15 Days Sights of the Reformation

DAY 01: NORTH AMERICA / AMSTERDAM.  Evening departure from North America.  Dinner and breakfast will be served on-board our trans-Atlantic flight to Amsterdam.

 Aerial cityscape of medieval city Utrecht

Aerial cityscape of medieval city Utrecht

DAY 02: AMSTERDAM / UTRECHT / ARNHEM.  Upon arrival in Amsterdam, we are met by our guide and transferred to our motorcoach.  Sightseeing in Amsterdam will include the famous Rijksmuseum, a diamond cutting factory, the Mint Tower, Queens Tower and the Concertegebow Hall.  An exciting optional canal cruise along Amsterdam's beautiful old canals in acharming glass-topped boat may be taken.  We then travel via Utrecht to Arnhem, scene of the battle in World War II, for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 03: ARNHEM / HANNOVER.  This morning we will drive through the delightful Teutoburger Wald area with its spas and hilly scenery passing through areas criss-crodded by rivers and hedges and dotted with farms until we reach Hannover, the chief town of Lower Saxony.  Our afternoon sightseeing will include the Leine Palace, Old Town Hall and Martikirche.  Balance of afternoon at leisure with dinner and overnight at our hotel. 

DAY 04: HANNOVER / BERLIN.  Depart this morning for Braunschweig and Helmstedt where we cross into Germany and then drive along the autoban to Berlin for a sightseeing tour.  This will include the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Tiergarden and the Olympic Stadium, the ruins of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Berlin. 

DAY 05: BERLIN.  Morning sightseeing includes a visit to St. Hedwig's Cathedral, the Soviet War Memorial, St Mary''s Church, the restored Opera House, the famous 300 foot wide boulevard "Unter Den Linden," the Mirienkirche and the Pergamon Museum containing the spectacular Pergamon Alter and the Ishtar Gate of Ancient Babylon.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel. 

DAY 06: BERLIN / WITTENBERG / LEIPZIG.  Drive this morning to Whittenberg, where the Reformation began.  Here we will see the Castle Church doors where in 1517 Luther nailed 95 thesises signaling the beginning of the Reformation.  Luther lived in Wittenberg until his death in 1546.  The places of interest we will visit include the Castle Church containing his tomb, the City Church where he regularly preached, the Luther House, now a museum oof the Reformation and the Melanchton House, home of his devoted friend and co-worker Phillip Melanchton, author of the Augsburg Confession.  We will also be able to see the various rooms and quarters which Luther used when he was a faculty member.  The original manuscript of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" is still at Wittenberg University and also the table on which it was written.  In the late afternoon we depart for Liepzig, where in 1519 Luther debated with Dr. Eck, defender of the Catholic Faith.  Our sightseeing in Leipzig will include St. Thomas Church where Johannes Sebastian Bach was choirmaster and organist for 26 years and other places of interest.  Dinner and overnight in Leipzig. 

DAY 07: LEIPZIG / HALLE / EISLEBEN / ERFURT / EISENACH / FULDA.  Today we travel via Halle to Eisleben, where Luther was born and died.  We then continue to Erfurt, where we will visit Erfurt Cathedral, St. Servi Church and the Augustinian Monastery where Luther studied to become a monk and was ordained in 1507.  We will also visit the small cell where as a novice, Luther struggled to find peace with a stern and harsh God.  Then onto Eisenach, 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.  This afternoon we leave Eisenach for Fulda for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 08: FULDA / ROMANTIC ROAD / AUGSBURG.  This morning we travel from Fulda to join the Romantic Road at Wurzburg and continue via Rothenburg delightfully situated on the River Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl and Nordlingen with its well preserved medieval walls, towers and ramparts.  Then onto Augsburg, where the Confession was signed, for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 09: AUGSBURG / MUNICH / OBERAMMERGAU / INNSBRUCK.  Drive to Munich, stately capital of Bavaria, for morning sightseeing which will include the Residenz Palace, the Rathaus, Frauenkirche and Pinakoteque.  Drive through the Bavarian Alps to Oberammergau, site of the world famous Passion Play held once every ten years.  Then onto Austria and the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 10: INNSBRUCK / ARLBERG / VADUZ / AURICH / VITZNAU.  Our morning sightseeing of Innsbruck will include the famous Maria Theresiastrasse and the Golden Dachl of the Emperor Maximillian.  We then travel across the Arlberg Pass to Vaduz, capital of the tiny principality of Leichtenstein.  Onto Zurich, Switzerland's largest city and one of the world's most important financial capitals.  Zurich was the city of Zwingli, the most influencial figure of the Swiss Reformation.  It served as the refuge for many English Protestants banished from their country by Queen Mary.  It is believed that Miles Coverdale's first entire translation of the Bible and Apocrypha was published here in 1535.  Our sightseeing will include the Gross-Muenster Cathedral at Zwingliplatz (Zwingli's Church) and the fine lakeshore district before continuing to Lucerne, set in an indescribably beautiful mountain and lake setting.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel in one of the lakeside resorts on Lake Lacerne. 

 Skyline of Lausanne as seen from the Cathedral Hill at sunsent

Skyline of Lausanne as seen from the Cathedral Hill at sunsent

DAY 11: VITZNAU / INTERLAKEN / LAUSANNE.  This morning we travel through the Brunig Pass to Interlaken, delightfully situated between the lakes of Thun and Brienze and with a magnificent view of the Jungfrau Mountain which dominates the village.  Continue to Lausanne on Lake Geneva with its share of historical sights.  We will see the Bishop's Castle, the cathedral which was originally built in the 12th century, Chateau St. Marie, the Town Hall, the Church of St. Francois and the ancient monastery.  Lausanne is the seat of the Swiss High Courts of Justice and is world famous as an educational center.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Lausanne. 

DAY 12: LAUSANNE / GENEVA / LAUSANNE.  Sightseeing of Geneva this morning, a delightful city situated on the banks of Lake Geneva and surrounded by alpine peaks and the slopes of the Jura Mountains.  It is also called the Peace Capital of the World.  Here we see the Peace Palace built for the old League of Nations, the World Health Organization and the headquarters of the International Red Cross.  We will also see the City Hall, where the Red Cross was founded in 1864, the Grand Rue - oldest street - where Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in 1712.  The winding cobbled streets of Rue Valvin is lined with 18th century patricians homes, including the residence of John Calvin.  The city attracts many scholars and students with its great libraries and its 400 year old university.  The university houses three museums - The Reformation Museum, which we will see, Jean Jacques Rousseau Museum and the National History Museum.  Opposite is the Reformation Monument, which pays tribute to the great religious movement.  Geneva is also of particular significance and rich in Presbyterian Heritage for its deep association with John Calvin, who also founded the university.  He first visited Geneva in 1536 and returned permanently in 1541.  He succeeded in establishing a rigid theocracy in Geneva and this protestant city sheltered many religious refugees from other countries - amongst them John Knox of Scotland.  We will visit the 13th century church where Calvin proclaimed his teaching and John Knox preached as pastor of the English Church in Geneva.  Return to Lausanne for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 13: LAUSANNE / BERNE / BASEL / FREIBURG / HEIDELBERG.  Drive this morning to Berne where we will see the ancient arcaded streets, medieval painted fountains and the gothic Minister Cathedral as well as the Bear Pit where the bears have amused visitors since 1441.  Continue via the commercial city of Basel and Freiburg in the Black Forest region of Germany to Heidelberg, delightfully situated on the banks of the River Neckar for dinner and overnight in this area. 

DAY 14: HEIDELBERG / WORMS / RHINE CRUISE / HAGUE.  Morning sightseeing of beautiful medieval old Heidelberg will include the university which is the oldest in Germany and is the personification of German culture.  The Red Ox Inn, site of the world famous "Student Prince," still stands.  We will also see the church where almost a century before Luther, Jerome nailed his theses for church reform and the famous old stone bridge as well as the ruins of the castle in this romantic picturebook city.  Continue to Worms, city ofthe 1521 Edict, to admire the magnificent monument to Luther and the Reformation, and also the splendid cathedral.  Worms was the sight of Luther's trial for heresy and a visit is planned to the cathedral where Luther, standing before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, uttered his faith affirming death defying proclamation..."Here I stand, I can do no other.  God help me."  We then continue to the River Rhine for a short steamer cruise along this beautiful river past ruined castles, terraced vineyards and riverside villages.  We then rejoin our motorcoach and drive across northern Europe to the Hague, famous for many international conferences, for dinner and overnight. 

DAY 15: HAGUE / NORTH AMERICA.  This morning we drive directly to Amsterdam Airport for our return light home to North America at the end of our enjoyable Reformation Tour.