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TOURS & CRUISES

May 04, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer

RUSSIA

300 years of St. Petersburg history, and Moscow too

Discover ballet, borscht and Bolsheviks on a 15-day trip to Russia that focuses on St. Petersburg, the city of the czars, during the 300th anniversary of its founding.

The Sept. 4 tour, which also will visit Moscow, will be led by historian Robert S. Feldman, retired director of Russian studies at Cal State Fullerton.

"It's said that the Russian government has put more than $1.7 billion into restoring St. Petersburg and that it looks better now than it has since before World War I," Feldman said. The group won't be in the city during its May 23-to-June 1 celebration, "but we'll receive all the benefits of it without fighting the crowds," he said.

The group will spend seven days in St. Petersburg, visiting the Hermitage Museum twice. They'll also see Peter the Great's summer palace at Peterhof and Catherine I's Palace at Pushkin. Four days will be spent in Moscow, with visits to Red Square, the Kremlin, the KGB Museum and the Tretyakov Art Gallery for an overview of Russian works. During the trip, the group will see a ballet, a folk dance performance, a concert and the Moscow Circus.

Cost: $4,290 per person, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, hotel, two meals daily, excursion fees, theater and music performances, porterage and taxes.

Contact: Laguna Beach-based East-West International Tours; (800) 359-6719, www.east-west-tours.com.

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CALIFORNIA

River trips for adventure-loving parents and kids

Rocket through rapids and glide through glades on three-day family raft trips along the Klamath River in Northern California.

The river journeys, planned June 27 and July 11, take advantage of the Klamath's diverse moods: It is known for its challenging rapids and regions of tranquillity. Participants often see ospreys, bears, great blue herons and river otters. The trip includes a hike up a fern-lined side canyon to a waterfall.

Longer trips are available on the Klamath and the Rogue River in Oregon. Many include wine-tasting sessions and classical music performances around a campfire.

Cost: The three-day trips are $385 for adults and $330 for children 7 to 17, including on-river meals, guides, oar and paddle rafts and kayaks. Transportation is not provided to the tour's starting point, outside Happy Camp, Calif. (on Highway 96 midway between Yreka and Crescent City). Participants can rent tents and sleeping bags or bring their own.

Contact: James Henry River Journeys of Bolinas, Calif.; (800) 786-1830, www.riverjourneys.com.

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AUSTRIA, GERMANY

Much more than Mozart in two weeks of music

Tune into some of the best music Europe has to offer during a 14-day tour to Austria and Germany that includes 10 musical performances and a week in Salzburg during the Austrian city's renowned Summer Festival.

The July 23 trip, sponsored by the University of Redlands, will begin with a week of touring in Munich, medieval Fussen and the island city of Lindau, all in Germany; Bregenz, Austria, and the northern flank of the Bavarian Alps.

During the group's stay in Salzburg, they will attend operas: Mozart's "Abduction From the Seraglio," Verdi's "Don Carlo," Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann" and Richard Strauss' "Die Aegyptische Helena."

Accompanying the tour will be University of Redlands professor James Keays and emeritus professor Peter Madler, who will give informal lectures on Austrian culture and music.

Cost: $3,995 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, concert and opera tickets, two meals daily and land travel during the tour. International airfare is not included.

Contact: James Keays, (909) 793-2121, Ext. 3275.

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ENGLAND

A theatrical extravaganza for fans of the Bard

Go behind the scenes in London and Stratford-upon-Avon on a three-week theater tour that includes 12 to 14 plays.

The July 26 trip features meetings with actors, directors, playwrights, critics and scholars. Tour participants will spend 11 days in London and eight in Stratford, with seven plays by Shakespeare on the itinerary. Among the venues will be the Royal National Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

The tour will be led by Royal Shakespeare Company actor Tony Church and UC Santa Barbara professor Homer Swander. University credit is available from UCSB Extension.

Cost: $3,975, including hotel accommodations, daily breakfast, eight dinners, sightseeing and show tickets. Round-trip airfare from LAX to England is not included.

Contact: Homer Swander, (805) 687-2352, www.theatreinengland.org.

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CENTRAL EUROPE

Uncover cultural treasures of

five countries

Explore the castles, palaces and museums of Central Europe on a 16-day tour sponsored by Santa Monica College Community Services.

Participants will spend two nights each in the cities of Berlin, Warsaw and Vienna; Krakow, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; and Prague, Czech Republic. In each city they will tour with local guides. Rich Robinson, a professor at the college, will accompany the group.

Cost: $2,599 per person, double occupancy, or $2,999 single, including round-trip airfare from LAX, hotel accommodations, 14 breakfasts and eight other meals, airport transfers and baggage handling. Trip must be booked by May 19.

Contact: Rich Robinson, (310) 434-4731.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents, cruise lines or tour operators.

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