Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 1612 JULY 04, 2010 MINI-TOUR OF GREECE: ATHENS by Russ F ocusing on the sites of Greek antiquity, we visited four locations while in Greece: Athens, Delfi, Olympia, and Nafplio. In Athens we kicked off with a hands-on cooking lesson in the home of our guide Antony and his wife Sam as described in Gina’s post. We then drove down the coast until we reached the tip of land between Athens and the wide open Aegean Sea, called Cape Sunion. Here the Greeks built a Temple to Poseidon on a high promontory with a 360-degree view. One of the key feature of Greece is that it is fanned by winds during the summer… the heat of the Sahara sucks in cool air from the Black Sea and this air is felt as a wind from the North all summer long. As ships from Athens passed the protective Cape, they were exposed to these stiff winds and they needed the protection of Poseidon! After reading the Percy Jackson series, seeing a giant temple to Poseidon high on the cliffs was a family thrill. On the way home we swam in the sea, and then ended with the great home-cooked dinner. The Aegean is so salty that everyone is rather buoyant in the water and Gina’s camera is water- proof, allowing for some unique pictures! The next day we saw many of the city sites of Athens including the government buildings, changing of the guard, subway stations full of Roman ruins, the city central park, and the ruins of the Temple of Zeus. There was a lot to see and learn. A key ah-ha moment was when Antony said that Greek border decorations we saw all around us – even on buildings and the floor deco- ration of the subway – represent eternity since they can be written forever without taking one’s pen off the page. The best part of the day was seeing models of the Greek gods on the pediment of the Acropolis in the museum and an evening on the hotel roof where we enjoyed a spectacular view. Climbing the Acropolis is a must-do in Athens. This is a massive temple to Athena that can be seen from around the city. As the Athenians also revered Poseidon, another smaller temple there is supported by beautiful statues called caryatids. For me, the most exciting part is looking down on Pnyx Hill. That is where an orator of Pericles’ time would stand on the steps to address the city. Everyone could speak and everyone (well… if male and born in Athens) could vote. It was a town hall meeting and the origin of democracy. I marveled at how the scale of Athens and the size of the hill may have contributed to making direct democracy possible – a system where everyone felt responsible for the government’s actions, because everyone participated in the decisions. JULY 04, 2010 EATING IN ATHENS by Gina Food is one of the very best ways to discover a new place and we had the finest introduction imaginable on our first day in Athens as guests of our guide Antony and his wife Sam.