The Good Things


Sitting here in a new home base in Lisbon, in beautiful weather, I have unfortunately managed to hit a very unexpected and (for the moment) massive wall of traveler's blues - a road-weary feeling that hasn't occurred since a few dark and wet nights in Amsterdam last fall.

As such, some reflections seem necessary on what makes up the good life - ideas and items which I've either learned or had reinforced in the past year. I'll leave out the obvious (family, friends, charity) and the intimate.

  • fish
  • stroopwafels

  • (but stay away from fish-flavoured stroopwafels)
  • wine
  • Guinness
  • real tea
  • garlic
  • Spanish coffee
  • ginger
  • pizza
  • fennel
  • less vitamins
Hang out with:
  • dogs

Live near:
Get on:
  • a bike
  • Skype
  • a train
  • more time
  • less excuses
  • an effort
  • more meals with your partner
  • one new place per year, minimum
  • old relatives
  • neighbourhood shop owners
  • urban parks

  • less reality TV
  • The Daily Show
  • gas prices less
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • live music
  • stay up till 5am very occasionally
  • less texting
  • more calling
  • take pictures of your current hometown
  • comment on your favourite blogs (the authors like hearing from you)
  • learn other languages
Listen to:
  • Thievery Corporation
  • U2 (pre-mid-90s)
  • Marvin Gaye
  • iTunes Radio


Last Post from Paris


Another Parisian visit is in the books, with the author's irrational and hopeless infatuation with the place showing no signs of abating.

Even with a ridiculous cough and ridiculouser fever - one which makes you make up new words - the city provided enough good meals and epic views to soothe the soul.

Meet Lois and Dick, from Dallas, Texas. They were visiting Paris for six days, had matching shirts, said they planned to spend at least two nights dancing the jitterbug, and are the couple that you want to be when you're older.

Crepe avec stewed apples, caramel ice cream, and calvados brandy.

Part of an exhibit devoted solely to rare trees

Notre Dame at night

The best spot on the continent

Ok, send me your alternatives and other suggestions, but for a personal favourite place on the planet I have to go with the Marie de Medicis fountain in Paris' Jardin du Luxembourg.

I'm guessing that Thomas Francini - the man who drew up the plans for it in the 1600's - could not have the imagined the happiness that his creation would elicit in a dorky Canadian tourist some 400 years later. But in case his descendants read random blogs about travel, thank you M. Francini. Sincerely.

The place is just steps away from busy St-Michel boulevard in the heart of Paris, but it is an almost silent urban oasis any time of day.

It is lined with chairs for anyone to sit down and eat lunch, read a book, draw, make out, take photos, contemplate life, meditate, or just plain sit and drink it in.

The first six photos here are all from the exact spot of the fountain itself, shot from various angles and one with a Hipstamatic lens; the others, from the Jardin du Luxembourg overall.

I also babbled on about this place almost a year ago in a similar post, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves from this point onwards.