Inspirations from Artists and Authors, Friends and Family, People and Places

From around home to around the world

We’re jubilados (Spanish for retirees) on the alert for inspiration from our travels be they near (the kitchen) or far (Cape Horn)


Once upon a time at the edge of a forest beside a river there was a magical place, Glenora, a golden valley in the northern wilds of British Columbia. Even its name had the lilt of birdsong, Glenora: glenn, the Gaelic word for valley; and ora, Spanish for gold.

One Sunday in the summer warmth of June, a man called Magellan and his wife Spice decided they wanted to camp at Glenora after hearing about its charms earlier that afternoon.

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The Snøhetta Pavilion

“Why did you love Norway so much?” friends ask. I’ve been wondering myself, searching for a simple answer, for the finest example of Norway’s transcendence. In Calgary’s new public library, it came to me.

The awesomeness of Norway can be found in a single place, the Snøhetta Pavilion, the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre.

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Leaving Las Vegas you might, like us, miss the turnoff sign for Seven Magic Mountains. But you can’t miss seeing them—ginormous, 30-35-foot-tall neon-painted totems towering in the barren desert looking like massive stacks of florescent marshmallows.  One of the largest land-based art installations in the US in the last forty years. Worth the U-turn for Rove-Inn.

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Pumpkins. Mushrooms. Persimmons. Mmmm…

Late autumn ripens my memories of Japan.

To the night Lynn, Ward, Magellan and I, dressed in kimonos, ate kaiseki at Ryokan Kurashiki. “Dishes of October, The feast to do the sight of autumn colors,” served by a kindly Japanese woman in the autumn of her life who Ward nicknamed “Ryokan Mommy.”

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When people ask, “How was the food in Norway?” they often follow it up with “Did you eat at that famous restaurant in the Faroe Islands?” “Did you get a reservation at Noma?” “Did you go to Fäviken in Sweden?” Super foodies specify the chefs: Poul Ziska, René Redzepi and Magnus Nilsson, respectively.

No, we did not.

Years before these men became world-famous chefs, a woman chef in Norway quietly pioneered New Nordic Cuisine—Heidi Bjerkan at Credo, the restaurant she opened in 1999.

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Ninstints Mortuary poles

I’ve wanted to see them for decades.

Ever since I saw their photos back in the 70s, mystical figures of ghostly grey imparting a powerful, compelling presence.

The totem poles at Ninstints on Haida Gwaii.

It’s the only place on Haida Gwaii where they still stand. A dozen of them, disciples of the supernatural, silently keeping watch.

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