Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for October, 2020

Ireland’s Famine Way

By Linda Tancs

In 1847 a famine arising from a potato blight threatened the Irish with total extinction. Among the millions who either died or emigrated, a group of 1,490 tenants who were forcefully evicted from Strokestown Park in County Roscommon walked a path toward Dublin to board emigration ships. Their route is commemorated in the National Famine Way, a walking trail comprising 103 miles, connecting the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House with the Famine Memorial on Custom House Quay in Dublin along the banks of the Royal Canal. The waymarked trail takes about six days to complete.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Friendly Alien in Austria

By Linda Tancs

Contemporary art may feel alien to some, but maybe Kunsthaus Graz will change your mind. It’s become a cultural landmark in Graz, Austria, its architecture being dubbed “the friendly alien” by none other than one of its designers. It’s also been viewed as a whale, a hippo and a sea slug. And that’s just the building’s exterior. Your senses will likely be challenged on the inside as well, with installations exploring the intersection of art and design and the use of photography to create illusion. If you’d like it all deciphered for you, then take the guided tour generally offered each Sunday.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Root Beer Falls

By Linda Tancs

Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres and stretches more than 13 miles. Waterfalls are the predominant attraction there, featuring the third largest vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Officially known as the Upper Falls, it spreads over 200 feet across and drops about 48 feet. Due to its amber color, the Upper Falls are affectionately known as “the Root Beer Falls.” Their distinctive hue is due to the tannins leaching into the Tahquamenon River from the cedar, spruce and hemlock swamps along its shores. The autumn leaves this time of year present a nice addition to the color scheme. Get a close-up look at the brink of the falls by taking 94 steps down to the main viewing deck, or you can take 116 steps down into the gorge for a panoramic view.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

England’s Famous Fen

By Linda Tancs

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire is the oldest nature reserve in England and also its most famous fen. One of Europe’s most important wetlands, it’s home to over 9,000 recorded species of plants, birds and dragonflies as well as amazing wildlife. As the colder months approach, the reserve is populated with wigeon, hen harriers, short-eared owls, starlings and winter thrushes. The ancient part of the region, Sedge Fen, is explorable year-round thanks to the Boardwalk Trail. To enhance your wildlife viewing experience, check out the Sightings Book in the visitor center.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Great House in Hampshire

By Linda Tancs

Chawton House is a center for early women’s writing. Owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward, the Elizabethan manor house in Hampshire, England, was referred to by Austen in her letters as the “Great House.” The venue has many first editions and original manuscripts; not surprisingly, one of those assets is “Sir Charles Grandison,” written in Jane’s own hand. Although she may have dined frequently at the home, Jane did not live there. Instead, her brother offered another residence minutes away, which many might consider the real “great house” because she penned her major works there: “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Mansfield Park,” “Emma,” “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion.” That residence, Jane Austen’s House Museum, may be the most treasured fan site in the world. Both sites are accessible via hourly trains to nearby Alton from London’s Waterloo station.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

France’s Surf City

By Linda Tancs

Located in the Bay of Biscay in the heart of French Basque Country, Biarritz is a popular seaside resort. Generally regarded as the surfing capital of Europe, its surf culture cannot be understated, with 18 surfing schools catering to beginners and pros alike. Its beaches, the La Grande Plage and Côte des Basques, both offer great surf spots. Now is the best time to ply the waters because it’s less crowded and the swells are more reliable.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Pleasant Island

By Linda Tancs

You can count Queen Elizabeth II among the cohort who have ever visited Nauru. Larger than just Vatican City and Monaco, it’s the world’s smallest island nation, counting only some 200 visitors each year. Once coined Pleasant Island by British whaler John Fearn, this Micronesian island once ruled by Australia (among others) totals eight square miles and is easily walkable, in a single day if you like. Its phosphate reserves once made it the richest country on Earth but also contributed to the demise of marine life. Nowadays it caters to deep-sea fishermen and war history buffs seeking a rusty Japanese outpost from World War II. Nauru Airlines offers flights from Brisbane, Australia.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Art of Trash in Sonoma

By Linda Tancs

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes. You might invoke that thought when you visit the trash art in Sebastopol, California. Made from recycled trash like old cars, cookware, discarded pipes and aluminum trash cans, it’s an outdoor exhibit of outsized and outlandish figures adorning a three-block radius along Florence Avenue in this small Sonoma County town. Conceived by Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent, the works include a rat at the wheel of a hot rod, a tea-sipping Mad Hatter, a joy-riding skeleton on a chopper, giant birds and a mermaid.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Bellarine Trails

By Linda Tancs

Australia’s Bellarine Peninsula is a peninsula located southwest of Melbourne in Victoria boasting fabulous trails. First there’s the tasting trail, featuring the best of cool-climate wines that define the region. Along with nationally rated five-star wineries, the trail includes top suppliers of local produce, olive oil, cheeses, pies and seafood. You can walk off your gastronomic experience along the second route, the Bellarine Rail Trail. That’s a 20-mile walking and cycling track following the route of the former South Geelong to Queenscliff branch line. Pace yourself; the hike takes about eight hours to complete.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

An African City of Bridges

By Linda Tancs

Constantine is the third-largest city in Algeria, currently named for Emperor Constantine the Great, who restored the city following its destruction during a war before his succession. It’s popularly known as the “city of bridges,” an unsurprising title given the precipitous gorge through which the Rhumel River flows. Of the eight bridges, the most spectacular is arguably Sidi M’Cid, which at one time was the highest suspension bridge in the world. Its eastern side leads to Monument aux Morts, a memorial built to honor the French soldiers from Constantine who died during World War I. From there you can enjoy panoramic views over the plateau (some 2,000 feet above sea level) on which the city sits.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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