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A Sea Candle in Japan

By Linda Tancs

An inverted cone tower overlooking the scenic Shonan beaches of Enoshima Island is one of the largest lighthouses in Japan. Known affectionately as the Enoshima Sea Candle, the nearly 200-foot-high tower completed in 2003 was built for the 100th anniversary celebration of Enoshima Electric Railway. Take the elevator to the top if you must, but the circular stair climb gives lingering views of sites like Mt. Fuji, Izu Peninsula and the mountains at Hakone. In addition to the spectacular panoramic view at the top, the lighthouse is illuminated at night, a sight that’s viewable nearly 30 miles away.


Denmark’s Sunny Isle

By Linda Tancs

The sunniest part of Denmark is Bornholm, the nation’s easternmost island in the Baltic Sea. Its charms include round churches and arresting granite cliffs, great fodder for painters who are perennially attracted to this popular resort area thanks to its dreamy natural light. Historically a fishing village, be sure to try Sol over Gudhjem (“sun over Gudhjem,” a local fishing port), an island dish featuring an open sandwich with rugbrød, smoked herring, chives and a raw egg yolk on top. Book your summer rental now so you don’t miss their food and crafts festivals.

The Rooftop of Wales

By Linda Tancs

At 3,559 feet, Snowdon Mountain dominates the landscape of Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. The land of fairies, giants and kings, legend has it that the mountain hosts the burial place of the giant ogre Rhita, vanquished by King Arthur. The views from Wales’ highest peak are spectacular, and what better way to see it than on a scenic railway ride from Llanberis to the summit. Operating from March to October, Snowdon Mountain Railway operates diesel and steam-powered locomotives that push vintage viewing cars on a journey through the clouds experienced by 12 million intrepid travelers since 1896. A round-trip ticket includes a 30-minute stop at the summit from May to October, weather permitting. Between mid-March and May, the trains will normally run to Clogwyn, where the summit is about an hour’s walk away.

Aglow in Toyama

By Linda Tancs

Just like lightning bugs, hotaruika are squid with a natural fluorescence that causes them to glow in the dark. Unlike those insects, however, millions of firefly squid in Namerikawa give off their hue (blue) along the sea, providing a twinkling light show rivaling a planetarium. Taking place generally between March and June, you’ll need to head off during the wee hours for a boat ride in Toyama Bay, Japan, to witness this unique event. Tours book quickly; April is regarded as the best time of year for viewing. If you can’t make the tour, maybe you’d like the live squid show at Hotaruika Museum in Namerikawa, the only museum in the world dedicated to this luminescent cephalopod.

History in Rapid City

By Linda Tancs

Memorial Park is the pulse of Rapid City, South Dakota. A typical family-friendly public park on Rapid Creek, you might be surprised to learn that it’s also home to one of America’s largest Berlin Wall exhibits. The wall segment, formerly located between Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie from 1961 to 1989, was donated in honor of the citizens of Ratingen, Germany (the sister city of Vermillion, South Dakota), who fostered German-American relations.

On the Fringe in Australia

By Linda Tancs

Located in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region (the Coral Coast), Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringing coral reef in the world at 186 miles. Just footsteps from the shore, the shining turquoise waters beckon any time of year, but especially now. That’s because between seven and 10 days following the full moon in March and April, a spectacular coral spawning event takes place, churning the pristine waters like an underwater blizzard and creating a dazzling display of color. This annual, regenerative event also draws the whale shark, providing opportunities to swim with them from March to August. Spawning and swimming eco-tours are available at Coral Bay and Exmouth.

Summer Capital of the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

In the summer months of March, April and May, residents of and visitors to the Philippines flock to Baguio where the weather is demonstrably cooler. Of course, that’s not the only reason to visit this mountainous region of the Cordillera. Its lively thoroughfare, Session Road, provides ample shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Quieter pursuits avail at Burnham Park and the serenity of Baguio Cathedral, noted for its rose-colored hues. It’s only a 50-minute flight from Manila.

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