Thursday, October 30, 2014

Greeting Greece: Boarding Again

We left Santorini as the sun was setting. I was so very thankful CC had gotten me this camera, which uses no flash (unless I attach one). Due to its design, it does not need one at twilight. I loved this early evening picture I took as we walked back through town.

L, due to her needing a crutch, was moved to the front of the queue to ride the cable car back down. H and I waited in line. I quickly discovered H's fear of heights as we began the descent down. It was a quick 2 minutes, straight down!

This picture I shot when we got off the cable car. It was taken with only moonlight as its light source.

I wanted to get a shot of our cable car before we got back on our tender boat.

Looked like Bethlehem to me!

And this towel monkey with a shower cap diaper greeted us!

Soon we were cruising away from this beautiful place.

As I wrote earlier, the ship had nightly shows. On this Sunday night, they had proposed a passenger talent show. Only 1 group signed up, a man and his daughter. They began by explaining that for them, Sunday was a holy day, a day to worship. And in that moment, I knew the Lord had once again given me a reminder that He is present everywhere. His people are throughout the world, ever testifying to His work in their hearts. They sang two beautiful praise songs, and the three of us heartily sang along. It was a highlight of the trip for me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Greeting Greece: Santorini II

We had a quick few hours on the island. I could have stayed much longer...days, even. But we walked quickly...saw beautiful churches and bells....
 ...the homes of the wealthy (our tour guide told us Angelina Jolie has a home up here...when she hears Angie's in town, she always makes sure to be out and about in case AJ sends Brad out for the bread...ha!)...

....beautiful architecture...

We got to be there as the sun set.

I wore my blue/white shirt so I could blend in!

I was so happy to see Bougainvillea, so prevalent in Singapore.

I have read that when the Ottomans took over Greece, they were forbidden to fly their flags. So, as an act of defiance, they painted their homes blue and white. Others say that the houses originally were not painted white, but white-washed, and cools the homes in the summer. Blue resembles the beautiful sky and water around them. Whatever the reason, it was uniform and beautiful.

We had taken a bus up, walked around, then would bus it back down to a cable car, which shot us literally straight down to the port. Heights don't bother me at all. It was just that little interior cruise cabin....!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Greeting Greece: Santorini I

We got back to our boat, and stumbled upon this fruit carving competition by the staff chefs.

As we pulled up to Santorini, it seemed very much to me like Cappadocia, here in Turkey. Both were formed from volcanic rock and ash, so that would make sense.

The white caps in the distance seemed like snow. However, they were the famous white houses of this island. We took a little tender boat to the island. I was jostled on the tender boat, but waited until I could get the Greek flag unfurled.

I really like the seaport look of these islands.

This island was unlike anything I'd ever seen. This mime was entertaining the crowds.

Though I realize many inhabitants on this island may have never found the relationship with Christ that I treasure, it still blessed me to see their beautiful churches and reminded me to pray that He would reveal Himself to any who truly seek Him.

The insides were ornate and beautiful.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Greeting Greece: Crete's Town Center

Our cab driver then took us for a quick stop at the town center, where we saw this fountain. Constructed in 1628, it was made not for beauty, but to bring 1,000 barrels of water a day to this place from an aqueduct 15 miles away. It has 4 lion mouths, so that many people could fill their jugs at once. The ingenious thing is that the final point of the aqueduct were the lions' mouths, yet they had no pump to bring the water up to that point.  This town square was the center of the largest slave trade in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Arab rule in the 9th century, was the site of the Byzantine governor's palace in the 10th-13th centuries, and was where the Venetian Duke of Crete stood to determine the fate of these people. Now, it's surrounded by coffee shops and people, modern life wrapping itself around history.

I got to quickly see the Basilica of St. Mark, built in 1239. It's amazing to me how many earthquakes these structures have survived.

I briefly hopped out of the cab to take a picture of the Koules Fortress, built in the 13th century, destroyed by an earthquake, then rebuilt in 1540. It served to store supplies and military weapons, and also as a prison.

I loved the color and crowdedness of this picture.

Biblically, we know that  some Cretan Jews were at Pentecost and were converted. We also know Paul briefly stopped here, while being taken as prisoner to Rome. It was from here that his shipwrecked voyage occurred. Paul's letter to Titus references a church here and gives instructions about elders. I took this picture because it reminded me best of what it might have looked like then.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Greeting Greece: Crete

The next day, our ship stopped in Crete. We walked off, negotiated with a taxi driver for a quick 2 hour tour of his city, then took off. He took us to Knossos, the ancient civilization of the Minoans, which dates to 2700-1450 BC.

I could not resist photographing the color of these pomegranates.

Here are some of the ruins of Knossos. It was surrounded by beautiful mountains. The ruins were in wonderful shape and building structures easy to detect.

Much of the public baths reminded me of the ruins in Turkey.

Support beams have been added, but the rocks remain from thousands of years, earthquakes, and invaders.

While Turkey generally leaves its frescoes and original ruins alone (and even lets the goats and sheep crawl all over them!), Greece seems to work toward restoring to the original design. Fragments of this piece were found, then they crafted around it what the original would have been. You can see the Egyptian design, which has helped them date this civilization.

Many things were grown on the mountainside. I think some of it was tea. It was beautiful!

I found this mineral-rich rock.

These storage jars were found. It was impossible at the angle from which we viewed them to get the size orientation, but they were so big I could have climbed inside. But I didn't. Have I mentioned I like plenty of space around me?

This was the queen's chamber. Historians have said these people mainly worshipped goddesses and that it was a matriarchal society. Dating it alongside our biblical history, I kept thinking of our intentional God and his many warnings against idol worship like the peoples around them. It becomes more relevant how He insisted that His people be separate from the others.

This was the crowning find, the Knossos bull, restored to its original color and texture by historians.
It was a quick tour, but I am glad I got to see it!

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