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Matterhorn Is Given New View at the Top

November 18, 1990| Compiled from Times staff and wire service reports

As part of its celebrations of the 125th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn this past summer, the Swiss town of Zermatt erected a statue of St. Bernard, the patron of mountain guides, just below the mountain's 14,688-foot summit.

Detracting somewhat from Bernard's looks, unfortunately, is the inclusion of a lightning rod poking out of the saint's head--a reminder of the sudden electrical storms that can break out on the peak.

The first successful ascent of the mountain was made by Englishman Edward Whymper on July 14, 1865.

Travel Quiz: What is unusual about a particular 108,000 square miles of Antarctica?

Project Booklift: What began as a bright idea by Los Angeles-based flight attendant Terri New of Continental Airlines has blossomed into an international effort to provide Western literature to the people of Czechoslovakia.

Continental will fly more than 20,000 books collected by its employees to Czechoslovakia during the next few months. New, along with other Continental staff members from Los Angeles, Denver, Houston and Newark who have been involved in gathering the books, accompanied the first batch delivered to Prague.

Continental will transport the books on regularly scheduled flights to London. Czechoslovak Air will then transfer the books on to Prague, where the American Hospitality Center will arrange for customs clearance and preliminary distribution through volunteers of the Prague Spring Foundation.

Quick Fact: New York City is 310 miles closer to Paris than it is to Los Angeles.

Orange Bowl to Red Square: The Soviet airline Aeroflot is moving its refueling and technical stop from Havana to Miami and will begin service between Miami and Moscow sometime after April 1, 1991. Aeroflot's Moscow-Latin America flights also will be serviced in Miami.

New England Express: Amtrak has cut rail travel time between New York City and Boston to just under four hours with the introduction of its New England Express service.

Geared for business travelers, the trains make two round trips each weekday and one round trip each Saturday and Sunday. The train includes a dinette car, on-board telephone service and free meals at the passenger's seat for first-class travelers.

The one-way trip takes three hours and 50 minutes and costs $45.

Italian Hike: Italy has more than doubled the cost of visiting its museums, art galleries and archeological sites. Admission to more than 150 sites throughout the country, including such popular spots as the excavations at Pompeii, the Roman Forum and the Uffizi Palace in Florence, now costs $8.70, compared to $3.50 before the price hike.

The Ministry of Cultural Patrimony explained that the increased revenue produced will be used to hire personnel to protect the nation's cultural heritage from theft and vandalism.

Quick Fact: In China, 35,068 children are born each day.

Lost in Space: It may be nothing more than "an overgrown wilderness of blasted concrete," as one wire service described it, but Peenemuende in what was once East Germany could well become a tourist attraction.

Aviation and military history buffs already are coming to the former Nazi V-2 rocket-testing site on the Baltic island of Usedom, a four-hour drive northeast of Berlin.

Reunification and the arrival of democracy has made Peenemuende accessible to visitors for the first time, and plans for its future include museums, low-key tourism and possibly what one German businessman termed a "world peace park."

It was at Peenemuende on Oct. 3, 1942, that a V-2 blasted off, grazed the outer skin of the atmosphere and plunged to earth 120 miles away in man's first controlled ballistic missile flight.

The hidden ruins of the site lie in thick forest, but they have been mapped by Peenemuende-based East German Navy Capt. Bernd Fischer and Air Force Maj. Joachim Saathoff, who are studying the history of the V-2 proving ground. Fischer said the V-2 and those who developed it laid the foundation for 40 years of space achievements.

The site deserves a place in German history that would reflect its revolutionary contribution to flight technology without ignoring its dark role in warfare, Fischer said.

Now You Know: According to a nationwide survey commissioned by the Minneapolis-based Carson Travel Group, the average leisure traveler is 42 years old, married, has children, has some college education and earns $43,000 per year.

Quiz Answer: It's the 2% of the continent that is free of ice.

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