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Great American Stations

By Linda Tancs

One of America’s great rail stations marks its 80th birthday this year. The honoree is Newark Penn Station, an Art Deco landmark in Newark, New Jersey. Dedicated in 1935, the station is a linchpin of the northeast corridor, a nexus of travel between New York and New Jersey and, thanks to connecting service via NJ Transit to Newark Liberty International Airport, the rest of the world.

Navigating the Zambezi

By Linda Tancs

On its journey to the Indian Ocean, Africa’s Zambezi River meanders through six countries. It forms a border at various points involving Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Flanked by two national parks (Lower Zambezi National Park on the Zambian side and Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwean side), it also provides a wilderness area that many tout as unparalleled, free of the tourist hordes found in many South African parks. The two parks sit on the Zambezi flood plain, a peaceful haven for buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards, antelope, crocodiles and hippos.

One Scary Walk

By Linda Tancs

Touted as the world’s deadliest walkway, Spain’s El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Path) is a king-sized fright for those daring enough to walk this narrow pathway over 300 feet above a dizzying gorge. Re-opened just a few months ago since its closure in 2001 after a series of deaths, the refurbished 110-year-old walkway features new wooden planks and safety lines. Located in the village of El Chorro (northwest of Málaga), the route’s royal association came when it was inaugurated in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII.

The Winged Rock

By Linda Tancs

Resembling the mythic Bali Hai (shark-toothed Mount Mouarua in Moorea), New Mexico’s Shiprock is likewise fanciful in its own, geologic sort of way. The landform, known as Tse Bitai (“the winged rock”) in Navajo, is a volcanic neck owing its shape to the erosion of surrounding rocks from an eruption occurring over 30 million years ago. It’s located in the Four Corners region of the Navajo Nation.

Cornwall’s Only City

By Linda Tancs

Truro is Cornwall’s only city and the most southerly one on mainland Britain. You’ll find Cornwall’s only cathedral here, a Gothic Revival stunner with an unusually unaligned nave and chancel. What Truro is aligned with, though, is literary great Winston Graham. His Poldark novels are set in Cornwall between the 18th and 19th centuries and inspired by Truro.

Africa’s Water Tower

By Linda Tancs

Far from just being second banana heightwise to Kilimanjaro, East Africa’s Mount Kenya provides water for about 50 percent of the country’s population and produces 70 percent of Kenya’s hydroelectric power. That’s one tall order. But lest you think it’s only a workhorse, you’ll be pleased to learn that the scenery is just as compelling. In fact, UNESCO describes it as one of the most impressive landscapes in the region, boasting glacier-clad summits, moorlands and enough diverse forest for the hard-to-spot leopard, bongo, giant forest hog and rhino to peacefully abide.

The Great Hunger

By Linda Tancs

Phytophthora infestans, the fungus that causes potato blight, invaded parts of Ireland in August, 1845. By the following year, the blight had devastated the harvest throughout the country. Heavily dependent on the crop, the resulting famine caused widespread death and poverty as well as emigration for those who could afford to do so. The Great Hunger, as it’s called, was one of the first national disasters to elicit international fundraising. The magnitude of this event is chronicled at The Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. The museum is one of many locales memorializing this tragedy in the United States. Other memorials exist in many locations throughout Ireland and also in cities around the world with large populations descended from immigrants affected by the famine.

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