Magellan animates our travel adventures

From Aurora Borealis to Zigzag Roads

We jubilados never settle for capturing our travel with one camera when six are in the suitcase


Last days of November, rain
string and almost solid,
incessantly gathering darkness around it
At one in the afternoon

November, the “dead end of Autumn,” the rainiest month in Vancouver. Dreary, monotonous and sullen rains. However, they can’t compare with the pelting, fierce, torrential rains that lashed out upon Magellan and me in Punakaiki, an area in southwestern New Zealand that suffers twice as much rainfall.

Punakaiki (poona-kai-key) is on the Great Coast Road, a narrow strip that runs parallel to the Southern Alps on the sparsely populated west side of the South Island. Prevailing westerlies fan across the Tasman Sea and on encountering the mountains, condense their moisture into “industrial strength” rain, about 2800 mm/year. Incessantly it fell the day we were there, April 26, fall in New Zealand. So why did we hang around? Marg and Don said we had to, for the same reason more than 400,000 visitors do every year—to see the geologically unique Pancake Rocks at high tide.

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One of the unfortunate disappointments of COVID–19 has been the cancellation of a party of a dear friend. For two years George Taylor has been planning to invite 90 of his friends and family to his 90th birthday celebration. Because his wife Marsha and I are the same age, born two days apart, I’ve piggy-backed on some of the parties he’s planned for her, like her 50th when he filled their West Vancouver backyard with food stations and live music, including the “Spice Girls” (Marsha’s playful ‘sistas’ Marie and Elaine and her friends Gina and Corrine). George knows how to throw a party and would have loved to see each you at his on October 23! Consider this blog his virtual birthday party!

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I was kicking myself.

Three years ago in Seattle there was an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors. Six individual rooms, small and dark. Each one painted with polka dots and pumpkins illuminated by hundreds of LEDs reflecting endless pinpricks of coloured light onto mirrored walls immersing you into a kaleidoscopic wonderland. But I was too late. The exhibition sold out quickly and without tickets, you had to queue for hours with little hope of getting in. I felt even worse when Gail, Ginger and Carol Ann talked about how spectacular it was, despite the fleeting time (only two or three minutes) you had in each mirrored cubicle where only two or three visitors were allowed at a coveted time-slot. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter at Høvikodden outside Oslo has one of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors on permanent display. Even better, it was a slow day—Magellan and I had Infinity Mirrored Room, Hymn of Life to ourselves for as long as we wanted!

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The Atlantic Road. Or as they say in Norway, Atlanterhavsveien. Worthy of the grand finale in our mini-series of memorable roads.

Magellan and I spent twenty-four hours angling around The Atlantic Road, even though it’s short, zigzagging only 8.3 kilometres over an archipelago of islands. Read more

Circa Diem.

Let’s start with the translation of the Norwegian birthday card Magellan got me:

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On a March afternoon outside Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Magellan and I waited for just a few minutes for the thermometer to register 100° Fahrenheit. This year on an August afternoon Furnace Creek truly lived up to its name when the mercury read a fiery 130° Fahrenheit (54.4° Celsius), the hottest reliably measured temperature in recorded history on Earth. Why would anyone visit this scorching-hot national park with its ominous names, killer heat and blistered desert landscape?  Read more