One last day in Athens

Trip Start Feb 10, 2006
Trip End Mar 07, 2006

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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

It has been a wonderful trip but a bit of a bumpy one. One of our travelers has been so agitated and angry that we have all walked on egg shells. Thank god we weren't on some reality TV show like Amazing Race. She has had us all so nervous that at times even Cory and I have snapped at one another. The entire group discussed talking to her but we are afraid it will only make it worse.

Yesterday I finally told everyone that Cory and I needed some time alone. Actually the conversation was more like, "We can't be around her or one of us is going to finally lose it" That is when Heather begged the boys not to leave her alone with her. It is so sad because I know she can be a wonderful traveler. I don't know what has made her so angry. We are determined not to let her ruin this vacation.

I am so proud of Heather. It is her first trip out of the United States and she has embraced all of it. Even being scammed by the Taxi Drivers. I remember my first trip to Europe and how different it seemed, then realizing when I went to Egypt that Europe was very western. Heather had a more dramatic first time with Turkey. Though it isn't the culture shock that Egypt was, it was more dramatic than most of Europe. I think that she has a true love of travel in her.

Cory and I enjoyed just walking around Athens. We were going to take the metro but upon getting to the station there was a sign posted on the gate saying that the subway was closed. We were to find out that was due to a protest that was going on in this part of the city. We weren't able to read the sign and didn't know how long the subway was going to be closed or why it was closed.

We decided to go to the National Historical Museum. As we started walking in that direction we found ourselves in a crowd of people. They were organizing for a protest. I am not sure what the protest was about but they were handing out flyer's that had pictures of George W looking unfavorable. I don't know exactly how the Greek people feel about United States politics. I am guessing that it isn't any more favorable than any other country in the rest of the world.

Here in Athens I haven't felt the warmth from the locals that we have felt in other places in the world. It could just be the larger city thing. We didn't stick around to try to figure it out right in the middle of a protest.

We didn't go too much farther to get to the National Historical Museum. The museum houses the collection of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece (IEEE), founded in 1882. It is the oldest collection of its kind in Greece. It is housed in the old Parliament building.

The collection contains historical items concerning the period from the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 to the Second World War. Among the items displayed are weapons, personal belongings and memorabilia from historical personalities, historical paintings by Greek and foreign artists, manuscripts, as well as a large collection of traditional costumes from the various regions of Greece.

We wandered the building relatively alone. It was a really peaceful morning. The old Assembly hall in the building is absolutely beautiful. It is easy to see where the United States gets the designs for their government buildings. Not only did Democracy originate with the Greeks but so did its architecture.

We asked the gentleman at the desk what the protest was about and he told us it was about work unions and transportation. If that was the case I am not sure why George W was on the flier they gave us. I didn't get a very good vibe from the protest that we walked through to get here so I thought we would take an alternate route back to the hotel. Unfortunately the protest had migrated. We ended up right in the middle of it again. In fact as we tried to figure out how to navigate around the protest the police chased a guy on a motorcycle and arrested him on the spot. There was just something about this that didn't feel right. I wanted to get away from what ever was going on.

Cory wanted Gelato. We were looking everywhere for Gelato. When we passed by Alexander the Greats he was outside and insisted that we come in. We told him about Cory's love for Gelato and in minutes he had a bowl of Gelato in front of us. He also brought some ouzo out. Alex has turned out to be the nicest man in Athens. We have enjoyed his hospitality completely.

We met up with the boys and wandered around Athens for a while with them. We couldn't go too far since the Metro stations were shut down. We went back to the hotel and hit the Rum and Fanta again. We decided to meet up and go to Alexander the Greats again. Good thing that it is right across the street from the hotel. It is easy to find our way home that way.

When we arrived at Alexander the Greats he was so welcoming. We had another delicious meal. I think that we are going to miss our friend Alex. Tonight is the last night in Athens. Tomorrow we are off to the Peloponnese.
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