Cradle of the Reformation
Upon arrival in Frankfurt, we are welcomed by our tour escort who will accompany our group throughout the week. We will have local city guides as needed. We board our coach and drive to the quaint and charming village of Rüdesheim, which is located in the matchless Rhine Middle-Valley and dates back to before the Roman era. Here, we start with the visit of Siegfrieds Mechanisches Musikkabinett, the first German museum for data-storage musical instruments, and listen to some these fascinating machines. Then, we tour the village and learn something about the history of this place including its history in wine-making. In the afternoon, we enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Rhine River, one of the most picturesque stretches of this majestic waterway, up to St. Goarshausen. We sail past magnificent castles and the famous Loreley Rock. Coming back to Rüdesheim, we have a wine-tasting of local wines in a vineyard and dinner. Overnight is in Rüdesheim. This morning, we drive to Mainz and tour the birthplace of printing, the Gutenberg Museum, where the evolution of printing is documented, and Gutenberg’s first Bible and the world’s tiniest Bible are on display. Then, we continue to St. Martin’s Cathedral, built in the 8th century and towering in all its might and grandeur. Seven king’s coronations took place over the centuries in the Mainz Cathedral. Afterwards, we continue to Worms, thought to be one of the oldest towns in Germany. We visit the world’s largest Memorial to the Reformation and the Church of the Holy Trinity. Next, we view Europe’s oldest Jewish cemetery, also known as the Holy Sands and we visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, situated on the highest elevation of the inner city. Before we continue to Speyer, our last destination for today, we have some time to explore the pedestrian area of Worms on our own. Dinner and overnight are in Speyer.
Visit the Luther Memorial
After breakfast, we tour the city of Speyer, following the footsteps of the reformation. We learn about the “Memorial Church of the Protestation”. Its construction was supposed to be a reminder of the protest action that the imperial evangelical states brought to bear in 1529 at the Reichstag in Speyer. The Luther memorial in the vestibule and the adjacent statues of local Protestant rulers serve as reminders of this event. We also have the time for a short individual inside visit of the Cathedral, the biggest historic architectural monument of its time. Finally, we see the ruins of the synagogue, and the Mikvah, which are the oldest visible remains of a synagogue in Central Europe. Then, we make our way to Nuremberg. Before entering the city core, we decide together if we have a photo stop at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, or if we prefer to try Nuremberger Sausages (not included) and have a break for an individual look around the Old Town of Nuremberg. In the afternoon, we tour the city highlights like Dürer House, Sebaldus Church, Market Place and Kaiserburg. Dinner and overnight are in Nuremberg. We will early depart Nuremberg for Coburg and visit the famous Veste Coburg, the fortress where Luther took refuge and lived during the Augsburg Confession. While visiting the castle, we’ll see the Luther Room, the art treasures in the various collections, and the royal building with the Luther Chapel. We continue to Eisenach and finish the day by visiting two highlights of this city. First, we tour the Luther (Cotta) House, where Luther lived as a student, and the Luther exhibition, documenting his life and theologies. Then, we go on to the Bach House where J.S. Bach was born. Dinner and overnight are in Eisenach. After breakfast, we begin our day with exploring the magnificent Wartburg Castle. We tour the Great Hall, the art exhibition, the Elisabeth Hallway and the Luther Room, where “Junker Jörg” (the Knight George) translated the New Testament into German. The next stop will take us back to Eisenach city to enjoy a short orientation tour. We learn about St. George’s Church where St. Elisabeth was married and J.S. Bach baptized (only outside). Afterwards, we continue to Erfurt, the spiritual home of Martin Luther. It was here that Luther obtained a degree in 1502 and where he took the decisive step to turn to theology and the monastic life. Our walking tour begins in the historical section of the city with the Church of St. Severus and St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Luther was ordained as a priest. We explore the Augustinian Monastery, with a permanent exhibit depicting Luther’s life as a monk in Erfurt. And of course, we discover the other city highlights, too, like the Fish Market, Town Hall, Krämer Bridge, and Luther Memorial. Dinner and overnight are in Erfurt.
See St. Mary’s Church Where Luther Preached
In the morning, we will continue on to Eisleben and tour the house where Luther was born in 1483. We will also see the house where he died in 1546. Next, we visit St. Peter’s Church where Luther was baptized and St. Andrew’s Church where Luther preached his last sermons and where his body was laid in state. We will board our coach for a drive north to Wittenberg. From 1508, Wittenberg was the main workplace of Martin Luther. We visit the Luther Hall and the Augustinian Monastery where Luther lived as a monk and later, in 1525, as owner with his wife and family. Luther Hall is the largest museum of Reformation history in the world. Afterwards, we walk to the Market Square and Town Hall. Then, we tour All Saints Church (Schlosskirche), the famous site where Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Castle Church door, sparking the beginning of the Reformation. It is here that Luther is buried alongside his fellow reformer, Philipp Melanchthon. We conclude the tour at St. Mary’s Church, where Luther did the majority of his preaching. In the evening, we enjoy dinner at Brauhaus Wittenberg and overnight in Wittenberg. This morning, we will drive to Berlin, the capital of the reunified Germany. We tour the city by coach and by foot, featuring the city center with the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, Nikolai Quarter, Unter den Linden, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Museum Island and more. We will stop at Check-Point Charlie for photos. In the noontime, we enjoy a boat trip on the Spree. The afternoon is at leisure followed by a Farewell Dinner at Hofbräu Berlin. Overnight is in Berlin.