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In the footsteps of the Popes – John Paul II and Benedict XVI


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Day 1: Oberammergau – Munich (91 km)

After breakfast departure to Munich. Participate in Mass in one of the numerous churches in the city. A  city  sightseeing will follow, focusing on the places related to the life and work of Benedict XVI including the University and the Cathedral where Benedict XVI was ordained Bishop. A visit to some of other sights of this magnificent city is also planned including the Opera House, City Hall, Maximilian and Leopold Streets. The day ends with a tour of Nymphenburg Castle.

Dinner and overnight in a hotel in Munich

Day 2: Munich – Freising (84 km)

After breakfast depart for Freising, where the brothers Joseph and Georg Ratzinger were ordained priests in the local cathedral. It is also the very place where Ratzinger was nominated to become a future Bishop of the See of Freising-Munich. Sightseeing today  includes also the Benedictine Abbey in Weihenstephan where you can try the delicious beer which has been brewed here since 1040. The monks still produce their beer using the same  methods of brewing which have remained virtually unchanged ever since. Return to Munich in the afternoon. Time at leisure, dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Altotting – Marktl – Passau – Deggendorf (186 km)

Depart for Altotting after breakfast.

This truly  Bavarian town is concentrated around a star shaped square where five different streets meet at Kapellplatz. Altotting, and its shrine of Virgin Mary, is one of the most significant sanctuaries dedicated to the Mother of Jesus. The shrine, renowned for its picture of the Black Madonna was a frequent place of pilgrimage for the Pope’s family during his childhood.

A visit to Maktl where Benedict XVI was born follows. A museum set up in his former home reminds visitors of the strong connections this place has with the present day Pope. Afterwards we continue to Passau, the city of the Three Rivers, which is located at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz.

 

You will admire the architecture of the historic Old Town, with beautiful houses and ancient bishops’ and princes’ residences. We will also see the Cathedral, home to the biggest church organ in the world, and the Oberhaus Castle.

Your overnight stay this evening is in Deggendorf

Day 4: Deggendorf – Regensburg – Prague (330 km)

After breakfast, depart for Regensburg, home to a renowned University, where Benedict XVI was a professor from 1969-1977. This old city with its history stretching back to the times of Ancient Rome was founded 2000 years ago. A walk through the streets of Regensburg will include St Peter's Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, a look at some of the houses of wealthy patrician families with their fascinating interiors and their own chapels.

We will also pay a visit to the famous Thurns & Taxis Palace as well as several Gothic and Romanesque buildings.

In the afternoon depart for Prague. Check-in at the hotel and  an enjoyable stroll in the Old Town.

Day 5: Prague

Breakfast will be followed by a sightseeing  tour of Prague which will include a visit to Castle Hill, Charles Bridge and the Market Square.

Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than  other major cities in the region allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form. It contains one of the most pristine and varied collections of architecture in the world, ranging from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.

Dinner and overnight in Prague.

Day 6: Prague – Kraków (555 km)

In the morning you will set off for Kraków.

On the way we offer you the chance to see Brno. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech  Republic. It lies at the crossroads of ancient trade routes that have connected Northern and Southern European civilisations for centuries. You will commence your walking tour with a stroll through the city’s beautiful medieval streets. You will visit the St Peter and Paul Cathedral, then make your way down into the town, stopping off en route at the Cabbage Market Square and the Parnassus Fountain. You will then continue onto Namesti Svobody Square featuring the Monument to the Plague built in 1680 and surrounded by townhouses with ornate façades. You will then board your coach and continue on your journey to Kraków.

Dinner and overnight in  Kraków.

Day 7: Kraków – Łagiewniki – Wieliczka (35km)

 Breakfast is followed by a short sightseeing tour of Kraków during which we will see St Mary’s Basilica with its famous Wit Stwosz Altar, the Franciscan Church with its links to the life of John Paul II and the magnificent Castle Hill.

After lunch we will proceed to  Łagiewniki - home of the God’s Mercy Basilica and Sisters of Mercy Nunnery. It used to be home to Saint Faustina, to whom the picture of the Merciful Jesus was revealed. During his pilgrimage to Poland in 2002, Pope John Paul II symbolically entrusted the world to the God’s Mercy here.

In the afternoon we head to the Salt Mine at Wieliczka, an extraordinary place also listed  by UNESCO. The sightseeing tour of the Salt Mine starts 65 meters and ends up 135 meters below ground level. The mine  complex, full of secrets, underground lakes, and salt grottos is certain to remain a lasting memory.

Overnight stay in Kraków.

Day 8: Auschwitz-Birkenau – Wadowice – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (150 km)

After breakfast depart for Auschwitz, location of the former Nazi concentration camp, where you’ll visit the martyrdom museum.

The camp area witnessed one of the cruelest crimes against humanity in the whole 20th century. The visit to this notorious site, now a moving memorial, includes the Death Wall, the place of execution, and the former Death Block, which is always covered with flowers left by visitors.

Afternoon visit to Wadowice and Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, places significant to all the Poles and their history. Kalwaria  Zebrzydowska is a pilgrimage destination, home to Bernardine Abbey, St Mary’s Church and one of Europe’s oldest Ways of the Cross, called by some - Polish Jerusalem. The whole sanctuary is listed by UNESCO as World Heritage.

The town of Wadowice is the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla. Here we shall visit the museum, dedicated to the life of the Pope John Paul II and other places closely linked to his presence in this area.

Return to Kraków, dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Kraków – Częstochowa – Warsaw (370km)

Depart for Czestochowa after breakfast.

Sightseeing tour of Jasna Góra Pauline  Monastery, an important place of worship for all the Poles. It is the home of Black Madonna icon, an object of a centuries long cult and destination of several Popes’ pilgrimages.

Lunch in one of local restaurants. Transfer to Warsaw in the afternoon.

Dinner and overnight stay in Warsaw.

Day 10: Warsaw

Breakfast will be followed by a full day  sightseeing tour of Warsaw - the capital of Poland. The city was turned into a ruin at the end of the World War II, but thanks to the hard work of its citizens, regained some of its former shape and splendour. It is now the economic hub of the country, home to many international companies and Polish government buildings.

You will take part in a half-day tour of Warszawa, during which you will see the Old Town, St. John’s Cathedral, the Royal Castle from the outside, the elegant Royal Way, Łazienki and the Convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which Helena Kowalska, known as Saint Sister Maria Faustyna Kowalska, entered in 1925. In the afternoon we invite you to attend Holy Mass.

Dinner and overnight stay in Warsaw.

Day 11: Departure from Warsaw

Transfer to the airport and departure home.