Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for January, 2021

Spain’s First National Park

By Linda Tancs

Picos de Europa are a mountain range forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain comprising Picos de Europa National Park, Spain’s first such park. Because the park covers three massive massifs, the mountain views are extraordinary. Golden eagles and chamois are a common sight there, amply viewed along one of the many hiking routes in the park, which are touted as some of the best in the country. Also, the Fuente Dé cable car will have you soaring past the peaks in a matter of minutes. Open year round as weather permits, winter is especially devoid of summertime throngs.

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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.

Land of Glistening Waters

By Linda Tancs

New Zealand’s Wairarapa means “land of glistening waters” in the Māori language. They should know; Māori settlement of the region goes back some 800 years. Two hours or so from Wellington, the Wairarapa Coast is where you’ll find spectacular views of Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke. You can view those glistening waters from the lookout above the Putangirua Pinnacles, an otherworldly collection of limestone earth pillars (hoodoos) characteristic of badlands erosion. This distinctive locale was used for filming the “Paths of the Dead” scene in the Return of the King, the third movie in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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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.

South Africa’s Garden Route

By Linda Tancs

The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa. It was discovered by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias. A museum devoted to him is located in Mossel Bay, the official starting point of the route. It ends at Storms River. Needless to say, the 124-mile trek is a popular self-drive destination. The region comprises beaches, lagoons, coves, indigenous forest, beautiful flowers (giving the area its name) and quaint towns like George, known as the “Gateway to the Garden Route.” Another town worth a visit is Oudtshoorn, center of the ostrich industry, which rests conveniently along the wine route. You’ll enjoy pleasant temperatures year round.

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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.

Battleship New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

Battleship New Jersey is an 887-foot-long, 45,000-ton ship that navigated the waters during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War prior to dropping its anchor in Camden in 2001. Now part of Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial, it offers tours of many areas, including the bridge, the crew’s mess, the communications room and a climb inside the massive 16-inch gun turret. Self-guided tours as well as guided tours of some areas are available. The venue is located on the Camden waterfront directly across the Delaware River from Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

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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.

Dino Might in Alberta

By Linda Tancs

Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, is aptly named. After all, over 150 complete dinosaur skeletons have been discovered there as well as over 50 species. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park reportedly yields the world’s most complete record of the late Cretaceous Period. In addition to its ancient remains, the site features a badlands landscape similar to that of the Badlands in South Dakota. It’s located in the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion of Alberta’s Grassland Natural Region, the warmest and driest subregion in Alberta.

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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.

Three Waterfalls and a Movie

By Linda Tancs

About an hour from Asheville, North Carolina, DuPont State Recreational Forest is known for its waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails. One of its most popular attractions is Triple Falls. Comprising three distinct cascades totaling about 120 feet in vertical drop, it was featured in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans. Surrounding it are 10,000 more protected acres with 86 miles of hiking trails. One of the shortest trails is the 3-mile trek to three waterfalls in the park.

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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 Zeppelin Museum

By Linda Tancs

The airship Hindenburg was the largest dirigible ever built. The pride of Germany, it burst into flames upon touching its mooring mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 36 passengers and crew members on May 6, 1937. The Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen celebrates the development of airships and features a reconstruction of the Hindenburg. Guided tours are available. The museum is located right on the shore on Lake Constance at Friedrichshafen in the former harbor railway 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.

Mountain of the Lychees

By Linda Tancs

Phnom Kulen (translated as “mountain of the lychees”) is a popular tourist destination in Cambodia and a spot favored by locals because it is a holy mountain. The birthplace of the ancient Khmer empire, its historical (and environmental) value led to its protection as a national park. Located in Siem Reap Province, it features two waterfalls that form the basis for most tours of the area. It’s also rich in archaeological sites, one of the most popular being the “river of a thousand lingas,” boasting lingas (representations of the Hindu god Shiva) and other stone carvings. The area comprises one of the few remaining tropical forests in northwest Cambodia.

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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.

Capitals of Culture in 2021

By Linda Tancs

In keeping with tradition, we begin the New Year with an announcement on the EU Capitals of Culture for 2021. From 2021 and every three years thereafter, a third capital will be chosen from cities in countries that are candidates or potential candidates for membership in the European Union or in countries that are part of the European Economic Area. Accordingly, the three cultural capitals this year are Timișoara (in Romania), Elefsina (in Greece) and Novi Sad (in Serbia, a candidate country). Timișoara was on the short list of Romanian contenders for the annual honor roll. It’s famed for its baroque architecture on Victory Square, the Bega Canal that cuts through the length of the city and the Orthodox Cathedral, the tallest church in the country and one of the tallest orthodox churches in the world. Elefsina is the fourth Greek city to win the title, the others being Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras. Birthplace of the leading tragic poet Aeschylus, the city was sacred in antiquity and boasts significant archaeological sites like the sanctuary where pilgrims were initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries and a Roman courtyard. On the banks of the Danube, Novi Sad is a vibrant, youthful city boasting a colorful thoroughfare known as Dunavska Street and a fortress nicknamed Gibraltar on the Danube.

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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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