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Discounted toursMilitary personnel and veterans are eligible for a 10-percent discount on tours of southern Germany and northern Austria led by Brett Harriman, travel writer and a former tour guide for the Armed Forces Recreation Center resorts in Germany.

The tours, scheduled for May 6-17, May 20-31, June 17-28 and July 1-12, include stops of military interest in Berchtesgaden, at Adolf Hitler’s nearby Eagle’s Nest, a World War II bunker system and the Dachau concentration camp memorial.

Culture and sights include a boat cruise and wine tasting on the Rhine River; a traditional Bavarian dinner show; two days in the Olympic city of Innsbruck, including a visit to famous sites and the Swarovski crystal factory, hiking the Alps and sampling schnapps; an excursion along Germany’s Romantic Road with a stop at King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein castle; and lodging in the medieval walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In Salzburg, the tour visits sites made famous by the movie “The Sound of Music” and concludes with a Mozart dinner concert.

The land-only price is $2,995 per person ($2,695 after military discount), double occupancy, with a single supplement of $300. The price includes all group tours and ground transportation by minibus or deluxe motor coach (depending on group size), accommodations ranging from family-run pensions to four-star hotels, breakfasts and four dinners.

Harriman has worked for 15 years in the tourism business, five of them as a guide with AFRC, and is founder of Las Vegas-based Harriman Travel Books. He is the author and publisher of a travel guide to Germany and Austria.

Details are available on the Web site www.harrimantravelbooks.com, or by calling (775) 513-3247 in the States or e-mailing fun@harrimantravelbooks.com.

Cave concertsThe Cueva de los Verdes, or Green Caves. are part of the volcanic underground terrain in the natural park Monumento Natural del Malpaís de La Corona on the Spanish island of Lanzarote.

According to the Lanzarote Web site, about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, the La Corona Volcano was active, its eruptions forming an almost 4-mile volcanic tunnel. This tunnel contains about 21 jameos (a volcanic cave with a collapsed roof) that allow access to the other subterranean grottoes. The temperature inside these caves is a constant 64-68 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lava shapes within them and the colors of the walls are works of natural art.

About one-half mile of the tunnel has been converted into galleries, one with a natural auditorium. From now until the end of April, a series of five classical concerts, “Musicae Candelaria,” will be played in this unique environment, beginning at 9 p.m. The dates are Jan. 19, March 8 and 29 and April 12 and 26. Tickets cost 18 euros.

For information on the caves, tours and Lanzarote, go to www.centrosturisticos.com (choose “English” on right). For more information and tickets, visit www.lanzarote.com.

Zaragoza expoThe Water Tribune, a discussion on the supply of water and its role in sustainable development around the world, is the focus of this year’s international exposition in Zaragoza, Spain, June 14 to Sept. 14.

With musician Bob Dylan as a spokesperson, Expo Zaragoza 2008 will take a “thoughtful and scientific” look at various issues involving water management in today’s global community.

In addition to several thematic exhibitions, another highlight will be the largest clear-water aquarium in Europe, measuring almost 97,000 square feet.

Find more details at www.expozaragoza2008.es.

Best BetsITALY: Peace, love and solidarity are the themes of this year’s Carnivale di Viareggio, according to its sponsors. The first parade is 3 p.m. Sunday with its giant floats (some up to 65 feet high), folklore bands, costumed participants and papier-mâché puppets satirizing public figures. See www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com.

SCOTLAND: Head north to the sled-dog races — north to Scotland, that is. The country has had its own races at Aviemore for almost a century. This year’s competitions are Jan. 19 and 20. About 200 teams of dogs — some hitting speeds of 20 miles per hour — will be ready to run the challenging 4-mile track. In addition to the traditional huskies, you’ll see Alaskan malamutes, Samoyeds, Greenland dogs and Canadian Eskimo dogs. In the event of no snow, the race will be run with wagons. More at www.siberianhuskyclub.com/aviemore.

SPAIN: The beating of drums on the Plaza de la Constitution launches San Sebastián’s Tamborrada festival at midnight Jan. 19, an event that honors the town’s patron saint. For the next 24 hours, the streets will be filled with bands of uniformed marchers pounding on drums and barrels. Thousands of children dressed in Napoleonic-era suits march on the afternoon of Jan. 20 in the Tamborrada Infantil or Child Drummers ceremony.

— Jayne Traendly


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