Category Archives: Travel

Gearing Up

Yesterday I did a 25 km. bike ride. Last week I managed a thirty-kilometer one but that was because I got a little lost. I’m gearing up for a bicycle trip we are booked to take near the end of September in Croatia.

Cycling with family in around Lake Konstanz

We did a cycling trip around Lake Konstanz in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria two years ago and had such a good time we have booked another cycling tour with the same company. I decided in July I’d start gearing up for the trip hence my weekly longer cycling rides and regular trips to the gym to strengthen leg and arm muscles. I’m gearing up in other ways too.

My friend Marie in Split Croatia. A place we will definitely want to visit based on Marie’s great photos.

 I’ve been checking out the great photos my friend Marie posted on her blog On The Road Again this last month when she and her husband Bill were in Croatia.  I’ve gleaned lots of tips for things we might want to see from Bill and Marie’s adventures. I’ve got two books on hold at the Millenium Library that I will be picking up today. The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna and Girl at War by Sara Novic. Both are set in Croatia.  I’ve compiled a list of other books I’ll add to my Kindle before we leave on our trip so I can read them on the road and en route to Croatia. I’ve decided I will try to learn one thing about Croatian history or geography each week.  

St. Servelus Church photo from the Istra Tourist Board site

My fact for this week is that Croatia was occupied by the Romans from about 11 BC to 450 AD. In the city of Buje where our cycling tour begins the baroque St. Servulus Church was built on the remains of a Roman temple. Stay tuned for more updates as I gear up for our September cycling adventure in Croatia. 

Posts about our other cycling trip……

I Drank A Beer in Austria

I Got Lost Twice Yesterday

56 Kilometers Under Our Tires


Filed under Croatia, Travel

Did You Know Your Home Has A Walk Score?

I was looking up directions to a house where I’d been invited to lunch yesterday. I wanted to cycle there. As I was searching for the best bike route online I came across the walking score for the address. I had no idea what a walking score might be.I discovered there is a website called Walk Score that allows you to search for the address of a place and it tells you how easy it would be to walk from that location to stores, schools, medical care and other amenities you might need to use on a regular basis. Here’s the walk score for the address where I was headed yesterday. My search also provided information on the ease of access to bus service and if there were safe bike routes nearby.  100 is the best score.  So while the house where I had lunch is in a lovely, friendly neighborhood it is also in a car-dependent zone and not the best location if you want to walk, bike or take the bus instead of a car. Here are the scores for my address.  I apparently live in a walker and bus rider’s paradise and in a very bikeable area.  Since we are a single car family and my husband needs the car every day this makes our location a wise choice especially for me.  

It was interesting to discover that before you buy or rent a home there is an easy way to check how accessible it is in a variety of environmentally friendly ways. 

What’s your home’s walk score? 

Other posts……..

A Woonerf In My Back Lane

The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island

Riding the Bus Alone At Age 5


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Filed under Travel, Winnipeg

Are You A Streaker, A Stroller or a Scholar?

Visiting the Lucy Maud Montgomery House in Prince Edward Island many years ago.

I was reading a CBC story about the new interpretative center opening in July at the site of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s home in Prince Edward Island. Montgomery has gained international fame for her classic novel Anne of Green Gables. The new center which tells the story of Montgomery’s life has been designed to meet the needs of three different kinds of visitors- the streaker, the stroller and the scholar. I hadn’t heard of those designations before but they intrigued me. I discovered the terms had been coined by an Australian museum director named George McDonald.

My husband walks briskly through an outdoor art display in Merida Mexico.  

A streaker is someone who walks briskly through a museum or art gallery or special event. They pay little attention to details, gather general impressions and may finish their visit to an exhibit without really being impacted by it at all. They are there to check the visit off their list, to say “I’ve been there” or “I’ve done that.” These kinds of visitors are also sometimes called fish because they just glide through the exhibit. 

Dave and I were in stroller mode when we visited a history museum in Quebec City.

A stroller moves more slowly and pays more attention.  They will probably stop at various places to learn more. They will absorb more than a streaker and pick up more details particularly about certain parts of an exhibit that catch their interest. They are there to have a good time but not necessarily to do a whole lot of learning. These kinds of visitors are also sometimes called butterflies because they flutter through a museum or art gallery or interpretive center alighting here and there to enjoy something that attracts their attention. 

My husband Dave was definitely in scholar mode when we visited the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan.

A scholar is someone who is very interested in learning and reflecting.  They will move slowly through an exhibition looking at almost everything and reading all of the textual material.  You will see them lingering at certain points for extended periods of time. They are conscientious and diligent about having the full experience. They want to discover all the intimate details of an exhibit and ask questions. These kinds of visitors are sometimes called ants because they move very slowly and methodically and purposefully. 

Posing with Russian author Pushkin at the Wax Museum in Odessa Ukraine

Learning about streakers, strollers and scholars got me thinking that those terms might describe more than just museum visitors.  As we move through life are we streakers? Do we just rush through our busy days gliding mechanically from one obligation to another? Are we strollers? Do we take time to stop periodically to relish and enjoy experiences and events?  Are we scholars?  Are we thoughtful and purposeful? Do we read and think and reflect and question? 

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York posing with Van Gogh’s Starry Night

I think at various times and in various situations, I tend to be all three kinds of people or a combination of them. I know I don’t want to just streak through life never stopping to stroll or savor, reflect and enjoy.  But I also don’t want to spend so much time being the scholar that I accomplish little and never have time for fun. 

Are you a streaker, a stroller or a scholar? 

Other posts………

Visiting the MOMA

Feeling Sad About Odessa



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Filed under Reflections, Travel

Don’t Forget About Us

In May of 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology in the House of Commons for the 1914 actions of the Canadian government when they refused entry into Canada to nearly 400 British citizens, mostly Sikh men, who had traveled from India to Vancouver on board a Japanese ship called The Komagata Maru. After spending nearly two months in the Vancouver harbor the ship was forced to return to India at naval gunpoint.  British soldiers boarded The Komagata Maru upon its arrival in Calcutta and a riot ensued during which twenty passengers died and many were arrested. The Canadian immigration rules at the time discriminated against people from South East Asia, rather favoring immigrants from England, Europe, and the United States.  In 1914 British Columbia was home to some 2000 people from India mostly Sikhs from the Punjab who had come to work there. Other citizens who knew very little about India, its historical achievements, religious diversity, or rich culture, worried they would eventually become outnumbered by Indian immigrants. The Canadian government had put all kinds of rules and regulations in place to make it very difficult for people from India to enter Canada but the passengers on board The Komagata Maru claimed the rules didn’t apply to them because they were British citizens. Their pleas were rejected. 

Don’t Forget About Us by Jagdeep Raina 2014

I learned about The Komagata Maru because of a current installation at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that is part of our Vision Exchange exhibit.  It contains work by Jagdeep Raina an artist from Guelph Ontario who used archival documents from Kashmiri and Punjabian Sikh diaspora communities as inspiration.  His mixed media exhibition includes a drawing based on a 1914  photograph of men who had traveled on board The Komagata Maru. He has entitled it Don’t Forget About Us. 

Wikipedia photo of the passengers on board the Komagata Maru

In his apology in the House of Commons in 2016 Prime Minister Trudeau said that The Komagata Maru passengers were no different than millions of other immigrants to Canada.  They were simply seeking refuge and a better life for their families. They had much to contribute to Canada and we failed them utterly.

Nimrat Randhawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the formal apology for the Komagata Maru incident, May 18, 2016.

Nimrat Randhawa, the great, great granddaughter of Gurdit Singh the man who organized the attempt by the Komagata Maru passengers to gain entry into Canada. The photo was taken at the time of Canada’s formal apology to the Komagata Maru passengers. 

During his apology the Prime Minister urged people not to forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community in Canada. Jagdeep Raina’s artwork is a good reminder of the Prime Minister’s request.   You can read more about the Komagata Maru incident on the website of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

Other posts………

A Carpet Conversation About the Universe

Sports Equipment and Salt

Hyphenated Lives

Wrestling Farmers


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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

Wrestling Farmers

At the Three Gorges Dam. I am furthest to the left.

When I visited the Three Gorges Dam site in China I discovered this sculpture showing farmers wrestling. It was meant to depict how for thousands of years farmers have had to fight the flooding waters of the Yangtze. I immediately thought of that art piece in China when I saw….. this artwork at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is called Farmer is A Wrestler. It was created by Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. It is part of the current Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The artists wanted to show the struggle it is to farm in India today. In an interview, they talk about the crippling debt of many farmers in the Punjab region in northern India and how their financial crisis has sometimes led to the farmers’ committing suicide. 

The sculpture I saw in China was related to the Yangtze River.  In their installation, Thukral and Tagra have included light fixtures that echo the shape of the River Beas which flows through the state of Punjab. 

I’ve written before about how new texts become meaningful when we can connect them to previous texts we have experienced. The installation Farmer is a Wrestler took on new meaning for me when I thought about the similar artwork I had seen in another Asian country. 

Other posts……..

Now We’ve Been to Sister Cities

Three Gorges Yangtze River Project

Hyphenated Lives

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Filed under Art, China, India, Nature

Pilgrim or Tourist?

I am giving a sermon this morning on the difference between being a pilgrim and a tourist.  A tourist goes through life just seeing sights, avoiding personal commitments and remaining untouched by their experiences. Pilgrims, on the other hand, invest time, talk and interest in the people they meet and allow themselves to be changed by their experiences.  I am going to offer my listeners four suggestions for how they can be pilgrims rather than tourists.

My husband dave consults a map before we start hiking around Pompei

  1. Plan ahead.  In his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell says when on the threshold of a new adventure, we should consult allies like maps, music, artwork, books or people that point us in the right direction. We can plan ahead by learning about new places we will visit. We can plan ahead for the birth of a grandchild, a visit from friends or even for the journey of our own death.

    Cycling with family around Lake Konstanz

  2. Enjoy the journey as much as your arrival at your destination. Gregory the Great, said, “do not avoid the journey, hastening to the arrival point, for the journey itself can be an occasion for growth.” I am trying to get a children’s book published. It is a long journey but I am enjoying the new people I am meeting and the things I am learning. It will have been a good experience whether I ever publish a book or not. One year we went on a bicycle trip around Lake Konstanz in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.  The journey was the whole point, not arriving at our final destination.

    With a school principal in Cambodia, I got to know

  3. Make friends. Keenan Kelsey an American Presbyterian minister says, “Living participation is what separates the pilgrim from the tourist. The tourist remains an aloof observer as if they were at the theatre. They are never a part of the show.” Pilgrims make a point of interacting with people. They talk to those sitting next to them on a city bus, partnered with them on the golf course, or beside them on a tour. Many years ago I began to do this very deliberately and it has been transforming.

    Sometimes I reflect on my experiences with sketches

  4. Reflect on your experience. Niebuhr wrote that pilgrims are poets who create after taking a journey. We aren’t all poets but as we journey through life some of us reflect on our experiences by writing songs or stories. Some people sketch or paint or get together to talk with others who have made similar journeys.  One thing that helps me reflect on my life journey is keeping this blog.

    With my Advanced Composition class in Hong Kong-Living and Working in China was a transformative experience for me

    Walter R. Rossi says “tourists evaluate the success of a trip by how many different souvenirs they bring home and the number of places they can list as having visited. On life’s journey do some of us determine our success by how many things we accumulate and how many accomplishments we can list? Rossi says pilgrims deem a journey a success by the way it has transformed them as a person.

    On the journey of life will you be a pilgrim or a tourist? 

Other posts………

Crossing Abbey Road

Do Not Become Alarmed

Does She Have A Chance

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Filed under Reflections, Travel

A Carpet Conversation About the Universe

raqs media collective The Necessity of InfinityDid you know you are looking at a conversation?  This beautiful wool carpet is woven through with metalized thread.  It is called The Necessity of Infinity and was created by the Raqs Media Collective consisting of artists Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta.  Their carpet serves as a stage for a conversation between two great Persian scholars who lived in the 10th century.avicenna-2 The silver threads in the carpet represent the words of Ibn Sina the author of more than 450 books most of them about medicine and healing. He is often called the Father of Modern Medicine.  Iba Sina was also very interested in, and knowledgeable about, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. 

The golden threads in the carpet represent the words of Al Beruni. He studied mathematics, astronomy, geography, religion, and history. Among other things, he researched how the earth spins on its axis and figured out the lines of longitude and latitude for more than a thousand cities. He also wrote a pharmacy book in which he described every single known medicine of his time. 

The two men carried on a vibrant correspondence with one another over a period of some two years discussing their different understandings of what Aristotle had to say about the universe. They argued about whether all the planets had gravity and rotated. Al Beruni who lived in present-day Turkmenistan believed that human beings were all alone in the universe but Ibn Sina who lived some 250 miles away in present-day Uzbekistan argued that there could be many worlds other than our own. There is no evidence the two men ever met in person but The Raqs Media Collective imagined they did.  

neccesity of infinity by raqs collectiveWhen The Necessity of Infinity was on display at the Sharjah Museum in the United Arab Emirates two actors dressed as Beruni and Sina actually carried on a conversation about the universe on the carpet.

The Necessity of Infinity is part of the Vision Exchange exhibit currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 

Other posts………

Hyphenated Lives

Sports Equipment and Salt

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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

Sports Equipment and Salt

This half circle of salt that features marble sports equipment is part of an installation by artist Sarindar Dhaliwal in the Vision Exchange exhibit currently on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The cricket bat, field hockey stick, and badminton racket represent sports that were brought to India in their modern form by British colonizers although a game very similar to field hockey was played in the 17th century in the Punjab state of India called khido khundi.  Khido referred to the woolen ball and khundi to the stick.  

A team from India wins the Under 19 World Cricket Championships in 2018

India has become a formidable force in the world of cricket.  India’s elite took up the sport in order to build relationships with the British and its popularity spread to the general population.

India’s national women’s cricket team

This led the way for the creation of some superstar cricketers and India’s international success in the sport.

Why is the sports equipment lying on a bed of salt? In 1882 India was under British rule and the British passed a Salt Act which banned Indians from collecting or selling salt.  Salt had to be bought from the British and they added a heavy tax to each purchase.

Gandhi was joined by thousands on his Salt March.

In 1930 to protest the salt tax Indian leader Gandhi led a salt march.  Thousands of people walked down to the sea to collect salt from the salt flats there.

Gandhi bends down to pick up a lump of salt

Gandhi was arrested after he bent down to pick up a small lump of salt.  Gandhi’s actions led to peaceful protest demonstrations all over India. The British police force responded and in the end, some 60,000 protesters were arrested. Although India would not gain independence from the British until 1947 the salt march and the civil disobedience it inspired gave Gandhi a seat at the table in the discussions about India’s future.

Salt and sports equipment. Two symbols of India’s past as a colony of the British but also symbols of a future when India would control its own natural resources and make its own name in the sports world. 

Other posts……..

A Different Kind of Snow Angel

Hyphenated Lives

India Assaults the Senses

The Heros Walk

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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

Swimming With Manatees

Dave gets suited up in the dive shop.

Today is National Manatee Day, so I am reposting this blog I wrote in 2014. We went snorkeling at Three Sisters Springs a manatee sanctuary near Homosassa Florida where we were staying with our friends Jeff and Anna.  Jeff arranged the tour for us and suggested we go on the 6am launch with a boat from the Bird’s Underwater Inc.

Getting ready to swim with the manatees in Florida

Few snorkelers or kayakers are in the water at that hour and so the manatees are laid back and friendly. The West Indian manatees wait for the sun to come up before heading out to the Gulf of Mexico to eat seaweed. 

It was very cold and we left the dock in darkness and fog with our knowledgeable and capable guide Donna.  When we arrived at the springs only the two boats from our sanctuary with about 10 snorkelers each were there.  And did we see manatees! How I wish I’d had a underwater camera. (The photos of manatee in this post were all taken from on board the boat after we’d been in the water for about ninety minutes.)  One of the women snorkeling with us said this was her fourth visit to Three Sisters springs and she had never seen as many manatee on any previous dive. 

They swam right under us. I’d think I was swimming over a high rock only to glance down and realize there was a manatee beneath me.  Once I looked over and Dave had one manatee nipping at his ankles, another with its nose right up to his face mask, and he was petting a third beside him.  

Donna told us if we were very still in the water the manatee would come right up to us and they did. I could pat their thick hide and feel the bristly hair on their bodies, touch their long whiskers, run my fingers along the scars on their skin, brush away the algae sticking to their backs, rub their bellies when they flipped over and see the seaweed in their mouths. Their flat wide tails brushed against my body and they nibbled on my hair. 

The manatees have a sort of pre-historic quality about them and that makes sense because they’ve found fossils of manatee in Florida that are 45 million years old. Their nearest relative is the elephant. 

We saw little babies and juveniles and huge adult manatees  We saw mothers nursing their babies and adults mating. We didn’t realize how cold we were after all that time in the water till we got on board and were just shaking. The manatee were so amazing you didn’t even think about being cold. Once Dave had his wet suit off and his clothes back on he stood out in the sun at the back of the boat to warm up. As we left the Three Sisters Spring area about ten new boats had arrived with dozens and dozens of snorkelers. Kayaks were beginning to fill up the cove.  The manatee wanting to escape from all the commotion were heading out to sea in large numbers and away from the spring area. I was so glad we’d come early before so many of the manatee left the cove. 

Swimming with the manatee was a great experience. I was a little apprehensive and scared about it before hand but the manatee were so gentle and it was such a thrill to get up so close to such intriguing  sea creatures. 

Other encounters with interesting creatures are described in these posts……….

Hong Kong Frogs That Sound Like Cows Bellowing

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Bison

It’s All Happening at the Zoo

The Animals of Australia

Seeing Sea Creatures 

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Filed under Florida, Nature, Sports, Travel


Sign on a hiking path near Hiroshima Japan- 10 Minutes Walk – (7 If You Run A Little)  Sign on our family cottage at Moose Lake. Tsunami evacuation sign in Phuket ThailandSign outside the art gallery in Minneapolis. Sign warning of a land mine in CambodiaDave with our friend Alan in Singapore. Neither Dave or Alan really had to worry about ducking despite the warning sign. Dave and his brother Paul point to the sign at the entrance to the Bird Garden in Hong KongI pose by the Abbey Road sign in London.  Abbey Road was made famous on a Beatles album. Street sign I photographed in Madrid.  A misogynist sign I found in a bowling alley in Vientiene Laos. Sign showing us all the different kinds of fish we might see while snorkeling in Borneo. Danger sign in a thermal park we hiked through in Rotorua New Zealand Sign indicating the men’s washroom in Kyoto Japan.Sign on a T-shirt I found in a souvenir shop in Jerusalem. Volcano emergency sign information posted in a house we rented in Iceland

Sign in one of the hotels we stayed in while on a bike trip in Germany.  It means “The laughter you send you comes right back to you.”

Other posts……….



On A Boat


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Filed under Travel