Where is Polynesia?

Polynesia, which means “many islands,” covers a wide swathe of the east-central Pacific Ocean which includes Cook Island, Easter Island, Pitcairn, Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu, Hawaii and even New Zealand.

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Orientalism exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a magic carpet ride

A century ago, before we had photos on Facebook and Instagram to transport us to exotic lands, people relied on paintings like the ones at a new exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to take them there.

Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism is a collection of 19th-century works from European painters that depict romanticized visions of the Near East that were partially based reality, but mostly on imagination.

Much of the work on display until May 31, 2015 is by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, a master of the Orientalist genre. The exhibition document’s Benjamin-Constant travels in Moorish Spain, Morocco and the Maghreb and how those voyages informed his work. He would invite aristocrats to his studio which was staged with exotic souvenirs purchased in bazaars and thrill visitors with stories of his travels, especially of the harems that fascinated Europeans.

The Montreal exhibition is beautifully presented and some of the canvases are massive, room-sized paintings that are absolutely stunning. The colours and realism of the art draws you in to examine every detail. The paintings were made at a time when photography was emerging as an art form so care was made to present scenes realistically.

Paintings like these doubtless inspired a generation of Europeans to travel to distant places to see them with their own eyes. It’s not much different from the inspirational photos we see online that make us want to experience those places for ourselves. What’s amusing to realize is that while Benjamin-Constant’s paintings are considered to be idealized visions, how different is that from the Photoshopped and filtered travel photos we see every day?

IF YOU GO …

Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec
514-285-2000
1-800-899-MUSE (6873)
Admission: $20, 13-30 yrs pay $12, children under 12 are free. $5 discount for Opus card holders.

https://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/on-view/marvels-and-mirages-of-orientalism/

Istanbul sits on two continents

The Turkish city of Istanbul is the world’s only city that is located on two continents, Europe and Asia.

“That’s why I love road trips, dude. It’s like doing something without actually doing anything.” ― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

“That’s why I love road trips, dude. It’s like doing something without actually doing anything.” ― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

Photos: The beauty of Canada during the winter

by espacememorae via Instagram

As much as Canadians love to complain about the cold during the winter and try our hardest to escape somewhere warm during the darkest season, the truth is that we secretly love it. It is part of who we are.

The photos below, one from each territory and province, show the beauty of the nation when it is blanketed in white. Soon enough, the spring will come with the return of birdsong and the scent of flowers and we get to rediscover the beauty of Canada in another season. We will enjoy it while it lasts, but remember that winter will be back again and will greet it happily when it arrives.

View this post on Instagram

"The long walk ahead." Photo belongs to: 🍁@jg101photography🍁 📷@jg101photography📷 🍁@jg101photography🍁 🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻 Tag #DiscoverOntario, #BestOfOntario or #YoursToDiscover in your photos to be featured. Make sure to provide the exact location of the photo! 🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺🔺 📍 Toronto, Ontario 🍁Ontario…Yours To Discover #explorecanada #landscape #explore #beautiful #stunning #skyline #adventure #view #outdoors #snow #winter #ice #frozen #exploreontario #torontophoto #travelontario #loveontario #visitcanada #getoutside #lakeontario #waterfront #Toronto #Ontario #Canada

A post shared by Ontarian 🍁 (@discoverontario) on