Monasteries & Beer Pilgrimage
Belgium & Germany
Spiritual Director: Fr. Harrison Ayre
July 16 - 26, 2018
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Accommodations at 4-Star hotels as follows (or similar):
- ~ 3 ni: Jul 17-20, Brussels: Radisson Blu
- ~ 1 ni: Jul 20-21, Bruges: Golden Tulip de Medici
- ~ 1 ni: Jul 21-22, Cologne: Steigenberger Hotel
- ~ 1 ni: Jul 22-23, Mannheim: Mercure Hannheim
- ~ 1 ni: Jul 23-24, Regensburg: Best Western Premier
- ~ 2 ni: Jul 24-26, Garmish: Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl
- Tour Escort throughout
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Dinners at local brewery-restaurants in Brussels and Cologne
- Cologne Cathedral, Heidelberg Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle (including mini bus)
- Weltenburg Abbey, Andechs Abbey, Ettal Monastery Brewery (including beer tasting)
- Entrances and sightseeing per itinerary to include: Namur Citadel, Chimay Abbey’s Brewery, Sint Bernardus Brewery (including beer tasting)
- Transfer by Private Motor coach
- Mass daily & Spiritual Activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Beverages not mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver.
July 16, Monday | Depart to Brussels
Depart for your overnight flights to Belgium
July 17, Tuesday | Arrive Belgium
- - Arrive in Brussels International Airport. Claim your luggage and meet your tour escort
- - Board the motor coach to transfer to your hotel
- - Dinner and overnight in Brussels.
Aug 7: Heidelberg – Rudesheim – Rhine Cruise - Heidelberg
- - Breakfast at your hotel
- - We start the day with a transfer to the nearby town of Leuven to visit the
tomb of St. Damien. Father Damien is known for his ministering of people
with what was then widely known as leprosy. His body was buried here in the
St. Antony's Chapel.
- - Celebrate Mass at the Shrine (subject to confirmation).
- - As we return to Brussels, stop by the Atomium, a symbolic 103-metre tall structure, that was originally built for the 1958 World's Fair (Expo '58).
- - Upon arrival lunch on your own
- - After lunch enjoy a guided tour of Brussels with its diverse architecture.
The city′s architectonical styles span from the clashing combination of
Gothic, Baroque and Louis XIV styles on the Grand Place to the postmodern
buildings of the EU institutions. See the Grand Place, the main attraction
in the city centre. The square is dominated by the Flamboyant Town Hall, the
Neo-Gothic Breadhouse and the Baroque guildhalls of the Guilds of Brussels
and the famous Manneken Pis (exterior views only).
- - The rest of the day free for exploring the capitol city of Belgium.
Belgian beer culture is considered cultural heritage not only by local
brewers but in fact has received official recognition with UNESCO, which had
inscribed it on the list of World Cultural Heritage in 2016. You can try to
experience it first hand as you explore streets of downtown Brussels filled
with small local beer bars.
- - Dinner at local brewery restaurant. Make sure to try the regional geuze
beers brewed using wild yeasts and other fruity varieties such as kriek.
Overnight at the hotel in Brussels
July 19, Thursday | Brussels – Namur – Maredsous – Chimay Abbey – Brussels
- - Breakfast at the hotel
- - Today we depart for a tour around the famed Belgian Trappist Monasteries &
Abbeys. We will learn about the history of monastery brew houses that have
existed across Europe since the Middle Ages and their traditions. Trappist
beers are mostly top-fermented and mainly bottle conditioned. Trappist
brewer-ies use various systems of nomenclature for the different beers
produced which relate to their relative strength. The best known is the
system where different beers are called Enkel (Single), Dubbel (Double) and
Tripel (Triple) These terms roughly describe both the amount of malt and the
- - We first make a stop in Namur. Picturesquely situated at the confluence of the Sambre and the Meuse Rivers, it is an important university town.
- - We visit the citadel which looms over the Old Town (entrance fee included).
The hill on which the citadel sits was already of great military importance
by Roman times. It's a great place to explore with the best views across
town from the citadel's bridge.
- - Lunch on your own
- - En route we stop by Maredsous Abbey. The Benedictine Abbey was built in
neo-gothic style that fits perfectly in with the wooded, undulating terrain
of the region. Marked by spirituality, the buildings of Maredsous Abbey
exude a feeling of fulfilment and the absolute, that will leave no one
indifferent. It was historically also home of a renowned Maredous Beer, but
since 1930s the beer is brewed by the famous Duvel company (exterior views
- - We celebrate Mass at the Basillica Minor of St. Benoit (subject to confirmation), part of the monastic complex in Maredsous.
- - Then we continue to visit nearby the famous Chimay Abbey (entrance fee
included), as we take guided tour ′Chimay Experience′, a journey of
discovery of the secrets, history and treasures of local Trappist beers and
cheeses. More than 150 years of tradition, authenticity and brewing
know-how. At the end of the visit, we′ll be offered a free tasting of one
Chimay at the Inn of Espace Chimay (included).
- - Return to Brussels for dinner and overnight.
July 20, Friday | Brussels – Westvleteren – Watou – Bruges
- - July 20, Friday | Brussels – Westvleteren – Watou – Bruges
- - After the breakfast we board the coach and continue our tour.
- - We arrive in Westvleteren where Trappist monks from France founded the
Sint Sixtus monastery in 1831. The monks of Sint Sixtus started to brew beer
just few year later to generate extra revenue to survive and sustain
themselves and their order. The beer brewed here, the famous Westvleteren
12, is the most renowned Trappist beer in the world. The abbey and brewery
cannot be visited. But we can visit the ′Claustrum′. This is an information
area in the meeting center right opposite the monastery. Here monks offer
you insights into their monastic life. (The Sint Sixtus Abbey and brewery
cannot be visited due to very strict rules regarding victors. )
- - We continue to Watou where we will have a full brewery tour visit and a
beer tasting at Sint Bernardus brewery (entrance fee included). Some years
ago when Sint Sixtus Abbey, probably the most renowned and unique among the
Trappist Monasteries, stopped brewing by themselves they contracted their
brewing out to Sint Bernardus. When Sint Sixtus took brewing back in-house
again, Sint Bernardus began to brew their own big, strong, dark beer to the
same recipe as they had brewed for the monks, called Abt, which many claim
is as good, some say better than Westvleteren 12.
- - After the tour we enjoy beer tasting at the brewery and learn about different types of Trappist′ Brews (included).
- - We enjoy some free time to explore the shop and for lunch on your own (not included)
- - After lunch we depart for Bruges
- - Upon arrival celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Holy Blood (subject to confirmation)
- - After the Mass we enjoy a guided walking tour around this charming town.
Bruges has most of its medieval architecture intact, making it one of the
most well-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Many of its medieval buildings
are notable, including the, Cathedral of Our Lady, whose brick spire
reach-es 122m, making it one of the world's highest brick constructions
(exterior views only).
- - Dinner and overnight in Bruges
July 21, Saturday | Bruges – St. Benedictus Abbey – Cologne
- - Breakfast at the hotel and check out
- - We depart for Germany
- - We make an en-route stop in St. Benedictus Abbey located near Achel, a small town in Limburg close to the Dutch border.
- - We enjoy an independent lunch in the monastery on-site tavern. The tavern
has a large direct window which provides a unique glimpse into the process
as you can literally view the monks, wrench in hand, go about making beer at
the Achel brewery, while trying out the fruits of their labor.
- - After the lunch we continue with our transfer to Cologne. Famous for
Koelsch, a clear, top-fermented beer with a bright, straw‑yellow hue similar
to other beers brewed from mainly Pilsner malt. This style of fermentation
links it with some other central northern European beers such as the
altbiers of western Germany and the Netherlands.
- - Have a guided tour of Cologne′s Cathedral (entrance fee included). The
cathedral was built to house the relics of the Three Magi, and immediately
became a major pilgrimage site. Included in your visit is the Cathedral
Treasury that contains the staff that belonged to St. Peter.
- - Celebrate Mass at the Shrine (subject to confirmation)
- - Dinner at a local Brauhaus (beerhouse) to enjoy the delicious local Koelsch beer
- - Overnight at the hotel in Cologne
July 22, Sunday | Cologne – Heidelberg – Mannheim
- - After breakfast depart for Heidelberg
- - This afternoon we take a guided city tour of this medieval town including
visit to the magical Renais-sance Heidelberg Castle (entrance fee included),
a palace of kings and nobles for centuries. In the cellars you can see the
Heidelberg Tun, the world′s largest wine barrel. It was built in 1751 and
stands seven meters high, is eight and a half meters wide, holds 220,000
liters (58,124 gallons) of wine. A wooden staircase allows visitors to climb
atop the barrel. The castle itself is perched on the slopes of Mount
Konigstuh some 70 meters above the Neckar river, together with the Old Bridge
across the river and its neighboring buildings are among the most impressive
sights anywhere in Germany. Mark Twain even visited the castle and the
beautiful Neckar river supposedly inspired a chapter in Huckleberry Finn.
- - Celebrate Mass at the Jesuit Church (subject to confirmation), close to the
castle. There are areas in the church with documentation on the history of
the construction as well as the Order of the Jesuits.
- - Remainder of the afternoon at leisure to explore a unique medieval city
that boasts a long tradition of beer crafting, and the town was home to a
number of small breweries as early as the 18th century. Of these, the last
surviving brewery is Heidelberger Schlossquell, which was first mentioned in
1753. Perhaps enjoy some of the finest German brews at one of the many local
brauhauses (beerhouses) or maybe relish the unique medieval atmosphere of the
- - Transfer to your hotel in the nearby town of Mannheim for dinner and overnight
Aug 12: Oberammergau - Neuschwantstein – Salzburg
- - After breakfast we’ll depart for Bavaria, another region in Europe renowned for its beer
- - We make a stop at the Weltenburg Abbey (entrance fee included). Founded by
a mission of Irish and Scottish monks in about 620, it is held to be the
oldest monastery in Bavaria. It also houses the Germany′s oldest monastic
brewery, which has been operating since 1050.
- - Celebrate Mass at the Abbey (subject to confirmation)
- - After Mass we take a guided tour we learn about monastic life, the rich
and turbulent history of this region, but also about the German brewing
process which varies from the methods used in Belgium. During the tour we
take part in the special beer tasting of the local brews (included).
- - After lunch on your own, transfer to Regensburg
- - Upon arrival enjoy an orientation tour of this medieval city with your
tour escort followed by a guided tour of St. Peter′s Cathedral, one of most
prominent examples of Gothic architecture in Germany.
- - Dinner and overnight in Regensburg.
July 24, Tuesday | Regensburg – Munich – Andechs Monastery – Garmisch
- - After breakfast, depart for Munich, the capital of Bavaria
- - Upon arrival enjoy a guided tour of Germany′s unofficial southern capital,
a city with a flourishing suc-cess story but also embroiled deeply in
European history. Visit to the Marienplatz with the world famous
Glockenspiel, and the twin-towered Frauenkirche, the most familiar landmark
of old Munich. Continue on to see the Asamkirche, dedicated to the martyr
St. John Nepomuk. You will see the Town Hall, and the magnificent boulevard
Feldherrenhalle Ludwigsstrasse Siegestor, created by King Ludwig I in the
middle of the 19th century. See the also the Residenz, the palace of the
kings of Bavaria, and the Hofgarten (exterior views only).
- - This afternoon, following lunch we transfer to the Andechs Monastery, a
Benedictine monastery. The monks in this order, the Benedictines, have a
long-lasting food production and specifically the brewing tradition,
cultivating and refining the art of brewing and beer recipes. Beer has
therefore been brewed in Andechs since the Middle Ages
- - Celebrate Mass at the monastery (subject to confirmation)
- - After the Mass we take a guided tour of the Abbey and its brewery
(entrance fee included). Afterwards we enjoy beer tasting of six types of
the local brews (included) at the monastery restaurant, where can also try
some of the traditional Benedictine recipes.
- - We transfer to Garmisch for dinner and overnight.
July 25, Wednesday | Garmisch – Ettal Monastery – Neuschwanstein – Oberammergau – Garmisch
- - After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll transfer to Hohenschwangau, where we
visit the Neuschwanstein Castle Royal palace in the Bavarian Alps of
Germany, the most famous of three royal palaces built for Louis II of
Bavaria, sometimes referred to as Mad King Ludwig. The castle is the
embodiment of 19th century romanticism. In a fantastical imitation of a
medieval castle, Neuschwanstein is set with towers and spires and is
spectacularly sited on a high point over the Pollat River gorge.
- - We transfer to Oberammergau, the town well-known for its Passion Play. In
the middle of the Thirty Years War, after months of suffering and death from
the bubonic plague, the villagers swore an oath that they would perform the
′Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ′
every ten years. Learn this history during an orientation tour with your
- - We continue to the Benedictine Monastery of Ettal, where we celebrate Mass (subject to confirmation)
- - After the Mass we explore the monastery and its brewery (entrance fee
included), where the local monks mix and experiment with indigenous herbs
and plants within the thick monastery walls and create unique tincture
liquors and beers. During the tour we also taste the brews made by the monks
- - Return to Garmisch for dinner and overnight
July 26, Thursday | Garmisch – Munich
Prepare for your departure to the airport for your return flights home.