Germany’s dramatic history and rich cultural inheritance provide the subjects for three of our itineraries. In Berlin, we explore the landscape of the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie, the Bridge of Spies at Glienicke, and the Stasi’s secret prison at Hohenschönhausen are three of our landmarks, as we consider a hair-raising period of super-power confrontation, backed by the threat of nuclear war.
Meanwhile, in Dresden, Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle takes centre stage at the Semperoper. Willy Decker’s celebrated production is being revived, and we will be there for all four operas – with plenty of time in between to explore this resurgent, energetic city, and also pay a visit to Bayreuth.
Finally, in Bavaria, we consider the extraordinary life of King Ludwig II, the free-spending aesthete who commissioned three of Europe’s most fanciful palaces, and all but ruined his family in the process. Our journey takes us from the Rococo interiors of the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich to his Gothic eyrie at Neuschwanstein in the Alps, and finishes with a question on Lake Starnberg, where he died. Did he commit suicide – or was he murdered?