"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalks again; we had longer ways to go.
But no matter, the road is life." -
Jack Kerouac


City of the Gods

After flying from Rome to Athens (a 2 hour flight with a meal!), we arrived in Greece in the late afternoon to warm weather and a decent hotel. The Acropolis was already closed for the day but we hiked up the hill anyway for some city viewing. The city itself is not that beautiful but the Acropolis is really pretty all lit up at night, it reminded me of Edinburough with it's castle on the hill. Another thing we noted is that there are non-ferrel dogs all over the city and they seemed to be drugged with NyQuil because all they do is sleep on the city sidewalks and in doorways. Even when eating outside, they just lay there and sleep; strange. We ate lamb, eggplant, and pita bread for dinner along with some Greek wine. While wandering around the city, we discovered a guy selling a Pakistany dessert similar to what we've eaten in Indian restaurants, only better. We tried to remember the name but we've forgotten. The chocolate version tastes similar to sweet walnuts.

We were able to enter the Acopolis the next day, still warm and sunny. There was a temple to Athena built in the mid 6th century B.C. and the Parthenon, another of the more famous buildings. Interesting to compare this architecture to that of the Romans. We also saw the Temple to Zeus, of which there are just a few of the columns that remain standing. And the ancient Agora, which was the center for politics and the marketplace for Athenians. There was also a Roman section from 89 B.C., after the Romans had come in and had their way with the Greeks. We then enjoyed sitting on the terrace of a cafe, drinking coffee and people watching. Mike had a double shot of Greek Ouzo, which he said reminded him of nights at the HaufBrau with Tex Tucker back in Bozeman. Later that night, we were wandering around looking for a place to eat on the map when a local came up and asked, "What do you want," meaning what are you looking for? He then directed us to a realy great Greek restaurant nearby.

The next day we were up and on a bus to the small city of Dephi, 2 hours away. First, we had to take a local bus to the bus terminal. We had no idea where to get off for the terminal but when the stop came up about 5 older Greek men just started looking at us and pointing out of the bus, indicating that that was where the stop was located. Delphi is a small town completely supported by its own ancient ruins and tourism. However, this city used to be the center of the known world and the place of worship for the god, Apollo. This is also where the oracle resided. The ruins contained another theater and a really interesting stadium shaped like a horse shoe. The museum had pictures from the 1800's with the French men who excavated the site and amazing gold trinkets and other sacrificial things made to Apollo. Also, while we were in Delphi, we had more wonderful Greek food including stuffed grape leaves, stewed rabbit, baklava, homemade Greek wine, and a homemade pomegranate liquor. That night we picked up another bottle of Greek wine (it is a really small town!) and headed back to the hotel room. After a few minutes, the power went off (during a really good Van Damm movie!) and the hotel owner's wife came hollering up the hallways holding candles for each of the guests. The power was on again in 15 minutes and the hotel owner then called to remind everyone to extinguish the candles, which was an interesting conversation, because he spoke no English. We then caught a bus back to Athens where we treated ourselves to seeing a movie at a theater, something we've done only once in the past 3 months.

The next day, we went to The National Archeological Museum where we spent most of our time in the Pre Historic section. Most of the items were from digs in Greece from the 1800's and some were dated to as far back as 6500 B.C. Unfathomable! After this, we checked out the Bronze Age section. One of the neatest things here was the display to tell us how they cast bronze statues thousands of years ago (wax investment casting, for all the engineers who might care). We headed out for dinner and got sucked into a touristy restaurant with the promise of a free drink and live music. The wine was good and the music was good but the food left a little to be desired.

The next day, we wandered around the city, hung out in a coffee shop and checked out the markets in Athens. Definitely one of the best places to buy trinkets and jewelry, if anyone is looking. We found an out-of-the way cafe and had an awesome lunch. Mike had octupus in a vinegar sauce and we shared a sampler plate of Greek food. Very tasty and we didn't even know what most of it was! Then it was off to the airport to catch the plane to Istanbul.

Photos sometime later...

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