How To Visit Seville Without Melting

Visit Sivelle

The heat hammered the pavement, slamming against our skin from both directions. Leaning forward in my seat I stretched my hand toward our tiny sidewalk table and the glorious beer it bore. The small glass was slick from the moisture gathering on its sides. I clutched it tightly. I’m typically not a huge fan of beer, but I’m quickly learning the drink is a godly reprieve from my advanced melting-into-a-puddle condition. I’m telling you, heat is kryptonite to us Canadians.

Here’s how I toured the city. Comfortably.  Continue reading

10 Things I Have Learned About Spain And Spaniards

Learned About Spain And Spaniards

The murmur from the streets slipped into the house as J and I stepped out under the stars. The soft orange light from the street lamps failed to mask the night sky completely. Under the glow the streets were awash with activity. Neatly dressed women glided by behind baby-carriages. Their laughter mingled with the boisterous discussions sounding out from the tables scattered about the main street. Savory food hissed on grills every few meters.

El Rompido glimpsed during the day looked like a ghost town—but as the cool air of the night began to settle in everyone spilled out of their homes and the village was reborn.  Without fail I was amazed by the transformation of this small seaside village each and every evening. Continue reading

Tenerife: Visiting The Foot of Teide

Teide Demon

As we climbed higher the vegetation began to scatter. The land was slowly balding. Rocks jutted from the ground around scraggly shrubs. As the road curved I realized we would be piercing the crown of rock. Mount Teide had loomed in our discussions of places to visit for weeks, but my partner’s parents had wanted to wait for the veil of calima to dissipate.

This was finally it! I’d be travelling into my first volcano crater in moments! My heart began to flutter as fast as the screeching wind ripping past the car.

Then the wall swallowed us up and spit us out into the devil’s arena.

Continue reading

Tenerife: Masca, Los Gigantes, La Laguna

Tenerife 2014 Xmas-199

When it comes to describing the pristine landscapes of foreign hotspots one can’t help but use the same words as a vacation pamphlet: sun, nature, peaceful, vast, monumental and exotic. These words brimmed over the valley walls surrounding the village of Masca and my lips ached to whisper them. I swallowed and looked harder.

Precarious. Stubborn. A stronghold. I saw a landlocked ship among the geo-waves. Hidden among the giant crests, a green ark rested for eternity, carrying a small clutch of humanity and gardens. At its prow, an imposing figure proclaimed the direction to the sea. Is this the ribbed turtle that carries the world upon its back?

Continue reading

A Pair of Canadians Tackling Big Hills: Part 2

Lisa hill title

That hill was a journey in itself.

I remember seeing it for the first time. As we’d inched our way up an incline tailing the dozen before, this unassuming beast had risen from the crest of our latest achievement. My friend, pushing ahead, released an exasperated groan. I would soon echo it as I gawked at the climb ahead of us.

It was a country road. To a car the stretch would have been an effortless task—full of fresh country air and sweet sunshine—but for us each breathless push of the pedals led to a cycle that grew heavier. It was like winding up a spring. I glanced at my tires to make sure I hadn’t caught something in the brakes or chain, which could be adding friction.  It couldn’t be me could it? I didn’t feel tired. Where was the weight coming from? Was this the reality between physical strength and will?

Continue reading

A Canadian Duo on Bicycles: Part 1

Lisa Cycle Title

How can you tell you have the best friend in the world?

You drag her on a 142 kilometre bike trip and at the end of it all she still thanks you for the time spent together.

I wouldn’t call my friend crazy, but lord… we certainly weren’t qualified for that trip. My friend rides horses for a living and I ride my bike for 20 minutes to and from work. We’re not super fit and yet we decided heading out on a massive two day bike trip would be hilarious.

But around the cursing and wheezing I rediscovered the joys of hanging out with a childhood friend and even picked up some philosophy somewhere on the backside of a monstrous hill.

Continue reading

Cambridge Buskers and Street Performers Festival

Busker Fest title better

I’ve heard it said that market squares were once considered the heart of a town. Before the giant grocery stores of today everyone converged at the central market to find their wares and catch up on the town’s news. The square was home to the local economy, social discourse and arts. Everything passed through it.

Gazing around Cambridge’s Market Square I could still see the heart people have spoken about from by-gone days. Today in particular merchants mingled with activists right beside artists busy enthralling the curious crowds.

The Cambridge Buskers and Street Performers Festival is a shot of adrenaline for a city already driven by a spirit that just won’t sit still.

Continue reading

Xieng Khouang Province to Pakse, Laos

Title

The bus was speeding down the road as though creatures from the shadowed pits of hell were nipping at its back bumper. It swerved and dodged the potholes flashing through the headlights. When it missed, the bus jerked and jolted. My body was thrown about as I clung to my backpack and the shred of hope of sleeping through this nightmare.

Continue reading

Strawberry Fair, England: 1st Saturday of June

Strawberry Fair titleMy head rose and fell, as I nodded in the peace of the day. My makeshift pillow, the soft tummy of my partner, grew and shrank with each breathe. The warmth of the sunshine coupled with the body heat under my head surrounded me in warmth. Like a cat sprawled under a sunbeam I stretched out in blissful contentment. Nothing strayed from the slow rhythm in my little bubble of perception. Silent intermittent splashes of shade played across my body as clouds drifted across the vast sky.

Electronic music, zingy and energetic blasted from the stage of the Super Mega Zone. But its contagious beat fired harmlessly over our heads as we dozed on the soft grass of the Midsummer Common. A few daring souls bounced and bumped close to the stage as the rest of the onlookers bobbed their heads in appreciation.

Continue reading