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Pilgrimages in Spain and PortugalIf you’re considering a pilgrimage tour in Spain next year, check out the trips offered by HPS Pilgrimages. All trips begin and end in Madrid.

The five-night tour in Spain — Santiago de Compostela and Fatima — costs 850 euros per person, double occupancy. It includes visits to Burgos, Santiago de Compostela, the Way of Saint James and the Fatima Shrine; luxury coach transportation; services of the tour director and guides; entrance fees and arrangements to join daily Masses at the shrines; five nights’ accommodation; and daily breakfasts and dinners.

There are 11 scheduled dates beginning April 16 and ending Oct. 22.

Other trips include the seven-night Spain, France and Portugal shrines (for 1,100 euros), five-night Zaragoza, Lourdes and Santiago Compostela (850 euros) and three-night Lisbon and Fatima (265 euros).

Prices are per person, double occupancy. Details at

German packagesIf relatives are coming over for the holidays, and you live in the Hanau, Offenbach, or Aschaffenburg areas, you might want to take advantage of an offer in the Best Western Premier Hotel Villa Stokkum in Hanau. Room rentals start at 77 euros for the first night and get cheaper the longer you stay by 10 euros per day.

The offer is good Dec. 21 to Jan. 7. The Villa Stokkum telephone number is (+49) (0) 6181-6640. The Web site is

The Hotel Reiterhof, 15 kilometers from Kulmbach, along Germany’s Castle Road, is offering a three-night package through February. It begins at 275 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes breakfast each day, use of the wellness facilities, Shiatsu whole-body massage, a Franconian dinner, sled ride and candlelight dinner.

Get details by calling (+49) (0) 9221-958-810 or visiting the German Tourist Board at

Mushing coursesIf you’ve ever considered getting into the sport of sled-dog racing, here’s your chance to get started with a two-day weekend course in Todtmoos, Germany, site of the international dog-sled races Jan. 27-28.

The course, offered January through March, costs 445 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes two nights lodging, breakfast and the course.

More information available at the Web site (in English and German).

Sphinx exhibitionIf you’re fascinated by all things Egyptian and are in Brussels some time through Feb. 25, stop and see the exhibition “Sphinx: The Guardians of Egypt” at the Espace Culturel ING — Mont des Arts at Place Royale 6.

The show is dedicated to the ancient figure with the body of a lion and the head of a man, ram or hawk. It begins with the origins of the sphinx, then looks at its evolution over several Egyptian dynasties. Some 200 works have been loaned from major museums, including the Louvre, British Museum, Museum of New York and Berlin Museum.

The show is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).

The museum’s telephone number is (+32) (0) 2-547-2292. Its Web site is

Hanukkah marketThe Jewish Museum in Berlin is hosting a Hanukkah celebration through the end of the year with a Hanukkah market in the museum garden.

The market will feature kosher mulled wine, holiday food specialties and traditional and kitsch Hanukkah products from Germany, Israel and the United States.

The market also has a special exhibition called “Chrismukkah: Stories of Christmas and Hanukkah.” It looks at the similarities and differences between the two celebrations. The eight-day Jewish festival honors the reopening of the temple in Jerusalem, while Christmas observes the birth of Jesus.

The market is open daily (except Dec. 24) from midday to 6 p.m. Details at

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Animal lovers can take a break while Christmas shopping in London and attend the International Horse Show, which runs through Monday at Olympia.

On the program are show-jumping, dressage, the dog agility finals, the Shetland Pony Grand National for steeple racing, arena competitions, musical stallion displays from Hanover, Germany, and the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride.

The show is performed twice daily, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., plus at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost 19, 29, 39 and 45 pounds (between $38.50 and $91.25) depending on the seating. Details at


Experience the spirit of Christmas past at Deventer’s annual Dickens Festival. Up to 750 characters will roam the streets of this Hanseatic town on Saturday and Sunday, with a Christmas market and music added to festivities on Sunday. The Deventer Web site is

— Jayne Traendly


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