Dreamy little canals abound, and not just in Venice. The quiet corners and walkways along the canals of Brugges in Belgium, above and below, can carry your imagination along for hours.
Canals can capture you in unexpected places, like Copenhagen, above, or Paris, below. Copenhagen is a seafaring town, so you might expect to see a row of multicolored houses with boats parked out front.
Canal St. Martin, above, seems hushed on its face, even though it has grown popular among Parisians in recent years. I'll report my findings when I take a look for myself in September.
In Washington, down behind all the fuss of Georgetown's M Street, runs the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, once plied by barges pulled by mules tramping along the towpath. It's an autumn kind of place, all shaded in browns and yellows and Colonial façades. If any town needs an honest haven, it's the Capital.
Not to take away from the better-known canals of Amsterdam, above, and Venice below. To be led along by waterways, past tall buildings like pretty spinsters, is to know Amsterdam intimately.
The miniature bridges of Venice shroud her canals with lace-like ironwork and finely crafted masonry. From one to the next, a visitor follows an unspoken path into the heart of a city one never quite understands.
In The Swimmer, John Cheever's title character sets out to swim "the river" of friends' swimming pools that run across his bedroom community. Likewise, an ambitious traveller might set out to walk along the river of canals that run through old cities across Western civilization. What a voyage that would be.