2013 Alumni Trip

The Journey Home

Today, we got our suitcases downstairs by 6:15 a.m., went back upstairs for final preparations, ate breakfast and headed for the airport. Our bus was a little late in arriving, but we made our initial connections from Rome to Frankfurt without any major problems. Since several people have peeled off and are staying longer in Europe, there are only 25 … [more]

St. Paul, The Catacombs and Our Life with God

Today, we began the morning with a bus trip to the Catacombs, where the early Christians buried their dead, occasionally found sanctuary from Roman persecution, and preserved the faith. There are several catacombs in close proximity to Rome. The one we visited has a total of 12 miles of caves, crypts and narrow passageways. We celebrated communion together and reflected … [more]

Florence

Today we used our free day to travel to Florence. Michael and Bonnie Moe, parents of Westmont student and soccer player Caroline Moe, joined us. What a fantastic couple. We left our hotel early to give us plenty of time at the main terminal to figure out how to purchase our one-day train ticket to and from Florence. The bullet … [more]

Rome

                          Today we focused on the titanic clash of nation-states and religious identities. We began the morning at the Spanish Steps and traveled on to the Pantheon, originally a temple built for all the Roman gods but now a beautiful Christian church honoring Mary and the Christian martyrs. … [more]

Vatican City and St. Peter’s

Today was exhilarating, exhausting and mind-numbing. We awakened at 4:30 a.m., had our suitcases outside by 5 a.m., and headed to the airport at 5:30 a.m. My kind of day! The plane ride to Rome was nearly three hours. We enjoyed a wonderful Italian lunch and then headed to Vatican City. What a remarkable and enduring place. After visiting Athens … [more]

Turkey Today

I am sending my final post on Turkey after arriving in Rome. We enjoyed a wonderful last lecture by Jim Wright. Jim and Heather have made a fantastic contribution to this leg of our journey. Turkey—and especially Istanbul—is under stress. Erdogan is in the midst of a Putin-like move, trying to evade term limits by transferring the power from the … [more]

The Church of the Holy Savior in Chora

Today was another full and exciting day. My body has finally caught up to my brain, and I feel like I’ve recovered from the effects of jet lag. Of course, coffee is a wonderful companion, especially when enduring the effects of “time travel.” We started the morning with another great lecture by Dr. Heather Keaney. Yesterday she spoke about the … [more]

The Blue Mosque

Today we visited Hagia Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom, as well as the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome and the Cultural Museum. I love Hagia Sophia; it’s the most glorious structure. But it has seen so much in its nearly 1,500-year life. Built by the Emperor Justinian and completed in 538, it hosted some of the most important conversations in … [more]

Istanbul – Hagia Sophia

Today we left Athens and made it to Istanbul. The travel day went well, with an early departure to the airport and a 90-minute flight across the Aegean Sea. Our flight hardly had the drama of the great sea sagas of the ancient world, but our arrival thrust us into a city teeming with life, energy and vitality. Despite the … [more]

Corinth

“In the fullness of time, God sent forth His son.” Today, as we traveled to Corinth, these words from Scripture kept running through my mind. The unfolding drama of God’s work in the world had been preparing the world for the coming of Christ. As we drove the 90 minutes between Athens and Corinth, with the Aegean Sea on one … [more]

The Greek Isles

Today (June 19) we continued our study and tour of Greece by traveling to a few of the Greek Isles near Athens.  Here, nestled into the rugged terrain that marks so much of Greece, we found ancient communities scratching out a subsistence living catering to tourists and visitors who come to see, study and experience the past hoping to capture … [more]

From Athens

The Alumni Trip is off to a great start. We landed in Athens and settled in to our hotel underneath the shadow of the Acropolis. Today we walked all day in the withering heat and saw one magnificent array of human history. At times, my mind wondered to Ezekiel 36 and the Valley of the Dry Bones, wondering if these … [more]

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