Train travel is good. Train travel from Toronto to Montreal and back exceptionally so. Let me count the ways by comparing it to airline travel.
It starts off before you even get on the train. In Toronto you can catch a subway or an Uber to Union Station downtown. Once there, it’s a short walk to get to where you board the train. There’s no getting stuck in traffic on the 401 trying to get to the airport. No paying for expensive cabs or limo. Fast and cheap.
Then you get to the station. There’s no multiple checkpoints to get on the train. You find out where the train is boarding and you line up to get on. Quick and easy.
Once on the train, you have lots of room to move around. No having to sit in your seat all the time. No seatbelts. Wide chairs. Comfortable.
If you take the business class train, you get a constant supply of food and drinks. Wine, caesars, port and cognac is all available and included. Plus hot towels, snacks and full meals. Satisfying.
Then there’s the scenery. There’s lots of it and it’s easy to see out the big windows. Tired of the scenery? You have a good amount of time to watch a movie, read and even nap. Relaxing.
Finally, you start in one downtown and end up in another downtown. You don’t have to get in still another cab to get to your final destination. Sweet.
Sure you can take Porter at Billy Bishop, but you still need to cab into Montreal from Dorval. And while the flight itself is short, the time you take getting to the airport, getting through security, building in extra time so you don’t miss your flight….it all adds up.
Air travel is essential for long distances. But for shorter distances, you owe it to yourself to take the train.
Posted onAugust 12, 2022|Comments Off on On the wonder of Big Glace Bay Lake
There’s plenty to see and do in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, including exploring the coast. One of the best parts of that coast is Big Glace Bay Lake and the area around it. When I was younger I’d walk down to that beach and swim or or skip rocks or just sit and watch the ocean. It’s still one of my favorite things in life.
Posted onMarch 26, 2021|Comments Off on Cecil Court: a book lover’s delight
What is Cecil Court, you might ask? According to the website, Secret London it is…
packed with twenty-odd secondhand bookshops and antiquarian booksellers, it truly is a paradise for literature lovers. Just moments away from the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square, you’ll be surprised to stumble across such a peaceful gem. The shop fronts haven’t changed for over a century, so a walk through Cecil Court is like a trip back in time
When I can travel again and go to London, I think I will make a beeline to here.
For more information on it, click on the Secret London link, or visit their web site here.
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Posted onNovember 11, 2020|Comments Off on Virtual travelling: hotels in New York for people who love design
Assuming these will still be around post pandemic, here’s 12 beautiful hotels to consider staying at in New York, starting with the TWA hotel which has been wonderfully remade. I have seen a number of New Yorkers staying there and posting pictures on social media because….why not. While the other hotels don’t have the benefit of being put in a building designed by Eero Saarinen, they are still great. You can see them all here.
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Posted onOctober 10, 2020|Comments Off on What’s this? Just some beautiful cabins to imagine escaping too
Like many of us, the people at Dwell have been thinking of escaping as a form of dealing with the pandemic. They have gone from fantasing about it to compiling this amazing list of cabins for us to drool over. The above is just one of thirty five amazing places, all of which you can see, here: 35 Magical Tiny Cabins to Pin to Your Mood Board Immediately – Dwell
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You get a wonderful appreciation of Switzerland and the Swiss
You get to read the fine writing of Brodesser-Akner
This article was published in 2015. In 2019 her book, Fleishman Is in Trouble, was a big hit that was talked about everywhere. If you haven’t read her before, read this travel article, and you will get a sense for what a fine writer she is. Then get her book. 🙂
P.S. This was published in afar.com. If you like to travel, or like to dream about travelling, it’s a great site.
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Sure there are shorter and sweeter train trips, but the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway is a trip like no other, and Business Insider has a run down of what is like. I was surprised how relatively low key it was. It seems doable, which is something for a train ride that takes over 2 days. If you ever fantasized about going on such an adventure, the article is made for you. As for me, the longest I’ve ever been on a trip was from Sydney, N.S. to Toronto and that was around 36 hours. By the time it was done I was glad to be off the train.
(Image: link from article)
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If you are travelling soon and you are sitting in the boarding area wondering why the whole process is ridiculous / dumb / insane, then you should read this Here’s Why Airplane Boarding Got So Ridiculous. It may not change your mind, but at least you will get a better understanding behind the rationale for it.
Also, don’t expect it to change soon.
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According to this piece, they are. A key indicator/quote pulled from it:
Around 30 years ago, bistros represented about half of all restaurants in Paris…Today…that figure has dropped to 14%.
Bistros are challenged because the cost of providing that type of establishment in Paris is limited by such things as rent — a problem not limited to Paris — as well as international threats like fast food joints.
At one time bistros were fast food joints. But there’s more to bistros than fast food. I agree with that article that says a good bistro should be
open continuously morning to night, serves French comfort foods at moderate prices, and houses an active bar where locals can gather for a drink and some lively conversation
That seems right to me. McDonald’s in Paris will never be a bistro, no matter how fast the food or how French they make the decor.
Paris will always have low cost places to eat (e.g. cafes), but it would be a shame if they lost their bistros. (It would also be a shame if the ones that remain are expensive museum pieces and less casual places to dine.) Best to get yourself to them now while you still can.
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If you ever though of visiting New York City in winter, then I recommend this: A Winter Guide to NYC | A Cup of Jo. After you read it, you’ll want to head there before Spring.
I have been to NYC many different times of the year, and I found being there in December to be one of the best times to visit. In addition, going in January and February would be among the least expensive times to go. If you had planned to go mainly to see museums and shows and do indoor activities, then it could be the perfect time to visit. Of course you don’t just have to do indoor activities, as that lovely photo of people walking in Central Park in winter shows.
New York is great any time of year, but it can be especially so in winter. You should go.
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Posted onOctober 22, 2017|Comments Off on 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted onSeptember 14, 2015|Comments Off on 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!
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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).
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.
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.
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Posted onOctober 10, 2014|Comments Off on 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.