Sunday, March 29
Sites Visited: Acropolis of Athens and areas/sites around the Acropolis
Where did we stay tonight?: on overnight boat to Crete
Leaders: Alex Maceda and Jason Spellmire reporting
We climbed today. A lot. Some things we climbed multiple times. The Areopagus, the Pnyx, the Acropolis, and, after the power went out, the eight flights of stairs to our hotel rooms, not counting the half dozen or so flights at the bottom before they start counting. That part was a bit demoralizing. You would start up the stairs and think, OK, this won’t be fun, but I’ll be alright, it’ll be over soon. In the meantime I’ll just think about nice things like a world sans stairs, and friendly dogs, and so you do, and you are imagining your friendly dog, and he is a sort of Burmese/ retriever cross with a charming little wiggle in his wagging tail, and you think maybe you will name him Gus, and it is good. And then you come to the top of a flight of stairs and it says “Floor 3”, and suddenly Gus morphs into a snarling Rottweiler named Wolf with a scar down his lip. And you want the old Gus back, and maybe you cry a little.
Maybe you are reading this because you are hoping to know what it is like where we are. In that case, we will try to paint you a picture: You are on a boat the size of Dartmouth Hall. You really want to go to sleep, because you have been climbing up some things for 10 or so hours. But first you have to get back to your room from dinner. The boat seems to have been designed by a sadistic man who probably does not even like friendly dogs. You see a sign that says “Rooms 144-180” and an arrow. Your room is 172, so you follow the arrow. Pretty soon you come to a T. One sign says “Rooms 100-122”, with an arrow pointing one way, and another sign says “Rooms 185-200” with an arrow pointing the other way. You stand there for a while. Then you turn around to retrace your steps. The way is blocked by a horde of techno-blaring, tight jeans and shiny gold shoes-wearing, shrieking, smirking, brutish Euro teens who seem to have nothing better to do on a Sunday overnight than roam the halls like cattle, except that cattle are generally kind, placid, good-natured creatures with standards of personal hygiene. Also, you haven’t slept much lately, and you start to feel like you are trapped in a madhouse.
So if this post is a bit disjointed, rambling, and nonsensical, try to imagine that it is very early in the morning, you very much wants to go to bed, and the aforementioned Euro kids have turned the entire ship into a floating disco. And that isn’t so bad, maybe you even like Europop, but in addition to this, there is an intermittent pounding sound, rather like bowling balls are being dropped on top of your cabin from a few hundred feet. Also, the phone in your room keeps ringing, and you expect it will be someone telling you to abandon ship, but it is actually a drunk middle-aged Greek guy for whom prank calls have apparently retained their hilarity past the age of 17.
(In other words, today we woke up at 6AM to begin our circumnavigation of the Ancient city. We started with yes, a hike, up to the Philopappos Monument for a sunrise lecture. Stops at the Pnyx, Hill of the Muses, Kerameikos and the Areopagus were made before our final stop, the Acropolis. A rather unfortunate power outage at the Astor was, well, unfortunate. The end of the day saw a frame pack-packed bus, train and boat ride towards our next stop, Crete! Sleep was hard to come by on the boat. European “fashion” was not.)
Day 8 Photo Gallery:
Taking a photo opp on our sunrise hike.
The Philopappos monument towers over the Athenian plain.
Group Leader Jason surveys the somewhat satisfactory scene.
Getting our bearings in an early morning Acropolis view lecture.
A conga line of fuzzy caterpillars: an apparently typical feature of Attic topography.
A Greek trash dump...we mean flea market.
Jerry, Dallis and our TA Sarah take a break before continuing on the circumnavigation of Ancient Athens.
Alex A samples the traditional 9 am flea market souvlaki.
Professor Christesen describes the construction of the Ancient walls in Kerameikos.
Dallis, Katie and Alex M. get in touch with their inner tourist in front of the Parthenon.
Who needs a classroom when you have the sites right in front of you? The FSP takes notes while walking around the outer edges of the Acropolis.
The beloved image packets get some exercise under the looming South wall of the Acropolis.
It might have taken a bus ride, a metro ride and a some serious walking to get there, but the FSP makes it to the Piraeus and set sails for Crete.