The ‘Forbidden City’ just outside Berlin

This was once the largest Red Army base outside the USSR

The largest Red Army base outside the Soviet Union was a 40 minute drive south of Berlin.

It was just beyond where the new airport — and the old Schönefeld SXF — is today.

Cynical Theories are tearing us apart

This new book by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay is essential reading for anyone struggling to make sense of the self-contradictory ‘woke’ ideology that’s spread divisive cancel culture like a mind virus through our workplaces, public policy and social lives.

The abandoned airport down the street

Tempelhof airport was once the world’s largest building

I’m moving flats next month and saying goodbye to Tempelhofer Feld, my favourite space in the neighbourhood.

But before I pack up my books and lug them across town, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history of what was once the world’s largest building.

The Heavy Load-Bearing Body Down the Street

The base of the Schwerbelastungskörper

I’m moving flats soon, after four years, leaving this neighbourhood behind for another pre-war altbau in a different part of the city.

Imminent departure has prompted me to poke around some of those minor historic sites I’ve passed so often but never gotten around to exploring.

To The Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace

Kapka Kassabova is taking us back to the Balkans.

I’ve been looking forward to something new from this wonderful writer since Border, which was my top travel read of 2018.

That earlier book touched on the author’s childhood in Bulgaria, and To The Lake takes us deeper as she journeys to her grandmother’s place of origin in the mountainous Macedonian lake district.

Hitler’s Scientists Put Men on the Moon

V-1 and V-2 rockets at the Nazi’s Peenemünde Army Research Centre

The second-largest island on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast is a summer vacation paradise. But it once housed a massive secret weapons program that the Nazis hoped would allow them to snatch victory from the closing jaws of defeat.

Cut Stones and Crossroads

Cut Stones and Crossroads by Ronald Wright

Ronald Wright traveled Peru in the 1970’s and 80’s, fresh from university with a degree in archaeology, feeding an obsession with the Inca Empire sparked by a random adventure novel he’d read in his teens.

Happy Canada Day

 

Happy #CanadaDay2020 to all my friends and family back home.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in two decades of travel — having lived in 3 other countries, and traveled and written about close to 80 more — is that we’ve got it very good back home.

Geographies of memory shape today

The St. Lawrence downriver from my hometown, and the islands I knew…

We talked about ‘spirit of place’ in my last blog — locations and landscapes that hold an almost mystical resonance for each of us. We connect to such places on a deep level. They feel intimately familiar even when visiting for the first time.

Do you believe in the spirit of place?

The desert is my personal landscape — what’s yours?

The novelist and island writer Lawrence Durrell believed we are each aligned with certain places.

This is where we do our best work because we resonate with the Spirit of Place.