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The Most Fun Place on Earth

By Linda Tancs

Wales just might be the most fun place on Earth.  Snowdonia, to be precise, is where Europe’s longest and fastest zipline debuted.  Now, hold on to your hats–or bottoms, as the case may be–the same site has unveiled the world’s largest underground trampoline.  A special train transports adventurous souls into the depths of the former Blaenau Ffestiniog slate mine, where three huge trampoline-like nets are hung at varying levels, linked together by walkways and slides.  Participants in this first-of-its-kind experience are outfitted with cotton overalls and a safety helmet.  Granted, an abandoned mine can be a bit drab, so LED lighting has been added to the walls for a more illuminating experience.  Are you ready to put a little bounce in your step?

The Art Gallery Town

By Linda Tancs

In the restful enclave of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, life is good.  Located on the narrowest part of Cape Cod, it’s surrounded by beautiful beaches bayside and oceanside.  Hikers will find some of the best trails in the Cape Cod National Seashore, not to mention nature walks, workshops and classes available through the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.  These days it’s taken on particular renown as the art gallery town, bursting at the seams with galleries featuring local works.  And let’s not forget the internationally acclaimed Wellfleet oyster.  The annual OysterFest is this weekend.  Free shuttles will run to the town center from Newcomb’s Hollow Beach, White Crest Beach and LeCounts Hollow Beach (Maguire Landing).

Flush with Interest in India

By Linda Tancs

Loos, privies, chamber pots, water closets–call it whatever you like, the toilet is an indispensable element of human hygiene.  Though it might not generate much mention in polite conversation, those flush with interest can indulge their curiosity in its evolution at New Delhi’s Sublabh International Museum of Toilets.  Hailed as the only exhibition of its kind, the museum traces the evolution of the toilet and includes Victorian-era chamber pots and ancient carved and decorated commodes.  A highlight is the replica of King Louis XIV’s throne, allegedly outfitted to allow for potty breaks while conducting official business.  A royal flush, indeed.

The Belgian Coast Tram

By Linda Tancs

Belgium’s Kusttram (Coast Tram) is the longest single-path tram line in the world, gliding between De Panne and Knokke on the Flemish coast.  It’s convenient (a connection every 20 minutes), which means that you have no excuse not to explore the many holiday romps along its 43-mile trek.  Did you know that Knokke was a favorite among the Hollywood elite like Frank Sinatra and Marlene Dietrich?

Arts and Letters at Holkham

By Linda Tancs

One of the finest surviving examples of the Anglo-Palladian architectural style is Holkham Hall, an English country manor on the Norfolk coast occupied by Viscount Coke and two other families.  Its three libraries house over 10,000 books, one of the most important and enviable literature collections in the country.   So vast is its collection that the libraries form half the area of the first floor of the family wing.  The property has an equally compelling manuscript collection (some dating to the 12th century), frequently loaned to galleries and museums in Italy, Germany, England, Japan and America.  Holkham is two miles west of Wells-next-the-Sea; the nearest rail station is King’s Lynn.  The Norfolk Coasthopper runs from King’s Lynn to Sheringham and has two stops at Holkham.

A Gutsy Hotel in Belgium

By Linda Tancs

Ever wonder what Jonah must have experienced when he got swallowed by the whale?  You might get a sense of that at Hotel Casanus, a one-room hotel shaped like a giant intestine.  Located at Verbeke Foundation Art Park near Antwerp, Belgium, this colonoscopic wonder features a double bed, windows, heating, and working plumbing in a pastoral setting.   You’ll have all the creature comforts of home, *butt* do you have the guts to stay there?

A Moving Tribute in London

By Linda Tancs

Through year end you can experience James Bond in motion–sort of–at the London Film Museum’s Bond in Motion exhibition in Covent Garden.  Boasting the largest official collection of James Bond vehicles, the venue is displaying over 100 individual original items from all 23 films–the largest display of its kind ever staged in London.  What’s included?  The Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger’s Rolls-Royce Phantom III and the Lotus Esprit S1 submersible from The Spy Who Loved Me.  Will you leave shaken, or stirred?

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