Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for September, 2013

The Diversity of Slovenia

By Linda Tancs

Boasting one of the most diverse landscapes in Europe, Slovenia is a treasure trove of uplands and lowlands, karst and castles, alpine lakes and majestic mountains.  Learn about its natural and cultural highlights at Travelrific® Radio.

England’s Oldest Racecourse

By Linda Tancs

Chester, England rightly takes its place in horse racing history, the first recorded race dating back to 1539 during the reign of King Henry VIII.  Known as the Roodee, the course is the oldest one still in use in England.  The 2013 season ends this Saturday with a series of class 3 and class 4 stakes with prizes ranging from £8,000 to £50,000.  Situated in the heart of Chester and easily accessible by road or rail, the course is signed from all the major routes into Chester on race days.

The Dogs of War

By Linda Tancs

The nation’s first memorial to SOF (Special Operations Forces) dogs is in place at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Over 2,000 dogs serve in the U.S. military today, a tradition that began during World War II.  Our canine soldiers participate in military operations around the globe, including combat zones where their skill in detecting bombs and attackers is indispensable.  A life-size bronze of a Belgian Malinois in combat gear stands sentinel at the museum’s parade grounds, opposite a statue of paratrooper Iron Mike.

The Allergy Capital of America

By Linda Tancs

Best family vacation.  Best restaurants.  Best nightlife.  These are just a few of the sought-after superlatives for American cities.  So how dismaying it must be for Wichita, Kansas to rise to numero uno on this list:  the allergy capital of America.  According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Wichita rises to best in show this year for autumn allergies due to very high pollen.  To make matters worse, experts predict a longer and more severe allergy season because of heavy precipitation levels this past winter and the subsequent surge of warmer weather.  Break out those hankies.

A Rare Glimpse of a Goldsmiths’ Pavilion

By Linda Tancs

The Goldsmiths’ Company, founded in London to regulate the craft and trade of the goldsmith, received its first royal charter in 1327.   Thanks to its efforts you can be assured of the quality of gold, silver and more recently, platinum.  The guild is housed in Goldsmiths’ Hall, a hidden gem just northeast of St. Paul’s Cathedral at the junction of Foster Lane and Gresham Street.  The palatial-style building is never open to the public except during exhibitions and designated open days.  That’s why the Goldsmiths’ Fair is a great opportunity to steep yourself in its long history.  Taking place from 23 to 29 September and then from 1 to 6 October, the fair gives discerning collectors the world over a chance to meet the up-and-coming designers of jewelry and silverware design.

A Potomac River Valley Retreat

By Linda Tancs

For nearly 185 miles the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, a National Historical Park, runs adjacent to the mighty Potomac River, winding its way between western Maryland and Georgetown.  Used to transport goods and people prior to the advent of the railroad, its lock gates were an adaptation of a design by Leonardo DaVinci dating to the late 1400’s.  Today the C&O Canal is a peaceful refuge, offering activities like a mule-drawn canal boat ride from the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, private boat tours, hiking and biking opportunities, camping, nature walks and ranger programs.

The Island of Magic

By Linda Tancs

Recently named in a travel magazine survey as the world’s friendliest city, it isn’t hard to see why the stretch of beaches comprising Brazil’s Florianópolis earns it the nickname, the island of magic.  About 450 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, this beachy destination easily gives glam spots like Ibiza or Punta del Este a run for their money.  Originally renowned for its surfing holes like Joaquina, Praia Mole and Praia Brava, its cosmopolitan flair can’t be missed on Jurerê Internacional, Canasvieiras, and Ingleses on the north end of the island, where domestic and international tourists mix and mingle in trendy beach bars and nightclubs.  For a little more peace and tranquility, witness the traditional Azorean customs still practiced on the island’s south end or visit the city centre for ample remnants of its colonial past.  Whatever you do, prepare to be spellbound.

Baroque Wonder in Wales

By Linda Tancs

A baroque garden is an elaborate entanglement of color, shape and size with artistic or dramatic flair, characterized by grand terraced landscapes.  In Powys, Wales, Powis Castle’s hanging terraces remain virtually intact since the 1600s.  That makes Powis one of the best surviving examples of baroque gardening in the United Kingdom.  Hewn from the rock, the terraces are dominated by yew topiaries over 300 years old.  The views of parkland below are dazzling, and don’t miss the woodland walks opposite the terraces.

Longitude 131°

By Linda Tancs

Longitude 131° is more than just a coordinate.  It’s an experience in Australia’s Outback that puts the glam in glamping.  Located near Ayers Rock Resort with complimentary transfers from the area airport, the luxury resort sports only 15 “tents,” each comprising a white dome roof and fabric draped from the center to create the illusion of camping’s more rustic nature.  But that doesn’t make the experience any less adventurous–the World Heritage listed Uluru-Kata Tjutaof National Park beckons just minutes from your door.

Where the Stars Are

By Linda Tancs

Light management is critical to preserving the beauty of the night sky. Just ask the folks at the International Dark-Sky Association, a non-profit organization fighting to preserve the night. They’ve certified five places in the world as an International Dark Sky Reserve–in other words, that’s where the stars are. The honorees are Mont Mégantic in Canada, Exmoor National Park in England, Aoraki Mackenzie in New Zealand, NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia and Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

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