Archive for Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Basehor women ignore terrorist threats, tour Germany

November 7, 2001

When it comes to going abroad, the last thing a couple of Basehor travelers were going to do was to give in to Osama bin Laden and his gang of terrorists.

Signed up for Kansas City Kansas Community College's 13-day tour of Germany and Austria, neither Judy Goens or Carolyn Lindelof hesitated in making the early October trip that ironically started in Berlin the day the U.S. began its bombing of Afghanistan.

In fact, Goens made the trip despite still not fully recovered from fractured ribs and a compressed vertebrae suffered in a car accident Sept. 20, just 16 days before the start of the trip.

"No, I really didn't (hesitate)," Goens said. "I had some concerns in the back of my mind and my family was upset that I was going, but I made up my mind I was going to go. I knew that if (tour directors) Rosemary Perkins and Henry Louis thought anything would happen to us, they wouldn't go.

"If my doctor had told me not to go, I would not have gone, but he said go and pace myself and everyone was wonderful in helping carry my luggage and helping out."

Lindelof was equally determined.

"If the group went, I was going to go," she said. "I had spent the money and didn't have any doubts. I kept calling and four people did cancel, but I made up my mind I was going to go and put my faith in God."

The trip was the second to Germany and Austria for Goens, who has also traveled on KCKCC tours to Ireland, the British Isles, China, France, Switzerland, Egypt and the Holy Land.

Goens previously had gone with KCKCC to China, Australia, Egypt, Poland, Hungary, France, Italy and the Scandinavian countries, but it was her first trip to Germany and Austria.

As advertised, airport security was tight everywhere, especially in Munich where both women had to open their checked luggage for inspection.

One member of the group of 34 had a safety pin confiscated from her purse; another a manicure kit containing a nail file and fingernail clippers that had been purchased as a gift in Germany.

"I think it's safer to fly now than it has been in several years," Goens said.

"We never felt in danger at all," added Lindelof.

As for the trip, it was near perfect - no problems anywhere, ideal weather, an outstanding tour guide and much to see.

"I thought it was wonderful," Lindelof said. "The scenery was beautiful, the people nice, the food good - almost too good."

In between starting in Berlin and ending in Munich, the group made stops to such historical cities and villages as Leipzig, Nuremberg, Rothenburg, Salzburg, Seefeld, Innsbruck and Oberammergau, the famed Passion Play village.

Two of the stops in Berlin were at Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdam, where President Harry Truman, Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill convened to establish the division of Berlin at the end of World War II. "It was all very interesting, beautiful and historical because I had heard and read about Potsdam and seen pictures," Goens said.

While the wall that separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War is no longer in existence, lengthy sectors of the wall covered with paintings and graffiti still exist. Also, there's a spectacular museum at Checkpoint Charlie showing pictures and vehicles used in slipping people from Communist East Berlin to West Berlin.

Later, the group would visit a huge stadium in Leipzig where Adolph Hitler addressed hundreds of thousands and Hitler's Eagles Nest high on a mountain overlooking vast areas of mountains and valleys.

"I really enjoyed Potsdam and the Eagles Nest," Lindelof said. "It was really interesting learning more about Hitler. It was just a shame to have such a horrible person as Hitler live in a place so beautiful as Eagles Nest."

No trip to Bavaria would be complete without visits to two historic castles built by King Ludwig II in the 1700s. Trimmed in gold, Linderhof Palace is the only castle of three built by Ludwig to be completed.

One of the world's most photographed structures, the most famous castle is the Neuschwanstein Castle, which was used by Disney as a model for its castles at Disneyland and DisneyWorld. It, however, was never completed because of Ludwig's death at age 41.

As with any good traveler, shopping was also rated excellent. "I bought beer steins for my boys, crystal for my daughters and myself and dolls for my granddaughter, Monica," Goens said.

"Shopping was the most important thing," laughed Lindelof. "I did most of my Christmas shopping."

While the terrorists did not affect the Germany-Austria trip, the acts of Sept. 11 have had a huge effect on travel all over the world.

Next year's scheduled KCKCC Spring Break trip, a classic cruise of the Greek Islands, has already been cancelled because of cruise ships in the eastern Mediterranean being re-positioned in the west. However, other venues in Europe and the Far East are being explored to replace the Greek Island tour.

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