Below is a copied version of the blog that I wrote for Abbey Road. The Abbey Road blog is closed to those that aren't associated with the program, but seeing as I've not disclosed anything personal in this post, I figured that I'd share with y'all. And this way, I don't have to write the same thing twice.
I'll write some more soon, share some pictures, and tell a bit more about my personal experiences thus far in Athens. This blog should suffice for now, along with the declaration that Greece seems to be an amazing, beautiful place. The food is spectacular, the people are interesting (sometimes quite friendly, sometimes downright rude, often loud, though occasionally reserved...they are still an enigma to me).
That's all for now -- Check out the post below and remember that I wrote it with the parents of my students in mind. I'll return with my regular writing style soon.
*Note: This post was written yesterday, but I had problems with publishing it.
Hello to all from beautiful Athens, Greece!
This is Chris Bond, your dedicated Program Director and Resident Blogger, here to offer you a bit of a taste of our recent travel and excitement.
We arrived on Tuesday evening to Athens, after running through JFK boarding areas (we were changed to an earlier flight, as our scheduled flight was running late and would have caused us to miss our connecting flight in Paris), sitting on a long transatlantic flight (cramped seats, delicious French fare), biding our time in the Paris airport, and finally flying for the last time.
We were all tired and sweaty, though a quick shower for some fixed that, and our excitement at having finally arrived carried us through the night. We dined the first night at a local restaurant (here in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens). The food was delicious and plentiful -- Greek salad, cheese pies, tzatziki, and kebabs -- and we greatly appreciated the cold, crisp water after our intercontinental experiences.
This neighborhood is beautiful. It is a traditionally residential area made of winding streets and old apartments at the foot of the Acropolis. Walking to dinner along the steeply angled streets, the Parthenon rising above us, elegantly lit and shining, we all rejoiced at our luck to be in such a beautiful place.
On Wednesday we began to settle in to our new (temporary) home. We took a walking tour around the city, getting to know some of the neighborhoods, visiting Parliament, the Athenian Temple of Zeus, the Arch of Hadrian, the 1896 Olympic site, and the beautiful city gardens. For dinner, we brought a picnic up the Acropolis. We all joined in making sandwiches and Greek salad, and for dessert we enjoyed oranges and cherries. Afterwards, we joined locals on a rocky mount that rises up high above the city, offering a gorgeous view of the nearby Acropolis, the surrounding, sprawling city, and the mountains that border it all.
Thursday was another beautiful, cloudless, very hot day here in Athens. We walked up the Acropolis again, and this time had the opportunity to go inside and tour the magnificent ruins. The Parthenon was, of course, the center of attention, though the entire site was truly beautiful. John and Victoria led a very interesting class in the shadow of the Acropolis, and we all learned a great deal about the Golden Age of Athens.
In the afternoon, we toured around some more of Athens, discovering some lovely areas within walking distance of our hotel. After showering and resting (out of the sun for a bit), we walked over to the Psiri neighborhood, where all enjoyed a delicious dinner and a stroll around the busy pedestrian streets.
And finally -- today. We left this morning on a bus to visit Delphi, an absolutely stunning archeological site about two hours outside of Athens. This was the famous temple site where the most famous of the Oracles offered her prophecies to pilgrims (prophecies, which, we learned, were most likely based on visions caused by the ether rising up through fissures in the rock upon which she sat).
There is still much to do in Athens, and our next few days will be busy with museums, archeological sites, expeditions. The students seem extremely excited by Monday's planned trip to the beach outside of Athens.
I will try and get some pictures up soon for all to enjoy, though at the moment I'm a bit pressed for time (tonight we'll be attending a dance exposition at a theatre on a hill) at the moment. Until then, please feel free to contact me for anything you need, and have a great day.