Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Archive for December, 2020

The Ladies’ Château

By Linda Tancs

As is widely the case, if you like the interior design of a home, then you should thank the lady of the house. That’s the reasoning behind Château de Chenonceau being coined “the ladies’ château.” Arguably the most visited and photographed château in France’s Loire Valley, its female occupants throughout the centuries are credited with its design, embellishment and protection. Furnished throughout with Renaissance-style appointments, the ladies’ bedrooms are especially exquisite, as are the Christmas decorations this time of year.

*************

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 Island of Stone Money

By Linda Tancs

You’ve heard the expression about money burning a hole in your pocket. Well, the centuries-old currency on the Micronesian island of Yap would do a lot worse than that. It does, after all, weigh more than a car. That currency comprised colossal stone discs made of limestone. Needless to say, it never changed hands (in a literal sense), or even villages. Nonetheless, the villagers knew who owned what. Of course, nowadays modern currency (the U.S. dollar) prevails, but you’ll still find some trading the old-fashioned way.

*************

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.

Conditions of Carriage in Lisbon

By Linda Tancs

The stark exhibition hall in Lisbon housing Portugal’s royal carriages perfectly illuminates the ornate, gilded coaches you’ll find there. Located in the Belém district, the National Coach Museum boasts one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world with vehicles from the 16th through 19th centuries. It features richly decorated coaches, Berlins, sedan chairs and carriages, aptly fit for the nation’s kings and queens. The facility was first inaugurated in 1905 by Amélie of Orléans, the last Queen Consort of Portugal, at the old riding ring of the Palace of Belém. Its newer digs offer interns and scholarship holders a training center for conservation and restoration.

*************

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 Debatable Lands

By Linda Tancs

Like America’s Wild West and its unruly outlaws, the border lands between England and Scotland were marked for centuries by contention and bloodshed. One of the last frontiers to be brought under the rule of law, the area was rife with border “reivers,” lawless gangs who raided each other’s property. Even after a border between England and Scotland had been agreed, the rebellion in the so-called Debatable Lands continued until the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland also became James I of England. You can follow in the footsteps of the reivers by taking the Romans and Reivers Route through the heart of their domain, a landscape as wild and untamed in many places as its famous occupants.

*************

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.

Christmas Lights in Cuba

By Linda Tancs

Arguably Cuba’s most famous fireworks festival, Las Parrandas is a nationwide street party culminating at Christmas Eve with spectacular fireworks accompanied by lighted floats, dancing and parades. The festival originated in Remedios, one of the country’s oldest cities, initiated (as the story goes) by a priest who commissioned the local youth to make a joyful noise in the streets to entice churchgoers in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This beautiful colonial town also has a museum where photos, documents and handmade objects linked to the festivities are preserved.

*************

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.

Sleeping Beauty’s Inspiration

By Linda Tancs

Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Many folks probably know that its fairy-tale character served as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle as well as for Cinderella Castle at Disney’s theme parks. Unlike those very well-trekked destinations, their source was intended as a very private retreat for reclusive King Ludwig II. How ironic that over 1 million people visit his refuge each year! Entrance tickets are available only at the ticket center in the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle. Your admission ticket is valid for a guided tour of the castle at a specific time. Go now and avoid the summertime crowds.

*************

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.

Australia’s Many Heads

By Linda Tancs

The Red Centre is the beating heart of Australia’s Outback. Aptly named for color, it’s an extraordinary landscape of desert plains, mountain ranges, gorges and some of Aboriginal Australia’s most sacred sites. Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) is among its many natural wonders and cultural landmarks. Translated as “many heads,” Kata Tjuta comprises soaring, domed rock formations that glow at sunrise and sunset. The site is sacred to the local Aboriginal Anangu people, who have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years. The best way to view this area is by walking one of the trails. One of the shortest walks is to the Kata Tjuta dune viewing area, which offers panoramic views of the landscape. If you’re eager to escape the crowds, then maybe the longest walk is for you. Known as the Valley of the Winds Walk, the 4.5-mile trail compensates for its steepness and difficulty with breathtaking views between the domes.

*************

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.

Butting Heads in Poznań

By Linda Tancs

Poznań is a city on the Warta River in western Poland. Halfway between Warsaw and Berlin, its Old Market Square is ablaze in richly-colored townhouses where merchants once traded in fish, candles, torches and salt. The crown jewel of the square is the Town Hall, dubbed long ago as “the most beautiful Renaissance town hall north of the Alps” by an Italian architect. You’ll likely find the biggest crowd there at noon, when two mechanical billy goats glide forth from the clock tower to butt heads 12 times. The midday hour has been marked in this fashion since the 1500s. A trumpet call signals the start of the action.

*************

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 Fabled Ruins of Parnassus

By Linda Tancs

Mount Parnassus is one of Greece’s mythological mountains. Named after the son of a nymph, Parnassus was the site of several adventures of the god Apollo. Delphi, an important ancient Greek religious sanctuary sacred to Apollo, was located on the mountain. The sanctuary was also home to the famous Oracle of Delphi, whose ruins draw tourists by the thousands. Just 60 miles by car from Athens, this limestone peak offers commanding views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside.

*************

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.

Scissor Hands in Peru

By Linda Tancs

Evocative of the movie Edward Scissorhands, dancers in Peru wield a large pair of iron blades as they jump, dance and tumble on the ground. The ritual is known as La Danza de las Tijeras, an energetic and costumed presentation that has taken place for more than 500 years. It’s inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Performances occur around Christmastime, coinciding with the summer solstice celebration of the Andean indigenous people, as well as during agricultural festivals at other times of the year.

*************

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.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: