Thursday, January 28, 2010

You Seriously Want to Date a Stone Wall-Week 2 in Ελλάδα (Greece)

Sunday we started by visiting Syntagma metro station to view some artifacts that where found while excavating for the subway. Some things that were found were bones in grave and roman aqueducts. We then went to Syntagma square to watch the changing of the Evzone guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The whole routine was quite comical especially with their very funny outfits. However probably one of the funniest things is at one point someone went to take a picture with one of the guards and he started laughing and so did we all.  Now these guards are supposed to stand still for their allotted time and not move or smile so seeing him laugh was just hilarious and he had to take a breather in his post box.  After an amusing morning we went to grab lunch and something hot to drink because it was cold and rainy (lox sandwich and hot chocolate).  We then went to the new Acropolis museum which houses all the artifacts that were found while excavating the area as well as showcasing an Athenian village that was discovered during construction. The museum was very crowded because it is so new but we still got to see everything that we wanted which was amazing. I couldn't believe the vast amount of artifacts found and how grand some of the statuses are. We then did some shopping before continuing on to see Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Both were amazing and it was interesting to see how elaborate they were building thousands of years ago. We then went to the Panathinaiko Stadium where sports for both the ancient and modern Olympics were held.  Afterwards we took a stroll back to the Plaka to look around before heading to the hotel to rest. For dinner we went to this very good restaurant where I had fried eggplant with feta and tomatoes.

Here are the 5 videos of the changing of the guards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Monday morning we started by visiting Mt. Lycabettus. This mountain is the highest in Athens and from it you can see all of Athens and even sometimes the island of Aegina. We took a steep cable car ride up to the top of the mountain and then looked at the amazing view. It was nice to see from high above the whole city as well as all the sites that we had seen. After the cable car ride down we went to this vegetarian friendly restaurant and it was so nice to have lots of options; I chose a sundried tomato and mozzarella sandwich which was great. We then walked to the National Archeological Museum which is both the largest archaeological museum in Greece and houses some of the most important artifacts from all over Greece.  It was a great museum seeing all the artifacts and it was a great way to end our 2nd to last day in Athens. Afterwards we headed to the hotel to rest and then went for dinner (spaghetti with tomato sauce, vegetables and tuna fish).

Tuesday we woke up early to go the island of Aegina. After a short (45 minutes) hydrofoil ride we arrived on the island and started exploring. Our first stop was the Temple of Aphaia on the other side of the island.  After figuring out which bus we needed to take (it was hard because everyone only spoke Greek and we spoke none), we arrived at the remnants of this temple.  This temple was nothing real special because we had seen so many but the surrounding view was amazing. After we got back to the main town we stopped to get some hot chocolate because it was so cold outside as well as some pistachios which this island is famous for.  After we went to the local archeological museum and also saw the acropolis of Aegina and part of the ancient town of Aegina. One of the coolest things we saw though was a mosaic floor from the local synagogue, so it was nice to see that there once was an active Jewish community here. Due to us having some to time to kill before we caught the next ferry back, Ari and I decided to be kids again and play in the local playground which was a blast.  After the ferry ride back and arriving back at the hotel, we decided to save money and have a picnic dinner of the food that we had left.

Wednesday was our last day in Athens and Greece, so we took it easy. After we woke up, we took a double decker bus sightseeing tour of Athens. The bus was a nice ending to our time here and it was great to sit back and learn some more information about the sites we saw and to see them one last time. Afterwards we headed to the Plaka to do souvenir shopping and Ari and I both got some great stuff for ourselves and our family and friends back home. We then went back to the hotel to pack and relax before dinner. Tonight for dinner we went back to one of the places that we went to last week because it was so good; tonight I got a Caesar salad with salmon which was amazing. We then went back to finish packing and get to bed early because we were leaving early for Israel Thursday.

Thursday we flew back to Israel mid-morning. The flight was uneventful but most of the flight contained a Greek Orthodox pilgrimage group, so I sat next to this nice Greek couple. When we got back to Israel and Beit Nativ, we got out rooms back, unpacked and settled down. It was great to see all my friends that I had missed.

Greece as you can tell was an amazing trip! I saw so much s well as learning a lot. Food wise I survived but I don't know if I want to eat another Greek salad for a while!

Until February 10th when we arrive on Kibbutz, we will spent Sunday-Tuesday experiencing Israel through a various lenses during Israel Today Seminar. Wednesday will be spent packing, saying goodbye to Jerusalem and having orientation for the 2nd semester. Thursday we leave for Negev Tiyul where we will be hiking, spending time in Eilat and more. I can't believe though that it's almost February which means Nativ is half over but I will be taking every opportunity that I have to enjoy the time that I have left.

Here are the pictures from the first week, enjoy!

Until next time,

με αγάπη, (with love in Greek)


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