June 12, 2021 – June 21, 2021
This tour leads us virtually chronologically from Bach’s birthplace Eisenach all the way to Leipzig, where he spent the second half of his life as director of music at St. Thomas. Here, we will attend three concerts of the Bachfest Leipzig, including the famous Mass in B Minor conducted by Jordi Savall. In the six cycling stages, we will pass through the places where Bach grew up and gained his first experience as an organist and court musician: Ohrdruf, Arnstadt and Weimar. We will also visit Wechmar, the home of Bach’s ancestors, as well as Gotha, Erfurt, Naumburg, Weißenfels and Wiederau, where Bach performed cantatas and inspected organs.
Along the beautiful and cyclist-friendly journeys, such as the Ilm Valley and Saale Cycle Routes or the Thuringia Town Chain Cycle Route, music awaits us in abundance – prepare to be surprised!
DAY 1: INDIVIDUAL ARRIVAL AND EISENACH
Upon your self-organized arrival, we meet at the hotel in Eisenach at 2 pm. If you ordered 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, your tour guides and Christian Stötzner, organist of Georgenkirche, will open the season with a concert at Bach´s original baptismal fond with arias and duets for alto, tenor and organ.
DAY 2, EISENACH – GOTHA – OHRDRUF, 60 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 Friedenstein Castle in Gotha. Having recollected our strength during the break, we continue the trail 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. Come evening, we bike the short distance to Ohrdruf, and stay overnight in a hotel right next to the grounds of Ehrenstein Castle.
DAY 3, OHRDRUF – ARNSTADT, 25 KM
In the morning, we explore Ehrenstein Castle and the idyllic village of Ohrdruf. Bach stayed here as a pupil with his elder brother. A unique highlight is the preserved library within the tower of Michaelis Church which holds hymnbooks and books of sermons dating back to Bach’s time. After a brief stop in the Thuringian Forest we reach Arnstadt. Following Bach’s footsteps, we walk around the historic city center make our way towards the Bach House and visit the Bach Church to hear organ music and an introduction to the history of the building.
DAY 4, ARNSTADT – DORNHEIM – ERFURT – WEIMAR, 52 KM
The next morning, 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 baptized. 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. We visit St. Wenzel with the famous Hildebrandt organ. After lunch we cycle to Weißenfels to a guided tour of the chapel of Neu-Augustburg Castle.
DAY 7, WEIßENFELS – LEIPZIG, 60 KM CYCLING
The next morning, we visit the Jägerhof, the place where Bach’s Hunting Cantata was performed for the first time and 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 Leipzig. In the evening, we listen together to a concert at Nikolai Church Leipzig with Bach´s St. John´s Passion, the place where the passion was performed for the first time. Peter Dijkstra is conducting soloists, the Netherlands Chamber Choir and Concerto Köln.
DAY 8, BACHFEST LEIPZIG
After an extensive tour around the city’s many Bach sites we listen to a concert of our patron Nils Mönkemeyer playing 2 concerts of Bachs good friend Georg Philipp Telemann and 2 of the famous Brandenburg concertos. In the afternoon and evening there is time to explore the city individually.
DAY 9, BACHFEST LEIPZIG
During the day, there are many opportunities to visit church services and other concerts of the Bachfest as well as the Bach Museum individually. At 6 p.m., we meet at St. Thomas Church for the final concert of the Bachfest, Bach’s Mass in B Minor conducted by Jordi Savall and enjoy the rest of the evening together.
DAY 10, 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:
- 9 nights at mid-range hotels incl. breakfast
- Lunch packs or picnics (on cycling days)
- 1 group dinner in Ohrdruf
- Guided tour
- Luggage transport from first to last hotel
- All entrance fees to museums and churches: Bachhaus Eisenach, Chapel of Castle Friedenstein Gotha, Bachstammhaus Wechmar, Ehrenstein Castle Ohrdruf, Michaelis Church Ohrdruf, Bachhaus Arnstadt, Palace Museum Arnstadt, Traukirche Dornheim (Wedding Church), St Wenzel Church Naumburg, Heinrich Schütz House Weißenfels, Chapel of Neu-Augustusburg Castle Weißenfels, Bach Museum Leipzig
- City tours in Eisenach, Ohrdruf, Arnstadt, Weimar, Leipzig
- Organ tour and organ concert in Bach Church Arnstadt, Wender organ
- Concert at Georgenkirche Eisenach, June 12, 2021 with Bach by Bike, alto and tenor and Christian Stötzner, organ
- 3 Concerts Bachfest Leipzig:
- Friday, June 18, 2021, 8 pm, Nikolai Church Leipzig: St. John´s Passion
- Saturday, June 19, 2021, 2 pm, Haus Leipzig: Brandenburg Concertos
- Sunday, June 20, 2021, 6 pm, Thomas Church: Final Concert, B-Minor Mass
- Sheet music and information leaflets on Bach’s compositions
- List of equipment
Double room per Person: 1990,- €
Single room supplement: 215,- €
- Rental touring bike or rental e-bike; all bikes include bike bags and locks: 135,- €/ 198,- €
- Rental helmet: 36,- €
- Return shuttle from Leipzig to Eisenach (incl. person, luggage and individual bike) on Monday, June 21, 2021 at 9 am.: 75,- €
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.