Pre-Conference Tours

Prague, Czech Republic

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July 18 – 21, 2017   •   €1,695 EURO (Inclusive of 20% VAT) 

Experience the capital city of the Czech Republic before the conference from 18 - 21 July. Visit the famous Old Town Square, the heart of Prague's core. Spend four days indulging in culinary delights, visiting castles with colorful baroque architecture and having unforgettable experiences. This can't-miss experience includes visits to Prague Castle, St. Vitus' Cathedral, Strahov Monastery Library Halls, Charles Bridge, Krizik Fountain, Karlstejn Castle, Wallestein Palace, and more!

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Hostess will be waiting for the guests in the public Arrival Hall with sign.

Transfers to the hotel as per the flight schedule.

Check-into the Hotel and the afternoon is at your leisure.

Dinner is at a local restaurant in walking distance from the hotel.


After a short transfer, we will reach Prague Castle. For over one thousand years the Castle has been the permanent political centre of the land. St. Vitus’ Cathedral on the other hand is the generally recognized spiritual centre and also the symbol of Czech statehood, the place of coronations and burials of Czech sovereigns.

The tour will be enhanced by a private visit of the Strahov Monastery Library Halls. Time of the private tour will be announced later on based on availability.

Strahov Monastery is located up on a hill above the city in the Prague Castle area. Strahov Monastery complex is one of Prague’s most important historical monuments founded in 1140.

Not all parts of the monastery are open to the public, however you will enjoy a tour that encompasses a private and exclusive visit through the Philosophical and Theological Halls of the Library. It was the unique and extensive library that brought the Monastery with about 200,000 volumes its greatest fame.

Lunch in the city centre.

In the afternoon, the tour continues to the historical Old Town.

We continue down the Castle Steps and over Charles Bridge to the Old Town. Shortly, we reach the Old Town Square surrounded by buildings constructed in almost all historical architectural styles. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses, palaces and churches, uniquely combined together, make this place one of the most remarkable squares in Europe. The Old Town Hall was established 1338 as the seat of the Old Town authorities. The oldest gothic part of the complex which includes a tower with the astronomical clock and a chapel is richly decorated with coats of arms. In the top part of the astronomical clock the 12 apostles appear every hour between 9am and 9pm.

Early dinner will be served at a local fine dining restaurant before you visit the Prague Fair Grounds where the Krizik Fountain is located.

In 1891, the citizens of Prague were able to use their first electric tram track going from Letna to Stromovka, where the World Exhibition took place. The most notable exhibit at the Exposition was then an electrically lit fountain, constructed by the "Czech Edison" Frantisek Krizik. The present make-up of the fountain has as its basis the reconstructed li3S Hp fountain design, which saw the light a hundred years later - in 1991 at the Vseobecna ceskoslovenska vystava (General Country Jubilee Exhibition). In the 19th century, the bottom of the fountain plate was equipped with fifty multicolored reflectors; today, the fountain has 1300 of them, making the magical play of the light possible. The fountain pool with the dimensions of 25 x 45 meters can hold up to 1650 cubic meters of water and the water circuits (composed of more than 2 kilometers of pipes) with almost 3.000 nozzles are managed by 49 water pumps.

The time and age has also brought about other technical novelties and refinements such as: the projection of images on the water screen, film projection on the water screen or laser effects. There is a new light park and the auditorium has perfect sounding thanks to the fifty-five electro-acoustic transmitters.

The Light Fountain became a unique and popular sensation of the Exposition 100 years ago. Today, one of the most notable structures of Prague's Vystaviste remains one of the greatest tourist attractions of the hundred-spired Prague. An amphitheatre has grown up in the close vicinity of the fountain, which Orpheus agency annually fulfills with water and light shows amplified by the most amazing melodies of both the classical music, pop stars and unique original Czech art projects.

Program to be announced about 14 days prior to the date.


Day three starts with a transfer from your hotel to the Castle. Transfer of around 1.5hrs is followed by approx. 30-minute-long walk up the hill to the castle.

Karlstejn Castle holds an absolutely exceptional position among Czech castles. It was established by the Czech king and Roman emperor Charles IV as a place to store the royal treasures, collections of holy relics and the crown jewels. The very impressive layout of the castle buildings from the settlement outside the castle walls right up to the Imperial Palace and the towers rising over it will captivate you with their ingenuity. In the castle Chapel of the Holy Cross, you will then merely contemplate the paintings of Master Theodoric in silent wonder.

Lunch at a local restaurant is included in the tour. Transfer back to Prague after lunch.


Day four starts by transfer from your hotel to the Lesser Quarter, the area below Prague Castle.

Baroque architecture predominates in Lesser Quarter, but the history of the district dates back to far before the Baroque era.

The most extensive building of the Baroque Era on Lesser Quarter is the Wallenstein Palace (nowadays the governmental building). The extensive palace complex with five courtyards and the garden, which is set as a French Park.

Churches dominate Lesser Quarter. The famous statue of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague is in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Lesser Quarter. The devotion and the church drew millions of Roman Catholic faithful to Lesser Quarter throughout the years.
Take a stroll with us through the narrow streets and beautiful gardens of Lesser Quarter.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Transfer back to the hotel will be arranged.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Included in the tour is a transfer on a private bus to Vienna. 


€1,695 per person

Please note that your invoice for the Pre-Tour will be issued by Columbus Management.

How To Book

Registration is now closed. Please contact Kassi Schroeder at if you have questions.

Co-operatives in Captivating Croatia

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July 18 – 22, 2017 •   €1,495 Euro per person

Learn about co-operatives in Croatia while enjoying Istria - the ‘Tuscany’ of Croatia - with Roman and Venetian architecture, medieval towns and beaches, famous for truffles, olive oils and award-winning wines!

This tour is organized by the Co-operative Management Education (CME) programs in the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University (Canada) under the expert guidance of Sonja Novkovic, co-operative economist and Academic Director for CME. Sonja will lead this tour, which is based in her home city of Pula, Croatia. Her expertise on the region will provide valuable insights into the co-operative movement.

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  • Accommodations: 18 July - 22 July 
  • All Meals (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Tour Transportation
  • Co-operative sector speakers and co-operative site tours 


Day 1 – July 18:  A welcome dinner and tour launch at one of Pula’s well known restaurants (to be confirmed in early 2017).

Day 2 – July 19: Presentations by co-operative experts - researchers, members, and developers. A brief history of cooperatives in Croatia under Austria-Hungary, the years of socialist self-management in Yugoslavia after WWII, and post-independence since the 1990's. Plus, a discussion of the impact of European Union membership on co-operative development in Croatia.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet co-operators and discuss issues facing agricultural co-operatives, an ethical bank co-op, social co-operatives, and others.

In the afternoon, we will visit a multi-stakeholder agricultural co-operative (Vodnjan) and enjoy a presentation of olive oil tasting, as well as visit some of the members and their ‘konobas’ (cellars).

The evening will be free to roam the old town, enjoy some of the shows in the open, or see a screening at Croatia’s film festival taking place in the Roman Amphitheatre-Arena. The famous Pula film festival is in its 64th season!  

Day 3 – July 20: Enjoy a morning at your leisure to go for a swim at one of the nearby beaches, or dive off the ‘grottas’ (rocks). You can book a scuba diving session (charged separately) to explore the creatures of the Adriatic Sea. Some visitors may wish to take a stroll through the famous downtown farmers market, or enjoy great coffee and pastries from one of the many pastry shops and cafes scattered around the old town.

A tour of the Arena, the Roman mosaic, Augustus Temple and the gates to the old town will be organized if there is enough interest.

We will meet in the early afternoon to visit Zerostrasse’s underground tunnels that will take us to the busy Kandlerova street for a light lunch.

In late afternoon, we will transfer to a goat farm in the nearby village of Marcana, the location of Kumparicka - a member of the ecological dairy co-operative Dva Roga. Participants can visit the goats, roam around the compound, visit the cheese making facilities, or make their own cheese that is shipped to them when ripened.

A feast on site includes a spread of cheeses, prosciutto and other meats, manestra (local bean and veggie soup, cooked on an open fire), and excellent local wines from the nearby village. Farmers and co-operative members will be onsite to present their co-operative, talk to visitors, and answer questions.

Day 4 – July 21: We will go by bus to island Krk, the largest Croatian island connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is a two and a half hour scenic drive from Pula. We will pass by Rijeka, a city whose international airport is located on the island. The first stop is in the town Krk, to visit Croatia’s first green energy co-operative established in 2012. The town itself is a former Roman settlement which still retains sections of the ancient city walls and gates, as well as a grand Romanesque cathedral and a 12th century Frankopan castle.

Our next stop is Vrbnik, a picturesque town perched on a 48m cliff overlooking the sea. It was once the main centre where the Glagolitic script was used and was the repository for many Glagolitic manuscripts. The town is famous for its žlahtina white wine, produced largely by the Vrbnik agricultural co-operative that has been around for 120 years.

We will have lunch in the outdoor tavern on the co-op’s doorsteps, with wine tasting and a presentation of the co-operative. Among some fascinating details is their production of sparkling wine, fermenting in cages at the sea floor.   

On our way back to the mainland we will visit the Ucka national park, and stop over for a closing dinner in central Istria.

Day 5 – July 22: Wake up in Pula and share your final breakfast with fellow travelers if you choose. The day is yours to explore the city or travel on to your next destination (Vienna for those attending the World Credit Union Conference).

*Subject to slight alterations in detail based on scheduling cooperative tours and speakers.


€1,495 Euro per person (Inclusive of 20% VAT)

* Hotel bookings are for single occupancy. If you will be attending the tour with a spouse/partner (and sharing a hotel room), the cost is €1,295 EURO per person.

How To Book

Registration is now closed. Please contact Kassi Schroeder at if you have questions.

Cities Visited

  • Pula
  • Marcana
  • Island Krk
  • Vrbnik
  • Ucka National Park