Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Tuesday, our last full day of life on Paros. It's been an amazing adventure, and we're all pretty much satiated with many memorable experiences and ready to return home. Tomorrow morning we take the ferry back up to Athens--it's a 5 hour ride--and once we arrive, we have to hurry to our hotel (the same one we stayed at when first arrived), drop off our luggage, and high-tail it next door to the newly opened Acropolis Museum. While only costing 1 euro each to get in, because of all the interest in the museum, they are only offering 2 hour blocks of time. Cathie was able to get a 2:00-4:00 pm slot for tomorrow; we are scheduled to arrive at the Piraeus port around 1:40, so once we get off the ferry, it's going to be quite a challenge to get to the museum. We figure even if we can only be there for an hour, it will be worth it.

But back to Paros. This last week has been busy, as we finished up working on the paths, learned a few steps of Greek dancing, went snorkeling, and today visited the Church of 100 Doors here in Parikia. It's the oldest functioning Christian (Greek Orthodox) church in the world, dating back to about 360 A.D. We've got some incredible pictures, including our day spent snorkeling and visiting the ancient dig on Antiparos, the one that Bob Sutton has been involved with for a number of years. Our snorkeling guide Peter took a plethora of underwater pics which I currently can't access, but will be able to show some of you at another time. Cathie spotted an underwater sponge and went down to retrieve it, so she has a momento of her first time snorkeling. Oh, and the sponge was dead, so it's safe to bring back.

We will be back in Indianapolis; seems fitting that we leave one -polis to arrive at another :-) on Thursday evening around 10:30 or so.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Here are some pics of the paths and our work.
Happy 4th of July on the 5th! We've had an exhaustive, but wonderful week full of new experiences, including learning some steps for Greek dancing, back-breaking work clearing rocks and brush along the ancient Byzantine pathways, and snorkeling yesterday off the coast of Antiparos, the next island west of Paros.

First, we spent Monday, Wednesday, and Friday out on the Byzantine paths about a 20 minute bus ride to Lefkes, then dropped off to walk down a fairly step decline into the valley, where we were met with two guides who provided us with shovels, hand saws, rakes, clippers, hoes that were industrial-strength (they looked like pick axes without the pick), sandwiches, water, and a zeal for cleaning brush. Kozmas appeared to be the main person in charge as the other guy took a weed whacker and a group of students, and Cathie and I, along with some other students and Bele, went with Kozmas. As I've mentioned in previous posts, the landscape in the hills is quite rugged, with vegetation that is course, prickly, and not a whole lot of fun to walk through, around, and cut down. The ancient walls along the path were, for the most part, intact, although there were places where years of rain and weather caused some of the rocks to slide down into the path. One of our jobs was to put some of these rocks back on the wall. Also, the vegetation in a number of places had obscured the stone paths, or limited the way through because of the overgrowth, so we had to cut, saw, hack, rake, etc. to make the paths wider.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oh, one other thing before we left Santorini on Saturday. We experienced not one, not two, not three, but FOUR earthquake tremors on Friday night! We were in bed, not yet asleep, and the hotel bldg started to shake. Each one lasted only about 10 seconds, but it seemed longer. After the second one, we were kind of worried that the BIG one was about to come. Some of the students were in our hallway, and they thought it was great. Ah to be young and clueless again :-).

Anyhow, between knee pain, tourist central, earthquakes, roosters early each morning, we were more than ready to leave for "home" back in Paros.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cathie and I made it back the next morning to the hospital. Health care in Greece is free, and I had little trouble getting in to see the specialist. There wasn't much he could do other than to prescribe some awesome painkiller meds, along with topical drops to put on my knee three times a day to deal with the inflammation and pain. Worked like a charm too. Meds were not free however, and it cost about 59 Euro, but well worth it. That morning, the students, along with Bele and Aran, took a ferry ride out to the active volcanic island in the middle of the bay. Thank god we didn't go! When they got back, it was 15 minutes of how awful and horrible the trek up the volcanic hill was, walking on nothing but lava rock. It was hot too, and most of the students, including Bele, had worn flipflops as they did not realize how rugged the hike was.

While they were off doing that, Cathie and I had a leisurely brunch at a cafe overlooking the bay. As you noticed, there was a cruise ship that docked, so there were a LOT of tourists roaming around. The town, Fira, is a major tourist destination (aka trap). It ain't cheap to be there.

As the bus was taking us to the hotel, I wrenched my left knee (the bad one too) turning in the seat to look for the camera. When I say "wrenched" I mean severely strained the ligament on the outside of my knee, the one that is attached to the bend-part of the knee. I could barely walk to the hotel, which was about half a kilometer away since it's all hills on the island. Bob and Cathie stayed with me as I hobbled to the hotel. I ended up going to the local hospital, down the road from the hotel, that evening, but had to wait until Friday to see the orthopedic doc. In the meantime, Cathie bought me a knee brace, which helped a little, and we hobbled up the hill with Bob and Susan to a lovely restaurant overlooking the volcano and the bay at sunset.

Hi everyone. I apologize for the delay in posting our adventures here in Greece. Last Thursday, we (the entire group) took a high speed ferry for a 2-day jaunt down to the island of Santorini. The boat seats about 450 people, and each seat is reserved. We were inside the entire time. Here's a pic of the boat: http://www.hellenicseaways.gr/index.asp?a_id=285 While the day was beautiful, the sea was choppy, and the ferry became a roller coaster over the waves. There were a number of people on the boat who got seasick, including 3 of the students. A dubious start to this side trip, for sure. Luckily Cathie had some Dramamine (Bele called it drama-meen) that she and Cybele took. I didn't need it as I don't get seasick, and I didn't. Aran declined one too, but came out of the boat a wee bit green around the gills.

Upon arriving on the island, the first thing we noticed was that the city was built on the side of the volcanic cliff. The port was at the bottom, and we had to take a bus up to the top, which, while beautiful views were everywhere, one wrong move by the bus driver and we'd all be goners. Kinda freaked me out, but I stayed busy taking pictures, trying to avoid thoughts of "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" For any of you who don't know, me and heights don't get along, unless I'm in control (I AM a Capricorn).