04 July 2007

Greece Trip Highlights

Yes, we are back in the motherland. The kids came back this morning, and we are all happy household again.

I apologize for telling you about the trip for the first couple days, then leaving off abruptly, but we were on the cruise ship, and the ship's two (slow) computers were monopolized by teenagers.

So, instead of trying to backlog ten days' worth of adventure, I'll pack it into a concise list of highlights (and lowlights, as the case may be).

1. The sheer joy of finding out we were bumped to the first-class section for the Philly-Athens leg of the plane trip.

2. Looking like uncouth cretins when we asked the flight attendant how much we had to pay for mimosas in the first-class section.

3. Walking through the Propylaia (entrance) and catching my first glimpse of the Parthenon.

4. Not knowing how to turn lights on in European hotel rooms for the first few hours of the trip.

5. Brent running in the ancient stadium at Delphi in 119 degree weather.

6. Doing all of our walking trips in the hottest weather Greece has seen in 100 years.

7. Standing at the northern end of the ancient Olympic ruins, feeling the utmost awe of the "ancientness" of it all, and hating Theodosius whoever for destroying it all because the ceremonies and rituals of the ancient Olympics didn't jive with Christianity.

8. Watching and filming Brent and three other people from our tour group running a race in the ancient Olympic stadium. (No, he did not win, and yes, it was still insanely, dangerously hot.)

9. Feeling extremely tuned into Homer's world of "The Iliad" as I stepped through the Lion's Gate at the ruins of Mycenae.

10. Delivering the first few lines from Homer's "The Odyssey" in the acoustically amazing ancient theater at Epidaurus. ("Sing in me, O Muse...)

11. The amazing dark blue color of the Aegean Sea sailing aboard the Ruby.

12. Unlimited buffet on the Lido deck.

13. Full Moon Saturday on the Aegean Sea. Freakin' gorgeous.

14. Mykonos's whitewashed houses, cozy streetways, and hanging-out-to-dry octopus.

15. Eating fried squid in a cafe on the beach, watching the sunset on Mykonos.

16. Doing the beach thing on Rhodes. Water is clear, beach is rocky. Sun is hot, breeze is cool. Wish you were here.

17. Many boobs on beach in #16 (not mine).

18. Taking a scenic bus tour of Rhodes, and seeing the absolutely breathtaking view of a beach that was two different shades of blue. Light turquoise at the shallow end, dark sapphire as it got deeper.

19. Visiting the place where St. John received a vision from God and wrote the Book of Revelation...on a Sunday...in the middle of a service going on in the chapel right next to the grotto. Yes, uncomfortable, but inspirational.

20. Sitting with other tour members on the outdoor latrines in the city of ancient Ephesus in Turkey.

21. The ancient city of Ephesus itselt.

22. Bargaining with a leather seller in Kusadasi, Turkey...and walking out with two sweet name-brand leather purses and a wallet for Brent for 75 Euro ($90-100).

23. Watching crazy Athenian drivers and motorbike riders with a death wish from the safety of the tour bus.

24. Being there amid hundreds, thousands of years of history. Feeling that sublime feeling of being a microscopic little speck in the universe, realizing I am just a drop in the ocean of this planet as I stand among rocks that have been standing for thousands of years, and will probably be there a thousand more.

25. Knowing I'll be back to the Greek Islands, most definitely. Someday, anyway. I've got to get a boob lift first so I can fit in with the beachgoers on Rhodes.

Tune in tomorrow for my thoughts on the European ways.

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