breaking the silence on the time we broke the silence

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Today marks the beginning of Lent. And to acknowledge it, we thought we would share a sacred place that we visited in Turkey. We’re also sharing a story that we haven’t told anyone as yet.

The last home of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, although it has not been officially pronounced as so by the Vatican. There is an information board before heading down the path abut the archeological evidence.


The stone house is now a chapel. It is located in very peaceful surroundings. We walked along a footpath, lined with lush green trees before lining up outside the doors of the chapel to enter. Despite the number of visitors there, it was respectfully quiet.


We stepped foot inside and we were welcomed with complete silence. Everyone was walking down the middle towards the altar, in pairs or in single file. There were people kneeling to the sides,  people with their heads bowed, people kissing the tips of their fingers, people doing the sign of the cross. There’s a deep sense of serenity in the modest-sized chapel.

Respectfully, we wanted to make a donation and true to our clumsy selves, we broke the silence embarrassingly. Amongst the peace and quiet,  the coins decided to fly out of our wallets, clanking and rolling around the chapel. Our initial reactions were to hang our heads, let out a sigh and mutter “Oh no!”, wishing for that split second the ground below would swallow us up.

Quickly and as quietly as possible, we gathered the coins and placed them in the donation box before we made a beeline for the exit. We didn’t even want to stay a second longer and disrupt any more of everyone’s tranquil moment in Mary’s House.

Once outside, there is a “wishing wall” where pilgrims can tie their wishes onto. We didn’t actually tie up any intentions because our only wish right then, was to wish we could forget the commotion we created inside.


Mary’s House was a significant spiritual place for us to visit, an experience we would never forget for more reasons than one.


Can you make us feel better by telling us about a time you created a scene unintentionally while travelling? 






27 thoughts on “breaking the silence on the time we broke the silence

    Red Nomad OZ said:
    February 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hahahaha! It’s not quite the same thing … but I once went on a bird-watching tour, and excitedly pointed out a wading bird that no one else seemed to have seen. The snotty tour guide set up a telescope and told me to find it so everyone else could see it too. Weirdly, the bird hadn’t moved since I first saw it – and when I zoomed in with the telesceope, I saw why. It was a stick. Even though it was shaped remarkably like a bird. I stuck to taking photos for the rest of the tour 😀

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 22, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Hahahah – yeh – mistaking a stick for a bird is pretty good 🙂 We are definitely feeling better with all these stories 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

    Jessi said:
    February 19, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Oh no! I can see myself doing something exactly like that. I have also had fits of the giggles at very inappropriate times when things feel tense or awkward. But typically, I just trip of my maxi dresses and fall UP the stairs at the beach. Also pretty embarrassing stuff! I hope that makes you feel better. 😛

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 19, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      LOL – maxi dresses and long skirts are the pits sometimes! Totally making us feel better and YES – getting the giggles at the worse time ever is awful, especially midway through a tour guide talk! We feel so mean because most of the time it has nothing to do with the talk. 😉

    LuAnn said:
    February 19, 2015 at 5:15 am

    I think we have all had those moments and they are most likely more embarrassing for us than annoying or disrespectful to others.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 19, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Very well said! That certainly does make us feel better… it is our own perception more than anything!

    unfinishedtravel said:
    February 19, 2015 at 5:13 am

    I had to be physically lifted onto a train in Chile because I was dripping pizza and couldn’t manage to climb up on my own 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 19, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      😉 Well, the more stories we hear, the better we are feeling! Thanks for sharing.

    Diana said:
    February 18, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    You know….it seems this kind of stuff happens when we are trying to be the most respectful. I will tell you that I set off the alarms in Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. Yes…..yes I did. I was there with my sis and our kids (5 kids all together). One of them dropped their toy from their happy meal in the area of the Caravaggio we were looking at. Now a normal person would leave the meaningless happy meal toy there. But not me, I climbed under the rope (short skirt and all) and set off the alarms. Ha, ha, ha…yes….alarms in that church, probably flashing everyone as well. But…..seeing as how we were in Italy, once I explained to the guards we were trying to retrieve a toy for a CHILD…all was forgiven. Because the Italians will do ANYTHING to make a child happy in Italy. That was ONE of my moments.

    Anyway….this post was lovely….this place looks so special.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 10:38 pm

      Oh Diana! Hahahahah – this was hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Not only alarms of the building but probably shocking all these people with your mini skirt manoeuvre 😉 Well done! We should’ve had a giveaway for the best story with this post. So many good stories coming through.

    the eternal traveller said:
    February 18, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I got into trouble in Bruges for trying to take a photo of the Relic of the Holy Blood in the Basilica of the Holy Blood. Actually I wasn’t taking a photo of the relic, just the woman guarding it, but she waggled her finger at me in a very cranky way! And then when I told Mr ET, I got into trouble for talking from another man. Oops.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Had to chuckle at this. We hate being the “typical tourist” that does the wrong thing but sometimes, you just don’t know what is right or wrong (like talking for example). Getting in trouble while travelling… *sigh*… David got in trouble in the the Hopfsburg Imperial Apartments for sitting on the window sill. It was the first ever palace that we had visited (back in 2006) and it was soooooo hot the day we were there and inside was stuffy. So we went to the window for a breather and he climbed innocently on the edge to sit. The guard lady came and scolded him and then shut the windows. Trapping more heat inside… He will never ever live that down when we visit palaces now 😉

        the eternal traveller said:
        February 19, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        It’s easy to do the wrong thing and not even know when you’re in a different country. I bet you always say, “Remember when we went to that palace…”

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          February 19, 2015 at 9:06 pm

          Hahaha – totally! Those are our exact words in fact….

    themauritiangeographer said:
    February 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I still remember when I went there! My plan was only to go to Efes but we ended up going there as well. It was such a serene place (we did go in off peak season so no crowds)

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Lucky, no crowds!! We felt we were being shuffled along by the people coming in behind us and we would’ve liked to have stayed in there for a bit longer – but with the “scene” we created… we just wanted to sheepishly disappear!

    Kat said:
    February 18, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    I tripped and fell over a pew inside a church in Rome because I was so in awed of the ceiling of the church that I didn’t watch where I was going. It was such a loud noise and everyone stared at me the “Asian tourist” – felt really embarrassed LOL! So totally understand your situation, in fact, I chuckled to myself when I read that part of your story 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Oh dear!! We couldn’t help but laugh at your story too… It is such an awful feeling when you get the “look”, right? We just want to shrink away immediately…. We were too scared to even look around at who might be glaring at us. We just bent down and scrambled around for the coins before ducking right out! 😉

    CrazyChineseFamily said:
    February 18, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Kind of creepy that they found theis place after the visions described by that nun. I am always sceptical when it comes to these things but then again, why shouldnt it be true?

    Have a great New Year 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      With time, our skepticism has just escaped us. We have no reason not to believe it, right?

      May the Year of the Goat for you and your “crazy” family 😉 be a prosperous, happy and healthy one!

    Ulrike vom Bambooblog said:
    February 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I was not quite sure, whether this is the place near Ephesus unless I read the notice on the photo. It would be nicer, when the location would have been mentions in the text.
    I had an experience in a Buddhist Temple in China, where I sseemed to disturb am ceremony just by being there. I wrote about it on my blog. But sorry in German:

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      It’s interesting you mentioned that because after we posted it – we did think… should we have put Ephesus in there somewhere?? 😉

      Might have to put your post through Google translate to read about what happened to you! Thanks for reading!

    kayrpea61 said:
    February 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Not quite! I had just about made it to Jane Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral, when I was asked to leave by a church official. I tried to explain that I had come all the way from Sydney to pay my respects to Ms Austen. His response was “Sir, this is a place of worship, and it is about to be used as such!!”. I left.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Hehehe – K! We knew we could count on a fellow Sydney-sider to make us feel less sheepish 😉 Thanks for sharing your experience!

        the eternal traveller said:
        February 18, 2015 at 6:19 pm

        I wonder why you weren’t allowed to go to Jane Austen’s grave in the cathedral in Winchester. It’s not like it’s private. That’s just weird. That official must have been having a very bad day.

    Yvonne said:
    February 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I guess the rest of us are perfect, with no tales to tell! 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      February 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Oh dear Yvonne! Thanks for making us feel better 😉

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