Recently I did something I'd never done before - I planned a trip more than two years in advance. Crazy, right? Not really...
As a travel expert, one of my very favorite things is networking with my colleagues, and learning from them. While I had heard the term "Oberammergau," I had no idea what it was, until a friend, who specializes in Religious Travel, described in detail this once-a-decade spectacle that has been created and performed in the town of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany since 1634. Fascinated, I decided that my husband and I must experience this.
Wikipedia explains that in 1634, a native of the town returned home for Christmas, infected with bubonic plague, which typically spread quickly and had a high mortality rate. The townspeople made a vow that if God spared them from the epidemic, they would perform the Passion Play every ten years. The scope of the epidemic was limited, and since then, with few exceptions, the inhabitants of the village have produced this spectacle every year ending in zero.
The performances are staged in an open air venue, and the scripts and music have been compiled from material written during the 15th and 16th centuries. Over 2,000 of the town's 5,000 citizens participate in the event, performed over a five-month period in the designated year.
This unique experience generates worldwide interest, with a corresponding great demand for tickets. Many tour operators offer trips including attendance at performances of Oberammergau, but these offerings consistently sell out well in advance - ergo my decision to plan really, really far in advance. Personally, for an event like this, my preference is to delegate the arrangements for tickets, lodging and transportation to a company with experience in handling the details to provide a seamless experience.
We've chosen to take a Danube River Cruise which combines a land portion to take in the Passion Play; there are many options offered by multiple tour companies.
If you too would enjoy a unique performance like this, I would be delighted to assist with (very) advance planning.
I've attached a short video taken during the 2010 event - hope you enjoy!
Happy Travels -
Owner and Vacation Designer
Earlier this year we headed to Cabo San Lucas for the first time, and fell in love. We stayed at the beautiful and well-located Breathless Resort, went deep sea fishing for two days, and took a day trip to Todos Santos. We knew we would be back...during Marlin time! So we planned a return visit for September, with another couple who enjoy fishing as much as we do. But - they had never experienced deep sea fishing...
We arrived at Breathless, which is adjacent to the Marina, late in the afternoon. After getting settled in our rooms, we headed to one of the many restaurants for an elegant sunset supper. The next day was spent relaxing - we got up early and walked the resort, then had a lovely buffet breakfast, before walking through the marina (and buying a whole lot of beautifully embroidered polo shirts at a local shop.) The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the pool, and taking the "glass bottom boat taxi" to El Arco - one of Cabo's iconic spots. We looked into the "Sip, Savor and See" program offered by the resort, which offers guests the opportunity to have a meal in one of the sister properties - and received an unexpected offer - due to an overbooking situation, would we be willing to relocate to a sister property, in exchange for a future stay? What would YOU do? After figuring out the logistics, we were 4 thumbs up to this proposition.
On Friday we gathered very early to meet our fishing boat at 6:30 AM. For deep sea fishers, Breathless is perfectly located, as the marina is literally at the foot of the resort. Our boat was upgraded from 28 to 33 feet, and we set out before the sun was up. As you sail out of Cabo, there are small rowboats actively catching bait fish with nets; they row up to your boat and hand over a bucket of (mostly) live bait.
Once you are past the rock formations, the first mate sets the lines - typically there are at least 4 lines with lures, and an additional "streamer" line intended to attract the attention of the fish. When we fished in March, we caught several skipjack (a type of mackerel) as well as two yellowfin tuna. September is a different season, and within the first 90 minutes we had caught 4 Dorado - also known as Mahi Mahi or Dolphin Fish - a beautiful yellow spotted fish with a blue sail. And then the fun began.
Our captain and mate were constantly scanning the ocean, and when they spotted the marlin, they jumped into action. They saw it leaping, and started "chumming" the water by tossing bait fish in to attract the marlin. AND IT BIT! The line with the hooked marlin was handed to our travel companion, an accomplished lake fisherman. It was thrilling to watch; the marlin was initially very close to our boat, but the fish ran - our friend was reeling in while simultaneously the fish was pulling line out. An interesting physics lesson! He fought the fish for 57 minutes before the line snapped - although we had no intention to keep the fish, it was still disappointing to not get it closer to our boat to document. BUT - within ten minutes of that broken line, we hooked a SAILFISH. This fish snapped the line within 10 minutes. After this we hooked nothing - but we were not alone - our captain was on the radio with his colleagues and nobody was catching ANYTHING. So after 7.5 hours on the water, we headed back to the marina, where a man with a big blue bucket took away our catch, and for $3 each dressed our Dorado into fish filets, which we put on ice to take to the next hotel, Secrets in San Jose del Cabo.
Breathless is a 5 story complex on the marina with a party vibe - but Secrets is 30 km south, in San Jose del Cabo, with much more of a traditional resort feel. The rooms were very different - much more spacious with hacienda-type furnishings, and a beautiful oceanfront setting. We left our iced fish filets with the concierge to be prepared at the Italian restaurant, with a dress code (!) We opted to have the fish prepared in the Chef's special preparation which was SPECTACULAR. All four of us were exhausted after the long day on the boat so we literally fell into our very comfortable beds.
The next day the Marina turned out to be closed, due to Hurricane Norma lurking not too far away, so we had a lovely day at the resort - with a lot of time walking the grounds, doing the aerobics in the pool, and checking out the talents of the pool bartenders. NB: an iceberg, consisting of a glass of beer with a bit of frozen margarita on top, is not too bad! We had dinner that night at the nominal Mexican restaurant, although the menu was not really Mexican.
Next day we scheduled a day trip to Todos Santos. On the way we stopped at the El Cactus Glass Factory in Cabo San Lucas - it was a Sunday, so the artisans were not demonstrating their technique - but the grounds and shop were absolutely lovely and are well worth a visit. Our plan was to revisit several spots we had seen in March, including lunch at Tequila Sunrise...but after a lovely drive to Todos Santos, we found the restaurant was closed that day. No Worries - we took a walk around the town, then settled at the Hotel California for a lovely lunch. During lunch, a young man set up a kick pottery wheel in the courtyard, and proceeded to create lovely recreations of the hotel's fountain, all for tips. We headed back to our hotel to prep for our return home.
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