EUROPEAN DEPARTURES

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The Independent Travel
An Inter-Rail ticket allowing unlimited train travel in Europe costs pounds 275 for a month whether you are under or over 26; the difference is that older travellers are barred from the railways of Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. British Rail International enquiries 0171-834 2345.

The final Independent Traveller's World event of 1996 takes place next weekend at the Assembly Rooms in George Street, Edinburgh. Independent readers save pounds 1; call 0117-930 4440 for more details.

Even though Mardi Gras is over, the Gran Canaria carnival begins on Monday and continues until 10 March. The festival takes place on the Canary Island's Playa del Ingles and attracts large numbers of both straight and gay people. Some will be staying at the Vista Bonita, a complex exclusively for gay men and lesbians, whose agent in the UK is Uranian Travel (0181- 332 1022). A week's holiday starts at pounds 199, departing from the UK on Mondays, but availability for the carnival is limited. Spanish Tourist Office: 0171-499 0901.

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