Don't miss the JOHN KNOX @ 500 TOUR (1514-2014) of Scotland and northern England with author, Douglas Bond ITINERARY. Register today. It will be a tour to remember! Join the folks who have already registered for this tour, but hurry. We will be closing registration very soon.
"It was a 5-star tour on a 3-star budget! Every day was like a foretaste of heaven!" 2009 traveler. Hear what other Bond-tour travelers say about the tours
Travel Details and FAQs (passports, packing, phones, emergencies, airfares...)
Douglas Bond is a historian with unusual insight." Russ Pulliam, Indianapolis Star
Douglas Bond, author of twenty-five books, is husband of Cheryl, father of six, and grandfather of two. He is a ruling elder in the PCA, teaches literature and history, speaks at conferences, and leads Church history tours in Europe.
"Everything Douglas Bond writes is a fascinating read." Joel Belz, WORLD Magazine"
"Douglas Bond does a smashing job, ...simply an amazing tale told exceptionally well." (review of THE THUNDER, a novel on John Knox)
REGISTER: Download and print 2 copies of the sign both and send one copy with your $100 non-refundable registration deposit ($100 per traveler) Payment in full due no later than April 30, 2014 (unless other arrangements are made).
Total Cost: $2,750 (make checks out to Bedford House Books). Contact me today about family discounts (our Edinburgh hotel at right).
Registration Payment Schedule: We are down to the final days of registration. Payment in full due no later than April 30, 2014Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 253-381-1961 with your questions.
Special Feature of the Knox @ 500 Tour: Along with memorable exploration of Knox sites, we will meet and share a meal with several Christian leaders in the UK:
Gavin Beers, Lecturer in Hebrew, pastor, The Free Church, Ayr
Graham Hind, Durham (General Manager, Evangelical Press, EP)
David Robertson, St. Peter's, Dundee (author, pastor, debates on BBC)
Josh Williamson, Perth (pastor, arrested for street preaching, in the media)
John Murray, VP Scottish Reformation Society, Edinburgh lunch
June 24, Tuesday: Arrive in Glasgow (US Airways flights seem to arrive at 7:00 am; tour price does not include airfare or flight arrangements); the Bonds will meet you at the Glasgow airport (time to be announced based on when most folks' flights arrive, likely mid-morning). Tour Glasgow Cathedral and Necroplis memorial to Knox; visit St George's Tron Kirk where Sinclair Ferguson ministered in the spirit of Knox (now the Tron has been seized by apostate Church of Scotland and the congregation ousted). Early lunch; coach to historic Fenwick Kirk; then short stroll to our Scottish country inn, the Hotel Fenwick (1 night); Scottish dinner at or near hotel (Haggis anyone? Not to worry, Scots have wonderfully hearty meals like Cullen Skink, Shepherd's Pie, Hunter's Platter, Plowman's Platter, rump of beef and black pudding, grilled salmon, smoked haddock, breaded haddock and chips, Scottish oatcakes, and, of course, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread). Lunch in Glasgow/dinner at Fenwick Hotel
June 25, Wednesday: Barr Castle where Wishart and Knox preached; meet Pastor Gavin Beers and visit Knox sites in Ayr and hear a Scottish pastor tell about the challenges and blessings of ministering the gospel in Scotland today; Drumclog battle field (KING'S ARROW); pleasant hike up Loudoun Hill, optional and depending on weather (Covenanter battle site and panoramic views of Irvine River valley); Strathaven Castle, on to Dalry, Galloway (where C&C Trilogy and DUNCAN'S WAR begins); coach to Dumfries hotel near Hadrian's Wall and the Roman fort at Vindolanda; traditional Scottish dinner at hotel restaurant. Breakfast/lunch in Ayr/dinner in Dumfries.
June 26, Thursday: Morning hike Hadrian’s Wall (HOSTAGE LANDS, GUNS OF THE LION); (optional hike), and afternoon coach tour to Durham (51 minutes), cathedral, castle, and explore charming village where Knox was tried at the Council of the North. Durham hotel. Breakfast/lunch Twice Brewed/dinner in Durham.June 27, Friday: coach to Lindesfarne (1:37) Holy Island (Hand of Vengeance setting, must cross with the tide between 7:35 am to 2:25 pm); explore Berwick Castle (Knox preached to garrison here and his future wife was converted to Christ here); stop at St Mary's Church Hadddington where Knox was ordained and near Giffordgate where he was born; coach to (1:33) Edinburgh (2 nights, hotel on Royal mile steps away from Knox's home and his pulpit at St Giles High Kirk). Breakfast/dinner at Toby Carvery. Edinburgh
June 28, Saturday: Edinburgh explore St. Giles, High Kirk (Knox’s pulpit; Jenny Geddes and her stool); Royal Mile (Jolly Judge public house, GUNS OF THE LION); John Knox's Home Museum. Greyfriars Abbey (National Covenant 1638; burial site of Covenanters); The Grassmarket (martyr site of Covenanters); Edinburgh Castle (Scots Confession 1560, and King James I was born here--think KJV Bible 1611) and optional hike up Arthur's Seat; afternoon free-time exploring and shopping in Edinburgh and dinner on your own. Breakfast/lunch at Covenanter Tolbooth.
June 29, Sunday: morning worship at St Columba Free Church of Scotland; lunch on your own and site-seeing on your own: Holyrood Palace (where Knox spoke boldly before Mary Queen of Scots); graveyard (hymn writer Horatius Bonar's grave); afternoon coach to St. Andrews hotel (1:17). Breakfast.
June 30, Monday: San Salvator’s College (Patrick Hamilton martyr site; Knox pulpit); St Mary's College, where Rutherford taught and died; St. Andrews Castle (martyr site of George Wishart; Knox and castle siege); Cathedral ruins and churchyard (Knox preaching here; Samuel Rutherford buried here); lunch together then afternoon options, shopping, exploring the town and old books shops, strolling the beach, tea where William and Kate had their first date, golf? Hotel (2 nights) Breakfast/lunch at Balaka.
July 1, Tuesday: Magus Moor (site of murder of Archbishop Sharpe by John Birley Balfour); Leuchars, Alexander Henderson's pulpit and one of the few Romanesque parish churches in Scotland; St Peter's, Dundee, David Robertson, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Knox); coach to hotel in Perth. Breakfast/dinner at Royal George Perth
July 2, Wednesday: coach to (:53) St John's Kirk, Perth (iconoclasm after Knox preached here); meet with pastor Josh Williamson, arrested for street preaching, who will share with us about the progress of the gospel and challenges to ministers in Scotland today; shopping and lunch; coach to Stirling (:44) Castle and Covenanter James Guthrie's church where Knox preached and where he crowned 13 month old James VI--later King James I of the United Kingdom; Knox pulpit; Earl of Argyl's house; (:34) hotel in Stirling. Breakfast/lunch in Stirling.
July 3, Thursday: Options for final day may include, Loch Lomond, Falkirk, Covenanter history in Newmilns, Loudoun Parish Church (graveyard with monuments to Matthew Paton, Nisbet brothers, and others), Loudoun Old Kirk, Loudoun Keep (Site of REBEL'S KEEP escape), Loudoun Hill and Drumclog battlefield (King's Arrow); dinner reprising the whole and last night at the Scottish country inn, the Fenwick Hotel near Glasgow. Breakfast/dinner at the Fenwick.
July 4, Friday: Full-Scottish Breakfast at the Fenwick Hotel and tour concludes, Glasgow (many US flights leave around 10:00 am); connections or flights home.
*Twenty-two meals are included in the ten-night tour (you will need to go on a diet after these fine meals--but so worth it, and we will burn calories walking).
Working itinerary options (note to self, but you can read it too): Day 2 would stop at Barr Castle, Loudoun Keep, and Ayr and meet with Pastor Gavin Beers for a walking Knox/and son-in-law tour of old Ayr; then stop in Sanquhar, Richard Cameron, with stay in Dumfries. Day 3 would make morning stop at Steel Rigg, Hadrian's Wall for wall hike, then arrive at Durham for lunch, afternoon tour of cathedral, castle, and town, and overnight at Durham hotel. Day 3 we would travel from Durham to Holy Island, then stop at Berwick Castle, dinner en route and hotel in Edinburgh...Near end, from Royal George Hotel, Perth we would add a stop in Falkirk (parish church and wheel)... or other site near-ish to Perth; a hotel in Stirling and only one night in Perth? first and last nights and dinner at Fenwick Hotel.
(St Andrews BW and Ardg and Balaka dinner)
Be sure you have your passport with you when you leave for the airport, and plan to keep it with you at all times when traveling abroad. Families will want to make photocopies of each family member’s passport and tuck these away in Mom or Dad’s suitcase. If there is a lost or stolen passport on the tour, it will be easier to replace with a photocopy than without (it won’t be easy, just easier).
At the moment, there are approximately 1.45 USD to 1 Euro.
All lodging, entry fees for group activities (you may choose to enter castles, museums, and other locations on free time at your own expense), coach transportation, and breakfast, and lunch or dinner are covered in the trip fee (22 meals total).
You will need to notify your bank to exchange USD into Euros and Swiss Francs. Banks are now charging fees for providing foreign currency so it is a good idea to find out what those fees are before you make the exchange.
ATM cards are the easiest way to get cash in Europe (there are lots of cash machines). Check with your bank to see what fees will be charged to your account for these cash withdrawals. We use a Capital One Master Card for foreign purchases because it is one of few cards that does not charge foreign exchange transaction fees. Check with your bank for the best option for your banking needs abroad.
If you are using a credit card or debit card make sure that you notify your bank ahead so they do not put a hold on your card due to unusual purchases.
Plan to use a money belt for credit cards, passport, and cash. I prefer the kind that goes around my neck, though I sometimes use both. It is a good idea to spread out where you keep valuables on your person, and families will want to keep duplicate credit cards and cash distributed between husband and wife.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
Phone cards – if you purchase an international phone card in the USA make sure that you have all the access code information with you to use it on the tour. Most hotel phones will accept phone cards purchased in the Europe.
Cell Phones - Check with your cell phone provider. Depending on your service package, you may be able to upgrade your cell service for a short time so your own phone with your own number can be used as an international cell phone. Otherwise, you may purchase an international cell phone when we arrive in Paris. Cheryl and I will each have an international cell phone that will be available to you for emergencies only.
Email: If you wish to access and send email on the tour make sure you know your password and use an easily accessible account such as hotmail or gmail. Our hotels will have wi-fi but it is not always free so you may have to purchase wi-fi usage at the hotel for a nominal fee.
Write yourself a short checklist before you leave for the airport. Don't forget passport, reading material, tour journal notebook, Bible, and an adapter plug if you need it.
The U.S. operates on 110 volts while Europe uses 220 volts. To operate an electric hair dryer or razor – it must be able to adjust to 220 volts and you will need a plug adapter that is configured for British electrical outlets which are more like dryer or stove outlets than ours. For laptops and camera battery rechargers, check with your manufacturer to see if these need power converters for European voltage. My laptop (HP PC) does not, but all our electrical plug-ins need the Continental European outlet adapter to configure to their outlets.
QUESTIONS ABOUT AIRFARES (from an email I wrote to one of our previous tour groups)