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Archive for international travel

The Coronation of King Charles

By Linda Tancs

The Coronation of His Majesty The King Charles III and Queen Camilla will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023, sparking a series of ceremonial, celebratory and community events that will take place over the Coronation Weekend. For instance, on May 7 a special evening Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle by the BBC. The highlight of the concert, Lighting up the Nation, features iconic locations across the United Kingdom being lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations. During the day neighbors and communities are invited to share food and fun together at what’s being styled the “Coronation Big Lunch.” Monday, a Bank Holiday, is set aside for “The Big Help Out,” a day for volunteering and community service.

An Edwardian Jewel in Surrey

By Linda Tancs

One of the National Trust’s most popular properties, Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian mansion and estate in Surrey, England. It was once the weekend retreat of Margaret Greville, who rose from humble beginnings as a brewer’s daughter to become one of the most celebrated hostesses of the Edwardian era. Her rise in society was due to her marriage to Ronald Greville, heir to a baronetcy. In addition to her discerning eye for fine art, she amassed a jewelry collection that was ultimately bequeathed to Britain’s Royal Family. This time of year the gardens are blooming with daffodils, and the vast estate offers views of Ranmore Common on the North Downs, a landscape virtually unchanged since medieval times. Join a guided tour of the house in the morning, or wander around on your own in the afternoon. The house is open from March to October.

Wandering Through Vogtland

By Linda Tancs

Panoramic views are a dime a dozen unless, of course, you find yourself on the Vogtland Panorama Weg. It’s a 139-mile circular trail in Germany that winds its way through Thuringia and Saxony, promising 82 panoramic views and 280 changes of scenery featuring ravines, meadows and endless vistas. The trail begins and ends at the Göltzsch Viaduct, the largest brick-built bridge in the world. Experienced hikers will find the marked route very manageable, with 12 daily stages up to 14 miles.

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. 

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.

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.

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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