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Archive for international travel

A Ten-Year Wait in Baden

By Linda Tancs

The Swiss spa city of Baden hosts the largest municipal folk festival in the region known as Badenfahrt. It’s held once every 10 years and, judging by the 1 million or so visitors, worth the wait. This year’s festivities take place from Aug. 18–Aug. 27, featuring theater performances, concerts, parades and fireworks over the Stein Castle ruins. Every festival has a motto; this year’s theme is “Versus,” celebrating the many facets of city life embracing the old and the new.

An Old Goat in Ireland

By Linda Tancs

In Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland, they’ve been celebrating a goat for over 400 years. Every year a wild goat gets crowned king and reigns o’er the town from August 10 to 12. Known as Puck Fair, it’s one of Ireland’s oldest festivals. A popular legend involving its origin is that a runaway he-goat (a “puck”) broke from a herd that was routed by a group of raiders, arriving in town to alert the inhabitants of Cill Orglain (Killorglin) of impending danger. A festival then arose to honor the goat’s service. In addition to the coronation ceremony, expect fireworks, parading, a horse fair, musical entertainment and family fun.

300 Years of Freemasonry

By Linda Tancs

Freemasonry began in medieval Europe as a guild for stonemasons who built the great castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Today it is one of the largest fraternal and charitable organizations in the world. The United Grand Lodge of England at Great Queen Street in London is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year. Their facilities include The Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Open to the public, it’s located on the first floor of Freemasons’ Hall, where guided tours of the Grand Temple and ceremonial areas are provided when the hall is not in use. The free museum displays one of the world’s largest collections associated with Freemasonry, including pottery and porcelain, glassware, silver, furniture, clocks, jewels, regalia and items belonging to famous Freemasons like Winston Churchill and King George IV (the first Royal Grand Master). The closest tube stations are Holborn, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

City of Dragons

By Linda Tancs

Bavaria’s Furth im Wald is the site of the Drachenstich (Slaying of the Dragon), the oldest traditional folk festival in Germany. Dating back 500 years, the spectacle includes a re-enactment of the slaying of a mythical dragon that threatened the town in the Middle Ages. And what a dragon it is. The four-legged walking robot measuring nearly 50 feet is the biggest in the world (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records), spewing fire and ambling amongst costumed locals, horses and medieval knights. The festival begins tomorrow and ends on August 20.

Candlelight in Bournemouth

By Linda Tancs

When Princess Eugenie of France visited Bournemouth in 1896, the Lower Gardens were lit with candles in her honor. That event sparked a tradition in this Victorian spa town on England’s south coast that continues to this day. Tonight is the annual Candlelight Procession, a candle-lit walk in the dusk from the Lower Gardens to Pier Approach. The lighting of thousands of candles in colored jars brings a magical touch to a garden adorned with floral displays that feature a range of colors, textures and scents.

Monuments to the Horse

By Linda Tancs

Two Clydesdales served as real life models for The Kelpies, a pair of steel behemoth equines honoring horses and their contribution to society. Presiding next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk, Scotland, the world’s largest equine sculptures represent an impressive feat of engineering completed in just 90 days in 2013. Nearly 100 feet high, each horse weighs 360 tons and is adorned with 928 unique stainless steel skin-plates. The best way to experience The Kelpies is by a 30-minute guided tour that takes you inside a structure. The site is accessible via road, bus, rail or boat with easy rail/bus transits from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Falkirk High.

Antiguan Festival Celebrates Milestone

By Linda Tancs

Regarded by some as the best summer Caribbean festival, Antigua’s Carnival 2017 is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. The annual event is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the country held annually from the end of July to the beginning of August. Amid a flow of colorful costumes and festive music, the party includes competitions like the Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch competitions of Calypsonians, the Panorama steel band competition and the parade of bands to the Miss Antigua Pageant and the Caribbean Queen’s Competition. This year’s carnival begins tomorrow and ends on August 8.

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