The Magic of a Spontaneous Visit in Alwinz, Romania

    Walking through an “Empty Church” leads to reciprocal gifts and unique experiences. Reflection by Tour Leader ROD HOFER from October 2019. There is no remnant of the Hutterite colony in Alwinz remaining as the site was very flood-prone and […]

    TourMagination 50th Anniversary Celebrations June 15-19

    June 15-19, 2020 TourMagination is celebrating 50 years of helping people of faith explore, experience, and expand their worlds. The company began in 1970 to help North American Anabaptists explore their heritage in Europe. See a timeline of important […]

    South Africa Tour, District 6, 23 February

    Forgiveness.  Reconciliation.  The urge to destroy and kill, and the commandment of love. One would not expect that such words would be the centerpiece of a tour, but that would be the wrong assumption in South Africa.  For this [...]

    South Africa Tour, Visiting Winelands

    Today we visited South Africa's renowned Cape winelands of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.  Less than an hour from Capetown, these lands are really relatively small valleys ringed with mountain ranges.  It is immensely picturesque, even if a person is a [...]

    New Zealand Cruise, Final Days

    On the final days of our tour as we cruised from New Zealand back to Sydney, Australia, we enjoyed lovely food—including the delicious chocolate dessert (above). We also spent time doing various activities on board the ship. Ed joined [...]

    South Africa, The Cape of Good Hope

    On February 20, we took a day trip from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope to what almost feels like the bottom of Africa (even if it is not--that honour belongs to Cape Argulhas). We stopped at [...]

    South Africa Tour, Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

    On February 19, we took a cable car up Table Mountain and enjoyed incredible view of the city and peninsula. Here is our group at the top. Walking around Cape Town we saw City Hall with a statue of [...]

    New Zealand Cruise, Wellington

    Today, we explored in and around Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, first settled in 1840. Above, Rich B. is standing on Mount Victoria with the harbour and the city of Wellington in the background. We visited the Wellington City [...]

    South Africa Tour, First Days

    We all safely arrived in Port Elizabeth in South Africa after a variety of flight connections. A restful "kombi" (mini-bus) ride took us to the Kariega Game Reserve a couple of hours away along the Indian Ocean and past [...]

    New Zealand Cruise, Akaroa

    While visiting, Akaroa the only French-founded community in New Zealand, tour members enjoyed fish and chips. This local meal was recommended by their guide and storyteller Annette (pictured below). At dinner, our waiter surprised Rich and Gloria with a [...]

    2020 New Zealand Cruise, Fiordland National Park

    Those of us who are travelling on the 2020 New Zealand Cruise after enjoying the Australian Adventure Tour, embarked our ship in Sydney. We relaxed during the two-days of ocean travel between Australia and New Zealand. Food onboard the [...]

    Australian Adventure, Day-trip from Sydney

    We visited the stunning Three Sisters Rock Formation near Echo Point in New South Wales, Australia. According to aboriginal legend the rocks were formed when three sisters from the Katoomba people, Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, fell in love with [...]

    Australian Adventure, Sydney

    It poured rain the entire day! Everyone here in Sydney is so grateful for the rain that we tourists were very reluctant to complain. However, when we returned to our hotel at the end of the day every inch [...]

    Australian Adventure, Great Barrier Reef

    Australian Adventure, Great Barrier Reef We sailed very early in the morning to Green Island. Upon arrival at Pinnacle Reef, just 1km from Green Island, we enjoyed snorkeling and relaxation. Because of Ocean Free’s exclusive mooring, our time on [...]

    Australian Adventure, Sunrise over Uluru

    This morning we watched the sunrise over Uluru. On a tour of the base of Uluru, we saw ancient cave paintings and learned about Aboriginal legends and history. At end of the day, we took a short flight to [...]

    Australian Adventure, Kata Tjuta

    Today we travelled through the Outback from Alice Springs to Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock), a site sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area. The scenery was incredible as we hiked the Olga Gorge to see Kata Tjuta (domed [...]

    Australian Adventure, Alice Springs

    The next day, the group took a short flight to Alice Springs in Central Australia to learn more about the beautiful nation of Australia.  In this outback town they visited the historic telegraph station, which was built in 1871. […]

    Australian Adventure, In and Around Melbourne

    Over the weekend, the group took a day trip from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. They took a hike in the Otway Ranges National Park (photo below). Along the Shipwreck Coast, they saw the famous 12 Apostles rock [...]

    Australian Adventure Tour, Melbourne

    Australian Adventure Tour, Melbourne Captain Cook's cottage We have all gathered in Melbourne and already animated conversation is occurring with much eagerness despite some jet lag. We spent the afternoon touring Melbourne—including Captain Cook’s cottage located in the beautiful [...]

    Peace-building Tour to Cuba, Cienfeugos

    Cienfuegos, Cuba Wednesday, January 21 Today, the group had perfect weather to travel by boat to a Taíno Indian Village. They learned about the traditional lifestyle of the Taíno people, who were once Cuba’s principal inhabitants. Later, they went […]

    Peace-building Tour to Cuba

    Day 3 in Cuba Our two stops in Soroa were excellent, especially the first one. There were quite a number of tears from our tour members as they listened to a very passionate and articulate descendant of African slaves […]

    2020 Belize, Caye Caulker

    Final Days Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary Everyone loved the Birds Eye View Lodge and even the non birders were impressed by the variety of birds. The lodge had great food, rooms and service. People also enjoyed the boat ride […]

    Belize Tour, Back in Belmopan

    Today, we met up with Lazarus Pop who runs a youth ministry here and he took us into Springfield, a conservative group of Mennonites. Met and talked with a few locals at a plant nursery. We sang the Doxology […]

    2020 Belize Tour, Spanish Lookout

    On our excursion to Spanish Lookout, we enjoyed ice cream at Western Dairy and went to the cooperative where almost anything can be purchased. We interacted with employees and enjoyed Spanish Lookout—where there is a settlement of Mennonites. To […]

    2020 Belize Tour, Belmopan

    Yesterday we attended a service at St. Ann’s Anglican Church in Belmopan. The two people on tour with birthdays were blessed at the front of the church. After church, we enjoyed a good lunch of baked chicken, coleslaw, fresh […]

    Hutterite & Romania tour – Next phase

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader The next phase of the tour emphasized the best of the Saxon German fortified churches, the three fortified cities of Brasov and Sighisoara, sites that had direct connections to the Carinthian Lutheran Hutterite converts […]

    Hutterite & Romania Tour – Alba Iulia

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader We began our day in Alba Iulia with a walk from our hotel to the Jewish synagogue of the oldest Jewish congregation in Romania. They were invited into Transylvania by Gabriel Bethlen, the same […]

    Danube Cruise update

    By Marlin Hershey, Tour Leader We began our second day of the cruise in Mohacs, a quiet Danube town with a countryside ancient restored gristmill from time of St. Nicholas. We also visited a museum displaying the past practice […]

    Romania Hutterite & Cultural Tour – final days

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader As our time in Romania draws to an end, I believe the tour went exceedingly well. Everybody was impressed with Chris, our local guide with religious and secular knowledge. Even when the established plan […]

    Romania Hutterite & Cultural Tour – Deva & Alwinz

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader We began our day by ascending the Deva mountain by gondola car to the fortress ruins at the top. The fortress caps the mountain and provides a panoramic view of the surrounding area. If […]

    Romania Hutterite & Cultural Tour – Deva

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader Leaving our Sibiu hotel behind, we drove through the Romanian countryside to the village of Romos (Rumes). Here the Carinthian Lutherans initially settled in 1755. It was here that a conflict with their Saxon […]

    Romania Hutterite & Cultural Tour – Sibiu region continued

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader We were greeted by partly sunny weather with brisk temperatures as we began our first bus ride of the tour. On the outskirts of Hermannstadt (Sibiu) we stopped at the Maria Theresa monument in […]

    Romania Hutterite & Cultural Tour – Sibiu

    By Rod Hofer, Tour Leader The Romanian Culture and Hutterite Heritage Tour began by exploring the historic city of Sibiu (Hermannstadt). Hermannstadt is an important site in the history of the Hutterites in Romania but also boasts a rich […]

    Central Asia tour 2019 – Khiva

    Visiting the Mennonite Museum in Khiva, Central Asia Tour We have arrived in Khiva, where the Mennonite museum is now open. It was to open in 2009, but the government shut it down. We were assured by the director [...]

    Central Asia tour 2019 – Samarkand

    Enjoy a selection of photos from the Central Asia tour’s explorations of Samarkand

    Central Asia tour 2019 – First day in Uzbekistan

    We have just completed our third day of this tour to Central Asia. Having thoroughly enjoyed two days in Istanbul, Turkey, we arrived in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, early Wednesday morning. The day unfolded with numerous sites unique only to Uzbekistan. […]

    Central Asia tour 2019: First stop, Istanbul

    Istanbul at first seemed a bit off-topic as an introduction to our Uzbekistan-focused tour of Central Asia, but in a good and useful way. It oriented us to a city and region dominated first by Christianity and then by […]

    Schurch Family Heritage tour – update from the mountains

      Greetings again – Another good day together! We had lovely views of the Jungfrau, Monch, and Eigger mountains last night from Interlaken and again this morning walking to the Castle Thun entrance. The castle has had a major […]

    Schürch Family Custom Tour Update – Switzerland Calling!

    Greetings – I’m writing Monday afternoon from Kleine Scheidegg. We enjoyed two days of sunshine, today partially rainy and mountains hidden in fog but everyone is still enjoying themselves. Zurich was interesting but challenging with so much walking and […]

    Jordan, Palestine, Israel Tour – Final days

    The restaurant manager in Jerusalem where we had our noon meal on Saturday owned a parrot, and unexpectedly perched it on Brian Zehr’s shoulder. Seems the parrot likes french fries! This light-hearted moment came in the midst of a […]

    Jordan, Palestine, Israel tour update: Jezreel, Yad Vashem, and Gideon’s Spring

    That’s no ordinary hill behind the TourMagination group. It is Tel Jezreel—ruins of the biblical city Jezreel in northern Israel. Jezreel was the winter residence of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. While at this site, our group heard the […]

    Jordan, Palestine, Israel Day 4 – Jordan River, MCC, and the Dead Sea

    Monday morning took us to the site where the Israelites were most likely to have crossed the River Jordan. That also probably is where John baptized Jesus. We contemplated these two momentous threshold events, remembering how our own lives […]

    Jordan, Palestine, Israel Day 3 – Petra

    Our hotel last night was by the entrance to Petra, the ancient stone city with ruins from the first centuries BC and AD. We got an early start this morning and walked into the site through the half-mile Siq […]

    Jordan, Palestine, Israel Day 2 – From Mt Nebo to Petra

    An early launch from our hotel in Amman set us on course for Mt. Nebo (where Moses got a glimpse of the Promised Land), Machaerus mountaintop fortress (where John the Baptist was martyred), Madaba (where we were invited to […]

    Jordan, Palestine, Israel: Day 1, Jerash

    Kyla and Brian Zehr of Fort Wayne, Indiana look down into the ruins and spectacular mosaics of St. Cosmos and St. Damianus Church at the ancient Roman city of Jerash, an hour’s drive north of Amman, Jordan. Built in […]

    Greetings from Cairo!

    TourMagination’s director of tour development, Anna Dickerson, is visiting Egypt for a few days before participating in the Jordan, Palestine, Israel tour. Anna and her husband are having a great time learning about the history, and even took a […]

    France River Cruise – Barcelona, the end of the tour

    by Terry Petkau, tour leader One of the highlights of our final days on this tour was the scenic drive through the mountainous countryside which took us to the Abbey of Montserrat. From the coach we boarded a special […]

    France River Cruise – Avignon to Arles

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader Before departing Avignon we were treated to a gentle cruise to take in the city lights from a beautiful vantage point. Many of us also walked back into the Old City to view an […]

    France River Cruise – Tournon and Avignon

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader Our morning in Tournon included cycling through apricot and cherry orchards, wine tastin at local wineries, a ride on an old steam train and a visit to the Valrhona chocolate factory that employs almost […]

    France Cruise, August 25

    Today we sent the morning touring the historic city of Vienne along the Rôane. A number of us challenged the walking tour which led us up a very steep climb to the top of Mont Pipet. Along the way […]

    France Cruise, on the Saône River, August 24

    The morning began by sailing up stream on the Saône river, a tributary of the Rôane river, which offered an impressive perspective of modern architecture at the confluence of the two rivers. (Three photos below). As we approached our […]

    France Cruise – continuing to explore Paris

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader Today we ventured to the outskirts of Paris to visit the Palace of Versailles. A very popular stop for tourists which resulted in a somewhat crowded meander through the Palace but the expansive gardens […]

    The France Cruise begins

    By Audrey Voth Petkau, tour leader Everything went very well for our first day here in Paris. We did not waste any time but started out to explore. We are ideally located about 4 blocks from the Arc de […]

    The Alaska Cruise Tour Begins

    By Bernice Kuepfer, Tour Leader Fairbanks Alaska is beautiful! We stayed at the Riverside Lodge which had outstanding service. We took a cruise on the Sternwheeler Riverboat then after the cruise we went on Gold Dredge 8 and panned […]

    Day 5 and 6 of Newfoundland tour

    By Mike Kroeker, tour leader Day 5 started off a little slower than we’ve been used too. As our driver Tony put it, service in the North is something you just have to get used too! We had a […]

    Today in Time: The Leningrad Symphony Premiers, 9 August 1942

    There is a place in St. Petersburg, Russia, where no tourist buses go these days.  Which is why we always go there.  It’s a broad stretch of land in a parklike setting on the northern sections of the city.  […]

    Newfoundland Tour – Second update

    By Mike Kroeker, Tour Leader It’s been a few busy days in Newfoundland. We spent the past 2 nights at the wonderful Shallow Bay Motel in Cow Head, NL.  The afternoon of Day 3 was spent on the waters […]

    Newfoundland tour begins

    By Mike Kroeker, tour leader   Hello from Newfoundland! The weather looked a little ugly this morning but the sun decided to come out! We woke up in Cow Head this morning, after spending the night at the Shallow […]

    Bike & Boat tour – continuing to Malchin

    By Mark Evans, tour leader   On Wednesday we left Szczecin early and sailed across a big lake to the Usedom area, landing in the port of Kamminke.  We then got on our bikes and headed out exploring the […]

    Bike & Boat Tour – Day 4

    By Mark Evans, Tour Leader Today we left Schwedt at 9am to ride to Mascherin, a shorter day for riding as we had to sail on to Schwerin. The ride was more adventurous as we had to detour off […]

    First days on the Bike & Boat tour

    By Mark Evans, tour leader Saturday the group met at our hotel and then walked to the subway to take it to Spandau. We had a surprise when we got off as the doors closed prior to everyone getting […]

    Tour Update: Iceland 2019

    Adieu Iceland This land is continually being born: it ever brings forth new marvels, new vistas, new possibilities. It sings of change, and the power of play. I feel this playful change seeping into me, calling for a molten […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Rattenburg

    The last day of the tour! This morning we went to central Innsbruck, where Jacob Hutter was executed. We also saw the golden roof which Maximilian I had constructed to look out over the square, and then had time […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Innsbruck

    Today we travelled to our last country of the tour, Austria! But our route happened to take us through the tiny country of Liechtenstein for a brief while, so we can say we’ve actually been in 6 countries in […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Bern

    Today we spent much of the day within the city of Bern where we’ve been for the last two nights. In the morning, despite the possible threat of rain, we went on a walking tour of the city centre […]

    Tour Update: Iceland 2019, Borgarfjarðarhreppur

    Last night was spent in Borgarfjarðarhreppur, which derives its name from Álfaborg, meaning “town of elves.” Ancient legend has it that this part of Iceland is ripe with elves, and there is a fairly substantive hill overlooking this quaint […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Emmental

    Today was spent in the area of the Emmental, which contains a great deal of Amish history. Although we could not enter it, we saw Thun castle, where Anabaptists were imprisoned at the top. In Steffisburg, we visited a […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Zurich

    Zurich is an important city for Anabaptist history, as this is where it all began! We started our day today with a walking tour of the centre of town to see various sites related to Anabaptist history, including the […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, Memories of St. Petersburg, Round 2

    On our last full day of planned activity our TourMagination tour went to Peterhof in the early morning.  This is justly claimed as one of the great Summer Palaces of Europe.  Beautifully situated on a cliffbank overlooking the Gulf […]

    Tour Update: Iceland 2019

    Greetings friends!  Here is a poetic reflection on our Iceland adventures thus far. These Rocks Ringing Lapping waves have their own sagas. Deep in their memories drift tales of mer creatures, and Behemoth, and Jonah, and water learning to […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Schleitheim

    The Schleitheim monument commemorates the first effort between Anabaptists to create an agreement about beliefs they all shared in common, in order to create greater unity within the movement. The agreement dates back to 1527, just two years after […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, tour leader reflections

    Memories of St. Petersburg Russia is a country that many expect that they won’t like.  That always seems to be the case on tours we’ve lead, in large part because of the negative press that a post Cold War […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Riquewihr

    We changed countries again today, moving on to France! Our first stop was an out of the way place up a long winding road: the Salm peace oak. This tree was planted by Mennonites in gratitude for being granted […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, Farewell in St. Petersburg

    Truth is that I’ve been somewhat under the weather the past few days. It started on the Moscow subway, and though it hasn’t stopped me from being a co-leader in the group (thanks to Mary especially as co-leader!). But […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, Moscow to St. Petersburg

    An interesting bit of trivia, the Bistro is usually associated with either Italian or French but is actually from a Russian word for immediate. During the Napoleon war, the Russian military didn’t travel with kitchens to feed the men […]

    TourUpdate: Iceland, Reykjavik

    Today is Trinity Sunday and the resident priest Irma Sjöfn Óskardóttir both preached and presided. The service included special guests in the form of a choir from the Dómkirkjan (Cathedral Church) of Reykjavik. They crafted a service that was […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Worms

    Today’s Sunday, which I noticed right away because the bells from the nearby Worms Cathedral woke me up early! Historic cathedrals may be magnificent to visit but I think I’m glad I don’t live near one. John Sharp managed […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Weierhof

    This morning we said goodbye to our driver Mark and welcomed JP, who will be our driver for the rest of the tour. This is JP’s 101st tour driving for TourMagination! Then we headed towards the Rhine River to […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Schwarzenau

    As we headed further into Germany today, I loved watching the landscape change from flat fields reminiscent of the Netherlands to a much more up-and-down experience–large hills or perhaps small mountains, all covered in tall evergreen trees. We were […]

    TM tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage tour, Münster

    This morning on the bus it was great to hear stories from various people's homestay experiences. There were some good connections made! Being able to spend time on a personal level with local people allows you to really make [...]

    Tour update: European Anabaptist Heritage Tour, Amsterdam

    Our first stop yesterday was the Aalsmeer flower auction, where millions of flowers are bought and sold internationally every day. I was surprised to discover how fascinating I found it! As someone who does administrative work on a much […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, Moscow: Cemeteries & Art Galleries

    So an amazing encounter just now in Moscow.  We were toward the end of our day-tour.  We were on our own after a rich morning in the famed Tretyakov Art Gallery, after earlier stops at the impressive Christ the […]

    Tour Update: Russia Tour 2019, Day 1

    There is a “hold onto your hats” element to every TourMagination tour that Mary and I have been privileged to be part of, and that is certainly the case with this Russia tour. It began yesterday as we all […]

    Tour Update: Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019, Final day

    So it is 11 June and the Ukraine trip ended yesterday, technically.  Of course, in other ways it is nowhere near the end. But on our final full day we toured the lovely port city of Odessa in the […]

    Tour Update: Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019, Last Day in Odessa

    Last night in Odessa and what a busy day we had. This morning we had a city tour and then lunch by the shore of the Black Sea. The buildings in Odessa are so varied, from Greek style, pre-soviet […]

    Poland/Prague Heritage Tour 2019 Update: Traveller Reflection

    Reflections from Tour Participant Horst Wohlgemut: Before we embarked on the Prague and Poland  tour, I was aware that at least five generations of Wohlgemut(h)s had lived in the Deutsch Wymysle area.  To actually see where they lived, worshipped and […]

    Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019: Zaporozhye to Odessa

    This morning it was time to leave Zaporozhye and head for Odessa. When Len said the road was bad he wasn’t kidding. There are some spots where we are having to slow to a crawl so we don’t break […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 6 – Free Day in Zaporozhye

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Don’t believe this blog(!).  At least don’t believe that we all did whatever is included here. You see, today was a free day in Zaporozhye, one without any schedule.  It was a welcome break after […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 5 – Day of Contrasts in Chortitza

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader We started our day today at Eichenfeld, now Dubovka, the sight of a terrible massacre in 1919 by Makhno’s anarchist peasant army.  We stopped on the side of a field where a moving monument […]

    The Poland/Prague Tour Continues

    By John Sharp, Tour Leader

    Ukraine Tour Day 4 – Chortitza: Connections and Conversations

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader We were in Chortitza today, the so-called Mother Settlement for Mennonites in southern Ukraine.  Of course we saw the big buildings that mark this area for Mennonites (and it helps that our guide Olga […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 3 – Molotschna Day

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader So as not to be a romantic, let me start by saying why a person should maybe not go to the former Mennonite colony of Molotschna on a day like this: -it was hot […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 2 – To Zaporozhye. The Real Pilgrimage Begins

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Where was I?  Oh yes, we had our evening at the opera yesterday, in a most historic opera house. This morning was a bit more unstructured.  I know that our group rode the Metro, […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 1 – Kiev: Capital City, Ancient City

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader TourMagination’s Ukraine Heritage Tour is up and running for 2019.  We actually met for the first time yesterday evening, almost that is.  “Almost” because two people in our group were actually away all day […]

    Poland & Prague Tour #2 – Travelling to Poland through Moravia

    By John Sharp, tour leader Today was classic TourMagination. To accommodate our travellers’ interest, we changed our route between Prague and Krakow. To make plans, I had phone conversations with John Ruth, Leonard Gross, and Gary Waltner. Armed with […]

    Poland & Prague Tour, Day 1 – Prague

    Today a heavy rain drenched Prague and us while visiting the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. (My photos of Old Town Square are from Monday.)             Most of us took our tired and […]

    Netherlands & Belgium Tour – A final farewell

    Spectacular coloured clouds on the last evening of the tour Group shot before everyone parted ways.

    Netherlands & Belgium tour – Rotterdam & Gouda

    Rotterdam & Gouda, Netherlands. We were the 3rd of 3 ships lined up. So cross over to get to land. Nancy & Harry Showalter leaving the ship/boat. Town hall in town square which is actually triangle shaped in this [...]