If your travel fantasies include watching a spectacular sunset from a beach in Bermuda, yodeling from atop an Austrian Alp or simply feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, these videos may be for you:
"BERMUDA" (Van Arsdale's Video Travel Guide, 1988, 40 minutes). This tape, narrated with candor and free of commercial tie-ins, is best suited for travel planners. Information on what to see and do is provided while the camera takes in lovely pastel houses, green hills, flowers, quaint villages, beautiful, uncrowded beaches and historic forts that once protected this old "Gibraltar of the West."
Outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, scuba diving, golf, tennis and riding also are shown.
A tour of Hamilton, Bermuda's capital, takes viewers along Front Street, the main thoroughfare, and offers hints on shopping. The narrator reminds viewers that there are no rental cars in Bermuda; touring is by bus or taxi, or you can go native and use a bicycle or moped. There are also horse-drawn carriages. Ferryboats are used for coastal and inter-island transport.
West of Hamilton, the video provides a quick look at some of Bermuda's beautiful beaches before reaching Somerset and the Maritime Museum across the bridge on Ireland Island.
To the east you visit Flatt's Village Aquarium, the Swizzle Inn (home of the famous drink), the Crystal Caves and the old capital of St. George. The video ends with extensive film selection of hotels, showing interiors and exteriors from deluxe to simple guest cottages. Recommendations are given for dining and a sampling of night life is shown.
The tape covers a lot of ground in 40 minutes, but plenty of information is provided in the frank, concise narration.
Tapes are available from Van Arsdale's Video Travel Guides, 281 11th Ave., South Naples, Fla. 33940. Phone toll-free (800) 262-8181. Price $29.95.
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"AUSTRIA," (Video Visits, International Video Network, 1988, 51 minutes). Armchair travelers will enjoy this film the most, but it also will be of some interest to travel planners just beginning their research.
It opens with a map and a segment on Austria's history and government, then moves quickly to a tour of Salzburg and such sights as the Dwarf Garden, outdoor market, baroque churches, the lake country, golf courses and a visit with a descendant of the Hapsburgs at the estate. All of this with the ever-present reminders of the influence of Mozart and "The Sound of Music."
The video then takes viewers along the Danube to such places as the prison where Richard the Lion Hearted was confined, the wine country and Baden spas.
Time is spent amid the beauty of the Tirol and Innsbruck and the magnificent Heiligenblut, plus visits to where the famed Lippizaner horses are raised and to an armor museum in Graz.
There's a concert by the Vienna Boys Choir and a stop at such sights as Schoenberg Palace. A taste of Vienna night life and the city's atmospheric wine taverns, coffee houses and discos also are included.
Much is touched upon too briefly, but the the good film quality, live music and the narration makes this pleasant entertainment. No tips or recommendations are given.
Tapes are available from International Video Network, Video Visits, 2242 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, Calif. 94583. Phone (415) 866-1121. Price $24.95.
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"GREAT BRITAIN," (Fodor's Video Guide, 1988, 75 minutes). Travel planners benefit the most from this video's format, which provides not only a typical travelogue of many of Britain's most popular tourist sites but devotes a large portion to the type of practical travel information usually found in guidebooks.
The video is divided into three sections. The first takes the viewer on a tour of London, including a boat ride on the Thames, visits to pubs and narration on various methods of transportation.
The tour includes a brief look at such shopping spots as Harrods, the Burlington Arcade, Covent Garden, Lock & Co. (London's oldest hat store), Saville Row and Sotheby's auction house.
Other highlights include a trip to Oxford and its university, Blenheim Castle, the Cotswolds and the Lake District. The final stop is in Edinburgh, with visits to a bagpipe shop, Holyrood House, the Royal Mile, a whiskey distillery and a salmon and trout fishing excursion.
The second part contains travel tips given by authorities on such subjects as safeguarding your money, jewelry and credit cards; how to use the phone; how much to tip; travel by train; care of your camera, and customs regulations.
Part three includes Fodor's selection of hotels rated from luxury to inexpensive, with information on location and any other advantages. Still photos of the hotels are shown where available. These are not paid commercials.
Fodor's also provides a handy pocket guide with each tape, indexing items shown on the film to help viewers find a desired item more quickly. The booklet contains maps of the areas covered and a glossary of British terms.
Tapes are available from Fodor's Video Guides, Random House Inc., Order Entry Department, 400 Hahn Road, Westminster, Md. 21157. Phone toll-free (800) 733-3000. Price $19.95.