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Kalamazoo College 2017 Alumni & Friends Trip

ICELAND : LAND OF FIRE AND ICE 

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 ITINERARY    

Day 1 - Monday, May 8, 2017  Travel Day Traveling you lose a full day.

 

Day 2 - Tuesday, May 9, 2017 Reykjavik, Iceland
Tour Begins Begin in the capital city of Reykjavik. Join a local expert for a walking tour of the city’s old section featuring Hallgrimskirkja church, city hall, the harbor and Reykjavik’s oldest building, home of the Kraum Icelandic design center. Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers during a sumptuous Icelandic dinner at a popular local restaurant. (D)

 

Day 3 - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 Reykjavik - Golden Circle - Reykjavik
Travel the memorable Golden Circle, a route encompassing many of Iceland's most renowned natural wonders: waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, lava fields, and volcanos. Begin at Thingvellir National Park, where Icelanders gathered in A.D. 930 and established one of the world’s first parliaments. Find yourself standing upon one of the globe’s most geologically significant landscapes, Thingvellir’s rugged rift valley. This UNESCO World Heritage site marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the point where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Next, marvel at the beauty of the Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall, a stunning 100-foot double cascade. Stop at the famous thermal area of Geysir to admire the hot spring Strokkur’s explosive vertical spout that reaches a height of up to 90 feet. Your day concludes with a visit to Friðheimar greenhouse cultivation center to learn how the locals grow delicious, pesticide-free tomatoes and cucumbers with the aid of Iceland’s geothermal energy. (B)

 

Day 4 - Thursday, May 11, 2017 Snæfellsnes-Cave/Lava Field Tour-Breidafjördur Cruise-Stykkishólmur
Experience the otherworldliness of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Take in the dramatic landscapes of black and white sand beaches, stunning cliffs, mountains peaks, volcanic craters, soaring waterfalls, rocky coastlines, intimate fishing villages, and its remarkable Snæfellsjökull glacier. This afternoon it’s your choice! You may choose a guided Vatnshellir Cave tour* and descend 100 feet below ground to an 8,000-year-old lava tube where you’ll experience total darkness and see amazing rock pigments, lava formations, stalagmites, stalactites, and more. Or, perhaps you’d prefer to walk the lava field and put your camera to work snapping photos of nature’s artwork of varying textures, colors and arrangements of this dramatic landscape. Next, we continue on and pause at Kirkjufell, acclaimed to be the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Your day concludes with a nature cruise in Breidafjördur Bay. Experience countless birds like puffins**, cormorants, kittiwakes and the majestic white tailed eagle soaring amongst basalt rock columns. While cruising, try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean. Seafood simply doesn´t come fresher than this! (B, D)

 

Day 5 - Friday, May 12, 2017 Stykkishólmur - Vík
Embark on a true Icelandic cultural adventure as you spend time with a family that keeps alive a 400-year-old tradition of catching and preserving Greenland shark. See the fishing boat utilized by their grandfather; the tiny farmer’s church; and explore the museum to learn more about Iceland’s deep relationship with this trade. Before leaving, taste "hakare," cured shark meat. Continue the adventure traveling Iceland’s south coast. Learn about geothermal renewable energy with a visit to Hellisheiði, the largest power station in Iceland and the second largest geothermal power station in the world. Make a picture stop at Waterfall Seljalandsfoss, one of few waterfalls providing you with a walkway for views from the inside out. Arrive in Vík, Iceland's most southerly village and one of the most visited sites in Iceland. (B, D)

Day 6 - Saturday, May 13, 2017 Vík - Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Visitor Center - Skogar Museum - Vik
Drive along the scenic south shore to Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Visitor Center. Learn about a family’s struggle to adapt during and following the dramatic 2010 explosion of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull Volcano that brought European flights to a halt. Visit Skogar Museum which contains an outstanding collection covering all aspects of Icelandic life including farm and domestic artifacts, as well as turf-built houses. Nearby is the impressive Skógafoss waterfall, one of the largest in Iceland. Then, view Reynisfjara, a black volcanic sand beach surrounded by basalt columns and cliffs scattered with caves and rich bird life including the fulmar, black guillemot, razorbill, gannet and various types of seagulls. Later, see the unique natural rock formations at Dyrhólaey. (B, D)

 

Day 7- Sunday, May 14, 2017 Vík - Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon - Skaftafell - Vík
Set sail*** among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon. Get to taste the 1,000-year-old ice and possibly see some seals. Later, stop at Skaftafell, gateway to Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe. Marvel at the Alpine environment of Iceland’s highest mountains and the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe's largest glacier. (B, D)

 

Day 8 - Day 8: Monday, May 15, 2017 Vík - Blue Lagoon or Whale Watching - Reykjavik
Choose how to enjoy your last day in Iceland! Perhaps you’ll embark on a drive to the Reykjanes Peninsula, known for its rugged landscape, lava fields, numerous hot springs, and home to the Blue Lagoon; take a dip in the pleasantly warm, mineral-rich waters of the geothermal pool, located in the middle of a dramatic lava field. Or maybe you’d prefer to further explore the wonders of Iceland’s waters during an informative whale watching adventure in the bay of Faxaflói; have your camera ready for minke and humpback whale sightings, along with white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises in their natural habitat. Later, gather with your fellow travelers for a local dining experience and share stories of your days in Iceland. (B, D)

 

Day 9 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 Reykjavik Tour Ends Depart for home with many incredible Icelandic memories. (B) 

Itinerary Hotels at a glance 
Day 1 Overnight Flight
Days 2, 3 Centerhotel Plaza Reykjavik
Day 4 Hotel Stykkisholmur Grundarfjordur
Days 5 – 7 Hotel Katla Hofdabrekka, Vik
Day 8 Centerhotel Plaza, Reykjavik
On some dates alternate hotels may be used. 

On occasion, some activities may not be available due to inclement weather. **Puffin can usually be viewed mid-May through mid-August.
***During the months of April & October, the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon cruise may not operate due to seasonality. This is reflected in the land price for these time periods. *The Vatnshellir Cave tour is not recommended for guests who are claustrophobic or have back or knee problems. Guests should be in good physical condition. 

This tour includes moderate physical activity. The itinerary blends some longer days with shorter days and more leisure time. Walking tours, as well as walking slightly longer distances, up stairs or on uneven walking surfaces should be expected.

 


Experience It! Geothermal Greenhouses


Growing food in Iceland has historically been a challenge for residents due to the cold climate, unproductive land, and at times, a lack of natural light. Discover how modern technology defies these natural challenges with geothermal greenhouses. At a family-run greenhouse, learn how they are able to harness the natural warmth from the ground’s geothermic waters and use it to create a year-round Mediterranean climate. Join a horticultural expert for an insider’s look at innovative growing methods used to produce a large variety of tomatoes that are able thrive in this otherwise challenging environment.  

 

Contact Roni Williams if you have questions or if you would like to reserve your space today!                                                                               

Tel 269 925-0777   |   Email RWilliams@Travelleaders.com 

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