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Archive for October, 2009

Camel is King

By Linda Tancs

It’s humpback heaven in Pushkar this weekend in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.  Pushkar Festival brings together camel traders and their ornately festooned charges ready for their close-ups.  A beauty pageant of sorts, the camels are paraded around for throngs of admiring onlookers, including curious tourists.  Of equal interest is Lake Pushkar, a must-see for shutterbugs.  Hindus believe that the lake was created by Lord Brahma (their creator of the universe) when he dropped a lotus flower to earth as a result of battle with a demon.  The lake is beset with ghats for bathing away sins (like Varanasi) during this high festival.  So how best to reach this holiest of places in the Rajasthani desert?  The nearest airport in Jaipur is 86 miles away.  A network of bus service will get you to Ajmer, just 7 miles away. The local bus ride through scenic mountain ranges will get you to your final destination in a half hour.

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Lit Bliss

By Linda Tancs

British Columbia is known for many things—stately and quite lovely cities (like Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler), whale watching, totem poles, world-renowned gardens, skiing and fine dining—but a literary haven?  Yes, add that to the list and head on over to Sidney, a seaside town accessible by ferry about 20 miles from Victoria, B.C.’s capital city.  There you’ll find Canada’s only booktown, a moniker denoting a locale with a large number of second-hand or antiquarian book shops.  In Sidney, you’ll probably be no more than 10 paces away from a bookstore in any direction.  Bookworm heaven.

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Bright Lights, Big City

By Linda Tancs

In Chiang Mai, a mountain-ringed metropolis north of Bangkok, they’ll be lighting up the night sky with thousands of floating lanterns this weekend in the annual Loy Krathong festival.  At ground level, you can set more lights afloat on banana leaves across the Ping River, a symbolic gesture celebrating the resources of the waterway and casting off misfortune.  No doubt a sight to behold, you can capture the essence of it here.

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Where America Happened

By Linda Tancs

A National Scenic Byway designation is the highest honor that the U.S. Secretary of Transportation can bestow on a roadway, recognizing its outstanding significance culturally, historically, recreationally or otherwise.  That honorific was recently granted to America’s corridor, an 180-mile long thoroughfare running  from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia–known as the Journey Through Hallowed Ground.   The area represents what late historian C. Vann Woodward referred to as a route that “soaked up more of the blood, sweat, and tears of American history than any other part of the country.”  Indeed, along this region you’ll find the Civil War’s hallowed grounds in and around Gettysburg as well as the Dobbin House, a Civil War hospital and reputed safe house for enslaved African Americans traveling north in search of freedom.  You’ll see colonial taverns and a Revolutionary War-era prison, a historic gristmill and battlefield, superb architectural specimens of the 1800s and a sampling of presidential mansions including James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson.  Of course, there’s lots more.  But why should I spoil it for you?  See for yourself.

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Lakes Aplenty

By Linda Tancs

To call Rangely, Maine a “lake district” is surely an understatement.  This western part of the state is embraced by 112 interconnected lakes and ponds scattered throughout the region, the centerpiece of which is Rangeley Lake.  A quiet village, Rangely can boast of two unusual things:  no traffic light and a sign in town that places it midway between the Equator and the North Pole.  Clearly a boater’s paradise in summer, year-round recreational activities include fishing, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, wildlife watching, and leaf peeping.  Add to that:  watching the sunset over Mooselookmeguntic Lake.  Awesome.

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Dancing in Nepal

By Linda Tancs

It’s a festive time of year in the Khumbu region of Nepal.  Following the autumn moon this month, the monks of Tengboche begin a solemn ritual of chant and dance for the sherpa community (and international visitors who don’t mind heights).  Known as Mani Rimdu, the festival is one of the most sacred and highly anticipated annual events celebrating Buddhism in the Himalayas.  The monks, dressed in flowing orange robes and bright yellow headgear resembling a crescent moon, prepare for the 3-day festival with the drawing of a giant sand mandala symbolizing beauty and its impermanent nature.  Intricate dances alternate between highly theatrical (including the famous mask dances) and subdued, telling the story of the defeat by Padmasambhava of the evil spirits of the Bon religion and the conversion of the people to Buddhism.  The mountain air gets mighty cold this time of year.  Warm up at the fire puja (or offering) on the third day, when the evil spirits of the world are said to melt away and peace returns to the mountain kingdom.

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Delaware’s Distinctions

By Linda Tancs

Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  Needless to say, historical sites and artifacts abound, but Delaware’s distinctions also extend to its cuisine, unique festivities and great beaches.  Learn more about the First State at Travelrific® Travel Show

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