Travel Briefs

Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door hosts free travel classes most Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Edmonds Theater, 415 Main St., Edmonds.

March 26 – Mediterranean Europe.

April 2 – Spring travel festival, free classes all day.

April 16 – Best of Europe.

April 23 – Southern Italy and Sicily.

Classes are free, reservations recommended. Call 425-771-8303 ext. 298 or visit

The Savvy Traveler offers free travel seminars at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. most Saturdays at 112 Fifth Ave. S., Edmonds.

March 26 – 10 a.m. Tuscany and Umbria.

March 26 – 1 p.m. Southern Italy and Sicily.

April 2 – 10 a.m. Game trekking in South Africa.

April 9 – 10 a.m. Scotland: Islands and Highlands.

April 9 – 1 p.m. Ultimate Italian vacation.

April 16 – 10 a.m. Paris and southern France.

April 23 – 10 a.m. Slovenia and Croatia.

April 23 – 1 p.m. Eastern Europe: The best kept secret.

Learn Italian for travelers, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, through April 7, $10 each.

Classes are free, reservations recommended. Call 425-744-6076 or 877-225-1994.

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St., Everett, offers “Greece – On Your Own,” from 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 16, $25, $10 material fee, registration required. Call 425-267-0150.

RVs in Europe

Like a lot of retirees, Adelle and Ron Milavsky drove throughout the United States in their recreational vehicle.

But then they did something most RV owners have probably never thought about. They shipped their RV to Europe, and started taking road trips there. Fees for shipping the RV, insuring it there and even buying gas were comparable to the price of staying in hotels every night and eating every meal in a restaurant.

“It was much more convenient than we imagined,” Adelle Milavsky said. “There seem to be RV campgrounds everywhere, even in the Bois du Boulogne.”

The Milavskys have written a book about their experiences, “Take Your RV to Europe: The Low-Cost Route to Long-Term Touring,” published by The Intrepid Traveler of Branford, Conn. (, 203-488-5341). The $19.95 book includes cost comparisons for shipping an RV overseas versus renting one there, as well as advice on campgrounds, driving, and even sightseeing.

Coastal gardens

Celebrate spring with a trip to a seaside garden. The March issue of Coastal Living recommends five places by the sea to enjoy the flowers of the season. They are:

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens &Arboretum, in Bristol, R.I., where you’ll have sweeping views of Narragansett Bay.

Brookgreen Gardens, Pawleys Island, S.C., a former rice plantation that is home to flowers, birds, animals and 550 outdoor sculptures.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Mendocino, Calif., set along a rocky headland over the Pacific.

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, a 19th-century quarry that now blooms with a million bedding plants.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Fla., which has an unusual collection of epiphytes – plants that require other plants or trees for support, including certain types of orchids and bromeliads.

For more coastal gardens recommended by the magazine, go to

Yosemite Falls

A $13.5 million facelift of a visitors’ area at the base of Yosemite Falls – the tallest waterfall in North America – is complete.

The project, which took 10 years from planning to completion, was almost entirely funded by private donations and ranks as the most significant renovation in California’s Yosemite National Park since floods tore through Yosemite Valley in 1997.

The idea was to provide more opportunities for quiet contemplation for the 1.5 million visitors who come from around the world to see the cascade that sends 144,000 gallons of water crashing down the granite walls every minute.

The newly renovated site will be dedicated in April.

“We want it to be like a museum, where you go there intending to spend an hour, and suddenly you find you’ve been there for three hours,” said Bob Hansen, president of the Yosemite Fund, a nonprofit group based in San Francisco that provided most of the funding for the project.

“People are going to look at a largely pristine setting,” he said. “They won’t know that what was there was an eyesore just a few years ago.”

Gone, for example, is the parking lot where tour buses and cars jostled for several dozen spaces, replaced with a picnic area and bike racks.

Wilderness expedition

Ride the rollicking rapids of the Tatshenshini-Alsek rivers on 13-day summertime wilderness expeditions through Alaska and Canada.

The trips, planned for July 24 and Aug. 9, begin in Haines, Alaska, where the group gathers before traveling over coastal mountains by van into Canada’s Yukon. Participants embark in rafts for 11 days of mild to intermediate whitewater rafting with layover days for hiking, photography and exploration. The rafting ends in Dry Bay, Alaska, and the group then flies to Juneau, Alaska.

“It’s the most spectacular river in North America,” said Jimmy Katz of James Henry River Journeys. “It’s one of the few rivers in the world that cuts through three major mountain ranges.”

The groups are accompanied by guides who relate the region’s Tlingit folk tales, discuss natural history and teach landscape photography.

Cost: $3,095 per person, double occupancy ($120 single surcharge), including two nights’ hotel lodging, tent accommodations, meals and licensed guides. Air fare from Dry Bay to Juneau is included. Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park fees and air fare to Haines and from Juneau are not included.

Contact: James Henry River Journeys, Bolinas, Calif.; 800-786-1830,

History tour

Adults who are developmentally disabled can delve into American history on a six-day tour of Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

The May 19 escorted trip visits the Boston church where Paul Revere began his famous ride. The group also tours the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building in New York. In Washington, participants visit the White House and the Smithsonian.

Cost: $1,530 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge not available), including five nights’ accommodations, meals, 24-hour supervision and excursions. Air fare is not included.

Contact: Sundial Special Vacations, Seaside, Ore.; 800-547-9198 or 503-738-3325,

Dinosaur dig

Excavate dinosaur fossils on an archaeological dig designed for grandparents and grandchildren.

The six-night adventure, which begins July 23, takes place in Colorado’s red-rock country, near Grand Junction.

The program focuses on digging in a quarry where scientists have found remains of eight dinosaur species. It is designed to appeal to children 7 to 9 and includes a visit to a paleontology lab.

Cost: $2,690 per adult, $2,240 for one child or $1,790 per child for two children, including accommodations, most meals, instructors, excursions, transfers, materials and tools. Round-trip airfare is not included.

Contact: Grandtravel, Washington, D.C.; 800-247-7651,

Prices, dates or itineraries may change. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.

From Herald news services

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