India Tour 2017: Kolkata

    Monday, October 16, 2017 Despite flight delays,  the group arrived in good spirits and are great tour members. We celebrated all birthdays and Ben and Erna’s 60th anniversary with treats we bought at a bakery the first meal we were […]

    TM Russia Tour 2017: Art Lovers’ Paradise in the Hermitage

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017 For many in the group this was the highlight of the trip, at least in advance.  For so many had heard of the Hermitage.  This art gallery, one of the largest in the world, is […]

    Russia Tour 2017: First Day in St. Petersburg

    Monday, October 16, 2017 If it’s Monday it must be St. Petersburg, at least for this fine cohort of travellers.  We arrived in the late afternoon on Sunday, and settled into our Crowne Plaza Ligovsky.  The location could not […]

    Russia Tour 2017: Last Day in Moscow

    Sunday, 15 October 2017 It’s Sunday morning in Moscow, our last morning here.  Some are still getting going, others are at breakfast (and quite a spread it is), while still others have gone to their rooms to pack for […]

    Russia Tour 2017: Touring Moscow

    Friday, October 13, 2017 Today was a rather conventional day in Moscow, but that only tells half the story. The conventional part was the first half of the day when we went to the Moscow Kremlin and toured the […]

    Why I Love Leading Tours for TourMagination (Russia Tour Day 2)

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader “So why would someone (bother to) lead a tour for TourMagination?”  I was asked that question on the first day of this trip by someone who has known me for decades (my former high […]

    Day one of the tour to Russia

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Well, well, the TourMagination tour for 2017 is up and running.  We arrived in Moscow earlier today after a couple of smooth flights across the Atlantic, and then from Frankfurt to Russia’s capital city.  […]

    A last update from Ireland

    by Margaret Nally, Tour Leader    

    First days on the France tour

    By John Schroeder, Tour Leader   The adventure begins. Soufflé appetizers. Soufflé main course. Soufflé deserts drowned in chocolate, Grand Marnier or Calvados. I think I’m gonna like this trip!! Good thing we do 4 hours of walking tomorrow […]

    Continuing in Ireland

    By Margaret Nally, Tour Leader            

    Day 1 & 2 of Ireland tour

    by Sandra Reimer Here we are at Christ Church in Dublin on our first day of the tour. Our guide Antoinette told us that the cathedral was built in 1029. It has been a functioning church for almost 1000 […]

    A morning at the Weierhof

    by Audrey Voth Petkau, tour leader          

    Our Days in France

    by Audrey Voth Petkau, tour leader      

    Exploring the Emmental

    by Audrey Voth Petkau, tour leader          

    Beginning the Swiss-German Mennonite Heritage tour

    by Audrey Voth Petkau, tour leader        

    Reformations Old & New Tour: Exploring the Life of Martin Luther

    We spent two days reflecting on the life and times of Martin Luther.    

    From London to Paris

    by Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader          

    Discovering Prague

    The tour group for the Prague and Poland tour has arrived and begun their explorations! Here are some photos from their experiences so far.    

    Irish Tour: Sept 2017

    by Bob and Margaret Nally   “Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with you.” (prayer to St. Brendan the Navigator). We have […]

    Final days of the Luther Reformation tour

    by Wilmer Martin, tour leader   On Thursday morning we traveled to Torgau. This city in Germany was important during the Reformation as it allowed the first Protestant designated worship space. We visited the Castle Chapel and sang a song […]

    Leipzig, Germany

    by Wilmer Martin, tour leader   On Monday after a driving tour of the Nazi sites of Nuremberg, we traveled to Bamberg. We enjoyed visiting the Romanesque Cathedral, dating to 11th century. The Monastery Church was closed for renovations; however, […]

    Farewell from Russia

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   I have just returned from a long walk through the heart of St. Petersburg, a city that has played such a powerful role in my life over many years.  My TourMagination group has […]

    Peterhof Palace and Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery

    by Hart Wiens, tour participant   This trip has been one of those “bucket list” activities for Ginny and me. We had long talked about visiting the country where our parents and several generations before them lived. Friends kept […]

    Cathedral of the Spilled Blood to Peter & Paul

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   It is our second morning in St. Petersburg, and it is striking how quickly members of our group have gotten a feel for this majestic city of canals, rivers, and palaces. Typical of […]

    Beginning the Reformation & Life of Luther Tour

    By Wilmer Martin, tour leader   TourMagination’s Celebrating 500 Years of the Reformation & Life of Martin Luther began in Frankfurt on Friday. At our welcome dinner at the Mercure Hotel the conversation around our three tables was intense as our tour […]

    Moscow and St Petersburg

    By Len Friesen, tour leader   We had a bit of a bus city tour on Friday morning:  from the Kremlin to the Bolshoi Theatre to St. Basil’s.  We then toured the Kremlin itself, that great fortress at the […]

    Three terrific snapshots, three countries

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   It’s been a magical if slightly sleep-deprived 36 hours or so.  I’ll summarize in three snapshots: 1.  The first snapshot:  Our final banquet in Zaporozhe seems to have barely happened, but it was […]

    Final Days in Ukraine

    by Len Friesen, tour leader What a couple of days it has been.  We returned to the vast Molotschna settlement yesterday but for a very different day.  First off was a small village where people invited us in to […]

    A flying start to the Russia & Ukraine tour

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   Prelude: Our Ukraine/Russia tour for 2017 is off to a flying start.  We came to Zaporozhzhe by many paths, such that yesterday was our first real meeting time:  but one and all should […]

    Bob and Margaret in Dublin area

    We are staying in a lovely hotel,  The North Star, from the 1890’s that is beautifully restored.   The breakfast was wonderful, and abundant with fresh Irish breads. Within  walking distance of Trinity College, Dublin Castle , the River Liffey […]

    Bob and Margaret Nally in Ireland

    Bob and Margaret Nally, tour leaders for our upcoming Sights, Sounds, and Sacred Spaces of Ireland tour in September, have just left to spend a month traveling in Ireland. During their travels they’re reviewing the route for the tour […]

    The Netherlands, April 3-6

    We are on a tour of discovery of Dutch culture, tulips and hyacinths, and Menno Simons. Our first engagement was with the very warm and hospitable Pieter and Martha Postma. They invited us for tea to their traditional Dutch […]

    Cosmopolitan Sydney, Australia

    Our first night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney was a welcome rest and like the majority of hotels throughout the tour it was an ideal central location which allowed for plenty of quality eating establishments and great […]

    Queensland and The Great Barrier Reef

    Saturday morning began with a short walk from our hotel to the wharf where we were welcomed on-board a Reef Magic Catamaran Cruiser and once we completed the safety briefing and departed the wharf it took about 1 ½ […]

    Inspirational Central Australia

    We loaded the bus in Melbourne Wednesday morning and headed for the airport. There was some anxiety when we got stuck in a traffic jam on the highway but it didn’t hold us back too much in the end. […]

    Sights in and around Melbourne, Australia

    Our guide Fay met us in the hotel lobby to take us on the city tour of Melbourne. It made sense to start later in the morning so we didn’t have to contend with the typical morning traffic, especially […]

    Saying farewell to New Zealand

    Our last full day in New Zealand was a welcome free day to take in the sights in and around Queenstown, NZ. Some of the group joined a tour to some film locations of movies like Lord of the […]

    Mount Cook and Milford Sound, NZ

    We had arrived to Mount Cook late on Wednesday but caught a glimpse of the impressive Alps of New Zealand (NZ) amongst the broken clouds. Following a delicious buffet dinner at the Hermitage Hotel we were looking forward to […]

    Many sights around Rotorua, NZ

    It was an early start to the day as we had many sights to take in around Rotorua, NZ. Our first stop was Rainbow Springs where Rainbow Trout are hatched and raised for seeding lakes and streams around Northern […]

    Group video from Te Puia, New Zealand

    Touring Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve in Te Puia, near Rotorua, New Zealand. The group stopped on a bridge while enjoying a fascinating private tour that included steaming geysers and bubbling mud pools.

    New Zealand’s North Island

    The long flight from San Francisco to New Zealand was very manageable as the Air New Zealand crew provided a very good service and most of the group were able to catch some sleep before our arrival. We landed […]

    Viñales, Cuba

      We enjoyed a beautiful day in the Viñales region. It is largely a tobacco growing region because the soil conditions are ideal for  tobacco. We stopped at a lookout to see the Viñales valley, an absolutely beautiful view. […]

    Worshiping together with Cuban Christians

    On Sunday we worshiped with a Brethren in Christ church about 30 minutes outside of Havana. It was a small congregation that meets in the pastor’s home, but this Sunday knowing that we were coming, another congregation from a […]

    First days in Cuba

    Our first two days in Cuba were full of so much learning. We landed in Varadero to sunny skies and to everyone’s delight we immediately saw some of the iconic classic cars of Cuba. On our way to Havana […]

    Vietnam to Singapore

    Friday morning we visited the War Remnants Museum. This was a very moving experience for each one in the group. The museum speaks for itself, recording the impact of the war in different regions of Vietnam, as well as […]

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    On Monday we arrived in the garden city of Da Lat, located in the mountains of central Vietnam. As we walked the Da Lat flower garden by the lake, we enjoyed the beautiful flowers. We visited the Cao Dai […]

    Hoi An, Vietnam

    Friday evening after returning from Ha Long Bay our tour group went to the Nha Hat Lon Ha Noi Opera House in Hanoi. We went to see the Vietnam National Opera & Ballet. It was a very special evening […]

    Hanoi, Vietnam

    The TourMagination Vietnam and Singapore tour members arrived safely in Hanoi on Wednesday, November 23. David Byler mentioned that we lost Tuesday, having left North America on Monday evening. We were all thankful for safe travel and healthy bodies that allow us to […]

    Final days in and around Lisbon, Portugal

    The last five days of this amazing trip to Spain and Portugal start at the eastern mouth of the Douro River, in the city of Porto. Most well-known for the storage and aging of Port wine, Porto offered plenty […]

    Visiting exquisite wine estates along the Douro Valley

    On Friday we woke up to a bright and warm day. The group headed out on three separate excursions which included local Port Winery tours (and wine tasting), a picnic, and a tour of an 18th century Catholic church. […]

    Castelo Rodrigo, Pinhão, and more in Portugal

    The past two days have gone very quickly as the weather has been beautiful as we have traversed down the Douro River through the world famous Port Wine region of Portugal. The scenery has been breathtaking and a camera […]

    Ohio & Indiana

    16 months ago Lorne Smith talked with me about planning a TourMagination tour in partnership with the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario to Ohio and Indiana. The majority of the tour participants live in southern Ontario, with a […]

    Leaving Spain

    Our final two days in Spain included an excursion to Toledo, known as the city of three faiths, which included an informative guided tour through very narrow streets of this ancient city. It was fascinating to find signs and […]

    First day in Madrid

    It was wonderful to arrive at the Westin Hotel in Madrid after a night of traveling and once we were settled into our rooms we ventured off in different directions taking in the sights and sounds of this impressive […]

    Last Words

    The TM Russia/Ukraine trip is at an end, and our lovely group has begun to scatter across European airports.  Before we parted I asked participants to briefly type out personal highlights.  They summarize what was a remarkably rich time […]

    Not Quite the Last Blog, but Almost

    Well, it is so strange how trips draw to a close.  In this case we’ve enjoyed a Sunday of a relatively relaxed pace, one that has seen us spread out all over the city and region.  Some went to […]

    Homecoming (II)

    It’s difficult to summarize this day, just as with all the others.  What might I highlight?  It could be the emotional joy it gives all of us see one in our group find the home of their parents or […]

    Homecoming (I)

    As spectacular as Moscow and St. Petersburg are there is something very special about the Zaporozhye area.  This morning after a brief night and following a true travel day we were ready to explore Chortitza.  Spirits were high as […]

    Austria and Germany

    — Audrey Voth Petkau

    Have Plane, Will Travel

    Well, this was a day for plane travel as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has made it almost impossible to travel between the two countries.  So we made our way very early this morning from Moscow to Munich to […]

    Up Late, Up Early, but Still.

    I think that there’s something about TourMagination that is very special, and it’s the way that it creates moving communities.  It’s happened before (and I’m delighted to see that Donna is one of many past fellow-travelers who is following […]

    Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.

    After two relaxing days on the Rocky Mountaineer we completed our trip with two days in Vancouver, BC.  Yesterday, our driver-guide Chris picked us up at the Holiday Inn & Suites.  We headed north to get the ferry for […]

    Two Moscows: Mother Russia and Red Russia

    Red Square.  The Kremlin.  St. Basil’s Cathedral.  Ivan the Terrible.  Lenin.  Stalin.  It’s hard to grasp how many places and names are directly associated with this great city.  We’ve returned from a busy day in which we say both […]

    Last day in Switzerland

      — Audrey Voth Petkau

    Goodbye. Hello.

    We awoke this morning in St. Petersburg for our final morning there. So many of the participants commented on how they had come to feel quite safe to go out on their own in St. Petersburg; so many had […]

    Banff, Yoho, Lake Louise, and more

    The Rocky Mountaineer train pulled out of the station in Jasper at exactly 8:30 Sunday morning, headed west and south for Kamloops as the two day train adventure began. Preceding that, we had several eventful days as we headed […]

    Enjoying the Emmental region

      — Audrey Voth Petkau

    Last days in St Petersburg

    Saturday: A Day of Sharp Contrasts We started the day by taking the Hydrofoil from the Winter Square Palace Embankment out to Peterhof on the Gulf of Finland. This great summer palace of the Tsars was created on the […]

    The Black Forest in Germany

    — Audrey Voth Petkau

    A City of Imperial Proportion

    Another fine day is in the books.  It started with a mini-tour of St. Petersburg, an imperial city that defies any quick tour.  Our hotel is ideally situated to see this potpourri  of castles, canals and rivers.  The famed Winter […]

    Many Roads, One Meeting Place

    The Russia Ukraine tour is underway!  We met up over the past two days at various places:  Toronto, Vienna, the St. Petersburg airport and even one person (Caroline) who was waiting for us at our hotel in this great city […]

    First day in the Canadian Rockies

    The adventure has begun and what a day it was.  After a restful night at the Calgary Tower International Hotel in downtown Calgary, we headed west on the Trans Canadian Highway for Banff.  What a contrast, as we left […]

    Jezreel Valley

    On a hot Thursday morning in Galilee we crossed Jezreel Valley to visit an area where biblical battles happened–Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites, Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths in a struggle with the Philistines, and the death of Jezebel and […]


    With ruins of ancient Caesarea as backdrop, our group paused for this picture on the promontory where Herod the Great built his palace on the Mediterranean coastline. Pontius Pilate also stayed in the buildings that once graced this part […]

    The Jordan River and the Dead Sea

    Monday was a day for getting wet! We started somberly and ended with hilarity. The baptismal site of Jesus next to the Jordan River was our morning. We walked in silent pilgrimage style on a path through the swamps […]

    Amman and Petra

    With three full days of touring behind us, the Jordan-Palestine-Israel pilgrim band is starting to feel at home in this part of the world. Our stops so far have included the best-preserved provincial Roman city anywhere (Jerash), the citadel-city […]