When people think of Bogotá – and Colombia in general – they often think of violent crime, vicious gangs, and kidnappings. Nowadays this is mostly not true. I say “mostly” because George and I have, in fact, been kidnapped.
Tales of travel, humor, sarcasm and other nonsense.
The city of Quito occupies a narrow valley in the Andes mountains, at a point very near the equator (hence the country’s name). But Quito’s climate and environs are nothing like the equatorial regions you read about in middle school.
We couldn’t get to Cuenca by plane, so we drove from Guayaquil instead. Well, we didn’t drive. A very nice but completely insane local man drove us.
Believe it or not, our brief visit to Ecuador’s largest city was the consequence of yet another flight cancellation.
Our 2016 South American journey began with four nights aboard a riverboat in the Ecuadorian portion of the Amazon rainforest. But before we could get to the boat, we had to clear another aviation hurdle.
Thanks to deregulation and mega-mergers, they say that airline customer service has gone down the crapper. And who doesn’t agree?
In the southwestern corner of Germany, there is a freshwater lake that borders three countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Lake Constance is the international name given at the conclusion of the 15th-Century Council of Constance. But in Germany the lake is called Bodensee (literally, land-lake) after the nearby town of Bodman. The most fascinating aspect of the lake is that it is the only portion of Europe with no official borders, because the Germans, Austrians and Swiss can’t agree on exactly where the borders should be.
When people think of German traditions, what often comes to mind are images of Oktoberfest, with busty women in dindle dresses serving beer and pretzels to drunken men in lederhosen and felt hats. This is all quite accurate.
We decided to stay an extra day in Braunschweig, to spend more time with Cordula and her family (and we’re so glad we did). But as a result, we had to shave a day off somewhere else in our itinerary.
Seven years before he took his family to Bremerhaven to board a ship to America, George’s great-great-great grandfather Johann Heinrich Germer married Dorothea Stichmann in the small village of Sickte where they both lived. Johann and Dorothea already had two sons by then.
In August 1845, Johann Heinrich Germer left his home in Sichte, Germany, accompanied by his wife and four children, including a son who was also named Johann Heinrich (Junior). The family traveled to the port city of Bremerhaven, where they boarded a sailing vessel headed for America. A shoemaker by trade, Johann Heinrich Senior believed – as did many of his countrymen – that a better life awaited them in the New World. But the journey was risky.
We expected our next destination, the city-state of Bremen, to be just a convenient base for nearby adventures. But as luck would have it, our interactions with two Bremen residents made our time there far more fascinating.