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Around the World: Bicycles

I sometimes set strange goals for myself when I travel. One of them is to go on a boat in every country I visit; another is to ride a bicycle in every country I visit. It hasn’t always been the case, but there’s something about riding a bike through a new place that can’t be beat: the bumps in the road, the sights whizzing by, the wind in your hair.

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Why I Love London or: Why London Feels Like Home

I’ve been sighing a lot in London lately. I often talk about how much I love this city on this blog; I wrote a whole post about why it deserves every bit of that love, just over a year ago. In that post, I cited the things to do, the galleries, the people, the restaurants, the markets. And I still stand by every word of that post. From Broadway Market to Saatchi Gallery, to afternoon tea and early morning raves, I’m more in love with this city than ever.

But we all know what love is like. It starts off like fireworks, all oohs and aahs, lust and passion. If we’re lucky, that feeling stays for a while. If we’re really lucky, that feeling stays forever.

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Poppies at the Tower of London

If you live in London, or have travelled there recently, you probably visited the Tower of London to see the poppies. But for those who couldn’t make it, I wanted to share photos from last week, when I saw it for myself. 888, 426 individual ceramic poppies were placed around the Tower of London, one for each British military casualty in the First World War. While it is visually stunning, I was completely overwhelmed by the tragedy it represents.

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Those Nights in the Mongolian Ger

“Here is your pile of wood.” Yul, our guide, pointed to a bin of chopped wood. “The local people use dung, but it is easier for tourists to light this.” He smiled once, a flash of white.

The ger, commonly called a yurt in other parts of the world, was to be our home for the next few nights. Once Yul said his goodbyes, it would just be the two of us, left on our own in the wilds of Mongolia. Although it would just be my mother and I, the ger was the same size as one used for an entire Mongolian family, with three small beds, a desk, and a stove in the middle. Built on top of a cement slab, flooring and carpets had been laid down for comfort. To eat or to use the toilet, we had to walk a few hundred metres to a main lodge. Although there were a few other gers scattered around, we were the only ones brave enough (or stupid enough) to be visiting in late October; frost had already covered parts of the ground, and the trees lost leaves with every gust of wind.

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Best of London: The BB Bakery Bus Tour

I rarely write about Central or West London; nearly all of my previous posts about London have been about my beloved East, where I live. I get the occasional email about things to do in London and I always feel a bit lost on what to recommend, especially if the person writing has never been to the Big Smoke before. While people want to find out about lesser-known places like Broadway Market and the Early Morning Rave, let’s face it: London has some of the greatest sightseeing spots in the world, from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben to Trafalgar Square.

It also has some of the best selections of afternoon tea.

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The Best Food in Nicosia, Cyprus

I recently returned from a short but amazing holiday in Cyprus. With a few days in Nicosia and a day in the Troodos Mountains, I had just enough time to visit a few museums, do a bit of hiking, and, of course, visit a hamam. However, what really stood out for me, above anything else, was the incredible quality of Cypriot food. No word of a lie, Cypriot food was consistently some of the best food I’ve ever tasted.

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Why We Should be Thankful

Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving. It has been a bit of a tradition to write on this blog every Thanksgiving; I did it here, when I had just moved to London, and in 2012, when I was in Peru, and in 2011, when I was on a road trip across North America. Yesterday’s Thanksgiving was my quietest one ever, with no visits from friends or family, and no traditional turkey dinner. With many texts and a few phone calls, I was still able to connect with these people, and, sitting alone in my flat eating a very ordinary dinner (albeit a “traditional” Canadian one, and by that I mean a box of Kraft Dinner mac and cheese), I realised that I didn’t feel sad or lonely. I felt quite the opposite.

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Adventures of the Burmese Bicycle Gang (Part One)

On our last day in Yangon, we went in search of food near the market. Tired and overwhelmed from wandering in and out of the maze of stalls, we wanted to find a place where we could sit down. As it was the middle of the afternoon, however, many places seemed to be shut. We rode our bikes into a parking lot, and noticed an unmarked restaurant to one side, so pulled up to see. There were no walls; it was just a cement slab with a wood roof over it, but there were a few wooden tables and red plastic stools, and a small kitchen to one side. Nobody else was there.

“Do you want something to eat?” A middle-aged man with a mustache and kind eyes approached us, speaking in perfect English.

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Things To Do in Medellín

Medellín has had a terrible reputation in the past – due to the drug cartel led by the infamous Pablo Escobar, it was once dubbed the most dangerous city in the world. Thousands of innocent civilians died in the 1980s and 1990s due to the business of cocaine. After Escobar’s death in 1993, however, the city started to get back on its feet, and over the past two decades there have been humongous changes. It is not a city totally devoid of crime, but crime rates have fallen in huge numbers, and I for one felt safe in its streets.

Now, as the second biggest city in Colombia, it is a city of beauty and culture; surrounded by mountains, it offered us blue skies and green landscapes. Although we only had a few days there, we filled our days with as much as Medellín could offer. There are many things to do in Medellín, but here are just a few of the things we enjoyed.

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