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The Charms of the Gazelle Peninsula

By Linda Tancs

The Gazelle Peninsula extends northeast from the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. It’s where you’ll find cultural treats like the fire dancing of the Baining people, who live in the mountain forests of East New Britain Province. That’s nothing compared with the intense volcanic activity of the region, where Tavurvur and Vulcan have continued to erupt. The region is also where the Germans settled when they colonized the country in the 19th century. Along the route from the main towns of Kokopo and Rabaul are war relics from World War II, barge tunnels and caverns. And if that weren’t enough, nearby Duke of York Islands offers up an unspoiled paradise perfect for snorkeling, diving and picnicking.

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Italian Island Bans Plastics

By Linda Tancs

Italy is no stranger to banning environmentally bad behavior. Remember the rule in Venice regarding littering? Now comes Capri on a crusade to ban plastics. In May, the island passed a law banning all single-use plastics that are not biodegradable. So, listen up, day trippers: leave your plastic bottles, bags and utensils on the mainland. Scofflaws will pay dearly, up to 500 euros. In the end, however, everyone will benefit from the new rule because the European Parliament approved a law banning a wide range of single-use plastic items by 2021 to curb ocean pollution. Indeed, some reports indicate that plastics make up at least 80% of marine litter.

Africa’s Longest Suspension Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Towering over Maputo Bay in Mozambique is the Maputo-Catembe suspension bridge, Africa’s newest and longest suspension bridge. The nearly two-mile-long span connects Maputo on the northern bank of an inlet of the Indian Ocean to Catembe on the southern bank. It also provides a road link to the South African border, potentially boosting trade and tourism between the two countries.

The Rock of Polynesia

By Linda Tancs

Dubbed “the rock of Polynesia,” Niue is an independent nation in the South Pacific just 1,500 miles from New Zealand. It’s the world’s largest raised coral atoll and the second smallest sovereign nation after Vatican City. Its numerous rainforest trails show off a myriad of caves, beaches, coves and chasms, like the picturesque Matapa Chasm flanked by cliffs. Peak season runs through October, which means increased flight service from Auckland to discover this unspoiled outpost.

Head-to-Toe in Kent

By Linda Tancs

If you’re longing for a safari-like experience outside Africa, then a visit to Kent, England, might just be the ticket. Yes, that’s right. Kent, the “Garden of England,” offers an enviable wildlife experience at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve. The park is home to over 760 animals across 90 species, including spectacled bears, Kent’s only giraffe and the largest herd of black rhino in the UK. For added excitement, stay at one of their special lodges where floor-to-ceiling windows in each guest room afford head-to-toe views of wolves, tigers, lions, bears and giraffes in special enclosures. You can even hand-feed the giraffes at the Giraffe Lodge, just like at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

July 4th at Monticello

By Linda Tancs

With enviable views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is one of the most famous and popular of the presidential estates, a World Heritage Site, museum, research institute and presidential library. Author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia, Jefferson died at the estate in 1826 on July 4th, of all days. The Fourth of July remains an auspicious day at Monticello, where an annual Independence Day celebration and naturalization ceremony take place. The festivities include a speaker, an open house with free walk-through tours of the mansion’s first floor and plenty of patriotic music. The estate is located at 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A Milestone for the Cleveland Way

By Linda Tancs

The Cleveland Way, England’s Yorkshire national trail skirting the North York Moors National Park, turned the big 5-0 this year. Spanning nearly 110 miles, the country’s second-inaugurated national trail runs from Helmsley to Filey. If the length of it sounds intimidating, you should know that the fastest official completion time is 19 hours, 53 minutes and 38 seconds. No need to rush, though. You’ll want to take all the time you can enjoying the mix of dramatic coastline and heather moorland. Most people walk the route from Helmsley through to Filey in a clockwise direction. Rail or bus services can easily get you to the start.

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