Where to see extraordinary creativity

Some of our favourite artists and architects

We jubilados (Spanish for retirees) are constantly on the lookout for art: in galleries, on the street and in the wild


To be astonished by art is surely one of the most satisfying delights of travel, of life, yes?

For our first blog of the new decade Magellan and I were wavering: Norway’s Edvard Munch (The Scream) or Altamira (“The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory”)? A cartoon in The New Yorker swayed us to the latter, the first discovery of art from the Upper Palaeolithic—carbon-dated to 35,600 years ago—unique for its high quality and magnificent conservation.

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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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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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Roman city of ConÍmbriga, Portugal

What fascinated us about the Roman city of ConÍmbriga in Portugal were the intricate mosaics, uncovered and open to the sky— still intact after 2,000 years! Think of it. How will our living room floors look in 4019? Especially if we left them roofless and open to the elements for centuries?

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“It’s Sunday so they’re a bit busy. But we have permission to land,” captain Tom told us as he piloted Ocean Light II to our first stop: the abandoned ancient village of Skedans sheltered on the northeastern coast of Louise Island in Haida Gwaii.

Would you be surprised to learn that permission may have been granted by a sixteen-year-old girl? In her second summer as a watchman?

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