Tag Archives: travel

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Tourism posters in the pandemic era


It’s not a fun time, and it’s not an era for travel, but if you want a souvenir of your non-travels from the pandemic, head on over to Colossal and check out:  Witty ‘Coronavirus Tourism’ Posters Advertise the Thrilling Adventures of Staying Home

Better still, if you like the one above, or any of the other ones, visit the artist’s commercial site and buy one!

Hey, what’s the point of (non) travel if you don’t get a souvenir or two.

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This Is How You Live on Swiss Time, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This article,  This Is How You Live on Swiss Time, is a great piece for two reasons:

  1. You get a wonderful appreciation of Switzerland and the Swiss
  2. 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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How Toronto looks from the City of Buffalo

Torontoians will find this interesting: Toronto’s astonishing growth: Will it matter to Buffalo? – The Buffalo News.

This was a key passage:

For Buffalo, the question now is whether Toronto’s “reimagining” might seep south of the border, as well. Smaller cities in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe are booming, too, thanks in part to Toronto’s spillover. And Toronto and Buffalo, incorporated two years and 100 miles apart, kept pace with each other until the 1950s, said the University of Toronto’s Bourne, who used to assign a project comparing the cities’ trajectories to his undergraduate students.

That history is interesting, Bourne said, because while Buffalo and Toronto share important characteristics, they suffered opposite fates: Buffalo shrinking with the sunset of the Erie Canal and Rust Belt manufacturing, and Toronto swelling when the Quebec separatist movement made it the favored home for Canada’s banks.

As late as the 1970s, Torontonians considered Buffalo a nightlife destination. Many of their restaurants still closed on Sundays and maintained separate male and female entrances.

Torontonians “would come to shop, they would come for jazz – Buffalo was the hive,” said UB’s Foster, who lived in Toronto for more than three decades. “But then people started going the other way, and that hasn’t changed.”

Years ago going to Buffalo for shopping was still a thing in Toronto: not sure it is now. Perhaps some people still go to watch the Buffalo Sabers play hockey. Perhaps the linkages between the two cities will become stronger over time and there will be a good proportion of Torontoians making Buffalo a destination again.

For Torontoians considering going to Buffalo, I recommend this piece in the New York Times.

(Image linked to the New York Times piece)

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If you fantasize about getting away, here’s one option: the 50 hour Trans-Siberian Railway trip

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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An innovative IOT device from WestJet


Is this: Flight Light.

You can use it to track night flights of the ones you love. I don’t know how much traction it will get, but I personally find it appealing.

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On the ridiculousness of airplane boarding


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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The Grand Canyon is now a Dark Sky Park

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.

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A beautiful photo essay of Venice at night

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.

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Where to See Basquiat Around the World

A good item to add to your bucket list, if you are a fan of Basquiat: travel the world and see all the places where his works are displayed. To do that, you will need this list: Where to See Basquiat Around the World – Barron’s. And money. And time.

After you do that, you can go see all the Vermeers in the world!

(Image: Wikiart.org)

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Yes, there are budget restaurants in Venice

It seems hard to believe that the words “budget” and “Venice” can go together, but as this Guardian article shows, it is possible to enjoy Venice and still do it somewhat economically. Now hotels are another story. But every bit helps.

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Stunning Photographs of European Libraries

The photographs of European libraries at this link really are stunning! I’d love to take a tour of Europe that went to each one of them.

Lovers of libraries and books will want to check out Fubiz for more images. The above image is just one of many great photos.

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Are Paris bistros dying? Some thoughts…

bistro
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.

For book lovers, here are some of London’s most attractive bookshops

Book store

John Sandoe Books Ltd is just one of the shops shown here:
London’s prettiest and most Instagrammable bookshops | London Evening Standard.

If you love books, this piece in the Standard will have you planning / dreaming of going to London and spending quality time (and money) there.

Enjoy.

Why you should visit NYC in winter

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.

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).

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)

12 Cafés Every History Buff Needs to Visit (a great list)

Cafe Central
If you like cafes, coffee and travelling, then this link is for you: 12 Cafés Every History Buff Needs to Visit | Travel | Smithsonian. Of the places in the article, I’ve only been to Cafe Central in Vienna and it is great. (In truth, Vienna has many great cafes. I went there years ago and enjoyed many of them. Cafe Central was one of the highlights.)

As far as bucket lists go, you could do worse than making it your aim to visit all the places listed here. 🙂

(Hat tip to @candicewalsh on twitter for sharing this link originally, and who also has a great travel blog.)

 

More thoughts on Waze

I have thought a lot about Waze since I started using it. Without a doubt, it has improved my life substantially. Here are some other thoughts I had as I used it.

  1. Waze is an example of how software will eat the world. In this case, the world of gPS devices. Waze is a GPS on steroids. Not only will Waze do all the things that a GPS will do, but it does so much more, as you can see from this other Waze post I wrote. If you have a GPS, after you use Waze for a bit, you’ll likely stop using it.
  2. Waze will change the way cities work. Cities are inefficient when it comes to transportation. Our work habits contribute to that, in that so many people commute at the same time, in the same direction, on the same routes, each work day. Waze and other new forms of adding intelligence to commuting will shape our work habits over time. Drivers being able to take advantage of unbusy streets to reduce congestion on major thoroughfares is just the start. City planners could work with Waze to better understand travel patterns and travel behaviour and incorporate changes into the city  so that traffic flows better. It’s not that city planners don’t have such data, it’s that Waze likely has more data and better data than they currently have.
  3. Waze is a great example of how A.I. could work. I have no idea how much A.I. is built into Waze. It could be none, it could be alot. It does make intelligent recommendations to me, and that is all I care about. How it makes those intelligent recommendations is a black box. Developers of A.I. technologies should look at Waze as an example of how best to deploy A.I. Those A.I. developers should look at how best A.I. can solve a problem for the user and spend less time trying to make the A.I. seem human or overly intelligent. People don’t care about that. They care about practical applications of A.I. that make their lives better. Waze does that.

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!

How to spend a day of your vacation/staycation in a Toronto neighborhood

One way to enjoy a staycation is to visit neighborhoods you normally don’t go to and treat them like you would any neighborhood in a city you are visiting. If you are from Toronto and think this is a good idea, then BlogTO has a number of pages devoted to what you can do in many of this city’s neighborhoods . Here’s a list of some of them I put together:

This list is also great if you are a tourist and want to see what the various neighborhoods of Toronto offer. Toronto has more great neighborhoods not on this list, ones you have likely heard of, like West / Queen West, the Beach/Beaches, and Harbourfront. Add some of these neighborhoods listed above to round out your trip to this city.

 

Travel posters! To Mars! From SpaceX, of course.

Travel Poster: Phobos and Deimos

 

It’s great that SpaceX has put travel posters to Mars among their other photos on flickr (SpaceX Photos | Flickr). Of the three I saw, the one above was the one I liked the best. Head over to Flickr and check out the others.

It’s fun now, but perhaps such advertisements will be less fantastical before the 22nd century.

The best restaurant in NYC and how to eat there cheaply and without a reservation

Is Eleven Madison Park the best restaurant in NYC? If you read this, Restaurant Review: Eleven Madison Park in Midtown South – NYTimes.com, you’d be inclined to think so. Regardless, it is excellent and worthy of considering a visit.

But what if you want to experience the place without having to go through the tasting menu? Worse, what if you don’t have a reservation. Well then, you need this: How to Eat at Eleven Madison Park With No Reservation and No Tasting Menu — Grub Street.

I can’t promise that will work, but it is worth considering if you want to casually experience some of the best Manhattan has to offer.

 

Periscope, Meerkat, and the future of virtual tourism

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)

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.

Not the shortest but the most beautiful route to take

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.

Armchair travelling: an online visit to the Woolworth building in Manhattan

 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.

Are you traveling? You need to know to look out for tourist scams

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.

 

Looking to travel to NYC? Here’s some budget boutiques to consider

This NYTimes.com article is older (2010), but that just means that these places may be easier to get into now: Budget Boutiques in New York City – Interactive Map – NYTimes.com. (It could also mean that some of these places have come and gone.)

Boutique hotels have a feel of the city that you are in: it’s a feeling that large scale hotels rarely have. I’d recommend checking out this list if you are thinking of heading to New York. Any money you save on accommodation  can easily be spent elsewhere. 🙂

A workout for those that travel alot (that can also be used if you don’t travel)

The folks at RealSimple.com have put together an On-the-Go-Workout that can be done anywhere. Obviously good for road warriors, but good for those that stay close to home, too.

 

Get off the Cabot Trail and get on the Fleur-de-lis Trail in Cape Breton

I think the Cabot Trail is beautiful. I understand why people head there and take it in.

There are other parts of Cape Breton to see and drive, and if you like driving, I recommend the Fleur-de-lis Trail. Whenever I am driving from Halifax to Glace Bay, Cape Breton, I make sure I get off the Transcanada Highway and go along that “old highway” instead. The scenery is gorgeous, and the road is fun to drive. You know all those car commercials on TV where people are driving on highways and you think, “yeah, sure, there’s no place like that for real people to drive along”. Well, if you go along the Fleur-de-lis Trail, you can.

(Bonus, it used to be mostly a 2 lane highway, but now it is more and and more a 3 lane highway, meaning you never get stuck for long behind slow drivers if you want to drive faster. Though with all that scenery, why drive too fast?)

(This wonderful autumn photo of Cape Breton is from paellaking’s photostream on flickr. Seriously, this is the way most of the trail is, when you aren’t driving by fantastic lakes).