Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for international travel

The Portals of Derwent

By Linda Tancs

Ladybower Reservoir was built in Derbyshire, England. Its most dramatic characteristic might be the two stone spillways (plug holes) opposite each other that keep water levels in check during heavy rains or flooding. Nearly 80 feet in diameter, it’s tempting to think of them as portals to another dimension, particularly when they’re flowing with water. When water levels are low, you might see ruins of Derwent and Ashopton, two villages drowned when the reservoir was created. For stunning viewpoints, take the circular walk (about 5 miles in length) around the reservoir, a favorite of hikers and dog walkers.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Beneath the Waves in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Baia is a sunken resort town in the vicinity of Naples, Italy. In the ancient Roman world, it was the epitome of hedonism, a playground for the likes of Nero and Cicero. Now one of the world’s few underwater archaeological parks, licensed scuba divers can explore the site, accompanied by one of the registered local dive shops and guides. You can also explore its sunken ruins via a glass canoe excursion that runs from April to October.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Croatia’s Long Island

By Linda Tancs

Dugi Otok is, literally, Croatia’s long island. Long and stringy, it’s aptly named. A hotspot for scuba diving and instruction, the island is also known for its nature park in the southeastern part of the island. Telašćica Nature Park is a study in contrast: peaceful beaches on one side and imposing cliffs on the other. Its status as a protected park owes to some 400 plant species as well as numerous rare and endemic plants that have been recorded as well as an underwater world that is home to about 250 plants and 300 animal organisms. You might also spot one of the 14 island donkeys. The simplest route there is from Sali, the main town on the island.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Tough Trek in Rio

By Linda Tancs

Pedra da Gávea is Rio de Janeiro’s most imposing monolith. The trek to the top is also the most arduous, commanding at least three hours. The hardest leg of the trail, known as Carrasqueira, is a steep climb leading to rewarding, bird’s-eye views of Sugarloaf, Corcovado, the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and even the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range. Hire an experienced guide for the safest experience.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Japan’s Naked Festival

By Linda Tancs

Held on the third Saturday in February, Hadaka Matsuri (“naked festival”) isn’t quite as hedonistic as it may sound. Featuring over 10,000 men, the apparel of choice is a loincloth. They bathe in it at a pool at Saidaiji Kannon-in Temple to purify their souls. That might be one of the more serene aspects of this annual religious rite. Later at night, the party really gets going when the men pack themselves into the temple like sardines, vying for one of the twigs thrown into the crowd by a priest. A lucky catch means prosperity for the coming year. The temple is an easy walk from Saidaiji Station on the JR Okayama Station’s Ako line.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Batman Mountain

By Linda Tancs

Sometimes called “Batman Mountain,” Vestrahorn is one of Iceland’s most striking mountains. Located on the Stokksnes peninsula in the southeast near Höfn (a go-to destination for Northern Lights viewing), it peaks at 1,450 feet and meets a black sand beach below. It’s a prized locale for landscape photographers. The vistas demand a wide-angle lens; use a tripod to minimize shake from the often windy conditions.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Australia’s Aurora

By Linda Tancs

So much attention is directed at the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) that it’s easy to forget about the Southern Lights, the Southern Hemisphere’s own light show. Known as aurora australis, this celestial ballet is best viewed from southernmost points like Tasmania. Unlike its northern counterpart, you can see it year round although the longer nights of winter present the best potential. A Tasmanian hotspot is Cape Bruny Lighthouse, the country’s second oldest and longest continually staffed extant lighthouse. Get ready for a colorful show of red, green, yellow, blue and purple.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Rear View in Samoa

By Linda Tancs

You’ve heard the expression “location, location, location.” Well, imagine a backyard view that includes a spectacular waterfall. That’s the prize for one lucky homeowner in Samoa who gets to boast of stunning views of Sopoaga Falls. As the lookout is on private property, there’s a small admission fee to view one of the island nation’s most prized natural resources. Along the way you’ll be enchanted by a lush garden landscape and a coconut husking demonstration.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The City With Four Names

By Linda Tancs

You might think that Sucre, Bolivia, suffers from an identity crisis, considering that it’s known as “The City With Four Names.” But the reason for its name changes is rooted in history. The area was originally named Charcas after the indigenous inhabitants. Later, its Spanish conquerors named it La Plata (silver) in recognition of the rich natural resources there. When the Spanish later took control over Buenos Aires using a similar designation, the name was changed again to Chuquisaca, a version of the original indigenous Charcas settlement of Choquechaca. Unrest over economic conditions imposed by the governing forces resulted in an independence movement famously led by Antonio José de Sucre. The city was renamed in his honor. Casa de la Libertad is where, in 1825, the republic was created with the signing of the Bolivian declaration of independence and is one of the most important museums in the city.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

England’s Greatest Snowdrop Garden

By Linda Tancs

Snowdrops, generally appearing in February and March, are one of the first spring flowers to bloom, often while snow is still on the ground in some regions. In the heart of England’s Cotswolds, Colesbourne Park is heralded as the premier garden to see them. Open on select days each February, the gardens comprise approximately 10 acres of formal snowdrop walks. The trails are situated around an estate originally owned in 1789 by John Elwes, son of the celebrated miser John Elwes, reputedly one of the models for the character of Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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