DECEMBER 2014: A WINTER WALTZ Vienna, Salzburg & Prague

 

   A Festive Holiday Waltz

Christmas Markets, Classical Concerts, and Holiday Cheer

December 3 – December 12, 2014

 

 

Come One, Come All on a Festive Holiday Winter Waltz!

MozartEach December, a festive spirit blankets central Europe. Elegant streets are adorned with holiday decorations and Christmas markets are filled with merry locals sipping hot spiced wine. To top it off, the symphony and opera seasons are at their peak and music becomes the centerpiece of the advent season.

Join a small group of classical music lovers and celebrate the genius of Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven and Dvorak. Discover where the great composers lived, loved and worked. Hear the echoes of the monks’ Gregorian chants in the Monastery of Melk, dine in a one-thousand year-old fortress and stroll through a charming Bohemian village. Don’t miss out on this merry holiday journey; grab your muffler and don your boots and experience the best of Vienna, Salzburg and Prague during the advent season. 

 

 

 JOURNEY OVERVIEW

   Overnight flight to Vienna
3 Nights Vienna, Austria
2 Nights Salzburg, Austria
1 Night Cesky Krumlov, Bohemian Village
3 Nights Prague, Czech Rep.

  

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

A total of three classical concerts in grand opera houses and stately symphony halls * Private guided walks in Vienna, Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov and Prague with local experts * A backstage tour of the Vienna State Opera House * Unique dining experiences in some of Europe’s most charming cafes, wine cellars and restaurants * Vienna’s Fine Art Museum * The Hapsburg’s 18th century Schonbrunn palace * An insider’s tour of the residences of Mozart and Beethoven in Salzburg and Vienna * The gorgeous baroque monastery of Melk * An abundance of colorful Christmas markets * An in-depth look into the history of Prague’s Jewish Quarter * Prague’s major symphony halls and opera houses * A small, fun group of soon-to-be-friends.

  

YOUR EARTHBOUND EXPEDITION INCLUDES

  • Guided by an expert Earthbound Expeditions program director
  • A total of three classical concerts in Vienna, Salzburg and Prague
  • Daily historic sightseeing walks with expert Earthbound Expeditions local guides
  • An abundance of festive, colorful Christmas markets
  • Nine nights of accommodation in splendid, European-style centrally located hotels (all hotels are within walking distance of major sights and have a private bath)
  • All breakfasts, 5 traditional lunches and 4 multi-course dinners (two thirds of all meals)
  • Transfers between cities by private motor coach
  • Gratuities for your guide and driver
  • Luggage porterage (1 per person)
  • City maps
  • All entrances to museums, monasteries, palaces and castles as listed in your itinerary
  • A pre-tour educational reading/video viewing list and city and regional maps
  • A wonderful small group of soon-to-be friends

  

TRIP FACTS

Length: 10 Days/9 Nights (excluding air travel)
$2,995 (20 to 28 participants) Land only
Single Supplement: $495 (waived if you are willing to share)
Depart the USA on December 2, 2014
Your journey officially begins in Vienna at 6:00pm on December 3, 2014
Trip ends in Prague on the morning of December 12
*Prices based on an exchange rate of .78 EURO=$1 USD

 

 

WAYS TO SAVE 250!

Pay by check: Pay your final balance by check or money order and save $75 per person.

Alumni Discounts: All alumni of Earthbound Expeditions will receive $100 off the published journey price (private trips may be excluded). If Earthbound Expeditions has other discounts available, participants may choose the greatest available discount.

Refer a Friend: Refer a Friend and save an additional $75 for each person new to Earthbound who travels with you on an Earthbound Expedition. “Refer a Friend” discounts may be combined with other discounts.

 


 

 “Don’t bother looking at the view… I have already composed it.”

-Gustav Mahler-

 

Your Holiday Adventure Begins…

 

DAY 1
Depart for Festive Vienna!
Please make sure that you depart your home city no later then December 2nd, so that you may arrive in time for our first gathering in Vienna at 6:00 p.m. on December 3rd.

  

DAY 2
Guten Tag…Arrive in Vienna!
Our musical journey through the treasures of Austria and the Czech Republic begins appropriately in the legendary home of Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven, the Habsburgs, and the Waltz. Take time to marvel at this merry city resplendent with colorful lights before joining your guide and fellow travelers for a welcome orientation and traditional Viennese feast hosted by your guide. Sleep in Vienna

 

DAY 3
The Heart of Historic Vienna
We begin our day with a walking tour of Vienna’s historic core. Specifically, you’ll enjoy a private tour of Beethoven’s main residence in Vienna and a brisk walk highlighting the history of Saint Stephan’s cathedral. This is the very place where Mozart was married and received his last rites, and also where Joseph Haydn was a choir boy. Your walk will wind down cobbled lanes, where you’ll view the shop where Beethoven used to publish his music and the famous Hofburg palace, home to the original Vienna Boys Choir and legendary Lipizzaner horses.

After our winter walk, enjoy lunch in a traditional Viennese café. It was in the cafés of Vienna that Sigmund Freud, Lenin, Leon Trotsky and many of the cities great intellectuals sat drinking their coffee trying to stay warm during the long winter months. Make sure to sample one of Vienna’s legendary pastries. The afternoon is yours to continue your waltz through Vienna, or may we suggest a visit to the State Opera House or the Belvedere Palace Museum, where you find works by Monet and the Art Nouveau master, Gustav Klimt’s.  This evening enjoy a chamber music concert in the very room where Mozart himself first performed for high ranking Viennese after he arrived in Vienna from Salzburg.  Sleep in Vienna
 

DAY 4
The Illustrious Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts ranks among the richest and most important art collections in the world. Along with your private guide, you’ll discover impressive works by Bruegel, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Dürer, Raphael and Velazquez. In the afternoon you may wish to visit the collection of rare instruments, which is located not far away. The collection houses rare instruments that have been played by famous musicians and composers. It represents the most important collection of Renaissance instruments in the world. The holdings were originally the property of the Habsburgs and have been constantly expanded through purchases, gifts and loans. Visit the nearby modern art museum, catch an additional concert or simply stroll the ornate streets. Sleep in Vienna

 

DAY 5
West to Salzburg via Schonbrunn and the Baroque Monastery of Melk
This morning we say “Auf Wiedersehen” to Vienna and head west towards Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg. En route, visit the Schonbrunn Palace, the Hapsburg’s elegant reply to the French Palace of Versailles. Your extensive tour will bring you through the private apartments of Austria’s last ruling monarch, Franz Josef and the Empress Sissy.

Afterwards, your journey continues through the Wachau Danube Valley, one of the most spectacular stretches of river in Europe, to the majestic baroque monastery of Melk. This monastery is said to have inspired Umberto Eco, who set his masterpiece, “The Name of the Rose,” in Melk. The awe-inspiring monastery is a treasure chest of paintings, sculptures, and decorative art, and its great library contains over 2,000 volumes of medieval manuscripts. If our timing is right, we may even hear the timeless echoes of the monks’ Gregorian chants. After lunch and an in-depth tour of the monastery, we are off to festive Salzburg. Sleep in Salzburg

 

DAY 6
In Pursuit of Mozart!
Known as the baroque Florence of the North, Salzburg grew wealthy through the sale of salt and through its strategic location, which linked the north of Europe with the rich south.

Accompanied by a private Salzburg guide, we wind our way through the charming alleyways and streets to the very home where Mozart was born and a second home where the young composer was raised. En route, your guide will also point out the many sights made famous by “The Sound of Music” and the house where the Salzburg composer Josephus Franciscus Mohr composed “Silent Night, Holy Night” in 1817.

The afternoon is yours to stroll through the city’s many Christmas markets and museums. In the late afternoon, meet your guide and fellow travelers for a special dinner and concert in Europe’s largest castle, Hohensalzburg. Dating back to the 11th century, the castle was the property of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Tonight you’ll ride a cog wheel train to the top of the fortress where you’ll enjoy a multi-course dinner followed by a concert. Sleep in Salzburg

 

DAY 7
Fairy Tale Villages and Towering Castles
After breakfast we are off again. Our drive east will take us past the city of Linz where Mozart and his wife stopped to change carriages on a return trip to Vienna from Salzburg. Instead of staying just one night as expected, they ended up enjoying the hospitality of Count Von Thun for three joyous weeks. It was here that Mozart composed “The Linz Symphony” (C major K.425) in the incredibly brief period of four days. Right before crossing the border into the Czech Republic, you see the old moat and medieval walls of the perfectly preserved medieval town of Freistadt. Then, within minutes you are in the Czech Republic and the land of the beer-loving Bohemians. The colorful village of Cesky Krumlov is situated on the banks of the Vltava River. This hamlet, built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, is arguably the most charming, central European village in existence, and an important UNESCO site. Enjoy the towering castle, lunch, Bohemia crystal shops and cheery streets this afternoon. Sleep in the village of Cesky Krumlov

 

MUSICAL NOTE - READ MORE

Bedrich Smetana’s symphonic poem masterpiece, the “Vltava” (1874), is the second symphonic poem in Má Vlast (“My Country”), and portrays the river, called the Moldau in German, which flows through the town of Cesky Krumlov and continues north to Prague and finally the river Elbe. The symphony Vltava is a sort of rondo, with the flowing theme of the river recurring in different forms between colorful episodes depicting Bohemian and village life along the riverside.


 

DAY 8
North to Historic Prague
Enjoy a relaxing morning in Cesky Krumlov and then drive three hours north to the historic city of Prague. 

Considered by many the most beautiful city in Europe, Prague is the city of Kafka and the place Mozart loved best. It is also your home for the next three nights. Tonight enjoy a multi-course dinner in the heart of Prague. Sleep in Prague

 

DAY 9
Discover Prague with Your Expert Local Guide
Our historic walking tour of Prague will start at its center, Wenceslas Square. We continue our momentous excursion and stroll to Prague’s most famous landmarks, Charles Bridge and the Old Town square. Our morning will conclude with a backstage tour of the historic National Theatre. The Theatre is the embodiment of the will of the Czech nation and was created to promote Czech culture and the Czech language which had nearly been lost during the German-Austrian occupation. Enjoy an afternoon and evening in Prague. Sleep in Prague

 

DAY 10
Prague’s Jewish Quarter & Quaint Back Alleys
Our journey today continues to Prague’s stirring medieval Jewish quarter. Accompanied by your expert Czech guide, we’ll take time to savor this culturally rich neighborhood with a stop in the Old Synagogue, a place of worship for over 700 years. After an orientation, the afternoon is yours to further explore Prague. Perhaps you’ll want to take in one last Bohemian Christmas market or simply wander the winding cobblestone streets. This afternoon enjoy a festive farewell feast and a final magnificent classical concert. Sleep in Prague

 

Day 11
Return Home to the USA
You may wish to spend a few more days in Prague or travel four hours north by intercity express train to Germany’s exciting new capital, Berlin. Bon Voyage!

 

- Itinerary Details Subject to Change - 

 


THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Deposit and payment schedule: A $500 deposit per person is required to reserve your journey. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for our refund policy. A separate deposit may be requested for the air portion of your journey.

Not Included: Airline ticket, baggage fees, alcoholic beverages with meals, meals not mentioned, room/mini-bar service, gratuities for hotel staff, travel insurance, items of a personal nature and activities not listed.

Pricing: In the event that there are fewer than the minimum number of participants listed on the itinerary, a small group comfort charge will be offered to ensure the journey departs as scheduled. Former guests have greatly appreciated the benefits of traveling with a smaller group. Earthbound staff or hosts are not included in the number of tour participants. Please refer to the detailed itinerary for pricing information specific to each journey.

Currency Fluctuations: The exchange rate on which the trip is based is listed on the itinerary under “Trip Facts” and was obtained through www.xe.com. Although no changes in the price of your trip are expected, Earthbound reserves the right to add a currency supplement or offer a refund due to unexpected currency fluctuations of plus or minus 5%. Seventy-five days prior to departure, rates will be reviewed and if necessary updated. Fluctuations greater then 5% will be noted in the final balance letter and invoice. Example: If the dollar falls against the Euro at a rate of 7%, a 2% surcharge will be added. In this case, Earthbound will absorb the initial 5% loss in the dollar. If the dollar gains against the Euro by 7%, a 2% reduction in price will be offered. NOTE: This policy pertains to euro zone countries (Russia, Western and Eastern Europe) only.

Dress: In general, our guests feel most comfortable when dressed in a “casually smart” (not formal) way. We are often asked about jeans and Europeans of all ages do indeed wear them. None of the places we visit or dine require that women wear dresses or that men wear suit jackets or ties or any other special clothing. You’ll dine in casually elegant bistros that are not at all stuffy.

 

View Photos from Previous Trips to Vienna, Salzburg and Prague

 

 

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“Madam Butterfly was very exciting and the Mozart – Vivaldi concert in Salzburg was excellent.” - Gayle Krona

 

“It was a magical trip. Blessed with great weather and guided by two angels. Best trip we’ve ever had!” - C. Kohler

 

“The trip was everything I wanted it to be, more than I expected it to be, and greater than I hoped it would be. It was a good mix of music, art, culture, and history.” - L. Zimmerman