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Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms

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Summer up north

By Patricia Lightfoot

A series of tweets recently by an Iqaluit councillor about the pleasures of visiting the community of Pangnirtung, which is about an hour’s flight north of the territorial capital, followed by one expressing concern about getting his flight home made me think of a visit there that I made this summer.

The community of a little under 2000 inhabitants is located in the shadow of Mount Duval on a fiord that leads from Cumberland Sound to the Akshayuk Pass in Auyuittuq National Park. The setting is remarkably beautiful and prone to fog, so flights are regularly cancelled. Continue reading “Summer up north”

Waiting for the north wind

By Patricia Lightfoot

Every year in July through September, goods ranging from cars and trucks to construction materials are delivered to Nunavut communities by the sealift, that is, on massive ships. The reason for this is that none of the communities is connected by road, whether to another community or to the south.

This year, only a few items were unloaded before Iqaluit’s Koojesse inlet started to fill up with sea ice that had blown south, from Greenland according to some locals. Continue reading “Waiting for the north wind”

Impressions of Iqaluit

By Patricia Lightfoot

I thought about the Jerry Cans’ song “Northern Lights,” as I flew into Iqaluit in March, and the line “Don’t you never ever forget the ones who live there,” when “travelling among the Northern Lights.” I did not see the Northern Lights, even when locked out of the place where I was staying at 11:30 pm after “steak night” at the Legion, Continue reading “Impressions of Iqaluit”

Welcome to Montgolfiere Weekly!

This blog exists because I wanted to do a different kind of writing from the writing I do in my day job, and I even managed to persuade some of my friends to contribute their thoughts on culture in its many forms, from the visual arts, letters and music to human health, habits and customs, with occasional references to hot air ballooning. There is a whole world out there, and this is a small way of exploring it. Continue reading “Welcome”

Managing visitors and protecting rock art heritage: A sad story from Los Haitises, Dominican Republic

By Julie Harris

In his manual Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites, Arthur Pedersen advises that “Directing governments, site managers and visitors towards sustainable tourism practices is the only way to ensure the safekeeping of our world’s natural and cultural heritage.” A visit in recent years to Los Haitises National Park in the Dominican Republic demonstrated how difficult it can be to develop, encourage and enforce sustainable tourism practices in many countries, especially when tourists just don’t care. Continue reading “Managing visitors and protecting rock art heritage: A sad story from Los Haitises, Dominican Republic”

The accidental development tourist

By Mark Fryars

OK, so you know what and where SNNPR is, right? No? Oh! Well, in short, it is a region in Ethiopia, a few hours’ drive south of the capital, Addis Ababa. It’s home to some 45 ethnic groups, and its 15 million people speak 12 different languages. Half the population are Protestants, one in five are Orthodox Christian and the remainder are Muslim, Catholic or other religions. So, pretty diverse.  Continue reading “The accidental development tourist”

Travelling in Japan: Koyasan

By Patricia Lightfoot

Here is the final instalment of a brief tour of Japan presented through the Japanese words I practised each day. After Kyoto, we went to Mount Koya or Koyasan, which is an area of religious significance, being the centre of Shingon Buddhism.  One attraction for visitors, apart from the town’s natural setting in the mountains, its history, its many temples and other religious buildings, is the opportunity to stay in a temple lodging, Continue reading “Travelling in Japan: Koyasan”

The list

My take on travel planning has always been impulsive, so I was intrigued to learn about a friend’s more methodical approach. This friend prefers not to leave a digital footprint, so her name is not included here. PL

 Please tell us about your list

As far back as I can remember, I have had what some people call a “bucket list.” It comes from my childhood, when my parents impressed upon us that we shouldn’t take life for granted and then regret missed opportunities. Embracing the next travel opportunity, both near and far, was a common topic of conversation and, arguably, the glue that connects us as a family. Some travel adventure stories make for great dinner conversation, like my father recounting his unorthodox journey to find the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or my sibling’s first trek to Machu Picchu. While other stories, often the most meaningful experiences in my view, are best shared only with those we love. I remember what the sun felt like while exploring the Cinque Terre or how the air smelled like citrus in Capri, which doesn’t exactly make for tantalizing dinner conversation, but these are some of my favourite memories nonetheless. Continue reading “The list”

My Little Free Library

by Marnie Wellar

A few years ago in Montreal, I saw a charming little wooden cupboard set up on a post outside a coffee shop. A notice on the little door offered free books, and the cabinet had a variety of books inside. What a beautiful idea, full of goodness! I decided I would make one someday.

Last year I was deep into a major DIY project: a minimal-waste, salvaged-materials sustainable kitchen renovation. It’s a rewarding approach, but also painstaking and protracted. Taking a week off to make a Little Free Library would be the perfect side project, one I could enjoy accomplishing quickly. Continue reading “My Little Free Library”

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