Germany from the Reformation to the Rhine
In the lead up to ‘Luther Year 2017’ we have developed an in-depth tour of Germany for a journey of discovery of the Reformation sites in Germany. It has been over 500 years that the monk Martin Luther shook the world when he protested against the church and the authorities by nailing 95 theses to a church door. Our sample itinerary includes UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Luther’s places in Eisleben and Wittenberg, the Wartburg castle, and the famous museums in Berlin. History will stir you up when visiting a concentration camp memorial, looking out for remnants of the Berlin Wall and you will be astonished when visiting King Ludwig’s fairy tale castle at Neuschwanstein. We will also include unique, interactive activities so you and your group can immerse yourselves into the culture and history of Germany. Activities such as joining a local congregation for worship service, socialize with members of congregation at an afternoon tea or BBQ, join with a local group for an afternoon on a servant project. We will customize the itinerary to fit the interests of your group.
Upon arrival at Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, we will be met by Goway’s local representative and transferred to the hotel. Time to rest and to get over the jet lag. In the evening you will enjoy dinner in a typical Old Berlin restaurant. Try Berlin specialities like a Currywurst sausage, homemade jelly knuckle or just a Lard pot of homemade bread and pickles. (D)
Overnight: 1 night
Berlin – Wittenberg
A full day of sightseeing is planned for today in the German capital. We'll see the famous sites, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The history of the divided Berlin comes alive when we visit Checkpoint Charlie and discover unknown remnants of the Berlin Wall in side roads and neighbourhoods.
In the late afternoon you depart Berlin and drive to Wittenberg. On the way south we’ll see several old churches like the Cistercian Kloster Zinna (1170) and St Nicolai in Juterbog (1307) with the romantic Ruehlmann organ. (BD)
Overnight: 1 night
Wittenberg - Eisleben - Mansfeld
This morning we'll visit sites in Wittenberg, the city of the Lutheran reformation, including Luther's house, the Stadtkirche, the University, and the All Saints Castle Church where Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door. And we hear why even a pharmacist can be important for the history of the church. In the afternoon we continue to Eisleben, where Luther was born and died (in 1483 and 1546). We’ll have a short stop in Mansfeld, nearby, where Luther spent his early years. After arrival in Eisleben we'll visit the little museum in the house where Luther was born, visit the church where he preached his last sermon, and walk by the Luther monument. In the evening we celebrate a baptism remembrance worship service in St Peter and Paul, the church where Luther was baptized. Sit next to Luther’s baptismal font and reflect what it means for you to be baptized.
Eisleben’s Lord Mayor will join us (subject to his schedule) for dinner tonight to share with us the advantages and challenges of this little town in former East Germany. (BD)
Overnight in Eisleben (1 night)
Leipzig - Buchenwald – Erfurt
We continuing south this morning and visit Leipzig. Points of interest include Augustusplatz, the market, and the St Thomas church where Bach was an organist. Our local guide, a witness of that time, will also talk about the revolution in former East Germany when the protesters in Leipzig got the attention of international media and the candle marches in Leipzig became the symbol of the change.
After lunch (on own account), we continue to Erfurt. Along the way we stop at a Nazi concentration camp - Buchenwald. Here we will come face to face with the darkest part of German history as we see an introductory video and allow enough time to walk the ground silently on our own with Audioguides. (B)
Overnight: 2 nights
Erfurt - Wartburg Castle – Eisenach
Erfurt was the town where Martin Luther was a student of law and business before joining the Augustinian convent as a monk. In a short morning walk through this charming town with many timber framed houses we see the market with St Mary’s Cathedral, the merchant’s bridge, and visit the Augustinian monastery. From here we get on the bus for a drive westbound to the town of Eisenach to visit Wartburg castle. It is here that Luther hid in 1521 and 1522, taking on the assumed name of Knight George, after being placed under an imperial ban. While here, he translated the New Testament into German. Before getting up hill to the castle a little Bratwurst stand is a good stop for our optional lunch break to enjoy the typical Thuringian sausage.
Eisenach also is the birthplace of the famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach. We visit the museum and listen to a demonstration of Bach’s works on historical instruments. Back in Erfurt we’ll have dinner tonight in a rustic “medieval style” restaurant. (BD)
Coburg - Nuremberg – Augsburg
We can’t leave Erfurt without stopping by at a tiny specialized mustard store where dozens of local Thuringian mustard and grill sauces can be tasted (and bought).
Proceeding south through the Thuringian Forest our first visit is to the town of Coburg, famous for its bratwurst. We'll see the Veste Coburg Fortress, where Luther spent some time under protection while an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire. Continuing, we arrive at Nuremberg, the second-largest city in Bavaria. It was from here that Luther began his journey to Rome in 1510. We'll visit the Old Town with its many points of interest before ending the day at Augsburg, where we have dinner and overnight. (BD)
Augsburg - Munich – Augsburg
In Augsburg, we'll visit St. Anne's Church, where, in 1518, Luther met with Cardinal Cajetan, who demanded that Luther submit to the Pope. We'll also see the Augustus Fountain, the Church of the Holy Cross, and other sites. The Augsburg town market where bakers, farmers, butchers, cheese diaries, and florists present their specialities gives us many reasons for a tasty lunch break.
The afternoon will be spent in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, where we visit the Marienplatz, and see the Town Hall, Cathedral, and other sites. (BL)
Neuschwanstein - Romantic Road – Rothenburg
Today we drive south from Augsburg this morning to reach Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle built by King Ludwig II, near the town of Fussen. We visit the castle, and then travel along the Romantic Road to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where we have dinner and overnight. (B)
Overnight: 1 night
Rothenburg - Heidelberg – Worms
Rothenburg is Germany's best-preserved walled city. We'll take a walking tour of the town this morning, and then proceed to Heidelberg. On arrival, we visit the Castle and the University, and see the Stone Bridge. For lunch we could mingle with students of the Heidelberg University and get some snacks at University commons next to the river. We continue to Worms for overnight. (BL)
Worms – Ruedesheim
Worms is where Luther, in 1521, appeared before the Holy Roman Emperor and the Imperial Diet. He refused to recant his beliefs, and stated "Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me. This morning we'll visit the Reformation Monument and the Cathedral. In the afternoon we proceed to Ruedesheim, in the romantic Rhine valley. (B)
Ruedesheim - Rhine River Cruise – Ruedesheim
This morning we take a cruise on the Rhine River, passing many small villages and the famous Loreley Rock. The afternoon is at leisure. A farewell dinner with wine is planned for this evening. (BD)
Depart Ruedesheim for the flight home
This morning we transfer to Frankfurt airport, where we board our return flight back home. (B)
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