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Something’s Blooming in Spain’s Andalusia

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mediterranean gardens make up the theme for a tour of Andalusia, in southern Spain, scheduled to start in Seville on April 12 and end in Malaga on the 23rd. It includes the gardens of the Alcazar palaces in Seville and Cordoba (originally made by the Moors who invaded Spain in the 8th century), and the Alhambra and Generalife gardens in Granada. There will be visits to Jerez, Ronda and Santa Fe, where in 1492 Columbus signed the agreement with the Spanish monarchs who sponsored his voyage.

Cost: $3,850 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, transfers, touring, entrances and most meals. Not included: international air fare.

Contact: INGATOURS, 5 The Dell, Pinner, Middlesex, England, HA5 3EW; telephone (800) 581- 0911. (Note: England is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. It’s best to call from the U.S. in the morning.)

Mediterranean: Cruise

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Combine Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and France on a cruise that begins May 6 in Barcelona, Spain. Passengers will tour the city before boarding the Marco Polo. The itinerary also includes Cannes, France; Rome, Florence, Sorrento and Portofino, Italy; Santorini, Mykonos and Delos, Greece; and Ephesus and Istanbul, Turkey.

Cost: $2,325 per person, double occupancy, including airport transfers, hotels in Istanbul and Barcelona, sightseeing tours, most meals, baggage handling and lectures. Air fare from Los Angeles is additional.

Contact: Professor Benzi’s Cultural Tours; tel. (619) 454-1434.

Virginia: Plantations

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Explore 150 years of plantation life on a tour to Virginia March 26 to April 2. Two interior design instructors will lead the tour and share their knowledge of historic furnishings and the history and architecture of the area. Visits will be made to selected Virginia plantations and Colonial Williamsburg.

Cost: $1,550 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from L.A., accommodations, sightseeing and some meals.

Contact: Marilyn Litvak, The Travel Arrangers of Pasadena; tel. (626) 793-1466.

Scandinavia: Churches

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A 14-day “Christian Heritage Tour” will be led by two Lutheran ministers to Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The tour leaves Los Angeles June 24.

Participants will visit Copenhagen; Goteborg, Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden; and Lillehammer, Oslo and Bergen, Norway. In each city the focus will be on historic Christian churches, but other tourist sites are visited.

The tour is being operated by NAWAS International Travel.

Cost: $2,998 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, ground transportation by motor coach, first-class hotels, daily breakfasts, nine dinners and all sightseeing and admission fees. Airport taxes are extra.

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Contact: Harvey Wehrmeister, tour director; tel. (323) 874-7206.

Turkey: Istanbul

Megatrails is offering one-week winter tours of Istanbul on various departure dates through March. Popular sites such as the Blue Mosque and a shopping bazaar will be seen.

Extensions are available to Ephesus, starting at $290, and Cappadocia, from $325. These extensions include all transfers, accommodations, transportation and English-speaking guides. The Cappadocia tour also includes all meals; the Ephesus extension includes breakfast and lunch. The three-day Cappadocia extension explores the region’s landscape and the cave churches of the Goreme Valley.

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Cost: from $935 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, six nights’ accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, tax and service charges and airport transfers.

Contact: Megatrails, 1828 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10128; tel. (800) 547-1211 or (212) 996-9677.

Amazon River: Cruise

Cruise the Eastern Caribbean and 1,000 miles of the Amazon River Jan. 17 to 30. Passengers will cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Royal Olympic’s Stella Solaris. The cruise has two themes: opera and gardens. Guest speakers include gardening experts and botanists who will discuss the ecosystem and rain forests of the Amazon. Also scheduled on board are opera concerts and workshops with singer Martina Arroyo. Music lectures will be given by Robert Sherman, producer of the New York Times Classical Music Station.

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Port stops include Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, the Virgin Islands and several ports in Brazil.

Cost: from $2,392 per person, double occupancy, including international return air from Manaus, Brazil, to Fort Lauderdale. Air fare to Florida is not included.

Contact: Celia’s Getaways: tel. (714) 901-3510.

Asia: 6 Nations

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Mark 20 days off your calendar for a trip to Southeast Asia led by an Asian art dealer. The tour runs Feb. 21 to March 13 and visits Myanmar; Bangkok, Thailand; Cambodia; Laos; Vietnam; and Taipei, Taiwan.

The tour begins in Yangon, Myanmar, to see its 326-foot pagoda encrusted with thousands of jewels. Participants travel along the Irawaddy River to Pagan with its 5,000 temples. In Laos guests visit Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and in Cambodia they will visit Angkor Wat.

After a visit to Bangkok to see the Royal Palace, the tour moves on to Vietnam to see Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. The tour ends in Taipei with a visit to the National Museum of Chinese Art.

Cost: $4,975 per person, deluxe double occupancy, includes all air fare, ground transportation, most meals, sightseeing and guides. The tour is limited to 16 travelers.

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Contact: Far East Art & Adventure Travel, 1910 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651; tel. (949) 494-9778.

Arizona: Biking

WomanTours is offering an eight-day inn-to-inn bicycle tour through the saguaro-studded desert of Southern Arizona for women of all ages, Jan. 16 to 22. Tucson and its environs form an easy cycling area, offering warm weather and a variety of routes on rural or lightly traveled roads.

The tour starts in Tucson, cycling eastward through Saguaro National Park. The tour continues south over rural roads to Sierra Vista, Bisbee and Tombstone. Bicyclists will have time in each of these areas to explore Ramsey Canyon Wildlife Preserve, the history of Tombstone and the mining town of Bisbee. This trip is suitable for riders of all levels.

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Cost: $1,190 includes seven nights’ lodging, breakfasts, four picnic lunches, six dinners, guides, maps and the support van. Transport to Tucson is not included.

Contact: WomanTours, P.O. Box 68, Coleman Falls, VA 24536; tel. (800) 247-1444, Internet https: //www.womantours.com.

Africa: Mali

Boston-based Spector Travel is offering an adventure trip to Mali in West Africa Feb. 25 to March 3. The route takes in river-port Mopti, legendary Timbuktu, a desert camel ride and a visit to a Tuareg nomads’ camp. There will also be a stop at Djenne, an island city in the Niger River and site of a mosque regarded as an exceptional example of mud-based architecture. The windup is a visit with the Dogon, a tribal group noted for its artwork. Other available dates are Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, 1999, and Feb. 23 to March 3, 2000.

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Cost: $2,289 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from New York to Bamako, Mali, via Brussels and back, three internal flights, seven nights’ accommodations and daily breakfast.

Contact: Spector Travel; tel. (800) 879-2374.

Austria: Museums

The Parrish Art Museum of Southampton, N.Y., is arranging a tour May 16 to 28 of the premier cities of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. It begins in Budapest, Hungary, and concludes in Prague, Czech Republic. It includes a Budapest tour and a visit to the Szepmuveszeti (Museum of Fine Arts); a stop in Vienna and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts); a Danube River cruise; and visits to Salzburg and Prague.

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Cost: $3,350 per person, double occupancy, including a $250 tax-deductible donation to the Parrish, round-trip travel via British Airways from New York, 11 nights in four-star hotels, daily breakfast and three dinners.

Contact: Parrish Art Museum; tel. (516) 283-2118, Ext. 25.

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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