Our plan, on the recommendation of friends, was to drive to the Western edge of Greece and take a ferry to Venice. That would eliminate the need to drive through the patchwork of countries that used to be Yugoslavia, which would have been a difficult and time consuming process.
After two long days of driving on switchback roads through the mountains of Greece, we arrived at the port city and began looking for information on ferries. We found that there was a one leaving the next morning, so we bought tickets.
When we came out of the travel agency, there were four fellows standing around our van, looking in the windows to see what was inside. That made it clear to us that this was not a safe place. With all the port traffic going in and out of the country, there were plenty opportunities for thieves.
I decided to sleep in the van that night to forestall any loss. We got a triple room for Barb, Nat and Abby, while I crawled onto our air mattress, laid out on top of all our stuff in the van and spent a restless night, listening for thieves who never came.
The next morning we boarded the ferry, taking our air mattresses and sleeping bags up to the passenger deck for the thirty hour trip to Venice.
Although the seats we had were comfortable, and we were able to put down two air mattresses, the next night was a restless one for all of us, what with the continual thump of the ship’s huge engines and a constant stream of people coming and going. When morning came I was more exhausted than the night before—and grouchy. I was not thinking much about praising God, unfortunately.
I was also still working through the trauma of having to leave Turkey to move to Germany, along with all the uncertainty that entailed. Living in Germany was certainly not on my list of things I wanted to do; it was so regimented and inflexible, quite the opposite of Turkey. I was glad that Nat was with us to drive much of the next day after the ferry reached Italy, as I was too tired to drive safely.
We left the warmth of Venice, made our way up into the Alps, and drove right into a snowstorm. Passing through it, we went down the other side into Germany. That night we stayed in a clean but frigid guesthouse, had a delicious German breakfast and were off for our last day of travel.
On the way we stopped in a beautiful and ancient town called Rottenburg on der Tauber. It had not been bombed in World War II, so was still in its pristine medieval form, complete with a full city wall, tudor-type houses, cobblestone streets and old signs.
There were a lot of shops selling things from the Middle Ages, including one that was full of knights’ armor and weapons. It was a reminder of the spiritual warfare we lived with every day, and the need to keep ourselves on the spiritual weapons of Ephesians 6, which God has given us–a reminder to me to give up my complaining and to start praising again.
In mid-afternoon we arrived in Barbara’s mother’s village. After greeting her, we went on to the little apartment the Lord had provided for us. A Christian friend of Barbara’s who lived in the village had found this place for us, a cozy little apartment up under the roof. The landlady’s daughter-in-law, Gerlinda, turned out to also be a believer, and she was excited to help us get settled.
Normally when you rent an apartment in Germany there is nothing in it beyond the bathroom furnishings: no closets, no lights, no appliances, no kitchen furnishings, no cabinets and no sink, and often no faucets! That means you have to buy everything and either install it yourself or have it put in.
In our case, however, the Lord went before us and provided everything necessary. The kitchen had all we needed, including a stove and under-the-counter refrigerator. Gerlinda had also collected furniture for us from two older women in the village who were entering a nursing home.
So, when we arrived, there were big cabinets in the living room and bedroom, couches, chairs, two tables, an ironing board, a clothes-horse, a fold-out couch for the guest room and even an electric recliner!
We had brought our Turkish rugs, so we only needed to lay them down and move in. The Lord was providing for us in a wonderful way
Other items were then given to us by Barbara’s relatives: a huge bed from her uncle, a TV and stand from her cousin and some pots and pans from her mother.
With a few items of Barbara’s from her childhood, we were fully furnished! It was the easiest move in we’d ever made. Little did we know God had even more marvelous provisions planned for us.
Pictures: Arriving in Venice; our new little apartment