Bella Vista couple travels for adventure
After a career that included a lot of travel, Mark Kreymborg retired to spend his time traveling. He and wife Ronda have stories from all over the globe.
“We just wanted to do interesting things,” Kreymborg said.
Both retired within the last six months and celebrated by spending six weeks traveling around Europe. They rented an apartment in London but didn’t stay there full time. They took two- and three-day trips all over the continent.
Air travel around Europe is reasonably priced, Kreymborg explained, so they flew from London to all the places they wanted to visit, including Moscow, where they saw a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on Red Square.
They spent time visiting St. Basil’s Cathedral.
“It’s the most beautiful building I have ever seen, in person,” he said.
“I always wanted to go to Russia,” he said. Now that’s checked off his bucket list.
They also visited several battlefields around France and Belgium. Ronda Kreymborg admitted that she wasn’t enthusiastic about visiting the military sites, but it turned out to be fascinating. Part of the reason, she said, is that her husband compiles all kinds of information before they visit each site and brings it along in a notebook.
“He’s like a travel agent,” she said, but he calls himself an amateur World War II historian.
In Belgium, they visited a field where the remains of foxholes are still clearly visible. They visited the beaches at Normandy and the forests where the Battle of the Bulge was fought. They saw several small memorials, including some funded by actor Tom Hanks, and visited General George Patton’s grave.
One of Mark Kreymborg’s favorite memories is an earlier trip he took to Iwo Jima. The island is only open to visitors one day a year, he said. And the year he visited, he heard the grandson of the Japanese commander speak. He flew in on a plane with several veterans and their families and heard firsthand about the battle on the tiny island.
The American tourists and the Japanese tourist visit at the same time, but they don’t mingle, he said. Each group stays in its own tent.
They’ve also had some memorable trips around the United States. They took a train ride up the coast of California and the famous train, “The City of New Orleans,” from Chicago to New Orleans.
Alaska is a favorite destination, but they don’t always visit the usual tourist spots. Last year, they visited bears in Alaska.
Only about 600 people a year take the trip. They flew into the wilderness, about 110 miles west of Homer, on a small plane with only a few passengers. After the plane landed on a pond, the passengers were able to get within 40 feet of grizzly bears fishing in the river.
“I wouldn’t put us in danger,” Mark Kreymborg said. The pilots had been bringing tourists to the area without incident for 28 years. The bears, he explained, have no other contact with humans and don’t associate the humans with food. They have plenty of salmon and berries to eat and ignore their audience.
“We heard a lot of roaring,” Ronda Kreymborg said, but the roars were mother bears with cubs and weren’t directed at the humans.
They plan to return to Alaska in June and see the bears again at a different location. Another tour will take them to the shoreline where the bears emerge from hibernation and start their year.
Kreymborg found both trips when he was researching things to do in Alaska. He also found a bus ride through Denali Park that lasted 11 hours. He didn’t tell Ronda how long it was until they were getting on the bus but, looking back, they agreed that it didn’t seem long at all. They saw a lot of wildlife and heard the bus driver talking about living on a homestead miles away from any neighbors.
Other upcoming trips include a cruise in February, Texas in April to see his daughter compete in an Ironman Triathlon, with side trips to see World War II museums and maybe another train ride.
Mark and Ronda Kreymborg took a small plane into the Alaskan wilderness to see grizzly bears up close. Because the location is so remote, the bears don’t know to associate humans with food and ignore their visitors while they fish for salmon.
Photographed during a recent trip to Moscow, Mark Kreymborg said St Basil’s Cathedral is the most beautiful building he has ever seen.