A Brief Word

| December/January 1995

We've been bursting with joy to tell you of the recent GEM tour to Germany, Switzerland, Holland, etc. By all accounts, it was a memorable two weeks!

Our group totaled 120, and due to its size, some came into Zurich, Switzerland on September 8, with the remainder on September 9. After a pleasant journey by coach we arrived at the Sun-star Hotel in Grindelwald, a beautiful Alpine resort town. On September 10 we had a beautiful day in Grindelwald, and took a ski lift up into the Alps. Fortunately, the manager of this multi-million dollar lift system gave us a special tour of the mechanical side, and this alone was a highlight of the day.

The next day we left for Luzern via the Brunig Pass. The scenery was beyond belief, and our three coach drivers managed the hills and curves in masterful style. That day we also managed to spend some time in the Swiss Transport Museum, a fantastic collection of almost everything to do with transportation. We also got to ride on the steam ship Unterwalden. The huge steam engine is entirely visible on this paddle-wheeler and was certainly a sight to behold.

On September 12 we visited the Swiss Agricultural Research Station at Tanikon, and among other things, viewed a tremendous collection of antique farm equipment. After a brief stop at the magnificent Rhine Falls, we headed for Stuhlingen and the private collection of Roland Porten.

The Porten collection is undoubtedly one of the most impressive private collections of engines and tractors in Europe. His sheds were virtually bulging at the seams. While not all the engines and tractors have been repainted, it is a requirement that nothing goes into the museum that isn't in running order. That evening Roland treated us to a magnificent meal at his Rebstock restaurant.

The following day we were off to Furtwangen in the Black Forest and stopped at the German Clock Museum, truly a sight to behold. Then we coached to Ehningen and the private collection of Willi Hoffman. Although dampened a bit by rain, we nevertheless saw a tremendous collection of engines and tractors, most of them being meticulously restored and painted. As with our stay at the Porten's, the hospitality left us with a warm glow.