Posted by: faithtravelfocus | November 27, 2012

Faith Travel Focus Website

Dear Reader,
We have transitioned to a new, more comprehensive website for faith travelers and the travel professionals who serve them. Please have a look!

Thanks for your interest,
The Faithful Traveler

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | August 10, 2012

London’s Thames yields Olympics and medieval souvenirs


Mudlarks at work along the Thames

History is once again in the making again along the timeless river Thames, London’s river highway.  One of our Olympics delights during the opening ceremonies was watching football/soccer superstar David Beckham carry the torch along the Thames in a speedboat. 

It was just another event for the old man river that’s seen millennia of history already. The Thames is liquid history, say some Brits. And it continues to yield fascinating evidence of its eventful past to diggers known as “mudlarks” or “mud men” – those chaps who for generations have scavenged the Thames for saleable items. More recently, the diggers have uncovered artifacts that are now on display in the Museum of London, the BritishMuseum, and other austere harbingers of culture and history.

Among the valuables: pilgrim’s badges – souvenirs brought back by medieval faith travelers who trekked to shrines of saints in Canterbury and other popular medieval pilgrimage sites in Spain and France. The badges were once mass-produced in pewter and other materials. Thomas Becket was one of the most popular saints depicted on the badges.  Some badges depicted the shrine sites. 

A pewter pilgrim badge

Pewter or lead pilgrim badges were very popular in the period of about 1350 to 1450 AD, and were worn on hats and clothing. The sale of the badges at shrines brought income to the sites and helped reduce pilfering of shrine parts. The badges were also early tourism advertising because they encouraged others to visit the shrines and brought revenue to local traders. They were also proof that one had indeed visited a holy site and was therefore a true pilgrim. 

By the early 16th century, pilgrimages were in decline as the church came under attack for corruption and the Protestant Reformation swept Europe. As England became Protestant, pilgrimage was held in contempt as superstitious and idolatrous. And lots of pilgrim badges ended up in the river Thames.

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | July 26, 2012

Ottawa’s summer (and beyond) lures for culture vultures

Ottawa’s Rideau Canal by night

 DC isn’t North America’s only national capital with plenty of summertime diversions for visitors. Right now, Canada’s Ottawa has events, sites, and exhibitions for guests, including faith travelers and other culture vultures. 

Right now affordable air fares by Porter Airlines  out of several U.S. cities make Ottawa a right-now attractive summertime vacation destination for a weekend or longer.  Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | July 19, 2012

Travel ministry can work for you!

Travel ministry serves all ages

Some people say Moses was the first tour leader. He led the Israelites out of Egypt into their Promised Land.

A more contemporary travel leader was Thomas Cook, the mid-19th century Baptist minister and traveling evangelist. His first project was to use new railway transport from Leicester, England to Loughborough – for 600 people willing to attend a temperance rally. Travel was a significant tool in his ministry to combat alcoholism. Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | July 11, 2012

Cyprus: another piece of the Holy Land

Anassa Hotel luxury in Cyprus

 With its record-setting number of visitors this year,Israelmay remain the center of theHoly Landregion for faith travelers who want to walk where Jesus and His disciples walked and taught. But there’s much more to experience in nearby countries like Cyprus.  Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | June 12, 2012

Postcard from Wales: take a pilgrimage

St. Davids Cathedral

Travelers go to Wales for golf, castle and walking tours around some of this UK sector’s stunning scenery like Snowdonia National Park. Others glimpse landscapes inhabited by British royals or tug on their Welsh family roots. Travelers with a penchant for famous Welsh citizens past and present pay homage to notables such as Dylan Thomas, Anthony Hopkins, or Richard Burton, to name a few. 

Faith travelers have even more to explore in Wales, say Church of Wales leaders. Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | May 22, 2012

Voluntourism: give back and take more home

Voluntourism in Ghana

Whether it’s souvenirs they buy in the local market, or experiences they recall for a lifetime, most travelers want to take home something that reminds them of destinations they’ve touched. 

Some are taking home even more these days by giving back to nations and communities they visit. Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | May 15, 2012

Armenia: the Holy Land’s missing piece

Armenia’s Geghard monastery

Ancient stone walls hang off cliffs overlooking the beautiful Azat River Gorge inArmenia. Grounds of the Geghard Monastery hold monastic cells and several small churches, cut from surrounding rock during the 11th century. Visitors can almost hear the chanting monks whose pious steps have worn valleys into the stone steps. 

Towering cliffs surround the Geghard at the head of the Azat valley. The monastery dates to the 4th century, according to tradition by St Gregory the Illuminator who led his people into Christianity. Arabs destroyed the first enclave in the 9th century, but another was flourishing by the 13th century. Its relics – such as the spear which had wounded Christ as He hung on the Cross – drew pilgrims for centuries and fame to the site. Relics of the Apostles Andrew and John were added in the 12th century. Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | May 7, 2012

National Tourism Month: a rabbi connects religion and tourism

Moses was the first tour leader

Rabbi Peter E. Tarlow is a busy man. He’s director of Texas A&M Hillel (foundation for Jewish campus life), a tourism safety expert, speaker and consultant, and founder of “Tourism & More Inc.,” his tourism security training firm.

Rabbi Tarlow’s recently offered his unique perspectives in an essay published in The Bryan-College Station Eagle about why he connects religion and tourism. As America celebrates National Tourism Month in May, Tarlow’s insightful comments about why we travel are especially timely.   Read More…

Posted by: faithtravelfocus | April 26, 2012

Leipzig, Germany Marks Eight Centuries of Music

Leipzig's St. Thomas choir celebrates 800 years

 Any choir with 800 years of tradition and a director who was Johann Sebastian Bach is certainly worth celebrating. Throughout this year,Leipzig- one ofEurope’s major centers of music – is doing exactly that.  Read More…

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