John Calvin jubileeIt’s been 500 years since John Calvin, the humanist lawyer and Protestant reformer was born. His ideas influenced not only religion but also capitalism, individualism and representative democracy.

To celebrate the date, the city of Geneva, where he spent much of his life, is holding a jubilee. A wide range of events is planned, including exhibitions, concerts, workshops, debates and contests.

In connection with the events, the tourist board is offering a Calvin Genève weekend package. The price includes a double room plus breakfast, two-hour guided walking tour on Saturday, entry to the Saint-Pierre area (cathedral, archaeological site, International Reform Museum), entry to the exhibition “A day in the life of Calvin,” Geneva Transport Card (public transport), gift and information on Geneva.

Depending on the hotel category, the cost, per room, ranges from 226 to 482 Swiss francs (about $200 to $425) for one night, 254 to 566 Swiss francs for two nights and 482 to 1,132 Swiss francs for three nights. An extra bed in the parents’ room for children 7 to 14 years ranges from 30 to 85 Swiss francs (about $25 to $75). Children 6 and younger stay free.

Find more at

Tuscan holidayIf you’ve dreamed of a holiday in Tuscany, perhaps you’d be interested in a wine-tasting weekend or a cooking course at Fattoria del Colle, a farmhouse/hotel, restaurant and winery on a 16th-century estate about 30 miles from Siena.

The site cultivates about 55 acres of grapes, including sangiovese, merlot, gewurtztraminer and foglia tonda.

The wine-tasting weekend costs 205 euros per person, double occupancy, for two nights in a twin room. The itinerary includes a candle-lit dinner and wine tasting, pinci (Sienese handmade pasta) tasting and dinner, a trail walk and free afternoon in Montalcino, tour of Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s villa and winery and wine tasting, tour of the local area, cooking demonstration and lessons conducted by HellePoulsen Tesio, author and teacher.

Prices depend on the season. Per person, a three-day course with seven-night stay costs 815 euros in the low season and 895 euros in high season. A four-night stay costs 636 euros in low season and 675 euros high season. A two-day course with three-night stay is 555 euros to 575 euros, while a seven-night stay is 715 euros to 795 euros. A one-day course with meal and guided tour costs 110 euros in both seasons.

Pets are welcome. Find all the details at

Disney World discounts

Going Stateside? Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is offering discounts to military and retired military members at its complex in central Florida.

Promoters for the deluxe resort, located between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Magic Kingdom Park, say that military families can visit all the Disney attractions while staying at the hotel. They add that by combining their offers with military discounts at the theme parks, families can save hundreds of dollars.

The Swan and Dolphin deal offers 50-percent off food and non-alcoholic beverages in its restaurants and lounges, or 10-percent off food and non-alcoholic beverages in Todd English’s bluezoo, Shula’s Steak House or Il Mulino New York Trattoria.

Room rates for the military start at $129 (a typical rate for a double room starts at $219 per night) and a second guest room costs $99. Visit when someone in the family is having a birthday and receive a free night when booking three nights during the birthday period. The birthday guest also receives one theme park ticket for a day offered by Walt Disney World, an $80 value.

Disney World also is offering military members one complimentary five-day Park Hopper and Water Park ticket, approximate value $343. This ticket is valid for five days of admission into the four Walt Disney World theme parks, plus a total of five visits to a choice of a Disney water park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park or certain other attractions.

Military or retired military also can buy up to five $99 five-day theme park tickets (one-park per day), an approximate value of $236 per ticket. This ticket can be upgraded to add the either Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, or both, for an additional $25 plus tax per option.

For details, see To book rooms at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, or for more information, call 1-888-828-8850 or visit

Best BetsCZECH REPUBLIC: The fastest opening of a champagne bottle by slicing the bottleneck with a sword. Ax thrown longest distance. Fastest sweater made from shearing a sheep to sewing on the buttons. These are some of the activities recorded in the Museum of Records and Curiosities in Pelhrimov and in the Guinness Book of Records. On Saturday and Sunday, you can watch competitors in the city’s center vie for more entries at the annual International Festival Records and Curiosities.

Stop at the museum and check out the wide assortment of record-breakers, including a section on beer (in 1999, Guinness reported the country was the greatest consumer of beer with the average Czech drinking 160 liters a year). Find details at

GERMANY: Thursday through Saturday, Wiesbaden’s posh Wilhelmstrasse will be closed to traffic and open to the latest installment of the city’s annual Theatrium festival, which began in 1977 when the city celebrated the reopening of its renovated State Theater. Today the festival fills the streets, side areas and casino park with music and theater stages, international food and drink stalls and wandering entertainers. About 130 crafts workers will sell their wares in the Bowling Green. Generally more artsy than other city fests (and more expensive), it’s a lively celebration that reflects Wiesbaden’s emphasis on theater and the arts. For details, see

The Vikings invade Burg Satzvey this weekend at the castle’s big Viking Spectacular. The grounds will be transformed into a Viking camp with Norman and Viking tents, crafts workers, medieval theater and food and drinks. Demonstrations of Viking activities will be conducted daily at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Gates open at noon. Tickets are 10 euros for adults, 6 euros for those ages 6 to 12 and free for those younger than 6. Seating for the shows costs 2 euros per person. Get details at

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