By Doris Schroeder
Part 2 of our trip to Europe in 2001
Being able to stay in a military apartment at Speicer, Germany, was certainly a blessing when we flew out to visit our oldest grandson, John Edward, an airman stationed in Spangdahlem, Germany, in 2001,. The military allowed family members of the enlisted these amenities at the same rate and it was really appreciated. Looking back, we are so glad we were able to do it with him. The apartment complex was only a few blocks from the main street of Speicer, so on the days, JE had to drive back to the base to work, John and I would walk down the side walk to the village.
As we ambled along the quiet streets, we would pass some of the citizens watering their flowers which they always seemed to do in an unhurried fashion. Of course, once we got to town, the Bakeshop always seemed to beckon us and we would go in. John loved to look at all the breads and would finally choose one with our strong cup of coffee. On the other side of town was Aldies, the orginal home of the place we all now know so well. We bought a couple cartons of some large candy bars for 25 cents each to take back home to America.
Our next weekend trip, we went to Holland. Our bus stopped at a cheese factory and I took a picture of a Dutchman in wooden shoes, stirring a vat of cheese as he answered questions. The next stop was a little store where I bought a pair of wooden shoes. For some reason, however, I have never worn them. They have no cushioning.
The next stop of that trip was the tulip gardens at Keukenhof and April was the absolute greatest time to see them. The garden looked like heaven and was huge with streams and little bridges and trees as far as one could see. The tulips were in full bloom in all their brilliant colors and the beauty of if all just took our breath away.
Hubby had just recovered from the flu before we traveled to Europe, so he decided he would sit in the chairs provided at one end of the garden. Our grandson and I decided to take a long walk around the area and snap some pictures. When we got back to the chairs, however, hubby was watching a briefcase that some “sinister-looking” men had left on a chair beside him. There had been some threats by terrorists near that time and so we were being careful. Little did we know what would really happen about four months later on Sept. 11, 2001! Anyways, we were safe…for the time being! At least until we got into the bus that took us to Paris the last weekend of our stay in Europe. We literally “whizzed” down the auto Baum to the big city. When we reached it we even lost our breath as the bus driver turned around the circle corners at breath-taking speed. Somehow we all remained intact. It seemed to us, the fastest and most daring driver got the right-of-way.
We were so busy visiting the Louve, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, our heads were swimming. Then the bus let us off with our tour guide because the streets were too narrow for the vehicle. We had to practically run uphill on the sidewalk to the “hill of artists” to watch them paint. We had decided we wanted “Swedish Pancakes” for lunch so went inside one of the restaurants to get them. We just wanted a soft drink with it so they said we had to eat outside. No matter…we sat down on the curb and ate our lunch… in Paris.
One night our travel group had a sight seeing trip to see “the city of lights” but we were all too tired and crashed instead. It was exciting to go up in the elevator and see the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was certainly a most beautiful view way up in the sky and you could see all of God’s creation for miles around. On Mother’s Day we took a ride down the Rhine River and saw people along the way celebrating the day with their mother.
It appears to us that many of the Europeans are very family-oriented and that is the way it should be. God has given each of us a family to belong to which gives us self-confidence. He has also given us a home in heaven and a heavenly father if we accept Him into our lives as our own, knowing that some day we will go to heaven to be with Him forever. Since God is perfect, we can then have a perfect life when we get there.
I hope to see you all there someday, but in the meantime, no matter where you live, remember to “bloom where you are planted!” Whether it is in Europe or in the state of Kansas, whatever God has planned for you to be, do it with all your might and in God’s strength.
Doris welcomes your comments at [email protected]