10 Days - Austria, Germany & Oberammergau

“What makes this performance so extraordinary is how the Stage truly comes alive! Not only in the decoration of the Set and the performance of the Actors, but with real animals and birds playing under the open sky. There are thirty-six (36) main actors who are dressed in white costumes, with their supporting cast dressed in greyish blue. The actors do not wear makeup, as that is their natural hair. Every scene is real, and live, so for example: the actor who is tied to the cross has to stay in that position for more than one (1) hour In between each scene, there are “Living Tableaus”, where the live actors perform intricate sets of the Old Testament. You can never describe the feeling you get, as you see these stories being performed right in front of you”.

BOOK YOUR TRIP
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YOUR TRIP INCLUDES:

  • Round Trip Airfare.
  • All airport taxes and Fuel SURCHARGES.
  • Includes First class Hotels 4 stars.
  • Headphones for the pilgrimage.
  • Transfers as per itinerary.
  • Breakfast and Dinner daily.
  • Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary.
  • Daily Masses.
  • Professional local Catholic guide(s)
  • Prices Based on Double Occupancy.
  • Tour Brochures: Special promotional brochures featuring the Pilgrimage printed for distribution by you.
  • Travel Protection Plan for Everybody on Pilgrimage is provided for FREE.
YOUR TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Trip cancellation protection plan is not included and is strongly recommended.
  • Nativity Pilgrimage offers a comprehensive policy at additional cost.
  • Passport & visa costs, if any.
  • S. Passports must be valid for at least six (6) months subsequent to return date.
  • Items of a personal nature (hotel extras, laundry, phone calls, etc.).
  • Meals not specified in the program.
  • Gratuities to the tour manager, guides and driver.
  • Items not specifically mentioned above.

In the 17th century the thirty years’ war took place (1618-1648) in central Europe and was one of history’s most devastating. As a result of the war, poverty and disease was widespread and thousands died as a result of the plague. In the small village of Oberammergau alone there were 80 deaths. During this time of suffering the citizens of Oberammergau made a sacred pledge that every 10 years they would perform a “Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ” if God would protect them from the plague. Legend has it that after the vow was made, there was not even one further case of Bubonic Plague in the village and those town members that already were afflicted recovered.

The promise was fulfilled for the first time during Pentecost in 1634 and every 10 years since, the villagers of Oberammergau have continued to implement their pledge with the exception of 1940 when the play was cancelled due to World War 2.

This tradition has continued over 4 centuries with only residents of Oberammergau permitted to actually take part. The participants devote a year of their lives to re-enact the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. All of the people taking part in the Passion play or as it is known in German “Passionsspiele” are ordinary people who carry on pursuing their normal everyday lives such as doctors, teachers, housewives etc. All the main speaking parts have always been filled by actors who were born in Oberammergau or have lived there for at least 20 years. This custom has remained throughout the 380 years since this world famous Passion Play was first performed.

The Passion Play (Passionsspiele) takes place in an open theatre that seats approximately 5.000 people, with a magnificent mountain background and performances take place 5 days a week from May until late September/early October. Even though the play is in German, people from around the world, many of them not religious, come to experience the fascinating way the town comes together to perform the Passion Play. It is estimated that more than half a million visitors came to Oberammergau in 2010 to see the play.

Originally the play was performed in the parish church which soon proved to be too small and it was then held in the Church graveyard. Over the years there were a number of changes, until in the 18th century the graveyard venue was also too small and the play was moved to a nearby field with a new stage having to be built each year. Eventually towards the end of the 19th century a permanent stage was built with outstanding acoustics and seating for approximately 4000 spectators. The present day stage looks very similar but has been enlarged from time to time and renovated to include comfortable seating, underfloor heating, and modern toilet facilities. It is wheelchair accessible and has a seating capacity for an audience of more than 4700.

In addition to the 21 main cast roles about half the inhabitants of Oberammergau devotedly re-enact the story of Jesus. None of the participants see themselves as professional actors and all have normal jobs but see the honour of taking part in the Passion Play as a reward in itself.

Preparations for 2020 have already begun with the exact schedule to be decided by 2017. Rehearsals take about 10 months and in preparation for the 2020 play, in 2019 by Ash Wednesday all participants, according to tradition, will start growing their hair and the men will grow beards and by autumn 2019 rehearsals for the Passion Play will begin. Only those portraying Romans naturally do not have to grow beards.

Things To See In Garmisch-Partenkirchen District


One of the most beautiful mountain resorts in Germany is the Garmisch-Partenkirchen District. Situated in the heart of Bavaria, it’s a mountain resort town with a border that touches Austria. The Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, is located very close. Apart from being one of the most beautiful places in the country, the district was also the home of the 1936 Olympic Winter Games.

For many centuries, the two towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were completely different. It wasn’t until 1935, when Adolf Hitler forced the mayors of the two towns to merge together. There’s a significant difference between the two towns as well. The cobblestoned, fresco-filled streets of Partenkirchen harken back to the days of old, while the asphalt-lined, modern-styled streets of Garmisch offer a bit of modern appeal.

There are plenty of places that you can see and visit through the Garmisch-Partenkirchen District. Here are some of the best attractions.

Due to its close proximity, the Zugspitze is one of the most popular destinations for people who visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen. If you go during the winters, you can easily enjoy time skiing or relaxing at many of the beautiful mountain lodges located along the way. The Zugspitze has a huge mountain resort, as well, which attracts skiing enthusiasts from all over the country.

The Bavarian Alps


If you are into hiking and trekking, why not take a trip to the Bavarian Alps? There are guided tours that leave from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district to numerous ranges in the Bavarian Alps. The tours generally range in terms of difficulty, so if this is the first time that you are going hiking, it would be best to choose a beginner tour. As you become more experienced, you can take on greater challenges!

Riessersee


The gorgeous Riessersee lake is a must-visit for tourists in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It was used as the main lake for hosting the speed skating events back in the 1936 Winter Olympics. The lake is situated on the southwestern side of the district. It’s arguably one of the most scenic places that you can visit in the country, with enormous mountains rising in the background and trees littering the horizon. Many have said that the Riessersee has a very calming influence on them when they arrive.

Fern Pass


The Fern Pass is situated in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria, though a small portion of it also moves through the Zugspitze. The summit of the Fern Pass goes as high as 1,210 meters. The pass was created by a massive mountain slide, and it was developed over time by travelers. It’s currently regarded as one of the most popular destinations for tourists who are visiting the district.

Zirbel


While the region itself is all about hiking and travelling, there are plenty of local delicacies that you can try here as well. Characterized by an old, iconic bear, the Zirbel is a local pub that has been standing tall for many years. It’s a popular destination for tourists who just want to rest and drink some beer after a tiring day. However, the menu doesn’t just stop at drinks—you can try out their exciting schnitzel or noodle dishes if you really want a proper.

Jagdschloss Schachen


Arguably one of the most popular hiking routes in the district, this one takes you straight to King Ludwig II’s hunting lodge. It’s around 10 kilometers long, and you will notice the plain wooden hut from a considerable distance away. However, while the exterior may be simple, the interior looks like something out of an Arabian fairytale.

The picturesque village of Oberammergau, in its lovely mountain setting is situated in Bavaria Germany in the district of Garmisch-Partenkiirchen near the Austrian border.

It is widely known for its Passionsspiele (Passion Play) that is performed every 10 years. This charming town is also known for its woodcarvers who have been skilled at this craft continuously ever since medieval times and there are many shops that offer these wonderful carvings in a variety of sizes.

Even in the years between the enactment of the play there are many interesting places to visit. Walking through the village itself is a fascinating experience with its splendid buildings, lovely woodcarvings and delightful traditions. There are traditional fairytale houses with colorful pictures on the exteriors, painted by artists. This is an old custom that has been carried on through the ages and continued in modern times.

The area also has some of Bavarias outstanding churches and castles.

INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP
  • Capital: Berlin
  • Language: German
  • Population: 81 million
  • Time Zone: EST plus 6 hours
  • Currency: Euro (EUR or €)
  • Electricity: 230V. 50Hz
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ITINERARY
Day
1

Thursday: USA to Vienna

Today: Your pilgrimage begins today as you depart on your overnight flight to Austria. Meals and drinks served aloft.

Day
2

Friday: Arrive Vienna

Today: Arrival at Vienna Airport, travel through customs and meet our guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage.

Evening: Welcome dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel

Day
3

Saturday: Vienna

Today: After breakfast, we will begin to tour the most important historical sights of Vienna. Begin our day with a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral for visit and Mass. Then, we pass by the Hofburg Palace (the winter residence of the Habsburg emperors), the Capuchin Church (which contains the imperial vaults), St. Charles’ Church (a splendid example of late Baroque architecture), and the Belvedere Palace (former residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy.) Drive around the Ring, one of the most magnificent boulevards in the world, passing the Vienna Opera, Museums, House of Parliament, City Hall, and the Burgtheater. You will have some free time for lunch at your own leisure. Later in the afternoon, we will experience an extended tour of the Schönbrunn Palace.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
4

Sunday: Vienna / Melk Abbey / Lake District / Salzburg

Today: After breakfast, we will drive through the magnificent scenery along the Danube, known as the Wachau, a region that is the pride of the historic preservation movement in Austria. We will stop for a visit in Melk, with its Abbey crowning the rocky hill overlooking the Danube. It is the best sample of Baroque architecture in Austria. Visit the Benedictine Abbey, which was founded in 1702. Its library contains over 80,000 books, and 2,000 manuscripts – all on religious subjects. Celebrate Mass, and then have time to grab lunch at your own leisure. After lunch, we drive along the Austrian Lake District, with marvelous views of the Salzkammergut region to Leopoldskron. This afternoon, we will arrive at the Baroque city of Salzburg, a jewel set on the beautiful banks of the Salzach River.
Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
5

Monday: Salzburg

Today: This morning, you will be transferred to the Shrine of Maria Plain in Salzburg, where we will celebrate Mass at the Shrine. Continue on a guided tour of Salzburg’s sights starting at Mirable Gardens, then along Getreidegasse, the city’s pedestrian street, lined with authentic 17th and 18th century buildings including the house where Mozart was born. View Monchsberg with the fortress “Hohensalzburg” which overlooks the city. See Residenzplatz, the center square of Salzburg, dominated by the dynamic sculpture of the Residenzbrunnen, the largest baroque fountain north of the Alps. The Residenz building, built in 1596, was once the palace of the Bishops. Nearby stands the Cathedral dating from 1614. Next, visit St. Peter’s Abbey, next to the cemetery where the escape was filmed in “Sound of Music” and where most of Mozart’s religious works were premiered. You will have time for lunch on your own, and then the remainder of the day free to spend at your own leisure.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
6

Tuesday: Excursion To Bavaria: Silent Night Chapel / Marktl Am Inn / Altotting

Today: After breakfast, we will begin the day with a visit to the Silent night chapel where the famous Christmas Carol was written. Then we drive north to the Austrian and Germany boarder, along the River Inn to the little town of Marktl am Inn home town of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI where we visit the local church where the Pope was Baptized at and his birth place now functioning as a Museum. We depart for Altotting, with time to grab lunch on your own. Altotting hosts one of Germany’s most celebrated shrines, the Chapel of Mercy. Altotting is Germany’s Lourdes, with the Chapel’s 13th century statue of the Blessed Virgin credited with numerous miracles. Altotting has been a place of pilgrimage in Germany for over 500 years. At the Shrine we visit the 750 year-old Black Madonna. We will celebrate Mass, and then return to Salzburg.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

 

Evening: Overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
7

Wednesday: Altotting / Ettal / Oberammergau

Today: Start the morning with breakfast, then depart for Bavaria to explore King Ludwig’s majestic castle, the Cinderella-style Neuschwanstein, and the King’s former residence. Lunch on own before we visit the Monastery of Ettal, almost 2700 feet above sea level, located in a narrow mountain valley of the Western Alpine foothills. Celebrate Mass at the Monastery, and then continue on our transfer where we will arrive in the late afternoon in Oberammergau, home of the famous Passion Play. The little village of Oberammergau, is home of the famous Passion Play of the life of Christ. The play dates back to 1633 when the Plague, the “Black Death”, took a severe toll of lives in the small village. In their distress, the inhabitants turned to God and vowed that if the pestilence were taken from them, they would perform a play every ten years, depicting the suffering and death of the Savior. Their plea was heard and there were no further plague victims in Oberammergau. The first performance of the Passion play took place in 1634 in the village cemetery.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
8

Thursday: Oberammergau / Passion Play: Performance Day

Today: After breakfast, we will gather to celebrate Mass. Following a light lunch, we will make our way to the world famous Passion Play Theatre. We will attend the performance of a lifetime, the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play. Oberammergau’s sleepy village springs to life to put on a play that draws the eyes of the world upon it! Be part of the mission of the Passion of Christ, the greatest story ever told and spread the Gospel! Share His message of faith and love! The Oberammergau Passion Play tells the story of the Passion of Christ, beginning with His entry into the ancient city of Jerusalem, followed by His trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. The play is held in a beautiful open air theatre that is praised for its superb acoustics and comfort, and it can accommodate up to 4,500 people.

The Play is approximately five and a half hours long and is performed in two acts.
Act I : 2:30pm – 5:00pm

Intermission: 5:30pm – 7:30pm; enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Act II: 8:00pm – 10:30pm

Evening: Overnight at your hotel.

Day
9

Friday: Oberammergau / Munich

Today: After breakfast, we leave Oberammergau and drive north to Munich (city of the monks). Capital of Bavaria, Munich is for sure the most beautiful city in Germany. Upon arrival, your local guide will take you on a guided tour which will include visit of the Marienplatz and the world famous “Glockenspiel,” the twin-towered Frauenkirche, the Church of Our Lady, most familiar landmark of old Munich. Continue on to see the town hall, and the magnificent boulevard Feldherrenhalle Ludwigsstrasse Siegestor, created by King Ludwig I in the middle of the 19th century. Pass by the Residenz, the palace of the kings of Bavaria, and the Hofgarten. Celebrate Mass at Fraunekirche. Enjoy some free time for lunch and shopping. We will meet again for Mass, after which we will conclude our stay in Munich with a stein of beer and a dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
10

Saturday: Munich to USA

Today: This morning we will transfer to the airport to catch our return flight home.