Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for November, 2014

The Heart-Shaped Land

By Linda Tancs

In Bosnia & Herzegovina, tradition and culture remain close at heart, appropriate enough for a heart-shaped country in southeastern Europe. This tiny Balkan nation celebrates the junction of eastern and western civilizations, part of its rich heritage. Sarajevo’s Old Town, for instance, still conjures the market center of the 15th century, when traders from Asia Minor and western nations gathered. Other towns throughout the country form the crux of the Kingdom Trail, where medieval fortresses bear silent testimony to the power and privilege of the ruling classes dominating the country’s history, such as the Turkish and Austro-Hungarian empires. Priding themselves on hospitality, you’ll come as a stranger but leave as a friend.

The Center of an Ancient World

By Linda Tancs

New Mexico’s ancestral Native American culture is the highlight of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site with the densest concentration of pueblos in the Southwest.  During the ninth century, massive stone buildings known as great houses were constructed by the Chacoan people, influenced by lunar, solar and cardinal directions.  This thriving ancient civilization is central to the origins of several Navajo clans and ceremonies.  Equally as thrilling is the park’s designation as one of the world’s newest International Dark Sky Parks, which means that the site is a mecca for stargazers.

The Horseshoe Curve

By Linda Tancs

What do Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and dozens of Hollywood’s elite have in common?  They’ve all traveled the Horseshoe Curve.  Constructed entirely by hand by 450 Irish immigrant workers, the Curve is an engineering feat at the base of the Allegheny Mountains in Altoona, Pennsylvania.  A National Historic Landmark, the 220 degree arc opened in 1854 to facilitate train travel across the state through rough mountain terrain.  Access the curve via the funicular or a 194-step nature walk and enjoy the stunning views.

The World’s Earliest Known Winery

By Linda Tancs

For those feeling nostalgic over barefoot wine stomping, the latest discovery in Armenia is sure to thrill you:  in recent years archaeologists unearthed a wine press for stomping grapes near the village of Areni that dates back over 6,000 years.  The world’s earliest known winery, the discovery brings to two the number of prehistoric finds originating from the same Armenian cave; the locale is also the site where a 5,000-year-old leather shoe was found.

The History of Skiing

By Linda Tancs

Did you know that skiing boasts a history over 4,000 years?  Or that the world’s oldest ski found in Russia is around 8,000 years old?  These and other facts about the sport are on display at Oslo’s Ski Museum.  Located at the base of Holmenkollen ski resort’s international ski jump, the museum houses artifacts, ski collections, an action film showcasing Norwegian skiing and an array of information on polar skiing, ski production, disciplines, and ancient history.

The Height of Luxury in London

By Linda Tancs

You could say that guests of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard in London enjoy a heady experience.  It is, after all, the tallest hotel in Western Europe–the first of its kind in a London skyscraper, occupying floors 34 to 52 of the glamorous Shard.  The first luxury hotel south of the Thames, the GŎNG bar at its apex will no doubt leave you agog over cityscape views for up to 40 miles.  Add to that a spacious room with floor to ceiling windows and a marble bath for a welcome respite.  Does it live up to its name?  Hardly remote, but idyllic nonetheless.

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