Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Athens, Greece

We heard, before visiting Athens, that it was dirty and ugly, but still a must see because of the monuments. They were right.
We took the train into the city. Our stop was out of commission for the weekend, so we had to figure out an alternate route. We got it sorted and wandered around a little before finding our airbnb apartment. It was a nice, large space in a great location.
First stop, Gyros! They were delicious.
With food in our bellies we headed up the hill to the Acropolis.
We had just finished checking out this impressive theater and were enjoying a beautiful, bright day when Jason got a phone call that a guy back home, husband of a friend of mine and father to one of Isaac's classmates had died in a car crash. The rest of the day and weekend were full of the heaviness that comes with unexpected tragedy.
There was nothing that we could do to help from Athens besides pray, which Jason and I did almost continuously. We carried on up the hill to the top of the Acropolis.
The Parthenon has been under repair for many years. It would be awesome to see it complete.
Gazing out at the city below.
Inscription at Mars Hill.
Looking up from Mars Hill.
Sometimes you just have to sit and take it all in.
We stopped at a grocery store on the way home for the night. Authentic Greek yogurt for breakfast? Yes, please!!
Day two.
Columns.
Samson.
The first modern Olympic stadium.
Play break at a children's festival in a town square.
Eli was too cool to join in until he started thinking about all of the tricks that he could do.
We had a tasty lunch of traditional greek favorites at this lunch place.
The waitress was super friendly and brought us a dessert on the house at the end of the meal.
She sent the kids off with free oranges.
We headed to a market area after lunch. I was leading an Ancient Civilizations Club after school so I was on the look-out for treats to share when we covered Ancient Greece. I came home with a sesame oil cake that was not a huge hit.
This was the oldest house in Athens.
There was a huge crowd outside and singing and chanting coming from the inside.
So many ancient ruins scattered among the more modern areas.
Museum of Archeology.
Murals from 1500 B.C.

He's my favorite.
Much of Athens was coated in thick, ugly graffiti.
A small portion of it was art.
EVERYONE in Athens was sipping on these cream coffee drinks. We had to see what the fuss was about. They were good. The giant, sugary, traditional doughnuts were good too. Between a truly awful cold that forced me to sleep nearly upright on the couch while contributing to the mountain of used tissues on the floor, this coffee drink and the tragedy looming large, I didn't sleep much on this trip.
We took an evening stroll to see some of the nearby monuments lit up. Eli and Ali were both on student council as president and treasurer. They were deep into planning for the end of the year dance, so they spent most of the walk discussing dance themes, decorations and budgets.
We stopped and got more gyros for dinner. 
We felt like we had seen everything that we wanted to see after two full days in the city, so on our third morning we took the train out to the port city of Piareus.
We were in a phase at the time where this phrase was my motto. The kids must have heard it a dozen times each day. I strongly considered a purchase.
So many pastries, so little time.
We had lunch in front of this beautiful orthodox church.
After lunch we rode back to Athens, picked up our stuff and headed back to the airport.

I'm very glad to have seen Athens and experienced the history with Jason and the kids, but I probably never need to go back. Unless I get a craving for really good yogurt or gyros or creamy coffee - all three are worth overlooking a little street rubbish and graffiti.