Martin Luther tour

In 1517, Martin Luther, a German priest and professor of theology, posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Palace Church in Wittenberg. The document, which listed his concerns over some of the practices of the Catholic Church, is often regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation and the creation of the Protestant branch of Christianity.

For an overview of the life of the man and of the Reformation, the English-speaking Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany, is offering a tour July 1-3.

"In Luther’s Footsteps" visits Eisenach, where Luther attended school and was detained in Wartburg Castle; Lutherstadt Wittenberg (often referred to as just Wittenberg), where he lived for 36 years and which is the site of the Palace Church, St. Mary’s Church and Lutherhaus; and Erfurt, where he studied and the site of the Augustinian Monastery, where he became a monk in 1505.

The cost is 255 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes transportation in a deluxe motor coach, two nights of accommodations, breakfasts, dinners, entry fees and guide services.

Call (+49) (0) 69-9563-1066 or e-mail

London Elephant Parade

Elephants have hit the streets of London.

But no need to go running for cover. The 258 pachyderms are fiberglass models painted by artists from across the globe.

In the past 100 years, the Asian elephant population has declined by 90 percent due to a loss of habitat. To highlight the plight of this endangered species and to raise funds to help the animals, the Elephant Family charity, the largest elephant charity in the world, has organized the Elephant Parade. The life-size, painted elephants will be on display throughout the city through July 4, when they will be auctioned off.

The campaign hopes to raise 2 million pounds for the Asian elephant and to benefit 20 British conservation charities.

Find more details, including a map showing the location of the painted models, at

Swiss travel cards

If you plan to see Switzerland using public transportation, check out your options at The site allows you to choose your destination from a network of more than 12,400 miles of rail, bus and boat routes.

The options range from the Swiss Pass, which gives unrestricted travel on the entire rail, bus and boat network for 260 to 578 Swiss francs ($240 to $535), to flexi- and half-fare passes to single trips on scenic routes, such as the Glacier Express, the Chocolate Train and the William Tell Express. The site also offers trips to some of the country’s highest mountain peaks with panoramic views.

Hostel website

Those who choose to stay in inexpensive accommodations may find some good deals on

The company has youth hostels and cheap accommodations in 2,500 locations. There are no booking fees and the accommodations are reviewed and rated by backpackers who have stayed in them.

The HostelBookers Group Travel Department also works with groups to plan trips, including city breaks and longer stays. Details are available on the English-language website.

Best betsGermany: Munich becomes one giant music hall Saturday as 98 of the city’s music venues and cultural institutions open their doors for the Long Night of Music. Whether you’re interested in classical, rock, alternative, Bavarian or country music, you can get entry to all the venues from 8 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday for a 15-euro ticket. Shuttle buses connecting the sites will run in 10-minute intervals. Tickets are available at all participating venues, at the city hall and through ticket agencies. Go to for more details, maps and itineraries.

Spain: Get a glimpse into the beautiful hidden courtyards of Cordoba during the annual Cordoba Patio Festival, going on through May 16. Traditionally, homes in the city were built around courtyards filled with plants and water, which helped keep the buildings cool in the hot climate. Every year many residents decorate the patios with colorful geraniums, carnations and jasmine and open their gates to the public in hopes of winning the city’s annual competition for the most beautiful patio. For those without courtyards, the "Window Grilles and Balconies" competition brings more blooming flowers hanging along the city’s streets. At the same time, the Montilla-Moriles Wine Tasting Festival is running, with more than 20 wine cellars offering wine, music and entertainment.

Hours for viewing the patios are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Find more details through the city’s tourist board website at

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