Friends Tour of Europe 2019
In 2017, we undertook our sixth concert tour of Europe. This was the second time that we were accompanied by a group of Friends. It was great getting to know our Friends during the first 16 days of the tour. You are invited to come with us in 2019.
June 30: Arrival day. Meet at hotel 25 Hours Hafencity (4****). Rooms are available from 2:30pm. From here it’s a 4-minute walk to Hamburg’s Maritime Museum or a 14 minute walk or one stop on the Metro to Hamburg’s famous new Elbphilharmonie (pictured). Venture a little further along the banks of the Elbe to Hamburg’s vibrant Landing Bridges (Landungsbrücke) area, where you have a wide choice of restaurants.
July 1: AM travel to Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town. You stay at the Hotel Dagmar on the Town Square, directly opposite Ribe Cathedral. The hotel is housed in what was once a traditional red-brick farmhouse, constructed in 1581 and later the home of Ribe’s Lord Mayor or President.
PM Friends Choir. This is a chance to have a sing with members of the ACC for about an hour for those who are interested. We have scheduled 3 sessions. Not compulsory. Just for fun! At sunset, accompany Ribe’s night watchman (pictured) on a walk around the historic town. The tour (in English) takes 45 minutes. The night watchman began walking Ribe’s streets in the 14th century. He was retrenched in 1902, but reinstated in 1935 as a tourist attraction. This is recommended by Lonely Planet as the best thing to do in Ribe and we thoroughly agree!
July 2: The choir performs in Ribe’s Cathedral Church at 11.00am. There will be extensive sight-seeing programs organised for you. But unlike other tour organisers, we don’t pressure you to take part. Today we offer you a visit to the nearby Viking Centre. This is a historically-informed reconstruction of a Viking town, complete with Vikings who are happy to chat with you about their way of life. PM Join the choir for a traditional Danish meal at Restaurant Backhaus on Ribe’s town square.
July 3: Travel from Ribe to Copenhagen. Check in to Skt Petri Hotel 4**** . From the hotel, you can see the historic Trinitatis Church, where the choir will perform. Connected to the church is Copenhagen’s famous landmark, the Round Tower (picture courtesy of Skt Petri Hotel), erected in the 17th Century by King Christian IV. For a small fee you can go into the tower and ascend its spiral corridor. At the top you can visit Christian IV’s astronomical observatory and enjoy an excellent view over Copenhagen. You can also visit the Trinitatis Library hall, located in the roof of the Trinitatis Church and accessible via the Round Tower. Photo courtesy of Instagram/Skt Petri(mettatang79)
July 4: AM City tour of Copenhagen. 2:30pm Friends Choir at Trinitatis Church 4:00pm: The ACC performs in the Trinitatis Church.
July 5: You travel by coach to Rødby. From here you take the Rødby to Puttgarten ferry, leaving the ferry by coach and travelling onwards to Schwerin, the historic capital of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the former East Germany. You stay in the Mercure (4****) in the old town. You are a six minute walk from a stunning neo-renaissance castle, which sits on an island in Lake Schwerin, surrounded by elaborate gardens. Our visit to the Palace will include the throne room, the weapons room, the library and the former living quarters of the Dukes and Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg. This palace is considered one of the most important examples of Romantic Historicism in Europe, and will shortly be declared a World Heritage Site.
3 NIGHTS IN BERLIN
July 6: AM travel to Berlin. You stay at the Crowne Plaza City Centre. Don’t leave here without taking a look at your local Metro station: Wittenbergplatz (4 minutes’ walk from your front door) is the oldest station in Berlin, opened on 11 March 1902. The remarkable entrance hall in the centre of Wittenbergplatz square, designed in an Art Nouveau style by Alfred Grenander, was finished in 1913. Right opposite, in similar architectural style, is the famous Kaufhaus des Westens (Department Store of the West, usually abbreviated to KaDeWe), Berlin’s historic department store. The food hall on the uppermost two floors has to be seen to be believed! The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (pictured left), arguably Berlin’s most famous landmark, is visible from your nearest street corner, with its iconic ruined tower left as a memorial to World War II. During the years when Berlin was divided between East and West (as Germans say, “before the Wende”), this church served as a modern day Cathedral for West-Berliners, who did not have access to the Berliner Dom (pictured below), situated in the former East Berlin. Imagine the people of West Berlin, surrounded by the Berlin Wall and living on a political island in the middle of East Germany.
6.00pm The ACC sings in the Chorvesper concert series at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
July 7: We are the guest choir for the 10:00am service at the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral, pictured right). These performances on two consecutive days serve as our own personal tribute to the events of 30 years ago (known by Germans as the Wende, or Turn), which resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the subsequent reunification of Germany. During July 1989, thousands of East Germans departed illegally, driving their Trabant cars to Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
You have the afternoon of 7 July to yourself. Your only problem will be deciding which of the amazing sights on offer to visit. Your guide will be happy to give advice and answer questions. PM Friends Choir, followed by dinner with the choir at Restaurant Zur Gerichstlaube. This 750-year-old building, with a dining room decorated in typical old Berlin style has a reputation for excellent German food.
July 8: Berlin AM sight-seeing.
1 NIGHT IN HANNOVER
July 9: Travel from Berlin to Hannover. You stay at the Grand Mussmann Hotel (4****) in the city centre, surrounded by Hannover’s best restaurants. Take a walk through the shopping precinct and be sure to notice the Old Town Hall, the Market Church and the nearby half-timbered houses that give you a glimpse of the Hannover that Handel knew during his time here as Hofkapellmeister to Prince George Elector of Hannover (1710-12). Prince George was crowned George I of England in 1714. 6:00pm concert in the Christuskirche, Nordstadt. Supper after the concert with the choir.
3 NIGHTS IN BRUGES
July 10: Travel from Hannover to the most beautiful town in Belgium. On the way we will visit the neo-gothic Marienburg Castle, seat of King George V, the last King of Hannover. In Bruges you stay at the Hotel Aragon (4****). Bruges is nicknamed ‘the Venice of the North’ because of its cobblestoned streets and its many charming canals.
July 11: Meet the choir for lunch at De Halve Maan. This is a family owned brewery with a tradition stretching back through six generations to 1856. This is where the Bruges city beer – the Brugse Zot – is brewed: a strong-tasting, high-fermentation beer based on malt, hops and special yeast. In 2016 a unique underground beer pipeline, some 3 km long, was laid from the brewery to the bottling plant in the suburbs. Following lunch, we have arranged boats to show us around Bruges by way of its canal system.
July 12: PM travel to Dunkirk. See the 17th century fortifications, built along the coastline to protect the town from Spanish invaders. One of these fortifications, known as Bastion 32 served as the headquarters of the Allied forces during the Battle of Dunkirk. Bastion 32 now houses the Operation Dynamo Museum. Visit the museum and get an insight into the audacious rescue of British, French and Belgian Soldiers trapped by German forces during World War II. A short coach ride along the coast from France back to Belgium will take you to the seaside town of Koksijde for the ACC’s evening concert at Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Duinen (Our Lady in the Sand Dunes). If you prefer more time in Bruges followed by the ACC’s concert in Koksijde, ask your guide about the easy 1-hour train trip. Return after the concert by coach to your accommodation in Bruges.
3 NIGHTS IN PARIS
July 13: Travel from Bruges to Paris. We will give you a 3-day Paris public transport pass, which gives you free access to buses, trams and metro, the quickest and easiest way to get around Paris. You stay at the Mercure Paris Centre Eiffel Tower. Afternoon free.
July 14: Bastille Day is the best day of the year to be in Paris. Known to French people as la Fête Nationale (The National Celebration), the day marks the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a turning-point in the French Revolution as well as the Fête de la Federation (14 July 1790), when French people celebrate their unity. During the morning, the oldest and largest military parade in Europe takes place along the Champs-Élysées from 10am. Our service at Notre Dame begins at 11:15am. PM Dinner with the choir. This is our last meal together before we go our separate ways and the choir continues on its tour of Europe. You would be excused for thinking that the impressive fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower from 11:00pm is especially for us.
July 15: Paris sight-seeing
July 16: End of services.
• Dedicated air-conditioned coach transport (including all ferry connections and toll-bridges) from Hamburg to Paris
• Canal boat tour in Bruges, Paris 3-day public transport pass
• English speaking tour guide, qualified for all sights visited
• Extensive sight-seeing program. Feel free to join in or opt out. Take it at your own pace
• All accommodation (4**** twin share basis) and buffet breakfast every day
• Four meals with the choir (beverages not included)
• a “Friends Choir” for those who are interested. We have scheduled 3 sessions. Not compulsory. Just for fun!
• Admission to all Australian Chamber Choir concerts
• Admittance to Ribe Viking Centre, Danish National Museum Copenhagen, Schwerin Palace, Pergamon Museum Berlin, Marienburg Castle Hannover, Operation Dynamo Museum Dunkirk
• Paul Gardner, Director of Eastern Hill Travel will accompany the Friends Tour.
LAND-ONLY COST: $9,990 per person (twin-share)
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1,908
The above package is managed by Eastern Hill Travel in cooperation with Pega DMC
Eastern Hill travel is happy to arrange competitively-priced return airfares with a reputable airline.
For children’s prices, please contact Eastern Hill Travel
Bookings and enquiries Eastern Hill Travel
50 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065
Tel. 9417 4320