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Tours & Cruises

Toot Your Alphorn in Switzerland

April 05, 1998|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For people who have always wanted to learn how to play an unusual musical instrument, the Alphorn Academy of Switzerland is offering a workshop/tour for alphorn players (beginners and masters alike). The Alphorn Academy gives participants the chance to spend a working holiday either in Montreux on Lake Geneva or in Charmey in the Gruyere.

The schedule for beginners is June 20 to 27 or Aug. 29 to Sept. 5. A course for advanced players runs Sept. 12 to 19. The group will take an excursion to a local mountain restaurant for a fondue lunch. Participants also have time to tour the countryside during afternoons and evenings. Nonplaying companions get daily cooking lessons.

Cost: $685 per person, double occupancy, including daily alphorn lessons, accommodations with daily breakfast and dinner in a first class hotel. Air fare, ground transportation and alphorn rentals are extra.

Contact: Alphorn Academy of Switzerland, P.O. Box 9, 1820 Montreux, Switzerland; tel. 011-41-21-960-3903.

More Switzerland

Guided spring and summer walking tours are being offered by All About Switzerland. The spring tour departs June 8 and the summer tour leaves Aug. 31. Each two-week tour will include three to four nights in villages in the German-, French- and Italian-speaking regions.

The spring tour emphasizes wildflowers and castles, and the summer tour focuses on picturesque villages. Transportation is via train and bus.

Cost: $2,120 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, breakfasts and dinners, and transportation within Switzerland. Air fare is extra.

Contact: All About Switzerland, 272 Waugh Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95065; tel. (408) 476-4482.

Grand Canyon in Rafts

Navigate 188 miles down the Colorado River for six days on a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon June 28 to July 4. The tour traces much of the route of the John Wesley Powell expedition 127 years ago. The group will also travel through geologic time with a university geology professor and explore Redwall Cavern, Nautiloid Canyon, the Anasazi granary, Deer Creek Falls and the travertine pools of Havasupai Creek.

Participants ride in 30-foot motorized rafts driven by river guides. White-water rapids are interspersed with quiet flat stretches of river. All camping gear is provided and the guide prepares three meals a day.

Cost: $1,750 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip flight from Las Vegas to Page, Ariz.; one night motel in Page; all meals on the river; equipment; and helicopter ride out of the canyon. Transportation to Las Vegas is not included.

Contact: Carolyn Edwards, Your Travel Center, 1005 Casitas Pass Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013; tel. (805) 684-6601.

Tai Chi in China

An opportunity to study tai chi and other forms of Chinese martial arts is the focus of a three-week tour to China that starts Aug. 3. Tour members spend two weeks in Beijing at the University of Physical Education (all levels of experience welcome) and a week traveling to some of China's scenic and historic sites.

The group will visit the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven, and attend opera and acrobatics performances. Also on the itinerary is Xian, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai traveling by train, plane, canal boat and bus. Translators attend all classes and professional guides accompany the tour.

Cost: $2,775 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Vancouver (Canada), accommodations, all meals, travel within China and class fees.

Contact: Wan-Da Tour Co., 203-606 Courtney St., Victoria, Canada; tel. (888) 369-2632.

Bike and Cruise

Combine a weeklong cruise along Alaska's Inside Passage and Glacier Bay with a bicycling tour on trips that run Aug. 3 to 10 and Aug. 10 to 17. Port stops include Skagway, Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan. The riding level is moderate and there will be a van to accompany riders.

Cost: from $1,869 per person, including cabin on board the ship, all meals and sightseeing. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Bike & Cruise Tours, 3320 NE 29th St., Gresham, OR 97030; tel. (503) 667-4053.

More Biking

Two 10-day bicycling tours to the northern Netherlands are available July 2 to 11 and Sept. 3 to 12. Participants ride at a leisurely pace and visit the fishing village of Marken and the harbor town of Enkhuizen. After crossing IJssellake by boat, the group enters Friesland, the Netherlands' most independent province with its unique culture and language. Later the tour stops in Giethoorn.

Cost: $1,640 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, all breakfasts and dinners, tour guide, bike rental, support van, entrance fees and airport transfers. Air fare is additional.

Contact: Fay Grassi at Holland Bicycling Tours, P.O. Box 6485, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359; tel. (800) 852-3258.

Paris for Women

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