14 Day Martin Luther, Passion Play and Switzerland

OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY 2020

DAY 01:  NORTH AMERICA / EUROPE.  Evening departure from North America.  Dinner and breakfast are served on-board our trans-Atlantic flight.

DAY 02:  FRANKFURT / COLOGNE / RHINE CRUISE / RUDESHEIM.  Upon arrival at the Frankfurt Airport, we are met by our tour escort and European motor coach.  We enjoy a panoramic tour of the old town of Frankfurt.  We drive to the city of Cologne to see the impressive Koln Cathedral.  Then onto Boppard for a romantic River Rhine cruise past charming riverside villages, terraced vineyards and the famous Loreley Rock.  We rejoin our motor coach and drive to our hotel in the riverside village of Rudesheim for dinner and overnight.

DAY 03:  RUDESHEIM / MAINZ / FULDA / WARTBURG / EISENACH.  Drive this morning the short distance to Mainz, situated on the Rhine with a history dating back 2000 years;  it is a beautiful, cheerful city and is the regional capital of the Rhineland-Palatinate.  We will have a brief orientation tour during which we will see the 500 year old university, some of the magnificent buildings such as the Electoral Palace, the Deutschhaus and the Arsenal, as well as visiting the Gutenberg Museum.  Continue through Fulda to Wartburg where we will visit Wartburg Castle set high in the Thuringian Mountains.  It was here in 1521 that Luther was put into protective custody for ten months, after the emperor condemned him as an outlaw and heretic.  During this time Luther completed his translation of the New Testament into German, a tremendous linguistic task which served as the basis for the New High German.  Luther's room is preserved in its original condition.  We will have dinner and overnight in Eisenach.

DAY 04:  EISENACH / ERFURT / EISLEBEN / BERLIN.  This morning we visit the Luther House in Eisenach before continuing to Erfurt where we will visit Erfurt Cathedral and the Augustinian Monastery where Luther studied to become a monk and was ordained in 1507.  We also visit the small cell where as a novice Luther struggled to find peace with a stern and harsh God.  See St. Sevri Church before continuing to Eisleben where Luther was born and died.  We then drive to the bustling metropolis of the now united Berlin for dinner and overnight.

DAY 05:  BERLIN.  Our comprehensive half day tour of Berlin will show us the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the Tiergarden, Olympic Stadium, the ruins of the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, St. Hedwig's Cathedral, Soviet War Memorial, the restored Opera House and the famous 300 foot wide boulevard "Unter den Linden".  We also visit the Pergamon Museum.  The afternoon is at leisure, dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 06:  BERLIN / WITTENBERG / LEIPZIG.  Our journey this morning takes us to Wittenberg where the Reformation began.  We will visit the Castle Church where in 1517 Luther nailed his 95 theses signaling the beginning of the Reformation.  We also visit the Stadtkirche, the Luther House which is now a Museum of the Reformation, and see the Melanchton House, home of his devoted friend and co-worker Philipp Melanchton, author of the Augsburg Confession.  We then drive to Leipzig where in 1519 Luther debated with Dr. Eck, defender of the Catholic faith.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 07:  LEIPZIG / NURNBERG / ROTHENBERG.  Our sightseeing tour of Leipzig will include St. Thomas Church where Johann Sebastian Bach was Organist and Choirmaster for 26 years, and other points of interest.  We then head via Nurnberg, city of Durer and the Meistersingers, to Rothenberg ob der Tauber.  With its surrounding walls, towers and cobblestone streets, and colorful houses, Rothenburg remains untouched by the 20th century.  We will also shop at the world's most famous Christkindl market.  Dinner and overnight in Rothenberg.

DAY 08:  ROTHENBERG / ROMANTIC ROAD / AUGSBURG / MUNICH.  Depart Rothenberg this morning and travel on the Romantic Road to Augsburg, City of the Confession of 1530, where we will see Augsburg's Renaissance style Town Hall, St. Anne's Church with its small Luther courtyard and the memorial Chapel of the Fugger.  We then drive to the stately Bavarian capital of Munich for dinner and overnight.

DAY 09: MUNICH / NEUSCHWANSTEIN / OBERAMMERGAU.  Our morning sightseeing tour of Munich will include the Residenz Palace, the Rathaus, Frauenkirche and Pinakothek as well as a visit to the Nymphenburg Palace.  Our journey then takes us through the Bavarian Alps to Neuschwanstein where we stop to visit the castle built by Mad King Ludwig and which was used by Walt Disney as the inspiration for his fairytale castle.  A short drive then brings us to the delightful village of Oberammergau, situated at the foot of the Ammergau Mountains, for dinner and overnight.

DAY 10:  OBERAMMERGAU.  The entire day is devoted to attending a performance of the world famous Passion Play, held once every ten years in this tiny village.  Dinner and overnight.

DAY 11:  OBERAMMERGAU / INNSBRUCK / VADUZ / LAKE LUCERNE.  Drive this morning to Innsbruck, rococo capital of the Austrian Tyrol, where we see the famous Maria Theresiastrasse and the Golden Roof of the Emperor Maximillian.  Continue on across the mighty Arlberg Pass to the tiny principality of Liechtenstein where we pause to view Vaduz Castle.  On through beautiful alpine scenery to Lake Lucerne, set in an indescribably beautiful mountain and lake setting, for dinner and overnight at our hotel in one of the lakeside resorts.

DAY 12:  LAKE LUCERNE / INTERLAKEN / LAKE LUCERNE.  Today we travel via the Brunig Pass to Interlaken, delightfully situated between the lakes of Thun and Brienz and with a magnificent view of the Jungfrau Mountain which dominates the town.  We spend time here before returning to our hotel on Lake Lucerne for dinner and overnight.

DAY 13:  LAKE LUCERNE / BLACK FOREST / WORMS / HEIDELBERG AREA.  Evergreen silence and breathtaking views comprise our morning in the Black Forest.  Our route goes through the heart of the mysterious fairytale country as we journey among Hansel and Gretel villages, past the roaring Rhine Falls, to Worms, the former Imperial residence where in 1521 Martin Luther refused to retract his beliefs and was banned from the Empire. Visit the Cathedral there and follow the traces of Luther. Continue on our way to picture book Heidelberg.  Our sightseeing of this romantic, medieval city on the banks of the River Neckar will include a visit to the Castle as well as seeing the famous Stone Bridge and the University, one of the oldest in the world.  Continue to our hotel in the Heidelberg area for dinner and overnight.

DAY 14:  HEIDELBERG AREA / FRANKFURT / NORTH AMERICA.  Transfer this morning to Frankfurt Airport for our return flight to the United States at the end of our enjoyable tour.