I was convinced that the castles, palaces and baronial homes were beautiful buildings to look at and admire, like a piece of art, but too big, draughty, gloomy and impersonal to ever want to live inside. Until now. Until I visited Portugal’s Pena Palace.
Lisbon is not a pristine place so there were many patches of sidewalk that had been torn up or exposed revealing its construction and the shape of the stones. The Lisbon cobbles were deep; much deeper than they were wide at the surface. I was immediately consumed by the idea that the cobbles looked like row after row of buried petit fours.
It was almost midnight when arrived at our B&B in Lisbon. The owner – who doesn’t live in the building, which is what I look for when choosing a B&B - met us at the door and checked us in. From our window we had a clear view of a castle on a hill, beautifully lit.
The following morning we appreciated what a truly perfect spot this was.
If you have that post-draft, post-rewrite, obsessive and often irrationally violent dislike of a recently completed manuscript then you may suffer from what I call Literary Dysmorphic Disorder; where writers see the flaws in their manuscript magnified by an irrational extent. For those afflicted with LDD, nothing short of a plot rhinoplasty or literary liposuction will do.
Before my first trip to Arkansas I explained that I was going there because one of my best friends lived in Fayetteville. Now, after I've seen North West Arkansas for myself , when someone asks, ‘Why there?’ I tell them that Fayetteville is the new Paris.
I’ve written about place. About not feeling connected to a geography. And yet… each fall there is one place I miss. I have yet to experience a place that has autumns as pretty as Ontario.
My sister’s birthday is October 2nd so this year on my way to Arkansas I thought I'd swing through Ontario and pay her a birthday visit.
I have an unlikely history of watching sports on TV. Unlikely because I grew up in a home with two sisters, a mom and a father who were all supremely uninterested in televised sports. Dad and Elli would much rather be outside doing something than watching someone else do it on TV. Not me.
I began by watching hockey - ice hockey to my European friends – when I started high school.
It was almost time to say goodbye to Iceland. We had three more days left; one big adventure.
On Friday the 13th we rose early to catch a flight from Reykjavik to Husavik. We were booked that same afternoon on a sailboat from Husavik into the Greenland Sea. We were going whale and puffin watching.
My sporty, outdoorsy daughter is a veteran of backcountry huts. She’s used them for years for hiking and for her off-piste ski adventures. This was my first experience and it was not what I’d expected.
Each hut was different. Landmannalaugar Hut was the largest. The bunks were so deep that you slid in feet first and we all slept together, packed tightly, like rows of sardines in a tin.