Archives for August, 2011

I kicked off my first day in Japan by waking up super early (4 a.m.!) and heading down to the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market. A tradition that dates back to the Edo period, the riverside market is renowned for its massive size, collective expertise in fish, and its almost surgical tuna auction. Although it’s not…

Yesterday, I flew to Japan . . . with a three-year-old. My neighbor never mentioned his name (neither did his mother), but he was angel-haired and angel-behaved, strapped into his car seat with only intermittent breaks for some 14 hours. He wore red flannel Elmo pajamas and had a preference for fruit juice and Thomas…

Good nomads travel light. We might live in a time where our car-sized suitcases have spinner wheels attached, but the earliest human travelers understood that moving quickly and freely is what mattered most . . . . and they packed accordingly. As a modern-day nomad, I try to follow their example and underlying concept: Take…

I travel with several different cameras but it’s my phone that I always have in hand. While I sent hundreds of photos out into the social media nebula, the following images are a selection of my favorite phone memories from my travels in Québec.

I can divide travelers into two groups: those who visit churches and those who do not. I belong to the first group: I like to visit churches. This preference has nothing to do with religious convictions–it’s more a matter of personal taste and the priorities of a destination. Some tourists need to witness local faith…

Those of you who travel with me online know that I’m crazy about dogs. I love all dogs and would love to have one myself, but instead of leaving one at home all the time, I try to adopt whichever dog I find on the road. What I’ve discovered is that every destination has dogs…

Food travels and people travel for food. Such is the history of the world and such is the world now. Such were my thoughts as I ate my way through Québec’s capital. The culinary landscape of Québec City is anchored in four centuries of French-ness. It’s impossible to walk down any of the cobblestone streets…

Wild Life

I’m quickly discovering that Québec’s wildlife tends towards the ubiquitous, big (!) and très accessible. In the past two weeks I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many of the animals that populate Canada’s biggest province, from giant whales to awesome wolf cubs. Every experience with animals offers a new appreciation for this place and…

Whalespotting

I had a dream the other night. I dreamt that I was surrounded by whales—at least a dozen of them, swimming at me from every angle. They came right up to me, from the front and from behind, then whispered in long gasps, one after the other—gasp, sigh, gasp. Did you know that whales whisper?…

Québec is not a land of low calories. Rather, this is the place that invented poutine (a proud feat, really—to triple the calories of french fries in single serving). I’ve also noticed that as a people, the Québecois are dedicated to dousing random things in maple syrup. At this point in my journey, I am…

Not only are birds good travelers, but they remind us that we have traveled as well. In a modern world of familiarity and placelessness, the natural habitat and migration of birds continues to distinguish one destination from another. I had to travel to Antarctica to see penguins and I’ve traveled to Iceland just to see…

Land’s End

“We don’t know if we’re going to land today,” explained the flight attendant. Not to worry, he assured me as he directed me to my seat—if I didn’t get to land in Gaspé, I could continue to Québec City and backtrack whenever the weather improved. The Air Canada pilot chimed in on the radio, “Mesdames…

I began my travels in Québec in the place where it all began: les Îles de la Madeleine. Before he ever arrived on mainland Québec, Jacques Cartier first landed on Brion Island (Île Brion), the northernmost speck of this isolated archipelago in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It was 1534 and France…

Je suis venu au Québec parce que je suis amoureux. J’aime la France et tout ce qui est français—je souffre d’un cas de francophilie plutôt extrême et pour ça je n’ai pas honte. Au contraire—je suis fier de mon obsession de la France. On est né Francophile, mais j’imagine que ça s’apprend aussi. Moi,  c’est…

Bienvenue au Canada! Nous sommes heureux de vous acceuillir . . . Wait! Weren’t you just in Canada, like two weeks ago? “Yes I was, sir. In fact, a little less than two weeks ago,” is what I told the immigration officer in Montreal. He was cool with that—he just wanted to know if I…