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, 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 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 - 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.” 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 new Star Inn 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.

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 isalnds 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 at Canton Restaurant then have a afternoon of leisure with no program.  Optional horse ride on Icelandic horses is available at Lyngfell farm.  Visit Brothers Brewery for a fun lecture about the brewing of beet…followed by a tasting.  Good beer, good cheer with a welcoming atmosphere.  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)