A Travellerspoint blog



There's more than a museum here!

sunny 70 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

After the rockiest sea day we have had in the past 4 1/2 months (not too bad!!! see below) we sailed up the river to Bilbao, Spain, a perfectly beautiful city, reclaimed from industrial squalor and grime through a concerted and determined endeavor that brought the Guggenheim Museum here and built it on the site of an old iron warehouse. Now the warehouse and docks are gone - and power and predominance of iron are incarnated in the Richard Serra sculptures of rolled steel that fill one of the museum galleries.

In the morning we took a funicular to the top of a "mountain" above and looked down on the museum that has changed this city and, in fact, changed the whole Basque Country, converting it to a region of beauty and artistic encouragement and gracious living. The huge museum complex is actually quite small, nestled beside the river in the center of the photo below. After lunch on the mountain top and a walk through the old city (cathedral locked up tight - again), we got dressed up and went to the Museum for a grand extravaganza of events. We were welcomed by a local band and then given an excellent tour of the collections and the current Jenny Holzer show. As our guide spoke, the sound of a string trio echoed through the museum's various soaring spaces. What a treat to be at a private opening of the museum! We could walk through those huge Serra scrolls and feel their dizzying effect without a crush of tourists around us. During the grand dinner with grand wines and grand flowers on the tables, a Basque youth choir sang for us and an acrobat twirled overhead. As we left, huge lighted puppets danced in the plaza. large_687275b0-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_c171f7d0-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_d7916b90-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_7ec0e8b0-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_18abf1a0-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_69aa8080-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_07459920-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_7310a5e0-7621-11e9-acd0-db183ba41098.jpglarge_a14ebbf0-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_6b066700-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_ba8051b0-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpglarge_c26a6190-7625-11e9-984c-e57dc115e9de.jpg

Posted by HopeEakins 09:11 Archived in Spain Comments (0)


May 12, 2019

sunny 62 °F

Worship aboard the Silver Whisper on Sunday, May 12, 2019

HYMN: For the beauty of the earth


Give thanks to God and call upon his name.
Make known his deeds among the peoples.

Let us pray. O God of unchangeable power and light: Look favorably on all that you have made. By the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation. Let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *
serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God; *
he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; *
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’ (17:11-19)

Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

“The other nine, where are they?” asks Jesus. Were not ten made clean? And only one has remembered to say thank you? The other nine, where are they? Well, sorry, Lord, but we are the other nine and we are right here in the Show Lounge on the Silver Whisper. And like the lepers, we forget to give thanks to you for the blessings that are ours.

The right word IS forget. It’s not that we are ingrates, entitled people, unappreciative folks. It’s just that we forget to express our appreciation to you, Lord. It’s not that we aren’t thankful for our life and loves, our health and education and the privilege of travel. It’s just that we get busy and forget to tell you so.

We can understand the nine lepers, for we are like them. Healed of the disease that separated them from all that they loved, they ran out in joy to hug and laugh and rejoice. They weren’t unthankful to Jesus; they just forgot to tell him so.

They forgot and we forget. This is why Muslims send a muzzein out onto a minaret five times a day to call people to prayer, to remind them to kneel down and humble themselves and worship. This is why the people of Ghana give their shops names like God is King Tailoring. Did you see them? Did you see the I Thank God Bike Shop, and the best of all, the beauty salon named With God All Things Are Possible? Our forgetfulness is why God spoke to Moses from Mt. Sinai and gave us the commandment to keep holy the Lord’s Day, to set aside a time every week to remember how blessed we are, to remember that we have so much while so many have so little.

I think that perhaps the best souvenir (which means a remembrance) we could take home from this World Cruise would be a new practice of thanksgiving, a new pattern of naming our blessings, a regular time for appreciation. Perhaps it could be at the beginning of every day before you get out of bed, or at the beginning of every golf game, or as you walk to the mail box or walk the dog; perhaps you could say grace out loud at dinner or keep a notebook with a place to name the things that bring you joy and delight. Perhaps you could write something or draw something for which you give thanks and put the papers into a jar or a basket and become aware of how many blessings are yours.

At the end of the Gospel story, Jesus says this to the leper who returned to give thanks: “Get up and go your way.”
We can go OUR way home from this incredible journey to continue our lives taking for granted all that has happened to us. Or we can fall on our knees and say “Thank you, God.” Then we shall go on our way made whole, people filled with humility and profound gratitude and joy.


Let us give thanks for all God’s gifts so freely bestowed upon us.
For the beauty and wonder of creation, in earth and sky and sea,
We thank you, Lord.
For our mothers who gave us life and all who have served as mothers to us,
We thank you, Lord.
For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women,
We thank you, Lord.
For homes and families and friends old and new,
We thank you, Lord.
For minds to think, hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.
For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.
For the brave and courageous, who risk much for our sake,
We thank you, Lord.
For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.
For those who have taught us our faith in many times and ways,
We thank you, Lord.
For the diversity of races and cultures in this world that enrich our lives,
We thank you, Lord.
For tasks which demand our best efforts, and for accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you, Lord.
For disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you,
We thank you, Lord.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus who taught us to pray,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

At this time, you are invited to reflect on something for which you give thanks, note it on the card you have been given, and put it in the envelope. The usher will collect these thanksgivings in a basket and place it upon the altar. After the service, the clergy will dispose of the envelopes reverently.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise God all creatures here below
Praise God above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

HYMN: Now thank we all our God


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope Eakins, The Reverend William Eakins
Music: Alex Manev
Altar Guild: Jane Kline, Directress, Jill Ingham
Usher: Doug Kline

Posted by HopeEakins 05:35 Archived in Spain Comments (0)


A palace, a cathedral, and a festival

sunny 70 °F

Our cruise generally visits ocean ports, but yesterday we sailed about fifty miles up the Guadalquivir River to dock in the center of the gracious and beautiful city of Seville, arriving about 10:30 pm. Although we were told that this was nowhere near too late for the Spanish to dine out, we decided to eat on the ship and get ready for the big day tomorrow. A big day it was. Our feet hurt.

We first went to Alcazar, the huge fortress/castle built for Pedro of Castile in the 14th century. Pedro was a Christian King with deep affection and respect for Islam, so he built his palace on the site of a Muslim residential fortress destroyed when the Christians conquered Seville. The intertwining of Moorish and Spanish architecture is stunning. Long Arabic Quranic inscriptions surround bands of crosses. Room after room, hall after hall, flow in splendid order, looking out at the magnificent gardens - with one exception: the grotto wall (see below) looks rather like some disease has got inside the plaster and extruded globs of twisted accretions. Well, that’s our opinion.

Near the entrance to the palace sits the Treasury and its chapel. The Treasury served as a repository for all the riches from the New World, brought back to Seville and sailed up the river. At the entrance is a large painting of the Virgin Mary hovering over the Niña, the Piñta, and the Santa Maria.

Next we walked to the third largest church in the world (after St. Peter’s, Rome, and someplace in Brazil). Seville’s Cathedral is called Santa Maria de la Sede – St. Mary’s of the See, the See being the local Diocese. The place looks like it has been designed for diocesan clergy, and the rest of the people of God don’t count. The huge space is bisected by a central choir with high walls, so the folks can’t see the altar; only the professional holy people get a look at it. Even when you turn the corner and get a glimpse of the huge gold reredos, it is behind a mammoth metal gated fence. Everything is behind fences, except the massive tomb of Christopher Columbus and his son. A clamor of tourists sweeps back and forth; many cases scattered throughout the nave hold displays of vessels and vestments, the vestments so encrusted with gold braid that it would take a football player to wear them.

The cathedral’s huge square bell tower (Giralda) is the tallest in the world, so large that you can ride a horse up inside it on special ramps. That is what was done at the mosque formerly on this site – a muezzin rode up the tower to call people to prayer. The orange garden at the entrance surrounds the ancient fountain, once at the center of the ancient Islamic courtyard used for ablutions before prayer.

An unpleasant lunch at a restaurant called La Canasta followed. Bill ordered a club sandwich; one of the plastic picks in each quarter had broken into pieces, one of which Bill swallowed. He is still alive.

Then after a long walk to the shuttle bus to the ship, we took a long walk to the Feria de Abril Festival. This is a grand extravaganza, a Spanish version of the Eastern States Exposition or any state fair. The Feria occupies a huge area dominated by an enormous building constructed anew each year. Elegant carriages swept people through its paths, their horsemen garbed in fashionable livery and their horses decorated with lace caps on their ears. From time to time, industrial water trucks sprayed the abundant horse poop and dust. Seville’s women and girls swept by in flamenco dresses, swirling their skirts. The streets were lined with casitas de Sevilla, large marquee tents decorated to the hilt and filled with tables and chairs and a dance stage. Flamenco music sounded noisily from each one as people danced on the stage and around every table. Even the smaller girls danced, dressed in little flamenco costumes, wearing lipstick and big earrings and flowers atop their heads and managing the Sevillaña dances even when they are quite little. The casitas are constructed each year by local families and groups (the Spanish Communist Party had one); our tent, for the Port of Seville, was larger than most. Plates of tapas: shrimp, potato pancakes, Iberian hams, and bread were served, along with a pitcher of rebujito, a mixture of sherry, water, and a carbonated drink, specially concocted for the festival.

Amazingly, we returned to the ship and had supper on the deck as the sun set.

Posted by HopeEakins 19:45 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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