11-Days: A Pilgrimage to Germany & Austria including Cologne

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

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

DAY 2: ARRIVE FRANKFURT / TRANSFER COLOGNE

Upon arrival in Frankfurt we will be met by our English speaking tour escort and board our waiting motor coach and transfer to Cologne. Cologne is famous for its twin-spired gothic cathedral located in the city centre. Here we celebrate Mass. 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. We will enjoy dinner this evening at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 3: COLOGNE / BONN / RÜDESHEIM

This morning we depart for Bonn, a charming Rhineland town with more greenery than nearly any other city in Europe. Bonn is a small university town and was the former capital of West Germany. We will visit the town with our tour escort and the afternoon is at leisure to explore the city. We then continue to Rüdesheim, which stretches along the Rhine and is one of the great wine-growing regions of the world. Tonight, dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 4: RÜDESHEIM: BINGEN MONASTERY, RHINE RIVER CRUISE & WINE TASTING

This morning we visit the Bingen Monastery. Here we celebrate Mass. The Benedictine Cloister for women is located above the Eibingen and lies directly among the vineyards. The neo-romanic church and monastery was constructed during the years 1900 – 1904. It serves as the direct successor cloister to the Rupertsberg women’s monastery in Bingen, which was erected by St. Hildegard von Binger between 1147 and 1152. The monastery church houses paintings in the Beuroner Style.
This afternoon we enjoy a cruise on the Rhine, passing the many magical castles and forts, vineyards and small towns along the banks of the Rhine
from Rüdesheim to the Lorelei Rock in the town of St. Goarshausen. There is a German legend about a beautiful young maiden named Lorelei who threw herself into the Rhine River in despair over a faithless lover. Upon her death she was transformed into a siren and could be heard singing on a rock near St. Goar. Because many ships were wrecked in and around that rock, the legend says that Lorelei beckons sailors to crash on her rock. We have some time at leisure this afternoon to explore Rüdesheim and later we enjoy a local wine tasting. This night, we can break up into small groups and explore the dinner scene at the many friendly local restaurants in this quaint riverside town. (B)

DAY 5: RÜDESHEIM / HEIDELBERG / MUNICH

Today we head northwards to 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). We continue to Munich, capital of Bavaria, for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

DAY 6: MUNICH: VISIT OF THE CITY

This morning we start our city tour of Bavaria’s capital including Nymphenburg Palace, summer home of the Bavarian monarchs with its magnificent gardens, the historic glockenspiel on the Marienplatz, the revered twin-towered Fraunkirche (Church), the most familiar landmark of old Munich, and more. We will also visit the Baroque church of Asamkirche. Here we celebrate Mass. This afternoon is at leisure to explore on our own. Tonight we will enjoy a dinner and try the famous beer at the Hofbrauhaus. (B, D)

DAY 7: MUNICH / BERCHTESGADEN / LAKE KONIGSEE / SALZBURG

This morning we 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. The Eagle’s Nest remained unscathed from the bombing of the Allied Forces during WWII. Since 1952 it has been open to the public as a mountain top restaurant with a spectacular view. In clear weather, Salzburg (Austria) can be seen from the retreat.
This afternoon we enjoy a cruise on Lake Konigsee, a thin fjord-like lake that hooks itself around the Watzmann, Germany’s second highest mountain. Lake Konigsee is known throughout the world for its emerald green water and unique mountain landscape. We’ll cruise silently across the lake on electric-powered boats and hear the famed Konigsee echo. We continue on to the peninsula of St. Bartholomew with the unmistakable red onion domes atop its ancient pilgrimage church. 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 8: SALZBURG: VISIT OF THE CITY

This morning we explore Salzburg, including a visit to Mozart’s Gerbertshaus, the composer’s birthplace, now a museum; the Glockenspiel Tower, Mirabell Gardens and Palace, and Lustschloss Hellbrunn, the 17th century castle built for Bishop Marcus Sitticus which is known for its trick fountains. Wear casual clothes; concealed trick-spouts sometimes drench sightseers. We then explore the religious heritage of this town, including Nonnberg, believed to be the oldest nunnery in existence, founded by St. Rupert in the 8th century, plus the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, also founded by St. Rupert.
This afternoon our guide will take us on a motor coach tour into the countryside to see some of the sites in and around Salzburg where The Sound of Music (starring Julie Andrews) was shot. Our tour includes the charming village of Mondsee. Next to the parish church in Mondsee we see the castle where the famous movie’s wedding scene was shot. Salzburg is a very easy town to navigate on foot, and we will have the

opportunity to explore some of the local restaurants this evening as we break off into small groups for an evening of dinner on our own. (B)

DAY 9: SALZBURG / VIENNA

This morning we have some time at leisure to explore Salzburg on our own. Then this afternoon we begin our drive across the Austrian countryside en route to Vienna. Upon arrival in the Royal City, we have a panoramic orientation tour of the city by motor coach. Dinner tonight is at the hotel. (B, D)

DAY 10: VIENNA: CITY TOUR

After breakfast, we begin our day with a sightseeing tour of the Imperial city of Vienna. Through the tour we will gain an overall impression of the most significant historical sights of Vienna. We begin at the Hofburg Chapel. Next our local guide will show us the Ringstrabe with its magnificent buildings, such as the State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural History, the City Hall, the Hofburg, the Parliament, the University, the impressive Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where we celebrate Mass, as well as the Votive Church. We will also see the Giant Wheel at the Prater amusement park and the beautiful Belvedere Palace gardens. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure for a stroll around this magnificent city.

Tonight, a special treat: as the largest wine-growing city, Vienna has also become famous for its excellent local “Heurigen” wine. Get the spirit of this typical Viennese “Heurigen” atmosphere at a local restaurant in the wine growing village of Grinzing, where we will have a festive farewell dinner and a taste of the wine while being entertained by the melancholy “Schrammein music”. (B, D)

DAY 11: RETURN TO USA

We transfer to the Vienna airport for our return flight to the 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.