Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 4: Macedonia

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here

October 13 – Skopje, Macedonia
Side story: When I went through security in Wroclaw, Poland, I was using the black bag on wheels as a carry-on with my backpack inside it. I had foodstuffs for Dave and Anora but didn’t think much of it. When it went through the x-ray they pulled me over to examine it. He starts going through the bag. He pulls out the Kindle in red case and I said, “it’s a kindle.” A little later, he pulls out the other Kindle, and I said, “that’s another Kindle,” and then “I like to read.” He smiled. Finished checking and let me go. Thought it was funny regarding the 2 kindles.
October 13 – Skopje, Macedonia
We arrived today in Skopje and it was nice and sunny. Philip picked us up and drove us into town, where we parked and walked to meet his wife Lynn and a lady visiting on a vision trip- Julianne (who also happens to be the sister of a lady I’ve scrapbooked with – Andrea). He gave us some history and there were statues of Alexander the Great and his father Philip. We walked on a stone bridge from the 7th century.
7th century stone bridge

Macedonian lunch
They took us to lunch in Old Town and had a typical Macedonian meal – sausage (called kebab) and bread with spicy peppers. And salad that was different but very good. Tomatoes, cucumbers and a white cheese (Bulgarian goat cheese) – called shopska. Then Philip took us over to another missionary’s home where Jono talked with the mom and her 3 kids (15, 12, and 10) about Internet safety. He did a great job! Then she took us to our hotel where we are hanging out until Philip comes to talk us to their place for dinner.
October 14 – Skopje, Macedonia
Enjoyed dinner at the Jacksons last night. Lynn’s parents were there. They were missionaries in Costa Rica for many years.
Dinner with Jacksons and Buttemeres

Today we had breakfast with Cindy Y and tried to help with her husband’s computer (he was sick and couldn’t be there). Then Philip picked us up and we headed over to his house to help with some computer issues there. Then he dropped us off downtown and we walked around Old Town and got some souvenirs and ate lunch. That is, we ordered lunch but by the time it came we had to leave to meet back up with Philip, so we had them wrap it, paid and walked at a quick pace back to where we’d arranged to meet Philip (did not have a phone to call him).

Old Town
Philip took us and Julianne up the mountain (Vodno) to where we rode a cable car to the top – with a spectacular view overlooking Skopje. On the other side was more of Macedonia. We took a few minutes to pray for the city.  Then rode back down the cable car and then drove a very winding, narrow road down the mountain and then over to a canyon Matka. Gorgeous canyon with a river (lake). We walked through taking pictures and then on the way back to the car we stopped for some coffee. There was a church there – St. Andrews (after the apostle) from 1389. Orthodox is the religion of Macedonians (nominal). There are also Albanians in Macedonia who are Muslim – the two groups do not like each other. A third group is the Roma (gypsy), which nobody likes.

On Mount Vodno overlooking Skopje
Philip then dropped us off near the restaurant Enricko for dinner. We had probably the best pizza I’ve had in my life! Then we looked for a taxi and not finding one we went into a gas station and asked them to call one. He took us back to the hotel and we are taking a breath before heading back out to a Macedonian Bible study.

Canyon Matka
October 15 – Skopje, Macedonia
Bible Study in Skopje
The Bible study last night was great! Everyone there spoke some English, so Jono gave his testimony without a translator. Then the leader did the study in Macedonian and Philip translated. It was great to meet some of the believers in Macedonia.
SEND missionaries
Jono helping Riddells
This morning at the breakfast in the hotel, Cindy came down (they are currently also at the hotel) and Michael was feeling better, so came and met us. Then Philip and Lynn came by to say goodbye and the Riddells came too. We chatted a bit then prayed and said goodbye. We walked back to Ron and Lisa Riddell’s with them. Jono was then able to help with several questions that Ron had.  We then went to Enricko for lunch with them and had some more of the delicious pizza. Also had shopska (the salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and sirenje cheese). They also got us desserts that were crepes with chocolate, nuts and whipped cream. Very good! They then took us back to our hotel, showing us a restaurant within walking distance. Now we relax, eat dinner, go to bed and get up at 1:30 am to head to the airport for our 3-leg journey home.
What an amazing trip!
October 16 – Airplane in Frankfurt, Germany
Well, we never made it out to the restaurant last night. I was too sleepy and neither of us was hungry after our big lunch. We went to bed around 5 pm. I slept fairly well, though Jono had a hard time.
The hotel got a taxi for us that arrived at 2:30 am and took us to the airport. We made our connection in Vienna (only an hour layover) and also our connection in Frankfurt. Now sitting on the plane ready to leave for Detroit.
 

Heading home
October 17 – Home: Southfield, MI
We made it back home with all our luggage. What an amazing trip!
One story I forgot to write down that happened in Slovenia:

We were walking through Ljubljana and Chris mentioned down a street was a Bengali restaurant. A man on a bike was passing and said that he was the chef for that restaurant. So I spoke some Bengali (Apnar nom ke – or something like that). He responded in Bengali but more than I understood. So I told him I only knew very little – a couple phrases. It was so neat to have that encounter! Perhaps the Jones will be able to follow-up and develop a relationship there.
Bangladesh Coffee Bar in Slovenia

Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 3: Slovenia

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
October 11 – Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Our flight arrived early yesterday so Chris was able to pick us up at the curb. After getting back to Jones we had lunch and then went walking through Ljubljana. 
Ljubljana, Slovenia
What a beautiful city! I kept taking pictures of the buildings. It was chilly with the wind blowing but we stopped for some hot chocolate/coffee. We walked through the tourist area and got some souvenirs. It was a lot of fun and a lot of walking.

Then we went back to Jones and had dinner. We slept quite well. Today we go with them to a church and perhaps out to eat. What we do will depend on the weather.
Anniversary dessert
For dessert, because of our anniversary they gave us a Slovenian dessert Kremsnite with a candle in it. It was delicious!
Today we had church – recorded a couple videos of Slovene singing. An Australian missionary translated for us. We had a great talk with him afterwards, about the needs in Slovenia – a need to go back to God’s Word (same as America). Then a pizza place for lunch.
Slovene church

After lunch we ended up playing some games and then went out to visit Ljubljana Castle as it had stopped raining. On the drive up the hill we saw a rainbow over the city – it was huge and beautiful!

Rainbow over Ljubljana
Looking out over Ljubljana
At the castle you can look out over the city – it is beautiful. On one side the mountains are off in the distance (though today mostly covered by clouds). Terrific views.
October 13 – Ljubljana, Slovenia
Yesterday we headed out to visit Bohinj and Bled. At Bohinj we climbed up a hill to see a beautiful waterfall in the mountains. Legs were burning after all the walking we’ve been doing and the climb in Poland. It was a great view of the valley and a waterfall.
Bohinj

After hiking back down and getting a couple souvenirs, we headed back toward Bled. We stopped to take some pictures. We got a glimpse of the mountains through a break in the clouds. We ended up going back to Ljubljana for lunch due to cost.

Lake Bled
After lunch, Daniela took the car to pick up the kids from school and we walked back to the house. We hung out for the evening and learned Monopoly Deal. Now we head to Macedonia today.
Part 4, Macedonia, coming soon!

Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 2: Hungary

For Part 1, see here.

October 7 – Diosd, Hungary
Yesterday we landed in Budapest around 12:30, and got some pizza while waiting to be picked up. When Dave picked us up, we went back with him to ICSB and he gave us a tour of the school. Saw E and Z during the tour.
International Christian School of Budapest

When T and Z were done with school, we headed back to their house. We went with Dave to drop off bikes to be fixed and then picked up E from soccer. Dinner with the Totmans.

Today we have some down time while others are in school. Jono is getting some work done and working on trouble-shooting E’s tablet. I was able to do an email update and post some pics on Facebook. Later after school we’ll go out and do some sight-seeing and out to eat.
Bridge over Danube

Went into Budapest and saw the Danube.

We then walked through the covered market, which had a bunch of tourist shops. Able to get some souvenirs.

Then we ate at Burger King 🙂 and headed back home. To go into Budapest we took the Metro (subway). Felt like being in NYC. 
Riding the Metro

October 9 – Diosd, Hungary

Yesterday one of the SEND missionaries, Evan Parks, picked Jono up around 10 to go help him with his computer. Then his wife Carrie picked me up around noon and took me over for lunch. We had a nice time of sharing, finding out about what they do and talking about MKs and transition.
Going with the flow – no dryer, no problem!

Back at Totmans, did a load of laundry and then hung up on a drying rack by their fireplace since it was raining outside (they currently can’t use their dryer).

After dinner we skyped with Mom and Dad (for the grandkids) then took family pics.

We went over to another SEND missionary’s house about 8 for dessert – Linc and Kaye Myers.

Had a nice time chatting and Larry Milks (with SEND) stopped in as well. Good to learn about what they do here in Hungary (and other countries with SHARE).
Today is relaxing, then more sight-seeing in late afternoon/evening.


October 10 – Vienna, Austria (Airport)
Budapest Timewheel

Last night after Dave and the kids got home we went back to Budapest. This time when we rode the Metro, we had to switch lines a couple times. We went to see the timewheel, which unfortunately was broken (glass on one side broken). Then on walking to a castle we discovered a festival going on and had some Polish sausage with mustard and potatoes.

Then walked back to Heroes Square, where T gave a history lesson regarding some of the figures.

Heroes Square in Budapest

Street signs are tacked on buildings

Then we rode the Metro to find Mester Utca. That was not the best part of town! after getting a picture (for Michael Mester) we continued home.

We were only able to print our boarding passes from Budapest to Vienna. When we checked in this morning, they couldn’t check us in either and said we’d have to do it in Vienna. They did check our bags through to Ljubljana. In Vienna, we had to go out through customs, check in and print our boarding passes and go back through security. Fortunately it was a 2 hour layover, so we had time.

Part 3, Slovenia coming next.

Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 1: Poland

My husband Jono works doing IT/computer networking for a missions agency, SEND International. Recently he and I had the opportunity to go visit some of the countries where SEND works to see what the missionaries are doing and for Jono to offer some technical support as needed. Here is the travel log from that experience.

October 2, 2015 – Detroit (Metro Airport)
Sitting in the airport waiting to board our plane to Frankfurt (and then on to Wroclaw). Can’t believe after all the planning and preparing we are finally here. It was a little strange not having Mocha around last night and this morning. But it did make packing easier. Hopefully we didn’t forget anything important. Excited!
 

Ready to go!

 

October 3 – Frankfurt Airport
Long layover in Frankfurt. Had a good flight and dinner on the flight was good. Rested but did not actually sleep. We were able to watch the movie Terminator: Genisys, which was pretty good (nudity in it though). Ate breakfast at Frankfurt airport. Was good but pricey. Did some resting while waiting for flight to Wroclaw.
October 4 – Wroclaw, Poland
Market Square, Wroclaw, Poland
Yesterday we arrived in Wroclaw, along with all our bags. We didn’t even have to go through customs! The Hamiltons picked us up and drove us into the city where we met up with the Irons. We walked around for a while, taking pictures and enjoying Market Square. 
Catholic Church in Wroclaw
We visited a Baroque style church were a wedding was taking place. Then we ate at a Polish restaurant, and had real pierogies. Delicious! 
We then walked up a tower – 302 steps! that wound around and around – whew! But the view of the city was spectacular! We took some time to take it in and then prayed for the city lying before us. After a long walk down (narrow and winding), we went and got some souvenirs and then had ice cream. Then we headed back to Hamiltons for the night. Had a great night of sleep and today are heading out to one of the churches and to visit a church and SEND missionaries (Lubin – Sunday 10/4).
Overlooking Wroclaw, Poland
October 4 – Lubin, Poland
Jono gives his testimony
We visited Lubin today, went to a Polish church (name I can’t pronounce – see camera pics and video). Had communion. Recognized most of the music but with hearing the Polish words had trouble remembering what the English was in order to sing along. Was able to sing along for a couple. Amazing to be singing with believers from a different country and sharing communion together. All serving the same God. Jono gave his testimony with a translator. It went very well.
SEND Missionaries in Lubin, Poland
Afterwards we went to lunch at a SEND missionary home – Paul and Carlene Eager. Were joined by Ed and Laida (Filipino missionaries) and Pat Weathersbee. Salads and pierogies – very good. Paul took us along while taking his daughter and her friends to a soccer game. He showed us around Lubin and where the church’s new building will go up. Then we went back to Eagers for dessert and Jono helped Pat with her computer. Great time of fellowship together. 
On way back the Hamiltons showed us the building where a new church plant will be in Legnica.
Building for new church plant in Legnica
There was a drop box for babies at a building across the street (said Window of Life in Polish). We then picked up Joshua at the train station and went back to Hamiltons where we hung out and talked for a while. Tomorrow another city with SEND missionaries – Opole.
October 5 – Opole, Poland
Drove out to Ayers’ house. Jono worked on someone’s computer, while Judy homeschooled. Michelle and I hung out talking.
At the Ayers home
At 1:00, we drove into town of Opole for lunch and ate at Manekin. Very good crepes. Then we walked around the city and went to their church, which is newly independent.
Opole Church
Then on to Mitch’s apartment for Jono to work on a couple computers.
Then back to Hamiltons for the night.
Jono assists Mitch with computer


Part 2 (coming soon) is our time in Hungary.