Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Agora, "Class", and Americans!

Wednesday set up to be a not too bad day. Not too much on the agenda but we still got to see another important historic landmark from ancient Athens. The four of us and Dick met Iris at the entrance to the Agora, although we were a bit late. We got there though!

If the Acropolis was the religious center to ancient Athens, then the Agora was the cultural, political, and civic center. They had everything there for ancient Athenians including shops, legislative buildings concert halls, and temples. We had a fairly extensive tour of the grounds, and of course Iris was there to break it all down for us.

The Agora is a huge site and it has a big connection to the Acropolis. On the Street of the Panathenaia, the main street in the Agora, they used to have a Panathenaic National Festival. They would march down that road through the other side of the Agora all the way up the Acropolis until they got to the Temple of Athena. They would then worship her and get her a new robe, and this would happen every year. The festival was somewhat similar the Olympic games.

We then went around to see the various sites where the legislative bodies were in ancient times. We also saw the Temple of Hephaistos and a bunch of different places that, with a bit of imagination, could be made to look like it was definitely the central hub of life in ancient Athens. We also went into the museum on site where one of the stoas once were. There were plenty of interesting artifacts all around the museum to see how ancient Athenians lived. It's honestly pretty crazy to think that this stuff is centuries old, and actually even older.

After we left the Agora, we all split up before we had class at two. I stopped by one of the little souvenir shops and got some postcards (which I still have to send out). While I was there I met a young lady named Ana who works there. I learned that she was fairly proficient in a few languages (English, Spanish, French, and Greek were the ones I heard her speak) and she's not even from Greece! She was born in Albania and lived in England for about five years. Definitely an interesting person to meet in my journey here!

We had one of Dick Gibson's classic quizzes after we all got back to the apartment. I forgot how much I love those! Anyways after that I went back to the room and passed out, simply because naps are the definite best.

When nighttime rolled around, three of us decided to head out to find a restaurant with a tv so we could watch the second leg of the Barcelona-Chelsea semi-final for the UEFA Champions League. We found a decent little place and met up with George (the friend of Jon's I mentioned in an earlier post). We sat down and ate for the first half. The souvlaki wasn't the best I've had since I've been here, but it wasn't bad. The game started out very surprisingly when Michael Essien absolutely struck the ball off of a deflected pass to put Chelsea up a goal in the ninth minute. At halftime, we got up and went to look for a bar to hang out at. Fortunately, we ended up going to the best one for the whole trip so far.

It wasn't necessarily the drinks or anything that made it so great, just the fact that we finally met some other American students that were doing study abroad as well. The majority of them were from the University of Indianapolis in Indiana. It was nice to be able to have a converation with people who weren't the roommates or professors. To top it off, the ending of the game was just insane. I was rooting for Barcelona to advance, but it wasn't looking good for them and time was winding down. Just as it looked lost in the 93rd minute, Andres Iniesta put a laser in the back of the net to tie the match at one. We thought it was going into extra time but there was none, because they won the aggregate on away goals. What a game!

After that, the four of us just walked around for a little bit before taking a cab back home. Another fun and productive day in Athens! Until next time readers, make sure to comment....

1 comment:

  1. Iknow how good it feels to find kindred spirits (other Americans) our nephew goes to U. of Ind. I'm sure Flynn remembered, unless "I" have remembered wrong...just reading how you write about being on the same road, watching the same scenic, it's almost a genetic memory of what really happened then...fabulously fun to read and walk with you on this trip. thanks for sharing so well.