Tag Archives: medieval

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 […]

These 14th century frescos in Mborja, Albania have something to say about the US election

This Wednesday, November 10, 2016, I finally gave up on  trying to sleep, slammed down two espressos and started looking though images of the apocalypse.  Wednesday morning’s art binge was not out of character, given my love of medieval apocalypse manuscripts and Romanesque church art with all it’s fabulous carvings and frescoes of sinners tormented in […]

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 […]

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 […]

I may or may not have broken the house rules in Trogir

This morning we took an early bus down the coast of Croatia, with this stunning view of the Zagreb archipelago out our window. Our destination?  Trogir, the UNESCO World Heritage zone and, you might say, kind of a pretty town. Trogir is essentially an island jammed with medieval and Renaissance architecture. 13th century cathedral. Mr. wine-pressing man, […]

The unanticipated side effects of a picnic at Pont Valentré, Cahors

Want to visit a unique city nestled inside a bend in a river, an authentic and non-touristy town with highly-cultivated gastronomy? Yes?  Then Cahors is for you. But wait until you get a look at this bridge—now you’re sold, aren’t you? The Southwestern region of France is teeming with medievalist catnip, and Cahors’ Pont Valentré is […]

Relaxing (and waxing) in Brasov

An important (and overlooked aspect) of itinerary planning is where to spend your jet lag day.  You know, that time when you’ve crammed yourself into at least two flights, failed to sleep, eaten airplane dinners with weird meat and dubious gravy,  gone way too long without showering or brushing your teeth and then—hooray!—all that’s over, […]

Cimabue’s crucifix in Arezzo

We arrived in Arezzo at dusk and by the time we walked to the highest elevation of this medieval hill town night had fallen.  The interior of San Domenico, a Gothic church, was dimly lit so we slipped a euro in a pay light-box. Crucifix, Cimabue c 1268-71. San Domenico, Arezzo. Cimabue’s startling crucifix lit up above us.   Here was Jesus is […]

Medieval eye candy and Monsieur John Waters in Semur-en-Auxois

We had hardly arrived in Semur-en-Auxois when HOB started to worry: “But where will we catch our bus tomorrow?”  I was doing my best to oooh and aaaah at all the charming details of this quaint town in the Burgundy region of France, but HOB couldn’t focus.  Most places have well labeled bus stops complete with daily […]