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Archive for international travel

A Village’s Best Friend

By Linda Tancs

A best friend sees you through thick and thin. That’s pretty much what a 400-year-old lime tree in Messemen, Belgium, has done. The village’s beloved, fragrant lime tree witnessed the church fire of 1645, the village’s inauguration as a principality in 1650 and the defeat of French invaders in 1798. Its gnarled trunk only adds to its charm, making it the subject of many paintings.

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Purple Mountain Majesty in China

By Linda Tancs

An easy getaway from Shanghai, Nanjing is home to Purple Mountain, so-named for the color of the clouds often seen at its peak. Part of Zhongshan Mountain National Park, it’s regarded as one of the most famous mountains in southern China. A cable car ride up the mountain will reward you with great views of the Yangtze River and the city. Pick a sunny day for the best views.

Munich’s Portal

By Linda Tancs

Among Europe’s biggest city parks, the English Garden in Munich, Germany, rivals New York City’s storied Central Park. An outstanding example of a classical landscape garden, it comprises woodland, meadows and water. Its network of pathways includes bridle paths and over 100 bridges and footbridges. Extending from the Court and Finance Gardens at Odeonsplatz into the open countryside far to the north of the city, this inner-city playground begun in 1789 counts more than 5 million visitors annually. A popular meeting point is the Chinese Tower, where a 7,000-seat beer garden is one of the biggest in Bavaria.

Dining in the Sky

By Linda Tancs

Once upon a time only an airline meal would’ve qualified as sky dining. Nowadays you can eliminate the fuselage and dine at table while suspended in the air by a massive crane. That’s the concept behind Dinner in the Sky, a vertigo-inducing gastronomic adventure originating in Belgium. Available now in more than 40 countries, this flying dinner party has made its way to locales including the Las Vegas Strip, the marina of Dubai, the banks of the St. Lawrence River and the beach of Copacabana. These unique events have featured iconic chefs like Pierre Gagnaire, Marc Veyrat, Heston Blumenthal and Paco Roncero. Will you send your taste buds to new heights?

China’s Ancient Northern Capital

By Linda Tancs

Although leading the country industrially (and having been named a model city for environmental protection), China’s northeastern city of Shenyang boasts impressive history and landscaping as well. Its imperial palace might not have the glitz of the Forbidden City, but it was built by the first Qing Emperor in 1625 and served as the seat of that dynasty. Both the palace and the emperors’ tombs are UNESCO sites. And despite being the largest city in northern China, there’s plenty of open space thanks to Beiling Park’s pine forests and lakes and the Expo Garden. It’s worth noting that passport holders of eligible countries are granted a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours when taking an international transfer via Taoxian International Airport. That’s enough time to soak in some attractions.

Body Art in Austria

By Linda Tancs

Special effects bodypainting is just one of the championship categories at the annual World Bodypainting Festival in Klagenfurt, Austria. Taking place this year from July 8 to July 14, the earlier dates comprise 50 workshops in bodypainting, facepainting, make-up and special effects. The main days from the 12th to the 14th feature art, street food, judging and music. Now in its 21st season, prepare to be awed.

Cuddle with Cuttles

By Linda Tancs

Similar to their squid and octopus relatives, cuttlefish have a large, elongated body with tentacles surrounding their mouths. Despite its name, it’s a mollusc with the visually striking ability to change patterns and colors. This time of year they congregate by the thousands for their breeding season, especially at Stony Point in Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park near Whyalla in South Australia. There is easy access via a boardwalk to shallow water for viewing. Cuttlefish are active day and night, but the best time for snorkeling with them is normally in the morning before the winds pick up in the afternoon.

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