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Castle illumination

Whether by war or lightning, the castle in Heidelberg, Germany, has seen its share of damage through the years.

In 1689, the troops of French King Louis XIV razed Heidelberg and partially destroyed the castle, returning to finish the job four years later.

To commemorate its fiery history, Heidelberg annually holds a series of castle illuminations, the second of which takes place Saturday. The events normally start at 10:15 p.m., but this one might be delayed — perhaps until 10:30 p.m. — to avoid competition with the World Cup consolation game scheduled for the same day.

When the event does start, Bengal beacon fires will flood the castle in a red light to simulate the historical fire, followed by fireworks that light up Old Town below. Find more details at www.heidelberg-marketing.de.

The final illumination in the series takes place Sept. 4, and if you would like to see it from the Neckar River and stay overnight in the city, the Heidelberg tourist office has a package that includes one or two nights’ accommodation, breakfast, fireworks river cruise, a three-course meal in the Old Town, a walking tour and HeidelbergBeWelcomeCard. Double occupancy room prices begin at 110 euros for one night, or 155 euros for two nights.

For reservations, go to www.heidelberg-marketing.de/ content/index_eng.html. Click on “Package Deals” under “Tourism” and then “Castle Illumination.”

Picasso in Zurich

In 1932, artist Pablo Picasso held his first retrospective in the Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich Museum of Fine Arts) in Switzerland. The artist chose the works to be displayed, a role usually reserved for the museum director.

This year, the Kunsthaus Zürich celebrates its centenary with a revival of that retrospective. From Oct. 15 to Jan. 30, 2011, the exhibition will feature work from the artist’s pink and blue periods to his cubist and neo-classical phase and surrealist works. More than 70 masterpieces on loan from major museums and private collections will be on display in the main exhibition room.

The city tourist office is offering a Picasso and Hotel package that includes hotel, breakfast and admission to the exhibition. A double room begins at 221.15 Swiss francs (about $205) for one night and 378.45 Swiss francs for two.

For information on the Picasso exhibition, go to www.kunsthaus.ch/en/exhibitions/coming-soon/; for details on the hotel packages, see www.zuerich.com/en/page.cfm/hotel/spezialangebote/ picasso/picasso_x.

Retiree special

Retirees can spend 10 days in Bavaria from Sept. 9-19 and attend the Passion Play in Oberammergau with a package offered by Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. The cost is $2,900 for a double room and $2,200 for a single. It includes transportation to and from Munich’s airport, welcome reception, 10 nights’ lodging, breakfasts, European Escapes tours, tickets to the Passion Play and farewell dinner. Find more details at www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com.

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