Untourist of the Week: Helen Dorangrichia, Grandmother Extraordinaire

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A note from Helen: The family pix do not include me since I was the photographer. I am looking forward to a Swiss Untour with a friend in August of 2013 and another visit to Kandersteg with grandsons in 2014. Untours does it right!!!

1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

I am on a mission to take all eight of my grandchildren to Europe to help them see the great world outside of their own hometown. Last summer it was Maya’s turn. She is 12. Joining us for two weeks in St. Goar on the Rhine were her mother, Marie, my daughter, Terri and her 16 year old daughter Andreanna. We had a great time hopping on the train or the boat to travel up and down the river seeing the sights, visiting castles, shopping, hiking, etc. We all enjoyed being greeted as friends in the wine shop on the lower level of our building and at our favorite restaurant and bakery.

What is really great about being in a small village with youngsters is that they were free to come and go without us being worried about the dangers found in every big city. I choose to give my grandchildren memories instead of things. We all enjoy our travels together.

2. Why did you choose to go there?

Maya picked Germany because her other grandmother was born there. It was a great opportunity for her to see a little of her German heritage. My older granddaughter, Andreanna, has taken several years of German at her high school and was eager for the opportunity to put her skills to the test. (She was better at reading German signs than at actually speaking German.)

3. What is your favorite Untours memory?

I have shared Untours with a friend, with my sisters and with my children and grandchildren. It is hard to choose. Probably my favorite memory is when our butcher became my son’s best friend in Kandersteg. My son did all the cooking while we were in Kandersteg with three of my grandsons (ages 11,12,13) so he visited the butcher most mornings to organize our evening meal while the boys went to the bakery to get fresh bread and something sweet to pack in their lunch bags.

Also while in Kandersteg, the boys treated me to dinner at the restaurant of their choice. They made their selection based on seeing some cute girls go into the restaurant!! On another night there was a boys choir singing down at the school. They were not planning to attend until Uncle Jim pointed out that if there were teenage boys on stage there might be some teenage girls in the audience. They hustled to get ready to go! Great family times, great family memories.

4. How is taking an Untour different from other ways of travelling?

We love choosing to stay in small towns and planning our own activities–doing what we want on our own schedule.

On one memorable Untour, we were in Vienna when my brother-in-law got seriously ill. How wonderful to have support in finding a doctor and in being assured that if he could not travel, Untours would find lodging for both Ron and his wife as long as necessary. They actually were able to head to Switzerland when we did, but were unable to fly as originally planned. Arrangements were made for them to travel by train, to find a doctor in a nearby town for followup.

Travelling alone is lots of fun, but is surely is wonderful to have help when dealing with an unexpected emergency.

5. If you could describe an Untour in just three words, what would they be?

Two words: Suit Yourself!!!

Helen has been on 10 Untours; here’s some of the spots she’s chosen recently
2013

Oberhofen Middle on a Swiss Oberland Untour

2012

Christmas Middle on the Rhine Untour

2008

Van Gogh on the Holland Untour

2006

Wesselenyi A on the Budapest Untour

 

 

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