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Peace and Justice in Alabama

By Linda Tancs

Confronting a tortured past in American history, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice opens today in Montgomery, Alabama. Exploring the history of racial terrorism, the memorial is the first of its kind in America addressing issues such as enslavement and lynching. Set on a six-acre site, it uses sculpture, art, and design to contextualize racial terror, including over 800 suspended steel columns, one for each county in the United States where a lynching took place. The project was spearheaded by the Equal Justice Initiative with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality.

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Singapore’s Southern Ridges

By Linda Tancs

Part of the Southern Ridges, Mount Faber Park is one of Singapore’s oldest parks. Its hilltop is covered by a secondary rainforest, a unique green space in this thriving financial capital. You’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the southern part of Singapore and the southern islands from the cable cars heading to Sentosa, Singapore’s island resort. Alternatively, view the terrain from the telescopes at one of the many lookout points that are situated at various sides of the ridge. The Southern Ridges Guided Walk begins at the park, where visitors can learn about its history and natural heritage.

Gateway to Lake Baikal

By Linda Tancs

The hub of Eastern Siberia, Irkutsk is a popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and all points east thanks to its vibrantly colored churches and array of theaters and museums. It’s also a popular gateway to Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nicknamed the Pearl of Siberia. Begin your exploration at Irkutsk Regional Museum, the oldest museum in Siberia and the first provincial museum in Russia. The Moorish-style building contains a history of the museum itself, dating to 1782 before a fire forced its relocation in 1883. You can book tours of Irkutsk and Baikal in the museum.

At the Foot of the Pyrénées

By Linda Tancs

Beautifully set between the mountains and the ocean, it’s easy to see why the ancient royal city of Pau, France, was a prestigious resort for aristocrats from around the world in the 19th century. No less popular today, this charming city at the foot of the Pyrénées is a winter mecca for skiers and a go-to destination for art and history buffs. Enjoy a walk along central Pau’s Boulevard des Pyrénées where countryside views and mountain panoramas prevail on clear days. The boulevard leads up to the castle of Château de Pau, birthplace of King Henry IV of France and Navarre. Another treasure is the Pau Museum of Fine Arts, one of Aquitaine’s biggest museums and home to masterpieces from the 15th to 20th centuries, including a famous painting by Degas.

Veteran Trees at Hatfield

By Linda Tancs

Just 21 miles north of London, England, Hatfield House is a fine Jacobean house and garden in a spectacular countryside setting in Hertfordshire. Blessed with an extensive parkland, three separate walks range in length from just over one mile to just over three miles. The medieval grounds, site of the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I, boast ancient oak, hornbeam and beech pollards. One ancient oak in the park reputedly marks the place where the young Princess Elizabeth first heard of her accession to the throne. Hatfield House is nowadays the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. The pedestrian entrance to Hatfield Park is opposite Hatfield railway station. The fast train from Kings Cross to Hatfield takes 20 minutes.

San Francisco’s Little Giant

By Linda Tancs

The Mission District of San Francisco, California, is nowadays a culturally diverse and trendy part of the city. But were it not for a working fire hydrant on April 18, 1906, it would have likely been lost to the ages. That’s when a disastrous earthquake brought the city to its knees, spawning the Great Fire left largely unquenched by a series of broken water mains—except for a certain fire hydrant on the southwest corner of Dolores Park in the western edge of the Mission District. Against all odds, the lone functioning hydrant (nicknamed “little giant”) is credited with saving the district. Each year on April 18 it receives a fresh coat of gold paint.

Sydney’s Big Fiddle

By Linda Tancs

Located in Nova Scotia, Canada, Cape Breton boasts a Celtic heritage and fiddle music. In Sydney, its harbor town, stands a big fiddle honoring its musical heritage. Reportedly the largest illuminated fiddle in the world, the 60-foot-tall sculpture was created by a local artist in 2005. Still thriving today, the Celtic culture on the island is the only one of its kind in North America, where the continent’s only living history museum for Gaelic language and culture is found.

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