Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for April, 2023

A Gem in the Chilterns

By Linda Tancs

A windmill has stood in Ivinghoe, in the Chiltern countryside, since at least 1627. That’s where you’ll find Pitstone Windmill, the oldest-dated windmill in Britain. Although no longer in use today, it’s a refurbished example of an early post mill which, unlike similar mills in East Anglia, was turned to face the wind on top of a huge wooden post using a tail pole instead of a fantail or shuttered sails. It’s part of Ashridge Estate, a 5,000-acre refuge of woodland, chalk downlands and meadows. 

Surf’s Up in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

Home to the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Surf Museum is also one of the largest museums on the East Coast dedicated to surfing. Over 50 surfboards are on display, along with clothing, memorabilia and other information on surf culture. The venue is located at Tuckerton Seaport.

Brazil’s Pantanal

By Linda Tancs

Larger than 29 U.S. states and at least nine European countries, the Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland system. Although Brazil lays claim to most of the region, it also sprawls into Bolivia and Paraguay. Partly comprising a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Biosphere Reserve, it contains the highest concentration of some wildlife species, including the jaguar and caiman, and is home to the biggest parrot on the planet, the hyacinth macaw. The highlight of any visit to western Brazil, many tourists prefer the drier winter season (around June to September) but the end of the rainy summer season (April) offers photographers irresistible views of the flooding and receding of the waters.

A Light on the Channel

By Linda Tancs

You won’t be able to miss the red-and-yellow lighthouse in Krummhörn, Germany. Built in 1891 as a sector light for the Ems‌hörn channel on Germany’s North Sea coast , the plump, little beacon known as Pilsum Lighthouse sits on a quiet landscape about a quarter mile from the sea. Be content with the photographic opportunities; the lighthouse is open sporadically for visits.

Honoring NATO

By Linda Tancs

One of the longest running festivals in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, the Norfolk NATO Festival is the only one of its kind in the United States honoring the NATO Alliance and its member nations. The festivities include a parade of nations, an international village featuring cultural performances, international art and cuisine and a military tattoo sporting an international cast of over 900, including bagpipers, drummers, military bands, dancers, singers, drill teams and color guards. This year’s event runs from April 20 to April 22 in downtown Norfolk.

Bolivia’s Oldest Park

By Linda Tancs

Bolivia’s highest point is the extinct stratovolcano Sajama, rising to 21,463 feet. Naturally it’s the centerpiece of Sajama National Park, the country’s oldest national park. Hiking and mountain trekking are popular ways to engage with the natural, cultural and historical features of the park. One of its prized highlights is the Quenoa forest, recognized as one of the highest forests in the world. In fact, the preservation of this prized treasure is a primary reason why the area became a national park. You’ll also find historic burial buildings, cave paintings and remnants of colonial architecture along with native wildlife like the Andean mountain cat.

Old Wood in Japan

By Linda Tancs

The world’s oldest surviving wooden structures are found on the grounds of Horyuji Temple in Nara, Japan, the only Buddhist monastery remaining from the Asuka Period. It was built in A.D. 607 during the reign of Prince Shotoku, who helped spread Buddhism. The complex contains dozens of historical and cultural properties, many of them designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. Not surprisingly, Horyuji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first in the country to be so designated along with Himeji Castle. Highlights include a five-story pagoda and the octagonal Yumedono, or Hall of Dreams.

The Gardens at Chartwell

By Linda Tancs

For over 40 years Chartwell was the home of Sir Winston Churchill. He bought the grand country house near Westerham, Kent, in southeast England in 1922, and the apple orchard was one of the first projects that he undertook after moving there. In April the apples blossom in the orchard, along with other parts of the gardens created by Churchill and his wife Clementine. Many products of the gardens make their way into the cafe, like Chartwell apple juice.

The Wonders of Delmarva

By Linda Tancs

The Delmarva Peninsula is a large peninsula embracing the state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and Virginia. Its name derives from this tri-state reach (DelMarVa) of about 170 miles. It’s one of the earliest sites of European settlement and boasts a record of indigenous occupation since the last Ice Age. Among the many tourist destinations in the region, some highlights are Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, Ocean City in Maryland and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.

A Touch of Bourbon in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Italy’s Royal Palace of Caserta (and park) was commissioned by Charles of Bourbon III. A triumph of architecture and design, it borrows features from the palace and park of Versailles as well as villas in Rome and Tuscany. Its gardens are touted as one of the last great European gardens. Indeed, the scale of it is breathtaking, stretching for almost 2 miles from the palace to a waterfall in the forest. The gardens are at their best in spring and summer. The palace is 23 miles from Naples and 124 miles from Rome, easily accessible via train from either city.

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