Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for March, 2020

Where Rhinos Roam in India

By Linda Tancs

The greater one-horned rhino (or “Indian rhino”) is the largest of the rhino species. Once gravely endangered due to poaching, it now enjoys a dense population in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, India. Although the rhinos are a key attraction, the reserve is also noted for its migratory bird population in winter and an array of other wildlife like leopards, buffalo, wild boar and barking deer. The weather this time of year is hot and humid but you’ll beat the winter rush that just ended.

Greece’s Mountain Mystery

By Linda Tancs

From the looks of it, Penteli Mountain is just a lush, green overlook offering great views of Athens and Evoikos Gulf. And it just so happens to be the site where marble for the Parthenon was quarried. So far, so good. But there’s another side to its reputation as the locus for Davelis Cave, so-named for a 19th-century brigand, Davelis. Allegedly used by his gang as a hideout, the cave also has a history as a shrine, particularly for monks fleeing religious persecution during the Middle Ages. Two adjacent Byzantine chapels built directly into the cave’s entrance serve as a memorial to their plight. Perhaps it’s the grotto’s juxtaposition as a hideout and a holy place that causes mysterious events to occur as reported by tourists, phenomena like ghostly voices, glowing orbs and electromagnetic anomalies. Go if you dare, but you’ll need to rent a car to get there.

The Lighthouse Way

By Linda Tancs

The Lighthouse Way in Spain (Camino dos Faros) links Malpica with Cape Finisterre, a route dubbed the Coast of Death in the 19th century by British sailors due to the Atlantic’s formidable shipwrecking capabilities. The 125-mile hiking route offers plenty of lighthouse views, to be sure. But that isn’t all. The route also offers forests, waterfalls, beaches, dunes, sandy coves and quaint fishing villages. Most trekkers take between eight and 10 days to complete the trail. Don’t rush, and enjoy the views.

The World of Peanut Butter

By Linda Tancs

According to the National Peanut Board, Americans eat more than six pounds of peanut products each year, a consumption worth more than $2 billion at the retail level. Peanut butter is as American as apple pie, which is why it might be surprising to learn that a peanut butter factory tour experience has opened in Nelson, New Zealand. Pic’s Peanut Butter World offers a free, 40-minute tour of their facility, which includes free tastings and a photo of you atop the world’s largest jar of peanut butter.

Spurred On in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Most would liken the shape of Italy to a boot. The spur on the heel of that boot is the Gargano Promontory. Jutting into the Adriatic Sea, much of it is in preserved land comprising Gargano National Park. Regarded as the most extensive national park in the country, its heart is the Umbrian Forest, home to some of the nation’s oldest trees. The locale is the best place to experience an ancient forest in Italy; consider taking a jeep tour.

Nashville’s Italianate Villa

By Linda Tancs

Belmont Mansion is Tennessee’s largest antebellum house, an Italianate villa in Nashville that once boasted an art gallery, a bowling alley and a zoo, among other things. Originally the summer home for Nashville socialite Adelicia Acklen and her family, the estate also served as temporary headquarters for the Union army during the Civil War and later as a women’s college. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971, the mansion features 36 rooms over 19,000 square feet. A guided tour takes about one hour.

UPDATE: Since the scheduling of this post, the Nashville area has suffered one of the most devastating storms in its history. Please consider donating to a relief organization and keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.

Hiding Places in Worcestershire

By Linda Tancs

It was no easy task to be a Catholic priest in Elizabethan England, especially after Elizabeth I lost her tolerance for the “old faith.” As a result, a number of safe houses sprung up. One of them was Harvington Hall, a moated manor house in Worcestershire. The grand estate boasts the largest number of priest hides in the country, including an entire concealed chapel. A false fireplace leading to an attic, trapdoors and crawl spaces behind beams or under stairs are among its secret spaces intended to foil priest hunters. You can reach the locale via train from London Euston to Kidderminster, which is about three miles away from the manor. Take bus line 42 or a taxi from there.

Scaling the Heights in Monadnock

By Linda Tancs

The region of Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire is named after Mount Monadnock, the highest peak in the area. Although less than imposing at a height just shy of 3,200 feet, it’s remarkably touted as the most climbed mountain in the world after Japan’s Mount Fuji. Regardless whether you believe that claim, the views from the summit as far south as Boston attract novice and experienced hikers alike. The ascending and descending trails are both short at about two miles, but rangers generally recommend the White Dot Trail for climbing and the White Cross Trail for descending. The hike is popular throughout the year, even in winter.

Acoustics in Hyderabad

By Linda Tancs

Hyderabad, the capital of southern India’s Telangana state, has fast become known as a major center for the technology industry, but its historical and cultural roots span over 400 years. Among other attractions, it’s home to one of India’s famous forts, Golconda. Originally a mud fort from the 1100s, it was refortified between the 14th and 17th centuries, boasting palaces, mosques and a hilltop pavilion. Its outermost enclosure is called Fateh Darwaza (Victory Gate), where acoustical effects like hand clapping can be heard at the hilltop pavilion over one-half mile away. Stick around for the sound and light show in the evening.

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