Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for August, 2019

California’s Largest Lake

By Linda Tancs

The Salton Sea is an inland saline lake in southeastern California, bordered on the south by the Imperial Valley and on the west by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The state’s largest lake (at 34 miles long), both the Salton Sea State Recreation Area and the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge are located on its shores. The lake region boasts the most diverse species of birds anywhere in the West, recording more than 375 species. The wildlife refuge is especially important for migrating and wintering waterfowl (like geese, avocets, black-necked stilts, pintails, teal and grebes)
as well as endangered species including the year-round presence of the Yuma clapper rail.

 

An Archaeological Journey in Jerusalem

By Linda Tancs

Jerusalem’s Terra Sancta Museum houses artifacts culled from excavations carried out for more than 100 years by a Franciscan order. Located in the Old City along the Via Dolorosa, the museum’s new archaeological wing boasts collections from the age of Herod and from daily life in the Holy Land during the time of the New Testament writers as well as a striking stone room used by Crusaders in the 13th century. The facility is open daily.

The World of Ice Giants

By Linda Tancs

Just a small town in the northern part of Salzburg′s Pongau area, Werfen, Austria, has a big claim to fame—home of the world’s largest ice caves, a labyrinth reaching for almost 25 miles. The World of Ice Giants ( Eisriesenwelt) is known as a dynamic ice cave, allowing for a chimney-like flow of air as the cave galleries and fissures form a link from lower entrances to higher openings, a process begun about 100 million years ago. The seasonal changes in outside air temperature result in amazing ice sculptures in the interior of the limestone caves, particularly when water entering the rock fissures in the spring drips into the cooler areas. Open from May to October, the cave tours begin directly at the cave entrance, which offers panoramic views of the Salzach valley in good weather. Dress for freezing temperatures inside the caves, even in summer.

A Knock-Out in London

By Linda Tancs

What’s a collector to do with a motley assortment of historic anesthetic apparatus? Why, donate it, of course. That’s what Charles King did in England when he donated his collection to the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) in 1953. That conveyance formed the basis for the development of the Anaesthesia Museum, part of the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre in London. The earliest object in their collections is a resuscitation set from 1774. A unique resource for research into the history of anesthesia, the museum also contains Morton’s demonstration of ether inhalation in 1846 as well as modern anesthetic machines. As part of their World War I commemorations, the AAGBI has compiled an extensive oral history from interviews with anesthetists who served in wars from Vietnam to more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Open Monday to Friday, admission to the facility on Portland Place is free.

Machu Picchu of the North

By Linda Tancs

Machu Picchu might be Peru’s most-visited site, but there’s an equally dazzling fortress to the north worth a visit. For that head to Chachapoyas, located in the north of Peru along the slopes of the Andes. Already known for its many waterfalls (Gocta being once considered the third highest waterfall in the world), this off-the-beaten-track region of the country boasts a spectacular fortress, Kuélap, outside the city. It’s notable for over 400 circular stone houses inside the complex, occupied by about 3,500 ancient inhabitants. Getting there is the challenging part; air travel is the best route. The nearest airport, Jaén, is a little over three hours away.

Traveling by Wicker

By Linda Tancs

There are plenty of unusual means of transport around the world. Perhaps one of the most charming is the wicker toboggan in Portugal. Making its way from Monte to Funchal, the two-seated sleigh made of wood and wicker is piloted by two men (Carreiros) through the winding streets of Monte on a journey taking roughly 10 minutes. Begun around 1850, this unique mode of transportation predates the more modern cable car, another option if you’d prefer a more bird’s-eye view of scenic Madeira.

Painted Hills

By Linda Tancs

Red, yellow, gold and black. Those represent the color palette at Painted Hills in Oregon. As the name implies, the hills are interspersed with hues stratifying the soil, revealing millions of years of the earth’s history in an otherworldly vista. Located in central Oregon, it’s part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Five trails mark the eight-square-mile site. For breathtaking panoramic views, take the Carroll Rim Trail. Beautiful at any time of day, the hills are best lit for photography in the late afternoon. Changing light and moisture levels (as well as seasonal variations) will affect the tones and hues visible in the hills.

By the Numbers in Solothurn

By Linda Tancs

Eleven is a ubiquitous (and some might say auspicious) number in the Swiss town of Solothurn. You’ll count it everywhere. There are 11 museums. Eleven fountains. Eleven chapels. Eleven churches. When the landmark cathedral of St. Ursus was under construction in 1762, its builder built upon the number theme (no pun intended) by including 11 bells in the tower, 11 altars, an outer staircase with 11 steps and an organ with a grand sum of pipes divisible by 11. And the cathedral took 11 years to build. Of course it did. Even the local beer is named “eleven” (Öufi, in the local dialect). As if that weren’t enough of a numbers game, there’s a clock on the wall of a bank with an 11-hour dial and the number 12 missing. Its 11 cogs churn 11 bells with the aid of a metal harlequin to chime out the local song, Solothurner Lied, at various times during the day. A themed tour about the number 11 can be booked with Region Solothurn Tourismus.

 

Salt and Light in Colombia

By Linda Tancs

A popular day trip from Bogotá, Colombia, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is an underground church—literally. It’s carved out of an abandoned salt mine, illuminated by colorful lights. Among the statues and sculptures you’ll find naves with pew seating, a dome and the Stations of the Cross. The tourist train departs Bogotá on weekends; otherwise you can take a bus.

Playground of the Gods

By Linda Tancs

You might think that an attraction known as Playground of the Gods hails from some exotic island. In this case, the locale is actually in Burnaby, the third largest city in British Columbia. Also known as Kamui Mintara, it comprises more than a dozen wooden totems perched atop Burnaby Mountain, created by Japanese sculptors Nuburi Toko and his son Shusei in the Ainu indigenous tradition of northern Japan. These works commemorate the goodwill between Burnaby and its sister city, Kushiro, Japan.

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