Tag Archives: travel

The Traveling Adjunct Feb 2019 – Where To Celebrate Mardi Gras Besides New Orleans

Other Places to Celebrate Mardi Gras Besides New Orleans

New Orleans is probably the first place that comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras, but did you know there are lots of other places that celebrate some version of Mardi Gras?  Here are three that totally on my bucket list! By the way – Mardi Gras is on March 5 this year!

But First…What the heck is Mardi Gras anyway?

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Mardi Gras is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’*.  According to Catholic tradition, it’s the last day of celebrations before Lent begins. Lent (from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring”) is the 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday** and ending on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter).  Oh, and no counting Sundays in that 40 days.  Lent is a time to repent and fast.  Frequently, people give up something for Lent.  It might be chocolate, coffee, meat, smoking, or whatever.  

* Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday in some parts of the world.

 **Ash Wednesday starts Lent.  On Ash Wednesday, Catholics go to church services and get an ash cross marked on their farheads as a symbolic way to repent for their sins. In a nutshell, the ash cross is the human body (in the Bible the body is composed of dust) and the body’s returns to dust in death. 

Anyway, the Italians took things to a new level with Carniva – aka, Carnevale. Although it originally meant ‘farewell to the flesh’ (as many people give up meat for Lent), that kinda changed over time.  Carnevale evolved into wild parties, parades, and costumes, and not just in Italy!  It spread all over the world!  Just take a look!

And now, the fun stuff!  Where to go!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The granddaddy of all celebrations,  Carnaval  is no one day deal – uh, uh- it’s a four-day celebration beginning this year on Sunday March 3, and ending on Ash Wednesday (March 6), BUT, when I checked on the Rio Carnaval Party Planner,

 “pre-celebrations” start on Friday, March 1!  The Brazilians sure know how to throw a party!  There are extravagant parades, samba school competitions and awesome food! 

Good to know:  While some of the street parties (balls) are free, others require tickets. Here’s a website.   I found that lists the free and ticketed balls.

 

Dusseldorf, Germany

Yup, Germany.  While many cities celebrate fasching, fastnacht or karneval, Dusseldorf’s Rosenmontag parade is a big deal. First held in 1825, the parade is on the Monday before Shrove Tuesday (you know, Mardi Gras).  There are all kinds of celebrations leading up to the party, but I particularly love Old Hag’s Day (where women run through the streets chasing after men for kisses).  You can find out more on the Dusseldorf Tourism website.  

Montreal Canada

Introduced by 19th century French transplants as a Mardi Gras festival, the Carnaval de Quebec has turned into a celebration of all things Québécois. There are snow sculpture competitions, a canoe race down the frozen St. Lawrence River and crazy food to try like Beaver Tails (fried dough coated with cinnamon and sugar – what’s not to love?).  But, my fave is the carnival mascot, Bonhomme – which looks like a slightly insane mashup of a snowman and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters!   

Have you been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or any of the places above?  

Tina Vignali is an English as a Second Language adjunct at the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus. She writes a monthly travel-themed column for the CommuniCator. You can follow her trips around the block and journeys around the world in her travel blog Traveleidoscope.com.  Psst! You can also visit Traveleidoscope on Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter!  And guess what – she’s now a member of the North AmericanTravel Journalists Association!  

The Traveling Adjunct–Aug. 31, 2018

See Seattle in 12 Hours

This summer, my husband and I road-tripped from Seattle to Montana. We flew into Seattle and ended our trip with a (very) short visit to the city, so our time was limited to about 12 hours (Yikes!).  It was a beautiful day in Seattle, so we decided to go for a stroll.

Here’s what we did and other things we would have like to have done!

But first, a few Seattle tidbits…  

While we may all know Seattle as the birthplace of grunge music or Jimi Hendrix, here are some things about Seattle you might not know.

Where is it? 

Seattle lies between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. To the west is the Olympic Mountain range and to the east are the Cascade Mountains. It covers about 142.5 square miles (wow!) and as of 2016, Seattle’s population was 704,352 Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–July 26, 2018

 Road Trip:  Historic Wallace, Idaho

old boat

I’m continuing with my summer road trip series in the Traveling Adjunct this month with a stop in northern Idaho.  Specifically, Wallace, Idaho.  How did I decide to visit Wallace?  I read about it in a news article and since it was along our drive between Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Whitefish, Montana, I thought it would make a fun stop. It didn’t disappoint so here we go! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–June 28, 2018

Road Trip:  Spokane

sculpture in grass

Welcome back to another edition of the Traveling Adjunct! This month’s post is the first in a series about the fun and unique places I visited on my summer vacation! For our trip this year, my husband and I decided to go to Montana. Montana?  Isn’t this post about Spokane, Washington? Yeah, but like most of our trips, this one “evolved” into an awesome road trip taking us through the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana, covering 1,400 miles. This month’s Traveling Adjunct is on our afternoon in Spokane. So fasten your seatbelts and let’s get going! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–Dec. 15, 2017

48 Hours in Iceland

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Aah, Iceland…. This cool island is very hot right now, but when I visited the first time in 2000, people thought I was crazy.  It was “so off-the-beaten-path,” and where exactly was it anyway?  Nowadays, travelers are beating a path just to get there.  Last year alone, the country had 325,000 American visitors and about 1.3 million from across the globe!  The entire Icelandic population is only 332,000!  Well, we returned for a quick 48-hour visit, so here’s where we stayed, what we did and how we got around!

$$Warning$$:  Don’t be misled thinking that Iceland is a “budget” destination. It was expensive in 2000, and it is (in my opinion) even more expensive now.  I’m not saying it’s not worth it, I’m just saying, be prepared. As an example, two takeout sandwiches were about $25! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–Aug. 17, 2017

Passport vs. Visa – the Difference

It’s a common question – What’s the difference between a passport and a visa and why do I need a visa if I already have a passport? The short answer is: while they’re related to each other, they have totally different purposes. For U.S. passport holders, here’s what each is, why and when we need them!  Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–Dec. 9, 2016

Submitted by Tina Vignali

Going on vacation for semester break?  What to do if you can’t read a menu

As faculty, staff and students get ready for the end of the semester, many will head out of town over the hiatus. If you’re one of them, imagine, you’re on a relaxing, maybe an exotic, vacation. The weather is perfect and you are having a fabulous time. You’ve even managed to not think about work or school. Now, here’s the tricky part – you don’t speak the language and you don’t have much experience with the culture. You go to a restaurant and the waiter hands you a menu. Uh-oh. It may or may not be in English. Even if the menu is in English, chances are it’s a literal translation and not an accurate description of the dish.  You’re not sure what to order, but you cross your fingers and order something. When your food arrives, you realize it contains, let’s say nuts, which you absolutely hate and/or are allergic to. Now what?    Continue reading