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Who knew Greece was such a big country!

Apr 20 and 21, 2015

On Monday after disembarking from the ship, we drove about 4.5 hours to Delphi, another archaeological site of an ancient civilization steeped in mythological superstition. Many of us climbed the stairs and visited the excavated areas - the temple of Zeus, the treasuries, the theater.

We were most impressed by the excellent museum which houses many of the artifacts found. This bronze statue of a charioteer - to the left - is one of the most prized. This day we were surprised a bit by cooler temperature a few light rain showers. But all in all it was a day of lots of driving (8 hours) as we worked our way inland to the area of Kalambaka.

Tuesday morning we awoke at our hotel in Kalambaka and rode up into the mountains to the unusual rock formations, pinnacle-like rocks, upon which we saw six Greek Orthodox monasteries. Each monastery sits atop a different rock pinnacle and we all marveled at the effort it must have taken in the 14th and 15th centuries to get the materials up to the construction sites.

We visited only one, the Holy Monastery of St. Barbara. In order to get to this particular monastery we walked through a beautiful forest setting. Once the path opened up to the structure we were in awe at the beauty of not only the buildings, but the garden areas tended by the nuns who live there. A very special moment in a beautiful setting.

This is the Monastery of the Holy Trinity built around 1475

Our Team from the Monastery of St. Barbara. In the background you can see another of the Hanging Monasteries, the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron

From this location we continued on to the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. We visited a very unusual museum built OVER the top of this amazing find. We walked down a ramp into the mound where the tombs were found.

Finding words to describe this museum and the ways in which items found within the tombs were displayed is difficult. This discovery in 1977 unearthed the bones of the King and his wife and another young boy. Using a very creative concept, it was decided to leave the burial rooms intact in the ground and build the museum around it. We walked down into this area and saw the doors to the tombs intact and much like they were when first discovered. Beautiful gold, silver and bronze artifacts were displayed nearby as well. We were all quite taken with this tour.

From here we travelled to Berea and saw sections of the ancient road upon which Paul walked to the synagogue. We went to the steps where Paul stood and spoke. Paul was fairly well received by the Bereans, whom he commended for their eagerness to study the scriptures and to see if what he was preaching was true. Bob Pearson read from Acts 17, and we were all moved as we stood in the very spot Paul spoke and heard his words

In front of the steps from which Paul spoke to the Bereans

There is a "larger than life" statue of Paul at this site. Look closely at the face. I wonder if the artist was trying to depict Paul's deep commitment for sharing to the world the death and resurrection of Christ and the responsibility he felt for sharing the Hope Christ brings to humanity. The expression on the face may suggest that Paul was carrying the weight of the world; which of course he was, as he was chosen to bring to the world the hope of Christ and His resurrection. His example and his words inspire Christians to this day.

Tonight we arrived in Thessaloniki and will be exploring this area tomorrow.

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