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Archive for short reads

A Celebration of Citrus

By Linda Tancs

You’ve heard the expression, when life hands you lemons make lemonade. They’ve done one better than that in France with the annual Fête du Citron (lemon festival). Held in the city of Menton, the colossal citrus sculptures require 145 tons of fruit. Processions on the Promenade du Soleil feature of mixture of citrus-themed floats, dancers and folk groups. The Biovès Gardens are also clad with citrus fruit, forming temporary sculptures in dazzling yellow and orange shades, some reaching heights of 32 feet and more. Tickets are required for some events. This year’s festival takes place from February 16 to March 3.

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Three Giants in Bulgaria

By Linda Tancs

The natural range of the giant sequoia is a narrow band along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. All the more astonishing, then, that three of these majestic trees should be thriving in a small village outside Kyustendil, Bulgaria. You can thank renowned forester Yordan Mitrev, who brought sequoia seeds to the region in the 19th century. It’s about four miles from Kyustendil to the tree site at Yuchbunar.

A Rocky Show in Australia

By Linda Tancs

You might say Australia’s Murujuga National Park really rocks. Designated the 100th national park in western Australia, the park lies within a larger National Heritage Listed place, created in July 2007 over the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago. The area is renowned for its extensive rock art collection, comprising shell middens, stone artifact scatters, quarries, stone arrangements, ceremonial and mythological sites, graves and petroglyphs. In fact, the site is thought to contain the highest concentration of petroglyphs of any known site in the world. The rock art has deep meaning for the local Aboriginal people; avoid taking photographs of humanoid rock art figures.

The Last Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Named for British explorer James Ross, the Ross Sea in Antarctica has been nicknamed “the last ocean.” Located between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land, it’s the southernmost sea on Earth, quite literally the last sea. Perhaps not surprisingly, this remote ocean is deemed one of the most pristine environments left in the world, the perfect locale for a marine reserve (the world’s largest) twice the size of Texas. It’s also home to the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest in the world at around 193,000 square miles. And it even sings (well, sort of), making a didgeridoo-like sound as the wind blows across the landscape causing the outer snow layer to vibrate.

Byway Explores Underground Railroad

By Linda Tancs

Former slave Harriet Tubman is the most widely recognized symbol of the Underground Railroad movement, leading hundreds of slaves to freedom. You can learn more about her legacy along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile, scenic road linking historic sites and areas associated with Tubman. Meandering through Maryland’s Eastern Shore, it’s the only place in the world that preserves and interprets the places where Harriet Tubman was born, lived and labored and from which she fled. In addition to the visitor center, the lands associated with the area are part of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, affording visitors opportunities to hike, bike, paddle, shop, dine and attend events.

A Rarity at Yale

By Linda Tancs

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University is one of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts. Just 90 minutes from New York in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, its lobby and mezzanine public exhibition areas are open to the public. That’s where you’ll find such gems as the Gutenberg Bible (the first Western book printed from movable type) and John James Audubon’s Birds of America, a series of hand-colored, life-size prints first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838. The building itself is a conversation piece. Built of Vermont marble and granite, bronze and glass, its exterior marble panels filter light so that rare materials can be displayed without damage.

Kingdom of Crystal

By Linda Tancs

The world revolves around glass in Sweden’s southern province of Småland, so much so that the area is known as the Kingdom of Crystal. Indeed, handblown glass has been made in the region since 1742. Spread across four municipalities and 13 glassworks and studios, the kingdom welcomes over 1 million visitors a year who watch and learn the basics of glassblowing. You can even partake in glass-themed accommodation at the Kosta Boda Art Hotel.

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