In the District: As I remember it

The Metro station was right outside the airport, which was nice.

We didn’t have to wait long for a train to arrive, and once it did, we changed trains once we got into the city, and after a couple more stops, we were a short walk from our hotel.

The whole thing may have taken 20 minutes.

Before every detail of a trip could be recorded on smartphone and likely posted to social media — I’m never more popular on Facebook than when I travel — details of travel were recorded in souvenirs, in photos taken on film and in memories.

Sometimes those memories can be imperfect — I know I went to Washington, D.C., on my senior trip in 1990, but I’m not 100 percent certain if I went with my parents and my brother before or after — and sometimes they store weird bits and pieces beyond, and sometimes instead of, the things that you did.

It’s why I remember the Moodys before most of what my family did in Colorado, and it’s why I remember the mildly sketchy hotel we stayed in during that trip we took to D.C.

Suzi’s and my accommodations on this trip are somewhat nicer; after all, we have an actual headboard, not plastic painted to look like wood. And although we have an up-close view of the HVAC, it’s not through bars.

But that hotel had a small diner with an amazing cook, and after we ate breakfast, we’d walk a short distance to the Metro station. As someone for whom “the city” growing up meant Albany or Schenectady, the Metro was something the likes of which I had never seen.

I was a teenager, so I knew what subways were, but I had never ridden on them, and it was something of a thrill to go underground in one part of the city and emerge in a completely different area.

I’ve used a lot of subway/mass transit systems since then — New York, Boston, London, Switzerland, to name some.

And while I’m sure many things on the Metro have changed in the 30 years since I first rode it — after all, neither smartphones or apps existed, but that’s why my rail pass is on — the stations look the same as they did in my mind all those years ago.


Getaway in Toronto: Happy accidents

“You want a picture with the artist?”

Sure, why not? I’m sure most of the people who see the decorated blue bike outside the art gallery stop to take a photo, but I can’t imagine she’s there for all of them.

I asked her name. She said Allie. Or maybe it’s Ally. Or Aly. I didn’t ask her to spell it.

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Maybe … that’s ‘normal’ in the distance

Looking at the beer list over our head — the one that started with “Get Maxxinated!” — Suzi said she found the one for me, which is interesting, since I don’t drink.

Passionately Sour.

After an excellent lunch of chicken schnitzel and mashed potatoes, I had my mask on since we were about to leave, but my mouth didn’t need to be visible for Suzi to see what I thought of her suggestion.

Continue reading “Maybe … that’s ‘normal’ in the distance”

Thirteen steps to Europe

Up the stairs we went, settling in for our adventures.

This week, it was Romania from Transylvania to the Black Sea, followed by Zermatt in the Swiss Alps to Lake Geneva. Before that, we took the finest trains from Sofia to Istanbul, Vienna to Trieste, Pisa to Lake Garda, Athens to Thessaloniki, the Black Forest to Hannover and Barcelona to Mallorca. 

Not for real, of course — although Barcelona, Switzerland and Germany are on our wish list for … someday — but the room I once pretended was a portal to sporting events is now our passport to some of Europe’s greatest sites.

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We hardly ever get the ‘full story’

If you ask the average American what they know about South Africa, I’m going to guess the answer will probably be apartheid and Nelson Mandela.

Maybe you’ll get some people who remember then men’s soccer World Cup in 2010, or even those who — especially if the saw the movie “Invictus” or read “Playing the Enemy,” the book upon which it was based (I’ve done both) — are aware of the country’s famed Springboks national rugby team.

But apartheid and Nelson Mandela is probably what you’re going to get, mostly because that’s what we’ve heard about South Africa.

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Birthday candles, toilet paper and the next ‘0’

I’m not entirely sure what Suzi and I will do for her birthday at the end of this month.

Normally, we’d go to one of the restaurants where we eat for special occasions, but this year, we’ll probably just order take-out and eat at home.

But one thing I do know is that, whether dessert is cake or cupcakes like we did last year, we’ll have a “9” candle for the second number of her age, since she bought one the other day.

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Optimism is good … but I’m not optimistic

This week, I’m talking about an auction that expressed a great deal of optimism, and how I’m not very optimistic at all, even though I know I should be.

(Even if you don’t like the politics behind this piece, the paragraph about bracing yourself for a fall is still good advice.)

Here are all the places you can listen.


Apple Podcasts



Pocket Casts

Google Podcasts


Little things that mean a lot when traveling

I once had pancakes in the Shannon Airport.

They weren’t diner-quality, nor what Suzi makes on our griddle at home — even though she doesn’t think hers are very good — but they were perfectly fine.

And since that an early morning flight from Ireland to Boston and the time-zone change it entailed were probably going to wreak havoc on my eating schedule, I can appreciate that they were more filling than whatever I would have otherwise picked up at the coffee shop.

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The week gone by — July 5

Portsmouth and Kittery … Kittery and Portsmouth.

The border between Maine and New Hampshire separates them, but they’re so intertwined that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is actually in Kittery.

They’re just a couple hours away, and for years, they have been a regular trip, usually on one of the first weekends that remind us that, even in New England, winter doesn’t last forever.

Continue reading “The week gone by — July 5”