Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for July, 2015

Grand Canyon of the East

By Linda Tancs

New York’s Letchworth State Park is known as the Grand Canyon of the East because of its scenic gorge. Indeed, its magnificence can hardly be ignored, the Genesee River roaring over three major waterfalls amidst towering cliffs. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, the park covers over 14,000 acres of land along the river. The locale is popular with campers, but those not interested in roughing it will find ample accommodations like guest houses, inns and lodges with light housekeeping. Given its size, there are no shortage of activities at this park, among them 66 hiking trails, guided walks, tours, swimming, kayaking and rafting. Hot air ballooning is a must to take in the glorious vistas.

The Endless Lagoon

By Linda Tancs

It’s no wonder why French Polynesia’s Rangiroa, the second largest atoll in the world, is called an endless lagoon. More than 200 motu dot its coral fringes for a length of 110 miles, encircling a richly hued lagoon coveted by divers. Its size is so vast they say you can fit the entire island of Tahiti inside it. That means the possibilities for marine life are endless. Depending on the season, you may encounter rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins, napoleon fish and barracuda. On land, don’t miss the chance to visit one of French Polynesia’s largest working pearl farms or visit the peaceful villages of Avatoru and Tiputa.

World Class Bear Viewing

By Linda Tancs

Alaskan salmon run at different times depending on the location and species. In southeast Alaska, you’ll find the largest run of pink salmon at Anan Creek during July and August. That means the bears won’t be far behind. Southeast of Wrangell, the Anan Wildlife Observatory is a world class destination for bear viewing—so popular, in fact, that only 20 visitor passes are issued each day from July 5 to August 25. Those passes are issued via a lottery that is conducted in March. Plan accordingly, and happy viewing!

Pier to Pier

By Linda Tancs

Want to avoid road rush or Tube crunch and see London’s sights from pier to pier?  MBNA Thames Clippers operates a fast fleet of catamarans from Putney to Royal Arsenal Woolwich, linking London’s attractions from the riverside.  Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and The O2 are just a few of the sights along the 19 piers that they serve.  With a daily River Roamer or Family River Roamer ticket you get unlimited travel along the banks to soak in the views at your leisure.  All aboard!

World’s Largest Truckstop

By Linda Tancs

Along Interstate 80 in Walcott, Iowa, you’ll find the world’s largest truckstop. Known as Iowa 80, the stop opened in 1964 and currently serves 5,000 customers per day with parking spaces for 900 tractor-trailers, 250 cars and 20 buses. The amenities include a 300-seat restaurant, a gift store, a dentist, a barber shop, a chiropractor, a workout room, laundry facilities, a 60-seat movie theatre, a trucker’s TV lounge, 24 private showers, a food court, a convenience store, 10 gas islands, 16 diesel lanes, a fuel center, a seven-bay truck service center, a truck wash and the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. Each year in July, the Iowa 80 hosts the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, a three-day event dedicated to celebrating America’s truckers. This year’s event begins on July 9.

A King’s Ransom

By Linda Tancs

Dating to 1081, Germany’s Trifels Castle in the Rhineland boasts a king’s ransom in its history.  Located high above the Queich valley on a red sandstone mountain in the Palatinate Forest, this medieval castle is where the British king Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned when he was captured by Leopold V of Austria upon his return from the Third Crusade. Amounting to around $200 million in today’s money, the king was freed after his mother successfully raised the funds.

Croatia’s Legendary Lakes

By Linda Tancs

Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park in the vicinity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe. Comprising more than 70,000 acres, it’s also the largest national park in Croatia. Culturally, it’s been inhabited for thousands of years by settlers such as ancient tribes, Romans, Slavs and Turks. The most remarkable feature of this park is its series of lakes arranged in upper and lower clusters, bearing serene hues of azure, green, grey or blue depending on the minerals or organisms in the water at any particular time. For every colorful lake there’s a colorful legend. One popular tale is that the lake system (particularly Prošćansko jezero) was created after a long drought prompted prayers to the Black Queen. Other lakes are associated with stories of hidden treasure, local shepherds, drownings and a resident monk.

Flower Show Wows at Hampton Court

By Linda Tancs

Featuring more than 100 nurseries and growers, the Floral Marquee at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is big enough to fit an FA football pitch. Now that’s some flower power, marking the 25th anniversary of the floral extravaganza. Themed events to mark the milestone will prevail throughout the show, continuing through July 5. As always, prepare to be wowed by the roses.

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