Traveler's Advisory

  • Share
  • Read Later

Hong Kong
Visitors who want more from their Hong Kong stop-over than some retail therapy and a harbor cruise can now get to know the locals and their traditions on a "People to People" program sponsored by the city's tourism commission. Free daily lectures on topics ranging from tai chi and tea drinking to contem-porary art are given by English-speaking experts. Learn about the spirit world at the Tin Hau Temple on Mondays, or hear Lai Kam talk about his niece Lee Lai Shan-who won Hong Kong's only Olympic gold medal, for sailboarding, in 1996-at Cheung Chau Island on Saturdays. Reservations for the hour-long lectures are needed for groups of 10 or more. See

Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square is one of London's most popular tourist activities. But Mayor Ken Livingstone says the "rats with wings" are a health hazard and wants to reduce their numbers to make way for more artistic and cultural events in the square. Animal rights activists say thousands of pigeons will starve to death if city authorities succeed in barring the sole licensed feed dealer from the square. While the High Court has granted the dealer temporary permission to continue trading, bird-lovers have also taken to patrolling the square with loaves of bread for any hungry-looking pigeons.

A new cultural quarter is taking shape in central Vienna on the site of the city's imperial stables and carriage houses (later a trade fair venue). Due to open in June, the $136 million project consists of three contemporary art museums-including the Leopold, which will house the world's largest collection of works by Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele- concert halls, art studios, a contemporary architecture center, and the Zoom Children's Museum. Architecture fans can see the current state of the 60,000-sq.-m project on free guided tours of the construction site (given in English and in German). Tel: +43 1 523 5881.

North America
Recreations of Jesus' tomb and Herod's temple are not typical theme-park fare. But the latest addition to the plethora of amusement parks in Orlando, Fla. (including Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios), has a higher purpose in mind. The Holy Land Experience, due to open on Feb. 6, is designed to "communicate the truths of the word of God," according to founder Marvin Rosenthal, a Messianic Jew who runs the evangelical organization Zion's Hope. However, the $16 million project has failed to impress members of the city's Jewish community, who fear that the park has an ulterior motive: to convert Jews to Christianity.