Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for July, 2012

International Jazz in Norway

By Linda Tancs

One of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe, the Molde International Jazz Festival takes place each year in July in the town of Molde, located by the Romadalsfjord on the northwest coast of Norway.  An hour’s flight away from Oslo, Trondheim or Bergen, this year’s festival (today through 21 July) features artists like Norah Jones, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Wayne Shorter Quartet, The John Scofield Hollowbody Band and artist-in-residence John Balke.

Vacation Deal of the Week

By Linda Tancs

For a limited time, get 2 for 1 cruise fares and up to free air on select holiday sailings on a Viking River Cruise Longship!  Contact me at Wanderful Cruises for details.

Fair on the Rhine

By Linda Tancs

For nearly 700 years St. Sebastianus shooting club has presented its fair on the Rhine in Düsseldorf.  Taking place from 13 to 22 July, the fair commemorates the day of Saint Apollinaris (23 July), a disciple of Saint Peter and the first Bishop of Ravenna.   A highlight not to miss is the procession on 17 July, one of Germany’s largest parades with more than 3,000 uniformed shooters, marching bands, and horses and carriages.  Another spectacular event is the fireworks show on 20 July.  While you’re there, why not sample the home brew, altbier (old beer).   Düsseldorf is the center of brewing of altbier, a traditional German ale.

London is For ME

By Linda Tancs

Just in time for the Olympics, Meliá Hotels International is debuting ME, one of its premium brands, in London.  The luxe property, formerly the site of Marconi House, Gaiety Theatre and Strand Music Hall, is located on the Strand on the southern tip of Covent Garden, just a few moments from theatreland and some of the City’s best art galleries, museums, restaurants, bars, shopping and nightlife.  The property boasts 141 rooms (including 30 rooms with a private balcony) and 16 suites.  The duplex ME Suite offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the City sights–including the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and the Thames–from both the suite and the fire pit warmed private terrace.  Is the suite life for you?

Copper Canyon Beckons

By Linda Tancs

In the heart of the Tarahumara mountains in the southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua in Mexico lies a series of majestic canyons known as Copper Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world and in some places deeper than the Grand Canyon.  The train ride along the main canyon is a spectacular way to see it.  For the more adventurous, Copper Canyon Adventure Park is sure to please.  Boasting the second longest zip line course in the world, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the canyon floor.  Return from the course via the the third longest cable car ride in the world.

Prettiest Small Town in North Carolina

By Linda Tancs

The locals crowned Blowing Rock the prettiest small town in North Carolina.  At only three square miles, it’s also likely to have made the most use of its space, with more than 100 shops, about two dozen restaurants, and nearly 20 hotels and inns.  The Blowing Rock is North Carolina’s oldest travel attraction since 1933.  Your short scenic walk includes views of Grandfather Mountain (the highest point in the Blue Ridge), Table Rock, and Hawksbill.  Another memorable attraction is Moses Cone Memorial Park, sporting 25 miles of preserved carriage trails and breathtaking views from Flat Top Mountain, winding through the estate that once belonged to “Denim King” Moses Cone and his wife.  The kids will love Tweetsie Railroad, a Wild West family theme park featuring a three-mile, steam-powered train ride through the North Carolina mountains.

Vacation Deal of the Week

By Linda Tancs

For a quick escape, Crystal Cruises has created special shortened itineraries that showcase some of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean.  Onboard you’ll enjoy Crystal’s all-inclusive amenities including: complimentary specialty restaurants, fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and non-alcoholic beverages; complimentary gratuities for housekeeping, bar, dining and Penthouse butler staff; and new optional air add-ons.  Contact me at Wanderful Cruises for more information.

 

One Hundred Years Into the Future

By Linda Tancs

In the middle of the scenic lake district of Saimaa in eastern Finland, the largest lake district in Europe, they’re celebrating one hundred years into the future.  That’s where you’ll find the medieval castle of Olavinlinna, site of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.  For 100 years, the astounding acoustics of Olavinlinna have been captivating opera lovers from all over the world.  The centennial season opens today with a grand gala, the program for which spans the entire 100-year history of the Festival.  Continuing through 4 August, the 2012 season is an interesting mixture of new and traditional, Finnish and international.  Representing tradition are three of the most legendary and most popular productions in the Festival’s history:  Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and Verdi’s Aida.  These three classics will be matched with two world premieres:  Kimmo Hakola’s La Fenice and the first opera created by an online community: Free Will.  Round-trip transport to the season’s performances is provided (for a charge) from the main Savonlinna hotels.

Across the Gorge in New Zealand

By Linda Tancs

The Taieri Gorge in the South Island of New Zealand is a deep canyon carved by the Taieri River.  A highlight of any visit is a journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway, a spectacular trek across wrought iron viaducts and hand-carved tunnels over 100 years old.  The historic Dunedin Railway Station is your starting point for this unforgettable scenic ride lasting 77 kilometers.  You can make the return journey to Pukerangi, or Middlemarch, or use the train as one leg of your journey to or from Queenstown and Central Otago on their connecting Track & Trail coach.  Whatever you do, don’t miss the ride.

On the Table in Cape Town

By Linda Tancs

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront boasts Table Mountain as its backdrop. You can ride a cable car to the top of this flat-topped mountain for panoramic views. Down its eastern slope you can visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, especially the large indoor greenhouse exhibit of plants from around the region and the outdoor exhibit of local flora. Equally compelling is the view of Table Mountain from Table Bay via the high speed catamaran ferry to Robben Island from the waterfront. That location is significant for its maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela spent nearly two decades of his life for daring to fight against apartheid. These characteristics alone merit Table Mountain’s designation as a New 7 Wonder of Nature, an appellation announced at the N7W headquarters in Zurich on 11 November 2011. Did you know that a N7W Cities competition is underway? Choose your seven cities for the finalist phase starting on 7 December.

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