Ireland tours

MyguideIreland offers inexpensive packages for those who want to stay in a variety of lodgings while driving themselves around the Emerald Isle.

Prices are based on the type of accommodations and the time of the year. For example, the least expensive tour, called “Ireland’s Kingdom,” starts at $189 per person, double occupancy, and includes a seven-day car rental and a vacation rental near Kenmare in County Kerry. Some of the regional tourist sites include the town of Killarney, Killarney National Park, Ring of Kerry, West Cork and Ring of Beara.

The price includes car rental with fees and taxes, six nights accommodations, road map, discounted admission to attractions, free calls to the agent and the cost of shipping accommodation vouchers.

A seven-day trip around the southwest coast begins at $462 per person. The “Castles and Family Homes” package includes four nights in bed-and-breakfast inns, two castle nights and car rental for a week with fees, taxes and a road map.

For more trips and details, go to

Brugge packages

The Hotel Navarra in Brugge, Belgium, has three packages that start at 135.50 euros for guests who like bikes, beer or chocolate.

All offers include two nights accommodation in a four-star hotel (double occupancy), two breakfasts, wireless Internet access, use of the health center, city map and city discount card.

The “Discover Brugge by Bike” tour also includes two rental bikes for one day and a cycling tour in and around the city.

The “Taste our Famous Belgian Beers” tour adds a beer walk with some discount vouchers and a visit to the brewery De Halve Maan.

The “Brugge, the Chocolate Capital” tour includes a chocolate walk with some tastings, a visit to the chocolate museum Choco Story and a chocolate surprise.


Visit wolves

According to the Wolf Camp in the Polar Zoo in Bardu, Norway, wolves are genetically fearful of humans, so those that live in captivity are stressed. The wolves at this camp, however, have been socialized to humans and enjoy their company.

If you would like to spend some time with these animals, the staff at the camp will let you join them in their enclosure for an hour. While you get to know each other, the staff will give you information about the often-misunderstood animal.

The price for one hour is 600 Norwegian kroner (about $95) per person with a minimum of five people in the group.

The Polar Zoo is the world’s most northern park for predatory animals. It includes reindeer, wolverines, moose, lynx, Arctic fox and brown bears. Feeding shows and tours are scheduled. Overnights in cabins and camping also are possible.

For more information on visiting the wolves and other attractions, see www.

Animal fun in London

Take the kids to the city to meet lizards, arachnids, armadillos, skunks and other creatures. Every second Sunday of the month through January 2011, the National Geographic Store in London presents the Animal Man Experience with children’s entertainer and animal expert Nick Spellman. At humorous shows presented at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., he talks about the animals’ habits and habitats, allowing children to interact with the animals under supervision. Entrance to the shows is free. Find details at

Pig museum

Stuttgart, Germany, has added a museum to its cultural scene: the Schweine Museum.

The museum, which claims to be the largest of its kind in the world, has 28 rooms centered on the theme of pigs, with more than 37,000 sculptures, prints and paintings. Some of these themes include the pig in the wild, in science, culture and mythology. While several take a serious look at the animal, others have a more humorous view.

Best bets

BELGIUM: Jazz lovers with stamina can get their fill of music Friday, Saturday and Sunday during Brussels’ annual Jazz Marathon. About 125 free concerts will be given by 400 artists both outdoors and in clubs, concert halls, cafes and hotels. Whether it’s modern or traditional, blues, world, funk or Latino, there’s something on the program for all kinds of jazz lovers. Free buses take participants from one venue to another. On Saturday in the Sablon section of the city, a mini-marathon for families will include music workshops and family activities. Get the full program at

ITALY: More than 800 member wineries of the Movimento Turismo del Vino (Wine Tourism Movement) open their doors to the public Sunday for the annual Cantine Aperte (Open Wineries). Learn how wine is made and sample the final product. Many cellars also have planned related events. Click the "News" or "Events" tab at to learn more about the open cellars; there is an English version. To learn more about what is going on in individual regions throughout the year, click on "Links" for information in Italian.

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