A Travellerspoint blog


and Carmona and olives

sunny 60 °F


We left the Mediterranean, turned into the Atlantic briefly, and then sailed 60 miles up the Guadalquivir River to Seville - a shift from choppy waves to a placid river, from harsh grey to warm green, from a vast ocean to a lovely stream with dogs barking and birds tweeting and family farms adjacent to the ship. After some locks we arrived in Seville and docked right in the center of this great city with a park on one side and the Feria grounds on the other. Feria will occur next week, a huge celebration of spring, Easter, bulls, and Sevillian society. Women dress in polka dotted flamenco gowns; families and clubs gather in casetas where they dance and drink sherry through the night (they sleep in the day); folks ride in fabulous carriages - and 5 million people come and watch. We were here once and will happily sail away before it begins.

What we did do here so far is visit an olive oil producer called Basilippi, saw the trees in early bloom and flowers all around; we tasted splendid fresh (early harvest, cold pressed, extra virgin) olive oil. Then to the hilltop town of Carmona, with a lovely parador and grand views and winding streets.

Posted by HopeEakins 15:28 Archived in Spain Comments (0)


schedule?? itinerary?? apes?

sunny 59 °F


Ship's passengers often refer to this cruise as the "Mystery Cruise." Over and over our itinerary is changed because we have Covid aboard or the country has Covid within, because the seas are too rough or because a country (like Israel) closes a port and delays the ship for a day to do Covid testing. This week, we sailed into Malta's harbor and discovered that the sea was too high to get a pilot aboard to take us into the port - so no Malta, and since Morocco is still closed (Covid again), we were diverted to Gibraltar. We are without doubt the most adaptable, patient, uncomplaining, and prompt passengers ever to sail.

So we explored Gibraltar and are fascinated. It is TINY! This British Overseas Territory measures 2.6 square miles. We travelled across the whole country in an hour! Here is what we saw in an overview of this very lovely but crowded land. Not a square foot is wasted. 10% of Gibraltar is reclaimed land pushing out from its shore; thus the tenth century city walls are quite few blocks inland. The airport's main runway sticks out into the sea and is crossed by the main highway. In the second photo, that's us crossing the runway; when a plane starts to land or take off, they flash the red lights and lower the gates. In the third photo, that waterfall is artificial. There is such a water shortage here that every dwelling has two supplies - salted (that would be for flushing, etc.) and desalinated. The salty residue from the desalination process is converted into the attractive waterfall that returns to the sea. Photos four and five are of WWII tunnels. The Rock is crisscrossed/layered by a 34 MILE network of tunnels. Remember the whole territory is 2.6 square miles big! The Arabs/Moors, the French and Dutch, the Spanish, and then the Brits and Canadians and Americans have all continued the digging for their various separate purposes, all military. In WWII, the Americans and Canadians (the best diggers because they had diamond tipped drills) hollowed out a place for 16,000 troops to live. It is an eerie experience to walk the tunnels and imagine the isolation and fear and pain they surrounded.

Back on the top of the rock, we played with some Barbary apes who are really tailless monkeys. There are 280 in Gibraltar, all named, all having received shots, all pesky. Because the animals grab purses and backpacks and enter houses to ransack pantries for cookies, they have been banished to a nature reserve on the top. Food (restaurant leftovers) is trucked up to them, and if they scamper down, a vet returns them to the park. But beware! Repeat offenders are deported to Scotland!!

This is an astounding place. in its small area, there are many churches, a Buddhist temple, 2 mosques, and 5 synagogues. Everyone speaks English, Spanish and a local language called Llanito. The tongue is based on Spanish and British English and elements from Maltese, Portuguese, Genoese and Italian. This Gibraltarian assimilation and cooperation and respect contrasts strongly with the military battles here over the right to own this strategic spot.

Posted by HopeEakins 15:29 Archived in Gibraltar Comments (1)


Holy Week on the Silver Whisper

IMG_5725.JPGIMG_5692.JPGYes, we just posted (Easter) Sunday's worship service on the blog, but we didn't tell you about the miracle that happened there. The seeds were planted a week before while waiting for the elevator after dinner. A fellow passenger, waiting with us, said, "Well, you didn't have any worship on Palm Sunday." This was true because we weren't on the ship Palm Sunday morning but flying back from Cappadocia. The conversation was quite surprising because we have "known" the speaker, Father Rick Lawson, for years of cruising on Silversea, and we have never met. Father Lawson is an Episcopal priest, the retired Dean of the Cathedral in Salt Lake City, and he travels with a group of a dozen or so folks who are his guests. The group eats together, and they live in connecting suites and are somewhat separate from the ship's general activities. So ... our eyes opened wide as we made small talk; Hope asked, "Would you like to join us in leading worship this (Maundy) Thursday?" Father Lawson cheerfully assented, and we began a complex development of a Eucharistic liturgy. This project was particularly complex because it included Monsignor Joe Mayo, a Roman Catholic priest, and RC's and Anglicans don't share the communion table very easily. We found a way. Hope was the officiant; Bill the preacher, Joe read the Gospel, Rick added a hand washing, and the four of us held out our hands over the bread and wine as Rick said the words of consecration. Attendance? About 50 of the 200 on the ship - rather amazing, we think. The Roman Catholics aboard were very pleased to have Mass (a communion service). On Good Friday we shared the Gospel reading and the Solemn Collects, and on Easter, Joe was the celebrant using an RC Eucharistic prayer that prayed for the Pope (a first for the Baptists, etc. in our congregation) and he added Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury (another first). Attendance: over 70, many dressed in Easter finery.

The mood was beautiful, electric, grateful, as people of all traditions gathered together to worship God and celebrate Jesus' resurrection and be fed at Christ's table. We are really unable to figure out how it all worked so well and so lovingly and respectfully.

On Easter Monday, Hope took a draft liturgy to the other priests and asked if they would like to continue joint worship. "No thanks," Rick said; "we enjoyed our time together but we will not participate in future Sundays."

Even if miracles don't last long, they still count!


Posted by HopeEakins 09:05 Comments (0)


An ECUMENICAL Communion Service aboard the Silver Whisper at 9:15 am on April 17, 2022

semi-overcast 61 °F

HYMN: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today


Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Let us pray. Almighty God, who in the Easter mystery destroyed death and brought forth life: Grant that we may show forth in our lives what we profess by our faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 118

The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.

"The right hand of the LORD has triumphed!
the right hand of the LORD is exalted!

The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the LORD'S doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

On this day the LORD has acted;
we will rejoice and be glad in it. (118:14, 16, 22-24)

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark
Glory to you, Lord Christ

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (16:1-8)

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Christ.

A Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

Jesus Christ is Risen Today we sing - and we cry Alleluia! Baskets of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies have been delivered to our suites. Flowers decorate the altar; the cross is unveiled; the dark gloom of Good Friday is banished. But the Easter story isn’t just about bunnies and eggs and tulips pushing their way through the earth. Easter is a story about a resurrected body, and about people who fled from Jesus’ tomb because terror and amazement had seized them.

Three days before Easter, the disciples had wept at the cross, prepared Jesus’ body for the grave, and tried to accept the finality of it all, tried to pick up their lives and make sense of their dashed hopes. But to the disciples’ great astonishment, Jesus came back from the grave, and it was – well, it WAS terrifying, because when they had buried Jesus in the sepulcher, they had buried some other things with him, things they didn't want to look at any more, like their self-centered quarrels about who was the greatest, like their unfaithfulness and their denial and their cowardice. It really WAS very difficult when Jesus came back to life and they had to greet Him face to face.

Now the disciples didn't know it, but their troubles were just beginning. Risen from the dead? All heaven could break loose. The Kingdom of God might come on earth as it is in heaven. We might have to love our enemies. We might have to turn our cheek instead of fighting back. We might have to work for justice – put our money where our mouth is and pay more taxes so that the poor can have health care like we do. What’s more, if Jesus is out of the tomb then God is at work everywhere, in Ukraine, in prisons and red-light districts and cruise ships too, for the Risen Christ, I can promise you, is at work everywhere, not just inside churches.

No one knows what happened inside the tomb before the women got there, because no one was there. The disciples arrived after the fact, and so do we. And when they arrived, they didn't find Jesus. Now I suppose Jesus could have stayed sitting there, all fresh-eyed and healthy, so that people could come and see the miracle for themselves. But that is not what he did, because our Risen Lord’s business is not among the dead but among the living.

It was terrifying having Christ loose like this, terrifying for the disciples and for us. Here’s why. The self-made man thinks that he has made it, and with his success have come a boat and private schools for his kids and what he calls a cushion of comfort. But once the Risen Lord comes into his life, he is discovering that comfort is not what he wants. He wants to be useful, not comfortable, and he wants to be loved more than admired.

Having the Risen Christ around is terrifying for the woman who has been abused, for in God’s Kingdom, victims can not choose to stay victims, because the Risen Christ gives them a future with hope and calls them to go back into the world and put their fears aside.

It’s terrifying when the Risen Lord asks us to lay our burdens down and follow Him when our burdens are anger and self-righteousness. But if we are going to follow Jesus we have to let go of those heavy burdens because he offers us something better to hang onto than bitterness or vengeance.

When the Risen Christ is loose we have to consider something other than fighting violence with violence. Maybe Christians should go to Ukraine – I mean really go there and carry banners of the Prince of Peace or maybe we should go to Moscow or at least the United Nations. Maybe we should open our homes to refugee families. Maybe we should at least do something.

If Jesus had stayed in his tomb for eternity, we could have concentrated on following God’s law. We know what God’s Laws are, because the commandments are written in the Bible. But the Risen Christ invades the Biblical text and asks us about sexuality and stem cell research, and about gambling and war. There are no laws but the Law of Love, he says, and it is up to us to do the loving.

Easter is terrifying all right; there is nothing graceful about dancing on death’s grave – and dancing on death’s grave is really what Easter is all about. Think of it this way. Think of it as a contra dance or a square dance or a line dance or a hula dance where you don’t know the steps, but somebody grabs you by the hand, and before you know it, your feet start tapping and you are doing some do-si-dos and suddenly you are part of it all and it doesn’t feel awkward any more because you are dancing.

Most of us come to worship on Easter hoping for comfort, Good News, for family ties that bind, for music that sets the soul astir – and we get that, but what we get with it is a Risen Christ who is risky business. He expects us to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty for somebody else’s children, to become amazing grace to the poor and the forgotten. He expects us to laugh while we dance because to laugh is to see that death never has the last word.


On this Easter feast of hope and joy, let us bring before God the needs of our world with confidence, for the Lord is risen and walks among us!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for the people of Ukraine and for all who struggle for freedom and peace, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for the rulers of the nations, that they may govern with equity and justice, and work together for the common good, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for ourselves, that through holiness of life and generosity of spirit we may reveal the vastness of your love, and that through the diversity of our belief and practice, we may witness to our unity under one Lord; for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who suffer, for the lonely and depressed, the hungry and homeless, the unemployed and impoverished, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who mourn, trusting that God will wipe away their tears and fill their hearts with the promise of life eternal for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who have died trusting that the dead shall live, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Lord of life, we thank you for the mystery of life sprung from death and hope risen from despair. Bless us with the grace and will to care for the earth and for each other, and with the faith of Mary Magdalene to hear your voice whenever you call. Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us:

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 forever and ever. Amen.


Let us with gladness present the offerings and oblations of our life and labor to the Lord.

Now the Green Blade Riseth The Silver Whisper Choir

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him, Love by hatred slain,
thinking that he would never wake again,
laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
he that for three days in the grave had lain,
raised from the dead my living Lord is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
thy touch can call us back to life again,
fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right and just.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, at all times to acclaim you, O Lord, but on this day above all to laud you yet more gloriously, when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

For he is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world;
by dying he has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life.

Therefore, overcome with paschal joy, every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts,
sing together the unending hymn of your glory, as they acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness.
Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray,
by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall,
so that they may become for us the Body + and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and,
giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and,
once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying:

The mystery of faith:
We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you. Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.
Remember, Lord, your Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity, together with Francis the Pope, Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury, and leaders of all Christian denominations.
Remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection and all who were pleasing to you at their passing from this life, welcome them into the light of your face. Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ. Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever. Amen.

All who are drawn by faith are welcome to receive the sacrament at this, our one Lord’s table.


Let us pray. Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


May almighty God bless you
through today's Easter Solemnity
and, in his compassion,
defend you from every assault of sin.


And may he, who restores you to eternal life
in the Resurrection of his Only Begotten,
endow you with the prize of immortality.


Now that the days of the Lord's Passion have drawn to a close,
may you who celebrate the gladness of the Paschal Feast
come with Christ's help, and exulting in spirit,
to those feasts that are celebrated in eternal joy.


And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, † and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever.


HYMN: He Is Risen

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

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins
The Very Reverend Rick Lawson and Monsignor Joe Mayo

Music: Aric MacDavid, Alex Manev & The Silver Whisper Choir Usher: Andrea Ryan

Next service: Sunday, April 24th at 5:30 pm

Posted by HopeEakins 05:45 Comments (0)


Good Friday in Sicily

semi-overcast 59 °F


It is Good Friday in Siracusa, Sicily. In the shadow of Mt. Etna, the streets are mostly empty, and the mood is somber. Some markets are open, but the shoppers are there to get food for dinner, not for fun. The Cathedral has two unusual presentations:
• the celebrant’s huge chair is overturned
• the altar of repose (covered with beautiful pink flowers) is flanked by a display of broken furniture and toys and ripped clothing.
The tile floor gleams; the ceiling glows, and two opposing pulpits (who knows why??) flank Bill. The original Doric columns of a temple of Athena – from the 5th century BC – are incorporated into the cathedral walls and visible inside and out.

Now we return to the ship for our own Good Friday service. Like yesterday’s Holy Communion, this service will be ecumenical with a broad-minded and delightful Roman Catholic monsignor participating. God is with us.

Posted by HopeEakins 07:44 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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