Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for July, 2009

World Natural Heritage in Germany

By Linda Tancs

Wattenmeer, or Wadden Sea, is an area stretching from the northern coast of Germany to the Dutch island of Texel. This region, comprising the largest continuous area of mud flaps in the world, is home to millions of migratory birds. Now it will likely see a boost in tourism thanks to its designation as a world natural heritage site by UNESCO, joining such other luminaries as the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos and the Serengeti. The appointment couldn’t have come at a better time, considering UNESCO’s stinging removal of the Dresden Elbe Valley as a world cultural site thanks to a four-lane bridge spanning the river and spoiling the view.

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Avoid the Sting Off Gibraltar

By Linda Tancs

Swimmers, beware. Over 500 stinging Portuguese Man o’ War have been spotted off Spain’s southern coast near Gibraltar. The sea creature, commonly referred to as a jellyfish, is actually a floating hydrozoan with stinging cells in its tentacles (like a jellyfish) to capture and paralyze prey. Although not generally fatal to humans, the sting is not likely to be forgotten very soon. Have an ice pack handy, just in case.

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Saipan Remembers

By Linda Tancs

July 9 marks the final day of the Battle of Saipan in 1944, one of the fiercest battles of World War II. In a memorial park overlooking what has come to be known as Banzai Cliff some four miles from San Roque on the northern tip of Saipan, Bodhisattva of Mercy and Peace keeps vigil. Hundreds of Japanese soldiers and civilians met their fate at Banzai Cliff and Suicide Cliff in lieu of suffering capture by Allied forces.

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Voices of Wales

By Linda Tancs

Each year since 1947 the little town of Llangollen in the Dee Valley of northeast Wales hosts a big show: the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. Now through 12 July, this musical festival and competition includes thousands of international choirs, folk singers and dancers. Many stars credit the festival with developing their musical careers, including Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavorotti. If you missed the grand opening Parade of Nations through the village streets on 7 July, then stick around for the grand finale, a “Licensed to Thrill” concert celebrating the music of James Bond featuring the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera.

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Life Underground

By Linda Tancs

Pity those who think the only life underground is the hustle and bustle of the metro. Clearly, they’ve never been to Derinkuyu. Located in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey, this town boasts one of the world’s most extensive prehistoric underground cities. Consisting of at least eight floors hewn out of soft volcanic rock, the subterranean city served as a hiding place for early Christians during raids. Not surprisingly, then, the complex shows traces of a church, along with study rooms, a kitchen, and living areas, as well as rooms for food and livestock storage. A notable tourist attraction, it’s worth a visit on your next trip to the Cappodocia region of Turkey.

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City of Film

By Linda Tancs

Hollywood, Bollywood, Cannes, Sundance, Venice–and Bradford? It’s time to add a new place name to the list of luminaries in cinema. Bradford, a west Yorkshire city in the U.K., beat out the traditional media moguls for the coveted title, City of Film. The moniker is a new award being bestowed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to a city having historic links and a notable infrastructure related to filmmaking. No doubt Bradford–once a poster child for industrialization–was helped in its bid as the host city of the National Media Museum, one of the most popular museums outside London. Three annual film festivals and a landscape conducive to movie shoots certainly didn’t hurt, either. Bravo!

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Walking on Air

By Linda Tancs

Being on edge takes on new meaning at the Sears Tower in Chicago. Now premiering at the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere is The Ledge, a series of glass capsules jutting out from the 103rd floor’s skydeck. The idea certainly isn’t novel, of course; just check out the glass bridge at Grand Canyon West. However, instead of the canyon’s natural beauty you get unimpeded views of the concrete jungle. Different strokes for different folks. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view (minus the birds) of the July 4th fireworks in any event.

Norwich, Meet Norwich

By Linda Tancs

It’s been 350 years since the British left their homes in Norwich to settle in the colonies. In Connecticut, their namesake city will be celebrating its founding by our forefathers as part of a Norfolk-Norwich World Family Gathering. Now through 5 July, the Norfolks and Norwich’s of the world (some 58 communities of varying size) will experience New England charm, topped off with a clambake, July 4 celebration, parade, tall ships viewing at Mystic Seaport and a visit with the area’s original inhabitants, the Mohegan tribe. Be like family and come for a visit.

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