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Archive for south america

Where Old Trains Go to Die

By Linda Tancs

Most tourists visit the region of Uyuni, Bolivia, for its impressive salt flats. But the area has another unusual attraction, a Great Train Graveyard bearing silent testimony to a once burgeoning rail system designed for the transport of the area’s rich mineral resources to Pacific Ocean ports. The salt air has not been kind to these British-built trains of the early 20th century, their skeletal remains lending an eerie feel to the place. An easy cab ride away, it’s better to pay your respects in the early morning or evening to avoid the hordes of tourist buses.

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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 Aristocracy in Argentina

By Linda Tancs

In the shadow of the bustle of Buenos Aires is the well-to-do suburb of San Isidro. It’s regarded as the capital of rugby because it houses two of the historical clubs of the sport in Argentina: Club Athletic San Isidro and San Isidro Club. You’ll also find the Hipódromo there, one of the largest horse racing tracks in the Americas, flanked by busy restaurants. Art, class and culture merge at Villa Ocampo, the riverside mansion of the late Victoria Ocampo, a prominent Argentinian writer and intellectual. Her estate is one of many in this wealthy enclave, one of the most aristocratic in the country.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. 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 Resurrected Ox in Brazil

By Linda Tancs

You might be surprised to learn that one of Brazil’s biggest festivals centers around the story of a resurrected ox. Popularly known as Boi Bumbá, it’s second only to Carnival in Rio in terms of popularity, no small feat considering its locale in the middle of the Amazon. The legend goes that a farmer killed a wealthy landowner’s favorite ox (boi) to satisfy his wife’s craving, creating a feud that resolved only when the local medicine doctor succeeded in bringing the prized animal back to life. The story is told over the last weekend in June by a maze of dancers in a presentation that’s partly theatrical, musical, puppet show, religious procession and tribal ritual. Held in Parintins, it’s an easy flight away from Manaus.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. 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.

Latin American Art

By Linda Tancs

The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA) sports an impressive collection of Latin American art amassed by Argentine real-estate developer, philanthropist and patron of the arts Eduardo Costantini. Its permanent collection features contemporary art from the 20th century and includes artists from across Latin America. Among those represented are Botero, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Xul Solar. Commentary is provided in Spanish and English. Take a few hours to enjoy the galleries, and get there early to avoid potentially long lines.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. 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.

Cusco’s Sun Temple

By Linda Tancs

Koricancha was the main Inca temple in Cusco (Cuzco), Peru. Its interior was ablaze in gold leaf, befitting its status as the temple of the Sun god. The church and convent of Santo Domingo was built on its Inca foundations by the Spanish in the 1500s. You’ll find the ruins of the ancient temple around the patio of the convent, which also contains a gallery of paintings that includes 17th and 18th century canvases. A guided tour of the site lasts about one hour.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. 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 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.

Made From Scratch

By Linda Tancs

Brazil’s third most populous city, Brasília was built from scratch (an empty plateau in the heartland) in the 20th century, intended to replace Rio as the nation’s capital. It’s perhaps best known for its futuristic buildings such as the National Congress, the crown-like, hyperboloid structure of the cathedral and the presidential palace. Take in the bird’s-eye view from the TV tower, the highest point in the city.

The End of the World Train

By Linda Tancs

There’s a certain finality to Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego National Park, the southernmost tip of the Andean-Patagonian forest, a place where a particular variety of red fox resides and birch forest predominates. It’s there that you’ll find the final part of the Andes. It’s also where you can catch the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo), a historic, narrow-gauge steam railway journey between Ushuaia (commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world) and the park. The hour-long journey (one way) presents stunning vistas accented by the Pipo River, Macarena cascade, a tree cemetery and the forest. An onboard audio tour is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and the train runs year-round.

Valparaiso’s Museum House

By Linda Tancs

Pablo Neruda was a Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, diplomat and politician. Of his three homes, his writer’s nook in Valparaiso became his favorite hideaway—although hardly hidden, since it towers above the other rooftops overlooking the south side of a broad, open bay of the Pacific Ocean. The multilayered, multicolored abode is named La Sebastiana after its original owner, Sebastian Collao, who assigned the whole third floor of the building as a bird cage. Neruda’s taste was no less whimsical. Some of the windows resemble a ship’s skylights, and the interior is littered with old maps, paintings, a merry-go-round horse and a large portrait of Walt Whitman, his “father in poetry.” The audio guide is available in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

Machu Picchu of the North

By Linda Tancs

Machu Picchu might be Peru’s most-visited site, but there’s an equally dazzling fortress to the north worth a visit. For that head to Chachapoyas, located in the north of Peru along the slopes of the Andes. Already known for its many waterfalls (Gocta being once considered the third highest waterfall in the world), this off-the-beaten-track region of the country boasts a spectacular fortress, Kuélap, outside the city. It’s notable for over 400 circular stone houses inside the complex, occupied by about 3,500 ancient inhabitants. Getting there is the challenging part; air travel is the best route. The nearest airport, Jaén, is a little over three hours away.

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