European Patchwork Quilter’s Tour

Tour Lead By Icelandic Master Quilter Gudrun Erla

Day 1
U.S.A. to Iceland

Begin in Iceland
Begin in Iceland

Departures from various airports in the U.S.A. including:

Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Dallas Airports for your nonstop/overnight flight to Keflavik Airport via Icelandair or WOW Airlines. Both airlines will be adding more departure cities and we will update this list as they come on board.

A tour with quilt designer Gudrun Erla Gisladottir to her homeland – Iceland, featuring many of the major natural attractions of this unique country – the majestic waterfalls, boiling hot springs, mountains and glaciers.

After Iceland visit continue tour to Heidelberg, Germany // St. Marie aux Mines (Alsace-Lorraine, France) // & European Patchwork Meeting // Paris, France

Day 2
Reykjavik, Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik
Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik

Early morning arrival at Keflavik. Clear customs then take a short drive to Viking World, a museum that features exhibitions about the times of the Vikings – Breakfast is served at the museum. Depart from the museum for Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, located just 32 miles north from the airport. Once in Reykjavik head directly for Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest and largest church in Iceland. You get a great view of the city, the ocean and the surrounding mountains from the church.

After tour check-in at the Center Hotel Plaza, located on the main square in the heart of the old city, The hotel is perfectly situated to enjoy all that the Reykjavik city center has to offer. Enjoy a “welcome dinner” at Geysir Bistro.

Day 3
Reykjavik, Iceland

Downtown Reykjavik
Downtown Reykjavik

Today is free to enjoy on your own without regimentation to pursue your own interests. Reykjavik is a lively, colorful city with plenty to do to keep you busy. Many options are available to you such as:

*The Whale Museum and a Whale Watching Tour
*Visit the National Museum of Iceland or the Harpa Concert Hall
*The Saga Museum
*The National Gallery + many other art museums to choose from

Day 4
Thingvellir - Geysir - Gullfoss - The "Golden Circle"

Gulfoss
Gulfoss

Depart Reykjavik after breakfast for todays tour of the “Golden Circle” which includes:

* Thingvellir National Park – this national shrine of Iceland has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thingvellir is the location of the oldest Parliament in the world, first assembled here in 930 AD.
*Geysir Geothermal Area – the hot springs area famous for the first geyser ever mentioned in text: the one for which all geysers are named. Geyser erupts every 4 to 8 minutes.
*Gulfoss – the roaring and magnificent waterfall “Gullfoss”, a major highlight on the tour

Check in at Country Hotel Laekfur for dinner and overnight stay. Time to hit the outside hot tub to round off a busy day.

Day 5
Gardar, Iceland

Heydalur Activities”
Heydalur Activities

Depart Laekur to the horse farm “Hestheimar” (horse world) located nearby. This is a family operated horse farm with over 100 Icelandic horses. This is definitely the way to go if you want to experience the Icelandic countryside and admire the horses. You can lunch at the farm. For the more ambitious we offer you the choice between 2 optional tours:

Option 1) Visiting with and riding Icelandic horses
Option 2) A Jeep Adventure into the Wilds.

Continue to Selfoss & spend time with Gudrun’s family & friends. Overnight at the Lighthouse Inn, in Gardar near Keflavik Airport.

Day 6
Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg, Germany

Early morning flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Clear customs and meet your guide, Angela, who lives in Heidelberg. You will head for the historic town of Oppenheim on the Rhine River. Angela will tell you about the Rhine Valley, the mighty river, the Lorelei and the wine industry in Germany. Arrive in Oppenheim a town from the middle ages known for its wines and festivals. Lunch at “Weingut Dr. Dahlem”, followed by a wine tasting. Continue on your journey passing through Worms, a town with a legendary past. Arrive in Heidelberg, the oldest university town in Germany and proceed to the Parkhotel Atlantik which overlooks historic Heidelberg. Dinner in the Alstadt at the Red Ox Inn, built in 1703 and still owned/operated by the same family for 170 years. Enjoy good German food and music…visitors who have raised a glass here includes Mark Twain, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe…an eclectic mix!

Day 7
Kaysersberg, France

Kaysersberg, France
Kaysersberg, France

After breakfast at the hotel depart for a 2 hour walking tour through Heidelberg with Angela. Visit the Church of the Holy Spirit as well as Germany’s oldest university. Say goodbye to Heidelberg and drive south on the “German Wine Route” passing through the heart of the Palatinate (Pfalz).

Cross the border into France in the direction of Strasbourg, the capital and seat of the European Parliament. Continue west to the “Gateway to Alsace’s Wine Route”…lunch in the picture postcard town of Obernai. Afternoon arrival in St. Marie aux Mines, the venue of the Patchwork Meet (Quilt Show), the largest event in Europe that is devoted to quilting. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at the show. Transfer to the small village of Kaysersberg located on the Alsace wine route and check-in to the charming Le Chambard Hotel & Spa a traditional French manor house located in the heart of the Alsatian wine growing area, your home for the next two nights.

Day 8 & 9
St. Marie aux Mines, France

Marie aux Mines, France
St. Marie aux Mines, France

After breakfast at your hotel transfer to the show in St. Marie aux Mines. The entire day is devoted to the Patchwork Meet. Spend a full day at the Quilt Show and then transfer to your hotel in Kaysersberg. Dinner own your own in town.

24th EUROPEAN PATCHWORK MEETING
This important quilting event was launched 24 years ago to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Jacob Amman’s founding of the Amish community in St. Marie aux Mines. Quilting has played an important role in Amish life ever since, making St. Marie the perfect location to celebrate the best that contemporary patchwork quilting has to offer. The event has developed to become the largest festival in Europe attracting over 22,000 visitors.

Day 10
Paris, France

Alsace Countryside Paris, France
Alsace Countryside Paris, France

Breakfast at hotel then take a walking tour of Kaysersberg followed by a visit to the castle ruins that tower above. Depart Kaysersberg and visit the historic villages of Equilheim, Riquewihr and Colmar – Colmar is the largest and most popular of France’s storybook towns. Enjoy lunch and a tour of Colmar then proceed to Strasbourg where you will board the French TGV to Paris – enjoy rail travel French style.

Arrival in Paris and transfer from the train station to the Monsieur Cadet Hotel****. This elegant boutique hotel is well located in the 9th district, close to shopping and entertainment. Dinner at the Petit Cadet Restaurant – superb service and food. They speak English!

HOTEL MONSIEUR CADET
Your hotel is located in a tiny, quiet street in the theater district of Paris. The hotel has 29 rooms that come with a flat screen TV, minibar, hairdryer, bathrobe, slippers and free WiFi.

Day 11
Paris, France

Paris, France
Paris, France

Breakfast then depart for a 4 hour city tour of Paris that includes the old Marais district, the Latin Quarter with the Sorbonne University, the Luxembourg Gardens and Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The afternoon is free without a set program. If Paris is new to you just sitting in a sidewalk cafe sipping an aperitif or simple people watching in the splendid atmosphere of this remarkable city is a good choice. For the more ambitious a visit to the famous Louvre would easily fill the afternoon. Beneath the Louvre is a major shopping center.

Afternoon at leisure.

Day 12
Paris, France

Paris, France
The Palace of Versailles

Today is the last day of your tour and is at your leisure to spend as you wish. For those in Paris for the first time and would like to see more of the many wonderful attractions that Paris has to offer – we offer optional tours to “The Palace of Versailles” and the “Moulin Rouge Dinner Show”.

Option 1) The Palace of Versailles – One of the most famous monuments in the world, the residence of the kings of France, Louis XIV, XV and XVI and their courts from 1682 to 1789. The Palace is over 721,000 square feet – for a comparison the White House is 55,000 square feet. The Coronation Room, the Queen’s bedroom, once occupied by Marie Antoinette, the Hall of Mirrors and the Gardens of Versailles are yours to explore on this tour.

Option 2} Moulin Rouge Dinner Show – A 10 minute drive from your hotel. Experience the most famous cabaret in the world in this atmospheric theater with a dazzling spectacle of drama, dance and music. Enjoy a fine french meal and champagne for a truly indulgent experience.

Day 13
Paris to Home

A leisurely breakfast in your hotel then time to pack and say bye-bye to your new friends. Transfer from the Monsieur Cadet Hotel to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Late afternoon arrival in the United States and Canada.

Iceland in Summer – A Quilter’s Tour

Tour Lead By Icelandic Master Quilter Gudrun Erla

Day 1
United States – Reykjavik, Iceland

Godafoss “Falls of the Gods”
Godafoss “Falls of the Gods”

Departures from:

Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Dallas Airports for your nonstop/overnight flight to Keflavik Airport via Icelandair or WOW Airlines. Both airlines will be adding more departure cities and we will update this list as they come on board.

A tour with quilt designer Gudrun Erla Gisladottir to her homeland – Iceland, featuring many of the major natural attractions of this unique country – the majestic waterfalls, boiling hot springs, mountains and glaciers.

Day 2
Keflavik – Reykjavik – Borgarnes

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik
Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik

Arrive at Keflavik Airport in the early morning. Clear customs then take a short drive to Viking World, a museum that features exhibitions about the times of the Vikings – Breakfast is served at the museum. Depart from the museum for Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, located just 32 miles north from the airport. Once in Reykjavik head directly for Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest and largest church in Iceland. You get a great view of the city, the ocean and the surrounding mountains from the church. A statue of Leif Eiriksson is aligned directly in front of the church, a gift from the U.S. commemorating the 1,000 anniversary of the Icelandic parliament and a tacit acknowledgement that Leif beat Christopher Columbus to North America by almost 500 years.

Your tour will include the Parliament Building, the National Theater and the main seat of government. Visit the harbor area, where older buildings have been retrofitted as boutiques and restaurants. Depart Reykjavik for a short spectacular drive, passing along the sea shore and taking you through 3.6 mile tunnel under Hvalfjordur (Whale Fjord) before arriving in Borgarnes, a small town of 2000 people. Check in to the Hotel Borgarnes, the rest of your day is at leisure to rest after your long journey. (B)

Day 3
Borgarne - West Fjords - Breidavik - Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs

The Adored Puffin
The Adored Puffin

Rise and shine-enjoy breakfast then depart Borgarnes & proceed north to Stykkisholmur, on the northside of Snaefelsnes Peninsula. Travel via ferry “Baldur” for a 2-3/4 hours cruise across Breidafjordur Bay – stop at Flatey one of appx. 2700 islands in the bay. Upon arrival in the Westfjords Region continue along the coastline to Patreksfjordur one of many fjords that appear up ahead. Proceed to Breidavik and Latrabjarg, the westernmost point of Europe. The bird cliffs of Latrabjarg – the largest in the North Atlantic – up to a million birds of various species nest here. Weather permitting we will hike to the top of the cliff to visit with the puffins and see more birds in one place than you’ll ever see anywhere. Paradise for bird watchers and photographers.

At the end of the day check-in at Breidavik Guest House. You may feel you have arrived at the end of planet earth – but a comfortable bed and excellent dinner is waiting for you. (B)

Day 4
Breidavik - Isafjordur - Heydalur - "A Tour of the Westfjords"

Beautiful Icelandic Landscapes
Beautiful Icelandic Landscapes

Breakfast at Breidavik Guest House then proceed on a tour of the fjords: each more spectacular than the next. Arrive at Dynjandi Waterfall (The Thunderer) one of the most spectacular sites in the West Fjords. Locals claim this awesome waterfall is the most majestic in Iceland. Dynjandi is a combo of seven cascades resembling a tiered wedding cake…each tier has its own name. Take the hiking trail to the top of the falls; a 20 minute walk. Next is the short drive to Thingeyri a fishing village where you will lunch at Simbahollin – a small, cozy historic building where your group will fill every chair.

Drive on passing a few more fjords and arrive at Isafjordur, the largest town in the Westfjords where you will be met by a local tour guide for a short walk of the town. Next meet a group of Icelandic quilters at the Edinborg Community Center for a meet & greet session accompanied by coffee and Icelandic pancakes. The final phase of today’s tour of the fjords is Heydalur – check in at Heydalur Guest House for a 2 night stay. Here you will enjoy the Icelandic horses, 2 dogs and their friend, a small Icelandic Artic Fox. Relax in a thermal hot pot in the middle of nowhere. (B)

Day 5
Heydalur

Heydalur Activities”
Heydalur Activities

Breakfast at Heydalur Guest House and a day of leisure and outdoor activities. The best way to describe what is in store for you is to quote one of the reports published by TripAdvisor ’17.

The country hotel is a real gem for those looking to get off the beaten track and stay somewhere different and original. I dont think i have ever stayed at another hotel with a tame fox, a talking parrot and such a kind and caring staff. The rooms are cleverly designed allowing guests to come into a “shed” with wet or dirty outwear without tracking it into their room. Meals – excellent (some of the best lamb I have ever had) and the service was, if not super speedy, very thorough… Stella was a gem! The young staff from all over Europe seem to love their work. The hot pot was glorious with an exceptional view – the fox and the horses were amazing! (B)

Day 6
Heydalur - Blonduos - Gauksmyri - Reykjavik

Icelandic Horses
Icelandic Horses

Breakfast at Heydalur then depart for the West Fjords. Travel east to Holmavik; then south along Hrutafjordur, one of Iceland’s longest fjords until we reach the Ring Road. Continue north to Gauksmyri, a country lodge and equestrian center. Enjoy a horse show, where the various qualities of the Icelandic horse are shown and explained. Besides the traditional walk, trot and canter, the Icelandic horse performs two additional gaits, the tolt and the flying pace. You can visit the horses in their stalls and lunch is available at the Guaksmyri Lodge.

Proceed north to Blonduos located at the mouth of the glacial river Blanda. Here we visit the Textile Museum, a real gem. The modern museum celebrates the artistry of women’s handcraft and displays a unique collection of beautiful Icelandic costumes, local handcrafts, intricate embroideries and exhibits from contemporary Icelandic textile designers. Proceed south for the last phase of today’s journey. Check in at the splendid Icelandair Hotel Hamar, located a couple of miles outside Borgarnes – Hamar is a popular modern hotel. Guests love the outside hot pots and the restaurant is lauded for Icelandic cuisine, lamb and fish specialties. (B)

Day 7
Thingvellir - Geysir - Gullfoss - Reykjavik

Geysir Geothermal Eruptions
Geysir Geothermal Eruptions

Your visit to the western fjords region is now complete. We continue after breakfast to southern Iceland by the shortest route to enjoy a different part of the country and its many attractions.

The 8 hour “Golden Circle” tour covers three of Iceland’s major attractions all a absolute must for any visitor to Iceland. First visit Thingvellir, a meeting point of the continental plates and site of the ancient Icelandic parliament; second is a tour of the Geysir geothermal area and experience the thrill of an erupting geyser; and third arrive at the mighty waterfall Gulfoss, one of the world’s most beautiful. Like this you will explore a cross section of Iceland’s history and its natural wonders in a relaxed manner on a one day loop. You will be accompanied by a professional, local tour guide who will explain it all in detail. Depart Selfoss for Reykjavik and on arrival check in at the splendid 4 star Grand Hotel your home for the next three nights.. Leisure time in Reykjavik. (B)

Day 8
Reykjavik - Free Day

Reykjavik
Reykjavik

You will cherish a full day in Reykjavik without regimentation to pursue your own interests. Reykjavik is a lively, colorful city with plenty to do to keep you . busy. Here is a couple of ideas:

Visit the Whale Museum – Followed by a 3 Hour Whale Watching Tour. Largest whale museum in Europe. Exhibit of 23 life size whales.

Visit the National Museum of Iceland – Excellent museum located in University area giving a comprehensive history of Iceland.

Visit Harpa Concert Hall – The cultural and social center located in the heart of the city.

Reykjavik Hot Dogs – You absolutely must try one! A unique secret recipe that contains pork, beef and lamb.

Reykjavik features many ore museums and attractions, such as the National Gallery of Iceland, the Saga Museum and the Settlement Exhibition. (B)

Day 9
Reykjavik - Quilting Workshop

Renowned Icelandic Quilting Master Gudrun Erla
Renowned Icelandic Quilting Master Gudrun Erla

Credit: GE Quilt Designs

Breakfast at the hotel – morning at leisure without a program. This afternoon will be a Quilting Workshop in the Hyammur conference room where our Gudrun Erla Gisladottir will teach the class. The class will include both the American group as well as Icelandic quilters who will all mingle and learn together as Gudrun gives her instructions in both languages, English and Icelandic. Sewing machines will be provided and shared. Gudrun will bring her latest creations of designs and quilts that have not been seen before.

After the workshop then attend a Quilt Show & Tell in the hotel. Show will feature quilts made by Icelandic quilters, quilts brought by tour members and quilts designed and made by Gudrun Erla. After the show attend the “Farewell To Icelandic” dinner served buffet style at Grand Hotel for the tour members and Icelandic quilters – about 60 guests are expected.

After dinner a Fashion Show featuring several Icelandic companies who specialize in the making of “Icelandic Woolen Products”. (B, D)

Day 10
Reykjavik - Blue Lagoon - Return to United States

Blue Lagoon Hot Springs
Blue Lagoon Hot Springs

Have a leisurely breakfast then depart the Grand Hotel to Reykjanes peninsula where both the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik airport are located. Spend two hours at the lagoon. You can have lunch and drinks if you like before departing for the airport and your return flight home to the U.S. (B)