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Germany

May 24 - June 5, 2016

Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen

Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen


Most guests in the group arrived in Berlin a few days early for additional sightseeing. In the morning, we went to the former concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. In the afternoon, we visited the Berlin Wall Museum. The museum documents part of the Wall in the once-divided city.

The next day, we took the city train to Potsdam for a full-day excursion. Potsdam was the residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser until 1918. The city is famous for its cultural landmarks like the palaces of Sanssouci and its parks. It is the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. After arriving in Potsdam, we took the street car to the parks and palaces of Sanssouci and we started our sightseeing tour with an inside visit of the palace Neue Kammern. Afterwards, we strolled through the stunning beautiful park and went to the Tea Pavillion. From there, we continued to the palace of Sanssouci. Later, there was some free time to enjoy the pedestrian friendly area of Potsdam. Then we returned via city train to Berlin. There, we met with the rest of our fellow travelers and enjoyed a welcome dinner in the hotel.

Tea Pavillion

Tea Pavillion Potsdam Sanssouci


Potsdam Sanssouci

Potsdam Sanssouci


Gendarmen Markt Berlin

Gendarmen Markt Berlin


Today, we joined a sightseeing bus tour with a local guide in this once-divided city of Berlin. The tour included the elegant Ku'damm where our hotel was located, the restored Reichstag, Charlottenburg Palace, a picture stop at monumental Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden Boulevard, State Opera House, Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust Memorial, and the 210-foot Victory Column in the vast Tiergarten Park. At the end of the tour, we visited the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church with its bomb-damaged tower.


We started early. We left the German capital and drove to Wittenberg, Martin Luther's home for many years. It is also considered the birthplace of the Reformation. A guided walking tour of the Reformation Museum provided interesting details about Luther's daily life. Afterwards, we went to Luther House and St. Mary's Church where he preached, and the Castle Church where he hung his 95 Theses.


After having some free time for lunch, we continued our drive to the Spreewald. There, we took a flat-bottomed boat cruise along the Spreewald village Lehde. We stopped at the open-air museum which provides a display of traditional houses, historic costumes, boat-building, pickling of gherkins and historic handicrafts. In the evening, we arrived in Dresden, the capital of the federal state of Saxony. We enjoy dinner at a historic themed restaurant.
Luther House Wittenberg

Luther House Wittenberg


Spreewald

Spreewald: flat-bottomed boat cruise

Situated on the shores of the Elbe, Dresden has a rich history as the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony. Here, culture and art flourished in past centuries. We started our morning walking tour at the hotel since our hotel was conveniently located in the middle of town. The tour included the famous recently re-built Frauenkirche, the Dresden Chateau, Semper Opera house and the renowned Zwinger Place. At the end of the tour, we had an inside visit of the Old Masters Picture Gallery where we saw Raphael's Sistine Madonna. In the afternoon, we marveled at the richest treasure chambers in Europe, called the Gruenes Gewoelbe. Dinner was served in a historic restaurant, the Sophienkeller. After dinner, some of us went to the deaf club and had a wonderful time there. Thank you to all the club members who waited patiently for us and taking the time for a great meeting.


Dresden

Visit of the Old Town in Dresden


Picture Gallery

Old Masters Picture Gallery with Raphael's Sistine Madonna


Deaf Club

Dinner at the Sophienkeller and Visit of the Deaf Club in Dresden


Not far from Dresden, there is the small town of Moritzburg. The town is famous for its horse breeding and carp farming. A guided sightseeing tour of the Stables of the State Stud Moritzburg gave us an insight to horse breeding. Stallions are a specialty of this stud. After finishing the tour, we had a horse drawn bugy ride in the surrounding area of the Moritzburg Hunting Chateau. Later, we went to the town's train station for a ride on the narrow gauge steam railway whitch was a lot of fun.

Moritzburg

Our group in front of the Moritzburg Hunting Castle


Via bus, we continued to Meissen. Our first stop was the Meissen porcelain factory. During a guided tour, we learned to appreciate all the skills that the employees have to have to produce such expensive and delicate porcelain. We continued with a guided sightseeing tour through the quaint town of Meissen. The tour terminated with dinner and wine tasting at the locally well known restaurant Vincenz Richter. Later that evening, we return to our hotel in Dresden.

Train

Train ride and visit of the Meissen Porcelain Factory



Meissen

Walking tour in Meissen and dinner with wine tasting at Vincenz Richter


Dresden's surrounding area is rich in landmarks, quaint towns and remarkable landscape. Via bus, we went on a short ride to Pillnitz Palace and Gardens where the Saxony rulers loved to party and spent time away from the busy residence. After the guided tour, we embarked a steamboat and went upstream to Rathen located in the picturesque area called Saxony Switzerland. While enjoying the boat trip and the passing scenery, we had lunch onboard the steamer.


After disembarking the ship, we continued via bus to the Ore Mountains. We stopped in Seiffen, the official Christmas Village in Germany where many wooden candle pyramids, angels, nutcrackers, candlesticks, and toys related to Christmas are produced. During a workshop visit, we had the opportunity to purchase the handmade toys for ourselves or as Christmas gifts for our loved ones at home. In the evening, we had dinner at a very elegant restaurant in Dresden.

Pillnitz

Pillnitz Palace and Gardens

Steamboat

Steamboat ride from Pillnitz to Rathen in the
Saxony Switzerland


Zwickau

Visit of the Sign Language Institute Zwickau



We departed Dresden in the morning. Our first stop was in Zwickau at the Sign Language Institute. There, we received a very warm welcome. We attended a presentation about the services that are provided for deaf people in Germany, activities in the local deaf club, and information about the sign language interpreter program. We enjoyed a delicious lunch with the very popular Soljanka stew. In the afternoon, we continued to Nuremberg. Disembarking the bus at the castle allowed us to walk slowly through the town via a guided tour and finishing at the market square. The market square becomes the Christmas market in the winter time and is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany.


Following the Romantic Road, we arrive in medieval Rothenburg. The picturesque town still has its ramparts and towers, cobblestone lanes, and 16th-century houses. Walking through town is like becoming part of a picture book story. Many small stores invite the visitor to shop for souvenirs, Christmas ornaments, local delicacies and much more. In the afternoon, we continued to the Bavarian capital, Munich. In the evening, we had dinner at the Hofbraeuhaus.

Rothenburg

Medieval Rothenburg


Hofbraeuhaus

Enjoying dinner at the Hofbraeuhaus in Munich



Munich was first mentioned in 1158. The city was a cultural stronghold of the Counter-Reformation. Under the rule of the Bavarian monarchs, Munich became a major European center of arts, architecture, and culture. During a sightseeing tour by bus, we saw the city center, Marienplatz with the Old and New Town Halls, the gothic Frauenkirche, Nymphenburg Palace, the Olympic Stadium, and the 1,000-foot-high Television Tower. The afternoon was at leisure.


Highlight today was a visit to King Ludwig's magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most famous German castles and copied by Walt Disney at his theme parks. After transferring to a shuttle bus, we arrived at the castle. There, we had a marvelous view. Following our guide through this fairytale castle we learned interesting facts about the construction and the life of King Ludwig. Time was set aside for a lunch break before we drove along the panoramic German Alpine Road to the northern shore of Lake Constance, Europe's largest freshwater reservoir.





Our overnight stay was in Lindau, a very pretty town at Lake Constance. Its history dates back to the 13th century. Since our hotel was located in the old town, we were able to spend our free time in the middle of town and discover a lot of very interesting buildings and did some shopping before we went to a traditional Bavarian dinner.


Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Lindau

Walking tour in Lindau at Lake Constance


Black Forest

At the cuckoo-clock store showing Lillian
with a traditional Bollenhut



Before we left Lindau, we had a brief guided tour. Then, we continued north and visited the baroque Church at Birnau. Here we had a last view at Lake Constance. We said goodbye and headed for the famous Black Forest area. After quite a bit of driving, we arrived at Hofgut Sternen where we received a warm welcome and learned all about the cuckoo-clock, for which the area is famous. Our overnight stay was at Lake Titisee and dinner was served in the hotel.



In the morning, we stayed in the Black Forest area. We stopped for a woodcarving demonstration followed by a delicious piece of Black Forest cake. Afterwards, we drove to Heidelberg, Germany's oldest university town. We took the funicular up the hill and visited the red-walled castle that is dominating the city. The castle is also the place where the world's largest wine barrel is on display. After taking the funicular back into town, there was some free time for individual exploration. Then, we continued to Frankfurt where we stayed overnight.


Black Forest

Group picture in front of a Cuckoo-Clock in the Black Forest


Farewell Dinner

Farewell Dinner in Frankfurt



Some guests in our group headed to the airport in Frankfurt for the homebound flight. Others stayed a bit longer in Frankfurt. And about half of our group continued to Switzerland.




What our clients said after the tour:

Dear Kerstin,
All 20 trips I have taking with you have always been wonderful. This Germany and Switzerland trip beats all my expectation. Amazing that you personalized this Germany trip to include your hometown Dresden. I loved your hometown, so unique. Switzerland tour through many scenic route was awesome. I enjoyed every minute of this trip. We had so much fun. Also, you prove once more you care for all your clients. Thank you. Looking forward to traveling with you again. Fondly, Lillian

Hello!
Like I said it several times, it was a very good trip. Tom and I had been to Germany, but we learned much more about Germany through you! We have started looking forward to exploring a different part of Germany with you, and I recall your saying that you would plan a trip on Northern Germany. You deserve a good pat on your shoulder for making the trip educational and fun. Thank you, Kerstin! Nancy and Tom

Kerstin,
We wanted to tell you how much we really enjoyed the tours and we learned somethings about those countries Many thanks for your wonderful work to arrange them for us. Diane and Tony

Kerstin,
Karyl and I really enjoyed our tour very much in Germany and Switzerland all because of your excellent plan. That is something we will never forget!!! Kerstin, thank you very much! Mike and Karyl


Fundraising Poster

We would like to thank the following people for their donation:
  • Lisa Rose-Bartfay
  • Michael & Karyl Hummel
  • Jay Shopshire
  • Thomas & Nancy Gallagher
  • Daniel Swartz
  • Janice Lemanski
  • Bridget Ford & Lucille May
  • Frank Tipson
  • Barbara Fairwood
  • Eleanor Arbri
  • John Denius
  • Tony & Diana Munoz
  • Eddie Bachus

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your next tour or cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com



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