ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/GENERAL MANAGER of the LIRA ENSEMBLE and an EXPERIENCED TOUR GUIDE
We will show you the Poland of your dreams during this 13-day tour,
explaining the significance of what you see - with lots of folklore, music and fun in
WARSAW * GDANSK/GDYNIA/SOPOT * POZNAN * GNIEZNO * CHOPIN’S BIRTHPLACE
MALBORK CASTLE * TORUN * VILNIUS, TRAKAI, KAUNUS in LITHUANIA * AND MUCH MORE
The Lira Tour begins with a get-acquainted evening in Chicago on Wednesday, June 25th
featuring a gourmet Polish dinner. (We promise not to keep you up late!)
Our tour flies non-stop to & from Warsaw on LOT Polish Airlines wide-body Boeing 767 jets.
We travel in Poland on an ultra-modern, air-conditioned motorcoach with an airplane-type bathroom on board.
THIS TOUR INCLUDES:
FIRST CLASS HOTELS * ALL TOURS & TRANSPORTATION * BAGGAGE HANDLING * MOST TIPS
ALL ADMISSIONS TO CONCERTS & OTHER PERFORMANCES THREE MEALS A DAY - EXCEPT FOR FOUR LUNCHES ON YOUR OWN, AS INDICATED BELOW
Thursday, June 26th
Depart from O'Hare Airport or NYC on LOT Airlines in the early evening, enjoy dinner over the Atlantic and breakfast over Europe. All meals/refreshments onboard, including wine and beer (should you want them), are covered in your tour price. Other alcoholic drinks are also available. We nap/sleep or watch a movie or two and land in Warsaw on Friday morning.
Friday, June 27th
We arrive in Warsaw about 10am and transfer to the Warsaw Sheraton on Three Crosses Square not far from many of Warsaw's major attractions. Then we tour the magnificent, recently restored Royal Castle. (For those who have been to Warsaw, we can offer an alternate itinerary for both Friday and Saturday, if you like.) After a light lunch, we tour Warsaw's Old Town, New Town Market, and see the Chopin monument, grand buildings and churches in the capital city. We view the panorama of the city from atop the infamous, communist-era Palace of Culture and Learning. Our welcoming dinner is at one of Warsaw's most exclusive and interesting restaurants - the Belvedere, which is set in an historic royal orangery. After dinner, we enjoy a Mozart opera, just as Amadeus would present it, as part of the internationally acclaimed Mozart Festival at Warsaw Chamber Opera House, then overnight at our hotel.
Saturday, June 28th
After breakfast at our hotel, we visit the Polish Parliament and learn about Poland’s democratic government which replaced communist rule. We drive into the suburbs to see Wilanow, known as the Polish Versailles. It is the summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski, who saved Europe from a Turkish invasion at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Then, further out into the countryside to Lowicz, the Mazovian village known for its colorful folk paper cutouts, for a folk art presentation and lunch with folk entertainment at the unusual home of Kasia and Wojtek Gronecki. Later, we drive to Zelazowa Wola to tour the birthplace of Frederick Chopin, the greatest of Polish composers. Upon our return to Warsaw, we enjoy a private concert of Chopin music presented as it was in the past - for aristocracy - in a regal setting. Dinner is at the charming Bazyliszek Restaurant, a tradition in Old Town, then overnight at the Sheraton.
Sunday, June 29th
After breakfast at our hotel, we attend Mass (if you like) at Holy Cross Church where Chopin’s heart is buried. Then to the airport to fly to Lithuania with only carry-ons. Our bus, with our bags aboard, will meet us at our hotel in Vilnius (formerly known as Wilno). Upon arrival in the Lithuanian capital, we lunch, then tour Vilnius, including Old Town’s Baroque Peter and Paul Church with its 2,000 statues, Upper Town with Gedimas Tower and Vilnius Castle. Dinner is at one of Vilnius landmark restaurants with a taste of Lithuanian folklore after dinner. Then to our hotel for the night - the Radisson SAS Astorija, located in the heart of Old Town.
Monday, June 30th
Breakfast is at the Astorija, then we drive to the city of Kaunas (formerly Kowno), where we tour the Old Town, St. George’s Church and Kaunas Castle, the Church of Vytautas and much more. You’ll have time to shop and/or have lunch on your own, before we see the Ciurlionis Photo Gallery and Pazaislis
Monastery in the afternoon. We drive back to Vilnius for dinner and a mini history of Poland and Lithuania presented by Lucyna, to help you better understand all you are seeing.
Tuesday, July 1st
After breakfast at the hotel, we bus west to Trakai, the ancient capital of Lithuania with its Vytautas Fortress surrounded by five lakes - the former residence of the Lithuanian grand dukes. We continue west, crossing the border near the town of Sejny, known for its unusual and delicious “sekasz” pastry, where we have lunch. And guess what’s for dessert? Then on to the town of Wigry, to see its Camaldolite Monastery built in the 1700’s. We drive on to the village of Stare Juchy where we dine and overnight at - something a bit different - a rustic resort named Siedlisko Morena - out in the Polish countryside.
Wednesday, July 2nd
Breakfast is at Siedlisko Morena, then we drive further west through Poland’s Pojezierze region - a land of a thousand crystal-clear glacial lakes. We stop at Sw. Lipka to see a remarkable, huge Baroque church in the tiniest of towns. Then lunch featuring local favorites before our afternoon drive to the Polish seashore. We arrive in Gdansk and dine at one of its many superb restaurants where the specialty is seafood. The Poles excel at preparing fish dishes. Wait ‘til you taste them! Lucyna will give you her famous one-hour Polish lesson which will help you feel even more comfortable in Poland. Our hotel is Dwor Oliwski, built in the style of an historic Polish manor house, located in a park in Gdansk.
Thursday, July 3rd
After breakfast at the hotel, we tour the Tri-City: Gdynia, Gdansk and Sopot. We visit the shipyard where Solidarity was born, the Solidarity monument and museum. We see Mariacka Street in Gdansk, the largest amber market in the world. Do plan on buying some Polish amber. The selection will amaze you. There will be free time for shopping and/or lunch on your own, as you choose. Later, we briefly see Sopot, Poland’s seashore resort town with its longest pier in Europe and the port at Gdynia. We stop in the suburb of Oliwa with its famous cathedral organ - one of the best in Europe. Dinner is at another of the Tri-City’s many fine restaurants and we return to Dwor Oliwski for the night.
Friday, July 4th
Breakfast is at the hotel, then we drive to Malbork, former seat of the Teutonic Knights, where we tour this castle - one of the largest left standing in Europe. Then on to the charming city of Chelmno on the Vistula (Wisla) River to see its historic Town Hall. Lunch is at a traditional Polish inn - Karczma Chelminska - where you will make your own luncheon choices from their very large and interesting menu - and will pay individually. Then we drive to Kaszubia, a beautiful region of Northern Poland with German, Scandinavian, Dutch and Lithuanian cultural influences. We visit the “skansen” outdoor museum in the Kaszubian Ethnographic Park and then enjoy local specialities for dinner followed by Kaszubian songs and dances in Zukowo. We return to our hotel in Gdansk for a small July 4th celebration.
Saturday, July 5th
Breakfast at Dwor Oliwski is followed by our drive to Torun, home town of Nicholas Copernicus, the great Polish astronomer, also home of Polish gingerbread, which you can munch on as we tour this lovely, historic town. Torun’s Old Town is on the UNESCO list of world treasures. Several Polish cities made the list. You’ll have time for shopping and/or lunch on your own and there are many cute spots to eat. After lunch we drive to Biskupin, the pre-historic settlement, with its fascinating story. Then on to Gniezno, the first capital of Poland, with its Gothic Cathdral with bronze doors that date back to the 12th century - one of the best examples of Romanesque art in Europe. We continue on to Poznan, one of major cities in Poland, which is the capital of Greater Poland and is a business center. We dine at one of Poznan’s excellent restaurants then we overnight at the Sheraton Poznan.
Sunday, July 6th
After breakfast at the hotel, we hear Mass (if you like) at a major church in Poznan, then tour the old and new parts of the city, including its Renaissance Town Hall and bustling town square. We’ll watch the Poznan goats butt heads at the strike of noon - an old tradition. For lunch we sample local favorites, then drive to the town Kornik to tour neo-Gothic Kornik Castle. Next is something special: for the rest of the day we live the life of rural aristocracy in Czerniejewo. We tour the palace, then ride in horse-drawn carriages into the woods for a picnic featuring wild boar cooked over a bonfire. It is delicious! And there will be other goodies to eat, then folk music and song. We return to the Sheraton for a good night’s rest after all that fresh air, food, and fun.
Breakfast is at the hotel before we drive east toward Warsaw. On the way, we stop at Lichen, called the “Czestochowa of the North” because it has become a major place of pilgrimage for Poles. Its huge basilica was built as Poland’s thanks to the Blessed Virgin for freeing the country of communism. We have lunch at a country inn and then drive to the suburbs of Warsaw to the elegant Best Western Mazurkas Hotel where a special farewell dinner awaits us with your last taste of Polish folklore.
Tuesday, July 8th
Today is one of the longest days of your life, because of your trans-Atlantic flight. You may want to enjoy a quiet breakfast before our late morning departure for the airport. There will be an opportunity to do some shopping at the duty-free shops at Chopin Airport and it is recommended. As before, all food and drinks onboard your flight (including wine and beer) are covered by your tour price. When you arrive in Chicago or Newark, it will be nearly 10 hours later, but it will still be Tuesday afternoon. (NYC passengers please note that you will be departing from JFK airport, but will return to Newark).
PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change. We pride ourselves on making changes to take advantage of last minute opportunities
AND THERE WILL BE SOME DELIGHFUL SURPRISES!
ALSO NOTE: No visa is needed to visit either Poland or Lithuania. Only a valid passport is required.
The cost of the 2008 Lira Tour of Poland led by Lira Board Members is:FROM CHICAGO: $4,689.00 PER PERSON, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY,
FROM NEW YORK CITY (with return to Newark): $4,589.00 PER PERSON, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $850; CHILDREN OVER 12, FULL PRICE PLUS $266.30 TAX from both CHICAGO and NEW YORK
Tax is subject to change. In past years, it has gone up a few dollars by summer.
You may also fly Business Class, if you like. Do ask us about the additional charge. Tour payments may be made by check only. Sorry, no credit cards. PLEASE NOTE: A minimum of 31 adults must register for this tour or the tour price will be higher.
If at least 21 adults register, the additional payment will be $280 per person. Also, because the value of the US dollar in relation to the euro has been so erratic recently, we must also add:
If the value of the dollar falls steeply, there may be an additional payment;
if the value rises substantially, there may be a refund. A portion of this price is deductible from your federal taxes. A tax receipt will be issued after the tour.
$500.00 DEPOSIT IS DUE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - ANOTHER $1,000 ON APRIL 1, 2008 - BALANCE ON MAY 1, 2008
DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR THIS TOUR IS MAY 23, 2008
If you wish to remain in Poland after the tour, there is an additional airfare charge and you must send $1,500 as your first payment.
Lira can help arrange HOTELS, TRANSPORTATION and TOURS for your extended stay.
If you want to find your family, your ancestral city, town or village in Poland, Lira can suggest a trusted specialist in Poland with excellent English.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 773-508-7040, OUTSIDE OF ILLINOIS, CALL 1-800-547-LIRA
TERMS AND CONDITIONS HOTELS: Twin-bedded or double bedded rooms with bath or shower in first class or deluxe hotels. A limited number of single rooms are available at the supplementary charge of $850.00. Hotels subject to change.
TIPS & TAXES: Service charges, as imposed by hotels and taxes by local administrations and government authorities on accommodations, meals, and transportation, are included. Tips to local guides and baggage handlers at the airport and at hotels are included. It is customary for tour members to tip the tour guide and driver who travel with the tour, on the last day of the tour.
SIGHTSEEING & TRANSFERS: Sightseeing is as specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees, and subject to change. Transfer upon arrival and departure overseas by motorcoach between airport and hotel and vice versa if traveling with the tour group.
RESERVATIONS & PAYMENT: A deposit of $500.00 per person is required at the time of booking. A second installment of $1,000.00 is due April 1, 2008 and the balance is due on May 1, 2008. Reservations and payments are accepted with personal or bank checks only. Sorry, credit cards are not accepted for tour deposits or payments. TRIP CANCELLATION, BAGGAGE AND MEDICAL INSURANCE: It is advisable to purchase insurance coverage for cancellation due to illness or accident. Applications for suggested insurance as well as baggage and travel insurance will be provided once tour deposits are received.
CANCELLATION AND REFUNDS: Cancellations must be in writing and the following cancellation charges per person will apply: Up to 61 days prior to departure - $500.00; 60-40 days prior to departure - 15% of the cost; 39-16 days prior to departure - 30% of the cost; 15 to 3 days prior to departure - 60% of the cost; within 2 days prior to departure - 100% of the cost.
YOUR RATE DOES NOT INCLUDE: Passport fees, taxes or tips on services not included in the itinerary; laundry or valet service; excess baggage charges; insurance of any kind; wines, liquors, or any food and beverages not on regular menus of included meals.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: A valid passport is required for all U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling to Poland.Your passport expiration date must be at least six months after your return to the U.S.
RESPONSIBILITY: The Lira Ensemble acts only as an agent for the hotels, airlines, bus companies or owners, operators or contractors providing accommodations, transportation, meals, tours, or other services and all vouchers, coupons, contracts and tickets issued are subject to any and all tariffs, terms and conditions under which the foregoing or any services whatsoever are provided by such hotels, airlines, bus companies or owners, operators or contractors. By the acceptance of the above, the tour member agrees to the foregoing and also agrees that the ensemble shall not be or become liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage to person, property or otherwise in connection with any transportation, accommodation, meals, tour or other services referred to herein, or resulting from neglect or default of any person, corporation or other entity engaged to supply the same. The tour operator reserves the right to make changes in the itinerary, whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant; or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the passengers. They can accept no responsibility for losses of additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine or other causes. All such losses must be borne by the passenger as tour rate provides for arrangement only for the specified. Such alterations may be made without penalty to the tour operator. The airline concerned is not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not aboard their planes or conveyance. The passenger contract in use by the airline concerned, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the airlines and purchaser of this tour and/or passage. ###
THE LIRA ENSEMBLE
TOUR OF NORTHERN POLAND AND LITHUANIA
June 26 through July 8, 2008
TOUR REGISTRATION FORM Please use a separate form for each individual joining the tour. Please print or type. This form may be duplicated.
NOTE: No visa is needed to visit Poland or Lithuania. Only a valid passport is required. LEGAL NAME as it appears on your passport (first, middle, surname)
DATE OF BIRTH_________________________________________CITIZENSHIP
PASSPORT NUMBER_______________________________PASSPORT EXPIRATION DATE
I PLAN TO DEPART FROM: ___ CHICAGO ___ NEW YORK CITY (with return to Newark)
If you do not have a valid passport, please apply for one at a passport office or post office as soon as possible.
The closer to summer, the longer the lines at the passport office and the longer it takes to get your passport.
Passport offices are listed in the telephone directory under "Federal Government".
Do check your local post office first; many of them accept passport applications. IMPORANT: Your passport expiration date must be at least six months after your return to the United States. Would you like a single room throughout the tour? (Extra cost of $850.00)
If not, with whom are you sharing a room?
Do you want us to find a roommate for you? __________________ Do you smoke?
Will you return with the tour on July 8th ? ____________If not, what is your return date?
Note: An extended stay, past July 8th requires an additional airfare charge and a deposit of $1,500.00
(rather than $500). If you are planning an extended stay, please call the Lira office as soon as possible,
since return flights from Poland fill up quickly during summer months. Would you like us to book hotels or arrange travel or tours for you in Poland after July 8th?
Would you like us to contact an expert to do research for you in Poland, for a fee?________________________
How did you find out about the Lira Tour?_______________________________________________________
DISCLAIMER: By making application for the above captioned trip sponsored by the Lira Ensemble, I hereby acknowledge that the Lira Ensemble (including its directors, officers, volunteers and employees) have no connection or responsibility with regard to the transportation or other facilities offered by the tour operator and airline making arrangements for the trip, and that the Lira Ensemble is not contracting parties with regard to any of the arrangements made or to be made. I understand that by signing this document I have contracted directly with the tour operator (Mazurkas Travel of Warsaw) and LOT Polish Airlines and that contractual responsibilities, if any, are directly between Mazurkas Travel, LOT Airlines, and me. I am fully cognizant of all risks of travel and arrangements for trip of this nature and fully disclaim, waive, and discharge the Lira Ensemble (including its directors, officers, volunteers, and employees) from any and all liability, claims, or responsibilities with regard to the proposed trip and arrangements made with respect thereto, even if caused by the negligence or purported negligence of the Lira Ensemble (including directors, officers, volunteers, and employees).
SIGNATURE OF TRAVELER______________________________________DATE
Please send this completed form,
with a $500.00 deposit as a check payable to the Lira Ensemble, as soon as possible, to: The Lira Ensemble, 6525 N. Sheridan Road #CH-LL, Chicago, Illinois 60626