Wales of a Tale or Two in Britain

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A seven-day journey into the heartland of Celtic myths and legends of ancient Wales starts April 23 in Cardiff, Wales, and is escorted by folklore specialists Kelly and Bob Wilhelm. Daily countryside excursions focus on stories of the search for the Holy Grail and the elusive Red Dragon, a symbol of Wales. Participants will stay at the historic Old Gwernyfed, a restored 16th-Century Elizabethan manor. Evening storytelling will be around the fire in the banquet hall. Cost: $2,089 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, breakfast and dinners, and ground transportation. Not included: air fare to Wales. Contact: Storyfest Journeys, 18934 Rolling Road, Hagerstown, Md. 21742; telephone (800) 277-7035.

Easter in Guatemala

The Collectors Council of The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art of Orange County is sponsoring a trip to Guatemala April 12-23. The group will spend Easter weekend in the colonial town of Antigua witnessing a religious procession where people stroll through "carpets" of flowers laid in the street.

The trip provides a cultural mix of visits to native villages and markets, museums, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenagno along with an optional extension to the archeological sites of Tikal National Park. Cost: $1,900 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, sightseeing, transfers, boat trips and transportation, and membership to The Bowers Museum and the Collectors Council. Meals are not included. The Tikal extension is $350 extra. Group size is limited 20. Deposits due March 1. Contact: Bowers Museum Collectors Council, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, Calif. 92706; tel. (714) 650-4778.

Beautiful Borneo

A 16-day wildlife tour to the island of Borneo leaves Los Angeles June 24. The tour will be escorted by Robert Gustafson, a retired botanist from the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, and Laurel Woodley, a biologist and science teacher at Harbor College.

The tour concentrates on the northern portion of the island in Sabah and Sarawak, with an optional hike to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu to watch the sunrise. Guests will have an opportunity to watch green turtles lay their eggs, observe orangutans and proboscis monkeys in the wild, visit a butterfly farm and see the world's largest flower, the rafflesia. Cultural history tours of the island are also included. Cost: $3,350 per person, double occupancy, including air fare, accommodations, transportation, most meals and guides. Contact: Geostar Travel, 1240 Century Court, Santa Rosa, Calif. 95403; tel. (800) 624-6633.

Horsy Rides

Two four-day horseback rides through Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley, Ariz., will take place April 14 and April 18. Hosted by a Navajo family in their own canyon at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, guests stay in the canyon and sleep in the Johns' family 40-foot hogan at Antelope Ruins. Day rides of three to six hours will take riders to parts of Canyon de Chelly not open to the public, where they will see ancient ruins with wall art and archeological sites of the Anasazi and Navajo civilizations. Groups are small (maximum 12) and horses are provided. Cost: $1,150, including horse, guides and lodging at the hogan. Not included: transportation to Arizona or meals. Contact: Judith Connelly, Bastrop Farms, Route 1, 1390 Cardinal Drive, Paige, Tex. 78659; tel. (512) 303-0378.

French in France

Learn French at the Sorbonne in Paris and explore the Ile-de-France region on a one-month travel/study tour departing June 30. The program includes all levels of courses at the University of Paris where one to seven college units can be earned through Palomar College, San Marcos, Calif. No previous knowledge of French is necessary. Three one-day excursions are taken to Pierrefonds, Senlis and Chantilly; Chartres and Versailles; Provins and Moret. The tour will be led by French professor Marie-Elisabeth Clark, a native of France. Cost: $2,290 including accommodations with French families or in university dormitories, one meal per day, metro and bus passes and cultural performances. An optional three-day excursion to Brittany and Normandy is also available for $180. Not included: air fare to France. For information, contact Clark at Palomar College, Foreign Languages department, 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, Calif. 92069; tel. (619) 744-1150, Ext. 2390. Program arrangements are made through ACCENT, 425 Market St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, Calif. 94105; tel. (415) 904-7756.

Canadian Stampede

Kick up your heels July 2 for eight days during Country Western Dance Week at the Kananaskis Guest Ranch on the Bow River in Alberta, Canada. The Country Western Dance Week offers dance workshops for all levels taught by professionals. Tour itinerary includes opening day of the Calgary Stampede with grandstand show, chuck wagon races and an evening show with fireworks. Participants will take a tour of Banff and Lake Louise with lunch at Chateau Lake Louise. Program includes Western living history presentations, cowboy poetry, Western barbecue with a live band, evening theme dances, horseback riding and fishing. Cost: $1,085 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, 17 ranch meals, workshops and private lesson. Not included: air fare to Canada and transfers. Contact: Deer Travel Services, 1993 Lockwood, Corona, Calif. 91719; tel: (909) 371-3337.

Yiddish Cruise

Royal Cruise Line's Royal Odyssey will host a Yiddish workshop during a nine-day Panama Canal crossing Dec. 11. The workshop is not designed to teach passengers how to speak Yiddish, but passengers will have a chance to brush up on their Yiddish, as well as learn the history, humor, music and some of the curses through group discussions. Cost: from $1,667 per person, double occupancy. Air fare from most cities is included. Special group discounts expire June 30. Contact: Regency Travel, 10330 Friars Road, San Diego, Calif. 92120; tel. (800) 362-6221.

Grand Canyon Rafting

Raft on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon for five days July 2 with a professional geologist. Thirty-foot inflatable boats take rafters to places only reachable by rafts, including the Fern Cascade at Vasey's Paradise, sandy-floored Redwall Cavern and the warm travertine pools of Havasupai Creek. Quiet flat-water drifting alternates with white-water rafting in the canyon. Professional river guides pilot the rafts through Crystal, Hermit, Hance and Lava falls, and 20 other major rapids. All camping gear is provided and the guides prepare three meals a day on the river. Cost: $1,465 per person, including round-trip air charter from Las Vegas to Page, Ariz., one night hotel in Page, and a helicopter ride out of the canyon. Contact: Carolyn Edwards, Your Travel Center, 1005 Casitas Pass Road, Carpinteria, Calif. 93013; tel. (805) 684-6601.

Harvest Time

Taste the harvest of four wineries in Santa Ynez Valley wine country on an all-day motor-coach tour that leaves Costa Mesa at 7:30 a.m. and Studio City at 8:30 a.m. on March 11. The tour starts with breakfast en route . Itinerary includes: Houtz Vineyards, Firestone Vineyards, Zaca Mesa Winery and Fess Parker Winery. Participants return in the evening between 6 and 7 p.m. Cost: $75, including transportation, breakfast, lunch, snack and admissions. Contact: Epicurean Wine Tours, 605 S. Marengo Ave., No. A, Pasadena, Calif. 91106; tel. (818) 795-2661. The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents or tour operators.

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