Day 1: Your Journey Begins
Depart North America for overnight flight to Berlin.
Day 2: Herzlich Willkommen!
Arrive in Berlin, where your accompanying German guide and private motor coach are waiting for you as you exit customs. Check-in to your hotel in Berlin and enjoy a free afternoon to get settled in or visit the Pergamon Museum (optional). After dinner, a welcome and orientation meeting and worship service get us off to an excellent start. (Berlin, 1 night) (D)
Day 3: Berlin and Lutherstadt Wittenberg
After breakfast, start your day with a private guided tour of Berlin featuring sites important in the city’s history, such as the Brandenburg Gate, 1905 neo-Baroque Berlin Cathedral, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, whose tower was badly damaged by WWII bombing. Have lunch on your own, then meet the group again for Part 2 of your city tour and a visit to the Bonhoeffer House, a museum dedicated to the life and ministry of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, also home to some of his original manuscripts. Travel to Wittenberg, where you’ll stay for the next four nights. Dinner at Colleg Wittenberg. (B&D)
Day 4: Wittenberg and Torgau
Explore Wittenberg, the town where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years, on Part 1 of your city tour. This morning’s tour will bring you to the famous sites of Wittenberg: the Castle Church, also known as the “Theses Church,” and the St. Mary’s (Town) Church, where Luther preached thousands of times. This afternoon, travel to nearby Torgau for a tour of the city in which Luther’s wife Katharina von Bora is buried and where you will also visit the first chapel built for Protestant worship. Afterwards, drive to a nearby town to enjoy a wine-tasting and vintner’s dinner at a local winery. Back to Wittenberg for the evening. (B&D)
Day 5: Leipzig
Depart for a daytrip to Leipzig this morning, where your city tour brings you to the St. Nicholas Church, whose members organized the nonviolent demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of East Germans in May 1989—the “Peaceful Revolution.” Eat lunch at the historic Auerbachs Keller to dine in the same place as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once did. This afternoon, meet at the St. Thomas Church for a discussion with a local pastor, who will share his Personal Reflections on the Peaceful Revolution. Afterwards, you’ll experience the Motet service, where the famous St. Thomas Boys Choir often sings. Back to Wittenberg. Dinner on your own. (B&L)
Day 6: Wittenberg
Today includes Part 2 of your Wittenberg city tour. First you will visit the Luther House. Luther received his home—his former monastery—as a wedding gift from his prince. The over-120-year-old museum is now home to the world’s largest collection of Reformation prints, manuscripts, coins, and illustrations. This morning’s tour will also include Wittenberg’s local brewery, the Brauhaus. After lunch and some free time to explore Wittenberg on your own, meet with the ELCA Wittenberg Center for a coffee and cake reception and an introduction to the Center’s ministry. Afterwards, share in a celebration of Holy Communion at the Castle Church, where Martin Luther is buried. Group dinner tonight followed by a presentation by a local Luther scholar: How Martin Luther Sparked a Reformation. (B&D)
Day 7: Eisleben
This morning, depart the city of Luther’s adulthood to visit his hometown, Eisleben. Here you visit the homes in which Luther was born and died. You can affirm your baptism in the church of St. Peter and Paul, where Luther was baptized. The city tour also includes a stop at St. Andrew’s Church, where Luther gave his last four sermons. Here, you can hear from a local pastor about A Day in the Life of a German Congregation. Continue to Erfurt for hotel check-in and dinner. (Overnight in Erfurt, 3 nights) (B&D)
Day 8: Erfurt
Today you tour Erfurt, where we’ll see the university at which Luther studied and St. Mary’s Cathedral, where he was ordained. After the city tour you are invited to worship with the sisters at the Augustinian Monastery, where Luther gave his first mass and lived as a monk for six years. After lunch at the monastery and some free time, you’ll have a tour of the monastery and a special conversation with a Sister of the Lutheran Community of the Casteller Ring: Lutheran Monastic Vocation in 2007. This evening is free for your own explorations. (B&L)
Day 9: Weimar and Buchenwald
This morning, head west to nearby Weimar, a cultural capital of Germany, former home to Schiller and Goethe. This morning’s tour also includes a visit to the Herder church. After some free time for lunch, you’ll continue to the former concentration camp Buchenwald, where a quarter of a million people were imprisoned between 1937 and 1945. Among the prisoners were Lutheran pastors Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Paul Schneider, outspoken opponents of National Socialism. Return to Erfurt this evening. Dinner at hotel. (B&D)
Day 10: Eisenach and the Wartburg Castle
After breakfast, depart for the short drive to Eisenach. Here you’ll visit the Bach house, and hear a demonstration of period instruments. You will also have a chance to visit the Wartburg Castle, where Luther disguised himself as a squire named “Junker Jörg” after being „kidnapped“ by his prince. Here he created one of his most important works—the translation of the New Testament into German. On your private guided tour of the castle, you will also see the room where Luther lived and worked on his translation. This afternoon, transfer to Darmstadt, where you can share your experiences with each other at the closing banquet. (Darmstadt, 1 night) (B&D)
Day 11: Auf Wiedersehen!
Airport transfer for your return flight home. (B)