For R. B. of Canoga Park who asked about a store that "specializes in maps and travel books": In Hollywood, Larry Doffing offers hundreds of choices in both maps and books. Included are fall guides to New England with directions to B&Bs, country inns. In the map department, Doffing features one map in particular on the French countryside and its wine region that's so large-scale "you can almost see the vintners happily stomping the grapes."
Doffing got into the map/guide book business several years ago after driving from his Hollywood home to Pomona to obtain a guide to Morocco. It sparked an idea. Others, Doffing figured, must face the same vexing problem when dealing with ordinary bookstores. So he got into the business. This was just over a year ago. Now he boasts that he operates the only bookstore in the United States that imports maps from nearly 1,000 cities, regions and countries around the world. Besides maps, guides and travel books, Doffing stocks money belts, voltage converters, language tapes. A full range of travel accessories.
Maps To Anywhere Travel Book Store, 1514 N. Hillhurst Ave. (second floor), Hollywood, Calif. 90027. Telephone (213) 660-2101.
Europe by Train
Here's an idea for vacationers planning to do Europe in a group next year. Book yourself an original railway car through Wagon-lits Switzerland. These are vintage cars of the '20s and '30s that served Train Bleu, the Cote d'Azur Pullman-Express, Sud, Orient Express and others.
Wagon-lits will hook up your car to a scheduled train. Or in the case of five or more cars, the company will put together a special train and assist the traveler in creating his or her own itinerary.
Wagon-lits packages other group tours. One features the Glacier Express (travels across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels). Accommodations in Zurich, St. Moritz, Geneva. Other tours take in Vaduz, Appenzell, St. Gallen, Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Berne, St. Moritz and Zermatt.
Wagon-lits does the entire package, guides included. In the United States contact Wagon-lits Travel, 928 Broadway, New York 10010, or telephone toll-free (800) 247-5434.
Auto Air Porter has trimmed its parking rate from $9 to $6 a day for LAX passengers using a customer discount card. Or for only $51 they'll store your car for up to 30 days. This is an indoor parking facility (2222 E. Imperial Highway, El Segundo). Curb-to-curb valet service. Both to and from the airport. AAP operates 365 days a year. The service was created particularly for women wishing to avoid being dropped at one of LAX's shuttle lots in the wee hours of the morning ("an experience that could strike fear into even the bravest of men, let alone women traveling by themselves," says AAP). For a few extra bucks, Air Porter will wash and gas your car while you're gone. For details concerning AAP's customer discount card, call toll-free (800) 752-3339.
One of Season's Best Bets
France has put together a new program aimed at attracting American tourists, and it's a steal considering the prices being charged in Europe these days. Between now and next June you can move in with a French family for only $295 a week. The price includes lodging, all meals and French lessons.
Host homes are in Cannes and surrounding villages along the French Riviera. The program is open to anyone 16 years or older. This is a monthly plan. Lessons are given between 9 a.m. and noon. Excursions offered in the afternoon. Space is limited, reservations a must--particularly during the International Film Festival next May in Cannes. Reservations through International Friendship Service, 22994 El Toro Road, El Toro, Calif. 92630, or telephone (714) 458-8868.
A Slow Boat Down Under
Anyone who's ever been stuck in rush-hour traffic on a Los Angeles freeway has dreamed of escaping the whole insane scene. Here's an opportunity: Columbus Line (West German registry) is doing 45-day freighter trips out of Long Beach to Australia/New Zealand. Calls at Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington. Delivers passengers back home to Tacoma, Wash. Some itineraries include Honolulu.
These ships carry eight passengers in first-class cabins. Features include lounge/dining rooms, swimming pools, Jacuzzis. Rates: $4,700 per person (or about $200 a day for the journey, with meals, etc.). Age limit: 79. Contact Freighter World Cruises, 180 S. Lake Ave., Suite 335, Pasadena 91101, phone (818) 449-3106.
Australia is preparing for its 200th birthday in '88. The entire country will be celebrating. To spread the word, the Tourist Commission has publicized a 128-page "Aussie Holiday Guide." Discusses everything from koalas to Papunya art and the Expo '88 fair that runs from April 30 till the end of October in Brisbane.