14-Days: A Grand Journey to Germany & Austria

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

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

DAY 2: ARRIVE MUNICH

Upon arrival in Munich we will be met by our English speaking guide and board our waiting motor coach and transfer to our hotel in Munich. Dinner is at our hotel tonight. (D)

DAY 3: 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. Here we celebrate Mass. We will also visit the Baroque church of Asamkirche. This afternoon is at leisure to explore on our own. Tonight we will enjoy a festive dinner at the famous Hofbrauhaus. (B, D)

DAY 4: MUNICH: DACHAU & VISIT OF THE CITY

This morning we visit the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau. After a morning of sightseeing and emotional exertion, we will return to Munich to visit 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. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 5: MUNICH: EXCURSION TO LINDERHOFF CASTLE, ETTAL ABBEY, OBERAMMEGRAU & ANDECHS

This morning we head south of Munich, where we drive deep into the forest to mad King Ludwig’s Linderhof Castle, the oddest and most bewitching of
King Ludwig’s castles. The castle is situated in a lovely valley in the middle of the Ammergau Alps and is surrounded by magnificent terraces, gardens, pools, cascades, and a large ornament lake. After our visit to this Rococo pearl, we continue a few miles down the road to the magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Ettal. This beautiful Baroque abbey was founded in 1313. Here we celebrate Mass.

After lunch on our own, we depart for Oberammergau, a beautiful village, known both for hosting the Passion Play and for its beautiful wood carvings. The story of Oberammergau is one of faith and began with a miracle. In the 1600’s, “The Black Plague” swept through Europe, striking down one in every three people and leaving in its wake, misery, panic and death. The people of Oberammergau prayed to be spared, vowing that they would present a play depicting the Life and Passion of Jesus Christ every 10 years. True to their word, the villagers presented their Passion Play in 1634 and have kept their pledge, the routine of plays only having been interrupted by the two World Wars.

We continue to Andechs, a beautiful 14th century hill-top monastery. The Gothic church has a fussy Rococo interior and the tomb of the composer Carl Orff, but the Benedictine brothers are more famous for their potent beer. The monks have been brewing beer here for over 500 years. We return to Munich for dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 6: MUNICH / ALTOTTING: VISIT OF THE TOWN

Today our motor coach will take us amidst green meadows and snowcapped mountains to the heart of Bavaria, Altotting. This morning we visit one of Germany’s most celebrated shrines – Our Lady of Altotting. The Shrine of Black Madonna of Altotting has for centuries served among Germany’s most beloved devotions to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. The Shrine of Our Lady of Altotting has been mentioned in Europe side-by-side with other great places of pilgrimage – such as Lourdes, Fatima and Czestochowa. The ongoing miracles are manifested by countless conversions and a return to renewed faith of the pilgrims. Over 2000 votive paintings, that cover the outside walls of the chapel, speak of the trust in the intercessions of the Black Madonna of Altotting. In November 1980, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine. We take some time to visit the ‘miraculous’ statue of our Lady in the Chapel of Mercy, then take some time for our own reflections. We celebrate Mass at the shrine. Dinner is at our hotel tonight. (B, D)

DAY 7: ALTOTTING / LAKE KONIGSEE / BERCHTESGADEN / SALZBURG

This morning 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.

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. 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. As it would be, 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, known for its trick fountains. Wear casual clothes; concealed trick-spouts sometimes drench sightseers. In the afternoon we 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. Dinner is at our hotel tonight. (B, D)

DAY 9: SALZBURG: SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR

This morning 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. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. Dinner is at our hotel tonight. (B, D)

DAY 10: SALZBURG/ MARIAZELL/ VIENNA

This morning we begin our drive across the Austrian countryside en route to Mariazell, the resort town that is also home of the Mariazell Basilica, dating back to the dawn of the 14th century. The Chapel of Grace is considered the national shrine of Austria. Miracles are attributed to its statue of the Virgin, giving rise to fame that has spread all over Europe. After Mass here, we continue to Vienna for the evening and dinner at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 11: 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, greeted by the angelic voices of the Vienna Boys Choir (subject to their schedule). 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 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. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 12: VIENNA: VISIT OF THE CITY & AFTERNOON AT LEISURE

This morning we start our sightseeing with a visit to the Schubert Museum, in honor of the great composer. You’ll then be transferred to the magnificent Baroque Schonbrunn Palace, former summer residence of the Habsburgs. On a guided tour you will be shown the splendid rooms of the outstanding palace, followed by a walk through the unique gardens. The afternoon is at leisure. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 13: VIENNA: VIENNA WOODS

Our half-day excursion will show you the most beautiful sights of the southern part of the Vienna Woods. Passing the Roman City of Baden that is famous for its thermal springs, we take you through the romantic Helenental Valley to the former Mayerling hunting lodge, today a commemorative chapel, where Crown Prince Rudolph, the only son of Emperor Franz Joseph, committed suicide with Baroness Vetsera in 1889. The forest in this area once was the favorite hunting ground of Franz Schubert.

In the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, you visit the medieval cloister which houses the remains of the last Babenberger. Driving by Holdrichs where Franz Schubert composed his song, ‘The Lindentree’. We return to Vienna, passing Liechtenstein Castle. Back in Vienna, we enjoy a free afternoon in this unique city. We offer an evening concert at the Votivkirche, then gather together again for a festive dinner with wine and music in a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 14: 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.