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Let’s GoTravel across Siberia

Always wanted to travel on the Trans-Siberia railway but never thought you could manage it financially or culturally? JSC Russian Railways, the country’s official rail service, has put together a virtual trip from Moscow to Vladivostok and invites you (and friends) to take a trip across the country.

The ride is divided into eight segments, beginning with departure from Moscow, followed by six days of travel and arrival at Vladivostok. Each segment has an interactive 360-degree view of the train’s interior and the outside scenery you would see while traveling. The time of year is unclear — one scene shows sunny plains, another snowy hills. However, the indoor compartments and restaurant have a consistently friendly and exotic air to them.

As you click on various elements in the photos (indicated by an arrow), people talk and activities take place.

The Web site is www.eng.rzd.ru/page.html?nav_id=229.

The bard’s birthday

In April, the Globe Theatre in London will celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare.

On April 21, visitors can take a Shakespeare Sonnet Walk with sonneteers on tours of Tudor London, including a short visit to the Globe. Walks start at Westminster Abbey or the theater in Shoreditch every 15 minutes between 10 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Tickets cost 16 pounds (about $32) and are available at (+44) (0) 20-7401-9919.

On April 22, the Globe goes Italian, based on the theater season’s theme of “Renaissance + Revolution.” Enjoy Italian food and wine and attend free workshops, including Commedia dell’Arte, in which actors train participants to perform lines from Shakespeare in front of an audience. It runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On April 23, watch a free series of silent film adaptations of Shakespeare’s works from the Bankside, accompanied by a live string quartet. The 45-minute shows are at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

For more details and information on Globe tours and productions, visit the Web site www.shakespeares-globe.org.

‘Star Wars’ hits 30

And here’s another birthday party: “Star Wars” will be 30 years old this year. To celebrate, Lucasfilm Ltd. and The Cards Inc. Group are holding a giant birthday bash — Star Wars Celebration Europe — July 13-15 at London’s ExCel Conference Center.

Among the highlights are visiting stars from the casts of all six “Star Wars” films (including David Prowse, who played Darth Vader), looks at the technology behind the films, sneak peeks into the future of “Star Wars,” including the upcoming television series, original props and costumes, “Star Wars” entertainment, souvenir merchandise and fan club information and benefits.

Three-day tickets cost 59 pounds (about $120) for adults and 32 pounds for children. One-day tickets cost 27 pounds and 17 pounds, respectively. Discounts are available for tickets bought in advance.

The event also has hotel rooms reserved for the event with prices ranging from 90 pounds for a double to 140 pounds. Hostel accommodations also are available.

Get more details at www.celebrationeurope.com.

Send announcements of tours or other special travel deals to travel@estripes.osd.mil.

Best BetsTHE NETHERLANDS: Spring is here and the flowers are officially blooming at Keukenhof Gardens, which is open until May 20. This year’s theme is “Linnaeus, 300 Years of Flowers.” It commemorates the birth of Swedish physician and botanist Carolus Linnaeus, who in the 18th-century developed a classification system for bulbs.

In addition to the blooming flower beds, you’ll find indoor flower shows, 80 sculptures by Dutch artists scattered throughout the grounds, painting exhibition, a glass expo and a fashion accessories display. You also can attend painting, photography and decoration workshops during the week.

The gardens are open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission is 13 euros for adults, 6 euros for children 4 to 11 years old; parking costs 5 euros. Find details at www.keukenhof.nl.

ENGLAND: Model railway fans will want to head to Alexandra Palace this weekend for the London Railway Festival of Modelling.

On the program are 40 working British, Continental and American layouts, more than 100 trade stands, a BRM Specialist Trade Village for hard-to-find items, modeling demonstrations, photographic exhibit, clubs and societies and children’s modeling area.

The show is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost 8 pounds (about $16) for adults, 4.50 pounds for children ages 5 to 16. A free shuttle bus runs between the Wood Green underground station and the palace. Find details at www.warnersgroup.co.uk/exhibitions/london.

If you’re more into needlecraft, you might prefer the Stitch & Craft 2007 show at the Olympia, running through the weekend. Themes include cross-stitching, tapestry, embroidery, scrapbooking, papercraft, card making, rubber stamping and knitting. In addition to the exhibits, workshops on a variety of topics will be held. The show is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sunday). Find details at www.twistedthread.com/stitch.

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