Today we board our flights to Krakow with meals and beverages served aloft.
Upon arrival at Krakow International Airport, we are greeted by our HLTC representative and transfer to our hotel for check-in.
Overnight: Krakow (D)
After breakfast, we visit St. Stanislaus Kostka Church where Karol Woytola attended Mass every day and Father Wojtyla offered his second Mass. We continue to Wawel Cathedral, the burial place of Polish kings. St. John Paul II offered his first Mass here in the crypt of St. Leonard. We continue in the footsteps of St. John Paul II in Old Town to visit Kanonicza Street where he resided while living in Krakow. Explore the courtyards of the Collegiums Maius. Visit the Franciscan Church where Fr. Wojtyla spent quite time in prayer. Pass the Archbishop’s Palace to see where Fr. Wojtyla attended the seminary, was ordained and lived as a cardinal. In the Old Town, we will visit the Basilica of St. Mary (Mariacki). See the noon opening of Europe’s largest Gothic wooden alter, build by sculptor Wit Stows in the 15th century from gilded linden wood. Continue to Market Square, one of the largest medieval market squares in Europe. In the afternoon, we will tour Wieliczka, one of the oldest salt mines in Europe. Wieliczka is a unique place where many generations of polish miners have created a world of underground salt lakes with a rich interior of decorated chapels including the famous Blessed Kings Chapels. The Wieliczka salt mines are listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Overnight: Krakow (B,D)
After breakfast, depart Krakow for Auschwitz where we will have a guided tour of the Concentration Camp and Museum, including “Auschwitz II” at Birkenau. Time will be given for reflection and prayer. We return to Krakow to visit the Divine Mercy Shrine, dedicated by St. John Paul II during his last visit to Poland in 2002. We will tour the Devine Mercy complex, including the original burial site of St. Faustina. We continue to the John Paul II Center and see the octagonal lower church dedicated to John Paul II, known as the church of the Relics (Kosciol Relikwi), decorated with vividly-colored images depicting events from the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and his visits to the world’s most famous Marian sanctuaries. The centerpiece of the shrine is a simple marble alter in the middle that contains a vial with the relic of the blood of St. John Paul II displayed in a glass case.
Overnight: Krakow (B, D)
This Morning, we leave Krakow on our full day excursion to Czestochowa, home of the “Black Madonna.” We enjoy a guided visit of the Monastery with its Chapel of the Virgin, where the sacred icon is kept for veneration by the faithful. We will also visit the beautiful Basilica of the Holy Cross and the Nativity of Mary with its magnificent Baroque alter depicting the Assumption of our Lady into Heaven. Tour the Monastery’s 600th Anniversary Museum housing offering from the prisoners of the Nazi and Communist concentration camps. Time will be given to prayers and reflection at the Shrine in Czestochowa.
Overnight: Krakow (B, D)
This morning, we will depart Krakow for a visit to Wadowice, hometown of St. John Paul II. Visit his childhood home, which is now a museum, and the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary where he was baptized. We continue to Prague for dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Prague (B, D)
Today we have a city tour of Prague, including the castle district (Hradcany), St. Vitus’ Cathedral, the Basilica of St. George and Prague Castle. We will also see the Golden Lane, a row of tiny artisans’ shops built outside the castle walls in medieval times, stroll through Mala Strana with its beautiful architectural buildings. Continue to the Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Victorious, in the Lesser Quarter, where the miraculous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague is preserved. We then cross the famous Charles Bridge to the Old Town. We will also have the chance to visit the church of Our Lady before Tyn, walk along alleys to St. Wenceslas Square, and walk through the Jewish Quarter. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Prague (B,D)
After breakfast, we drive across the Danube Valley to Melk, Austria. Upon arrival, we have lunch on our own and visit the Benedictine Abbey, the best sample of Baroque architecture in Austria. We continue to Vienna, the Music Capital of the World!
Overnight: Vienna (B, D)
We begin our day with a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria’s most eminent Gothic edifice. We continue on a panoramic tour including; Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Habsburg emperors; the Capuchin Church, containing the imperial vaults; St Charles Church, a splendid example of late Baroque architecture; and the Belvedere Palace, former residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. This afternoon, we drive through the Austrian Lake District, with its views of the Salzkammergut region to the Baroque city of Salzburg, a jewel set on the beautiful banks of the Salzach River.
Overnight: Salzburg (B, D)
After breakfast, we visit the Shrine of Maria Plain in Salzburg. In 1633 a painting of blessed Mother was found in the ruins of a totally burned wooden house, undamaged. In 1951 Pope Pius XII, conferred the title of this Shrine to “Basilica Minor”. Then we begin our guided tour of Salzburg’s sights along Getreidegasse, the city’s pedestrian street, pass by the house where Mozart was born and view Monchsberg with the fortress “Hohensalzburg” which overlooks the city. We see Residenzplatz, the center square of Salzburg, dominated by the dynamic sculpture of the Residenzbrunnen, the largest baroque fountain north of the Alps. Next, visit St. Peter’s Abbey.
Overnight: Salzburg (B, D)
This morning we leave Salzburg to explore King Ludwig’s majestic castle, the Cinderella-style Neuschwanstein and the King’s former residence. Go back to the times of Wagner as you visit the royal apartments. Continue to visit the Monastery of Ettal, and continue to Oberammergau, home of the famous Passion Play. The little village of Oberammergau is home to the famous Passion Play of the life of Christ. The play dates back to 1633 when the Plague took a severe toll of lives in the small village. In their distress, the inhabitants turned to God and vowed that if the pestilence were taken from them, they would perform a play every ten years, depicting the suffering and death of the Savior. Their plea was heard and there were no further plague victims in Oberammergau. The first performance of the Passion play took place in 1634 in the village cemetery.
Overnight: Oberammergau (B,D)
After breakfast, celebrate 10:00 AM Mass at a local church. Today we attend the Passion Play, see included flyer for details.
Overnight: Oberammergau (B, D)
This morning, we leave Oberammergau to visit Dachau. Visit the Museum in the concentration camp. We drive to Munich. Upon arrival, our guide will take us to explore the Marienplatz, the world famous Glockenspiel, and the twin-towered Frauenkirche, the most familiar landmark of old Munich. We will see the town hall, magnificent boulevard Feldherrenhalle Ludwigsstrassen Siegestor- created by Kin Ludwig I in the middle of the 19th century- the Hofgarten and the English Garden.
Overnight: Munich (B, D)
Today we board our flights home, carrying with us memories and keepsakes that will last a lifetime.