Jessup family wins Times Traveler prize with trip to Germany
Nov 11, 2012 (Menafn - The Times-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The Pezak family's trip to Germany last spring left them with plenty of pictures and stories to share. And now, it also has made them winners.
Gary and Theresa Pezak and their sons, Craig and Corey, are the latest winners of the Times Traveler contest after submitting a photograph of the boys at Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
For their win, the Pezaks, who live in Jessup, receive a 500 travel package sponsored by AAA North Penn to use at any of its eight locations. Winners are selected in a random drawing held around the change of each season.
Hearing from his mother that they won came as a bit of a surprise for Craig, a freshman at The Pennsylvania State University.
"I didn't believe her at first, to be honest, because I don't think she believed my dad when he told her," he said.
The Pezaks spent about a week in Germany over Easter, traveling to Potsdam, Berlin, Munich and more. They took a few photos posing with the newspaper during the trip, and the boys picked the one they ultimately submitted for the contest.
Traveling with them throughout their vacation was a German guide who showed them the sights, which included castles, remnants of the Berlin Wall and the countryside.
"That definitely made the trip a lot better because, from him living there all his life, he told us all the details that if we took a big tour wouldn't have been told," Craig said.
Most of their trip took place in Germany, but they also popped into Austria while in the Alps. They traveled along the autobahns, too, and Mr. Pezak, assistant maintenance coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in Dunmore, snapped some photos so he could show his co-workers some of the German road signs.
"When we were on the autobahn, some of the cars were just flying past us," said Mrs. Pezak, who works as an attorney.
And they checked out a more unusual method of transportation by taking a bobsled-type ride in the Alps.
"I'm screaming all the way down," Mrs. Pezak said, laughing. "They're looking at me because I'm just yelling."
They also saw former Olympic ski jump launches and set aside time so Craig, a European soccer fan, could check out the stadium where the Bayern Munich soccer team plays.
"I've seen it so many times on TV, but when you really kind of see it up close, it really towers over any stadium we have in the states," he said.
Corey, a seventh-grader at Valley View Middle School, enjoyed trying the food, like schnitzel, and Craig made a point to taste the bratwurst, which differed from town to town.
The Pezaks had plenty of fun during the trip, but they also made sure to learn a little along the way.
"We try to do something educational with (the boys') vacation," Mrs. Pezak said.
They saw pavers marking where the Berlin Wall once divided the city, and they visited Dachau, a concentration camp where the Nazis interned and killed thousands of people.
"I really thought that was something they needed to see," Mrs. Pezak said.
Craig had just studied the Holocaust in high school before the trip and described the camp as "eerie." But, he added, it is a part of history, and he liked being able to experience visiting it.
And since the trip coincided with Easter, the family was able to attend holiday Mass there. They were amazed at how plain some churches appeared from the outside even though their interiors boasted elaborate, grand decorations.
Germany's environmentally friendly initiatives also stood out to the Pezaks, who saw lots of windmills, solar panels and biking but little Styrofoam. Even the rivers and other bodies of water are green -- literally. The green color is because the waters originate in the Alps with the shade of green intensifying as the elevation increases.
"It's really unbelievable, the color," Mr. Pezak said.
They are not sure where they will go on their trip with their Times Traveler winnings, but they have a few ideas, from the beach to Russia to Poland. Eventually, they would love to see Germany again, too.
"This is like a family adventure," Mrs. Pezak said. "The kids are involved in (the planning). I like to get them involved in all of that."
Contact the writer: email@example.com, @FeaturesTT on Twitter
___ (c)2012 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.) Visit The Times-Tribune
(Scranton, Pa.) at thetimes-tribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
Copyright (C) 2012, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.