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Archive for international travel

Latvia Celebrates Centenary

By Linda Tancs

On November 18 Latvia will reach the 100-year anniversary of its founding as an independent nation. The celebration, however, has already begun—in 2017! And it will continue until 2021; after all, 100 years is a lot of ground to cover. In addition to song and dance, the National History Museum of Latvia is collaborating with museums around the nation to present the exhibition “Latvia’s Century.” Historical artifacts will be available for viewing in Kurzeme, Sēlija, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Riga.

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Art, Food and Cars

By Linda Tancs

Ninety miles north of Florence, Italy, the city of Modena is noted for its art, food and cars. If the place name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the home of balsamic vinegar. But no less tantalizing is the local tortellini, stuffed with pork, prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Dubbed the land of motors, its automotive heritage includes Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani Automobili, B.G. Engineering, De Tomaso and Bugatti. The Enzo Ferrari Museum captures some of the glitz of the city’s manufacturing history; the facility boasts a semi-professional simulator to allow visitors to experience the exhilaration of driving a Ferrari Formula 1 single-seater. The locale’s industriousness is balanced by its cultural diversity in the nature of old Roman ruins, great masterpieces from the likes of luminaries such as El Greco and Correggio and the cathedral, one of the most beautiful and elegant from the European Romanesque period.

The Dark Side of Victorian London

By Linda Tancs

Perhaps no story in the history of East London in Victorian times is as gripping as Jack the Ripper. At the Jack the Ripper Museum on Cable Street, six floors recreate scenes from the time, such as the murder scene in Mitre Square, the Whitechapel police station, Mary Jane Kelly’s bedroom, the mortuary and more. The museum explores East London during Victorian times, exploring the crimes within the social context of the period. The facility is just seven minutes away from Tower Hill Station.

A Bird’s-Eye View of Oslo

By Linda Tancs

The newest attraction in Oslo, Norway, takes you to the treetops at Stovner. Located just behind Stovner Shopping Center in northeastern Oslo, the Stovner Tower is an 853-foot path about 50 feet high. It’s shaped like a roller coaster, but the experience is far from dizzying. The closest metro station is Stovner, located approximately 25 minutes from the city center.

Canoe Racing in Polynesia

By Linda Tancs

Hawaiki nui va’a is a major event in the cultural life of French Polynesia, an international festival of outrigger canoe racing, the national sport. Reputedly the toughest canoe race in the world, the three-day, 80-mile race begins in Huahine Bay towards Raiatea, Taha’a and Bora Bora. This year’s event takes place from October 31 to November 2.

A Distinguished Cretan

By Linda Tancs

Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Crete (the largest and most populous of the Greek islands), the painter popularly known as El Greco was in a class by himself, marrying Byzantine and Western traditions in a way that exposed his personal faith and vision. One of his early works, “Mount Sinai,” is exhibited in a specially designed hall of Heraklion’s Historical Museum. Elsewhere, Crete’s distinguished son is memorialized in a bust at El Greco Park. Although his fame was firmly established in Toledo, Spain, he never ceased to mention his Cretan roots by signing all his works “Made by Domenikos Theotokopoulos the Cretan.”

The House of Houdini

By Linda Tancs

Hungarian-born Harry Houdini is arguably the greatest magician and escape artist of all time. Born as Erik Weisz in Budapest, the House of Houdini there boasts one of the largest collections of the magician’s artifacts. The display includes handcuffs, straitjackets, movie posters and a replica of the cell he escaped from in his final show. The museum, which includes a theater for magic acts, is located at the foot of Buda Castle.

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