Friday, April 29, 2011

1700 miles: Part 2... Athens & Delphi

Athens! It was beautiful there. I wish we could've stayed longer and explored more, but we had a great time anyway. Here Maeve is intrigued by the feeding of pigeons. She did take some bread from the nice ladies, but decided to feed it to herself instead of the birdies.

Our first stop, fresh off the tram, was the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. There it is. In the background to the left of it you can see the Acropolis. And another lady who had the nerve to stand in our picture... what is it with people?? Ha.
Just another angle. The yellow flowers were pretty, and I thought the collapsed pillar was neat.
The Acropolis from the temple again... Oh, Acropolis, how you must have been snickering at us... knowing how we were innocently whiling away our time...
After a leisurely lunch (this is what our pack looked like at mealtimes for the most part. We were a large group.)...
...we strolled through the streets...
...and arrived at the Acropolis 40 minutes after they let in the last group of people. For real. Oh, man, we could NOT believe it. I was ticked. Most of us were. What sort of hours are those??? Closing at 3pm?? Last entrance at 2:30?? Some ice cream helped us feel a bit better.
So did jumping...
...and climbing a gigantic rock nearby that overlooks Athens. Nuala was totally into posing on this trip. I think the "Greek statue freeze tag" that Auntie Maria kicked off in Plovdiv contributed to it. There's the gang perched behind her.
My handsome lil' dude with Athens behind him. This was really peaceful, actually. I sat here all ALONE for a few minutes and looked over the city, and I was okay with not being up at the Acropolis. Just gazing out over a place where so much has happened and been created and pondered upon was a little bit awesome.
Luckily, we rearranged our Zac-schedule and of course went and saw the Acropolis the following morning, before we headed out.
Maeve's got some good big helpers, she does.
The Erechtheum.
Yeah. Like I said... little poser!
The Parthenon.
I saw an Asian girl make her boyfriend take a bazillion pictures of her jumping in front of the Parthenon, and I had the most AWESOME idea. Can you guess what it was? Yes! To take jumping pictures! Heidi and I got there first.
Then it was all the women, and then the kiddos joined in.
Then it was the guys' turn. Obviously this is the exact moment before they jumped... or when they all landed... yeah. Right. Those bums wouldn't jump.
We tried getting N&B to time it right, but it didn't quite pan out. Apparently it's extremely difficult to leap at the exact same time as one says "three!" We'll keep working on that. If nothing else, it's really funny to watch!
Trees! Always fun. The Acropolis was neat, but it did not measure up to my expectations. Maybe because it was so crowded. Maybe because I was wrangling Maeve so much. Really, though, I blame The Chipmunk Adventure. In it, the Chipmunks and Chipettes (who are racing around the world in balloons but really are unknowingly smuggling diamonds for Claus and Claudia, a brother-sister baddie duo) meet up in Athens and run through the streets up to the Acropolis and totally have a sing-off of sorts. Dancing around all over the ruins. But guess what? You can't do that! Not that I WANTED to dance on the ruins, but I thought it would be a smidge less restrictive there. That goes to show that you cannot, I repeat, canNOT trust the movies. Sigh. (Just so ya know, I understand that they can't let people clamber all over the ancient buildings, I do... it was just that whole vision-from-childhood-thing planted in my head. But it was still wonderful to see!)
We stopped at a beach outside of Athens on our way to Delphi. Lamely, all the beaches in/somewhat closer to Athens cost money to use (6 Euro per person! That's almost 9 bucks. Not happening for a quick dip...), but we found a pretty little spot not far out of the city.
It was chilly! Quite chilly, indeed.
Maeve is not a fan of sand. I remember when Bran was a little(r) guy, he didn't like sand for about his first 5 minutes in it, but he got over it quickly. Of course, in Uruguay we were at the beach a LOT. Poor Maeve is quite beach-deprived. I'm sure she'll love it eventually!
Then we arrived in Delphi. Delphi was amazing. I'm so glad it was our last stop... here the tykes are looking at the gorgeous view from our hotel balcony. Actually, I don't think they're really appreciating the view, just appreciating being up high and looking down.
The view. And Nuala and Bran. Also a view I'm quite partial to... ;)
Maeve on the balcony the next morning. It was a popular hangout.
Walking along the main street heading up to the ruins. It goes right along the Gorge of Delphi, which is "the view" I keep gushing about.
It looks awesomer in person, trust me.
Nuala and Jonah comparing nettle stings.
Looking down on the theatre at Delphi. This entire site is on the side of Mount Parnassus, and was basically dedicated to the worship of the Greek god, Apollo. Of course, the famous oracle was here, too, whose prophecies were said to be inspired by Apollo. And there was lots of other stuff, too... treasuries, altars, walls, temples...
Zac, me, and a FINALLY snoozing Maeve at the Delphi stadium. That child... She was so tired on the way up, but wouldn't stand to be worn. She just kept screaming and flopping herself all around, so I veered off the path and sat down to nurse her leaning up against a piece of ancient wall.
It was one of the best parts of the trip. She sleepily nursed as I gazed around at the magnificent ruins surrounding me, the slight breeze keeping me juuuust the perfect temperature in the warm sun... and the little flowers! Little flowers were dotting the ground around me. It was quiet there, except for when the occasional knot of tourists strolled past. I had a lovely opportunity to just reflect on where I was, to imagine what it was like to live at a time when these were not ruins, but a living, functioning society. The world is so amazing! It was a ton of fun being with our big group, but it was so wonderful being all alone, too. And all alone at that time and place. Just perfect. That's a memory that I will revisit with pleasure, for sure.
We found a semi-hidden alcove that turned out to be a tunnel. It was fun going through it. Maeve woke up in there. She was a little confused at first, but recovered quickly. Ah, the restorative power of sleep!
Nuala and Auntie Heidi about to explore.
This is just those of us who got to go through the tunnel. Everyone else had gone on ahead... something about kids who needed to pee... I know it doesn't seem that cool in the pictures, but it was a really fun little detour. Zac tried to convince some elderly Japanese tourists to go through, too, but they declined. The tunnel popped out a little bit behind us. It went in to the right of the pic, turned left and we had to walk through some icky water, and then we emerged.
Heading back down. There's the Treasury of Athens in the background. This site was just amazing! The scenery was gorgeous here, and there were just sooo many ruins... wow.
It was a pretty warm, sunny day and we'd left her hat in the car, so Gator got to wear this. She looked super cute.
Doesn't she just look tiny here? She's still a little smidge, it's true, and we're okay with that! Stay little as long as you can, Maeve!
I'm not sure what all these countries' flags are doing here, but it was a neat shot, so here it is. This is just on the walk back to the town from the ruins. Delphi was amazing. I knew about the history of it a bit, but hadn't looked into what actually visiting it would be like so I was quite surprised by the spectacular scenery and how many ruins there actually were.
Then we headed home. Phew! What a trip. It was great, and we loved having everyone along!
(Oh, one more thing. At a supermarket in Greece, Nuala and Maeve and I totally got stuck in the bathroom. The lock jammed on the stall door, the motion sensor lights went out (windowless bathroom, but luckily Pack Rat Nuala had a flashlight in her pocket), and we yelled for help for about 20 minutes before some store employees came to rescue us. It was great. Even greater was that our whole group was out in the parking lot getting lunch ready... Thanks a lot, guys! At least Maeve and Nuala got a free little candy bar for their suffering... Me? Nada. It was pretty funny, though...)


Tara Milligan said...

How cool! I, too, am disappointed the chipmunks movie misled us! I absolutely love that picture of Maeve with Zac, it is so cute, and her little head covering is great. Cute jumping pics, too.

Megan and Greg said...

I am soooooooooooooo jealous. I really wanted to go to Greece, but Greg wasn't too interested, so it just never happened. Bummer. That pic of you and Maeve walking is amazing. I would blow it up big. I just think it's a cool shot.

Shannon said...

Stuck in the bathroom? LOL. The whole trip looked like a total blast. From the single guys diggin' Maeve to all of the cheesy jump-poses. LOved the posts!

Rob and Erin Smith said...

Super fun! Wow, I thought I commented on this one! So many cute pictures! Look at Maeve with all those pigeons! and cute grandmas... Hahaha the jumping pictures, hee hee, nice! Love the one of Maeve on the banister..So many awesome pics...

Grandma said...

Locked in the bathroom. LOL LOL LOL I loved the pictures. Thank you.