Category Archives: Beautiful Estates

Impressions of France: Selfies and Otheries

Eiffel Tower in eveningEverywhere you go these days, people are busy taking selfies. Have you noticed? Eiffel Tower. 5.6.16I have, and I’ve also noticed that selfifying special places is fun and contagious! Alan and Kathi in Chapel 5.16.16My cameras are too old to embed geographical data into the photographs, Gardens at Versaillesbut my cell phone does, Ville de Blois Gardensso everywhere we went on our recent tour of France, The Château de Chenonceau selfieI made sure to take at least one picture on my i-phone Versailles. Outsidejust to keep my records straight Chateau Villandry through someone else's sunglasses!and help me remember what I’d seen. The Palace of Versailles, Château de Versailles copyFor example, after we’d taken in all the grand sites in Paris Blois. France skyline from Ville de Bloisand then visited about a zillion châteaus along the Loire River Valley,Chateau Chenonceau Argonne Forest? it was hard to remember which was the Château de Chenonceau, Chateau Chevernyand which was the Château de Cheverny. Château de ChaumontAnd, what’s the difference between the Château de Chaumont Chateau de Chambord copyand the Château de Chambord, anyway? Chateau Chaumont SelfiesIt wasn’t too hard to remember some of them. Versailles Hall of MirrorsI mean, everybody recognizes the Hall of Mirrors in Château de Versailles, right?Chateau Villandry copy And I could never forget the  Château de Villandry, Chateau Villandrybecause it has some of the Europe’s most amazing gardens. Chateau Cheverny GardensI finally remembered them this way: Chateau Chenonceauthe Château de Chenonceau spans the Loire River. Chateau Cheverny. MarlinspikeThe Château de Cheverny is famous as the prototype for Tintin’s Marlinspike Chateau Cheveryny Hound Selfie??& their gorgeous pack of hunting dogs. (One wanted me to take a selfie for him.)Chateau Chaumont Gardens Château de Chaumont is famous for their modern art gardens,Chateau de Chambord Selfie and the Château de Chambord is the most massive château Chambord Chateau Card Roomin the entire Loire River Valley, boasting some 440 rooms! Leonardo da Vinci invention at Clos LuceLeonardo da Vinci retired at Clos Luce, and many of his inventions are there. Mont St. Michel AbbeyWell, this introductory post is going to be too long, Ville de Bloisbut I wanted to tell you that Eiffel Tower Selfiewe saw all sorts of marvelous places in Paris besides the Eiffel Tower. The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile copyWe climbed the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile and watched sunset over Paris.Louvre Alan +KathiWe spent hours at the Louvre and Rodin Museums. The Avenue des Champs-ElyséesWe meandered along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées The Roue de Parisand enjoyed the evening ambience of the Roue de Paris.Sacré-Cœur everybodyOne evening we splurged on a taxi ride up to visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Highest Spot in Paris . Sacré-Cœurwhich is the highest point in Paris. Bell Tower in Notre DameWe attended services at the Notre Dame on Mother’s Day, and then we climbedThe Bell in Notre Dame up the bell tower to see where the hunchback of Notre Dame (maybe) lived.Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde in EtratatThen, during the following week, Omaha Beach. Francewe visited many of the World War 2 sites along the misty Normandy Coast. Mt. Saint Michel Alan and KathiWe spent a day at Mont Saint Michel, Bayeaux Tapestry copyand we learned about the Norman Conquest via the ancient Bayeaux Tapestry. Mont St. Michel copyOne day we walked 12 miles and climbed 52 flights of stairs! Flight to VeniceThere were times when we got very tired…but it was worth every moment!  🙂Looking out at ocean from Mont St. MichelYou know, the world is an amazing place, Chambord Chateau Alanand selfies (and otheries) are fun, Mona Lisa at Close Luce with Kathibut there’s a lot more to life than just taking pictures of ourselves, isn’t there? Chateau Chervery GardensAs we go along drinking in all the lovely experiences of this world, The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoilelet’s remember that our God is the greatest of all. Loire RiverHe is the One who created the earth Villandryand has made possible every good and beautiful thing we see around us!  Peony at Italian VillaGive unto the Lord the glory due unto his name;
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).

Monet’s Glorious Giverny in Spring

Gorgeous colors at Giverny. France. 05.09.16Kathy asked yesterday which site in France was our favorite. Kaleidoscope of Colors at Giverny. France. 05.09.16Wow! That’s a hard one! Mt. Saint Michel 05.13.16Alan said Mont St. Michel, and there’s definitely something to that!Monet's Home at Giverny. France. 05.09.16 I feel like we came home with a lifetime of unforgettable memories, Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16and that narrowing it down to one favorite is nigh unto impossible Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 1given the uniqueness of the various scenic places. Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 20However, for an over-the-top sensory experience in color, texture, fragrance— Bird at Giverny. France. 05.09.16even sound…Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 9in fact, pure, unmitigated beauty everywhere I turned, Kathi at GivernyI would vote for Giverny, Artful Abandon at Giverny. France. 05.09.16 the sublimely riotous gardens so artistically designed by Claude Monet.Claude Monet. Wiki public domainMonet (1840-1926) was the great father of Monet. Painting of his lily pond—and most prolific contributor to—French impressionistic painting.  Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 7Ten years ago, Alan and I visited the fantastic gardens of GivernySpring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 14 with two of our kids (Kathy and Jonathan), Givernyand we were enthralled. Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 21Five years ago, I reflected on those visions of glorySpring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 17 while visiting Manito Park in Spokane, Washington with Jon’s family  Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 19(https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/monets-giverny-reflections-of-glory/).Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 24This May, Alan and I visited again, this time with our two youngest, Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 13Stephen and Joel, and I have to say that if anything, Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 23Giverny is even more than ever an unforgettable kaleidoscope of color Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 8and perfumes! Japanese Bridge lush with wisteria at Giverny. France. 05.09.16The Japanese bridge over Monet’s lily pond Lily pond by Claude Monet at Giverny. France. 05.09.16(basis for his most famous paintings) Wisteria at Giverny. France. 05.09.16was bursting with exuberant wisteria, Tulips and Forget-me-nots at Giverny. France. 05.09.16and cheerful beds of tulips interlaced with forget-me-nots Columbine and forget-me-nots at Giverny. France. 05.09.16and a profusion of other spring-blooming plants Paths beside the lily pong at Giverny. France. 05.09.16were joyfully overflowing their bounds along every path. Sitting on bench at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 14We could have sat transfixed for hours at any resting place Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 2without ever taking in all the intricacies right before my eyes. Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 5Even if I possessed all the money in the world, Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 29I couldn’t imagine or produce such a magnificent display of brilliant color. Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 11The impact was so overwhelming that I just found myself laughing Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 27and blinking my eyes, Kathi on bridge at Giverny. France. 05.09.16like I’d walked into a Thomas Kinkade painting of heaven! Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 12In fact, it did make me think of heaven, Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 6which will be more glorious Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 26and exotic Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 10and dazzlingly beautiful Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 4than we can imagine. Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 16Are you ready? Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16. 30Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Giverny. France. 05.09.16Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:1-16)Tulips Spring flowers blooming at Giverny. France. 05.09.16.(Yes, all these photos are from Giverny, taken a couple of weeks ago [except for the photo of Claude Monet from Wiki, and Mont St. Michel, taken a few days later]. May is perhaps the most beautiful time to visit!)

Mt. Vernon: Warmth, Charm and Simplicity

Mt. VernonNo wonder George Washington loved his home at Mt. Vernon. Potomac River at Mount VernonIt’s nestled into 500 acres of rolling woodlands along the Potomac RiverWashington Monument and Airplane in Washington D.C. just 17 miles south of Washington D.C. Capitol Building Washington D.C.and less than an hour commute on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Sunset along Potomac River, VAOf course, there was no such highway in George Washington’s day, Ronald Reagan Airport Washington D.C.nor were there any lovely airports… Ronald Reagan Washington National Airportnor was Washington D.C. even America’s capital city until 1800,
the year after Washington died! Flight leaving Washington D.C.So, in order to serve his country, Washington spent the lion’s share of his career Carriage for George Washingtontraveling along muddy trails via carriages to New York and Philadelphia, George Washington's Vehiclesonly enjoying brief respites at his beloved Mt. Vernon estate. Touring Mt. VernonTouring Mt. Vernon with Liz and Chuck made me admire the Washington family even more than I had, and in light of the current political situation in America,Geroge Washington QuotesI became quite curious about what motivated them.www.eupedia.com Corsica Travel GuideWhen you compare their home to the estates of European military heroes
during that period (for example, Napoléon Bonaparte),Mt. Vernon KitchenMt. Vernon was remarkably modest and unpretentious. Pantry of Mt. VernonAlthough they were known for their extraordinary hospitality,Peanut and Chestnut Soup Mt. Vernonthey were never considered extravagant. Bread Pudding. Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant. VA(We enjoyed two of their favorite dishes at the Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant:
Peanut and chestnut soup with bread pudding for dessert.)George Washington reflecting on U.S. GovernmentWhat made George and Martha Washington willing to serve the cause
of their country as true statesmen Robert Frost speaking of George Washingtonwithout seeking fame or fortune? Red Angus Cattle at Mt. VernonI kept wondering, but it wasn’t until I found the quiet siteMemorial to George Washington at Mt. Vernon of the memorial Martha made for George, Inscription on George Washington's Memorial at Mt. Vernonalong with her beautiful tribute to his goodness (and I’m not sure if there’s a comparable affirmation to be found among the monarchs of the world), Tomb of George and Martha Washington john11.25-26that I felt I’d found the reason for his true excellence of character. John 11.25-26 Inscription above tomb of George and Martha Washington Mt. VernonIt’s written on the simple inscription hanging above their graves:

I am the resurrection, and the life saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” St. John XI.25.26   Washington's Last Birthday. Painting 1798 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1895The end of the verses that were written above their tombs was not recorded, but it was, “Believest thou this?” To me, it’s obvious that they did believe the words written in that verse, and that their lives demonstrated that faith beautifully!

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). Reconstructed Quarters for slaves and farm hands Mt. Vernon VA
(I took all the photos at Mt. Vernon and in Washington D.C. this spring except the picture of Napoléon Bonaparte’s estate, which is from the Corisca Travel Guide, http://www.eupedia.com )

 

 

News with Views: Two of our Eagles Have Landed

Grace in VeniceToday is my dear daughter-in-law Grace’s 40th birthday. Happy Birthday, Grace!
What a gift she (and each of my in-law children) is to me! I feel so blessed! 🙂The Kids I’m also happy to report that after six hard months of packing up and moving Venice from South Korea to Italy Learning to ride horses in San Antonio via a 10-week training session in San Antonio, Texas,Watching a Rodeo  where the kids learned what it means to be cowboys and cowgirls Michael in Germany and Michael (Grace’s husband and my son) learned a lot about his job… The Little brothers—after months of living out of suitcases in cramped quarters— Villathey’ve finally settled into an incredibly beautiful Italian villa that was Bavarian Alpsbuilt into the side of a mountain in the foothills of the Alps during the 1600’s Baby playing with stones and now belongs to a count and countess! Child in garden  So, two of my eagles have landed…at least for a few more years. Girl with flowers gone to seed My Italian connection and news correspondent
(their oldest daughter, who’s 8 and an avid photo journalist like her Nana) River near Garmish, Germany sent me some amazing photos of the statuary and views,
but I guess they haven’t gotten AP newswire release approval yet, Garmish, Germany so I’m also using some photos from their recent trip to a conference in Germany,Castle in Germany just to give you a little taste of European beauty. The Sword in the StoneWho would have thunk? Sword fighting I’ve got to say, life at its best is full of challenges, but I stand amazed Bavarian Alps at yet another example of how God always gives us more than we deserve Flying high! and sometimes gives us so much more than we can even dream up! Baby rocking in a rocking chair I mean, Alan & I’ve been praying for months for “just the right” home for them, Playing near Neuschwanstein Castle but the place God has given them wasn’t even in my mental repertoire
of possibilities. What a gift! Old ChurchIt’s Enchanted April in November. Thank you, Father; You’re unbelievably kind!

14 “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)

A Lesson on Love from the Gracious Grand Hotel

Riding Bikes at Mackinac IslandAlan and I have been visiting Mackinac Island together for almost 50 years, The Grand Hotel. Mackinac Island and we always admire the massive Grand Hotel, Grand Hotel from the water which appears like an Agatha Christie vision of late nineteenth-century grandeur Shepler Boat to Mackinac Islandin the Straits of Mackinac as you round the corner and come into port. Information Sign on Grand Hotel at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island The Grand Hotel is the world’s largest summer hotel Breakfast view at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and is famous for its 600-foot veranda, The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island which holds the title for being the world’s longest porch. Rocking chairs at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island The porch is lined with rocking chairs Geraniums at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and scarlet Pelargonium geraniums Front Lawn at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island …and it overlooks vast expanses of lawn, tea gardens, Playing on the monster at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and the Esther Williams Swimming Pool, which was designed for the movie star, Evening Garden at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandEsther Williams, who starred in the 1947 movie filmed here,
This Time for KeepsFlowers adorning The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island although the hotel has become even more famous Evening Stroll at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island as the setting for the ultimately romantic movie, Somewhere in Time, Somewhere in Time at the Grand Hotel filmed in 1980 with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves. Prime Rib at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island My parents used to stay at this National Historic Landmark once in a while, Harpist at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and I’ve long heard tales of the hotel’s elegance! Somewhere in Time Suite at the Grand Hotel For example, each of the 385 guest rooms are unique; no two are alike!Breakfast Menu at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandAlso, it has original, award-winning cuisine. Longest Porch in World at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island However, since the price has risen sharply from the $3-5 it cost per night 125+ years ago when it opened in 1887, Lobby of The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Alan and I never felt like we could afford such a splurge. Top 25 Hotels in the World at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandOver the years the Grand Hotel has won many awards, 1999 Top 100 Hotels in World such as being named in one of the Conde Nast Traveler “Gold Lists” Coffee after dinner at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island as “One of the Best Places to Stay in the Whole World” Stairway up at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and AAA’s 2009 list of “The Top Ten U.S. Historic Hotels.” Mackinac Island Outing So, this summer Alan decided to attend the University of Michigan’s Internal Medicine Update at the Grand Hotel, Registering at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Islandwhich offered a special, corporate rate, and so we stayed there. What a treat!  🙂Sun setting at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandAlthough we’ve walked up to the Grand many times, We rode up with Ford and Pontiac this time we enjoyed riding in a Grand Hotel carriage, driven by horses named “Pontiac” and “Ford.” (No cars are allowed on Mackinac Island.)Room at the Grand Hotel Our room was very spacious and completely charming! In the Cupola at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island While Alan attended lectures, I sat in their airy roof-top cupola View from the cupola at the Grand Hotel overlooking the Straits and wrote my heart out!  Roses along Fence at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island After his sessions were over, we enjoyed meandering through the gardens  Esther Williams Swimming Pool at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and swimming in their 220-foot long pool. We used to imagine that it would be cold, but not so. It was perfectly heated and swimming was a daily highlight! Sno-Kones at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island As the weather was a balmy 80°, we even tried their free Sno-Kones! Picnic on the lawn at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island copy I was surprised by the number of children and the warm, family atmosphere.  Breakfast at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandThis was also true of the dining room.  Dinner at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandAlthough children were present, they did have on their “Grand manners”
(as one grandfather told me, who’d been bringing his family here for years).  Jazz Musicians The Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandDuring the dinner hour, the dress code requires coats and ties for men and dresses or pant suits for women (and it’s strictly enforced; we saw a man in a Hawaii shirt being politely ushered off the porch one evening). Strawberry Rhubarb Crepes and Sausage for breakfast at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Breakfast and dinner were included in our price, Bagel and Lox with dill cream, capers, and caviar at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and we savored every dish and every meal! Beef Tenderloin at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island One night I had a tenderloin of beef, which has apparently been on the menu since 1880 and is still delicious!U.M. Reception at the Grand Hotel We attended a reception by the U. Michigan one evening on the porch Rose and Kathi and were delighted to see George and Rose. Rose worked with Alan as a chaplain George and Alanat PRCH for many years, and George is an internist in GR. George and Rose It’s always such a surprise and joy to meet friends unexpectedly! Sitting on the Porch after dinner The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island After dinner we’d sit on the porch Boardwalk at Sunset on Mackinac Island or stroll down to the beach and catch the sunsets Blue Moon from Cupola at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island…and one night we even caught the blue moon rising in all its glory. Strolling in the gardens at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island At the far end of the hotel was one garden we’d never noticed before, Gardens at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and I’d like to leave you with the sentiment written on the garden plague: Cunningham Memorial Garden at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

(All the photos were taken last weekend during our stay at the Grand.)

Bangkok’s Most Spectacular Landmark: The Grand Palace

Chao Phraya River, ThailandNestled in the heart of Bangkok along the banks of the Chao Phraya River Grand Palace. Bangkok Walls is a gorgeous complex of buildings known as the Grand Palace, Religious Service Grand Palace. Bangkok which is the pulsing heart of Thailand’s political and religious life. Elephants guarding entrance to Grand Palace in Bangkok The walls for this 2.3+million sq.ft. park were built in 1782, Grand Palace. Bangkok 1 and since its inception, the Grand Palace has not only been Royal Residence Grand Palace. Bangkok the official residence of all the Kings of Siam (now “Thailand”) Grand Palace. Bangkok but also home to the nation’s most sacred Buddhist temple, Grand Palace. Bangkok Wat Phra Kaeo known as the Wat Pra Kaeo, the “Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha.” Emerald_Buddha_Photo_Wiki Commons by WPPilot The Emerald Buddha was actually carved from a single piece of dark green jade, is 26″ high, and can only be touched by the current king, who changes his robes at the beginning of each of their three seasons: summer, winter, and rainy. Buddhist Monk Grand Palace. Bangkok The Thai people believe the Emerald Buddha will bring them good fortune and prosperity. Steps of Chapel of the Emerald Buddha Grand Palace. Bangkok The Emerald Buddha has a history somewhat similar to that of the Golden Buddha (which I told 2 days ago). Grand Palace. Bangkok 2 Although much of it’s long history is legendary, the factual part that can be substantiated is that its true value was lost for centuries…until 1434, Ornate Buildings Grand Palace. Bangkok when a lightning storm struck the temple where it was housed, Mosaic Inlays Grand Palace. Bangkok toppling and chipping the statue’s nose as well as washing away some of its stucco exterior to reveal gemstone underneath. (Photo of wall of Wat Phra Kaeo)Gardens and Wall Grand Palace. Bangkok Now, I welcome anyone to correct me, but my understanding has always been that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion which teaches there is no creator-god and tries to encourage people to overcome suffering through enlightened perspectives. Grand Palace. Thailand Buddha didn’t believe in God, but it looks to me like he’s been turned into a god. Intricate Mosaiacs Grand Palace. Bangkok Please refine my thinking if you are a Buddhist and would like to explain what’s really happening at Buddhist temples. Grand Palace Vistas. Bangkok Are people worshiping Buddha? Thank you!

Haiku: “Puzzlement” Stone Buddha in Garden Grand Palace. Bangkok Great teacher Buddha Worshiping in Buddhist Temple Did you teach there is no God? Altar for Buddha Why are you now gold? Golden Buddha“Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold” (The Bible, Exodus 20:23).

(I took all the above photographs a few weeks ago, except for the picture of the Emerald Buddha, which is by WPPilot, used by permission from Wiki Commons.)

Bangkok, Thailand’s Golden City and Golden Buddha

Bangkok templeUntil we visited just recently, I had no idea that Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, Bangkok Lots of people! has a population as high as New York City (8.5 million) Bangkok City and is geographically twice as large (605 sq. miles).Bangkok Temple 2 I was also surprised to learn it’s become 1 of the world’s top tourist destinations Bangkok Golden image…which may not be all good, Bangkok Old and New since I’ve also read it ranks among the worst countries for human trafficking, Bangkok seedy side of town and I’d had a number of friends who’ve worked in Thailand trying to rescue young girls from this terrible evil. Bangkok Port Our ship arrived at the Port of Laem Chabang, Bangkok construction of highway and we had to take a very congested, 90-minute bus drive along a highway Bangkok construction of highway 3 in the throes of construction in order to reach Wat Trimitr, our first destination. Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon The day was so packed with sites that I will just tell you about this temple Bangkok Temple 4 and save the rest for another post. The Temple of the Golden Buddha Wat Trimitr’s offical title is Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon The Temple of the Golden Buddha 1 and is also known as “The Temple of the Golden Buddha.” The Golden Buddha 2 It houses the world’s largest solid gold statue, a carving of the Buddha in the Sukothai style, dating it as perhaps 700+ years old. The Golden Buddha The Golden Buddha is almost 10 feet tall and is made out of 5.5 tons of gold, valued at about 250 million USD today. The Golden Buddha 5 The tour guide told us about its particularly fascinating history: In order to protect it from being stolen by the Burmese, the statue was covered in a layer of heavy stucco, but eventually that secret was lost. No one remained who even knew its value! The Temple of the Golden Buddha 7 Then, in 1955, while an attempt was being made to move it to another location from an old temple ruin, they underestimated the weight (plaster’s a lot lighter than gold!), the ropes broke, and the statue fell over, chipping off some of the stucco and revealing the gold underneath. The Temple of the Golden Buddha 9 Can you imagine their surprise when they discovered their old statue was actually almost priceless…the world’s most valuable gold statue?! The Temple of the Golden Buddha 5 So it is with Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a man…encased in a body of clay. The Temple of the Golden Buddha 10  It was only after the resurrection, when (as Shakespeare would say) he shuffled off his mortal coil and the gleam of eternal life radiated out from the tomb that his value became obvious: Jesus was God  but had been clothed in humanity. The Temple of the Golden Buddha 8 He came to earth to teach us about God and to die in our place, so that we could be reconciled to God and coheirs with him of eternal life. The Temple of the Golden Buddha 6 Have you come to know the real, living Jesus, or do you still visualize him as a dusty, dead statue on an old, wooden cross?Lotus“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).