Monday, March 20, 2017

I Love Having New Friends and Learning About/Experiencing New Cultures

I have always wanted to know people from different parts of the world.  When our children were  younger I thought it would be wonderful to have foreign exchange students living with us but that didn't happen.  When our family became active in Camps Farthest Out I went to several national and one international meeting and met people from all over the U.S. and a few foreign countries, several of whom became friends.  We have hosted many wonderful people who have spoken at our church, including a couple from England, one from Norway, a man from Kenya, two from India, a couple from Canada, a family from Columbia, a man from Hungary (who we visited with when we traveled to Hungary last summer), and many from different states in the US.  I love having friends all over the world!

One of the greatest blessings and benefits of doing this blog is that some of you contact me to comment on something I have posted.  I LOVE that because it is another way of meeting new people and making new friends!  Recently, a new friend from Kampala wrote me an encouraging note.  How exciting to exchange emails and learn of a part of the world I have never visited!  A few weeks ago a comment was posted from a man in Northern Ireland.  Until recently, my husband and I were planning to go to Scandinavia this summer and were hoping to meet Hillevi and her husband who I  met through my blog.  They live in Sweden.

This year we are planning another Rick Steves' trip to Europe--The Best of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

(I must put in a plug for Rick Steves' Tours here.  We love his trips!  This summer will be our 5th trip through his touring company. The groups are limited in number to 28--some are smaller--so when travelling by bus each person can have two seats to spread out in.  In the end the group bonds in such a way that new friendships are made that last long after the trip.  The guides are excellent and so helpful!  When we return we always feel we have had an education, in addition to a vacation. The tour takes the hassle and stress out of transportation and lodging which would be so time consuming if we were doing the trip on our own.  The hotels are quaint, centrally located, family-owned lodgings and therefore we get to meet locals and learn of their culture while being withing walking distance of most sites.  There is much variety and spontanaity on the trips with picnics and stops in quaint villages on our way to the night's destination.  When possible, we stay 2 nights at each location.  The excellent tour guides lead excursions to some of the most important sites in each location on the first day and then most of the next day is free.  The tour guide is always available to help us plan our free time so we can explore what interests us most.  We have seen many places we didn't know existed and participated in festivals that have been occuring when we arrived.  For us, it is the perfect way to travel to unfamiliar destinations.)

On our trip this summer we will be staying in Trier (3 nights), Baden-Baden (1), Murren (3), Munich (2), Hallstatt (1), Salzburg (2), and Vienna (2).  Let me know if you live near any of these and have any interest in getting acquainted in person.  Maybe we could even meet for lunch or dinner on one of our free days.

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