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Category: Travel North America (page 1 of 8)

2016: The Year in Cities

Here are the cities/towns/villages I’ve spent the night in during 2016 (places marked with * have seen multiple visits within the year):

It looks like our time in Europe will draw to close in 2017, so this list will likely change significantly next year.

With respect to countries, I added new six ones to my visited list in 2016: Portugal, Hungary, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. My visited-countries list stands as follows at the end of 2016:

  1. Antigua
  2. Austria
  3. Bahamas
  4. Belgium
  5. British Virgin Islands
  6. Canada
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Denmark
  9. Estonia
  10. Finland
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Hungary
  14. India
  15. Ireland
  16. Italy
  17. Japan
  18. Luxembourg
  19. Malaysia
  20. Netherlands
  21. Nigeria
  22. Norway
  23. Portugal
  24. Russia
  25. Singapore
  26. Spain
  27. Sweden
  28. Switzerland
  29. Thailand
  30. Trinidad and Tobago
  31. United Arab Emirates
  32. United Kingdom
  33. United States of America
  34. US Virgin Islands
  35. Vatican City

Again, with our likely move back to Canada, I do not expect this list to grow as much in 2017.

One Photo – Port Stanley

Robin and I spent a quick week back in Canada starting on the Labour Day weekend. On one of the mornings we spent in Port Stanley, I got up early and went for a walk on the new western breakwater and watched the sun come up. The photo above captured the mood well, with the sun breaking out over the bank of early morning clouds.

Camera: Sony DSC-RX100
Lens: Zeiss 18-100mm f/1.8-4.9
Focal Length: 37.1 mm
Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/11
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 200

6573 Nights*

You probably could infer from my posts “The Year in Cities” that I have been keeping track of where I’ve  traveled in the world.  In fact, I have full records going back to the start of 1998 of where I spent each evening. I finally did some analysis on all that data to characterize which cities I spent the most time in.  The data breaks down nicely into order of magnitudes.


  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (2128)
    It is hard to believe but sometime in March 2016 we’ll have spent longer living in Amsterdam than we did in Calgary. We’re approaching eight years living in the Netherlands and we’re still enjoying it all.
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada (1600)
    If I had kept records starting in 1995, it is likely that Calgary would be in first place on the list. Still a great city and one I would live in once again.
  • Katy, Texas, USA (1436)
    Five and a bit years on the west side of Houston; Robin did a lot with horses, I built a garden railroad, and we saw a lot of the Southwest in our RV.


  • Houston, Texas, USA (165)
    This is all work related.  I traveled to Houston regularly when I worked in Calgary, but in the past three years, I’ve traveled there a lot more often as one of my larger teams is based there.
  • Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada (144)
    Our home base in Canada since 2008. Robin and I have a strong attachment to the area and Robin’s idea to buy a place here in 2008 was a great one.  I only usually get to spend a week or two a year here but it has become home in many ways.


  • Sarnia, Ontario, Canada (84)
    Another place that would have been much higher in the list if I had kept records earlier, my time spent here is almost all related to visits for work, except for one night in 2010 to see Rush at Bayfest to keep a promise my friend Randy and I made in the early 1990’s to see them if they ever played Sarnia again.
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada (46)
    It was a sad day when Shell announced the closure of the Montreal East Refinery as trips to Montreal were always some of my favorite business trips. Robin joined me on my last business trip there as we needed to renew our US visas and it was easiest to do it on this trip.
  • Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada (44)
    The location of our family cottage which my parents bought in 1968.  We haven’t been there as much in the past few years, but we did spend the turn of the century there as well as celebrating my sister’s wedding there in 2010.
  • Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean (38)
    These are all airplane flights to Europe, probably about 80% for work and 20% for personal reasons.
  • St Thomas, Ontario, Canada (35)
    St Thomas is still home for Robin’s parents.  All of our stays here are before we bought our place in Port Stanley.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (34)
    Another city where I spent several weeks at a time doing engineering studies at our chemical plant there.
  • Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada (34)
    Again, business.
  • Fernie, British Columbia, Canada (28)
    Our time in Fernie was all related to several holidays we took there in the late ’90’s at a friend’s ski cabin in the summertime.  We almost bought a condo on the ski hill back then, but that’s another story.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (28)
    About 80% business and 20% pleasure, Robin and I spent a couple of trips to New Orleans enjoying the food and atmosphere of the Big Easy.
  • Tokyo, Japan (28)
    One of my favorite places to visit, all my trips there have been pre-2008 and all on business.  I certainly would like to make at least one more visit there and would add a week or more of travel to see more of Japan.
  • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (27)
    The city I grew up in, but a place I haven’t visited in a long time as my family has all moved to other places.
  • Sugar Land, Texas, USA (25)
    Another town on the outskirts of Houston, these visits are also related to work.
  • Auburndale, Florida, USA (25)
    The town where my dad and stepmother have a winter place. Robin and I did several trips there when we lived in Katy: several by plane and a couple in our RV.
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (23)
  • Paris, France (22)
    About 50% work and 50% visiting.  Robin’s time in Paris is much higher than mine as she attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school there in 2010 for 5 weeks.
  • Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands (21)
    The old training center for Shell was located here and many people remember their time here quite fondly as its remoteness caused course attendees to spend a lot of time together.
  • Chester, Great Britain (18)
    Another work location, I managed a team located here for four years.  Beautiful old city.
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (16)
    More work here.
  • Somewhere over the Pacific (16)
    Flights returning from Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
  • Rijswijk, Netherlands (15)
    The location of our other big office in the Netherlands, at times I’ll stay over rather commute back and forth to Amsterdam.
  • Oakville, Ontario, Canada (14)
    The city where my sister and her husband live now.
  • London, Great Britain (13)
    Mostly for pleasure, I have spent some time there on business the past few years.
  • Brantford, Ontario, Canada (11)
    The city where our daughter, her husband and our granddaughter now live.
  • Secaucus, New Jersey, USA (10)
    Done all in one visit, this trip was  to finalize the process design for Shell’s first upgrader located in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.


  • There is, of course, a long tail of cities between 1 and 10 nights visited: 162 cities in total from Austin, Texas, USA to Zermatt, Switzerland.


*The title of the post was inspired by the Moody Blues song “22,000 Days“.

2015: The Year in Cities

Here are the cities/towns/villages I’ve spent the night in during 2015 (places marked with * have seen multiple visits):

So only one new country in 2015: India. My visited-countries list stands as follows at the end of 2015:

  1. Antigua
  2. Austria
  3. Bahamas
  4. Belgium
  5. British Virgin Islands
  6. Canada
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Denmark
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. India
  12. Ireland
  13. Italy
  14. Japan
  15. Luxembourg
  16. Malaysia
  17. Netherlands
  18. Nigeria
  19. Norway
  20. Singapore
  21. Spain
  22. Switzerland
  23. Thailand
  24. Trinidad and Tobago
  25. United Arab Emirates
  26. United Kingdom
  27. United States of America
  28. US Virgin Islands
  29. Vatican City

Travelogue: Whistler

Every now and then, I am fortunate to receive an invitation to speak at a professional conference in my area of specialization, process control. With the 2015 edition of the ADCHEM conference being held in Whistler BC, I was very honored to be asked to deliver the first plenary presentation of the conference.

I flew on a Saturday from Amsterdam to Vancouver and then completed the trip via the Pacific Coach bus to Whistler. The official conference hotel was the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside which more than met my needs over the next few days.

With all of the travel I had done to get there, I went to bed early on the Saturday night, but was wide awake when the sun came up at 4:45 am PST. With not a cloud in the sky, I jumped at the opportunity to do a good trail run. I had done a bit of pre-reading before the trip so I knew about the Whistler Valley Trail system and planned my run to head out towards Lost Lake and the cross-country trails there that serve as trail runs in the summer. Having the trails all to myself on such a beautiful morning, at each trail junction, I found myself choosing to keep going further away from the village and take in the mountain scenery. In the end, a 5 km run turned into a 11 km one but I was all done before 7:30 am. I took the opportunity to do several more runs out and back to Lost Lake over the next few days and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

I was also very impressed with Whistler itself, with summer activities in full swing on the first weekend of June. There were plenty of good places to eat and shop and the design of pedestrian areas of the village created a very European feel. The photo above shows one of the pedestrian-only public spaces within the village. I did want to give a shout out to Moguls Coffee House, which was one of the few places open for breakfast and coffee for someone like myself trying to stay close to European time. Good coffee and breakfast bagels/muffins.

Whistler is definitely a place I’d like to return to with more time to hike and mountain bike, although I’d stick to the cross-country mountain bike trail rather doing the downhill mountain biking it seemed everyone was doing.

Summer is Over

We were back to Port Stanley for Christmas and New Years once again this year and I had several opportunities to take photo walks through the town.

This photo came from one of the pre-Christmas walks I did. It was a little chilly on the beach (-4 degrees C) but the clouds were some of the best I saw during this visit. Port Stanley’s west breakwater can be a challenging thing to photograph but I got fortunate with the light and clouds at the end of the day.

I hope you all had a great holiday season. I’m looking forward to more travel and more photography in 2015.

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX with a Hoya ND8 Neutral Density Filter
Focal Length: 35 mm
Exposure: 8 sec sec at f/16
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 100