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Luther and Oberammergau 2010 12 Days Print E-mail
A travel program of Christian Tours Europe. Resources provided through the ELCA Wittenberg Center e.V.

Day 1, Monday
Group members gather for the overnight flights to Berlin.

Day 2, Tuesday: Berlin
Connecting through Frankfurt or Munich, we will arrive Berlin in the late morning. After arrival formalities we will meet our tour manager and transfer to our hotel for check-in. This evening gather for a welcome reception and briefing followed by dinner at our hotel. Maritim proArte Hotel (2 nights) D

Day 3, Wednesday: Discover Berlin
Start our day with a private guided city tour of Berlin. A local expert will guide our visit to the 1905 neo-Baroque Berlin Cathedral, the Hohenzollern court church on the Spree River. Our visits include the bomb-damaged tower of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and “Unter den Linden", the government district. We will have a break for lunch on your own. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon. We suggest a visit to the Pergamon Museum on Berlin’s “Museum Island”. BD.

Day 4, Thursday: Wittenberg
Departing Berlin this morning we head south to Wittenberg. Explore the city where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years. The first part of the tour this morning includes the Town Church, where Luther preached thousands of times, and the Castle Church, where he hung his “95 Theses,” thus sparking the Reformation. Rejoin your group in mid-afternoon for coffee and cake at the Evangelical Academy, home of the ELCA Wittenberg Center. Our orientation includes an overview of the Center’s mission and work. This is followed by a Communion Service at the Castle Church. After dinner, hear a presentation from a well known scholar on “How Martin Luther and his friends lived in Wittenberg”. BD

Day 5, Friday: Wittenberg
This morning we’ll resume our city tour with a visit to the Luther House, which was Luther’s wedding gift from his prince in 1525 and now houses one of the world’s largest Reformation archives. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the old town of Wittenberg on our own. B

Day 6, Saturday: Leipzig
Enjoy a full day in Leipzig. In May 1989, the people of Leipzig first organized the demonstrations that brought hundreds of thousands into the streets for the “Peaceful Revolution.” We will visit their rendezvous point at the Gothic St. Nicholas Church, built in 1165. After time and lunch on your own (we suggest to go for lunch at the historic Auerbachs Keller, where, in a scene made famous in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Faust and Mephistopheles drank with the local students before flying away on a barrel) we meet for a presentation by a participant in the Peaceful Revolution. Later on, we will enjoy the Motet with the famous St. Thomas Boys Choir at the 14th century St. Thomas Church, where Luther preached and where Bach served as cantor and choirmaster for 25 years. Continue to Eisleben for the next two nights. We will stay in nearby Kloster Helfta, a Cistercian Monastery, where we are invited to share in the daily prayers of the sisters. A tour of the convent this evening will get us oriented. BD

Day 7, Sunday: Eisleben
In the morning, we will attend Sunday worship with the Eisleben congregation. Afterwards, a guided tour follows: Luther’s birth and death occurred in Eisleben, his Bethlehem and Jerusalem. His home is typical of the Middle Ages. An exhibition interprets the spiritual environment of Luther’s childhood. We can further understand the foundation of Luther’s faith when we visit the Church of St. Peter and Paul, where Luther was baptized. The late medieval residence where Luther died is preserved nearby. Our tour includes a stop at St. Andrews, where Luther gave his last four sermons. Back to Helfta for dinner and overnight. BD

Day 8, Monday: Erfurt
This morning, we transfer to Erfurt, where we will take a city tour in the footsteps of Martin Luther. See the University district where Luther studied and visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, where he was ordained. We will also tour the Augustinian Monastery (now inhabited by Protestant sisters) where Luther took his monastic vows and lived as a monk. Dinner tonight is planned at a local restaurant with typical Thuringian food. BD

Day 9, Tuesday: Wartburg and JS Bach
This morning, take the beautiful trip up the mountain to the Wartburg Castle. After his excommunication Martin Luther was kidnapped by his prince and was kept here for almost a year under the alias of “Junker Jorg.” We will see the room where Luther lived and made his translation of the New Testament. Later visit the Bach House - experience what a typical home looked like in the 18th century, see an interesting collection of antique instruments and enjoy a musical presentation using a variety of these pieces. Back to Erfurt for a free evening. B

Day 10, Wednesday: Nuremberg / Oberammergau
Continuing south this morning, we will visit Nuremberg, where a local guide is waiting to show us the charming medieval centre on a walk visit that will include the fortress and the Old Town. This is like a walk through time from the Middle Ages to the present, highlighted by a visit to the St. Lawrence Church and an opportunity to shop for Lebkuchen and pewter. Following some free time, we continue south to Bavaria, the Alps and the Passion Play village of Oberammergau. Our next two days will be at the Hotel Alte Post, right in the heart of the village. Toni, the owner of the hotel, portrayed Judas in the 2000 Passion Play. BD

Day 11, Thursday: The Passion Play, Oberammergau
For 2010, we will have the morning free, to enjoy the colourful paintings in the village and to do a little shopping. Following lunch, the highlight of the trip, the Passion Play in Oberammergau begins! The Play was instituted in fulfillment of a vow made in 1633, when the town was stricken by plague. It was performed for the first time in 1634 and since then has been played every ten years. It’s just a short walk from the hotel to the theater, which was built in 1930 and has seating for 4,800 spectators. While the seats are covered, the stage is open to the elements, using the natural grandeur of the region as a back-drop. BLD

Day 12, Saturday: Auf Wiedersehen!
All too soon our adventure draws to a close as we transfer to Munich airport and catch our homebound flights. B

Note: minor changes to the program are possible.  

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