Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata, Greece is on the Peleponnesian peninsula and is the fork in the road that has taken us to our two favourite spots in Greece.


When Moe and I went to Europe in 2001, we took many recommendations from Rick Steves‘ series of travel books. We were looking for a small fishing village where we could recharge our batteries after 3 weeks on the road. Finikounda seemed like just the spot. We booked our hotel before we left Canada and after a Greek train ride to Kalamata and a long taxi ride through the narrow

Peaches and Beaches

mountain roads, we were tired, but happy with our decision when we arrived at our small family-run hotel. When morning broke, we could see the beach from our second story balcony across the street. Through the afternoon, small pickup trucks would drive through the streets with loudspeakers announcing what fresh produce they had for sale. The fresh fruit was unbelievable and rivaled only by the fresh fish that was caught in the bay and became the special at the beachside restaurant that night.

When we (OK, Moe did all the hard work) were planning our 2006 Europe trip with the girls, my parents and my brother, we were a little late to confirm accommodation for such a large group. Instead of Finikounda, we found Methoni which was just around the corner, in a slightly larger town. Moe found a small apartment which was owned by a family in Vancouver. An uncle stays in the building during the summer months and takes good care of his guests.

We spent four days just hanging out on the beach, wandering through the Ottoman castle just behind our apartment, seeing what the fishermen had brought in during the morning bite, and generally enjoying some quiet family time.

It was the first holiday that my brother had managed in 5 years and he was happy that he had joined us in Athens (a surprise for my folks) for the final two weeks of our holiday.

I can’t wait to go back. Next time, we’ll plan for late September when most of the tourists have gone home.


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Jeju Island, Korea & Juniper Beach, BC

A double header today because I just couldn’t decide.

In September 2007, I attended a conference on the South Korean island of Jeju. It was a beautiful part of Korea with many gardens and green spaces.

Although I was only there for four days and two of those were spend in bed with the flu, I was able to enjoy the hospitality of our hosts and the Korean people in general. A small group of us would seek out small restaurants for lunch (bulgogi was my favourite) and our hosts would organize amazing traditional Korean feasts for dinner.

I had been to Korea on a couple of other occasions. Those visits were to Yeosu on the south coast of the mainland to assemble some equipment for the Korean Meteorological Agency. Yeosu is a fairly small town and I found it a comfortable city to wander in and explore. There were many hiking trails in the surrounding hills and my colleague and I enjoyed many of them. A highlight of one of those trips was when we wandered into a local market (two big white guys definitely stood out here) to check out the local flavour. When one little old lady saw us having a close look at her basket of live octopus, she grabbed one and shook it at us to give us a fright. We had both spent time on fishing boats and were unfazed, but played along and  giggled like girls and gave the old lady and her friends a thrill.

Korea was a busy place. When anyone had someplace to go, they were always in a huge rush to get there. The complete opposite of that is my other “J”…Juniper Beach.

Juniper Beach


When the kids were small, it was a given that we would stop there either on our way out to Edmonton to visit Moe’s family or on the way back. It is a small BCParks campground with minimal amenities. The Thompson River passes along the side of the campground and beyond the river is the CN rail line. On the opposite side of the campground is the CP line. Some of the best days of summer were passed in a camp chair watching the kids play with the dog while the railmen waved and whistled from their stuffy engines.

The Swedish Passion Wagon and the Cat Cage

Our faithful camper (a circa 1971 Trillium Trailer) was small, but cramped. On one occasion our German Shepherd awoke with a start as our eldest fell out of the top bunk onto her. My next job was a railing…bad dad.

My Girls in the River

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My first visit to Italy was in 1982 when I travelled through Europe with a backpack, a good friend, 2-1/2 months to kill and an ever decreasing budget. The lowest point of that trip was the day I that I learned about young Yugoslavian Gypsies and how they could surround you, confuse you and pick your pockets clean. At that point, I never wanted to see Italy again.

When Moe and I were planning our 2001 trip to Europe, I was eager to revisit some of the places that I had enjoyed to share them with her, and I wanted to shake the distain that I held for Italy. We passed through Italy twice on that trip, once in Venice on our way south to Greece and again on our way back through Rome (a much better experience that time) and the Italian Riviera

One of the highlights of our trip was near the end, when we spent several days in Vernazza in the Cinque Terre region. After the hustle, bustle and stress of Rome, it was just the kind of holiday that we needed in our vacation.


The Cinque Terre is a string of five small towns that are connected by a walking trail, a smelly train and the sea. We spent our days walking between the towns with a stop for lunch and a half litre of the local white wine and our nights eating in our little apartment, or at the seaside restaurant where the menu would change daily.

Authentic Spaghetti with Insalata Mista


Once a week, the travelling market would roll into town and take up the whole main street that ran from the sea up to the train tracks at the top of town.




When we visited Italy again in 2006 with our daughters, my brother and my parents, the highlight once again was a small town with personality. This time it was Orvieto in the Umbria region. My brother has always been a foodie, and he was blown away by the fresh taste of the everything that we ate. It was a wonderful opportunity to share some remarkable moments with my family.

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Haida Gwaii – Ninstints

Ninstints or Nan Sdins is a World Heritage Site and a part of Parks Canada. It is located on a small island off of the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) in Western Canada.

I’m not a spiritual person, but on the two chances that I have had to visit Ninstints, I have found it a place that is different from any other place on earth. It’s hard to explain, but it felt like the souls of the Haida people were there with me.

Anthony Island Boardwalk

When you first land and walk along the path way toward the village site, you enter a lush green world covered with mosses, lichens and ferns. Like walking in a fresh snow, any sound is deadened by the softness of the forest.





After a while, the forest opens up to where the village once stood. It is now the largest collection of Haida totems in their original locations. Historians will tell you that with the abundant food supply, the people where able to spend time to record their world in art and celebrate important events and people with memorial and mortuary poles.


Long House







I’m thankful I was able to see such a place.

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After my long ramble yesterday, I propose a shorter post today with movies. Go get the popcorn.

In late 2007, I was sent to Poti, in the Republic of Georgia to assemble and deploy a small buoy in support. Yes, it’s the Port of Poti…stop giggling.

Our Driver

My colleague and I were met in Tbilisi by our driver who pretty much stuck with us like glue for the week that we were there. It was an early Sunday morning and on the small country roads leading out to Poti, there were farmers on the side of the road, taking their produce and livestock to the market. I even saw a pig in a wheelbarrow. Really. Although neither of us could speak the other’s language, he was a wonderful host and took us into his home meet his wife, new daughter and mother.

Smoothest I've ever had

The mother was a small woman, wore black and the only time that I saw her was when we were first introduced, then after she returned from a trip to the basement with a glass vessel of her own Chacha which was the smoothest liquor that I have ever tasted. We ate it with a staple in Georgia…Cheese Bread. It seemed to be served at every meal.

Training Day

Our training was a challenge for a couple of reasons. Technology had not caught up to Georgia. The Institute where we were working had dialup internet, there was one internet cafe in the town and as land is used to its fullest potential, there were cows in the yard around the building when I was trying to install a receiver antenna.  The computer that we had supplied was the newest one that been in the building for 4 years and the contrast between the equipment that they were using and the tools that we have at our office was astounding.

We can't eat sturgeon in Canada

One evening we were taken out to dinner by the head of the institute. We had fine Georgian Wine, more Chacha, caviar and fresh fish. When I was informed that it was sturgeon, I pointed out that sturgeon was endangered in Canada; that we were not allowed to keep or eat it. They said that, yes, it was the endangered there too. Hmm. Different rules, I guess.


Looking for something to drink

Another evening, we rode along while our driver made a delivery to Batumi, another sea port, a few hours away. When we got to the dock, a group collected and we went in search of something to drink. The corner store sold Chacha and individual plastic cups for just such an occasion. A table was setup and we drank and toasted each other had a wonderful time.

Line 'em up


A fun night






The morning after the night before. Just bread, please.

Below is a video that I put together after I got back. I hope that you like it. Below that is news footage of the same area taken about 10 months later.


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