Dec. 8, 2012
From Tom & Marie Zahn
We wish this year did not have to come to a close. It was a special year. In so many ways our lives passed milestones from which there is no turning back. We managed to grow our little business, add a woodburning stove to the house, and in Aug., our oldest child flew to America, for the first time on her own, for 10 months as an exchange student.
We could not be happier for Antonie, or more grateful to our friends who are hosting her in their home. In this age of ipads and digital cameras, we speak with her face to face every week, nevertheless we miss each other, especially during the holidays. At home the good news for genealogists is that our second daughter Cecilia has chosen photography as her field of study, to follow in her grandfather's footprints. So we are putting her to work shooting grave markers in cemeteries. This should keep her busy for some time, and hopefully cover the cost of equipment for years to come. In the weeks and months to come these will be posted here (www.pathfinders.cz/photo_album.php), along with an index of family names.
Meanwhile, we got the stove fired up just in time for the winter, as the bitter cold has already arrived. These days of tending the fire, beside the stove, are wonderfully productive. We reflect on the year behind us, and even more so, we look ahead to the not so distant horizon of another season. Each year teaches us new lessons and enriches us with new places and people.
This year’s slide show tells the story well. From moments that changed our lives, to a glimpse at what and where we hope to return. The slides are not labeled, as those moments are better left as unique (the right place at the right time). This is something of the playful mischief that we take for granted here. There is a certain magic that can be found in so many beautiful places, and we might even find a time of the season in Prague when you could feel like this beautiful city was yours alone.
The www.pathways.cz pages will be updated in Jan. to reflect some of new offers, as well as a new calendar, where we will post events and trips that have open enrolment. While this is not possible with family history trips, we have seen a marked increase in the number of visitors who don’t mind sharing the ride. Many new day trips will be offered for different interests (beer, wine, hiking, cycling, hockey, castles, cottages, gardens, foraging mushrooms, pilgrimage shrines, storytelling and music). This is who we are, and we would be happy to make new friends, and take you with us, as we explore Middle Europe.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Nov. 18, 2011
As we enter the final stretch of 2011, the Autumn is upon us like the morning fog. The year was good to us, and left us just enough time to take care. Our children continue to grow and never cease to surprise us by how well they adjust to our hectic Summer schedule.
The van, now in it's 4th year, is as reliable as ever. Even the Dollar, which skirted near a 2 year low, was still manageable. All in all, 2011 marked the first time in several years that we dared dream again. The view from our window in Prague is that of hope.
The season started earlier than usual in March, which typically is rather slow here. This was followed by a family trip to Germany, for our first flight in a Zeppelin NT. We hope that such Airship Cruises will become more common, and someday will be another way to visit Bohemia. This alone could have been the highlight of the year, but it proved only to be a great beginning. Each day, starting in the early Spring, brought a host of new requests, to fill our Summer and Autumn calendar.
As we look back, there were more trips in 2011 than we have enjoyed for many years. Most of these to extraordinary places, accompanied by new and old friends. It is as though we took off in a dirigible, and we have not yet come down. Return to earth we must, however, to resume the work at hand. To improve ourselves further, what must be done?
As we asked our 4 year old, what to get grandma for Christmas, he quickly replied, a skateboard. And so, here are the results of many wakeful dreams (Tom's contribution), and concrete business planning (Marie's influence):
- We plan to expand our travel services at PATHWAYS to include destinations and activities we most enjoyed over the years. Keep in mind, though, that these trips are mostly the product of our guests requests, and so we welcome you to send us your wish list, whatever strikes your fancy. Yes, we can turn your dream into reality.
- We plan to increase the number of our Friends & Partners, listed on both P.A.T.H. FINDERS Intl. and PATHWAYS s.r.o. web sites. These include old acquaintances and new associates. There will be more tips for lodging and places of interest, and a new Feedback page. We encourage all our visitors and guests to add their overall impressions about lodging, restaurants, transportation, etc. (not only the nice things that they say about Marie...).
- We wish to thank those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Simply identify your branch of the armed services, and we will discount our travel services by 15%. Also, for anyone serving their local communities as fire fighters, police, or teachers, we will give a discount of 10% for research and travel services (combined).
- Finally, we wish to remind those of you who have someone special you may wish to send your holiday greetings, we can help. This year our "Gift Baskets for Friends & Relatives" is more affordable and convenient than ever. While prices remain mostly unchanged from last year, we have increased the size of the message you can now send, and reduced the cost to send a color family picture. Furthermore, we now accept payment by credit card, to help expedite the process. To insure that your gift basket will arrive on time, though, please order as soon as possible, as the coming weeks always seem to disappear too quickly.
Best Wishes for Blessed Thanksgiving
Tom & Marie Zahn