Tag Archives: culture

Are we Trunk-Slammers? The dubious ethics of cultural tourism

Growing up in the rural Midwest, I lived for several years in a resort for well-off city dwellers.  (My mom had remarried and some of my stepfather’s family owned and operated the place, and for a while he worked there too.)  The resort had artificially created lakes, golf courses, a concrete castle, and hilly roads […]

Pingyao: a dozen boring museums and one magical city

Pingyao, in the Shanxi province of Northern China, combines two of my favorite things: a walled city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Normally we don’t go walking around on city walls because HOB has a fear of heights.  However, Pingyao’s wall, which was built in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty, is low with a […]

Song, sculpture and huggy-huggy trees at the Bunan tribe’s farm

  As soon as the man with the top-knot hairstyle dropped us off at the entry to the Bunan farm he took off to join in a performance.  We left our bags and followed close behind, where other members of the tribe, wearing similar embroidered outfits, began a program of traditional Bunan singing and dance. The Bunan […]

We’re all still friends in Sarajevo

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 from Ottoman to Viennese.  Drool-inducing (if meat […]

Why I travel for sacred art and whether I’m religious…….or not

I adore religious art, and I travel to see it in person any chance I get.  Most of my happiest days in Europe have been spent with HOB in and around cathedrals (and the occasional mosque and synagogue.)  Of all music, I am most enthralled by masses and oratorios, and I’d much rather see art in a church […]