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I didn't know I had so many friends until I stepped foot in the Grand Bazaar.

LOL My favorite: "Hey lady, come look at my rubbish!"

Thanks, Mimi, for the welcome. And Gina, yes we did go up to the gallery. I went to see the the great icons, of course, and to get a better glimpse of the Platytera at the end of the gallery, and to look more closely, across the gulf of the nave, at Chrysostom my hero. I must confess that I also went to see, especially, the Viking graffiti. And Deacon James, my celtic fearmongering friend, you shouldn't be so insensitive to the Clouseauians. They are only doing their jobs, as work is understood in de Gaulle.

I didn't know I had so many friends until I stepped foot in the Grand Bazaar.

Seriously, thank you all for your kind prayers: they brought us home on a favored wing, and envisioned us with the sight of the Great Church, and Halki, and Chora, and the Phanar.

And, by the way, did I mention that my little group sang "You are the God Who creates miracles" in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Halki, at St. George's in the Phanar, and (in the safety of slavonic) at a little raki cafe in Taksim? The ghosts on the breeze, rustling from the Golden Horn, whispered Amen.

Heaven knows you are right about CDG. A very strange place: we raced through customs to reach our connection to Athens, and as we left the gate to board I was pulled aside by an Inspector Clouseau lookalike. "Monsieur, you will be here how long? A holiday, you say?" He eyed me doubtfully. I do have that sort of Celtic terrorist look. Finally, he let us go.

And as for Pittsburgh International, the Franco Harris doll is wonderful, but the free wireless stole my heart.

Seriously, I'm glad you and the rest of the delegation are back safely. Many prayers accompanied you. It is hard to imagine how His Holiness lives under such intense pressure and hatred.

Welcome back. How apt are your characterizations of the airports- that CDG might actually be in New Jersey is hilarious. I think New Jersey would be more orderly, though.

Did you go up to the second floor in Hagia Sophia? Sentimentally, that is where I like to think I became Orthodox, looking at an inkling of Christ Pantocrator through scaffolding. In reality, it was a whisper. It's cruel to me to ponder my years in Turkey were spent so ignorant and nonchalant about the holy places of Orthodoxy.

Welcome home! It sounds like a lovely trip.

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