Sabbatical Travels, 2006-2007
June 1-3, Krakow and Auswich
Our last day was spent in Auswich and Bierkenau. The first photo is Shindler's office, the second is the tracks leading into the death camp. The third shows the conditions in the barracks (cleaned up, of course). In each bunk there would be 2-4 people. This last photo is of a typical European woman snoopervising the affairs of her city.
This church has an interesting story. Every hour a bugler comes out and plays a song. He stops midway through the song and the same precise note. This commemorates a battle of Krakow when the invading hordes shot the bugler through the neck and stopped short the warning call at this very note. They have been doing this for 500 years. The center two photos are taken deep underground in the Cathedral in the salt mine. You need to understand that everything you see is carved from the salt. This last picture is of my favorite rose...the one not in focus.
May 30-31, Budapest
Barbara is not a terribly intimidating guard. This night view across the Danube is as breathtaking as you can imagine and the castle during the day time just reeks of history. Our group posed for this picture on top of Buda near the fortress.
One of the highlights of our time in Budapest was visiting the library which Phyllis and Andy Anderson have established almost exclusively through their own efforts and resources. they are remarkable people and provide resources for 260 per month! Another highlight (far less significant) was the food. They claim to have better food than the French, though without their flare for presentation. This extraordinary building across the Danube is the Parliament building and this cute little car is a Tribant, one of the staples of transportation under communism. It is the rightful butt of all sorts of jokes.
May 28-29, Vienna
This cake is from the famous Sacher Hotel that invented it. It is a chocolate cake with a thin layer of jam and it is to die for! Vienna is one of the most regal cities of the world and the center of the Hapsburg dynasty for 500 years. The city is, therefore, filled with palaces, museums, and of course, music. This is undoubtedly the greatest legacy of the Hapsburgs through their patronage of the likes of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etc. This statue deserves a closer look, particularly the back of the man's head. It captured my imagination.
May 4-13, 2007 Amman, Jordan
Back in the car, we drove to a town just outside the ancient city of Petra. Wednesday night we walked by the light of 1,800 candles strategically placed through the Syq (seek) to be able to view the treasury and listen to a brief history and a Bedouin playing traditional music on a flute. The entire crowd was served hot sweet tea and after about an hour, we walked back out and then to our hotel to sleep for the night. The next day Trent, along with Mark and Barbara headed through the Syq again to see Petra by day. We explored high and low places and were amazed by the creativity of the inhabitants of this lost city so many years ago. Petra is now a UNESCO world heritage site having been the legacy of the Nabataeans more than 2000 years ago. It is in the running to be one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. As we walked up one area, these four Bedouin men were passing the hours of the day drinking tea and invited us to join them. Being rude to refuse hospitality in this country we joined them for some VERY SWEET hot tea. (Barbara would have preferred to have it over ice but that was not possible.) It did give us a boost of energy for the climbing we encountered the rest of the day. In the evening, we were taken to the desert of Wadi Rum. Also known as "The Valley of the Moon”, this is where Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and T. E. Lawrence based their headquarters during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in WWI. It is also where much of the film Lawrence of Arabia was filmed in 1962. "Five-star tents” awaited us for the night but not before a wonderful dinner was served to us and we were invited to join the Bedouin men as they danced. Strangely, it was Barbara (accompanied by Trent) who ended up dancing with these men in their "wedding party festival”. A couple from the US were chosen to portray the bride and groom. Our cots in our tents gave us shelter from the wind and a light night rain but sleep was hard to come by for Barbara.
We went to the Prague airport for an 11:40 flight to Amman, Jordan. We were to have a layover in Vienna and arrive in Amman in the evening. Mark’s Mom and Step-Dad were flying out on the same flight but from Vienna they were going elsewhere. To make a long story short, because of mechanical difficulties with the plane, we did not leave Prague until late afternoon. We said goodbye to family, flew through Frankfurt, Germany and arrived in Amman in the middle of the night, exhausted. Since we were meeting Harvey and Nancy in Amman and they had already arranged some activities, it was good that we were able to get there and we just got through the day on what rest we had. The people we met in Jordan were very kind and concerned that we were enjoying our visit. Our friends, Bob and Trent arrived late Monday evening and on Wednesday, they, Harvey, Nancy and we along with our guides left on an excursion through the countryside of Jordan. We stopped first in Madaba, mentioned in the Old Testament as Medeba. In the Orthodox Church of St. George is the 6th century AD mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land: the earliest religious map of the Holy Land in any form to survive from antiquity. From there we traveled on up to Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land but would never enter. On a clear day, one can view the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho and Jerusalem in the distance. We did not have a clear day but were very glad to visit this place. The late Pope John Paul II was here in 2000 to commemorate the beginning of the new millennium viewing from the promontory the same scene Moses saw more than 3,000 years ago. Our final day took us to the Jordan River at the spot where they claim Jesus was baptized by John. There are excavations in progress where churches were built in the 3rd to 7th centuries. We also got to float in the Dead Sea and we were taken to see where Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt…it looked very much like the sandstone that covers the rest of the terrain.
April 20-23, 2007 Edinburgh, Scotland
Barbara and Mark jetted west to Edinburgh, Scotland for the weekend. We were treated to a tour of the city’s Royal Mile when we arrived. At the end of this street is where the Queen stays when she comes to town a couple of weeks each year. The castle here was very enjoyable despite the cool weather. It was the Queen’s birthday and admission was free. This was a savings of about 40 US dollars. We saw and heard a 21-gun (canon) Royal Salute at noon. Ending the ceremony was the bagpipe player. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time to merit front row standing places. Several people were dressed in costume and roaming the grounds giving photo ops to the tourists.
John Knox lived in this house on the corner. Increasing the size of the picture will allow you to read the inscription. This little dog statue is of Greyfriars Bobby. The story goes that when his master died, Bobby "lived” on his grave for fifteen years leaving only to eat. When Bobby died, a monument was erected in his honor. On Sunday, we attended church at Bristow Baptist where Jim is Pastor. He is one of the PhD advisors here at IBTS. He and Jennifer were very kind to house and feed us for the weekend. We even ate haggis, neeps and tatties. We couldn’t go to Scotland and not try some traditional food. We were able to find a berry scone as well which made Barbara very happy.
April 14-19, 2007 St. Petersburg, Russia
We had planned to visit the fountains of Peterhof – Peter the Great’s Palace. We learned they would not be on until May so staying in St. Petersburg for the day gave us opportunity to seek out new things. We missed getting inside St. Isaac’s Cathedral but we enjoyed walking around the exterior. 220 lbs of gold leaf were used to cover the dome’s surface. It weighs 300,000 tons and when it was built, thousands of wooden piles were sunk into the marshy ground to support it. The statue is Tsar Nicholas I. We thought the Chocolate Museum would be more than a store where you could purchase chocolate specialties. For the record, the four of us purchased 8 museum pieces that day. None remain. Walking back to our hotel took us through the Field of Mars and by the Eternal Flame. The granite monument and the flame commemorate the victims of the Revolutions and Civil War from 1917-1920. Mark and Donna always enjoy catching up with one another as they are here at a distance from the rest of us.
This is the backside of The Winter Palace built for Tsarina Elizabeth with the large Alexander Column made from solid red granite sitting in the Palace Square. The column is dedicated to Tsar Alexander I for his role in the triumph over Napolean. It weighs 600 tons and is balanced by that weight making it the largest free-standing monument in the world. Catherine the Great added many, many pieces of art to this building and visitors know it as the Hermitage Museum. One really could get lost for several days in this place which I think was the original intent. Inside, there are many opulent rooms decorated and furnished extravagantly to the tastes of their residents. Even the floors of each room had different designs. Concerts are held in some of the larger rooms. This museum piece is called Cupid as a Beggar. He is veiled and holding his arrows behind him to hide his identity. If you look closely, you will see where someone has paced a coin in his outstretched hand. The next day we took a taxi out of town to Tsarskoye Selo Catherine Palace. It was her Summer Palace and gardens and she bequeathed it to her daughter who further enhanced its luxuriousness. This fountain is called The Milkmaid or Girl with a Pitcher (1817). The spring is covered by a large granite boulder with the bronze figure of a young girl crying over the broken pitcher. Across the lake the Palace looms large and is reflected.
We took off with Donna and Andy to St. Petersburg, Russia for a few days. Mark and Barbara are here with the Church on Spilled Blood, also known as the Resurrection Church of Our Saviour, in the background. It was built on the spot where in 1881 Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by a revolutionary group. It is a permanent memorial to him. The highest steeple is 265 ft. (81m) high. It is a beautiful sight at any time of the day or night. We toured the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul which was built in 1712. Here are housed all but two of the Russian Tsars since Peter the Great. Our guide, Katarin gave more historical information than we were able to absorb. The spire of this magnificent structure is 400 ft. (122m) high. Only a TV transmitter built in the 1960s is higher than this. Apologies for the diagonal – it is the only way to fit it all.
April 10-13, 2007 Family & Friends in Prague
Mark’s Mom and Step Dad (Donna and Andy) and a couple of their friends came to visit us here in Prague. Andy actually arrived not feeling well at all. It gave us the opportunity to locate an English speaking Dr. for him and reminded us of how thankful we are for the health we have been blessed with on this trip. As soon as we could, we went to the ticket office and purchased Prague Cards. These gave us access to all sorts of attractions in Prague for four days for one price. We set off right away. These first four pictures are at the castle grounds. Donna and Barbara are ready to get started for the day. We went to a concert in St. George’s Basilica in the evening after spending the day in St. Vitas’ Cathedral as well as Golden Lane and other "Castle Attractions”. If you look closely in the reflection of Barbara’s sunglasses, you can see the steeples of St. Vitas’. Golden Lane is made up of several shops now but was once a place where people lived and this house, #19 is a common calendar photo. Farther down the lane where #13 is, we are told this is the smallest house in Prague. Most bathrooms are larger than the interior of this one little house.
March 22-26, 2007
Inside St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Baldicino is a marker above Peter’s tomb. Everything inside this cathedral is wonderful to view and a reminder of where we as a people have been and where are destined. St. Paul’s Cathedral is not as popular as St. Peter’s but it is every bit as beautiful. The front portico offers a glimpse of what the inside holds for the viewer. Last but not least, before we left, we took the time to go to Catacombe di San Sebastiano. We were in the English tour for the morning and were joined by only two other girls. Mark basically had his own private guide from whom to glean information. We do have a photo of the entrance but once again, pictures are not allowed, so we can only tell you of our sights. The tunnels of this catacomb, if stretched out, would reach a length of 11 km or 6.75 miles. From the reign of Valerian to Constantine, the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul were hidden in these catacombs. Our guide showed us some writings where the names of Peter and Paul were on the walls with others at the time. The Catacombs are located on the Appia Antica. This is otherwise known as the Appian Way, where Paul would have walked on his way out of town for his be-heading. We took the time to walk up this road for another piece of history. The final picture is actually back in the Czech Republic in the town of Kutná Hora. Friends who live and minister here for 6 months every year wanted to treat Barbara to a day out of town. We both will get together with both of them later this month, so Barbara and Linda went alone to this Cathedral and other various sites. St. Barbara’s Cathedral was finished in the late 14th century and houses many Gothic and Renaissance murals from the 15th century. Kutná Hora was a silver mining area and became the financial center of the country. St. Barbara is the Patron Saint of Miners. Kutná Hora has been a UNESCO world heritage sight since 1995 and has had major reconstruction done to preserve it. This Cathedral is in the midst of being restored now.
March 25-26, Fountains are all over Rome. Mark loves to drink from (and play in) them. Also, from the Palatine Hill, this area looked as if it had been a bath house in former days. The Mouth of Truth is outside a small church but at one time it was where criminals were brought after their trial and made to put their hand into the mouth…if they were not telling the truth, their hand would be "bitten” off and their fate sealed. If they drew back their hand from the mouth, they were presumed to have been telling the truth and were let go. You may remember seeing this as well as many other sites of Rome in Audrey Hepburn’s movie Roman Holiday. The Casteel was a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian, later a protected fortress for the Popes and today it is just a great site for travelers to see.
March 24, Saturday morning took us back to the train station to go back to Rome for the remainder of the weekend. We arrived in a mist of rainy weather but were not sure what it would be like the following day so we followed our plan of seeing the ancient parts of Rome and seeing more indoor things the following day. We toured the Forum and walked up to the top of the Palatine Hill where the Emperors lived – what a huge place that each changed according to their personal likes and dislikes. From the edge of a porch they could look down at the Circus Maximus and watch the races of the day. Today, people walk around the area for their own enjoyment. One never tires of seeing The Coliseum, even though today it is a mere shell from days gone by (A.D.80). A young couple, just married, walked by us. Mark captured their joy but they were oblivious to us even being there.
March 23, The Duomo Cathedral is one of the world’s largest churches, begun in 1296 and finally consecrated in 1436. Finishing touches were applied as late as the 19th century. The white, pink and green marble geometrically patterned bands and the dome are great works of art in themselves. The inside if the dome, the cupola has bands of paintings depicting hell, judgment and paradise. The climb to the top offers a breathtaking view of the sienna-colored city and the Tuscan countryside. The red circle shows where our hotel was located. This last picture is a great memory for Mark but may have you scratching your heads. It’s always great to ask the locals where the good places to eat are located. Well, this was certainly a great find. They do not take reservations but advertise that they open at 7:00 p.m. We arrived early and joined a college age girl and her mother visiting her from the states. We watched through the front door and window as the staff, owners and chef all ate and drank until they had had their fill. It was now 7:35 and the owner got up and clapped his hands together signaling that it was time to ready the place for the large crowd of people who had gathered outside. So, we readied ourselves to be let in. The pre-dinner show was quite fun to watch and yes the food is that good that they can afford to do this. People gladly wait until the staff has been fed so they can get in. They opened the door, asked how many we had and led us to a table to seat us and sat another couple with us. Our dinner partners were Italian but he spoke English so we were able to ask him a few questions as to how we were to order. They have a menu but they do not offer it to you but rather offer you choices for each course of your meal. So you see it is sort of like a buffet that they keep bringing to you but it is not all for one price. The hams were hanging all over the place. They easily go through 2-3 of these each night as they serve up an appetizer plate of proscuitto and other sausages. Mark had a wonderful time but all of it was just a bit out of Barbara’s comfort zone but she did survive and looking back on it all, she is glad to have had the experience.
We returned from our weekend trip to London with our children on Monday night, did the week’s worth of laundry and left Thursday morning at 5:00 to get to the airport for our flight to Italy for Mark’s birthday weekend. We flew to Rome and purchased tickets and journeyed on by train to Florence where we arrived in the late afternoon. We took out our Europe travel book to read up on anything we might have overlooked for this trip. We saw a "travel note” on the bottom of a page that warned the two main museums in Florence required reservations and usually by March, all reservations are taken. We had been so busy in the previous weeks that we had neglected to see this and were saddened by the prospect that we may not get in to the Uffizi or Accademia Galleries. Michelangelo’s "David” is in the Accademia. We found our hotel and requested our Concierge, Rocco, make a phone call for a reservation at both places for the next morning. He looked at us as if we were half crazy, expecting to be able to arrive one evening and get reservations the next morning. We thought it would not hurt to ask. We left to go eat dinner and arrived back a couple hours later with reservations two hours apart at each gallery. Perhaps the tip Mark left for Rocco helped our cause. However it happened, we were grateful.
We enjoyed the beautiful sunset on the Arno River. What a romantic city Florence is! Only Venice lives off its past more than this beautiful city does. The city was founded by the Medici Dynasty over 500 years ago. If they were to return today, it is said they would have no trouble finding their way around, yet Florence pulsates with modern life. We toured through the streets where the vendors were offering Italian silk ties and leather goods. We succumbed with Mark buying a tie and I a jacket. As we walked through one piazza, a horse was enjoying its morning meal. Many cars here are very small as you can see by this yellow one. Their size allows for their driver to park them in about any direction if there is any space at all, they will fit. Mark posed at this copy of the original David. This copy is in the same location that the original was until 1873 when it was moved indoors where a special rotunda was built to showcase it. We would not see the "real” one until the next morning. Pictures were not allowed, so if you want to see Michelangelo’s work, you will have to travel to Florence. The story that accompanies this sculpture is magnificent. We will share more in personal conversations with you.
March 16-18, 2007
We flew to London to spend the weekend there before Josh and Megan returned to Joplin and we returned to Prague. We had wonderful accommodations close to the sights we were interested in seeing. Mark and Barbara looked out their hotel window to "Big Ben” in the distance. We had great weather for London in March and were able to take a sight-seeing bus tour to see many sights that otherwise we would not. We had WONDERFUL seats for Les Misérables and all of us were very impressed with the story as well as the voices of those portraying the people’s lives. Of course, we went to The Tower of London and had a great guide who made the tour there most enjoyable. The British Airways London Eye is a Ferris wheel with giant pods which hold up to 25 people each. This allows for a great view of the city. The Tower Bridge is a classic bridge of London – much more interesting to look at than the historical London Bridge. London Bridges is really rather boring to look at and has actually fallen down and been rebuild five times. We missed getting inside Westminster Abbey because it closed earlier than we were aware. We did see a wedding party coming out of a small chapel next to the Abbey.
The British Museum was a treat especially for Josh and Mark. So many ancient artifacts are housed there. We all hit several highlights before Barbara and Megan went back to the hotel to rest before going to the National Gallery to quickly go through this art museum. We were able to see many great works including The Fighting Téméraire which the British public voted as the 'best painting in Britain'.
March 9-15, 2007
Or children spent their spring break here in Prague with us. It was great to have them here and share part of this city’s great history with them. We took in the following cultural events that we do not have pictures to share: a symphony by the Czech Philharmonic, a jazz club (rated one of the best in the world), Giselle (ballet), Carmen (opera). We also saw the theatre production of Les Miserables (in London). We went to the Prague Castle complex. The massiveness of the grounds is hard to convey through a website. We saw inside St. Vitus Cathedral the private chapel of St. Wenceslas, the Great Silver Coffin of St. John of Nepomuk. He was thrown to his death in chains from the Charles Bridge. The oldest statue on the bridge is the one to commemorate him. We also saw the tomb of King Charles IV (one of Prague’s most beloved Kings).
We climbed 284 steps to the observation tower which gave a great view of the city. The Castle grounds is also where St. George’s Basilica stands. It dates from the 10th century and is Prague’s oldest Romanesque structure as well as Bohemia’s first convent. Golden Lane is a picturesque, fairy-tale street of tiny 16th century servants’ houses built into the castle grounds. The houses are now shops, bars and galleries.
Megan enjoyed a unique group of musicians on the Charles Bridge. Our family enjoyed a tour from the Castle area on a very clear day. The hill is called Petrin Hill and the view of Prague is exceptional. St. Vitus Cathedral is over Josh’s shoulder. We were able to take Josh and Megan to the library that ICR has here in Prague when a board meeting was in session. It gave them opportunity to see this and meet some of the people involved here in this work. IBTS is situated in the middle of the Šárka Valley. There is a path where you can walk about three miles. This bridge is built over a creek to a house back in the woods.
March 3-5, 2007
We had taken the bus tour the day before and found a few places we wanted to visit more thoroughly. The Royal Palace of Spain in Madrid as well as its gardens was a magical place. The Egyptian Temple is the Temple of Debod. It is 2,200 years old, was dedicate to Amon and Isis, was donated to Spain in 1968, having been taken apart stone by stone, shipped and reassembled. We could not go inside as it was closed on Monday. The large stone memorial shows three of the four parts and is in honor of Christopher Columbus and his crew and the discovery of America. The bathtub at our motel took up about one half the space of the entire bathroom. We were grateful to have our own facilities rather than sharing with many other travelers, which is commonly the experience.
The old city wall with the pools of water beside it was quite impressive. Mark investigated later in the day and found a pre-Roman road. Beside it was this mausoleum. Mark is enchanted by his discovery of old things like this.
A full moon, a kiss and a chocolate torte…all part of a wonderful romantic day!
We went to Córdoba and Madrid, Spain for the weekend to relax. What a treat to have temperatures in the high 70’s and see the sights. Most of the pictures are of Córdoba because in Madrid, our time was spent in the Prado Art Museum – no cameras allowed. Our hotel was just across the street from the Mezquita Cathedral. The owners have incorporated columns, arches and genuinely old paintings as well as other items. The Cathedral dates back to the 8th century and is the crowning Muslim architectural achievement in the West rivaled only by that at Mecca. The interior of the Cathedral was massive and very ornate, boasting over 850 of these red-and-white-striped pillars and covering an area of 8 acres. We went there to look around before we set out into the city and were happy to avoid being charged the entry fee because of the early hour. Many people enjoyed relaxing by the pool in the courtyard with its fountains and many orange trees throughout. The "Garden” of the Madrid Train Station was a relaxing place to wait for our departure.
February 25, 2007
We wanted to see the Berliner Dom, originally built from 1894 to 1905. It worked out that we were able to attend services here on Sunday morning. The first photo is the pulpit where the message was delivered in German of course. We had an interpreter in the "International Box” where we were joined by about 8 others. The second is the organ of the church, which is smaller than only one other organ in the world. In the bottom right corner, circled in red, shows a person sitting. This gives perspective to the size of the beautiful instrument. The inside of the church is adorned with biblical scenes. Because this is a protestant church, they have replaced the standard saints with Reformers (Zwingli and Luther pictured here on either side of a fresco of the stoning of Stephen). Other Reformers and German Rulers were atop the other six pillars. Mark is standing in front of the church that was fully re-opened in 1980 after it had been severely damaged in the 1944 air raids of the war. You can only imagine our delight when the congregation sang together one of Luther’s compositions "A Mighty Fortress is our God” in its original language.
February 23-25, 2007
We are standing at the Brandenburg Gate the famous entrance to the city which predates Napoleon. We spent several hours in the Pergamon Museum. We are only placing one set of photos here…the gate from Nebuchadnezzar’s Palace. Yes, the gate – not a copy. Barbara is standing in front of the small gate which the model shows as the one in front. This was just the entrance to his palace (the city gates were much larger) …wow! We saw many other wonderful sites from places we read about in the biblical historical accounts.
February 23-25, 2007
This week was productive for Mark in his studies. The weekend held another great adventure--visiting Berlin, Germany’s capitol. We met with the planning committee for the Berlin Library with which ICR is helping. It will open in this summer. The corner lot is where they would like to begin this ministry. Mark was able to see just the outside as it was locked. We had a wonderful stay at the Mallory Bed and Breakfast (Thanks Dale and Barbara) on Friday then headed out for a bus tour of the city. The weather was on the colder side but for Berlin in February, it was quite nice. We saw where the Berlin Wall had stood until 1989. They have laid bricks in the sidewalk showing where it had been. We went through the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie and had our picture taken at the famous border crossing site. The large building is one of many government buildings in the city.
February 17, 2007
On Saturday it was necessary to get out in the city away from papers, books and seminars…so we set out, armed with a camera and 77 Prague Legends, a book that tells interesting tidbits about attractions visitors and natives alike might miss had they not read these stories. The first one is The Inquisitive Jesuit at the Church of St. Nicholas in Lesser Town. The painter who painted the main vault of the church accepted the commission, but on one condition – that he be able to paint and not be disturbed. One curious Jesuit, who lived in the adjoining house snuck in and hid behind a pillar to watch him. Seeing the movement from the corner of his eye, the painter pulled out a mirror and was able to sketch the face of the monk onto the plaster before calling to the monk that he could see perfectly well who’s sneaked in here to watch and the scoundrel will be punished for his curiosity. The monk was quite embarrassed when his face showed up in the "unveiling” of the artist’s work. This is what we found. Not quite sure if we found the correct one or not. Next time we are in there, we will look again. The Iron Knight stands on a corner in the Old Town. A young girl once lived in a house that stood here and her beloved knight thought he saw her making eyes at another. She died soon after this, the victim of his own sword. As she passed on, she put a curse on him and he turned to iron. His only release would come only if another virgin would take pity on him. This can happen only once every 100 years…he remains here to this day. The Palace of the Kinskys stands in Old Town Square not far from the Tyn Church. Its front does not conform to the "standards” of all the other buildings on the square. Some deception took place while under construction but before it was realized, the building was too far along and it was left there. Three who were dishonest about their knowledge were sent to the gallows. Those of you who visit us will get to see these sights as well as others in person. If you cannot join us here, keep reading the updates for more "legends.”
February 12-15, 2007
During the 3rd week of intensives for Mark, there were two seminars being held somewhat simultaneously. Mark was in one way or another involved with all. I. Howard Marshal was here to present a paper on Romans. He and Mark discuss a passage during the evening tea time. Mark was quite honored to meet him. Also, Mark was asked to critique a paper presented by Christoph Stenschke. It was a daunting task, but Mark handled it quite well. He had also been "given the opportunity” to present a chapter his own work during the week to several students and advisors from IBTS and Aberdeen. Mark did skip out of the morning session on Wednesday to take the bus a few stops and design a bouquet for Barbara. Barbara prepared a dinner for Valentine’s Day and we were able to eat together before Mark’s critique. Barbara helped out with the morning and afternoon tea/coffee times with Yulia Cheprasov and grew to love her very dearly. She is just slightly older than Joshua and would certainly be a welcome addition to our family should she ever need a new one. Her husband, Tima is in the PhD program and they were here for the intensive weeks as well. They had previously been here as students so she had helped with tea many times before. This gave our British Tea guru (Denise) a much needed break. Debby (no photo) is her regular helper two mornings a week and has been a great friend to Barbara, (thanks Debby) taking her in a car to some of the larger grocery stores to buy some larger items (a clothes drying rack for one – did you hear about the laundry?).
February 10-11, 2007 (Barbara's Birthday Weekend)
The weekend was for Barbara as we set out to celebrate her birthday. There were conferences Mark was involved in the weeks both before and after the weekend so we took just Saturday and Sunday. We chose to go to Dresden, Germany since it was an easy train ride in the midst of all we had been doing. The first photo below shows the picturesque countryside at Bad Schandau. Dresden is home to the museum that houses a painting Barbara has long adored. Actually, the long adored part of the painting by Raphael is at the bottom of The Sistine Madonna. The little cherubs have long been some of her most favorite. The painting was beautiful and was showcased extravagantly.
The Museum complex houses several different displays and we spent the day viewing them. The first photos are from various places outside in the courtyard. The three mischievous characters made us think of Mark and his two brothers for some reason. From our hotel, we looked down on the magnificence of the former castle. It had been the center of Saxon Royalty. In our hotel’s courtyard was this ice skating rink.
Dresden was annihilated by the allied forces in WWII and they have done a wonderful job at restoring the city. The horse drawn carriage coming out of the tunnel was how some people chose to tour the city. Mark is standing in the street Fürstenzug (procession of princes) and over his shoulder can be seen the largest fired porcelain painting in the world, depicting all the Wettin princes, dukes and kings on horseback. It is made from 24,000 4-inch porcelain tiles and covers 1,200 square yards. On the other side of the wall was where the carriages and horses were housed. This side of the wall was not destroyed in the war; the other side was. It was a beautiful sight! The Frauenkirche, the Church of our Lady, dominates the city skyline. It was destroyed in February 1945 and was left in ruins as a war memorial until 1994 when they began reconstruction. They were able to use several of the original stones. They are the darker stones in the lower portion of the building.
It snowed beautiful large snowflakes but it was not cold enough for them to stick. Nor could we really capture it as it didn’t last long. We went out on Saturday evening and took shots of the wet cobblestone and other night sights. Sunday morning we found a pastry shop and were joined by these little birds as they flew in and out begging for crumbs to be dropped to the floor. Before leaving, we took a tour and saw several sights of the city we otherwise would have not been able to, including this little classic German street. Toward the end of the tour, our bus stopped and we viewed from across the River Elbe this castle grouped with two others.
January 29 - February 3, 2007
The different views of St. Nicholas Church through the rain covered window and in the snow show a couple different ways of viewing the beauty of this magical city. All through the streets are shops with their windows crowded with jewelry. This is the Garnet; also quite abundant is Amber. Statues also abound. This hollow cape is outside the Estates Theatre where Mozart premiered his opera Don Giovanni, which he composed especially for Prague and personally conducted in October, 1787.
"Tea Time" is a daily event where the students and anyone else on campus can take a break for tea, coffee or juice and conversation...a much needed down time to allow the brain time to be rested before the next round of lectures. All are visiting with one another and volumes reach a dull roar before the storm quiets and everyone leaves to return to their own routine study. Mark carved out his own study cubicle early close to a window and a heater. The piles of books keep him busy with his research and writing. We were out to eat with a couple one night. He is one of Mark's advisers and she is the head librarian. She commented to me her observation that Mark was a workaholic. When I asked her how she had come to that conclusion, her reply was, "He produces a lot of material in a short amount of time." The Jan Huss Statue in Old Town Square is always a nice sight, but was particularly nice in the recent snow. The Astronomical Clock and its tower draw a large crowd every hour as it opens up with all sorts of movement and comforting chimes.
We went out Saturday night to a Black Light Theatre - pictures were not allowed but it was a very intriguing presentation that kept our attention for nearly two hours. We had gone down town earlier in the day to purchase train tickets for this upcoming weekend's travel and had allowed plenty of time since this was a new venture for us. We had plenty of time for a nice mid-afternoon meal and a LARGE cup of hot tea. Mark's Knee of a Pig with Mustard Sauce and Horseradish was quite tasty. Barbara's chicken and vegetable plate was wonderful as well. We shared a delicious apple strudel to end the experience. As we meandered through the streets before the show was to start, the Tyn Church was illuminated with the night sky behind - a beautiful site - much more romantic in person than the camera can capture. As we left the show, the moon had risen and was a captivating sight to behold.
January 21 - 27, 2007
These photos are in order from the top being later in the week to the bottom being our earlier experiences. Saturday the 27th was a fun day as most Saturdays will be as we try to find something new that we have yet to experience. Today was the matinee of the ballet "Mozart? Mozart!" held at the Prague National Theatre. Barbara is in the cloak room before entering the theatre for the ballet. The building is very majestic as you can see from outside. The large door is on a building across the street. There are many different styles and sizes of doors in Prague which we find very fascinating. After the ballet, we trudged through the snow to the Castle District to find a pizza dinner before heading back to the apartment by way of the grocery store.
Below are pictures taken on the Seminary grounds. Restaurant MLYN is at the entrance and is a very fine place to dine. Next are the courtyard and the tree in the field we see out our windows. There are photos of both of these further down that were taken on warmer days if you want to see the contrast. These laundry facilities are shared by all of the IBTS community. We learned quite a lot from our first experience with the European washer and dryer.
We took Thursday afternoon off from what we had scheduled to do because we had never seen downtown Prague covered in snow. Below, the first and second pictures are taken on the Charles Bridge. The first is after entering on the east end and turning around to see the entry and the tower you can climb to view the city. The second of course is Barbara as we begin our walk across the bridge with many others who have also come out to take photos. The Prague Castle looms large from the river. The last picture is of Wenceslas Square the bustling center of Prague.
Wednesday January 17th - Friday, January 19th
After sleeping about 14 hours (yes 14) we both were up and ready to unpack our belongings into what will be our home for the next five months. We had purchased some household items from a fellow student and his wife. They had lived here at IBTS (International Baptist Theological Seminary) last year. They put boxes in storage with our name on them. This has proven to be a wonderful thing to have done! Barbara is especially happy to have kitchen items ready to use and not have to shop for them. We have been to three different grocery stores to see if there is one we prefer over another. They all really seem to be alike in that they are crowded with people shopping. We have done alright guessing what some things are. We can only get what we can carry home in our backpacks and bags in hand while riding the Metro.
On Google Earth our location is 50 06'23.07 N and 14 21'01.83 E
This is the exact coordinates for our flat. It is the back building of the compound and you can see that as we look out the window we have a nice natural hill with deer, pheasant, wild boar, etc. that come to eat the apples and pears in the little orchard. There is also a daycare operated on the grounds here so little children in groups with their laughter brings joy to the otherwise quietness of the place.
Tuesday, January 16th
It really seems that we were to get to Prague on this day. Just about every thing was against us but we are now safely here. Once we got off of our street and on to the Interstate, the roads were clear. We hugged our children and sent them back to Joplin and walked into the Springfield airport to a line of about 30 people ahead of us. No one seemed to be coming away from the counter with tickets in hand. We were told that everything coming out of Chicago was delayed at least three hours but we continued to wait in line and after 45 minutes, we stepped up to the counter. They ticketed us for our 1:10 p.m. flight but because of the delays put us on standby for the 10:30 a.m. flight that would be leaving at 2:00 p.m. There were 12 people ahead of us on the standby list but when the time came to board, Barbara and Mark Moore were the only names called. Safely on the plane bound for Chicago, we arrived 50 minutes before our international flight to London was to leave. As we sat on the tarmac waiting for our gate, the pilot announced that our gate was taken by another plane but we were able to get in to a gate in the F concourse. Now 15 minutes had gone by and we just knew we would be spending the night in Chicago. We had been seated toward the front of the plane and were able to get off quickly, RUN to the flight status board to find our flight was boarding at C16 (we were supposed to have been let off originally at C3). We RAN again to catch a shuttle bus to take us to the F concourse, RAN from the shuttle bus into C concourse to gate 16, only to find the door closed. The workers were still there and greeted us cheerfully and opened the door and escorted us on to the plane. We sat in our seats at 4:10 p.m. The flight to London had a strong tailwind so we arrived 50 minutes before we were scheduled. This allowed us to take a break and have a latte and water and a conversation with a very nice couple from Ireland. Barbara had no problems with motion sickness during all of this and we arrived in Prague, went through customs w/o being stopped or anyone even looking at us. We arrived at the seminary campus at 10:30 a.m. (we are seven hours ahead of Joplin) quite tired but very thankful for all the happenings of the past day. Guess what else happened? Every bit of our luggage made it through too!
January 15, 2007
Our journey to the Czech Republic began at 10:00 a.m. We had our four suitcases packed to the regulation weight each and backpacks each weighing about 20 pounds. With the recent ice storms we had gotten in Joplin, we were not sure if we would be able to get out of the Springfield, MO airport but nothing registered as delayed or cancelled on the United Airlines website. Josh and Megan both had enrolled and gotten out of any work obligations so they could both go to see us off. At the base of our driveway, as we tried to get started, we managed to get stuck in the ice. Josh volunteered to get out and push but with the incline and the ice, he alone was not enough. Mark and Megan got out to help and Barbara moved into the driver's seat. After rocking the car back and forth a few times, we had it out of the hole. Since the road is on a slight incline, Mark motioned for Barbara to continue taking the car up the slope. She understood him to mean to the top of the slope...he meant just a few feet. Josh and Megan held on to the back of the car sliding on the ice (skitching). Mark jogged along behind to catch up. It was a great memory and much needed laughter for Barbara as she has a hard time with good-byes.
October 12, 2006
My dear friends have gone home now and I've spent the last two days in the library feverishly reading, particularly in German sources which are difficult to find in the states. Since my German is still pathetic my brain is particularly tired. My alarm is set for 4:30 a.m. which is 9:30 p.m. CST. I will rise eagerly to go catch a plane to see my bride. Twenty Eight days apart. They have been long, short, difficult and productive. I just can't wait to see her. Of the top five things I'm looking forward to: The sound of my wife's laugh, catching up with my children, exercising with my two buds, and afternoon lattes during my Sabbatical. Honey, I'm on my way home.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
We left Simferopol early in the morning to return to Prague. That's the bad news. The good news is we had a five hour layover in Kiev which allowed us the opportunity to take a taxi into town and see several significant churches, including St. Sophia, St. Matthias, and St. Andrew. We bought a few trinkets and returned to the Airport. Once in Prague we got back to the flat and within 15 minutes we were off again to dinner and a concert with Tomas Dittrich, the editor of the only Evangelical Magazine in the country, and Carl and Shannon Wendt from Joplin who were passing through on their way back from teaching in Poland. It was a grand evening.
Monday, October 8-9, 2006
We are on the North Shore of the Black Sea and this place reminds me of California only in an emerging nation. Jon and Eldon are not presenting her which is probably good since Jon sprained his ankle jogging and Eldon picked up a mild case of food poisoning on Saturday. After the conference at noon we headed back to Simferopol but on the way stopped for a donkey ride in the Crimea mountains. It was great fun...we have already heard all the jokes you can save them.
Friday & Saturday, October 6-7, 2006
We left immediately after my plenary session on the Politics of Jesus to our second conference which was held down in Yalta, this historic site of the meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill after WWII. It was attended by forty-plus apologists from nine time-zones all over the former Soviet Union. Most of these guys were fully capable of presenting lectures, but that privilege was primarily given to four American scholars. I gave session on Jesus' politics as it pertained to apologetics, a defense of the historicity of the gospel accounts, and an apologetic for the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
October 5, 2006
The conference on Man and Worldview has been a great success. It is a collection of both Christian and non-Christian university professors speaking on topics ranging from medical ethics to art, history, politics and philosophy. Today Eldon and Jon presented their papers and did a fantastic job. They generated very positive discussions where Jesus was magnified. To hear Grantham click here.
Wednesday, October 3-4, 2006
Tuesday morning we walked through the Old Town and Jewish section. Did a bit of shopping. In the evening Elton Fay presented his paper on what makes laws good, bad, and ugly. It was an interesting talk and attracted a very unique and different audience from the city. Wednesday we flew from Prague to Kiev and then on to Simferopol where we met our host Sergei Golovan and his sweet family. We are staying in their very comfortable and hospitable home here in the Ukraine. We went out for dinner at a traditional Ukrainian restaurant and ate very well. 'Fat and happy' is a fit description of our present state of affairs. Click here to read Elton's Lecture or In Czech
Monday, October 1–2, 2006
Dr. Jonathan Grantham arrived 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Eldon Fay on Monday at 10:30. We ran their legs off to keep them awake long enough to stave off jet lag. We saw the main sights of Prague—the castle, Charles Bridge, and Old Town. On Monday evening Dr. Grantham gave his presentation on the effects of Darwinism in Medicine (See the attached handout and powerpoint). The small lecture room was packed. The first person to come it was a PhD in microbiology from the local science institute. A physician came after him, then several students, an antique dealer, the editor of the largest Christian magazine in the nation, a worker in the Salvation Army, an educator in computer science, and a 7th Day Adventist seminarian. Jon did a wonderful job and the three of us ended the day with a delightful meal of bread, cheese, meats and fruits.
Friday & Saturday, September 29–30, 2006
We had a private meeting with one of the potential board members who gave us further insight into the project and its opportunities. From noon to five I bugged out from Willard and visited a few sites including the National Museum of Art. The evening was spent at the symphony with the Mallorys. It featured three Russian composers. Saturday morning was the big meeting. No one knew if the legal papers would be signed and a board of directors established, but they were. Surprisingly, almost miraculously, people stepped up to the plate and took leadership in the project—just the right people in just the right spots! I am most grateful to a couple of businessmen, Peter Purchess and Christian Kiock who will be instrumental in bringing this dream to reality. Please pray for their health and families. There was even a woman who volunteered several hours per day of labor! I’m happy to announce that the Berlin library is now a legal entity. Saturday afternoon Willard returned to California and I to Prague.
Wednesday & Thursday, September 27–28, 2006
We took a delightful five hour train ride to Berlin and met Dale Mallory at the train station. After checking into the Pension we went to dinner with the potential board members and afterward we discussed the business of the library. The intricacies of both intercultural relationships and details of establishing a library are pretty complex but a delightful and fascinating challenge. Thursday we met again with the Mallorys for a kind of post-meeting debrief and strategy planning. The afternoon was given over to the Pergamum Museum, on of the great museums of the world.
Sunday-Tues, September 24-26, 2006
Returned from Hungary in time to do laundry and meet Josh and Katie (Randy Gariss's daughter and son-in-law) from the train station. Then Willard and I met with the Barnes for several hours late into the evening to listen to their exciting plans for expansion. Mon and Tuesday were devoted to library research at IBTS. I finally got written critique from my advisor about my major chapter so far. Again it was insightful, helpful, and painful all three very good things. Tuesday I hit a wall of loneliness. Barbara is never far from my prayers but every time I pass a couple holding hands or looking longingly at each other there is a pinprick in the depths of my soul reminding me that My soul-mate is unnaturally separated from me.
Friday & Saturday, September 22-23, 2006
Friday we took a five hour lunch with the Andersons to learn their needs and talk through transition issues. In the evening Willard and I walked to the Castle and overlooked the city. This gave us an extended opportunity to talk through ICR leadership transitional issues. Saturday was a grand city tour and an evening concert in their extraordinary concert hall with the finest acoustics I've ever heard. It was the size of a football field and paneled in hardwood. It was as much pleasure to my eyes as to my ears.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, September 21-23, 2006
Willard and I flew to Budapest early and arrived just after noon. We dropped our luggage at the hotel and since we had four hours before the board meeting at the Budapest Christian Library we raced off to the Hungarian National art museum featuring Rembrandt and Picasso. By the end of Rembrandt's life he was painting nearly blind and Picasso was painting as if he was blind. We shared a wonderful dinner and board meeting with the Andersons and their library board and learned much about their vision and needs. (I also learned that the Rubik's cube was invented by a Hungarian. I also learned that in Hungarian and Turkish there is a single sentence that is exactly the same: "I have an apple in my pocket". Ok, just one more, the telephone was a Hungarian invention and "hello" in Hungarian means, "Can you hear me.")
Monday & Tuesday, September 18-19, 2006
Monday I had a profitable meeting with one of my advisors, the second, whom I really needed to see has already left campus so we will need to try to communicate by email. That is a bit discouraging. On a brighter note, I had about eight hours of uninterrupted time in the library and another four hours of reading back at the flat. 2:30 a.m. I woke up and after three hours of mental gymnastics through the dissertation I arose and began reading again. The library is open until 8 this evening and I plan to stay until the kick me out. Willard arrives this evening so I will have some dinner company. We leave for Budapest together on Thursday. Have you seen the news? There are some very unhappy people in Hungary right now. . . fortunately Willard and I aren't the problem.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
There is a major soccer match in Dublin today between the Elverys and Kerrys as well as the Ryder's Cup. The city is buzzing. As I stand at my bus stop waiting to (hopefully) return to the airport, I'm overwhelmed with colorful people (mostly green) filled with national pride and a couple pints of Guinness (genius!). In four whirlwind hours I've seen Christ's Church Cathedral and the tomb of King John Wallace, Trinity College and the 8th century gospel manuscript "Book of Kells," and the National Art Gallery and Caravaggio's "Betrayal of Christ" (interestingly, he painted himself into the picture with a lantern in his hand, though the lantern is not the source of the painting's light).
Saturday, September 16, 2006
It was more difficult leaving Barbara today than I had suspected. These next 28 days will be the longest we've been apart in 22 years of marriage. My first stop-over was in Chicago where I had a 6 1/2 hour layover. That was just too long to sit in an airport so I took the train into town. To my delight, when I popped up out of the Washington Street Station, I was in the middle of a Turkish Festival. Whirling Dervishes were dancing and I gorged myself on Lamb Kabobs. After that I lugged my backpack with laptop to the Art Museum where I feasted my eyes. I returned to the airport exhausted, which, with the help of two Tylenol PM, enabled me sleep all the way across the Atlantic, much to the chagrin of my friendly neighbor on route to the Ryder Cup in Dublin.