Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Archive for July, 2014

Woodstock Lives on in Poland

By Linda Tancs

The Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York is one of the most popular music events in history.  It’s been faithfully re-created in Kostrzyn, Poland (50 miles from Berlin) since 1995.  This year’s festivities begin today and end on 2 August.   Over 500,000 attendees are expected.  Be there or be square.

The Battle Cry in Catoira

By Linda Tancs

Over a thousand years ago the Vikings invaded the town of Catoira in Galicia, Spain.  The Galicians have not forgotten.  In fact, since 1960 on the first Sunday of August they celebrate a re-enactment of the event at a Viking Festival.  Locals dress as Viking warriors aboard a replica 11th century ship headed for Torres del Oeste Castle.  A battle ensues between the defenders and invaders where everyone eventually ends up soaked in wine.  Well, that’s better than blood.

Catching the Wind in Bonaire

By Linda Tancs

Part of the Dutch Antilles, Bonaire’s Caribbean flair includes pastel-colored Dutch colonials to complement an abundance of pink flamingos and fiery sunsets.  This island, sans a single traffic light, has 86 official dive sites.  But the strongest draw is windsurfing, thanks to continual winds, shallow waters and excellent weather.  In fact, whether novice or pro, Bonaire (and Lac Bay in particular) has been recognized as one of the best places in the world to windsurf.

Hippo Haven

By Linda Tancs

If watching hippos bask along the shoreline in sub-Saharan Africa isn’t on your bucket list but you want an armchair traveler’s experience of them in their habitat, then look no further than the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.  The only aquarium in the world with hippos on exhibit, their 60,000-gallon pool offers visitors the chance to get nose to nose with the third largest land mammal on earth.  The experience is enhanced with lighting designed to mimic African days and nights as well as a soundtrack comprising bird chirps and other sounds likely to be heard in the wild.  The pool’s residents, Nile hippos Button and Genny, can’t wait to meet you.

Beautiful Music in Buenos Aires

By Linda Tancs

Acoustically, Teatro Colón is one of the world’s best opera houses.  One reason is because the orchestra pit, accommodating up to 120 musicians, is treated with a resonance chamber and special curves for the reflection of sound.  Another reason is the horseshoe-shaped hall.  But the music isn’t the only beguiling feature of this music hall, boasting a majestic flight of stairs, sculptures and stained-glass windows.  They say there’s a secret in every corner of this architectural gem, like the underground rehearsal rooms.  Take a guided tour to uncover more of its charms.

Ferry Cross the Cut

By Linda Tancs

In Vermont, the scenic Colchester Causeway is a four-mile long, 10-foot-wide gravel path popular with cyclists.  It extends across Lake Champlain and connects to the original Rutland Railroad bed, courtesy of a 200-foot ferry ride to “the Cut,” site of the railroad swing bridge removed in the 1960s.  That’s not much of a ferry ride (five minutes from start to finish), but it is, after all, the state’s only bike ferry service and arguably one of the world’s most scenic. What better way to take in those incredible waterfront views from Colchester to Burlington than by bike.  After the dramatic 2011 flooding of the lake, the trail re-opened last spring.  Daily ferry service runs until 1 September.

Little Las Vegas

By Linda Tancs

The glitzy past of New Jersey’s shore town, Wildwood, once earned it the nickname Little Las Vegas.  In fact, in its heyday in the 1950s, all the major acts would ply their trade among the nightclubs and supper clubs, including talent like Tony Bennett and Jerry Lewis.  The old clubs are long gone, but the doo wop era is in full swing thanks to the Doo Wop Experience Museum & Back to the ’50s Neon Night Tour.  Enjoy the history lesson along with the beautiful beaches and legendary boardwalk.

Rare Access in Florence

By Linda Tancs

Florence, Italy is often referred to as the cradle of the Renaissance, a cultural jewel of 15th century art and architecture.  A mecca for museum lovers, that rich history is housed in over 70 museums across this city bisected by the Arno River.   You can beat the madding crowds by heading to a less-visited site like the Vasari Corridor.  Open only via special access through a tour or travel agency, this secret passageway through an unmarked door at the Uffizi Gallery connects the gallery to the Pitti Palace.  It was built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari at the behest of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, who desired a safe path between his home at the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo degli Uffizi where he worked.  The scenic covered walkway traces the Arno with panoramic views at Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), then dips into the interior of the church of Santa Felicita, ending at the famous Grotto of Buontalenti inside the Boboli Gardens.



London’s Oldest Riverside Pub

By Linda Tancs

The Prospect of Whitby, London’s oldest riverside pub in Wapping, was once known as the Devil’s Tavern, a nod to its once-upon-a-time popularity with thieves, smugglers and pirates.  More polished clientele included Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and artists Whistler and Turner.  Originating in 1520, this traditional British pub boasts an original flagstone floor, a rare pewter-topped bar and old barrels and ship masts.  And what good would a storied pub be without a haunting or two?  Reputedly a favored watering hole of “hanging judge” Jeffreys, his spirit allegedly still presides over the hangings and drownings at high tide visible from his bar stool.

The Secret Garden at 377

By Linda Tancs

Atop the Harrison Park Towers parking garage in East Orange, New Jersey, the concrete is green.  There’s a secret garden there, an unexpected oasis in the form of a one-acre Italianate garden planted some 60 years ago by the late William T. Gotelli, allegedly a builder of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.  This stunning private garden, dubbed The Secret Garden at 377, is open to the public by appointment and during designated Open Days.

%d bloggers like this: