Category Archives: travel

The locked away beauty of the City Hall subway station in New York

The site Hyperallegic has a great piece on the abandoned City Hall subway station in NYC that is worth visiting. Beautiful stuff.

While no longer in use, there seems to be a chance you can tour the station from time to time. Read the piece, then make your plans to see the actual station.

(Images linked to from the piece. Many more great images in the piece you’ll want to see).

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Dreading going to work tomorrow? Maybe you should take a trip to Europe instead.

Why? Because October can be one of the best times to go to Europe. Perfect  weather, no crowds, great festivals…and cheaper. Don’t believe me? See this piece, which makes a strong case to pack your bags this very minute and head on out: The Best Time to Go to Europe | Kitchn

If you go, send me a postcard.

Paris travel tips from the New York Times, if you have no time and no money

Paris Hotel
If you want to go to Paris and have little money or little time, then the New York Times has two pages of information that might help:

  1. 36 Hours on the Left Bank, Paris – The New York Times
  2. Hotels in Paris for Under $150 – The New York Times

If you go after reading this, send me a postcard. 🙂

P.S. If you are in the mood for dreaming about going to France, here’s a bonus link from Decanter magazine: Château accommodation in Bordeaux: Living the dream

(Photo, by Ed Alcock, via a link to the page of The New York Times)

Why I love Waze. 13 good reasons why it is my favourite app


Inspired, in a way, by this article, Why I hate Waze in LA Times, I’d like to share some of the ways that Waze has made my life a lot better. 13 ways, in fact. There are more, but if this doesn’t convince drivers to use Waze, I don’t know what will.

  1. It saves me a lot of time: I used to take my son to hockey practice every week on a trip that took me 50 minutes. After talking to some other parents, I downloaded Waze. The result: my hockey commute went from 50 minutes to 25 minutes! Before Waze, I was stuck taking the major roads that were severely congested because I didn’t know what else to do. Waze recommended roads close to the roads I was on but that had no traffic problems. Over one year, I have saved hours of unnecessary commuting and saved on gas as well.
  2. It gets me to places on time: not only will Waze give you a fast route to travel, but it will tell you to the minute when you will get there. At first I didn’t think this was possible, but I was and continue to be amazed at how accurate it is. Now, before I am going somewhere, I will put the destination in Waze and know when I will arrive. No more being too early or late.
  3. It gives me options on how to get to a place: What I love about Waze is that it gives me 3 different routes to get to a place. It always recommends the fastest, but I like having the options. Sometimes it will recommend a road or a highway and I will think: I prefer to spend a bit more time and go a more scenic route.
  4. It gives me better times to travel if that is an option: Waze will also show me how long over the course of a day the route I want will take.  a 40 minute route at 4 p.m. might be a 24 minute route at 7:30 p.m. If you can shift your travel time, you can save yourself some time on the commute, according to Waze. This is a great feature.
  5. It has made me a calmer driver: I used to get anxious when I would get stuck in traffic. I’d think: God! I am never getting out of this jam! With Waze, not only do I know how long it will take to get to a place, traffic jam or not, but Waze will tell me things like: you will be stuck in traffic for 6 minutes. Now I feel much more in control of my commutes. Plus, I always know the route I am going is the best way to get to a place.
  6. It’s made me a more confident driver: one thing I didn’t like about Waze at first but now I do is that it often tells you to make left turns. Sometimes on busy streets. I used to avoid this on my own and I would go and turn at an intersection with lights. However, left hand turns save time, and the more I do them, even on busy streets, the more I realize they are no big deal. You just have to be patient and wait for an opening in traffic. It will come, often in a few seconds.
  7. It has helped me know the city better: when traffic is busy, Waze will have you going down streets you might normally skip. As I have done this, I have been amazed at how many new streets in the city I have discovered. Now, even when I don’t use Waze, I know about these streets and that knowledge helps me get around my city better.
  8. It helps you with cities you have no clue in: if you are driving into a city that you don’t know well, Waze is essential. I was driving into Montreal which has busy streets that go all different ways. With Waze I could just type in my hotel’s name and it gave me the route to get there. I had done this before Waze and it was a nightmare for me. With Waze it was easy.
  9. You don’t need to know addresses: that’s the other great thing about Waze. You can type in a name of a place and it will do a search and give you a list you can choose from. It’s perfect for when you are out with people and they say: let’s meet up at restaurant XYZ. You can enter that in Waze and off you go.
  10. It is the perfect navigator for solo drivers: I used to write down maps to help me get to places. It was ok, but not easy. It was especially difficult in new cities or driving on highways. Waze is constantly telling you how long you have to travel on a road, when you can expect to turn, and then telling you exactly where to turn. And if you miss a turn, it will recalibrate on the fly and tell you have to get back to where you need to go.
  11. It is great at night: I travel to a lot of rinks at night in the winter. Many of them are down small roads and poorly marked. I would have a heck of a time without Waze. With Waze, it is dead simple to get to the rinks. Can’t see a road sign? Can’t see the rink set far away frm the street? No problem: just follow the directions that Waze is giving you and you’ll get there.
  12. It gives you lots of time to turn: with Waze, you get lots of warning about when you have to turn. It will say: “in 1.2 kilometers, turn left….in 300 kilometers turn left….turn left at street X. ” You never have to worry about being told to turn left at the last minute.
  13. You can be flexible: Waze will suggest the fastest route. However, sometimes I will be tired or not in a rush and I will stick to a road I prefer driving down. Waze will quickly recalibrate and make additional recommendations, right to the point I arrive at my destination.

It’s Monday. You are stuck on conference calls. Here’s some Paris hotels to fantasize about


For people who love Paris and fine hotels, NOW Toronto Magazine offers up 5 Paris hotels for design junkies you want to see. Perfect if you are needing a break from work, real or imaginary. After you read the article and gaze over the photos, your next tab on your browser may be linking to google.com/hotels or google.com/flights. Bon voyage!

Are you travelling for work? Listen to Austin Kleon and travel smart

You may not being going on a book tour, but if you are travelling for work, you can steal these ideas from Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon : 10 Things I Learned On Book Tour) and have a much better trip.

Ideas I stole on a recent trip:

  1. Invest in good gear. I had my carry on well packed, and it fit nicely above my head. It made my 2.5 hour flight a breeze to get through. Plus I had everything I need, meaning no need to scramble at my destination looking for things (time you usually won’t have, anyway).
  2. Wear a uniform. I do this now on all trips. You look presentable, you look good in photos (if you take selfies), and you don’t have to pack as much.
  3. When in doubt, go to an art museum. I was in Tampa, and I found out where their museum was and visited. Not only is it a great museum, but they had on two good shows. Bonus: the area around the museum was excellent in itself.

His entire list is worthwhile. If you are travelling soon on business, you will benefit from reading him first.

P.S. Photo from a link to his blog. Go read his blog. Better still, buy his books.

Some of the best things in Paris are free


And the Guardian has a list of them.  If you are going to Paris, take a quick peek and take notes. Yes, many you may have heard of, as I had. One I hadn’t is pictured above and is relatively new:

Opened in 1993, six years before New York’s similar High Line project, La Promenade Plantee is a tree-lined walkway on an old elevated railway line in east Paris. The 4.5km trail is a wonderful way to explore the city, taking you up and down staircases, across viaducts, above the streets and offering the occasional chance to wave back at the lucky Parisians whose apartments overlook it. The walkway also runs over the Viaduc des Arts, a bridge in which the arches are now occupied by galleries.

• 12th arrondissemen, promenade-plantee.org

For more from the list, see 10 best free things to do in Paris | Travel | theguardian.com.

Bonus: here’s a piece from the Globe and Mail how to eat like a Parisian. Since you’ll be enjoying all these free things in Paris, you’ll have more money for food.