Q. My husband and I would like to find a tour package to Morocco that includes a few days in the Sahara. Can you help?
A. Morocco, with its ancient imperial cities, exotic souks and Islamic monuments, is a popular tour destination. You’ll find many companies that include the requisite stops at places like Fez, Marrakesh and Casablanca. Packages that include desert detours are slightly less common. Here are two such tours.
General Tours, 53 Summer Street, Keene, N.H. 03431, (800) 221-2216, fax (603) 357-4548, has a brochure about its many Morocco tours, which range from fly-drive packages to major cities to more wide-ranging packages like Treasures of the Casbah, a 13-day trip with departures scheduled throughout most of the year. The latter would probably be of most interest to you. In addition to stops at Casablanca, Rabat, Fez and Marrakesh, participants in this tour will venture into the Sahara in four-wheel-drive vehicles, stopping at places like the sand dune of Merzouga, an ancient casbah at the desert village of Rissani and Ouarzazate, an old French Foreign Legion outpost. A drive through the pine and cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains, a visit to Todra Gorge and an exploration of the Roman ruins at Volubilis are also on the itinerary. The trip’s cost begins at $1,699 and includes air fare, local transportation and accommodations with private bathrooms.
Overseas Adventure Travel, 625 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, Mass. 02138, (800) 221-0814, is offering a 15-day Morocco Sahara Odyssey, which includes a three-day camping trip in the Sahara. The campsite is near the Merzouga sand dune and visits by Bedouins, excursions to desert areas where there are no roads and few people, and dining under desert starlight are promised in the company’s brochure. The tour also includes stops at Rabat, Volubilis, Fez, Casablanca, the Todra and Dades gorges, Ouarzazate and Marrakesh. The cost starts at $2,990 from New York and includes all meals and accommodations. Departures are scheduled in the early spring and fall.
Q. What are the highlights of this year’s Mayfest in Glasgow?
A. Mayfest 97, the 15th annual performing arts festival that celebrates theater, dance, rock, pop and classical music, will take place May 1 to 24 in and around Glasgow. Over the years, the Glasgow Mayfest has become West Scotland’s largest annual arts extravaganza. Although the full program will not be available until the beginning of April, these highlights have been announced:
A May Day parade is scheduled to leave George Square on Sunday, May 4, and will travel through the city’s streets ending up with a grand finale on Glasgow Green at 1 p.m. Glasgow’s trade unions and community groups will take part with puppets and banners. Celebrations will continue throughout the afternoon on Glasgow Green with music, comedy and special events for children, followed by a Ceilidh - a traditional fete involving song and dance - at the Old Fruit Market in the evening.
Theater productions include the world premiere of “A Funny Thing Happened” by Clare Boylan, an Irish novelist and short-story writer, performed by the Nippy Sweeties Theater Company from Scotland at the Citizen’s Theater (Stalls Studio) May 1 to 3 and May 6 to 10; and at the Citizen’s Theater, the O’Casey Theater Company will perform Sean O’Casey’s “Song at Sunset” starring Niall Buggy, on May 20, 22 and 24. Prices range from about $4.25 to $38.25.
The program will also feature Scottish country music, jazz and opera, magic and storytelling. For information, call (44-141) 552 8444 or fax (44-141) 552 6612. Tickets may be booked by calling (44-141) 287 5000. Travel and accommodation information is available from Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Tourist Board, (44-141) 204 4400, fax (44-141) 221 3524.
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