Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mediterranean Cruise - Part 1

I am wide awake at 3 am, completely flabber-gasted that jet lag is an actual thing! 
Seriously, I thought people made it up.  I am writing as much of the trip down, so I don't forget a thing.  Let's just say this trip is going to have to be broken into parts.
  
First, for the amount of pictures I took.  I was a total tourist carrying around my 
Nikon D7000 everywhere I went and adding major weight to my carry on.  Every lb worth 
it though!  
Second, we saw and experienced SO MUCH.  8 days aboard the Splendour of the Seas and 
one day in Venice, Italy.  A girl could go on and on. 
Thirdly, I am a horrible editor.  I just can't leave pictures out that you must see.  
So we will break this trip into 3 or 4 parts and you can speed read as you will.  My husband 
did not even want me to tell him about the trip (because I would leave nothing out) so he said he would just read the blog.  LOL  So here you go, honey! 
I will start by stating the reason for the trip.  It started with the "boys of the family" taking a mission 
trip to Rwanda/Uganda two years ago.  Read their experience here.  Since then I have tried to come up with a trip us girls could do.  Timing and life has made it almost impossible to come up with a good time for us to all go somewhere, anywhere!  So when my sister, Kathy, told me about a cruise the JESUS film project was doing in the Mediterranean I was interested and ready to do anything, even if it wasn't Africa.  All of the girls of the family weren't able to go, but that just means we will have to do another trip.  Wink Wink.  The best part was that it was a vacation with a PURPOSE.  Yes, we got a tan and relaxed, but we also had prayer and worship, shared our stories of coming to know Jesus Christ, and evangelized to people on the Cruise Ship and in the ports.

A little backstory.... 
  Way back when (when I was just a wee little thing) my parents got involved with the JESUS film.  They went on their first Mission trip in 1984 and visited Kenya and Zimbabwe, and all I got was this t-shirt.  LOL  No, their experience was life changing.  They shared a relative new film at the time, called the JESUS film, with the Masai in Kenya.  People who had never heard the word of God, never seen a video before, and who had never seen a white person in their life!  I remember sitting downstairs and watching them show slides of the trip and share their story of how they brought these men and women to Christ.  For this 4 year old, it was life changing as well.   
Based on the Book of Luke, the JESUS film is a two-hour docudrama on the life of Christ.  Since being made it has been translated into over 1,200 languages and had numerous follow-up films made as well.  The JESUS film project is a branch of Campus Crusade for Christ.  
The amazing thing is that with technology, we were able to share, email, and hand out Ap cards of the film for people to download the JESUS film right on their phones.  They have come a long way since my parents shared the film on reel to reel in Kenya with the Masai.  

So as you can see, as I was enjoying my relaxing vacation in the Mediterranean I was also there with a purpose.   To stand where Apostle Paul stood, to hear the word of Jesus Christ where Paul taught, and to follow his footsteps as he preached the word of the Lord.  
 {the city of Corinth where Paul spoke to the Corinthians}
{Mars Hill -- where Paul delivered a famous speech (Acts 17)}
 A Fun Fact:  Not my sister, not my mom, or I had ever been on a cruise before this trip.  
It was a new experience for all of us.  I was not sure what to expect, so I had brought along Dramamine and it was a good thing because I needed it Day 4.  One day of motion sickness and I seemed to be better.  I am glad I got over it because I didn't want to miss out on anything! 
Day 1
 Our first stop on the Cruise was Dubrovnik, Croatia.  
Cruising into and out of ports each morning/evening was a beautiful sight.  Everything seemed to be cloaked in this beautiful light no matter what time it was.  I had taken hundreds of photos of just the water and land.  On a cruise (if you haven't been on one before) you have the option of taking a shore excursion or just getting off the boat and meandering the streets by yourself.  We did both, but the first day, not knowing what the heck we were doing, we did our very first shore excursion.  It included a cable car ride to the top of Dubrovnik and then a walking tour of the old city which is actually surrounded by high stone walls.  
 {Dubrovnik, Croatia}
 {Cable Car going up}


{The walled city}

 Oh boy, was it hot.  Like surface of the sun hot in most places.  By the time we got on the boat after most days on tours we were hot sweaty messes.   

 {lots of tourists}

After our walking tour in Dubrovnik, we found a small restaurant on a side street to enjoy lunch.  
It was our first real authentic meal and I can not even describe how good it was.  We shared seafood risotto, a plate of local cheeses and I indulged in 6 raw oysters.  YUM!  
Oh how I wished by the sea to enjoy fresh seafood. 
The little charming place also had free wifi.  
After three days of traveling, I had my first glimpse of the kids by facetiming them from Croatia! 
I love technology.  I showed them my plate and showed them the little tiny Coca-Cola bottles we got to drink.  It was fun sharing a little part of the trip with them.  (I was extremely homesick after seeing my kids and hubby.  I was pretty teary eyed the rest of the night)  I had never been away from them this long and it was really rough.  I had a hard time knowing my "role" if I wasn't a mommy.  Kathy and Mom were good sports though when I tried to "mother" them.  

I took lots of pictures of the food we ate, because it was all so good! 
I could do a blog post solely about all the food.... but I won't because Nate would completely ignore that post and I don't want to bore him.  LOL  
 And that was Day 1.  Okay, now can you see how I am unable to edit myself.  
Especially when I am this excited about something! 
This blog series might need to be a 8 part-er.  
It's 5 am now and I here Nate getting up to get ready for his first day back to work since I left, so I better be a good wife and go get his coffee ready.  More on our trip to come.... a lot more.

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