Now, here's a clip from "GLEE" that I don't think you'll see this Friday night on the Football field. These people at FOX don't get FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL---in fact, they might get beat up if they tried this on a real FRIDAY NIGHT GAME!
Thanks to my friend Chuck Harris for alerting me to this clip!
Today was our last and final stop in Naples. We exited the gangway about 7:45 AM (that would be around 11PM Wednesday night in Texas). We made our way to a Jet Boat which probably held 300-400 people for the 50 minute ride to the Island of Capri.
What a wonderful little town Capri is. It was very quiet in the morning (but got busier as the day went on) and we just sat and enjoyed some of the local life there in Capri. We even spotted Brad Pitt (see if you can see him in the pictures)
The afternoon was spent at the Augustus Gardens--very lovely and then lunch in a local hotel. We enjoyed lunch with a French couple from Quebec and she was learning English. So she practiced on us and I taught her how to say "howdy"
After that it was a mad house and rush to get back to the Funicula that runs up and down the mountain. This by far was the most stressful part of the day. What a rush of people. And then when we got on, this lady in front of us was rocking the "tight" swim suit top and the underarm hair! She lifted up her arm and we thought we were going to faint! We quickly popped in a cough drop to avert the smell. We just chuckled. What a way to end the day.
We're back on ship and ready to sail in about an hour. Heading to Cittavechia where we'll disembark and head for Rome airport.
Thanks for following all of our adventures. More pics will be up once I arrive back in the states where Wifi (at least at my house) is FREE!
It's been a lazy day here on the boat.
So I decided to feature CANDY! Candy is a stuffed animal that Diane got for me some 15 years ago when I would travel away from home. She wanted me to remember her. Since then, the kids have now entered the scene. Each time I leave, one of them remembers to stick CANDY in my suitcase.
Today was CANDY'S day around the ship. She went to breakfast, to the Spa, in the elevator, to the library and to the Bistro. Quite a day for her.
She got a little seasick this afternoon as we hit some swells associated with a storm system we were in the middle of. Lightning and rain were all around us as the water washed over the deck on 5!
Anyway, it's the last formal night and we're headed to the last show in the theater. Dock in Naples by 5 AM in the morning. I'm tired and ready to head home--but it's been a blast.
Today was a great day--but boy was it crowded. Seems that three ships got off at once and there were 3000 people at the Acropolis between 8 and noon. They had to shut it off because so many people were on the mountain and couldn't get down. Luckily, we were up when they closed it, but I wasn't sure that we would get down.
We made all 191 steps to the Parthenon (the Temple of Athenia) Its under some restoration right now so there are lots of scaffolds around it. Still, it's one of those "Bucket List" things that you always want to do.
The highlight for me was Olympic Stadium. This was the stadium constructed in 1896 to launch the modern Olympic games and is the site every four years where they bring the torch from Olympus and start the race around the world. I ran there today--not far--but I ran at the Olympic stadium!
Some shopping in downtown Athens, but we were bushed and headed back to the boat. We depart in an hour. Headed toward Naples!
I've been most impressed with the musicians and the entertainers on the ship this week. They have quite the variety (from a string quartet to an Accapella group called SoulD Out). Each evening in the theater there is some show or entertainer.
We've seen two shows by the company of the Solstice (Ghostlight and Groove) Both were high energy and entertainment from the crew of the Solstice.
We're heading into Greece tonight--will arrive there at 6:00 in the morning--about 10 PM Texas time. Headed to the Acropolis and Parthenon and some more shopping in Greece.
Today was a much needed day of doing nothing. A midafternoon nap was just the ticket before dinner and the show tonight.
Look for more pics tomorrow. I'm running low on my minutes, so as in the beginning I'll have to be selective about putting them up or at least doing a couple of posts at a time.
Good Day= in Greece that goes like this KALIMERA!
I didn’t quite know what was going on last evening when I logged on (actually this morning) as I was seeing KANYE, KANYE-BEYONCE going on as Twitter trends and on facebook.
Now, this afternoon I see on the Today show (Yes it’s 2:31 PM here and 6:30 AM Texas time) as I see him interrupt Taylor Swift at the VMA’s. What in the world was he thinking when he pulled that stunt?
I’m depending on you guys to fill me in on all of this as we are limited to the information that we get.
Please fill me in!
By far this was the most anticipated day for me on the trip. I have longed to visit here and to truly understand Paul’s love for the church here at Ephesus.
We arrived around 9 this morning and not to long after that we were on the bus and off to Ephesus which is some 20 minutes away --but only 5 miles. The Agean Sea used to go up to Ephesus, as it was a port city, but it has since receeded.
We went straight to the House of the Virgin Mary where it is told that Mary spent her last days of her life here--protected by the Ephesian church and accompanied by St. John. We were to attend a small service there, but it was Sunday and they were overrun with people.
As the service started, I was the only one in the congregation singing with the song leader “ COME CHRISTIANS JOIN TO SING”--every verse. People just looked at me because I was singing. Oh, well--it’s my job.
The service went on, but not without me having to “shhh” some people walking behind me headed toward the house.
We went in the house afterwards--so many relics. And we went got water from her house --even have a little vase to fill, but it leaked!
Then we were off to EPHESUS, The third. Five times the city of Ephesus was built. The one we see today is 3rd time and most likely the one Paul saw. We went to city center and the Library and finally ended up in the Grand Theater where it was said that Paul preached and the Artemis God makers were mad at him because he killed their idol business. We spent almost 2 hours here.
Lunch was soon afterwards and it was a biblical lunch-foods from time of Bible (lentels, barley, wheat, vegetables, lamb stew, nuts and fruits and more) It was delicious.
Then it was off to the Basillica of St. John where John is said to be buried after returning from Patmos (Domitian banished him there) and where one of the first baptistry’s was seen.
Much shopping was to follow in the town of Kusadasi--and we were back to this ship by 6:00--and bushed.
A very fast and filled day. I’ll take tomorrow to reflect on what I saw. I’m reading Watchman Nee’s book SIT STAND AND WALK which is his commentary on Ephesians.
Grace and peace!
Today was a much better day than yesterday with the disaster we had as a guide. Today’s guide was very kind and knowledgeable and took his time with our group. What a difference. We really enjoyed him.
We went to the Blue Mosque, made famous because of the blue tiles that line the inside of the mosque and were made in Nicea (where the Council of Nicea met in 325 BC). So much of the biblical history and geography is coming into place for me. We’ve decided though after a visit to a mosque in Egypt and now Turkey--no more mosques.
Then we headed to the Topkali palace which was the home of the Sultans (not of Swing) of the Ottoman Empire. Much of the Empire was ruled from here and is filled with jewels and gems of the conquests of Egypt, Asia and Europe (Russia). A very peaceful place, we also learned where we get the word DIVAN (low couch and the DIVAN was also the room where the Council of the Ministers met) and OTTOMAN (a low rise piece of furniture)...hmm..How global.
Back to the Grand Bazar one more time-we were armed and ready to shop. We had to endure a couple of rude guys, but the man we eventually bought with gave us space and room to dig through his goods to find what we wanted.
It was back to the ship by 1:30 and set sail for Ephesus at 2:00. Thank goodness the rain held off for us in Istanbul, but as we pulled out it began to pour. As I look out now on the Mamara Sea it is sunshine and beauty.
Some time to rest this afternoon and then get ready for Ephesus tomorrow. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to putting the place with the words from Ephesians. They say this will be the high point of the trip.
We’ve just arrived back from our day 1 of Istanbul, Turkey. That’s right--I’m not in Turkey, Texas but TURKEY the country.
We sailed in around noon and we could see Europe on one side and Asia on the other. It’s the only city in the world that is divided by two continents.After a quick lunch, we hurried to the theater to get our assignment--group 32! Wow--we thought we’d sit forever until our bus was called, but it wasn’t too long until they called our number.However, once on board, we knew that this was going to be a difficult day. Our trip guide was not good... an incessant laugh and broken English made it almost impossible to enjoy the tour.The pics here are from our sail in at noon, the St. Sophia Museum (gilded ceilings and all), the inside of St. Sophia and outside the Blue Mosque that we’ll visit tomorrow.
It was a quick trip back to the Grand Bazaar (a mall of all kinds of shops). We’ll make some decisions tonight about what we want to purchase. It’s so hard to see and to calculate what the real cost is when they are pushing you to buy!
Until tomorrow! Sunday we head to Ephesus--Biblical tour of Paul--with communion at the end. I can't wait!
We’re passing through to Istanbul, Turkey. Although scriptures don’t point to Paul visiting Istanbul, he did pass through the region of Troas to the southeast of us and so as I listened to the words of Ephesians this morning, I imagined what the people of Ephesus must have heard as they listened to this letter.
It gives new meaning to “how high, how long, how wide, how deep” when you look out in to the deep blue Mediterranean waters. Wow!
I listened to the whole book of Ephesians on my ipod this morning and then my ipod went to Matt Maher’s “MARANATHA”---wow! my own worship service with the word and worship! Couldn’t get any better.
Heading into Istanbul today. Not only is it the month of Ramadaan but it’s also the anniversary of 9/11 in the US. My heart and mind will be full today. I hope to publish some photos later in the day.
Until then--Grace and peace to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
We were fortunate to have Atonis as our guide. I can only tell you if he was a high school English teacher, there would lines standing outside of his classroom to get in. He was so full of stories and made it interactive and fun. We were lucky--some of the other tours just had fact tellers.
One of the highlights of the tour this morning was sitting in the 6000 seat theater where actors and actresses (something very uncommon--the ladies would not usually act, they were played by men) and the telling of how we got the names in our current theater for ORCHESTRA, CHORUS and THESPIAN. Of course on this island is also the home of the God of the theater--Dionysus. So I have something to tell my friends back in the theater.
All in all it was a great morning and we’re now back on ship heading to Turkey. I read in the papers here on board that Turkey is floating away with some of the worst rain in 80 years ahead of us. Suppose to 75 and raining there tomorrow.
Anyway--this afternoon will include a run to the gym since I missed it this morning and a catch up nap.
Enjoy the pics!
By the way--my greek name is Dimetri!
Yassou! (that means good bye in Greece)
Several times I have heard Pete allude to Dallas Willard’s acronymn for spiritual growth VIM (Vision, Intention, Methodology) where in each of these categories you work toward spiritual growth (Vision= what God created you to be, Intention=the passion and drive to move toward that goal, Methodoly=ordering your world around this vision)
As I went to the gym this morning, I was struck that many of us have GYM spirituality. Let me explain.
A local workout place is a lot like a local church. It’s a gathering point of like minded people, it usually has something going on to attract people, it has “life” seemingly in abundance, and there are a bunch of people who seem like they are making progress toward a goal. That may or may not be true.
Now if you take my analogy of GYM to spiritualilty, there are many times that we walk into the GYM (Local church) and are overwhelmed with all of the things that are suppose to help us grow and change (transform as Pete says it). You can go from activity to activity ( in the gym that would be machine after machine) and be really busy in the GYM (local church) and think that you are making progress--all the while you are doing nothing to make progress toward that vision God has given you for your life. You’re just busy!
If you go into the GYM (local church) without VIM, you’ll certainly be swallowed in a maze of things that are good. Don’t get me wrong, but are they the kind of things that move you towards your spiritual growth? I think we seriously have to stop and ask these questions of the GYM (local church).
Instead, we have to own our own spirituality (our spiritual health) and make a plan that helps move us along the path of growth. What I’m advocating here is a specified plan where you seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in what your VIM should be. Then go and do that!
The most successful people in the local GYM are the ones who have a plan to grow. They stick to it with great passion and great devotion. They measure their life by it. They order their world around it. They become the VIM that they see in their life and what the Holy Spirit reveals to them.
What do you think? Maybe instead of the church offering GYM memberships, we could offer VIM memberships where Christ followers are challenged to own their own spirituality--and not leave it up to the local GYM to do it for them.
We tendered (dropped anchor) here in Santorini this afternoon about 2PM. I awoke my lovely wife with a phone call at 6:30 her time to let her know we had made port. Spoke to my lovely children (I really do miss their grumpy voices in the morning).
We traveled by tender boats to the island and were quickly shuffled to buses to take us to our tours. Our guide was Kostos--a very stylish greek man--and very knowledgable.
We moved up the mountain where we could see all sides of the island. Santorini is basically a volcanic island that some say that was the place of Atlantis. A giant vocalnic eruption years ago made this into a string of islands.
Made our way to the top of the island (walking by foot up the cobbleston streets) and saw some lovely things. A quick trip down and our next stop was a greek cafe where we sampled Tomato Fritters, Yogurt sauce and some other things. Very good--I think I like greek food.
They dropped us off in Fira town which is the capital of Santorini. We walked up and down the streets to see the shops--but we didn’t buy. There were people shelling out the dough for greek jewlery. I didn’t get it--but they were giving it up.
We’re back to the boat now--maybe a quick trip to the Oceanview cafe for a late night snack and then a show in the theater at 10:30--which we may skip. It’s an early morning tomorrow in Mykonos.
Thanks for reading and keeping up with me. The best way to let me know what you’re thinking is to comment. I can read those immediately--faster than email.
One of the channels plays all Dvorak’ ( I love the NEW WORLD SYMPHONY) and one plays Aaron Copland (RODEO, FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN, APPALACHIAN SPRING).
The thing that I think that I appreciate about both of these composers is their earthy nature. Both bring out the natural spirit in the music. Both were men of great knowledge in their native folk songs and their native songs of their land. Dvorak being Hungarian knew the songs of the gypsies, the nomadic tribe that wandered around Europe and likewise Copland knew the melodies of the songs from the Appalachian people. Thats what I think connects the two of them.
So--Dvorak or Copland? I think I’ll have both.
At some point it gets very confusing of what it really is. My body is used to waking up around 5:00 AM Texas time. Let’s see.. that would be around 3:00 PM in the afternoon.
While on deck yesterday morning, I could see the sun rising in the East and the Moon rising in the west. I thought about the song of being caught between the moon and New York City--but I was caught between the moon and the sun somewhere in the midst of the Med. ocean.
As I said yesterday, it was a pretty rock day at sea. I think the afternoon convection heated up the water and made it pretty choppy. I finally had to lay down in the afternoon and just let my body get used to the motion. Right now, as of 7 AM in the morning, it’s pretty smooth sailing and I can’t tell if we’re moving or not.
I’m up early to go work out and to get some quiet time in before the day begins. We’re docking around 2PM this afternoon and will see the sun set on Santorini Greece which I hear is amazing. Sorry there are no pictures so far--it’s just too expensive to spend the time uploading them.
If I don’t look out the window, I’m pretty good--but it’s when the horizon gets fuzzy that my tummy starts to feel a little queasy. I sure hope that it settles down by supper--or I’m going to be seeing green.
Just went up on deck and the culprit of all of this is a pretty stiff Easterly breeze that is throwing chairs around on the upper deck like a tractor through a wheat field. They are scrambling to keep everything on board.
Oh well---I’m staying busy. We attended to seminars today on the upcoming ports of call and this afternoon attended a seminar in the Gym. I forgot how much I like the buzz of the gym where so many people are passionately going after health!
Off to another seminar... how to make crepes’... yeah, it’s a slow day at sea. Now where did I put my sea legs?
Tonight was the first of two formal nights. No I didn't wear my beaded gown--but there was sure enough sparkle to go around. And may I say.. many of these fashions should have been retired years ago. Ladies--when have you seen a sweater dress since flash dance in the 80's? I saw one tonight.
The show tonight was a Broadway review. Sure thought of my kids when they sang 3 songs from WICKED, RENT, WEST SIDE STORY and more.
We dock at Santorini at 2 PM tomorrow-about 6 AM Texas time. Maybe I'll try some pics tomorrow.
Highlights from today
Boarded the ship
Found my room
took a nap
Signed up for a class at the gym
Ate some supper
Saw a show
nibbled on some sweets before bed.
I'm bushed. We are at sea tomorrow. Will try to write then.
The alarm to get up and run at 6:00 AM came as a jarring wake up and I really considered sleeping in. I did sleep a little longer and awakened at 6:45. Quickly I dressed and went north of here to Piazza de Popolo (where we were yesterday). I turned left and went across the Tiber into Vatican City. I ran and ran until I hit the end of the street and took a left. This all looked very familiar since it is close to where the Vatican tour takes place and we had been here in 2006.
Just beyond the gate I entered into St. Peter square. I was so tempted to run in and around the square, but for some reason the police were really active there this morning. I decided to wave to the Holy Father and move along.
Down now to Castel San Angelo where I was yesterday I crossed back into Rome and continued to run up the Vittoria Emmanuel Blvd. It was getting close to 8:00 by now and so I headed back to the hotel.
I will never forget running here. To be greeted in the morning by the shopkeepers as they ready for the day --”Bon Giorno” and in great Texan I said “Howdy”. It will truly be a memory I will never forget. Thanks Rich for challenging me to run in Rome.
We’re moments away from leaving Rome and heading to the ship yards at Cittavechio, some two hours away. I might just fall asleep on the way there.
I ran in San Francisco in 2000 when I had just begun to run. I got up that early July morning and ran in the wind and rain of San Fran. I felt alive.
Somewhere between 2000-2009 I had forgotten how much running can connect you to a place and a time.
This afternoon I felt that urge to get up and go run. I didn’t know where--I just had the urge to do it. So, I started out from my hotel and turned right down the Via del Corso--one of the main avenues in Rome.
It was busy and crowded with people--so I had to be careful and dodge a couple of folks. Once I hit “The Wedding Cake”- a government building which is really a military memorial, I found an open spot and ran and ran freely--past the Roman Forum, the prison where Paul and Peter were kept, past Trajan’s Market, the Coliseum and the Arch of Victory. When I rounded the corner at the Palentine Hill, I had a choice to make, do I stop and enjoy or keep going.
I decided to keep going and headed south just around the Circus Maximum. Now--let me tell you that was tough because it’s all on an incline. Once I reached the half-way point of the CM--I noticed people were walking along the bottom of the area--so I decided to run the Circus Maximus.
The CM was a place of entertainment for the Romans and was the setting for many chariot races. Some say that there were as many as 300,000 people who watched games here.
I imagined that in my mind as I ran--”surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses”--ok, there were three people watching me. But it was exciting.
I continued on up the Tiber River and headed into the Campo d’ Fioria area which is known for it’s night life and markets. After this I headed back to Piazza Novona where the artists sell their goods. I couldn’t help but think of my friend ,Randy Elrod ,and wish that he were here with me too. Randy is a Renaissance man and would enjoy it all here.
Back to the hotel I found my way back by instinct. In all I covered 4 Miles in a little under an hour. I think that’s better than my time at home.
I was listening to Travis Cottrell’s “JESUS SAVES” cd as a finished and realized that Paul and Peter came to this city to tell people about the Christ that saves. So many then and today still have a notion that they have to do for Christ in order to gain salvation and life--nothing could be further from the truth. Christ came to free us and give us life. More on that revelation in another blog.
So, tomorrow-I run again. Somewhere to the north (Piazza de Popolo (the plaza of the people) I’ll make a turn to the west and head to St. Peter. I wonder if the holy father will join me.
Mark it down--today I ran in Rome!
Tomorrow we head to the boat and will hopefully have more internet access there. I am planning to run to St. Peters square in the morning. Maybe the Holy Father will join me!