Concert Band Companion Tour to Iceland and Norway Itinerary
Monday, May 20th Depart U.S.
Your journey of music and discovery begins today. Depart Minneapolis/St. Paul on the transatlantic, overnight flight to Reykjavik via Icelandair. (No meals included on Icelandair)
Tuesday, May 21st Arrive Reykjavik
Arrive at Keflavik Airport early this morning where a local guide and driver are waiting to greet you. Your day starts with breakfast in a small fishing village followed by sightseeing around the Reykjanes peninsula, which is marked by large lava fields. Drive to Bessastaðir, the residence of Iceland’s President, to visit the church with its beautiful stained glass windows. Continue past the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture museum and Hallgrímskirkja Church (whose steeple is a Reykjavík landmark), and the Árbæjarsafn outdoor folk museum. See the old town center, the Parliament, the Cathedral, the harbor, the National Museum, the Pearl and Höfði house, the 1986 international summit site. The tour ends at the hotel for check-in. After time to rest and refresh, gather for a welcome dinner at the Fishcompany Restaurant, which is highly regarded for its local cuisine. http://icelandairhotels.com/hotels/reykjavikmarina (B, D)
Wednesday, May 22nd Reykjavik
Embark on a full day “Golden Circle” tour into the lovely Icelandic countryside. Drive over Hellisheiði plateau to Hveragerði, known as the greenhouse village, then continue to Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Only a few minutes away is one of the most active geysers in the area, Strokkur, spouting up to 30 meters. Onwards to Þingvellir National Park, a remarkable geological and historic site overlooking Lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake on the island. Þingvellir was home to the world's oldest democratic parliament founded in 930. The beautiful canyon running through the park is actually the meeting point of two of the earth’s tectonic plates. Return to Reykjavik for dinner and to attend the first Luther College Concert Band performance. Hotel Marina (B, D)
Thursday, May 23rd Reykjavik/Bergen
Transfer early this morning to Keflavik Airport for flight check-in and 8AM departure to Norway Upon early afternoon arrival in Bergen, meet your Norwegian guide and driver. There will be time for a bite of lunch followed by a tour of Troldhaugen, the home of the world-renowned composer Edvard Grieg. The home is now a museum situated in beautiful surroundings overlooking the Nordås Lake. Grieg composed many of his best-known works here, and he and his wife are buried here. Later this afternoon check in at your hotel located near the old wooden buildings of the Bryggen Wharf, remnants of its Hanseatic past. Radisson BLU Royal Hotel Bergen http://www.radissonblu.com/royalhotel-bergen (B)
Friday, May 24th Bergen
Set out on a locally guided morning tour of the city. Pass Bergen's colorful Fish and Flower Market then drive past the Haakonshallen, the medieval Viking Hall built in 1261 as a royal ceremony hall for the crowning of King Magnus. Continue past St. Mary's Church, the oldest building in Bergen. The afternoon is at leisure; perhaps visit the Hansa Museum located in one of the oldest and best-preserved wooden buildings in Bergen. Or you may want to take a trip by cable car to Mount Floyen for a breathtaking view of this seafaring town. Enjoy dinner together and attend the second performance by the Luther College Concert Band. Radisson BLU Royal Hotel Bergen (B, D)
Saturday, May 25th Bergen to Geilo
Embark on an excursion to Norway’s majestic fjords. Ride past steeply plunging waterfalls en route to the historic Stalheim Hotel for a coffee break while you take in spectacular views of the valley below. Continue down the steep mountain road through Stalheim Canyon to arrive in Gudvangen, a town perched at the edge of Sognefjord, the world’s longest fjord. From here sail on the scenic Nærøyfjord to Flåm. Board the world famous Flåm Railway, one of the most remarkable pieces of railway engineering in the world. It is only 12.4 miles long, but it ascends 2,845 feet in less than one hour from Flåm to Myrdal station. Enjoy the breathtaking view over the Flåm Valley and the thundering sound of waterfalls you pass. Arrive in Myrdal to take the train to Voss and continue by coach to Geilo, a popular winter skiing destination. http://www.drholms.no/ (B,D)
Sunday, May 26th Geilo/Lillehammer
Depart Geilo this morning and travel to Lillehammer, which captured the world’s imagination during the 1994 Winter Olympics. Make a short stop in Gol to tour a faithful replica of the 13th century wooden stavkirke. The original wooden church was moved in the late 1800’s to a heritage park in Oslo to save it from destruction. Proceed to Lillehammer, located at the northernmost point of the largest lake in Norway, Lake Mjøsa. Check in at your hotel for dinner and overnight. Rica Victoria Hotel Lillehammer https://www.rica-hotels.com/hotels/lillehammer/rica-victoria-hotel-lillehammer/ (B)
Monday, May 27th Lillehammer
This morning tour Maihaugen, the largest open-air museum in northern Europe. Here you will find 120 historic buildings and thousands of artifacts collected from the Gudbrandsdal Valley all of which tell about living and working in Norway over the course of 500 years. Enjoy coffee and waffles at the museum. Then view the arenas and sites of the 1994 Winter Olympics. The afternoon is at leisure for enjoying charming downtown Lillehammer. Join the group for dinner and then attend the Luther College Concert Band performance. Rica Victoria Hotel Lillehammer (B,D)
Tuesday, May 28th Lillehammer/Oslo
Travel to Oslo first visiting the Norwegian Emigrant Museum in Hamar. Stop in Eidsvoll, on the south end of Lake Mjoesa. Eidsvoll, "the Cradle of Liberty," is the most resounding name in Norwegian history, for it was here that the Norwegian Constitution was framed and adopted on May 17, 1814. The grandfather of Luther College’s first president, Laur. Larsen, was one of the signers. This event marked Norway's emancipation from Danish rule and gave her that now‑famous Independence Day, May 17 (Syttende Mai). This afternoon arrive in Norway’s lively capital city, Oslo, for a three-night stay. Thon Hotel Bristol http://www.thonhotels.com/hotels/countrys/norway/oslo/thon-hotel-bristol1/ (B)
Wednesday, May 29th Oslo
This morning take a three-hour city tour of Oslo. The first stop is Frogner Park with the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where 175 sculptures are arranged over 75 acres. Vigeland created such varied expressions as strength, emotional suffering and tenderness out of solid granite. Also visit the Viking Ship Museum, which displays ancient ships alongside an abundance of grave goods. Drive past the Royal Palace and through Oslo's main street, Karl Johan, with the Parliament, the medieval fortress of Akershus, and the busy port to the City Hall. The afternoon is free. Perhaps take a harbor cruise, experience the Resistance Museum where WW II history comes alive, or visit the Munch Museum housing the collection of Norway's most famous artist. Have dinner and attend the final concert of the Luther College Concert Band. Thon Hotel Bristol (B)
Thursday, May 30th Oslo
This morning drive to the Hadeland Glasswerks, beautifully situated in Jevnaker at the southern tip of lake Randsfjord. The glass factory was founded in the 18th century to produce everyday items and evolved to creating exquisite pieces of art as well as practical goods. At the visitors centre learn about glassblowing and shop for treasures. On the return journey to Oslo stop for coffee and cake at historic Holmenkollen Park Hotel. Views of the city are exceptional from this mountaintop perch. The afternoon is free for independent activities. Tonight gather for a farewell dinner at Cafe Christiania. Thon Hotel Bristol (B,D)
Friday, May 31st Return to U.S.
After breakfast transfer from the hotel to Gardermoen Airport to begin your return travel. Arrive home this same day with wonderful memories of the musical delights, extraordinary sights and warm, welcoming people of Iceland and Norway.
Code: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Itinerary subject to change.