UK weekly edition, Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Next month — July 6-8Seville, Spain: 49.98 pounds round trip

Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Seville.

One place to start in this charming vacation destination is at the Cathedral of Seville, the resting place of Christopher Columbus. The cathedral’s 328-foot-tall minaret is now the La Giralda clock tower, from where you can enjoy a terrific view of the city below.

North of the cathedral is Seville’s largest shopping area on Calle Sierpes, complete with shoe shops, boutiques and souvenir stores. If time allows, visit one of the shops selling high quality shawls, hand fans and personally made flamenco dresses.

If antiques are more your desire, the Alfalfa district has a plethora of antique shops from the small and quaint to the grandiose. This area is also very popular for trendy art galleries.

For more art appreciation, visit the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts, located in a former convent. Visitors will find masterpieces by Goya and Ribera alongside modern art exhibitions. Next on the agenda should be the Provincial Museum of Archeology with three floors of exhibits to be explored.

If an afternoon of sightseeing and shopping has left you famished, try one of the fine restaurants serving local Andalusian cuisine. Local favorites include perch with sea urchin sauce and the beef fillet with foie gras and plumb sauce. Early diners should have no problem with waiting for a table. The Seville Convention Bureau notes that locals dine late and most restaurants don’t start filling up until 10 p.m.

During the summer, tourists can catch a bullfight at the Maestranza Museum bullring. The museum also offers a collection of suits, photographs and other items that show the local history of bullfighting.

In three months — Aug. 31-Sept. 1Cologne, Germany: 69.13 pounds round trip

Fly Germanwings from London Stansted to Cologne.

While many tourists wait to see one of Germany’s oldest cities during the winter for the Christmas markets, Cologne offers plenty of attractions year-round.

Start at the city’s most famous landmark, the Cologne Cathedral, with two 515-foot-tall spires towering over the city below and whose completion took 632 years. Relics found inside the cathedral include the 13th-century Sarcophagus of Epiphany and many works of art in the cathedral treasure chamber. From there, visitors can branch out and explore the 12 collegiate, monastery and convent churches within the medieval city wall.

Three of the 12 city gates — Severinstor, Eigelsteintor and Hahnentor — have been preserved and are still in use today. Visit each of the different gates for a look into this town’s past, present and future.

Art enthusiasts should wander into the Ludwig Museum, home to a large collection of Pablo Picasso works, an American modern art collection and a special section devoted to the history of photography. For a look at German art and crafts from the Middle Ages on, visit the Museum of Applied Art.

Families may want to take time and visit the Cologne Zoo, home to more than 500 species from all over the world. According to the zoo’s Web site,, vacationers can explore a large elephant enclosure, meet apes and experience the jungle.

Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.

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