Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for January, 2021

Chile’s Oldest Park

By Linda Tancs

Chile’s Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park is the oldest park in the country. Created in 1926, it’s located in Chile’s pristine Lake District, featuring Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). Its fabulous emerald-green color makes it one of the most popular attractions in the park. Boasting over 600,000 acres, the park also features the turquoise waters of the Petrohué Waterfalls as well as Osorno Volcano. Travel up the volcano to a ski resort for striking views of the Petrohué River Valley.

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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.

A Cool Celebration in St. Paul

By Linda Tancs

Winter Carnival in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, has been staged since 1886. Marking its 135th anniversary this year, its two signature  events are the ice carving competition and the snow sculpture contest. Due to COVID limitations, they’ll be combined this year into a drive-through ice and snow sculpture park at the State Fairgrounds. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the oldest winter festival in the country, predating the Tournament of Roses Festival by two years. This year’s event runs from January 28 to February 7.

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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.

Prague’s Kafka

By Linda Tancs

Born in Prague, Franz Kafka was a novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. It’s fair to say that the Czech city shaped his writing life even though he often did not explicitly identify those locales in his works. For example, St. Vitus Cathedral is generally understood to be the church featured in The Trial, and the path taken by Joseph K. in the last chapter of that book goes from the Old Town, across Charles Bridge to the outer limits of the Lesser Town. Literary sleuths also maintain that the view from Bendemann’s window in The Judgment is that seen from Mikulášská Street (today’s Pařížská Street), where Kafka’s family lived in 1912. These and other details of the writer’s life are illuminated at the Franz Kafka Museum. Located just minutes from Charles Bridge, the facility features a number of first-edition Kafka books as well as original letters, diaries and drawings.

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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.

Made in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Some things are so much a part of the common experience that you forget it’s special. Take Parmesan cheese, for example, a staple of pizza and pasta dishes. The genuine article is made in Italy, embossed Parmigiano-Reggiano. It hails from Parma, a university city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Like any well-known product, it has a museum devoted to its history, The Museum of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Located in Soragna in the Province of Parma, the venue showcases the history of the region’s famous cheese. Of course, the gift shop offers genuine Parmesan as well as tasting kits, posters, postcards and themed kitchen objects.

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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.

Symphony of Stones

By Linda Tancs

The well-preserved basalt columns resembling organ pipes at Garni Gorge in Armenia give rise to the moniker “symphony of stones.” A masterpiece of nature to be sure, but that’s only part of the area’s allure. Another popular feature along the gorge is Garni Temple, Armenia’s only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building dating from the first century, a masterpiece of man constructed of grey basalt like its natural cousin. Allegedly funded by Roman Emperor Nero, the site was used for worship of Greek gods until the country adopted Christianity in the fourth century.

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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 Dervish Monastery Off a Cliff

By Linda Tancs

Blagaj Tekija is a 15th-century, Dervish monastery outside Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It’s tucked into a limestone cliff face overlooking the emerald-green source of the Buna River. Both a picturesque tourist attraction and a holy place, services are still regularly held there. The complex includes tombs, prayer rooms, a courtyard and an old Turkish bath. Alongside it is a cave; short boat trips explore the subterranean passageways. Get there via the local bus from Mostar.

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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.

Smoky in Bamberg

By Linda Tancs

Bamberg is a quintessential German medieval town in Upper Franconia, Bavaria. It’s famous for its Rauchbier, a beer boasting a smoky flavor from the malt’s exposure to the smoke of burning beech wood. Its most photographed site is the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), constructed on a man-made island straddling a bridge over the Regnitz River. The landmark building is renowned for its trompe l’oeil architecture, but the most amusing feature is the leg of a cherub protruding out of a wall as a sculpture. Venture inside for a look at the Ludwig collection of precious porcelain.

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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.

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.

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