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Archive for international travel

Sleep for Bibliophiles

By Linda Tancs

A haven for bibliophiles lies just miles from the English/Welsh border in Hawarden, Wales. In that small, ancient village you’ll find a “residential” library fit for a king. That’s right, a place where you can sleep, eat and drink—and read, of course. Founded by Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone, Gladstone’s Library is a Grade-I listed building with 26 rooms surrounded by a print collection of 250,000 items accessible well after the general public has left the building. The U.K.’s only residential library, it gives new meaning to the term “bedtime stories.”

The Fountains of Heraklion

By Linda Tancs

The capital of Crete, Heraklion demonstrates the diversity resulting from Venetian and Ottoman rule. In particular, its Venetian and Turkish fountains are a focal point in this popular cruise port. Morosini Fountain (“the Lions”) is the most popular Venetian-style fountain, located in Lions Square, the nerve center of the city. When the Ottomans conquered Crete, they built several charitable fountains (sebil) for their subjects. Perhaps the best known is the sebil at Kornarou Square, a polygonal building with arched windows once containing a tap and a stone trough. It now houses a coffee shop.

The Old and New in Southeast Asia

By Linda Tancs

One of the newest countries of the 21st century, the island nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor) owes its diversity to influences of old. Namely, a combination of traditional Timorese, Portuguese, Chinese and Indonesian influences permeates its architecture, cuisine, fashion and art. Perhaps the best-kept secret of Southeast Asia, the current dry season is an opportune time for diving (especially at Jaco Island), trekking, whale watching and fishing. Located at the southern extreme of the Malay Archipelago, access by air is easy with international flights from Bali, Australia and Singapore.

Urban Arctic

By Linda Tancs

You might not think of the Arctic as urban, yet Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, is an arctic metropolis. Brimming with a diverse dining and shopping scene (and the country’s largest microbrewery), it’s the heart of modern Greenland. A walkable city, Imaneq Street is a go-to destination for traditionally made goods, like knitted musk ox items. If you’d rather eat it than wear it, musk ox steak is a featured delicacy. And you won’t want to miss out on Greenlandic coffee, which gives Irish coffee a run for its money.

Undercover in London

By Linda Tancs

Ever wonder what it was like being a Cold War spy in London? You can catch a glimpse into the world of espionage with a spy and espionage tour conducted by an expert in the subject. A three-hour bus tour visits real-life sites used by British Intelligence as well as sites where secrets were exchanged, even by double agents. The tour ends at St. Ermin’s Hotel, former headquarters of MI6, where a very James Bond-like vodka martini awaits you.

The Garden City of Chile

By Linda Tancs

Chile’s enchanting Viña del Mar is called The Garden City. Its gardens are indeed beautiful, as are its castles, old mansions and beach resorts. Think of it as a cross between Miami and Beverly Hills. And throw in a little Monte Carlo thanks to its glamorous Municipal Casino. You can admire all its charms with a horse and carriage ride along the breathtaking promenade. It’s easy to lose track of time, but you’ll find that, too, at the giant botanical clock (Reloj de Flores) on a sloping lawn at the foot of Cerro Castillo. An icon of the city, this fully functional musical flower clock was built for the 1962 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, it flowers year round.

Aspiring in New Zealand

By Linda Tancs

Named for Mount Aspiring, one of New Zealand’s highest peaks, Mount Aspiring National Park provides inspiring walks for trekkers eager to view its glaciers, waterfalls, braided rivers and acres of native beech forest. Short walks around one hour include the Devil’s Punchbowl and Wainui Falls, featuring native forests and waterfalls. If you’re interested in a more serious walk, consider treks such as the Gillespie Pass Circuit, the Wilkin Valley, Aspiring Hut, Liverpool Bivy and Cascade Saddle. Of course, the park is also easily accessible by plane, helicopter or jet-boat, and a glacier landing high in the mountains can’t be beat.

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