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Archive for travel writing

Murals Galore in Moose Jaw

By Linda Tancs

Moose Jaw is a city in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. Situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, it was chosen as a division point for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1800s and became a boom town in the 1920s after those railway connections drew numerous manufacturing industries. Today it boasts of itself as the mural capital of North America, sporting some 46 outdoor murals on building exteriors downtown. That’s sure to please lovers of street art. While you’re there, don’t miss Mac the Moose, a giant moose sculpture on the grounds of the town’s visitor’s center on the corner of East Thatcher Drive and the Trans-Canada Highway.

The Wall of Love

By Linda Tancs

Where else but in the “city of love” would you expect to find a “I Love You Wall”? A must-see for romance seekers in Paris (especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner), Le mur des je t’aime is a mural built on a surface of 430 square feet comprising 612 squares of enameled lava, on which “I love you” is rendered 311 times in 250 languages. Located on the square at Place des Abbesses in Montmartre, admission is free.

A Rival to Versailles

By Linda Tancs

The Medici family ruled Florence, Italy, during the Renaissance. Their contributions to local culture are legendary, as are the many villas and gardens that family members accumulated over the centuries. One of their largest estates was Villa di Pratolino, its mansion and park environment worthy of comparison to Versailles. Eventually abandoned, the villa and the majority of its outdoor trappings became lost to history, and the complex was eventually purchased by a Florentine council for use as a public park. It hasn’t lost all of its Medici charms, however. A surviving element of the original estate is the imposing Colossus of the Apennines, a gigantic, 16th-century stone sculpture by Giambologna. Pratolino is about seven miles from the center of Florence; take bus #25A from Piazza San Marco.

A Crown Jewel of Civil War Sites

By Linda Tancs

Called “the new crown jewel of Civil War sites in America” by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson of Princeton University, Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is a 424-acre historical campus commemorating people and events related to the war. Set amidst a once-threatened Civil War battlefield near Petersburg, Virginia, the site features numerous museums, a restored plantation, walking trails, encampments and costumed interpretation. The local railroad’s ability to supply Confederate forces was an appealing reason for battles in this area. You can still see the depot in Old Towne Petersburg.

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters

By Linda Tancs

This year marks Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. There’s so much to see, loch to loch and everything in between. If you’d like to experience the most in one touring route, then consider the North Coast 500, an epic, 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland. Starting and ending at Inverness Castle, it’s the nation’s version of U.S. Route 66. Pursue the trek counterclockwise, traveling the east coast and then venturing into the northwest to Applecross, followed by Torridon and Ullapool. From there you’ll see some of the most northerly points, like Caithness and its village, John o’Groats. But don’t stop there. The northernmost point of the mainland is Dunnet Head, a few miles further west.

In Knots in Wales

By Linda Tancs

Wool is historically one of the most important industries in Wales. So of course you’d expect to find a museum or two dedicated to the Welsh manufacturing process. But nowhere is the dedication to woolen arts more ardent than in the “knitted village” of Llwyngwril. Located in South Snowdonia, the tranquil village is awash in life-size knitted folks, animals and fairy tale characters and other creatures. You can thank the yarn bombers for keeping the community knit together.

A Geological Monument in Australia

By Linda Tancs

At Hallett Cove Conservation Park in South Australia you’ll find evidence of the nation’s ice age over 200 million years ago. One of the country’s most outstanding geological sites, its rugged outcrops show sediments that were deposited in a glacial lake around 270 million years ago. You’ll see it on a glacial hike less than two miles long, which also presents The Sugarloaf (a local landmark named for its resemblance to a mass of hard refined sugar), the result of sediments deposited into the lake formed from melting ice.

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