Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Monday, November 26th, 2007 Final day in Athens……….

Woke up early and Jim feels much better so we’re off to enjoy our last day in Greece; after breakfast we started walking east towards the Olympic Stadium that was rebuilt and used for the first modern Olympic in 1896. On the way we passed by the site of the 1896 and 1906 Olympic Lawn Tennis games; it is now a private tennis club. The stadium is truly magnificent as the white marble glistens in the sunlight even on an overcast day like today. In the traditional design from ancient times the end of the stadium is totally open and was easy to view without having to enter inside. We’ve driven past it many times but I’m glad that we took the time to walk over and see it up close.

From the Stadium we had a great view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Walking back we entered the National Gardens and stopped first at a large exhibit hall and then continued through the park by various paths that we randomly selected. We walked over to the zoo, a small one for children, and then stopped to watch the turtles in the pond. We were walking in the general direction of the Benaki Museum. When we exited into the street, Jim said he’s sure that he specifically chose that gate to exit; we found ourselves on an empty street with lots of guards holding Uzis machine guns. Opps…what had we stumbled into? Then up the street I spotted one of the guards in his fancy uniform at a guard box. Realized that we were near the Palace; suddenly we heard the band playing and low and behold the band came marching out of the gate where the guard was standing. Another serendipity experience; the band, playing their marching song, was followed by the whole company of guards. There must have been nearly two hundred of them by the time they had all filled out past us and down the street. Both cars and pedestrians had been stopped at both ends of the street for this event!

After patting ourselves on the back we continued up the street to our Benaki Museum that was originally a private home and now a lovely building with a stunning collection. We were not allowed to have our cameras with us in the building so just enjoyed the experience for nearly two hours. It was so good that Jim asked for the name of the director for future reference.

Back on the street we strolled by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for one last time and noticed that they have on their black coat today; a sure sign that cooler weather is expected today.

Arrived at our hotel and will send this journal at the Starbucks before we head out for one last Greek dinner at a local restaurant. We leave for the airport at 5 am tomorrow morning for a 9 am flight to London.

As I bid Greece goodbye, I would like to share some of an article that we found in an old issue of “Paros Life” at the house we stayed in last week:

“What is it that makes travel so appealing? What is it that makes the image of the traveler so romantic? Whether it is a carefree windsurfer on the beach, or an older couple holding hands while they walk across the Charles Bridge in Prague, there is an aura of wondrous satisfaction about them. The traveler flows naturally with the rhythm of a place and blends in cohesively with the locals. To the traveler it is the discovery of the journey that matters; it is the adventure of the senses that fuels his motives…. Tourists, on the other hand, do not seem to offer the same appeal to most of us. The sight of a sun-burned tourist with a fixed smile on his face and a digital camera surgically connected to his hand usually provokes a slight aversion to the local population …....Travelers immerse themselves into places and cultures. They give reason and purpose to their journey. They interact in a creative and genuine manner with the local population. They want to learn about a different way of life, they endeavor to stir their existing beliefs and shake their preconceptions. The traveler returns home with a new perspective of his or her world and with a broader horizon…..Being a traveler is not only a physical exercise; it is a philosophy, a state of mind and a distinct code of ethics. A traveler fully experiences and accepts a place without judging and without wanting to change things…. “

And so the article went…we hope that we have been travelers on this trip more than tourists. But, my camera is surgically connected to me and try as I might I can’t imagine going on a trip without my laptop.

We will only be in London for a two nights; Jim wants to visit the British Museum and also we plan to go to Westminster Cathedral while we are there. Weather reports tell us that our full day in London will have rain and we know it’s going to be cold. See you tomorrow in London………..

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