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Tours & Cruises

Myths and Legends in the Himalayas


See dancers re-create the myths and legends of Himalayan Buddhism at the Thimphu and Punakha festivals in Bhutan Sept. 9 to 28. Participants arrive in Calcutta, via Singapore, to do some local sightseeing and visit Mother Teresa's ashram. Next, guests fly to Darjiling (Darjiling tea is grown here) to visit tea gardens and see a sunrise on the Himalayas from Tiger Hill. The group will drive to Gangtok, Sikkim, to see the ancient monasteries and outdoor bazaars, and then it's on to Kalimpang for a rest stop before entering the border town of Phuntsholing in the Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan.

In the valley of Paro, guests will see the Tiger's Nest monastery, which clings to sheer cliffs 3,000 feet above the valley. They continue on to Punakha valley to Wangdiphodrang at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. At the Punakha festival there, the group will witness temple ceremonies, including chantings of hundreds of monks, folk music and archery competitions. Another day is spent at the Thimphu festival. Members also attend the weekend market, and visit a school of Thangka painting and a mask-makers workshop.

Cost: $5,495 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, most meals, transfers, excursions and guides. Extensions available to Tibet, Nepal and other parts of India.

Contact: Worldview Travel, 125 Lakewood Center Mall, Lakewood, CA 90712; telephone (800) 782-4754.

Women in Vienna

eight-night women-only trip to Vienna leaves Sept. 30 and returns Oct. 8. Participants will attend a concert by the Vienna Choir Boys, and a performance by the dancing white Lipizzaner Stallions at the Spanish Riding Academy. Also included is attendance at the Vienna Opera with a tour backstage before the performance and an afternoon at a coffeehouse to sample Viennese pastries. They will also visit the palatial apartments and landscaped gardens of Schonbrunn Palace.

A two-day side trip is also included to "The Sound of Music" countryside and the city of Salzburg. The visit here will include a cable car ride to the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which towers high above the city. Salzburg is the city of Mozart, and the trip will include an evening concert featuring music by him.

The return to Vienna is via a cruise on the Danube, with the last night on tour spent at a family-run, 200-year-old inn in the Vienna Woods. There will be a wine tasting in the nearby wine village of Grinzing and a farewell dinner party. From Vienna, members fly home or they may elect to participate in an optional three-day visit to the nearby Czech Republic city of Prague.

Cost: $3,495 per person, including air fare, hotels, most meals, transfers, tickets to programs and performances, gratuities and guides.

Contact: Harvest Travel International, 5801 Christie Ave., Suite 110, Emeryville, CA 94608; tel. (800) 227-0464.

New England Heritage

A fall trip to Connecticut and Massachusetts Oct. 4 through 13 will focus on museums and historic homes of the area beginning with the homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe in Hartford. Participants will also visit Wetherfield, where the largest historic district in Connecticut is located, with 150 homes dating before 1850. A day will be spent at Massachusetts' Old Sturbridge Village, which is a living history museum, and Salem to see the Salem Witch Museum and the House of Seven Gables. In the Berkshires, visits will be made to the Hancock Shaker Village and Deerfield.

Cost: $2,695 per person, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotel accommodations, chartered motor coach, most meals and entrance fees.

Contact: Spectrum Tours, P.O. Box 50608, Santa Barbara, CA 93150; tel. (805) 969-9665.

Traditional Christmas

Have a tradition-filled Christmas this year on an eight-night Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas markets) excursion to Germany. The Nov. 29 tour begins in Heidelberg and stops at Rothenburg, Scharding, Nurnberg, and Munich. An over-the-border excursion into Salzburg, Austria, is also made. A second departure leaves Dec. 7 to visit Germany's Black Forest and the Alsace region of France, with overnight stays in Munich, Rothenburg, Freiburg and Mainz. Group size is limited to 32 each trip.

Cost: $1,390 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, motor-coach transportation, breakfast daily, six dinners, tours, entrance fees, luggage porterage, transfers, taxes, service charges and gratuities. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Gerhard Meng, 921 S.W. Morrison, Suite 426, Portland, OR 97205; tel. (503) 223-2402.

Balloons in Southwest

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