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

“Everything starts with Chaco,” writes archeologist Steve Lekson.

Chaco: built in the northwestern corner of New Mexico between 850-1150 AD—the most advanced civilization in North America until the nineteenth century. Chaco: never before had semi-nomadic people built anything of this scale—200 great houses, some the size of the Roman Coliseum. Chaco: constructed in astonishing alignment, like a celestial calendar—a truly astronomical feat accomplished without the telescope, the wheel or a written language.

Scholars at this UNESCO World Heritage Site are still debatingChaco’s grand purpose. Was Chaco a religious centre? Military base? Government capital? Pre-Columbian shopping mall? Gambling domain?

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“Where are you going next?” A common Q&A among jubilados isn’t it? Often followed by “What’s on your bucket list?”

A day after a friend (a younger jubilado) said he was done with travel and going green, I was lying on a yoga mat at Granville Island thinking about his decision when the topic of bucket lists, one we’ve been contemplating writing about for some time, resurfaced. The ah-ha moment was realizing “What’s on your bucket list?” might be the wrong question: it may be more important to ask “Why are you going?”

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Were I four decades younger and had the means to live in any city in the world, the white cobblestones of Lisbon would be a strong contender for my wandering feet. Magellan agrees. Lisbon is in his triumvirate of top cities. But a decade from now, the seven hills of Lisbon could be too much of a challenge.

If we were living there, we’d have an annual membership at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, now that we know it’s so intriguing.

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The sun and the movement of the earth—the oldest phenomena our naked eyes can see.

Imagine an artist whose life’s quest is to show us that phenomena.

An artist who wants us to be “a little more aware than you were the day before of how beautiful the world is.”

That artist is Robert Irwin.

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As Sawjhar

We didn’t know we’d be going to the “Most Improbable Village in Oman.”

After camping for several nights in Hannibal, the name we gave to the rooftop tent on the Land Cruiser we’d rented, our plan was to drive up to the Sayq Plateau and luxuriate for two nights at the Sahab Hotel (A real bed! A hot shower!) and hike the “Rose Walk Between Four Villages.”

It was Fenny at the Sahab Hotel who told us about As Sawjhar, the Omani village where people still live in caves.

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Mixtecs, indigenous Mexicans, have been in the news lately. Half a millennium ago around February 18, 1519, Cortés and his crew landed at Cozumel. Mexico’s new president announced he’s going to improve relationship with the Mixtecs. Yalitza Aparicio, the lead actress in the movie Roma, is Mixtec. And a recent article in the Globe and Mail talked about the resurgence of ulama, an ancient Mayan ball game. All of which reminded Magellan and me of our trip to Cobá, one of the oldest indigenous settlements on the Yucatán Peninsula.

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