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 […]

    London, England – August 1, 2016

    On Friday we visited Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Trier became a meeting point for the Celtic, German and Latin cultures (15 BC) which evolved to form a western civilization. It was the first city north of the […]

    Thursday, July 28 – Passau, Germany

    Saturday morning in Erlenbach we visited the parish church where Jacob Amman would have been baptized as a child. The walls of the Swiss Reformed Church today are covered with frescos which date back to the Middle Ages. John […]

    Saturday, July 23 – Meringen, Switzerland

    Tuesday was a special day for Sam Stoltzfus as we visited the Ringweilerhof near Zweibrucken. It was at this farm that Nicholas Stoltzfus worked before he immigrated to America. The farmers were very busy as they were harvesting wheat. […]

    Alzey, Germany – July 18, 2016

    Last Friday we left Amsterdam for North Holland to visit the Cavaletti Horse Farm at Tuitjenhorn. The owner/operator was very excited about our coming. He has been selling horses to the Amish in Indiana for more than 10 years. […]

    Amsterdam, the Netherlands – July 14, 2016

    The Amish Heritage Tour with John Ruth began in Europe yesterday. The participants boarded the Queen Mary 2 on Wednesday, July 6 and arrived in Port Southampton yesterday morning. John Ruth and I spent 3 nights in Luxembourg following […]

    TM Tour Update: European Heritage Tour

    Wasserburg, Germany – July 8 Thursday morning we drove to visit the new monument remembering Jacob Hutter and other Anabaptists who were martyred in this region of Tyrol in the 16th century. The monument, dedicated last October in a […]

    Wednesday, July 6 – Innsbruck, Austria

    Monday morning we said goodbye to Bern and departed for the Sustenpass on our way to Zurich. JP Weber, our favorite driver, told us we are lucky with the weather. The Swiss Alps were spectacular.  The fresh snow from […]

    Bern, Switzerland – Sunday, July 3, 2016

    On Thursday, June 30 on our way to Boppard to board the Rhine River cruise, we stopped at Remagen, the site where General Eisenhower and the US Army crossed the Rhine which changed the course of WWII. The bridge […]

    Berlikum, The Netherlands

    TourMagination’s European Heritage tour with John Ruth is in full swing. Yesterday we arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport which is situated 30 feet below sea level. We were not surprised to see clouds and rain. We were told […]