Travel Briefs

Gourmets will enjoy fine dining and wine tasting on France Cruises’ 14-passenger canal barge Luciole in the waterways of Burgundy. In addition, daily cooking lessons will be given by the onboard chef, and there will be a visit to the restaurant La Côte Saint Jacques (three Michelin stars) for a cookery demonstration supervised by the chef and owner, Jean-Michel Lorain, followed by a gourmet dinner.

Priced from $3,200 per person, the tour includes six nights on board with guided...


A deluxe ecocruise vessel is navigating Ecuador’s Rio Napo in the Amazon jungle. Big Five Tours & Expeditions’ Manatee Explorer is a modern, 3-deck vessel with air-conditioning, 13 en suite cabins, dining room, bar and lounge.

The exclusive “flotel” offers a full-service crew plus expert naturalist guides for excursions.

Four- and 5-day cruises may be combined with other tour programs. The 4-day “Amazon Cruising in Ecuador” departs every Friday from Quito and costs $799...


On its “Three Gorges” cruises on the Yangtze River in China, Victoria Cruises now begins and ends in Yichang rather than Wuhan. The upstream trip now takes five days instead of six, while the downstream voyage is still four days. Reasons cited for the change include better air connections and fewer problems with locks being closed during the flood season.

A major stage in the long-term restoration of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London has been completed (Feb. ’04, pg. 21). The East End face is looking as good as new following 13 months of painstaking renovation by stonemasons. Restoration of the interior is expected to be completed early in 2005.

It is open daily Monday-Saturday, with admission £7 (near $12.50). Visit

The Royal Oak Foundation is the American membership affiliate of Britain’s National Trust. The National Trust owns and operates over 200 historic houses, gardens, castles and sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Royal Oak members enter these properties free of charge, saving on admission fees. The Royal Oak membership card is also honored at over 100 properties of the National Trust for Scotland.

Royal Oak individual and family memberships cost $50 and $75, respectively, and...


The Canterbury Festival takes place this year Oct. 9-23. There will be concerts in Canterbury Cathedral and opera, dance and drama in the Marlowe and Gulbenkian theaters, not to mention a range of jazz and folk music, street theater and children’s events, plus exhibitions, walks and talks.

For festival info, phone (01227) 452853, fax (01227) 781830 or e-mail

For Canterbury bookings, contact Canterbury Information Centre, 12-13 Sun St., The...


Walkers are invited to join a 7-day walk in the steps of 18th-century Scottish cattle drovers from Spean Bridge to Crieff. It is part of the Crieff and Strathearn Drovers’ Tryst hill walking festival, Oct. 9-16, 2004. Various shorter walks are also planned, along with street theater, live music, ceilidh, pipe bands and a farmers’ market.

For info, call 01764 652578 or visit

The chefs of some of London’s finest restaurants are passing on their knowledge at a series of master classes arranged by Tasting Places. They are being held at a designer kitchen in Holland Park and at several restaurants.

The morning sessions in Holland Park cost from £100 (near $179) per person, with a 2-hour hands-on master class followed by lunch with fine wines.

The master classes in restaurants are mainly limited to seven to 12 people and start at £140 ($250) per person...