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Archive for May, 2012

A Jubilee Fit For a Queen

By Linda Tancs

Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation took place on 2 June 1953.  Celebrating her 60 years on the throne, the upcoming central weekend of her Diamond Jubilee (2-5 June) promises to be as memorable and majestic as, well, her Majesty.  Some highlights include the river pageant on Sunday afternoon, a mustering of 1000 boats and ships upriver of Battersea and ending at Tower Bridge, featuring the Queen’s barge, a floating belfry, historic ships, boats spouting geysers and music barges.  On 4 June the BBC will present a concert at Buckingham Palace surrounding what Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, famously referred to as The Wedding Cake (the Victoria Memorial).  The concert will include classic hits from artists including Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Elton John, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Ed Sheeran.   The long celebratory weekend will end on 5 June with the carriage procession up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and down the Mall through the center gates at Buckingham Palace.  As the royals wave from the balcony, the RAF will fly over the palace–minus Concorde, whose deafening roar signalled its awesome impending approach during the Golden Jubilee flyover in 2002.  Long live the Queen!



Torch Relay in Ironbridge

By Linda Tancs

On the border of North Wales and approximately three hours from London is the town of Ironbridge in Shropshire, England.  Its world famous Iron Bridge is the first arch bridge to be made of cast iron.  The bridge crosses the River Severn at the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will cross the Iron Bridge today at 3:14 p.m., making its way along Wellington Road to the Museum of Iron and finishing at the Coalbrookdale pub at 3:39 p.m.  Entertainment starts at 2:00 p.m.  Expect large crowds; use the free park and ride at Stoney Hill.

Winging It in the Falklands

By Linda Tancs

The black-browed albatross has the largest wingspan of any flying bird. You’ll find two-thirds of the world’s population in the Falkland Islands, a compact group of more than 740 islands approximately 400 miles off the southeastern tip of South America. Rendered an endangered species by BirdLife International, this majestic bird breeds on Steeple Jason and Beauchêne Island. Perhaps one of nature’s best kept secrets, the unspoiled terrain of this UK Overseas Territory draws visitors from  around the world, particularly in conjunction with cruise tours of Antarctica via the Drake Passage.  There are also scheduled flights from Europe or other parts of the world with LAN Chile via Santiago de Chile and Punta Arenas. Not up for a commercial flight? Consider hitching a ride with the RAF via Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. It won’t be cheap, but it will certainly be adventurous–as will ground travel. The Falklands has the greatest number of four-wheel drive vehicles per capita in the world thanks to, shall we say, choppy road conditions.

Nation’s Largest City Zoo

By Linda Tancs

The Bronx Zoo in New York is the nation’s largest city zoo.  Managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, its exhibits include the Congo Gorilla Forest, the Wild Asia Monorail, Tiger Mountain, and Madagascar.  The zoo is especially renowned for its Education Department, dedicated to teaching youngsters and adults about wildlife and wild habitats through guided tours, family overnights, summer programs, and opportunities to meet zoo experts.  Save 20% when you purchase a Total Experience Ticket online, which includes all the popular attractions like the 4-D Theater, Bug Carousel, Butterfly Garden, Congo Gorilla Forest, Children’s Zoo, JungleWorld, Wild Asia Monorail, and the Zoo Shuttle.

Best of British

By Linda Tancs

There are 14 events scheduled for the month of May alone to celebrate the Best of British Festival, running 25 May to 26 July in Winchester.  Those events include author Claire Tomalin’s take on Charles Dickens, a hog roast to celebrate the upcoming Diamond Jubilee, a reading of the Churchill letters and a chat with Field Marshal Lord Vincent.    Dame Judi Dench is headlining this festival; so put this on your to-do list.

Ducks Rule in Memphis

By Linda Tancs

The Peabody Memphis, a Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four-Diamond historic hotel in Tennessee, epitomizes southern hospitality and charm.   A symbol of elegance and good taste, it attracts visitors worldwide.  Of course, it’s within easy reach of many Memphis attractions like Beale Street, the Memphis Museum of Rock & Soul, Orpheum Theatre, FedEx Forum (home of the Memphis Grizzlies), AutoZone Park, Graceland and Sun Studio.   But arguably its greatest attraction are the rooftop residents:  five ducks who’ve been marching their way down from the Duck Palace to the Italian marble lobby fountain at the direction of their revered Duck Master since 1933.   The march is held every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.; you better arrive early if you want to secure your place along the red carpet running from the elevator door to the fountain.  The ducks are yours to cherish from 11 until the five o’clock run, when it’s back in the elevator and up to the penthouse suite, so to speak, for those plucky mallards.

A Whale of a Time in Washington

By Linda Tancs

Orca whales are seen the most in San Juan Island between May and October when the salmon runs are strongest.  Only 90 miles north of Seattle, San Juan Island provides visitors with an array of boating and kayaking excursions to observe these highly social oceanic dolphins.  Learn more about the killer whale at the museum in Friday Harbor, the main city on San Juan Island.  You can get there via the Washington State Ferries from Anacortes.

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