EISENACH – KÖTHEN INCL. MÜHLHAUSEN AND LEIPZIG, 340 KM
JULY 16, 2021 – JULY 26, 2021
On this tour, you will see in 8 cycling stages virtually all the locations of Bach’s life and work in Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. We will begin at his birthplace Eisenach, and travel from there via Leipzig to Köthen, where Bach lived and worked as court music director. Along the way, we will experience four top-class concerts of the MDR Music Summer in original Bach locations, where you can relax and recoup following the day’s journey.
Particularly striking landscapes await on the Ilm Valley and Saale Cycle Routes and at the Leipzig New Lakeland, which provides a wonderful opportunity to stop for a break and a refreshing swim.
DAY 1: INDIVIDUAL ARRIVAL AND EISENACH
Upon your self-organized arrival, we meet at the hotel in Eisenach at 2 pm. If you booked a rental bike we meet already at 1 pm. Afterwards, we take a tour around the city where Johann Sebastian Bach was born and visit the Bachhaus Eisenach. Explore the original places, streets and alleys where young Bach grew up. In the evening we will listen to a concert of the MDR Music Summer with the famous Thomanerchor from Leipzig in the Georgenkirche, Bach´s baptistery.
DAY 2, EISENACH – GOTHA – MÜHLHAUSEN, 37 KM
We depart from Eisenach and cycle along the Hörsel, passing through the gentle rises and falls of the mythical Hörsel hills. Around noon we arrive at our hotel at the garden of Friedenstein Castle in Gotha. Having recollected our strength during the break, we continue by train towards Mühlhausen where young Bach had his second employment. We visit the city archive, where we will see the certificate of Bach’s employment. In the late afternoon we will hear a concert of MDR music summer in the Divi Blasii Church with the recorder-player Dorothee Oberlinger and her ensemble before travelling back to Gotha.
DAY 3, GOTHA – WECHMAR – ARNSTADT, 27 KM
In the morning we will visit the chapel of Castle Friedenstein in Gotha and cycle on towards Wechmar, the Bachs’ place of origin. There we visit the ancestral home of the Bachs, housing the largest family tree of the musicians’ family. We continue the trail along the Bach-Cycling-Route to Arnstadt. There we will get a guiding through Arnstadt. Come evening, we visit a concert at the Bach Church with the MDR radio choir and Bach Church-organist Jörg Reddin.
DAY 4, ARNSTADT – DORNHEIM – ERFURT – WEIMAR, 52 KM
We visit the Bach exhibition at Arnstadt’s Schlossmuseum (Palace Museum). Around noon we depart to see Bach’s wedding church in nearby Dornheim. After a guided tour of the church (where Bach fans from all over the world are still getting married today), we continue on our way along the Gera towards Thuringia’s capital, Erfurt. Here you are shown the most important places of interests concerning Bach and stroll through the city centre before reaching our destination for the day, Weimar.
DAY 5, WEIMAR – BAD SULZA, 35 KM
In Weimar, you are guided around the surviving Bach sites, such as the city castle and city church, where many of Bach’s children where baptised. During the afternoon, we take the idyllic Ilm Valley bike trail going past castles, such as the summer residence of Weimar’s dukes and duchesses. Finally, we get to the Thuringian Wine Gate and the spa town of Bad Sulza, where weary cyclists can recover in the local thermal baths.
DAY 6, BAD SULZA – NAUMBURG – WEIßENFELS, 40 KM
A few kilometres onwards, we leave the Ilm behind and for the rest of the day follow the trail along the Saale, passing by romantic castles until we reach Bad Kösen with its impressive graduation works. Further on our way, the route leads us along the lower vineyards of Saale/Unstrut until we arrive in Naumburg. There, a guided tour of the famous Hildebrandt organ awaits us, which conveys the singularity of Bach’s sound ideal until today. After lunch we cycle to Weißenfels to visit the chapel of Neu-Augustusburg. Finally, we stop off to the sounds of Bach’s Hunting Cantata at the Jägerhof, the place it was performed for the first time.
DAY 7, WEIßENFELS – LEIPZIG, 60 KM
The next morning we visit the Heinrich-Schütz-House. Later, we cycle east towards the White Elster. If the weather is nice, we stop at the baroque castle Wiederau for lunch, and enjoy coffee and cake whilst listening to a cantata dedicated to Wiederau. The tour continues on the Elster bikeway through the Leipzig lake district to the last stop of the tour, Leipzig. The evening is at your free disposal.
DAY 8, LEIPZIG
After an extensive tour around the city’s many Bach sites there is an opportunity to visit the Bach Museum and explore the city individually.
DAY 9, HALLE A.D. SAALE, 40 km
We leave Leipzig behind and cycle along the dikes of the White Elster until we reach the city center of Halle. Here, we visit the Museum of the eldest Bach Son, Wilhelm-Friedemann-Bach-House, and the Handel-House, Handel being one famous Bach contemporary.
DAY 10, HALLE A.D. SAALE – KÖTHEN, 45 KM
We continue to the final stage of the trip to the residential city of Köthen. Here we listen to a concert of MDR music summer with pianist Martin Stadtfeld and a chamber orchestra and spend the evening discovering Bach’s traces during a tour of the city and will have a special baroque dinner like in Bach`s time.
DAY 11, DEPARTURE
After breakfast everyone will embark on their individual journey home. Alternatively, you can join our return shuttle to Eisenach.
If a festival has to be cancelled due to the pandemic, the tours will naturally be adapted to the situation, we will do our best to provide a replacement programme in cooperation with our many musical partners at the locations, and the discrepancy in the tour price will be refunded.
We have developed a sustainable tour concept and pay our tour guides, musicians and local partners fair wages.
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
- 10 nights at mid-range hotels incl. breakfast
- Lunch packs or picnics (on cycling days)
- 1 dinner on the last day in Köthen (Bach Menu)
- Guided tour
- Luggage transport from first to last hotel
- All entrance fees to museums and churches: Bachhaus Eisenach, Chapel Castle Friedenstein Gotha, Bachstammhaus Wechmar, city hall-archive Mühlhausen, Palace Museum Arnstadt, Traukirche Dornheim (Wedding Church), St Wenzel Church Naumburg, Heinrich-Schütz-House-Weißenfels, Chapel of Neu-Augustusburg Castle Weißenfels, Bach Museum Leipzig, Handel-House-Halle, Wilhelm-Friedemann-Bach-House Halle
- City tours in Eisenach, Weimar, Leipzig, Köthen
- Organ tours and organ concerts in Bach Church Arnstadt, Wender organ and in St Wenzel Naumburg, Hildebrandt organ
- 4 concerts of MDR Music Summer:
- Fr, July 17, 2021, 7.30 pm, Eisenach Georgenkirche: Thomanerchor
- Sa, July 18, 2021, 5 pm, Mühlhausen Divi Blasii: Dorothee Oberlinger
- Su, July 19, 2021, 5 pm, Arnstadt Bach Church: MDR Radio Choir and Jörg Reddin
- Su, July 26, 2021, 5 pm, Köthen Bachsaal: Martin Stadtfeld
- Sheet music and information leaflets on Bach’s compositions
- List of equipment
Double room per Person: 2090,- €
Single room supplement: 250,- €
- Rental touring bike or rental e-bike; all bikes include bike bags and locks: 150,- € / 220,- €
- Rental helmet: 40,- €
- Return shuttle from Köthen to Eisenach (incl. person, luggage and individual bike) on Monday July 26, 2021 at 9 am: 85,- €
GROUP SIZE AND MINIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS:
The minimum number of participants for our tours is 15. If the minimum number is not reached, we reserve the right to withdraw from the tour contract. The corresponding declaration must be sent to you at least 29 days before the scheduled beginning of the tour.
The average group size is approximately 15 to 25 people.