Wednesday, May 19, 2010
2.) Airport Officials\Workers - They were helpful and efficient. They gave you straight answers. They told you what you needed to know.
3.) Post Office - There was NOT long line of people waiting to pay their bills. They were fast and efficient.
4.) Misbehaved dogs - The dogs are friendly and interested in everyone and everything around them. They want you to pet them and they will jump on you. They are not superdogs.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
We made it to the main road that leads directly to the square. There we met Communist protestors, mostly from the party of P.A.ME parading in the street with their flags on 2x4 planks of wood. Yes, itwould be good. The situation had escalated beyond the belief of the Greeks. For years, they have been saying (and been told) that things would get better ... but now thier dreams were being crushed by the IMF's imposed (DEH, in Greek) austerity measures.
We slowly mingled our way to the center of the the demonstration. When we arrived, nothing was REALLY happening ... a lot of disorganised chanting. The chanting became loud, everyone was repeatedly yelling "sfegies" and we saw the reporters rush after the re-enforcements. A group of Greeks were trying to make thier way through the police lines.
We moved to where the picture was taken, on the side walk to the right is the garden (though the gate was closed). More tear gas. Police running from all sides. It was then that I looked past Syntagma square towards Omonia and Panepistamou ... black, billowing clouds obstructed my expected view. There was a fire on Stadiou street... perhaps it was the bomb, I dont know. I thought that I didnt hear it right as I was leaving ... but it is hard to be sure.
Then all of a sudden, all the Greeks back into the street, I look behind me... SHIT! The riot police are charging towards us. We dart in front of them to the gate to take cover ... I thinking that if we really had to we could climb the fence ... They run pass us, seeing us sitting as bystanders. But we were behind them (never seek protection from the police ... add that to the list of things to remember when at a riot)... empty and full water bottle were thrown at them (and therefor us), paper, beer and pop can ... garbace everthing. What ever missed them or rickashayed off thier shields we were fare game for. I curled up into a sitting fetal postition, ready for whater was going to hit me, when Paul stood in front of me bending over. He blocked a can of something that would have hit me. We then dashed with a couple of other Greeks into the gardens and made out way home.
1.) Proper Appearal: Always wear clothing that will be comfortable for the weather, but that also covers enough of the body for protection and at the same time will help to blend. For women, a scarf is necessity because it will protect you from all the smoke in the air from the fire and from inhaling the teargas.
2.) Once at the demonstration\riot always have the police in your vision. Be aware of thier movement at all times.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
My very close teacher Nikos (he is my ancient Greek teacher) has been telling me every class about how much I have changed and grown. How "Greek" I have become ... he just laughs when he compares the girl that he met in September. I am glad that my growth is visible, but it makes me nervous about how well I will fit back in at home. I will have to reacquint myself with people, we all have changed and grown ... it is what happens over a 9 month time period. Will my freinds and family think that my changes are for the best or worst ... ? Before I was always early, heaven forbid I was ontime, because someone else's watch could be fast and then I would be late (but not really?). I still show up early but it is for myself now ... like to use the internet ... otherwise I show up on time. I have even been late a couple of time!!!
My friends and I always joke about how our standards have significantly lowered since we arrived ... so true! Never would I shower or sleep in have the places I have ... but will that make things awkward when I get back and dont care about that stuff .. will it make other people uncomfortable?
OR, what about my church family? I have been surrounded by liberals for nearly 9 months, I have had the comfort of few conservatives ... I know that my views have relaxed. I am ok with that, will they be able to accept that?
I enjoy who I am. Quiet, fun, slightly more reserved than normal...
When I came here, i was coming to a lot of unknowns. It is funny because now I am going home to many unknowns. I remember it was hard when I came home for Christmas break last year, it was weird to see my family in a groove that didnt involve me in everyday life. It will be even more exaggerated now, I havent been home in nearly 9 months... what changes will have taken places? Changes that they didnt notice but will be a huge deal for me? Another unknown is Michael, we left never having been apart for more than a few weeks at a time, and have been forced into a long distance relationship .. how easy will it be for us to convert back to normal distance relationship? I welcome being able to see him - I miss him like a crazy - but at the same time ... it is almost scary.
Three weeks, so much time to absorb the last bits of Athens. Not to mention I am spending a few days in Rome. I am so excited. I have so many plans, so many things to do, people to see. I will finish this strong, the way that it is supposed to be. And then I will be welcomed home with open arms.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Keep your fingers crossed! :)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
It is a cool thing to do because he makes the shoes and then customizes them to your feet in the store.
Friday, April 23, 2010
We (Maria, Liz, Stavros and I) met outside the Arcadian center at 10:00am for our hike up the mountian to his find. We took a short taxi ride to the base of the mountain and then began the ascent. It was a warm morning ... I wasnt sure if I was going to make it up ... and we were hiking on a partly shaded path.
After reaching a dead-end on the path, we took a small path through itchy and pokey plants we ended up in a largest of the Roman quarries...
You can tell that you are passing a quarry because you will see something that look like this ... Mt Hymettos is known for it blue-ish marble.
After resting in the shade of the quarry, we set out again on a path that Stavros had marked with red paint. It had even more itchy and pokey plants ... but we finally came to the "Dragon's Cave". It is called the Dragon's Cave because of the size of the giant rocks. It is a megalithic structure, built right onto the side of the mountain. It was so cool. Inside he had found a transportable alter.
(The view through the main doorway. )
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Emily and I embarked on our adventure friday morning ... and after the nearly 8 hour ferry ride we finally arrived to Santorini. After hearing some unsettline news from our beloved roommates (who were staying in Athens) we were whisked off by our unhospitable pension owner to Kateralos, a small town about a half hours walk from the main town Fira. (Although when we booked the pension we were under the impression that it was on 10 minutes walk.) Although our pension WAS ONLY 20 euro a night (10 euro a person -- cheap for anyways especially Santorini) we were disappointed with the room. The bathroom was grimey and the shower didnt drain right ... the floor was always wet. It was a serve yourself pension to say the least.
The first night we decided to test the public transportation to see if we would need to rent a car. So we headed over to Oia to watch the famous sunset. The town was very pretty and picturesque - the sunset was disappointing the clouds blocked everything. We caught the last bus back to Fira and ate dinner. Then started the long journey back to the pension... but we hadnt actually walked into Fira from the main road so we walked out of Fira on the wrong road. We were completely lost in the middle of no where along a highway, in the pitch dark. It was terrifying. All we could think about were the terrible stories we had read in Cosmo about girls being abducted, raped and killed in this situation. Needless to say we fueled our own terror. Finally we got home ... took our disgusting shower - the kind where you feel like you need to take another one because you took a shower.
Saurday we had planned on getting up early but that didnt happen. We caught the bus to Kamari to go and see ancient Thira. We arrive to find out that the only way up was to walk up and our book told us it was a 5 hour round trip hike ... so we decided to take the different route. A local guy told us about a church that was about half way up the mountain, behind the church was a cave that had a nartural spring. He said that it would be fun and easy - but really who should trust the Greek when they say "easy". we climbed up the gravel path to the church, it took about 45 minutes but it was just after noon and the sun was hot and the air humid. We were the only ones on the path (and the side of the mountain), Emily said "its so hot, lets just take off our shirts" so we did. It was great, the breeze on out backs. We finally made it to the cave, it was so cool and the water was so refreshing. We gathered some water in Emily's water bottle and then headed across the mountain to Ancient Thira. We arrive to ancient Thira hot and sweaty (after redressing) we entered and took in the amazing sight. The town was amazing and the view beyonf words. We looked over the cliff side onto the black shore.
We only hiked for like 3 hours but we were exhuasted, we hadnt planned on doing that much hiking and hadnt brought too much water (half liter each). We spent the rest of the day recovering in our beds. Later for dinner we had the most delicious Chicken soup ... really it was beyond words.
Sunday, we rested on the beach. We lotioned up and layed out. But we still were burned. the back of my legs are a nice pink (trust me the 8 hours on the ferry back was no fun). And then went to explore more around Fira.
Monday out ferry was leaving in the early afternoon. We packed up our stuff and then explored the country side a little. It had rained in the morning but within a half hour of stopping the sun was out and if I hadnt known it rained I would have never guessed.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
We took a small tour through the galleries of the building. Then we went to a smaller version of where Parliament meets. Paul, Emily and I sat in the communist section ... which I thought fitting since Paul and I are "members" of the party. (Paul is a member of the Italian Communist Party and I am of the Greek Party.)
Monday, April 12, 2010
As we entered the stadium, is sounded like we were entering a war zone. Fireworks, flares, smoke bombs were going off like crazy, the Greeks were celebrating the emmient victory.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Eventually we noticed that a large group of people walking up the street towardds us with candles. As they neared us, we saw the large crucifix and litter they carried. They also arrived in the πλατεια and we waited ... From the opposite direction a second large group came with candles, also carrying a cross and litter (both more ornate). They began to approach eachother (it looked like a fight was going to break out to me) and then as then met, the Παπασ began to speak. Afterward the separated again going in opposite directions.
Friday, April 2, 2010
After eating some ice cream we went back to Pension Sofie to pick up our stuff and wait at port for the ship to come. We ate Choco-Banana crepes for dinner and boarded the ferry around 11pm.
We arrived into Amorgos around 1am on Tuesday morning. We were picked up by out pension owner and taken to the pension. We all hoped to pass out, but the room was so cold that non of us slept very well. The next morning we had a cab drive us to the other side of the island (I know that sounds outrageous, but it is a VERY small island and it took like 30 minutes and long cost 25 euro -AND the bus wasnt running since it was the "holy" week before Easter). We checked into Pension Amorgos.
The port of Katapola.
After checking in we went to get lunch "to-go" from the backery and grocery store and layed out on the beach. We ate lunch and relaxed. We had bought some wine to have with our bread, olives, cheese lunch but needed to chill it. So we stuck it in the sand with the waves lapping at it to keep it cool. We later opened it using a bamboo stick - very impressive I know. :)
After laying out we all got tan\burned. Mine was pretty impressive, to give you an idea ... when i was in the nude it look like i was wearing a white bikini. It was pretty ridiculou, except for when Kristi gave me the "camo tan" I have never look so silly. We explored Katapola (about the size of a small town in the middle of nowhere in a midwestern state) but that didnt take long.
On Wednesday we decided that we would see the sites of Amorgos, but we did not realise that the guide books time estimations where for cars. We had been walking probably an hour (all up hill, honestly) when we were trying to decide if we should turn back. Then a car came our way, I stepped in front of it to stop it and asked if we were going in the right directions to the ancient Minoan civilization. Luckily for us, he spoke perfect English (and we later found out he was American). He said we were only about a mile away, but it was all up hill - did we want a lift? My first time hitchhiking and in Europe!!!
He told us about the island as he drove us up to the site, then he dropped us off and we parted. About 2 minutes later, I saw a gorgeous view and went to grab my camera from my back pocket ... uh-oh ... it was empty! It fell out of my pocket when we had hitch hiked! FML! FML! FML! Curses of all curses! Terribly upset, I have no more pictures ... the site was pretty cool though. The foundations still well intact. I am pretty sure that it was not open to the public, but no one was there and the sheep had over walked the fence so we went in and explored. As we began the descent down we saw the white van dirve back up, with my camera! All I could do was thank God! And thanks to me, we got a ride back down! :)
The violent waves on the rocky shore.
During the drive we found a windmill that we could go up to and examine more closely. It was cool to be able to look at how the old windmills worked - it reminded me of the scene in Aristocats when the cats go around on the windmill with the dogs in the motorcycle chasing them.