Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Approaching Athens from the sea is no special affair... it seems another oversized city, whose charm has been buried in the concrete block buildings that line every street... This being my third time in Athens... the first for a peek at the Acropolis... the second on transit to Yugoslavia... some time ago... and this time for an Economics workshop that my school has sent me to... Each time I am less impressed... and almost more depressed that this is what one of the ancients great cities has morphed into...

Athens is not a city I would ever recommend to anyone... yes it does have the Acropolis and all of the surrounding ruins that make it historical and certainly interesting... yes it does sit on the coast of the Mediterranean... yes it does have a massive park that feels like stepping into a jungle... a few important museums... but it lacks the intriguing pulse and energy that large cities have... I have met a few that like Athens... maybe it is one of those places that one needs to give time to appreciate... but... for me it feels like walking into a mire of pollution and ugly concrete blocks... one in the same...

One of the benefits of teaching abroad are the opportunities for international conferences and workshops... I applied and was accepted for a 5 day workshop in Athens... all expenses paid... hotel, food and yes of course the workshop... Deb and I found a very nice hotel... with a pool and a quick walk across the road to the beach... and spent the week lounging... Deb and the boys of course... and me... well I headed off to my training... early in the morning and was back by early afternoon... before the heat became unbearable... I met many great people... teachers with tricks to share and stories to spin... it is always nice spending time with colleagues within the same field... the sharing of curriculum and resources always gives me a boost... resources I know my kids are going to love... nothing better than spending an hour with a group of students that are digging the material... it is a real high for me...

Deb and the boys spent most of their days soaking up the sun by the pool... heading back up to the hotel apartment for a bite to eat and a bit of tele... and diving into a few good books... As Deb put it, "I couldn't be bothered with heading out to see the sights"... We did drag the boys into the city center... to see the Acropolis... a massive flat rock that sits high and at the center of the ancient city of Athens... a rock with around 20 archeological remains scattered about... including of course the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike and the Theatre of Dionysus... It was hot... the pollution was thick with the boys wanting to be back at the hotel... swimming in the pool... Aidan actually asked me why I like bunches of piled up rocks... and didn't I know that's why they call them RUINS... He is such a clever lad... At this point I sat him down and spun the fantastical stories about the ancient gods and Athenians... pulling him into stories about heroes and heroines... bloody and brutal battles... and the founding of democracy... I almost lost him there... but wound it into another battle... for democracy of course... and he was back on... actually ended up pulling myself in... and found I also enjoyed the site a bit more...

Five long days... and we were off to the airport for a quick flight to Rome...
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