Frozen memories of Finland warm a chilled soul
Travel: Finding A Sense of Faith in Finland
So far, so bad... The New Year's promise of a fresh start turns sour, forcing an old scribe to seek spiritual sustenance from the past via memories of a visit to Scandinavia.
By Rod Mickleburgh
Well, here we are in yet another decade, And, like much of the previous 10 years, with a few exceptions, so far so bad. As the outside world turns increasingly partisan and dark, I found myself seeking some spiritual sustenance from the past. I fastened on a similar passing of time 30 years ago: the last days of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, a decade which proved pivotal in my life and career in a way I never thought possible. My reflections were likely heightened by the fact that it all took place in the country where my mother was born, Finland. I was lucky enough to be living in Paris that year, so it had seemed only natural to spend Christmas and New Year’s revisiting my ancestral roots. It was wonderful. Sparkling snow covered the ...
Canary Islands provide a volcanic perch on life’s big picture
Travel: Canary Islands, Part Two
When you’re a senior tourist, it’s not easy to travel and often harder to trust, but there’s safety in a group -- and often a police escort -- through streets where pickpockets prey upon open backpacks and dangling cameras.
Visiting the Canary Islands without a flap
Travel: Canary Islands
The Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa offers a unique blend of imported white sand beaches from the Franco era, a 1000-year-old fig tree, and a food mix that includes authentic tapas and branded American burgers.
Discovering a Finnish Beginning
Travel: Celebrating Finland's 100th anniversary
Rod Mickleburgh returns to the land of his ancestors to discover an almost genetic propensity to fight for social justice and a rather bizarre predilection for odd sports
By Rod Mickleburgh
You may have missed it, but the land of my ancestors recently celebrated it’s centennial. On Dec. 6, 1917, small but mighty Finland officially severed itself from Russia, becoming an independent country for the first time. Russia’s new Bolshevik rulers did not protest. I remember leafing through one of my great aunt’s photo albums and seeing a grainy picture of the raising of the Finnish flag in their small community for the first time. A bit more than two and a half years after independence, my mother was born in the fishing/farming village of Sideby. When I first visited “the relatives” in the winter of 1971, I was given the very room where her birth took place. Under the mountain of blankets my two great aunts supplied, I remember ...
Trip to Spain a Modern Male Odyssey
Movie review: The Trip to Spain
The third instalment in Michael Winterbottom's accidental series offers a sustained exploration of male friendships, plus a razor sharp satire of Mick Jagger
Paris Can Wait can wait
Movie Review: Paris Can Wait
A French roue takes his friend's wife on a flirtatious motor trip in this love letter to food, charming villages and other, wiser films about the same subject
Pop This! Las Vegas!
Podcast: Pop This!
Packed with miniaturized monoliths and Disneyfied recreations of the Old World, Las Vegas sits at the intersection of generic sin and stand alone silliness, making for a perfect expression of popular culture
Featuring Lisa Christiansen and Andrea Warner. Produced by Andrea Gin.
A sampling of what you might hear in Episode 15: Visiting Las Vegas
I was at a birthday where they had exotic animals. One had teeth that looked like they were made out of clarinet reeds. Las Vegas... has a lot of ladies and dudes on the prowl. And Mariah Carey. I'm worried that I don't like magic shows or Cirque du Soleil. But I do like food. Then you have to go to the Cosmo. [The Cosmopolitan] hotel has the best restaurants, and they have nice drinks at the gambling machines. Gambling machines...? Go to the Spanish restaurant run by José Andrés. They have cool old records as wallpaper. That's what I want. I want the secret Vegas. Go to the Thomas Keller ...
Pop This! Patti Smith’s M Train
Podcast: Pop This!
The pop culture savants are bowled over with emotion as they crack the spine of Patti Smith's latest book about 'grief, coffee and travel' in their first-ever book club episode
Hiking back in time on Burgess Shale
The world famous Burgess Shale Slope offers a visually stunning hike that pays off with a teeming selection of rare invertebrate fossils, sealed into the geological timeline by an underwater avalanche of fine mud
By Alan King
FIELD, B.C, -- Science fiction writer H G Wells didn’t know the half of it. Time travel sometimes takes more than imagination and clever engineering; it can take a lot of nimble, arduous footwork, the kind that gets you up to 7,500 feet above sea level. Unlike Wells’ lucky Time Traveller who was effortlessly transported millions of years into the future where he met some strange life forms, my son Christopher and I went back half a billion years in the other direction to the Burgess Shale -- an ancient fossil bed where the life forms are even stranger. Its location is a swath of scree 11 km up the side of Mount Wapta, a spectacular hunk of geology looming majestically over Field, British Columbia. The fossils here are from the Cambrian ...