Category UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The ratio of children to gingerbread in Torun is more than acceptable

Our guidebook lied about Torun. Oh, it didn’t lie about Torun being lovely—it is a gorgeous medieval Polish town.  No, the lie was that it is somehow an undiscovered destination, free from tourists. Torun, at least when we visited, is loaded with tourists.  And 95% of them are children.  Children are streaming through gates of […]

There may be teeth in the walls of the wooden churches of Southern Małopolska

The region in Southern Poland called Małopolska has several UNESCO listed wooden churches. These churches are scattered through six different villages which aren’t reachable by public transportation and, since HOB and I don’t drive, we were in quite a pickle.  I mean, it’s not like I would ever want to miss out on a UNESCO church […]

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: shrines in the mist

Imagine it’s the early 1600’s, you live in Poland and pilgrimages to the Holy Land are all the rage.  Oh man, do you ever want to go to Jerusalem.  But it’s not going to happen: you don’t have the money, your health is poor, and your boss won’t give you enough vacation time.  Hey, don’t […]

Centennial Hall, Wrocław: every landmark Modernist building should have an erupting Wagner fountain

By the time we got to Wrocław, a college town in the western side of the country, we were full on loving Poland. Usually we make up a local name for HOB: in Poland he was Józef Burlequeski.  I decided I also needed a Polish name, so I was Pani Slutski. Well anyway, Józef Burlequeski and I were […]

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 […]