Mon, Sep 10: Depart on an overnight flight to Stuttgart, Germany.
Tue, Sep 11: Arrive in Stuttgart in the morning and head for the Black Forest. First stop, Triberg, where Germany’s highest waterfalls cascade down the mountains into the heart of a quaint storybook town widely known for cuckoo clock making. Walk along the falls into town, see a cuckoo clock making demonstration and have lunch and time to shop on your own before traveling to Titisee, where you’ll stay for three nights. Explore this tiny resort town on the lake and enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel. (Meal: Dinner)
Wed, Sep 12: Black Forest. Travel a short distance to the Bodensee (also known as Lake Constance), the largest lake in Germany. Visit the Island of Mainau and its award-winning botanical garden with an outstanding garden of dahlias in bloom. On the way back to Titisee, stop off at the Rothaus Brewery – it is meaningful for Michael as his great-great-grandfather was the singing brewmeister here for 50 years. It is now a large, modern operation. Sample its famous Tannenzaepfle beer and a pretzel or two! The evening is at leisure. (B)
Thu, Sep 13: Black Forest. Enjoy a free morning for resting or exploring. Meet up with the group for a boat ride across Lake Titisee, stop on the other side of the lake for a slice of Black Forest cake, then continue on to Freiburg for a walking tour of the cathedral and city. Sit down to a delightful dinner with the group before returning to the hotel. (B,D)
Fri, Sep 14: Grindelwald, Switzerland. After a leisurely buffet breakfast, pack up and travel to Switzerland with a stop to view the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen. Drive into the Alps, and stop in Lucerne for free time and lunch. Pass the sparkling lake of Brienz before ascending to Grindelwald, beautifully situated with the awesome Bernese Alps circling your hotel, the Hotel Kirchbuehl. Check in for three nights. Enjoy dinner with the group. (B,D)
Sat, Sep 15: Grindelwald. Today there is an optional tour to the top of the famed Jungfrau. The tour departs in the morning and two hours later arrives at the “Top of Europe” – the Jungfraujoch, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ascend via elevator to the top of the weather station – and hope for sunshine to see the whole of Switzerland and even the Black Forest far away. Enjoy a Swiss fondue dinner. (B,D)
Sun, Sep 16: Grindelwald. Today is your last full day in Grindelwald. Choose to enjoy a short excursion by cable car for stupendous views. You’ll have the option to walk back down or return by gondola to explore or finish your shopping. The day is yours! (B,D)
Mon, Sep 17: Zermatt. In the morning, drive through impressive alpine scenery to the mountaineering and ski resort town of Zermatt. It’s an exciting ride from Visp up to Taesch, where the bus is left and the last seven miles to Zermatt are by train. The only cars or trucks allowed in town are ambulances and fire trucks – everyone else walks or goes by electric cars to the hotel. Look up – you will never forget that view – to see the Matterhorn, one of the highest, and most deadly peaks in the Alps. Anywhere you are, from downtown, from pub to pub, or store to store, always look up because the famous mountain is in your sight. It is powerful, most likely covered with snow, and almost just in reach. This incredible view will be with you for many years! Stay three nights at the lovely Hotel Europe in Zermatt. (B,D)
Tue, Sep 18: Zermatt. Take a mountain funicular to the Gornergrat, which brings you even closer to the THE mountain – the Matterhorn. You will be surrounded by 29 peaks that are higher than 11,000 feet. Hike with Michael down to the first rail station or choose to return by train. The evening is free for entertainment and local music in Zermatt. (B,D)
Wed, Sep 19: Zermatt. Today is free for you to enjoy. It is a day for shopping, picture taking, going up the other side of the mountain, or even taking an optional full-day train gondola to the saddle of the Mountain. Have a gluhwein (German mulled wine) and take in the dazzling scenery. Tonight enjoy a Farewell Dinner in Zermatt. (B,D)
Thu, Sep 20: Depart Zermatt late morning for Zurich, allowing for one more hike in the mountains or last minute shopping. Overnight near the Zurich Airport. (B)
Fri, Sep 21:Fly back to Indianapolis, arriving in the evening. (B)
Bruggers Hotelpark, Titisee, Germany
Located on the banks of Lake Titisee, this resort hotel offers views of the lake or surrounding forest. Highlights: comfortable, modern guestrooms • complimentary Internet and WiFi access • restaurant •bar • beer garden • ice-cream parlor • pizzeria • room service • fitness center • indoor pool • sauna • spa • tennis court • sun deck • playground • hair/beauty salon • gift shop.
Hotel Kirchbuehl, Grindelwald, Switzerland
Situated on a slope at the edge of town and surrounded by the impressive Bernese Alps and the Eiger North Face, this first class hotel has been run by the same family for four generations and is noted for its fine cuisine. Highlights: comfortable guestrooms in traditional Swiss rustic style with views of the mountain or glacier • TV • restaurant • bar/lounge • sauna and whirlpool.
Europe Hotel & Spa, Zermatt
Located in a quiet spot in the center of town, this attractive 4-star hotel has a view of the Matterhorn. Friendly staff and owner make your stay even more enjoyable. Highlights: cozy guestrooms • restaurant • bar • spa with whirlpool, sauna & steam bath.