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A Hotbed of Activity in Australia

By Linda Tancs

Though it may be like little more than a trickle in a rain bucket, a tiny speck of southern ocean in Australia’s remote southwest is a hotbed of activity every February and March. For reasons yet unknown, Bremer Canyon is one of the only places on earth this time of year where killer whales can be consistently observed in a mass congregation (even more than 100 at the same time). Daily tours capture all the action as pods of killer whales (along with sperm whales, sharks, giant squid, sunfish and schools of tuna) participate in an unparalleled feeding frenzy. This is one annual phenomenon you won’t want to miss.

North Carolina’s First Capitol

By Linda Tancs

North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol, Tryon Palace in New Bern is a complex of seven major buildings, three galleries and 14 acres of gardens. Home to Royal Governor William Tryon and his family, the Governor’s Palace was a Georgian-style structure completed in 1770. It was the site of the first sessions of the general assembly for the State of North Carolina following the revolution and housed the state governors until 1794. Destroyed by fire in 1798, today’s reproduction opened in 1959. Tours in the Governor’s Palace and historic houses are guided. Catch a free tour this Saturday, which is Free Day.

A Different Kind of Boneyard

By Linda Tancs

It’s an alien world in Roswell, New Mexico—in more ways than one. Famously cited as the area of a UFO landing decades ago, these days it’s the alien feel of an aircraft boneyard that garners the attention of aircraft enthusiasts. That’s because Roswell International Air Center is where old planes go to die. One of a number of such sites (the largest in the world being Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona), its otherworldly connection gives it a leg up on the competition.

London to Edinburgh

By Linda Tancs

The British Empire Exhibition of 1924 and 1925 made famous Flying Scotsman, the legendary London to Edinburgh rail service. In 1934 it was the first locomotive to clock 100 mph. The old-fashioned steam engine was retired by British Rail in 1963, only to change hands several times, including an attempt to resurrect mainline tours. But now, following a successful campaign, the “people’s engine” will once again steam proudly following a full restoration. Beginning this month a whole season of events and activities will mark the return of this locomotive legend as it readies itself for an inaugural run from London’s Kings Cross to York.

At the Edge of the Clouds

By Linda Tancs

“At the edge of the clouds” is an appropriate translation for China’s Yuanduan skywalk, the world’s longest glass walkway. The horseshoe-shaped glass bridge in Chongqing extends nearly 88 feet from a cliff edge standing 2,350 feet above the valley floor. It edges out the Grand Canyon Skywalk in length but is likely its equal when it comes to chills and thrills. Don’t look down.

Celebrating the Sami

By Linda Tancs

The Sami are the indigenous who inhabit northern Scandinavia in a region called Sapmi, stretching across the high plains of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. They celebrate their own National Day on February 6 each year, marking that day in the year 1917 when they gathered for their first meeting in Norway to address common concerns. Nowadays around 40,000 Sami live in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden and some 7,000 in Finland. In addition there are an estimated 2,000 Sami in Russia. In the city of Tromsø, Norway, their culture is celebrated with a weeklong festival known as Sami Week. Taking place this year from January 31 to February 7, the celebration includes reindeer racing, lasso-throwing, food, art and language classes.

Bubbles in Grenoble

By Linda Tancs

Located in southeastern France, Grenoble is prized for its winter sports, especially skiing, considering that it sits in the middle of three mountain ranges. Not up to seeing the city via a downhill run? Spherical cable cars called “Les Bulles” (the bubbles) connect the town to the summit of La Bastille hill, named for the fortress on its slopes built to defend France against its great Alpine rival of the early 1800s, the Duchy of Savoy.

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