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Mona - Astronomy
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#936530 06/27/2022 6:34 PM
by Angie
About five years ago, we saw an advertisement from Collette Tours to see the Oberammergau Passion Play with travel to Switzerland and Austria. One might ask what is so important about attending a play depicting the Passion and Death of Christ. Well, in 1643 a plague ravaged Europe and about 1/3 of the world population was killed. The people in the tiny hamlet of Oberammergau made a covenant with God to protect them from the plague. The covenant worked and the town was saved from the sickness. In return, the population reenacted the passion of Jesus for several years until they made a decision to hold the play every ten years and so beginning in 1650 the Passion Play is a world renown event in every year ending in 0 (this play has been presented ever since and this year’s play will be the 420th. Fast forward to today as the world is in the throws of another pandemic which is delaying the presentation of the play. Not to break the Oberammergau promise to God the leaders of the play rescheduled the play to 2022.

On June 17. 2022, the Passion Players, a group of 16 people set out on our pilgrimage to Oberammgau to attend the Play. Arriving in Zurich, Switzerland from an overnight flight, the group met our tour leader named Lili and coach driver Raphaela, and away we went through the Swiss country side in 90 degree temperatures. The cleanliness and the living countryside is very impressive.

The first stop on the tour is the Swiss capital of Bern, a town dating back to 1218 AD. With German as its main language, Bern has developed into a thriving city and second most populous city in Switzerland, and the entire city center being named as a UNESCO world heritage site, Bern’s legislature, churches, and shops date back to 1218. Eating fondue and drinking the local white wine, Epesses, made a great lunchtime fare. With the bear as the city’s symbol, Bern is on the Aare River (a tributary of the Alp Mountain glaciers). There are three live brown bears living alongside the river to remind people of the toughness and strength of this city. This has been a great start to our journey with Lake Geneva, Chateau de Chillon, and the GoldenPass Panoramic Train from Montreux to Gstaad on our touring schedule for tomorrow. Until then, have a great day.
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#936531 Jun 27th a 06:38 PM
by Angie
Our second night in Bern had the group going to dinner at the Marzilibrucke restaurant which I was told that it was was 2 blocks down and 1 block over. It was really down a stairway, a hill, and a winding path. It was worth it though as dinner was great; we sat outside under a tree canopy. Day 2 presented us with another 90 degree (hot) day This is very unusual weather for Europe, let alone Switzerland. We traveled by coach to Montreux and the Chillon Castlee which was constructed around 1536. Located on Lake Geneva, the castle guarded the lake from pirates as well as collecting a fee from all commerce on the lake. After a lunch (we shared a mozzarella and tomato panini) on the lake, the Players boarded the Goldenpass Panoramic Train for a 2 hour ride into and through the Alpine Mountains and ending at Gstaad. This was a big WOW with the views of Lake Geneva and the alpine countryside of Switzerland. Our final night in Bern and we had dinner at Stella Lucia.

Day 3 had the Players going by coach from Bern to Innsbruck (a bridge over the River Reuss). On this drive, we stopped in the town of Luzern which was founded in 1250 AD and further developed by Benedictine Fathers in 1730 AD. The river Ruess runs through the middle of the town and you need a bridge to get to the guard house in the center of the river. In 1290, Luzern got it’s independence from the Hapsburgs. A sculpture by Bestel Thorvaldsen of a dying lion is the notable art work in the central park commemorating the killing of Swiss guards in 1792. Upon leaving Luzern, we traveled to Innsbruck on a highway that had more miles in a tunnel than above ground because the Alpine (Tyrol) mountains challenged drivers. One tunnel was 10 miles in length and another 20 tunnels were at least 1 mile in length.

Day 4 has the Passion Players in Innsbruck touring the Baroque architecture of churches, government buildings, and homes. Some of us toured the 1992 Olympic Ski Jump ramp and saw the Golden Roof which Emperor Maxmillian gifted his bride in 1500. While I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe near the Golden Roof, our waitress spilt 4 glasses on beer just to add laughter to the occasion. We were listening to the Austrian National Police Band, What a sight – looking at buildings built 300 to 400 years ago and music of military marches.
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#936550 Jul 1st a 05:00 PM
by Angie
Quickly looking back at our brief stop in Liechtenstein, the fifth smallest principality in Europe We had our passports stamped and were able to walk among the banks and small buildings (the main industry in Liechtenstein is banking). The coach then embarked on our trip to Innsbruck which had us travel through many tunnels from 1 mile to 10 miles in length. It felt like we were underground more than on the surface. When we arrived in Innsbruck we were instructed by Lilli, our tour leader, to obey all crossing signs, so no jaywalking. Our hotel, the Hotel Innsbruck, was located at the edge of Old Town. Another day of travel came to an end.

Day 6 to Salzburg we go and the Sound of Music (Julie Andrews and Mozart). Walking through Old Town the many shops and trades that Salzburg was founded on were displayed by guild signs. We walked by the birthplace of Mozart and the home of Doppler. We saw many shops with Mozart chocolates available and local beer. We looked into the Baroque cathedral and finished the day with a meal in a restaurant opened in 803 (that’s right, 803). Food was delicious and it was a pleasant day in Salzburg. Our local tour guide had us practice the Do, Re, Me song while walking in the gardens. She then had us gather together on the steps for a group photo and we sang the song for a video. Then we toured the old town,

Day 7 had us up early to get our suitcases outside the door for pick up and breakfast before heading for Oberammergau. As we crossed the border from Austria to Germany, we were stopped by German border security ensuring all people were correctly identified with their passports. The main reason for the border security was that the G-7 was having a meeting in Kurn which is a small hamlet near Oberammergau. Once we were in Germany just about every road and side lane had police or military guards. It took awhile for traffic to go through the checkpoints, sort of like going through Washington DC. We arrived at our hotel, Klosterhotel, Ludwig der Bayer, in Ettal. After a light lunch the group was driven to the Passion Play Theatre. Buildings were marked with frescoes and legendary happenings. At 3pm the doors to the theatre opened (the theatre can hold 4000 people) and the actors began their performance. During the play, a thunderstorm passed through but we were undercover and the stage was partially covered by tents that were fitted with something like a gutter to channel the water away from the stage. How innovative. The play was phenomenal. The set was very simple. The choir had about 100 singers of all ages. The play was in German but we were provided a “text book”. The play was presented with the choir singing about Old Testament scenes And then the actors picked up with the Passion tide story. At 6pm we had an intermission for dinner and returned at 7pm. It was a great experience. The play ended as the rains began to fall. There was a mad dash to return to the right coach to return to the hotel.

From Ettal to Munich, we visited various examples of Mad King Ludwig’s castles. The interiors of the castles were glittery and ornate. One room had many mirrors, lots of gilt, and beautiful furnishings. The mirrors made the room look infinite. His dining room had an interesting feature. His table was on a platform like an elevator. The servants would lower the platform and set his table and then with the pulley system put it in place for his dining pleasure. When he was done with his meal, the table would be lowered again. As you can see, he was a bit strange and didn’t like to mingle much with people.

Our last day got us lost in Munich airport but we finally arrived at the correct terminal to catch our 787 plane to Washington. It was the end of a fantastic trip. Of course, we did get a souvenir, Covid.

One fun note is when you take a picture of a hotel/restaurant with your name on it.
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