Spain putting its money where its museums are

here's mucho ado in Spain's art circles, as museum developments take off in both its urbane capital and the beautiful but remote Asturias region.

In Madrid, the government is spending some $187 million to upgrade and unite three of its world-class museums -- all within a 10-minute walk of each other -- into a cultural quarter by the end of this year.

The new Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, will unite the Reina Sofia Center and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with the Prado, which is undergoing a $62 million renovation and expansion set for completion this spring. All told, the museums will gain 600,000 square feet of exhibition space and are expected to host 3 million additional visitors per year.

To the north in Asturias, the new, $4.3 million Jurassic Museum -- shaped like the footprint of a pterodactyl -- also is set to open this spring along the region's so-called "dinosaur coast," featuring 8,000 fossils and other remains.

For more on Spain's museums, visit

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The German National Tourist Office has released an updated version of its Jewish-interest travel brochure.

The expanded, 54-page color guide -- entitled "Germany for the Jewish Traveler" -- contains listings for hundreds of synagogues and community centers, kosher eateries and monuments and other attractions in 62 towns and cities, as well as historical background information and a greeting from the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Copies can be ordered by calling (212) 661-7200. The tourist office also maintains an updated list of Jewish sites online at

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In other Germany news, Lufthansa will launch daily summer service to its newly renovated Munich hub from Charlotte, N.C., on March 26. The carrier began daily nonstop service to Munich's new Terminal 2 from Miami in October.

The Charlotte flights will be operated on new Airbus A340-300 aircraft, delivered in November and outfitted with Luf-thansa's new intercontinental business-class service.

The service features what the airline calls "the world's most advanced" flat-bed seats; Media World entertainment centers with 10.4-inch TV screens and video-on-demand; and free on-board FlyNet Internet service.

For more details, visit

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Meanwhile, Lufthansa's Star Alliance partner Austrian Airlines also made business-class news, announcing that full-fare, Grand Class passengers traveling from the U.S. to points beyond Austria via Vienna will be offered a free overnight stay in a five-star hotel in the Austrian capital throughout the year.

The carrier's Vienna on Us program includes accommodations at a choice of hotels (InterContinental, Ambassador or Vienna Marriott), a gourmet dinner and buffet breakfast, and roundtrip limousine transfers.

Austrian was also named the Romanian National Tourist Office's carrier of choice for travel between the U.S. and Romania for the second year running. Tarom, Romania's flag carrier, suspended thrice-weekly service to New York last November.

For more, call (800) 843-0002 or visit

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US Airways Vacations added Scotland to its destinations, in conjunction with US Airways' May 10 debut of daily Glasgow flights from Philadelphia.

Vacation packages to Edinburgh and Glasgow will include roundtrip air, accommodations and daily breakfast; Distinctive European Vacations upgrades include business-class air and superior hotels.

Sample rates for a three-night stay at the Novotel Glasgow start at $743 per person from Washington, $783 from Boston, $924 from New York (LaGuardia) and $842 from Philadelphia.

Agents can make reservations through VAX VacationAccess, via the GDSs under vendor code USV, by calling (800) 455-0123 or visiting

To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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