Barge Germany and France Burgundy Alsace Black Forest Neckar Rhine

 GERHARD'S ODYSSEYS

 

A Wine & Dine Odyssey

Switzerland, Alsace Region of France & Germany

September 3rd to September 17th, 2017

Discover a countryside with a stately procession of colorful villages, vineyards, and crumbling castles. Our journey will be by land in combination with a relaxing seven-night voyage aboard our exclusive chartered hotel-barge on the Neckar River and Rhine River. We board the barge in Stuttgart and finish the cruise in Koblenz.

Tasting the many splendid wines will delight your palate and whet your appetite for the excellent local repast. Indulge in the Swiss cheeses and chocolates. Enjoy Black Forest smoked ham and Black Forest cake. In the Alsace there is a wealth of simple “rustic” dishes, such as Choucroute Royale (the local sauerkraut smothered with a mix of meats, sausage and potatoes), Baeckeoffe (casserole of beef, lamb, pork, onions and potatoes), and traditional onion tarte. Returning to Germany we experience homemade sausages, Wiener Schnitzel, Rolladen, Sauerbraten, Spaetzle (homemade noodles), venison, trout, and an array of desserts. Beer is usually locally brewed and almost every district grows its own wine.

The trip has been planned for your convenience. All gratuities, excursions, transfers and porterage are included in the price. All breakfasts, two lunches, and eleven dinners are included. Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks are included with every dinner. The Merlijn has twelve comfortable cabins onboard. All have private facilities with a shower, closet, small desk, and a safe. During our time on the barge, we will have walking excursions in most of the towns we visit and you also have the option of riding one of the boat’s bikes.

Plan to arrive at Zurich Airport no later than Sunday, September 3rd. Gerhard will meet your flight and provide a transfer to our luxury hotel in Lucerne. If you would like more time to enjoy the delights of Zurich you may wish to arrive a day or two before the tour begins.

The journey comes to a close on September 17th as we bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Frankfurt International Airport.

Most days of the trip you have the option of a sightseeing walking tour or a hike. Once we get on the barge, you will also have the option of a daily bike ride.

DAILY ITINERARY

Sunday, Lucerne. Transfer from the Zurich Airport to Lucerne, nestled beside a stunning blue lake in the Alpine foothills. Walking tour this afternoon before our welcome reception and dinner. See the medieval old town and the 14th-century Chapel Bridge, the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe.
Radisson Blu Hotel.

Monday, Lucerne. Today we take the world's steepest cogwheel railway up Mount Pilatus. High above the city of Lucerne you will have wonderful views of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps. Cruise across the lake and return to our hotel. Time at leisure to discover the many wonderful galleries, shops, and cafés.
Radisson Blu Hotel.

Tuesday, Triberg. We leave the Alps and drive to the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) - Germany’s largest and most beautiful forest with streams, waterfalls, and small lakes. Story-book villages date back centuries with local traditions still very intact. We’ll stop for lunch at Lake Titisee.
Parkhotel Wehrle.

Wednesday, Triberg. Only a short walk from our hotel to visit Germany’s highest waterfall, plunging nearly 500 feet into a river. The folk museum specializes in regional craftwork including, of course, a large collection of cuckoo clocks carved by the local master craftsmen.
Parkhotel Wehrle.

Thursday, Riquewihr. Traveling through cherry orchards (kirschwasser liqueur) and vineyards we cross the Rhine River into France. Stop in Eguisheim, a village dating to the 8th C. As you walk around the town's fortification you will see many small half-timbered and stone houses.
Hotel Schoenenbourg.

Friday, Riquewihr. This morning we tour Riquewihr, voted one of the most beautiful villages in France with its many brightly painted houses. With a bit of luck you may see a family of storks nesting high upon a rooftop. Dinner in a local winstub with traditional Alsatian cuisine.
Hotel Schoenenbourg.

Saturday, Besigheim (Stuttgart) Continue following the Alsatian wine route. Castle ruins and villages dot the hillsides. In Ribeauville we stop at a small but exclusive factory that manufactures specialty fabrics and table linens printed from old wood blocks. Return to Germany and board the Merlijn. We begin sailing during dinner. (Aboard the Merlijn)

Sunday, Heilbronn. On our coach we return to Stuttgart for a tour of the Mercedes-Benz Museum – a treasure trove of historic cars and exhibits that trace the evolution of the legendary automaker. The city is also home to Europe's largest zoo and botanic garden combo. (Aboard the Merlijn)

Monday, Eberbach. Bad Wimpfen will capture your imagination as you wander through the charming narrow nooks and crannies of this ancient town with its beautiful 13th century half-timbered houses and fortress. Join us for one of the special pastries at the Café Viktoria in Eberbach. (Aboard the Merlijn)

Tuesday, Heidelberg. We sail to the enchanting medieval town of Heidelberg with its pink sandstone castle. The 1924 operetta "The Student Prince" first introduced most Americans to Heidelberg. Visit the museums, the 14th Century University, shops, and markets.

Wednesday, Worms. Sail a short distance to the confluence of the Neckar and the Rhine. Worms is one of Germany’s oldest cities with Romanesque architecture. The oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe is found in the town, with headstones dating from the 11th century. (Aboard the Merlijn)

Thursday, Mainz. Our walking tour of Mainz will include the famous Gutenberg Museum that honors the printing pioneer Johanne Gutenberg. He built the first printing press in Mainz in 14C. Mainz is also Germany's wine capital and a generation of young vintners are proving that they have what it takes to achieve extraordinary feats year after year. (Aboard the Merlijn)

Friday, Koblenz. Today we sail the spectacular Rhine gorge and pass 32 castles and medieval strongholds in the short distance of 42 miles. Pfalz castle on a small island was a toll house, where boats using the river had to pay in medieval times. (Aboard the Merlijn)

Saturday, Wiesbaden. We say “auf Wiedersehen” to the Merlijn and travel to Wiesbaden. See some of city’s earliest surviving buildings, including the Old Town Hall, dating back to 1610. Running along the eastern edge of this historical quarter is elegant Wilhelmstrasse, a paradise of shopping and culture.
Hotel Oranien

Sunday, September 17th. Pack up your happy memories. The journey comes to a close as we regretfully bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Frankfurt International Airport, arriving home the same day. You may wish to linger another day or two in Wiesbaden or perhaps visit the IAA, the world’s largest auto show that is taking place this weekend in Frankfurt.

PRICE PER PERSON: $5,495 - tour cost ($2,495 single room surcharge)

TOUR COST INCLUDES
Seven nights aboard our private chartered river barge, the Merlijn.
Seven nights in outstanding, first-class hotels in central locations.
27 meals – buffet breakfast daily, two lunches and eleven taste-tempting dinners unique to the region, including the Welcome and Farewell dinners.
Complimentary wine, beer, bottled water, and soft drinks during dinner.
Transfers between airports, hotels, and the barge.
Transport by private luxury motorcoach.
Personalized tours of most towns visited with local guides and entrance fees.
Complimentary bicycles and helmets throughout our time on the barge.
All gratuities, taxes, service charges to hotel staff, barge staff, and local guides.
Porterage and handling of luggage at the hotels and on the barge.
Laminated luggage tags and tour information packet.
A careful balance of free time to pursue your own interests.
Hosted by Gerhard Meng.
• Special feature: A brisk pre-breakfast or after dinner walk for those who would like to start or finish the day with a bit of exercise.

GROUP SIZE IS LIMITED TO 22 GUESTS MAXIMUM

RESERVATIONS: Notify us that you wish to join the tour. Your space will be reserved and a sign-up packet will be forwarded with registration form and an invoice for deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, an information packet will be forwarded with further confirmation of your reservation and details to help prepare for the tour. Full and final payment is due May 3, 2017.

COST OF TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE: Air transportation, expenses of passports, laundry, telephone, and items of a personal nature; beverages other than those mentioned as being included; excess baggage charges; health and accident and baggage insurance; or any services other than those specifically mentioned as being included. Gerhard’s Odysseys is not responsible for delays or missed portions of your tour relating to flight delays or incorrect travel documents. The itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements for the barge.

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Questions?  Call us at 503-223-2402

View the TOURIST OFFICE Web sites for some of the destinations we visit.   http://www.christmastrips.com/pages/travelresources.php

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