Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Capitals of Culture in 2022

By Linda Tancs

As noted in last year’s post on the subject of European Capitals of Culture, the title holders have been shuffled around a bit given the lack of festivities during the COVID pandemic. This year’s title holders are Novi Sad, Kaunas and Esch. Interestingly, all three cities are the second-largest in their country. On the banks of the Danube, the city of Novi Sad in Serbia boasts a colorful thoroughfare known as Dunavska Street and a fortress nicknamed Gibraltar on the Danube. Lithuania’s Kaunas is known for its artistic flair, including unique modernist architecture. One of its most famous sons is George Maciunas, who founded the experimental art movement known as Fluxus. Esch in Luxembourg is known as a metropolis of iron ore, a symbol of the country’s steel industry. It’s part of the region known as the Land of the Red Rocks (also known as the “Minett”), a nod to the bright red iron ore that gives the earth its color.

The Capital of the Cotswolds

By Linda Tancs

Known as the “Capital of the Cotswolds,” Cirencester began its life as Corinium Dobunnorum, the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Prima. As you can imagine, there have been tremendous finds boasting of the city’s Roman heritage. In fact, with the exception of London, Cirencester’s mosaic collection is one of the largest in England. You can view those treasures, part of the country’s finest collections of Roman antiquities, at Corinium Museum in the heart of this market town. The exhibits run the gamut from prehistoric to modern day, including agriculture, costume, paper ephemera and social history.

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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.

A Circle of Love in Cork

By Linda Tancs

The Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, was a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1852. During such a time of great need, the American Chocktaw Nation donated money to the famine fund to assist those suffering from malnutrition. In recognition of their generosity, a monument was erected in Midleton, County Cork, known as “Kindred Spirits.” Made of marine-grade stainless steel, it features nine 20-foot-high eagle feathers representing the tribe, weighing 1,600 pounds each, which form a perfect circle. LED lights illuminate the poignant sculpture at night. You’ll find it in Bailic Park.

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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.

Nashville’s Hottest New Spot

By Linda Tancs

Years in the making, the National Museum of African American Music is now a part of the fabric of the music scene in Nashville, Tennessee. Located downtown on Broadway, it’s the only museum dedicated to preserving the legacy and celebrating the accomplishments of the many music genres created, influenced or inspired by African Americans. Over 50 genres and subgenres of music, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B and hip-hop, can be explored throughout five different galleries. Timed tours run throughout the day every 30 minutes.

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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.

A City’s Living Room

By Linda Tancs

Many libraries are cherished meeting places, but in Helsinki, Finland, they’ve taken it to a new level. Billed as a living room for residents, Oodi is a relatively new library in the heart of the city. A third of its space is reserved for books. So what, you may wonder, is the rest used for? Well, there’s a cinema. And a recording studio. And a photography and video studio. Work spaces. Meeting rooms. A children’s playground. If you’d like to just sit down with a good book and a ubiquitous cup of Finnish coffee (they do, after all, consume the most coffee in the world per capita), then you can head to Book Heaven on the top floor. Both guided and self-guided tours are available.

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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.

All Aboard the Christmas Train

By Linda Tancs

All aboard the U.K.’s first Christmas train of lights! This seasonal event in Devon begins at Queen’s Park Station, Paignton, where a steam train with vintage carriages is festooned with thousands of lights, both inside and out. The light show intensifies past Churston Station, where you will be propelled through 1,500 feet of greenway tunnel leading to an enchanted forest transformed by a multitude of lights and displays. After a turnaround at Kingswear, you’ll have an opportunity to disembark and take photographs from the platform before you head back to Paignton to experience the spectacle from a different direction.​

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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.

Monument to the Forefathers

By Linda Tancs

Today is Forefathers’ Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Celebrated each year on December 22, it commemorates the arrival of the Mayflower pilgrims ashore on December 21, 1620. Sounds like the perfect day to visit the National Monument to the Forefathers. Located on Allerton Street, it’s thought to be the largest solid granite monument in the country at 81 feet. The allegorical figures around its base depict the attributes of faith, morality, education, law and liberty.

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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 Highest Village

By Linda Tancs

At about 1,532 feet above sea level, Wanlockhead is Scotland’s highest village. For many centuries, lead mining was the mainstay of its economy. In fact, in the 1600s the Duke of Buccleuch built a smelting plant and workers’ cottages to support year-round production. Lead wasn’t the only treasure there, however. The area also yielded zinc, copper, silver and gold. Interestingly, some of the world’s purest gold was found there and used in the Regalia of the Scottish Crown. No wonder the area became known as “God’s treasure house.” As one would expect, the Museum of Lead Mining tells the story of the local industry. The museum experience includes a guided tour of the Lochnell Lead Mine, the miners’ cottages and a gold panning area.

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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 Dark Hedges

By Linda Tancs

Who would’ve thought that an avenue of beech trees planted in the 18th century would become a filming location in the epic series Game of Thrones? The locale is The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland, a story-book scene if ever there were one. Planted by the Stuart family, the cascade of trees was intended to be a stunning landscaped entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Today it’s an iconic tourist attraction along pedestrianized Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim.

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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 Women’s Titanic Memorial

By Linda Tancs

Memorials to RMS Titanic are located around the world in cities like New York, Southampton, Cobh and Belfast. What’s unique about the memorial in Washington, D.C., is its dedication by the women of America. Indeed, funds for its construction were raised by donations from women across the country, including one of the first-class survivors, Mrs. Archibald Forbes. The memorial was unveiled in 1931 by Helen Taft, widow of the 27th U.S. President William Howard Taft. Like an eagle with outstretched wings, the moving centerpiece of the memorial is a 13-foot-tall figure of a partly clad male with arms outstretched, standing on a square base. That’s because the structure honors the men who gave their lives so that women and children might be saved. Tucked away along the city’s quiet southwest waterfront, the memorial is located on 4th and P streets.

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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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