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Archive for June, 2017

Legend of the Dragon Princess

By Linda Tancs

According to legend, a beautiful dragon princess was so enchanted by the South China Sea that she abandoned a trip to Singapore to visit her prince and took the form of an island—Tioman, one of the most popular islands on the southeastern side of Peninsular Malaysia. Prized for its diving and snorkeling opportunities, inland it comprises thick jungle and the promise of numerous jungle treks. The duty-free island is also a marine park, requiring an entrance fee payment on arrival. The best time to visit is between mid-March and mid-October to avoid the northeast monsoon. Direct flights are available from Subang Airport; a cheaper alternative is a bus/ferry combination from Kuala Lumpur.

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A Legendary Surrender

By Linda Tancs

Native American tribal leader Sitting Bull symbolized the conflict between Indians and western settlers, a dispute that increased markedly after gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a sacred area to Native Americans. Ultimately his battles with authorities led to his surrender at Fort Buford in North Dakota in 1881. Now a state historic site, the fort is probably best remembered for that seminal event. Located near present-day Williston, it was a vital frontier plains military post established to protect overland and river routes used by immigrants settling the West. Original features still existing on the site include a stone powder magazine, the post cemetery site and a large officers’ quarters building which now houses a museum.

An Abbey in the Moors

By Linda Tancs

Nestled in the tranquil valley of the North York Moors are the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, the first Cistercian abbey founded in the north of England and arguably one of the most beautiful ruins in the country. It was one of England’s most powerful and wealthy religious sites until its dissolution by King Henry VIII in 1538. A new museum displays previously unseen artifacts and explores the lives of the monks who lived there.

Best Ice in Greenland

By Linda Tancs

Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is filled with icebergs that calve from Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest moving glacier in the world at 131 feet daily. The massive ice field occupies the same area as 66,000 football fields. The best way to take it all in is a flightseeing tour by helicopter or small plane. At ground level, you can walk along the raised pathway to Sermermiut or hike along the marked Blue Route trail. Whichever route you choose, be sure to take a midnight cruise in the icefjord, when the icebergs change from white and blue to shades of orange and red when struck by the midnight sun.

 

Crossing at the Meuse

By Linda Tancs

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland. The city’s name, derived from Latin, means “crossing at the Meuse.” Indeed, the ancient city is located on both sides of the Meuse River. It might be better known as the birthplace of the European Union: a treaty was signed there in 1992, establishing the European Union and its currency, the Euro. The capital of Holland’s southernmost region, Limburg, it’s prized for the local delicacy—a pie (vlaai) filled with marmalade.

Horsing Around in Devon

By Linda Tancs

The Grand Western Canal in Devon was built in 1814 for use by the lime trade, deploying horse-drawn boats to transport stone to Tiverton Wharf. That heritage is preserved today by Tiverton Canal Co., which operates one of the U.K.’s last horse-drawn barges. Their wide beam, 75-seater horse-drawn barge operates a popular 2 1/2 hour return to East Manley that offers the opportunity to take a short walk to see the aqueduct and experience the bountiful wildlife among the unspoiled banks. Tours operate from April to October.

The Castle on a Plain

By Linda Tancs

Unlike the usual hilltop or mountaintop castle, Hiroshima Castle is built on a plain in the center of the city. Developed as a castle town, Hiroshima’s pride was built in 1589 by a powerful feudal lord. Surrounded by a moat, its keep is five stories high. The keep, along with the rest of the structure, was rebuilt following its destruction from the nuclear attack on the city in 1945 during World War II. The castle is just a 15-minute walk from Peace Memorial Park and its featured A-Bomb Dome, a World Heritage Site.

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