Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for November, 2008

Christkindlmarkt, Chicago Style

By Linda Tancs

Tomorrow marks Thanksgiving, but it’s also the start of another (adopted) American tradition in the Midwest. From 27 November to 24 December, the heart of Chicago will once again host a Christmas market. Celebrating its 13th anniversary, the market is the largest of its kind outside of Germany and welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year. Modeled after a traditional outdoor European holiday market, the festivities will include German baked goods, clothing, wooden toys, nutcrackers and cuckoo clocks.

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Pooches Pose for Charity

By Linda Tancs

It’s time to get those Fidos and Fluffys ready for their close-up. New Jersey’s Mall at Short Hills will again be offering Santa Paws, a photo op with Santa benefitting St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. This year’s dates are 30 November and 7 December. If you hurry, you might get a booking with that groomer. Sounds like a doggone good holiday gift.

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I Saw Three Ships

By Linda Tancs

Wilhelmshaven, the German Navy’s main base at the North Sea, has enjoyed a post-War renaissance of sorts as a tourist destination. Of particular interest to seafaring types is Bontekai, an area rife with historic vessels, like the museum ship Captain Meyer. More attractions are being planned for the area to increase tourism, which is only fitting for a port city that is third largest in size after Hamburg and Bremen/Bremerhaven. Let the euros roll.

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Boston, Cradle of Liberty

By Linda Tancs

In the current edition of Travelrific® Travel Show, the topic is Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is known worldwide as the site of the Boston Tea Party, but that’s only one event in a long timeline of America’s revolutionary history. Experience colonial times along the Freedom Trail or enjoy more contemporary activities in this vibrant northeastern city where past meets present.

Caribbean Readies Itself for Tourism

By Linda Tancs

Ready or not, here they come. Then again, maybe not. If the Jamaican Tourist Board’s early pessimism is any indication, the tourists won’t be coming when the season kicks off on 15 December. In fact, so sure is the JBT of economic doom that the entire Board has disbanded. Whether their departure is the result of a vote of no confidence from the tourism minister is surely debatable. Just last year the JBT was voted best tourism board by a group of Canadian travel agents. How quickly we forget.

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Cuba Hits Tourism Milestone

By Linda Tancs

They were breaking out the mojitos and salsa (a band, that is) in Cuba this past week in celebration of the island nation’s 2 millionth visitor for 2008, according to the Associated Press. Not bad for a destination hit thrice with hurricanes while the rest of the world wrestles with bad debt. Not that the Cuban economy wins any awards either, mind you. But despite their own share of woes, they must be doing something right to hit the 2 million mark every year since 2004. That’s a lot of bola.

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Cine City

By Linda Tancs

For those who haven’t heard, the U.K.’s Swindon Film Festival (which had been scheduled for 14 November – 22 November) has been cancelled this year. Don’t despair. Head on over to Brighton on 20 November for the film fest scheduled to run (at least for now) until 7 December. This year’s convention is set to open with Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and includes the recently confirmed addition of Milk, starring Sean Penn. There’s even an animation minifest. Have a reel good time.

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A Spirited Gecko

By Linda Tancs

East of Australia in Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit), an island of the Vanuatu archipelago, scientists discovered a new species of gecko living amidst the treetops. Measuring just three inches in length, the little bugger goes by the name Lepidodactylus buleli. If scouring the canopy of a thriving ecosystem isn’t your cup of tea, you might be interested in the beach life and diving opportunities that this unspoiled paradise, known as Santos, has to offer. Champagne Beach, for instance, is regarded for its Bermuda-like pink sands and clear waters. Off Million Dollar Point, divers can scope out the refuse ditched by the U.S. military after Pearl Harbor when the area was used as a supply station. Whatever you do, let the spirit move you.

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New Culture in Paris

By Linda Tancs

At a mere 100 million euros, Paris has another cultural center–this one in the neighborhood of the high tech museums at la Villette. Known as le 104, this latest Parisian center of arts and culture promises to provide stability in an area where 70% of the inhabitants are on welfare. The inspiration for this latest cultural endeavor was Berlin’s Radialsytem, which opened in 2006.

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Spreading Wings in the Balkans

By Linda Tancs

Stara Zagora is more than just Bulgaria’s sixth largest city. Beyond the buzz and glare of cosmopolitan life lies a wildlife rehabilitation, rescue and breeding center unique in the Balkans. More than 600 injured animals find a temporary shelter at the facility every year, many of which are successfully treated and released back into the wild. For those that cannot be set free, a breeding program exists to increase their numbers. Many of the center’s inhabitants have faced or continue to face an uncertain future due to poaching and threatened extinction. There’s even a youth program for environmental education. Next time you’re east of Sofia, stop by for a little inspiration.

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