Cooking classes in Italy, basketball camp in Germany, 120-mile hiking series

Spring cooking classes

Gourmet Italia’s spring cooking courses are doubly good for you. Not only do participants learn to make meals based on a healthy Mediterranean diet, but they also get to enjoy traipsing around the Italian Dolomites after classes are finished. The dates are May 25-28 and June 16-19.

The cost of $595 per person, double occupancy, includes three nights in the five-star Hotel alle Dolomiti (Molveno), nine hours of cooking courses (9 a.m. to noon daily), breakfasts, lunches, dinners, a guided tour of the Pisoni Winery, recipes, a diploma, Gourmet Italia apron and the services of an interpreter.

There is also free time for shopping, sightseeing and hiking.

Email Gourmet Italia at gi-one@gourmet-italia.com. The website is gourmet-italia.com. The hotel’s website, which has an English option, is www.alledolomiti.com.

 

Basketball camp

Budding basketball players ages 11 to 19 can hone their skills this summer at the annual International Basketball Camp held at the TG Würzburg sports center in Würzburg, Germany. Five-day sessions run July 31 to Aug. 4 and Aug. 4-8. A nine-day session runs July 31 to Aug. 8.

The camp focuses on improving basketball skills through conditioning exercises, station drills and scrimmages, all under the supervision of top coaches, several former professional players. At the end of each session, participants will have played the equivalent of nine games.

Facilities include seven indoor full courts, two indoor half-courts, two outdoor full courts and a full track.

The cost is $250 for each five-day session and $475 for the nine-day session. The price includes instruction, use of the sports facility, supervised accommodation (separate for girls and boys), full board, medical supervision, camp T-shirt and jersey, training handbook and personal evaluation.

Get more information at (+49) (0) 931-40 90 46 or by emailing scherer_tours@t-online.de.

 

Rail specials

It’s two-for-one on a Swiss Saver four-day rail pass with Rail Europe. If you’re traveling in Switzerland April 1 to May 31 and make your reservations by May 25 for one person, you receive a companion pass for free.

This means the total for two is $254, including taxes, for second-class seating, and $404 for first-class. The pass includes transportation on trains, buses and boats, and admission to more than 400 museums.

For other offers, go to www.raileurope.com.

 

120 miles of hiking

Commit to a challenge that will make the spring and summer of 2012 stand out in your European scrapbook of memories. Combine sweeping panoramas, demanding terrain, physical exertion and no doubt great company when you sign up for Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation’s “It’s just 120 Miles Hiking Series.”

Starting April 1, Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation is holding a series of 12 hikes, each about 10 miles, that will take participants along the Saar-Hunsrück Climb, a permanent walking trail rated one of the top in Germany and voted the country’s prettiest route in 2009.

Each hike starts at the point where the previous one left off, meaning that if you complete all 12 you will have completed a continuous stretch of about 114 miles.

The scenery promises to be dramatic from the get-go. The first hike begins with that iconic view of the bend in the Saar River that has graced countless book and magazine covers. The 11-mile journey will take participants by the town of Mettlach, a 1,000-year-old tower and an abbey, over ridges and through a narrow valley.

Participants should be prepared for long-distance hiking. The series is not recommended for children under age 12. The organizers suggest hikers pack lightly, carry high-energy snacks and plenty of water, dress in layers, wear sunscreen and hiking boots. They also suggest using trekking poles.

Cost of the trip is $29 for all legs of the journey, which so far are scheduled for April 15, May 6 and 20. Complete the series and receive not only a certificate of achievement but also a T-shirt proclaiming that you’ve done it.

Sign up with Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation at DSN (314) 493-4117 or 0631-3406-4117. Learn more about the trail at www.saar-hunsrueck-steig.de/en.

 

Floriade 2012

The world horticultural expo Floriade 2012 opens to visitors April 5 in Venlo, Netherlands.

Held just once every 10 years, Floriade offers more than 100 gardens and pavilions blooming with unusual plant life from around the world. With nearly 100 acres of exhibition space, you’ll be able to while away a good part of the day here.

If you should tire of its five zones, each with its own theme, a rich cultural program is also included in the entry fee. Admission costs 25 euros for adults and 12.50 euros for children ages 4-12; free for children under 4.

Tickets for both admission and a ride on the cable car cost 30 euros for adults and 15 euros for children. The expo runs through Oct. 7. See more at www.floriade.com.

Stars and Stripes columnist Karen Bradbury contributed to this story.

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