Monday, April 27, 2009

four leaf clovers and waterfalls, which I did not chase.

Tomorrow I say so long and farewell to Ireland. My time here has been more relaxing then all of my journey added together. The Scanlon family has been more kind to me then I could ever deserve.

This weekend was loads of fun. Saturday John, two of his sons and myself set off for a horse race. Their horse came in second place and made for an exciting finish. Going to a horse race with horse owners makes everything a lot easier to understand to a newcomer. As with everything there is much more to a thing like riding a horse over some jumps then first imagined. I am learning that a lot here.

Yesterday I saw my first Irish rainbow, had my first drive through the Irish highlands and decided that although black pudding tastes good I never want to know what is in it. Also we spent time at a beautiful waterfall. We spend more than an hour climbing on the rocks, throwing a frisbee and trying to take photos of the waterfall with my camera. Batteries seem to go bad at exactly the worst possible time. Funny though.

Today is my last full day here in the land of four leaf clovers. A few thoughts:
-First off, four leaf clovers are much smaller than people think.
-Secondly they are super hard to find.
Besides, the grass here is such a shade of green that it is easy to become distracted with the scenery. Spending time hunched over looking for penny size clovers has continualy escaped my priority list.

Tomorrow I head to London for two days and then homeward bound, just like the kids movie with the two dogs and a cat. Go rent it if you have no idea what I am talking about. My goal is to put up a few photos of the horse race and waterfall later today. This post may not be as full of fun filled excitment as others but I promise that Ireland the place to go if you are into great history, peaceful relaxation and of course the obligatory golf.

Cheers from the green groves of Ireland.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ireland. enough said.

Well it has been quite some time since I have updated. I have been really busy relaxing here in Ireland. Now to be fair, usually when I have been traveling I spend the days going place to place never stopping. Here though I am blessed to be able to rest. The family I am staying with is more welcoming than I could have ever dreamed. I am truly blessed and God truly provides.

Tonight I made chili for the family! To be honest it was the third time I have ever cooked it but what do you know, it came out wonderful. Sometimes you get lucky.

The family is made up of John, Eimear and their three boys. I have thus far learned three new games unique to Ireland. When I get back I am determined to spread Hurling, hurling being a sport and not another word for vomiting, of course. This is absolutely worth googling. I have been told it is the worlds second fastest game behind hockey. If this is not true it might as well be. Hurling requires the hitting or kicking of a small ball into a goal or above through uprights. Each player has basically a big stick-paddle made of wood that you use to hit the ball. Imagine lacrosse, football, hockey, soccer and baseball put together with no pads. I give it two thumbs way up.

Apart from getting beat up in hurling I have be able to see much of the country side and Dublin city proper. This Saturday I even am being taken to a horse race. Sunday we are going on a drive through the country and I hope to visit another one of the major towns.

Sometimes when traveling rest is a precious gift. This week means lots of down time and reading. While I have been reading I started reading through some lesser sited books of the bible. While reading through these latter books of the old testament I came across a few beautiful pictures of God's love for us.

What I saw was that we all have a shepherd. Perhaps your shepherd is success or maybe happiness. These won't satisfy and are fleeting. If your shepherd is family or money again you will be led astray. We all are given up to our own sinful ways and if we are honest, truly honest, at the end of the day we will agree that we are lost.

Jesus is the true Shepherd. This is such a cliche that due to over use falls on deaf ears. Think about a God who will go to the ends of life to bring back just one, you. This is what Jesus did. He through his death brought us back home, back to God our Father.

What is better? To be wandering around life thinking we can figure this thing out on our own or to be found, to be lifted up and carried in the arms of our Father back home, back into the fold? Personally I know with how many times I get lost on buses here traveling, much better do I trust being found by Jesus than finding my own way. Our own ways only find dead ends.

A week from today I am home. Sadness and joy both overwhelm me when I think about this. I apologize for the long post but this all has been on my heart today. Hopefully it made sense through the rambles.

Cheers from Ireland.

Normally I like to weave in photos with story but today enjoy some random photos from Germany to Ireland.

sketchy eastern berlin car-time

cow-time one

cow-time two

Friday, April 17, 2009

munich, wittenburg and berlin

to wittenburg.

The past few days have meant me treking across most of Germany. So please excuse the typos. Yesterday I bid farwell to Munich in hopes of spending a few hours in Wittenburg. Munich was a bunch for fun. The Baverian region is where lederhosen, beer and bratworst actually live in harmony. I saw everything from where the Nazi party started to the second most over-rated tourist attraction the Europe, the Glockenspiel. Please YouTube it and be amazed by the slow motion movements and out of tune bells.

the most impressive street musicians ever. please note the cello, oboe, flute and baby grand piano.

Now, on to something really great. Witternburg. For those of you who have not yet Googled the name Wittenburg is where Martin Luther (the monk not the King Jr.) spent much of his life and posted his 95 thesis on the Castle Church doors.

To say the least, awesome.

95 thesis doors and me.

Now granted the actual church doors that Luther posted his thesis on burnt down with the rest of a church but they did rebuild the church in the same p
lace to the same specifications. Doors are the same in the same place, tomato-tomoto. It was wonderful though to walk through the admittedly overwelming mueseum that was once Luther's house. Every peice of history displayed represented the standing up of God's people for the true Word of God. In Luther's time men were only allowed to study theology as the highest of pursuits. First they were required to master science, history, liturature, language, philosopy and mathimatics. Only then would one be let into the study of theology. It was considered the most difficult and worthy of pursuits. Sadly that recognition seems lost today to some degree.

After leaving Wittenburg it was on to Berlin and Berlin is where I write this post. Today I was up and out early from my host Casper's flat (yes like the friendly ghost). First I visisted the German parliment building and then it was off to a walking tour of Berlin. It would take far too long to describe what all I learned and saw today but I will list a few and then let the photos speak for what they show.

1. Germans never, never and lastly never cross the road unless they are at the proper location and have the go ahead from the signal. Seriously, jaywalking is some sort of grave sin here.

2. Berlin Wall: no less imposing and important than I thought, but not as thick. The wall is only four or five inches thick. Still though, the shoot-to-kill death zone and barbed wire added a bit to the lethality of the whole ordeal.

3. Tram system here: Not quite as good as London but on par with Paris. It is however much better than Rome which can be easily compared to a five-year-old pulling a three-wheeled red wagon.

4. Lastly, the German people are kind. Almost everyone you meet here is happy to help and usually smiling. Compared to many other major European cities this is a rarity. The city is clean and I really like it here. Berlin feels a lot like Chicago. In fact, Berlin's city symbol is a Bear so there you go. I think my Dad would fit in here except they have no baseball team losing all the time here to get mad about.

museum island upside down.

east and west of the berlin wall line.

That is Berlin so far. Two more days here and then to Ireland. I hope to post one
more time from Berlin with even more photos.

Good night from Berlin!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I once heard a story. no photos for this post.

There was once a farmer who was sitting by his fireplace during a terrible winter storm. As he was sitting there with a warm blanket and a cup of coffee he heard a sharp pounding sound from outside. The farmer went to the window and discovered birds.

These birds were caught in the storm and upon sensing the heat from the farmer's house determined to try to get inside. The birds were pounding their bodies up against the glass trying to reach warm safety.

The farmer felt sad and wished he could help these helpless dieing creators. He decided he wanted to help. So during the height of the winter storm the farmer went out to his barn. There he put lots of warm hay around, turned on lights and made the place as warm as possible. Lastly he flung wide open the barn doors.

The birds continued to hit their heads up against the house windows.

The farmer tried to push the birds in but to no avail. They simply scattered and flew around in fear. To the birds, the farmer simply looked like a huge scary creator waving around. Even though sure safety and survival lie only feet away, the birds did not follow the well intentioned farmer.

The idea came to the farmer that if for only a moment he could become a bird he could lead the others into the warm safety of the barn. He could lead them from the storm to shelter.

This is the Gospel. The farmer finally understood, and helps us understand why Jesus had to come and die for us. Yet many of us still bang our heads up against a window.

Yesterday I thought lots about this idea, the idea of shelter and hope. Yesterday I visited the NAZI Concentration Camp Dachau. This camp is what happens when men forget God. This camp happens when men forget the worth of a human life and where it comes from. This camp happens when people revert to primal thoughtless selfish urges.

This camp is what happens when sheep follow the wolf instead of the Shepherd.

Honestly I am not quite sure what to think about seeing this camp. I saw ovens where people were burned and I saw walls that of which people walked in but never walked out. I apologize for the less than light hearted post but it was a less than light hearted day.

Surely, apart from the saving blood of Jesus, we have no hope.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

settlers of catan


I just won at the game Settlers of Catan. They will mean nothing and everything depending who you are. I went with the "buy development cards and build roads method." I know someone who uses that and well, she usually beats me. But tonight, yes tonight, I was victorious. It is a small victory but again, to those who have played, there seems to be a post game glow that lasts perhaps 15 minutes or so. I think this is my second time winning so today is indeed a good day.

More importantly, and everlasting to say the least, is the fact that today is Easter. To some Easter is merely one of two days to attend church. Others though find that today is the most joyous day of year.
For believers today is the specific day to celebrate Jesus's resurrection. Granted, we should celebrate this equally each day. But there is something indeed special in the selective choosing of this one Sunday so sing a bit louder and specifically remember.

Jesus is risen! This means that as He rose so do we. Even though we sin, fall short of the standard and miss the mark Jesus rising means our record is wiped clean. We are forgiven, loved and given hope. A life without this hope is a scary one to face.

travel time.

Today we (Brooks an
d I) joined our host family for a bike ride through a forest. We ended up in another beautiful village where we went and hung out at the local brewery. So today consisted of church, bike rides, Frisbee, a brewery, settlers of catan and an amazing home cooked Easter feast. I can not think of a better day than today. How amazing it is when I look back and see all of the circumstances come together to make days like today.

God is so good to us.

biking riding on the Rhine River.

Happy Easter to all! Next is Munich and then Berlin. After that I move on to Ireland for a week and finally a few days in the UK.

Good night from Germany.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Switz, Brooks, Autobahn, Photos

Ok, well great news. I am in Germany, St Lion to be specific which is just outside of Heidelberg. Today I met up with my great buddy Brooks studying in Istanbul this semester.

So our original goal was to couch surf in Frankfurt. Well we decided that Heidelberg would be way more fun so we jumped onto a train, literally, it was leaving and we barely made it. And now we are blessed to stay with an American family here in Germany, thanks to our friend Matt from KU.

Alright, short post, lots of photos. These photos are all from Switzerland.

Enjoy. Love you all. God is good, today he provided a friend from home and American hamburgers.

view from my balcony at my host's house time.

ski time.

alps time.

hiking time.

rest time.

smile time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My time here in Varen, Switzerland (google it) has been amazing thus far. Each day I am able to sit on a balcony overlooking the Alps while I drink tea and read. I feel really rested. You might not think it but while traveling it is easy to forget to rest. Truly, I praise God for the time he has given me here thus far.

The area where I am staying is a village of about 600 people. The village is more than 700 years old and some of the families have been living here that long. So far I have planted potatoes, hiked through some mountains, road a bike down a mountain and learned to ski.

Skiing is now on the list of things I really enjoy doing.

Skiiing, not hard, but hard to get really good at. Learning to turn and do little jumps comes easily but I do not think I am quite to the "jump out of a helicopter onto a mountain face" stage of skiing. Maybe day two.

Today the family I am staying with is taking me to the local hot springs. I am pretty excited for the whole hot springs in the alps deal.

Next up is Germany. I will meet up with my friend Brooks in the Airport and we hope to do a tour through some of the smaller villages. So Ciao from Switzerland and next I will post from Germany!

p.s. I will put photos up from skiing soon. Need to eat lunch.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Well hello from Switzerland! Right now I am staying with another amazing family. The view from my window here in the Alps is awe inspiring to say the least. Photos to follow.

I know last post I said I would update more, I am trying. It is hard when day to day you are place to place. But here it goes. This post is Venice and Zurich. Next time I will get into Switzerland, possibly the best place I have ever been.

San Marco Square. Venice.

First impression of Venice: worst, most rainy place ever. Water above, water below.

Second, day two, impression: Won
derful! Gustavo the Gondolier says Ciao! I ended up meeting four other americans and we five traveled all day together. And yes, we really road a gondola. Our driver had even been a previous Italian Bronze metalist. I guess there is not too much money in olympic rowing.

Gondola style.

I even ran into, believe it or not, fellow Jayhawks. A group of travel abroads students were visiting Venice and were wearing Jayhawk shirts. They saw my hat, we hugged, joy overflowed and all rejoiced.

Zurich, way over rated. Do not ask why I decided to go to one of the most expensive cities in the world. It is beyond me. On the plus side I got to have the best chocolate I have ever had, see watches that cost more than my college education and meet a bunch of cool aussies.

Still though, unless you are rich avoid
Zurich. Just my opinion.

Zurich Morning. Reflective moment.
(look, a nice shirt, I triedto fit in with the locals.)

Know that I miss all of you with all of my heart. It bring tears to my eyes when I remember how much I miss seeing and being with everyone. God has surely blessed me with friends and family strong and loving.

When I find my heart sad and down I continue to be encouraged and renewed b
y God's spirit. He has sustained me more than I could have ever believed. I pray and ask God for traveling companions and then no sooner do I run into people and we spend days together!

God is so good. He is so good to us.

Yesterday as I sat on a Swiss bound train I really felt my heart renewed and refreshed. As I travel from place to place I often think of everyone at home. On the train I was reminded that truly, this world is not our home at all. Our hearts cry out for goodness, justice, love and peace because our hearts were made for heaven, our true home. These things are but shadows of the true goodness awaiting us who call God Father.

And so my heart feels full. God is in Heaven. Jesus died and rose to cover my sin. And the Holy Spirit lives in us. What could we possibly find to worry about?

Alright, I love you all and miss you. I promise, for real this time, that time permitting I will update tomorrow with photos from the home of the Swiss Family Robinson. And believe it or not, everyone here carries huge mountain horns to chase away goats. Who knew. They are hard to carry on bikes though, the horns I mean, not the goats. It would be impossible to get a goat on a bike.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Italy: three cities, one post. sorry.

Hello and Ciao from Florence, Italy! Well actually, I am outside of Florence by about forty-five minutes. Currently I am being hosted by some of the most wonderful people I have met journeying thus far. This family has made me really feel comfortable and at home. Whether it is harvesting their own honey, painting and designing, or even cooking, they do it with all of their hearts. I will miss them and remember them when I leave.

That being said, you can be certain that the food here is awesome. Italy has shown me some of the best food on my journey. I even enjoy eating olives here!

Sorry France.

Alright, down to business. Last time I updates I was trying to get a few quick words in about my plans. The past few days have been, to say the least, interesting.

Let us start in Cinque Terra.

This has been one of the most magical places I have visited. As you train through the tunnel laden mountain side you catch quick glimspes of small villages. Finally I came to rest at my place of interest, the village of Vernazza. I stayed here three days and spent my time hiking between the five villages, or terras.

I could not begin to describe the views, smells and people. I did finally have real italian coffee and I love it! However fears have begun to grow in me concerning my new ability to drink espresso so quickly and feel no affec be continued. I will return to this place, and I hope to bring my family. I know they would fall in love with the place, even you Mom.



Dear Rome,

How are you? I am well. So rry I only could stay for a few days. You offer so much to see and I felt overwelmed w ith the history. You do not smell as bad as Paris though, so cheers to that.

The Colloseum was awe inspiring. The Forum, not so great . I am glad I had a free ticket. The people I met in my hostel though were great. Tha nks to you Rome I was able to travel with folks from Washington, Boston, Hong Kong and Israel. Not to mention I did in fact meet a recently retired Dipolmat of Isra el.

All in all, thanks Rome for a great few days. Next time I visit. Perhaps there will not be so much Easter going on, that way the crowds will be less.


Ok, here is the most recent, FLORENCE!

The start of my trip here was interesting. I decided to make a day trip to Naples to try pizza. I did not have enough time to find the classic "we invented pizza here" type pizzaria so I did my best. Not bad, but not great.

When I finally arrived to Florence my goal was to catch a bus leaving the city to meet up with my hosts. I was suppose to get off at the Casa Rossa, or the red house. I surmized this to mean Street Casa Rossa, or a specific stop named, Casa Rossa. I was way off. Literally, I was suppose to get off at the big red house. This could be classified as dumb traveling move number 36.

To make things more fun, my cell phone died. So please, for your viewing enjoyment, see the following photo called "Chris Gorney lost in Italy with a bus driver who speaks no english and a dead cell phone." Long name, but you get the idea.

The whole thing ended well with my feeling like a five-year-old lost in a Walmart toy section right before Christmas. As the bus driver let me use his phone, he ended up talking to my host so he could figure out when to tell me to get off the bus as we made the return journey towards Florence. Well, at least it is a good story.

The rest of Florence was not as eventful but no less enjoyable. I spent the whole day wandering through streets looking for back roads and hidden shops. I was able today just to slow down and appreciate what was around me. I really enjoy Florence. To return here would be a pleasure.

Gorn-Seige of the Castle.

Over the past few days I have been blessed with lots of time to think. As you can see from my posts I have walked around a lot. The thing that keeps coming to my mind is the idea of quantifiable looks into how Jesus saves and changes us.

Then I was brought back to something I read in Ezekial. God talks about how when we are saved He actually removes our hearts and replaces them with new ones. He takes our sinful hearts of stone and puts in new flesh beating hearts now beating full of the understanding of His love for us.

Simply, God loves us like a perfect Father loves his son. He knows what we need, we need not repeat mantra and penance to redeem ourselves. Just remember who He is.

I can remember feeling as though I had a heart of stone. Even though I would have said I was a good person, deep down I knew that I was missing something, that I was off the mark and hurting.

Now though, I see and feel more each day how God has changed me. When I remember and look back God shines large and mighty as the one true God, as the one who began this whole crazy thing called life. And when I remember who He is, it is a lot easier to know who I am. And that is Loved, by a Dad. One great and awesome Dad willing to do anything to get His children's hearts back.

Well sorry for the long post. But from here on I will try to update more frequently so as not to extend a little into a lot.

Love you all.

Ciao from Italy.