The Custom Tour organized with Ross Kennel Family & Friends is already in its 5th day. The weather is awesome and we are travelling in some of the most scenic areas of Western Europe.
Upon our arrival in Luxembourg we visited an American World War 2 military cemetery near the airport. We were touched by the solemn calmness and the vivid reminder of the human tragedy of war.
Traveling by coach gives the opportunity for conversation and the large windows are great for photo taking. Ross, Richard and Ray like the back of the bus where they can move quickly from side to side for better pictures.
The first main stop of the tour was to visit the Jantzi Homestead at Belgrad, near St Avold. The area is very prosperous. Ross and Richard’s mother was a Jantzi. Ross shared some of the stories he has heard from family members who have visited this area in Lorraine, France.
This past Friday we enjoyed traveling to Salm. Beautiful fields and vineyards growing straight up the side of the mountain, indicated that agriculture is a significant part of life in this region. The Rouge Mountains were in the foreground as the sign welcoming us to the Alsace appeared.
We enjoyed seeing the narrow streets as we drove through Molsheim. Flowers were in bloom everywhere in the window boxes and in the gardens.
We all were impressed with JP’s driving through the Forrest. The Oak tree we visited was planted by the Amish in appreciation of the fact that they were given a military service exception from fighting by the French government. We also noticed the Augsburger name over the door of one of the homesteads.
We enjoyed listening to the stories of John Ruth as we traveled through Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, the birth place of the Amish Church under Jacob Amman leadership.
At Riquewhir we enjoyed the traditional meal of the Alsace- Scucurt – 4 cuts of pork cooked with sauerkraut and potatoes. Delicious!
Yesterday we entered Switzerland at Basal and immediately went to the city of Bern for our walking tour. We noticed the wealth of the citizens, displayed by the cars. We walked from the National Government plaza down to the bear pits.
This city was very cruel to the Anabaptist. John Ruth said that many of them felt the claws of the government as symbolized by the bear claws on the statues. The Bear is the symbol of the city of Bern. In the afternoon we walked the beautiful Aareschlucht.
This morning we enjoyed worship at the oldest Mennonite Church in the world. We were impressed with the young population in the meetinghouse. The church was filled and many youth were also involved in the leadership.
This is cherry season. John Ruth found a cherry tree near the Tracheswald castle. He said “Roma will not be happy with the juice stain on his new shirt and slacks, but they tasted good.”
Wilmer was enjoying the sweet wild strawberries. Nancy, Phyllis and others agreed they are delicious.
~ Wilmer Martin