DAY 1: Depart USA
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your comfortable night-flight to Switzerland.
Day 2 (Night 2) and 3: Zurich , Appenzell, Davos
We arrive in Zurich , where we will meet our Swiss tour guide. In Zurich we will encounter the Swiss Reformation and the cradle of Swiss-South German Anabaptism. We will visit the Great Church 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 Limmat River 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 first baptism Zurich : 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 Zurich near Wappenswil.
From the cave we will travel to the Kyberg Castle Museum , near 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, Lucerne
This is the day we will exchange our bus for a train, the Glacier Express, for a spectacular ride through the Alps . After boarding the bus again, we will stop in Lucerne on the northeast bank of Lake Lucerne . 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 tribute to Lucerne '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, Pilatus (2,132m) on the northeast and Rigi (1,797m) on the east. We spend the night in Lucerne.
Day 5: The Emmental - Langnau, Trachselwald, Bern
Many 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 Bern , 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 Trachselwald Castle , and the newly discovered " Joder Cave " near Schangnau are among the must-see stops.
Bern, the Swiss capitol since 1848, is built on a peninsula created by the horseshoe shape of the Aare River . The cobblestoned, medieval streets of the Old Town 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 city's mascots. Bern is the birthplace of Einstein's theory of relativity, and the home of Toblerone chocolate. Here's where we spend the night.
Bern followed Zurich 's lead, not only in breaking with Roman Catholicism, but cracking down on Anabaptists. The Martyrs' Mirror lists forty executions in Bern . 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 Mennonites petitioned Bern authorities to cease the harassment, but Bern intensified its efforts to exterminate the Anabaptist "weed." These efforts, which climaxed in 1671, sent streams of refugees down the Rhine River to the Palatinate . Our lodging for the next 2 nights will be in Bern.
Day 6: Bernese Highlands , Interlaken , M�rren, Thun, Steffisburg
After seeing more of the Bernese Highlands, we'll descend the mountain to Interlaken , 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 center of Interlaken 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 Jungfrau rising to 13,642 feet. The next stop is the Celtic settlement of Thun. On the northwest shore of Lake Thun 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 Bernese Highlands , and one of the "best romantic getaways."
South of Lake Thun, in the Alpine meadows of the Simmental is the village of Erlenbach . Jacob Ammann was born and baptised here.
Day 7: Muttenz , Alsace , Basel
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 Alsace . 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 Basel for the night. This city is strategically located on the borders of three nations- Germany , France and Switzerland . It is the oldest university town in the country, and claims to be the "cultural heart of Switzerland ." 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 Zurich , the movement had spread to Basel . In August Anabaptists debated with Basel '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, Geneva
Lusanne and Geneva on the shores of Lake Geneva will be our final Swiss destination. French cultural influence makes Geneva distinctly different from the rest of Switzerland . Geneva , located between the Jura Mountains and the Alps , is known for its banking and commerce, and as the home of the International Red Cross. Old Town is Geneva '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 Reformation Monument.
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 Strasbourg , where he married a Dutch Mennonite widow. When sentiments changed, Calvin returned to Geneva in 1541 "as a victor" and inaugurated his theocratic city government. Mennonites did not reappear in Geneva until the early twentieth century.
Day 9: Return
After a night in Geneva and we board the plane for our transatlantic flight back home.