A large portion of our understanding of scripture was formed in this picturesque setting. Be challenged by the faith and courage of our church fathers on this wonderful tour vacation.
Day 1: Depart USA
Overnight flight to Berlin, Germany.
Day 2: Arrive Berlin, Wittenberg
Willkommen in Deutschland! On arrival in Berlin, travelers will take a taxi to the centrally-located Berlin Hof hotel. After time to explore the nearby Kaiser Wilhelm Church, purchase lunch and shop, we will gather back at the hotel to begin the tour. Our afternoon bus orientation tour will include a stop at the famous Brandenburg Gate for photos. We will also see the Cathedral, the Reichstag building and the lively boulevards, followed by visits to WW2 Topography of Terror Museum and Cold War Check Point Charlie Museum. We will then travel to Wittenberg and our hotel for the next two nights.
Day 3: Wittenberg
This morning our local guide will take us on a tour of Lutherstadt Wittenberg. It was here in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses and Melanchthon helped forge Reformation Theology. Here the Cranachs painted now famous portraits of Luther. We will spend time in the Lutherhalle (Luther House) Museum, where Luther lived first as a monk, then later with his wife and children. We'll be able to view some of Luther's very own personal library, rare manuscripts, and early Bibles. The tour will also include Castle Church, Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary's church) where Luther preached and where his children were baptized and the Luther Oak where he burned the edict from Rome, condemning him as a heretic. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the city or take an optional excursion to nearby Torgau. Tonight we will be joined by members of the Wittenberg English Ministry.
Day 4: Erfurt, Augustinian Monastery
After breakfast, we will travel to Erfurt, then have free time for lunch and a stroll around this delightful medieval town. Our local guide will then take us on a tour including St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Severin’s Church and the famous Merchant’s Bridge. We will end at the Augustinian Monastery where Luther became a monk on July 17, 1505. We will be able to see his monastic quarters, including one cell furnished to look as it would have done when he lived there. At the end of the tour we will have a group worship service in the chapel. This evening we will dine in the “Luther Cellar” restaurant with a traditional meal from his time. We spend two nights in his Augustinian Monastery, now a Christian hotel (subject to availability).
Day 5: Eisenach
In 1521, while fleeing from the wrath of the Pope, Luther took refuge in the Wartburg Castle after a fake kidnapping staged by his friend and protector, Frederick the Wise. We will tour the Wartburg and see where Luther finished translating the New Testament into German in just 11 weeks. Luther spent time in the nearby town of Eisenach at as school boy and sang in the choir of St. George's Church, where the Bach family also worshiped. The afternoon is free to explore the town or tour the Bach Museum and Luther House Museum. The bus will then take us back to Erfurt, followed by an optional tour to Buchenwald WW2 Nazi concentration camp. The evening is at leisure.
Day 6: Rhine Cruise, Rudesheim
On our way to the Rhine River, we will watch a Reformation DVD and then enjoy a delightful and picturesque cruise from St. Goarshausen, past magnificent castles and the famous Loreley Rock to charming Rudesheim. We will then take a cable car over vineyards to the Germania Monument with a gorgeous Rhein view, followed by a tour at St. Hildegard Abbey. Here, we'll enjoy a relaxed group meal and learn about life in the abbey. This evening in Rudesheim we can sing along to German folk songs with live accordion music. We overnight in Rudesheim.
Day 7: Worms, Strasbourg
Our guide in Worms will take us to see the amazing Cathedral, followed by the site of Luther’s Worms Debates (Diet of Worms), now a park, with a plaque commemorating Luther’s brave stand of faith and truth. We’ll have a photo stop at the stunning Reformation Monument and follow this with worship and prayers in the Church of the Holy Trinity. We will then travel into France to visit Strasbourg, referred to as the “City of Hope” and “Refuge of the Righteous” by the Anabaptists. This is where John Calvin wrote his famous books on systematic theology and where Martin Bucer, another Reformation leader, helped bring in the Reformation. We will have a stroll around the city centre to view the Cathedral of Strasbourg, St. Thomas's Church, and charming “La Petite France” quarter. This evening we enjoy a fellowship meal with local believers with a teaching on Calvin, the French Huguenots and the Reformation contribution from Strasbourg.
Day 8: Strasbourg
This morning we'll have the option of worshiping at one of the local English-speaking churches, or a French service at the famous Cathedral. The afternoon is at leisure to explore this wonderful French city, take a canal tour boat ride, rest or try local cuisine favorites- tart flambé or “backeoffe stew.” You may choose to take an optional excursion to explore charming Colmar, just an hour south by train. Colmar escaped damage during the war, and has numerous picturesque half-timbered houses. This was the hometown of Frederic Bartholdi (creator of the Statue of Liberty) and the town includes a small museum, as well as several statues around town. We will spend a second overnight in Strasbourg.
Day 9: Constance, Zurich
Today we’ll have breakfast in France, lunch in Germany and dinner in Switzerland! In Constance, we will pray on the spot where the pre-Reformer Jan Hus was martyred, see the Cathedral where the trial was held, and the prison site, which is now a deluxe hotel. Crossing over in Switzerland, we’ll meet up with our guide in Zurich, to learn about Zwingli and the Anabaptists on a tour of the key Reformation sites in Zurich. We’ll tour the Grossmünster, the Helferei (where Zwingli lived) and see the Zwingli Statue. After a stroll through the historic Auld Stadt (old city) we will dine in an authentic Swiss restaurant.
Day 10: Grindelwald
We will leave Zurich early and head high up to to Grindelwald, nestled in the Swiss Alps. This is our fun Alps play day! Local leisure options include bike rental, hiking with a picnic in a meadow, or the cogwheel railway up to Kleine Scheidigg and the Jungfrau Peak. Frank will escort those who wish on an amazing journey of cable cars and trains to Murren, his favorite place, returning to the hotel in the evening.
Day 11: Geneva
We will stop for coffee in medieval Murten, where we can walk atop the original city walls and explore another chapter of Swiss history. We then continue to Geneva, where Calvin, Knox, Farel and others brought Christ's teachings to eager listeners. Our tour will begin at the impressive Reformation Monument. Four statues of four Reformation leaders stand as sentinels to truth and courage inspired by godly faith. We will see Calvin’s church, the Auditoire de Calvin, (Calvin's Academy, also known as The Protestant Lecture Hall), where the inspired theologian himself taught. Next door is St. Pierre’s Cathedral, where John Calvin preached. We can see his chair and a restored section decorated as it would have been before Calvin. For the hardy, it's only 157 steps up to the top of the North Tower, where the view is worth the effort. Our final stop is an audio guide tour through the incredible Reformation Museum. Below the museum and the Cathedral, we can see the ruins of a Roman sanctuary, a 4th century basilica, and a 6th century church. We have a free time this afternoon to experience these key sites before we dine at a local restaurant this evening for our farewell meal.
Day 12: Return
We transfer to the airport early this morning for our flight home.