Other Places

Independence Day

On Wednesday night, the haar descended over Edinburgh, moving east from the sea until it covered the whole city in a filmy fog, blurring the street lights and rendering anything more than a metre ahead nearly invisible. I left my glasses in the pub after my boyfriend's birthday drinks, and had to run across The Meadows to retrieve them at one in the morning. It was Referendum Eve, the chilliest day yet this September.

The benches where, earlier in the day, YES campaigners had given me a bumper sticker— "But I don't have a car!" "Take one anyway!"—were now filled with men shouting about communism, trying to drown one another [...]


A Visit to the Less Famous But Definitely Bigger World's Largest Ball of Twine

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine might just be the most famous example of a certain kind of American roadside kitsch, although I can't figure out why. It’s not part of the funky, burned-out cars and wigwam motels along Route 66. It’s not in National Lampoon’s Vacation, which is where most of my road trip knowledge comes from. Was it in those Guinness Book of World Records paperbacks I used to read as a kid, next to an entry about the man with the world’s longest fingernails or the world’s fattest identical twins? I don’t know.

Two summers ago, my boyfriend Josh and I borrowed a Jeep from an overly [...]


The Shoemakers of Gedikpaşa

During my first days in Istanbul last month, I found myself navigating through expanses of Istanbul’s subway system so new that they did not appear in my 2013 transit map. A few days later, the country's new bullet-train service, connecting Istanbul to Ankara, was launched by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister and presumed favorite in Turkey's upcoming presidential elections, to well-orchestrated fanfare. Election campaign hyperbole aside, the country's thriving economy and growing confidence in its future was evident in the ambitious infrastructure projects—bridges, tunnels, canals, airports—and large-scale construction that seemed to be remaking the entire city. (It was also evident in Erdoğan’s decisive victory at the polls [...]


Toronto Thinks People Are Actually Giving It A Lot Of Thought

"Canada's largest city, where I grew up, is a sprawling, crowded, diverse, fabulously wealthy and increasingly exciting place. It's Canada's New York City (the nation's finance capital), San Francisco (technology) and Los Angeles (entertainment) put together, and is by almost every measure a world-class city. There's only one thing holding it back: An adolescent's obsession over what other people think of it." —Did you know that people who live in Toronto are called Torontonians? I mean, I guess it makes sense, but I never really spent any time considering the nomenclature, because, you know, it's Toronto. It may [...]


A Guide to Visiting Iceland on July 16th, 2014

Your day in Iceland begins on a bus, the Flybus, which shuttles along Iceland’s edge from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik. In ten years, you might be able to do this trip on a train that will carry a thousand passengers every hour. Iceland has never had a public train before, so it's possible that the first public train in Iceland will cater almost exclusively to tourists, whose numbers are projected to almost double by 2023.

Until then, it’s the Flybus, which traces a boundary between Atlantic Ocean and an inexplicable, bulbous network of volcanic rock. Observe as you travel that the treeless terrain, at once both traversable and inhospitable, [...]