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 vintage 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 – Amsterdam

 

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 [...]

Netherlands & Belgium tour – Arnhem area

Views from our ship as we sail along the IJssel River. We went to cemetery for 1754 soldiers who died during Market Garden, a goal to take control of some bridges in Arnhem area, Netherlands, from the Germans but [...]

Netherlands & Belgium tour – Kampen

Arriving in Kampen, bridge raised using pulley system to let us under. Old City Gate in Kampen from 14th century List of Jews taken to Concentration Camp during WWII. A narrow street in Kampen Two local area ladies hosting [...]

Netherlands & Belgium tour – first days of the cruise

We got to walk among the tulips at a tulip farm. No fence around them so people walking or biking along the field came into the field also to look & take pictures. The couple who owned the farm [...]

Netherlands & Belgium tour – Aalsmeer, Zaanse Schans, and more

 

Netherlands & Belgium Tour – Delft and Keukenhof

By Dottie Kauffman, Tour Participant, and Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Netherlands & Belgium tour – Ghent and Bruges

By Dottie Kauffmann, Tour Participant

Italy tour – Ciao Italy!

By Len Friesen, tour leader So it has come to this, as it does with all trips and all good things.  We have reached the end of our time together.  We head for the airport in Milan in about […]

Netherlands & Belgium tour – Amsterdam, Asperen, and Antwerp

By Dottie Kauffmann, tour participant

Italy Tour – In the Aftermath of the Notre Dame fire

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader In the Aftermath of the Notre Dame fire: The fire that devastated Notre Dame yesterday is a reminder of how fragile our supposedly “timeless treasures” are.  Beautiful structures can last a thousand years, then […]

Italy Tour – An Ode to Hotels

by Len Friesen, Tour Leader Our hotel here in Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre is like a vertical palazzo.   I am writing this on the 7th floor or so, which allows me to look over most of the […]

Italy Tour – Venice

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader We have shaped the tour thus far around a key premise:  “Rome, Assisi, and Florence may be Italian cities but they are really world cities.  They are part of all of our heritage.” But […]

Italy Tour – Florence: Michelangelo, and the Italian Masters

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader We were out the door early this morning as we visited the Academia Gallery.  There we saw Michelangelo’s “David” as we told the story of this remarkable monument.  But we also saw the 4 […]

Italy Tour – Florence: The Uffizi Galleries, and the Michelangelo Piazza

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader What is the shape and measure of a beautiful woman? What are they for a man? And of the society in which men and women live? These might seem like rather odd observations with […]

Italy Tour – Leaving Assisi. Sitting at the Train Station. Waiting for the Train to Florence.

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader So we’re waiting at the Assisi train station, which really isn’t in Assisi.  We’re waiting for the train that will take us to Florence for the next stop on our most excellent journey.  People […]

Italy Tour – The Splendour of Assisi

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader I missed a day of blogging and feel as if I am a month behind… so much happens on a trip like this. But yesterday we said good-bye to Rome, a city packed more […]

Italy Tour – Photos from Rome

Photos by Rob & Heidi Litke, Tour Participants

Italy Tour – Catholic Rome

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Today was set aside for “Catholic” Rome.  This meant an early morning start as we made our way (by city bus, then a walk) to St. Peter’s Basilica.   We got there early enough to […]

Italy Tour – Rome: Ancient Rome, baroque Rome

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader This has been the kind of day (as often happens on TourMagination tours actually) when I’m going to find it hard to write a blog.  It won’t be easy because the day has been […]

Italy Tour – Rome, the Eternal City

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader So we have arrived and our group is now fully engaged.  We gathered in Rome early today from the east coast of Canada to the west of both Canada and the US, and some […]

Italy Tour – From Anticipation to Reality

By Len Friesen, tour leader So this is the first blog entry for TourMagination’s “Bella Terra” Italy trip for 2019.  That’s perhaps odd as the trip hasn’t started yet(!).   In fact, we only head for the airport later this […]

Continuing on the Amazon tour

By Katie Steckly Here’s a look at what we did today! From butterflies to chocolate we took in so much of the natural beauty of Ecuador 🦋 Make sure you’re following us on Instagram to see more of these […]

Beginning the Natural & Cultural Encounters in the Amazon Tour

By Katie Steckly Our first full day on the Natural & Cultural Encounters in the Amazon tour has been a huge success! The group has ventured from Quito to Tena, where our guide Jerrell has already taught us so […]

Why Travel to South Africa?

By Leonard & Mary Friesen, South Africa Tour Leaders   It’s no surprise that South Africa is on many people’s bucket lists. Where else can you take in two oceans, two world-famous Nobel Prize winners, Africa’s majestic “Big 5” […]

End of the Cuba tour

by Jack Suderman, tour leader January 24 We’ve had a very good, more relaxing day. We spent some time in the morning roving the pedestrian-only streets of Cienfuegos, with lots of vendors of all kinds. The group really appreciated […]

First days on tour in Cuba

by Jack Suderman, tour leader   Thursday, January 17, and Friday, January 18 After getting settled into our rooms, we had a nice supper together at a modest local restaurant, and everyone was in good spirits. It is 28 […]

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Last days in Romania

 

Reflections on the upcoming Italy: Bella Terra tour

By Len Friesen, tour leader I vividly recall the first time Mary and I were in Assisi.  We arrived in the late-afternoon as the sun had begun to settle over the Umbrian plain.  It was a cool evening in […]

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Sighisoara

 

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Brasov

 

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Bratislava

 

Gems of Southeast Europe – Dürnstein

Enjoying a luxurious cruise down the Danube. Enjoying a luxurious cruise down the Danube. Docking at Dürnstein, Austria for multiple tour options from cycling along the river, a stroll through the beautiful village of Dürnstein or a steep hike [...]

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Passau

A beautiful day for cycling through Passau Germany. Historic Passau near the junction of the Inn, the Ilz rivers. For hundreds of years Passau has dealt with the surge of flood waters from the Danube River and in 2013 [...]

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Linz & Strasbourg

Greg and Terri chatting with Audrey before tour of Linz, Austria. Standing outside the balcony in Linz where Hitler addressed the crowds in 1938 during Anschluss (annexation of Austria...) Touring the quaint old city center of Strasbourg which has [...]

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Vienna

The group is enjoying their first few days in Vienna, with good weather.

Gems of Southeast Europe Cruise – Second update

Dining room in the Klosterneuburg Abbey located in the Vienna woods. Len, Terry, Sue and Carol on the upper deck as the Amacerto passes through 1 of 18 locks we will enter during our cruise. A visit to the [...]

A Final Russia Blog Post

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Thursday, 4 October 2018. A final blog entry for TourMagination’s Russia and Ukraine Tours, 2018 I’m writing this from my home, which means that the wonderful Russia-extension to the equally wonderful Ukraine 2018 trip is at […]

Treasures of Russia tour, end of the last day in Russia

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader I was in the Kremlin with our group today on the Russia extension.  While there I kept seeing rather large groups of tourists come and go, often in numbers of 50 and more. I […]

Treasures of Russia tour, second update

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Our last full day.  I’ve been reading a verse or four from the Bible for each of our days in Ukraine and Russia.  Each portion has been chosen to speak to that particular day, […]

Day 1, Treasures of Russia Tour, St. Petersburg

Thursday, 27 September 2018  So we made it to St. Petersburg yesterday evening after a morning farewell to Odessa, on the shores of the beautiful Black Sea.  Our routing to Russia took us after that through Minsk in Belarus […]

Bogota: Paraguay and Colombia Tour September 2018

I’m writing from Bogota. We got here yesterday with no issues after a long day of travel. After a good night’s sleep, all were in good shape today. The spirit in the group continues to be strong and positive. […]

Day 10 Ukraine Tour, Last day in Odessa

Tuesday, 25 September 2018.  Odessa, Ukraine. It’s mid-afternoon here, and our first full day in Odessa.  It’s also our last full day in Odessa. After a half-day city tour I now know that Odessa has been worth every bump and […]

Day 9, Ukraine Tour

Monday, 24 September 2018  A shorter entry today, but I want to report that we departed early this morning from Zaporozhe and arrived in Odessa by evening.  It was a long day as we travelled on roads that (we were […]

Day 8 Ukraine Tour: Reflections from Mennoville

Memories of Menno-ville, September 23, 2018 Here are some reflections from travellers on the Ukraine tour: I wanted to thank a woman for opening a church building for us, stumbling into Spanish, French, German before I remembered the words […]

Day 7 Ukraine Tour

Saturday, September 22 ,2018 Today was our “Zaporozhe and Khortitsa day”, which gave us the opportunity to visit the earliest of the Mennonite colonies in Ukraine.  It is now set within a city (Zaporozhe itself) that was a Stalinist showpiece, and winner of both […]

Ukraine, Day 6 – More Molotschna Colony

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Quick, what’s this a listing of? Lesser Kestrel, Ring-necked pheasant, Rock Pigeon and White Wagtail.  How about Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Magpie and the Eurasian Jay? Answer? Well, these are just a few of […]

Ukraine, Day 5 – Molotschna Colony

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Here’s the short course on what we did today:  we spent the day touring one half of the former Molotschna colony, an area of about 20 by 30 miles, in southern Ukraine. But that sort […]

Germany Music Tour, Day 1

By Rod Zook, Tour Leader And we’re off! Everyone made it safely to the “starting line” in Bingen. Then we started by sitting together for several hours before and during dinner getting acquainted and getting ready to experience the […]

Ireland, Day 11 – Royal Meath, Hill of Tara, and Newgrange

We then went to the Boyne Valley which has 3 large passage tombs and 37 small ones.

Paraguay & Colombia Tour, second update

By Irene Suderman, Tour Leader Powerful, powerful day today. Varied, heart-tearing, inspirational, encouraging, marvelling, wondering, listening, learning and much more…..  The day started with a visit to a penitentiary.  Built for 1,000, it now houses 4,500 people.  No photos […]

Ukraine, Day 4 – From Kiev to Zaporozhye

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Here is when the full weight of this trip hit home for us as a group.  We had left Kiev very early this morning via train for Dnipro, arriving at about noon today.  After a […]

Ireland, Day 10 – Corrymeela Community

Corrymeela – a very special day with the community there. Weatherwise it was wild, but we experienced warm hospitality and learned so much!

Ireland, Day 9 – Grianan Aileach, Derry/Londonderry, and Giant’s Causeway

The day started out very misty at our first stop Grianan Aileach, an ancient fort (or a place of sun worship?) so the view of 2 lakes far below was a wall of fog! “We viewed the mist and [...]

Paraguay & Colombia, Day 1

By Jack Suderman, Tour Leader We’re here; all together under one roof. It seems like everyone is in good spirits, even if tired.

Ukraine, day 3 – Kiev

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Wow.  What an evening it has been.  Before we knew it we saw the true Prince of Darkness visit Moscow and drive that city into pure mayhem. There was confusion all about, as if all morality […]

Ireland, Day 8 – Slieve League and Glencolmcille

The cliffs of Slieve League - the highest cliffs in Ireland Glencolmcille was a place of sanctuary for St. Columba and it is a significant pilgrimage site. There are 15 stations for prayer and reflection. Some of the group [...]

Ukraine, Day 2 – Kiev

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader What a day!  We started it with a tour of the very heart of Kiev (actually we started it with breakfast, and that’s not to be silly; it is more to comment on how […]

Ireland, Day 7 – Ceide Fields, Killala, Carrowmore, and Drumcliffe

 

Ukraine Tour, Day 1 – Kiev

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader So our trip is up and running, even if one final couple is still scheduled to join us later today in Kiev. Here’s what is already clear from this group of TourMaginationites: We’ve gathered […]

Ireland, Day 6 – Croagh Patrick and Ballintubber Abbey

Croagh Patrick 11 hearty souls attempted the pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick remembering the many pilgrims who climbed over these same rocks over thousands of years. It was treacherous and slippery due to occasional drizzle. 5 completed the pilgrimage while [...]

Ireland, Day 5 – Island of Inis Mor

The view from Dun Aonghasa (Angus’ Fort) Near St. Enda’s burial site There are 7,000 miles of stone walls on Inis Mor

Ireland, Day 4 – Clonmacnoise and Galway

Clonmacnoise: an ancient Monastic site found by St Ciarán in 544. No original buildings. Cathedral dates to about 950 and the Round Tower to about 1150. Recently restored double arches at Clonmacnoise Friar’s river and Galway Abbey Tour leaders [...]

Ireland, Day 3 – Sheep Dogs, Glendalough, and St Brigid

 

Ireland, Day 2 – Dublin

Enjoying the Treasures of the Museum Dublin on a sunny day Temple Bar St. Patrick's

Ireland tour, day 1 – meeting in Dublin

Trinity College Book of Kells, Portrait of St. John

South Africa Tour – Final Day in Cape Town

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader This is the day of departures.  In fact, it has already happened as Lois and Nancy departed for the airport and a Durban add-on about 2 hours ago.  There is a certain melancholy in […]

South Africa Tour – Winery tours

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Today was a rather different day as we left the Cape for the winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.  Located about an hour north of Cape Town itself, the region is noted for its world-famous […]

Final days of the Tanzania Women’s Tour

By Shirley Redekop, Tour Leader Our days are winding down, but we are filled with the wonder of God’s creation. We have grown closer, and have new sister friends with each other and those we have met; at St […]

South Africa Tour – A visit to the capes

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader It’s not often that you get to stand at the bottom of a continent, but that was the case today for our tour group.  Today was our day to drive down to the two […]

South Africa Tour – Robben Island and Cape Town Waterfront

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Today we visited Robben Island, 5 miles off Cape Town in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  The place  and setting is full of contrasts.  On the one hand, it is in a […]

South Africa Tour – Safari and Cape Town

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader 7 August 2018 This is our second day at Chisomo River Lodge, a 19,000 hectare peace of beauty on the outskirts of Kruger National Park.  We arrived yesterday, but I didn’t send an installment […]

Tanzania Women’s Tour – Monduli and safari

Our group of women continue to enjoy being together and get to know each other better as we travel. We gave and received many email addresses when we visited a family who have a library and school for Maasai […]

Tanzania Women’s Tour – Final day in Arusha

The Caring, Sharing, and Safari Tour for women in Tanzania has lived up to its name. We have spent 2 full days with the women of Arusha Mennonite Church along with Esther, another leader in the Church, from Dodoma […]

South Africa 2018: The First Installment

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader It’s amazing how much TourMagination tours always feel like family reunions when they gather.  That’s how it felt today as we gathered in Johannesburg after a couple of sleepless nights en route.  But spirits were […]

Tanzania Women’s Tour – First days in Arusha

by Shirley Redekop, Tour Leader

Amish European Heritage Tour – Emmental and Landtetur

By John Sharp, Tour Leader The lovely and historic Wurtzbrunnen church in Emmental. After reviewing our unhappy history (many Anabaptists were scolded, fined and exiled by the Morals Tribunal here), we sang together. Afterward our host families took us […]

Amish European Heritage Tour – Fourth Update

By John Sharp, Tour Leader The Peace Oak of Salm, La Broque, France The bishop shook hands with the visitor, a military officer recruiting young men for the French Revolutionary army. It was 1793 and the revolution was in […]

Amish European Heritage Tour – Third Update

By John Sharp, Tour Leader Still on the trail of Jacob Ammann, the tailor-elder of the Amish: Sainte-Marie-aux-Mine and Ohnenheim, Alsace, France.

Amish European Heritage Tour – Second Update

By John Sharp, Tour Leader On the trail of Jacob Ammann for whom the Amish are named: Erlenbach, Thun and Bern, Switzerland. And today, Ohnenheim, Salm and St.-Marie-aux-Mine, France.

Amish European Heritage Tour – second update

By John Sharp, Tour Leader   Morning worship at Amsterdam’s historic Singel Mennonite Church: Afternoon and evening in Menno Simons country (Pingjum, Witmarsum and Berlikum in Friesland) with our longsuffering hosts Onijdes and Janje Sijtsma (we were late again). […]

Amish European Heritage Tour – Asperen

By John Sharp, Tour Leader At Zaanse Schans, windmills are preserved, and in some cases, still used. In the morning we went to Asperen to learn and reflect on Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems. After escaping his imprisonment, the iconic […]

Family Tanzania Tour – Final update

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

A Photo Update From the Alaska Land & Cruise Tour

We’re having a great trip so far! The weather has been excellent. We got to see Denali several times and we’ve seen a fair amount of animals out. It’s a good group and members of our group are enjoying […]

Tanzania Family Tour – in Tarangire National Park

Trenton and our Maasai guide on our early morning guided walk at Tarangire. On safari in Tarangire National Park. The culprit who stole part of Ellie's lunch. All the grandchildren posing in front of a 1,000 year old baobab [...]

Family Tanzania Tour – MEDA visits

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

World of Paul—the final stretch: Italy

By Tom Yoder Neufeld, Tour Leader Friday, June 15. After a restful night on the ferry, we landed in Bari on the Adriatic coast of Italy, where we met our escort Ben, a very friendly American opera singer turned […]

Last days of the World of Paul tour – Rome

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 13 World of Paul tour – Pozzuoli

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 12 World of Paul tour – Pompeii

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

The Week in Greece on the “Explore the World of Paul” tour

By Tom Yoder Neufeld, Tour Leader Another whirlwind week, now the Greece leg of the trip has come to an end. It began with a “free day” in Thessaloniki, which we used in different ways. A good number of […]

Day 11 World of Paul tour – Corinth

By Audrey Voth Pektau, Tour Leader

Day 10 World of Paul tour – Mycenae

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 9 World of Paul tour – Athens

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 8 World of Paul tour – Delphi

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

World of Paul tour – Looking back on the Turkey portion

By Tom Yoder Neufeld, Tour Leader We are now in Greece after an intense four days in Western Turkey, an area once known in biblical times as Asia Minor. We hit the road running, beginning our first day with […]

Day 7 World of Paul tour – Veria and Kalambaka

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 6 World of Paul tour – Kavala and Philippi

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 5 World of Paul Tour – Thessaloniki

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 4 World of Paul tour – Pergamum

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 3 World of Paul tour – Hierapolis, Laodicea, and Sardis

Margie, Jeanette and Lisa at the ancient city of Hierapolis. Needing to stay hydrated in the heat as we explored the the newly opened site of the church of Laodicea. Special instructions as you enter an area where one [...]

Day 2 World of Paul tour – Ephesus and Aphrodisias

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

Day 1 World of Paul Tour

Photos by Audrey Voth Petkau, tour leader

Day 6 Peace Pilgrim Tour

The above photo shows the spectacular view our group enjoyed from the top of the Horns of Hattin–the mountain in the Galilee where Crusaders from Europe were defeated by Muslim armies of Saladin in AD 1187. The Europeans were […]

Day 5 Peace Pilgrim Tour in the Holy Land with Nelson Kraybill

Despite have had hiking plans undone by the heat, Peace Pilgrims had a rich and enjoyable day. From Nazareth we drove 50 minutes to Caesarea Maritima, ruins of the Roman city where Cornelius heard the gospel from Peter (Acts […]

Day 4 Peace Pilgrim Tour

  Twenty Peace Pilgrims make our way down the Jesus Trail from Nazareth toward  Sepphoris, the Roman city rebuilt during Jesus’ time. At bottom center a rock bears the white-orange-white stripes marking the path. This is our fourth day […]

In Jerusalem – Holy Land Tour, final days

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard Jerusalem is the City of the Great King. It has an atmosphere of its own – at times it feels busy, crowded and commercial. At other times  it feels as if it stood out […]

Leaving the Negev, Heading for Jerusalem – Holy Land tour, Day 10

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard Today was our last day in the desert – we will never read about the Negev, the Arava, the Judean wilderness without feeling the heat and tasting the sand. We said good bye to […]

Still in the Desert – Holy Land tour, Day 8 & 9

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard The Petra challenge behind us we travelled south along the King’s Highway (Numbers 20:17) all the way to the port of Aqaba in Jordan, where we made the crossing to Eilat. The crossing was […]

In Petra: One of the Seven Wonders of the World – Holy Land tour, Day 7

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard About 10 years ago the competition for the 7 modern wonders of the word resulted in the selection of the 7 New Wonders of the World. Petra came in second, just after the Great […]

Goodbye Galilee, Hello Jordan – Holy Land Tour, Day 6

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard Yesterday was a full day – Cana, Nazareth, Har Meggido, Gideon’s Spring and many kilometres in-between. We got together under a big tree at our Kibbutz to reflect on the last 4 days – […]

Our Sunday in Israel – Holy Land tour, Day 5

Our Sunday in Israel Well, we did not make it church today – not the way we normally do anyway. We sang a worship song and prayed on the bus, read scripture, fellowship together, and listened to a few […]

On the Ground that Jesus Walked – Holy Land tour, Day 4

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard Today was a surreal day. We walked on the ground that Jesus walked on – the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. We started by setting a contemplative mood, and by 8:30 am […]

Edam and Keukenhof – European Heritage Tour, Day 5

By tour leader Ayold Fanoy Today was a good day to spend mostly outside. We started at the picturesque cheese village of Edam and heard all the Anabaptist/Mennonite history of this place in their Mennonite church. The weather forecast […]

Is it really Friday? – Holy Land Tour Day 3

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard The fact that we lost a night seems to be creating confusion. A few times today people asked “What day is it?” or “Is it really Friday?” Yes, it was Friday, which means the […]

Safe Arrival in Tel Aviv – Holy Land Tour, Day 2

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard The red-eye flight, necessary to make it to the Middle East, is probably the toughest part of our journey. We all made it over the pond and to Tel Aviv without an incident and […]

First days in Amsterdam area – European Heritage tour

By tour leader Ayold Fanoy With a complete group we explored the city of Haarlem Tuesday. In the morning we took a walking tour, ending at the Teylers museum where we had a wonderful guided tour. After that it […]

Good-Bye Home, Hello Israel – Holy Land Tour, Day 1

By tour leader Ingrid Reichard Some days are filled with more anticipation than others. Any day that involves locking the front doors of your home behind you, getting to the airport, and making your way to the Middle East […]

Five Benefits of Understanding Your Anabaptist & Mennonite Heritage

Interest in family history has grown in popularity over the last several decades. In fact, in the USA, genealogy is the second most popular hobby after gardening! So what are some of the benefits of uncovering your Mennonite heritage? Five benefits […]

Six Things Travellers Enjoy About Cruises

In 2016, approximately 12 million North Americans took a river or ocean cruise. Around the world, there are almost 1,000 ports of call accessible to cruise ships. What makes cruising so popular? Most things are included in the cost […]

One final landing and then sailing home – January 11 to 13

By Terry Petkau, tour leader The campers packed up early and arrived Thursday morning for breakfast and we learned it had been a peaceful night despite the constant chatter of the penguins. Apparently a leopard seal had parked itself […]

Southernmost Post Office in the world – January 10

By Terry Petkau, tour leader The Fram travelled further south throughout the night and we woke to an announcement that we had arrived at the small island where Port Lockroy is located. One of the four young women that […]

Massive Glaciers in Antarctica – January 9

By Terry Petkau, tour leader Today we started our day by travelling into Wilhelmina Bay to witness the massive glaciers and many humpback whales keeping company with the thousands of icebergs and growlers (icebergs smaller than 5 meters in […]

The incredible beauty of the Antarctic – January 8

By Terry Petkau, tour leader We awoke to an announcement that we had arrived at Cuverville Island which was surrounded by massive icebergs that the captain and his team had skillfully navigated through early in the morning. Our landing […]

A day in Deception Island – January 7

By Terry Petkau, tour leader It was early in the morning when our ship carefully entered the narrow entrance into Deception Island which is actually an active volcano and uniquely, a volcano crater accessible by boat. The last time […]

Swimming with the Penguins? – January 6

By Terry Petkau, tour leader We arrived at Half Moon Bay around 8:00 a.m. under bright blue skies, temperatures just above freezing and little to no breeze. We stepped onto this island amongst thousands of chinstrap penguins breeding everywhere […]

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 [...]

Driving through Flanders Fields en route to Germany

by Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader

From London to Paris

by Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader          

Beginning the Reformations Old & New Tour in Europe

By Audrey Voth Petkau, Tour Leader      

Further explorations in Poland

           

Discovering Ancestral Roots in Poland

             

Krakow, Poland

     

From Prague to Krakow

       

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 […]

From the Netherlands to Belgium on the Tulip Time Cruise

  – Jane Landes

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 […]

Exploring the historic town of Riquewihr

  — Audrey Voth Petkau

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 […]

Caesarea

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 […]