Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for November, 2017

Ecotourism in the Exumas

By Linda Tancs

The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, beginning just 35 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas. Its sapphire blue waters are home to two national parks. The 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, created in 1958, was the first land and sea park in the world. An ecological preserve and wildlife refuge, it’s home to rare coral life, limestone reefs, scores of tropical fish, the endangered Bahamian iguana and the elusive hutia (a Caribbean rodent). More ecological wonders await at Moriah Harbour Cay National Park, covering 13,440 acres. In addition to phenomenal sandbars, the park includes sights like Thunderball Grotto, the Blow Hole at Boise Cay with a 10-foot geyser and Dripping Cave at Guana Cay.

Living History in Rouen

By Linda Tancs

Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France, a peasant girl born in the 1400s who led the French army to a momentous victory over the English during the Hundred Years’ War. Later captured by opposition forces, she was tried for witchcraft and heresy and burned at the stake in 1431 in Rouen, France, at the age of 19. You can immerse yourself in medieval history and her life and times at the Joan of Arc History Museum. Housed in a 15th century archbishop’s palace, visitors can live this historic period by viewing a series of films projected onto the walls of the magnificent palace in holographic style. The state-of-the-art audiovisual experience is an immersive adventure for all ages.

The Narnia Trail

By Linda Tancs

Acclaimed writer C.S. Lewis is the author of the fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Although he spent much of his life in England, he never forgot his early life in Northern Ireland, the source of his inspiration for the classic tales thanks to the striking landscapes in the Mourne Mountains (particularly that part of the village of Rostrevor overlooking Carlingford Lough). At Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor you can join the Narnia Trail, entered through—what else—a wardrobe. The Narnia legends are interpreted along a short family loop trail, leading visitors to several stations with themes including The Tree People and The Beavers’ House.

The Toy Train

By Linda Tancs

Affectionately known as “the toy train,” India’s Darjeeling Himalayan Railway consists of 54 miles of two-foot gauge track that connects New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling, passing through Ghum at an altitude over 7,000 feet (the highest railway station in India). Opened in 1881, it remains one of the best examples of a hill passenger railway and has been a World Heritage Site since 1999. Catch a photo of the world famous B-Class steam locomotives at work, particularly from the adjacent public roads at Kurseong and Darjeeling.

Geological Variety in Aruba

By Linda Tancs

More than just a haven for flora and fauna, Aruba’s Arikok National Park boasts amazing geological diversity. The landscape has three primary geological formations: the Aruba lava formation, batholithic quartz and limestone rocks from fossilized coral. The park is also prized for its bays and the Natural Pool, a basin formed by rock and volcanic stone circles. Culturally,  the Caquetío Indians left rock paintings in Cunucu Arikok and Fontein Cave. The bird drawing in the park logo is a copy of one of these historical artistic expressions. Comprising almost 20% of the island, the park is located in the northeast in the area of Santa Cruz.

Symbol of the American West

By Linda Tancs

The nation’s largest cacti reside in Tucson, Arizona. In particular, that’s the giant saguaro—a large, tree-like columnar cactus that finds protection in Saguaro National Park. A universal symbol of the West, these Sonoran desert sentinels are only found in small portions of the country. The park is uniquely situated around the 500 square miles that make up Tucson. Its two districts—the Tucson Mountain District to the west and the Rincon Mountain District to the east—are separated by the city’s 1 million residents. The western district boasts large stands of saguaro cacti. November through March is the park’s busiest season, when temperatures are cooler and range from the high 50s to the mid-70s.

Big Snow Country

By Linda Tancs

Ottawa National Forest comprises nearly 1 million acres and is located in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, extending from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Along that border is the small town of Ironwood, a gateway to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Once a mining town, it’s now part of “big snow country,” where winters are long with an average snow accumulation of 200 inches. During ski season, there can be as many as 15,000 people in the area frequenting the six area ski hills and resorts with an abundance of snowmobilers plowing over 485 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Rounding out the winter sports are dog-sledding, cross-country skiing and ice fishing.

Bonfire Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

Medieval streets? Check. Old English churches? Check. Tiny twittens (a Sussex word for alleyway)? Check. They’re all alluring features of the market town of Lewes in East Sussex, but this time of year it’s the embers that rule. This weekend marks the annual Lewes Bonfire Night, an event commemorating the failure of (fall) Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up Parliament in 1605. Dubbed by some as the Bonfire Capital of the World, it is generally recognized as the UK’s largest and most famous bonfire festival. Reminiscent of Mardi Gras, the event is dominated by bonfire societies, each of which sports a unique costume and parade route. Fireworks represent the explosives that were never used by the plotters. An honor—of sorts—is to be burned in effigy. Contemporary figures holding that ignominious distinction include Donald Trump, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and David Cameron.

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