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Archive for January, 2013

Color Me Scotch

By Linda Tancs

The Scottish Colourists, generally recognized as Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter and Peploe, were a group of post-Impressionist painters from Scotland.  Their use of vivid color defined the modern art movement in the country.  A dedicated gallery to the Colourists is now open at Glasgow’s Kelvingove Art Galley and Museum.  Like all of their permanent displays, it’s free to visit!

Visit the Tea Experts

By Linda Tancs

Thomas Twining bought a coffee shop in London in 1706 and distinguished himself from the competition by selling tea.  Since then, Twinings has become synonymous with tea.  The flagship shop at 216 Strand in London is a mecca for tea aficionados.  The location offers a free tasting bar, a museum, tea classes and, of course, a wide range of tea accessories, teas and infusions.  Stop by for a cuppa.

A Lakeside Playground

By Linda Tancs

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is blessed with an abundance of lakes in the region left by glaciers from the Ice Age, including Lake Coeur d’Alene.  No wonder the city bills itself as “Your Lakeside Playground.”  The 25-mile lake plays host to sightseeing and dinner cruises as well as a beach and the world’s longest floating boardwalk at The Lake Coeur d’Alene Resort.  An all-weather destination, the area is home to three ski resorts offering over 131 runs and the West’s driest powder.

The Trail to Happiness

By Linda Tancs

Of all the ski destinations in the world, northeastern China might not sound like a natural choice.  Yet the Changbai Mountain region is Asia’s largest ski area.  Bordering Russia and North Korea, the mountain region has a UNESCO nature reserve boasting Siberian tigers and a crater lake, among other attractions.  Now visitors can enjoy the combined luxury of Westin and Sheraton at the mountain’s base, an area rife with ski runs sporting monikers like the Trail to Happiness.  Zen on the slopes?  As American writer Robert Pirsig observed, the only Zen you find on the mountaintop is the Zen you bring there.

Tunnel Vision

By Linda Tancs

In 1930, the mile-long Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel was the longest of its type in the United States, created to provide direct access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon from Utah’s Zion National Park.  The sandstone tunnel is one of the busiest areas of Zion National Park, the first national park in the state.  In fact, vehicles exceeding 7 feet 10 inches (2.4 meters) in width and/or 11 feet 4 inches (3.4 meters) in height require a tunnel permit to pass through.  RVs and campers, take note.

Muscat Love

By Linda Tancs

Beauty has an address, say the tourism officials in Oman.   Of course, there are delightful attractions to navigate on foot, ranging from the tower tombs northeast of Bat to the caves at the foothills of the eastern Al Hajar mountains.  But don’t ignore the world beneath your feet.  Oman boasts some of the region’s best diving.  Around the capital city of Muscat alone you’ll find diverse marine life among at least 11 diving sites at Al Khayran, Al Fahil Island, Dimaniyat Islands, Al Makbara Bay and Al Jissah beach.  Oman Air is the national carrier.  You can get there via cruise ship or border crossing as well.

Island Charm

By Linda Tancs

Slovenia, the third most forested country in Europe, has but one island–Bled.  Ringed by the Julian Alps, picturesque Bled reigns supreme in the middle of its Alpine lake, a sight to behold in winter when the lake freezes over.  The average temperature is, after all, a chilled -2 degrees Celsius.  Enjoy the winter views from Bled Castle, the country’s oldest, while munching on Bled vanilla cream cake, a local specialty.

An Underground Celebration

By Linda Tancs

London’s famed Underground–the Tube–is celebrating 150 years of service this month.  The oldest of all underground systems, it comprises 250 miles of track, circuiting the capital both overground and underground.  Its 426 escalators perform the equivalent of two trips around the world every week, and the miles traveled per year add up to 90 return trips to the moon.  On that note, we love you to the moon and back–and happy anniversary!

On the Road to Yorktown

By Linda Tancs

On this date in 1781 the Patriots won a decisive victory over the Redcoats in Gaffney, South Carolina at the Battle of Cowpens.  Formally a pasture before becoming a battlefield, Cowpens National Battlefield is the site where a military maneuver known as a double envelopment took place, the only such tactic to take place during the Revolution.  The result at Cowpens started General Lord Cornwallis on the road to Yorktown that eventually led to the British surrender there.

A Grand Parade in the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

Think Mardi Gras without the beads. On the third Sunday of January each year Cebu City in the Philippines (the oldest Spanish settlement in the country) brings to a close the nine-day Sinulog Festival with colorful parades and dancing to the beat of drums, trumpets and gongs. For the origins of this street party, look to the 1500s, when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross at Cebu and claimed the territory for Spain. He presented an image of the baby Jesus, the Santo Niño, to the island’s rulers, resulting in a conversion to Catholicism. The annual fiesta honors Santo Niño, and Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood is a popular attraction in Cebu today. 

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