Day 0, May 14, 2023; Depart for Germany
Make sure to depart the USA no later than today.
Day 1, May 15; Guten Morgen! Arrive in Berlin
Devastated, then divided for two generations, Berlin
has been rebuilding for a mere two decades. The results are stunning and have catapulted the city
back to the first rank. Top-notch orchestras and opera companies thrive, several world-class museums
have recently reopened over the last few years, and the boulevard of Unter den Linden has been re-laid. Recent visitors have been overwhelmed by the kaleidoscope of things to see, hear and do
in what has become Europe’s cultural mecca. Enjoy a welcome feast and orientation with your host, Julie Amacher, and Earthbound Expeditions guide. Sleep in Berlin (D)
Day 2, May 16; Highlights of Berlin
This morning we tour The Reichstag building in the historical heart of Berlin. Constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, the Reichstag opened in
1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged by arson. Our tour of Berlin continues as we see the home of the Berlin Philharmonic. Not far away is the
Holocaust Memorial and the The Bebelplatz, known as the site of one of the infamous Nazi book burning ceremonies held in the evening of May 10, 1933. Our march through 20th-century history culminates with a stretch of the Berlin Wall and check-point
Charlie. Sleep in Berlin (L)
Day 3, May 17; Historic Potsdam & Leipzig
Today we’ll visit historic Potsdam and tour the Schloss Cecilienhof where Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin outlined their plans for a post-war
Europe. Many years earlier, J.S. Bach paid a short visit to Potsdam in May 1747 where
he met King Friedrich II. Enjoy a lunch in Potsdam before returning to Berlin. En-route we will cross the famous “Bridge of Spies.”
After lunch our journey continues to Leipzig. Enroute we’ll pass the city of Halle,
birthplace of Handel.
While Bach lived in Leipzig the population was just 30,000. The city was the second
largest in Saxony, the center of the German printing and publishing industries (many of
Beethoven’s works were first printed here), an important European trading center, and
site of a progressive and famous university. One of Leipzig's most important features was
its international commerce. When the Leipzig Trade Fair was in progress, the
respectable town was transformed into a show-ground, mixing business with pleasure,
and was popular with members of the Royal Court of Dresden. Many connections were
established between nations on these occasions and this, in turn, had a beneficial effect
on the civic economy and culture as well as the international variety of its music.
Among the many great names in musical history who lived and worked in the city were
Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Clara
and Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, Albert Lortzing, Gustav Mahler and Hanns Eisler. In addition, Leipzig’s rich musical heritage includes the Gewandhaus
Orchestra and the world-famous St. Thomas Boys Choir which looks back on a proud tradition of almost 800 years.
Over the course of the next three days, we’ll walk in the footsteps of the great composers
and learn firsthand how this city of high culture and trade impacted their works.
Sleep in Leipzig (B, L)
Day 4, May 18; In Bach's Footsteps
After breakfast, meet your local guide for a glimpse into the
world of Bach. Leipzig is where Johann Sebastian Bach spent
27 of his most productive years. A new Bach Museum opened
only four years ago – and it’s been brilliantly done. You can
even just relax while listening to the catalogue of his music.
With a bit of luck, they might even be playing the organ at St.
Thomas Church just across the street. Bach worked at St.
Thomas as a cantor for 27 years, and today, his remains are
buried below the altar. Since 1212, St. Thomas Church has also been home to the
famous St. Thomas Boys Choir. Sleep in Leipzig (B, L)
Day 5, May 19; A Day with Mendelssohn and Robert & Clara Schumann
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was a major influence on European musical history – and
he in turn was influenced by his experience of Leipzig. Under his musical direction, the
Gewandhaus Orchestra became a first-class orchestra. Moreover, Mendelssohn is
renowned for his rediscovery of Bach. The performance of the St. Matthew Passion under his musical direction in 1829 initiated “the Bach Renaissance”. He is also credited for
the foundation of the Conservatory of Music in 1843, Germany’s oldest music academy,
which bears his name today. Mendelssohn’s home became a meeting place for famous
contemporaries such as Robert and Clara Schumann and Richard Wagner. It is the
composer’s last remaining private residence and today accommodates the Mendelssohn
Just a few blocks away you’ll find the charming home of Robert and Clara Schumann.
Here you’ll learn about their lifelong love for each other and be treated to a special
piano recital. Sleep in Leipzig (B, L)
Day 6, May 20; Leipzig to the Florence of the North: Dresden Music Fest
This morning we make our way east to a city, known as “the Florence of the North.” Our journey will take us to the banks of the beautiful Elbe River and past quaint villages and medieval castles. En-route we’ll tour Germany's smallest wine-producing region. The Saxon Wine Route offers a wonderful blend of picturesque vineyards and local
architecture. This part of Saxony enjoys a particularly favorable climate. Grapes have
been grown here for over 850 years, and the local porcelain manufacturing tradition
dates back almost 300
years. It was wine and porcelain, together with rich silver deposits, that brought fame and fortune to Saxony.
After meeting the producer and having lunch, we head to Dresden, our home for the next three nights. Dresden was for many years the capital of Saxony and was on an
important trade route. It was here that musical giants such as Handel, Bach and Wagner lived and worked. After checking into our centrally located hotel, we’ll set out to explore
the historic core of this once cultural capital. Sleep in Dresden (B, L)
Day 7, May 21; A Day of Culture and Art in Dresden: Dresden Music Fest
Today we set out to discover the artistic masterpieces of Dresden. Art lovers will fall in love with the impressive old masters’ collection housed in the Zwinger Museum. August
the Strong, elector of Saxony (also king of Poland), built this Baroque masterpiece,
modeled after Versailles, in 1719. Here he staged tournaments and kept dozens of concubines. Today, this artfully symmetrical complex of buildings holds a collection of
museums. The damage caused by the British air raid in 1945 was so devastating that
some locals feared the Zwinger would remain a ruin forever. However, it's been restored and it's back in business, welcoming new generations of art lovers.
The most important museum in the complex is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old
Masters Picture Gallery). This gallery, one of the best on the Continent, has as its
showpiece Raphael's Sistine Madonna. You'll also find Giorgione's Sleeping Venus,
Antonello da Messina's The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, Titian's Tribute Money, and many famous works by Veronese, Tintoretto, Correggio, and Carracci. You'll also see Flemish, Dutch, and German paintings by Van Dyck, Vermeer, Dürer, and Rembrandt. The
Rubens collection includes his spectacular Neptune, full of rearing horses, and an exquisite St. Jerome.
Enjoy an included lunch and a free afternoon. This evening you’ll be treated to a
classical music event at the renowned Dresden Music Festival! Sleep in Dresden (B, L)
Day 8, May 22; A Day of Leisure: Dresden Music Fest
Relax and take a free day in lovely Dresden. Enjoy another included classical concert at
the Dresden Music Festival! Sleep in Dresden (B, L)
Day 9, May 23; South to Prague to the city of Mozart, Smetana and Dvořák
After breakfast, we make our way South towards the soaring spires of Prague. We stop to
explore the beautiful Vysehrad Cemetery. More than just a normal, quiet cemetery, this is
the final resting place of the most honored Czech composers, artists, sculptors, writers,
scientists and politicians. Here are the graves of Smetana, Dvořák and the 19th century
Moravian-Czech artist, Mucha. Prague is the birthplace of Franz Kafka and the city Mozart
loved best. For our first evening in Prague, let’s enjoy a Bohemian feast. Then, enjoy a
concert at the celebrated Prague Spring Music Festival! Sleep in Prague (B, D)
Day 10, May 24; Exploring Prague: Spring Music Fest
From its mythological inception to the present, benefactors have placed Prague on the cusp
of the divine. King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Karl IV refashioned Prague into
a city of soaring cathedrals and lavish palaces. Our historic walking tour of Prague will start
at its medieval center, the Old Town Square. We’ll cover some of Prague’s most interesting
sights including the Estates Opera house where Mozart himself conducted the Marriage of Figaro in 1787. Our tour will continue to Prague’s stirring medieval Jewish quarter. We’ll take time to savor this culturally-rich neighborhood and stop by the Old Synagogue, which has been a place of worship for over 700 years. You'll have a free afternoon before meeting to enjoy a concert this evening. Sleep in Prague (B, L)
Day 11, May 25; Prague’s Castle District: Spring Music Fest
We start the day with a stroll to Prague’s most famous landmark - Charles Bridge, after which we’ll visit the historic castle district. Enjoy a farewell lunch this afternoon. The rest of the day is yours to further explore this city’s charming streets. Perhaps you’ll want to take in a Bohemian market, another classical concert, a world-class museum or simply wander the wondrously preserved historic old town. Sleep in Prague (B, L)
Day 12, May 26; Return home with a lifetime of memories!
Your classical music adventure concludes this morning after breakfast. Why not spend a few extra nights in Prague at the end of your journey?