Tag Archive: family travel


The Pegasus fountain, where Julie Andrews sang "Do Re Mi" with the Von Trapp children.

The Pegasus fountain, where Julie Andrews sang “Do-Re-Mi” with the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music.

Yesterday we took the train to Salzburg from Munich.  It was a lovely, sunny day.  Salzburg is such a beautiful city!  We walked all over the city, as it is very compact. The views from the fortress on the hill are stunning! It was a great day trip from Munich, but left us wanting to go back to explore it some more…sometime in the future. One day definitely wasn’t enough!

Enchanting Venice

Venice

Venice

This past summer we spent a week in Italy as part of a three week road trip in Europe.  We used Verona as a base to see Lake Garda, Vicenza, and Venice. We had been to Venice in April 2012; but once in Venice is not enough! So we went back for a day trip.

venice

Did you know that Venice was founded by people fleeing the invasion by Attila the Hun?  Apparently the Huns hated going near the water.  Lucky for us:)

Venice looks like a magical floating city. Venice is an archipelago of over 100 islands in the middle of a shallow lagoon, at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea.  It was built by setting wood pilings on the 118 submerged islands.  We constantly felt like we were walking around a movie set!

venice

Typical Venetian architecture

The best way to explore Venice is to get lost in the winding streets, crossing over picturesque bridges, and watching the gondolas go by.

canal

Venice=picturesque!

The alleys are narrow because the real streets of Venice are the canals The main entrances of palaces and normal houses are on the canal-side.  Like other cities, Venice also has a parking problem of its own… there are too many boats and too few docking spaces.

Nik and me

We are on one of the 400 bridges to be found in Venice! Behind us is one of the 170 canals.

The Rialto Bridge was completed in 1591. Before it was built, people scoffed at the idea of building a bridge out of stone. Apparently, the following were common sayings prior to the bridges completion: “It will be constructed when I have 3 legs” or “I’ll set myself on fire if the construction is ever completed.”  The architect had a sense of humor because today you can see two people carved in the arches of the building beside the bridge: a man with 3 legs and a woman sitting on a flaming brazier!

Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge

Apparently Rialto Bridge was the finish line of a race that criminals were forced to run. The race was a form of punishment and started at San Marco Square.  The local people were allowed to hit the runners with sticks, whips, rotten fruit, or anything else they decided to throw.  There is a statue of a hunchback on the bridge, and the convicts kissed the statue because they were so glad to be done with the race, having earned their freedom after enduring the punishment along the way.

When in Italy one MUST eat pizza!

When in Italy one MUST eat pizza! We had a great lunch at this restaurant by a canal.

Gondolas have been used as transport around the narrow Venetian canals for more than 10 centuries. Gondolas are iconic symbols of  Venice, and a gondola ride is a must-do on every tourist’s list…although they are very expensive!

We didn't want to pay 80+ Euros so we rode the gondola across to the other side for about 2 euros.

We didn’t want to pay 80+ euros so we rode the gondola across to the other side for about 2 euros!  April 2012

Did you know that only 3 or 4 Gondolier licenses are issued each year? Gondoliers have to undergo intensive training and pass a rigorous exam. There are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice today.

nive

You are safe with me!

The photo below was our view from a public water bus (vaporetto); one of two main forms of public transport.  The other main form is walking!  No bicycles are allowed in any part of Venice; in fact, anyone caught on a bicycle is given a hefty fine.

The Doges Palace and San Marco Square

The Doge’s Palace and San Marco Square

Speaking of breaking the rules…not long ago, actor George Clooney got in some hot water for driving a small water taxi without the required license.  A local lawyer made a complaint and asked that the city police take action against the star. Later, when Clooney was asked about his new space thriller “Gravity”, he quipped that navigating the canals of Venice was tougher than being lost in space!

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal

More than 150 buildings line the Grand Canal.  Most of them date from the 13th to the 18th century. The Venetian nobility spared no expense to show off their riches by building their “palazzos.”

venice

When two buildings are joined by an arch, it indicates that both buildings were owned by the same owner.

Venice was the greatest seaport of medieval Europe. It was Europe’s main trade and cultural tie to Asia.  Marco Polo was born here!

Other famous people who were born in Venice include the famous lover Giacomo Casanova, the composer Antonio Vivaldi, and painters Titian and Tintoretto.

I wonder about the lives of the people who have lived in this flat....

I wonder about the lives of the people who have lived in this flat….

Did you know that Venice has no sewer system? Waste flows into the canals and is washed out to sea with the tides. No wonder we never noticed anyone swimming!

boys

Next to the Doge’s palace

St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice, whose symbol is a winged lion. The lion rests its paw on an open book; the Latin inscription can be translated as: “Peace be with you Mark, my Evangelist”.

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower

Do you know how St. Mark became the patron saint of Venice? According to legend,  a few Venice merchants in Ninth century stole the remains of St.Mark from his tomb in Alexandria, Egypt and brought it to Venice, where it is said to remain to this day.

The story (as told by William Lithgow in 1619) goes that the merchants placed the corpse in a large basket covered with herbs and pork, which Muslims wouldn’t go near. The merchants cried “pork!” if anyone came to search their cargo, and thus safely brought the remains to their ship. Shortly after they got out to sea, the ship was buffeted by a great storm.  St. Mark appeared and warned the captain to strike his sails, preventing the ship from being wrecked on hidden rocks.

The merchants delivered the remains of St. Mark to the Doge, and the local religious and civic authorities elected St. Mark as Venice’s patron saint after hearing their story.  So that is how St. Mark’s symbol of the winged lion became the logo of Venice!

April 2012: Nikolas' favorite pastime...chasing pigeons:)

San Marco Square, April 2012: Nikolas’ favorite pastime…chasing pigeons:)

San Marco Basilica is. STUNNING. It’s in my top two favorite cathedrals…the other being the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

July 2013:  Nate still loves chasing pigeons...look behind me!

San Marco Square, July 2013: Nate still loves chasing pigeons…look behind me!

The Doge’s palace was built in the late 1100’s. It was the residence of the Doge of Venice, who was the supreme leader of the Venetian Republic. The architecture is incredible. The photo below is just a teaser.  I really need to do a post just on San Marco Basilica and the Doge’s palace!

Inside the courtyard of the Doge's Palace.

Inside the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace.

Apparently Carnival started as a celebration after a military victory in 1162.  It continued until it was outlawed in 1797 by the King of Austria.  The festival of Carnival was reinstated in 1979, and now approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year to join in the festivities.

Tourist shops are full of masks, from cheap masks made for tourists on a budget to really expensive, exquisitely handcrafted masks.

Trinkets

Trinkets and souveniers

Historically, masks were not worn only for Carnival. Venetians loved to wear masks for any possible occasion.  Apparently there were many laws which specified when, where and who was allowed to walk around masked, especially for security reasons.

venice

If someone didn’t keep up their house in one’s neighborhood it would detract from the value.  In Venice, the fading paint and peeling plaster seem to add character and charm!

City planners with a sense of humor decided that Calle del Diavolo (Devil’s Street) should intersect with  with Calle dei Preti (Priests’ Street). Apparently Calle del Diavolo, was named this way because there is a bridge at the beginning of the street which was known for its very steep and slippery steps where people would slip and fall, letting loose with some colorful expletives!

boys

My two men:)

We spent a wonderful afternoon exploring Venice, until dusk came and we decided to head back to Verona.  It was lovely to see Venice light up as we made our way back to the train station by vaporetto.

good

Good night, Venice!

You can see some photos  from our 2012 trip to Venice with an interesting twist from Nate’s point of view here:

https://globalnomadfamily.com/2013/03/23/whats-there-to-do-in-venice-by-nate/

Venice is one of our top three favorite cities.  There’s just no place like it!  Be sure to put it on your bucket list!

Julian Alps, October 2012

Julian Alps, October 2012

We went to Slovenia for our midterm break last October. Many outside of Europe may ask, “where is Slovenia?!”  Slovenia is the northern part of what used to be Yugoslavia. We did five day trips from the capital city, Ljubljana, and on this particular day we drove through the Julian Alps.   It was stunning!  You can see more photos more  here:

https://globalnomadfamily.com/2013/06/08/slovenia-one-of-our-all-time-favorite-european-countries/

I have been blessed to call this spectacular city my "home" since July 2011!

I have been blessed to call this spectacular city my “home” since July 2011!

I still have to pinch myself to believe that I live in Prague!  Can you see St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle in the top right of the photograph?  I see that out of our bedroom windows every day, from the other direction! Ordinary errands, like going to the dentist yesterday, are surreal.  I picked Nate up from school, took a bus to the metro, went by metro to Staromestka in the Old Town, then hopped a tram which took us along the Vltava River with stunning views of the castle as we passed by Charles Bridge. We got off at our stop along the river, and walked five minutes to the dentist’s office, past a beautiful 400+ year old church in a neighborhood with incredible architecture. It was an evening appointment, so after the check up we took a tram home through the city as all the lights were coming on. Prague is truly lovely…you really must put it on your bucket list!

Istanbul, Turkey: February 2013

Istanbul, Turkey: February 2013

We went to an outdoor cafe on the Bosphorus to drink Turkish tea with our dear friends Feza and Kazim.  You can see the bridge which connects Asia and Europe. This was the stunning sunset we saw!

Lying 60km to the south of Lake Geneva, ANNECY is one of the most beautiful and popular resort towns of the French Alps. The delights of the town nowadays lie not just in its historical monuments, like the imposing Chateâu on the hill or the fort of the Palais d'Île closer to the lake, but also in the stunning scenery which can be admired from various points around the town. Surrounded by spectacular mountains and located on the banks of a sparkling turquoise lake, Annecy is about as close to a fairy-tale city as it is possible to get except in a children's story.

Annecy

Annecy  is one of the most beautiful historic and popular resort towns of the French Alps.  The scenery around Annecy is  stunning!  It is surrounded by spectacular mountains, located on the banks of a sparkling turquoise lake.  We spent a lovely day here in July 2013.

, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the European Union.[1] It rises 4,810 m

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. It rises 4,810 m (15,781 feet)!

This was our view on a spectacular sunny day in the French Alps in the company of wonderful new friends!

Jesus in Jerusalem

Jerusalem at night.

Jerusalem at night.

Last month we traveled to Israel with our friends John and Kelsie. We spent four wonderful days in Jerusalem. It is the most fascinating city…there’s no where else like it in the world!  Jerusalem is the site of many important biblical events.  Since I am a Christian, it was an amazing experience to see the Bible come alive…especially the Passion of Christ.  Jesus was a controversial figure then, as he still is today.  In his day, he inspired great devotion as well as great anger. The following photos tell the story of  Jesus’ last few days before he was crucified.

Things have changed a lot in the last 2000 years!

Things have changed a lot in the last 2000 years!

1.  The Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus celebrated the Passover (the Last Supper) with his disciples in Jerusalem.  When it was over, he went with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, located at the foot of the Mount of Olives.  Jesus knew what was about to happen, and wanted time to pray.

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,”  Jesus said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Mark 14:32-33

The church in the background with the golden onion domes is the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that Judas lead the chief priests who came to arrest Jesus. Why did they want to arrest Jesus?  Read below…

For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.  John 5:18

For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:18

The photo below was taken on the steps of where we spent the night at a place called The House of Prayer on the Mount of Olives. Behind my boys is the city of Jerusalem. Jesus would have had a similar view when he was arrested…except not so many lights:)

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. Mark 14: 43, 48-50

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.The men seized Jesus and arrested him.                                              “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”  Then everyone deserted him and fled. Mark 14: 43, 46, 48-50

2. Caiaphas’ House

The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu is built on the slope of Mt. Zion. For centuries, this location was believed to be the site of the palace of the high priest Caiaphas.  If it is indeed the site, this would be where Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, as prophesied by Jesus. “Gallicantu” means “rooster crows” in Latin.

This is one of two sites that are identified as possible locations for the palace of Caiaphas. Recent excavation on this site uncovered large meeting rooms, which may have been where the Sanhedrin met.

In the photo below you can see the Dome of the Rock, located on the Temple Mount.

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. Matthew 26:57

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. Matthew 26:57

Whether or not this is the actual site, the location struck us because from it you can see the Passion of Jesus unfold.  In the photo below you can see the walls of Jerusalem, inside which Jesus celebrated the Last Supper (Passover) with his disciples. Jesus then left Jerusalem from one of the gates with his disciples.

To the right of the walls you can see the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives where Jesus went to pray, and where he was arrested. You can barely see the onion-domed church of St. Mary Magdelene, situated in the Garden of Gethsemane.

After his arrest, Jesus was taken to the high priest and the Council for questioning at Caiaphas’ house.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.Mark

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Mark 14:55

Below is a photo of the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. It is built over a dungeon, where some believe Jesus was imprisoned after he was beaten and mocked by the Council.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”  “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.  “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Mark 14: 61-64

After questioning Jesus, the high priest and the Council became furious with Jesus because he claimed to be the Messiah and quoted an Old Testament prophecy. Someone without biblical knowledge would not have caught the meaning of Jesus’ statement.  Caiaphas and the Council, however, did not miss Jesus’ meaning.  Jesus had quoted a prophecy from  the book of Daniel, and in doing so, claimed to be God. Claiming equality with God was the height of blasphemy, a sin worthy of death.

citadel

The Citadel at night

3.  The Citadel in Jerusalem

Herod’s Palace at Jerusalem was built in the the 1st century BC by Herod the Great, King of Judea. It was the second most important building in Jerusalem, after the Temple.  Herod’s palace is also possibly where the wise men came after Jesus’ birth. Nothing remains of the palace today except for the Citadel, which has been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries.

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. John 18:28

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. John 18:28

The praertorium (governor’s residence) at the Palace was the official residence of the Roman governers when they came to Jerusalem.  So, this is possibly very close to the site of Jesus’ trial by Pontius Pilate.  Interestingly, after interviewing Jesus, Pontius Pilate wanted to release him.

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” 7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” John 19:6-7

4.   The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This is the most fascinating church I have ever seen.  It is a strange mix of Byzantine, medieval, and crusader styles.

The first church was founded by Constantine the Great in 335, after he sent his mother, St. Helen, to find the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

The early Christian community of Jerusalem was said to have held liturgical celebrations at the tomb of Jesus until 66 AD, when the city was taken by the Romans.  Emperor Hadiran filled in the quarry and built a temple to Aphrodite.

The early Christian community of Jerusalem was said to have met together at the tomb of Jesus until 66 AD, when the city was taken by the Romans. Emperor Hadrian filled in the quarry and built a temple to Aphrodite.

Constantine removed the pagan temple. The rock-hewn tomb of Jesus was isolated and the church was built around what was believed to be the excavated hill of the Crucifixtion.   According to contemporary Christian historians, the Rock of Golgotha was found during the excavation and building process.

The most convincing piece of evidence that this might be the actual tomb of Jesus is that other first-century tombs are found inside the church.  The burial shafts date to the time of Jesus' death.

The most convincing piece of evidence that this might be the actual tomb of Jesus is that other first-century tombs are found inside the church. The burial shafts date to the time of Jesus’ death.

5.   Golgotha

This site LOOKS much more like the place of the Skull, as described in biblical accounts. This area was part of an ancient stone quarry. According to local oral tradition, the quarry was the site of execution by stoning (think about it…makes sense). So, it is possible that the Romans also used the site for crucifixions.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. The Crucifixion of Jesus So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified, So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.  Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. John 19:16-18

Crucifixions usually took place next to busy roads, so that many would pass by and be deterred by the fate of the criminals or insurrectionists.  It is ironic that now, in modern times, just below this site is a very busy bus station. I took the photo and cut out the bus site because I though it took away from the preciousness of the site…the place where Jesus died for the sins of all humanity. However, in retrospect, I think it’s God’s way to shout “I love you!!” to all the hundreds of people coming and going on the buses each day.  I wonder if they hear Him?

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

6.  The Garden Tomb

In scripture, the place where Jesus was crucified, and the place where he was buried were very close in proximity…as are Golgotha and the Garden Tomb.

The garden area is really lovely and peaceful. It has been tastefully landscaped to accommodate Christian groups who come to worship and give thanks at this site.  We heard a group singing worship songs in another language, and we could recognize the tune without understanding the words.  It was beautiful!!

 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.  John 19: 41-42


Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. John 19: 41-42

The tomb was excavated in 1867. The exact dating of the tomb is disputed; however, it fits biblical description in that it is cut out of solid rock, and it was sealed by a rolling stone. You can see the channel for the stone behind Andy’s legs.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb  and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. Mark 16:1-4

You can see in the photo above that we were given an audio guide to explain the history of the Garden Tomb and the reasons why it is believed to possibly be the site of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. I’m a bit skeptical when people say this is “THE” place where something happened…especially when thousands of years have gone by, and the city has been destroyed by Romans, earthquakes, invaders and crusaders.  I really liked what the audio guide narrator said:

The exact LOCATION of the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection isn’t as important as WHY he died, and WHO he died for.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

The Jews have been persecuted by ignorant Christians throughout the centuries since Jesus’ death for being “Christ killers”.  Their reasoning is ridiculous, because Jesus was Jewish, as were the disciples and the early Christian church.  The persecutors of the Jews didn’t get it…that Jesus’ death wasn’t a mistake…it was part of God’s plan to reach out to a lost world, to bring people back to a relationship with Him. In fact, Jesus predicted his own death.

 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. ..And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. John 12:27, 32-33

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. …And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. John 12:27, 32-33

However, Jesus’ story didn’t end when he was buried…

He is not here he is risen!

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.  Come, see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28: 5-6

7.  The Western Wall

The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  The Western Wall is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the courtyard of the Temple. It is one of the most sacred sites for the Jewish faith. The Jews pray at the Western Wall because it is the side of the Temple Mount which is closest to the location of the Holy of Holies: the inner chamber where the ark of the covenant was kept.  Jesus often taught at the Temple, as did his disciples, following Jesus’ resurrection.

The controversy over Jesus’ claims to be God did not end with his death and resurrection. Peter and John healed a lame man begging for alms at the gate of the temple. This attracted a big crowd, so Peter began to boldly tell the crowd that it was the power of Jesus who healed the man, and how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.

Not surprisingly, this annoyed the Jewish leaders, who had Peter and John arrested. The next day they were brought before Caiaphas (a little deja-vu, perhaps?) Peter had the audacity to tell Caiaphas and the leaders that Jesus’ was the Christ!

" If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,  then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.  Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected,     which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4: 9-12

If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4: 9-12

Many who are of other faiths or of no faith have respect for Jesus. Some believe that Jesus was a great teacher, but don’t believe he was God. They believe he was a great human being. Some even revere Jesus as a great prophet.

C.S. Lewis argued against the view that Jesus was a great teacher in his book Mere Christianity. He argued that Jesus made astonishing claims about himself, such as having the authority to forgive sins and to be the only way for people to attain salvation.

 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. Acts 4:13-14

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. Acts 4:13-14

Lewis argued that since Jesus made these claims about himself, there are three ways to look at Jesus:

First, that Jesus’ claims were false and he knew it.  That would make him a liar…ouch! If he knew his claims were false, then he was purposefully deceiving people.  If that is the case, there goes the idea that Jesus was a great teacher.

The second possibility, according to Lewis, is that if Jesus’ claims about himself were false, and he didn’t know it…then he was a lunatic! These days, if someone claims to be God himself, we lock him or her up in a loony bin!

The third possibility, wrote Lewis, is that Jesus’ claims to be God are true. Earlier in his ministry, Jesus’ friend Lazarus died.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and this is his conversation with Lazarus’ sister, Martha, just before he performed the miracle:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:25-27

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:25-27

Everyone decides for themselves what they think about Jesus’ claims…liar, lunatic or Lord?

What do you think??

San Zeno Basilica

San Zeno Basilica

We just got back from our trip to Israel last night…it was an amazing trip.  We saw and did so much!  I didn’t have a chance yet to go through photos or keep up the blog. I learned from my failed attempt to do a post a day for our European road trip that keeping up while traveling isn’t realistic. So stay tuned for future posts on Italy, France and Israel!

This post is about the Basilica of San Zeno: a must see if you are in Verona. We went to find San Zeno Basilica at the recommendation of our Italian host.

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It was founded in the 5th century to house the remains of San Zeno, Verona’s patron saint.

There were hardly any tourists here; we almost had the place to ourselves! It’s a lovely, peaceful church. St. Zeno  is Verona’s patron saint because he was credited with converting the people of Verona to Christianity.

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San Zeno was born in North Africa.

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Many of San Zeno’s sermons survive today.

Baptismal font

Baptismal font: it’s more than 1000 years old!

Andy

The church was rebuilt a few centuries later and was consecrated in 806 AD

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The church was later destroyed by Hungarian invaders!  Rebuilding began again in 963 AD.

The altar

What you see in the photos dates from the more recent reconstruction in the 12th and 13th centuries!

San Zeno

Statue of San Zeno.

Down in the crypt

The crypt dates back to the 10th century and contains a sarcophagus with the remains of St. Zeno.

the remains

According to tradition, this crypt was where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet were married!

The courtyard

San Zeno died in 380, but he is still honored and remembered here.

Our Italian host also gave us the tip that Verona’s best ice cream could be found next to the basilica of San Zeno, so of course we had to try it!

Verona was a wonderful surprise for us…we had no idea what a fascinating city it is before we spent a week there.  You can read more about our stay in Verona here:

https://globalnomadfamily.com/2013/07/24/day-7-opera-at-the-1st-century-bc-arena-di-verona/

https://globalnomadfamily.com/2013/07/20/verona-so-much-more-than-juliets-balcony/

Verona is also a great city to use as a base for exploring other amazing cities.  We did a day trip to Venice (stay tuned for that post).  We also visited Lake Garda and Vicenza.  You can see the photos here:

https://globalnomadfamily.com/2013/07/13/day-four-picnic-at-lake-garda/

https://globalnomadfamily.com/2013/07/15/day-five-the-unesco-world-heritage-town-of-vicenza/

So, for anyone visiting northern Italy, don’t forget lovely Verona!

Sunset on the Holy Land!

The end of our first day!

The end of our first day!

We arrived in Israel with our friends and their family at 3:15am.  I think Nate was the only one who got a semi decent night’s sleep.  So we picked up our rental cars, drove to the home we are staying at, and crashed for several hours.

We woke up, had a late lunch, and headed off to the beach… just a five minute drive away. We were shown the way to this particular beach by the house sitter of the people whose home we are staying in.  There was hardly anyone there!

The water was about 80 degrees Farenheit!

The water was about 75 degrees Farenheit!

This kid LOVES the water!

This kid LOVES the water!

So does this BIG kid...he's doing the Gangnam style dance out there!

So does this BIG kid…he’s doing the Gangnam style dance out there! Bet you didn’t know that Andy can dance on water!

This pooch was thoroughly enjoying the water as well and swam with us the whole time we were there.

This pooch was thoroughly enjoying the water as well and swam with us the whole time we were there.

The sun started making its way down...

The sun started making its way down…

Time to get out and dry off...

Time to get out and dry off…

Praise God, we are in the Holy Land!

Praise God, we are in the Holy Land!

I got the whole group to pose like this, but instead of a "Praise God!" photo it looks more like "Stop, don't shoot!"

I got the whole group to pose like this, but instead of a “Praise God!” moment, it looks more like “Stop, don’t shoot!”

Then we watched the sun go down over the Mediterranean.

Then we watched the sun go down over the Mediterranean.

Cute kid!

Cute kid!

It was a lovely secluded beach. We were shown it by a local:)

It was a lovely secluded beach.

I think I must have touched the camera lense with a wet finger, because there’s a red circle on some of the photos, but they are still amazing shots to capture the lovely sunset.

Down...

Going…

Down....

Going….

Gone!

Gone!

It was a wonderful end to our first day in the Holy Land! Many more great days have followed since then.  We’ve been to the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth,  as well as three days in Jerusalem. It’s amazing to see the city of David, to see where Jesus walked and taught, and to experience the sights and sounds of this fascinating country!