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Days of Wine and Rafting in California

TIMES STAFF WRITER

“Wine Water Rafting” is a trip that combines two days of rafting on the South Fork of the American River north of Sacramento with a Saturday evening of wine tasting overlooking the river. The tour runs July 10 to 12. Guests will take a bus (with refreshments and movies on the bus) from Orange County or Los Angeles to a campground near the river, where the tent and sleeping pads are already set up for guests. Experienced guides will give instruction on the rafting trips. A Saturday evening slide show will feature photos of guests rafting down the river. A wine-tasting session will offer samples from local wineries such as Gold Hill and Charles Mitchell.

Cost: $299 per person, including round-trip bus transportation, two nights camping at a private campground, two days of rafting, buffet breakfasts, riverside picnic lunches and an outdoor dinner. Air transportation into Sacramento, including transfers, is available at additional cost.

Contact: Pacific Sports Tours, 212 Yacht Club Way, No. A-7, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; telephone (310) 798-1234.

In-Line Weekend

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Look like a real Californian and learn how to skate at the Camp Santa Rosa in-line skating program July 2 to 5. Santa Rosa is 60 miles north of San Francisco. Eighteen classes include “street funk,” “roller boogie” and “basic turns and stops.” Adults and children of any level can participate.

Cost: The four-day tuition is $375 per person, including classes, daily breakfast, lunch and two dinners. Motel accommodations are extra.

Contact: All Wheel Sports at (800) 959-3385.

Writing in Paris

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Authors of fiction, poetry, essays, and memoirs are welcome to join a small-group writing tour to Paris and southern France from Sept. 9 to 20. A welcome reception in a classic Paris bistro will be offered on the first night, and an orientation tour of Paris will be given.

Each morning starts with a writing class taught by author Terry Wolverton, with exercises, discussion and assignments. Afternoons and evenings will be open for writing, relaxing and exploration. Guests will then travel from Paris to the small village of Montolieu for six nights to swim in the rivers, shop the bookstores on cobblestone streets or ride horses.

Cost: $2,950 per person, including round-trip air fare between LAX to Paris, transfers, accommodations, daily breakfasts, six dinners, daily writing classes and a Paris city tour.

Contact: Anne Block, Take My Mother Please Tours, 1270 S. Alfred St., Suite 219, Los Angeles, CA 90035; tel. (213) 937-9073.

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Israel’s 50th

Elite World Travel is offering a 10-day trip to Israel in commemoration of Israel’s 50th anniversary on Nov. 9. Highlights include the old walled city of Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, the birthplace of Jesus, Masada, Jericho, a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Roman ruins and Dead Sea Scroll sites.

Cost: $2,048 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, full Israeli breakfast and dinner daily, admission to all biblical and historical sites and services of a licensed tour guide and driver.

Contact: Virginia Johnson at Elite World Travel, 13416 Telegraph Road, Whittier, CA 90605; telephone (562) 944-9996.

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Coasting Along Amalfi

A 15-day tour of Italy’s Amalfi coastline runs from Oct. 13 to 27. The tour includes four days in Sorrento and six days in Ravello, visiting also Naples’ Archeological Museum, Pompei, Capri and Paestum. Also planned: a full day in Positano, another day in Amalfi and three days in Rome visiting the Vatican Museum and the Borghese Gallery.

In Ravello a local chef will give a class in Italian cooking, inviting participants to help prepare the meal. During the trip, tour guide Alberto Benzi will offer classes in Italian. He will encourage participants to speak Italian with the local people.

Cost: $2,995 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, first class hotels, daily buffet breakfast and dinners, motor-coach transportation, luggage handling and tips.

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Contact: Professor Alberto Benzi; tel. (619) 454-1434.

Lore of Spain

Experience the legends, lore and traditions of Spain on a 10-night trip that begins Oct. 11. Guests will explore within the fortified walls of the medieval city of Avila. They will see the monastery in El Escorial in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama and visit El Greco in view of Toledo.

Also scheduled: Madrid; Cordoba; Seville, with its Arab waterwheels and Roman bridges; a trip through the Sierra Morena to the heart of wine country; and the coastal village of Puerto de Santa Maria and nearby Jerez. The tour guide will share a number of her secret hideaways and take guests to visit with family friends.

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Cost: $1,895 per person, double occupancy, including ground transportation, hotels, some meals and sightseeing.

Contact: the Gurnham Group; tel. (800) 475-0004.

Bangkok and Beyond

Nab bargains for gems, silks, antiques and arts and crafts on a tour to Thailand Aug. 5 to 14. Travelers will hunt for well-priced treasures as well as get a chance to see the remote hill tribes of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.

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The agrarian hill villages of Yao and Meo will be seen. In addition, travelers will explore the Golden Triangle, the Thai border with Burma and Laos. They will also see dance performances and take an elephant trek through the forest, an ox cart ride through a village and a bamboo raft down the Phraya River.

In Bangkok, there will be visits to the Royal Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple. Later, travelers will board a long-tail boat to visit a floating market. They will also visit the National Museum and gem factories.

Cost: $2,308 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, domestic flights in Thailand, hotels, air-conditioned motor coach and some meals.

Contact: Elise Stettner, Altour International; tel. (800) 564-1389.

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Pacific Coast Cruise

Friendly Excursions is offering a Canadian Rockies tour along with a Pacific Coast cruise starting Sept. 20 for 11 days. The tour begins in Spokane, Wash., with a land tour to Idaho and into Canada, visiting Kootnay National Forest, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Vancouver and Victoria. Then guests board Holland America’s Stantendam for the cruise back to Los Angeles.

Cost: $1,798 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, motor-coach transportation, hotels, most meals and park entrance fees. A discount of $100 is available if booked by June 5.

Contact: Friendly Excursions, P.O. Box 69, Sunland, CA 91041; tel. (800) 281-2199 or (818) 353-7726.

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


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