Subject: Re: First travel experiences
Hi Ziners,

While I was growing up, both sets of grandparents travelled the world frequently. They would return with strange gifts and slide shows that I found pretty interesting (for a while - then I would get sleepy). My life expectation was that when one became a grandparent, one travelled.

When I was almost 16 years old I had the opportunity to travel with 50 high-schoolers on a 7-week trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. This was in 1968. We were all students with one or two years of high school German, so it was an opportunity for language practice. We even got a bit of cultural immersion as they placed us indivdually in private homes for two one-week stays - one week in the city, one in the farmland. Mostly we travelled by train and stayed in youth hostels. We spent two days in Prague, two weeks before the Soviet invasion. That was a scary time. But the rest of it was so much fun that I got infected with a permanent travel bug.

I grew up, got married, raised kids, and always dreamed of returning to Europe. Now we are grandparents and we can travel! I am blessed with a wonderful wife who will go anywhere with me as long as I do the planning. I took her to Germany in 1998, and we saw some of the places I had seen 30 years prior. Since then we've been able to travel to Europe every other year, somewhere different each time.

Next year we hope/plan to go to Prague (my first chance to return!) and perhaps one other city.

Dave & Karen Salem, Oregon