Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for March, 2013

Matterhorn of the Pacific

By Linda Tancs

Ball’s Pyramid has–you guessed it–a pyramidal shape reminiscent of Zermatt’s Matterhorn.  Technically an erosional remnant of a shield volcano and caldera formed millions of years ago, the rocky islet named after its discoverer Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball is located 12 miles southeast of Lord Howe Island in the Pacific Ocean.  At 1844 feet in height, this Australian wonder is a climber’s paradise.  Apparently, it’s not so bad for the “tree lobster” as well.  The rarest of species, it was discovered clinging to the last bit of plant life surviving on this prehistoric rock.

Newport’s Gilded Age

By Linda Tancs

Newport, Rhode Island boasts a spectacular coast, a charming waterfront and imposing mansions from the Gilded Age.  No wonder it’s widely considered to be one of New England’s greatest destinations.  This episode of Travelrific Radio® highlights the sights not to miss.

The Trembling Mountain

By Linda Tancs

The American Indians named Canada’s Mont Tremblant “Manitou Ewitchi Saga” after Manitou, the god of nature.  Legend has it that Manitou could make the mountains tremble–hence the name “Mont Tremblant” (trembling mountain).  Today the mountain trembles with the roar of skiers and hosts the premier ski resort in eastern North America.  In keeping with the season, there are other outdoor activities, too:  snowmobiling, sleigh riding and ice climbing, for starters.

Germany’s Venice

By Linda Tancs

Canal laden Spreewald is sometimes referred to as Germany’s Venice.  Situated about 62 miles southeast of Berlin, it was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1991, a designation reserved for those locales that have demonstrated best practices in environmental conservation.  Its compact labyrinth of 171 miles of navigable waterways makes punting one of the most delightful and common means of getting around.  What may be less commonly known is that the region was originally settled by Slavic tribes who remain in the area today and lend it their language.  When you’re there, be sure to sample the gherkins, the region’s agricultural hallmark.

New Bells Toll in Paris

By Linda Tancs

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris recently attained 850 years in service.  A yearlong celebration, begun in December, includes two stamps issued by the national mail delivery service La Poste and a set of nine new bells for the towers–eight for the North Tower and one for the South Tower.  Named after saints, the new bells will harmonize with the older, main tenor bell named Emmanuel, considered to be one of the finest bells in Europe.  To preserve it for future generations, one of the new bells was cast as a second great bell to accompany Emmanuel in the South Tower.  The new bells will ring for the first time this weekend (Palm Sunday) to kick off Holy Week.

A Welcome Wagon for Women

By Linda Tancs

For those women wishing to meet up with a friendly face in a foreign country, there’s an international fellowship organization waiting to help you.  Women Welcome Women World Wide (known as 5W) boasts 2400 members speaking over 100 languages from 80 countries.  Whether you seek accommodations with a local hostess or just a meetup, hospitality is right around the corner.

The Colony of Seals

By Linda Tancs

Ireland’s Garinish Island in County Cork is best known for its subtropical gardens in Bantry Bay.  Try telling that to the attention-grabbing seal colony living in the harbor waters.   Unfazed by the hum of ferries between the island and the main pier at Glengarriff, the 250-strong seal colony stands ready to strike the pose.


Swiss Precision

By Linda Tancs

The quality of Swiss timepieces is legendary.  And why shouldn’t it be?  Those talented artisans have been perfecting it since its debut in the 16th century.  The cradle of the industry is the Joux Valley.  Of course that’s where you can expect to find a museum dedicated to the art of Swiss watchmaking.  Recently reopened after a months-long renovation, Joux Valley Museum of Watchmaking is an interactive museum combining traditional exhibition space with hands-on training and demonstration.  The current exhibit traces the changing face of watchmaking, celebrating the Technical College’s 111th anniversary graduating watchmakers.

Where the Buffalo Roam

By Linda Tancs

President Theodore Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman and a budding naturalist in his youth. During his presidency he advanced his conservationist agenda with the preservation of millions of acres of land and the creation of wildlife refuges. His values are well defended at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Located in western North Dakota, the park monitors and manages elk, bison and feral horses to maintain sustainable populations. An entrance fee is required. Buy an annual park pass, available for 20 dollars. A lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents aged 62 or over is available for 10 dollars.

Sailors’ Delight

By Linda Tancs

In 1801 Captain Robert Richard Randall died, his will decreeing that his New York City estate become a haven for retired seamen.  Following a protracted will contest, his desire was fulfilled through the purchase of land in 1831 along the harbor in Staten Island instead.  Located on the north shore,  that enclave is known as Snug Harbor.  Thanks to its popularity among retired sailors, the property grew to include a chapel, more dormitories, and a Beaux-Arts-style music hall.  Boasting over 250,000 annual visitors, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center offers a glimpse into the life of a mariner.   For art aficionados, there’s the John A. Noble maritime art collection.  A year-round venue for performance art, the park is also notable for its botanical garden, one of the largest in the New York area.

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