• The lower Engadine is a rather remote, but beautiful region in southeastern Switzerland. In winter, access by road is difficult and costly to maintain due to heavy snowfall. Now there is a better, faster way. Nearly seven years in the construction, the Vereina Tunnel opens November 19. For travelers coming from the north, it connects Klosters (east of Chur) with Lavin (just north of Zernez) and avoids the Flüela Pass. The car-train schedule is every 30 minutes from Selfranga from the north and from Sagliains in the south. Travel time will be 18 minutes and, depending on the season, the price will be 27 to 40 Sfr. ($18-$27).

KD River Cruises of Europe offers an early-booking discount of 10% on cruises in the year 2000 if they are paid in full by December 15, 1999. The discount applies to cruises on the Rhine and its tributaries; the Main, the Mosel and Saar, the Elbe, the Main-Danube Canal, and the Danube, and can be combined with seasonal discounts of an additional 20% in April and 10% in October. Contact: KD River Cruises of Europe, tel. 800-346-6525 from the eastern U.S.; 800-858-8587 from the west. Web: vikingrivercruises.com/.

• After a $330 million restoration project, Berlin's 105-year-old Reichstag is once again the home of the German parliament; though portions of it still show bullet holes and graffiti put there by Russian soldiers during the fierce battle of Berlin in 1945. Sessions of the Bundestag are open to visitors and free one-hour guided tours are offered daily. The only English language tour is each Tuesday at noon. Visitors not interested in a tour can still ascend the building's spectacular glass dome for a fine 360-degree view of the city.

• Twice Gemütlichkeit's "Hotel of the Year," the 138-year-old Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne has been voted Switzerland's "Historic Hotel of 1999." When it was built in 1861, its architectural design was considered revolutionary, with its façade and surroundings closely modeled after castles and palaces. Contact: Beau Rivage Palace, tel. +41/021/613 3333, fax 613 3334, Web: www.brp.ch.

• Skiers have reminded us of a Website we failed to mention in our August roundup of Internet resources for travelers to Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Houston-based Ski Europe is an experienced and reliable seller of group and individual ski vacations. Their packages typically include:

  • Round-trip air
  • Rental car (except Zermatt)
  • Seven-nights hotel
  • Buffet breakfast daily or buffet breakfast and dinner daily

For example, their price for a week in March at Kitzbühel's Hotel Strasshofer, with breakfast and dinner, is an amazing $759 skiing not required.

If one of the established packages doesn't work, the user can, by completing a simple online form, obtain a price for a self-designed ski vacation. Periodic reports on European ski bargains, contests, and ski information are also available by registering at the site. Ski Europe can also be contacted at 800-333-5533.

October 1999