Best BetsBELGIUM: According to legend, in the seventh century while just a boy, Charles Martel used a hammer to kill a bear that had been terrorizing the village of Andenne. Later the town adopted the bear — not Martel, who went on to become ruler of the Franks and a successful military leader — as its symbol, a fact that it celebrates each year with the Carnival of the Bear.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, a grand procession will kick off with the giant bears Fonzi and Martin II, followed by colorful floats, dancing bears, bands and other street entertainment. The day ends with the traditional throwing of bears (stuffed ones) from the balcony of the town hall.

Until April 19, a special exhibition at the Museum of Ceramics shows hundreds of teddy bears and memorabilia from previous parades. More information is available on on Andenne’s Web site,

GERMANY: This year marks 25 years of Easter egg markets at Michelstadt, and the popular town with its half-timbered buildings will celebrate with 50 bright Easter flags, a colorfully decorated fountain and 75 international exhibitors displaying painted Easter eggs, floral designs, ceramics, glass blowing, patchwork and other arts. Visit the market and stroll around the historical center of this biggest town in the Odenwald. The market is open noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is 3 euros for adults, free for children up to age 13.

Let's GoCycling the NetherlandsThe Dutch National Cycling Platform — Stichting Landelijk Fietsplatform — maintains a network of cycling routes totaling some 2,800 miles throughout the Netherlands. The routes have been divided into four categories: holiday tours, section guides, weekend tours and detours.

To help cyclists along the routes, the foundation publishes and sells detailed guides that include topographic maps and information about the area. Under holiday tours, for example, there are guides for the Dutch Coast Route (340 miles from Sluis to Nieuweschans), the North-South Route (320 miles from Holwerd to Vaals), the Central Netherlands Route (360 miles round trip from Alkmaar to Enschede to Utrecht to The Hague and back to Alkmaar) and the Tour of the Netherlands (745 miles along the country’s borders).

The holiday tour guides cost 17.50 euros each. There also are smaller guides for separate sections of the routes, weekend rides and day rides that include information on nature, scenery and objects of interest encountered along the way. These guides cost between 10 euros and 15 euros.

Details on the organization and its guides are available at

Vienna wine daysVienna’s annual Wine Days are continuing through April 22 with one event remaining in March and two in April .

Under the theme of "Taste and Discuss with the Vintners," visitors can meet the country’s top winemakers and enjoy tasting their wines in the Bank Austria Kunstforum.

The remaining dates are Tuesday for Burgenland white and sweet wines, April 16 for Lower Austria wines and April 22 for Styrian wines.

Tastings run from 2 to 9 p.m. Entry is 15 euros for the day, 8 euros for an evening card starting at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, in German, about the wines that will be available, see

Van Gogh exhibitionFans of the painter Vincent van Gogh won’t want to miss the exhibition "Zwischen Erde und Himmel: Die Landschaften" ("Between Earth and Heaven: the Landscapes"), which will be on display April 26 to Sept. 27 in the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland.

The museum has gathered 70 of the Dutch artist’s works from museums in Europe, the United States and Asia, offering an overview of his landscape painting. Visitors can follow his evolution from the earthier tones of his Dutch works in Paris to the more colorful and intense tones of his works in southern France.

The exhibit will be supplemented by works by contemporaries to put van Gogh’s paintings into context. There will also be a multimedia presentation to introduce the public to his life and works.

Reservations are made in one-hour slots. Admission is 28 Swiss francs (about $25) for adults, 10 Swiss francs for children 13 to 18, and free for children up to 12 years. Admission with a tour in English costs 45 Swiss francs for adults, 10 Swiss francs for children 13 to 18 years and free for children up to 12 years. More details on this exhibit and other events at the museum are available at; there is an English version.

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