Traveler's Advisory

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Encircled by bushland and river, artist Arthur Boyd's Bundanon properties near Nowra, on the New South Wales south coast, inspired some of the most memorable landscapes produced by the Australian expressionist (1920-1999). Culture lovers can share that source of inspiration at "Landscape Close-Up"-a series of weekend talks, workshops and masterclasses given by leading local artists and writers at Bundanon, which was bequeathed to the Australian people by Boyd in 1993. Highlights includes a contemporary landscape painting forum (Jan. 20-21), architecture masterclass (July 8-14) and artist John Olsen's residential workshop "Bundanon Aerial" (Sept. 7-9). For information and to book see

Tired of being judged by what you wear, not what you say? Then join the waiting list to dine at Blind Cow, a Swiss restaurant which operates in total darkness and is staffed with waiters who can't see. Housed in a former Lutheran church, the restaurant was set up by a blind clergyman, Jorge Spielmann, to provide work for sightless people and to give those who can see an insight into their world. Since it opened in 1999, the 60-seat restaurant, which serves hearty German cuisine like pig's knuckles, has become a popular venue for blind dates. But as dining in the dark can be a messy experience, it's best to wear dark colors to mask the spills.

St. Petersburg
Since the collapse of Communism, the secrets of Soviet society have been exposed in print, stage and screen. But an exhibition at St. Petersburg's National History Museum may provide the most intimate insight yet into life under Communist rule. "Memory of the Body: Undergarments of the Soviet Era" includes 100 items of underwear produced in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1991. Also on display are photographs from family albums and written testimony from those who endured the discomfort of ill-fitting, unflattering corsets and bloomers. Through Jan. 31.

Hong Kong
When 400 Buddhist sculptures were unearthed from the ruins of Longxing Temple in 1996, they were hailed as "China's most important discovery in Buddhist art and archeology this century." Despite their age-the icons date from the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534) to the Northern Song (960-1137)-many had retained their original brilliant hues and gold leaf. On display at Hong Kong's Museum of Art, "Buddhist Sculptures: New Discoveries from Qingzhou, Shandong Province" consists of 100 of the sculptures, made from materials including limestone, white marble, granite and pottery, and ranging in height from 50 cm to over 3 m. Through April 15.