Category UNESCO World Heritage Sites

We’re in Zamość full of Renaissance joy (and kluski)

Okay guess where we are right now: Okay, you’re thinking “Looks Renaissance-y, bet you WOB and HOB are in Italy”. Nope.  This is Zamość, in Poland. Yep, we’re in Eastern Poland.  Here’s how we got here: ate breakfast at our hostel in Warsaw this morning and took a train to Lublin.  Jumped off the train […]

Where to store your bags of weed in the Ottoman houses of Gjirokastër

If you want to visit Zekate House, a traditional Ottoman home in Gjirokastër, Albania, walk up a steep hill, make a right, ask directions from a man tending his grape arbor, go up hill a bit more and then find the building with it’s two wood-capped towers and go inside.  No, Zakate house is not locked and no one works […]

Lost in the Orientalist painting that is Gjirokastër, Albania

Our furgon (minibus) arrived in Gjirokastër, Albania in the lower part of town and since we didn’t have a map and the old city is built on a steep hill we took a taxi to our guest house.  When I say we took a taxi I mean we paid a guy who was using his […]

Starlit xhiro in Berat, Albania

Now if I told you that there’s a town called Berat in Southern Albania with UNESCO protected Ottoman era houses, a romance novel-worthy castle, and an exquisite icon museum, you’d probably want to go, right? Berat is gorgeous but also relaxing and super-duper friendly.  Let’s make that gorgeous, friendly, relaxing and budget friendly too—-our lovely guest […]

Stećci, the mysterious medieval tomb sculptures of the Balkans (and a Bosnian coffee break)

Any of you nerds out there wait breathlessly for UNESCO to announce the newest additions to their list of World Heritage Sites?  [Raises hand].  Well, a few days ago I was delighted to read that stećci, tombstones from medieval graveyards in the Balkans, had been added to the list. Most Stećci—about 60,000 of them—are found in graveyards in Bosnia […]

The Gelati Monastery in Kutaisi and an incident in our hostel involving a certain husband imbibing too much wine

I almost missed seeing Gelati Monastery because of HOB’s hangover.  We’d arrived hungry in Kutaisi, Georgia, the night before and couldn’t find a well stocked grocery store.  This was not a problem as the restaurants were quite cheap.  We stopped in a decent looking place, and since I couldn’t read the Georgian menu, I ordered several […]

Ushguli: you will be astonished, you will be covered in mud

My hands tingled in Ushguli.  Technically, this was due to the altitude: Ushguli is said to be the highest permanently inhabited location in Europe.  Though these tingly fingers and my shortness of breath seemed more like symptoms of astonishment than of altitude sickness. Austere.  Astonishing! Ushguli is made up of four villages strung together in the mountains of the […]

Waylaid by a flock of sheep on the road to Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta

Church builders in Georgia must have all had the same thought process: “Hmmm, I think I’ll build a church.  Better put it in an impressive location.  How about here?  No, not dramatic enough.  Over there?  Well, nice, but still, does it scream ‘magestic’?  No, try again…….Ah, there it is, the perfect hill!  Everyone will bug their eyes […]

Folk music in Svaneti, Georgia

Imagine this: you’re stuffed with fresh home-cooking, toasting Saint George with potent local chacha (vodka).  There are charming children, a fire in a wood-burning stove and outside your temporary home it looks like this: You’re warm and comfortable but your hair is standing up. It’s the music. The music of Svaneti, a mountainous region of […]

Giving torch-wielding putti the side eye in the Chapel of the Blessed Giovanni Orsini, Trogir

Okay, so I didn’t pay much attention during mass at the Cathedral of St. Lawrence in Trogir, Croatia.  I mean, I sat quietly still and was passably respectful, but my face surely resembled that of a flounder: The reason for my flounder face?  I was straining with all my power to get a look at the Chapel of […]