Tag Archives: travel

How I research travel online

For years my best travel advice came from a retired doctor named Howard who I “met” on the now-defunct website VirtualTourist.  Howard—in his mid 80’s at the time–was exceptionally cranky, no doubt because he was no longer able to travel (for the record, this would make me cranky too.)  Howard put his pent-up traveling energy […]

How we ate cheap in Norway

When we got back from Norway several people asked me “How was the food?” and I answered “I don’t know.”  That’s because, instead of seeking out local specialties and eating in restaurants, we just bought basic groceries from supermarkets and prepared the food ourselves.  That’s not a romantic way to eat and it doesn’t make […]

Enough room to swing a hundred babies in Oslo’s Frogner Park

Norwegians seem to be constantly coming from, going to, or actively engaged in robust outdoor activities.  Oslo is a sea of bouncing ponytails (from the almost comical amount of joggers.)  The trains are full of cross-country ski shleppers.  Women in their seventies are hiking with backpacks and bedrolls.  There’s a national obsession with cabins (one […]

The chin-chin hairs on the rock drawings in Hell

Before we went to Norway I did a bit of research and then I emailed a tourist information office who forwarded me to someone at a museum… ….who scanned me a hand drawn map… …which directed us to a train station called Hell…. …and a short walk through a moss covered forest… …where we found […]

A slacker pilgrim’s guide to Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim

Did you know Norway has a pilgrimage?  Well, I didn’t until we stumbled on it. The pilgrimage is called St. Olav Ways—“ways” because you can choose one of several routes, as long as you end up at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Here I am at Old Aker church in Olso next to kilometer marker 639 (that […]

A walking tour of Ålesund’s window eyebrows for you, my fellow off-season tourists

Norway’s tourist season is mid-June through mid-August, meaning that’s when most attractions outside of Oslo (besides ski hills) are open.  Traveling here in April has been a relief after over-touristed Portugal, but you should know about the challenges too, particularly in Ålesund. Our main reason for visiting Ålesund, a windy town in the western fjords, is […]

“Full Fart Forover” in Røros, Norway

Oh hey, we’re in Norway. I know, I know, why would cheapskates like us be traveling in one of the world’s most expensive countries?  What happened was, I was looking at airfares online and I saw flights to Norway for $333 round-trip from Chicago.  How could I resist? So I bought two tickets to Oslo with […]

The butter babies of Igreja Matriz

Fellow church hounds, I know you get it: the delight of stumbling on an unexpected and, more importantly, unlocked church. With an unanticipated free afternoon in northeast Portugal’s Vila Nova de Foz Côa, HOB and I were lucky to find the 16th century parish church Igreja Matriz, smack in the middle of Foz Côa’s main […]

The Unfinished Chapels of Batalha: architecture shocks sky

There’s a monastery in the town of Batalha that looks as it is carved from crystalized honey.  One of my finer life choices was to spend an entire day looking at it. (Okay, full disclosure, I probably would have crammed in at least one other monastery in our itinerary that day had the bus schedules […]

Draw your family: prehistoric rock art of the Côa Valley

Arriving at the site of the 22,000 year old rock art in northwestern Portugal was uncomplicated—too uncomplicated.  I enjoyed getting there so much that I was hoping to drag the experience out more.  After sharing jeep ride with our guide from the Museu do Côa and another couple, we hiked a short distance through a […]