|A century-old family connection transformed a mundane bus ride into a magic moment.|
Every month we feature funny or inspiring anecdotes from Rick Steves' tour alums. If you have a true tour tale to share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a photo that illustrates it, please attach it. Don't forget to tell us which city and state you live in. We'd love to hear from you!
Waking up to a dream
Two years ago I took your Germany, Austria and Switzerland tour. One morning we all boarded the bus and headed toward Salzburg. I had known that my grandmother came from a small town outside of Munich called Miesbach. Her parents owned, depending on which family member you talk to, either a restaurant or a beer hall. The majority of us vote for the beer hall. We are German you know!
It was a quiet bus ride. Everyone was tired, or overfed, and not talking. The day was grey and clouds hugged the nearby mountain tops. I stirred myself from my doze and noticed that a road sign said "Miesbach 10K." I thought, could it be we are going to pass nearby?
I started to get excited as each sign we passed brought us nearer to Miesbach. Finally, we stopped at a stop sign and the next sign announced that we were entering the town. I wanted to jump up and holler, "LET ME OUT — my grandmother was born here and I want a picture!"
However, I refrained. And I really don't regret that. Instead, I gazed out the window to see if the countryside looked anything like the picture we have of my grandmother, her parents and sister in a meadow. As we drove by I thought to myself what courage it must have taken for my grandmother, at age 18, to leave her family, friends and home and come to America on her own. Now I was seeing where she grew up and where my family came from.
As the bus moved on toward Salzburg, I felt a connection that I had not felt before with my grandmother. It was a warm, happy feeling, and for a few moments, my secret.
When people ask me, "Why do you travel so much?" — this is one of the reasons I tell them.
— Barbara in Walnut Creek, CA
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