Classics trip part 2: Day 1 in Athens

Helloooo from Athens!

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(I posted from the airport on Thursday and talked a little about packing for an international trip…but just before I was able to share the post, we were suddenly called to line up for boarding.)

Since we touched down in Athena’s city, we haven’t stopped moving for even a millisecond. So much to see, so many Classics nerd moments already.

Yesterday, we were supposed to arrive in Athens around noon, but ended up just missing our connection thanks to a three-hour delay in JFK. No harm, no foul; we were happy to make it off the ground safely in the snowstorm and to land in Rome with clear skies and a 2:50 flight to Athens already taken care of by the airline. We were in pretty rough shape during the afternoon, as evidenced from my abysmal attitude while journaling:

“We ended up missing our connecting flight to Athens, so for the past three or so hours, we’ve been dawdling in Rome’s Da Vinci airport. We had a suuuuuper weak lunch on the house in the airport thanks to our delay: pasta with olives and tuna, with green beans on the side. That same meal at a legit restaurant in Rome would have been divine, but you can imagine how that was cafeteria-style.

I’m definitely struggling a little with just “letting go” in terms of food on this trip. I packed enough snacks to make it through long bus rides to different spots around Italy and Greece, but I’m hoping that meals here will not pose a huge issue. I’m all about eating distinctive Greek and Italian cuisine, but I really chafe against eating cruddy food just because there’s literally nothing else around. I’m already out of my routine and am feeling–besides just plain exhausted from spending the night on a plane– like I am going to return from this trip bloated and feeling ill. I’m used to getting 7+ servings of fruits and veggies in my diet; and while I know this just plain isn’t going to happen on vacation, and that I’m actually in an amazing place as far as fresh food goes, it’s going to be a little hard for me to be okay with eating out often and being “okay” with my meals not being quite as healthy as usual.”

Cut to this:

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Lunch today: Greek salad with sliced green peppers, super fresh cucumbers, lots of tomatoes, feta, and topped with oregano and olive oil. On the side, two of these five falafel balls.

Things have massively improved in the meantime. I’m still way out of whack as far as my body clock goes, and I haven’t had a lick of PB in a whole day (SHOCK), but today was a Classicist’s dream.

After a shower and dinner last night– highlights including my first real Greek salad just like the picture above and a yogurt-based dessert topped with honey-and-sugar-infused cherries– we went to bed early. Eight solid hours left me feeling like a human and ready to tackle the ruins of the Athenian agora, Acropolis, and Acropolis museum.

It was raining this morning, but we stalled a bit by taking a bus tour of Athens until it let up a bit.

Highlights included…

THE FREAKING ACROPOLIS.

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Everyone to whom I’ve sent this picture has sent the same thing: you are nerding out SO hard.

 

The city of Athens takes care of many of the strays in the city, and gives them an identifying collar. We picked up a few buddies along the way.

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Cue my fiance freaking out over how cute this dog was.

 

Views of the city of Athens whilst climbing to the top of the Acropolis:

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The most interesting thing I learned today was about Greek sculpture. In the Archaic period, Greeks were concerned predominately with Eastern styles. The figures were unrealistic in terms of their depiction of the “everyday Greek,” in that they did not depict humans in their natural state (carving strange, monster-esque depictions of men or gods, nor incorporating any movement). This eventually transitioned to far more realistic sculpture in the classical period. I couldn’t take any pictures of the former, but an interesting example of the latter is a carving depicting Athena adjusting her sandal. Her body moves in a natural way; her clothes wrinkle like a normal person’s would; and her body is generally proportionate (as opposed to longer legs, torso, etc.).

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In all, we walked about 7 miles today, thanks to an additional stroll around the city after dinner.

Χαιρε!

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