Author Archives: The Wife of Bath

Vilnius, as painted by de Chirico: a play in two acts

Act 1 Scene: late September: HOB and WOB walk into the main square of Vilnius, Lithuania. WOB: Vilnius looks like a de Chirico painting. HOB: Wait, remind me who de Chirico is?  Oh, yeah, I think I remember.  Is he the one with the steep perspective and shadows and the girl with the hoop? WOB: […]

The Hill of Crosses and the power of a shared narrative in Lithuania

During our bus ride to Siauliai, HOB and I munched on supermarket sandwiches which turned out to be mostly mayonnaise.  Our driver was blasting Queen and I must say there probably isn’t a better way to arrive at a pilgrimage site in Northern Lithuania than being serenaded by We Are the Champions while eating a […]

The garages of Tartu are “aspiring strongly to infinity and emptiness”

The heroes of our trips often work at tourist information centers.  The young woman at the TI in Tartu was just that sort: friendly and able to intuit just what we were looking for.  I was asking about architecture when she pulled out a map and said “I think you’ll like this”. Tartu is Estonia’s […]

The bewitching theater artistry of Riga

In college I had a friend named Patricia.  She was a graduate student in theater design and I was a costume designer so we’d work together to design plays and films.  Collaborating with Patricia was the first experience I had with someone with serious talent.  I mean, I knew a lot of talented people, but […]

Sculptures have weird necks in Tallinn

Tallinn is a beautiful city. Tallinn is a beautiful city full of sculptures with weird necks. HOB and I were checking out St. Nicholas Church in Tallinn and we saw this sculpture by the front door.  “Whoa!” I said, in my most eloquent and sophisticated tone “that dude has a weird neck!!!”  Then, on realizing that […]

Greetings from the Independent Republic of Užupis

DO NOT DEFEAT DO NOT FIGHT BACK DO NOT SURRENDER So ends the constitution of Republic of Užupis. Užupis is a self-proclaimed republic in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania and HOB are willing citizens, at least for a couple of days. The neighborhood-sized republic is presided over by an angel, the mascot of Užupis. Užupis has […]

Hustling on the hippest corner of Riga

We may be the least hip couple in Riga, with our drip dry travel pants, matching backpacks and lack of irony.  Still, we hit the streets today (ten hours of walking!) and ended up with all the cool kids and their street art. At first, we just dipped our toes in hipness, in the Pardaugava […]

Autumn equinox in Cēsis, Latvia

You know how sometimes there’s a magic hour at dusk and the light is all golden?  Well at this time of year in Latvia golden hour lasts all day.  LATVIA IS GORGEOUS.  Cēsis, in Northern Latvia, is gorgeous and it smells like the giant national park it is adjacent to: crisp and fresh and maybe […]

Tartu: Estonia: upside-down, sideways with a snail on top

We’re in Tartu, Estonia, up to our usual tricks—at least eight hours of walking today, looking at an intriguing variety of architecture. We saw a leaning building (where a tree apparently grew out of HOB’s head). And how could we miss the upside-down house? The Snail tower dominates Tartu’s skyline. And everywhere tactile street art […]

On the run (from a nun) in Sandomierz Cathedral

Getting busted by a nun was the best thing that could have happened to us in Sandomierz.  Because of our bus snafu in Zamość, we arrived later than expected and rushed our tour of the town. Now just look how funky this town hall is, one of those types of buildings that every generation adds something […]