Savoring the Moments in Modena, Italy


 “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

As we strolled the cobbled streets of Modena, Italy, surrounded by the graceful city’s earth-toned buildings, we couldn’t help but feel that we were back in an exotic part of the world that doesn’t often see visitors. The portico-packed, elegant lanes were decidedly Italian in architectural character, but locals seemed to approach us at every turn, asking us to take their photograph, curious about our story and what brought us to Modena. The latter certainly wasn’t a phenomenon that either one of us had ever encountered in Italian tourist meccas such as Florence, Rome, or Venice, but here in Modena, we visitors seemed a bit like a rarity, and that made interactions come even more effortlessly.

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Love in the Air: A Wedding in Modena, Italy


Where there is love there is life.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Shortly before the centuries-old bell tower tolled five o’clock, a crowd of uninvited and surprise guests huddled together on Modena’s Piazza Grande to celebrate a marriage. A crisp-white Fiat dressed in balloons stood guard on the cobbled Italian town square, ready to whisk the new couple away.

Step-by-step, in elegant unison, the two sauntered down the staircase of Modena’s town hall, the Palazzo Comunaleand the crowd sang Can’t Help Falling in Love. Perhaps in English, perhaps in Italian. Pieces of confetti danced in the air above the pair, blissful grins on their faces.

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Kicking Back in Kensington – Toronto

Kensington Neighborhood Street Sign in Toronto with Chair

A mustard-colored chair, with a sun-drenched model of the earth sitting on it, signified our arrival in Toronto’s Kensington neighborhood. For several hours, we strolled around the quirky district, admiring its multicultural qualities, fun characters and distinctive businesses. Our stroll was illuminated by a sapphire blue sky.

Toronto Street Scene

Kensington Toronto Streetscape

Kensington Market - Toronto

There were beds of happy daisies and hollyhocks,

Daisies in Toronto

Hollyhocks in Kensington, Toronto

cars befitting one with a green thumb,

Garden Car in Kensington, Toronto

vibrant murals,

Toronto School Mural

bikers with flair and companions,

Man in costume riding in Kensington, Toronto

Woman biking with dog in Kensington, Toronto

and fun architectural details on gingerbread homes and shops.

House in Kensington Toronto

Street Art in Kensington Toronto

Detail of Kensington House - Toronto

Kensington Building Detail - Toronto

Street Light in Toronto College Street

Shop in Kensington, Toronto

Kensington Diners- Toronto

Piercing sign in Toronto - Kensington

Victorian Architecture in Kensington, Toronto

We spied churches and synagogues,

Church in Toronto - Kensington

Ukranian Church in Toronto

Synagogue in Kensington, Toronto

and moose on a balcony.

Kensington Toronto Maple Leaf Moose

After criss-crossing the district on foot, we yearned to fill our bellies with a big, fat burrito. We went heavy on the spicy sauce, making our tongues sizzle as much as our bodies had under the hot, hot sun.

Big Fat Burrito in Kensington, Toronto

Big Fat Burrito in Kensington, Toronto

Tips jar in Kensington Toronto

Kensington - Toronto

We returned to lanes bathed in late afternoon sunlight, and dotted with shadows and silhouettes.

Kensington Home - White Picket Fence - Toronto

Kensington Streetscape - Toronto - Muraled building

A flame flickered in an old-fashioned lamp in front of the local fire station.

Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto

Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto

Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto

Before we knew it, it was time to hop back onto the metro and return to our home away from home.

Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto

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Canadian Flag on Toronto BuildingHappy Canada Day Greetings, From Ottawa! 

Scenes from Hoi An, Vietnam

Even on the most overcast of days, Hoi An’s streets are replete with color.

Salespeople stand before crumbling, mustard-colored buildings, enticing the young — and the young at heart — with bunches of fluorescent balloons.

Nearby, market stalls overflow with vibrant-colored produce. There are miniature bananas, silk scarves of every hue, and blue and white dishes with abstract landscapes delicately painted on them.

Fluffy, ginger-colored dogs rest on the pavement, watching the world go by.

And handmade lanterns brighten the streets — by day and by night.

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Photo du Jour: A Produce Merchant in Pushkar, India

Woman wearing traditional jewelry and clothes selling vegetables in Pushkar, India

If only this produce merchant and I had spoken the same language, for I think she would have had remarkable stories to share. I crossed the woman’s path while exploring the more quiet, but extremely colorful back lanes of Pushkar, India. (Pushkar is in the Indian state of Rajasthan and it’s perhaps best known for being one of the five most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites.)

As this scene presented itself to me, I noticed the juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern — the woman’s weathered face and her traditional, clunky, silver jewelry contrasting with the shiny and new motorbike behind her. I was pleased that she graciously allowed me to take her photograph. And I wondered – what must be on the minds of individuals who have never held a camera, never had a copy of a photograph with their likeness on it? Indeed, they must be just as intrigued by a shutterbug’s motives as I often am about the treasure chests of stories they possess.

Woman wearing traditional jewelry and clothes selling vegetables in Pushkar, India