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Posts tagged Barbara Kingstone
by Barbara Kingstone
There is much to do and see in Beijing but certainly one of the captivating activities is shopping… the mecca for anything you want to own.
It could be for a jade object, jewellery especially pearls or a canvas, painted by one of the up and coming artists. Those artists who have already arrived are now costly and much in demand. Try The Red Gallery and Beijing Central Art Gallery at the Kempinski Hotel for top rated artists.
But if there is a time limit on your shopping spree, be aware that each stop could take hours. A good tip is to know what you should be compared with auction-credo. Know how much you want to pay, stick with that amount and learn to walk away.
Finding the item may take time unless you know exactly where the shop or the stall in a market, is located and leave time for haggling – an expected art- which could take as long as choosing your treasured find. If you don’t haggle, and even the locals do, you’d be considered foolish since this is part of the tradition of the deal. Often the shop keeper will mention that since it’s early morning, you’re his first customer, it’s someone’s anniversary or the stars are lined up properly, he’ll come after you and accept your price.
The Pearl Market is certainly a good place to start since the signage and directions are good. You’ll discover many locals are there as there are tourists, although many nay sayers will say it’s a place only for tourists. But know that the don’t only have pearls but floors filled leather goods, glasses, handbags, electronics as well as many other selections. But, if pearls are your choice of the day, head to the 6th floor where you’ll find the best quality.
Then, of course, there’s the famed Silk Market. Once, an outside area devoted to hundreds of stalls selling everything from silk to fur, from leather to jewellery, it is much more convenient now. It’s centrally located near a subway stop, in a smart, though extremely busy, multi building on the same site as the old Silk Market.
Thinking and hoping that it would be open at 9AM (it opens at 9.30AM) and perhaps that was wishful thinking since I had to leave the hotel and get ready for a long bus trip to The Three Gorges on ship H.S. Yangtze 2, I only had a two hours to find far too many items on my list. Two hours is like a nano second for even the most knowledgable shopper in this market place.
While sitting on a step waiting for the doors to open, a young man with bleached blond hair sat down and told me he was studying English and wanted to speak with me. He was going to the art
school just across the wide street. We spoke about his life in Beijing which he loves, his desire to travel to the west when his English improves, where he would continue to study art and refused my offer to buy him a cool drink in this already sweltering day. That was one of the many encounters and the kindness of the strangers, and the unexpected willingness to speak about how the country has changed, especially for the young people.
Silk Market now opened, the first sighting are active wear, cashmeres for men and women, silk clothing on the main floor. But it was a time issue for me so I had to forego the search. Another problem is trying on clothing for size – another story. There are no dressing rooms and since most Chinese sizing is smaller than for the Western body, it’s a good idea not to believe the sales person who, always has a tale about someone the same size as you are and everything fits perfectly
Dresses, ties, scarves, fabrics, knock-off watches and purses (beware, that if the have the Chanel or Hermes stamp, the savvy custom officers know the real from the fake. The best outcome is having the goods confiscated, the worst scenario is a very costly penalty and having your name on the computer for a very long tim).
As go from floor to floor, I found the merchandise increased in quality. For instance, just by instinct, I went to Katherine Jewelry #5037) since I liked the window presentation, designs and the interior. Items went from traditional pearls and semi precious stones to more modern baroque and button shaped in various sizes and nacre. And if something doesn’t fit, right on site, within minutes, the practiced crafts women manage to get it right. Prices are not set, nor do the tags give you a hint of price. But it’s assumed you would bargain, which I did, and came away with a earring that suited my price limit and quality.
However, feeling really great about my purchase, I stopped at a nearby leather shop that had very trendy, well designed leather goods and watches. Thinking that I was a big ‘catch’, they took me to a back room where all the fakes are hidden (though I’m told that the police person know of these “secret rooms”). But beware, when my watch never started and I tried to exchange it, I was blatantly told me that they didn’t sell that type of watch,as I stared at it in one of the showcases, that they had never seen me before, even though I had filled my Visa with several of their goods. Their stone faces told me, I hadn’t purchased what I had told them…a belt, handbag and another watch for my husband. When I told them that a door at the rear was where I was taken and made my choices, they just starred. I also mentioned that in this secret ‘hideaway for big shoppers’ a few other shoppers were there too. Stay away from the no-name but #2056 shop, although it’s on the 5th floor.
But what isn’t a secret, however, however not well known to tourists, is, 798, a huge series of streets and often compared as the New York Soho of Beijing. Out of the way in Dashanzi Art District in Chaoyand District and since taxis are inexpensive, it’s worth the approximate $8-$10 trip. It’s a large pedestrian area and was initially a factory area now known as it has become, as an art centre with very fine galleries (I wish I had had more time since I was looking for the “new” Chinese art) and all sales staff seemed very knowledgeable. There are also terrific, trendy, shops from men’s and women’s designs that aren’t the usual ‘oh hum’ styles but with edge to unique designer. Also designed are kitchenware, furniture and just a pleasant place to spend several hours. Besides, there are so many outdoor cafes, that any choice would be a good one and the perfect perch to watch the wonderfully fashion forward outfits that the young, hype women, obviously aware of their creativity. At the same time you can get a great cup of coffee or tea. You might even want to stay for lunch. It’s a perfect day’s outing away from the “madding crowd” of huge, busy, traffic filled Beijing central.
Another grand walking area is the pedestrian street in the old Hutong area. It was my my favorite destination just to see the traditional lifestyles and very old and complicated living arrangements and architecture. However, the condo market crept in and alas, in their stead, there are now high rises and the development of this swell but so expensive pedestrian street. I think back and what I really liked best were the umbrella,parasol stores which women and now some men, use to block the sun. Inserted lace, sequined, brilliantly and artistically painted, some with deluxe, shiny fabrication, they are art pieces and very tempting but would look a bit strange in the rain at home. The other stores from stationary to clothing are all very special but seemingly overpriced (no haggling here). However, this is a well-known tourist area with interesting side streets and lanes to explore.
Even though I had hired a driver for my short time in Beijing, I was left for over two hours wondering if I’d ever locate him again. With it being the busy traffic time, which seems is always but worse at about 4PM, I stood at the designated stated area in 40c (over 100F) and then decided to find a place to sit.
Although, in Western lingo, it would be considered a ‘greasy spoon’, considering the circumstances, I had no choice and went into Nice Rice on South Jiaodaokou Street. The kindest young servers insisted that I have a cool drink, they tried to phone (and they did several times) to track down my driver. That kindness to a stranger was not an isolated situation but these young servers went out of their way for someone who only wanted a seat and cold, non alcoholic drink. Another case in point. On a slippery, rainy day where I’ve never seen pelting rain like this, a young man took my arm, held my heavy bag for me as we ascended in what seemed like a 100 stairs to a nearby dry area with a bench. Neither of us could speak the other’s language but my few words included thank you in Mandarin, at which he smiled and shook my hand.
On the return flight back, I sat beside a charming well-dressed young Chinese woman wearing a stunning outfit. She had just spent a few years working in Beijing before returning to Canada.
When I recounted the one miserable shopping mishap regarding my never to work watch, she laughed. “Locals never go to those stores at the Silk Market. We have our own high quality markets that are less expensive, with better quality.”
I told her I’d have to wait for a return visit but here are the names she mentioned. Nan Hu Market, Jiu Xian Qiao Market, Xi Dan Market, Taiyanggong’s Sunny Moore Market. They’re on my ‘must visit’ on the next trip to Beijing..a city I’ve learned to love because of the diversity.
As for shopping, If you see it and want it, get it. You’ll probably never get back to the area or even locate the shop again. But do try to down the price. It’s not only finding the object but the great story that probably will go a long way at any cocktail gathering. Life is about fun so just grab it when you can.
Beijing has so very much to offer in many categories. But when it comes to shopping, I’m sure Confucius would have had a brilliant saying or advice but I doubt if he would understand the art of haggling.
By Barbara Kingstone
Over the years I’ve returned to China and I am haunted by how those words materialized in a country that now seems to be taking over the world in so many aspects- from the world’s largest water project, to a speedy rail system, constant erection of high-rise buildings that don’t seen to have an end in sight, earthquake safe dam,and, of course, tourism where, in Beijing, 6000 people from dozens of countries were invited to the successful 6th Annual Central China Tourism Expo 2012.
Seven years ago on my first Three Gorges Cruise, I was underwhelmed by the ship, the food, the service and, of course, the river and the concern about what was to happen to the Yangtze River, the dam not yet completed. Over 1300 villages and nearly 1.3 people, many farmers who had made their livelihood for generations as farmers, had to be evacuated.
There were still a noticeable few farms seen then. Now, there’s the occasional sighting of an isolated house and farm set high above the now very much wider river and as we glided along on the M.S. Yangtze 2, it was difficult to forget that many metres below, there were sunken villages.
This ship, M.S.Yangtze 2, the newest of the fleet, is a great achievement but then in a country where there are 1.3 billion people who take great pride in their country and their work ethics, all is possible. This newly built superior line, is considered a five star cruising ship which was launched in September 2011.This is most certainly a far cry from the last Chinese cruise I was on, also run by the government. Now all ships must be certified for safety. It’s obvious that the crew and staff have gone through vigorous training.
Of course, every major undertaking has controversial aspects and nay sayers. The dam itself shows a most amazing ability that still stuns the world with the ability to have actually built this most complex waterway with even more complex hydraulics and various mechanisms. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, in 1919, thought about a dam and although built and will be completed in 2015, the site was changed The dynamic transformation of the area is clear of any villages since all have been submerged. Far too complicated for me to understand, there is a museum which shows the plans, hydraulics and various machinery that makes you silently hear that once sleeping beauty, shout, I warned you .
Many farmers and their families have been relocated and often retrained for other jobs. And as far as eco friendly, there is now clean energy versus the old coal fire power once used to provide electricity. Now the major cities of over millions, are serviced by the new system.
We would spend three nights and four days afloat this five star ship Even the highways, when we had to take a van, are as smooth as glass, without pot holes which is also an accomplishment since their weather fluctuates from cold in the winter to steamy and humid in the summer and then there are the monsoons to contend with.
After walking a rickety, steel and wood, long gangplank to the ship where every 6 feet, there was a crew member to remind you to be careful, it was a bit of an unexpected shock to see an overlarge, opulent, crystal chandelier hanging over a curved double stair case which leads off from a reasonably sized lobby where the velvet winged back chairs were studded with large rhinestones. Nothing too Chinese about these!
Who could have imagined this extreme change. The service was exemplary as we got off and on for excursions. Even the constant greetings -in English by the staff was gentle, while I struggled to say my few phrases in Mandarin.
The dullish colour spacious suites may have lacked in decor but made up for it with a flat large-sized TV and some English channels and the absolute beauty of the oft changing shapes and heights of the mountainous area seen from the large windows. What I enjoyed most was the small balcony complete with a small table and two chairs, perfect for that morning cup of tea of coffee from the room’s counter or a late night observance of the sky’s sparkles.
And even a mad shopper couldn’t ask for more closet space, adequate for anyone who had intended to fill the space with the remarkably priced goods (see Shopping in Beijing) and with enough drawer space for non hanging garments
Bottles of water, always supplied for drinking, was suggested instead of tap water.
The housekeeping staff was impeccable. The bathroom, small but adequate- mine with a glassed in shower- was for one person at a time, especially one who doesn’t travel lightly but with loads of cosmetics and a carry- on pharmacy of pills and potions. In hind sight, there could have been more shelving units. However the more expensive suites- and only one was available for site inspection, didn’t spare any cost. If you were in a five star hotel, you’d not know the difference that you were on a ship, since the amenities were grand . Remember the song, A Slow Boat to China. Well, I found myself humming it constantly
Each evening, the next day’s program was printed out and put on the turned down bedding. It was a challenge to wake up early but a delight to take tai chi exercise with Dr. Zhao on Deck 6 where there is also a reasonably sized pool and large in-door bar. Dr. Zhao is a man of few words, if any at all, but one with many positions. There were no directions other than to “watch and follow my positioning”. End of conversation. The unsmiling Tai chi master seemed stressed by the lack of more advanced attendees and I learned more from a wonderfully friendly Chinese woman who showed me some essentials. And then off to a massive choice of breakfast edibles before heading to a daily excursion.
The two restaurants were always busy. One located on the 2nd floor could seat 300 guests. The more exclusive dining room, on the 6th floor (although the elevator only goes to the fifth, the rest of the steps had to be considered part of your daily cardiac/aerobic exercise) was smaller. Both had choices from Chinese to International menus.
I adored passing the several but too often unused rooms. My favourite, looking more like an English library, with tufted brown leather sofas,was a bit of a gaff since there weren’t any books and only a handful of Chinese magazines. Making up for the lack of reading material were an unique pair of tall red vases and a stunning large quartz vase as a nod to Chinese decor. The lively colored carpeting – yellow, blue, green and red had a modern motif. The Cigar Room, where I never even sniffed the smoke, and the seemingly unused Chess room were made up by the action in The Game room filled with Mahjong players who preferred to stay on board instead of taking the outstanding sightseeing trips which they had probably seen before. I could hear the mahjong tiles rattling which brought back most pleasant memories of that singular unmistaken noise from the year in Hong Kong and also when passing houses of Toronto’s huge Chinese population..
Much needed was the large venue which, and like a chameleon, became a cinema, conference platform and where I was asked to give a speech about tourism. I focused on the needs of disabled/ handicapped guests who would want to see The Three Gorges and this fine ship. But the traditional high thresholds, the wobbly and long distant gangplanks, narrow doorways as of now, make that impossible. There are two available disabled rooms on the ship with over 200 rooms.
After dinner, a large bar became the evening entertainment disco/space where one evening a fashion show featured seriously stunning old traditional robes (my Chinese friend said the colors were all wrong) to the present day trends, all modeled by the staff.
On the lowest level of the ship (called level 1), were the amenities like the perfect foot massage for about $15 and a great unexpected wash and blow dry for about $20. With the humidity and heat, suddenly hair became an important issue for women with frizz problems, only to be expected in July when temperatures reach the high 30c (90f)
With our various ports of call, we often had to take a small van to the locations. Not to be missed, high on my list, are, of course the Three Gorges, Qutang, Xiling and Wu ,the latter, the most beautiful. We passed stone caves many metres high above the waters, where once Ba burials took place, Ghost Town, Dazu, Chongqing Stone Grottoes in Dazu, Chongqing with extraordinary carvings and the most beautiful excursion for me were the three natural stone bridges in Wulong, Choning. However, someone forgot to mention to me that there are 900 steps down (not 10 or 40 at a time but all 900) plus about a 6km (3.6mile) walk to the exit. During the numbing walk is an extraordinary, traditional small building now an hotel and where a movie, Impressions of Yulong, was filmed.
No many sites could compare with the white cliffs, huge sculpted mountains, the silence interrupted by tweeting birds, gushing streams overflowing from the pelting rainstorm, a few small but wonderful waterfalls and marvelous crevices. But the heat was debilitating and a kind person, carried my heavy bag and held my arm to help with those steep steps. The kindness of strangers was a major insight into the gentle side of the Chinese people.
I was never as happy to see a waiting open sided cart ($2) which took us back to our van. Of course, during the entire trek, there were the constant offering of being carried, like old royalty, in a wood chair, carried by two elderly men. There were moments I was most tempted but the thought of these men having to carry my 120 pounds (okay 125 pounds) in this humidity made me hesitate.
There are few adventures that could capture a country that now boasts of skyscrapers, subways, hundreds of thousands of cars, cafes from just about every country and being navigated through the once unthinkable Three Gorges.
Yes, China has awakened like Rip Van Winkle, except the world is watching, wondering how could so much materialize in such a short time. It should be a hint to the rest of the world.
by Barbara Kingstone
After the quintessential R &R Tahitian experience of blue skies, white sands, palm trees sloping into the aqua water and the thatched roof, peue lined rooms of Hotel Sofitel Ia Ora, I begrudgingly took the 30 minute ferry from the small island of Moorea to the comparatively big city Papeete, in search of beauteous and hard to produce black pearls and gold jewelry. For any large city, traffic wouldn’t be an issue but in Papeete, the early morning rush of cars seemed to be the main topic of conversation. However, Pomare Avenue, the wide boulevard with the ocean on one side and cafes and stores on the other, was the reason for my being away from the peaceful and zombie-like existence just minutes away.
After an espresso at one of the many outdoor cafes looking over the huge marina where yachts, tall boats and cruise ships vie for position, I was ready to attach one of my favourite activities, shopping.
This may seem like a very easy task but when the country’s second industry after tourism is black pearl farming, there are more stores selling these wonderful mollusks or to be precise, the black lipped oyster, pinctada margaritifera, than even the major fashion oriented cites.. From past experience, the first stop should be the Black Pearl Museum on Boulevard Pomare and Rue du Temple. Here you’ll get a good idea of the variations for size, shine, shade and shape.- the four Ss, much like the four Cs for diamond identification
However, I decided to start my research at the other end of Pomare to confirm my former impressions of the French jewelry designer Alain Bouget. His beautifully appointed boutique, My Pearls, is located on the corner of Boulevard Pomare and Avenue du Prince Hinoi. I had met Alain before and wanted to see how his creations had evolved in the three years since I had last been in Tahiti.. His designs include using a lot of gold with various colors and shapes of pearls, a palette that nature has given these wondrous by-products. Although sophisticated styling, I felt now as I felt then, that the price points of My Pearls were high. Coming down from his upstairs workshop, the gallant fortyish jewelry let me know that this is a most unusual appearance since he very seldomly meets with his public. I’m not sure that I was impressed or disappointed that he wouldn’t want to meet and see what the clients wanted. Although I admire his interwoven gold choker studded with three superb pearls which had a matching equally stunning bracelet, the price tag startled me. I soon felt comfortable in my assessment by comparison shopping since this street is just a string of pearl shops. But, one has to really have to either know the black pearl or to feel completely confident with the shop and its staff, since so many factors play a part in the pricing. One must consider the lustre, the amount of blemishes, the thickness of the nacre the irregularities just for starters. Certainly buying pearls in the A or B plus categories will fetch a higher dollar value than pearls in the C range, although I did see some that were perfectly stunning and acceptable and these can drastically reduce the price. Although small, I was impressed with Vahine Pearls Bijouterie on rue Jean-Gilbert, across from the cruise liners main dock. Don’t be frightened off by thinking it’s a tourist trap. But as always, let the buyer beware.. Or have some knowledgeable about the product. Many retailers are including a certified x-ray photograph which shows the exact layers of mother of pearl, however, make sure it is the same pearl so that the thickness is what you’re actually buying and paying for.
I liked the youthful designs at The Magic Pearl (again on Boulevard Pomare) which is less pricey with good quality stock. The Magic Pearl is part of a larger group of shops and as a of seal of approval, I’m told that at least 50% of their clients are locals. This shop on Pomare has less expensive items than their larger premises, but more later. Herman Perles, at 373 Boulevard Pomare again a smallish boutique, has an artisan, goldsmith on the premises and only use gem quality pearls. Their contemporary designs include pearls in crystal, which is really a great look. Just next door, is Etienne, which is more affordable with a larger stock of gold items. Although at this moment, there are only a few people browsing the shop, I did like Tahiti Or et Perles. But when push came to shove, one of the best shopping spots is what is known as the Black Pearl Plaza but really called Centre Vaima. It was difficult to decide which of the dozens of stores to enter so I made my decision by window-shopping. My first in- store stop was Tahitian Native Jewelry. Don’t get the image of some primitive native designs. In fact, the refined items were a pleasure to view in this outdoor shopping mall. Vaima Perles Boutique, with the same owners as the above mentioned The Magic Pearl, has unexpected great designs at good prices. For instance, a clear acrylic ring is set with a very good-looking black pearl and is priced under US$300. Braided silk neckpiece and bracelet that comes in various colors has hanging not bad quality pearls. But here we’re talking about a ‘look’, not priceless gems. There were also some splendid stainless steel strands dotted with pearls from rose to ecru to Grey and again the price points were hovering about US$200, inexpensive for this fashion forward look. Sophie, Garaccione, a young stylish woman whose parents came to Tahiti from Italy, oversees the two stores in the plaza, located just across from each other. Here the customer can browse both ends of the spectrum, since the sister store is very up market. At the larger Viama Boutique, the price tags , as expected, are higher and the quality very special. Here you’ll find large baroque strands (one had l00 various shades of pearls and cost US$8000) or the perfectly round a quality in from champagne to peacock and well into the five to six figure market. Their creations are prefect for all ages. “We’ve been here since l977”, Sophie tells me as I peer into the glassed in atelier where the craftsmen are busy, never looking up from their assignments. Again the issue of local clientele comes up and I’m told that 65% of their business is from the residence of the island. The quality is marvelous and Sophie credits this to better supervision and more production on the pearl farms.
One important point is that when purchasing, always ask for a certificate of authenticity. You’ll never regret owning a black pearl. As the book says, “created by nature, cherished by men”…make that unisex.
By Barbara Kingstone
As my husband plunked himself down on his seat on Via Rail, he had the broadest smile I’ve seen in years. He loves trains equal to his dislike with the line ups at airports. Besides, as he quickly mentioned, he also can take the tucked away table, place his books and papers on it and get down to finishing up work he would have done this weekend had I not convinced him (no big arm twisting here) to visit Ottawa.
For him not only is the passing scenery from ‘uber’ urban to Scarborough than the more traditional Trenton and rural Ontario areas with stops at iconic historic cities like Belleville Kingston and Brockville, this is the type of getaway he adores. But then so do I.
I am a self proclaimed train aficionado. I’ve taken every sort of train..the snail paced Toy Train up the Himalayas in India, the always on time, rapid rail in Switzerland, another in Peru where as we ate, a trio played typical Peruvian music, the exquisite hand carved wood paneled cars of the Eastern and Oriental Express from Bangkok and the Rovos Rail in South Africa when the trip ended with a red carpet welcome and a glass of champagne. So rails also fascinate me.
Although from Toronto, Via Rail’s first train is very early with no time for even a cup of coffee, when on board, breakfast was served by a most competent and friendly staff and the food was surprisingly good -a quiche -like tart of eggs, feta cheese and mushrooms along with a dish of fresh fruit and terrific coffee. Why would anyone going to Ottawa want to take any other means of transportation?
I felt fate had a great hand in this trip since from the moment we checked into the monumental fortress- like, beautifully stone Fairmont Chateau Laurier, I knew immediately that this too, would be very special. The hotel’s history goes back to 1912 with a list of dignitaries and celebrities over the decades. And if only the walls could talk!!! One of the great tales is that an underground tunnel was linked to the Parliament buildings by a steam pipe tunnel. Now, of course, it is secured and locked. I then didn’t have to ponder over how prices have changed in this century. It’s difficult to think that rooms were only $2 then.
Another great but more contemporary story has special meaning for me. A decade ago, while I was covering in my capacity as social writer, I was invited to an event in Ottawa where I met the renowned photographer, Yousuf Karsh and his stunning wife Estrellita. I asked if I could photograph the world famous photographer and so as I say, “I Karshed Karsh”. Their connection with the Fairmont Chateau Laurier is a tale of great importance. They lived on the 4th floor in an apartment for 18 years while Karsh’s studio was on the 6th floor where some of the most fascinating and important powerful people were photographed.
The 4th floor or as it’s now known Gold/Or Executive Floor, with its born to the manor living room , is how a chateau’s Lounge room should look with a special concierge service that seems to manage every request. One of the great extras is that in this comfortable setting and great vista, a fine and full buffet breakfast is served and then in late afternoon, hors d’ouvres and drinks and, like the London’s Ritz Hotel, it’s a tradition to have a true English tea.( This impressed our American guests}. However, at breakfast, it was déjà vu. Sitting in a discreet corner was the still stunning and ultra elegant Mrs. Karsh. She returns to this home away from home every year from Boston where she now resides, to recognize the death of her famed husband and to thank the staff who cared for the Karshs’ needs. She is a celebrated and most cherished guest. We chatted and although she’s back in the USA, this hotel, she told me, was still “home” since she lived here for almost 40 years and her attachment to it and the staff was obvious.
Yes, the Chateau really does deserve the accolades with its fine service, grand rooms, and the Reading Lounge where there are many signed portraits by Karsh which were gifted to the hotel in 1998.
Another good reason to go to Ottawa when we did, was to see the Caravaggio exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada (the exhibit is only on until Sept 11th, 2011). Ottawa is filled with magnificent buildings from another era and now filling the skyline are marvelous contemporary edifices like this splendid architecture treasure.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio , an artist who was considered a radical in the 1500s, had a profound effect on art of his day. His masterpieces are a marvel to view and he is considered one of the greatest artists ever. Although he was somewhat of a rogue with a violent temper, too much pride and had actually killed someone thus forcing him to flee Rome, this temperamental artist saw a new way of viewing the world and left a major impact through his art with his dashes of shading and light. Although there are only a dozen Caravaggio canvases on exhibit, more than 40 outstanding canvases painted by his followers are part of the exhibition.
There are many more reasons to visit this capital city where the Rideau Canal is filled with yachts during the summer months while in winter it becomes a skating rink and looks like a Breughel painting. Watching the yachts navigate the locks, The Byward market and their wonderful fruit and veggie stalls, outdoor cafes, so many historic sites that are evocative for historians, the incredibly wonderful Parliament Building, all enough to make us consider revisiting and doing it all over again and then there’s Via Rail, Chateau Laurier, the National Gallery. All aborad and encore, encore.