GERHARD'S ODYSSEYS



Christmas Markets of Germany

Munich – Salzburg – Oberammergau – Oberstaufen – Riquewihr – Baden Baden – Speyer – Mainz – Rhine Gorge

wiesbaden-Nurnberg
Join us on our 33rd annual Christmas trip as we return to many of our all-time favorite markets. The German Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) dates back hundreds of years and the markets still work their magic today, turning town squares and narrow lanes into a wonderland for all. Brightening the short winter days, the markets are an enchanting blend of the season’s edible and decorative symbols. Join the carolers at the giant lighted tree in front of the town hall. Savor traditional delicacies of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and fruitcake, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and grilled sausage. Marvel at the many special Christmas exhibitions and nativity scenes in the museums, galleries, and shops. Take home gifts of beautifully hand-crafted treasures, ornaments, wooden nutcrackers, tinsel angels, and brightly painted boxes.

Our hotels have been chosen for their individual character, central location, ambiance, hospitality, service, and value. We know that the ideal hotel can make you feel comfortable, cheerful, and at home. All hotels will be within short walking distance of the Christmas Markets, shops, museums, and other local attractions. Dinners are assured to be fresh and savory, reflective of the region, and served in a comfortable setting that allows you to share the day's events with your fellow travelers.

I will share with you places I have been to many times and have grown to love – quaint villages, ancient castles and fortresses, beautiful countryside, and interesting museums. We'll forget the hurried, worried world and set our own pace as we learn the culture and meet the people. The tour's focus will be on quality and service, and I will be there to take care of every detail.


Gerhard Meng
Director, Gerhard’s Odysseys

DAILY ITINERARY – December 2nd to December 12th, 2020

Wednesday, December 2nd – Munich
We will meet you at the Munich airport (MUC) for transfer to our hotel located in the heart of Bavaria’s capital city. The site of Germany’s oldest Christmas market is on the Marienplatz. Hear the town hall’s clock chime the "Glockenspiel" daily at 11 a.m. with the Cathedral and the neo-gothic town hall serving as a backdrop. Lunch at the market is an opportunity to try a traditional dish, such as Kartoffelsuppe, Weisswurst or Schweinshaxn. Evening reception and dinner. At the hotel we have upgraded all rooms to "Superior" category.
Hotel Eden Wolff

Thursday, December 3rd – Munich
A pleasant drive takes us to Salzburg, famous for its baroque architecture and Mozart’s birthplace, now a museum. With our local guide we’ll explore intriguing courtyards and narrow gingerbread ornamented streets. Dating back to 1500, the Christmas market is one of the oldest. Located at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress and around the Cathedral, great selection of ornaments, crafts, toys, jewelry, and nativity exhibits are featured. There is also an extensive program of choral singing in front of the cathedral.
Hotel Eden Wolff

Friday, December 4th– Oberstaufen
We’ll stop in Oberammergau, world-famous for its woodcarvers, Lüftlmalerei (wall paintings that make solid walls appear to melt away into scenery), and the performance of the Passion Play, once every decade. Oberammergau is also known for its Christian motif woodcarving. We visit Wies, an extraordinarily well-preserved pilgrimage church nestled in a beautiful Alpine valley. A perfect masterpiece of Rococo art, the church is an exceptional testimony to a civilization long since disappeared.
Parkhotel & Spa Lindner

Saturday, December 5th – Oberstaufen
In Oberstaufen, our upgraded hotel rooms face a lovely park with fantastic views of the nearby mountains. The town has a charming, small market and several great Konditoreis were you can indulge in Kaffee and Kuchen. In the afternoon you may wish to join us for a short train ride to the resort town of Lindau, on the shores of Lake Constance. The festive Christkindlesmarkt is situated next to the town’s harbor. Try the Schupfnudeln (finger-shaped potato dumplings) or the Dinnele (thin-crust flatbreads with different savory toppings).
Parkhotel & Spa Lindner

Sunday, December 6th – Munzingen
Morning stop in the small town Überlingen, with seven of its original city gates and towers remaining from the 14th century, as well as portions of the old city walls. We drive to the Schwarzwald, Germany’s largest and most beautiful forest with streams, waterfalls, and story-book villages. Munzingen is a small village at the foot of the Tuniberg vineyards, well known for its fine wines. Our hotel is set in a historic chateau manor house and is locally renowned for its restaurant. You’ll have an opportunity to travel to nearby Freiburg, home to a lovely Christmas Market and an incredible Cathedral with a 381-foot spire.
Schloss Reinach

Monday, December 7th – Baden Baden
Traveling through cherry orchards (Kirschwasser liqueur) and vineyards we cross the Rhine River into France. Stop in Eguisheim, a village dating to the 8th century. As you walk around the town's fortifications you will see many small half-timbered and stone houses. Group lunch in a Winstub with traditional Alsatian cuisine. In the afternoon we’ll tour Riquewihr, voted one of the most beautiful villages in France with its many brightly painted houses. With a bit of luck, you may see a family of storks nesting high upon a rooftop.
Maison Messmer Hotel

Tuesday, December 8th – Baden Baden
Our local guide escorts us through the spa town of Baden Baden, a favorite resort of Roman emperors, Russian princes and Queen Victoria. Afternoon at leisure to stroll along the elegant avenues of the festive old town with its boutiques and elegant shops where more of those unusual presents are just waiting to be found. Explore the town’s parks and gardens, and the more than 100-hut market with Christmas jewelry, a nativity scene, and much, much more. Thousands of shimmering Christmas lights illuminate your way in the evening.
Maison Messmer Hotel

Wednesday, December 9th – Baden Baden
Today we drive the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, the oldest and perhaps most beautiful route in the Black Forest. It winds sinuously up to the peak of the Bühlerhöhe, where a hotel of international reputation is located. The route then runs alongside the mountains, with stunning panoramic views. In Freudenstadt we’ll visit the enchanting Christmas market, situated on one of Germany’s largest town squares. The town is a center of wood carving where you will find cuckoo clocks, glass, pottery, and other local crafts.
Maison Messmer Hotel

Thursday, December 10th – Mainz
The "Weinstrasse"passes through vineyards that reach as far as the eye can see. This is the most extensive wine growing region of Germany and produces almost one third of the country’s total output. Stop in Neustadt, to visit the enchanting Christmas market, the largest in the region. At the heart of Speyer’s Christmas market are stalls hosted by the eight sister cities of Speyer. You’ll want to visit the town’s landmark, a Cathedral founded in 1030. It is one of the most important Romanesque monuments from the Holy Roman Empire and it was the burial place of the German emperors for almost 300 years. In Mainz our hotel rooms overlook the Rhine River.
Mainz Hilton

Friday, December 11th – Mainz
We sail the spectacular Rhine Gorge and pass 32 castles and medieval strongholds in the short distance of 42 miles. Return to Mainz in time to visit the famous museum that honors the printing pioneer Johanne Gutenberg, who built the first printing press in Mainz in the 14th century. The 1,000-year-old St. Martin’s Cathedral is an idyllic backdrop for the popular St. Nicholas Market with home-made Advent wreaths and straw stars, tree decorations, wooden toys, carvings, ceramics and candles. Celebrate our last evening with a farewell dinner featuring unique regional delicacies.
Mainz Hilton

Saturday, December 12th – return to USA
Pack up your happy memories. The journey ends as we regretfully bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Frankfurt International Airport, arriving home the same day.

PRICE PER PERSON: $3,495 land cost ($520 single room surcharge)
TOUR COST INCLUDES:

❄ 10 nights in outstanding, traditional, and first-class hotels in central locations.
❄ 18 meals – buffet breakfast daily, seven taste-tempting specialty dinners, including the Welcome and Farewell dinners, and one lunch unique to the region.
❄ A glass of wine, beer, or a soft drink with dinner.
❄ Transport by private luxury motor coach with Florian, our skilled driver.
❄ Daily complimentary beverage on the coach. Water, beer or soft drink.
❄ Personalized tours of most towns visited with local guide and entrance fees.
❄ All gratuities, taxes and service charges to restaurants, hotel staff and local guides.
❄ Porterage and handling of luggage at all hotels.
❄ Other additional features mentioned in the itinerary.
❄ A careful balance of free time to pursue your own interests.
❄ Hosted by Gerhard & Darlene.
Special feature: A brisk pre-breakfast or after dinner walk for those
    who would like to start or finish the day with a bit of exercise

GROUP SIZE IS LIMITED TO 28 GUESTS MAXIMUM

RESERVATIONS: Notify us that you wish to join the tour. Your space will be reserved, and a sign-up packet will be forwarded with registration form and an invoice for deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, an information packet will be forwarded with further confirmation of your reservation and details to help prepare for the tour. Full and final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.

AIR TRANSPORTATION: Airfare is not included in the tour price. We suggest arriving a day or two prior to the tour start to enjoy extra time in Munich. We recommend a minimum of one hour and 30 minutes connecting time (time between flights) at all airports. Contact us for additional information.

SPECIAL NOTE: When traveling in December you should anticipate seasonal ice and snow. Some of the sites we visit will require walking some distance on uneven cobblestone sidewalks and stairs. You should be able to walk two or three blocks from the coach parking into the town center at a pace that is comfortable for most of the group – or plan on taking a taxi (at your cost). Our coach is not equipped to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers.

EXTRA NIGHTS: Special rates are available at the hotel used in Munich at the start of the tour – $240 per double room ($180 single). Rooms are booked in superior category. Cost includes buffet breakfast, taxes and service charges, and airport to hotel transfer. All additional nights are confirmed on a space-available basis. Munich is an attractive city with easy going people that like to celebrate and enjoy life. The main Christmas market is located at the Marienplatz, but many others are spread around the city. For example, the market at the Wittelsbach Square is presented in a medieval style, where their artists exhibit and demonstrate crafts: glassblowing, goldsmithing, miniature painting and wood carving. Munich’s Nativity Market (also called the Creche Market), the largest in Germany, is in St. Mary’s Courtyard. In the city center local groups perform and sing carols at 5:30 p.m. and the Glockenspiel chimes out a "Good Night" melody at 9 p.m. Munich has more than 80 museums, including the largest technical and scientific museum in the world. The Old Pinakothek, houses a world-famous collection of paintings from the 14th through the 18th centuries – Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and da Vinci.
Munich Tourist Office -- 2020 Munich Christmas Market brochure.

View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit. https://www.since1974.com/pages/travelresources.php

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View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit. https://www.since1974.com/pages/travelresources.php

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