One of my favorite cities is Montreal, and one of my favorite websites is Uncrate. Put them together and you have this very fine travel guide to the home of the Habs, Schwartz’s, and so much more.
I have not been to every place on their list, but I have no doubt they are all worthwhile. I would add to their list and recommend other such places as:
- Cafe Carmen
- Bouillon Bilk
- Bonaventure hotel
- Olive et Gourmande
If you want a similar guide to one of my other favorite cities, Charleston, you can go here.
I think going to Mars is a terrible idea, but if you are the opposite of me and would love to experience that, I have a suggestion for you. You can get the experience of going there today by going to…Iceland. NPR explains:
Iceland is like Mars — if the Red Planet had hot tubs. That’s the cheeky idea behind a new pitch from Iceland’s tourism board, which says people don’t need a spaceship to see otherworldly sights like red rocks, black sand and subglacial volcanoes. Plus, they note, oxygen is abundant in Iceland. To drive home the message, they launched a promo video and a space billboard with the tagline, “Iceland. Better than space.”
See? All you need is a plane ticket and a place to stay and you can go to Mars next week. If you think the tourism people are just making stuff up, listen to NASA. NPR again:
NASA agrees: the agency has repeatedly used Iceland as a stand-in for the Moon, and it’s doing so again as it prepares astronauts for new missions off-world. “Iceland is an amazing analog for both the Moon and Mars,” says NASA’s Kelsey Young, who researches the exploration of planetary surfaces and who has done geologic fieldwork in Iceland.
For more on this, see the NPR article, here: Iceland says it’s better than space. We asked NASA about that.
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.
One of my favorites is now getting greater recognition. The government of Canada has designated Big Glace Bay Lake its newest National Wildlife Area. That’s great news! To see why they did, read this on canada.ca.
If you are thinking of paying a visit but need tourist help, TripAdvisor has some good information.
I love Glace Bay, but it’s not for everyone. But anyone and everyone should love Glace Bay Lake. It’s a wonder.
(Image from canada.ca)
Can be found here: Out of Office: Charleston at Uncrate.
I’ve been to Charleston a few times recently and all those places are very nice indeed. You should go.
So the Times has done a recent piece on Toronto: What to See Eat and Do in Toronto. It’s nice to see. It has lots of good ideas on where to dine, where to stay, and what to do.
While it’s easy to go to the places everyone recommends, if you want to bypass that and go to some very old school restaurants, here are five classic places that have been around forever and are still great, including Swatow and Country Style. For bistro fans, here is a list of fine French restaurants that should appeal to fans of that cuisine, as I am. There’s lots of great places to dine in Toronto.
While the airport is a mess these days , there are other ways to get here. For instance, you can get catch a train from NYC to Toronto. Or you can drive. Or fly into Billy Bishop and skip Pearson.
If you get here, you can even go to some museums like the ROM for free.
All in all Toronto is having a good year for recognition: Toronto is on of the world’s most liveable cities for 2022, according to CNN Travel. Come visit if you can.
For many years I’ve actually visited places partially because of my love of coffee. Really! I went to Vienna where the coffee was amazing and Costa Rica where it was less so*. I am sure there are many people like me who make good coffee a reason to visit a place.
If you are one of those coffee lovers, I recommend you visit Toronto. Just one street alone, College Street, has a wealth of diverse coffee shops to make you happy.
To see what I mean, read this: Toronto’s College Street is a destination for global coffee | The Star. Not only are there many great coffee shops, but they serve a wide range of coffees, from Italian to Vietnamese.
I live here, but I might act like a visitor and do a College Coffee Run soon. Meanwhile I will satisfy my need for great coffee at De Mello near me. (Coffee lovers, go there too.)
* Costa Rica fans, take note. Costa Rica exports amazingly good coffee in my opinion. I just couldn’t seem to find it there. Fortunately there was so much beauty everywhere, I didn’t mind too much.
Why is that? Well according to Reddit (fwiw), the fees are making Airbnb unattractive: Why Airbnb Isn’t Worth All Those Fees, According to Reddit
If you are convinced and need a hotel to stay in NYC, I recommend this: Best hotels in New York | Telegraph Travel.
Lots of information on hotels over at The Telegraph. Well worth a look. You can find places at all different price points, at all different parts of the city.
Not for everyone visiting Paris, but if you want to see Paris in a way untypical of most visitors, consider this: Paris on Foot: 35 Miles, 6 Days and One Blistered Toe – The New York Times
Here’s something to add to your bucket list: visit a Dark Sky Park. This is about how the Grand Canyon has become one: The Grand Canyon is now a Dark Sky Park.
In the article is a good slideshow with a list of other such parks. Well worth visiting.
That photo above is just one of the many photos over at Via Colossal of Venice at night. Far removed from the tourist busy city of day. Well worth visiting Colossal to see the rest.
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.
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.
Easy: check out BlogTO’s great list of The Best Used Bookstores in Toronto. Two of my favorites bookstores are BMV books and Ten Editions, both close to each other. I highly recommend them. Even if you know of some of them, chances are you haven’t been to them all.
Toronto has alot of great stores for new books, but if you are looking for vintage or obscure books, this list is what you need.
(Photo via a link to BlogTO)
If you haven’t heard, Meerkat and Periscope are two apps that allow one person to stream an event and have others watch it. For example, here is an artist streaming her work on a painting while others watch and interact: Wendy MacNaughton paints live on Periscope My… – Austin Kleon.
It’s an interesting idea. Once people get creative, there will be all types of events that people stream, from the obvious (porn, music concerts) to things no one thought of before.
I think one of these not so obvious ones will be virtual tourism. Essentially someone will visit a place like Japan and stream the cherry blossom festival or go to Pamplona for the running of the bulls and others will watch in real time. Maybe people will sponsor the person ahead of time, or the person will wear a shirt with ads on it, or find some way to make revenue. In return, lots of people can see something they might not be able to see otherwise.
People will use Periscope and Meerkat in all kinds of ways. Expect this to be one of them.
(Image via techcrunch)
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:
- 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.
I found this piece awhile ago and think it’s fascinating: Forget the Shortest Route Across a City; New Algorithm Finds the Most Beautiful from MIT Technology Review.
I would love to see algorithms and other such means to find the best a city has to offer. And it’s not all that far fetched. For a long time flickr.com had a feature that featured photos viewers found the most interesting. If something similar was available for cities, a whole new generation of flaneurs and happier tourists might result. It might even spur improvements to areas deemed less beautiful.
Hyperallegic.com has a wonderful photo essay of the Magnificent Lobby of a Classic Skyscraper, the Woolworth building, located in Manhattan. The images are fantastic.
Anyone who has travelled, even a little, has likely encountered one of the scams listed here: Tourist Scams I’ve Fallen For (And How to Avoid Them). I know I have run into the Overly Kind Stranger scam, and I have been lucky to avoid some of the others, like the “It’s Closed” scam.
The list in the article are worth reviewing regardless of how often you have travelled. The best way to deal with them is to know about them, expect them, and have a plan to deal with them.
Good luck! Don’t get scammed.