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Hockenheimring package

The Hockenheimring racetrack between Heidelberg and Speyer in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg is an international destination, each year hosting the Formula 1 German Grand Prix and the German Touring Car Championship.

Its Motorsport Museum contains more than 300 exhibits on the history of motor sports, including the largest racing motorbike collection in Europe. For those who want to thoroughly explore this racing site, the Hotel Motodrom am Ring, by the racing track, has a special Boxenstop (pit stop) package. It includes two nights’ accommodations; breakfasts and dinners; a guided tour of the racetrack, including areas normally reserved for drivers and teams; a souvenir photo on the winners’ podium; and admission to the Motorsport Museum.

The price begins at 185 euros per person, double occupancy. For reservations, call the hotel at (+49) (0) 6205-2980. Find more details on the hotel at www.hockenheimring.net/hotel-motodrom, in German.

Art history in Italy

Explore the history of art in the Italian cities of Florence and Pisa on a tour organized by Andrew Stangel, former director of the Art History Tours program for U.S. armed forces in Europe. The tour is scheduled for March 14-20.

Highlights in Florence include visits to the palace of the Medicis; the city cathedral, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with Ghilberti’s baptistery doors and the cathedral’s bell tower; the historical Piazza della Signoria; the Museum of San Marco (collection of Fra Angelico), the Academy Museum (with Michelangelo’s "David"), the Bargello Museum and the Uffizi galleries; and the Church of Santa Croce (tomb monuments of Michelangelo and Galileo). In Pisa, the visit features the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles, with the city cathedral, baptistery and the Leaning Tower, and the adjoining Campo Santo medieval cemetery.

Cost is $1,690 per person, double occupancy, and includes nights in a four-star hotel, breakfasts, admission fees, art history slide show and commentary, and round-trip train fare between Florence and Pisa. Transportation to Florence is not included. There is a single-room surcharge of $490 for a limited number of rooms.

For more details, contact Stangel in the States by telephone at (603) 774-7308, or by e-mail at artifacts@gsinet.net.

Israel in spring

Spend the Easter holidays April 11-18 in Israel on a trip organized by Destination Services and guided by Graziella Sefcik.

Highlights include a city tour of Tel Aviv and the ancient city of Jaffa; a drive along the coast to the old city of Caesarea, built in 20 B.C. by Herod the Great; the city of Haifa and Mount Carmel; the historic city of Acre, the area’s capital during Phoenician times; Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee; Safed, the center of Jewish Kabbalah; Nazareth and the Church of the Annunciation; Jerusalem, including the Mount of Olives, Golden Dome of the Rock, Garden of Gethsemane, Doloroso, Holocaust Memorial, Knesset (the parliament) and museum with the Dead Sea Scrolls; Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; Bethlehem; and the fortress of Masada.

Cost is $1,619 per person, double occupancy, and includes round-trip air fare between Frankfurt, Germany, and Tel Aviv, hotel and kibbutz accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, sightseeing fees, motor coach transportation, boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, and services of the guide.

For more details, contact Destination Services by telephone at (+49) (0)821-243-480 or by e-mail at info@destination-services.de. Or contact Sefcik by telephone (+49) (0)8231-2134.

Brugge Chocolate Museum

Serious Belgian chocolate lovers will want to plan a trip to the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum in a 15th-century former wine tavern in Brugge, Belgium.

The museum covers three floors. On the first, visitors learn the history of chocolate, from its use as an offering to the gods by the Aztec and Maya civilizations to its discovery by the Spanish and exportation to Europe. On the second floor, there are exhibits on the cocoa tree and bean. The third floor looks at why Belgian chocolate is good for you! Visitors can then return to the ground floor to watch chocolate-making and taste different types of chocolate.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is 6 euros for adults, 4 euros for ages 6 to 12 and free for those younger than 6.

Prague, Czech Republic, also has a Choco-Story Museum. Find more details on both at www.choco-story.be; there are English versions.


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