Day 1: Depart USA
Enjoy your overnight flight to Berlin with dinner en route.
Day 2: Berlin, Halle
Upon arrival this morning, we will be met and taken on a brief tour of Berlin. View the remains of the Wall, drive by Brandenburg Gate and other sights before continuing on to our lodging for the next two nights in Halle.
Day 3: Wittenberg, Leipzig
We begin today, the Reformation Trail to Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years. You will see the Castle Church door where Luther posted his 95 Theses, giving birth to the Reformation. This beautiful church is also the burial site of Luther. We see the university where Luther taught and the Luther House which is the greatest museum of Reformation History in the world. This afternoon we visit the beautiful city of Leipzig, Bach’s city, and a visit to St. Thomas Church where Bach was choir master and organist.
Day 4: Eiselben. Erfurt
Leaving Halle we visit Eisenben which is noted among the most signifcant in Luther’s history; he was born here in 1483 and died here in 1546 and old manuscripts indicate that he felt a special affinity to Eisenben. We will see the house of his birth and death, St. Andrews Church where he preached his last sermon, the Luther Monument, and St. Anne’s Church with the famous Biblical scenes hewn in stone and many other sites. Additional places of interest will be found in nearby Erfurt, where Luther attended the university. A highlight will be the Augustinian Monastery where he spent his early years as a monk. We will overnight in Erfurt.
Day 5: Eisenach, Coburg, Goetz
Our day begins in Eisenach, birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach. It was here at the formidable Wartburg Castle that Luther, under “house arrest”, translated the New Testament into the German language in 1523. We then tour on through scenic Thuringer Wald to view the fortress of Coburg know as Veste, the place of Luther’s imprisonment in 1530. Time permitting, you may want to pay a visit to nearby Goetz Factory, where the world famous Hummel figurines are made. Your day will end at a restful hotel near Wurzburg, where a well deserved supper and lodging for the next two nights awaits.
Day 6: Heidelburg, Worms
This morning we travel on to one of the most charming cities in all of the world – Heidelberg, ancient capital of the Palatinate and home of Germany’s oldest university. But most importantly, it was a stronghold of German Reformed Protestants beginning in 1560. One of the great confessional statements of the Reformation, the Heidelberg Catechism was produced here in 1563. Heidelberg Castle, a most impressive historic landmark of Germany, stands majestically overlooking the Neckar River. The structure, now largely in ruins, preserves numerous examples of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque German architecture. Our next stop is in Worms. It was here, during the Imperial Diet in 1521, that Martin Luther challenged the entire Roman Catholic establishment by his refusal to recant the great doctrines of Protestantism. It was also here that William Tyndale completed the printing of his English version of the New Testament in 1525 which he had begun in Cologne. After seeing St. Peter’s Church and the symbolic Luther memorial near the town square, we will return to our lodging for the evening in Wurzburg.
Day 7: Rothenburg on the Tauber, Augsburg
This morning, one of the highlights of your trip will be a visit to the best preserved Medieval town in all of Europe, Rothenburg. What a delightful day you will have visiting the quaint Rathaus (town hall) with its tower, the Kriminal-museum, housing all manner of Medieval instruments of torture and especially for the ladies, one of the most fascinating Christmas stores you will ever see – Kathe’s (pronounced Katie’s). After lunch you will travel south to the ancient city of Augsburg. It was here in 1518 at St. Anne’s Church that Luther met the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who demanded that Luther submit to the pope. Augsburg was also the site of another Imperial Diet (1530) at which Protestants presented their confession, the foremost doctrinal statement of the Lutheran church. In the town hall the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555 ending for a time the religious wars in Germany between the Catholics and the Protestants. Overnight in Augsburg for the next two nights.
Day 8: Charming Bavaria
Continuing further south today, we stop at Oberammergau, site of the famous Passion Play and magificently painted houses, on your way to the Rococo-style Chapel in the Meadow and Ludwig II’s most luxurious former residence, the Neuschwanstein Castle. This afternoon’s adventure takes us to the little hamlet of Eibsee where we climb into a modern cable car that will take us to the summit of the tallest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze. Here it snows year round, so you will need a sweater, but the panoramic view will warm your heart. It is absolutely spectacular!
Day 9: Depart Munich for USA.
Arrival back in our home town is scheduled for mid-afternoon.