wrldtrvlgrl

travel is my world

Victoria, BC: Tea and Bugs

Posted by wrldtrvlgrl on 21 October, 2009

My new friend

My new friend at the Bug Zoo, Victoria, BC

If you like finding the unexpected when you travel then you will be thrilled to find the Bug Zoo in downtown Victoria, BC. After your high tea at the historic Empress Hotel, walk around the corner (no, seriously, just around the corner) and enter the tiny Bug Zoo. You can’t miss the signs. The front door is located on Courtney (631 Courtney Street) but you can get to it through a maze of shops starting on Douglas.

It doesn’t seem like much when you first arrive. We thought it was just another shop. After you pay the fee, you enter the back room filled with glass containers housing everything from scorpions to tarantulas. They have guided tours one after the other so you can usually walk in and listen and pick up what you missed on the next go-round. And the best part is that they let you hold them! Yes, that’s me with a tarantula. I also held a scorpion, a millipede, and a few other creatures that I can’t remember. It was fascinating to handle something considered so frightening and for it to sit still in my hands while I looked at it from all angles. The guides are full of interesting tidbits about each of the bugs – you will find yourself leaving with a little more knowledge of the creepy-crawlies than you ever cared to know.

I’ve been to Victoria many times but usually stuck to the shops on and around Government. First to Murchies for tea, then next door to Munro’s Books to flip through Canadian lit. I can be such a creature of habit when I travel to a familiar city so finding the Bug Zoo added a new love for this capital BC town. How great that you can have high tea and then a couple of hours later you’re petting a tarantula. The unexpected in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Petting the Scoripon at the Bug Zoo

Petting the Scoripon at the Bug Zoo

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Jimmy Choo meets Keen?

Posted by wrldtrvlgrl on 19 October, 2009

I travel light. As a somewhat seasoned traveler, I know packing light is key to enjoying a trip. Less to worry about and great when stuck in a Naples train station for a few hours. So choosing one pair of shoes is vital to keeping a pack light. But there is the ever-present dilemna:  style or comfort? I have yet to find the travel shoe that has both. So I’m on a mission: find a shoe that can handle a whirl-wind trip of Europe while still keeping me in line with the latest fashion. Oh, and they have to be under $200USD. Not too much to ask, right? Do you have a pair that has carried you over the foreign terrain and still left you feeling like you just stepped out of Vogue? If so, please help.

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Arts destination: Houston, TX

Posted by wrldtrvlgrl on 12 October, 2009

Houston may not be a vacation destination but if you’re an art lover then you should seriously consider adding this city to your destination list. Because of people like the de Menils, the Blaffers, and the Hoggs, Houston has one of most renowned art collections in the world. You will find a representation of every art movement from antiquities to contemporary. Here is a list of the must-see museums and art spaces:

Menil Collection – Dominique de Menil’s collection of modern art. You’ll see all the big names from Magritte to Rauschenberg.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – 6th largest museum in the US.  Don’t miss the Turrel tunnel and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Galleries on the 2nd floor of the Beck Building.  Catch  a Friday afternoon lecture if you have time.
Contemporary Arts Museum – across the street from MFAH. Changing exhibitions. Always interesting.
Houston Center for Photography – around the corner from the Menil and worth a stop. Changing exhibitions.
Lawndale – contemporary art space just down the street from MFAH. Changing exhibitions.
Diverse Works – on the edge of downtown with its own edge. Great space and works. Always surprising.
Fotofest 2010 – biennial photography exhibition. Large exhibition space that gives you a chance to see a range of photography in one place.
Aurora Picture Show – micro-cinema in an old church in Houston’s historic Heights neighborhood.
Rice University Art Gallery – one room but sometimes that’s all you need.
Blaffer Gallery, the Museum at the University of Houston – great space with changing exhibitions. One of my favorite spaces in Houston.
Rothko Chapel – across the street from the Menil. Houses 14 black paintings by Mark Rothko. I promise you will see something new each time you go.

This is just the short list. As you visit each museum or gallery, ask the person behind the desk their favorite place in town to see art. I find that most of them are very well-informed about the arts scene.

All of the museums and galleries are within a short distance of each other. If you are driving, all them have ample parking. If you don’t have a car, these places are close enough to walk, take a short ride on the light rail, or take bus 65 or 34 from MFAH.

I hope you get a chance to experience this rich and diverse arts scene in a very unexpected place.

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in service

Posted by wrldtrvlgrl on 7 October, 2009

Feel like you want to give back to the world you’ve traveled? There is a great trend in vacations where people spend their time volunteering within a community. I haven’t done it but I hope to very soon. It seems like a great way to give something back and also truly get to know a place and the people. Because we’re travelers, explorers, right? If this sounds like an ideal vacation, check out this very informative site: Volunteer Global.

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photo travelling

Posted by wrldtrvlgrl on 6 October, 2009

I’m always amazed at the amount of stunning travel photography that’s out there. I do my own (see link to etsy shop on left column) but nothing compared to some I’ve seen today. I like to capture unexpected little moments or details that come from something much more grand. Yet, I’m always taken in by the expansive landscape photography that makes me feel as if I’m there in Kyoto or Paris or Nepal. Here is a list of sites that took me somewhere else today:

Stuck in Customs – amazing images

National Geographic – a standard go-to

Trek Earth – anyone can post and good thing because you never know what you’ll find

What was your favorite image? What place would you most like to photograph?

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