Sunday, October 26, 2008

Traveling to Greece- Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Santorini and Other Islands






Alison at the Acropolis in Athens




A short overview of my trip to Greece: Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Santorini, Mykonos. Awesome trip and so many interesting experiences! Read on to hear more!

ATHENS, GREECE



First Impressions...



Sept. 21- I have been traveling for more than a day, more than 24 hours. I spent 3 hours on my first flight, 4 1/2 hours in an Atlanta airport, and 10 HOURS on a flight to Athens, where I got the last seat in the last row on the plane. It was just a long flight and not very comfortable.

So I began to be excited when we flew over Italy and then Greece- I thought, thank goodness we're almost there! And we arrived in Athens at last. I had to wait a while for my friend to arrive, so I decided to have a coffee and try to adjust to it being 10 am in Athens while my body thought it was 2 am. My first Greek experience was a Greek coffee at a kafe (kaffe?). The girl working knew a little English but not much. Greek coffee here is made super strong with grounds right in it. Then I was awake!

I finished my coffee, and then a French guy almost put out his cigarettte in my empty cup filled with grounds. I gave him a weird look, and he said he thought I was done. Strange. Also strange that I would be practicing my French soon after arriving in Greece. So now I'll go practice more of my Greek. On the first day, my friend and I got settled in Athens and we saw many of the major historical sites.


More Athens

Sept. 22-I'm still drinking coffee- I had a coffee with steamed milk today that I liked better.

My friend and I spent a long somewhat jet-lagged day yesterday walking around the Plaka (old town) of Athens. We are staying within walking distance of the Acropolis. The problem was, we couldn't find the entrance to the Acropolis. We ended up following narrow white stairs and walkways between small Greek homes on the hill in the shadow of the Acropolis, thinking we'd end up closer to the top of this huge hill and find an entrance. A sign even said "Acropolis" and pointed up one of the narrow walkways, but perhaps it was just pointing out that the Acropolis was up the hill, which was obvious. We eventually back-tracked and walked down a different street, finding the entrance at last. This seems to be a theme for us on this trip-- we find where we're trying to go in a roundabout way.





The Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens (and Me!)

In the Acropolis, I saw an old amphitheatre (Theatre of Dionysus) that has been renovated somewhat and is now used for concerts. Another old amphitheatre was on the property- it's said that Sophocles, Euripedes, and other famous Greek dramatists performed their plays here in approx. 500 B.C. Since I was a theatre minor in college and have been involved in theatre for 15 + yrs, I've had theatre history and read all the Greek tragedies. These plays were really the beginning of drama. It was cool to see a theatre that's been around that long. The Parthenon and the buildings surrounding it were really interesting to see. Some are under renovation, but it's still interesting to see buildings that are so old and have so much history.

We also went to Ancient Agora, the ancient marketplace and city of Athens next to the Acropolis. It's mostly ruins, but diagrams and illustrations show what it may have looked like in 6th or 7th Century B.C. Very interesting. One temple is pretty intact, and still had some of the frescoes and roof.



Ancient Agora (Marketplace), Athens

The next day, we took a mini-bus tour to the ancient city of Corinth. It was a fairly large archaeological site. Again, it's mostly ruins and stones, but one can imagine what it may have been like around A.D. 50 or so. We could see where the city baths had been, the church, the city council, the temples, etc. Corinithian columns, which are the style that have leaves towards the top, were originally built here, and some were still standing.

We also toured the National Archeaological Museum in Athens. It had some amazing artifacts- jewelry, vases, and gold masks from the 15th Century B.C. Wow! Sculptures from the 7th Century B.C. All very interesting.


Greek Language- It's Greek to Me!
I still don't know any words in Greek, but have found most people can speak at least limited English. The phrase "It's Greek to Me" has come to my mind more than once! Especially when I look at some of the signs in Greek that I can make no sense of.


Food-Souvlaki, Gyros, Baklava and More!

We've also had some good food- pork souvlaki, Greek salad, Greek wine, gyros, etc. Every restaurant in the Plaka in Athens wanted us to eat there- the host/manager would tell us to come in, that they have so much good food and everything we could possibly want to eat. There's so many restauarants around there, and there's a lot of competition between restaurants.

Traveling in Rain or Shine

I've been taking many photos. I haven't had much trouble with jet lag, but my friend has been extra tired. The weather has been decent, but tonight we got caught in the rain as we were going around Athens. I'm hoping it clears up tomorrow. Tomorrow, we're off to Delphi and Olympia. I'm looking forward to it!

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