Spent two weeks in Chone, Ecuador near the epicenter of the earthquake with Samaritan’s Purse’s Disaster Assistance Medical Relief Team (DART) in their Emergency Field Hospital. SP is literally saving lives…physically, mentally, & spiritually! I performed my first appendectomy as primary surgeon in 33 years! Only 2,727 miles from home! My new DART nickname…”Hawkeye” from the “MASH” TV series! How inspiring to see where those Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes end up going! It was a privilege to help pass them out to hundreds & hundreds & hundreds of children during Dia del niño (Day of the Child Festival) in Ecuador!!! And very moving to see the so excited & happy faces as they received them!
Our whole family ran crossing the finish line all together. What a special treat! Colin & Victoria Campbell, Shelby Miller, Mark & Beth Miller, Jo & Will Miller. Fun celebration weekend with the NewMillermans & Colin’s mom!
Day 8 cruised up Lake Onega, the 2nd largest lake in Europe, to Kizhi Island, where settlements date back to the 15th century. Wooden churches included the 22 domed Transfiguration Church & the Intercession Church as we also toured relics of the old farmhouses, etc. We then toured back down the huge lake overnight toward the Russian village of Mandrogy.
Day 9 arrived in village of Mandrogy walking around the entire island. We then sailed along the 139 mile long Svir River known as the “Blue Route,” through Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake at nearly 7,000 square miles and continued after gorgeous sunset overnight along the Neva River to St. Petersburg.
Day 5 After overnight cruising including many canals, we arrived in Uglich founded in 1148 to visit a local family, tour the town & the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood.
Day 6 Yaroslavl founded in the 11th century visiting the newer church in Yaroslavl, the Church of Elijah the Prophet with it’s magnificent frescoes, the farmer’s market and the Governor’s Palace with it’s living museum.
Day 7 Docked in Kozino to tour Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery founded in 1397 by St. Cyril on the shore of Lake Siverskoye of 15 to 17th century churches and one of the local schools in the town of Krillov. We departed in the afternoon along the Volga-Baltic Waterway through White Lake, one of the 10 biggest natural lakes in Europe. Vodka Tasting evening of spirits.
On Day 2 we enjoyed a short ride on Moscow’s amazing Metro built in 1932 with its elegant stations carrying ~ 9 million people per day! We spent time in & around Red Square at the Kremlin with the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral in the background of the picture below. We saw Lenin’s tomb, the GUM Department Store. We visited the white Christ the Savior Cathedral (the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world). We then crossed the Patriarchy bridge by foot to Sofiyaskaya Embankment & Bolotnaya Square passing the Tretyakov Gallery (to be seen on Day 3) and taking in a classic folklore concert in which Mark was asked onstage to participate playing a tamborene.
Day 3 we visited the State Tretyakov Gallery, Russia’s largest art museum started in 1856. We spent the evening discovering the brightly lit fairytale splendor of Moscow by Night on bus, boat & walking.
Day 4 we explored the vast Kremlin, the walled city built as a fortification & surrounded by 15th century tower, containing cathedrals, palaces, the Tsar Cannon & Bell and the seat of government. This included a visit to the Armory, Russia’s “treasure house” consisting of over 4000 royal gowns, crowns, carriages & jewelry including Faberge eggs.
Cruising…the journey is the destination…carpe diem! Tranquility base here, the eagle is landing..