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By Bern Zovistoski

As I touched on in earlier columns, being situated in Germany afforded Paulette and me an incredible opportunity to tour all of Europe during the nearly six years we were there.

Many Stripes business trips took me, and sometimes both of us, to exciting destinations.

But traveling on our own time was extensive. Most of the time just the two of us traveled but on quite a few occasions we took along family members and friends, affording everyone indelible memories of their experiences.

When my sister Henri and her husband John visited along with my brother Ed and his wife Elaine, we drove through several countries, including Germany’s east, where we could view remnants of the Iron Curtain.

Everyone was very appreciative – in fact, Henri and John surprised us upon returning home to Shaftsbury, Vermont, by shipping a box of fresh lobsters to us as a thank you.

I don’t remember how many lobsters there were but I do remember that we had to sweet talk our way through customs at Frankfurt Airport, which allowed the delicacy for personal consumption but not for commercial purposes.

We shared our bounty with friends.

Another time Paulette’s sister Brenda and husband Paul, along with their sons, Matt and Nick, drove with us to nearby Switzerland, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

We had made reservations at a very small hotel in the mountains, accessible only by cable car. From that vantage point we took many hikes, enjoying awesome views.

Dinner was included in the hotel cost. It was usually spaghetti with chicken. Dinner time was set and if you were late you didn’t eat. That happened when we were there – but it wasn’t us.

Paulette’s parents, Marguerite and Paul Lee, and Paulette’s brother Cliff and wife Bonnie came over from Granville and enjoyed a tour of the Black Forest, as well as watching a herd of cows return from the field and suck up some water from the Garmisch town fountain.

We also took a bus trip to Krakow, Poland, arriving at our hotel in the early evening and noting a Polish wedding was going on in the ballroom.  When we departed the next morning, the wedding was still going on.

And we joined a German tour to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, where there was a wonderful stretch of beach where nudity was celebrated. We, of course, were non-conformist.

Another time we traveled to Scotland and spent about a week traveling from one B&B to another on roads often not designed for two-way traffic. Those had “pull-outs” at various points to facilitate travel. Oh, and as I drove our rental car I kept thinking, “Keep left, keep left.” The real challenge was driving through a round-about, but we made it.

The people we encountered in Scotland were very friendly, including those at the many distilleries where we stopped for samples.

We visited London, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague on more than one occasion. And we toured Italy extensively, along with visits to Spain and Portugal.

And when we passed through Liechtenstein, we searched for someone to stamp our passports, which wasn’t necessary but we wanted to make the visit “official.” We did it.

Talk about lucky.

Bern Zovistoski is a journalist who practiced his trade in various capacities around the world for several decades. As a Granville native, he returned to his hometown to cap his career with extensive contributions to the betterment of The Granville Sentinel and The Whitehall Times. To respond to this column, go to pj.zovistoski@ gmail.com.


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