Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catching Up

We've been busy, but I haven't gotten a whole lot of new photos recently, so I haven't posted anything. I have over 600 photos that my mother-in-law took during her stay here, so I'm going back and posting some of them here now. For all her photos, click here, here, here, and here.

Above is a photo Kh. Sophia took during the first couple hours she was here back on the babies' first birthday in June. This is what happens when a newcomer doesn't know the rule that bathroom doors must be kept closed. :)

Here are the wonderful women of two great families from the parish who have loved the babies and helped us a lot with them. This was taken during the babies' birthday party.

The babies playing on our balcony. Phoebe is in the foreground, and Paul is climbing up on a chair in the background.

Above and below are photos taken during our visit to the 5th century basilica of Panagia Ahiropoiitos in Thessaloniki. Phoebe likes to wear things on her head, and here she's modeling some of the frill from the ropes.

The babies playing with the ropes at the back of the basilica.

Here Kh. Sophia is pulling a Pelagia -- taking all three babies at once.

Kh. Sophia found a big box that must have been for a refrigerator or water heater and made it into a fort for the babies. Above, Benjamin is looking out the door. Below, Paul is taking a break and looking at some tape inside their house.

There's a planter on our balcony that Pres. Pelagia cleared out and the babies love playing in it, especially when we put a little water in it for them to splash around in. In the photos above and below, Paul is playing peek-a-boo with one of the towels.

Here Benjamin is playing inside a bucket with a little water, inside the planter on the balcony.

When we went to Edessa, the babies all "took a dip" in the water at the top of the waterfalls.

Here Phoebe is checking out the marble capitals inside the 14th century church dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul in Edessa. This ends the photos from Kh. Sophia.

During the last days my mother-in-law was here, Fr. David Lubliner and his family from the Serbian parish of St. John Maximovich in Eugene, Oregon arrived in Thessaloniki, and we were fortunate to spend some time with them. On Monday, July 19, we drove them out to see Fr. Peter Heers and his family in the village of Petrokerasa, so that we could celebrate a festal Vespers with them for their parish's feast of the Prophet Elijah.

As seems to happen when we go out there, the journey out into the mountains of Halkidiki was full of adventure. I tried a new way of going and, unwisely following the GPS directions, we ended up on a horrible, horrible dirt road that went on for miles and miles. It finally ended, for us, in being stuck in a mud puddle, as you can see above. Ultimately, everyone (except the babies) had to get out, and Pres. Pelagia eagerly volunteered to push us out, which she did! We then backtracked and tried a different road, which may actually have been worse than the first. After a precarious turn-around, we backtracked again and finally caught a paved road there, making it in time to visit with Fr. Peter and his family and to celebrate Vespers with them.

Right after Kh. Sophia left, but before the Lubliners left, we were also joined by Pelagia's longtime friend Elise and her husband Thom, so we had quite the full house for a couple days, but that meant lots of hands to help and play with the babies.

On one lovely day last week, we took Thom and Elise to one of the beaches of Halkidiki. The babies like playing in the water, and there's one spot we like to go that has a nice little restaurant right on the beach. You can see Thom and Elise at our table in the photo below. In the photo above, the babies were crawling around the restaurant and playing here on an anchor. The restaurant owner and the waiters loved it and were themselves taking lots of photos. The owner told me he was going to have one photo of the triplets hung on the wall. :)

That's it for now. Thom and Elise just left, and now we're waiting for our niece, Anastasia (who baptized Phoebe last year), and Pelagia's cousin Coreen to come next Wednesday. Look for new photos soon.

Since this post is related to some of the visitors that we've seen this summer, this is a good opportunity for me to mention the Visitors' Guide (or Pilgrims' Guide) to Thessaloniki that was started some time ago and is maintained by the Americans studying here. There's been a link to it on the right-hand column of this blog for some time, but it's small and most people aren't aware of it.

If I do say so myself, I think it contains quite a bit of useful information for those visiting Thessaloniki and Greece in general. We try to keep the information current and to add new information as it comes in. We also welcome visitors to email us with any information they'd like to share after their trip, in an effort to help future visitors and pilgrims.

If you know anyone thinking about a trip to Greece, do them a favor and direct them to this site. Consider even having it put in your parish's bulletin or website. It'll be helpful to travelers, and it saves the Americans here from getting desperate, last-minute emails and phone calls from bewildered American visitors. :)

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