Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Spelunking in Slovenia

By Linda Tancs

Slovenia’s Postojna Cave is heralded as the “Queen of the Underground World.” Carved by the Pivka River, the cave system is the second-longest in the country (at nearly 15 miles) and a top tourist draw. It sparkles like a diamond thanks to flowstone deposits from the stalagmites. It’s also inhabited by olms, the only exclusively cave-dwelling salamander species found in Europe. The locals like to think of them as baby dragons. The attraction also boasts the world’s first railway in an underground cave. Opened in 1872, the underground train is a 2-mile-long journey on the world’s only double-track cave railway.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Rock Art for Members Only

By Linda Tancs

Quinkan rock art refers to a large body of significant Australian Aboriginal rock art of a style characterized by their unique representations of “Quinkans,” found among the sandstone escarpments around the small town of Laura in Queensland, Australia. It’s regarded by UNESCO as one of the 10 most significant bodies of rock art in the world. You can tour this remote area exclusively with Jarramali Rock Art Tours and admire an area regarded by archaeologists as a 20,000-year-old outback museum. The tour site is nearly six hours away from Cairns.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

South Africa’s Spice Route

By Linda Tancs

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, established in the 1600s as a refueling station along the Spice Route for eastbound ships. The story goes that ancient mariners would blow their horns to signal their arrival at Cape Town harbor, inviting farmers to trade. That spirit is captured today along the modern Spice Route, a tourist destination in Paarl featuring arts and crafts, local wines, draft beer and dark chocolates. The artisans chosen to participate in the route represent the best of the culture, art and taste of South Africa. The site is just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town’s city center.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

An Entry to the Black Sea

By Linda Tancs

Constanța is a port city in Romania along the western coast of the Black Sea. It’s the fourth largest port in Europe, after Rotterdam, Antwerp and Marseille. Its history dates back over 2,000 years and is amply documented at the National History and Archaeology Museum, which features an impressive collection of artifacts from Greek, Roman and Daco-Roman civilizations. One of the city’s most beautiful buildings is the abandoned casino, an Art Deco-style structure overlooking the sea. In its heyday, it was a prime seaside meeting point for the glitterati. Nowadays the pedestrian area around the casino is the city’s most popular promenade.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Buggy Capital of the South

By Linda Tancs

Barnesville, Georgia, was once known as the “Buggy Capital of the South.” And, no, that has nothing to do with those pesky mosquitoes arriving around now. The buggy in this case refers to the horse and buggy, and Barnesville produced more buggies than any other location south of Cincinnati, Ohio. By 1900, nearly 9,000 were produced there annually. The locals celebrate their commercial heritage with a festival in September. The city is about 50 miles from Atlanta.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Russia’s Gate to the Orient

By Linda Tancs

In the 17th century, Astrakhan was developed as Russia’s gate to the Orient. As a result, it was settled by many merchants from Armenia, Persia, India and Khiva. To this day, it remains a hub for commercial activities, strategically located on the Volga delta where the river meets the Caspian Sea. It’s also where you’ll find the Astrakhan Kremlin, a fortress built in the 1500s at the command of Ivan the Terrible. Its walls and towers served as a blueprint for the development of other fortresses in the Russian State. During World War I there was an infantry regiment there; cannons arrived during World War II to protect the city against German air raids. Today this historical landmark serves as a museum.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Glaciers in Patagonia

By Linda Tancs

In the Patagonia region of Argentina there’s no shortage of glaciers. That’s why the area is named Los Glaciares National Park. Located in the southwest of Santa Cruz on the border with Chile, the park includes a large portion of the Andes practically under ice and snow to the west and arid Patagonian steppes to the east. Its name refers to the glaciers that are born on the ice caps – the largest continental ice extension after Antarctica – which occupies almost half its area. In this region you’ll also find some of the world’s richest fossil beds, highest mountains and biggest glacier-fed lakes found anywhere. The park can be accessed from different points of Route No. 40, by bus or by car.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Whale Heritage in California

By Linda Tancs

Dana Point may have some of the best beaches in Southern California, but that’s not the only reason you’ll have a whale of a time there. In January the locale became the first Whale Heritage Site in the country. Established by the World Cetacean Alliance (the largest marine conservation partnership), whale heritage sites recognize outstanding destinations for responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. Dana Point bills itself as the whale watching and dolphin capital of the world, with more wild dolphin per square mile than anywhere else. And whales are viewable year round. This time of year you may see gray whales on their round-trip migration between Alaska and the warm waters of Mexico. Head to Dana Point Harbor for a watching tour.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Going With the Flow in Scotland

By Linda Tancs

Stretching across Caithness and Sutherland in the far north of Scotland is Europe’s largest blanket bog, a morass of deep peat and bog pools. The region is known as Flow Country, a wildlife reserve of nearly 500,000 acres sheltering, among other things, birds with small populations there like the white-tailed sea eagle and hen harrier. The area has been growing for 10,000 years, and the peat is over 32 feet deep. Start your orientation at the Forsinard Flows Visitor Center, located in the former station building at Forsinard on the Wick-Inverness railway line. From there you can take a wooden walkway to the Flows Lookout Tower for amazing views. Another must-do is the Forsinain trail, a waymarked path across the peat bogs and forestry at the heart of Flow Country.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Seclusion in Thailand

By Linda Tancs

Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio will remember the 2000 film The Beach. It was shot in the Phi Phi Archipelago, a secluded island chain in Thailand. Well, it wasn’t so secluded after word got out about its beauty. Many locales, like Maya Bay (the actual “beach”) were forced to close due to damage done by overzealous tourists. But 2021 promises a reopening of this lustrious location following the replanting of natural coral. The area is part of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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