Traveling 101

Always be prepared for the unexpected. Always have your passport tucked away on your person at all times and never let it out of your sight. A lost or stolen passport can end up in an 8 day delay or more in a foreign country  before they are able to replace it. Carry extra money with you and hide it away on your person. Have a list of emergency phone numbers with you at all times and let a friend know where a copy of your passport is and other important documents  if they are needed.

Have someone lined up to take care of your pets, mail, lawn mowing, repairs and whatever situation that may arise while you are gone. Your trusted friend will man the helm while you are away and enjoying life to its fullest potential.

Plan out your trip and always be prepared for the unexpected.

Plan out your trip in advance and make a list of where you want to go and what you must see. Delays may occur on your trip so allow extra time in your day for delays of all types. Make room reservations so you don’t have to hunt for a hotel room into the wee hours of the night. I keep a traveling diary of each trip that I take as it helps identify pictures and keeps the pleasant memories of my trip alive.

Pack light.

Pack light as we all tend to pack more things than we could ever use. Bring along a small suitcase with wheels that is easy to pull along and maneuvers easily. I also have a small carry on with me that I put one set of extra clothes in just in case it takes  awhile for my main suitcase to catch up with me.

Your hotel room should be to your liking.

Look over your hotel room and if it is not to your liking ask for a different room. If there are not enough towels or you are too cold do not be afraid to speak up and ask them for the items you need to make your stay enjoyable. The hotel will want to please you if possible because they want happy customers that will say how wonderful their stay was there to their friends and family. Word of mouth can make or break a business so think twice before you make a rash statement about a business. Did you tell them you had a problem or did you think they could read your mind somehow.

Unwind and take in all of the sights and sounds.

Relax and enjoy your vacation to its fullest. Leave your worries behind and unwind and relax and take in the scenery, nature, architecture  and the sounds. You may hear cow bells, church bells ringing, the oceans pounding waves and much more. Go to the local museums, concerts, plays and much more. Ask your hotel concierge what some of the main attractions are in the area where you are staying. He can also arrange for a cab to take you there and back to your hotel.

Home again.

You are now home again. I unpack my suitcase and put my clothes in the wash. I go through my mail and get back into the swing of things again. You will be very tired by the second day that you are home so take a nap and recover from your trip. I put all my pictures in an album and I identify them with my travel diary. I certainly enjoyed my vacation to its fullest and I hope you will to. Godspeed to you and your family on your trip of a lifetime.

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Williamsburg, Inn Located in Williamsburg, Virginia

The Williamsburg Inn has been a home for royalty, heads of state and guest from all over the world. The Inn’s policy is to treat every guest as royalty.

John Rockefeller Jr. and his wife made a monumental commitment to the Inn. They helped with design, construction and furnishings. The facility opened in 1937 with 61 guest rooms unlike a hotel, but more like a comfortable Virginia country estate. It  is perhaps the most perfectly appointed Inn on the continent. More than 70 years later, the Inn remains one of America’s finest and elegant hotels.

The Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America and top Hotels of the World. The Inn offers its guest a world – class experience. The Inn has a special ambience and timeless style. The inn is located next to America’s premier living history museum. In 2012 the Inn celebrated 75 year of hospitality.

We stayed at the Williamsburg Inn before Christmas. The Inn  was decorated with most beautiful flower arrangements, Christmas tree and Christmas arrangements. Everyday fresh flowers were placed in your room and on tables throughout the Inn.  The flowers and arrangements put you in the Christmas spirit.

The hospitality of the staff was outstanding and the full service concierge and the fact that they had drivers to take you to any place that you desired to go in Colonial Williamsburg. The drivers would open the door for you upon entering the fine vehicle. A doorman held the door open for you as you left and than returned.

Our room had the bedding turned down at night with mints on our pillows. We had robes in our room along with slippers. The towels were thick and luxurious. We had fine soaps and lotions and a rose in our bathroom. Our room was very spacious and elegant.

The food at the Inn was magnificent and very generous. I loved their chicken, fish, Oysters Rockefeller and more on the dinner menu. At breakfast I would order an omelette or two eggs over easy with hash that had sweet potatoes, potatoes, sweet onions and green peppers. I ordered their sweet potato pancakes which were thick and amazingly delicious.  I had espresso ice cream, raspberry sorbet, sticky toffee pudding and American Heritage hot chocolate which was thick and decadent with a true rich chocolate flavor.

I would  highly recommend treating yourself with a stay at the Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Book your rooms now as they are filling up very quickly.

 

 

Stores and Food That I Love in Kalona, Iowa

My Grandmother grew up in Wellman, Iowa which is not far from Kalona, Iowa. I have relatives in Kalona, Iowa. My Grandmother was in the Pleasantview Nursing Home in Kalona, Iowa until she passed away. My family and I would always shop in the stores in Kalona and i still enjoy shopping in the stores in Kalona. Kalona is an Amish and Mennonite community. I love watching the Amish buggies go down the road.

 Kalona Antique Company

I always enjoy going to the Kalona Antique Company which is an old church that has been converted into an antique store. I have made numerous small purchases there over the years. In my younger days it was old metal toy cars, marbles and other objects that enticed me.  I purchased a few old oil lamps in my later years. They have a hug assortment of fine items for sale.

Hardware Stores in Kalona

Yotty’s Ace discount hardware store is my favorite hardware store of all time. They have the old hard to find items. I purchased a nice heavy gauge aluminum scoop shovel with a metal and wood handle made like the ones from years ago. I like the old wood floor in their store. I have purchased oil lamp parts, dehumidifier, paint brushes and fire king bake ware and much more. I like the fact that is family run multi generation business. They are very nice, knowledgeable, and accommodating to all of your needs.

I always stop at Gambles hardware to get my garden seeds. I purchased a nice homelite gas operated hedge trimmer that worked perfectly for years. I also purchased a pellet gun there years ago. I love shopping at hardware stores. Gambles hardware stores carry a wide array of products.

 Kalona Coffee House

The Kalona Coffee House can take care of all of your coffee needs. They make stunning lattes and cappuccinos. They have wide array of cold coffee drinks. A nice place to meet and gather with your friends and enjoy an awesome coffee drink. Try one of there muffins for a wonderful snack. Pleasant and awesome atmosphere with the amazing fresh coffee smell.

Tuscan Moon Grill

I love to eat my evening meal at the Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth in Kalona. I purchased their lamb dinner several times. The lamb came with a large baked potato and grilled vegetables. The lamb was cooked to perfection. I also purchased a glass of white wine and it had a nice delicate flavor. The owner of Tuscan Moon visited with us at our table and he was from Italy originally. I like a restaurant where the owner or chef visits with you directly as you know they take great pride in their restaurant and their customers.

Kalona Creamery

I love the Kalona Creamery. I love their fresh cheese curds and other cheese.They have old fashioned candy bar brands from my childhood days. I have purchased a sky bar, milk duds, etc. They sell canned pork and chicken which is amazingly delicious. You can watch them make the cheese curds.

Stringtown Grocery Store

Stringtown Grocery Store is an Amish convenience store. I have purchased their homemade breads, pies and more. The Amish are excellent bakers. I love their fresh carrots, potatoes, apples, cherries,and so much more. They have all kinds of spices and seeds for sale. They have a wide variety of candy. They have all of the baking ingredients available for sale for all of your baking needs. They have nail clippers, harmonicas and much more for sale. A wonderful and welcoming and very clean store.

Plan a day trip to Kalona

Kalona is a wonderful town to spend your day shopping with your friends or family. You will have plenty of things to do to keep you pleasantly occupied all day long.

 

Visiting My Relatives In Germany

My friend and I went to see my relatives in Germany. We arrived in Amsterdam, Holland on time. On the plane ride over I visited with a woman originally from Germany that now lives in Singapore and has a wine business. I drove a rental car on the autobahn to  Oldenburg, Germany and we stayed in the Hotel Sprenz. She called my relatives and they picked us up and we drove for one hour to their house. We were treated like royalty at my relatives house in Selverde, Germany. She had a large lunch prepared for us to eat which included the following : Pork Roast, potatoes and gravy, cauliflower, green beans and onions, tea and cream, carbonated water, fancy deserts and homemade pudding with currant sauce. We had a nice long visit with them and we discussed what we would like to see.

In the afternoon we went to the farm where my Great Grandfather had lived until he came to America. My Great Grandfather left Germany because work was scarce. The farm has 3 50 acre plots for a total of 150 acres or 60 hectors. The man where my Great Grandfather had lived showed us the farm land and told us his Mother’s maiden name was Weers. My relatives daughter took us on a tour of Selverde, Germany in the afternoon. We had a large dinner with my relatives in the evening and everything was excellent and cooked to perfection.

We went to the family cemetery the tombstones were destroyed in World War 2. A large rock was engraved with the name Weers Family on it to replace the lost tombstones. The church by the cemetery is a Lutheran church built in 1885. The church has written documentation of the people buried in the family cemetery. The church is brick and all original. It was nice to walk in a Church that my Great Grandfather had worshiped in.

My Great Grandfather’s house was destroyed in the war in 1945. There is a wonderful brick house there now that was built in 1950. My relatives house is a brick house on a cold a sac along with about seven other brick homes. My relatives are employed in the following occupations : hair dresser, secretary, construction worker, and farmer. My relatives are very nice and outgoing and very pleasant. They have a Lenz tractor that is over 51 years old. We saw several beautiful horses. The farm land is now used for hay to sell to farmers for their cattle.

We went back to our hotel in Oldenburg. Our rental car did not start in the morning but the owners got it up and running for us ASAP. She gave us a wonderful sack lunch to take with us when we left.

I loved visiting with my relatives from Germany and seeing the land and the area where my Great Grandfather had lived. My relatives and I write to each other at Christmas. I can see why my Great Grandfather loved living in Selverde, Germany. Everything was so clean and well kept in Germany.

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Isle Of Man

My friend and I boarded a small plane in England and it took appropriately one hour to get to our port. We boarded the Ferry to Heysham which then took us to the Isle of Man.

The Isle of man is one of the British Isles located in the Irish Sea near the N.W. coast of England. Douglas is there capital. The pop. of the Isle of man is 83,314. It is self governing with British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. The symbol for the Isle of Man is legs running which means you always land on your feet.

Food on the Isle of Man

We arrived in the evening at our Inn and the Chef prepared a wonderful meal for us. We had scallops cooked to perfection along with green beans and potatoes and a small chefs salad. On our first evening we saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky. There are many nice Pubs and restaurants to eat at on the Isle of Man.

We shopped in the local stores and enjoyed the scenery. We packed up all of the items that we had purchased and took them to the post office to be mailed back to the USA. We took a ride on the narrow gauge steam  railway that runs from Douglas to Castletown, Port St. Mary and Port Erin.

Racing on the Isle of Man

The Isle of man is famous for racing cars and motor bikes. They close off 27 miles of HWY for the races. The motor bikes can reach speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.

Manx Cats on the Isle of Man

We were eating at our Inn and I asked about the Manx cats because they originated on the Isle of Man. Our waitress said there were two left on the Isle of Man now and they were located at the local pet shelter. She called a taxi driver for us. He picked us up and we raced down the road to get there since they would close very soon. He was a very nice Irish taxi driver. We arrived at the pet shelter in just the nick of time. The woman at the shelter told me the fawn colored male Manx cat would sell for 200 pounds and the gray stripped male would sell for 45 Us dollars and a top show cat could sell for 4500 Us dollars. I looked a the two cats and took pictures of them and then we rode back to our Inn.

 

The Manx cat originated on the Isle of man. It has a naturally occurring gene that shortens its tail. When the Vikings came years ago they had Norwegian Forest cats with them on their ships and some of them left the ship and commingled with the native cats which were short haired cats. The Manx cat was one of the original show cats of the CFA in 1906. Manx cats are both long haired and short haired. They are excellent hunters.

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Auschwitz, Poland

It was heart wrenching walking through the Auschwitz concentration camp. There was a sign on the gate entrance that said work sets you free in the translation. How anyone could treat anyone like the Jews were treated is beyond comprehension. They lived on a five hundred calorie a day diet. The soup was only a broth. If the grain had worms in it they still had to eat it. Diarrhea and lice were common with their horrible living conditions.

The concentration camp known as Auschwitz, Birkenau , opened in 1940 and was the largest Nazi concentration or death camp in Poland. The amount of Jews that died in Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945 was about 1.1 million. During World War 2 Hitler had his Nazi’s and SS men rounded up and killed many people that he felt were not a superior race. Hitler wanted an only Aryan race. The master race is the Nazi ideology. Hitler was obsessed with racial purity.

During the Holocaust 6 million European Jews were murdered in World War 2 . Nazi Germany was responsible for the genocide of many Jews or people that were not of the Aryan race. Soviet citizens and POWS, Poles, Serbs, Romani, Freemasons, Slovenes, Spanish Republicans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Homosexuals and Disabled people were also Holocaust victims.

When the Jews entered the Auschwitz concentration camp they had to remove artificial limbs, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and personal items. They left their suitcases, pots and pans and any money they had once they entered the concentration camp. It was heart wrenching to see the baby shoes, makeup, and everything that was robbed from them and how their families suffered from the atrophies that they had to endure.

They were told they had to take a shower before they could enter their living area which was a a ruse to get them to enter the gas chamber. Those that they wanted for work detail were tattooed on their wrist and they wore a striped jump suit.

The gas chambers would kill a person in 20 minutes. The very young and the old were taken to the gas chambers right away. The young and the able were forced to work until they could not and than they were taken to the gas chamber and the cyanide gas would suffocate you. If you happened to live through the gas chamber you would be taken out and shot to death. If you could no longer work or collapsed  you were shot to death.

If you were a Doctor or chemist or had a skill that they highly needed in Germany for the War effort or medical purposes you would live until you could no longer function or someone with more knowledge came a long to replace you.

The ovens burned a lot of bodies in one day because they killed many Jews in one day and they had the ovens operating at full capacity 24 hours a day. People said they could smell the burning bodies for miles away.

They had a general latrine with no privacy. There was a standing cell were four people stood next to each other naked and could not move. There were straw mats on the floor for sleeping and four to five people per mat. If one turned over they would all have to turn over on the mat.  Some people were forced to stand for sixteen days in a row. If you ventured beyond the fence you were shot and killed automatically.

Gold fillings were removed without pain killers. Your hair was shaved off of your head and your hair was made into mattresses or blankets. Human skin was made into lamp shades. It is beyond human what some people have to go through in their lifetime because of who is in control and there is no one that can stop that person. Jesus went through a lot in his lifetime to save us from our sins.

When the war was won the Americans came to to the concentration camp and they were astonished by the condition of the Jewish people in Auschwitz. The people still barely alive were skin and bone. When the camp was liquidated in Jan. 1945 9,054 out of 9,792 people were Jews.

I hope with all of my heart and soul that we never let history repeat itself. There is no one race or religion or one person that is any better than anybody else is. We all want to enjoy our lives in a productive and peaceful manner. God bless our diverse nation.

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My Favorite Swiss Village is Giswil, Switzerland

I have stayed in the small village of Giswil, Switzerland at least four times. It is like the village has stood still in time. Some of the people still have horses and old farm equipment that they use in their everyday life. Everything is sparkling clean and very well cared for.

I stayed in the Hotel Krone which was nice and clean and they were very accommodating. It was located right in the main area of the village. The pop. of the Giswil is 3,513. I loved  the charm of the old small churches as it seemed I was stepping back in time by going to a church like my Great Grandfather would have attended years ago.

Wagon Ride & Alpine Cheese

My friend and I took a buggy or wagon ride to a little old Swiss House that had cheese and homemade wine to drink. A woman in the house gave us a history lesson on how the Alpine Swiss Cheese was processed and distributed years ago.

Farm Animals in Giswil, Switzerland

In the early morning hours I was awakened by the Brown Swiss Cattle ringing their cowbells in the meadows which was very comfortable and relaxing sound. The sheep would Baa and the Roosters would report to you that morning had come. I would feed some of the sheep in the morning and I would pat a few of the Brown Swiss Cattle on the head. The dairy farmers would be out at 5 AM starting to milk their cows and a few anxious cats would be following the farmer for their chance at some of the rich wonderful milk from the Brown Swiss Cattle.

Churches

The cemeteries back of the churches were kept up to perfection. A lot of live flowers had been planted on the plots. Dead flowers were removed daily and the live plants were watered everyday. The inside of the churches reminded me of very old country churches. The altars were stunning with the small church pews and the bibles in their place back of the pews.

Switzerland’s  Stunning Beauty

I would walk around Giswil frequently and I would enjoy the small tame rabbit family that one family had running loose in their front yard. I would look at all of the farm animals and enjoy the breath taking mountains that are in Switzerland. I could go to Giswil, Switzerland every year and never get tired of it. I can see why some of my ancestors are from Switzerland as its beauty has no match.

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Pella, Iowa Tulip Festival

The Pella, Iowa Tulip Festival will be held May 1st to May 5th for 2019.

It is best to come to the tulip festival early for the best seating and car parking spots. It is good to bring lawn chairs along to sit on for the parade. I love to look at all of the beautiful tulips that are in their full glory. I love to watch the street scrubbers and the people dressed in their Dutch costumes. I try to sample a lot of the different dutch foods which are absolutely mouthwatering.

What to do while in Pella, Iowa.

May 1st is their preview day. You can visit the the different museums, historical villages, quilt show and go on a run late in the day if you wish to.

May 2nd and 3rd events. You can visit museums, look at antique cars which I enjoy, go on a city tour, visit the garden club and more. You must sample some some Dutch food and look over their Dutch costumes. I went to an organ recital one year in the Dutch tradition that is held at Second Reformed Church and I enjoyed it very much. Since I love cheese try some Dutch cheese at the market. It is fun to watch the Dutch dancers and the street scrubbers. I have watched the street scrubbers ever since I was a small child.

Volks Parade for the Pella, Iowa Tulip Festival

The Volks parade starts at 2:30 PM  which is my top highlight for the day. The Volks parade is lighted at 8:30 PM which is spectacular to watch. Make sure you attend the parade as it is exceptional.

May 4th has city tours, a Dutch craft market, Dutch delights foods, opera house, street scrubbers and the Volks parade. I enjoy the beautiful Opera House as it is a magnificent grand old building.

May 5th has a Thanksgiving and Praise service.

Awesome Dutch Food and Letters

My two favorite bakeries in Pella, Iowa are Jaarsma Bakery and Vander Ploeg Bakery. Both bakeries have the famous Dutch letters. I always go home with at least four letters just for myself. Scholte House Museum  and Maria’s Tea Room is a nice tea room and they are open Mon. thru Sat.

You and your family will have an awesome time in Pella, Iowa at their annual tulip festival. I always enjoy Pella, Iowa tulip festivals. For more info. go to: TulipTime@PellaHistorical.com or www.pellahistorical.org.

Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg, Virgina

The Bruton Parish Episcopal Church was built in 1660 and was established in 1674. It is an active Episcopal church with a vast history. The men of the Revolution who attended were Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry and more. Parishioners sat in boxed pews, their walls provided privacy and protection from drafts. A vestory book from 1716 ordered that men sit on the right side of the church and women on the left.

Historical Church

The church served as a hospital and storehouse during the battle at Yorktown and a hospital during the civil War. The church is named after Bruton, Somersetshire, England. Rev. Goodwin restored the church in 1907 and 1937. Bruton Parish Church still has church services, the 300 old parish.

My friend and I went to a church service on Dec. 16, 2018. There pastor was excellent and she gave an outstanding sermon on the high up pulpit in the church. The acoustics in the church were amazing. When people sang it was as if angels were singing. The parishioners in the Bruton Parish Church were very welcoming and very friendly. I felt as if I were attending a service at my own church. We had communion which was served  by each person drinking out of a silver wine cup and eating  piece of unleavened bread.

Sermon as it was years ago

We also went to an old fashioned church service at Bruton Parish Church in the afternoon. It was called ” The Comet Comes To Williamsburg”. It was the re – enactment of George Whitefield’s dynamic presentation of a stirring sermon. He was very loud without any loud speaker and he gave you a lot to think about with his stirring sermon. He was dressed in the complete attire that a minister would wear at that time period. He had a white wig on, a black robe and buckle shoes. Bruton Parish Church is getting a new Pipe Organ that will have a total cost of 1 million dollars.

I loved the vast history of this beautiful and magnificent church as you can truly feel that God is present in this church.

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Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia

We had a tour of James Fort. The buildings had thatched roofs. They had a storehouse, court of guard and church representing 1610 – 1614.

FOOD AND THE SETTLERS AT JAMESTOWN

 

At the Jamestown Settlement they had baked bread on one of the tables made with whole wheat and other grains. Small baked mincemeat pies were cooling off on a table in the kitchen.  They had a smoke and salt cured ham hanging up on a rope in the kitchen. I asked the man in the kitchen what the main cause of death was that the settlers died from. 50 percent of their population died the first few years they settled in Jamestown. He explained that they died from salt poisoning and dysentery. Salt was used to cure and preserve most of their foods. Five people would sleep in one bed as that was the way it was done at that time.

 

The woodworker was working on drilling holes and making handles for hammers, etc. There was an outdoor brick oven and a blacksmith shop. There were several colorful chickens walking around on the grounds.

 

MEDICAL CARE AT YORKTOWN

We had a tour of Yorktown an saw the trenches where they had fought in the American Revolution. We went to  the Continental Army Encampment. I visited with an army Dr. and he said casualties of war were very high. The 50 caliber musket would do great  bodily injury to you. He would dig out the piece of lead and give you whiskey for the pain. The Doctor would do blood letting and drill holes in your skull to relieve pressure which they believed would help remove the disease from you body. They had a bone saw for removing fingers. They had different compounds for making medicine. The medicine was flavored with licorice root to make it easier and more tolerable to swallow. The tents they stayed in were small and five men slept in one tent. Almost all of the soldiers that lived after being shot died one week later from horrible complications. The soldiers would get pneumonia and dysentery. They only had something similar to Vicks vapor rub  to help them breathe better and loosen congestion.

 

We had a self – guided tour of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Virginia. I took a lot of pictures inside of the museum of the guns, etc. The museum offers a national perceptive on the struggle for Independence of the 13 British American colonies. It is located in Americas historic triangle which includes : Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. The battle at Yorktown was where American Independence was won.

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