Tour Storyteller, Len Friesen is a professor of history at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and a member of Waterloo North Mennonite Church. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is the author of several books including “Transcendent Love: Dostoevsky and the Search for a Global Ethic” (2016).   He was married to Mary (Burkholder) in 1977 (time flies!); together they have three adult children, two “in-laws”, and five grandchildren.  Len has been fortunate to see a good deal of this world, though he highlights a year spent with Old Order Mennonites in Wellington Country, Ontario,  and another year spent in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.  Beyond that, Len has led tours across Europe, Russia and Ukraine, and South Africa, many of these with TourMagination where he appreciates the informal interactions with those who sign on. “It’s unlike any other tour company I know; it really is travel with a purpose. TourMagination builds community in life-changing ways, and we’re delighted to be associated with it,” Len says.


Mennonite History in Ukraine and Istanbul Tour

SOLD OUT

Experience the Mennonite story in Ukraine as you visit the historic colonies of Chortitza and Molotschna. Look for your family name in cemeteries, possibly visit the village of your ancestors. Marvel at beautifully constructed, brightly coloured Ukrainian Orthodox cathedrals. Tour a well-manicured park in the centre of Kyiv that is frequented by locals and visitors. University history professor and experienced tour leader Len Friesen will capably guide you. Can be combined with the Moscow & St. Petersburg Tour.

Moscow & St. Petersburg

Discover the history and culture of Russia as you explore Moscow and St. Petersburg during four days in each city. Learn about Lenin, Stalin, and the tsars. See many famous sights including the Winter Palace—once home to the Russian tsars, Peterhof Palace and Gardens, the Kremlin, Red Square, wartime cemeteries, and stunning cathedrals. Can be combined with the Mennonite History in Ukraine and Istanbul Tour.

2022 Mennonite History in Istanbul & Ukraine

On this tour of Ukraine, which includes a special visit to Istanbul, engage with the Russian Mennonite story past and present. Visit the Stalinist city of Zaporizhye and the former colonies Chortitza and Molotschna, which were settled by Mennonites in the late 1700’s. Expert guide Len Friesen will shed light on the Mennonite story within the rich context of Tsarist and Soviet history, as well as present-day realities and challenges. During visits to the colonies, explore villages related to your family roots. This tour includes several optional excursions balanced with times of rest and reflection that will appeal to people of a variety of energy levels. Tour storyteller Len Friesen is a Professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University and a member of Waterloo North Mennonite Church.

A Tour of Two Capitals: Moscow & St. Petersburg

Discover the history and culture of Russia as you explore Moscow and St. Petersburg during four days in each city. St. Petersburg was the imperial capital for two centuries and is still considered the premier cultural centre of Russia. Moscow became the political capital in 1918 at the dawn of the Soviet era.  Learn about Lenin, Stalin, and the tsars. See many famous sights including the Winter Palace—once home to the Russian tsars, Peterhof Palace and Gardens, the Kremlin, Red Square, wartime cemeteries, and stunning cathedrals. Tour storyteller Len Friesen is a Professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University. He teaches Russian history and speaks Russian fluently. Mary and Len lived in Russia during Gorbachev’s time and have many stories to share.

Germany & Switzerland: An Alpine Adventure

SOLD OUT

Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and your eyes with incredible views as you ascend peaks by cable car, hike mountain-top paths and wander valley trails. Also take a walking tour in Zurich and have a free day of shopping and sightseeing in the historic town of Lindau, Germany which is located on a small island connected with the mainland by bridge.