We were fortunate to have been stationed at Sembach/Ramstein AB, Germany from 2000-2003. During this time, we were able to travel to several countries and learn about the history of Europe first-hand. We were homeschooling with Spencer, so we had the flexibility to travel as part of his education.
Quite often, I would travel somewhere with the band and find if there was a good hotel and if it was safe for the family. At that time, I felt safer traveling around Europe than many parts of the USA back home. I’m glad we were there at that time, as it appears there is more unrest and turmoil. That is too bad – I met so many nice people in every country I visited.
Europe is so far ahead of us in some aspects of life, it is embarrassing. For instance, their transportation system makes owning a car almost unnecessary. Most cities have a “Zentrum”, or town center. It’s an easy walk to all of the stores and shops. If you want to go to a neighboring town, just walk over to the bahnhoff (train station) and catch an hourly regional train for a few dollars. If you want to go farther, take one of the high speed trains to just about anywhere in Europe. You can buy tickets at the vending machine if you want to save time. We rode the train from Germany to Paris, France on several occasions, and first class tickets were about $80 roundtrip each.
It was interesting to see countries that had been behind the Iron Curtain for decades re-emerge and modernize. We visited the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) and were amazed at the beauty and the kindness of the people. I visited Sarajevo with the band and could still see remnants of the horrible civil war from the 1990s. I also visited Turkey on several occasions, and would love to explore that country for a year. Ephesus is where Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians in the Bible. Thousands of years of history!!
Garmische/Zugspitz – Bavarian Alps on the border with Austria – Ride the gondola to the summit!
Dresden – Once the cultural center of Germany, it was almost totally destroyed in WWII
Rothenburg – A 13th-Century German village with much of it’s original charm, including a Torture Museum. (Really!)
Munich – Home to Oktoberfest, BMW, Munich Technical Museum, and much more
Dachau Concentration Camp – Located just outside Munich, educational and very moving experience
Rhine River Cruise – Enjoy a leisurely cruise through wine country
Miltenberg – A quiet town with several nice churches, and the ancestral home to my piano teacher, Dr. James Miltenberger
Sinsheim Technical Museum – Lots of cars, airplanes, machinery, and anything technical
Worms – (Pronounced “Varms”) Where Martin Luther was condemned for his criticism of the Catholic church
Berchtesgaden – Visit Hitler’s Eagles’ Nest (a teahouse retreat built high in the Alps) and the large salt mine.
Cars and Motorcycles of Europe – Lots of interesting cars they do not sell here in the USA
Volkswagen Autostadt Museum – Located in Wolfsburg, huge museum and interesting displays. A “Must-see”.
Life Around Ramstein AB and Sembach AB – Miscellaneous scenes from around our hometown – Living in Germany
France 2002 – Family trip to Normandy (site of D-Day), Paris, and Rouen (home of Joan of Arc)
Paris – Visit the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and many more landmarks around this historic city
Bitch – (Pronounced “Beech”) A large citadel/fortress on a hilltop near the German border
Oslo – I explored this beautiful town on a band trip : Maritime Museum, Royal Palace, fish market, and more
Northeast Italy – Aviano Air Base, Pordenone, Venice, the Alps and many small villages
Naples/Pompeii – Visit the site of the infamous eruption of Mt Vesuvius
Venice – An easy day trip on the train from Aviano Air Base
Family Trip 2001 – Join us on a 7-day motorcoach tour of Italy: Rome, Pisa, Venice, Florence, and more
Pilsen/Prague – Combined from two trips, one with the band and one family trip
Adana/Incirlik – Combination of several band trips to Incirlik Air Base
Ismir – (Band trip) I went out for a full day exploring this historic town on Market Day
SAREJEVO – (Band trip) Once a crown jewel of the Balkans, site of terrible civil war in the 1990s. Slowly rebuilding – Beautiful!!
Zagreb – (Band trip) Come visit this beautiful and historic city on the “Blue Danube”
Bratislava – (Band trip) Tour the scenic country of Slovakia as it emerges from behind the Iron Curtain
Southeast Britain and Dover – Band trip to Molesworth Air Base for WWII reunion
London, Dover, English Channel – (Family Trip 2002) Join us as we explore southern Britain
BODENSEE/LICHTENSTEIN – (Family trip) Join us as we explore one of the smallest countries on earth
Brussels – Combination of band trip and family trip to this wonderful town