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Luther and Oberammergau 2010 14 Days Print E-mail
A travel program of Christian Tours Europe. Resources provided through the ELCA Wittenberg Center e.V.

Day 1, Sunday: Leave the US

Day 2, Monday: Arrival and Orientation
Arrive in Berlin, where your German tour director and private motor coach are waiting for you as you exit customs. After everything is settled, transfer to hotel for check-in. In the afternoon visit the Pergamon Museum on Berlin’s “Museum Island.” In the evening, meet your tour director for dinner and a welcome and orientation meeting and prayer service. (Berlin, 1 night) D

Day 3, Tuesday: Experience Berlin
This morning become familiar with the vibrant city of Berlin with a five-hour city tour including its major religious and historical sites. Your local tour guide will show you sights such as the 1905 neo-Baroque Berlin Cathedral, the bomb-damaged tower of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, the "Unter den Linden" government district, and remains of the Berlin Wall.  Enjoy some free time in the afternoon. In the evening the group will transfer to Lutherstadt Wittenberg. (Wittenberg, 3 nights) BD

Day 4, Wednesday: Day in Historic Wittenberg.
A local guide will help you explore the city where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years. The tour includes the City Church, where Luther preached thousands of times, and the Castle Church, where he posted his “95 Theses,” thus sparking the Reformation.  Learn more about Luther’s partners in the Reformation with a visiting to the Cranach print shop. You will also visit 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. In the afternoon enjoy a welcome by the ELCA Wittenberg Center. There will be a coffee and cake reception and a brief presentation of the ministry and programming of the Center. Afterwards, celebrate Holy Communion at a worship service in the Castle Church. After dinner, have the chance to hear a local scholar give a presentation on “How Martin Luther and his Friends lived in Wittenberg.” BD

Day 5, Thurday: Christian Life in the GDR – and the City of Torgau
In the morning have the unique chance to listen to the personal stories of Wittenberg residents who lived as Christians during the GDR. Q&A follows the presentation. Depart mid-day for a daytrip to Torgau. The group will stop for a "tailgate-style" picnic lunch and later take a tour of the city where, in 1544, the first palace and church were specifically built and consecrated under the auspices of a Protestant Prince. We will see this perfectly preserved Renaissance castle, its chapel and a special feat of engineering - the cantilevered spiral staircase. We continue to nearby St. Mary’s Church, where Katharina von Bora, Luther’s lively wife “Katie,” is buried. Return to Wittenberg for a free evening. BL

Day 6, Friday: Leipzig - The Peaceful Revolution – Bach
Transfer to Leipzig this morning for a city tour. In May of 1989, tens of thousands of people gathered in the streets for the “Peaceful Revolution,” which paved the way for the nonviolent reunification of East and West Germany.  You will visit their rendezvous point at the Gothic (1165 A.D.) St. Nicholas Church. Afterwards, hear a local pastor’s presentation on The Role of the Church in the Peaceful Revolution.  You will also visit the St. Thomas Church, where Johann Sebastian Bach was choirmaster for 25 years - possibly hear a performance by the Thomanerchor. Transfer to Eisleben this evening. We will stay in nearby Kloster Helfta, a Cistercian Monastery, where we are invited to share in the daily prayers of the sisters. BD

Day 7, Saturday: Eisleben - Luther’s Hometown
Take a city tour of Eisleben this morning, including visits to Luther’s Birth House and Death House museums, the church in which he was baptized, and the church in which he preached his final sermon. Later meet with local pastors - ELCA missionaries -to hear about “A Day in the Life of a German Congregation.” This evening, enjoy some fellowship with the Eisleben congregation. BD

Day 8, Sunday: Buchenwald
In the morning, we will attend Sunday worship with the Eisleben congregation. After lunch on your own, continue to the former concentration camp Buchenwald, where a quarter million people were imprisoned between 1937 and 1945. All of them suffered and 50,000 of them died. Among the prisoners were Lutheran pastors Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Paul Schneider, outspoken opponents of National Socialism. A private guided tour will allow us time for reflection and a service of reconciliation. A short drive will bring us to Erfurt. Hotel check-in for the next two nights. BD

Day 9, Monday: Erfurt - Martin Luther as Monk and Weimar
Take a city tour in the footsteps of Martin Luther this morning. See the University district where Luther studied and visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, where he was ordained. The tour includes a visit to the the Augustinian Monastery (now inhabited by Protestant sisters) where Luther took his monastic vows and lived as a monk. We will spend the afternoon in Weimar, one of Germany’s cultural capitals. Here you will tour the city of Schiller and Goethe and visit the Herder church, with its famous Cranach altar. Back to Erfurt for a free evening. B

Day 10, Tuesday: Eisenach- The Wartburg and Bach’s Birthplace
This morning, take the beautiful trip up the mountain to the Wartburg Castle. After his excommunication Martin Luther was kidnapped by his prince and hid here for almost a year under the alias of “Junker Jorg.” 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 hear a demonstration on a variety of these pieces. Back to Erfurt. Dinner tonight is planned at a local restaurant with typical Thuringian food. BD

Day 11, 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 12, 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 13, Friday: Munich
This morning some final alpine vistas as we head north to Munich. On arrival a local guide will introduce us to the sights of Bavaria's capital, the Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz, Frauenkirche and the Olympic Stadium. This evening, we celebrate the past two weeks, sharing our stories and memories at our Farewell Dinner. Those, who like to, may walk downtown with your host after dinner and visit the Hofbräuhaus. Maritim Hotel. BD

Day 14, Saturday: Auf Wiedersehen!
All too soon our adventure draws to a close as we transfer to Munich airport and catch our homebound flights. B

Slight changes to this itinerary may be made.

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