First of all, Xronia Polla (pron. KRONya PolLA) – Happy New Year!
We toasted the birth of 2010 somewhere over the Atlantic near Rome on our way back from visiting the States at Christmas. What a wonderful time we had visiting with our family and friends. We can truly agree with these wise words –
“Though I have seen the oceans and mountains, though I have read great books and seen great works of art…there is nothing greater or more beautiful than those people I love.”
Here’s to you, dear friends and family!
November 4th, 2009 was our 3rd wedding anniversary and we celebrated in style by discovering Athens. After a short 45 minute flight from Crete, we checked in to a hotel in the Plaka area with this view of the Acropolis from the rooftop terrace.
We walked from our hotel to the beautiful new Athens Museum of Archeology and then trekked up to the top of the Acropolis. Astounding views and impressive ruins if you use your imagination to grasp how advanced the ancient Greek culture was in terms of architecture and engineering. And to actually stand in the birthplace of democracy was significant. The ancient Athenians put a high value on ideas, law, philosophy, beauty, education and freedom. We were astounded at how many gods (and temples built to house them) were integrated into their living and working environments.
From the Acropolis, you can see a great view of the city and what’s left of The Temple of Zeus. Try to imagine an ancient city with hundreds more temples and buildings in the classical Greek architecture on a collosal scale!
Here’s the touristy photo of us in front of the Parthenon on the Acropolis.
We paused to rest at the place where Paul delivered his famous “Men of Athens” speech.
(See Acts 11). It was a daunting realization that he stood here in the shadow of the gigantic Acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena and looked down on the Agora (market/meeting place filled with intellectuals, statues of gods, politicians, heavy thinkers of the day) and boldly claim that Jesus was their “unknown god”. Needless to say he wasn’t wildly popular but he spoke the truth and centuries later Christianity lives on while the gods of Athens are in ruins.
In Greece, they never tear down a chapel to accomodate progress. They simply build around it. This was a view down from our hotel! Never did figure out how they got to the door.
The street market in Athens was bustling, loud and very colorful. This is a bead shop with every kind of bead you’d ever imagine!
Of all the treats we had (including grilled squid and octopus) there’s always room for gelato!
Lost in Translation: funny story –
After we found a house to rent in Crete, our housing representative from the base (Sotiris, a local Greek) met with us and the landlords to sign papers, get keys, etc. After all the business was done we were all standing out on the front patio and Sotiris turned to us and said, “Now you have to kiss.” I’m in a little bit of a panic thinking what is this? One of those crazy Greek customs to seal a deal with the “two cheek peck”? Then it hits me. What he said was, “Now you have two keys.” We still laugh about that one!
Here’s another one: A collegue of Richard’s was excited about going on a business trip and staying in a nice hotel. She remarked, “I hope they have a Jacque Jose” What’s that? A Mexican/French man? She was trying to explain, “You know. One of those small swimming pools with bubbling hot water.” Ooooohhh – a jacuzzi!
Just one more example of “expect the unexpected” when you live in Greece!