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Italian cooking courseLearn to cook the healthy Mediterranean way and enjoy the northern resort area of Italy’s Asiago Plateau in the Dolomites through courses offered by Gourmet Italia. Class dates are May 25-28 and June 15-18.

On the program are nine hours of morning cooking lessons, guided shopping and sightseeing tours and an opera concert.

The cost is $595 per person, double occupancy. It includes the classes, three nights’ accommodation in a four-star hotel (with Wellness Center, not included in price), three breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners, the concert, a diploma of attendance, a booklet of recipes, an English- speaking interpreter and a Gourmet Italia apron.

For details, e-mail gi-one@ Gourmet Italia’s Web site is

Bulgarian road tripsMotoroads, a travel agency specializing in motorcycle tours in Bulgaria, has a variety of trips, guided and self-guided, for riders eager to explore the Balkan country.

The Panoramic Trip, for example, takes in four mountain ranges — the Balkan Range, Rila, Pirin, and Rhodope mountains — and covers 775 miles during tours offered May through October. According to the company, the New York Times has called this region the “sleeping beauty of the Balkans.” The routes go through some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, including river gorges, meadows, lakes, prehistoric caves, old villages and waterfalls.

The price depends on the number of riders participating. The price for two to three riders on a guided tour is 1,690 euros per rider; four to seven riders pay 1,350 euros each; and eight to 14 riders pay 1,190 euros. Self-guided tours cost between 950 and 990 euros.

The price includes motorcycle rental plus insurance, entrance fees per itinerary, eight nights’ accommodations in two- and three-star hotels, transfer to and from the Sofia airport, eight breakfasts and welcome dinner, a route map, T-shirt and the services of a tour guide.

Other tour themes include Thracian Tombs, Monastery, Mountain, Black Sea, Weekend, Nature, Classic, Private and Custom. Find details at

The Web site also offers tours focusing on hiking, skiing, paragliding, windsurfing, caving, horseback riding, white-water rafting, the Black Sea, nature, architecture, spas, culture and monasteries, plus information on car rentals and accommodations in Bulgaria.

CadizcardIf you’re visiting Cadiz, Spain, be sure to check out the Cadizcard. It allows holders to visit the main monuments of the city with direct access — no waiting to buy tickets or to enter.

Monuments include the Cadiz Cathedral, the Torre de Poniente and Torre Tavira watchtowers, the Church of La Santa Cueva, the Hospital de Mujeres (former Women’s Hospital), the San Felipe Neri Oratory, the Royal Chapel of Our Lady of El Pópulo and the archaeological site of the Casa del Obispo (Bishop’s House). Also included is a 24-hour bus pass.

The card costs 26 euros and can be bought at the tourist board or any participating site.

Buy a castleIf you have at least 450,000 euros to spare and are interested in buying a castle, the Web site offers castles, historic dwellings, manors, priories, hunting grounds, mills, fortified farms and stud farms ranging from 450,000 euros to 2 million euros.

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Best BetsENGLAND: The racetrack at Doncaster is being resurfaced so the annual Festival of British Railway Modelling is being held in the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate this weekend. On the program are 30 working train layouts of various gauges and scales, as well as 100 trade stands, demonstrations, displays and specialist trader areas. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is 6.50 pounds (about $13) for adults, 4 pounds for children 5 to 16, and 21 pounds for families of two adults and three children. For details, go to the Web at

In the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Pig, an animal whose character is fun, patient, giving and compassionate. London celebrates on Sunday with a program of Chinese entertainment in Trafalgar and Leicester Squares. Events begin at 11 a.m. with a parade along the Strand, Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. From noon until 5:30 p.m., dragon and lion dances, traditional and contemporary Chinese arts and entertainment will be on display at Trafalgar Square. Leicester Square is the site of fireworks displays at 2 and 5 p.m., and Chinatown provides cultural stalls, food, decorations and lion dancing. More details at

— Jayne Traendly


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