Once every decade the citizens of Oberammergau in the Bavarian region of Germany perform a Passion Play. The play, focusing on the life and death of Jesus, began in 1634, a year after the bubonic plague swept Europe. Citizens of the town had taken an oath that if they were spared the black death,'' they would perform a Passion Play at the beginning of each decade.
The townsfolk were spared and their promise has been kept, with the exception of the 1940 performance when World War II was raging in Europe. Tickets sell out quickly, up to a year ahead, so anyone contemplating taking in the play in 2000 should think about booking soon.
Among tour operators offering programs to take in the Oberammergau Passion Play is Ajax-based Val Marshall Travel. It is taking pre-registration with a $50 refundable deposit for 15-day July and October itineraries, with no obligation until prices are finalized later this year. The departure in October also will visit Munich during Oktoberfest.
The tour, taking in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, includes return air fare, five two-night hotel stops and a full sightseeing program. It will also include all breakfasts and dinners, entrance to the Passion Play and Oktoberfest and a trip on the Glacier Express train.
First stop is Frankfurt, then by coach to Heidelberg and Baden-Baden for a two-night stop. Excursions take in the Black Forest, the open air Gutach Museum and Triberg. The Swiss itinerary includes Berne, Gruyeres to learn about Swiss cheese production, Montreaux and Chillon Castle and on to Zermatt for two nights.
Tour participants travel from Zermatt to St. Moritz on the Glacier Express, then on into Austria for a visit to Innsbruck and Wattens, where the famous Swarovski crystal is produced. Day 10 brings a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle along the Rhine and the Seefeld area, Linderhof Castle and Oberammergau for a day devoted to the Passion Play. From Oberammergau the tour travels to Munich with a stop at the 16th century Nymphenburg Palace. The September tour will arrive in time to celebrate Munich's Oktoberfest.
Contact Val Marshall Travel
(905) 428-1328 or toll free 1-800 669-1257.
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