Sights, sounds, and smells of the South Shetland Islands, January 5

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader We arrived at Brown Bluff early in the morning after cruising across the Bransfield Strait. This is the most northerly point of the Antarctic peninsula and this would be our first actual landing. The […]

    Sailing the Drake Passage, January 2-4

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader Our charter flight to Ushuaia (the most southerly city in the world) arrived without issue and after we claimed our bags we had about four hours to enjoy some local excursions or visit the […]

    Sites and Sounds of Buenos Aires

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader Following some challenging flights due to winter weather issues in eastern North America we all managed to settle into the luxurious Hotel Emperador located within walking distance to the Puerto Madero, a historic port […]

    Last days on the Christmas Markets cruise

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader Friday in Riquewihr, France was a real treat. The scenic ride from our remote docking location took us through flat farmland to the rolling hillsides almost entirely draped by wine grape vineyards. As we […]

    Mannheim/Heidelberg and Strasbourg

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader The AmaSonata (our luxurious river boat) cruised most of the night and into the morning which offered a relaxing start to the day. By noon we docked in Mannheim which would serve as our […]

    Two memorable days in historic Germany

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader The AmaSonata cruised 300+ km (186 miles) through the night down the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal and the River Rhine and by lunchtime on Monday we arrived at our docking platform in Cologne, Germany. Our group […]

    Beginning the Christmas markets cruise in Amsterdam

    By Terry Petkau, tour leader The “Christmas Markets on the Rhine” tour began on Saturday, December 2 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands  where we boarded the AmaSonata, a massive three level river vessel which will serve as our floating luxury […]

    Last three days in the Holy Land

    By Ervin Stutzman, Tour Leader On Thursday, we began the day with an overview of the city on the Mount of Olives at the Seven Arches Hotel. A lookout provided a panoramic view of the old city from the […]

    Jericho, the Dead Sea, and Qumran

    By Ervin Stutzman, Tour Leader Today we left Tiberius to head south toward the Dead Sea, and ultimately to Jerusalem. That took us out of Israel into the West Bank, which is Palestinian territory. As we drove along the […]

    Visiting Nazareth

    By Ervin Stutzman, Tour Leader Today our tour group drove through Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed his first miracle, on the way to Nazareth. What was once a sleepy village of perhaps forty homes in Jesus’ time has […]

    First days in the Holy Land

    By Ervin Stutzman, Tour Leader After the group arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on November 4, we spent a couple of hours in a part of the city that is the ancient city of Jaffa, […]

    India Tour: Amritsar

    As the India tour progresses, more and more locals are anxious to join us for group photos as illustrated by this shot from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Amritsar is a city in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab about […]

    2017 Russia Tour Update: The Last Day

    Well well, we have reached that stage of the final day.  We’ve had our final meal in a lovely setting and are now settled in for a whole 5 hours of sleep (!) before we start our journey home.  […]

    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.    

    Reformations Old & New Tour: Germany

    Tour leader Allan Rudy Froese on the Rhine Cruise with our youngest tour member Sam. Happy Birthday Sue! Way to keep it healthy. Sam relaxing with his grandparents Keith and Judy on an afternoon cruise along the Rhine in [...]

    From London to Paris

    by Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader          

    Beginning the Reformations Old & New Tour in Europe

    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 […]

    Reformations Revealed Through Art

    “The Spirit is always reforming us and that shows up in our art, in our paintings, in our sculptures, and in our architecture” says Allan Rudy-Froese, Assistant Professor of Christian Proclamation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He also says […]

    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 […]

    Celtic Spirituality Tour #1

    What is Celtic Spirituality? by Margaret Nally Celtic Spirituality draws its inspiration from the earliest manifestations of Christianity in the wild western edges of Europe. Its prayers and practices were also motivated by the wisdom of an older understanding […]

    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 […]

    Passionate about Potagers

    by Kelly Schroeder   I’ve fallen in love with vegetables, or more specifically, vegetable gardening. I have loved vegetables for a long time already. On a trip to South Africa in 2014, my husband John and I visited an […]

    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 […]

    Remembering What Sparked the Protestant Reformation

    by Prof. Robert Kelly On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted a list of 95 theses for debate on the topic of indulgences on the side door to the Church of All Saints (the “Castle Church”) in Wittenberg, the […]

    Healing Begins Between Catholics and Protestants

    by Prof. Robert Kelly 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation Celebrations with Co-operative Prayer Service. October 31, 2017, is the day we mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Protestants have been celebrating anniversaries of the Reformation for […]

    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 […]

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