Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back from Germany!

There are things that make life wonderful, but those things are not the same for everyone. For me it has always been music, art, a good story, and good friends. In recent years it has become clear to me that travel is one of those things, too.

from the Rhine cruise: Ehrenfels Castle Ruin

I've just returned from a tour of Germany organized by professionals instead of by me, and I had a great time. I'm tired physically, but my mind is re-traveling to all these places, sorting them out and selecting the favorites. I never thought I would enjoy such a tour with the early wake-up calls and limited time at interesting sights, but I was wrong. We got to know almost all of the other 41 people on the tour, eating with different groups for breakfast and supper. We saw lots of sights and were kept on time by our amazing tour director Renske. I could never have planned such an interesting tour on my own, nor could I have stayed in such nice hotels. Renske told us some great stories from the history and culture of the various regions (one of my pillars of a beautiful life, remember). The food was great--either the hotel meals or the places we tried on our own. It was such a nice change to get my nose out of the travel guide and put the control in her (and Globus's) hands. Our excursions (included and optional alike) were planned efficiently around times they are least busy (and not closed for local holidays or renovation). This is stuff the average tourist wouldn't know.
(Furstenberg Ruin 1219)

The transportation was always figured out for us whether it was by bus, boat, or train. Our amazing driver Enrico took us through cities and mountains, and down hundreds of miles of highway, making it look easy all the time. He had the responsibility of loading our luggage on the bus almost everyday, and I know first hand some of those bags are HEAVY.

Rhine River tour boat

So I'm a changed person. Tours are now an official kind of travel, one of my five pillars of beauty in life. Now it is my task to sort through my just-under-one-thousand photos and sort out all of the castles, churches, towns, cities, markets, and statues we saw!

Flower stand in Munich

East Berlin

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