Savor Switzerland Tour
(9 Day) Detailed Program
Led by Mennonite/Anabaptist Historian John E. Sharp
DAY 1 •Depart
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your comfortable
night-flight to Switzerland.
Day 2 (Night 2) and 3:
, Appenzell, Davos
We arrive in
, where we will meet our Swiss tour guide, Elisabeth Lutz. In
we will encounter the Swiss Reformation and the cradle of Swiss-South
German Anabaptism. We will visit the
where Ulrich Zwingli's bold preaching sparked a revolution, and the
courthouse, where the reformers debated the issues, and the town council
announced its decisions. We will walk to Neustadtgasse, where the first
adult baptism took place in the home of Felix Mantz,
January 21, 1525
, and to Neumark Strasse, to the home of Conrad Grebel, and to
Niederdorfstrasse, on which Georg Blaurock was flogged and banished from
the city. We will reflect by the banks of the
where Mantz was drowned at the hands of a reforming church. We will
ponder the implications of a state-church marriage, which blends the
sword and the cross.
Dramatic action in nearby Zollikon followed the
: dramatic conversions, heartfelt baptisms and emotion-charged communion
services. Following the martyrdom of many, Anabaptists traveled to
villages near and far, preaching, teaching and baptizing. Scattered
congregations gathered in secret in homes, barns, under bridges and in
mountain caves. We will visit the Cave of the Anabaptists high above
From the cave we will travel to the
Baden, which portrays the life of a medieval lord (Landvogt) and his
household. We'll learn about cooking and eating, social life and
clothing, women, children, and knights in shining armor. Then its to
Appenzell, often called "the most authentic of Swiss
villages," for its quaint and old-fashioned ways, and then to Davos,
where we will spend the night.
Day 4: Glacier Express,
This is the day we will exchange our bus for a
train, the Glacier Express, for a spectacular ride through the
. After boarding the bus again, we will stop in
on the northeast bank of
. Spanning the River Reuss, which flows out of the lake, are the two
famous covered footbridges, the Kapellbrücke and the Spreuerbrücke.
The fourteenth-century Kapellbrücke, rebuilt in 1993, and the
fifteenth-century Spreuerbrücke are adorned with paintings, which tell
the story of the city and its legends.
Perhaps the city's most famous landmark is the octagonal water
tower in the middle of the river. The evocative lion monument is a
's Swiss Guards who in 1792 died defending the French royal family. The
most impressive of the city's many squares is the Weinmarkt, with a 15th
century Gothic fountain at its center. Standing watch over the city are
two massive mountains,
(2,132m) on the northeast and Rigi (1,797m) on the east. We spend the
Day 5: The Emmental -
Anabaptists found a home in this scenic, pastoral valley of rustic
hamlets and half-timbered inns and farmhouses. Since the Emmental is
located in the canton of
, Bernese intolerance also extended to these villages and farms. Langnau
is the home of the oldest continuing Mennonite church in the world.
Founded in 1530, this congregation endured 320 years of persecution.
Many Amish and Mennonite families can trace their roots back to this
Emmental homeland. Thun, Steffisburg, the Haslibacher house, the
, and the newly discovered "
" near Schangnau are among the must-see stops.
, the Swiss capitol since 1848, is built on a peninsula created by the
horseshoe shape of the
. The cobblestoned, medieval streets of the
are lined with sandstone arcades, elegant patrician houses, and
accentuated by intricately sculptured fountains. Not to be missed are
the clock towers, bustling street markets and the bear pits, home of the
is the birthplace of Einstein's theory of relativity, and the home of
Toblerone chocolate. Here's where we spend the night.
's lead, not only in breaking with Roman Catholicism, but cracking down
on Anabaptists. The Martyrs' Mirror lists forty executions in
. The Ausbund includes a hymn that details the beheading of Hans
Haslibacher in the "Street of Justice." Nevertheless, the
movement continued to grow. More than a century later, in 1659, Dutch
authorities to cease the harassment, but
intensified its efforts to exterminate the Anabaptist "weed."
These efforts, which climaxed in 1671, sent streams of refugees down the
. Our lodging for the
next 2 nights will be in
, Mürren, Thun, Steffisburg
After seeing more of the Bernese Highlands, we'll
descend the mountain to
, literally "the town between the lakes," (Thun and Brienz)
The German composer Mendelssohn described this city as "the most
wonderful of all in this unbelievably beautiful country." In the
is the delightful Höhematte, a fourteen-hectare meadow of sprawling
lawns and flowerbeds. Skirting the Höhematte on the north is the main
thoroughfare, the famous and beautiful Höheweg.
To the south are the dazzling, snow-clad peaks of the
rising to 13,642 feet. The next stop is the Celtic settlement of Thun.
On the northwest shore of
is four-turreted, twelfth-century castle, where Anabaptists were
frequently imprisoned. Surrounding the lake are fruit orchards,
vineyards, charming villages, and more castles. If the weather
cooperates, we will take the mountain railway to Mürren, the highest
year-round inhabited village in the
, and one of the "best romantic getaways."
South of Lake Thun, in the Alpine meadows of the
Simmental is the
. Jacob Ammann was born and baptised here.
We'll get up early to worship with the Schänzli
Mennonite congregation in Muttenz. After worship and fellowship, we'll
slip across the French border to the
. At Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines (formerly Markirch) we will again encounter
the Amish story. From about 1690 this village was the home of Jacob
Ammann for whom the Amish are named. Ammann pressed for reforms on such
issues as church discipline, frequency of communion, the salvation of
the True-Hearted, and shunning. The debate over these issues, accented
by regional differences, led to the painful division, which separated
the Asatian Amish from the Swiss Mennonites.
Then it's back to
for the night. This city is strategically located on the borders of
. It is the oldest university town in the country, and claims to be the
"cultural heart of
." In the old part of the city we will see the town hall, the
market place and the sandstone cathedral.
Within months of the first Anabaptist baptism in
, the movement had spread to
. In August Anabaptists
's reformer, Oecolampadius. The city issued its first mandate against
them in June 1526, followed by others. Severe and ruthless persecution
drove most Anabaptists out of the city into the surrounding cantons. As
late as 1777 authorities ordered local pastors to watch the Anabaptists
and to protect others from being misled by Anabaptist errors.
Day 8: The Jura, Lusanne,
on the shores of
will be our final Swiss destination. French cultural influence makes
distinctly different from the rest of
, located between the
, is known for its banking and commerce, and as the home of the
International Red Cross.
's most "history-rich" section with narrow streets, fountains
and its blend of Gothic, Renaissance and 18th century architecture. We
won't have much time here, but surely we can see the city's trademark,
the Jet d'Eau with its 460-foot plume of water, the Flower Clock and the
Because of John Calvin's autocratic rule,
Anabaptism did not flourish here. There was, however, a two-day public
debate in 1537 where two Anabaptists argued for believer's baptism. When
their argument was rejected the Anabaptist debaters were banished from
the city. Still a considerable number of citizens were won to the faith,
enough so that public opinion turned against Calvin. Calvin retreated to
, where he married a Dutch Mennonite widow. When sentiments changed,
Calvin returned to
in 1541 "as a victor" and inaugurated his theocratic city
government. Mennonites did not reappear in
until the early twentieth century.
Day 9: Return
After a night in Geneva, and we board the plane for our transatlantic flight back home.
2004 Prices -
Price Per Person - $2540 double occupancy
Includes: Round trip airfare, accommodations in
superior tourist class hotels, breakfast and dinner daily, modern transportation.