Steve Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English

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$4,195 per person, double occupancy,land only
$4,395 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Washington, DC, plus $347 airline taxes and fees.

$4,795 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Charlottesville, VA, plus $347 airline taxes and fees.


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We start our 11-day tour of Iceland in Borgarnes and visit the Reyholt Cultural Centre. Tour the beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula with its small fishing villages, bizarre rock formations, and nesting cliff birds. Enjoy three nights in the region’s charming capital, Akureyri. Travel to one of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters, and stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods.” Visit “Glacial River Canyon” National Park and walk to Dettifoss, Iceland’s “Niagara.” Embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island where, depending on the season, we may see thousands of seabirds. Visit Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North American and Europe is most evident.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the awe-inspiring Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  • Explore Lake Myvatn’s mud flats, lava fields and volcanic craters
  • Embark on a coastal cruise to view dramatic birds
  • Admire the magnificent Skogafoss waterfall
  • Peruse Reykjavik


Steve Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English

Steve CushmanStephen Cushman is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at U.Va., where he has taught since 1982. With a B.A. from Cornell and a Ph.D. from Yale, he has brought to the English Department his commitment to American literature, modern literature, poetry, literature and the environment, and the American Civil War. His teaching has been honored with an All-University Teaching Award, the first Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the Cavalier Distinguished Teaching Professorship, and a State Council of Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. A poet as well as a scholar, he has published ten books, most recently *Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War* (University of North Carolina Press) and *The Red List: A Poem* (Louisiana State University Press).


DAY 1 - Saturday, May 13

Depart U.S. for Reykjavik, Iceland

DAY 2 - Sunday, May 14

Arrive Reykjavik/Borgarnes

Upon our early morning arrival in Iceland’s capital, we meet our Tour Director and enjoy a scenic drive to our hotel in Borgarnes, stopping for breakfast along the way. After some free time to rest, we take an afternoon excursion to the thermal areas of Deildartunguhver and also to Hraunfossar Falls. Then we visit the Reyholt Cultural Centre, a historic site based on the life and residence of saga writer Snorri Sturluson who lived here between 1206 and 1241. Tonight we gather at our hotel for a briefing on the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner.
Hotel Hamar
Breakfast, Dinner (B,D)

DAY 3 - Monday, May 15

Borgarnes/Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Today we encounter the stupendous scenery of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We begin with a walk along the shell sand beach at the abandoned fishing village of Budir, surrounded by a vast lava field. We also explore the caves and bizarre rock formations along the rugged shore at Arnarstapi, site of thousands of nesting cliff birds. After stopping for lunch – a traditional fresh seafood soup – at a rustic oceanfront restaurant, we visit Djupalonssandur where we see the haunting remains of abandoned coastal farms.
Hotel Hamar

DAY 4 - Tuesday, May 16


We travel towards the northeast corner of Iceland today, and to the fjords of Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital. Along the way we visit Grasbrok Crater for scenic views. Next we call on a Gauksmyri farm featuring famed Icelandic horses – small, hardy, and with long manes. In Akureyri, we have free time for lunch on our own then take a guided coach and walking tour of this urban gem before checking in at our hotel. Dinner tonight is on our own.
Hotel Kea

DAY 5 - Wednesday, May 17

Akureyri/Lake Myvatn

Today we travel to beautiful Lake Myvatn. One of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters comprise a stunningly beautiful national park. Our explorations begin with a stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods” named for the carvings of Norse gods discarded here when the country was declared Christian a thousand years ago. We continue with a walk up to the fascinating Hverfjall crater, a local landmark. Later we see the region’s unique “pseudo craters,” the boiling mud pots at Namaskard, the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, the explosive crater at Viti, and the flat volcano system at Krafla. Our last stop is the incredible “Glacial River Canyon” National Park, yet another of Iceland’s natural wonders, where we walk to jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s “Niagara.” After this day of stunning scenery, we return to our hotel in time for dinner on our own tonight.
Hotel Kea

DAY 6 - Thursday, May 18

Akureyri/Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

This morning we visit Hljodaklettar Echo Cliffs where we explore the labyrinth of “echoing rocks” created by the spiral basalt formations of arches and canyons here. We travel next to Asbyrgi, a huge canyon enveloped by towering walls; in the middle of the partially wooded canyon sits a huge hoof-shaped rock called “The Island.” We continue on to Husavik, where midafternoon we embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island to see the thousands of seabirds here (based on seasonality): puffins, black guillemots, fulmars, Arctic terns.
Hotel Kea

DAY 7 - Friday, May 19


This morning we fly to Reykjavik; upon arrival we coach to Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North America and Europe is most evident. It’s also a gem of nature, with canyons, caves, waterfalls, and ponds surrounded by snowcapped mountains. We learn about the historic parliament founded here in 930 ce, and walk along a gorge into the rift valley itself. After a lunch of wild freshwater trout at a lakeside hotel, we depart for famed Great Geysir and Gullfoss, Iceland’s immensely popular “golden” waterfall. Then we drive down to the southern coast to the beautiful agricultural area of Hella.
Hotel Ranga

DAY 8 - Saturday, May 20


This morning we walk along the black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, lined with columnar basalt-filled caves. Next we visit picturesque Seljalandfoss, Iceland’s most visited waterfall, followed by a stop at the Skogar Folk Museum, which depicts traditional life in Iceland. From here we walk to nearby Skogafoss, one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, known for its rainbows on sunny days. After lunch on our own at the museum, we continue on to lovely Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town, where we’re free to explore on our own and to shop for items of locally produced wool. En route to our hotel, we stop by the Solheimajokull “sliding” glacier, so named for its rapid advance in the 1990s.
Hotel Ranga

DAY 9 - Sunday, May 21


Heading back to Reykjavik today we travel through “saga” country, the setting of one of the country’s famous medieval stories. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we have lunch at a local restaurant then embark on a city tour of the Icelandic capital. Home to more than half of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik ranks as one of the world’s safest and cleanest cities. Later, we check in at our well-located hotel in the city center. Dinner tonight is on our own in this stylish city.
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

DAY 10 - Monday, May 22


Today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Reykjavik as we wish. It’s a sophisticated European urban center, with museums and galleries; theater, symphony, and dance; boutiques and restaurants. Interesting sites include Old Town, the Arni Magnusson Institute where Iceland’s historic sagas are kept; Nordic House designed by renowned architect Alvar Aalto; and the National Museum, which celebrates Nordic culture and Iceland’s history. One of Iceland’s most popular attractions is The Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal spa which offers a soothing bath in waters rich with silica, sulfur and other minerals. For guests wishing to visit the Lagoon (at a price of approx. US $120 per person), we suggest reserving in advance to ensure your time at this famed destination. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance at www.bluelagoon.com. Tonight we gather with our fellow travelers to celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner.
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

DAY 11 - Tuesday, May 23

Depart for U.S.

This morning is free, perhaps for some last-minute shopping. Early this afternoon we depart for the airport and our return flights to the U.S.


  • Borgarnes – Hotel Hamar
  • Akureyri – Hotel Kea
  • Hella – Hotel Ranga
  • Reykjavik – Hotel Reykjavik Centrum


19 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

Program Fees

$4,195 per person, double occupancy, land only  

$4,395 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Washington, DC, plus $347 airline taxes and fees.

$4,795 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Charlottesville, VA, plus $347 airline taxes and fees.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $795 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes: 9 nights’ accommodations in First Class and unrated hotels; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

 Does not include: Costs of passports and visas (if required); Personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified in the itinerary; Excess baggage fees; Gratuities to the Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Optional Travel Insurance; Optional sightseeing; Airport transfers if purchasing a land only package

General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (February 8, 2017) before departure. All FINAL PAYMENTS are required to be made by check or wire transfer.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes between 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.

Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in fairly good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

Air Transportation – Important Information: Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities and contracts with those airlines they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air scheduled approximately 2 ½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and departure fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, land only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservation, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.