Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Athens: a dream for many years

This past December, I was going through some old notebooks and journals and I stumbled across a "bucket list" I had made when I was around 12-13. There were things like ride an elephant and eat a moon cake. The only place I had named on the list that I simply MUST travel to was:

"See an ancient Greek goddess or god temple."

On April 1, 2012 I crossed that off of my bucket list. I visited the temple of Athena and Athena and Nike in the center of athens, at the Parthenon. It was like a dream. The buildings were ancient and crumbling, the terrain itself was untouched and worn down from wear and tear. It was amazing. I have studied the Parthenon and the woman-colomns called the Pleiades in my western art and architecture class a few semesters ago and I'd seen pictures of the Parthenon ever since I was a little girl but it was a whole other thing to be standing in front of it and looking around and seeing the whole city of Athens laid in front of me.

Sarom, Katina, Me, Colleen, Tianna, Vicky, Kelsey, Stephanie (from left to right)

After snapping a million and a half photos, I wandered off by myself to take in the aura of the building itself. It's hard to articulate the experience of how I was feeling, the best word I can find was "awe."

After spending an hour wandering around the parthenon and the other temples, we took a bus to see the changing of the guards. It was quite the fan-fare with halloween-esque costumes and shoes with puff balls on them. Unfortunately, I suffered from the "short syndrome" and couldn't see much because of my height. I wasn't particularly fascinated by such tradition as exchanging of the guard but I did catch a few glimpses and photographs.

Once we left the changing of the guard area, we did a bus tour of Athens. I hate taking photos through a bus window so I just passively enjoyed the tour. Lots of doric columns and marble statues. I'm very partial to ancient greek inspired architecture, so I enjoyed the drive a great deal. However, we did stop at the Olympic Stadium and I got a few photos there, so here you go...

I was overly zealous about describing the Parthenon so I forgot to describe Saturday evening in Athens. We visited the museum of the Parthenon, and I got to see ancient statues that I have studied in art classes and other cool statues too. I LOVE seeing pieces of art and architecture that I've studied in classes before. It gives me this feeling that "hey, what I study is real and it's important. it's real important. and it's here, right here, in front of my face. Not on paper, not in a book, not on a powerpoint. It's inches from my face." That's basically my exact train of thought. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in museum, so you'll just have to take my word for it all. 

After the museum we did some light shopping, I got a few postcards and walked around with everyone. It was chilly so we were all eager to get back on the bus and go to our hotel. We were staying half an hour outside of the center of Athens to "keep us safe." On every ACT study abroad trip to Athens over the last couple years something has gone wrong: stuff stolen, people assaulted, etc. So our ACT chaperones were on high alert and wanted to keep us far away from all possible dangers. Staying half an hour from the center was not conducive to a good night of partying, but it was conducive to safety. Not one little thing went wrong. I was completely WIPED OUT from traveling and from sleep deprivation so I just wanted to go to bed. But, of course, I got dragged out. It was lameeeee so everyone walked back to the hotel at 12:30 to go to a disco that was near it. I just walked right up to my room and went straight to bed. I sure needed that rest. In the morning, we went to the Parthenon and did all of the aforementioned things I listed.

I didn't sleep at all on the bus ride back to Thessaloniki. I read Jane Eyre instead because I had a midterm on it today (Wednesday), which I think went very well. On the drive back to Thessaloniki we stopped in a small town to grab lunch and there was a mini-amusement park right next to the restaurant. Me, Travis, Luke, Anneli, Danica, and Tianna all rode the bumper cars and enjoyed laughter and a little bit of whip lash. Those were the most intense bumper cars I've ever been in.

It was a wonderful weekend but I was incredibly happy to return to Thessaloniki. I like it better in Thess. I feel more at home here.

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