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Published: January 24th 2007
Wow, so, I'm actually in Athens. I didn't really think I would get here, at least not this early in my life, but here I am. It's really incredible to be tromping through these ancient, ancient sites with the remains of centuries of different types of civilizations at my feet. And January is definitely the best time to be here! Everything we are interested in is still open (though maybe on reduced hours) the weather is perfectly fine, and there is almost no one at the various attractions, which I assume are jam packed in the summer. The Acropolis was a bit busy today (so I can only imagine what it's like in August), but yesterday we went to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and had the place almost to ourselves. It was really great. Unforunately, internet access is extremely hard to find here and very expensive, so this might be my last entry from this ancient town. I don't know if I'm going to be able to get any pictures up today or not. We leave on Friday, the 26th (I think it's the 26th...) to Patras, where we'll catch a ferry to Italy. I had hoped to maybe be able to meet up for a night with a member of my uncle's family, but I haven't even contacted my Aunt for the number yet, let alone contact the poor woman who we're hoping to impose upon, so it's looking unlikely that it will actually happen. I seem to be having trouble with planning for the future on this trip...
I'll give a brief rundown on what we've be up to here in Greece as my internet time runs down. Stupid Scout business taking up all of my internet time....
We got into the Athens aiport just before 10pm and decided to spend the night in the airport rather than paying for a hostel. Besides, our hostel was in such a sketch area of town we thought it might not be safe to wander around late at night, anways. We searched the airport and found an area of benchs free of armrests which would be perfect for a night's rest. Although I'm pretty sure we spent the night when some actual homeless people, one of whom continually babbled to Derek early in the morning in Greek, it was not at all an unpleasant night. And the bathrooms were very clean.
The next morning we set off to find our hostel. The area of town isn't really *that* bad in daylight and our room is decent, especially compared to some places we slept in SE Asia, and it's probably the cheapest place we'll stay on this trip since it's only 9 Euros a night, so we were pleased. We ditched our stuff and set of exploring on foot.
After a bit of confused wandering we unexpectidly found ourselves smack in the middle of a classic European shop area with tiny roads and many stores and tons of cafes. It looked like it was straight out of Rick Steeves. I was extremely content. Of course, we wouldn't actually BUY anything, but it was neat to see the great diversity of stuff available to us if we decided it was necessary to purchase. After more wandering we bought tickets to the above mentioned ruins, which were really neat. We're pretty happy because we were able to get a 4 day student pass to all the main ruins here in Athens for only 6 Euros, which is a really good deal. After this we were starving because we hadn't had an actual meal since lunch in London the day before, but, try as we might, we could NOT find a grocery store anywhere. I think Athenites (?) are more into the buying from the butcher and the cheese-guy and whatnot (although we didn't see any of those, either). Eventually, in desperation, we stumbled in to what turned out to be a Greek fast food place, but the food was amazing! We got a HUGE platter of various meat patties and pita and salad for less than 5 Euros, which we were happy with. It was so satisfying that we didn't even eat dinner that night. One meal a day--not a bad way to save money!
All the sites closed at 3pm, I guess cause it's winter, so we didn't know what to do next. After taking the scenic route over a hill filled with ancient artifacts and offering a great view, we dragged ourselves back to our hostel and, without really meaning to, fell asleep. That pretty much put an end to our day because it was all we could do to drag ourselves up around 9pm to brush our teeth and change in to PJs, then fall back asleep again.
Today we went to the Acropolis, which I actually found slightly disappointing. For one, there is scaffolding all over everything due to all this reconstruction that's going on, so it really wrecked the experience. Then, we discovered that the scale of the reconstruction was a bit beyond what Derek and I thought it should be. They're completely dismantling the entire temples, filling damaged pieces in with new materials, then putting them back together. As a result you couldn't be sure if you were looking at actually ancient architecture or just some plaster that some modern guy squirted in there. I guess they didn't have a choice, though, because it seems most of the reconstruction was just undoing all the damage done by previouis "reconstruction" attempts done in the 1920s, which saw them putting peices back together the wrong way and using iron (which oxidized in no time) to hold things together and such. Hmmmmm. Oh well, now I can say I've been.
Alright, time's up. What's with the lack of comments, people? Are my posts that boring these days? I'll try to do better. I really do love hearing from everyone!
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