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Toying With Christmas in Villages of Bavaria

August 13, 1989|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks

"Christmas Customs in Bavaria" is one of six new programs added to the fall/winter educational tours targeted for the mature traveler by Interhostel.

Scheduled Dec. 4-18, the trip will include stops in Bamberg, Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with side trips to Nuremberg and other Bavarian villages.

A visit to a crib-building school, where Nativity scenes are produced, is set for Bamberg. In Nuremberg, excursions include trips to toy and candy factories and the famous Christkindlmarkt.

In addition to visiting the Zugspitze peak in the Wetterstein Mountains of the Bavarian Alps, King Ludwig's Schloss Linderhof and Oberammergau, Interhostel will deliver a program of lectures and seminars on the Christmas customs, art, history and culture of the region.

The tour includes accommodations (first-class hotels with private bath), all meals, sightseeing and entertainment. Land price is $1,195 per person, based on sharing a twin-bed room, plus air fare from your home city.

Interhostel's other new fall/winter tours, all highlighted with education, entertainment and sightseeing, include Nairobi (Oct. 9-25) and Rome (Nov. 1-15). Other Interhostel tours for fall/winter will go to London, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand.

For more information and reservation information, call (603) 862-1147, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT, or write to Interhostel, University of New Hampshire, 6 Garrison Ave., Durham, N.H. 03824.

Christmas shopping is also the theme of Mexico West Travel Club's Sept. 25-to-Oct. 2 tour to Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca. Cost is $625 per person double, with a $25.50 saving on Mexicana Airlines for those 65 and over. Price includes hotels, transfers and tips, plus escorted sightseeing through Mexico via motor coach.

For information, contact Sandy Jordan, Sunset Affiliates, 6312 Variel Ave., Suite 213, Woodland Hills 91367, (818) 992-7576.

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September is a special month for seniors 60 and over at Universal Studios, where the admission price is $9.50. That's better than the tour's normal $13.50 after the senior discount.

To get the special September-only rate, seniors must have a September Senior Citizen Discount Coupon. These can be obtained free by calling (818) 777-3771.

Senior group leaders can get them for all tour members and also arrange for tour groups of 40 or more seniors to be pre-boarded onto tour trams, without waiting in line.

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Courtyard by Marriott, the new moderately priced chain of the Marriott Corp., gives 10% discounts to members of the American Assn. of Retired Persons or those aged 60 and over.

That's the year-round discount off regular rates, but it's best to check whether the senior discount is lower than the $39 to $49 weekend rate offered by many of the 100 or so Courtyards now open. Normal rates are $55 to $85 double.

All Marriott Courtyard hotels have fold-out sofa beds for additional sleeping. On weekends, up to four people can share a room without additional per-person charges.

In Las Vegas, the Vagabond Inn says that if you arrive on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday and spend two nights, you can get a third night free. Make reservations. The Vagabond is at 4155 Koval Lane. Call (800) 634-6541.

Those Social Security check-stretching seniors might be interested that 184 penny slot machines are still available in Las Vegas. They're in the Union Plaza, Gold Spike, Western Hotel and Hotel Nevada. And in the Western Hotel there's a penny progressive that recently paid off $95,172.

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Heading for Seattle? The Warwick Hotel, 4th and Lenora streets, offers those ages 60 and up a single or double room for $70 (plus tax), including free parking and a $5 dinner voucher. That's about half of regular rates. For information and reservations, call toll-free (800) 426-9280.

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Nostalgic music from the past is scheduled for several cruises out of Los Angeles on Admiral Cruise Line's Azure Seas' four-nighters this fall. The Kay Kayser Orchestra will be aboard for the Sept. 25 sailing; stars of the Lawrence Welk Show for the Nov. 13 sailing. The Russ Morgan Orchestra will entertain on Admiral Cruise Line's Stardancer during a seven-night sailing from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. Check with your travel agent for more information.

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