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Archive for January, 2018

A Butterfly in the Caribbean

By Linda Tancs

Seen from the sky, Guadeloupe’s two main islands look like the wings of a butterfly in the Caribbean. A French overseas territory, Guadeloupe is an archipelago of over a dozen islands with scenic displays ranging from a tropical forest and volcano to endless white, sandy beaches. The easygoing beach atmosphere is evident in Grande-Terre (the eastern half of the butterfly). Mountainous Basse-Terre, the western island, is home to Parc National de la Guadeloupe, which is crowned by the spectacular La Soufrière volcano. Of the smaller islands, don’t miss a visit to Marie-Galante, source of the nickname “isle of a hundred mills” thanks to its production of rum—reputedly among the best in the world.

 

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An Epic Tall Ship

By Linda Tancs

A living testament to the “Age of Sail,” Elissa is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland, by Alexander Hall & Company. According to a descendant of her builder, the tall ship’s name was taken from the epic Roman poem The Aeneid, which follows the story of Dido (originally a Phoenician princess named Elissa), who fled from Tyre to Africa and founded Carthage. Like her poetic counterpart, the barque is a survivor, securing a second life (following decades as a freighter) as a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail annually during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. She’s located at Texas Seaport Museum, Pier 21, in Galveston, Texas.

Eagle Island

By Linda Tancs

Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. It’s known as Eagle Island, one of the best places in Scotland to spot golden and white-tailed eagles—virtually year round. In fact, thanks to the abundance of this and other wildlife, many tours are offered throughout the year. Ferries cross to the island at three points: Oban, Lochaline and Kilchoan. The best known and most used is the ferry from Oban to Craignure (near Mull’s most easterly point), which will get you there in under one hour.

Miracle Water in Georgia

By Linda Tancs

Aptly named, Providence Spring in Andersonville, Georgia, is a matter of divine providence in Civil War lore. The story goes that thousands of Union soldiers were dying of thirst in the summer of 1864 at a prison camp in Andersonville, one of the largest Confederate military prisons during the war. The cries of thirst ended when a spring mysteriously erupted in the stockade. The site is covered with a memorial house and is accessible via a road behind the National POW Museum, part of Andersonville National Historic Site.

Art, Science and Genius

By Linda Tancs

Leonardo da Vinci was truly a Renaissance man. Regarded as one of the world’s greatest geniuses, he was a painter, engineer, scientist, architect, sculptor, designer, scenographer, anatomist, musician, planner, botanist and inventor. The life and works of such a big man are memorialized on a small square in Venice, Italy, at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Located at the Scoletta di San Rocco (in front of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco), the vast exhibition rooms explore da Vinci’s life—from his masterpieces like Mona Lisa to his contributions to industry. Accompanied by multimedia displays and hands-on models, you will see the workings of his most important engineering projects, with more than 60 perfectly functioning machines. The museum is conveniently located within minutes of the main railway station as well as St. Mark’s Square and Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (the biggest church in Venice).

The World’s Only Drive-In Volcano

By Linda Tancs

On the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Sulphur Springs is a place where you can drive—and dive—right in. On the drive-in side, there’s the collapsed caldera of the dormant Soufrière volcano, offering a drive-thru experience like no other with lots of boiling springs, steam and bubbling mud pots. After that, maybe you’ll want to dive into the mud baths in the geothermal park, where you’re promised rejuvenation and detoxification. Then wash it all off at a nearby waterfall. The volcano emits hydrogen sulphide (that rotten eggs smell) so be forewarned.

Preserving Native American Culture

By Linda Tancs

Located along the banks of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota, the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center tells the unique stories of the Lakota Indian tribe from the perspective of both the past and the present. An educational outreach program of St. Joseph’s Indian School, the museum strives to preserve and promote the Lakota (Sioux) culture through art, artifacts and educational displays that depict the proud heritage of the Lakota people. Admission to the center is free but donations are gratefully accepted.

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