Reference Points

October 02, 2005

Trips: A two-week tour of historic Turkey

Travel to legendary Troy on two-week tours to Turkey.

The tours, departing Nov. 4 and Nov. 18 and five other dates through March 29, visit Istanbul, Ankara, the Cappadocia area, Antalya on the Turquoise Coast, Pamukkale (Hierapolis), the island of Kusadasi and Canakkale.

State-licensed guides will escort the group to ruins including Ephesus, the ruins of Hierapolis and Aphrodisias.

Participants will tour the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara and ancient sites such as the tunnels in Cappadocia.

Cost: $1,599 per person, double occupancy ($350 single surcharge), including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Istanbul, hotels, most meals, ground transportation, sightseeing, entrance fees and airport transfers.

For more information, contact Troy Tours Inc., Los Angeles: 310-417-3460; www.troytours.com.

[ From wire reports ]

On the move: Scooting around Seattle

Hotel Monaco in Seattle, Wash., is putting its guests on motor scooters for a day with the Room With a Vroom package. Rates start at $479 a night, double occupancy, for an overnight stay and use of two scooters (normally $100 each for a full day). The package can be used until Dec. 31 and must be booked five days ahead. For more information: 206-621-1770; hotelmonaco.com.

[ From wire reports ]

Reference Points

At the Mercy of the River: An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness (Ballantine Books; $24.95)

Peter Stark, a contributor to Outside magazine, considers himself a romantic at heart as well as a sucker for the grand adventure. The riskier the better. He is drawn to wild places, fearing that they will vanish before he gets the chance to experience them in their full glory.

So when he received a call from his editor asking if he would be interested in writing about an expedition that was to make the first descent of an unexplored river in Mozambique, his first reaction was: "Oh, yes!"

And then a sharp dose of reality sank in: "This could be really dangerous!"

The threats were real: kayaking down fast-moving rapids, an African wilderness, elephants, lions and crocodiles. And then there was the unpredictable political situation. A sane person would have turned down the assignment, especially anyone with a wife and two children.

"And all this risk for what?" Stark asked himself. "To satisfy my selfish sense of curiosity? To write a magazine article?"

So, of course, he accepted the mission.

In the end, Stark pulls through, and we in turn root for him, the Everyman adventurer with the often uncontrollable urge to skirt the edge.

[ June Sawyers ]

Gear & Gadgets

When baby comes along, you'll be grateful for Graco's Travel Lite Table Chair, a compact folding high chair (without the legs) that hooks securely onto most table tops via long, locking clamps. Rubber grips protect the table surface. A three-point buckle restraint keeps junior in place, and a removable tray and vinyl padding make for easy cleaning. Designed for children weighing less than 37 pounds who can sit up unassisted. Fits tables 5/8 -inch to 2.5 inches thick. It should not be used on glass-top tables.

Travel Lite Table Chair is about $35. Details: 800-345-4109; gracobaby.com.

[ Judi Dash ]

For the record: Travel section honored

For the third year in a row, The Sun's Travel section has been judged the best in the country in its circulation category in the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

Judges cited the section's "elegant, crisp and innovative writing" and "fabulous photos." Sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers, the Lowell Thomas awards are considered the most prestigious honors in the field of travel journalism. The awards were announced Sept. 19. The competition included more than 1,300 entries in 27 categories for work done in 2004-2005.

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