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Tours & Cruises

Stirring Up Flavors of Italy at Cooking School


Vacations for food lovers and cooking fans are being offered by Essence of Italy this spring and fall. These culinary programs are held at La Bottega del 30 in Tuscany, Italy.

The restaurant has constructed a cooking school with a large, modern kitchen. Morning classes are hands-on, and each class concludes with lunch, sipping wines and tasting olive oil pressed on the premises. The school also has a library, wine cellar, its own herb garden and an outdoor dining terrace.

Weekly programs include seven nights lodging in an apartment that is located in a charming village 20 minutes from Siena, one hour south of Florence.

Cost: $2,400 per person, double occupancy, including ground transportation from Siena, breakfasts, five lunches, five dinners and two escorted excursions. Air fare to Italy is extra.

Contact: Diana Place, Essence of Italy, P.O. Box 956, Boca Raton, FL 33429; telephone (561) 361-0301.

African Safaris

Kenya Study Safaris is offering two 22-day luxury safaris to the game parks of Kenya and Tanzania on June 12 to July 3 and July 10 to July 31. In Kenya, participants will visit the Mt. Kenya Safari Club; a chimpanzee sanctuary at Sweetwaters, a private game reserve; Treetops Lodge; and the game parks of Samburu, Nakuru and Masai Mara.

In Tanzania, guests go to the game parks of Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge.

Participants may encounter large herds of plain animals and their predators--the large cats and hyenas--in Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti parks. Guests will have the opportunity to see the great wildebeest migration either in Kenya or Tanzania.

A six-day add-on expedition to climb Africa's highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro ( 19,340 feet), will begin immediately before or at the end of each safari.

Tour leader Leonard Moite has planned visits to museums, schools, African villages and markets, tea and coffee plantations.

Cost: from $5,400 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare to Nairobi, ground transportation, hotels, most meals, and museum and park entrance fees.

Contact: Kenya Study Safaris, 30037 Via Borica, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; tel. (310) 377-6790.

4-Wheel History

Rev up your four-wheel drive on a 250-mile guided tour of the 1849 wagon route used by thousands of Gold Rush pioneers. The route goes from Imlay, Nev. (an old mining town), to Alturas, Calif. The three-day tour leaves July 18. Led by experienced guides, participants will see desert and mountain scenery, and make stops at historical spots such as places where pioneer names are carved on rocks and wheel tracks from covered wagons can be seen. Members will camp one night. Another night is spent at Soldier Meadows, a facility on the site of a historic fort and hot springs. The tour is insured and operated under a Bureau of Land Management recreational permit. It is limited to 25 vehicles.

Cost: $250 per person, including all meals. Participants need to bring a tent and sleeping bag. Contact: Ed Dunkley, 9401 Golden Drive, Orangevale, CA 95662; tel. (916) 988-4690; or Warner Anderson, 3750 Otto Way, Auburn, CA 95602; tel. (530) 878-8833.

Week in Provence

Spend a week in a restored 18th century farmhouse in southern France starting Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26. The secluded farmhouse is near Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and guests will take daily tours that include antique shopping, visiting Roman ruins in St.-Remy de Provence and Arles, picnicking at Pont-du-Gard and touring the Palace of the Popes in Avignon. Time is also scheduled for shopping, Provencal cooking demonstrations and wine-tasting. The farmhouse has a swimming pool, and guest rooms have private bathrooms.

Cost: $1,975 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, many meals, ground transportation, entrance fees and tips. Air fare to France is additional.

Contact: Dwight and Barbara Bennett, 3855 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, CA 90807; tel. (562) 426-4732.

French in the Alps

Spend the month of July touring and studying in the foothills of the Alps, attending the Language Institute in Annecy. Classes are available at all levels, and no previous knowledge of French is required. The program begins on June 29 with a five-day trip to Paris and ends on July 28. The group is limited to 15 participants.

Located on Lake Annecy, the town offers swimming, water sports, wind surfing, tennis, hiking and sightseeing. Tours offered include trips to Geneva, Chamonix and Mt. Blanc, as well as visits to the border towns of Switzerland and Italy.

Also included is a guided visit of historic Lyons, the second largest city in France.

Cost: $2,200 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, dormitory accommodations with bath, one day unlimited train travel, breakfasts in Paris, student rates for meals in Annecy and classes at the Institute.

Contact: Kenneth Carter, Rendez-Vous in France; tel. (714) 494-2059.

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