10-Days: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic

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DAY 1: DEPART

We depart USA en route to Dusseldorf, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: ARRIVE DUSSELDORF / COLOGNE

We arrive in Düsseldorf and are greeted by our Catholic Travel Centre tour manager, who will accompany us throughout our journey. We make our way on to Cologne. Cologne is famous for its twin-spired gothic cathedral located in the city centre. The cathedral has a special dedication to the Three Magi: two sets of windows depict the Magi, and at the high altar, the three-tiered sarcophagus is said to contain the bones of the Three Wise Men. The relics were supposedly stolen from Milan in 1164. Dinner is at our hotel in Cologne. (D)

DAY 3: COLOGNE / KOBLENZ / RHINE CRUISE / HEIDELBERG

The city of Koblenz is located at the confluence of the River Rhine and River Moselle. We pass through this town en route to the embarkation point for our Rhine River cruise. Our cruise will take us through the Rhine Gorge with its many castles and small villages. We pass by towns like St. Goar, Bacharach, and Rudesheim. After our cruise, we continue to the town of Heidelberg for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 4: HEIDELBERG / ROTHENBURG / MUNICH

We begin with a visit of the University town of Heidelberg, with its castle set high above the Neckar River. Our walking tour along the Haupstrasse will include the Market Place, Church of the Holy Spirit, Students Jail, and Heidelberg Castle. At the Castle we will see the famous “Grosses Fass” (large wine barrel). Our next stop is the walled town of Rothenburg, a charming walled, medieval city. We will enjoy a walking tour including the Ramparts, St. Jakobskirche, with its famous Tilman Reimanschneider Altarpiece of the “Holy Blood”, the town square with its unusual Glockenspiel, and Ploenlein with its colorful half-timbered medieval houses. Time to shop for unusual Christmas items in this “Christmas Village”! We continue to Munich, capital of Bavaria, for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

DAY 5: MUNICH

Our first visit is the Marienplatz, which has been the town’s center square since the town began. We arrive in time to see the famous Glockenspiel in action, with its carved figures re-enacting the wedding festivities of the 16th century lovers, Duke Wilhelm V and Renata von Lothringen. Just down the street we see St. Peter’s Church, the oldest church in Munich. We will have time to stroll among the shops or to sample some of the local brew at the numerous beer gardens. This afternoon we visit the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: MUNICH / KONIGSSEE / BERCHTESGADEN / SALZBURG

Today we enjoy a cruise on Lake Königsee, a thin fjord-like lake that hooks itself around the Watzmann, Germany’s second highest mountain. We then make a visit to the hillside town of Berchtesgaden. East of Berchtesgaden is the little village of Obersalzberg, the site of Hitler’s Berghof (mountain retreat). This “Eagle’s Nest” retreat was built as a teahouse and given to Hitler by his private secretary, Martin Mormann, as a 50th birthday present. In clear weather, Salzburg (Austria) can be seen from the retreat. Salzburg is our final destination for today, a splendid city set on the banks of the Salzach River. We arrive in Salzburg for dinner at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: SALZBURG

We enjoy a tour of Salzburg, highlighted by the Mozart Geburtshaus, the Mozart family household until 1773, when Mozart was 17 years old and by which time he had already received worldwide recognition. We will view the Glockenspiel Tower, Mirabell Gardens and Palace, and Lustschloss Hellbrunn – the 17th century castle built for Bishop Marcus Sitticus, known for its trick fountains. Wear casual clothes since concealed trick-spouts sometimes drench sightseers. We will celebrate the day’s Mass in one of the town’s churches. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: SALZBURG / PASSAU / PRAGUE

En route to Prague we stop at Passau (known as the Bavarian Venice). With 17,774 pipes, St. Stephen’s Cathedral contains one of the largest church pipe organs in the world. We find ourselves in Prague for dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: PRAGUE

This morning our visit will begin in Mala Strana (Little Quarter) with Mass at the Church of Our Lady Victorious, where we will view the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. Nearby is the Church of St. Nicholas, one of the city’s finest. The famous Charles Bridge, lined on both sides by religious statues, leads us out of the Little Quarter into the Old Town. This neighborhood includes the Renaissance Town Hall with its animated astronomical clock. Our visit to Old Town includes “The Loreto”, an important place of pilgrimage since 1626. The heart of this complex is a copy of a house believed to be the Virgin Mary’s house that was miraculously transported from Nazareth to Loreto, Italy in 1278. Our visit includes as well Castle Square and St. Vitus Cathedral. A festive farewell dinner awaits us at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 10: PRAGUE / USA

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for our return flight to USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.