European Heritage with John Ruth
July 10 - 23, 2012
With tour leaders John Ruth and Audrey Voth Petkau
TourMagination’s classic European Heritage tour in 2012 will feature important sites of Anabaptist/Mennonite heritage in Friesland, The Netherlands, the Palatinate in Germany and the Emmental region of Switzerland. There will be many other highlights including an afternoon cruise on the Rhine River, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, beautiful mountain views, climbing into the foothills of the Swiss Alps to the Cave of the Anabaptists, and much more. Join John Ruth, our premier Anabaptist/Mennonite storyteller, and Audrey Voth Petkau from TourMagination, who will look after the tour logistics, for this unforgettable tour experience.
Click here to read past blogs about this tour.
Tuesday & Wednesday, July 10 & 11
Our tour departs from Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey, and Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, on an overnight flight to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It will be Wednesday morning when we arrive in Amsterdam and are met by our coach driver. Our first stop will be at Zaanse Schans, an unspoiled village with typical Zaan Region houses, where we will see a working windmill and a craftsman making wooden shoes. Before going to our hotel, we will make a stop at the Volendam dike.
Thursday, July 12
Aalsmeer Flower Auction
In Amsterdam this morning, we will visit the Aalsmeer Flower Auction before exploring the Rijksmuseum. Our introduction to this city will then include a canal boat ride on Amsterdam’s famous canal system. This afternoon, we will cross the 22-mile Afluitsdijk that has linked North Holland and Friesland since 1932, and make stops in Pingjum and Witmarsum to learn about the Menno Simons’ story in Friesland. Tonight we will be hosted by families in their homes in Berlikum.
Friday, July 13
After bidding farewell to our new friends in Berlikum, we will travel to Münster, Germany where we will take a walking tour of the city and hear a darker side of the Anabaptist story.
Saturday, July 14
Today we look forward to our cruise on the scenic stretch of the Rhine River, with its many castles and vineyards on the hillsides. First we will go to the Deutsches Eck at Koblentz to view the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers before going to Boppard where we will board the ship for Bacharach. Once we disembark in Bacharach, we will enjoy some free time to explore the town before going to our hotel.
Sunday, July 15
This morning, we will join for worship with the Weierhof congregation, a semi-communal Mennonite village in the Palatinate. Afterwards, we will visit Worms to see the Reformers’ Monument and hear the Martin Luther story. We will travel through the Black Forest to Offenburg, where we will stay tonight.
Monday, July 16
Today we will depart for Schirmack, France. Our schedule today includes a visit to the Oak Tree at Salm and then the Struthof Concentration Camp. We will enjoy a drive on the wine route to the quaint town of Riquewihr. We will enjoy the beautiful Jura Mountains on our way to Bern, Switzerland.
Tuesday, July 17
Today our coach driver needs a break and we want the opportunity to get to know the city of Bern. We will begin our exploration with an Anabaptist walking tour. This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to set your own pace as you discover the city, visiting museums of your choice, shopping or enjoying some rest.
Wednesday, July 18
Today we will explore our Anabaptist roots in a variety of ways. In the Emmental, we will visit Langnau to see the oldest, continuous Mennonite church. We will also visit Trachselwald Castle, Eggiwil and Steffisburg before journeying by bus to Erlenbach, the birthplace of Jakob Amman. We will spend another night in Bern.
Thursday, July 19
Have your camera at the ready this morning as we walk through the scenic Aareschult gorge in Meringen and then travel through the remote high Engstlendalp. We will enjoy a stop at the Schaukäserei cheese shop for snacks and souvenirs. We will cross the Sustenpass on our way to Zürich for the night.
Friday, July 20
Cave of the Anabaptists
Zürich is a city rich in Anabaptist history. This morning we will take a walking tour of the city to visit Anabaptist sites and to hear the stories of the events that took place here. Then we will hike to the Cave of the Anabaptists and will have a worship service that is certain to be very meaningful. This afternoon we will cross the beautiful Silvrettapass on our way to Austria.
Saturday, July 21
This morning you will have enough free time so that if you choose, you can ride the cable car up the ski slope before we travel on to Rattenberg to hear the Pilgram Marpeck story and have lunch. In the afternoon, we will visit Innsbrück to learn about Jakob Hutter before traveling to Oberammergau for the night.
Sunday, July 22
We will take some time to enjoy the lovely Alpine village of Oberammergau, home of the world-famous Passion Play, before departing to visit sites in the Kraichgau on the east side of the Rhine River. Some of us may want to climb the Steinsberg Tower for an overview of the Kraichgau.
Monday, July 23
All too soon, it is time to return home so we will drive to Frankfurt to get our flight back to North America. You will have many new memories and stories to take home with you, as well as new friendships made.