Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Craftwork in Val Gardena

By Linda Tancs

Val Gardena is a valley nestled in the Dolomites in the South Tyrol region of Italy. It may be prized for its pistes in winter, but don’t overlook its long history as a center of artisanal woodcarving. In fact, the tradition has been alive and well since the 17th century, passed on from generation to generation. Sought after worldwide, the bevy of artists there produce everything from simple, utilitarian items to finely detailed figurines and sculptures.

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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.

Scotland’s Answer to Stonehenge

By Linda Tancs

Predating England’s famous Stonehenge is Scotland’s Calanais. Also known as the Callanish Stones, they’re located in Lewis (at the top of the Outer Hebrides off Scotland’s west coast). One of the country’s best-preserved Neolithic monuments, they date back over 5,000 years. The reason for the stones’ construction is uncertain; the site may have served as an astronomical observatory or a place for ritual activity. You can explore their construction and potential uses through an interactive exhibition at the visitor’s center.

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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.

Curating London

By Linda Tancs

London has a museum for every taste. What about a taste for London itself? That’s where the Museum of London comes in, curating details about the capital from its first settlers to modern times. Discover the London “before” London, from around 450,000 B.C. until the creation of the Roman city of Londinium around A.D. 50, the biggest city Britain would see for over 1,000 years. The permanent exhibitions also feature medieval times, the city’s growth to one of the most populous and wealthy in the world and the 2012 Olympic cauldron. Free gallery tours are available daily. Currently located at 150 London Wall, the facility is on the move to historic West Smithfield in the next several months.

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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.

Bondi to Bronte

By Linda Tancs

Sydney’s best known coastal trek is the Bondi to Bronte Walk. A favorite with locals and tourists alike, the two-mile stroll follows the coastline from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach. It may be one of the most photographed walks in Australia with its sandstone cliffs and stunning panoramic views. You might even spot a humpback whale or two. Start your walk around sunset for some particularly magical vistas. The best way to get to Bondi’s starting point is via public transport, with trains traveling between the city and Bondi Junction, and plenty of buses departing from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach.

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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.

Fiji’s Garden Isle

By Linda Tancs

Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, formed by a massive shield volcano and verdant enough to earn its reputation as the “Garden Island.” With the Bouma National Heritage Park comprising more than a third of the island, it’s the perfect place to go to lose yourself in nature. You’ll discover over 100 species of birds like the colorful Kula as well as Fiji’s floral emblem, tagimaucia, native to the highland rainforest and found nowhere else on earth. The park is also known for the Tavoro Waterfalls, a series of three waterfalls offering respite from the tropical heat, and hiking trails resplendent enough for an epic nature walk.

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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.

Sicily’s First Nature Reserve

By Linda Tancs

All roads may lead to Rome, as the saying suggests, but no roads make their way into Zingaro Reserve in Sicily. The locals made sure of that in 1980 when they blocked the construction of a coastal road, the result of which was the establishment of a nature reserve in 1981. It stretches for a little over four miles along the northwestern coastline of the Gulf of Castellammare between San Vito Lo Capo and Scopello. Three walking paths traverse the park from end to end, ranging from a two-hour walk to over seven hours of hiking. In addition to blue bays, tiny beaches and panoramic views, you’ll be amongst a large variety of rare and endemic plants and almost 40 species of birds of prey that nest there. The site also boasts La Grotta dell’Uzzo, one of the most important prehistoric settlements in Sicily, where 10,000-year-old human remains and tools have been found.

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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.

Where Sailors Reign in the Azores

By Linda Tancs

The Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. Each of the nine islands has a charm all its own, like vineyards planted in black lava fields in Pico and the cosmopolitan flair of the largest island, São Miguel. Faial is dominated by beech trees (faias, hence the name) and a huge mass of hydrangeas, but it’s equally known as a gathering place for the world’s sailors. Thanks to the locale’s reputation as a way station for international yachtsmen, Peter Café Sport is a pub and a hub at the marina in Horta. A rite of passage for tourists, it’s likely the best known sailors’ bar in the world.

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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.

Three Peaks in Seoul

By Linda Tancs

The only national park in the Seoul metropolitan area, Bukhansan National Park in South Korea is also known as Samgaksan (Triangle Mountain) because of its three peaks: Baegunbong, Insubong and Mangyeongbong. With its many ridges, peaks and valleys, it’s a popular spot for hikers although nature lovers in general will appreciate the 1,300 species of plants and animals occupying this niche amidst the bustling city. Best of all, it’s easily accessible, with various metro stations serving the park entrances in under one hour.

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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.

Wild Geese and a Lake

By Linda Tancs

Glacier National Park is a wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, crossed by the mountainous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Just off that road is Wild Goose Island, in the middle of St. Mary Lake. Legend has it that a Hatfield and McCoy-type romance bloomed between a couple from two different Indian tribes located on opposite sides of the lake. When the tribal elders tried to break off their engagement, the Great Spirit turned them into geese so they could fly away and be together forever. It’s as good a story for the locale’s name as any other, a place prized as one of the most photographed spots in the park. The best photo op is at sunrise, the first shutterbugs arriving before 5 a.m.

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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.

Art and Faith in Kyoto

By Linda Tancs

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple in the Arashiyama neighborhood of Kyoto, Japan. Neglected through the ages due to its exposure to natural disasters, it re-emerged thanks to the artistry of the late Kocho Nishimura and a cadre of amateur stone sculptors. Through their efforts, the temple has become best known for a small army of moss-adorned sculptures that now cover the hillsides. Known as ratan (followers of Buddha), the art represents ordinary people captured in stone by their makers, oftentimes memorializing a loved one. Bus or taxi is the best way to arrive at what may be Kyoto’s most intriguing temple.

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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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