I'm planning a trip to Italy to visit Venice and Florence with my daughter. She is a glass blower and would like to take a factory tour and a class or workshop. Can you help us with ideas?
You and your daughter will enjoy Venice and the island of Murano, famous for its glass-blowing artisans. Neither we nor the Italian Tourist Office were able to find classes for your daughter, but she'll get to watch craftsmen at work on Murano.
Many factories are connected to glassware shops and are open to the public. Look for signs on storefronts indicating that visitors are welcome.
A must-see is the Museo Vetrario, or Glass Museum, in the Palazzo Giustinian near the center of the island. It's open every day except Wednesday; admission is 6.50 euros, or about $8.50.
Creating a list for Florence would take too long, but you should include Piazza del Duomo, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore; and Uffizi Gallery, with works from the Florentine Renaissance. Call ahead for reservations: 011-39-055-294883.
For more ideas, go to italiantourism.com and culturalitaly.com.
We'd like to visit Cambodia and Thailand, but most tours I see online include Vietnam. I'd rather not visit there this time. Any suggestions?
Finding a tour of Southeast Asia that doesn't include Vietnam is tough. However, if you don't mind including Laos, here are some ideas: Travel Indochina (travelindochina.com) offers a 16-day Khmer Kingdoms Explorer tour that begins in Bangkok, Thailand, ends in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and includes a visit to the southern Laos capital of Pakse, plus temples, villages and archaeological sites. Land-only prices start at $2,215 per person, double occupancy. Tours begin in January. Call the Adventure Travel Co. at 800-467-4595.
Another Web site you might want to check is Infohub.com, a portal for specialty travel. From the home page, click on Asia, then either Cambodia or Thailand, for tour itineraries and prices. You'll have to fill out a request for information to book or receive a brochure.