Where shall we go in September?

It’s been a while since I did one of these “where to go when” posts, so here are the ideas floating around in my brain for ideal September destinations. Canada: Go Northwest Besides my hometown of Calgary (which is in fine form in September), Banff, Vancouver and Yellowknife are also good bets this time of […]

Azorean allure: The art of honouring time

Sao Miguel Island hits you full on with its dramatic landscapes, but only quietly invites discovery of its other charms. Exploring in and around Ponta Delgada was like a leisurely treasure hunt, fitting given its mid-Atlantic position and jagged shoreline so opportune for shipwrecks. Architecture: Church and state The triple-arched city gates were striking in […]

Earth, wind and fire on Sao Miguel Island

My week on  Sao Miguel Island in the Azores was a whirlwind. Not only because it was a short trip, but also because I was thoroughly blasted by ocean gales on more than one occasion. It was early spring in the middle of the Atlantic, so I’d expected some unsettled weather. What I hadn’t anticipated […]

October travel ideas

For some, the beginning of September is about back-to-school. In my case, it’s time to start thinking about planning new trips for the season ahead. Here are some places around the world that would be great for October travel. Africa & Asia Tanzania We saw spectacular wildlife in the Serengeti, Ngorogoro Crater and Tarangire National […]

Under the Aveyron sun in the south of France

My friend Leanne just departed for southern France to visit her cousins. She couldn’t help worrying about the recent terror attacks in Paris and Nice, wondering if she should alter her plans. We talked about not wanting to let that sort of fear paralyze us. Because doing so would be letting them win. And it […]

To the centre of the earth: Volcano viewing

This one is for my nephews and all those fascinated by fire, explosions, molten lava and the the raw power of Mother Nature. Volcanoes are dangerous and alluring at the same time, a combination many of us can’t resist. I’ve seen four of them on my travels so far, and  I hope to see more. […]

5 Years, 5 Favourite Trips

The end of the year is often a time of reflection, so I’ve been thinking back on my recent travels. All of my trips have been special in some way. These favourite over the last five years provided some of my most memorable experiences. Jordan & Dubai I was on a break between jobs and a friend had recently […]

Fine Food, Fast Cars & Faulty Towers: Bologna

I fell for Bologna. For its wide, porticoed streets lined with amber and red stuccoed buildings and mosaic patterned sidewalks. For its laid back university town vibe in the evening. For its civilized light traffic and lack of tourist crowds. For its amazing understated restaurants with their tables spilling out onto sidewalks. And for its […]

Where to Go in January

When it’s the middle of winter, we tend to have one of two objectives for our vacations: escaping winter, or embracing it. Whichever your approach, here are my suggestions for where to go in January. Escaping winter Costa Rica This is where I traveled this past January. I tried my first zip-line and saw exotic birds, animals […]

Venice: Grand or Grating?

I wasn’t sure if I’d love or hate Venice in summer. I’d heard the city was over-crowded, smelly and hot in peak season. I did loathe the crowds around the main tourist areas, and the muggy heat in July was uncomfortable. But I couldn’t help letting the city sweep me away either. That first breathtaking […]

Delicious & Dazzling: Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi

The Amalfi Coast draws scores of international visitors for a reason: it’s drop dead gorgeous. We based ourselves in Sorrento so we could easily take day trips along the coast and inland to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. But on the way, we made a little stop in … Navigating Naples Since we had to pass […]

Ruins of Civilization: 5 Lost Cities

The Roman historical sites we visited in both Rome and Pompei got me thinking about just how many ruins I’ve seen in my travels. Many times I’ve sought them out. There’s something fascinating about walking through the remnants of a society and contemplating how and why the place was abandoned. Here are five of the […]

Rome Less Travelled: Great Neighbourhoods

I’m so happy we had time to explore some less visited Rome neighbourhoods in addition to seeing the big attractions. It was nice to escape the lineups and crowds and see different sides of the city. Depending on your time and interests, you may want to include one or more of these in your plans […]

How We Survived (& Enjoyed) Rome in Summer

We knew Rome would be hot in July, but even the Romans were complaining that temperatures were higher than usual. The crowds were at their peak too, but still we were spellbound, following in the footsteps of popes, emperors and gladiators in the Eternal City. A piazza to call home Our home base at the […]

Exploring Southern Spain

One of the best ways of exploring southern Spain is to pick a home base and take a series of day trips. That way you only have to unpack once, and you can relax in between excursions as you get to know your adopted neighbourhood in more depth. I hadn’t hear of Frigiliana before planning […]

Language & Lit Picks for Travel to Italy

Our trip to Italy is drawing near, so it’s time to learn a bit of the language and stock up on reading material. In an attempt to learn some basic Italian, I attended a one-day ‘Italian for Travelers’ class through a local community college. Sadly, I think I came out of it more confused than […]

Up the Coast of Croatia

Our first experience of Dubrovnik’s old town was at dusk, and we felt like we’d stepped into a fairy tale. The stone-paved streets are polished smooth as marble by the thousands of feet passing over them daily. The city walls and buildings are made of golden stone with red terracotta roof tiles. As we entered […]

Italy Planning: Tickets & Transport

Once we had the itinerary worked out for our Italy trip in July, we had to decide how we’d be getting around and what activities, if any, to book in advance. Seeing the sights I love exploring on my own, following my own interests at my own pace, and usually that’s what I do. But, once in a […]

Italy Planning: Routes, Rooms & Resources

I’m excited about the Italy trip I’ll be taking with my sister and nephew in July. Visiting in high season will have its challenges, but I’m hoping we’ll survive with our sanity, wallets and relationships intact if we plan things carefully. Neither my 18-year old nephew nor my sister have ever been to Europe, so […]

Classical Ruins in Turkey

Turkey is a paradise for lovers of Greco-Roman history. In fact, it’s been said that there are more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than there are in Greece or Italy. We managed to see quite a few during our travels around Western and Central Turkey, and each one offered something unique. Ephesus Even though […]