Christkindlmarkt & Northern Lights

Tour Leader: Icelandic Master Quilter Gudrun Erla

Day 1
United States - Iceland - Munich

Icelandair Plane

Afternoon departure from various US airports by Icelandair via Iceland to Munich on an overnight flight.

Departures from: Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Tampa, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, Orlando, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Dallas Airports for your nonstop/overnight flight via Keflavik Airport by Icelandair, WOW Airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, or Delta Airlines.

Day 2
Munich

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik

Arrive in Munich at noon. Transfer to traditional 4-star Hotel Platzl, located in the heart of the city, – next door to famous Hofbräuhaus and 980ft to Marienplatz where the Christkindlmarkt takes place. Rest before “Welcome to Germany” dinner at Hofbräuhaus, “The World‘s most famous Tavern” – built in 1589 and accommodates up to 5,000 revelers. Enjoy the beer and the crisp roast of Bavarian suckling pig. Have fun!

WE OFFER YOU THE BEST:

Gudrun Erla Gisladottir, the expert quilt designer, has her business in Minnesota. She is originally from Iceland and has lead several successful groups from the United States to Iceland and other European countries. You will find Gudrun efficient, well organized and a fun girl to travel with.

 

Maximilian Bukszpan is the Bavarian expert tour guide who will meet the group on arrival in Munich and stay with the group until you leave Munich for Iceland. “Max” is a native “Münchner” who has traveled the world. For the last 20 years he has offered his services as private tour guide throughout Bavaria, – including Munich, Rothenburg and Nuremberg.

Day 3
Munich

Christmas Market

Morning tour of Munich with Maximilian Bukszpan, your expert Munich guide. Visit some of the best holiday markets across the city and soak up the holiday spirit. The afternoon is yours at the Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz. Shop for handmade Bavarian gifts, sip Glühwein, and try Lebkuchen, the gingerbread cookies, a treat since the 14th century.

The traditional Christmas Market at Marienplatz dates back to the 14th century and is considered the most original and authentic in Munich, where about 40 such markets take place annually. The romantic setting in front of the neo-Gothic town hall adds to the magic of the many stalls radiating traditional Bavarian charm.

 

Living tradition and ancient craftmanship are firmly established here, as is Germany’s largest “Kripperlmarkt” (“Manger Market”). Everything imaginable to create a nativity scene is available, from manger lanterns to gifts of the Three Magi.

Other of the better-known Munich Christmas markets is the Viktualienmarkt which offers a vivid experience of Munich’s way of life. The Christmas Market at the Chinesischer Turm is particularly popular. Seasonal melodies played by a wind ensemble in the tower sound from the Chinesischer Turm, while horse-drawn carriages make their rounds. At the stalls, there are lamb-wool slippers, hand-made dolls and wooden angels waiting to be bought by visitors, who can otherwise enjoy gastronomical delights. Then there is the Medieval Christmas Market, where merchants in historic costumes sell their wares …  Max will know where to take you, so your limited time is well spent.

Day 4
Munich – Rothenburg

Munich

Proceed from Munich along the Romantic Road for further adventures.  Stop at pristine Harburg Castle, which has never been conquered, and visit quaint Dinkelsbühl, a medieval walled city with fascinating architecture. Afternoon arrival in famous Rothenburg.  Check in at Hotel GoldenerHirsch, built in 1479 and located in the heart of the medieval town.  Walking tour with “The Nightwatchman”.  Dinner at Restaurant Glocke – one of the best in town.

In the years before the dawn of the 20th century, the night watchman was responsible for the safety of the inhabitants of this walled, fortified city. His job was dangerous, as he had to guard the city at night like a policeman. The night watchman made his rounds from nine in the evening until three in the morning. He relied on the town hall clock to tell him when to sing his “Hour Song,” reminding the people who slumbered safe in their houses that he was still alive and taking care of them. There were six of these men patrolling Rothenburg up to the year 1920. 

You will follow Hans Georg Baumgartner on his entertaining and informative rounds through the darkness. You will follow him through alleyways and across dimly lit squares and enjoy the special mood of the town at night.

Day 5
Rothenburg

Rothenberg”

Free day without a program in Rothenburg.  You will find the local Christkindlmarkt delightful and located within walking distance of your hotel. The smell of mulled wine and roasted almonds, the illumination by thousands of fairy lights and festive music by local brass bands all make for a pleasant Christmas spirit.

You will be enjoying an early Christmas in Bavaria and all the wonderful festivities that are described on these pages. It is a fact, however, that you will be traveling in the middle of winter, when mother nature may not always accommodate. The last thing that you wish for are long bus rides, having to change hotels every day, and having to face the elements at the same time.

You will stay in a cozy hotel in Rothenburg for three nights; long enough to unpack, relax and take in the local flavors. Everything will be within walking distance; not only the local Christmas market.

The day is free, and you may decide to take off on your own to explore this lovely city, by many described as the most beautiful in Germany. Quilters may join Gudrun in the morning to visit “Der Patchwork Engel,” a local quilt store, while others will join Maximilian on a walking tour of medieval Rothenburg in the afternoon. A quilting workshop will be offered in the late afternoon.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are several museums to consider; a wonderful Christmas Museum, the Dolls and Toy Museum, and the Medieval Crime Museum (perfect for the men in the group!), with over 1000 years of crime and punishment in Europe on display.

Day 6
Rothenburg – Nuremberg

Nuremberg

Spend the day in Nuremberg. Visit the world famous Christkindlmarkt which takes place in the Hauptmarkt, the Central Square in Nuremberg´s old town.

Return to Rothenburg.

It will be a very special day. With about two million visitors a year the Nürnberger Christkindlmarkt is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany and one of the most famous in the world. Your tour guide Maximilian will be in charge.

 

 

 

 

Day 7
Rotherburg – Munich – Iceland Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Proceed to Munich Airport and fly by Icelandair to Iceland´s Keflavik Airport.  Afternoon arrival after a 4-hour direct flight. Drive 2 hours to Southern Iceland and arrive at cozy Hotel Lækur, located in the perfect place to observe the Northern Lights – away from all city lights.  Welcome to Iceland Dinner.

Days are short in Iceland this time of the year. It will be dark when you arrive at Hotel Laekur. With some luck and if the conditions allow you will see the spectacular Northern Lights. If not, you will enjoy a great dinner in a very special place – a barn refashioned as a country hotel.

When you depart from Munich you will say your by-byes to Maximilian. When you arrive in Iceland, Gudrun Erla will be in her home country and a local guide will not be needed.

Day 8
Geysir Geothermal Area – Gullfoss – Selfoss – Reykjavik

Icelandic Horses

Drive to Geysir Geothermal area, where you will see any number of bubbling, spouting and boiling hot springs in eerie moonlike landscapes. Visit Geysir, the first geyser for which all geysers are named. See Strokkur geysir erupting every 4-8 minutes. Drive on to nearby Gullfoss, the majestic waterfall, one of the world´s most scenic.  Lunch at Friðheimar Farm an amazing greenhouse complex, followed by a horse show that provides an insight into the story of the remarkable Icelandic horse breed.  Enjoy a “Meeting with the Horses.”  Continue to Selfoss and visit family and friends of your fearless leader Guðrún Erla. Drive on to Reykjavik and settle in at Hotel Arnarhvoll for a 2-night stay.  Dinner at The Icelandic Bar.

Day 9
Reykjavik – Free Day

Renowned Icelandic Quilting Master Gudrun Erla

Tour Reykjavik in the morning and see all the major city attractions. The afternoon is free without a program.  Reykjavik will be all decked out in Christmas lights and in full holiday spirit.

Day 10
Reykjavik – Blue Lagoon – Return Home

Blue Lagoon Hot Springs

The morning is free in Reykjavik, – or, you can visit (optional) the famous Blue Lagoon for a 2-hour bath. Afternoon transfer to Keflavik Airport and departure to the various US destinations.

European Patchwork Quilter’s Tour

Tour Lead By Mary W. Kerr AQS certified appraiser, author of 7 books and award winning quilter

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, WOW Airlines or Delta Airlines. Both airlines will be adding more departure cities and we will update this list as they come on board.

A tour with Mary Kerr to Iceland-Germany and France. Mary is a American Quilt Society certified appraiser. She is a quilt historian who lectures and does workshops focusing on quilt history. A knowledgeable Icelandic tour guide will meet you upon arrival in Iceland and accompany the group throughout your visit. While in Iceland you will visit 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 top of the water tanks that supply the city with hot water.

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. (B,D)

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: (B)

*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
*The famous geothermal spa “The Blue Lagoon”

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 Laekur for dinner and overnight stay. Time to hit the outside hot tub to round off a busy day. (B,L,D)

Day 5
Thorsmork - Njals Saga Tapestry

Heydalur Activities”
Thorsmork

Depart for Eyjafjallajokull, the 6th largest glacier in Iceland, beneath its cap hides the volcano that erupted in 2010 and disrupted air traffic throughout the northern hemisphere. Today you will visit Thorsmork, a hidden valley between three glaciers. You reach this verdant nature reserve by crossing lava fields and glacial rivers in a modified “Monster” truck – a exhilarating but safe experience, a adventure of a lifetime. Thorsmork is a popular place for hikers, the “Ring of Basar” is a easy 1.5m walk. Buffet lunch is served at Volcano Huts in Husadalur. On your return visit Gigjokull glacier with its giant icicle ravines – a good introduction to the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Drive by shortest route to Gardur hamlet, located within a 10 minute drive to Keflavik Airport. Checkin at the Hotel Keflavik***.Enjoy a “Farewell to Iceland” dinner at KEF Restaurant. Wake up calls for Northern Lights if appropriate. (B,L,D)

Day 6 & 7
Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg, Germany

Day 6
Early morning flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Clear customs and meet your guide, Angela, who lives in Heidelberg. Angela will tell you about the Rhine Valley, the mighty river, the Lorelei and the wine industry in Germany. Arrive in Heidelberg, the oldest university town in Germany and proceed to the new Hotel Weisser Bock**** your home for the next two nights. 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!(B,D)

Day 7
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. Visit the Palatinate Museum to view the “Max Berg Textile Collection”. Afternoon at leisure to explore Heidelberg before meeting to take a “White Fleet” cruise on the River Neckar. Evening on your own. (B)

Day 8
Kaysersberg, France

Kaysersberg, France
Kaysersberg, France

Breakfast at your hotel then checkout. Pass through Speyer before turning south on the “German Wine Route”. 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. Dinner at the hotel in the traditional Winstub restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 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. (B)

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! (B)

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 and the Luxembourg Gardens.

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. (B)

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. (B)

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. (B)

Late afternoon arrival in the United States and Canada.

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:

Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Washington, DC and 5 airports in Canada for your nonstop/overnight flights to Keflavik Airport via Icelandair. The airline 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 top of the water tanks that supply the city with hot water.

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. (B,D)

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: (B)

*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
*The famous geothermal spa “The Blue Lagoon”

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 Laekur for dinner and overnight stay. Time to hit the outside hot tub to round off a busy day. (B,L,D)

Day 5
Thorsmork

Heydalur Activities”
Thorsmork

Depart for Eyjafjallajokull, the 6th largest glacier in Iceland, beneath its cap hides the volcano that erupted in 2010 and disrupted air traffic throughout the northern hemisphere. Today you will visit Thorsmork, a hidden valley between three glaciers. You reach this verdant nature reserve by crossing lava fields and glacial rivers in a modified “Monster” truck – a exhilarating but safe experience, a adventure of a lifetime. Thorsmork is a popular place for hikers, the “Ring of Basar” is a easy 1.5m walk. Buffet lunch is served at Volcano Huts in Husadalur. On your return visit Gigjokull glacier with its giant icicle ravines – a good introduction to the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Continue to Selfoss & spend time with Gudrun’s family and friends. Dinner at famous Fjorubordid known for its magical lobster soup. Drive by shortest route to Gardur hamlet, located within a 10 minute drive to Keflavik Airport. Checkin at the Lighthouse Inn***. Wake up calls for Northern Lights if appropriate. (B,L,D)

Day 6 & 7
Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg, Germany

Day 6
Early morning flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Clear customs and meet your guide, Angela, who lives in Heidelberg. Angela will tell you about the Rhine Valley, the mighty river, the Lorelei and the wine industry in Germany. Arrive in Heidelberg, the oldest university town in Germany and proceed to the Heidelberg Marrriott Hotel. 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! (B,D)

Day 7
Visit Max Beck Textile Museum. P.M. free. (B)

Day 8
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. (B)

Day 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. (B,L,D)

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! (B)

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. (B)

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. (B)

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. (B)

Late afternoon arrival in the United States and Canada.

Festival of Quilts in Britain

Tour Leader: Master Quilter Gudrun Erla

Day 1
Fly to London, England

Icelandair Plane

Tour members check in for flights by ICELANDAIR in the late afternoon and evening for an overnight flight. 

Departures are from about 20 US and Canadian cities, including Boston, New York, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington, DC, Portland, WA, Seattle, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. These are overnight flights that arrive in Iceland the following morning. This is where tour members meet and travel together to London after a short stop.

Day 2
London

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik

The Strand Palace is surrounded by the best that London has to offer. Set in the heart of London, the hotel is mere moments from Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and the river Thames, making it the perfect location for discovering cultural icons, entertainment or shopping. 

The hotel is home to 785 bedrooms and offers a concierge service and gym for guest use. The hotel has recently launched its brand new in house restaurant and bar. Haxells Restaurant & Bar is the perfect place to enjoy great food, cocktails and more in the heart of London. Guests can enjoy British inspired cuisine with modern art deco décor throughout the restaurant, bar, afternoon tearoom and private dining room. With so much to do right on the hotel´s doorstep, the Strand Palace puts you at the center of the action. With that in mind, all rooms are fully furnished to ensure your downtime is as comfortable as possible. You will be staying 2 nights at this hotel. 

Day 3
London

Christmas Market

Breakfast is served in your hotel. 

Today‘s excursion takes you to London‘s famous Victoria & Albert Museum, one of the world‘s largest museums of decorative arts and design. Here you‘ll enjoy the special Textile, Quilting Embroidery and Fashions tour, led by one of the museum‘s curators.

The visit to Victoria & Albert Museum will be one of the highlights of your tour. The V&A is the world‘s leading museum of Art and Design. It houses an amazing collection of antique quilts, including some of the earliest examples of European quilting, dating back to the late 14th century. From luxurious courtly robes to a quilt stitched by 21st-century prison inmates, the V&A holds a rich variety of objects created through quilting and patchwork.

Your second visit is to Buckingham Palace State Rooms, the London residence and headquarters of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

There will be time for lunch during the day and a visit to Liberty of London, one of the capital‘s iconic stores. In a beautiful Tudor-revival building you‘ll find high-end fashion, luxury homeware and Liberty‘s own fabric line.

Day 4
London

Munich

Free Day in London

Enjoy this free day of endless possibilities in one of the greatest cities in the world!

Day 5
London - Windor - Bath

Rothenberg”

Breakfast is served in your hotel.

Check out of the hotel and head for Windsor, a drive of about 1 hour (24 m).

Arrive at Windsor Castle, one of the oldest and largest occupied castles in the world. Since it was founded in the 11th century it has been home to 39 monarchs. Queen Elizabeth II spends most of her private weekends at the Castle.

Here a multi-media tour will take you through the State Apartments and Semi-State rooms, sharing the history and highlights of Windsor Castle.

A visit to the fabulous Windsor Castle is a royal treat! Since William the Conqueror built a wooden fortress here over 900 years ago, this has been a royal palace and residence.

After a lunch break we continue the journey through the English countryside, to arrive in Bath after a 2-hour (96 m) drive. Check in at the Apex City of Bath Hotel  for a 2-night stay.

Bath – the original wellbeing destination

Built for pleasure and relaxation, beautiful Bath has been a wellbeing destination since Roman times. The waters are still a big draw, both at the ancient Roman Baths and the thoroughly modern Thermal Bath Spa, which houses the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain you can bathe in.

Bath is one of England‘s most beautiful, elegant and historic cities, full of spectacular architecture and Georgian streets. It is actually classed as a World Heritage City. Bath‘s compact, visitor-friendly center, where your hotel is located, is overflowing with places to eat and drink, plus some of the finest independent shops in Britain.

Day 6
Bath

Nuremberg

Breakfast is served in your hotel.

Today you‘ll explore the beautiful city of Bath on foot. You‘ll visit the Fashion Museum, which is housed in the former Assembly rooms. The collection was started by Doris Langley Moore, who gave her collection to the City of Bath in 1963. Today the museum houses iconic attire from the 18th century to the modern day.

The Roman Baths at the heart of the City of Bath are the remarkably preserved remains of one of the greatest religious spas in the ancients world. Using the audio guide you‘ll explore this fascinating Roman Bath complex recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. It will be interesting to visit these Roman Baths after having enjoyed the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

The final visit of the day is to Bath‘s Victoria Art Gallery. Housed in a Grade II listed building, the museum was opened in 1900 to commemorate Queen Victoria‘s diamond jubilee. The collection has over 1500 objects of art including a collection of oil paintings from British artists dating from 1700 onwards.

There will be time for lunch during the day and the evening is at leisure.

The Apex City of Bath Hotel

Your hotel, one of the best in Bath, is located in the very heart of the city, on the corner of James Street West – close to the Thermal Baths. All the contemporary, spacious bedrooms include comfortable king-size beds, large TVs, tea and coffee makers, iron and board, hair dryer, mini fridge and en suite bathrooms with walk-in showers and baths.

The hotel offers impressive spa facilities with a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and a state-of-the-art gym. The stylish restaurant serves up classic British cuisine with a twist, and the chic and contemporary bar is the perfect place to unwind and let the expert team of bartenders pour you a drink.

Day 7
Bath - The Cotswolds - Blenheim - Birmingham

Northern Lights

Breakfast is served in your hotel.

After checking out of the hotel you‘ll join the tour bus for a short drive to the only Museum of American Decorative and Folk Art outside the United States – The American Museum and Gardens at Claverton Manor. It is located just a 3 mile drive from your hotel, a matter of about 15 minutes. Here your visit will focus on the museum‘s collection of Quilts and Textiles. Quilts range from the 18th to the mid-20th century and at least 50 of the 250 quilts at the museum are always on display. In the textile room you‘ll also see a selection of Navajo weavings, hooked rugs and woven coverlets.

Your tour then continues through the Cotswolds, one of the most charming and uniquely picturesque regions of England. Famous for its gentle hillsides and a delightful tangle of golden villages, evocative churches and honey colored mansions.

It is a drive of about 100 miles and will take 2 hours.

Arrive at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Here your tour will take you through the Palace State Rooms with their priceless collection of portraits, furniture and tapestries.

There will be free time for lunch and after the visit to Blenheim Palace the tour continues to the City of Birmingham – another 60 miles / 1 hour +.

Arrive at The Crown Plaza Hotel at the NEC Convention Center and check in for a 3 night stay.

Day 8
Birmingham - The Festival of Quilts Show

Icelandic Horses

The Festival of Quilts is Europe‘s leading patchwork and quilting event attracting over 25,000 visitors annually from around the world. The show is a celebration of quilting in all its forms, with over 300 exhibitors offering essential suppliers, galleries of quilts from leading international makers, workshops, talks and demos, plus a magnificent display of over 800 competition quilts.

In the evening you are invited to a “Farewell Dinner” at the hotel.

 

 

 

 

Day 9
Birmingham - London - Home

Renowned Icelandic Quilting Master Gudrun Erla

Breakfast is served at your hotel.

Check out of your hotel.

Depart for London Heathrow Airport – a drive of 117 miles – about 2 hours.

Arrive at London Heathrow Airport for check in for your flight to the United States.

Most clients will fly by ICELANDAIR via Iceland.

Depending on the US destination other airlines may be offered.

Arrive home in the late afternoon or evening.

Blue Lagoon Hot Springs

Iceland in Summer – A Tour For Quilters

Tour Leader: Icelandic Master Quilter Gudrun Erla

Day 1
United States – Iceland

Godafoss “Falls of the Gods”

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik

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 – Thingborg - Hella

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik
Icelandic Horses

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. 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.  Leave Reykjavik and travel along the main route through southern Iceland.  Pass green farmlands where the Icelandic horses will be grazing along the roadside.  Arrive in Thingborg and visit the Wool Center, a good source for the genuine Icelandic woolen products.    Continue on to the hamlet of Hella and check in to the Hotel Laekur your home for the next 3 days. “Welcome to Iceland” dinner this evening and get acquainted with your fellow travelers.(B,D)

Day 3
Hella - Thorsmork - Gigjokull Glacier - Hella

The Adored Puffin
Thorsmork

Rise and shine-enjoy breakfast at Hotel Laekur.  Depart for  Eyjafjallajokull, the 6th largest glacier in Iceland, beneath its cap hides the volcano that erupted in 2010 and disrupted air traffic throughout the northern hemisphere.  Today you will visit Thorsmork, a hidden valley between three glaciers. You reach this verdant nature reserve by crossing lava fields and glacial rivers in a modified “Monster” truck – a exhilarating but safe experience, a adventure of a lifetime. Thorsmork  is a popular place for hikers, the “Ring of Basar” is a easy 1.5m walk.  Buffet lunch is served at Volcano Huts in Husadalur. On your return visit Gigjokull glacier with its giant icicle ravines – a good introduction to the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Dinner at Hotel Laekur. Enjoy the outside “hot pot” or the sauna. (B,L,D)

Day 4
Hella - Gulfoss - Geysir - Fridheimar Farm - Hvolsvollur - Hella

Beautiful Icelandic Landscapes
Magnificent Gullfoss

Depart the Hotel Laekur after breakfast for a full day’s excursion that includes some of the major natural attractions in Iceland. Gulfoss is the majestic waterfall that spans the Hvita River, known as one of the world’s most beautiful gorges.  A short drive will then take you to the west lakes to the next phenomenon, the “Geysir Geothermal Area”.  The Geysir is the first geyser ever mentioned in text;  the one for which all geysers are named.  Though it rarely erupts the nearby “Strokkur” keeps the show alive erupting every 4 to 8 minutes.

Drive on to Fridheimar Farm, an amazing greenhouse and horse breeding complex.  Tour the greenhouses to gain insight into the uses of geothermal heating in Iceland.  Savor a delicious lunch then enjoy a horse show that provides insight into the remarkable Icelandic horse breed.  The final destination today is Hvolsvollur, a small town, the scene of Njal’s Saga, the masterpiece of the famous Icelandic sagas. You are invited to participate in an ongoing project here where  the goal is to sew Njal’s Saga in tapestry form.  Return to Hotel Laekur for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 5
Hella - Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss Waterfalls - Skaftafell National Park

Heydalur Activities”
Skogafoss

Depart Hella after breakfast for southern Iceland.  Todays visit will include Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and the Skogar Folk Museum.  Lunch break in Vik i Myrdal, the southernmost village in Iceland.   Continue  driving east across the vast Myrdalssandur glacial plain where the immense Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe will offer spectacular views.  Arrive at Jokulsarlon a glacial lagoon that is 1500 deep making it Iceland’s second deepest lake.  Enjoy a amphibian boat excursion where you sail among the icebergs and enjoy this unique scenery.  You may be lucky and catch seals sunning themselves on the floating ice.  Overnight at the Hotel Skaftafell located just outside Skaftafell National Park.  (B,D)

Day 6
Skaftafell Ntl Park - Reynisfjara - Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar)

Icelandic Horses
Herjolfur

After breakfast enjoy the environment of Skaftafell National Park where the glacier is literally on the doorstep of your hotel.  Enjoy a 1-1/2 hour walk through the park with a expert tour guide or a more adventurous glacial hike (optional) of Falljokull.  Take the short drive to Kirkjubaejarklaustur, a small village that has been shaped by catastrophic natural events that has created a stunning landscape.  Lunch then depart for Reynisfjara with its black sand and crushing  waves one of the most photographed attractions in Iceland.  Board the Herjolfur ferry for the short sail to Heimaey, the largest of the Westman Islands.  Check in at the Hotel Vestmannaeyjar. (B,D)

Day 7
Westman Islands

Geysir Geothermal Eruptions
The Adorable Puffins

You have not been to Iceland if you have not been to the Westman Islands, a archipelago of 15 islands – off the beaten path of most tours.  The islands were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions 11,000 years ago; the youngest island island is Surtsey.  The biggest island, Heimaey is the only permanently inhabited one and is the home to appx. 4300 people.  Your tour tour guide today is Pall, once the mayor of Heimaey.  Visit the Volcano Museum and the lava fields.  Lunch is at “Gott Restaurant”. Continue after lunch to the Beluga Whale Sanctuary, the world’s first open water whale sanctuary, located in Klettsvik Bay.This is where two female Beluga Whales – “Little White” and “Little Grey” were moved from a entertainment park in China in June 2019. The last 14 months have been getting the whales ready for open water swimming and gaining weight to cope with the colder waters in their new home.   Dinner tonight at the “900 Grillhouse”.  (B,L,D)

Day 8
Westman Islands- Selfoss - Reykjavik

Reykjavik
Reykjavik

Today take a exciting excursion by boat around Vestmannaeyjar.  With a excellent view from the ocean you can view the cliffs teeming with puffins and other birds.  Surtsey, a newly formed volcanic island with a rugged lava coastline and colorful caves will also be in your view.  Depart by ferry to the mainland, upon arrival transfer to Stokkseyri a charming fishing village renowned for its magical lobster soup. Proceed to Selfoss, Gudrun Erla’s home town. Enjoy meeting family and friends of your fearless leader, a excellent opportunity to experience how Icelanders live.

Continue to Reykjavik by shortest route and check in at Hotel Arnarhvoll located across the street from the Harpa Concert Hall.  Your location is in the heart of the city with restaurants, shopping and nightlife on your doorstep.  Remainder of day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 9
Reykjavik - Free Day

Renowned Icelandic Quilting Master Gudrun Erla
Reykjavik In Summer

Credit: GE Quilt Designs

Breakfast at the hotel – morning at leisure without a program. There is lots to choose from on how to spend your free day. You may visit the Whale Museum, the Museum of Iceland or attend a concert at the Harpa Concert Hall. (B)

Day 10
Reykjavik - Quilting Workshop

Blue Lagoon Hot Springs
Renowned Icelandic Quilting Master Gudrun Erla

Breakfast at hotel and morning at leisure without a program.  Early afternoon transfer to the Hotel Midgardur where there will be a Quilting workshop in their 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 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 a “Farewell To Icelandic” dinner served at Islenski Barinn, located next door to your hotel.  Tour members and Icelandic Quilters will participate – about 40 guests are expected. (B, D)

 

Day 11
Reykjavik - Return to the United States

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon

This is your last day in Iceland.  After breakfast check out of the hotel Arnarhvoll for the Reykjanes peninsula, where both the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik Airport are located.

Upon arrival at the Blue Lagoon (optional) we will spend two hours enjoying the lagoon and the adjacent facilities.  the rent of towels is included with your admission.  For those that do not participate in the Blue Lagoon visit you can have a few more hours for shopping or take a last walk through the pretty city of Reykjavik before departing for the airport and your flight home. (B)