10 Day Central Europe with Rhine River Cruise & Passion Play



DAY 1:  NORTH AMERICA / MUNICHDepart North America aboard our trans- Atlantic flight.  Dinner and breakfast will be served aloft.

DAY 2:  MUNICH.  After arrival in Munich, we will be picked up and transferred from the airport to our hotel.  The remainder of the day is at our leisure for rest, shopping or other pursuits of our own with dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 3:  MUNICH / HOHENSCHWANGAU / OBERAMMERGAU.  This morning, we begin with a tour of the Frauenkirche - the largest church in Munich.  Located in the city center at Frauenplatz, this Catholic cathedral is a major landmark and a popular tourist attraction.  Next, we visit the Marienplatz - a central square in the city center of Munich since 1158.  In the Middle Ages, markets and tournaments were held in this city square.  The Glockenspiel in the new city hall was inspired by these tournaments, and draws millions of tourists a year.  Following this, we drive to Hohenschwangau.  Here, we tour the famous Neuschwanstein Castle - a 19th-century Bavarian palace.  Located on a mountain top in Germany, the palace was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner, the King's inspiring muse.  It is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.  Afterwards, we continue on to Oberammergau for dinner and overnight.

DAY 4:  OBERAMMERGAU - The Passion Play.  The entire day is devoted to attending a performance of the world famous Passion Play, held once every ten years in this tiny village.  Dinner and overnight.

DAY 5:  OBERAMMERGAU / INNSBRUCK / EINSIEDELN / LUCERNE.  This morning, we head for Lucerne, Switzerland.  Along the way, we make several stops.  First, is picturesque Innsbruck with its Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), which is every tourist's first objective.  This magnificent Late Gothic building, roofed with gilded copper tiles, was built in 1494-96 to commemorate Maximilian I's marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza and served as a box from which the court watched civic festivities in the square below.  Next stop is in the village of Einsiedeln - the most frequented pilgrimage destination in Switzerland.  The Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey, located within the village, is the site of the most significant baroque church in Switzerland with the grace chapel and a statue of the Black Madonna.  We continue on the breathtaking town of Lucerne for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 6:  LUCERNE.  After a nights rest & a hearty breakfast, we have a panoramic tour of this pristine town & it’s surroundings.  First, we see the Lion Monument (or Löwendenkmal) - Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion, found in a small park just off Lowenplatz.  The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when the mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.  Next, we see the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), built in 1333.  As we cross its 200-meter length, we see 120 captioned triangular paintings from the early 1500s that chronicle the city's history.  The paintings feature St. Mauritius and St. Leodegar, the patron saints of Lucerne.  Then, on to the Jesuit Church - first large sacral Baroque church in Switzerland; constructed in 1666 by Father Christoph Vogler.  The afternoon is at our leisure for shopping or other pursuits of our own.  At the end of the day, we retire to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 7:  LUCERNE / SCHAFFHAUSEN / KARLSRUHE.  After breakfast this morning, we board our motor coach and head for Karlsruhe.  Along the way, we stop in Schaffhausen to view the spectacular Rhine Falls – the largest falls in Europe.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 8:  KARLSRUHE / COLOGNE.  This morning, we drive to Cologne – the location of World Youth Day 2005.  We have a city tour including the Dome of Cologne, which was built in the period from 1248 until 1880, is known as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.  Afterwards, we retire to our hotel for dinner & overnight.

DAY 9:  COLOGNE / ST. GOAR / RUEDESHEIM / FRANKFURT.  After a hearty breakfast, we drive to St. Goar to board our boat for a spectacular cruise on the Rhine.  Our cruise ends at Ruedesheim, where we will take time for wine tasting at a local winery before continuing on to Frankfurt.  This evening, we enjoy our farewell dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 10:  FRANKFURT / NORTH AMERICA.  Transfer this morning to theairport and onward home to mark the end of our memorable pilgrimage.