The old church you drive by every day is probably one of the most historic buildings in town.
An increasing number of old churches are closing up as congregations dwindle. Some become microbreweries or even mosques. Meanwhile, an increasing number of cathedrals rely on tourists to keep the doors open. Yet, there's one historic cathedral that remains a vibrant house of worship.
In the five years that I've been addicted to visiting churches it's rare that an old church doesn't welcome visitors. I was taken aback when on a recent trip to Malaysia I was turned away at the doors of the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia.
Most tourists come to Orkney's Mainland, as the major island in this archipelago off the Scottish northern coast is called, in search of nature and wildlife or to learn about the rich Norse heritage of islands that weren't part of Scotland until the late 15th century.
Lisbon isn't a place that one thinks of first when planning a trip across the pond. Yet, the Portuguese capital (population 506,892) should be atop your list of where to go, right now.
If you're like me then stunning fjords and picturesque landscapes are the first things that come to mind when thinking about Norway. Yet in the midst of all that natural beauty are well-preserved medieval churches.
Exploring the old churches scattered across small villages and hamlets in the 100-square-mile Romney Marsh in Kent, a history-rich county in southeastern England, was alluring enough to bring me across the pond. Admittedly, church touring seems like an uncommon vacation, but it is a popular English pastime that seems to be right up there with gardening.