich This isn’t a foodie holiday but we did have one splurge up our sleeves at a modernist take on French cuisine, tucked away in a leafy ward, called L’As…

Scale

This is, I kid you not, the map of the rail and subway lines of Tokyo.  Tourist version.   We had another early morning at the buffet table.  SS had what I thought resembled a Rubenesque egg white omelette.  …

Ah Wilderness

Shinagawa Station.  I did not take this highly retouched pic! Everything has its place. Everything has its order.  This is the first hotel I’ve ever stayed at with a seismic activity warning in the room (“Tokyo sits on the Kanto…

YVR to NRT AC3 J Class (aka business)

A Weird Selection of International Toys on Display at YVR In a sea of rain the clouds parted on Wednesday, October 29, and we embarked on the 11 hour trip to Narita.  Which is about as close to Tokyo as…

Grey Gardens, Blue Skies, Long Dark Night, A Whiter Shade of Pale: Fall in London

Monday, November 11, 2013 On Monday morning, upon arrival at Heathrow, headed to the AC arrivals lounge for a shower, then to Willesden Green via Paddington on the Express.  A little disoriented and not sure which bus was the right…

JFK to YVR Cathay Pacific F Class

  There was a significant birthday leading to a significant trip so, since it all has to come to an end sometime, I thought we’d end it with something significant: The first time either of us has ever flown first…

Broadway Bound

Midtown.  Plus: Close to everything.  Minus: Close to everything. Think of the Tony.  Tony, Tony, Tony, Tony….   Friday night we had tickets to Roundabout’s The Big Knife.  This is an old Clifford Odets play about a Hollywood star coming…

A Face in the Crowd

It never feels like NYC until you see the ESB   Gateway to one of the greatest avenues in the world; it’s always a bit of a thrill to walk from Washington Sq to Central Park down Fifth   Where…

SCL to LIM LanPeru J Class & LIM to JFK LanPeru J Class

The W has a noon checkout.  Sweet.  We had a relaxing morning, coffee out, packed, and checked out just before noon.  Spent a lazy afternoon on the roof by the pool, had a sandwich, swam laps, read.  One other guy…

Going the Distance

But it looks natural   Cloud cover.  Haven’t seen that in a while!  It warmed up on Tuesday but never cleared and only to around 21, more humid than hot.  The hotel was abuzz.  Well, the whole time it’s been…

A River Runs Through It

It was a gorgeous morning. Sunny but cool, around 14.  By mid afternoon 27.  Evening a light breeze, down to 21.  Absolutely perfect weather. Jacqueline Kiplimo, female winner of the half marathon   Feral dog, thought people running was the…

Making Time

On departure we were heading down the valley at 7:30 a.m.  It was a glorious day, again, and traffic was light.  With only two gas stops and keeping to the (generous) 120km/h speed, we hit Santiago at two.  But then…

The Out of Towners

View from our room, east Maddening morning.  The start of two days in the driest region of Chile.  We checked out of the Sheraton quite early and were on our way when I made an accidental right turn instead of…

Toy Story

Spoiler alert: They used more than one Herbie The architecture of Vina del Mar is, how can I put it?  Like being on a backlot.  And not Universal Studios. Warner Brothers   Steamboat Willie Disney       Princess-y Disney…

A Few Rooms Ocean View

We returned to the coast after lunch, stopping at Pablo Neruda’s Valparaiso home.  He wanted a place to escape from Santiago to study and to write in peace and quiet.  He wanted a view, but privacy.  Friends of his found…

Lunch in the Country

Dawn from our deck, Valparaiso in the distance   Pelicans on a rocky outcrop about 30m from the hotel The Casablanca valley lies between Santiago and the coast.  Most of the finest wines in Chile are grown in the dry,…

Funiculi, Funicula

It was overcast first thing.  I thought we´d left the sunshine in Buenos Aires.  We walked 10 minutes to Starbucks for coffee, then picked up the car and drove into Valparaiso, where the sun came out and we enjoyed a…

EZE to SCE LanPeru J Class

  We were up very early for our morning flight to Santiago. Although akin to flying Vancouver to Calgary, it`s an international flight and they are apparently strict on check-in; not strict on fluids, of which it was easy to…

Street Circuit

Another spotless sky, hot and lovely.  We headed into Recoleto, parts we`d not been to, Retiro, and the edges of the centre.  On the walk up we heard a demonstration in the distance.  Last week was the 30th anniversary of…

A Light Nosh

We have another day here but decided to have our last big dinner the night before at Hernan Gipponi`s restaurant in the Fierro Hotel. We were going to spend our last four nights there but it was much easier to…

The Long Hot Good Friday

Not much to report.  We walked around.  It was a great day but didn`t involve any culture or sport or shopping.  The only crisis was that my laptop died, probably from the heat–I was on the roof, surfing–and ever since…

Searching for a Pith Helmet

So during our morning in San Telmo we spent a few hours antiquing.  The best antique market ever.  Ever!  I’m not so much about the chandeliers and crystal and jewellery and furniture, of which there was plenty, including some egregious…

Government, Slums and the New Rich

The Casa Rosada, or red house, once Argentina`s White House   View from the balcony where Madonna, er Evita Peron, made her famous speeches   Interior Courtyard (one of many)   We did a tour of the Casa Rosada.  The…

Closed Door Dining

Our left luggage was in the room, waiting for us.  We unpacked, organized, and took off for a dinner at Casa Saltshaker.  Buenos Aires has a tradition of what they call “closed door” restaurants; these can be nightly or irregular…

Chasing Waterfalls

Two days in Iguazu, nothing about the (silly lyrics but extremely catchy) TLC song…   SS got up as if it was a workday: 6:30!  Just over an hour later we were in a cab to EAP, one of two…

Exercise Caution

Um…maybe you should see someone about that?   Again with the clouds and remnants of rain.  But I’ve wised up.  SS said I’d be sorry to not bring a jacket but by early afternoon it was 23 although hotter with…

Day of the Dead

Fall.  Last of the jacaranda. What a spectacular gorgeous day.  Clear blue sky.  And so darn hot!  I had to sunscreen my head to avoid burning in those pesky spots where the hair has stopped reproducing… We took a lovely…

Iron Chef Battle: El Baqueano vs. Mocoto

  That’s the high end restaurant.  Seriously. Ten course dinner at El Baqueano.  You say it like it’s written.  But first, the cab ride.  It was way, way, way far away, in San Telmo, the other side of the centre,…

A Day at the Opera

The Papal flag outnumbers the Argentinian flag about two to one right now   Old meets new.  It’s a motif…   Obelisco, the “iconic eyesore.”  Next on Gregor’s list for English Bay? The one on the left is dreaming In…

Our Promise: Not to have our first meal at a parrilla

  Hatted maneki-neko Day one: Despite a decent arrival time, the luggage and customs and finding our driver then a 55 minute drive to the hotel took up a chunk of the afternoon.  Our hotel is nestled on a narrow…

AC92 YVR to EZE via SCL J Class

The blorbs are an online award for creative blog post titles.  We’re aiming high.   The start of a very long and mediocre dinner service     The Toronto departure was late; if the departure board was accurate, we were…

AC148 YVR to YYZ J Class

Missing a connection at gate 50   SS ensconced   Front of from back of the Airbus   Meal: beef or chicken or salmon or pasta   Top Chef finalist   Appetizing…   Layover     Last.  Like John Daly…

It’s All Over Now

  I realize London may be a great metropolis, but it’s not very nice to people.  We’re not friendly.  Not that we’re rude, like the Parisians with their theatrical and frankly risible haughtiness; nor do we have New Yorker’s shouty…

Remembrance Sunday

  Gorgeous final day. Clear blue sky, sun out in full. I had the intention to walk from Holland Park to Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine Gallery, then through Hyde, Green and St. James Park, and then take in the original…

The Play is the Thing

  Up late.  Was it any wonder? Another cool windy day. It had rained but was dry A.M. Didn’t hear from my friend Jean Paul so decided to see about tickets for the theatre.  The two shows I was pining…

It Gets Betterish

  [The title is stolen from a wonderfully acerbic YouTube site.  Pregnancy: It get’s betterish.  Karaoke: It gets betterish.  Drag Queen: It gets betterish.] Friday another day of sunny breaks, cloudy periods, London overcast and chilly, but never wet. James…

Tennis as Spectacle

    Thursday AM I made the trek to Cricklewood to see Diana, Simon’s mum.  She is still her old self in many ways, but in other ways lost in a bit of a fog.  I also saw a young…

I Get High

Although it’s spelled haight (the t is silent, the Welsh is hwcyntha).   And someone said fashion was dead… Wednesday.  The best part of the morning was that no one knew who won the election.  Oh, and it was sunny. …

That Was Then

Patsy and Edina go Shopping   Given that I was going to be out of the country a whole week, Nan took it upon herself to make sure no one went hungry.  She roasted a turkey, and served it with…

My Kind of Town

Easter in Chicago.  Checked into the Fairmont Airport.  Last time we lucked out with a north facing suite, view of the mountains, bathroom bigger than Michael Fassbender’s business if you know what I mean, shutters you could swing back from…

Transamerica

Wednesday, August 24, 2011: 500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles… We were up early (six) and packed and out by seven.  Some high cloud but very warm.  Drove SS to the Charles Schulz airport (aka Sonoma County Airport). …

Some Like it Hot

Lake Benoist, Riverfront Regional Park, Russian River Valley, west   NE towards the Alexander Valley   Tuesday, August 23, 2011: A mild 70 or so on rising, crystal clear sky, quiet.  Checked in on the world (Libya, dollar OK, earthquake,…

A Place in the Sun

  Monday, August 22, 2011: Woke up to 59 degrees, cloudy, mist like rain in the air; Mendocino had followed us east!  SS went across the street for coffee to a bakery connected with the DuChamp, the hotel for swells…

Sideways

Point Arena porch; say goodbye to Mendocino Sunday, August 21, 2011: Today we left Mendocino and turned east towards the heart of Sonoma, a sort of sharp left turn.  We had three options to accomplish this: Backtrack north to connect…

Easy Living

Saturday, August 20, 2011: Wake up, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat, watch a movie.  Some life.  The “poor man’s sentinel” gave us an important warning first thing though: Donkeys in the adjacent field had wandered over the hill and were…

On the Beach

Irish on Irish Beach Friday, August 19, 2011: We are staying in a community, if you could call it that, called Irish Beach (which is essentially about three dozen homes with nary a service for miles).  There is access to…

Out of Sight

Morning sun breaks over the beach near Brookings, Oregon   Thursday (so I’m told), August 18, 2011: A glorious morning dawned, as the hymn goes, but we were a bit out of joint.  SS was kept awake by the neighbouring…

A Brighter Summer Day

Guess.  Then scroll down.   Wednesday, August 17, 2011: Our “resort” serves a “continental” breakfast: individually wrapped muffins, bread in the shape of a bagel, hard boiled eggs, Tang (I swear, confirmed by an RV-er), “coffee” with whitener, bananas and…

The Long Day Closes

  Tuesday, August 17, 2011: Cannon Beach to Manzanita, Nehalem, Rockaway Beach, Tillamook, Hebo, Neskowin, Lincoln City, Depoe, Otter Rock, Newport, Seal Rock, Waldport, Yachats, Florence, Gardiner, Reedsport, Winchester Bay, Lakeside, North Bend, Coos Bay, Bandon, Langlois, Sixes, Port Orford,…

Dog Day Afternoon

  Monday, August 15, 2011: On an endless, trans-continental, ultimately fruitless quest, for the ideal Americano, SS served me a delicious freshly roasted cup from the roaster across the street; I sat up in bed and said thanks but half…

And Now for Something Completely Different

  Sunday, August 14, 2011 No reason for an early start but we had an early start nonetheless.  Tempurpedic bed.  I’m of mixed opinions—but if you sleep on it like the body in the logo it is perhaps wonderful.  SS…

Goin’ Down the Road

August 13, 2011 Dog trip.  Sooner or later it had to happen, no swooning like Harlow in Monte Carlo.  Very early start and zipped through the border, brief stops in Bellingham (Starbucks) and Seattle (Pete’s—91 point Piper Heidseck Brut NV…

Here Hare Here is on Hiatus

On hiatus; thanks for the traffic. Speaking of which, here’s a post-mortem for the die hards… Up early, out to Charles de Gaulle.  Light rain and dark.  The trek to CDG never ceases to amaze me, traffic at all time…

Leaving on a jet plane

The entrance to the Musee D’Orsay, a “retired” train station Today a sunny start then clouding over but mild, about ten degrees warmer at this end of the week than when we arrived.  A relaxed morning down to the Musee…

Spring, Chef Daniel Rose’s Restaurant Spring

1979-2010, politically incorrect but much loved Gee our old LaSalle ran great: First, a moment of silence for the passing of the Walkman.  Sony has announced the Walkman will go the way of the Edsel.  I owned the very first…

Baby Number One

SS said it was a housewares shop.  Wrong.  Chocolatier.   …and nougat and caramel   Women’s shoe shop (apparently)   Oh oh ladies, look out: Stockings are back   Bear made of bears in a bag shop window   70…

Spoiler alert: Tosca dies at the end

Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes here At eight it was bright and sunny and October cool.  I got SS a hot croissant (he favours one boulangerie over the other as we have two on our doorstep to choose from),…

Time flies by when you’re the driver of a train

The TGV train station at Avignon; very cool Blue sky, sun shining, and the famous Provence wind, the mistral, pounding.  You could feel it in the car and when we dropped it off at the TGV it was almost impossible…

Bull manifestation

Did I ever give the update on the Tate Modern sunflower seeds?  Despite taking thousands of Chinese villagers years to create and paint, the porcelain wasn’t lacquered.  The seeds “opened” for one day.  When people began to walk on them…

Le Shopping

It’s stop not arete and parking not stationnement and shopping.  The Quebec sign police would have a field day. We took the lawnmower on the motorway SE to Aix (as in extremee or excusez or X the LA band from…

Man carrying oven

Even the graffiti has je ne sais quoi Any more culture and we’d be yogurt. Today, all day, in Arles.  It was sunny, then overcast, but mild, up to about 18C.  We started with a coffee in a brasserie on…

Exam at the end

Morning sun looking west from Les Baux   Vineyards and olive groves in the Val d’Enfer   The limestone outcrop which is Les Baux         Part of the remains of the fortified castle at Les Baux Stupendous…

Sunshine Lollipops & Rainbows

Awesome gardens at the hotel Bastide de Boulbon   It rained hard all night but we woke up to a beautiful day, occasional clouds, lots of sun, around 8C, but no wind.  Our tourist world looked wonderful.  Of course still…

Blow’d up good, blow’d up real good

We had an early breakfast—as early as you can have it, it starts at nine; the Germans were leaving, four hour drive to Frankfurt, pretty sweet. Mild but overcast.  Drove south to Cluny, meandering along a two lane highway through…

Monday not so good

Closed for the season Chateau (maison de garde at the dam) in decline, Lac des Settons We had a wonderful, lively breakfast, one UK couple regaling us with stories about friends of theirs who were caught in the Eurostar tunnel…

His name was Ken

It was January at 8 AM: a mere five degrees!  Had communal breakfast upstairs; four Germans, two Belgians, two Anglos from Kent.  We were the first out of the B&B, on our way quite far north to Vezelay.  It was…

Alors, le moving

For Heather     The medieval church at Fontenay       The “grand” garden   The cloister   The barnlike room is the monks’ dormitory         It actually works! Woke up to rain!  Checked out Saturday…

Je m’appelle Jean Cluny

Suffering from severe malnutrition, SS begins to shrink. Et voici mon ami Anne.  For those who remember.  And for those who do, that’s about the extent of my French these days. The sun took several hours to cut through the…

Honeyed note on the nose. (Pass the Kleenex.)

Yet another wonderful day.  Country still on strike, running out of petrol (may be stuck here?), dollar in a tailspin, but sunny and lovely and crisply autumn in Burgundy. We had the most mediocre in-room continental then an early start…

What if Rikki lost the number?

Steely Dan never told us but it would be something like me forgetting the Michelin map I purchased specifically so we could navigate the tricky side roads and myriad diversions of Burgundy and have to wing instead.  It would be…

Crisis on the Continent

It started out nicely, up early, a crisp sunny autumn day, check out, cab up to St. Pancras, Eurostar to Paris.  Last time I took Eurostar it was from Waterloo, a charming station but without the guts for a powerhouse…

Piccadilly Whip

  SS tries to make his way into the Tate Modern Another nice day.  And they call it London. We took coffee in a St. James Cafe Nero which used to be the rectory of a church, then tubed to…

Don’t be alarmed ladies and gentlemen. Those chains are made of stainless steel.

We were standing on Bond Street across the street from the Opera Gallery where there was a giant sculpture of an ape, think King Kong not Gorillas in the Mist, ten feet tall six feet wide.  It was, excuse the…

I thought the major was a lady suffragette

The priority check-in was fast and the priority security slow (you have to take your laptop and fluids out of your luggage, have these people never flown before?) and the lounge packed and the plane full. But it was a…

Yes, it’s a travel blog.

Harper’s recently reported that about two-thirds of the one billion Indians living in India have access to a mobile phone whereas just over half have access to a toilet.  We’ve decided to forgo the mobile phone and blog. I promise…

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