David Spence

Maria Dave Jack Michael Blog

David Spence

Maria, Dave, Jack & Michael family travel blog

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens June 4th 2011

Greece was playing Malta in the Euro 2012 qualifiers on Saturday, June 4th at Karaiskaki Stadium, Athens. Greece was second in their group, but a win against Malta would put them back at the top. Because Malta is not one of the strongest teams, there were only about three thousand people at the Olympiakos FC stadium. Nevertheless the Greek FC fans were deafening. The game started and about fifteen minutes in, a young Greek named Fetfazitis scored off the cross of Greece’s right back. He was left standing in front of the goal and he just slotted it in. He scored again only to be called off sides. The Greeks had plenty of chances including a cross that was headed out of the Malta goal by a Greek player. But soon enough another goal came off ... read more
Greece vs Malta
Greece scores!
The Olympiakos Pep Band

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens June 4th 2011

We decide to trek to the Acropolis to see the ancient temples and buildings today. Our Esteemed Leader finds us an English speaking guide so the children might actually learn something about Greek history. First stop is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. An odeon is basically a closed ceiling theater and this one (minus its ceiling) is located just below the Acropolis; it is still used for cultural performances. Herodes Atticus was a famed orator, high priest of the imperial cult at Athens, friend of the Emperor Hadrian and all around good guy philanthropist. Our second stop is the Propylaea or entrance to the Acropolis. Its main architect was Mnesicles, a colleague of Phidias, the sculptor. It was completed in 432 BC just before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian wars. Next up, is the tiny temple ... read more
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Propylaea Entrance
The Erecthion and the Karytids

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens June 1st 2011

At 9 am Austin Texas time, Michael and I tearfully dropped Izzy off at summer camp where she will enjoy hiking, wrestling, napping, eating and most likely some behavior modification training. A mere 33 hours later we were having dinner on a rooftop terrace in Athens, Greece with our dear friends (and interpreters) the Kallivokas family-- Loukas, Liana, Fotis & Filippos. On Friday, our group walked from our apartments near the Ambelokipi Metro stop to the Panathinaiko Stadium which is near Loukas' old neighborhood (Pangrati). The current Stadium is constructed of Pentelic marble on the ancient site of a natural depression between the two hills of Agra and Ardettos, over the Ilissos river. In 330-329 BC, Lykourgos had the stadium built as a festive venue for nude male athletes involved in "the noble competition and fair ... read more
Our happy girl
Rooftop Terrace Tavern
Panathinaiko Stadium Royal Seating

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 24th 2010

Anne Frank Huis - very powerful and moving museum. It has preserved the business and living areas- the boys indicated they would like to read the Diary. Amsterdam's Red Light District is concentrated around the Oude Kerk, but "red" lights can be seen elsewhere as well, as we discovered during our daily adventures exploring the city. We occasionally would walk past barely clad pros on display in their windows. "Look at me, but no pictures please! As you might expect, this is a conversation starter with 12 and 14 year old boys... regulated prostitution, bouncers and "menus". Moving on... We toured the Ajax FC Stadium (pronounced I-ax) The club is referred to as "Oranje" and were named after the mythological hero Ajax, a Greek who fought in the Trojan War against Troy. In The Iliad, Ajax ... read more
Ajax Stadium

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 22nd 2010

According to my guidebook, at least 85% of the Dutch have a bicycle; many of them have two. Bikers are all ages,gender, and dress. They chat with nearby bike mates; use their phones and PDAs; cart groceries, dogs and small children. Babies who are not yet walking are riding on their moms and dads bikes. Passengers sit side-saddle, perched on the back usually without need of a handle to hold. Bicycles are such a part of life; it is like breathing. And, I must say Dutch folks look healthy and fit. We, Spences, (some of whom are less healthy and fit than other Spences) tried out our bike skills in the flat and relatively traffic calm Vondelpark, a wonderful 110 acre park near the Leidesplein. ... read more
Suicide Bike
Texas Dutch Boys
Sitting Side Saddle

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 21st 2010

Today we leave Den Haag for Amsterdam, the capital city of The Netherlands. The pretty countryside can be seen from our train. I am just in awe at how much effort has gone into reclaiming the land (polders) from the sea. Also impressive are the many types of windmills (smock, belt, tower, post) and their uses (sawing timber; extracting oil, making dyes/paints or paper; milling corn/mustard; water pumping/draining). In less than an hour, we arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station (which sits on 3 artificial islands) and walk to our apartment located in the nearby Canal Ring. The weather is just gorgeous and we are eager to explore the city. ... read more
Our Flat # 22
Coster Diamond House & Museum

Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » Delft June 20th 2010

Sunday continues to be cool and windy but I soldier on. After a hearty breakfast, we tram it south to Delft (c.1075) known for its weaving and brewing industries. This pretty town is very picturesque with many canals and a central Markt square. It is also known for its blue and white hand-painted earthenware; an idea the Dutch “borrowed” from trading in Chinese porcelain. We specifically wanted to visit the Johannes Vermeer museum (sited in the building where the painters' guild of his day met). After lunch, we walked around the Markt square and then headed back to the north-bound tram station. Back in Den Haag, we walk to the Madurodam from our hotel. The Madurodam depicts the Netherlands in miniature (1:25 scale ) by replicating historically significant buildings and regions. It opened in 1952 by ... read more
Nieuwe Kerk
Stadhuis (1618)
Vermeer Museum in the St Lucas Guild

Europe » Netherlands » South Holland » The Hague June 19th 2010

It is cloudy, windy and coldish when we de-ship in the Hook of Holland. I am still feeling rather queasy and motion sick when we take the 30 minute tram ride into the bustling Den Haag train station where a surprise awaits us! We are warmly greeted by the “King of Holland” in full Orange football regalia with oversized orange bejeweled sunglasses. We had been feeling peckish and decided to grab some poffertjes (tiny pancakes) from a local dining establishment (Burger King). The "Orange King" overstays his welcome and is eventually ushered off the premises by the manager. We head out to find our tram which will take us to the Bel Air Hotel (where according to their website, children are not welcome.) We freshen up at our hotel and then decide to visit the M.C. ... read more
MC Escher Museum
Escher design
 light fixture by Hans van Bentem

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