10 Days Heritage of Luther

DAY 01: NORTH AMERICA / FRANKFURT.  Tour members will gather at the ticket counter three hours prior to the departure to Europe.  Dinner and breakfast will be served in flight.

DAY 02: FRANKFURT / MARBURG / FULDA.  Morning arrival at Frankfurt Airport where we are met by our tour escort and motorcoach and commence our touring program.  We drive northwards to the old university town of Marburg where we can see St. Elizabeth’s Church and the Landgrave’s Castle, before continuing on our way to the historic town of Fulda.  Fulda was a center of religion and scholarship in the Franconian Empire and was designated as a town in 1114 and in the 18th century during the Baroque Age it reached it’s most important period.  It was the residence of the Prince Abbotts and Prince Bishops and a university was founded.  We will see the Town Castle, St. Michael’s Church and of course the Cathedral.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

People visit the famous Kramer Bridge lined on each side with timber-framed houses. It has been a merchants place since medieval times.

People visit the famous Kramer Bridge lined on each side with timber-framed houses. It has been a merchants place since medieval times.

DAY 03: FULDA / WARTBURG / EISENACH / ERFURT / THURINGEN.  This morning we travel eastward for a visit to the formidable Wartburg Castle where Luther found refuge during the Imperial Ban.  The castle was built in the 11th century and is where Luther translated the New Testament in the years 1521-1522 – we will see the “Luther Stube”.  A short drive brings us to Eisenach, birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose birthplace we will visit to listen to some of his marvelous music played on historic instruments.  We will also visit the Luther House museum before continuing to the historic town of Erfurt, where Luther studied at the university and where our tour in Luther’s footsteps will include a visit to the Cathedral and Church of St. Severi’s with a view of the Kramer Bridge lined on each side with timber-framed houses restored to their original condition.  Then pay a highlight visit to the important Augustinian Monastery built in 1277 and now beautifully restored.  The Monastery contains an exhibition on Martin Luther who was a monk here from 1505 until 1511.  We then drive to our hotel in the Thuringen area for dinner and overnight.

DAY 04: THURINGEN / HALLE / EISLEBEN / THURINGEN.  Our first visit this morning will be to Halle, where Luther stayed in 1510 for the granting of an appeal to the Pope (Dispute of the Order of St. Augustin).  We will see the Market Church of our Dear Lady and also visit the special exhibition, which is hoped to be staged showing Luther’s death mask and hands, documents about him, and a Holy Bible with his handwritten notes.  Then to Eisleben which ranks amongst the most significant of all places having a connection with him, although he only spent a little time here – he was born here on November 10th, 1483 and died here on February 18th, 1546; old manuscripts indicate that he felt a special affinity towards Eisleben.  We will also visit the house of his birth and see the house where he died; St. Andrew’s Church where he preached his last sermon and where his body was laid out, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul where he was christened, and the Luther Monument.  Some time at leisure to see the market place and other points of interest such as St. Anne’s Church with the famous biblical scenes hewn in stone and the buildings of former St. Augustine’s Monastery before returning to our hotel in Thuringen area for dinner and overnight.

DAY 05: THURINGEN / LEIPZIG / WITTENBERG / DESSAU / THURINGEN.  Drive this morning to the beautiful city of Leipzig, Bach’s city, where our sightseeing will include St. Thomas Church where Bach was organist and choirmaster; we will also view the Renaissance Town Hall before driving northwards to Wittenberg, birthplace of the Reformation, city of Frederick the Wise who was patron and protector of Luther.  Luther lived here from 1508 until his death.  We will visit All Saints Castle Church where Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door and which contains the graves of Luther and Melanchthon.  See the University where Luther taught, and visit Melanchton’s House as well as the Luther House which is the largest and greatest museum of Reformation history in the world.  We will also visit the Stadkirche of St. Marien where Luther used to preach and see the Luther monument and renaissance Town Hall.  Drive then to Dessau, where on April 2nd , 1534, the Dessau Princes (Georg, Johann and Joachim) professed the Reformation and where Martin Luther preached before them and the citizens of Dessau.  We will see the main points of interest including St. John’s Church before returning to our hotel in the Thuringen area for dinner and overnight.

DAY 06: THURINGEN / BAYREUTH / NURNBERG / AUGSBURG.  Drive through the southern part of the old East Germany and continue to Bayreuth, known worldwide for its Wagner music festival.  We then continue through many lovely towns and villages on the way to Nurnberg, the city of Durer and the Meistersingers, a city surrounded by thick walls and overlooked by its landmark castle.  Nurnberg City’s long and historic past; we will see its old fortifications and time permitting, we may be able to see craftsmen at their work in the Craftsmen’s Courtyard in the City Center, or stop outside the Castle to enjoy the fine view across the housetops with their pointed gables and the tall church spires.  Drive further south by ways in Ingoldtadt on the Danube to Augsurg, City of the Confession and one of the most important German cities associated with Luther, for dinner and overnight.

DAY 07: AUGSBURG / NEUSCHWANSTEIN / OBERAMMERGAU / MUNICH / AUGSBURG.  Our full day tour of Bavaria commences with a drive through spectacular mountain scenery, past snow-capped alps, crystalline lakes and rustic villages to Neuschwanstein to see the famous castle built by mad King Ludwig and the basis for Walt Disney’s famous fairytale castle.  A short drive then brings us to the tiny village of Oberammergau, site of the world famous Passion Play which is performed once every ten years.  We will visit the Passion Play Theater and see the many beautifully painted houses which make this such an attractive village before driving swiftly to Munich, Bavaria’s lively capital.  Our orientation sightseeing tour here will include the Gothic Town Hall, the Marienplatz, Karlstor Gate and Our Lady’s Cathedral.  After some time at leisure we return to Augsburg for dinner and overnight.

DAY 08: AUGSBURG / ROMANTIC ROAD / HEIDELBURG AREA.  Martin Luther stayed in Augsburg on his way from Rome in March 1511 and it was here most significantly that he defended his 95 Theses is the debate with the representative of the Church of Rome in 1518, and during his stay in Augsburg from October 7-20 the foundations were laid for the decisive development of the Reformation and thus of the Christian Church.  We will see the Renaissance style Town Hall, the Church of the Holy Cross (Luther’s lodgings after his journey to Rome in 1511), and the impressive Augustus fountain as well as visiting St. Anne’s Church with its small Luther courtyard and the memorial Chapel of the Fugger.  Our scenic drive continues along the Romantic Road through the medieval villages of Donauworth and Dinkelsbuhl to Rothenberg ob der Tauber, one of Europe’s finest preserved medieval towns.  We will see the main points of interest including the beautiful gateways and towers, imposing town walls and cobblestone streets as well as the Renaissance style Town Hall and the Ratstrinkstubs featuring the Meistertrunk clock, before continuing to Ludwigshafen for dinner and overnight.

Night view of Heidelberg, Germany

Night view of Heidelberg, Germany

DAY 09: HEIDELBERG AREA / WORMS / RHINE TRIP / RHINELAND.  A short drive this morning brings us to the romantic medieval city of Heidelberg, delightfully situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar Rivers, where we will visit the castle ruins, the University and also the famous Stone Bridge, said by many to be Germany’s most beautiful bridge.  We will also see the Red Ox Inn of “Student Prince” fame, before driving the short distance to Worms, city of the 1521 Edict, where we will see the impressive Monument to the Reformation and visit the Cathedral in this important center of the Reformation.  Worms was the site of Luther’s trail for heresy and it was in the Cathedral, standing before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V that he uttered his faith affirming, death defying proclamation…”Here I stand, I can do no other.  God help me”.  We then drive swiftly to the River Rhine and St. Goarhausen where we board our steamer for a cruise on the busy waterway – past ruined castles, terraced vineyards, attractive riverside villages and the famous Loreley Rock; we disembark at Kaub and drive along the banks of this beautiful river to our Rhineside village for dinner and overnight.

DAY 10: RHINELAND / FRANKFURT / USA.  Transfer this morning to Frankfurt Airport for our return flight to the United States at the end of our enjoyable journey.