Wandering Through the Crucible of Western Civilization

Views of the Acropolis from the Agora

To journey back to Athens was to exit mythological time and step into the historical.

We walked the winding streets of the Plaka in silence, as though on pilgrimage to a sacred place. As narrow-alley Antifioki wound ever upward, I reflected on my first visit to the Acropolis: eagerly awaited and long overdue.

On the road to Epidaurus

On the road in the Peloponnese

Drifting Through Heroic Time

Mycenae commanded the Argive plain

Standing atop the citadel, it was easy to see how the rulers of Mycenae could command the surrounding Argive plain, a self-contained world of rich agriculture and high pasturelands, walled off by mountains and easily defended passes.

Nighttime in the Vatican Museum

The River Nile personified in stone.

I was in Rome a few weeks ago playing tour guide.

Now, I won’t play tour guide for very many people, but one of my oldest friends was visiting. It was her first trip to Europe, and Rome was the city at the top of her list.

Travel Back in Time to Shibamata

Tora-san welcomes us to Shibamata

I want to tell you about an area of Tokyo I discovered on my last trip to Japan.

It may not be of interest to you on a first visit to this massive city. But if you’re a repeat visitor, you’ll want to check it out.

What is Your Ideal Life?

A lifetime ago in a place far, far away. (Pic by Colin O’Connor)

Something I read in a novel once has always stuck with me.

I don’t even remember what the book was, but I remember this scene very clearly.

I Hate My Phone

Is this thing the bane of travel?

I hate my phone.

Well, not just my phone, but all phones that fit in one’s pocket.

There’s a direct correlation between the portability of one’s devices and the sense of obligation other people have for your attention.

“Futuristic” Tokyo Lodged in the Past

Tokyo Bay at night

I want to share a few Tokyo discoveries with you as I catch up on the year’s travels by posting long overdue blogs.

It’s a city I know well. I lived there from 2000 to 2002, and I go back nearly every year for a visit.

Summer Festivals in the Barbarian North

Hidaka Hibuse festival in Mizusawa

Local festivals are big in Japan. It’s one of the great things about Japanese summer.

There’s the food, of course. My favourite festival foods include yakisoba (fried noodles), yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), and of course gallons of draft beer.

Adrift in Europe’s Capital of Cool

Is this what it’s like to live in Berlin…?

A group of four shirtless guys sat on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in slow listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, was pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad driver smacked him with the reigns and urged him to trot faster.