Thursday, June 9, 2016


It's been too long since I've updated this blog. Full-time school, part-time work and life have taken priority - plus the sad truth that we've lost nearly six months worth of pictures, including Christmas and birthdays. :( I've realized, though, how much I miss reflecting on life here. Blogging has a way of reminding me how much I have to be grateful for and helping me to slow down and savor life.

In our family, we don't spend a lot of money on things. Instead, we choose experiences and adventures that bond us. Seeing Greece & Turkey was always near the top of our list of places to go, so after a ton of research, we mapped out an itinerary which included boats, trains and aeroplanes. And we just soaked in two glorious weeks together, because there's nothing better than being with this bunch.
Our arrival in Athens was rough. Scary bad, actually.
We got into a taxi and the driver began taking us on a route further out of the way than was required to get to our hotel. We asked him to turn around and deliver us back to the airport, but he refused and held us hostage in the taxi. We finally got him to turn around (he sped up and drove like a maniac in his rage - really frightening!), and thankfully when we got back to the airport, the police got involved and helped us. 
First impression of Athens. We were all terrified.
Our second taxi driver then pulled a scam on Mark with a 5 Euro up his sleeve - he removed one of the 20 Euros Mark gave him, replaced it with the five, and insisted he'd been underpaid. We fell for it, then figured out the scam as the driver pulled away.
Ugh! Just awful.
But with the taxi shenanigans out of the way, things began to smooth out. We hired a reputable taxi through the hotel (live and learn, right?), and had just an incredible afternoon exploring the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum.
(Here's a pic of Gryffy chillin' at our hotel.)

 The Olympic stadium.
Mark's spot near the Acropolis.
 Apparently there was an Egyptian-themed performance at the Odeon, where we found these fun props.

 Before entering the Acropolis, we hiked up Mars Hill, where St. Paul famously evangelized the Athenians. It had incredible views.

 Once back to the Acropolis, we stopped by the Odeon Theater.

The entry gate.

And here it is - the Parthenon!
 The Erectheon.

I taught the kids how to identify Doric, Ionic & Corinthian columns. These are Ionic, with a scroll capital. The kids called me a "Doric" for the entire trip, and made up a new vocab word: Dorinthionic.

 The Nazis had placed their flag here during WWII, when some Greek teenagers famously took it down in the middle of the night, and raised the Greek flag.
 The Temple of Zeus. Imagine a 40' tall figure of Zeus among those ruins, like the one in the Disney movie, Hercules.
 More of the Parthenon.

 Gryffy discovered a cave. The boy loves cave. In part, because griffins live inside.

 Small world - We stopped inside a cafe for dinner, and met Mark and Nan Sylvester, who it turns out used to live just a street down from us in our neighborhood. Nan also named the kids' school, Heartland. She wore a charm that read, "grace." After the tumultuous morning with renegade & crooked taxis, I took it as a sign that God was watching over us, and things were about to look up.
And boy, did they ever!
 A stop inside the museum - spectacular!
 The famous caryatids.
Next day, we hopped on a cruise for Istanbul...

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