Meg and I just got back from a trip of a lifetime. 19 friends, 12 days, all spent together in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Beauty is out there! It may not be easy to get to, but it's so worth it!
We started our trip in Athens and Corinth, it is unbelievable how the old and new collide in this city. The Acropolis proudly stands firm overlooking the city, giving the city its sense of identity and culture. Clayton got to share about Paul's sermon delivered there from Acts 17 - we sat in awe as we literally saw his visual analogies right before our eyes.
After the city, we boarded a ship and ventured out into the Aegean Sea and it's dark blue waters. Our first stop was Mykonos, time was not on our side and we rushed through the winding roads and shops to get to the iconic windmills just in time to catch the glow of sunset. Moments like that gives me a rush like no other, running with a bag full of gear, not knowing really where to run, smiling as I catch glimpses of it through windows of little shops... That's the thrill of capturing nature's beauty that is so much fun for me.
We woke up the next day in the Kusadasi, Turkey to travel into the hills to find the ancient city of Ephesus. The bible once again came to life as we read and sang in the great theater.
Patmos - where John was exiled and received the vision to write the book of Revelations. We live in an information saturated world, and facts can be easily vindicated by Google. Here, the facts were backed up by generation of families that have lived on Patmos even before John was there. It was common knowledge to know where his cave was and how strongly he held on to the Gospel. Here I saw how John's punishment was a gift in disguise - I can't imagine how close he felt to God in those years and how his heart could handle bearing such a great treasure
The island of Santorini did not disappoint. We docked and the only thing on our minds was to head to the beautiful blue domes and watch the sunset from there. Although it was so rewarding at the end of our 3 hour stay, it was not no easy task. We were told THREE times that the blue domes were impossible to get to and that most of them were on the other side of the island in Oia; we docked in Fira, and I didn’t know there were different villages on the island. THREE times we were told to just give up but we just kept exploring any ways and lo and behold, we found a church that had a blue dome. Unfortunately, it was covered by so many buildings and there was no vantage point to get THE shot. We lingered around and I tried my best to get a creative angle of it until a shop owner told us that there was another dome just 2 minutes away if we walked in an alleyway behind his shop. We were dumbfounded and could not believe we were there with plenty of time to enjoy the sunset. Though we didn’t get to soak up the sun, relax and live like the Greeks in Santorini, I believe we made our 3 hours there completely worth it.
We arrived back in Athens and drove 4 hours into the mountains of Greece to get to the famous monasteries of Meteora. Though I wished we were up there during the sunset, the landscape was still breathtaking, and the questions in my head on how in the world these monasteries were built were so fascinating.
We ended our trip in Thessaloniki, with a day trip to Philippi and smaller towns nearby. We visited the river where Lydia was baptized, saw Paul's prison in Philippi, and early church meeting spaces.
**Photography note: While these pictures are a blessing, they can also be a curse. I can easily focus on what shows up on my LCD screen rather than seeing nature with my very own eyes and letting it speak to my soul. After years of navigating through this tension, I've made up a rule called the 15-minute rule. Settle in, relax and take in the beauty for 15 minutes before reaching for my camera. This has been a game changer for me.
Wilcox Travel will take you on this beautiful trip, check them out!