At least these friendly cops had good taste in coffee.
In between services yesterday I took a few pictures of our Sunday morning/evening space. The above is what Dan gets to stare at every time he speaks.
- Photo gallery: Grace Toronto Church
Including a look at Victoria Harbour, my first (and potentially last) look around the Organic Underground, and a hidden garage on Maitland Drive.
In my opinion, the 1984 film adaptation of “Dune” by director David Lynch is a pretty messy failure. Even though it speeds by in two hours, it still feels like it needs another two hours to explain everything properly (and supposedly there was an original 4-hour assembly).
My favourite part of the film turned out to be Virginia Madsen’s portrayal of Princess Irulan, and her neverending monologue at the beginning of the film, which provides a decent “Dune for Dummies” explanation of the background and the plot. It should fail epically, but there’s something about her enrapturing gaze that grabbed me, and brought me much deeper into the film than I had any business in being. I wish she’d do a reading of the entire book like this.
The 2000 miniseries featuring William Hurt does a better job of portraying the expansive plot, but the film has way better sandworm special effects. But of course, you should just go ahead and read the book in the first place.
I hardly do any packing for the cottage as it is, so I figured I might as well grab some cottage-only clothes just to leave up there. So, when I was at the kitschy store next to the gas station in Waubaushene, I couldn’t resist getting my very first (oh I will be getting more) t-shirt in a box.
The box. I had a hard time choosing a shirt from the variety of designs available, but I think moose scream “cottage” so I figured I’d start there.
The box promised that it contained one perfectly folded shirt inside. A shirt was inside.
And the money shot. It’s surprisingly comfortable and long, and I feel very “Northern Ontario” when I wear it. I might just make it sleeveless too, to make it extra intimidating, but for now, I like.
Picked up these from the bakery down the street… even though they are cheering for England (boo!) they still make some amazing treats. Stop by Celena’s Bakery if you want to get your hands on some, they promise to make them in a variety of flags!
Another Value Village find (I look frequently, that’s my secret), this is a crazy little mug that looks like it’s about to topple over! It’s got this amazing blue/brown/green glaze and it’s surprisingly comfortable to hold. Huronia is known for it’s crazy glazes, and more for it’s interesting vases and animal sculptures. I actually love the looks of this moose, and would love to get my hands on it someday.
Following my previous trip to Los Angeles, I felt like I had finally “seen it all.” I’ve now been to every major American city that I thought was worth visiting (New York, Chicago, Seattle, LA and um, Minneapolis), I felt like urban getaways didn’t appeal to me so much anymore… record stores all stocked the same records (not as good as records I could find in Toronto), the food was never as good as home (when the same chains weren’t staring me in the face), the museums were just… museums, the shopping was the same shopping as everywhere else. You get the idea.
And I’ve never been big on going on a tropical type vacation either: I live close to the beach, why bother flying to a lousy Caribbean destination and go to their beaches? I don’t drink or dance, so clubbing and partying isn’t really on my list of reasons to go. And online reviews of all of these destination places look absolutely dreadful (and or totally sketching with dishonest positive reviews).
I still have a list of “must” places to visit, but it’s going to be a while before I can save up enough scratch to put them together, and until my lovely bride regains her strength, it’s not worth it yet to take on “excursions” with tough physical demands. Iceland was never really on my list, though I have always wished to travel to Scandinavia (and someday I will!). It was actually an advertisement on the TTC for Icelandair’s new direct flights that got me thinking about taking a trip there. I put in a few hours doing some online research about traveling to the country, and I was quickly hooked: it was a perfect place to have a low-key getaway, with lots of tours and attractions, while not being too intense or demanding.
We booked the trip well in advance, and ended up booking everything separately, instead of through a multi-package deal through popular websites, and ended up with a pretty good deal. Icelandair was an amazing airline that treated us well, and offered up an amazing view of Greenland as we flew toward Keflavik. While there was a bus available from the airport that would take you to a bus terminal downtown, we took a cab for the 45 minute drive to where we were staying, Hotel Thingholt. It’s directly in the centre of the city, and provided us easy access to everywhere we wanted to walk while we were downtown. It was billed as a design-centric hotel, and it was very chic. The staff were super helpful and knowledgeable, and our room was very clean, if small (compared to North American standards… I assume of all of Europe/Scandinavia has tiny hotel rooms). We found lots of amazing places to eat while we were there, but we also grabbed a few items from the supermarkets to keep our costs down a little. I found nearly all the recommendations from the Wallpaper guide to Reykjavik (suggested to us by the good people at Mjolk) to be spot on and very, very helpful.
Surprisingly, we didn’t get a chance to visit many of the city’s awesome museums and art galleries, but we did book a couple tours through Reykjavik Excursions before we arrived in Iceland. As it turns out, that was mostly a bad idea: you’re far better off just coming to town and booking tours at the local visitor information centre with the groups that run the trips themselves. We even found out that if you have a group of four or so, it’s around the same price to just hire a cab to do any sort of daytours, like the Golden Circle. For example, Reykjavik Excursions abandoned the group of people waiting to go on the Golden Circle express tour from our hotel, and it was only after persistent calling that they sent out someone to pick us up, and give us a “tour” until we caught up with the tour bus. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy our trips… especially the Volcano tour (our most extravagant trip) we took via Superjeep. The Blue Lagoon was a good “touristy” thing to see, but I preferred visiting Reykjavik’s public pools, which were very clean, and far, far cheaper than the lagoon.
The Superjeep tour to see the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano was the highlight of our trip: we had the perfect weather to see the massive ash plume, and enjoyed a relaxing trip across the country along the way. We also had an expert guide, Siggi, who made the tour amazing, driving a jeep that was a F350 pickup fused to an Excursion body with massive, massive tires. We apparently only does tours when he thinks he can deliver, and for the week prior to our trip, he had actually turned tour other tour opportunities, simply because he didn’t want to disappoint.
Besides the strange lack of trees and large swaths of volcanic lava fields that made parts of the country resemble Mars, the weirdest thing about Reykjavik was the total absence of traditional American chains… I think I noticed a Subway downtown, and a pervasive presence of Coca-Cola, but beyond that, the city actually felt… different. I’m looking forward to heading back again someday, and instead of staying downtown, I’d like to rent a 4×4 and drive around the rest of the country, staying at B&B’s and camping along the way. It’s an amazingly beautiful place, with exceptionally friendly people, and offers a very cool, very unique experience.
Besides photos and ash, we didn’t take too many souvenirs back with us from Iceland for ourselves. My favourite find was this small, handmade planter made by Icelandic artist Gudrun Olof Gunnarsdottir entitled “Form.” I bought it directly from the artist after I spotted it in a design store in downtown Reykjavik called “Kraum.” The shape is inspired by the Nordic House, which reflects the house’s slanted library roof and rectangular windows. I love it, and if you’re interested in getting one yourself, you can try emailing her at email@example.com.