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Visiting Athens is all about visiting family, though we did try to mix in a little sightseeing.
It was a glorious Sunday when we headed out for Athens and the Acropolis on the train with Apostolos and his eldest sons Panayioti and Nicko. Arriving at the train station is like entering a museum. When they excavated to build the station, they dug through 12 - 15 layers of civilization. In addition to leaving some of the excavations exposed, they placed all of their finds in the station itself, so it more nearly resembles a museum than the kind of station you might find in Chicago. (See the ticket machines below?)
We started at the Acropolis Museum, which hasn't officially opened yet. They are open for two hours on Sundays, though there isn't much to see yet. As with the station, when they began construction they ran into lots of archeologically significant finds. They have constructed the museum atop a working excavation, with glass floors over much of it so you can look down on the work. What they have currently displayed is mostly from this most recent dig. However, the father of one of Nicko's friends is responsible for the movement of the great sculptures from atop the Acropolis into the new museum. He offered to give us a tour. Wow! When you come out on the top floor you have a shining bright view of the Acropolis and what remains of the Pantheon. The top floor of the new museum has the exact footprint and orientation of the Pantheon, with columns in the proper places. They are in the process of mounting the marble friezes on the walls in the appropriate places, at least the ones they have. The ones that are in museums around the world has been copied and mounted as well, though in a different shade. When this museum opens it will be gorgeous!
Then we climbed up to the top of the Acropolis.
Here we are atop the Acropolis with Apostolo and his oldest sons, Panayioti and Nicko.
Christmas in Glyfada
At our house on Christmas Eve:
At Zoe and Apostolo's house on Christmas day:
Sonia and her cousins Zoe (with Marios), Theoni, Anna and Lela. Yiayia and her sister Efthymia.
Hanging out with the Cousins
New Year's - 2008
Apostolo does the honors and Effie finds the coin. 2008 will be a good year for her!
At Cousin Anna's House
Conquering the Mountain Out Back
Behind our apartment in Glyfada there was a big hill, that separated us from Athens and from the airport. We thought it would be fun to have a look what was on the other side. We packed a picnic and set out. First revelation - there is no path! If you want to go to the top - make your own way! Second revelation - it is cold up there, with the wind howling in your ears, especially in the shade. Anika and Newenka decided that the outlook from halfway up the hill was good enough for them and after the picnic they headed down. Yannis and Tasha were determined to conquer the hill. And conquer they did! (Though Yannis was very sore the next day!)
Crossing over the canal at Corinth is an impressive thing!
A hike up the ancient (local) acropolis from the village is a good way to work off the big lunch.
Delphi - the Famous Oracle
We drove the long way back to Athens from Olympia, in order to stop off in Delphi. We had lunch in the quaint town of Atea and then drove up the hill to Delphi, arriving 15 minutes after they closed at 3 p.m. Bummer. This meant we missed the museum and the temple to Apollo. Lucky for us, the temple to Athena just down the hill was still open.
Sunio - Poseidon's Temple
This is the site of a temple to Poseidon. The location is ideal - it sits out on a peninsula far out into the Aegean.
The Arvanitis Names Day Party
Lunch in Papagou
From Greece we flew to Amman, Jordan.
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