A Wilderness Jewel: Lake Moraine

Recently another blogger, an American ex-pat living and teaching in Thailand, mentioned she saw someone selling canned Canadian air to mainland Chinese tourists. Not a surprising scam. Whenever we’re hiking or snowshoeing in a Canadian national park, I always marvel sucking in fresh mountain air,  gazing over clear turquoise gem lake waters, pristine expansive wilderness…

Art and Alchemy of Glassmaking: Tacoma, Washington

After viewing Chihuly’s Glass and Garden site in Seattle, the following year we took the train 45 km. south of Seattle to Tacoma. Tacoma has been historically a poorer, smaller sibling town to Seattle. It has had a predominantly blue collar population with some water vessel building and maintenance facilities for the military and private…

Glass Art Fantasia in Seattle

Many times when in downtown Seattle, we strolled by the Chihuly Glass and Garden, or colloquially named the Glass Sculpture Garden, near the Space Needle.  We finally paid the admission fee and went inside to discover what lay beyond the glass sculptural twirling shapes sticking up over the bush hedges. Alchemy of Glass Colour, Textural…

Bowing Wild Deer, Warrior with a Writing Brush

Since Japan was my first step into Asia, here’s a salutary bag of traveller stories and pithy impressions. After we happily munched on just warm pounded, luscious matcha mochi from a downtown Nara shop, we strolled over to Nara Park, a heritage park steeped in Japanese Buddhism, some temples …and its wild deer. Bowing, Hungry…

Art Awakens Commuters, Tourists: Transit Rail Stations

This blog post aims to inspire the cynic and apathetic.  In other words, art deniers don’t want to appreciate art for waiting commuters and walk-through visitors who appreciate visually distinctive stops for a liveable city. A city worth visiting, stopping and remembering well.  For locals and for attracting tourists to even take transit as part…

Touch My Seoul and its Strength

Oddly, the official tourism sites for Seoul seem to be tepid and lack lots of dynamic photos for this great vibrant and historic city in South Korea. It’s only 20 km. away from DMZ, or demilitarized zone by North Korea. Seoul and South Korea – Not Same Romanticization as Japan Maybe Seoul or indeed South…

Deep Temple Bell, Celestial Female Musicians

Jack and I were wandering in central Kyoto city, somewhere not far from Nishiki Market and the Kamogawa river.  During our trip in Kyoto, for several days we would wander into neighbourhood Shinto shrines or come upon a Buddhist huge bronze temple bell either a small one or at large Zen Buddhist temple complexes. Needless…

For Fun, Attention or Quiet Self-Identity : National Heritage Dress

One thing for certain, travelling in big cities of Japan and South Korea, you can rent a national dress and parade around in it for a few hours.  It’s around 30 – 45 Canadian dollars.  We never saw this money-making practice when we were in Germany, France, Denmark, Czech Republic nor Barcelona, Spain.  Maybe there’s…

Much Matcha Green Tea Desserts: Japan and Seoul, South Korea

Maybe we were a tad crazy during our two week trip, in Japan and Seoul:  it was almost a matcha tea dessert every day.   Yea  –in addition to sipping sometimes a lovely cup of medium to high grade matcha or at least green tea.  There is a sublime difference. Birthplace and Hub of Japan’s Centuries…

Different Flavours for Different Farmers’ Markets: Canada and Abroad

It’s de rigour for us to check out the local farmers’ market whenever we travel and visit a town, city or country. Squeezing in Happy Time– Local and Abroad In past blog posts, I’ve enjoyed showcasing a few in Toronto, Vancouver, Freiburg (Germany) and Hilo (Hawai’i)  –wonderful local foods, sometimes crafts and ambience which puts…

Care and Creative Expressions: 500 Years for L’Hotel Dieu

Initially I wasn’t keen to visit a heritage hospital and convent in Beaune, France.  Like many folks, I associate hospitals with dull institutional places that ..do great work for people from birth to death. There is no North American equivalent like L’Hotel Dieu  —  very old and with past health care public service for 500…

Awestruck on La Rambla and Beyond: Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona, Spain is like Vancouver, British Columbia  –millions of tourists pour into each city every year.  After four days, we still had not exhausted its rich treasure chest of sights and experiences.  Inevitably visitors end up crossing or on its main pedestrian street, La Rambla. It was my first time in Spain whereas for Jack,…

Bike Touring : Some Life Tips

To kickstart the new year with you, here’s an infographic I’ve hammered out. Below the infographic starts off with predictable advice from two cyclists bumping along roads and pathways over the past 25 years.  Humbling lessons learned from kilometres dragging our butts and gear at home and beyond.  Lessons for any life journey –liberating, difficult…

Are North American Cities Boring?

For some North Americans after a long European vacation trip, returning home is to the familiar and mundane  –especially  when home doesn’t have soaring, centuries old architectural monuments or lots of jaw-dropping art.  Or the North American just might be relieved:  thank goodness for space and wilderness.   As a Canadian, I don’t quite view Europe as prime destination to experience stunning,…

Flickers of Chance: Wild Creature Sights

Throughout Cyclewrite, I’ve featured magnificent deer, elk, bighorn sheep, eagles and blue herons. Most  photo gems taken by myself and Jack, were simply random opportunities where each of us did not plan to stalk the creatures. Serendipitous Benefits and Outdoor Activities Over the years, serendiptous wildlife sightings are just another benefit of spending lots of…

Canadian Camping Newbie @32 Years

My first time camping in a tent on the ground was when I was 32 years old.  I just started to know my partner who had been on numerous camping trips himself. That seminal, first camping time was during a bike trip outside of Toronto.  It meant cycling with our gear, sleeping bag for  over…

Reject Not at First Glance : Stained Glass Church Art

Two decades ago, I tossed out my 30-lb. stained glass artwork into the garbage a few years after I finished two stained glass art courses.  I dubbed the art piece, “Spring Thaw”. “Spring Thaw” was hoisted out into the garbage room,  because I thought it was unworthy of transporting 4,000 km. in moving  to Vancouver from Toronto.  Yes, it was…