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So much to do, so little time Weekend wonders: Anchorage offers hiking and biking, museum hopping and, if it snows, dog-sledding.


My 14-year-old daughter and I will be in Anchorage soon for a three-day weekend. What should we see?

Be assured of one thing: You will find plenty of things to fill your time. Downtown Anchorage, Alaska, alone has some 24 points of interest, from a 10-mile-long paved bike, ski and walking trail called the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which starts at the western end of Second Avenue, to the Captain Cook Monument in Resolution Park, marking Cook's exploration of what became Cook Inlet.

You might enjoy the Imaginarium, a hands-on science center on Fifth Avenue. There is also the nearby Reeve Aviation Picture Museum and the Wolf Song of Alaska, an exhibition about the wolf and its relationship to humans.

Pick up a visitors' guide at the Visitor Information Center, at Fourth Avenue and F Street, or have one mailed by calling (907) 276-4118. Every Friday the Anchorage Daily News publishes "8" and "Calendar of Events," which list activities for the coming week.

This time of year, by the way, is between summer and winter. It just might snow. If it does, add dog sledding to the list of things to do.

I understand that the 1998 soccer World Cup will be held in France. Can you tell me which cities the games will be played in and how I can get tickets?

The next World Cup will be held in June and July 1998 in nine cities and 10 venues in France, but the exact dates have not been determined.

The cities are Paris (Parc des Princes stadium and St.-Denis, five miles northeast of the city), Bordeaux, Lens, Lyons, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, St.-Etienne and Toulouse.

Tickets and packages will be sold in each of the cities by official concessionaires and by tour operators in the United States and the rest of the world. But again, details, including prices, are not yet known.

The French Government Tourist Office will be aware of new developments. It can be reached at 444 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022; (900) 990-0040 (50 cents a minute), fax (212) 838-7855.

I am planning a trip to Panama City by public transportation. I will go from New York to the Mexican border by Greyhound and would appreciate any information about buses from the border to Mexico City and then to Panama City.

Assuming no mechanical hitches, the trip from New York to the border and then to Mexico City should be fairly straightforward.

The trip through Chiapas and Central America, however, will be of an entirely different character. You can expect to travel on slow, narrow, mountainous roads, and once across the Guatemalan border with Mexico, bus quality will be a hit-and-miss thing. You might get a modern vehicle in good condition, but you might also be a passenger on a bus that had its best years a long time ago on the roads of the United States.

You should also know that each city in Central America usually has several bus stations, divided among the various bus companies. Everything south of Managua, Nicaragua, goes through the Tica stations.

Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas: Take the A.D.O. bus line (Autobuses de Oriente) at the Tapo bus station next to the San Lazaro subway stop. Leave Mexico City at 8 p.m. The trip takes 18 hours and costs about $30, calculated at 6.6 pesos to the dollar.

Tuxtla Gutierrez to Tapachula, Chiapas: Cristobal Colon buses leave every hour on the half hour between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Trip takes seven hours and costs about $9.50.

Tapachula to El Carmen (also known as Talisman), Guatemala: Cristobal Colon buses or numerous small commuter buses called micros leave at 1:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. Trip takes 30 to 45 minutes and costs $1 to $2, depending on the type of bus.

El Carmen to Guatemala City: Galgos buses leave El Carmen at various times. The five-hour trip costs $5, calculated at 5.93 quetzals to the dollar.

Guatemala City to San Salvador, El Salvador: Melba buses leave every hour on the half hour between 4:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Five-hour trip costs $6.50.

San Salvador to Managua, Nicaragua: Tica buses leave at 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The trip takes eight-and-a-half hours and costs $8.30 at 188 colons to the dollar.

Managua to San Jose, Costa Rica: Tica buses leave at 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Trip takes 9 1/2 hours and costs $8.35.

San Jose to Panama: Tica buses leave at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The 18-hour trip costs $14.

Total bus time: 71 1/2 hours.

Total cost: $83.65.

I am planning to visit Spain this fall and want to travel by overnight train from Barcelona to Madrid. I would like to reserve sleeping-car accommodations for the journey and don't want to wait until I arrive to make them. Can I can do that from the United States?

Tickets and sleeping-car reservations for that train can be obtained from Rail Europe, a marketing group that represents rail travel in virtually all of Continental western Europe, and big cities in eastern Europe.

This fall, until Dec. 3, the overnight train runs Monday-Thursday. It leaves Barcelona Sants station at 11 p.m., arriving at Madrid Chamartin at 8 a.m. the next day.

The one-way fare is $62 in first class and $41 in second.

The sleeping accommodation is provided in second-class couchettes (seats that convert to beds; bedding is provided) for $24 a person; second-class sleepers for four people at $42 a person; first-class single sleepers at $94 and first-class double sleepers at $58 a person. Prices do not include a $10 handling fee.

The train is the No. 1373. More information: Rail Europe, (800) 438-7245 or (800) 848-7245; fax, (800) 432-1329.

I am planning a trip to the Orient and am interested in finding out how to get from Hong Kong to Singapore as inexpensively as possible.

Unless you have unlimited time or a fear of flying, the most feasible way of going is by air. When you book a ticket ask for New York to Singapore round trip, with a stopover in Hong Kong. And given a choice, go in May, which the airlines call the shoulder season, rather than June, when the high season begins and fares cost more.

Some airlines, including Northwest, Japan Airlines, United and Cathay Pacific, will give you the Hong Kong stopover without extra charge. On others, like Singapore Airlines, it will cost $75.

In economy class the lowest fare quoted in late February on a regular scheduled airline for May was $1,175 round trip plus $35 tax on Northwest. The fare is good for Monday to Thursday ($100 extra for travel on Friday, Saturday or Sunday). You would fly nonstop from New York to Tokyo and then be routed back through Hong Kong and Singapore.

If time is on your side and you would like to look into the possibility of taking a boat from Singapore, the following should be able to help:

* Jecking Tours and Travel, Seventh Floor, China Insurance Building, 48 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; (852) 739-1188, fax (852) 721-2748.

* Swire Travel, 18th Floor, Devon House, Taikoo Place, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong; (852) 579-6699, fax (852) 590-0099.

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