Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rainy day in Athens

The initial glow of Athens and the School has worn off a bit, as we all are settling in to our new lives and routines here.  Once we had our exciting orientations (e.g. Greek temple architecture at the Hephaistion), we had several more that were not quite so exciting and involved a lot less walking around barriers in ancient architecture and more sitting in the library/seminar room at the school.

Standing inside the Hephaistion, which sits on a small hill overlooking the Ancient Agora.  The rounded roof is probably Medieval, from when the temple was used as a church (and helps account for the excellent preservation).
We leave for our first trip on Tuesday morning.  The fall semester of the program involves four trips (about 10-12 days each) around various regions of mainland Greece, with a 5 or 6 day break between each.  These trips, as we've learned, are the heart of the program, and members have been going on them since the beginnings of the School in the late 19th century, when they would travel by horse and by train.  Each of us going is responsible for a 20 minute presentation and handout with bibliography at one of the sites we will visit, with the result that I've spent more time in the library and less time saying "wow, I'm in Greece!" in the last few days.  Bummer, man.

It hasn't quite all been work, though.  Last night, several of us went out to a nice restaurant in the neighborhood of Exarcheia, known as the place where all the students and protesters live.  I'll do a post on the neighborhoods of Athens one of these days (once I know more about them), and I forgot to take my camera, but one of my dinner companions quite aptly described walking through Exarcheia as entering "anarchist's wonderland."  Much of the architecture is quite old and stately, almost Victorian seeming, but it's covered in spectacularly colored graffiti.

My room, now suitably arranged
Around the school, the excitement has included rearranging my room so my feet don't point out the door when I sleep (bad feng shui), doing an Insanity (high interval training) workout on the School's tennis courts, and celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah meal consisting of various round and seedy foods (apples with honey, fake challah, cookies from the bakery down the road, and green beans), prepared by two other members.  Funny that I've never celebrated this high Jewish holiday before.

I may not quite be able to keep up the once-a-week posts while on trips, as the internet situation is a little fuzzy, but I will do my best, because this is where the magic happens.  I'm so excited to eat at little tavernas in teeny towns in the middle of nowhere Greece, to have a beer overlooking the Aegean from Thasos, to see Mount Olympus.  And, um, to go to the ancient sites, of course.

1 comment:

  1. Exarcheia = Uptown mpls/le hipsterville?

    Miss you!