Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greek cruisin'

On Monday morning, June 20, the HUG group boarded the Calypso cruise ship in Athens and set sail for a four-night cruise around the Mediterranean. Dr. Cliff and Mrs. Louise Ganus accompanied us on the trip which made the trip even more special for all of us. (Chancellor Ganus is a former president of Harding University).

Our first stop was in Mykonos, a small Greek island where the buildings are painted white twice a month. We mainly just walked around and enjoyed the beauty of the island and did some shopping.

The next day we sailed to Kusadasi, Turkey, early in the morning and toured Ephesus where Paul once roamed and established a church. The ruins were in much better shape than what we had seen weeks ago in Corinth. It was especially neat to sit in the theater where people had shouted "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" for two hours, an event initiated by those who profited on the worship of Artemis and saw Paul's teachings of Jesus as a threat (Acts 19:23-41).

In the afternoon we sailed to the island of Patmos where there the Apostle John had been exiled and where he wrote the book of Revelations. We visited the Monastery of John the Evangelist and the Grotto of the Revelation. We ate dinner with the Ganuses that evening and got to know them much better.

The next day was spent in Rhodes where we swam at a beautiful (although very rocky) beach in the morning that was near where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood. After lunch and naps, we visited the old part of the town where we found a playground for the boys to burn some energy. Ethan made friends with a Greek boy, and the two of them played ball for a while.

On Thurs morning we arrived in Crete and toured the Minoan Palace of Knossos, home of the legendary Minotaur.

In the afternoon we sailed to beautiful Santorini for a very quick trip. Becky and Ethan rode a donkey up the long path (599 steps) to the top of the island as did all of the HUG students. Braden and I took a cable car to the top along with the Ganuses and Steven. We walked around and admired the beauty of the island and did a little shopping. Note to self: Great place for an anniversary some day. We arrived back in Athens early the next morning.

We really enjoyed the cruise. The boys loved sleeping in their own bunk bed on the cruise ship and eating hot dogs and jello for lunch. They also were the center of attention since they were the youngest kids on the cruise... the cruise staff were constantly smiling at them and playing with them.

We are now back at the Artemis and are on the second half of our trip. We've got a few weeks straight of classes and one big trip to Israel coming up.