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YOUTH BEAT

Experience EXPO 2000 in Germany This Summer

March 05, 2000|LUCY IZON

As many as 30,000 young people are expected to visit EXPO 2000 daily in Hannover, Germany, this summer. Special arrangements have been made for them: budget-priced accommodations at the exhibition gate and reduced entrance fees for students.

EXPO 2000 will run from June 1 to Oct. 31, with presentations and pavilions representing more than 200 countries and international organizations. The theme is "Humankind-Nature-Technology."

At the EXPO gate, the International Youth Camp can accommodate up to 1,600 per night, in rooms with eight to 10 beds. The six-unit wooden structure, designed by French architect Kurt Hofmann, is open to visitors age 16 to 28. Guests can stay a maximum of two nights for $18 per night, plus $2 for bed linens. Individuals are welcome, but expect to share with large organized youth groups. It would be wise to reserve a bed for this huge event. Reservations can be made by fax at 011- 49-511-2283-2099, by e-mail at info@haj.expo2000.de or by mail: EXPO 2000 Hannover GmbH, Attn. Youth Camp, 30510 Hannover, Germany.

Single-day tickets to enter the EXPO grounds will be on sale at the EXPO gate. Tickets cost about $40 on weekdays, $45 on weekends. Students age 12 to 27 pay $30 on weekdays and $35 on weekends. Afternoon, evening and multiple-day tickets are also available.

Exhibits on the 395-acre EXPO grounds explore modern challenges, including energy, new technologies, communications, health, mobility and jobs. EXPO will also have a youth information desk, an Internet cafe and a two-story sports activity pavilion with areas for skateboarding, in-line skating, biking, beach volleyball and rock climbing. An international disco will hold up to 4,000 nightly.

More information on EXPO 2000 is available on the Internet at http://www.expo2000.de. If you prefer other accommodations, area youth hostels are listed on the Internet at http://www.djh.de. Eighteen German hostels can be booked in advance for a small fee through Hostelling International's reservation service. For information, call (202) 783-6161, Internet http://www.hiayh.org.

If you have a train pass, you can commute to Hannover from another city. The German Rail Youth Pass, which is available to travelers under 26, costs from $100 for four days to $180 for 10 days of second-class travel. Travel must be within a one-month period. Remember, if you want to hop aboard one of the high-speed trains using a youth rail pass, you'll usually be charged an extra $10 reservation fee and possibly another supplement. German Rail Youth Passes, which are available through travel agents, must be purchased before you travel abroad.

If you decide to move on to Berlin, one of the popular hostels, Die Fabrik (the Factory) Hostel, now has a site on the Internet, http:// www.diefabrik.com, with information about reservations. The building, which was a factory in 1900, was restored and expanded in 1995. It's in a lively part of Berlin, within walking distance of bars, restaurants, parks, swimming pools and a vibrant night life.

There are single, double and dormitory accommodations, with sheets, blankets, towels and lockers included in the overnight fee. A bed in a dormitory room costs $15, double rooms cost $48 and rooms with three beds cost $60. Weekday breakfasts are $6, and weekend breakfast buffets are $7.

For more information, contact Die Fabrik, Hostel-Kreuzberg, Schlesische Strasse 18, 10997 Berlin, telephone 011-49-30-611-71- 16, fax 011-49-30-618-29-74, e-mail info@diefabrik.com.

Two other events will draw huge crowds of young visitors to Germany this year. Berlin's annual Love Parade will be July 8. It's known as the world's biggest techno party and will draw up to 1 million people. The world's largest annual beer party, Munich's Oktoberfest, starts Sept. 16 and runs through Oct. 1. For more information on Germany, contact the German National Tourist Office, 122 E. 42nd St., 52nd Floor, New York, NY 10168-0072; tel. (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174, Internet http:// www.germany-tourism.de.

Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet http://www.izon.com.

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