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Rundown for the week of January 16, 1999

Ottawa Parliament
For some tourists, the high point of a trip might be a sacred afternoon spent in a museum, a fabulous evening meal, or maybe that one last run down the slopes at some exotic ski resort. And then there's some who get a charge out of what might be called "political tourism." Kitty Felde got sucked in when she visited the capital of Ottawa in Canada.

Q&A I: In Pursuit of Your Passions
Rudy talks to listeners about the passions that inspire them to travel, from art and literature to frisbee golf.

Underground Railroad Interview
As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it's important to remember that it was not until after the Civil War that African-Americans were allowed to travel freely in many parts of this country. Even then, Jim Crowe laws still made it extremely difficult. The desire for freedom was so strong that many slaves risked their lives to find freedom in the North. They traveled along a series of trails known as the Underground Railroad -- a secret network set up by abolitionists to help slaves escape to Free States and Canada. The National Park Service estimates that more than 100,000 slaves gained their freedom this way. Historian Anthony Cohen gained a sense of what the trip to the North may have been like after he followed an Underground Railroad route from Memphis to Canada; he tells us what compelled him to make a trip like this in the first place.

Cohen is writing a book about his experience--it'll be published by Hyperion early next year. To learn more you can visit his web site.

Skiing with the Kids
In theory, a ski trip seems the perfect family vacation. It's adventurous, outdoors, and one of the few sports people of varying skill levels can do together. But as many parents know, family skiing can be frustrating, exhausting and expensive. Pippin Ross traveled to Breckenridge, Colorado to collect some tips on how to make the family ski trip both fun and affordable.

Deal of the Week: Organize yourself a free trip!
Want to travel for nothing? Do you have eight friends you can take with you? A Boston cmopany called Go Ahead Vacations wants to hear from you. If you put together eight people for a tour, you get to tag along for free. Most tours go to Europe, but they'll take your group anywhere. You can even go on a cruise - although then you'll need to round up 15 people. For every extra person you bring in the door, you'll receive $100.

To reach Go Ahead: 800-242-4686

Cruise Pollution Interview
We were horrified to read in The New York Times a few weeks ago about cruise ships that have been dumping oil into the ocean. The Coast Guard and the Justice Department had launched a four-year inquiry leading to the discovery that Royal Carribbean Cruise ships were some of the main perpetrators. The company pleaded guilty last June and agreed to pay a $9 million fine. But then, another of their ships did it again the following month! Turns out, it's very hard to police the cruise industry due to the difficulty of regulating international waters. Captain Jeffrey Powers works for the U.S. Coast Guard in the department of Marine Safety and Enviornmental Protection. He stopped by to explain how ships get away with the crime of dumping waste into the ocean.

According to Captain Powers, there's no central place for us to find out which cruise lines are the biggest offenders. So if you're a concerned, committed cruiser, it sounds like your best recourse is to lug your video camera with you on your next big trip.

Q&A II: General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

Midwest Meeting Points

  • The Chamber of Commerce in Holland, Michigan has posted their 1999 cottage listing. Check it out at www.holland-chamber.org or call 616-392-2389.

  • Wasaga Beach, Canada is just a few hours north of Toronto. The Chamber of Commerce has information about vacation cottages in the area: 705-429-2247.

  • For other towns in the Wasaga Beach area, call the Georgian Triangle Tourism Information number: 705-445-7722.

World War I Battlefield Sites in France

  • Check out www.worldwar1.com for a complete listing of all battle sites.

  • From the above site, you can link to the travel agency Bell Travel out of Berkeley, California. Bell offers a two-week tour of battlefields in and around Paris for a little under $3000 (including airfare from New York). Call 800-966-1216.

  • The quarterly journal Relevance is dedicated to all things World War I. Created by the Great War society, you can find Relevance online at www.mcs.com.

Airline Gift Certificates to Australia

  • American Airlines offers gift certificates in two ways: at airports and over the phone. They are issued in amounts of $50, $100, $150 $200 or $250. Call 800-677-9555 to order.

  • Quantas doesn't issue gift certificates, but you can get an MCO (miscellaneous charge order) that works basically the same way. You can buy them in values of up to $1000 each, or buy multiples if you want a higher value. They're available at any ticketing facility where Quantas is present.

The Open Road: Teresa Sings
Most of us, when we travel, have our habits: looking for vintage car museums, seeking out pub food. The first thing that The Open Road's Hal Cannon does when he gets to a new place is check out the want ads. His wife, Teresa Jordan, is looking for something else entirely: the perfect spot to sing.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
We're hearing stories of your most embarrassing foreign language mistakes, and we'll take a trip to Tasmania in search of devils, mountains and convicts. And best-selling author Simon Winchester answers the burning question, what color is Greenland anyway?

"Staggeringly pure white - and also in places vivid blue - ice, the green and the blue of the sea, the black and not only black but red and yellow and green of the rocks..."

Simon Winchester has chosen Greenland as his "Place of the Heart." We'll learn why he thinks it's so special. And we're hearing about the latest trend in hip hotels. That and more so please come along for the ride in next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.

For tapes of the show
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15. As Rudy says, it's a steal.

The Savvy Traveler Newsletter
The Savvy Traveler newsletter is now available. For more information, call toll-free, 888-SAV-TRAV (888-728-8728), extension 3, or e-mail mail@savvytraveler.org.

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