27 June 2007

Greece: Day Three

It was 104 degrees here yesterday, and after spending the entire morning on a beautifully scenic bus ride, we toured the ruins of the temple and oracle at ancient Delphi. As I'm sure you all know, a long, long time ago, Delphi was a special sanctuary for the Greek god, Apollo, god of the sun. People would come from all over the country to ask the oracle (a woman) a question about the future. That was after leaving sacrifices and offerings for Apollo, natch.

We visited the ancient temple and oracle site today, and then we took a LONG UPHILL walk to the Stadium, where the athletes would participate in special races, called the Pythian Games. Brent decided to be crazy and run the whole length of the stadium, which I got on video. Let's not forget, it's over 100 degrees, we've just monumentally exerted ourselves on this huge walk, and then Brent decides to RUN the 100 yards. I'm actually surprised I didn't have to administer CPR...which I probably would have enjoyed.

Then we walked back down and visited a museum with all kinds of statues and relics from the Temple at Delphi. After that, we went to see a temple nearby dedicated to the goddess Athena and the gym where the athletes would practice their skills. It was all very awesome, and there were times that I was able to imagine people and activities of long years past taking place here. But...it was so hot that at times it was hard to focus and enjoy.

So then, we came back to the hotel, very hot and exhausted, so we went swimming. Had supper, did a little souvenir shopping, and went to bed. We're so old.

Also, on our three-hour bus trip from Athens to Delphi this morning, we stopped at a rest area, and I bought a copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." In Greek! We won't be able to read it, but it will look cool!

Today, we're off to ancient Olympia to see where they held the ancient Olympic Games. Brent will probably run in the stadium again


25 June 2007

Athens, Greece: Day One and Two

All right! Here we are! Our flight on Saturday went very smooth, transfers were good, and we even got our luggage and a taxi relatively quickly after touching down. It's a little overwhelming, as everything is in Greek, but there's plenty of English on signs and stuff. Also, many of the shop owners know English...but we are trying to speak a little too. We have used 'parakalo' (please) and 'efkharisto' (thank you).

It's pretty hot here. In the 90s/100s. We had the afternoon yesterday to ourselves, so we walked around an area of town called "Plaka" which is known for its shopping. The streets are small and crammed with stores left and right (no cars in this area). Parts of the city are dirty, though, and we've seen a few beggars, etc. There was also a flea market going on here too, which Brent and I passed through quickly...most of it's junk from people's garages. Makes me think of some Saturday mornings here.

The hotel is nice, except Brent and I couldn't figure out how to turn the lights on. We called down to the front desk and asked how to do it. Very humbling. Turns out you put your card in a card reader right by the door and leave it there...that's what keeps the lights on. Also, the shower head is one of those funky European deals that blasts the water out really hard and peels your skin off. Although, yours truly did figure out the trick to it this morning. Skin is completely intact.

So....day two...still really hot here. High of 109 yesterday. About the same today. We are sweating through clothes like crazy and taking two showers a day. This morning, we started with a bus tour of Athens, then a walking tour of the Acropolis. There were a lot of people and rocks...not to mention the Parthenon - huge temple for Athena. But it was still very awe-inspiring. I really don't even have the words to describe it.

Then we went to the National Archaeological Museum. We saw lots of sculptures and vases dating 400-500 B.C. As soon as I finish here, we're going to try to squeeze in a trip to the Turkish Baths. Tonight we get a fancy dinner and to see some Greek folk dancing.

We start a three-day bus tour tomorrow, and computer access will prolly be limited. We'll be seeing Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Napflio before heading out to do some island-hopping for another three days. So until then...see ya.