Monday, June 02, 2014

Cruising on the Aegean Sea...Patmos, Crete, Santorini

We said goodbye this morning to 3 of the ladies who had joined us in Istanbul, and we also said goodbye to Turkey, to our tour guide and bus driver. I am thankful for these two men who faithfully guided us and watched over us and showed us many things. I saw our cruise ship coming in and it made me super excited for the next part of our journey to begin. :)

How do I describe today? It is a day I have dreamed of a long time and never imagined it would happen. I found it hard to hold my emotions back while I was on the cruise ship, trying to imagine how hard and long of a ride it would have been for the Apostle John, on a ship or boat, not a luxury cruiser either, but perhaps one that was run by slaves or a sail. He would not have been comfortable, especially if the story is true that he was put into a vat of hot oil to kill him first, but when that didn't work then he was exiled to the island of Patmos. It's a quaint, exquisite island which I totally adored, and we had to take these smaller 'tender boats' to get to the island and I could not stop taking photographs. :) As I walked the cobbled streets to the grotto and the monastery I realized that one of my favourite photos/scenes from the Beloved Disciple study and the To Live is Christ study was that of someone walking down a cobbled street with adorable white buildings on either side...was this the exact street that I was walking on right at the moment? How precious of God to allow me to walk these same streets as the scenes in the study. That He would do that for me was too much for me to bear and my eyes flooded with tears, just as they are again right now as I write this. I've found it hard to hold back the tears all day. I can't tell you how much it means. Not only was I here, I was also walking beside a man who had lived in a monastery and had been a priest for quite some time years ago, so to witness his emotion of these moments were special to me to be able to share this time. 

Ya I guess it's cool to be on a cruise ship...but I can't stop thinking about the Titanic and I made sure I knew where my life jacket was and the life boat I would need to be at if anything were to happen, :) The gentle rocking of the boat wants to put me to sleep as I type this. :) So I think I'm signing off for today and may perhaps write more of the cruise experience in another post. But my heart is definitely more on the thoughts of John and what he experienced on Patmos.

....We sailed to Crete overnight and during the night the winds had really picked up so the hard waves of the sea woke me up and had me looking out of my porthole in the night. The sky and sea were black but I could see white waves popping up all over the place, hitting hard against the side of the ship, making me think of Paul some more being out on the sea and being shipwrecked :) and it also had me thinking of the Titanic, sinking into the depths of the cold sea. Ya, crazy things go through my mind, ok? I was on a ship...what other things am I supposed to be thinking about? :)  I fell back asleep, only to be woken up again and again by the sound of the hard waves against the ship but I continued to trust God to get me from point A to point B with some sleep in between...and He did! Yay! My wake up call was at 5:30 which was great as I got to see us coming in to dock at Crete. So cool! We walked on the island and toured the Palace of Knossos which again was filled with Greek mythology full of all that around here. No wonder Paul was overwhelmed by all the idol worship and was overcome by everyone worshipping false gods and seeing so many temple erected everywhere. It overwhelmed me too.  I did enjoy reading the passage of Scripture in Acts 27 where Paul was on his way to Rome and he wanted to stay at Crete but his shipmates disagreed and they sailed on and became shipwrecked farther along. Again I am so glad we did not get lost or shipwrecked ourselves :) It was cool to see the navigation station on the ship and to meet some of the crew and to see their large maps knowing all was well and we were being well looked after. 

Stopping at Santorini was a definite highlight of the cruise today...Patmos being yesterday and Santorini today. Wow!!  I would love to come and stay here for a few days with my hubby :) and just cruise around the island here on quads and stay in one of those quaint little homes up on the cliffs overlooking the sea. That would be soooo romantic!!  <3  Maybe someday. :)  The homes, streets and patios here are absolutely breathtaking. We had to take a gondola up and down, unless you wanted to walk a narrow path where the donkey's roam :)  I have never seen a place like this before. Wow!! I can't believe that people are living here full-time...what a place to live!! I found a few delightful souvenirs, my favorite being a shirt and a couple of placemats of the white and blue domes of the churches up here...the same one that is on Beth Moore"s study called To Live is Christ. I was once again amazed at how God brought me to this beautiful place...I had seen some photos in Beth's study from here but I didn't know this was the cool!!!! :)  It brought parts of that study alive just seeing some of these places in live action. God is so good!!!
We had taken a bus to tour the breathtaking Oia Village and drove all around the island on a windy road overlooking the sea the whole time. So gorgeous! We passes lots of motorcycles and quads...I think it would be a lot of fun to quad here with my hubby :)

We sailed away from here at sunset....breathtaking, breathtaking, breathtaking!! Had a lovely dinner where we were seated together with a father and daughter who were on a holiday together and lived in cool was that!! They knew some English and we had a nice conversation about Ecuador and Compassion as my daughter Kyrstin and I are going there in July to meet her sponsor child. This gave us a great opportunity to tell them a bit about Compassion and the great work they do. Such a divine appointment for dinner tonight on a cruise ship on the Aegean Sea. The father even gave me his business card...just in case I need a lawyer in Ecuador. :) Thank you God for these moments of meeting people that only You can choose for us to meet! :)  I am also thankful that I had a better sleep on the cruise ship the 2nd night. Now we begin yet another part of this incredible journey....on land beginning at Athens. Yay!! will be posted soon :) ...and now they are :)

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