Parents of graduating seniors: Get your grad a Life Membership.
Parents of graduating seniors: Get your grad a Life Membership.
This extraordinary 11-day “Grand Tour” of Europe features an incredible combination of river, rail, lake and mountain travel including five nights aboard the deluxe AMADEUS SILVER III. Journey through the western heart of the Continent through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, cruising the most scenic sections of the Rhine River. Specially arranged guided excursions feature six UNESCO World Heritage sites—explore Amsterdam’s storybook canals; visit Cologne’s Gothic cathedral, cruise through the heart of the Rhine River Valley, tour the Alsatian city of Strasbourg, walk through Berne’s Old Town and see the Jungfrau-Aletsch region of the Swiss Alps. Visit Germany’s medieval Rüdesheim and 13 th -century Heidelberg Castle. Spend two nights each in Zermatt and Lucerne, Switzerland; ride aboard three legendary railways—the Gornergrat Bahn for breathtaking views of the Matterhorn, the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Andermatt and the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway—and enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne. This is the trip of a lifetime at an exceptional value! Complement your journey with the two-night Amsterdam Pre-Program Option.
On arrival, enjoy a private cruise along the city’s canals, lined with distinctly Dutch 16th- and 17th -century canal houses. Then embark on the deluxe Amadeus Silver III.
Join your travel companions for the Captain’s Welcome Receptions and dinner on July 8th.
Arrive in one of Germany’s most ancient cities, founded as a Roman military outpost in 38 B.C. Since Charlemagne, Cologne has flourished as the Rhineland’s foremost mercantile and religious center, and it is the birthplace of the world-famous original Eau de Cologne perfume.
Explore the Altstadt (Old Town) and visit the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral).
The nation’s finest example of High Gothic architecture, the Kölner Dom took six centuries to complete. Admire the cathedral’s lauded treasures, including medieval stained-glass windows, the bejeweled sarcophagus of the Shrine of Three Kings, the monumental, 10th-century Gero Crucifix and richly carved 14th-century choir stalls.
Dock in historic Koblenz, strategically positioned at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, for a walking tour.
Here, Germany’s Roman past dates to 9 B.C., during Augustus Caesar’s reign. From the landmark Deutsches Eck (German Corner), view the 19th -century fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, the former residence of the powerful Archbishop-Electors of Trier, across the Rhine River.
See the twin-towered Basilica of St. Castor, built between the ninth and 13th centuries, showcasing the Rhineland’s distinctive Romanesque architecture.
Cruise through the Middle Rhine Valley, where nearly each bend in the river, terraced vineyards rise on steep slopes, medieval castles crown remote crags and tranquil villages emerge along peaceful banks. See the famous Lorelei Rock – legend holds that a beautiful siren once lured sailors here with her enchanting song.
Stop in Rüdesheim, the medieval heart of Germany’s wine country.
Enjoy a tour aboard the whimsical Winzerexpress mini-train, while traveling through bucolic vineyards en route to a private wine tasting, which highlights local Rieslings, including the crisp Klosterberg.
Reboard the ship and cruise pastoral Rheingau, Germany’s most famous wine-growing region.
Transfer from Mannheim to Heidelberg, where luminaries such as Goethe and Schumann once came to experience the intellectual atmosphere of Heidelberg University, the oldest in Germany, founded in 1386.
To many on the historic “Grand Tour” of Europe, Heidelberg epitomized Germany, nestled in the densely wooded valley of the Neckar River and alive with the spirit of Romanticism.
On the walking tour, see the preservation of Heidelberg’s authentic Renaissance-Baroque character, manifested in sites such as the eight remaining arches of its famous Alt Brücke (Old Bridge).
Visit the stately ruins of Heidelberg Castle, the 13th -century embodiment of the city’s medieval past, perched above the river.
The lively Alsatian city of Strasbourg fuses Old and New Europe with French and German influence.
The Old City’s cobblestone lanes weave around medieval houses, and the 13th -century Ponts Couverts, bridges flanked by watchtowers, span idyllic canals.
In Strasbourg, John Calvin first established a reformed parish; view remnants of the Reformation in St-Pierre-le-Vieux, a simultaneum used by the Protestant and Catholic parishioners. See the striking Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, whose graceful sandstone exterior, according to the poet Goethe, rises “like a most sublime, wide-arching tree of God.”
The Petite France district evokes a fairy tale, with its historic millers, tanner and fisherman’s quarter of half-timbered houses along the Ill River. Nearby, member nations of the European Union engage in the daily discourse of the European Parliament.
Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner this evening onboard the ship.
Transfer across the bucolic Swiss countryside to Switzerland’s capital, Bern. Tour its beautifully preserved Old Town, framed by its signature 15th -century arcades and the Aare River. Enjoy lunch in an 18th-century High Baroque-style granary, today a traditional Bernese restaurant.
Journey from the foothills of the Alps through the Bernese Oberland to admire the Jungfrau, an imposing summit known as the “Top of Europe”. En route to Zermatt, admire the soaring Alps, Switzerland’s stunning archetype of snowcapped peaks, crystal-clear glacial lakes and densely wooded forests.
Upon arrival in the Alpine resort of Zermatt, check into the deluxe Schweizerhof Hotel Zermatt, located beneath the dramatic pinnacle of the iconic Matterhorn.
Ascend through pine and larch forests, crossing meadows ablaze with wildflowers and passing distant peaks blanketed by snow, aboard the highest cog railway in Europe, the Gornergrat Bahn.
Sweeping vistas of breathtaking Alpine scenery unfold where atop the 10,100-foot summit, where the serrated profiles of the Matterhorn, the Liskamm and the Dufourspitze mountains and the vast Gorner Glacier extend beyond your periphery.
Return to Zermatt at your leisure; enjoy stops including Riffelberg featuring a panoramic view of the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn.
Wind through the heart of the Alps to Andermatt aboard the fabled Glacier Express, “the world’s slowest express train,” and delight in the surrounding natural beauty through panoramic windows along this ingenious rail route.
Enjoy lunch in the Andermatt before continuing to the Five-Star Schweizerhof Hotel.
The rugged grandeur of Mounts Pilatus and Rigi reflected in a deep blue lake make Lucerne a long-favored travel destination.
Begin your walking tour amid historic burghers’ houses in the Weinmarkt (wine market); then, see the Hofkirche (Court Church), an exceptional example of German Renaissance architecture, and the Lion Monument, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who gave their lives defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
Walk underneath tableaus of Swiss history and mythology painted on the arched roof of the 14th-century wooden Chapel Bridge, Lucerne’s most famous landmark, spanning the Reuss River.
Reach Mount Pilatus’s 7000-foot summit by panoramic gondola for a 360-degree vista of central Switzerland’s unforgettable topography and lunch in a summit restaurant.
Board the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, and descend nearly 5400 feet in less than three miles to Lake Lucerne. Cruise along its placid waters-the glistening namesake of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” surrounded by the magnificent Swiss Alps.
Enjoy the Farewell Reception this evening in the hotel.
Following breakfast, transfer to Zurich for your return flight to the U.S.
*Itinerary is subject to change.
Jacqueline (Jackie) Vansant, Professor of German at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
I was born in Delaware and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My interest in the German-speaking world began as an undergraduate at Washington College when I was encouraged to take German after my poor performance on the French placement exam. After my first semester of college I realized that German was my passion and not biology. In summer 1974 as I set off for the beginning of my junior year I had my first exposure to some of the sites on “The Great Journey through Europe.” Although I have focused on Austrian women writers, on memoirs and letters by Jewish Austrians, who fled after the Anschluss in 1938, and on the image of Austria in Hollywood films in my academic life, during my study of German I have been fascinated by many of the sites on this trip and look particularly forward to traveling on the Rhine.
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You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Call Michigan Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064.