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September 10 The day has arrived and we depart, beginning our overnight journey to Germany.
September 11 Welcome to Germany! Meet your English-speaking tour escort upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. Upon arrival there will be time to freshen up and relax from our flight, and perhaps also a leisurely walk in Berlin (time permitting). Dinner and overnight in Berlin. Please note: schedule on this day is subject to change depending on flight details.
September 12 Breakfast at the hotel. The morning guided tour of Berlin still gives evidence of the formerly divided nature of the city. View the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, remnants of the former city wall, St. Hedwig’s Church, the State Opera House, St. Mary’s Church, and the Brandenburg Gate, Check point Charlie (Exterior views only). Lunch on your own and have some free time for yourself. This afternoon we end the day with a visit to the Bonhoeffer house; Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Berlin Pastor and professor of theology – resisted National Socialism at a time when tyranny and racism ruled Germany, victimizing religious, ethnic, and social minorities. Bonhoeffer applied his Christian faith and his theological reflections to his everyday actions. This brought him in conflict with the Nazi regime, and he paid for his convictions with his life. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Berlin.
September 13 Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Depart for Leipzig with stopover in Lutherstadt – Wittenberg. Explore Wittenberg on a guided tour. It was here in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses that sparked the Reformation. We will spend time in the Lutherhalle (Luther House) Museum (entrance fee included), where Luther lived first as a monk, then later with his wife and children. We’ll be able to view some of Luther’s very own personal library, rare manuscripts, and early Bibles. The tour will also include Castle Church (entrance fee included), Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary’s church) (entrance fee included) where Luther preached and where his children were baptized, and the Luther Oak where he burned the edict from Rome, condemning him as a “heretic”. We continue on to Leipzig and have lunch at one of Luther’s favorite places, the Auerbachs Keller restaurant, which dates back to 1525 (included, subject to confirmation). Enjoy a guided tour (up to 2 h) of Leipzig. Here we have the privilege of visiting the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church), the home of the faithful “Pray for Peace” Christians, a powerful force that transformed Germany’s East and West. In 1989, thousands of East Germans gathered by candlelight in this church to form human rights and prodemocracy demonstrations that led to the destruction of the infamous Berlin Wall and the dissolution of East Germany. Another Leipzig highlight is our visit to Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) (entrance fee included), where Luther preached and Johann Sebastian Bach performed and directed the famous St. Thomas Boys choir. Continue to Eisenach. Overnight in Eisenach.
September 14 Breakfast at the hotel. take a guided walking tour through Eisenach passing Cotta House where Luther lodged as a schoolboy and visit the Bach House (entrance fee included) where the young J.S. Bach lived. Today, the Bachhaus is one of the largest musician’s museums in Germany. Every hour there is a short concert on five Baroque keyboard instruments. Installations such as the “Walkable Composition” make Bach’s music a complete experience. Lunch at the local restaurant. In 1521, while fleeing from the wrath of the Pope, Luther took refuge in the Wartburg Castle (entrance fee included) after a fake kidnapping staged by his friend and protector, Frederick the Wise. we will tour the castle and see where Luther finished translating the New Testament into German in just eleven weeks. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Eisenach.
September 15 After breakfast at the hotel and check out we drive to Mainz. We enjoy an orientation walking tour of Mainz with our tour escort during which we take in beautiful views of the Rhein. Mainz is perhaps best known as the place where the moveable type printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg. Here, in 1455 Gutenberg produced what is considered to be the first book ever printed: a Latin language Bible. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and check into the hotel, taking the rest of the day for personal time. We have dinner at the hotel and overnight in Mainz.
September 16 After breakfast at the hotel we drive towards Munich and check in to the hotel upon arrival. Have time for independent lunch. Enjoy a guided tour of Munich. We see the Nymphenberg Palace, Olympic Stadium Deutsche Museum, Frauenkirche, Neues Rathaus, and a view of the famous “Glockenspiel” at the Marienplatz (exterior views only). Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Munich.
September 17 Breakfast at the hotel and check out. We board our motorcoach and drive to Fussen, where we visit the Cinderella-style Neuschwanstein Castle. Go back to the times of Wagner as you visit the royal apartments decorated with scenes from German sagas and Wagner’s operas, throne rooms and music halls. Continue on to Oberammergau. The history of the Passion Play at Oberammergau goes back to the year 1634, when the quaint alpine village of Oberammergau was threatened by the deadly and contagious disease known as the Black Plague that scourged Europe, killing two-thirds of the population of Germany. The people of Oberammergau vowed that if the village could be spared, a re-enactment of the life and suffering of Christ would be performed. The village was miraculously saved from the ravages of the Black Death. Since that date, the play has been performed every ten years. Lunch at the local restaurant en route. Check into the hotel upon arrival. Dinner and overnight in Oberammergau or its vicinity.
September 18 Breakfast at the hotel. This morning we travel to Oberammergau for some time at leisure to stroll around the town & shop for some of the town’s famous woodcarvings. Lunch on your own. 14:30 – 1st part of the Passion Play. 17:00 – break. 3-course dinner during the break. 20:00 – 22:30 – 2nd part of the Passion Play. Overnight in Oberammergau or vicinity.
September 19 Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.