After Italy, we fell into a serious appreciation for Gate1 for traveling to foreign destinations for the first time. The next trip we decided to take with Gate1 was to Germany, specifically the “13 Day Classic Germany” trip.
September 21, 2017 (Thursday)
American Airlines flight from Chicago to Charolette, then from Charolette to Frankfurt, Germany.
Hotel: Hilton Mainz
So, I found out that I don’t get any points for my stay, despite listing my Hilton Diamond account.
September 22, 2017 (Friday)
Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank and financial heart of Germany. After a day of long layovers and flights, the remainder of the day was at leisure. We strolled through the medieval Romerplatz, Frankfurt’s central square with its 14th century architecture.
That first night, we met our Tour Manager, Susie, for a briefing on the delightful journey that was ahead, followed by a dinner with your fellow travelers, soon to be drinking partners.
September 23, 2017 (Saturday)
Rhine River Cruise, Heidelberg City Tour
The day begins with a leisurely cruise on the picturesque Rhine River past exquisite landscapes of hilltop castles, steep terraced vineyards and tiny villages of timber-framed houses. View the mighty Lorelei rock rising vertically from the waters named for the mermaid “Lorelei” who bewitched sailors passing by. This afternoon continue to Heidelberg, nestled along the picturesque River Neckar and home of the oldest university in Germany. Visit the imposing red sandstone ruins of 12th century Heidelberg Castle, a hilltop Gothic masterpiece. Return to Frankfurt in the late afternoon
September 24, 2017 (Sunday)
Köln (Cologne), Germany
Hotel: Martim Hotel Köln
Walking Tour in Cologne
Depart for dynamic Cologne, with its 2000 year-old history, often called the capital of the Rhineland. Enjoy a walking tour of the city, most famous for its Roman origins. Linger at the striking 13th century Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its soaring twin spires. Tonight, perhaps a visit to the beer halls of the Altstadt (Old Town), center of the city’s lively nightlife
September 25, 2017 (Monday)
Today, head to Hamburg, the largest port city on the Elbe River, known as the country’s “gateway to the world.” In the afternoon, explore Alster Lake in the heart of the city, with its well-used Outer and Inner walkways and sumptuous waterside villas owned by Hamburg’s wealthiest merchants. View the Landing Bridge of St. Pauli, the largest in the harbor and baroque-style Michel Church, bearing the largest tower clock in Germany and on to the impressive Town Hall. After dinner, leisure time to perhaps visit Planten un Blomen Park, a leafy oasis in the heart of the city with its summer fountains and gorgeous floral displays. Dinner tonight is at the hotel
Hotel: Le Meridien Hamburg
September 26, 2017 (Tuesday)
Berlin City Tour
History comes to life today as you head east, crossing the former “Iron Curtain” to Germany’s magnificent capital city of Berlin, a mecca for art, culture and fashion. During your sightseeing tour on arrival, marvel at the landmarks of the old East and West sections of Berlin, including the Brandenburg Gate, symbol of the reunification, the glass-dome Reichstag Building and “Checkpoint Charlie,” the last remaining mark of the formerly divided city. Drive along Unter den Linden Boulevard past the State Opera House and the imposing Cathedral. End the day in the shopping and entertainment district of Kurfürstendamm with its rows of boutiques, cafes and non-stop activity. Tonight, see illuminated Berlin on the optional Night Tour that includes a delectable dinner
Hotel: Steigenberger Hotel
Berlin by Night
Famous both in the early 20th Century world of “Cabaret,” and now once again in the 21st for its vibrant night life, enjoy a fun filled “Berlin Style” dinner party with traditional dishes, drinks and live music. As dusk falls, admire some of the highlights of Germany’s largest city on an evening drive before returning to the hotel.
September 27, 2017 (Wednesday)
A glorious day at leisure in this capital city. Visit the Pergamon Museum, Charlottenburg Palace, Holocaust Museum or ascend the huge Berlin TV Tower to see the incredible 360° views of the city. Shop to your heart’s content at an endless array of designer stores highlighting some of Europe’s top fashion. There’ll be opportunity to participate in optional tours to discover Berlin’s hidden past, or travel to nearby Potsdam, the historic “City of Palaces”
Berlin’s Hidden Past
Embark on a fascinating tour into Berlin’s turbulent past. Your knowledgeable guide makes Berlin’s history come alive as you delve beneath the surface to see what remains of the city of the latter part of the 20th century. Begin the tour at the East Side Gallery a preserved colorful section of the wall, now one of the longest open air art galleries in the world and continue to the Berlin Wall Museum*. Finally visit the Topography of Terror, an outdoor and indoor exhibition located on the former site of the Gestapo Headquarters.
Travel to Potsdam, known as the “City of Palaces,” well known as the meeting place of Truman, Churchill and Stalin in 1945 at the Cecilienhof Palace for the Potsdam Conference, and where they created post-World War II Europe. Another stop is made at the Park of Sanssouci Palace, former summer residence of the Prussian kings and German emperors. During a walking tour around the palace grounds, pass the old windmill, explore the lovely gardens and see the burial site of Frederick the Great.
September 28, 2017 (Thursday)
Cross Saxony to the baroque art city of Dresden, titled the “Florence on the Elbe.” Discover this astonishing Renaissance city that has emerged from its wartime destruction to a luxurious splendor. Stop at the ornate Zwinger Palace, once a setting for court festivities, and the world-famous Semper Opera House. Continue to the Frauenkirche Church, symbol of reconstruction with its magnificent baroque dome. A highlight of the day is a fascinating visit to the renowned Green Vault to admire the jewels and treasures of Saxon kings. The rest of the day is yours to explore independently. Discover Altmarkt Square and the Prager Strasse area with its lovely shops and sidewalk cafes. Dinner together at the hotel
Hotel: Westin Bellevue
September 29, 2017 (Friday)
Nuremberg City Tour
Today you head to Nuremberg, an energetic city with a visible history of almost one thousand years. View the historic Palace of Justice where the War Crimes Tribunal met in 1946 and the chilling Nazi Rally Grounds where mass events were held to fuel the party propaganda. End the day at lively Market Square in the Old Town. Later, enjoy dinner with your travel companions
Hotel: Le Meridien Grand
September 30 (Saturday)
Rothenburg City Tour
This morning travel to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the preserved walled city where time has stood still. Step back in time as this town, untouched by the ravages of wars, charms you with its cobble streets, ramparts, and centuries old houses. In the late afternoon, arrive to Munich, the pride of Bavaria, with its festive fun-loving spirit. This evening perhaps join the optional Bavarian Evening with dinner
Hotel: Shearton Munich Arabellapark Hotel
This evening, get acquainted with traditional Bavarian culture in the heart of Munich. Begin the evening with a stroll to the Hofbrauhaus, one of Munich’s oldest and most famous beer halls. This institution was built in the 16th century, and continues to brew its beer according to the strict Bavarian Beer Purity Laws. Continue to a local restaurant to enjoy some hearty Bavarian fare and cheerful “gemutlichkeit”!
October 1 (Sunday)
Leave Munich and drive into the German Alps and onto the Romantic Road for a brief stop in the village of Oberammergau. Home of the world famous “Passion Play,” this idyllic village is a picture perfect example of an Alpine village filled with wooden chalets, painted facades and flowering window boxes. Continue to visit Bavaria’s “Mad” King Ludwig’s fantasy castle of Neuschwanstein perched high above the valley below. This is one of the most visited castles in Germany and a symbol of idealized romantic architecture. Among the castle’s finest rooms are two magnificent halls decorated in dazzling gold and blue. Tour the extravagant castle before returning to Munich for an evening at leisure
Dachau Concentration Camp was the first of the internment camps opened after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. The camp became a symbol and model of the horrors of the Nazi period, until its liberation by American soldiers in 1945. It serves now as a memorial to the victims of this tragic period in history. The tour will give you the opportunity to reflect on the events that happened here and the more than 40,000 victims who lost their lives under the tyrannical Nazi regime.
October 2 (Monday)
City Tour of Munich
Begin your morning city tour on a drive through Munich, revealing countless museums, galleries, ornate palaces and historic buildings including the Koenigsplatz and the monument lined Ludwig Strasse. Continue to the Olympic Stadium situated in the heart of Olympia Park, the main venue for the 1972 Summer Olympics Then visit the stunning Nymphenburg Palace with its gorgeous baroque facade, once summer residence of Bavarian rulers. The tour ends at Marienplatz Square, cultural center of the city, where you will join the crowds watching the famous glockenspiel clock dating back to 1908 with its colorful mechanical figures dancing the top of the hour. An afternoon to shop for last minute souvenirs or to browse the local produce market. Tonight, a toast to your newfound friends on your last night in Germany as we enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner together at a popular restaurant
October 3, 2017 (Tuesday)
American Arlines from Munich Germany to Philadelphia, then from Philadelphia to Chicago.