I can walk by tourist crap without a second glance. Fridge magnets, plastic fans, and I Heart T-shirts don’t do it for me.
But, give me a story. Throw in a bit of history, polish it with the patina of time and romance. Tell me something is rare and I’m reaching for my credit card.
There’s a small vineyard in Mazzorbo, Venice.
The sales presentation is flawless; crisp white linen and crystal wine glasses. The story is exquisite; a grape thought lost to history, a wine the Venetian Doges drank. The wine bottles themselves are works of art, the glass made in Murano, and the label wrought from paper-thin gold leaf.
Did I mention the bottles are numbered by hand, and the wine comes in the cutest little wood crate?
Was I aware I was being taken in by a fantastic sales pitch? Vaguely, but— Wine the Doges drank!
Was the wine even good?
You’re asking the wrong person. I don’t like wine.
Suckered in. Hook, line, and sinker 🙂
When you’ve seen enough museums, castles, and churches. When your feet are killing you and you can’t access Google Maps because the battery on your phone has died. When the clouds open up and you left your umbrella in the hotel…
Something familiar. Some place that’s just like home.
Don’t think I don’t see the irony here.
We pack our bags and hit the road because we want to see new, different, other — and then all we want is the same old, same old.
Because being a stranger in a strange land is exhausting. Also interesting, exciting, and amazing, but it fries the brain.
For most North Americans, that little bit of home is a Starbucks or if we’re really desperate a McDonald’s. For Canadians though, nothing says home like Tim’s.
In Belfast, a block or two away from their incredibly beautiful city hall … could it be? Nah. No way, not here.
But, yes. There it was, as Canadian as the Maple Leaf — Tim Hortons in Northern Ireland.
Did I go in?
Two words for you — French Vanilla 🙂
Window on Time
Walk with the Eternal.
Wishes over water.
All pictures: Pont du Gard, France.
Watching with care,
Waiting in welcome,
Windows of the soul.
You’re late. Where are you?
I drove out to Niagara-on-the-Lake recently, a small town in Southern Ontario with a big history. Founded in 1782 by Empire Loyalists fleeing the newly created United States of America, Niagara-on-the-Lake became a battle ground between the Americans and the British during the War of 1812.
Today, Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to the Shaw Festival (summer theatre) and wine, wine tours, and wineries.
I stopped by McFarland House for tea and a tour.
Built in 1800, McFarland House was unusual in its day in that it was constructed from brick instead of wood. It served as a hospital for both American and British troops during the War of 1812 and thus became one of the few houses to survive the period.
The front door was, and still is, painted red — a sign of welcome.
As you can see, the door could use some work. Probably because no one uses it anymore, all guests entering through a side door that opens onto the tea room.
Unfortunately, while I can’t claim Norm’s camera skills, I did find myself reaching for my phone on a wander through the Old Town.
Fun fact: Niagara-on-the-Lake boasts the oldest surviving golf course in North America, Niagara Golf Club circa 1875.
Funnier fact: The town is home to the oldest operating inn in Ontario, The Olde Angel Inn established in 1789. If you’re ever in the women’s washroom, think twice before you lift the privacy leaf on the Statue of David — a bell will ring in the main dining room 🙂
Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
Along with the sand and sea, Saint Thomas has a few doors that had me reaching for my phone 🙂