Tuesday May 12th
Sites Visited: Pella (Classical/Hellenistic Macedonian city), Lefkadia (Macedonian tombs), Mieza (Aristotle’s School), Vergina (Macedonian royal tombs)
Where did we stay tonight?: Thessaloniki
Leaders: Dallis Fox and Jason Spellmire
Breakfast today was fabulous. There was bacon (albeit of the inferior European sort), REAL eggs, both scrambled and over easy, various breads, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, bougatsa (a sort of custard-like pastry), fruit, Tang, coffee, and small cookies that appeared to go with the coffee in some manner. On our official FSP Hotel Breakfast Scale (FSPHBS), it is an 8.5, slightly below the Astor only because it has a view of a lot of concrete and construction as opposed to the Acropolis.
We were joined by two lovely guests today, the parents of the illustrious Chris Johnson. Although they humbly declined to appear in blog photos their presence was a welcome addition.
First we went to Pella, the site of one of the Macedonian capital cities. It has some very nice pebble mosaics depicting myths and hunt scenes. Sarah illustrated the difference between Type I and Type II Ionic column capitals. I remember that one of them (Type 2?) looks more like a pillow. Perhaps this association reflects the hour at which we were made to get up, or the hour at which we are currently writing this. Either way, we really enjoyed the rose gardens, a seemingly ubiquitous flower up here. Driving through small towns, every building—houses, dentists’ offices, cafes, auto repair shops—has a rose garden out front. Do we have any pictures of these, Dallis? Yes, Jason, in fact we do. We even have a picture of Katie stopping to smell the roses. Literally. AND metaphorically. But we digress (I suppose that makes it sound like some part of our entry is relevant and not a digression. Hmm….)
Next was Lefkadia and Mieza. LOTS of people buried here. Rich Macedonians were buried in elaborate chamber tombs covered with tumuli (dirt piles). Some of the painting was very well-preserved. We could not take pictures of this, unfortunately. Not real ones, anyway. Mental ones, though. Lots of those. CLICK! Aristotle’s school was also here, at Mieza. It is near a nice brook, and some caves. We took (real!) pictures of these.
Finally, the maple syrup to our pancakes, the gravy to our biscuits, the blueberries to our waffles (NOOOO STOP TORTURING YOURSELF JASON…really…stop crying…Jason…American breakfast will still be there when you get back) was the site of Vergina (Phew…thanks Dallis. I think I’m okay now). Although briefly lost in Vergina, the site was worth every degree of the hot Greek sun. The grave goods from Philip II’s tomb were spectacular and included a 19 pound gold box and solid gold wreaths. Unfortunately, photography was again prohibited…BUT lucky for you Agents Fox and Spellmire laughed in the face of danger and took one for the team: we made a daring covert video that was thwarted after 38 seconds of suspense by the ever-vigilant museum guard (if you listen closely, you can hear her approaching footsteps and menacing chain), who threatened us with things too unspeakable for this blog. After this, we will be writing our Oscar acceptance speech.
ILLICIT VIDEO (of the inside of the museum):
Day 52 Photo Gallery:
Prof. Christesen lectures on Macedonian history in the early morning sunshine at Pella.
Sarah discusses the rare "type II" Macedonian Capital.
A Griffin pecks a deer in one of the mosaics from Pella.
KT stops to smell some roses on the road to the Lefkadia tombs.
Alex and Charlie make their way towards the Great Tomb's special bunker.
The group heads down towards the Tomb of the Palmettes.
Eagerly approaching the doors.
Face to face with the dank depths of the underworld.
Spiros, our bus driver, enjoys a contemplative moment at Lefkadia.
A picnic lunch at the brand new "climate-friendly" study center at Mieza.
The scholar himself, immortalized in cold marble.
Alex basks in the gentle glow of philosophical ergonomics.
But what does ecoclimatical mean?
Jason admires the handicap accessible facilities at Mieza.
Congregating around the nymphaeum at the school of Aristotle.
KT, Alex M. and Chris explore the shady caverns.
Jerry cuts a striking profile in the entrance to the nymphaeum at Mieza.
Lecture at Mieza.
Post lecture milling about at Mieza.
Kait at Mieza.
Crew inside the nymphaeum.
Ben gets in touch with his inner "Megas Alexandros".
Reenactment of a mosaic version of a bronze statue group featuring Kraterus saving Alexander from a lion.
Compare to: the original.
Typical Greek highway safety practices on the road from Mieza to Vergina.
Confusion amuk whilst the group looks for the acropolis at Vergina.
Waiting to go see the GOLD OF MACEDON.
An illicit photo of the tomb of Phillip II.
An attempt to take an illicit photo of Jerry in the museum ends in a blurry "art" shot.
THE GOLD OF MACEDON! (19 lb. solid gold larnax.)
Leaving the great tumulus.