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Globetrotting

SACRAMENTO GOLD RUSH

California's capital is offering visitors value-added discounts at attractions, restaurants and retailers. The discounts will be available on the "Sacramento Gold Card," which uses "smart card" technology to provide custom offers to the card carrier. Guests who stay at participating hotels are eligible. (For a list of hotels as well as the value-added discounts they offer, check the Web at www.discovergold.org, or call 800-292-2334, ext. 5550.) Simply ask for the card when you check in at your hotel

100 YEARS IN BLOOM

Butchart Gardens on Canada's Vancouver Island are marking their 100th birthday. To celebrate, the new Jennie Butchart Tulip, in honor of the garden's founder, has been registered with the International Bulb Registry in Holland. And two First Nation artists will complete the carving of ceremonial totem poles in honor of the birthday. But the gardens are worth a visit whether or not there's a birthday at hand. www.butchartgardens.com.

SUN SALUTATION

The EPA's new UV Index (www.epa.gov/sunwise, click on UV Index) gives you a daily forecast of peak UV levels for 58 U.S. cities. The site gives you an exposure level and then explains how to cope with it. For example, when UV levels are "extreme," the index says unprotected skin will burn in minutes. In that circumstance, you should avoid sun exposure from 10 am. to 4 p.m. by covering up, wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

IF IT'S TUESDAY, IT MUST BE . . . BRUSSELS.

Highlights of the summer calendar include:

The Ommegang Pageant will be July 1 on Brussels Grand'Place. It's a historical evocation of a festival held in 1549 for Charles the Fifth and others.

Sound and Light Show on Grand'Place through Oct. 31, 10:30 and 11 p.m.

Brussels Flower Carpet, Aug. 13-15, on Grand'Place. Fresh begonias make up this lavish display, which is best seen from the first-floor balcony of the Town Hall, for which there is a small entrance fee.


E-mail: kclayton@desnews.com