10 Days Germany and Switzerland Reformation

DAY 01:  USA / GERMANY.  Evening departure from the U.S.A.  Dinner and breakfast will be served on board our trans-Atlantic flight to Berlin.

 Minster of the former cloister Wittenburg on the Klosterberg in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Minster of the former cloister Wittenburg on the Klosterberg in Lower Saxony, Germany.

DAY 02: BERLIN / WITTENBURG.  We'll be greeted at the Berlin Airport by our guide and board our deluxe motorcoach for our orientation tour of Berlin.  We’ll see the famous Brandenburg Gate, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the Cathedral, the Reichstag building and the lively boulevards. This city has undergone tremendous change in the 15 years since reunification. Then visit the birthplace of the reformation,  Lutherstadt-Wittenberg. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 03: WITTENBURG / ERFURT.  After a breakfast, we'll go to the very place Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church). The original door was destroyed in the Seven Years War. Luther’s texts of the 95 Theses are cast in bronze on the door. Inside the church, we can see Martin Luther's and Phillip Melanchthon’s graves.  Next we'll tour the Lutherhalle (Luther House) Museum. In 1508, when Martin Luther came to Wittenberg, he lived here with other Augustinian monks. We'll be able to view some of Luther's very own personal library, rare manuscripts, early Bibles, and some of the very pamphlets that Luther had printed up that stoked the fires of the Reformation.  Next we’ll visit Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary's church) where Luther preached and where his children were baptized. Then visit the Melanchthon House Museum, a tribute to Philipp Melanchthon, who presented the Augsburg Confession of Peace. Melanchthon was second only to Luther as the key person in the Reformation in Germany.  This afternoon we driveto Erfurt.   Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 04:  ERFURT / EISENACH.  After breakfast we begin our tour of Erfurt: including St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Severin's Church. We will then head for fascinating Eisenach. In 1521, while fleeing from the wrath of the Pope, Luther took refuge in the Wartburg Castle after a fake kidnapping staged by his friend and protector, Frederick the Wise. This is where Luther translated the New Testament into German in just 11 weeks.  In the town of Eisenach, we'll see the splendid Martin Luther Statue in town and St. George's Church. Martin Luther preached here on his journey back and forth from the imperial parliament in Worms (The Diet of Worms).   Continue toMarburg, famous for the meeting place of Zwingli.  This was a major event in the Reformation.  We'll see St. Elizabeth’s Church, dating from 1283 and hear about Phillip of Hesse, a local leader who greatly aided the Lutheran Reformation, and see 14th century frescoes. If time permits, we'll watch the Rathaus (town hall) "ancient mechanical clock, which delights onlookers every hour as various animated figures spring to life,".  Continue to the beautiful town of Rudesheim, on the banks of the Rhine, for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 05:  RHINE CRUISE / MAINZ / WORMS.  We begin today with a Rhine cruise. We’ll board the boat at St. Goar and sail past magnificent castles and the famous Loreley rock. This afternoon we will take an excursion to Mainz, known for the Gutenberg Museum.  We'll also visit Mainz Cathedral, dating back to 975.  On the way to Worms, we'll stop at Rheinhessen Castle in Alzey, where 350 Anabaptists were killed in 1529. We will also see the nearby Mennonite village at Weierhof.   In Worms we’ll have a walking tour to see the site of the Worms Debates.  Our guide will also share about another Reformer, William Tyndale, who finished his printing of the English Bible in Worms, escaping persecution in England. It was the first translation of the Bible from the original Greek into English -- also the first translation of a Greek book into English.  Return to Rudesheim for the evening meal and overnight stay.

 View of Heidelberg, Germany

View of Heidelberg, Germany

DAY 06: HEIDELBERG / STRASBOURG.  Heidelberg is a picturesque town on the Neckar River. First a walking tour of the Old Town, the famous Stone Bridge over the Neckar River, then tour Heidelberg Castle. This is where the Heidelberg Confession was written in 1653.   Continue to the edge of France where we drive to Strasbourg, home of the E.U.'s European Parliament, the “City of Hope,” or “Refuge of the Righteous” as the Anabaptists refer to it. This is where John Calvin wrote his famous books on systematic theology. Martin Bucer, another Reformation leader was from Strasbourg and is buried in St. Thomas's Church, the principle Protestant Church since 1549. Also related to Strasbourg was Peter Waldo, whose followers were known as "Waldensians," "Poor in Spirit,” or "Poor Men of Lyons." Due to growing persecution in Paris, Calvin settled in Strasbourg to live the life of a quiet Christian scholar and author. His first draft of the Institutes in 1536 was instantly popular as it presented Reformed doctrine in an easy to read, systematic manner.  Tour the Cathedral of Strasbourg, St. Thomas's Church, and also see the Statue of the Reformers in the University, the Astronomical clock and the historic “La Petite Strasbourg” quarter. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 07: BLACK FOREST / ZURICH.  This morning, we will pass through the Black Forest region of Germany to Switzerland. At Lake Constance, we'll have a wonderful view of the Schaffhausen Waterfalls where the mighty Rhine River roars at Europe's highest waterfall. From there, we will learn the story of Czech Reformer John Hus in Constance. The Constance Cathedral, site of the Council of Constance in 1415, is where Hus was sentenced to death for his so-called heresy. We'll see the Hussenstein, the stone which marks the very spot where Hus was burned at the stake. Continue to Zurich to learn more about Zwingli on a tour of the key Reformation sites in Zurich. We’ll tour Zwingli’s church, the Grossmünster, where we'll hear excerpts from his old sermons and admire the world famous Chagall stained glass windows. Outside, we'll see the Zwingli Statue. Then walk through the historic Auld Stadt (old city) and enjoy the Swiss heritage. We’ll also see the Helferei where Zwingli lived. We’ll tour the Guild Hall and Museum, which has some interesting displays and art from the Swiss Reformation. We'll view the Fraumunster, Zurich’s famous Catholic Cathedral. Dinner and overnight in the Zurich area.

DAY 8: LUCERNE / GENEVA.  This morning we'll visit the charming Swiss town of Lucerne, beginning with a brief walking tour to view the City Walls and famous covered wooden bridges. The Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) is a symbol of Lucerne. It originally dates back to the 14th century. Close by is the Spreurerbrucke(Spreuer Bridge), dating from 1408. View the ornate patrician houses along the cobbled streets.  In the afternoon we'll take a leisurely drive through spectacular scenery toGeneva before settling into our hotel for dinner and overnight..

DAY 9: GENEVA.  It was here in Geneva that John Calvin and John Knox brought Christ's teachings to eager listeners. Our full-day tour will start at the waterfront, famous for its Flower Clock and English Gardens, and continue to the old town area, where we'll tour St. Peter’s Cathedral. This is where John Calvin preached and stoked the fires of the Reformation in Geneva. You can see Calvin's chair. It's only 157 steps up to the top of the North Tower, where the view is worth the effort. Under the Cathedral are the ruins of a Roman sanctuary, a 4th century basilica, and a 6th century church.  Close by is the Auditoire de Calvin (also known as The Protestant Lecture Hall), where the inspired theologian himself taught. John Knox also taught here for three years. Next we go to the impressive Reformation Monument. Four statues of four Reformation leaders stand as sentinels.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 10: GENEVA / NORTH AMERICA.  After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight home – the end of a most memorable journey.