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What I Did On Summer Vacation
September 18, 2013
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Back to work, back to school, back to the grind. Season 10 has officially kicked off.

We're going to bust it to bring you guys great, informative, interesting stuff this season. But before we go forward, here's a quick look back. Below is what I did this summer.

Anybody do anything interesting this summer?


Canada Day International with The Tragically Hip

Trafalgar Square, London, England

CBC had wrapped. CNN had wrapped. Had to fly to New York and then fly to London on July 1. My flight was delayed 15 hours. So I landed in London on Canada Day and straight to Trafalgar Square. I had been feeling just bagged, done and I went out just as The Tragically Hip were taking the stage. I introduced the Hip, so they went on and as they walked by me, gave a couple back slaps or whatever, [Gord] Downie turns back to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and goes "Hey George, I have a feeling that this is going to be it. That tonight it's going to be it."

And I went out front and I watched the crowd react to the Hip tunes. And I thought, "Well, this band is more important than even they understand." Because everybody there missed home in some weird way and there's no other band that can universally do that. Even people who you could tell were not down with the Hip. So the anthem was going on, I grabbed the flag and that picture was taken by Jamey Ordolis of CBC Live. And that was the beginning of my summer. That day I was home.

Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)

Berchtesgaden, Germany

I was in Berlin and I was partying way too hard [in a straight-edge way]. It was like I was living a college vacation. And then I was walking through the streets of Berlin and I saw a lot of really, really powerful World War II imagery. I went past where the Gestapo headquarters were. I'd see plates in the ground signifying where a person was kidnapped and arrested and killed in Auschwitz. It was heavy. And you could see the way the Germans wove the story of the Holocaust throughout the city. So I had the feeling that I needed to go see stuff. I had the feeling that I didn't just want to party, I needed to see stuff. So we rented a car.

We drove to Nuremberg to see the parade grounds. It was surreal because it had a big Nestlé banner where there used to be a big swastika that the allies blew up. But most of what's going on with the Nazi stuff is gone, so I wanted to see something that was still standing. So we drove all the way to the Alps to find the Eagle's Nest.

We went and found the Eagle's Nest and walked this long tunnel. It felt damp and dead. Like you knew. You know that feeling when you get older and you walk down that tunnel and you know there's nothing at the end of the tunnel that's good? But you're compelled to go?

After you climb up there's a house and a cross that's standing there and after you pass the cross you go through this weird little sketchy walkway on the other side of the mountain, it's not safe but it's really interesting. Here's where I'm getting as far away from the house as I can. And you're just in a place that you've never seen before. Whistler's amazing, but the Alps are so interesting. I think everyone should go.

If I turned to my left in the photo you could see Salzburg, Austria. So we drove down to Salzburg just to see where Mozart was born. The end of my Germany trip was just trying to hang around on the banks where Mozart might have strolled and see the apartment where he used to write his music.

Field of Dreams

Dyersville, Iowa

Got jacked in the desert. Ran out of gas. Looking for towns that no longer exist in a part of America that's almost empty. Got completely rerouted and lost almost two days on the road. Deep desert heat, flash floods, needed to get out Nevada. Needed to double back and I just rolled through upper Nevada, northern Nevada, Utah and I just aimed for serenity now. I just knew in the back of my head that where I was going to find that was at the Field of Dreams place at Ray and Annie's house.

Before you get to the big cities in Iowa you've got to go north to Dyersville, Iowa, which is super-small. I pulled up to an electronics store because I needed a battery for something. The guy's like, "What are you doing here?" I said, "I'm looking for the field." He said "Go north, make a right, follow the windy road. You can't miss it. The house is still there."

I took his advice and followed the road and there it was.

When I pulled up there it was so hot, so sweaty. And people just came. People did walk out of the corn.

You know that scene at the end of the film where you see the lights? Where the people come? That's how you enter. You actually get there through that road. And you sit there for a second on that bench where it's still scratched in a heart "Ray loves Annie."

And it was super-peaceful. I needed it after my couple of days in Northern California. But the best part about me of getting there was the attrition, the grind it took for me to arrive. I didn't just show up there. I had to earn that. I felt that I had to go to Boston to get Terrence.

And I'm sure I could have appreciated it without the journey, but the journey helped.


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