Baltics in summerTake advantage of the 23 hours of sunlight per day during a tour organized by Meyer Travel Group to the Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Riga and Vilinus on June 17-25.

Included are walking tours through the medieval-walled capitals of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia; tour to Rocca al Mare, the Estonian outdoor ethnographical museum; Rundale Palace, a Russian nobleman’s summer home in Latvia built by the architect for St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum; and Trakai, Lithuania’s former capital built on an island.

The cost is $1,675 per person, double occupancy, and includes round-trip transportation from Frankfurt, 8 nights accommodations, all breakfasts, some dinners, land transportation by motor coach, sightseeing tours with services of the tour leader and local guide.

A three-day add-on to Helsinki also is available.

For details, call (916) 786-3708 or e-mail Or contact Mike Curley by telephone at (+49) (0)6384-514838 or by e-mail at The Web site is

Netherlands news• It’s spring in the Netherlands and parts of the country are awash in color. The province of Noord-Holland is the most important bulb-growing area in the country with most of the fields along the coast, on Texel Island and in West Friesia.

To celebrate this time of the year, organizers in the Zijpe municipality have put together events under the title of “Blooming Zijpe.” On the program are walks and cycling trips through the colorful fields, a photo exhibit, flight tours and workshops. Details at

• The miniature city of Madurodam, located just outside The Hague, is holding a “Magic Ice Zoo” through May 28. Eighteen Chinese artists have carved out four sections of the animal kingdom from huge blocks of ice totaling 207 tons, all of which are highlighted by special lighting. Madurodam is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets (including the exhibit) are 13 euros for adults, 9.25 euros for children 3 to 11 years. Details at

• If you’re into design from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, then you might find something to suit your taste at SPRMRKT in Amsterdam. The shop sells and rents chairs, couches, tables, clothing, accessories, music, books, lamps and other items from these three decades. It’s open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Details at

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

Best BetsNETHERLANDS: Cheese has been weighed in Alkmaar since 1365, so participants have had plenty of practice conducting their spring-summer tradition. At 10 a.m. Fridays through September, representatives of the cheese carriers guild continue a colorful practice on the town’s Waagplen. Four groups of seven men — dressed in traditional costumes topped by hats of red, yellow, green and blue and headed by the “cheese father” — carry wooden litters bearing large wheels of cheese. The cheese is delivered to the square, where it is inspected and positioned in long rows. It is then carried to a balance to be weighed as traders bargain on prices and seal deals with handclaps. The Alkmaar Web site is

SPAIN: Holy Week (Semana Santa) begins Sunday throughout the country with celebrations in various towns and cities. Seville is one of those cities that has observed this holy time for centuries, with processions organized each day by the Cofradías. Beginning Sunday in the early afternoon, 57 of these brotherhoods walk the narrow streets of the city to the cathedral and back as a form of penitence. They carry two or three floats, one representing the stages of Christ’s Passion, another a Dolorosa (the Virgin Mary in pain) under a canopy. The big day is Good Friday, with processions ending on Easter Sunday.

SWITZERLAND: The Netherlands isn’t the only country celebrating spring flowers. On Saturday, Morges officially begins its tulip festival. In the Parc de l’Independence, visitors can stroll along Lake Geneva amid more than 100,000 narcissus, tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and jonquils.

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