Christmas in New York: traditions old and new

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most wonderful place to spend it is New York City, thanks to countless movies and tv shows that show New York in its most festive, most Christmas-y light. Fun fact: I found Santa Claus at his day job with the NYPD:

NYPD Santa Claus New York Police Department

I’ve had a sampling of holiday season in New York when I visited around Thanksgiving a few years back, but nothing prepared me for the wonder and excitement of visiting at Christmas. I was only in town for a few days, but made the most of it by jamming in as many holiday traditions as I could find, both old and new.

New York City Christmas tree sidewalk

Continue reading

Italy travel journal: Vernazza – picking a favourite Cinque Terre village

I spent a glorious five days on Italy’s Mediterranean Coast among the mind-meltingly beautiful villages of the Cinque Terre. The “Five Lands” – Riommagiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare – each have something special to offer. You will definitely find your favourite, and wonder why it took so long for you visit. I’ve already talked about the amazing hike through the villages during the wine harvest, now it’s time to see the best of the rest, my favourite village, Vernazza.

Vernazza Cinque Terre Continue reading

Friday photos round-up: Geometric

This week’s #FriFotos theme, “geometric,” was a fun one for me and I had a lot to contribute! Both Morocco and Spain are literally overflowing with examples of gorgeous structures, architecture and design that are visually stunning and technically complicated.

Barcelona, Spain: La Pedrera

It’s hard to miss any of Antoni Gaudi’s surreal masterpieces in Barcelona, but a stop at La Pedrera is mandatory (in my opinion) to see the marvelous roof with its whimsical chimneys.

Barcelona La Pedrera

Continue reading

Friday photos: Sharks and Mirrors at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

When I visited New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009, visitors were expressly forbidden from taking photos of Damien Hirst’s “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” otherwise known as “the pickled shark.”

Sometimes, however, problems have built-in solutions. The pickled shark took on a more interesting dimension when viewed in the reflection of another nearby sculpture, a large, mirrored piece by Anish Kapoor simply called “Untitled.”

Mirrored shark

Mirrored shark


Are you guilty of museum rule breaking? Share with the class!

Italy travel journal: Hiking through Cinque Terre’s grape harvest

If you enjoyed last week’s visit to the wine harvest in Tuscany, my wine adventures in Italy continue with my visit to the Cinque Terre. This part of the trip involves even more grapes and wine, with the added benefit of hiking straight uphill for many hours and kilometres. I joke because I love.

Hiking through the villages of the Cinque Terre has been something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years. While I am definitely a walker, I wouldn’t call myself a “hiker.” When I found the dreamy sounding Cinque Terre Coastal Walk through G Adventures, I knew right away I found what I was looking for. “What could be more lovely than a leisurely walk among brightly-coloured villages next to the Mediterranean?” Ha!

Manarola Cinque Terre hike hiking trails grapes

Continue reading