Archives for July, 2011

I spent the last week in Panama, which proved a cool relief to the overwhelming heat back in Washington, DC (over 100° F). Rainy season means that for me, it rained almost every day–big, heavy, tropical downpours that came and went and left the ground fresh and the forest teeming with life. I think that’s…

Of all the Smithsonian museums on the Mall in Washington, DC, the Hirshhorn is probably the least known and perhaps the least understood. Maybe that’s why I like it so much—(also maybe because it’s shaped like a doughnut?) Patrons of the Hirshhorn are a self-selecting lot, for contemporary conceptual art is not everybody’s cup of…

Lists are the bane of travel publishing. As I see it, an attempt to categorize and delineate any travel experience always seems to fall short. It also misses the whole essence of travel and exploration, which (in my opinion) is the unfurling of the known world and then watching with awe at the unknown happen…

Here it is folks! What you’ve all been waiting for, right? I appealed to you for true-blue Ontario music, and boy oh boy, did you deliver. In the comments and across Twitter, I received several hundred suggestions for all your favorite quintessential Ontario songs. In the name of authenticity and research, I listened to every…

Sadly, my journey through Ontario has come to an end. It began humbly enough–by crossing a bridge in a cab from Detroit into Windsor. More than a month (and several thousand miles) later, I stepped off a train in Moosonee, then jumped into a small skiff and headed up for the few extra miles north…

I’m not the kind of person who can see a town called Moose Factory on a map and then not go, especially if the town across the river is called Moosonee and the river is also called Moose and it flows into Ontario’s only saltwater coastline, which is practically Arctic. How can anyone resist such…

The trains do not run on time in Canada . . . but then neither do I. In fact, I find the more that I travel, the less I demand punctuality from others and myself. The more wild a place is, the more you wanna pack along the “We’ll get there when we get there”…

I don’t get rich people at all. If you had all the money in the world, why would you build your dream cottage in the midst of the world’s worst mosquito infestation? That is exactly what I wondered as I stood on my hotel’s back deck in the late evening and slapped my face hard,…

I travel with cameras, phone and computer. I also travel with songs–several thousand of them–and after I leave a place, I have usually collected a few dozen more. My digital reservoir of music reflects all the places I’ve been in the world. Some tourists collect tea towels or shot glasses–well, I collect songs. I find…

Some hotels give you chocolate on your pillow. Others offer rooms with kitchenettes or Jacuzzi bathtubs. My hotel gave me a canoe—everyone gets a canoe with their little log cottage and I took full advantage, setting off across The Lake of Two Rivers with a lunch and a paddle. Later in the day, I upgraded…

After the excitement of Canada Day and the pastoral idyll of the farm, I turned my wheels westward and set off into the wild. Algonquin Provincial Park lies less than three hours from Ottawa. In fact, Algonquin is probably the most accessible wilderness area in Ontario, given that 12 million people live within a three-hour…

The Farm

After three weeks of traveling in this province, I feel safe reporting that Ontario is a big city, an endless wilderness, and everything in-between—a latticework of lakes, forests and fields, small towns, and tundra, too. Ontario is also lots and lots of farms. Driving the highways of southern Ontario is an exercise in passing by…

As my friends back home get ready to celebrate the big Fourth of July, I am slowly coming down from the radiant high of a very momentous Canada Day weekend. Not only was I in Canada for it and not only was I in the country’s distinguished capital of Ottawa–amazingly, I got to see the…

Happy Canada Day—Bonne Fête du Canada! For the last two weeks, I have been traveling in Ontario, enjoying the terrific spread of experiences in this rather immense province. So far I’ve traveled to Ontario’s Deep South, its Far East and its Wild West. Hmmm, I wonder where I might travel to next? For today though—Canada’s…