Tuesday, March 02, 2010
If you're looking for a unique experience that transcends standard sightseeing, be sure to include Oberammergau Passion Play in the heart of the bewitching Bavarian Alps in your 2010 travel plans.
The play is the story of Christ, but even those of you who aren’t religious will enjoy this admirable rarity. The play attracts a worldwide audience when it is put on every ten years by the inhabitants of the tiny, picturesque village of Oberammergau, who vowed to re-enact the story when they survived the plague in 1633. Read on for more information on the play, and lists of our tours which include this extraordinary event in their unbeatable itineraries.
At this time many packages are sold out. However if your dates are flexible, you should still be able to book a vacation including the Passion Play. Call 800-942-3301 to speak to a tour specialist.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
With only 4 months to go before the first performance on May 15, 2010, travel packages to Oberammergau are selling fast. Performed once every 10 years, Oberammergau’s Passion Play is a part of history you don’t want to miss!
Here you will find an overview of the most frequently asked questions and important facts you should know before selecting a passion play package.
Where is Oberammergau?
Located about 60 miles southwest of Munich, Germany, Oberammergau is surrounded by majestic mountains and picturesque meadows. This peaceful, unspoiled village is well known not only for the warm hospitality its residents extend to visitors from around the world but also for its Passion Play, performed by the locals just once a decade.
How did it all get started?
In 1634, the Black Death decimated Europe’s population. Oberammergau remained untouched until a homesick villager returned one night, unknowingly bringing with him the dreaded plague. Almost 100 villagers died as a result. Frightened survivors vowed that if God saved them from the plague, once every 10 years they would reenact the agony and crucifixion of Christ. From then on, there were no further deaths from the plague—and the villagers have fulfilled their pledge ever since. Over the centuries, their faith and commitment have been recognized and admired around the world, drawing people from all religious backgrounds and cultures to observe this amazing performance.
Can you tell me more about the Play?
The Passion Play portrays the Passion of Christ—from the entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection. Performances are held in an open air stage framed by magnificent alpine scenery. The play only runs May through September 2010. There are no performances on Mondays and Wednesdays. The play is performed in German, and a written outline is provided in English. Why attend if you can’t understand the language? Like opera, this is an appreciate for the arts. You don’t have to understand the words to feel the passion in the performance and the musical score. Let’s not forget the amazing scenery. The open air theatre has the Alpine mountains as it’s backdrop. Anyone can appreciate the experience complete with the beautiful setting, choir, orchestra and hand made, exquisite costumes.
The performances begin at 2:30 pm, break at 5 pm for 3 hours, and then resume until 10.30 pm. The play consists of more than 2,000 actors, singers, musicians, and technicians with rehearsals starting at least a year before the event. Villagers also make all the costumes for the production and, as no wigs are used, participants must grow their hair and beards for up to a year prior to the performances. The Passion Play demonstrates an impressive community effort, both, the production team and the cast are from Oberammergau or have lived there for at least 20 years.
The Passion Play Theatre has 4,720 total seats. All offer a good view of the stage from all seating categories, & the acoustics in the theatre are excellent. Many improvements have been made over the years including under-flooring heating, accessibility for wheelchairs, plenty of bathrooms and a museum. Seating is covered to rain is not a factor for those attending. Oberammergau is 800 meters in altitude and in the Alps, so we suggest you bring a sweater or blanket it can get cold. It may even snow during the month of September.
What type of packages are available?
Tickets only are sold out. You must buy the tickets in conjunction with a hotel stay, tour or cruise. There are several types of vacations to choose from. For those that do not want a long trip, our most popular packages are the Globus Oberammergau Highlights 4 day/3 night package featuring the Passion Play priced from $2,140 pp and the Gate 1 – 5 day/4 night Affordable Munich and Passion Play, priced from $1,499 pp. Escorted tours range from 8 to 24 days where you can focus on just Germany or Central Europe, visit various countries, or even include Italy. Offered for the first time in 2010, you can also combine a river cruise with the Passion Play. River cruises offer comfort, convenience and variety. The ship is both a hotel and a means of transportation. You don’t have to get up early like you do when on a traditional tour or cruise to see the sites. Your ship will be in a new and exciting place every day.
Where will I be sitting for the performance?:
Tickets for the Passion Play 2010 are only available as part of an official package. The tickets are allocated together with the accommodation by the the tour companies. There is a direct correlation to the type of hotel you stay in along with the tickets for the play. The better quality hotels come with the better seats for the performance.
The plan of the theatre included shows the seating layout & the corresponding ticket categories, so if you want the best tickets, make sure that you are booking a tour that offers Category 1A seating.
Please note, tickets are not given in advance, and there is no guarantee exactly what row or seat you will be in, just the Category is known at the time of booking. Your tickets will be issued to you upon arrival in Europe by your tour guide. Make sure you book with a reputable tour operator to avoid disappointment and to insure you are getting what you paid for.
Categories for accommodations are chosen after a thorough inspection of all rooms. They are based solely on the degree of space & furnishings provided & not by the stars assigned to it by the German Hotel Classifications. In some locations rooms may be assigned in different categories.
HC 2 – Superior First Class 4+-star Hotel with Category 1A Tickets
Superior Hotels with cozy furnishings and spacious rooms. Each room has its own private bathroom and a corner seating area. They are also outfitted with a minibar or wide variety of drinks, color T.V., radio, direct-dial telephone, Internet access, hair dryer, toiletries, and bathrobes on request.
HC 3 -First Class 4-star Hotel with Category 1 Tickets
Middle Class Hotels with a private bathroom in each room. They are also outfitted with a minibar or wide variety of drinks, color T.V., radio, direct-dial telephone, hair dryer, and toiletries.
HC 4 – Tourist Class 3-star Hotel with Category 2 Tickets
Middle Class Hotels with a private bathroom in each room. They are also outfitted with a T.V.
Please note: The accommodation categories for the Oberammergau Passion Play 2010 have been graded by the Passion Play Committee and are based on the size and furnishings of the rooms; they do not, however, comply with the star ratings allocated to the establishments by the official German hotel classification. Some accommodation establishments may also offer rooms.
On a final note, if you haven’t booked yet, try to be flexible. Many dates are sold out, but more importantly at times you can get better airfare rates if you are willing to be open to a few departures dates. Book with a reputable company and review everything in writing before you put any money on the reservation. Make sure to book a guaranteed departure, especially if you are booking your own airfare. If you don’t see exactly what you want, just ask! We try to accommodate any request if at all possible. For instance, one customer wanted to see the Shroud of Turin exposition running April 10th through May 23rd, and we were able to combine a 3 day package in conjunction with a Passion Play tour.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Getting to Oberammergau Germany by train:
Regional train Murnau-Oberammergau:
The Ammer Valley Railway, built in 1900, which branches off the Munich to Innsbruck line at Murnau, takes you to our destination. This railway track is considered by many to be the most beautiful in Germany, and for good reason: it winds its leisurely way through quiet villages and lush meadows, passes beside unspoilt moors and again and again opens up views of the mountain skyline of “Werdenfelser Land”.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Here are the typical items you can enjoy each morning in Oberammergau for breakfast: Butter, Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Honey and Baked Goods. Whether cheese snacks with original “Ethnic Ammergauers” or cheese straws with beer cheese from the Ettal cheese dairy – the bakers onsite will spoil you with regional specialities and turn snack time into an experience every time.
The cheese is from the Ettal Working Cheese Dairy. Here you can watch the production process of the mil to the golden yellow cheese through glass windows. The Ettalers have imported the cheesemaker from the Allgäu as good cheese is always the consequence of the craftsmanship of the “master” and the product of his ideas. And the man certainly has them: A wild garlic cheese or the beer cheese, very tasty! And as in the end you just have to have a taste, in the dairy there is a little café where you can still buy at fair prices.
Ettal Monastery: The Ettal monastery liqueur has well-nigh magical powers they say. Insiders just talk about the yellow, the red, the green and the brown.
The yellow has the appearance of honey and saffron, the red the full taste of the bilberry and that at only 25% vol.
The green has an aromatic fragrance because of its 40 herbs (recipe is kept in absolute secrecy!) and the brown is bitters: refined and classy. 45% vol, it cleans its way through. Then there is the semi-sweet hops with the aroma of Hallertau hops and the clear. No sugar, spicy and bitter.
What does you good on the inside also helps on the outside. Arnica and mountain pine, embrocations from the skilful hands of the monks revive tired muscles. The multi-skilled of Ettal have also gone into another area - the realm of perfumes. Under the generic term Bonus Odor there are two ladies’ and two gentlemen’s perfumes!
A visit into the kingdom of Frater Vitalis is very enlightening, it is just the herbal recipe that he will still not give away!
Information obtained from the Official Passion Play website.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
At the beginning there was … a cottage, which had caught the eye of King Max 2nd’s eye whilst hunting in the Ammerwald. He sent for Friedrich Ziebland, who had previously refurbished Hohenschwangau. The cottage was enlarged, in a style popular with nobility and royalty at that time and became the King’s cottage in 1869. By that time he was Crown Prince, later to be Ludwig II had visited his father Max II. in Linderhof. He was particularly enthusiastic about the Castle because of hunting and ordered that Linderhof should be equipped with all the fineries popular at that time. The court architect Dollman sought to develop the building further and added some extravagant ornamental plasterwork.
The exquisite rooms have been furnished in an extremely spectacular style, even for a monarch. It is said that the king let a gentle deer run in the large South Room and it saw herself in the mirror, the deer seemed to think there was a herd and jumped into the middle of the mirror causing considerable damage! In the dining hall you can see the much admired table that Ludwig II dined at was brought up for each dinner from the kitchen and when the monarch was dining alone, he gaze on the portrait of the beautiful Lady du Barry.
The king had audacious ideas, even for the whole park. For the grotto latest technical developments were to be used, 24 electric generators from the Siemens Company were placed in the engine house and therefore established one of the first Bavarian electric works. And in addition a rainbow-projector was used to add colour onto the walls.
Beside the work of the engineers the interior designers were also very busy: coral candle holders, coral chairs, a throne made from shells, simulated stalactites and the boat, also made from shells. Even the favorite horse of the monarch, which was running wild in the garden and ate the roses, had to wait whilst his Lord saw the grotto’s completion.
Linderhof is full of such stories and a place where you can give your fancy full range. In winter it is perhaps even more beautiful, when snow freshly fallen is on the castle and the park has its own special charm. The Munich court garden architect Carl von Effner was responsible for the landscaping of the garden and was playing with all themes of the rococo style: a 25 meters high fountain, the cascade, the Neptune’s Font as well as the terraced garden that visitors find so charming.
Information obtained from the Office Passion Play website.