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Rundown for the week of June 5, 1999

The Path to Everest
Following the release of the Imax movie Everest, and despite the disaster of that fateful trip, trekkers have been flocking to the Khumbu region in Nepal. And it's not just daredevils who want to reach the summit. It's also people like you and me--who aren't mountaineers, but who want to get as close Everest as possible by trekking to the Base Camp--at a mere 18,000 feet.

One of those adventurers is The Savvy Traveler's own Manisha Aryal who recently moved back to Katmandu after living in the States for a number of years. She decided that she needed to get away --from the clutter, the commitments, family , friends, to think about the course of her life and mostly her career. So she packed her backpack, caught a flight to Look-La at 9,000 feet and began the walk the base of Everest. She takes us along on her journey.

Q&A I: Safety Tips
Rudy talks to listeners about staying safe while traveling.

Summer Camp Interview
The first trip you ever took by yourself might have been to summercamp. Remember the bonfires...archery lessons...awkward dances with boys and girls.....the care packages...and the homesickness? You probably don't remember the agonizing your parents did, trying to decide where to send you...sleepaway camp or day camp? Would you be scared? How would they affford it? But now, if you're a parent, you're probably asking yourself the same questions. Where will your kids be happy and safe? And paying for it isn't isn't exactly easy--these days it can run more than $5,000 a summer for overnight camp. For help making these decisions, I asked Susan Silverstein to stop by. She's the director of Paradise Farm Camp in Dovington, Pennsylvania--the oldest camp in the country. It was established in 1875 to bring financially disadvantaged city kids to the country.

Bad Taste Tour: Liberace Museum
We must admit we were surprised by the great response we got to our last "Bad Taste Tour". You may remember that Cash Peters took us to Kathy's Freak Farm in San Diego--two headed turtles--a chicken with two tushes--stuff like that. And many of you wrote in actually wanting to hear more! Well, not more about the turtles but about other tours and museums that push the boundaries of kitsch, class and good taste. So we sent Cash back out into the world of the weird to see what else he could dig up. And he soon resurfaced after a trip to the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas. Remember, as in any Bad Taste Tour, some of this material could be considered offensive. But, then again, who are we to judge?

Deal of the Week
You may have seen those racy television ads for the Starwood group of hotels with the line, "Who's he sleeping with?" Well, you don't have to sleep with anyone, but you do have to sleep at a Starwood property to take advantage of this week's deal. The Starwood family includes Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, St. Regis/Luxury Collection, Caesars and W, the new line of so-called boutique hotels.

Here's the deal: If you book a room at a Starwood hotel through Microsoft Expedia's on-line travel service by June 25th, you'll get 50 percent off up to five consecutive nights on a future stay. You don't have to actually check in before June 25th, just make your reservation. Then you have until the first day of September to stay a night. You have until the end of next year to collect on the 50 percent off.

Starwood is the 900-pound gorilla that's been buying up hotel chains. It has its own frequent guest program with an usual benefit: No black out dates. When you register on Expedia for this promotion, you're automatically enrolled in the Starwood program. For details, go to expedia.com.

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

Dominican Republic

  • In Santo Domingo, capital city of the Dominican Republic, make sure you see the Alcazar de Colón, the castle of Don Diego Colón, built in 1514. The Teatro Nacional is one of the top national theatres in the world. La Atarazana, the old Royal Mooring Docks, now houses craft shops, restaurants and galleries. The hottest buys in the Dominican Republic are cigars, coffee, rum and local crafts.

  • For the nature lover, water sports, horseback riding, tennis, scuba diving, winsurfing and hiking in the rain forests are popular in the Dominican Republic. Pico Duarte, at 10,370 feet, is the tallest mountain in the West Indies and a spectacular two-day hike. The Dominican Republic boasts more than 1,000 miles of beach.


  • Madrid is the city that never sleeps (with apologies to New York). Evenings begin with tapas sessions -- hopping from bar to bar feasting on enough Spanish appetizers to constitute a dinner.

  • During the day, hop on a bus tour (narrated in English) to get a feel for Madrid's sights. Visit the Prado, one of the world's great art galleries. If you're into modern art, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is a must. Tour the former home to the Spanish monarchs, the Palacio Royal. People-watch or rent a rowboat in the Parque del Retiro. See a bullfight and experience a major part of Spanish culture. Side trips: Toledo and Segovia, well-preserved villages with more architectural beauty than you'll find in Madrid.


  • Someone once said that Ibiza has more discotheques than Rio. Truth be known, in Ibiza, you can dance. Once a haven for hippies, Ibiza has become a tourist mecca with little authenticity and little to do other than party and lie on the beach. If beach parties aren't your scene, you can enjoy beautiful hiking and bike trails.

Honeymoon in Bermuda 

  • Take a late afternoon stroll through the Botanical Gardens and find yourself intoxicated by the fragrance of oleander and frangipane. The colonia setting will take you back a hundred years.

  • Spend the afternoon at Horseshoe Bay. Have your hotel pack a gourmet lunch, open a bottle of champagne and laze the day away on the world's most famous "pink" sand beach. Beach afficionados will tell you this is one of the most beautiful ocean vistas in the world.

  • Book a table at the Fourways restaurant, arguably the best and most romantic in Bermuda. European-trained chef and extensive wine list. Call 441-266-6517.

China Update
It's been a month since the U.S. accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. So what's happened to tourism as a result...especially in light of the Tianamen Square anniversary? Are Americans heading for Beijing and Shanghai this summer or have these become forbidden cities? The Savvy Traveler's Marty Goldensohn has an update.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
So...until we meet again next week...let's say...Scotland? Where some folks are so taken by the place that never want to leave.

"There was a young couple just married last week. They stayed for a night and wouldn't go away. At the beer garden at 11 o'clock at night and they were there the next morning at half past eight."

A Scotsman's tour of Scotland. And best-selling author Frances Mayes stops by to talk about the place that's become her home...Italy.

"Once you've been in a shop twice in Cortona they know you. Here I've been in the laundry 80 times and they still don't know who I am."

The warmth and charm of Bella Tuscany and your calls about what drives your wanderlust. That and more so please come along for the ride during next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.

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