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TOURS & CRUISES

Spring Trip Focuses on Spain's Modern Masters

November 05, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Guggenheim Museum and Spain's 20th century masters are the focal points of "Five Artistic Spanish Stars: 20th Century Art & Architecture," a guided tour to Barcelona, Bilbao and San Sebastian from March 25 to April 2. Travelers will join art educator Barbara Sobo Gast of Oregon State University to explore the masterpieces, buildings and art of Picasso, Dali, Gaudi, Miro and Gehry. Other highlights include the Gran Teatre Opera del Liceu, the Palau de la Musica and the new Calatrava pedestrian bridge.

Cost: $3,165 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotel accommodations, transportation in Spain, admissions to museums, some meals and guides. The reservation deadline is Jan. 9.

Contact: ARTrageous Adventures, OSU Craft Center; telephone (541) 456-4331.

Africa: Bird-Watching

Jungle birds of Sapo National Park can be spotted on a trip to tropical Liberia from April 29 to May 13. An ornithologist will guide the tour. Guests will stay in a deluxe camp on the Sinoe River. They will canoe the river and walk into the forest to see gray parrots, the great blue turaco, kingfishers, fishing eagles and hundreds of other birds.

Cost: $2,925 per person, double occupancy, including lodging in cabin tent, guides, all meals, ground transportation and entrance fees. Air fare is extra.

Contact: West African Safaris; tel. (888) 454-7710, Internet http://www.westafricansafaris.net.

Romania: Crafts

Craft World Tours of Byron, N.Y., will take a small group to Romania's Maramures Province, celebrating Winter Festival 2000, from Dec. 16 to Jan. 2. Participants will experience unchanged holiday traditions and crafts of the villages in northern Romania. They will join age-old festivities, visit the homes of villagers and craftspeople and dine on traditional cuisine.

Beginning in Bucharest with a visit to the city's Peasant Museum, the tour will cover attractions, crafts and craftspeople in Brasov, Sighetu, Cluj, Sibiu and Bucovina in Moldavia province. Participants will see medieval Brasov's Black Church, with its collection of ancient Turkish carpets; tour the painted monasteries of Bucovina; visit the Folk Art Museum in Sighetu Marmatiei; and celebrate Christmas Eve in the village of Strimtura.

Christmas Day and the day after will be spent roaming the villages of Maramures, noted for their wooden churches, log homes and ornately carved wooden gates.

Cost: about $3,000 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, ground transportation with English-speaking guides and all meals. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Craft World Tours; tel. (716) 548-2667.

South Pacific: Volcano

The tour operator Flight Centre Limited is giving travelers an opportunity to see an active South Pacific volcano close up.

The volcano tour is part of a five-night Vanuatu trip available until March 31. The package includes three nights in a lagoon-view bungalow at Port Vila's Le Lagon Parkroyal and two nights at Tanna's White Grass Bungalows. From Tanna, guests drive to within 10 minutes of the top of the volcano's crater, via Lake Siwi and the ash plain, to watch the lava erupt.

Vanuatu's other attractions are its beaches, shopping and culture, including Pentecost Island, where locals, bound at the ankles, jump from high poles in a bungee-style ritual.

Visitors to Vanuatu can also see facilities built for the American servicemen who were based on the islands during World War II.

Cost: from $930 per person, including accommodations, guided tours, transfers, domestic air fare, baggage handling and service charges. International air fare is extra.

Contact: Flight Centre Limited; telephone (877) WORLD47 (967-5347).

Paris: Valentine

Adventure Vacations is hosting its annual Valentine's week in Paris Feb. 12 to 18. The trip includes a Moulin Rouge cabaret show with dinner, a Le Printemps department store discount card, a Lorenzi Diamond Museum pass and discount card, a five-day Metro pass and a three-day museum and monument pass.

Cost: $932 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles to Paris, five nights at the Hotel Victoria in the Opera district, daily breakfast, transfers and taxes.

Contact: Adventure Vacations, P.O. Box 1836, La Jolla, CA 92038; tel. (800) 600-5587 or (858) 459-1065.

London: Theater

El Camino College is offering a 13-week study tour to London, which includes classes in dramatic literature, British history and acting. Participants will attend five theater performances in London as well as a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. Also included are excursions to Stonehenge, Canterbury and Bath.

Cost: $5,700 per person, including round-trip air fare to London from Los Angeles, student apartment-style lodging, some meals, day excursions, classes and ground transportation.

Contact: El Camino College, tel. (310) 660-3824, or Ron Scarlata, on-site program leader, tel. (310) 660-3704.

The South: Cruise

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