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Special places for special interests

Some of my best journeys have been those in which I explored favorite interests in places I had never before visited. Each provided a richer travel experience while opening a new aspect of a hobby. Here are some ideas to help enrich your journeys this year.

Holland's golden age

During the 17th century, Holland was a powerful nation exhibiting its wealth through impressive art and architecture. A new 14-night learning vacation that focuses on Holland's past has been developed for those 50 and older by Interhostel, at the University of New Hampshire, and by a Dutch educational partner, Stichting Educatieve Projekten.

Works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Reubens and Van Dyke can be explored on side trips from Delft to Amsterdam. Other side trips include traditional Dutch costumes at Scheveningen displayed by local residents, a boat ride on the Vecht River past quaint villages and mansions, and a stop at Amersfort, where a school for carillon players is located.

Price from Boston is $2,695 a person, based on double occupancy, with a single supplement charge of $275. Departure is Sept. 16.

Other new programs this year are to Fashionable England on Oct. 5; Burgundy and Lyon, Oct. 11, and mercantile roots of cities such as Hamburg, Berlin and Potsdam, Aug. 6.

Call Interhostel toll-free 1-800-733-9753.

Healthy itinerary

A 21-day tour of China this fall includes a series of health and fitness tour events to highlight China's Year of Health and Fitness. Leaving from San Francisco on Oct. 8 and returning Oct. 30, travelers will learn about acupuncture, herbal medicines and Chinese theories of keeping fit. Leading the tour, developed by Yangtze Cruises Inc., is Dr. Betty Gaw, former medical consultant of the U.S. State Department of Health Services.

Price is $3,749 a person. Call toll-free 1-800-779-2856 or see www.visit-china-97.com/16lines/

herbal.htm.

Travel tidbits

Passages is a new newsletter from ElderTreks, adventure travel for those 50 and older. It includes details of a new 15-day tour to Transylvania, Hungary and Romania, July 25-Aug. 8, at a land price of $2,995.

It has a moderate activity rating and is limited to 16 travelers a tour. No mandatory single supplement for travelers willing to share. Call toll-free 1-800-741-7956 or see www.eldertreks.com/.

Contact Adele Malott via mail at P.O. Box 50400, Reno, NV 89513-0400.

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