WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND ON THE WAY TO PERU’S MACHU PICHU – ‘STARBUCKS’ COFFEE PERUVIAN STYLE

<PHOTO – Bryan Blenkin>

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DENMARK’S ‘HIPPIES’ ARE BRINGING IN THE CROWDS TO CHRISTIANIA – COPENHAGEN’S FREETOWN

<PHOTO – Jan Grarup for the New York Times>

Hundreds of thousands of tourists have visited counterculture world – aka CHRISTIANIA – a unique community built among lakes and trees in central Copenhagen. Its houses are assembled from discarded bits and pieces of other houses.

The city government is all for this brightly painted neighbourhood because it shows that Denmark’s capital isn’t so conservative and gray after all – unlike the exteriors shown in the television series ‘Borgen’. In fact, Copenhagen is a very tolerant city and Christiania has become its centrepiece.

FOR TRUE JUSTIN BIEBER FANS A 90-MILE TRIP TO STRATFORD IS NO SWEAT FOR THE DEVOTED

STRATFORD, Ontario is noted for its long theatrical history, swans on the Avon, parks and gardens, fine rsstraurants – and now an exhibition dedicated to the life of famous hometown hero JUSTIN BIEBER. It’s at the Stratford-Perth Museum until the end of 2018.

The exhibit has been a runaway hit since it opened.

<JUSTIN playing the drums after a fund raiser got him a set; the drums are in the exhibition.>

Among the features – the star’s personal belongings, his childhood Rubiks Cube, a number of awards, a personal letter from the former First Lady Michelle Obama, and the jacket he wore while playing junior hockey for the Stratford Warriors.

<JUSTIN busking on the steps of Stratford’s Avon Theatre; GETTY IMAGE>

This YouTube video shows him in one of his early concerts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28VmUxTDU5Q

<In 2007 JUSTIN returned to the Avon Theatre steps and did some impromptu singing for his fans.>

TORONTO and STRATFORD are connected in several ways – by VIA Rail, GO train and intercity bus service. The Stratford-Perth Museum, 4275 Huron Street, phone 519-393-5311, is open Monday to Saturday, noon-4pm; & on Sundays from 12:00 pm.

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA, HAS THE DEEPEST METRO IN THE WORLD – 110 METRES UNDERGOUND

The two showplace stations are underground palaces, with high arched ceilings, marble pillars, chandeliers and mosaic murals on the history of North Korea.  Each has a public toilet, and state radio programs are broadcast over loudspeakers.  Hours of operation are limited because of power shortages.

In a country known for its human rights violations and chronic food shortages, enough cash was found to build two subway lines completely underground. The system can be used as a fall-out shelter for the military and/or the populace.

<PHOTOS – Kristoferb, Wikipedia>

THIS AND THAT, FROM HERE AND THERE, AT HOME AND ELSEWHERE

On TORONTO’s waterfront, this group of rotating fan sculptures has been installed. It’s the work of Vancouver artist THENA TAK, and the public is welcome to wander through the assemblage. ‘Winter Fanfare‘ is part of the Waterfront Ice Breakers Festival, on until February 25.

The Spire of DUBLIN is a large, stainless steel, elongated cone, which can be seen from almost everywhere in the Irish capital. The Spire doesn’t seem to honour anyone or anything. It’s just there.

Cavalia Odysseo & the Canadian National Institute for the Blind gave a number of blind kids the thrill of their young lives this past summer. They were surrounded by horses under the big top in MISSISSAUGA, Ontario. “For them the sense of smell, feeling the hair and brushing them adds to their memory bank,” said Ruth Millard of the CNIB. <PHOTO – Toronto Sun>

When fire gutted the artsy Sag Harbor Cinema (everything but the sign) on LONG ISLAND, the populace, butcher, baker and candle-stick maker conjured up $8-million to restore the theatre so the town “wouldn’t become just another restaurant capital.”

It’s nearly impossible for first-time home buyers to get a foothold in EDINBURGH. The Scottish capital is a very popular tourism destination with its multitude of arts festivals. The city finds itself overrun with AirBnB’s, squeezing the locals out of the housing market. Average rental for a 2-bedroom flat stands at $1610 CAD per month. A one-bedroom $1200 CAD.

“MY WINNIPEG” or “WINNIPEG, MON AMOUR” is an exceptional movie about the prairie metropolis. Frigid in winter and a mosquito haven in summer, the city is home to, among other things, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, North America’s largest Icelandic community, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, and film director/producer GUY MADDIN. Maddin’s salute to his home town combines reality and fantasy in documentary style, and you’re never sure which is which. I’ve seen “My Winnipeg” several times.

PHOTO ABOVE – ‘This Is Winnipeg’ – https://thisiswinnipeg.wordpress.com

IF THE NETHERLANDS SINK, WE’RE ALL DOOMED – DUTCH DESIGNERS DEAL WITH A ‘WATER WORLD’

<The Netherlands’ Delta Works, the largest flood protection system in the world.>

Despite what Donald Trump says, 75% of the world’s megacities have been built in delta areas, and sea levels are rising. Houston, Calgary & TORONTO Island recently demonstrated what could happen in the not-too-distant future. It’s only a matter of time.

No country is more capable of dealing with the unpredictability of water than the Netherlands. In ROTTERDAM, one of the world’s largest seaports, developers, architects, designers and engineers are working on floating farms, watertight homes and entire floating neighbourhoods.

<The first Floating Farm will open in ROTTERDAM in 2018>

<A new sustainable floating neighbourhood could be under construction soon in Northern AMSTERDAM. 30 homes for 46 families, all with good views, connected by a jetty, and five houseboat types, adaptable to suit each family’s needs.>

<Recycled Floating Park in ROTTERDAM aims to retrieve plastic waste from the Nieuwe Maas river before it reaches the sea, and use it to create a park of plant and marine-friendly fauna.>

The Dutch have been in an endless battle against water, but over several decades have learned to live with it and to benefit from it. Forget about Trump and his disbelievers. Keep an eye on the Dutch – they’re safe, but vulnerable, and they know it.

LABOUR OF LOVE – MATT GREEN HAS BEEN WALKING NEW YORK CITY SINCE AT LEAST 2012

When it comes to walkin’, no one can beat MATT GREEN, a former civil engineer and native Virginian.  He has already walked across the United States, from Rockaway Beach NY to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Then he took on The Big Apple, all 8,000 miles of streets in all five boroughs.

<THE SENTINEL OF CONEY ISLAND – Parachute Jump>

I first came across Matt’s website in March, 2012. Since then he’s added a multitude of new photos, maps, videos and commentary. You can join Matt on his travels through New York at http://www.imjustwalkin.com

<DO NOT JUMP – an old painted plea for noggin safety at the 169th Street F train station.>

<12 WEST 129TH STREET – erected in 1863, stands as rare survivor of Harlem’e early history.>

<RED HOOK RAT PATROL, HICKS SQUAD – a feral cat condo on Hicks Street.>

<TOWER OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS @ Pioneer Works – the second floor is home to a recording studio and a number of what appear to be electric hairbrushes.>

<SMITH & 9TH – THE HIGHEST SUBWAY STATION IN THE WORLD, 191st Street in Upper Manhattan. Renovations are complete. Here’s a look at the finished station.>

<LIVING BESIDE THE ‘A’ TRAIN>

<YOU & YOUR DOG WILL BE ON CAMERA>

COLLYER’S MANSION – named after New York City’s most famous hoarders. The reclusive brothers – Homer and Langley Collyer – lived out their lives in a jam-packed Harlem row house. The NYC Fire Department still uses the term “Collyers’ Mansion” to refer to a dangerously overstuffed dwelling.

***

“At its core, my walk is an oxymoron: an exhaustive journey through an inexhaustible city.”  – MATT GREEN