Friday, May 17, 2013

Athens trip - an introduction

For most of the month of May, Bobby is in Athens, Greece, doing research. He is visiting the University of Athens and is working with his colleague Sergios, pictured here. Luckily for me, May is a month with a lot of national holidays in Denmark, so I was able to visit Bobby for 11 days!
During his month-long stay, Bobby is staying in a dorm. While the price is quite nice (4€ a day!), it was not the most ideal sleeping arrangement for a couple. I think it's a testament to our relationship that we slept in a single bed and still like each other! Though I'm pretty sure these bags under my eyes are not leaving any time soon.

We really enjoyed exploring Athens. The history and ancient ruins are simply stunning.
At the National Archeological Museum, we saw statues created as long ago as 3000 BC, and were stunned by the artistry and craft, not to mention the unbelievable realism, that Greek sculptors attained so many years ago. This particular statue is especially interesting. Recovered from an ancient shipwreck in the Mediterranean, half of the statue was buried in sand, while the rest was exposed. The exposed part is the part of the statue that is eroded: different sea creatures eat away at the marble. But the part of the statue that was covered in sand remains pristine!
We also saw some of the slightly more modern cultural sights, including the Evzoni, or Presidential Guards. Don't be fooled by the short skirts and pom-pom-ed shoes, though; these are some of the elite Greek Army infantry men. Guarding the Presidential Palace and Guard of the Unknown Soldier, they have a very unique way of walking. It looks a bit like bull trying to waltz.
Greece is an Orthodox country, so the religious holidays aren't always on the same date as Catholic/Protestan holidays. When I arrived on 5 May, the country was celebrating the Orthodox Easter. We saw little shrines like this all over, including in the parking lot of the dorm.
Our good Danish friends Thomas and Thomas visited us for a long weekend. We had a lot of fun exploring the Acropolis (future post), eating good food (another future post), and traveling north to Delphi (yet another future post) with them. As you may remember, we travelled to London with them last May, and took a week-long driving trip through Jutland, Denmark with them over the summer.

Thomas and Thomas (or T&T, as we like to call them) helped me celebrate my 29th birthday in Athens! The waitress at the restaurant we visited that night was kind enough to put a candle in my dessert, though she didn't sing. But that's ok, I got a nice rendition of the Danish birthday song from Bobby, T&T. All in all, it was a great birthday and a great trip. Bobby and I finally have a tan (which especially suits my California skin), we got to eat and drink new and delicious things, relax by the sea and the pool, and visit some amazing sights. We hope to go back to Greece to visit more of the country, especially the islands!

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