11 Days - Oberammergau with Germany, Switzerland, Austria

“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
Read More About Germany

ITINERARY
Day
1

Friday: USA to Frankfurt

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

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Day
2

Saturday: Frankfurt / Heidelberg

Today: Arrival at Munich Airport, travel through customs and meet our guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage. Transfer to your Hotel to check-in, and then spend the afternoon exploring all the landmarks of Heidelberg. We will visit the ruins of Heidelberg Castle that rise majestically on the site of the medieval castle complex, high above the lanes, and the picturesque jumble of roofs of the old town. The architecture contains elements of the Gothic and Renaissance periods. See the castle gardens, the Great Vat (the world’s largest wine barrell), and the remarkable Pharmacy Museum. Then make our way to the old town. With its romantic charm, featuring the old quarter and maze of little streets. The Hauptstrasse is one of Europe’s prettiest pedestrian precincts and shopping streets, along with the medieval bridge gate, as well as Germany’s oldest University, the lion fountain, and the university square. We will then celebrate Mass at a local Church before returning to the hotel.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
3

Sunday: Heidelberg / Rudesheim / Rhine Cruise / Heidelberg

Today: After breakfast, we will take a tour of Koblenz. We will board a boat that will bring us down the Rhine Koblenz, passing the town of Boppard, the famous Lorelei Rock, as we make our way to the wine country town of Rudesheim, with its lovely Drosselgrasse of taverns and restaurants. We will visit Schonestatt Monastery that is dedicated to the Divine Mercy, and then celebrate Mass at the Shrine, you will have free time on your own, with some free time to spend at your own leisure.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
4

Monday: Heidelberg / Rhine Falls / Lucerne (Weggis)

Today: Following breakfast, we will depart for Switzerland. Before you cross over, you will view the famous Rhine waterfalls, and have the chance to take pictures. You will stop for lunch on your own, and then visit Einsiedlen, Switzerland’s famous Marian. With its majestic baroque edifice, with elaborately decorated pastel ceilings, marble side altars, and a large high altar in the east end. The interior is typically baroque fest for the eyes, gleaming white with elaborate gold and pastel decorations. The most important part of the Basilica is the Lady Chapel, located near the entrance. The Lady Chapel is a free-standing, square marble edifice that recalls the shelter over Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was destroyed in 1798 by invaders, and rebuilt in 1817. Above the chapel’s altar is the Black Madonna, resplendent in rich robes and surrounded by gold clouds. A short walk from the Abbey is the world’s largest nativity scene, the Diorama Bethlehem, with more than 500 carved wooden figures. The justifiably famous Panorama, a circular painting more than 300 feet long, and 30 feet high, depicting Jerusalem and the Crucifixion. It is open from Easter, until the end of October. We will celebrate Mass at the Shrine, and then continue on to Weggis, a charming little town on Lake Lucerne.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
5

Tuesday: Weggis / Lucerne / Weggis

Today: Breakfast in the morning, and then we will start the day by celebrating Mass at the local Catholic Church in Weggis. We will take an excursion of Lucerne, and then take a tour. While there, you will visit the Chapel Bridge, Water Tower, Jesuit Church, Franciscan Church, Water Spike, Spreuer Bridge, and Musegg Wall amid many other sites. You will have some free time to have lunch on your own free time. You will have the remainder of the afternoon free (or you can return to the Hotel, visit the Lake, or an excursion to Cogwheel to Mt. Pilatus).

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
6

Wednesday: Weggis / Vaduz / Innsbruck / Oberammergau

Today: Meet downstairs for breakfast, and then we will board our bus for a tour of Vaduz (capital of Liechtenstein), and then on to Innsbruck. The tour will include visits to the Annasaule, little golden roof, Helbinghaus, Cathedral of St. Jacob, the Hof Kirche, and Maximilian Mausoleum. We will continue along the Zgupiszte towards Oberammergau. We will stop to celebrate Mass at the Ettal Monastery.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

 

Day
7

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
8

Friday: Oberammergau / Neuschwantstein / Salzburgy

Today: After breakfast, we will check-out of the Hotel and travel to Wieskirche. We will celebrate Mass at the Shrine, and then continue on to Neuschwanstein. Once there, we will take a bus to Marianbrucke, and walk down the hill (75 steps) to Neuschwanstein Castle, and take a guided tour. Walk back to the bus, have lunch on our own, and then continue to Salzburg, the lovely birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg the city of great houses, mansions, Festival Hall, and the Mirabelle Gardens. Hear the bells of the great Glockenspiel Tower, performed to a melody of Mozart’s. Check in to your hotel, and then have a Special Mozart dinner at Peterskeller Restaurant.

Evening: Overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
9

Saturday: Salzburg

Today: After breakfast, our full day tour begins with Mass at St. Peter’s Churchyard. Salzburg is compact and best explored on foot. Narrow, winding lanes and secluded passageways are evidence of its medieval roots. The heritage of the Catholic Church is evident in the Archbishop’s Residence and the decoration of the State Rooms, available for viewing. Visit the mighty Romanesque Cathedral, the Nonnberg Convent of Benedictine nuns, and the Fortress Hohensalzburg. We stop at Hellbrunn Palace to enjoy its gardens and hidden trick fountains.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
10

Sunday: Salzburg / Munich

Today: Following breakfast, we will depart for Munich. Upon arrival, we will take a guided tour, including visits to “Marienplatz”, the world famous “Glockenspiel”, and the twin towered “Frauenkirche” (Church of Our Lady), and the most familiar landmark of old Munich. Continue to see the Town Hall, and the magnificent boulevard, Feldherrenhall 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. Mass will be celebrated at Fraunekirche, followed by lunch on your own. You will have the remainder of the afternoon free to spend at your own leisure.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations at your hotel.

Day
11

Monday: Munich to USA

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