Tuesday April 21
Sites Visited: Piraeus Museum, Kolonna on Aegina (Neolithic through medieval settlement site with important Early and Middle Helladic remains) and the Archaic/Classical Temple of Aphaia at Aegina.
Where did we stay tonight?: Athens
Leaders: Jason Spellmire and Kait Barber
Today we awoke faced again with the painful reality of touring the country in the spring with no real world responsibilities. We drowned the agony in Nescafe coffee (the horrible inadequacy of which was loudly bemoaned) at the breakfast buffet before taking the subway to the port of Pireaus. Attractions there included a museum and a shop that sold telescopes, swords, pipes, and firearms all under one roof, for the budding Victorian guerilla astronomer. After a brief visit to the museum, at which TA Sarah showed off her knowledge of Athenian naval history, we headed to the island of Aegina aboard the Flying Dolphin 19. This was a sort of hybrid animal-ship with the approximate speed and sleekness of a dolphin but the cargo capacity and smell of a boat.
On Aegina, we toured the site of Kolonna and then took taxis to the famous Temple of Aphaia. The taxi drivers seemed eager to put the fine Mercedes engineering of their vehicles to use on the more open roads out of town. The temple was in antiquity apparently painted red and black, suggesting a possible dual use as an early 3-D model of a stylized ladybug/checkerboard—thesis forthcoming.
We took taxis back to the town of Aegina, where we had some time to kill before the Flying Dolphin made its return flight. During this time two FSPers each purchased a pair of binoculars from a nice young Bangladeshi on the street who assured them that they would pay four times his price in a shop (all those annoying requirements associated with legality make things more expensive I guess) (Note: Talking with him later I asked him how many binoculars he usually sold in a day. He struggled to find the correct English expression, finally coming up with “Most days, I sell zero. Maybe…I sell one in five days?”). The vendor’s unusual success with our group prompted his comrades to begin (even more) aggressively proffering their own binoculars and knockoff RayBans, but no takers here. We know quality when we see it.
At the temple of Aphaia:
Day 31 Photo Gallery: