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Panama City’s Street Art

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Do you love street art?

I do, and look for it everywhere I travel.

In Panama City, you don’t have to search that hard. The historic area of Casco Viejo is easily walkable and full of artistic surprises. Scope around the main plaza where Iglesia de la Merced (church) is or zip down a shady street of crumbling colonial buildings and gems will pop out of nowhere.

I found some of the best art at a parking lot wall for crikey sakes!

There’s something wildly creative about street art. What does this art do, but give an immediate gut reaction?

You love it, hate it, but one thing is for sure, street art is the best use of urban space I’ve ever seen.

Panama City delivers! Just another aspect to this surprising city.

July 14th, 2015|Categories: Culture, Panama, Panama City|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Panama City: A Total Surprise

Panama City.

It’s modern.

Sprawling.

Audacious.

Breathtaking.

A city tethered to its colonial past, but focused on the future.

I’d return in a heartbeat.

June 24th, 2015|Categories: Culture, Panama City|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Via Rail Best Photos: The Food

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Even though my Via Rail journey was a while ago, I remember the food fondly. It’s second to the scenery.

Surprising, I know, to think that food on a train makes a difference in some way, but believe me when you are stuck on a moving vehicle for four days, delicious food is one of the things you concentrate on, besides your sleep patterns and what’s being served at the bar.

Reset your thinking, because train food isn’t just Oreos and Pringles chips, but so much more. No matter if you are first or second class, the dining car was available to both.

Thus I’ve amassed my favorite meals onboard The Canadian. Don’t get too hungry as you read along!

October 13th, 2014|Categories: Canada, Culture|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

A Quick Jaunt to Ghent

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Everybody raves about the food scene in Brussels and writes rapturous reviews about the Art Nouveau buildings, focusing on the movement’s founder Victor Horta, but what about Ghent?

Only a 35 minute ride on the fast trains from Brussels (2 to 3 hours on the local slower trains and If you drive, it takes close to an hour), Ghent is the largest Flemish city in Belgium with a surprising younger population flocking there, hipsters maybe disillusioned with the urban decay of Antwerp and Brussels.

It’s place that hugs a cosmopolitan feel with it’s historical past. During the Middle Ages, it was once the most powerful and richest cities in Europe.

A few friends urged me to visit Bruges, a stunning example of a well preserved medieval provincial town but word on the street is Ghent offers the same in a less contrived atmosphere.

I sadly only spent an afternoon there peeping around the castle, but enough to ask again, what about Ghent?

September 29th, 2014|Categories: Belgium, Culture, Ghent|Tags: , , |25 Comments

Venice Stops Your Heart

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I once read a TripAdvisor review about Venice. It said, “There’s nothing to do in Venice, except walk around.”

This tourist was missing the point entirely. That is Venice, utterly and to it’s core. A breathing, organic, museum city.

It’s the kind of place that shouldn’t have even existed when you break down how difficult it is to build on a lagoon and interconnect 118 small islands. Like Amsterdam, many buildings were erected on wooden pylons which has its own challenges with rising water and rotting wood.

“Venice is sinking” has been a term tossed around readily by the media, due to the constant shift of the sediments that many buildings sit on and that water I mentioned sadly keeps rising.

So to urgently tell you to see Venice before it floats off to the Po River is not far from the mark.

I compel you to stop fighting what some tourists call boredom or tourist traps and simply accept Venice for what it is. A fascinating, otherworldly experience.

I kept imagining ancient times of men flourished in dress and flamboyancy, women asserting their sexuality and freedom in subtle and coquettish ways — my head swimming with bawdy festivals and lavishly adorned Venetian masks.

September 22nd, 2014|Categories: Culture, Italy, Venice|Tags: , , |28 Comments

Baby Steps at Blue Osa

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“Costa Ricans know what they have,” declared my seat mate on our Nature Air flight.

Corcovado National Park trailed behind us as the small 15 seat plane dipped suddenly and levelled off. Golfo Dulce lay beneath us, a crystalline body of water that could hypnotize any creature who dared stare in its depths.

The tiny plane was trying to maneuver a tight airstrip and avoid the trees that cut close if a calculation was slightly off.

I prayed a little; the first time I had ever done such a thing on a flight. During the 50 minute plane journey, my seat mate introduced himself as John Lewis, one of the eco-resort founders of the Osa Peninsula, some 25 years ago.

September 8th, 2014|Categories: Costa Rica, Culture|Tags: , , |8 Comments