Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for March, 2019

America’s Ship of State

By Linda Tancs

USS Constitution is America’s ship of state and the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Open free of charge to visitors throughout the year, it’s located inside Boston National Historical Park as part of the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and forms part of Boston’s Freedom Trail. It earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” when it routed British forces in a War of 1812 battle in the North Atlantic Ocean. During this historic battle, cannonballs fired at USS Constitution appeared to bounce off, causing one of her crew to remark that her sides were made of iron. It is, in fact, composed of a three-layer wooden sandwich of live oak and white oak from all across America, and its copper fastenings were constructed by Paul Revere. Visitors to this historic ship launched in 1797 are able to speak with active duty U.S. Navy sailors who are stationed at the ship as interpretative historians to help bring the frigate’s storied past to life. To round out the experience, visit the nearby USS Constitution Museum.

World’s End in Sri Lanka

By Linda Tancs

The Horton Plains are located on Sri Lanka’s highest plateau, providing the most extensive area of cloud forest still extant in the country. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969, it became a national park in 1988. The biodiverse environment includes over 50 species of flora, more than 20 species of mammal and nearly 90 species of birds. Visitors ply the six-mile loop for enviable views, including features like the famous World’s End, a thrilling escarpment boasting a 3,700 foot sheer drop that offers fabulous views of the tea estates below. Best time for a visit is in the morning on a weekday. The whole country also basks in sunshine this time of year.

Sand and Solitude in Indiana

By Linda Tancs

There’s plenty of sand and opportunity for solitude at Indiana Dunes. Recently elevated to national park status, it’s Indiana’s first national park. Hiking is a prized activity, with over 50 miles of trails reaching dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers and forests. Lying at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, it benefits from its habitat with a wide variety of fish, birds and aquatic organisms. The park also ranks fourth in plant diversity among all the national parks. Visit this weekend for some maple tapping. Taking place at the historic homestead, Chellberg Farm, the free event is one of the park’s most popular activities. Bottled syrup will be offered for sale at both the main and Bailly/Chellberg visitor centers.

Drawing the Line in Ecuador

By Linda Tancs

Located about 14 miles north of Quito, Ecuador, Mitad del Mundo commemorates the site where 18th-century French explorer Charles-Marie de La Condamine once calculated the globe’s equatorial line. Of course, that calculation was made without the benefit of modern technology, which sadly reveals that the actual line dividing the planet into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere is actually 262 yards or so away in the vicinity of the Intiñan Solar Museum. Well, why not make a day out of it and visit both locations. Take an elevator to the top of the trapezoidal monument at Mitad del Mundo for great views of the surrounding countryside and indulge in equator-related science experiments at the museum, where you’ll find a painted red line purportedly indicating the real middle of the world.

A Match in Sweden

By Linda Tancs

The next time you strike a match, think of Jönköping, Sweden, site of the world’s only matchstick museum. This southern city was a match-producing capital beginning in the 1800s; by 1858 it was churning out 12 million matchboxes a year. The factory-turned-museum explores the history of the matchstick and introduces both the people and the machines that built the industry.

On the Rocks in Colombia

By Linda Tancs

It’s not unusual for a mansion to be converted into a museum, but they don’t all command jaw-dropping, cliffside views like Tequendama Falls Museum in San Antonio del Tequendama, Colombia. Originally built as the opulent home for a successful architect in the Roaring ’20s, the French-style mansion later became a luxury hotel for a number of years until its abandonment in the ’90s. It reopened in 2013 as a museum celebrating biodiversity and culture, a fitting tribute given the beauty of its natural surroundings.

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