Travel Briefs

According to government figures released May 3, a total of 317 people were kidnapped in Colombia in the first three months of 2004. That’s a decrease of 46% compared to the same period in 2003.

However, the number of successful rescue attempts is lower this year, with only 56 hostages rescued against 151 in the same period last year. The ministry of defense says 5,343 people are still being held hostage in Colombia.

And, unlike previously, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias...


In its third incarnation, having emerged from bankruptcy, PanAm debuted in spring with scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Port of Spain, Trinidad; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. It already was offering charters to Port of Spain.

The Universal Forum of Culture is taking place in Barcelona, Spain, until Sept. 26, 2004. The 4½-month international festival is presenting 423 concerts and 170 musical groups plus street performances, circus, art exhibitions (including Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an), international markets, dance, theater and a nightly celebration. Conferences and debates will be open to the public, many with audience question-and-answer sessions. Translation services are available.

It is taking...


In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the Neerlandia Building (part of the 17th-century Amstelhof building) is the first phase of the master plan for the Hermitage Amsterdam, which in six galleries will present small, temporary exhibitions drawn from the collection of The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Each exhibition will be on view for about five months.

To be shown Sept. 18, 2004-Feb. 13, 2005, will be “Nicholas & Alexandra,” featuring personal possessions,...


The credit-card-sized Dublin Pass provides access to over 30 attractions in Ireland’s capital at reduced rates. And a “smart” chip in the pass eliminates the need for cash transactions at admission points, allowing the holder to beat queues and gain fast entry.

The pass gives the holder preferential rates at shops, theaters and restaurants; provides special offers such as museum guidebooks, complimentary coffee, etc., and includes Aircoach transfer form the airport to the city....


Two free guides provide details of 43 places to eat in the English counties bordering Wales.

• With sections on restaurants; ethnic restaurants serving food from the Indian subcontinent; brasseries; pubs, and tea shops, “A Taste of Staffordshire” can be obtained by calling 08705 004444 or visiting the website

• “Flavours of Herefordshire” features leading entries in the county’s annual awards scheme for restaurants, pubs, tearooms, bed-and-...


Orient-Express Safaris’ luxury tented safari lodges Khwai River Lodge, Eagle Island Camp and Savute Elephant Camp in Botswana now offer guests the use of high-level telescopes to view the night sky. Four of the larger moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, scores of galaxies and innumerable other objects are among the spectacles to see.

The powerful Meade Digital Electronic Series (DS) 114 telescopes are refracting telescopes, each featuring a preprogrammed auto star controller that...


ATS Tours is offering discounted “Magical New Zealand” packages of 10 to 15 days, beginning at $1,299 per person out of L.A.

For example, on the 11-day/8-night independent vacation “New Zealand Movie Magic,” from $2,849 (including savings of $235), “Lord of the Rings” fans can explore the locations that provided backdrops for the Academy Award-winning films.

Included are airfare from Los Angeles to Christchurch and return from Queenstown, eight days’ Hertz compact automatic...