Category: Travel

Christmas Letter 2018

Posted December 5th, 2018
Christmas Letter 2018

We flew off to Montreal in October for some poutine, some art museum and a ride on the Grande Roue Ferris wheel, and came back to strange goings-on in the climate controls of the car. The Scion’s fan hadn’t been working well, clacking on low, squawking on high. Then there was that suspicious odor. The…

In The Shadow of Mont-Royal 1: Art Everywhere

Posted November 30th, 2018
In The Shadow of Mont-Royal 1: Art Everywhere

Art is everywhere in Montreal. In that chilly breeze in October, in the slaty light, the stroll down Sherbrooke to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts took us past memorials to Steve Jobs and Canada’s poet laureate, Leonard Cohen. The campus—for all those buildings around the intersection of Sherbrooke and the jogged ends of the…

Book # 23 in 2018: “Mad Enchantment” by Ross King

Posted June 25th, 2018
Mad Enchantment

Every time I pick up a Ross King book, it’s longer and weightier. Brunelleschi’s Dome was a little bit of a thing, perfect for reading on a transcontinental flight. Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling was longer but then the Sistine Chapel ceiling is a better documented creation. The Judgment of Paris was longer still and…

Book # 22 in 2018: “The Pharaoh Key” by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Posted June 24th, 2018
Book # 22 in 2018: “The Pharaoh Key” by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

I do like Gideon Crew–quite a bit more than Preston & Child’s better-known sleuth, Agent Pendergast, whom I find annoying in the southern, courtly, albino-pale, omniscient and omnipotent way. “The Pharaoh Key” (#5 in the Gideon Crew series) was a giggle and a treat I inhaled like melting ice cream on a hot summer’s day….

Book # 20 in 2018: “Twilight of the Belle Epoque” by Mary McAuliffe

Posted May 29th, 2018
Book # 20 in 2018: “Twilight of the Belle Epoque” by Mary McAuliffe

According to the introduction, Mary McAuliffe produced “Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso,Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends through the Great War” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) as a sort of conclusion to “Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their…

Hyggelig 6: A Copenhagen Miscellany

Posted May 26th, 2018
Hyggelig 6: A Copenhagen Miscellany

Note to self: if there is the chance to drop off luggage before the room has been prepared, drop off everything except for telephone, wallet, camera and guidebook. As we waved hej-hej (that’s “bye-bye”) to Lars the landlord and strolled into town, I realized that my tablet, hardcover book and the heaps of stuff one…

Hyggelig 5: Rick Steves Writes a Crappy Guidebook

Posted May 19th, 2018
Hyggelig 5: Rick Steves Writes a Crappy Guidebook

I don’t like Rick Steves’ television persona. I find him sanctimonious, arrogant and supercilious, veneered with faux naiveté and faked authority. I don’t like his insistence that the primary and dominant function of travel is “getting to know” the locals—whether or not they want to get to know some random tourist. I take offense at…

Hyggelig 4: Foot, Bicycle and the Red Bus

Posted May 13th, 2018
Hyggelig 4: Foot, Bicycle and the Red Bus

We were in the car—mostly the only time I listen to the game shows on National Public Radio—and Ask Me Another with Ophira Eisenberg came on, broadcast from Orlando, Florida. This and that bit went by and a new contest started. The object of the game was to identify whether a particular quotation was from…

Hyggelig 3: From Counterculture Colors to the Black Diamond

Posted May 11th, 2018
Hyggelig 3: From Counterculture Colors to the Black Diamond

Christianshavn is a relic of 17th-century development. Thus its shape is that of a segment of a circle with the København Havn (the redundant “Merchants Harbor Port”) representing the chord and Stadsgraven Canal forming the arc.  Originally a moat protecting the ramparts of the city’s ring of fortifications, Stadsgraven marks the beginning of the southern…

Hyggelig 2: Bulls and Dragons

Posted May 9th, 2018
Hyggelig 2: Bulls and Dragons

My Dear One pointed it out to me on our first stroll: “Mr. Softee.” The spire of the of Børsen, the Old Stock Exchange, with its quartet of dragons, tails entwined, does indeed look at first glance like an attenuated tower of soft-serve ice cream. Above the dragons, three orbs symbolize the nations of Denmark,…