Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for April, 2013

Saguenay Celebrates 175 Years

By Linda Tancs

Just 131 miles from Québec City (the only fortified city north of Mexico), Saguenay is celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2013.  The year-long fête features lots of music as well as science and agricultural exhibitions.  Of course, you don’t need a special occasion to visit this region, blessed as it is by a colossal fjord, temperate weather and magnificent whales.  View the fjord from the heights of L’Anse-de-Tabatière, the only viewpoint that’s accessible by car, and let your spirit soar.

The Jesus Trail

By Linda Tancs

From Nazareth to Capernaum, Israel’s Jesus Trail is a 40-mile hike in the Galilee that strives to trace Jesus’s movement through the region. The multi-day trek incorporates Nazareth, Sepphoris, Cana, the Arbel Cliffs, Tabgha, Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes, Tiberias and the Jordan River. Overnight accommodations along the route range from hotels to campsites. The breathtaking scenery and pleasing year round weather are sure to interest pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike.

Highest Inclined Tower in the World

By Linda Tancs

Built for the 1976 summer Olympic games, Montréal’s Tour de Montréal is the highest inclined tower in the world at 541 feet in height and angled at 45 degrees.  The three-star rated Michelin attraction boasts three observation decks with panoramic views of the city’s scenic points accessible via funicular.

The Million Dollar Highway

By Linda Tancs

As far as scenic road trips go, you needn’t pack your bags for the Swiss mountain passes to get the grandest views.   In fact, the “Switzerland of America” is right in western Colorado.  Just head to US Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.  Known as the Million Dollar Highway, the former toll road sports the same hairpin turns (sans guard rails, of course) and tremendous vistas you would expect in alpine Europe.  The challenging drive takes you through three mountain passes; the highest is Red Mountain Pass at over 11,000 feet.  The origin of the highway’s name is disputed.  Perhaps that’s just as well because the views are, in any event, priceless.

California’s Cleanest Beaches

By Linda Tancs

The beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore in California are frequently cited as some of California’s cleanest beaches.  But it’s the views that undoubtedly impress visitors the most.  Some beaches are just a spit of sand like Limantour Beach, but you’ll find a bountiful array of seasonal inhabitants like ducks, seals, gray whales and shorebirds.  And then there’s Kehoe Beach, a mix of dunes and cliffs made of sandstone and granite.  Some beaches even have drive-up access, like Limantour, Drakes Beach and Great Beach.  The lure of heavy surf is particularly strong at Great Beach, a misnomer considering that they’re all pretty great.

Geotourism in Malaysia

By Linda Tancs

Malaysia’s first established UNESCO Geopark is located in Langkawi, a popular holiday destination summoning visitors to its 99 islands in the Andaman Sea.  Like other UNESCO designations, a Geopark is so named for its contributions to history and culture–in this case, add in its geological value.  Datai Bay boasts some of the oldest rock formations in the region, dating back over 500 million years.  The boat ride from Datai Bay to Telaga Habour presents scenic rocky cliff formations.  And that’s just one of several trails through the area highlighting sea arches, caves, mangrove forests and tropical jungles.

The Grand Staircase

By Linda Tancs

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has the distinction of being the first monument overseen by the Bureau of Land Management rather than the National Park Service.  Holding court in southern Utah at an expansive 1.7 million acres (slightly larger in area than the State of Delaware), this world class geologic and paleontological site comprises not only the Grand Staircase but also the Kaiparowits Plateau and the Canyons of the Escalante.  A staircase of cliffs and terraces, the Grand Staircase’s multi-hued formations represent 200 million years of Earth’s history, featuring fossils of fish and early dinosaurs from the Triassic Period (the vermilion cliffs) as well as Jurassic sand dunes (the white cliffs).  An ancient freshwater lake deposited the siltstone comprising the pink cliffs at the top of the Grand Staircase.  Nearly one thousand miles of roads provide access to what may arguably be one of the greatest shows on Earth.

Behind the Falls

By Linda Tancs

Plenty of countries stake their claim as the land of a thousand waterfalls, but Norway’s falls sport some of the most unusual attributes.  Consider, for instance, Steinsdalsfossen.  Located in Norheimsund in western Norway, its nearly 300,000 visitors are attracted to the path behind it where you can observe its 50 meter tumble from the backside–a behind-the-scenes view, if you will.

The Gannets of St. Lawrence

By Linda Tancs

St. Lawrence River is one of the world’s longest rivers, dissecting Québec at its southern latitudes.  Along the river are many island pearls, not the least of which is Île Bonaventure.  Located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, the island hosts the largest colony of northern gannets in North America.  A haven for ecotourists, the island’s national park (one of 27 in Québec) features a five-million-ton monolith shaped by nature’s fury that is accessible at low tide.

The Bionic Man

By Linda Tancs

Television viewers may remember the show The Six Million Dollar Man, a popular series about a former astronaut named Steve with bionic implants who goes after the bad guys as a secret agent.  Steve, meet Rex.  That’s the new bionic man appearing now at the Science Museum in London.  Created for less than one million dollars, Rex is the world’s first complete bionic man, featuring an artificial circulatory system and organs.  Life (or should I say, science) imitates art–and at a price much less than six million dollars.

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