Well, I just don’t have time to put up the first dining room post today, so I thought I would let you have a look see at the European Excursion that Matt and I took a few years ago.

We started in New York, visiting some of our dear friends, Greg and Lynn, who were living in Long Island at the time.

We hit all the New York stops: a show on Broadway, Starbucks, Central Park, the Apple Store. Good times. Then we caught a flight to Athens!

That picture is of an olive tree and the Acropolis above it. Did you know that olive trees can live basically forever? There are olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane from the time of Jesus! Athens was pretty cool and everyone was super nice to us obvious American travelers.

We then boarded a cruise ship to take a tour of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.  First stop, Cairo by way of the port in Alexandria.

Besides being massive, the pyramids are pretty much what you would expect. It was a little strange to see cars just parked all around them with the occasional camel walking by.

Next up, the Holy Land. We visited Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes, and these places:

The Holy Land was amazing, but we were not able to spend nearly enough time there. Hopefully we’ll be able to go back sometime!

After Israel, we hit up a few more stops in Greece including Rhodes and Santorini and Ephesus, Turkey. By the way, Greece was by far the most beautiful country we visited, Santorini in particular.

St. Paul’s Bay (Rhodes)

Santorini

After the beautiful country of Greece, we stopped at the not so pretty country of Tunisia, in Africa. If you’ve never heard of the country, do not be alarmed, neither had we. Apparently their claim to fame is having been the location where George Lucas decided to film Tatooine. We also saw these spices at an open market that was otherwise a bit scary.

We learned later that there is terrorist activity in Tunisia. We still can’t figure out why the cruise ship decided to have Gabes, Tunisia as a cruise stop.

Anyway, our next stop was Malta. A tiny tiny country south of Italy, Malta was so refreshing after being in Tunisia!

This is part of their port.  It was beautiful! Did you know that Malta is the most Catholic country in the world? They are 98% Catholic.

On our way to Rome, we floated past the active volcano Stromboli, near Sicily:

After the cruise ended, we stayed in Rome for a week. I think that we would have stayed in Italy for a month if we could have.  The center of our culture and religion is in Rome, the food is divine, and we were surrounded by so much culture that one week was just not enough time to take it all in.

Here’s St. Peter’s Square from the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Colosseum:

And what trip to Rome is complete without hanging out with the Pope?

After Rome, we headed back home to Louisville, Kentucky for a family visit, just in time for Halloween with my youngest brothers and sisters.

This trip home also marked Matt’s first ever solo pumpkin carving experience.

We were disappointed proud of him.

Overall it was a fantastic trip!

Next up, Dining Room, Take 1!

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