Saturday, May 5 – Bon Voyage Concert
Sunday, May 6 – Sing at Hesston College Commencement
Tuesday, May 8 – Depart for Europe. We will meet in Chicago for our nine-hour flight to Europe. Our flight, United Airlines #908, departs Chicago at 6:05 p.m. We arrive in Amsterdam at 9:25 a.m. the next morning.
Wednesday, May 9 – Arrival at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Meet our bus driver and load into the bus, our home for the next three weeks. Visit the Zaanse Schaans, an open-air historical museum where we will see windmills, and how they make cheese and wooden shoes. Then on to Haarlem where we will meet our first host families.
Thursday, May 10 – Today we head into Amsterdam, city of canals, for a tour of the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House. Return to Haarlem in the afternoon to prepare for our first concert.
Friday, May 11 – After visiting the Haarlem city market, we leave for Friesland. A stop in the middle of the 17-mile Afsluitdijk will allow us to see how it closes off the Ijselmeer from the North Sea. We also visit Wittmarsum and Pingjum, where Menno Simons was born and started his ministry. Our concert tonight is in Joure, which has hosted every Hesston College choir since 1982.
Saturday, May 12 – Today is a free day with host families. There will be chances to shop, ride bike or walk along the canals of this small town.
Sunday, May 13 – After worshipping together with our hosts from Joure, we will board our bus for the city of Aachen in Germany. Home of the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, this will be our first night in a hotel.
Monday, May 14 – A short morning drive will bring us to Cologne (Köln), a city of churches. The massive cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the largest gothic cathedral in Germany. In the afternoon, we will drive to Neuwied for an evening concert and home stays.
Tuesday, May 15 – A trip down the Rhine river will fill much of our morning. On the trip we will see incredible vistas of castles, churches and fortress ruins from Medieval times. Tonight’s concert will be in the Medieval Castle church, the Burgkirche in Ingelheim. We return to Neuwied for a second night with our German hosts.
Wednesday, May 16 – Today we head for the city of Zurich in Switzerland. Here we will encounter the Anabaptist Reformation story.
Thursday, May 17 – We head into the mountains this morning, our destination being the village of Wengen, at the foot of the Jungfrau.
Friday, May 18 – A full day of hiking. You won’t see many mountains in the world more stunning than the Alps.
Saturday, May 19 – The morning will allow us one last view of the Alps. Later, we head to Wattenwil for our first Swiss homestay and concert. Our hosts are part of a Swiss Reformed congregation who have been at the heart of the Reformed/Mennonite reconciliation movement.
Sunday, May 20 – After participating in the morning worship service, and an afternoon with host families, we have another concert tonight at an historic Swiss church. Return to Wattenwil for a second night with hosts.
Monday, May 21 – Today we head we head to the Jura Mountains and the village of Moron which has hosted Hesston College choirs many times over the years.
Tuesday, May 22 – France is the next new country. The Alsace region contains a rich and unique mix of French and German culture. Tonight we will give a concert in Altkirch.
Wednesday, May 23 – Today we head to the area of Provence and the city of Arles where we will spend two nights. On the way, we will stop at the Pont du Gard, the highest Roman bridge aqueduct in Europe.
Thursday, May 24 – After a morning visit to the Papal palace at Avignon, we will also see the quaint town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and the hospital where Vincent van Gogh spent the last year of his life.
Friday, May 25 – Today we leave the area Provence and head to Carcassonne, a Medieval city on our way to Barcelona, Spain. Arrival in the evening.
Saturday, May 26 – Today we explore the city by starting at the unfinished cathedral of La Sagrada Familia by architect Antoni Gaudi.
Sunday, May 27 – In the late morning, we join for a worship service with a Mennonite Church in Barcelona followed by our concert and meal. Then on to the La Rambla section of the city where Christopher Columbus set off on his exploration of the New World.
Monday, May 28 – Our final day in Europe. A chance to do final shopping and to pack.
Tuesday, May 29 – Leave in the morning from Barcelona’s El Prat de Llobregat Airport. Our flight, Lufthansa #1817, departs Barcelona at 8:15 a.m. Arrival in Munich at 10:15 a.m. and a transfer to United #907 departing Munich at 12:35 p.m. Arrive in Chicago at 3:01 p.m. What a great trip.