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Archive for June, 2018

Moab Giants

By Linda Tancs

The scenery in Moab, Utah, is otherworldly enough, but the prehistoric wonder of Moab Giants adds to it. A dinosaur park, their state-of-the-art exhibits feature the dinosaurs that roamed the area in all their life-size glory. The attractions include a trail with over 100 replicas amidst views of Arches National Park, La Sal Mountains and Moab’s geologically famous red rocks. Below ground, a prehistoric aquarium affords encounters with deep-sea creatures like Megalodon, the biggest shark that ever lived. The facility is located approximately nine miles north of Moab, on the corner of Hwy 191 and SR 313 (the turnoff to Dead Horse Point).

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Spain’s Mighty Wine Fight

By Linda Tancs

What Tuscany is to Italy, so La Rioja is to Spain. Below the Cantabrian Mountains, vineyards occupy the Ebro valley and surround the old town of Haro. The town residents are so proud of their wine-producing heritage that they host a Wine Fight each June 29 during a multi-day celebration of St. Peter. As you might suspect, the weapon of choice in this battle is wine—red, red wine. Combatants don white shirts and red scarfs, making their way to the highest hilltop in town where a blizzard of wine is aimed at each other from buckets, wineskin, sprayers and other useful tools. Drinking the spoils of war is highly encouraged. After the battle subsides, the warriors head back downtown for a feast and a bull run.

Britain’s Longest Ancient Monument

By Linda Tancs

Offa of Mercia was one of the most remarkable kings to have ruled much of Anglo-Saxon England. At his command, an earthwork covering a distance of more than 80 miles was built along the border between England and Wales in the eighth century to separate his kingdom from rivals in present-day Wales. This earth ditch-and-bank is reportedly the longest ancient monument in Britain. A long distance trail covering 177 miles, Offa’s Dyke Path, follows much of the ancient course. The trail links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the coastal town of Prestatyn on the shores of the Irish sea and crosses the border between England and Wales over 20 times. You’ll encounter stunning landscapes boasting castles, country churches, hillforts, riverside meadows and rolling hills. Similar to Camino de Santiago, you can purchase a trail passport (or download it from the site) and get it stamped along your journey to enter the path’s Hall of Fame. Expect it to take up to two weeks to complete the whole trail.

Scotland’s Fair Isle

By Linda Tancs

Of Scotland’s 790 or so offshore islands, which is the most fair? Opinions may differ, but the easiest response is the one so named. Fair Isle is an island in northern Scotland lying halfway between the mainland and Shetland. The small island is home to about 70 residents and is renowned for its bird observatory and style of knitting. This off-the-beaten-path tourist destination also offers visitors 250 species of flowering plants that have earned the locale the nickname “Island of Flowers.” It’s accessible via air or boat.

Bonfires of St. John

By Linda Tancs

The Night of St. John is a fireworks festival of pagan origin that celebrates the summer solstice. Held every year on June 23 in Spain, the event is characterized by a massive beach party accompanied by bonfires and fireworks. According to tradition, if you jump over a bonfire three times on that night, then you will be cleansed and purified and your problems burned away. Another ritual is to throw a note in the fire for good luck.

A Calming Influence in Vancouver

By Linda Tancs

Designated a national historic site of Canada, Stanley Park (named for Lord Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada in 1888) is an oasis of calm in the bustling city of Vancouver. The city’s first and largest urban park (at nearly 1,000 acres), one of its beloved attractions is the collection of colorful totem poles capturing the history of the First Nations. But no trip to Stanley Park is complete without also visiting its famous landmarks: Lost Lagoon, Siwash Rock, the Hollow Tree, Beaver Lake and Prospect Point. Along the way, enjoy over five miles of seawall with views of English Bay as well as 16 miles of forest trails.

An Arduous Trek in Europe

By Linda Tancs

Are you fit enough to climb 50 flights of stairs and walk a very steep 1 in 5 gradient? If so, then the Gobbins Cliff Path in Northern Ireland may be just for you. It’s a dramatic coastal walk erected over 100 years ago along a cliff-face in Islandmagee and one of the most unique things to do in Northern Ireland. Available only via a guided tour over two hours in length, the trek takes you along a narrow path hugging the cliff comprising bridges amid the crashing waves of the North Channel, hidden tunnels under the Irish Sea, rugged staircases carved into the cliff and caves that were once home to smugglers and privateers. If you’re not up to the task, fret not. The visitors’ center provides ample history on the walk, and an hour-long sea tour from Ballylumford Harbour packs stunning views.

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