We are here!!!! We are exhausted but we had to take another peek at the Acropolis from the roof top of our beautiful hotel. Dinner was wonderful, but they ran out of Baklava. Tomorrow is another day and we cannot wait!
We have arrived safely in Olympia after travelling on our coach bus through mountains filled with olive trees and dark valleys with growing summer harvest of grapes, figs, and raisins. Today we walked the steps of the Apostle Paul along the market where he preached the gospel and sold tents with Aquila and Priscilla. We stood in front of the bema wall where Paul was attacked and placed on trial by Gallio, walked along the great theater of Corinth, and through the Corinth Museum. Every moment was filled with taking pictures as we continued our journey along the Agean Sea stopping to hike many historical archaeological discoveries as we connected and contrasted our faith to the real world. We walked along the Corinth Canal, 275 feet above the waterway, that connects the Agean and Ionian seas. We will post pictures tomorrow evening. Our internet is limited and also Mr. Welton's emergency cell number is no longer in service. In case of an emergency, please contact our hotel listed on the itinerary. The school can also assist you if needed.
This morning we headed to Olympia. Our group made their way through the ancient ruins to the original olympic stadium. Once in the stadium, we all raced the length of the field; including Mr. Welton. We all found it amazing to stand in the original olympic stadium. We enjoyed our lunch on the coast of the Ionian Sea; where we ate chicken and pork kabobs, calimari and octopus. At Delphi we climbed to the temple of Apollo, the theatre of Dionysus and the stadium. In the stadium, Michelle sang the first verse of Jesus Loves Me. We are now enjoying a night in the Anemolia Hotel located in Delphi, with a gorgeous view of a valley filled with millions of olive trees.
Museum at Delphi and Over the Parnassos Mountain
Today, we toured the museum at Delphi where we saw the famous Charioteer and the inscription that validated the Apostle Paul being in Corinth and helped to establish the dates of the New Testament. We then crossed over the Parnassos mountain, which is the highest mountain in Delphi. The view surprisingly switched from mountains to prairies to forests and then to plains near the sea. Our last stop was the pinnacles of Meteroa where we visited the hanging monasteries on a Greek holiday called the Day of the Holy Trinity.
We arrived in Berea, which is a small yet significant sight. We sat on the steps of the Bema, like the people during Paul's time, eagerly searching the scriptures (see Acts 17:10-15). We also saw the tomb of Phillip of Macedonia, who was the father of Alexander the Great, which was hidden in a hill. We then traveled to Thessaloniki, a bustling city, amongst ancient Roman ruins, along with sites from the Ottoman empire and the largest Greek Orthodox church in Greece.
We have had a terrific day of touring, traveling from Thessaloniki to Philippi. We visited the site were Paul baptized Lydia, the first European to become a Christian. Four of our students re-dedicated their lives to the Lord at the baptism site. We toured the ruins of Philippi including the place where Paul was imprisoned along with Silas. As we traveled over the mountainous roads of Greece we gained a deepening appreciation for what Paul experienced traveling on foot. What a rugged and beautiful country!
We are posting early today because CNN has broadcast reports of demonstrations in Greece, and we want to assure you that we are completely safe. The demonstrations here in Thessaloniki are peaceful and our hotel is far removed from that area. When we are in Athens, we will stay well clear of the parliament area and sites of demonstrations. Our hotels are in very safe neighborhoods, and our tour agency is in contact with the authorities. Please be assured we are in loving and experienced hands and God is with us. Our greatest danger here is over-eating Greek baklava and other Greek pastries!
What a beautiful day! We continued our voyage south with a six hour drive filled with views of the Aegean Sea and one of Greece's largest island while making our way back to Athens (Athina). All is well and safe in Athens. In Athens, we took a late afternoon subway ride to the famous Areopogus and climbed to Mars Hill where Mr. Welton did an incredible devotion from the book of Acts explaining how the Apostle Paul encouraged the Greeks to let go of their idols and to serve the one true living God, Jesus Christ. We all stood on the same soil as Paul while Mr. Welton read his words. This was a highlight of our trip. We will be boarding our cruise in the morning. Everything is fine in Athens.
Sailing on a beautiful ship called Majesty we left the port of Piraeus for the glamorous island Mykonos, also called little Venice, with its famed windmills, deep blue water, clear blue sky, fashionable shops and sidewalk cafes nestled throughout whitewashed buildings. All aboard and cabin bound for the evening as we prepare for very early departures each morning as we continue our journey to the Continent Asia Minor, specifically Turkey, and the Greek island Crete and Santorini.
On the second day of our cruise we ported in the Turkish resort of Kusadasi were we toured the ancient city of Ephesus. Early morning departure afforded us first view of this very meaningful and educational site. Sweet melodies from Michelle, Rachel and Katlin proved the acoustics in the theater to be quite superior as visitors from around the world clapped for their performance. Next, we took a chartered bus back to the ship for a buffet lunch as we cruised to Patmos to visit the Monastery of St. John that same day. We stood where the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelations while he was exiled on the island at a very old age.
Day three of our Greek cruise took us on two more excursions. Arriving on the island of Crete, we toured the Palace of Knossos dating back to the Minoan civilization. Discovered by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, the people of this civilization were very advanced in engineering, art and cultural achievements. The palace was quite impressive, as was Mr. Welton’s teaching on Greek Mythology. Later in the afternoon we arrived in Santorini, the treasured island that the students were very excited to visit. What an adventurous day, as many of us braved the donkey ride to the top of this quaint village. Will Pearce kept saying that the donkey ride was the best 5 euros he has ever spent. We all enjoyed the ride up, either on the donkeys or the cable car. What a beautiful day filled with magnificent views in every direction from the volcanic cliffs and winding streets.
We have a 5:15 am wake-up call in the morning and a very busy last day in Athens. We will not be able to post again prior to leaving for the airport. Many of the students will be facebooking and emailing from our last hotel in Athens since the internet service is free and has easy access. Please pray for our flights and connection in England.