2019

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Of Crab and Crisp Air

The weather is persistently clammy here in Brooklyn, although it is now officially autumn, and all I can think of are the crisp blue days of Fogo Island, staying in the most cozy hotel. Since the hotel is rather the central feature of the island's topography, as well as the hub of our stay, I wanted to share a little bit more about our time there and nearby. We woke up each morning to warm light off the sea. I peered through binoculars to see boats and possible whale spouts in the distance…

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Puffins on the Magic Island (of Little Fogo)

As anyone who has walked down a city sidewalk, past the beady eyes of pigeon scavengers can tell you: my greatest fear is a flock of birds flapping in my face. So this post's joy comes as much as a surprise to me as it will to you. Background: On the ferry to Fogo Island, we met a few locals, who mentioned that if the boat tour was going to Little Fogo Islands while we were there, we should definitely take it. Our hotel did offer it, and while we were not sure another boat tour after our…

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Fogo Island, Auk Walk

What drew us to Fogo was this mystical hotel whose existence is integrally tied to the community and rocky coast, lashed by salty waves, as anyplace in the world is. This deep sense of place enticed us to overpay for AirCanada flights and then continue to rejigger them 4 or 5 times after they changed the arrival times. And even more beautiful were the people, who talked with reverence of the cod, the coast, the wildflowers, and each other. And how they stayed, even when the fish were taken, and…

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Fogo Island, Day 1

They call Fogo Island one of the four corners of the earth. And even for those of us who don't think know the earth is flat, getting to Fogo Island, the most easterly island off the northern cost of Newfoundland, requires dedication. We drove from Twillingate in the morning to wait in line an hour early for the ferry to Fogo Island, departing from the port of Farewell. The ferry was large, smooth, and reminded me of the Scottish ferries of our past, with piping styrofoam cups of coffee and…

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Twillingate by Sea

As I'd read about icebergs near Twillingate being a slight possibility in early July, I heavily research boat companies that left from Twillingate and one our first full day in Newfoundland, chose a small, family owned one for a 2-hour, afternoon ride, the Iceberg Man Tours. We met at the cute Iceberg Shop, and I pulled off my bog-damp socks for warmer ones before the anticipated winds on the water. The boat was small, and we had two couples from Austria along, who seemed not to care about the…

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The Top of Twillingate, Newfoundland

Walker and I's (arguably) first date involved a very long walk down a very damp stretch of sand, but it was meant to be that way, the Scottish sea. Here is the tale of one of our less romantic walking endeavors.  When we arrived at the French Head Beach, and noticed a few scattered people traversing a bit of a field, we assumed that was the start of the loop we had found on the only hiking map of the Twillingate Island we could find: a hand drawn one, printed from an online PDF. To say it…

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It's the Quiet Village (of Haarlem)

It sounded so idyllic, popping into a picturesque small Dutch town, to get away from the hustle of Amsterdam.  And, it was! (Caught ya!) When we had (non-)planned our stay in Amsterdam in February, we hoped for a bit of extra time outside the city. Luckily for us, we met a Dutch couple in Finland who gave us insider recommendations to visit either Haarlem or Bloemendaael an zee. So, with one final afternoon to spare in Amsterdam, we hopped squeezed in a cab hoping to make it to the closer…

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Spring Starts Early in Amsterdam

From the deep, arctic chill of meter-deep snow to the gentle, soothing canals of Amsterdam, our stop over on the way home could not have been more surprisingly balmy. We had planned for about half a week in Amsterdam after our time in Lapland, and upon arrival, stuffed our thick coats in our suitcases for the rest of the trip.  We came to Amsterdam almost as an afterthought, so had little intention or plan, other than to wander the streets, perhaps shop a bit, and maybe visit another small…

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Lapping up Lapland (and the Northern Lights!)

Cheesy title--check! Now imagine a nordic wonderland. The snow is deep as your waist, powdery and dry. The flakes fall in symmetrical prisms, each with six distinct prongs, just as children draw snowflakes.  The pines are pulled up straight to the sky like lamp-poles, caps of snow draping off each one. A cabin is hidden in the woods, and as you approach, the doors open. The floors are warm, and the smell of soup is in the air. This was nearly our exact experience at Jávri Lodge, a small…

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The Huskies of the North

The air is bright cold. That is how I'll remember it. And noise through the air is so loud I almost reach my mittens to my ears. The dogs just want to run. They are made for this and they are pulling and squealing to be set free to run. I'll admit, one of the deciding factors in choosing Lapland as a destination was the appeal of mushing huskies I saw in all the photos; something about it seemed so far away from city life. So when we booked our trip, it was my top priority. In the van on the…