Author Archives: The Wife of Bath

Bowing to the deer of Nara in a typhoon

Arriving in Nara last night, we went in search of udon,  While slurping up our noodles in a random noodle joint, I looked up at at the TV and said to HOB “look at that weather forecast—looks like there’s a typhoon over Japan.” Oops!  There was a typhoon bearing down on us, projected to be […]

The dress code is linen at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple

HOB and I used to take a staycation every spring.  We’d run around Chicago, visiting far away neighborhoods, going to concerts and plays, and walking around with an architecture book doing self-guided tours.  On several of these vacations we took the train out to Oak Park, our visits always seeming to coincide with an event […]

Chicago vernacular

This time every summer I usually go to a conference.  This year that conference is in Chicago.  While I’m kind of bummed not to be visiting a new city, I’m thinking of this as an opportunity to see Chicago with my traveler’s eyes.  After all, travel is more than seeing sights—it is the experience of […]

How I research travel online

For years my best travel advice came from a retired doctor named Howard who I “met” on the now-defunct website VirtualTourist.  Howard—in his mid 80’s at the time–was exceptionally cranky, no doubt because he was no longer able to travel (for the record, this would make me cranky too.)  Howard put his pent-up traveling energy […]

You can have the Viking art, I’ll be over here with the stave church

Vikings are popular these days, but please don’t invite me to that party.  As far as I’m concerned, being a fan of Vikings is akin to being a fan of Isis.  Like Isis, Vikings destroyed priceless works of cultural heritage (and yeah, they killed a lot of people too).  I’m taking the side of the […]

How we ate cheap in Norway

When we got back from Norway several people asked me “How was the food?” and I answered “I don’t know.”  That’s because, instead of seeking out local specialties and eating in restaurants, we just bought basic groceries from supermarkets and prepared the food ourselves.  That’s not a romantic way to eat and it doesn’t make […]

Enough room to swing a hundred babies in Oslo’s Frogner Park

Norwegians seem to be constantly coming from, going to, or actively engaged in robust outdoor activities.  Oslo is a sea of bouncing ponytails (from the almost comical amount of joggers.)  The trains are full of cross-country ski shleppers.  Women in their seventies are hiking with backpacks and bedrolls.  There’s a national obsession with cabins (one […]

The chin-chin hairs on the rock drawings in Hell

Before we went to Norway I did a bit of research and then I emailed a tourist information office who forwarded me to someone at a museum… ….who scanned me a hand drawn map… …which directed us to a train station called Hell…. …and a short walk through a moss covered forest… …where we found […]

A slacker pilgrim’s guide to Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim

Did you know Norway has a pilgrimage?  Well, I didn’t until we stumbled on it. The pilgrimage is called St. Olav Ways—“ways” because you can choose one of several routes, as long as you end up at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Here I am at Old Aker church in Olso next to kilometer marker 639 (that […]

A walking tour of Ålesund’s window eyebrows for you, my fellow off-season tourists

Norway’s tourist season is mid-June through mid-August, meaning that’s when most attractions outside of Oslo (besides ski hills) are open.  Traveling here in April has been a relief after over-touristed Portugal, but you should know about the challenges too, particularly in Ålesund. Our main reason for visiting Ålesund, a windy town in the western fjords, is […]