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Archive for international travel

Iceland in Miniature

By Linda Tancs

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is often referred to as Iceland in miniature. True enough, considering its 56 miles cover everything the country has to offer, from volcanoes and lava fields to glaciers, cliffs and beaches. At the westernmost part of the peninsula is Snæfellsjökull National Park, the only Icelandic national park that stretches to the sea. The area takes its name from the saga of Bárður Snæfellsás, the half-man, half-troll protector of the region whose colossal stone statue is in Arnarstapi.

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Beer in the Baltics

By Linda Tancs

Aldaris Beer Museum and Brewery is the first of its kind in Latvia and one of the most modern beer museums in the Baltics. The launch of the facility in 2015 coincided with the opening of the First Latvian Beer Congress, which brought together nearly 100 representatives of its beer industry. Located on the outskirts of Riga, the museum is situated in an old part of the Aldaris brewery, offering visitors a collection of exhibits related to beer, as well as tastings and the opportunity to attend beer-making classes. Of particular interest is the room housing the vats, which has remained practically unchanged since 1938. Take tram No. 5 from Riga’s city center to “Aldaris.”

Pigs and Acorns

By Linda Tancs

Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche is a nature reserve tucked away in Spain’s Huelva province. Located 90 minutes away from Seville by car, the area comprises mainly Mediterranean oak woodlands where the region’s famed black pigs (the source of jamón ibérico) forage for acorns. The dark-gray or black pigs are descendants of the Mediterranean wild hog and gorge on acorns that give them their distinctive flavor. A gourmand’s delight is not limited to this famed product of southwestern Spain, however. You can also enjoy Aracena cheese or chestnuts.

Dickens’ House in Town

By Linda Tancs

“My house in town” is how Charles Dickens referred to 48 Doughty Street, the London home that bore witness to some of the writer’s seminal occasions, like the birth of his two eldest daughters and the writing of such best-loved works as Oliver Twist. Now the Charles Dickens Museum, his only remaining home in London houses the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of material relating to one of the world’s greatest storytellers, with over 100,000 items including furniture, personal effects, paintings, prints, photographs, letters, manuscripts and rare editions. Christmas at the Museum is a particularly festive highlight. Bedecked with holly and ivy, what better place to experience the rich traditions of a Dickensian Christmas than in the home of the author of A Christmas Carol!

Best Ice Cream in Britain

By Linda Tancs

Birthplace of poet Dylan Thomas and the second largest city in Wales, Swansea is a vibrant coastal city offering sweeping views of Swansea Bay. On the bay’s west side is the seaside village of Mumbles, the source of seafood that ultimately finds its way to chic dining establishments in London and beyond. It’s also the source of premier ice cream parlors, hailed by some as the best ice cream in Britain. Why not enjoy some atop Oystermouth Castle and its spectacular view over the bay!

A Shark Tank in Cairns

By Linda Tancs

Opened in September, Australia’s Cairns Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world dedicated exclusively to the habitats and species of tropical North Queensland, connecting visitors with the natural wonders of Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics, Gulf Savannah and Cape York regions. It sports an acrylic tube for viewing sharks and rays that leads to the Oceanarium, an enormous walk-through tank teeming with sea life. Well, why walk when you can sleep? Starting next month, the aquarium will offer a group shark sleepover experience in the Oceanarium for a minimum of 15 guests. Dinner, breakfast and sleeping equipment will be provided. The facility is located in the heart of the city, an easy walk from The Esplanade, Lagoon Pool and cruise terminal.

Opulence in Brescia

By Linda Tancs

Brescia is regarded as one of Italy’s most ancient and beautiful cities. The largest province in Lombardy, it boasts three poet-inspiring lakes and three valleys amidst its Bronze Age archeological finds, cathedrals and squares. One of the most opulent attractions is no doubt Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, a hillside estate in the town of Gardone Riviera overlooking Lake Garda that was occupied by controversial writer and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. The enviable locale is met with tiered gardens hosting a 1,000-seat Parlaggio amphitheater, the remains of the Puglia battleship cruiser and D’Annunzio’s tomb. Inside the home is a collection of 30,000 books and a dizzying array of paintings, furniture, frescoes and strange objets d’art. Take a guided tour to get the most out of your visit.

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