This morning, I’m not in the comfy confines of my home, but in the comfy confines of a hotel in Ottawa, where I’m attending and writing about the annual Winterlude festival. I’m waiting for Stefan to return from a morning workout in the hotel gym (I neglected to bring my running shoes, and besides, figured I’d make up my usual morning 5k run by skating the 16k of the Rideau Canal instead), and catching up on some travel news.
The reads this week:
There was lots of news about a super strong solar flare, called an X-flare, which the sun shot out earlier this week. Apparently the strongest flare in four years, it set off amazing displays of the aurora borealis as far south as Northern Ireland. See BBC News: “Sun unleashes huge solar flare towards Earth”.
February 17 marked the Lantern Festival – the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Atlantic’s colourful photo essay of the festivities makes me want to make sure I’m in China next year for the party.
Slate has a fascinating post by Joshua Foer on the recently “discovered” Gocta Falls in Cocachimba, Peru. It’s the third highest waterfall in the world (and based on the photos, absolutely beautiful), and yet has only been known outside of Cocachimba since 2006.
Web Urbanist’s “Fresh Blends: 12 Cool Multi-Functional Coffee Shops” lists some cool places around the world the get your caffeine fix (and I’m always on the lookout for caffeine). Want to rent a cat or get a teeth cleaning while enjoying your morning java? Personally, though, my favourite is the Urban Station in Buenos Aires. We need one of these in Toronto, because I can never find a table for me and my laptop at Starbucks.
Finally, Wanderlust and Lipstick announced the (very talented) winners of their WanderWomen Write Travel Writing Contest, a group of women writers who I will definitely be following from now on:
- Luminita Cuna’s adventure story about life with the Huaorani community in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador;
- Shae Healey’s experience of the sheep sacrifices during Eid al-Adha in Morocco;
- Kate Crawford’s piece about getting up close and personal with an elephant at Anantara Elephant Camp in Thailand;
- Eve M. Tai’s story of “flunking” Buddhism in Yunnan Province in southwest China; and
- Margaret O. Capozzolo’s story about rediscovering and honouring her family in Ireland.
And now, I’m off into the chilly -8 Celsius Ottawa air, to check out winter activities in my country’s capital.