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Journey with Us to the Holy Land November 30 – December 9, 2022

TRENDY MALAGA

October 9 and 10, 2022

We arrived at the Mediterranean Coast early afternoon for our stay in upscale and trendy Malaga. This is one of Europe’s playgrounds for sun and fun. Our hotel was directly across from the Roman Theatre ruins carved into the hillside. Above the Theatre loomed the medieval castle/fortress, the Alcazaba. It had strong thick walls and climbed up the hillside—just like in the movies. We enjoyed exploring it, especially in that it was free entry on Sunday’s, and it was so very close to our hotel. One again, we were spoiled for choice of restaurants. There were at least 30 or more within easy walk. We found an amazing gelato shop and cheese cake store. We declared the gelato the best of the trip so far. The cheese cake was moist and creamy—not too much sugar. I am preferring the less sweet desserts of Europe. The Krahn’s and Paluch’s brought cards along, and some evenings we play various games. Fun! 

The cathedral is beautiful. We have seen many on this trip. Each is distinctive in some way. This one had a beautiful pipe organ built on pillars in the center of the cathedral. Our adventure along the Mediterranean was a highlight. Our hotel recommended a city favorite restaurant overlooking the water which splashed against the wall of the restaurant built out into the water. As we entered, we noticed a chef tending a large pit fire and skewering large sardines. He would stand them up in front of the wood fire and spray them occasionally with spices. That’s what many of us ordered for our meal. Delicious. Fresh sardines are nothing like the canned ones we are used to eating. We spent several hours soaking up the beauty, and Kathy, Melisa and Randy took off shoes and ventured into the cool waters. We all thought Malaga was a wonderful stop on our journey. 

Roman Theatre in Malaga
Marty Paluch entering the Alcazaba de Malaga
Busy night life in Malaga
Cathedral ceiling in Malaga
Impressive organ in Malaga Cathedral
Sardines on the grill
Kathy, Randy, & Melisa enjoy the cool waters of the Mediterranean

   

Arches Multiplied in Cordoba

October 7, 2022

During our time in Seville, the Standly’s, Karen Paluch, and we took a day trip to Cordoba, the medieval capital of Moorish-controlled Spain. It was a marvelous day filled with unexpected surprises. The train ride was direct and only 45 minutes. The train stations in Spain are top notch and the trains excellent. Security is efficient and tight. There are plenty of places to eat or relax and getting to the train is done via escalators that have no steps, just a downward or upward moving sidewalk. We all said Spain train system gets an A plus. 

Cordoba is know for two main structures—the Roman era bridge and the Mesquita or Mosque/Cathedral. Both are wonderful experiences; however, the Mesquita was awe inspiring! First a church, it was taken down by the African Muslim Moors after they invaded Iberia and parts were reused to build a mosque on the site. Later, after the Reconquista (the European invasions that pushed the Moors back into Africa after their 700 year occupation of Iberia), the mosque was rechristened a Christian Church (Roman Catholic Cathedral) and parts of it remodeled to reflect Christian symbolism. The result is a phenomenal sight. Row upon row of burnt red and white striped arches supported with columns in perfect symmetry reach, seemingly endlessly, in every direction. The ceiling is relatively low, casting a dark shadow into the distance. It is a mysterious sight. Then, all of the sudden, you walk into a central area with white high sculpted ceilings with windows that flood the area with light. Beautiful wood carved choir stalls with a pipe organ stand in the distance and a beautiful altar beckons worship. A guide explained that light and enlightenment piercing darkness are central teachings of Christianity, and Islam teaches shadows and mystery and this explains the difference in the architectural styles exhibited in the cathedral. We were enthralled and spent several hours exploring the Mesquita that can now hold 40,000 people within its walls.  

After walking the bridge, eating in a restaurant in a building from 800 A.D. and enjoying a visit to the alcazar palace and gardens, we headed back to Sevilla. It was a glorious day!  

Melisa, Karen, and Kathy in Cordoba

 

Sevillan Elegance

October 4-8, 2022

We have not been back to Seville for nine years. It is the same, and it is different… different in that it is much busier, and much has been renewed…same in that it is as elegant as ever. Our VRBO is perfectly located—right on a street within view of the cathedral and filled with beautiful restaurants with outdoor seating. 

We are enjoying our meals at tapas restaurants. Most restaurants have around 25 selections of the little plates. One doesn’t need more than three plates, each one with different food. I ordered one medium plate of fried fish and two small plates—one a potato dish and the other an aubergine (eggplant) dish. The waiter looked at me and said, “Too much food!”  so I cancelled the potato dish. I was glad I did as I could barely finish eating the wonderful food I did receive. 

The majestic Seville Cathedral with its soaring Giralda Tower is a sight to behold. The largest gothic building in the world, dwarfing most other cathedrals in Europe, sits surrounded with large fountain-filled plazas and beautiful buildings. Its massive front entry with tiers of sculpted Biblical figures is only opened for the Spanish King and the Roman Catholic Pope. First, a church, and then a mosque during the Moorish conquest, and once again a church after the Reconquista—although greatly enlarged—one can spend hours in awe inside the building. Its immense altar of wood and gold with a solid silver altar table in front is considered the most beautiful in the world. We were fortunate to arrive to hear the pipe organ and attend mass. While we did not understand the words, it was beautiful, and the huge iron gates in front of the altar were opened affording us an unobstructed view. Christopher Columbus’s grave with a casket carried by four larger-than-life bronze soldiers—representing the four regions of ancient Spain—sat to our right. Later, we spent much time in the cathedral visiting the 80 side altars, themselves richly ornamented. The pipe organ is contained in two large towers in the center of the cathedral, each tower with huge pipes on each side and the choir with beautifully carved wood stalls in between the towers. 

Our five days in Seville were delightful. We so enjoyed the city—the Spanish Exposition; the hop on hop off tour; the food; the people dressed in finery; Santa Cruz (the old Jewish Quarter with its narrow cobbled stone streets to catch the breezes and not allow sun to touch the lanes below) and mostly white buildings with interior courtyards; the Alcazar (beautiful Moorish design with ornate gardens and home to Spanish royalty); the international festival; the “Mushrooms” (the largest wooden structure in the world); shopping and spending hours people-watching in outdoor cafes.  

One last note: we went shopping at El Cortes de Ingles, the huge store that is part Nordstroms, part Walmart and part Kroger. Basically, it has everything. The goal was to buy La Taza chocolate bars to make the amazing Spanish hot chocolate when we return home. This particular chocolate is formulated specially so the chocolate will melt very smoothly in heavy cream for a sensational, thick, not too sweet, dipping sauce. Muey Bien! 

Sevilla Cathedral view from our VRBO
Sevilla Cathedral Entrance for the Pope and King
Main Altar
Karen, Melisa, and Kathy in Sevilla
Dining location in Sevilla for Allen, Rhonda, Marty, Kathy, Melisa, Randy, & Wayne (photographer)
A street in the Jewish Quarter
Inside the Alcazar
Randy & Melisa beside a rubber tree in Sevilla
Wayne & Kathy in a Sevilla park near Santa Cruz
Columbus Monument
International Festival Foods
Spanish Exposition in Sevilla

TRAINS, PLANES, BUSES, AND TAXIS

 October 4, 2002

It was a long travel day as we left Cochem, Germany, for Sevilla (Seville), Spain—13 hours to be exact. There was no direct line from there to here. We knew going in that in order to move half way across Europe from some inconvenient places, we would have a long travel day and we would just have to bite the bullet. We ordered a taxi from our hotel in Cochem at 7:15 AM to take us to the train station where we would board a train to Frankfurt for our flight to Madrid from where we caught a train to Seville. (I left out the busses we took on occasion.) We left 50F weather for 90F weather. We left the verdant greens behind for semiarid landscapes—and the cypress forests turned into mile after mile of olive trees. Every geography has its beauty! 

Our trains have been wonderful. The seats plush, the bathrooms spacious and clean, the food cars available (even some waiters to come by your seat to take orders) and basically on time. Thankfully, almost all stations have elevators or escalators and they have food vendors. The larger stations have stores and shops, a mall-like atmosphere. We love train travel in Europe. 

We will arrive at our VRBO in Sevilla around 8:30 PM, and the owners will be there to meet us. We look forward to our Spain adventure.   

On the train from Madrid to Sevilla, Spain
Rhonda and Allen enjoy train travel in Europe as we train from Madrid to Sevilla, Spain.

MOSEL WINE RIVER

October 2-3, 2022

The Mosel River Valley with Riesling vineyards on steep hills snakes beautifully along a twisting path from Trier, Germany, to Cochem, Germany, and even beyond. Delightful is an understatement. 

Trier is Germany’s oldest city with deep ancient Roman roots. As the northern capital of the Roman Empire, it is filled with ancient Roman artifacts. As we walked along, I thought, “The glory that was Rome!” The Emperor Constantine’s (3rd-4th Century) Throne Room is the largest single room remaining of ancient Rome. Today, it is an Evangelical/Lutheran Worship Center. Marty and Karen attended the Sunday worship service and said it was beautiful. The Imperial Baths are monstrous. The Standly’s and we walked in underground tunnels and were amazed at the length and complexity of the baths. We thought we might get lost, but didn’t. Intriguing! The Coliseum is largely a ruin today. However, we were able to walk in its underground beneath the coliseum floor where the wild animals and gladiators were kept. A stage system was able to be employed to raise surprises to the surface during the games. The seating capacity was 22,000 spectators. The coliseum had 4 vomitoriums—places where people who were sickened by the spectacles or who had drank or eaten too much could go to “throw-up.” Another stand out site is the well preserved Porta Nigra, or city gate. It is colossal in size. Besides all this, the Altstadt (old town) is beautiful in its own right. The wonderful Roman Catholic Cathedral is actually two churches. The Gothic side is superb with beautiful paintings and stained glass and the Romanesque side is daunting with intricate plaster work and numerous archways. It is one of the finest Romanesque architectural works anywhere. Unfortunately, the remnants of the Electoral Palace of Trier were closed and we did not get to see the famous Rococo staircase. The palace was at one time one of the most beautiful in Europe with a Baroque wing, a Rococo wing and a Renaissance wing. Wars over time, especially World War II, ravaged it and now very little remains. Amazingly, the Rococo staircase was largely unscathed, although the rooms around it were destroyed. We had to comfort ourselves with pictures and maybe, another time?

Oh, how we quickly fell in love with Cochem, Germany, on the banks of the Mosel. An amazing fairy tale castle looms over the medieval city. Narrow cobble stoned streets wind through the old town. Our bus trip up very narrow passageways to the castle above was fun. Our time in the castle was awesome! Begun in the year 1000 A.D., the castle was used for defensive purposes and has had several wealthy owners over time. Today, the city owns the castle. Antique furniture from the 13th century onward filled the rooms. The painted ceilings throughout were wondrous. However, what we thought was wallpaper in many of the rooms was intricate hand painted surfaces and not wall paper at all. The wood carvings on walls and hand rails were from the 14th century and were beautiful. Outside turrets and towers reached upward and vines crawled up many surfaces, now turning bright red. We all had a very satisfying adventure at the castle. We ended our day at a great restaurant along the river. Several of us ate the venison with cranberries (mixed with lingonberry) and spaetzel (the best spaetzel I have ever eaten)—our last German meal since we leave for Spain tomorrow. 

Palace in Trier, Germany
Palace and Gardens in Trier
Vomitorium in the 2nd century Amphitheater in Trier, Germany
Randy Standly and Wayne explore the underground Forum Baths in Trier
Monumental thermal baths from 2nd century Roman Empire in Trier
Roman Catholic Cathedral Ceiling on the Romanesque side in Trier
Porta Nigra, Trier’s landmark colossal city gate and fortification
Cochem, Germany
Cochem, Germany, on the Mosel River
Cochem, Germany, with a picture of Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers, towering over the city
Cochem, Germany, on the banks of the Mosel River
Our traveling group preparing to visit the castle atop Cochem, Germany
Painted ceilings inside Cochem’s castle
Painted walls and wooden doors in Cochem’s castle

     

Kathy Fell Hard for Trier

October 1, 2022

Smash—kerplunk! And the dreaded “Ohhh”! The train station escalator came to a dead stop. Looking backwards, both Marty and I saw Kathy laying on the bottom of the escalator on the ground. Kind German folks were quickly gathering around her. Loaded down with luggage, I asked Marty to stay, and I rushed back down the escalator to Kathy. She was bleeding rather badly and a big knot was already forming on her forehead. She said she was OK, but, I wasn’t sure. Yes, she had no broken bones, the cut was shallow and after a while the bleeding stopped. Melisa soon was cleaning her face, putting on antibacterial ointment and a bandage. Kathy said, “No pain.” We all kept an eye on her as the hours passed and this evening, all is well. 

It was a hard fall down several escalator stairs. How? She had quickly purchased some coffee at the station before our train arrived and had no free hand because her luggage was in the other hand. That is a big “NO,” “NO!” Somehow, she became off balanced as she tried to maneuver her luggage onto the escalator with one hand, and down she went. She said she has learned her lesson the hard way! 

Thankfully, she was not wearing her sun glasses, since she hit her cheek and forehead near the eye. Thankfully, she did not hit her mouth where she had dental work done a few days ago and had a temporary crown on a tooth. Thankfully, the escalator had a safety device that detected the hit and shut down the escalator movement immediately. Thankfully, there were very helpful people all around to give immediate aid. Thankfully, our friends had all the necessary items on hand to get her cleaned up. (She had coffee in her hair and clothes and blood all over her face.)

Our train journey from Heidelberg to Trier was a beautiful ride along the Rhine River and then Mosel River. Castle after castle on the hills above the rivers came into view. Steep vineyards reached upward from the river to the hill tops. Forests interspersed the vineyards and quaint villages dotted the landscape with tall steepled churches commanding attention. Once we arrived in Trier, Germany’s oldest city and the northern capital of the Roman Empire, we saw scaffolding everywhere, as if the city was in complete repair. It wasn’t a pretty sight! It seemed empty. Was coming here a mistake? Our hotel was nice and has a grand courtyard where we found several restaurants from which to choose. We chose Italian today, and it was a decent meal. 

We then went out into the city, the rain having stopped, and walked through the courtyard into an arched walkway and wow! There, spread out before us was an old town with large pillared fountains and beautiful buildings and towers and bustling walkways filled with people. O, my! It was getting late and so we headed back to the hotel, hopeful for a wondrous day tomorrow searching out Roman ruins in this old, yet vibrant, city. 

Trier, Germany
Trier, Germany

HEIDELBERG — Charming to the Core

September 30, 2022

The Castle (Schloss) overlooking romantic Heidelberg

The storybook Neckar Valley city of Heidelberg, Germany, is charming to the core. There it sits in haze and sometimes fog (later today was clear and sunny) with its old medieval city gate and bridge standing proudly along the river and the majestic schloss (castle) ruins positioned on its perch on the hills above. The pedestrian walkways through this ancient university city are bustling with fine shops and eateries inside picturesque buildings with an old German architecture. Towers of churches and conical shaped turrets are around every corner. It is a joy to the eyes and, thankfully, the cobblestones in the city are easy on the feet—not so in the castle ruins above. The Standly’s and Paluch’s enjoyed taking the funicular up to the ruins and seeing the sweeping sights of the river valley and city below. They also saw the world’s largest wine barrel which holds 58,124 gallons. 

All of us got into the wonderful Lutheran/Evangelical Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost) church and, fortunately, an organ student was practicing on its mighty pipe organ. Karen Paluch and Kathy visited with him and eventually, he played for us a marvelous Buxtehude piece with soaring sounds and intricate foot work on the bass pedal keyboard. It was a grand experience in a beautiful church. 

We spent time walking the quaint streets and going into wonderful shops, eating ice cream (gelato) and enjoying good food. A very large Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store is in the city with its large stock of wooden Christmas items; we were quickly put into a Christmas spirit. It was a relaxing, refreshing and beautiful day! 

Heiliggeistkirche Heidelberg
Heiliggeistkirche Heidelberg
An organ student played for us Dieterich Buxtehude’s Praludium d-Moll at the Heiliggeistkirche.

Bridge over the Neckar River
Wayne and Kathy enjoy charming Heidelberg.

LAZY STUTTGART DAY

September 29, 2022

Wayne and Randy prepare to tour the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart with Kathy and Melisa.
Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum

The Standly’s and we spent afternoon hours at the magnificent Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Uber modern, the museum is designed to show the significant contributions the company has made to modern transportation and engineering. Mercedes and Benz independently invented the gas-powered engine and automobile in 1889 in cities not far apart. Later, they combined their efforts to form the company we know today. The museum showcases the very first cars to the most recent in beautiful fashion. Early on, the inventors recognized the multiple uses that the engines could power, like the first fire engines, the first emergency vehicles, etc. Historic examples of all the firsts are on display. For car buffs, this museum is a must. We enjoyed our time and believe we learned much from this time machine of history. Later, we visited the streets around the Palace Square and found the castle and premiere shoppings area near the beautiful Stiftskirche—a Lutheran Church—where the organist was practicing on the massive pipe organ in the church. Building of the church began in the 10th century. Heavily damaged in World War II, it was restored in a more modern style in the 1950s. Most all of the rulers of Württemberg are buried in the church.  

The Standly’s, Krahn’s and Paluch’s had an eventful morning finding and using a laundromat. It took a cab to finally get them to the destination where friendly locals helped them wash and dry their travel clothes. They now look and smell fresh and clean—not that they didn’t before :-). 

We slept late, were in no rush and enjoyed a leisurely evening eating out. We will sleep well tonight.

One of the earliest automobile engines
Kathy and Melisa also enjoyed the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
The Stiftskirche—a Lutheran Church in Stuttgart

 

Lutheran Church in Stuttgart
The Organ in Stuttgart’s Lutheran Church
Randy and Melisa Standly

TATTLE TALE ON RANDY AND KAREN

September 28, 2022

Randy had an adventure—He left his phone in the maxi-cab we took to the Hauptbahnhof (central train station) in Munich. Melisa has constantly asked him if he had his phone, but today she did not! “So it is really her fault,” according to Randy. We were all on the train heading to Stuttgart, Germany, when it was discovered the phone was missing. Because the phone contained too much valuable information, Randy jumped off the train in Augsburg and hailed a taxi for the 45 minute ride back into Munich. His taxi driver contacted the taxi driver who had the phone—thankfully, we had his number on the receipt he gave me when I paid the bill—and they agreed on a pick up spot. Randy was delivered to the Munich Hauptbahnhof where he caught a new train to Stuttgart. The ordeal was about four hours long and $$$, but Randy has his phone back. 

Because our hotel was right outside the Hauptbahnhof in Stuttgart, we walked, and walked, and walked due to heavy construction in the station area. Germany is greatly upgrading its already wonderful rail service, and we have noticed that stations and rail are in upgrade everywhere. Finally at our hotel, we soon discovered that we had no rooms…because…we.were.at.the.wrong.hotel! Since our hotel (same name—sister hotel) was only a severn minute walk, we walked again, only to discover something we really already knew—triple the number of minutes they tell you. Texans don’t walk as fast as Germans. On the way, I tired of waiting for the lights to turn green. Germans patiently wait, even with absolutely no cars in sight—they follow the rules to the letter. I told Karen, “No cars; I’m going.” Karen dutifully followed me; but, I didn’t see the very tiny bit of a car coming our way. Scoot we did! Once safely on the other side, Karen grabbed me and pushed me towards the oncoming traffic and screamed, “You said there were no cars!” I said, “It looked like a bug.” She replied, “I’ll squash you like a bug” or something similar. 

Safely in our correct hotel (a very nice one) we sat in the bar for drinks and snacks while waiting for Randy’s return. Interestingly, the hotel is right by the Hauptbahnhof—we simply took the very very long way around to get there. We were all happy to have him safely return! We walked to the Palace Platz of Stuttgart in a pedestrian zone and enjoyed the pleasant weather and comfortable ambiance. We also enjoyed the Volksfest (People’s Festival) that was in full swing around the huge platz (square). Finding a wonderful German restaurant (huge beer barrels served as intimate dining outside), we sat in cozy inside seating. The food was marvelous. Several ordered Swabish (the old designation for the Stuttgart region) delicacies, such as pork and spinach pasta rolls. I ordered what I called “monster” pork knuckle with bread dumpling and white cabbage slaw. I could not ever eat 1/3 of it because it was so huge. Since Allen had stayed in for the evening, I asked for a “to go” box so he could have something to eat if he wanted—yes, they have “to go” and, yes, they charge. 

It turned out to be a fun and enjoyable day with lots of laughs. We travel well together. 

“Street food” available at the Volksfest
The Volksfest (People’s Festival) in the Stuttgart Palace Square
Melisa inside the beer barrel private dining area of the restaurant in which we ate dinner
Wayne’s “monster” pork knuckle dish with bread dumpling and cabbage salad
Marty and Karen enjoy the dining experience with our travel group in Stuttgart.
Delicious Swabish meal many in our travel group enjoyed.

OKTOBERFEST

SEPTEMBER 26 & 27, 2022

We left the German Alpine area behind and trained through verdant woods of various pines and cedars and green farm land. Some of the corn is yet to be harvested. We arrived in Munich, checked into our hotel, cleaned up and headed into the Altstadt (Old Town) of the city. Dee and Sheila had not been to Munich prior and when we walked up from the U Bahn (underground subway) right in the middle of the Altstadt, they were awe struck. The Rathaus (Town Hall) is impressive, both in size and gothic architectural style. Its famous Glockenspiel with moving figurines is a main tourist draw. The entire Marienplatz area is filled with baroque towered churches and buildings. It is bustling, especially with the Oktoberfest going full swing at the nearby Theresienwiese fair grounds. We went into two beautiful churches—St. Peter’s (baroque) and St. Michael’s (renaissance)—both Roman Catholic. We lollygagged in the market place filled with vendors of almost every kind. Hungry, we ate at the well loved der Augustiner for a very German meal—I had boiled white sausages and white cabbage salad and potato salad. Randy and Melisa had a German fried meatloaf. Of course, the Augustiner beer was great. Later, we stopped at a pastry shop and ordered too many to take back to the hotel—pretzels filled with cheese or cream cheese and jelly rolls and…

Early the next morning, we hit the mother of all Oktoberfests. Drawing millions of visitors this huge venue is filled with massive tents sponsored by the major German brewers. We found ample space in the Hofbrau tent which holds 10,000 guests with large decorations made from dried hops. Once the band started, it began to fill up, even though it was a cold day with rain on and off. We had a joyous time. The food was good! They discourage folks from standing on tables and drinking, but that did not stop some from doing so to boisterous cheers from the crowd and then loud “boos” when security stepped in and escorted the drinkers out. We all learned the popular bier hall song, “Ein Prosit”—loosely translated—“Drink up, you’re in good, warm fellowship—1, 2, 3 drink.” You then lift your litre stein in the air, pound it down on the table and then drink. Fun, fun! 

“1 in a 1,000,000” chance you run into someone from home, but Kathy and I did. We were walking the massive grounds and walked into the Lowenbrau tent because, although this was our fifth time to the Oktoberfest in Munich, we had never visited that tent. Lo and behold, the Krakosky’s and Schlaffer’s from Tomball saw us, and we had a marvelous visit. We ended our day with a delightful meal time at our Marriott hotel for the ten of us from our travel group. The Steele’s have returned home and Dee and Sheila leave tomorrow, so from here on out, there will be eight of us on this continuing adventure.    

Allen Krahn enjoyed Oktoberfest in Munich.
Celebrating Oktoberfest in one of the many tents in Munich’s Theresienwiese
Food preparation at Oktoberfest
Kathy wore her dirndl to Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration.
Beautiful Marienplatz in Munich
Munich’s Marienplatz where the Glockenspiel is housed
St. Peter’s Church in Munich
Finding Mark & Shawn Schlaffer and Dean & Lisa Krakosky in Munich’s Lowenbrau tent!
Wayne and Kathy Graumann at Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration

Living our Encore Life

Our Encore Life began in 2013 as we closed the fulfilling chapter of full-time ministry at Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, Texas. During the year 2013, we were privileged to travel in Europe and along the West Coast of our beautiful USA and had the joy of taking our grandchildren on a month-long adventure with visits to extended family and selected national parks. At the end of the year, we returned to our home in Tomball, Texas, and in 2014, we began fifteen months of God-blessed ministry at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Houston. As we returned to our home in Tomball, a life-changing decision was made to "right-size" and move into an active 55+ community in Montgomery, Texas--Bonterra--where we could still be near our children, grandchildren, life-long friends, and our church. Following our move, we had the pleasure of sharing Europe once again with friends in travels during 2015 and 2016. Our travels in May and June 2017 introduced us to the wonderful people and spectacular geography of South America in Ecuador and Peru. In the autumn of 2017, we explored both the ancient and modern, the rural and cosmopolitan, wonders of China and the Yangtze River while being able to visit Kourtnie Kroll, who was ministering from Salem in Shanghai, and our niece, Joy Stuhr, a teacher in Beijing. During the summer of 2018, God called Wayne to experience the joy of ministering again as Interim Senior Pastor at Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Humble, Texas, during which time we experienced the pleasure of cruising the Norwegian, Icelandic, and Scottish coasts and experiencing northern France. As our service at Lamb of God concluded in the autumn of 2019, we had the joy of walking in the footsteps of Jesus as we visited the Holy Land. We invite you to come with us and dear friends as we experience new adventures this autumn 2022 in Europe. December 2022 finds us returning to the Holy Land. Come walk with us where Jesus, our Savior, walked.