Travelrific® Travel Journal

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

Bali’s Lion King

By Linda Tancs

Singaraja is a port town in northern Bali and the former Dutch colonial capital. Its name means “lion king,” an apt description for an area historically comprising the kingdom of Buleleng. One of its prized attractions is Gedong Kirtya, a library founded by the Dutch in 1928. Located just south of the town center, it is reputedly the only library of lontar manuscripts (ancient and sacred texts on palm leaves) in the world. Its treasure trove includes collections and copies of handwritten texts on Balinese literature, myths, medicines, magic and religion.

Georgia’s Leaning Tower

By Linda Tancs

The capital city of Tbilisi in the country of Georgia is where old meets new—cobblestone streets and medieval fortress walls juxtaposed with a vibrant bohemian art scene and hipster hotels. Something that looks old but is actually new is the modern leaning tower attached to the puppet theatre of renowned puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze. A whimsical structure, the clock tower features a performance by mechanized figures on the balcony depicting the stages, or circle, of life.

Capitals of Culture in 2020

By Linda Tancs

Happy New Year! And you know what that means—another set of European Capitals of Culture! This year’s honorees are Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland). Croatia’s third-largest city, Rijeka is its principal seaport, with an attractive promenade along the city center (Korzo). Given its seafaring heritage, a visit to the Maritime and History Museum is a must. Housed in the former Governor’s Palace, it includes artifacts like a Titanic life jacket, picked up by a worker on the Carpathia, the ship that saved over 700 passengers. In Galway, the offerings for its celebratory year will be classically Irish yet seen through a European lens. It’s a perfect opportunity for the Galway International Arts Festival team to collaborate on a year of arts programming. Don’t miss the chance to stroll along the city’s canals, following the River Coribb, where the locale is perched.

A Rewarding Experience

By Linda Tancs

Most folks probably wouldn’t consider a trek through an airport (particularly on a layover) to be a rewarding experience. But you might feel differently at London’s Heathrow airport, where retail therapy is made more encouraging with Heathrow Rewards. Similar to other loyalty programs, you simply use your card at virtually any retail location at the airport to collect points toward spending on shopping, dining or transportation services. You can even boost your frequent flier balance by applying rewards points to your account. The program is free to join.

A Dutch Hansa Town

By Linda Tancs

The Dutch Hanseatic towns are seven towns along the IJssel River, part of the Hanseatic (Hansa) League, a once powerful confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in northwestern and central Europe. One of those towns is Kampen, a charming place boasting its mercantile roots with historic warehouses and a fish market near the old town hall that has been doing business since the 14th century. It even hosts a replica of the medieval merchant ship De Kamper Hanze Kogge. Once the site of a prosperous tobacco industry, De Olifant is the only brand still produced in the factory on Voorstraat. Take the Kamperlijntje train from Zwolle, just nine miles away.

Seattle’s Hidden Treasure

By Linda Tancs

There’s a side to Seattle, Washington, that you definitely haven’t seen. That’s because it’s hidden underground, a city entombed when the locale rebuilt on top of itself after the Great Fire of 1889. The result is a series of interconnecting tunnels revealing subterranean storefronts and sidewalks with plenty of stories to tell. You can experience it via a 75-minute underground tour beginning beneath Doc Maynard’s Public House and ending at Rogues Gallery. The easiest way to get there is by bus or light rail.

The Little White House

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s only presidential museum, the Little White House in Key West was a sanctuary and working office for numerous U.S. presidents. It was foremost the winter White House for President Harry S. Truman and remains an occasional site for government functions. Tours are given daily. This is a great time to enjoy vintage Christmas decor from a bygone era. Merry Christmas!

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