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TOURS & CRUISES

Tracing Man's Art Effort From Caves in Europe

March 25, 2001|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES TRAVEL WRITER

"Prehistoric Cave Art and Medieval Villages" in rural Spain and France are the focus of a Sept. 1 to 16 travel-study tour offered by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The tour, which begins in Madrid and ends in Paris, offers access to prehistoric cave art sites including Altamira and Lascaux II. Travelers will spend evenings in medieval villages, including Sarlat and Les Eyzies in France. A full-day visit to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in northern Spain is included.

Cost: $4,585 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, most meals and entrance fees. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Christine Robison, travel program coordinator, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; telephone (213) 763-3350, Internet http://www.nhm.org.

East Coast: Cruise

The Night Blooming Jazzmen, a Southern California band, is headlining a fall foliage cruise aboard Holland America's Amsterdam, departing Sept. 7 from New York City. The cruise will visit ports along the New England and Canada coasts, arriving 10 days later in Montreal.

Cost: from $2,420 per person, double occupancy, including the cruise, port charges and taxes, a shore excursion in Quebec, private performances by the band and a private cocktail party. Air fare to New York is extra.

Contact: Lorraine Taylor at Travel Solutions, 1 World Trade Center, Suite 101, Long Beach, CA 90831; tel. (562) 436-3325, http://www .travelsolutions1.com.

Ireland: History

Glendale Community College is offering its third summer study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland, open to students or travelers interested in Irish history and culture.

Participants will attend classes on the Glendale campus from June 1 to 8, then will resume their studies June 13 to July 10 in Dublin. Courses include world politics and Irish history. College credit is given. Program director John Queen will teach the political science course.

In Dublin, guides will take students on tours of Christ Church Cathedral, St. Stephen's Green, Trinity College, Parnell Square and other landmarks.

There will be a three-day trip to Northern Ireland, with visits to Belfast and the Antrim coast.

Cost: $2,890 per person, including air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations, some meals and guided tours.

Contact: Florence Ricchiazzi; tel. (818) 551-5152.

Europe: Danube

Value World Tours offers a five-country cruise along the southern Danube River aboard the Balkan Beauty. Cruises include on-board lectures, a wine tasting, picnics and entertainment. Six departures are available, starting in August and ending in October. Passengers fly into Bucharest, Romania, and depart from Vienna.

Cost: from $1,298 per person, double occupancy. Air fare is extra. A three-day extension to Dracula's Castle in Brasov, Romania, is available for $349 per person.

Contact: Value World Tours, 17220 Newhope St., No. 202, Fountain Valley, CA 92708; tel. (800) 795-1633 or (714) 556-8258, http://www.rivercruises.net.

France: Provence

Spend a week in a restored 18th century farmhouse in southern France near the town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The tour will be led by Dwight and Barbara Bennett, experts in the wine, cuisine and art of France.

Daily tours will include antique shopping at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Roman ruins in St.-Remy-de-Provence and Arles, picnicking at Pont-du-Gard, touring the Palace of the Popes in Avignon and wine tasting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Guests will also shop in some of the ancient hill towns, such as Gordes, and will visit the designer shops and tree-lined streets of Aix-en-Provence. There will be ample time to relax by the pool at the farmhouse, take long country walks and watch Provencal cooking demonstrations. Tours depart Sept. 8, 15 and 22.

Cost: $2,175 per person, double occupancy, including seven nights' accommodations, all breakfasts, nine meals, transportation to sites, transfers, tips and entrance fees. Air fare to France is not included.

Contact: Provence Tours by Dwight and Barbara Bennett, 35216 Camino Capistrano, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624; tel. (949) 443-0130.

Kenya: Wildlife

Discover the rich wildlife heritage of Kenya in encounters with elephants and lions. Chris Pfefferkorn, zoological curator at the Oregon Zoo and an expert on African animals, will escort a tour of Kenya, leaving Portland on June 8 and returning June 19.

The timing of the journey coincides with the migration of the wildebeest and zebra herds from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Chances of spotting lion prides there are good. Giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and monkeys will be seen during a day of exploration in the Samburu Game Reserve. At the Uaso Nyiro River, hippos resting in the water and crocodiles basking on sand spits will be on view.

Accommodations at the base of Mt. Kenya overlook a wildlife watering hole.

A naturalist will lead a walk through the forest, where colobus monkeys and elephant herds can be found. The history and lifestyle of the native Mau Mau and Kikuyu people will also be highlighted.

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