Author Archives: The Wife of Bath

Food and fado in Coimbra

We’re in Portugal. Current location: Coimbra. Current occupation: eating.  (I politely request that anyone who notices the food stuck in my teeth refrain from mentioning it). This was today’s lunch, from a bar inside a food market.  (I hope you been a good student of this blog and have noted that the best food is […]

Your budget traveler’s favorite souvenirs are…(hint, real estate agents)

I don’t buy myself souvenirs when I travel, mostly because I’m cheap.  I love clothes and lipstick, but otherwise I’m not a “thing” person.  I am a food person, but most of what I want to bring home is liquid; local honey or you know, about twenty bottles of olive oil, which certainly would exceed […]

Brutalism makes a baby in Chicago

Chicago has quite a bit of Brutalism—particularly in hospital buildings and on college campuses—which is weird because this form of architecture does not suggest the nurturing of bodies or young minds. For an appropriate use of Brutalism, I give you the Metropolitan Correctional Center.  Yes, we’re so hardcore in Chicago that we have a Brutalist […]

The icons of Svaneti are Sumerian and I can prove it (sort of)

If I were to pick anywhere in the world to hide Sumerian art in plain sight, I would choose Svaneti.  Svaneti, the Republic of Georgia’s mountainous northwest region, is so remote that it was often used as a kind of safe house for art during times of conflict. Back in 2016, after two flights, an […]

Where to walk your wife in Chicago

I’m so tired from trying to learn to sleep without sleeping pills that my brain is in a deep freeze.  Talking and writing is like bobbing for apples must think of word stick head in tub of water and try to find the word grab the word with my mouth now what was I saying […]

I’m just here for the gift shops in the Aztec pyramid: a visit to Disney’s Epcot

A few nights ago I was in Norway, eavesdropping on a guy looking for a place to smoke.  The attendant told him “You can’t smoke here but there’s an approved area over by Italy.” I was at Disney’s Epcot Park, which costs $114 a day to visit.  But hey, that price includes the whole world […]

Money belt monoboob and other travel complaints

You’re lucky if you have the chance to travel, so going around complaining is pretty lame.  That said, nothing brings people together like shared whining.  So, in the spirit of solidarity, I give you my travel complaints: Glass coffee tables.  Being able to rent an apartment for a few nights is an affordable luxury.  The […]

We’re all still friends in Sarajevo

Originally posted on Picnic at the Cathedral:
In the foreground, a mosque.  In the background, the spire of a Catholic church. This is Sarajevo. Sarajevo is my favorite sort of town: buzzing with dynamic street life, culturally rich and simultaneously traditional and forward-thinking. Trams are gliding by, the traffic is not that crazy and the architecture ranges…

Big Goose Pagoda is just a backdrop for the sexy dancing seniors of Xi’an

When HOB and I got on a bus in Xi’an we were unclear about when we should get off.  “Just look for a big pagoda” I said—this seemed logical since we were on our way to see something called the Big Goose Pagoda. And that turned out to be a good idea—-we saw this out […]

The gods at Shuanglin temple are caged panthers

Before visiting someplace I’ve never been, I need to first project myself there in my imagination.  I do this by picturing one essential cultural experience.  It could be seeing an artwork, walking through a cathedral or listening to a particular sort of music.  Without this initial mind-travel, I can’t conceptualize doing something so strange as, […]