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The Holiday Wonders Group is one of Australia’s best travel agency groups, with a range of holidays to suit every traveller. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Holiday Wonders has been part of the Australian travel scene since 1975. Our original Holidaymakers touring division were the instigators of the V/Line Holidays team who introduced low-cost rail coach holidays throughout Australia for solo travellers.
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21 to 35 days | Departs 31 Jul 2020 –
Join David Zweck on a journey through northern Europe, including your chance to experience the Oberammergau Passion Play – an event that takes place only once every 10 years!
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The Oberammergau Passion Play has been performed as a tradition by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau, Germany since 1634. The play is a staging of Jesus’ passion, covering the short final period of his life from his visit to Jerusalem to his crucifixion.
Show / hide full Day by Day Itinerary
We depart Australia this evening on our flight to London.
Arrive in London early this afternoon, with time for flight recovery or local sightseeing.
❱ Hotel stay: Holiday Inn Gatwick or Heathrow (1 night)
After crossing the English Channel, we take part in the Remembrance at the Mennin Gate, the memorial to all of those with an unknown grave of World War I. The Buglers sound the Last Post at 8pm, 365 days each year – whether rain, hail or shine.
❱ Hotel stay: Novotel Ypres (2 nights)
In Ypres, we see the area of Belgium & the Somme in France where Australians fought in World War I. Visit Polygon Wood, Messines, Fromelle, Possieres and the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial as well as any other requested cemeteries. Those who are fortunate to not have a family connection to the first war say that a visit here it is quite a sobering experience. Especially when in a schoolyard even today, 100 years later, there is a sign saying “We do not forget Australia”.
Visit the large Tyne Cot Cemetery near Paschendale, one of the 1000 plus cemeteries of World War I. On our way, we can see any left over cemeteries and ponder on the huge area covered by the Australians and the carnage & futility of war.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Spaander (2 nights)
Discover more of Amsterdam on a Canal Tour – the best way to explore the city. Enjoy some free time to explore the city this afternoon. You may wish to visit Ann Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijks Museum – home of Rembrandt’s Night Watch.
Today, we take in the unique Dutch countryside’s canals & windmills. Boats are tied up alongside houses and there is water everywhere! We travel across the main dyke of Holland stopping, where it was once open ocean, to see a display of the reclaiming of land from the sea.
❱ Hotel stay: Holiday Inn Hamburg (2 nights)
In Hamburg, we visit the interesting harbour area of this city and we see where the ships left from to take immigrants to Australia. Visit Miniatur Wunderland – the largest model railway in the world, a must visit on any visit to Hamburg! Enjoy some free time in the city centre this afternoon.
We cross where the Iron Curtain used to be into the old East Germany. The stark difference in the countries is now hardly visible since reunification. Travelling also through the area of the Harz mountains where many immigrant miners found work at the SA Burra mines. A number of towns in this area are also unique with over century old Fachwerk (wooden) houses still well preserved.
❱ Hotel stay: Luther Hotel (2 nights)
In Wittenberg, enjoy an opportunity to worship in the Castle Church, with Luther’s grave in front of the pulpit. This is the Schloss Kirche in Wittenberg, where Luther nailed the 95 theses. Luther’s ideas and teachings changed the world and his house is now a museum of his life and times.
If there is interest and time we can visit the “Great Escape” prison camp and see the remains of the Harry tunnel. Douglas Bader, the famous WW2 pilot, was also imprisoned here.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Ruben (4 nights)
A day excursion will show us the little harbour at Tschicherzig, from where the barges embarked to Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg and eventually to Australia. Visit the Klemzig church (World Heritage listed) and also Langmeil, Bomst, Züllichau, and Crossen an der Oder where from the river bridge immigrants were pelted with rubbish whilst on the barges on their way to Berlin.
A day trip to Posen (Poznan). On the way we see a statue of Christ which is larger than the one in Rio de Janeiro. In Posen, we visit the war graves of those Australians murdered by Hitler by orders after their prison camp escape, featured in the film.
Visit Wollstein where there is a famous steam train graveyard that is visited by train buffs the world over. If needed, we can visit Neckla Hauland to visit the newly restored church and old cemetery.
On our shorter 21 day tour itinerary, you will depart Australia today (13 Aug) and arrive in Berlin on Day 15 (14 Aug).
On the way, we call in to the Spreewald and then take a Kahn Fahrt (boat ride) on the unique waterways sampling the famous local gerkhins and any beverage you like. This evening, we are joined by those who are doing our shorter tour.
❱ Hotel stay: Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz (4 nights)
Enjoy a city tour down the Unter den Linden and see the Reichstag, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate (where the wall used to be). Free time to explore the old East Berlin and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, showing us the ways and means of East Germans escaping to West Berlin.
We travel to Potsdam and see the San Souci Palace. We also see the Cecelienhof where Churchill, Stalin and Truman had their conference at war’s end. On our way, we see the Kürfürstendamm and the Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche in ruins as a reminder of war, symbols of the old West Berlin.
Enjoy a free day or join an excursion to visit any of the requested villages outside of Berlin.
On our way, we can call into Torgau to see where the Russian and American armies met on the Elbe river at the end of World War II. Katharina von Bora, Luther’s faithful wife, is buried in a church here. A walking tour in Leipzig passes the unusual Rathaus, we can also visit the Stasi (secret Police) museum, the first Kaffee Haus in Europe and St Thomas Kirche where Bach was Cantor. This is also the home of the famous St Thomas Boys Choir and sometimes we can be lucky to be there at the right time for a recital.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Radisson Augustus Platz (1 night)
Visiting Colditz Castle on the way we will see how very few allied officers were able to escape from here during World War II. Buchenwald Concentration Camp is also nearby and can be visited on request. See the Wartburg overlooking Eisenach as we drive in to Eisenach.
❱ Hotel stay: Sophien Hotel (2 nights)
In Eisenach, visit the Wartburg and stand in the room where Luther translated the New Testament into German. There is also a panoramic view from the top of the Castle. We also visit the most interesting Bach Museum, as he was born in Eisenach. We are given a 10 minute concert on instruments from Bach’s time. Nearby is also a house where Luther once lived with Frau Cotta.
Visit Dresden, known as the Florence of Germany on the flood prone Elbe river. The city centre was rebuilt stone by stone after a controversial Allied bombing raid in the last days of the War. The fire storm was visible for over 100km.
❱ Hotel stay: NH Hotel Altmarkt (3 nights)
In the city centre, we see the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger Palace, the Residenz Schloss and the newly restored Frauen Kirche of the past decade.
Enjoy a free day or day excursion to Bautzen and Herrnhut – the centre for Moravians. Many immigrants to Australia came from this region and village visits can be requested.
Spend the day driving through the Czech Republic to Austria. The Danube River starts in south western Germany and we follow part of it into Vienna. We stay in the Emporer’s visitors’ hotel at Schönbrunn, also the venue for the Rieu concerts.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Austria Trend Schönbrunn (2 nights)
Enjoy a city orientation tour where we visit the cemetery where many famous composers are buried. Later, enjoy some free time in the city – you may wish to visit St Stephens church to see its very famous organ, or visit the Spanische Hofreitschule with its Lippizaner horses (tickets should be bought in advance). Tonight we enjoy some Viennese nightlife – a highlight of your visit to Vienna.
Continue on your journey along the Danube Valley past Melk, Austria’s greatest baroque monastery. Enjoy a very scenic drive past the Atter See and stop at Mond See to visit the church used in the wedding scene of the Sound of Music. Always a favourite!
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Austria Trend Europa (2 nights)
See Mozart’s house, also a museum to his most interesting life. He travelled extensively as a child prodigy. Also, you will see some of the scenes from the Sound of Music in the Mirabell Gardens with a visit to the old part of town. Stop at the Leopoldskrone Schloss the von Trapp house in the movie. After lunch, we visit near Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.
Today, we head to the Passion Play which has been staged for centuries. The townspeople and local farming families stage the Play every 10 years. We can walk around this delightful town, where we can shop for everything from Dirndls, wood carvings to cuckoo clocks. We are given lunch before the start of the Play, with an interval with dinner (included with your ticket). After the show, you will be ferried to our hotel.
❱ Hotel stay: Oberammergau (1 night)
If more time is needed, we revisit Oberammergau. After visiting Schloss Linderhof nearby, we go to Füssen for a visit to the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein, both Castles of König Ludwig of Bavaria. On the way, we see the Wies Kirche. Ulm has one of the highest church spires in Europe. We go down to the Danube banks to see the memorials to the emigrants to the Black Sea in Russia.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Maritim (1 night)
Visit Rothenburg, a famous walled medieval city where legend says was saved from an invading Catholic army in the 30 Year’s War (1600’s) by the Mayor downing a stein of ale in one gulp. In Rothenburg, visit the 2 large Wohlfahrt Christmas shops and after dinner, you will be entertained by the Night-watchman as he does his rounds. A highlight of your visit to this iconic city.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Eisenhut (1 night)
We call into the world famous Sinsheim Museum where you can see inside a Concorde and view the cars of the Hitler regime. There are numerous items of yesteryear displayed of interest to everyone. Continue to Rüdesheim on the Rhein, a wine town since Roman times. It is in the Rheingau, the premier white wine area of Germany.
❱ Hotel stay: Hotel Felsenkeller (2 nights)
Today, board a cruise to Bacharach for lunch past the Lorelei and back to Rüdesheim before visiting the Niederwald Denkmal which was built in 1873. Tonight, we celebrate our journey through Europe by taking in the night life in Rudesheim.
We are transferred later this morning to Frankfurt Airport to catch our flight home.
After a wonderful holiday, our flight arrives back in Australia today.
Ask us about the option to extend your holiday in Europe with a luxurious river cruise journey.
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