We stepped inside St Benedict the African—thoroughly drenched from an apocalyptical rain—through a wooden door with an adorable stained glass portal and whoooooooaaaaaa holy mother of all immersion pools! Nope—I totally did not expect to find a full body immersion pool inside a Catholic church.  This was just one of many delightful surprises St. […]

2017 was a year for great trips (HOB and I traveled to five countries outside the US) and appalling politics (looking at you, Cheetolini McRacistpants). 2017 could also be confusing at times.  Fortunately, we found this sign which cleared a lot of things up for us. In 2017 we finally made it to Lithuania, which […]

Years ago I saw a crappy banged up car—we’re talking about a total rust bucket—with a bumper sticker that read “When the rapture comes can I have your car?” Despite never having owned a car, I wanted that bumper sticker. I sincerely hope that the pious believers of the world will receive their heavenly reward […]

YOU ARE ENTERING THE TERRITORY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION! Yeah, so we technically veered into Russia without a visa a couple of times during our visit to the Setomaa region of Estonia, but someone tell my mom it was okay because we didn’t stop the car. Swerving through national borders: that’s a pretty good introduction […]

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: […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]