From Toronto to Victoria, a Trans-Canada Odyssey

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Travel across Canada by train and deluxe motor coach on a 12-day tour that begins in Toronto Sept. 16. Guests will start with a cruise on Maid of the Mist to see Niagara Falls up close. The outing will be followed by a city tour of Toronto. Then travelers embark on a three-day rail journey across the plains of Canada. Guests will have sleeping quarters on the train.

Banff is next, with visits to Athabasca Falls, Peyto Lake, Crowfoot Glacier and the Columbia Icefield via a specially designed snow coach across the 1,000-foot-thick ice. Guests may take a gondola ride to Sulphur Mountain or opt to see Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Two nights will be spent at Lake Louise.

Traveling west through the Selkirk Range, the group will stay overnight at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia. In Vancouver, members will visit historic Gastown, Chinatown and Stanley Park, and will travel to Capilano Canyon, site of one of the world's largest pedestrian suspension bridges.

Later, travelers board a ferry to Vancouver Island. After a visit to Butchart Gardens, guests visit Victoria and, finally, board a ferry to Seattle for the flight home.

Cost: $3,228 per person, double occupancy, including first-class hotels, tips, bedroom on train, some meals, tour escort, airport transfer at the tour's end and baggage handling. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Suzanne Manning at Joan Irvine Travel, 1600 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663; telephone (949) 645-7171.

California: Llama Trek

The Broken Wheel Llama Ranch in Northern California is offering a llama pack trip on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 to 7. The destination is the Cuddihy Lakes in the remote Marble Mountains. Participants will enjoy scenery, fishing and wildlife. Most camping gear, including tents and good homemade meals, is provided. Guests just need to bring a warm sleeping bag and personal items.

Cost: $130 per person, per day. Group is limited to six. Transport to Northern California is extra.

Contact: Broken Wheel Llama Ranch, 3708 Scarface Road, Fort Jones, CA 96032; tel. (530) 468- 2559, Internet http://www.llamapacktrips.com.

Greece, Turkey: Cruise

A 14-day journey to Greece and Turkey is being offered Sept. 24 to Oct. 7. It begins with two nights in Athens with a city tour to see the Parthenon and Agora. Then guests board a private yacht to cruise the Mediterranean. Each room has its own private bathroom and is air-conditioned. The yacht will stop at six islands with lots of free time to explore ruins, sun on the beaches or just shop. The cruise will end at Kusadasi, Turkey, where guests will be escorted to a resort for one night before exploring the ruins of Ephesus. The last three nights will be spent in Istanbul.

Cost: $2,750 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, deluxe coaches, first-class hotels, daily breakfast, entrance fees and all transfers and handling.

Contact: Joie Express; tel. (310) 791-5556.

Middle East: History

Far East Travel is offering a "Middle Eastern Adventure" through ancient biblical, Roman and Ottoman locations Sept. 19 to Oct. 10. Sites include Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Ephesus and Cappadocia, Turkey; Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the fortress of Masada and Jericho, Israel; the Roman city of Amman, Petra and Greco-Roman Jarash, Jordan; Damascus, Syria, to see the Grand Mosque, St. Paul's Window, the Citadel of Saladin and the outdoor bazaar; and, in Lebanon, Sidon, Tyre, the cedars of Lebanon and Beirut.

Cost: $4,975 per person, double, including round-trip air from Los Angeles, most meals, deluxe hotels, guides and lectures.

Contact: Harry Lawrence at Laguna Beach's Warren Imports; tel. (949) 494-9778.

Spain: Meteor Shower

Astronomers are forecasting an explosion of light across the Eastern Hemisphere's night sky in November. The source will be a Leonid meteor shower. An expedition to see the shower will be led by Joe Rao, a television meteorologist in New York and guest lecturer at the Hayden Planetarium. The tour leaves Nov. 12 for Madrid, then moves on to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands Nov. 16. There, three nights will be spent looking upward. The return is Nov. 19.

Cost: $1,486, double, including air fare from New York, six nights' lodging, seven breakfasts, three dinners (including one cooked with volcanic steam) and a lunch.

Contact: Skyline Travel; tel. (800) 645-6198.

Portugal: Villages

A small-group tour to Portugal is being offered Sept. 23 to Oct. 4 to see small towns and the island of Sa~o Miguel in the Azores. The Portuguese-speaking owner of Martin's Travel & Tours will lead the group to Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Evora, Estremoz, Vila Vicosa, Arraiolos, Castelo de Vide and villages in the Alentejo region. Guests will visit vineyards and wineries for wine tasting, and they will hear the fado music of Portugal.

Cost: $3,395 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations, most meals, wine tasting, entertainment and sightseeing.

Contact: Martin's Travel and Tours, 3415 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034; tel. (800) 999- 7124.

France: Highlights

Oaks North Travel Club of San Diego is hosting a tour to the French Riviera, Provence and Paris from Oct. 9 to 20. Participants will visit Nice on the Co^te d'Azur; St.-Paul-de-Vence, favorite town of the painters Chagall and Gauguin; the walled ancient city of Antibes; the Picasso Museum; Cannes; the medieval village of Eze; and see the changing of the guards and the casino in Monte Carlo. They will go to St.-Tropez, take a boat ride in the canals of Port-Grimaud and visit Avignon, quaint Aix-en-Provence and Arles, where Van Gogh lived. In Paris, lodging is at the Hotel Napoleon across from the Arc de Triomphe. Sites visited are the Eiffel Tower, Trocadero, Champs-Elysees, Louvre, Montmartre and Notre Dame.

Cost: $2,699 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, first-class hotels, 15 meals, museum fees and a cruise on the Seine.

Contact: Clo Massad; tel. (619) 487-4781.

Italy: Cooking

Cookbook author Margaret Cowan is leading a cooking and wine tour for food lovers under age 39. "Cook, Wine, Dine, Walk and Laugh in the Barolo and Barbaresco Wine Country" runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 6. Participants will take four cooking lessons in restaurant kitchens and one at a winery B&B; dine at the farm of a family that makes its own cheese and salami; taste wine at six wineries; visit a grappa producer; stroll through farmers' markets; see a medieval castle; tour a private wine museum; and visit the cities of Alba and Turin.

Cost: $1,660 per person, double, including all meals and six nights' lodging at B&Bs.; Air fare is extra.

Contact: Margaret Cowan, 101- 1184 Denman St., Suite 310, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6G 2M9; tel. (800) 557-0370 or (604) 681-4074, Internet http://www.italycookingschools.com (click on "Margaret's Best Value Holidays").

East Coast: Foliage

See the leaves of New England at their most colorful on a foliage tour that begins Oct. 1 for eight days. The tour starts in Boston, where guests stroll the Freedom Trail and visit the Boston Common, the State House, Beacon Hill, Fanueil Hall, Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church. After a day trip to Nantucket off the coast of Cape Cod, travelers will head to Rhode Island and the town of Newport to tour the mansions along Easton's Beach Cliff Walk. Guests will also visit the Mystic Seaport Museum in southeastern Connecticut, see Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts and take a boat ride on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Then the color begins in earnest with a drive through New Hampshire's Franconia and Crawford notches to Bretton Woods and Mt. Washington. The tour ends with a lobster dinner in Maine.

Cost: $1,695 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, daily breakfast, entrance fees and ground transportation. Air fare to Boston is extra.

Contact: Gurnham Group; tel. (800) 475-0004, Internet http://www.gurnhamgroup.com.

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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