Growing up on a peanut farm in Plains, Ga., without electricity or running water, Jimmy Carter dreamed of becoming the first in his family to finish high school. He wound up becoming the 39th U.S. President (1977-1981). Now members of the public can spend time in some of the places that nurtured Carter. Run by the National Parks Service, the Jimmy Carter National Historical Site, which opened last November, includes his family's farm, high school and the former railroad depot which served as his presidential campaign headquarters in 1976. The ranch house where Carter now lives is still off-limits. See .
It's tough being an explorer in the age of the aeroplane and the satellite: there's so little left to discover. But thrill-seeking travelers can follow in the footsteps of the great explorers on seven expeditions offered by Mountain Sobek. Options include riding the Colorado River rapids through the Grand Canyon on a replica of John Wesley Powell's pine boat, and surveying wildlife in Zambia, where David Livingstone perished in 1873. (The trip concludes in London with dinner at the Royal Geographical Society.) Participants won't suffer the hardships experienced by explorers, the adventure-travel company promises, but some trips can be arduous. "Tilman's Everest Trek," for example, involves strenuous hiking at high altitudes. For trip details and to book, see .
Giuseppe Verdi's (1813-1901) impassioned operas are still among the most performed in the world. So marking the 100th anniversary of the Italian composer's death will be a global affair, with more than 1,500 Verdi-related events scheduled. The website www.giuseppeverdi.org provides a searchable database of concerts, operas, festivals, exhibitions and conferences to be held around the world in 2001. Visitors can also listen to extracts of Verdi's greatest hits, including operas like Rigoletto, Aïda and La Traviata, view his birth certificate, read his bio-graphy and take a virtual tour of his favorite places in Italy.
The images of national leaders are usually sculpted in stone or bronze or rendered in paint on canvas. But Australian artist Martin Wilson decided to fashion a cuddlier image for the 25 men who have led Australia, using a material-wool-that has played a vital role in the nation's economic development. "Fuzzy Prime Ministers," made up of 1-sq.-m hooked rugs in cartoon colors, is on display at Customs House (as part of the Sydney Festival) until Feb. 4; the exhibition will later move to the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.