Posted on March 9, 2013
A ship can become your friend. After three voyages, the Aegean Odyssey has become ours. We met the Odyssey in Singapore in December 2012. It took us to exotic Yangon in Myanmar for an eye-opening three days. On the way there, we stopped in Kuala Lumpur and Phuket. On the way back, Penang and Malacca. The take-away? Small ships are best. The equator is better than a Canadian winter. Visit Yangon, soon.
Posted on March 8, 2013
The travel editor said, “Sure. I’ll take a Singapore story. How about ’10 Things To Do for the First Time in Your Life in Singapore’”? So we set out to find really strange stuff. Some of it creepy. Some of it gastronomically frightening. All of it highly entertaining — even the day the fish fed on our feet.
Posted on March 7, 2013
I live in Guelph, Ontario, a city with a population of 120,000 approximately an hour’s drive west of Toronto. The Hillside Festival is our premier cultural event. Every summer, in the third week of July, this three-day celebration of music, food, and community occupies a man-made island in the man-made Guelph Lake. The music is plentiful and often astonishing. For 17 more reasons to attend, click on the picture book I’ve created. It’s my love note to Hillside.
Posted on March 6, 2013
The European river cruising universe has expanded so dramatically over the past few years that it’s a wonder there’s room enough on the Rhine for cargo ships anymore. Your choices are vast. It comes down to budget. For extreme pampering there’s Scenic Tours, the Australian tour operator that insists on setting the bar higher than all its competitors. In the spring of 2012, we were invited to see just how high.
Posted on April 3, 2012
This was our second voyage on Aegean Odyssey, a ship of appealingly modest size with a focus on ancient history. This cruise, which took us from Sicily to Cyprus, was ostensibly based on the crusades. And we stopped at several famous outposts of the knights of Christendom. But most fascinating for me were some of the best-preserved Roman ruins the Mediterranean has to offer, and two prehistoric temples in Malta that literally took my breath away.
Posted on June 1, 2011
I’ve always looked down my nose at bus tours or “coach tours” as they are called in much of the world. The buses seemed like containers for lazy travellers. No more. We spent 26 wonderful days touring New Zealand by bus and have become advocates. Like most things, it’s all about quality. The high-end bus tour is way to cover a lot of ground without exerting much effort, while eating very well along the way. This tour is a perfect example.
Posted on February 5, 2011
The idea of a historical cruise had not occurred to us, and the history part of our journey on the Aegean Odyssey seemed, from the brochure, to be interesting but secondary to 16 days in the sunny Mediterranean, well fed and accommodated on a newly renovated ship. But the history became the main event. Every day, we landed in some fascinating outpost of the Byzantine empire guided by experts who brought ancient arts and artifacts to life.
Posted on April 17, 2010
I had no intention of bringing seven carpets home from Turkey when I traveled there with friends in 1998. A little voice in the back of my head whispered about the lush feel of a handmade wool carpet on the bottoms of one’s feet. But it was a very little voice. Until I got there. Then it became a very loud and insistent voice. Two weeks later my credit card was burdened beyond anything it had ever seen. I learned a lot. It’s all in the story. Click below.
Posted on January 24, 2010
I wrote this story in 1999 and refreshed it recently. In Canada, if you want to learn how to paddle in whitewater, it’s prudent to attend one of the courses at Madawaska Kanu Centre (MKC) before tackling the real thing. The whitewater at MKC is controlled. The instructors are among the most talented paddlers in Canada. And the confidence you gain in a few days, sliding through rapids and avoiding rocks, is enough to change your sporting life.
Posted on December 7, 2009
There’s a romance to river travel. Off the highway and out of the traffic, you experience places you might otherwise not visit, at a deliberate pace you seldom get to travel. In June of 2009, Leslie and I flew to Amsterdam and checked into the Scenic Diamond, a five-star floating hotel that would be our home for the next two weeks. Cruise-virgins, we didn’t know what to expect. The luxury almost made us blush. See for yourself.