Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for February, 2017

The Friendly City

By Linda Tancs

Wheeling, West Virginia, dubs itself “the friendly city,” no doubt earned by its reputation for heartily welcoming visitors—a stark contrast from the tumult experienced during the Civil War. The state was formed out of western Virginia and added to the Union as a direct result of the war. Born from the walls of West Virginia Independence Hall, a forerunner of today’s skyscrapers with wrought iron I-beams and box girders with cast iron columns, its three floors tell the story of political intrigue, treason, loyalty oaths and the threat of rebel invasion. Admission is free.

A Kiss in Lima

By Linda Tancs

According to an old song, a kiss is just a kiss. Not so in Lima, Peru. The simple act is memorialized in a larger than life way with El Beso (The Kiss), a sculpture produced by native Peruvian Victor Delfin. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean at Parque del Amor (Love Park—what else?) in the touristy Miraflores district of Lima. The statue was unveiled on Valentine’s Day in 1993. Perhaps not surprisingly, the site plays host to an annual kissing contest.

Flour and Water in Minneapolis

By Linda Tancs

Beginning in 1880 and for 50 years thereafter, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was known as “Mill City,” owing to its status as the flour milling capital of the world. Mill City Museum opened in 2003, built in the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill next to Mill Ruins Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. The flour tower tour is the highlight, taking you through all of the floors of the mill on a historical storytelling tour. The views from the top of the river and the city can’t be beat.

Spain’s Hanging Houses

By Linda Tancs

Built sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries, three clifftop wooden homes (Casas Colgadas) adorn the Huécar Gorge in Cuenca, Spain. Once upon a time, the whole gorge was lined with hanging houses. Built in traditional Gothic style, the homes have been refurbished several times although some original elements can still be seen in the part that houses the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art. Enjoy the balcony view from the museum’s gift shop. Cuenca is located about 86 miles southeast of Madrid, by way of the N-400 or N-320.

Malaysia’s Largest Cave

By Linda Tancs

Talk about a rock of ages. Peninsular Malaysia’s largest cave system, Gua Tempurung, has rock formations aged between 250 and 400 million years. The overall length of the cave is nearly three miles; the part accessible to the public is just over one mile. Its underground river is nearly one mile long, and when rain comes, the subterranean streams turn into a churning river of froth. You can admire the underground waterfalls and pendant stalactites via walkways. Four tours of escalating difficulty are also offered. The cave system is easily reached via the North-South Highway.

Shopping in Salerno

By Linda Tancs

An important trading locale for centuries, the old merchant street in the historic center of Salerno, Italy, is a shopper’s paradise. Bottega Bossa is the go-to place for leather goods and is located just blocks from the port, much to the delight of cruise travelers. Salerno also boasts lots of specialty stores that sell wine, sweets, cheese, decorated Italian paper and stationery near Salerno Cathedral. Perhaps long forgotten, the city is also the site of the (now defunct) world’s first medical school, Schola Medica Salernitana.

A Desert Gateway

By Linda Tancs

The Negev is Israel’s gateway to the desert. Accounting for over half of the country’s land area, the arid mass has been occupied since the dawn of history by nomads, Canaanites, Philistines, Edomites, Byzantines, Nabateans, Ottomans and, of course, Israelis. After the establishment of Israel, the new country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, promoted the settlement of the Negev and moved to live in Sde Boker. Paula and David Ben-Gurion’s living quarters there have been preserved the way they were upon Ben-Gurion’s death in 1973. A visit to the house includes an exhibit that displays the connection between the prime minister and the Negev. Winter is an especially nice time to visit; despite the small quantities of rain, the Negev is covered with amazing flowers, including luscious red anemones.

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