More Yet From Our Passports

Telling the story from the history I’ve found in our family passports is taking as much time as the trip itself. Well, it seems that way. This one begins with our last day in the Jerusalem area.

From the Kidron valley we travelled to the Mount of Olives to see the Tomb of Lazarus—actually it was where he had lain till Jesus brought him to life. We did a bit of wandering around Jerusalem and if I remember correctly it was near the Damascus Gate that I got as nice ring for Doris with lovely Alexandrite stones. Those stones change colour depending on the light source.

That pretty well covers our time in the Holy Land—a short but busy stay. We then took a taxi to the airport near Jerusalem and flew to Rome with a stopover in Athens. As I look back on those travels I recall our family flying together from Cairo to Beirut. We were the only young folks on that plane. All the others were older showing much grey hair. So many times I’ve been thankful to God we did that travelling when we were young—still in our thirties—when we still had strength and energy. Our children still recall parts of that trip for we dragged them along wherever we went. My, my how our children trusted us when they were young!

Our travel details from Rome to Luxemburg now get sketchy for we have no more entries or exit stamps in our passports–till over a year later. And memories aren’t too clear either. This time in Rome we didn’t do any sightseeing. We were there to catch a train for Luxemburg for our plane for Canada flew from there. We chose to fly from Luxemburg because it was the cheapest flight available. We boarded the train in the evening with births paid for. We had learned a hard lesson on the all-night trip from Hendaya to Marseille. This was an eighteen hour trip or more. We woke in the morning travelling through the mountains with their tall snow-capped peaks and streams flowing beside the tracks. Lovely.

In Luxemburg we found a small home/hostel, a pensione that had the thickest duvet comforter on our bed that I’ve ever seen. I’m sure, as usual, it was a taxi driver that made suggestions and got us to where we needed to go. The next day was Sunday so we wished to be in a church for worship. After some questioning we found an international congregation. The pastor spoke our North American English so we hit it off right away. Perhaps another reason was the small congregation. After lunch at their home, they took us sightseeing through the country. I recall passing through villages and farming areas where, our host explained that often the barn was linked to the house. The highlight of that day was the view of one of the castles built years ago—but it was not open to visitors.

Since Doris has relatives with blood lines that go back to the Shultzes in Cologne, Germany, we rented a car and drove from Luxemburg via the autobahn North to Koln. Well that is how Cologne is written locally but with two dots over the “o.” We listened to the stories of how they as children endured the terrifying years of WWII. Cologne was an industrial city and had been nearly bombed out of existence by the allies. They told a story of parcels their family in Canada had sent to them right after the war. Once there was included a small bar of soap, the kind we might find here in a motel. It was so precious the children squabbled over it. At that time they were hungry and had practically nothing. But when we were there they had gotten on their feet and owned their own factory.

We then drove back to Luxemburg. There we caught our “cheapy” plane that flew us home, passing over the city of London and making two stopovers. One was Iceland and the other was Gander. Then on to Ottawa—or was it Toronto or New York? That is the way our ten years in Brazil ended—with a whimper. A year and a half later our family was transferred to Haiti. In the interval I spent most of my time travelling across Canada and the States–I was promoting missions in churches and camps. That was the end of an era, a huge chunk of our lives that was both difficult and rewarding. What more can I say?

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