Travel Broadens Horizons


When one travels, the unexpected is always to be expected. In fact, travel can be trying at times with unanticipated costs, flight delays, unreliable weather, and of course, the chance to get sick. Our trip has been going well, problem free.


Traveling opens the mind to differences in culture which we have encountered. Travelers are more open to the differences in both the strangers they meet and experiences of places they visit. You get to see your own problems in perspective, especially when seeing the sufferings in other countries.

I have to say seeing people begging in Vienna was something that affected me deeply. They are a country with great social programs for their countrymen, but those begging were from other countries.


I am in European countries now that are accepting migrants seeking refuge from war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The news stations here talk about it often. The people from Vienna that you encounter also have very pointed opinions too. Some have stated a reluctance to having these new residents.


I can’t really say how I feel about all this, but we may be finding out in the US if our country starts taking large numbers of refugees. Germany seems to have reversed course and is re-evaluating the economics and safety to citizens of their open borders. Countries I was in last year, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Croatia are either closing borders or building walls to keep the migrants out.

I know I do feel for those families with no place to go, but also sympathize with Europeans feeling like they are losing their counties’ housing and even unique identity. If I get to talk with any more of the migrants or demonstrators, it might make me think long and hard.


When being exposed to other cultures, you take the good with the bad for the most part. While tourist areas remain beautiful, places tourists often don’t see will have physical destruction and emotional or economic ghosts of wars. Last year it was very noticeable in Serbia for instance. While Austria, Germany and the Netherlands are prosperous nations, I am wondering what reminders are still in each through the people and older structures.

I did hear some talk on the wars throughout their history, our guide mentioned that Europe has now gone a 60 year span without war between countries. He was very proud to be part of the generation that has experienced 60 years without a major conflict. It is the longest period of time without major conflict in all their history he said.


As an American, it is hard to imagine a long history of fighting on the homeland. My ancestors came from Germany, so it will be interesting for me in this country. I speak a little German too, so maybe in a strange way, I could have an eerie feeling of home!

I am in Austria now and the images in this post are from our cruise through Austria, most images from Melk. It a beautiful town with an abbey. I wish you all well at home, no matter where that might be.

Internet is spotty and I hope to be able to answer your comments. I have been visiting blogs but am not sure my comments are getting through.


Photos are taken with my little P510, the images on the D750 with the wide-angle lens I will save for when I get back.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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30 Responses to Travel Broadens Horizons

  1. Your trip sounds wonderful! Have you seen any gardens to photograph? Europe is changing, that’s for sure, with upheaval in other parts of the world. Nothing involving humans ever stays the same, except for change. Wishing you continued good health and more cultural adventures, and a safe trip everywhere!

    • We have seen some flower displays in town squares, but much is past prime. At one palace, we saw a nice perennial bed still in bloom, but we had to pay for entrance. Thank you for you wishes on my health. I am finding it is very safe where we have traveled. In Vienna, single women go out at night with no fears of being approached or being robbed. We did walk back from a restaurant once after dark.

  2. aussiebirder says:

    Beautiful, wish I were there!

  3. The photos are spectacular and really make me want to travel again…I expect we will all see more immigration in the future.

    • I suspect our country will also be bringing in immigrants. The problem in Germany is safety. I understand there has been rapes and robbery in these camps. It is such a scary time for those immigrant families. Not only are they having a hard time finding a place to relocate, they are also in fear from other immigrant groups different from them. The Muslims don’t drink and contest all the beer drinking in Germany. I doubt that will go over very well.

  4. arlene says:

    Stunning photos you have here Donna. Sorry to learn about the travails of those people who were forced to leave their country so they could avoid war and find peace. Where is this world coming to?

  5. Andrea says:

    I am so envious of your travels in Europe that you enumerated. I agree with what you said here. If you are from my country travelling in Europe, it takes a very different perspective not to compare and not feel sad. I have very short stints in Sweden, Copenhagen, Rome, Strasbourg and Turkey and feel blessed with these trips. Not many from my roots had those chances. Whn in Sweden i asked my friend who also has been there why those people seem so trusting and very kind to strangers. He said that is because they haven’t experienced what our country and history had been through: colonialism by Spaniards, Japanese, Americans, molestations, tortures, rapes, killings, etc, etc, endless sufferings. We are all the products of our past. I felt sad too for those kids begging or snatching others’ wallets in Rome, it looks like home. So i had just to change my perspective for self preservation. God bless you Donna.

    • It really is eye-opening visiting other countries. Our country has its problems, but nothing compared to what is going on in this part of the world. While the countries I am visiting still are stable and economically sound, it makes me wonder what this immigration upheaval will bring to them long term. I so hope it adds, not detracts from their unique culture.

  6. Your photos are wonderful, so the camera (and the operator, of course!) seems to be doing a great job. What an interesting perspective to be there during this time of migrants entering the borders. We’ve been planning a trip to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria for several years. Hopefully it will come true soon. Thanks for sharing your images and your impressions. Enjoy!

    • Thanks, Beth. My other camera has taken some beautiful photos. I shoot in RAW, so I have to process them when I get home. The lens I have is one of Nikon’s best, so I am excited to see the results. I don’t usually shoot RAW for my nature shoots. The only animals I saw were a few pigeons and crows. Some swans, but not even a squirrel. You will love it over here if you get the chance.

  7. Beautiful photos! I know I felt at home in Germany. Although I don’t really speak German, I grew up hearing my grandparents and occasionally my mother speak it. In addition, the climate and the vegetation is very similar to ours. It’s weird, but I get homesick in places that have palms instead of evergreens. Please tell us more about the migrant situation. You have gorgeous photos! Will you try street photography (capturing scenes of people and chance encounters in public places)? Your nature, animal and architecture photos are spectacular. Street photography would be something completely new for you.

    • My family is all from Germany originally, but only my dad spoke some German. I am finding that I am now in Passau, the people are understanding me more. I found more English speaking Austrians than Germans here in Bavaria, so I was forced to speak more German. I am doing some street photography, but am finding there are not as interesting or unique people in the way they dress. They are very similar to us.

  8. Glad to hear your trip is going well. The refugee issue is heartbreaking. I can understand why people would be reluctant to let in large numbers of migrants – but then what? The refugees won’t simply disappear if you don’t let them in.

    • It really is a tragic affair. Some Germans have been relocated to other public housing to make room for the Syrian refugees. This is so the community can be all of the same ethnic background – speaking the same language for instance. It is also because in some cases, there has been severe fighting among different groups from different Muslim countries due to different religious beliefs. Very sad and a delicate situation.

  9. A.M.B. says:

    I’m glad to hear that your travels have been problem free! The photographs are stunning. I understand why people are reluctant to accept refugees, but I believe that we must do what we can to address humanitarian crises around the world.

    • Thank you, but problems have arisen. The major rivers have water levels too low for boat passage, and we are going to abandon our ship for a long, long bus ride to Frankfurt then on to Amsterdam.

      I really am getting all sides on the refugee situation, giving a small sum on euros to the refugee relief program. The Syrians set up a homemade candy stand and would give a nice bag of candy for any amount we wished to give. I have to say giving them 1.5 euros I received the tastiest candy on the trip so far. They wanted to fill my bag, but I only requested one candy. I felt so sorry talking to the person at the outdoor table. No one was stopping and their candy was very good. We had to converse in German since they did not know English. I was lucky he understood German.

  10. Indie says:

    Beautiful! There are so many gorgeous places to go in Europe, and such amazing architecture. The refugee crisis is such an issue, and I feel for the refugees that have nowhere to go. I know Germany has been so helpful with welcoming refugees, but at this point are probably feeling overwhelmed by numbers. I wonder what the opinion would be in the US if they let in such significant numbers of people. I hope your trip continues to be trouble free! Enjoy!

    • Indie, they are overwhelmed by the number individuals of whom I have spoken. It is so sad. I have seen first hand Muslims in traditional dress and can see how this drastic change of culture is going to affect all parties. I also saw a group of Arabic guys on the corner who seemed rather sketchy. The economic disparities along with the cultural differences are really going to reach a turning point I am guessing.

  11. Glad to know your health is holding up and that the trip is meeting expectations.

    • Trip took a bad turn. We are leaving our boat and going 700 miles by bus to Amsterdam. Water is too low in the main rivers. I am less than happy at this point. My health has been OK though. Thanks for commenting.

  12. debsgarden says:

    Gorgeous images! I have mixed feelings about the immigrants. The world is a complicated place, and one can understand both sides. I hope the 60 years of peace will be long extended!

    • I have seen it from both sides, Deb, and have to say it really is a very complicated problem – much due to the number of refugees. Germany expects over one million this year. They are coming by bus and train in large numbers. I hope our country does not experience a huge influx because Germany has had to place them in different groups because of fighting and worse. Segregation helps nothing in the long run.

  13. Maria F. says:

    Simply gorgeous Donna!

  14. Lula says:

    Dona, I hope you are well and enjoying your travel. It’s so interesting to read thoughts about one of the greatest crisis in Europe since WWII. I have very encountered feelings and I feel that this situation will have huge consequences, but Europeans will have to sail it through.

    • I agree, I see a crisis for the hosting countries in time. While the refugees want to return home at some point, I have to wonder what they will return to. I am enjoying Europe. I feel a closeness in Germany, but am still not ready for lederhosen. 😀

  15. Beautiful images…..I hope we can resolve to help those being displaced and I am grateful I have not had this experience to be displaced….yes travel does open our eyes.

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