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February 2010

January 2010

The Oxford Experience is back for summer, 2010

Christ Church College - Oxford University
ABOVE: Oxford Experience courses take place at Christ Church College, Oxford from July 4 to August 7.

Every summer, Oxford University offers a series of one-week courses for adults. The courses cover more than 50 topics, such as:

  • The Beatles: Popular Music and Sixties Britain
  • The Brontës
  • The Archaeology of English Cathedrals
  • The English Romantic Poets
  • Introduction to the History and Science of Cosmology
  • Jewish Life in Medieval England
  • The Crusades
  • Oxford Murder

Here's more about the program, from the official press release:

"The Oxford Experience takes place each summer at Christ Church, one of the most beautiful and prestigious of Oxford colleges (from July 4 to August 7 this year).  

"Each one-week course starts on Sunday, finishing the following Saturday after breakfast (though anyone attending for two or more weeks gets free bed and breakfast over the intervening weekends. And people do attend for two or even three, four or five weeks, year after year.  The program attracts a cosmopolitan mix of participants from all over the world, varying in age from 25 to 90.

"The Oxford Experience is also a chance to sample student life in Christ Church.  Accommodations are in student dorms—which range from picturesque 18th century to modern—though some rooms with private bath are available. And everyone can feel the magic of Christ Church, entering beneath Christopher Wren's Tom Tower, being greeted by a bowler-hatted porter while gazing at Tom Quad and the college chapel (which is also the Oxford Cathedral).

"Then, too, everyone dines in the magnificent Tudor Hall, lined with portraits of famous Christ Church alumni (W.H. Auden, William Penn, Lewis Carroll, John Wesley, Anthony Eden and several other prime ministers), that is featured in the Harry Potter films.  

"Three meals daily are included in the cost of the program: a full English breakfast, a buffet lunch and a served three-course dinner.  One night during the week each participant is invited to dine on High Table and on the final night a reception in the Cathedral Garden is followed by a gala dinner in the Hall.

"Throughout the week there are excursions to stately homes, castles, cathedrals, museums and such; tours of Oxford; strawberries and wine in the Masters' Garden; a display of traditional Morris Dancing; a whisky tasting; evening lectures and concerts.

"The price of a one-week course—including tuition, accommodation and all meals is £1,050, or US $1,691.  Excursions and private bathrooms are extra.  The deadline for registration is May 1.  For more information, visit, or write to The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX 1 2JA, U.K."

Photo: Barry Crossley.

Carnival Cruises returns to Europe in 2011

Carnival Magic

ABOVE: A rendering of Carnival Magic, which will enter service with a series of rooundtrip cruises from Barcelona next year.

Carnival Cruises is returning to the European market in 2011 with its first full Mediterranean season in several years. A new 3,690-passenger ship, Carnival Magic, will offer seven-, nine-, and 12-day roundtrip cruises from Barcelona from May to October.

Seven-day cruises feature Monte Carlo (Monaco), Livorno (for Florence), Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples, and Messina, Sicily.

Nine-day cruises call at Marseilles, followed by Monte Carlo (except the August 26 departure), Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Messina, and Palma de Mallorca. A special nine-day cruise departing May 1 will visit Dubrovnik, Messina, Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno, and Monte Carlo.

The 12-day "Grand Mediterranean" voyags feature Monte Carlo or Marseilles, Livorno, Civitavecchia, and Naples, along with Dubrovnik (except for the May 22 cruise, which will visit Palma de Mallorca instead), Venice (overnight stay), and Messina.

For more information, including sailing dates and prices, call your travel agent or visit the Carnival Cruises Web site at

Image: Carnival Cruises.

Free strollers at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport

Free baby strollers at Charles de Gaulle Airport Paris
ABOVE: If you don't bring a pousette for little Patrick or Patricia, you can borrow one in Terminal 2E at CDG.

Aéroports de Paris has announced a new service in Terminal 2E at Charles de Gaulle Airport: free strollers for infants and toddlers.

Let's make one thing clear: You don't get to keep your stroller. But you can use it free in the airport, in the same way that you'd use a luggage cart. Simply pick up a pousette from one of the two official loan points just beyond security and let your child go for a ride while you're shopping, heading for the gate, or waiting for your plane to depart.

The airport authority reports that 40 strollers are currently available, and a study shows that they're being used about 200 times per day. In time, courtesy pousettes will be available at all terminals in both Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports.

Aéroports de Paris has been adding other "child-friendly" services at both CDG and ORY, such as play spaces with games, changing tables, and nurseries with free coloring kits. (In 2008, nearly 1 million children from ages 0 through 6 departed on vacation from the two major Paris airports, and some 260,000 of those children were under 3 months old.)

For more information on strollers and other infant services at Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports, see the "Passengers travelling with a baby" page at

Photo: Aéroports de Paris via