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Journeying – Part 1

We are all on a journey. Each of our journeys have reasons behind them. The Apostle Paul had a reason behind his well-known Missionary Journeys. Christianity, the only religion in the world which places so much significance on places, largely has Paul to thank in its spread.

The Apostle Paul has been one of the reasons for us embarking on our Sojourning in 2015. We wanted to see where he went, where he spoke and where he first Trailblazed with the Christian message.

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Paul’s Missionary Journeys within Asia Minor

While the list of cities Paul visited is not exhaustive, these were the places this Tale, Part 1 of 3, highlights which we were privileged to visit in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey (click on the pics to view larger images; brown words are clickable links).

 

Perga

"Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia" - Acts 13:13

“Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia” – Acts 13:13

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Konya (Iconium in antiquity)

"Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed" - Acts 14:1

“Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed” – Acts 14:1

 

Antalya (Attalia in antiquity)

And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia - Acts 14:25

“And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia” – Acts 14:25

 

Laodicea

While it is not known whether Paul visited Laodicea, he mentions it in his letter to the church in Colossae which is not far from Laodicea.

"And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans" - Colossians 4:16

“And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans” – Colossians 4:16

Laodicea is also referred to in the book of Revelation: “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation” – Revelation 3:14

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Hierapolis

When referring to Epaphras, Paul mentions Hierapolis in his letter to the church in Colossae which is not far from Laodicea.

"For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis" - Colossians 4:13

“For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis” – Colossians 4:13

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Ephesus

"And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples" - Acts 19:1

“And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples” – Acts 19:1

Ephesus is also referred to in the book of Revelation: “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands” – Revelation 2:1

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Troia (Troas in antiquity)

Troas was the place where Paul first left with the Christian message for modern day Europe.

"So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them" - Acts 16:8-10

“So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” – Acts 16:8-10

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Writing to Timothy, one of Paul’s travelling companions: “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me” – 2 Timothy 3:10-11

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Coffee revelations – Coffee House Patmos

Situated in the Dodacanese complex of islands, Eastern Greece, the island called Patmos boasts something rather unique, small and what one may call idyllic in coffee terms. Finding Coffee House Patmos, started and owned by entrepreneur Manolhs Isihos, was revealed to us by doing nothing other than wondering the streets of the port town of Skala.

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Being instantly intrigued by the vast array of home brewing equipment on sale, we could not resist but chat to Manolhs about the AeroPress, our travel coffee maker of choice.

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And so the coffee revelations began – Manolhs being enlightened by us brewing some of our single origin beans in our AeroPress, all the while he was revealing to us one of his incredible in-shop micro-roasted blends of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indian and Brazilian Santos origins.

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Coffee House Patmos also sells an array of organic foods, wine and tasty treats of the healthy kind – keeping locals coming and going through the door as Manolhs serves each of them with his kind smile.

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Mythical Mountain

There’s something about a mountain. We don’t quite know what, but there’s something mysterious about mountains that never cease to amaze. Maybe it’s the awe one feels when looking at them, or maybe it’s the sense of wonder standing on top of one looking down. Mount Olympus is such a mountain – mythical in more than one sense of the word.

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For the downloadable GPS track and waypoints, go here.

Mount Olympus, Greece’s highest peak at 2918m, has been popularised by the mythical Greek god Zeus, who is believed to be residing on the summit somewhere. Whilst we didn’t find him there, we nevertheless were certainly mythically intrigued by climbing it.

Located in Northern Greece, 100 kilometres South of Thessaloniki and 5 kilometres East of the Aegean Sea, the climb makes its way up on the E4 European Long Distance Trail.

Located in Northern Greece, 100 kilometres South of Thessaloniki and 5 kilometres East of the Aegean Sea, the climb makes its way up on part of the E4 European Long Distance Trail.

This trail starts in the classical Eastern European town of Litochoro at 240m, making its way up to Prionia, the traditional starting point at 1060m, and past Refuge A at 2100m.

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From Refuge A it was a steep climb to the summit, but not before we navigated some precarious rock scrambling with some serious drop off’s enroute to Mytikas summit from Skala point.

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The inevitable question "why am I doing this?" starts to go through our minds...

The inevitable question “why am I doing this?” starts to go through our minds…

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We recognised that our 2014 mountain trail preparation is coming in handy.

We recognised that our 2014 mountain trail preparation is coming in handy.

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Mytikas summit - some scrambling required.

Mytikas summit – some scrambling required.

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Mytikas, 2918m, Greece’s highest point - Mt Olympus

Mytikas, 2918m, Greece’s highest point – Mt Olympus

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We came down the same way up, except ending at Prionia due to daylight coming to an end. Total distance was 33km with an accumulative ascent of 3192m which took us just under 16 hours.

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So, what’s it about mountains? Maybe it’s just because they’re there…!

Mt Olympus was a good introduction to Europe’s mountains and trails…

Mt Olympus was a good introduction to Europe’s mountains and trails.

Sojourning so far

Sojourning so far

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Sojourning – what it’s really like

Things aren’t always what they seem. Without intent, our Tales, mostly shown through photographs, don’t tell the complete Tale. There’s always a tale behind the Tale.

These are no smiles, just gritting teeth in experiencing pain on the longest day (22km) on the Jesus Trail.

These are no smiles, just gritting teeth in experiencing pain on the longest day (22km) of the Jesus Trail, Israel.

Sojourning 2015 isn’t always what is seems. This Tale gives you a little background into what it’s like, really (we hope this Tale brings you some laughter):

Disclaimer: this Tale is in no way a complaint or a regret for what we have decided to ‘put’ ourselves through! Please don’t feel sorry for us!

 

A hot shower is a luxury.

Mosquito catching/squashing is a nightly routine.

The most constant thing: the taste of Coca-Cola!

The most constant thing: the taste of Coca-Cola!

To sweat is an opportunity to get cool in the wind.

Breakfast cereal is mostly a rare find, especially in the Middle East.

“Where are you from?” is usually a daily question, to which we always proudly answer “South Africa!” This is usually followed by a chuckle and the question “why aren’t you black?” (a great conversation follows…).

“Where are you from?” is usually a daily question, to which we always proudly answer “South Africa!” This is usually followed by a chuckle and the question “why are you white?” (a great conversation follows…).

We haven’t slept more than 3 nights in the same place.

Learn to say “no”, due to budget constraints, to some of the most amazing coffees and pastries that seem to constantly stare at us in the face at every turn.

Fashion sense? What’s that? (Lisa's attempt at trying to be conservative at Giza, Egypt)

Fashion sense? What’s that? (Lisa’s attempt at trying to be conservative at Giza, Egypt)

Bus trips highlight our body joints.

Two daily constants: hunting for food and a place to sleep/set up our tent.

Travel fatigue – it really exists!

Travel fatigue – it really exists!

Such a phrase would often pass between us: “Spare Ribs from (place) would be really good right now”.

Our tent is the most comforting space. Wild Camping at Ephesus beach, Turkey.

Our tent is the most comforting space. (Wild Camping at Ephesus beach, Turkey)

A refrigerator…if only…

Pasta/rice is a staple diet. (Joseph deciding which shape of pasta would taste better!)

Pasta/rice is a staple diet. (Joseph deciding which shape of pasta would taste better!)

One sentence that sums it up: “It is hard, but we are loving it!”

 

These experiences have enabled us to:

Meet with and be inspired by other travellers.

Meet some incredible local people in varying cultures and enjoy their different cultures.

Be challenged in our thinking and own cultural norms.

Regularly see of some of the most amazing places.

 

On a more humorous side, this is one of our favourites – little did we know how much laughter a cheap pair of swimming goggles could provide:

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Spot the difference!

Minions help us remember to be spontaneous, not worry what people think of us and to laugh at ourselves!

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:25-34 (Italics added)