Summer in Scandinavia with Village Church and Friends

Dates: July 27 - August 11, 2015


scandinavia.jpg

**Open to the public**

Tour Dates: July 30 – August 11, 2015

*Early Option to Stockholm, Sweden:

July 27 – 30

*Itinerary subject to change based on availabilities.

 

Monday, July 27: Those participants opting to join Lisa in Stockholm, Sweden will depart this day, leaving Kansas City for a U.S. gateway city then arriving in Stockholm on the morning of July 28.

 

Tuesday, July 28: In Stockholm: Early group will arrive in the morning and Lisa and a private chartered bus will meet everyone at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport!  The bus will take the group to your hotel destination for 3 nights: the 5-star Radisson Blu Strand Hotel boasting a fantastic location in the city center of Stockholm and a few minutes’ walk from the Old City (Gamla Stan). Many of the rooms at the Strand Hotel offer stunning harbor views and an abundant breakfast buffet will be included each morning during your stay. 

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and Scandinavia is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges.  To get acquainted with this beautiful city, a local expert guide will meet us at our hotel and offer a walking tour of Gamla Stan, one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe.  This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.  Your guided tour will take you past the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Prize Museum and other historic churches and landmarks.  After our tour, you will dine on your own and have a good rest at our hotel.

 

Wednesday, July 29 & Thursday, July 30:  These next two days, now that you are familiar with the layout of Stockholm, can be spent exploring on your own with the use of the convenient Stockholm Card.  Your early option will include a 48-hour Stockholm Card which allows you free entrance to a number of museums and activities in and around Stockholm as well as discounts to other activities such as a harbor tour by boat.  One tour that will be booked for you in advance by Lisa is a private group tour of Stockholm’s impressive City Hall building.  Our group will receive free admission using our Stockholm Card though it is necessary to reserve an English-language guide in advance.  Throughout the two full days in Stockholm, you can visit such attractions as:

§  The Royal Palace – housing five different museums. With the Stockholm Card you receive free entrance and can view the splendid reception and throne rooms; Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities; the Tre Kronor Museum; and the Treasury in addition to seeing coronation carriages and magnificent coaches from the Royal Stable.  

§  Nobel Museum – based in Gamla Stan, the Nobel Museum will enlighten you about Alfred Nobel and the many Nobel Laureates and their visions.  Admission is free using the Stockholm Card.

§  Vasa Museum – showcasing the only preserved 17th century ship in the world which is considered a unique art treasure in itself. Located on the green island of Djurgården, the admission to see the Vasa is free using your Stockholm Card.

§  Skansen Open-Air Museum – is the place to visit historic Sweden in miniature and it is also located on the island of Djurgården.  Here you will learn about traditional crafts and traditions; see farm buildings and animals; and view crafters working on hand-blown glass, pottery, delicious baked goods and more.  In and around Skansen are several cafes and restaurants and you can dine at a real traditional Swedish smörgåsbord!

Other activities: Don’t forget the official ABBA Museum is in Stockholm (though admission is not included with the Stockholm Card)!  Then you must take time for a Harbor Boat Tour and venture out as Stockholm offers a archipelago with 30,000 islands, islet rocks and skerries.  Most boat tours offer a discount by using your Stockholm Card.

 

Friday, July 31: Following breakfast at our hotel, the early group will take a one-way flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen, arriving there sometime in the morning.  A private, chartered bus will meet us and take us to our hotel destination in Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Admiral Hotel.  Depending on when the larger group arrives in Copenhagen following their overnight, overseas flight, a planned activity could commence for the early group.

 

 

Thursday, July 30: For the Denmark and Norway travelers, today is your day to depart the U.S.  You will fly from Kansas City to a gateway U.S. city then to Copenhagen, arriving on July 31.

 

Friday, July 31:  The later group will arrive at Copenhagen Airport where a private, chartered bus and Lisa will meet you!  The group will be taken to our hotel destination for 4 nights: The Copenhagen Admiral Hotel, a 4-star rated property. Built in 1787, the historic Admiral Hotel is located right on the harbor in the heart of Copenhagen.  The city’s popular theatre district, great shopping areas and major tourist attractions such as Amalienborg Palace and the famous Little Mermaid statue are just minutes away.  An ample breakfast buffet will begin each day on the right note!

During our first night together, Dinner at the Admiral Hotel’s SALT Restaurant will be arranged and allow tour participants to catch up with each other! 

 

Saturday, August 1: Today will be spent exploring Denmark’s capital city!  Two included tours will happen on this day: a Walking Tour/Bus Tour offering a comprehensive look at Copenhagen as it relates to its famous citizens, Hans Christian Andersen and the current Royal Family. The tour will also view the Danish royal palaces and examine the renowned Danish design!  On this same day, we will take a live narrated Canal Boat Cruise which is a delightful and relaxing way to see Copenhagen’s beautiful churches, old listed houses, bridges, its glitzy newer buildings and other points of interest! In the evening you may want to go to Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s classic amusement park filled with rides, music, food and fun (not just for kids!) or you could stroll along Copenhagen’s charming pedestrian street, Strøget (pronounced STROY – et) or go to Nyhavn (New Harbor) filled with eateries,  jazz clubs and more in the now more-gentrified former sailors’ quarters.

 

Sunday, August 2: This day will be filled with grand castles and modern art!  A planned included excursion will take the group north of Copenhagen to visit first the opulent Frederiksborg Castle, which also houses the Museum of National History.  Frederiksborg Castle is the largest Renaissance Castle in Scandinavia and was built by King Christian IV in the early part of the 17th century and highlights the best of Renaissance architecture and craftsmanship.  We will have a self-guided visit here though audio guides are available.  Following this visit, we will continue northward to see Kronborg Castle – “Hamlet’s Castle” in Elsinore.  Because we will have already toured the inside of a castle today, we will simply make a brief stop for photos and take a quick stretch on the impressive grounds of Kronborg Castle.  Next, we will visit Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.  Located on the coast with a panoramic view of Sweden across the Sound, the Louisiana offers dramatic landscape, architecture and design, an impressive collection of modern art as well as a fabulous sculpture garden.  The Louisiana also has a great café where you can enjoy lunch on your own with views of the Øresund from inside or outside on the inviting terrace.   Later in the afternoon, the group will return to Copenhagen for more city fun in the evening!

 

Monday, August 3: On this day, the group will again venture outside of Copenhagen and this time explore Danish roots, both royal and Viking with an included excursion to Roskilde (pronounced ROSS – killa). Located about 18 miles west of Copenhagen, Roskilde is home to the Roskilde Cathedral which dates from the 12th century and is considered the “Westminster Abbey” of Denmark as it houses the tombs of all the Danish kings and most of the queens.  Next we will visit the award-winning Viking Ship Museum situated on a harbor fjord inlet.  This museum has five different Viking ships found in the Roskilde fjord which were carefully excavated and preserved in the 1960s.  There is a summer café at the museum where you can have a light lunch with a view over the fjord and see replicas of Viking ships sailing in the area and you can even book a cruise on one yourself!  By late afternoon, our private bus will return the group to Copenhagen for one last evening in this enjoyable capital city! 

 

Tuesday, August 4:  Following breakfast at the hotel, the group can have a relaxing morning at the hotel, walk along the harbor for one last view of the Little Mermaid statue and then by mid-morning we will check-out of the Admiral Hotel.  Our luggage will either be stored safely at the hotel or placed on board our private bus.  Everyone will still have time to see more of Copenhagen and to have lunch on your own.  At about 3:00 PM, we will board our bus from the hotel and drive the short distance to the DFDS Seaways dock and board our passenger ship which will take us on an exciting overnight journey from Copenhagen to the capital city of Norway – Oslo!  Our ship will depart at 4:30 PM and you can sit in a comfortable lounge or be out on deck and watch as we sail away from Copenhagen and into Swedish waters on our way to Norway.  On board, there are entertainment facilities such as a duty-free shop, a casino, and a disco plus we will dine together this evening at one of the ship’s fine dining restaurants!  Half-board accommodations with DFDS Seaways will be part of your base tour cost which includes your hotel-like room, dinner on board as well as breakfast the next morning.  This is a unique and leisurely way to travel from the port of Copenhagen to the port of Oslo!  *Please note: your large bags will be locked and stored safely on our private bus which will also be in the vehicle hold area!  You will board the ship with ease with only your carry-on bag containing your necessities and one day’s worth of clothing. 

 

Wednesday, August 5:  Welcome to Norway!  A breakfast buffet will be served in one of the DFDS Seaways’ restaurants and afterwards, you can go out on deck to view the first glimpses of Norway’s fjords surrounding Oslo!  We are scheduled to arrive in Oslo at 9:45 AM.  As soon as our bus rolls off the ship, we will board it and be taken first to one of Oslo’s loveliest parks, Frogner Park featuring stunning works by Norway’s greatest sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. This park is a little ways outside of Oslo’s city center so it makes sense to visit it while using our private bus.  We will next go to our hotel in Oslo: the 4-star rated Hotel Bristol. This is a historic and elegant 4-star rated hotel located in the heart of Oslo’s city center and a short walk to shopping areas and Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans Gate, the Royal Palace, museums and the waterfront area, Aker Brygge.  Breakfast is included both days as part of your stay at the Hotel Bristol.  After the group does a “soft” check-in at the Hotel Bristol, you have time on your own to begin exploring Oslo on foot or do some shopping.  You might want to see Oslo’s artsy City Hall with guided tours available at 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM or activate your included Oslo Pass.  While in Oslo, everyone will receive a 48-hour Oslo Pass which offers free entrance to a number of Oslo’s fine museums and attractions.  Tonight how about some cool jazz and blues on board a chartered yacht?! Ideally it is best to see Oslo from the water and you will do just that during this fun 3-hour Jazz and Blues Cruise as you enjoy a traditional Norwegian prawn dinner! 

 

Thursday, August 6: This is a full day to sight-see in Oslo using your handy Oslo Pass!  A sampling of museums covered with the Oslo Pass include: Oslo’s beautiful Cathedral, the state Lutheran church with its royal box; the National Gallery containing Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream and other paintings that romanticized Norway’s fjord country; and in Oslo’s Bygdøy Neighborhood there are a cluster of great museums and attractions including the Norwegian Folk Museum, an open-air museum celebrating historic buildings relocated from all over the country; Viking Ship Museum, featuring one of the best Viking longboats in existence; Fram Museum, showcasing a modern-day boat that explored the Arctic region; and the Norwegian Holocaust Center, offering a high-tech look at the Holocaust in Norway and much more.  You will have a fantastic day discovering this beautiful and easily accessible city.

 

Friday, August 7:  Following breakfast at Hotel Bristol, we will depart Oslo and journey west to see Norway’s spectacular fjords and waterfalls in the Sognefjord!  Today’s expedition begins on our private bus offering comfortable seating as you view the gorgeous scenery at an elevated level.  We will drive to the train depot at Myrdal (pronounced Meer – doll) which also has a good café inside.  We will arrive there and board the Myrdal to Flåm scenic train or Flåmsbana, with hourly departures.  This 12-mile Flåm Railway, which passes through the beautiful, narrow Flåm valley was created as a line to the Sognefjord and is regarded as a masterpiece of Norwegian engineering.  Begun in 1923, the rail line took 20 years to complete and it passes through several tunnels as well as stunning waterfalls and makes one stop to view the temptress who dances among the rocks and lures men to their doom – watch out for her!  After the 55-minute train ride, we arrive in the village of Flåm (pronounced flome) which is actually a transit hub surrounded by some shops, cafes and a tourist info center.  We will have a slight break in Flåm though our purpose here is to board our private bus again for our continued journey to the magical town of Balestrand.  Once we arrive in Balestrand in the late afternoon, we reach our next hotel destination for two nights, the grand, family-owned Kviknes Hotel with its main historic Swiss-chalet building dating back to the late 19th century.  You will delight in the Old World ambiance of the 4-star rated Kviknes Hotel with its lovely drawing rooms and lounges and its ample terrace with chairs to sit and soak up the views of the Sognefjord (and you might just see porpoises playing and leaping in the fjord!).  Our accommodations at the Kviknes Hotel include a substantial and splendid store koldt bord buffet dinner each night in the hotel’s massive yet stately dining room.  You can’t get a better smörgåsbord experience with a fjord view than this!  Breakfasts are also a generous buffet served in the same dining room. 

 

Saturday, August 8: After a peaceful night’s sleep deep in the Sognefjord at our comfortable Kviknes Hotel, get your fill at the hotel’s plentiful breakfast buffet.  Today you will have several choices: simply stay at the hotel and relax or take a walk into the charming town of Balestrand and maybe visit the Aquarium or the newly opened Norway Travel Museum.  Balestrand has long been an artist’s village and today it is home to several artists including the delightful watercolorist, Bjørg Frøisok Bjøberg who runs the Golden House (Bjørg’s art gallery and shop) along with her husband, Arthur who also runs a charming café called The Pilgrim Café.  On this day, Lisa will offer a few optional tours: one could be an extended boat excursion taking in the Nærøyfjord, a narrow and thrillingly scenic fjord that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site; going on a birding hike with Arthur; or take a half-day cruise up the Fjærlandsfjord to visit the Norwegian Glacier Museum and then see a receding tongue of the Jostedal Glacier.  Whatever you end up doing while in this area today, you will undoubtedly fall in love with Balestrand and be glad of the peaceful time in this magical place! Tonight enjoy another abundant smörgåsbord at the Kviknes Hotel!

 

Sunday, August 9:  Following breakfast at the Kviknes Hotel, the group will depart using our private bus. On our way to our final destination, the historic harbor city of Bergen, we will visit the Hopperstad Stave Church.  This historic stave church has the most scenically situated location of the handful of stave churches that remain standing.  By midday, we will arrive in Bergen with its rich sea-trading heritage.  Our hotel for the next two nights, Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Bergen is located right in the middle of Bergen’s historic Hanseatic district called Bryggen.  At the 4-star rated Royal Hotel Bergen you will have great service, a modern, comfortable setting and a great breakfast buffet each morning. Bryggen is a popular area in Bergen and it is filled with cobble-stoned, narrow passages and leaning buildings that exude maritime charm dating back to the 1500s. Today these historic buildings are filled with boutiques, cafes and pubs.  Tonight enjoy the nightlife in this buzzing small city by staying in the fun Bryggen district or venturing further out to Ole Bulls Pass where there are lots of trendy eateries open late.

 

Monday, August 10: This morning following breakfast, the group can participate in the included Bryggen Walking Tour at 11:00 which meets in front of our hotel and takes you through 900 years of Bergen’s history in one and a half hours.  The tour also includes entry to several museums: Bryggen’s Museum relating how this area was preserved in the 1950s and the Hanseatic Museum which tells about Bryggen’s glory days when cod was the trading gold and the German merchants ran the industry working in tandem with the Norwegian fishermen.  Later in the afternoon, an optional tour will be offered to visit composer Edvard Grieg’s beautiful Victorian home at Troldhaugen (Hill of the Trolls).  Tonight the group will dine together for our Last Night Dinner in a spectacular location in Bergen and toast our wonderful Scandinavian adventure! 

 

Tuesday, August 11:  Following breakfast at the Royal Hotel, our private bus will take us to Bergen’s Flesland Airport.  Our return flight will include a connection in Amsterdam then back to the U.S. and home to Kansas City the same evening. 

Base Tour Cost:

$5,750 per person based on double occupancy for Denmark and Norway 11-night tour; $6,450 per person based on double occupancy for extra early option to Stockholm, Sweden which is 14 total nights. Single supplement pricing will be communicated to those wishing to have a single room.

*The tour director reserves the right to alter this per person amount due to unforeseen costs related to the currency exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the currencies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway or if additional taxes and/or fuel surcharges or other unexpected costs are imposed without warning by the airline/airports or other vendors involved.

Please note: Tour costs do not include travel insurance as this cost is based on the traveler’s age and individual health. If you have a pre-existing health condition and you wish to obtain travel insurance, you must do so within two weeks of paying your deposit.

Payments may be made via personal check, as well as VISA or MasterCard through PayPal available on the Lisa Ball Travel Design website. Click on the “Pay Now” button at www.LisaBallTravelDesign.com. PayPal does charge a 3% fee and if you choose to pay via this method, please add 3% to your payments. Credit cards are only accepted via PayPal.

Cancellation Policy: If you must cancel your participation with this tour, the tour director will strive to reimburse as much of the trip costs you have paid as possible. After the airfare ticketing process (this date will be communicated to travelers), if you cancel your participation in this tour your deposit will be retained and the remaining amount you receive back in reimbursement will be determined based on the timing of your cancellation and what we have outlaid on your behalf. If you have taken out trip cancellation/interruption insurance the tour director will work with your insurance company to provide the necessary paperwork so you can receive a reimbursement from the insurance company. Please note: some tour costs affect the cost of others going on the trip and those items cannot be refundable. These items include the ground transportation, hiring of guides, group meals, and sight-seeing venues where fixed, timed tickets have been purchased.