We arrived in Athens Monday afternoon, on the almost-final leg of our trip (we’re stopping overnight in Paris on the way back, mostly to break up the flight). I’ve never been to Greece before. First impression wasn’t all that favorable, mostly because our luggage got shuffled off onto the wrong belt and we spent an hour hunting around the Athens airport for it (although technically we should blame that on Alitalia). But also because Athens is a big city, and dusty, and dry, and filled with graffiti. Everywhere. On buildings and overpasses and historical monuments.
(That’s one of the lower tiers of the Areopagus, by the way–Mars Hill).
I said, “Is it illegal?” “Oh, sure,” our taxi driver said, “but it is kids, you know, thirteen, fourteen–they spray it on PSSSTTTT and then they’re gone. No one can catch them.”
Our apartment was one street over from the pedestrian pathway around the Areopagus and the Acropolis, and as soon as we arrived we went over to climb up the Areopagus and look up at the Parthenon; it was too late to go in, but the view was stupendous.
The next day, we had an adventure: we took the metro to the port of Piraeus and then got tickets on a ferry to the nearest Greek island with a beach, Aegina.
That was an adventure for three reasons. 1) It was a Greek island. 2) I don’t speak Greek. None at all. In France and Italy I can muddle through; my only Greek is koine (New Testament) and that doesn’t get you far in Athens. 3) There was a METRO. Yeah, I know it’s lame, but I grew up in the country and the one thing I’m incapable of in cities is figuring out train systems. I have ended up on the wrong end of New York, in the wrong suburb of London, and in some place in Paris I could never find again. Now I just take taxis.
So actually GETTING to the port of Piraeus, and back again, was a victory. (Go, us.)
Dan’s one request for Greece was that we swim in the Aegina, so after lunch (THAT also was an adventure–note the octopus and prawn entrees)
that’s what we did. I could see my FEET. In the water in Virginia, you can’t see your feet. In fact, if you’re standing knee-deep in the river, you can’t see your shins.
We had a glorious day, but by the time we got back–late–Dan was developing a horrible cold. And Dan with a cold is…damp. And miserable.
So we spent this morning–our last one in Athens–eating cookies. And playing games. Our fallback strategy.
Finally, late afternoon, Dan felt well enough to haul himself up to the Acropolis. The marble is so slick from centuries of feet that you can barely stand on it; the wind is torrential; and you can squint and imagine that the city below is mist. Pictures, without commentary, because I’m still looking for the right ones.
I sat and cried when I finally saw the Acropolis. I was just so overcome with emotion to finally see something I’d read about for years!
My husband and I went on your exact trip for our honeymoon nine years ago. It’s been fun to see your pictures and read your thoughts. Thank you! My husband and I think you are an incredible teacher. We are both educators by trade and are in debt to you (and your husband) for developing such wonderful history, writing, and grammar curriculum. I quit teaching to homeschool our children, and my husband has a stay at home job teaching online. We are truly blessed. I hope Dan feels better soon!
What a beautiful trip! Thanks for sharing.
If you ever want to swim in clear water again, you don’t have to cross the ocean. You can come to Lake George in upstate NY and see 40 ft. down. I was so shocked the first time I saw it as I also grew up in Virginia (just east of Richmond, not far from you) and had never seen a such a clear body of water in my life, not even in the Caribbean.
What an amazing experience that you are giving each of your kids! He will never forget it…whether it’s the walking around and seeing the places that he has learned about and been fascinated by, or the cookie-eating-game-playing. You can do that anywhere, yes, but to actually get to do it in Italy is pretty cool. 🙂
I hope everyone feels back to normal soon as you readjust back to EST and regular life.
Oh, Susan, I do so live vicariously through you as you venture on these overseas trips. I spent years studying art history, yet viewed the monuments, paintings, and architecture merely through classroom slideshows. Your commentary is so much more fun than any stuffy art history professor…actually, have you considered stand-up comedy featuring art history? ha ha. Could be a brilliant new method to teach the subject. “So, I was walking up to the Acropolis when I met a man with a wooden leg named Zeus”….
What a wonderful trip. I’m thinking I have to propose this to my dh, soon since our oldest is almost 13. Maybe we’ll travel around the US, which is terra incognito to us global nomads.
Being up on Mars Hill is so incredible. Everytime I’ve read Acts since then, I’ve thought, I’ve been there.
Looks like you had a great trip! We have a family travel plan, too. Our two daughters may choose a weekend, in-state trip when they turn 5yrs, a week long trip anywhere in the U.S. when they turn 10, and a two week trip outside the U.S. after they turn 15. Luckily, their birthdays are staggered so we travel every two years. We think this is a great way to spend family time and slowly introduce them to the rest of the world.
Gorgeous photos — even the octopus sprawled on the plate. What a magnificent trip and wonderful gift for Dan. You’ll never forget it.