Thursday, June 26, 2008


I've had the chance to talk to Alex a few times this week, and he's having a wonderful time in Crete. It sounds like a really beautiful place with striking craggy landscapes. There's been lots of hot hiking, made more difficult by an absent minded professor leader who seems to forget that people need to eat breakfast before heading out.

Today's pictures come from the Propylaea. From my brief google research, I can tell you that the Propylaea is the gateway leading into the Acropolis (in Athens). Here's some more information:

The Propylaea, located at the west end of the hill, is a roofed entrance structure into the sacred precincts of the Acropolis. It was designed by the renown architect Mnesicles, and constructed between the years 437 BC and 432 BC. However, the construction was ended during the Peloponessian wars, and the building never reached completion for unknown reasons. The Propylaea which can still be seen today were built during the age of Pericles, and were supposed to replace an earlier one built under the administration of Pissistratus in 530 BC. (The Acropolis of Athens)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Alex adds: Many of these pictures are from inside the Parthenon, where we managed to get special access. You can see much of the elaborate reconstruction/preservation project ongoing as we're dodging the booms of cranes and swing of hammers amidst newly hewn marble and orders barked in Greek. Perhaps the feel of it wasn't too much different than when this temple was first built 2500 year earlier. But this time, the reconstruction will probably take at least 50 years, while the original project, without modern machinery (and without union labor) took 15 years.

Ancient Legos?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Athens Central Market

Alex is in Crete this week, so I'll be posting some pictures from his Flickr site until he returns. Today's set comes from the Fish/Meat pavilion at the Athens Central Market.

For more pictures from the market, click here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On "sweat towels"

Emily labeled the man in the post below with a towel as having a "sweat towel." That's not really accurate, though that's a fitting guess because it sure is hot! These are actually the locals who carry around their stolen goods in large towels, looking for a place to vend them on the sidewalk. These men have their illegal wares (e.g., shoes, watches, cheap jewelry) set out on these blankets so they can at a moment's notice wrap up their merchandise and run around the block when the cops show up. And as I was walking by, a whole group of them suddenly gathered up their stuff and bolted. Sure enough the cops were right behind. But as I walked down the street, I turned back and could, from a single vantage point, see on one side of a corner, these men with their goods slung over their shoulder and the cops inspecting the place on the sidewalk where a moment before they had been selling their stuff. These 2 photos were taken on the same spot, with essentially single 90 degree pivot to the left.

The vendors (the guys in the back looking to the left):

The cops:

This was block from my hotel the first night (off Omonia square). Kind of borderline neighborhood.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flickr Photos

I've added a link to Alex's Flickr photo stream on the right. You can see all of the Greece pictures by clicking on the box, or by going here.

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

Here are some shots from Alex's trip to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. I'll leave it to him to give you a description of what everything is.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Around Athens

Alex may be too busy write, but I'm not too busy to keep from posting a few of his pictures from Athens that he's uploaded to Flickr. I'm going to make up captions for now, and maybe when he gets some time he can update them...

It's so hot in Greece that people carry their own personal sweat towels.
Update: See my new post above! -Alex

Too busy to write

I am afraid I will probably be too busy/tired to write much in the future. We didn't get our presentations assigned ahead of time, and I don't even have the time and energy to work on those. I am sorry, but it looks like this is going to be an irregular blog at best,

I'll just say that today we did some of the more rural sites around Attica (the countryside of the pennisula sorrounding Athens). Every Greek temple or tomb is at the top of a hill, it seems. The countryside is very arid and almost completely treeless, especially up on the hills. It was 95 today, I think, but thankfully we ended our day with a dip in a lovely bay near the temple of Poseidon at Sunion.

I will be keeping a flickr page, if nothing else but to upload photos. As soon as I figure that out, I'd be happy to share it with all of you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Pagoi of Athens

We hiked up 3 different pagoi (hills) in central Athens today in 90 degree heat and bright, unflinching sun: the Areopagus, the Pnyx, and the Philopappus. Hills in Greece are bigger than in the eastern North Carolina piedmont. And much less shady. And when you get to the top you have a view of the cragy, ruinous beauty of the ancient city swallowed up by the sprawling concrete of miles and miles of moder(ist) Athens.

The Areopagus has been ascended by millions of faithful pilgrims over the years, and this approach was (probably for thousands of years) the traditional way up.

The surface of this hill is a very slippery rock, worn smooth by millions of feet.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

An Odyssey to Greece

The most frustrating thing about having your flight delayed by 5 hours is that, inevitabley, the delay is never given all at once. It gets progressively lengthened by 15 or 20 minute increments so that you don't want to leave the gate and merely sit in the waiting area in impatient anticipation.

A door to the plane is broken.
They try to fix it.
Can't fix it.
We switch planes.
They prep the new plane.
The meals they had provided "timed out": they have to give us new meals.
Intense lightning keeps us from taxiing out.
Long wait for our turn to take off.
I tell myself again I don't want to fly US Airways and go through Philadelphia. (Again refers to the fiasco of Christmas 2004 which Emily and I were stuck in the middle of).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Safely Sent

I successfully dropped Alex off at the airport shortly before noon, and he's currently en route to Philadelphia. I'm so thankful he had a mid-day flight so that we could enjoy some last moments together - drinking coffee, eating homemade pancakes, and turning around halfway to the airport because he brought MY passport with him rather than his own. Thankfully we caught that with enough time to get back to the apartment.

As for me, I'm going to the pool to enjoy some R&R. More news here once Alex arrives.

Friday, June 13, 2008

So Long, Farewell

Hello family and friends,

Thanks for joining us on this adventure to Greece. As you may be aware, Alex will be spending the next six weeks at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He'll get to visit ancient sites at Crete, Delphi, and in the Peloponnese. I'll get to join him at the end of July for a nine day trek in Athens and in Cairo.

Hopefully you'll see plenty of pictures and get to read some great stories here over the next few weeks. For now, au revoir Alex and have a safe trip!