Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for June, 2019

People Watching in Marbella

By Linda Tancs

A focal point for tourism in Spain’s Costa del Sol, Marbella is where ordinary folks go to watch the glitterati arrive in their yachts at Puerto Banús. When you tire of people watching, there’s plenty of shopping, dining and golfing. This time of year also offers concerts, dancing and plenty of flamenco fashion thanks to the fair celebrating the local patron saint, San Bernabé (Saint Bernard). Today is the saint’s feast day. The party continues through June 15.

An Oasis of Coolness

By Linda Tancs

Mingling with monks is one of several things you can do while hiking Lousios Gorge in the Peloponnese, a peninsula in southern Greece. In fact, mountaintop monasteries like the Philosophou Monastery hinge precariously along rock faces throughout the gorge. You can visit many of them on an easy, one-day hike. A private day tour from Athens will set you back around 400 euros.

A Gem Off the African Coast

By Linda Tancs

Formerly a Portuguese colony, Cape Verde (or Cabo Verde) is an archipelago about 300 miles off the African coast. It boasts the first European colonial outpost in the tropics, Cidade Velha, built by the Portuguese in the 15th century. With miles of pristine sandy beaches, a Creole culture and traditional morna music, it’s one of the best kept secrets in the mid-Atlantic. Book an island-hopping tour so you don’t miss the craggy peaks of Santo Antão, the music and culture on São Vicente or the powdery beaches and indigo-blue waters of Sal and Maio.

Canal Adventures in Bangkok

By Linda Tancs

Chao Phraya River, Bangkok’s aquatic roadway, provides a leisurely and scenic alternative to touring Thailand’s capital city. A day-long teak boat tour provides an English-speaking guide along a visit to the temples, markets, an orchid nursery and even an artists’ colony dating back hundreds of years. A Thai lunch is included. Wear appropriate clothing for temple visits.

Paradise in the Highlands

By Linda Tancs

As many a diary and motion picture can attest, Queen Victoria found paradise in the Scottish Highlands, particularly at Balmoral. Then and now, one of the core attractions of Deeside is its scenery—glens and forests, rivers and lochs, grand highland estates, mountains and moorlands, flora and fauna. You can experience it like a Royal by exploring the Victorian Heritage Trail, a 76-mile route from Drumoak to Braemar. Along the way, you can visit sites like the restored railway track once used by Queen Victoria to journey to Balmoral, the magnificent grounds of Drum Castle, the Victorian village of Ballater, the heather and pines of Glen Tanar and the town of Braemar surrounded by Cairngorms National Park. The grounds and select areas of Balmoral Castle are open to the public when the Queen is not in residence, generally from April through July.

A Landmark Ride in the West

By Linda Tancs

Sixty-four miles of Rocky Mountain splendor await you on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad running between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. A National Historic Landmark, the rails were originally constructed in 1880 as part of the Rio Grande’s narrow-gauge San Juan extension, which served the silver mining district of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. Almost lost to history when the last freight train crossed the Cumbres Pass in 1968, the historic route was bought and preserved by both states. Unlike other legacy routes, it features original coal fired, steam operated, narrow gauge locomotives and 19th century passenger cars. Scenic highlights include the Rockies, Chama Valley, Toltec Gorge, Cumbres Pass (the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the U.S.) and alpine meadows lined with wildlflowers, along with an array of wildlife like elk, deer and bears. It takes under seven hours to traverse the entire 64-mile line from Antonito to Chama or vice versa. The regular season runs this year to October 20. Buy your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

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