Today was a day of lasts: the last awakening to the klaxons of Athens; the last breakfast consisting primarily of cold-cuts and canned fruit; the last desperate scramble onto the bus as oncoming traffic threatened to hurl into us; the last Nutella sandwich lunch; the last lecture on a prized and ancient site whose name we’ll soon forget; the last acceptable use of panama hats till KDErby 2016; the last time Star snuck surprises into people’s backpacks; the last δωδωνι ice cream; the last time Brendan was late to the bus because he explored with only a minute to spare; the last Disney sing-along; the last impromptu strip on Chris’ part; the last rooming assignment; the last supper; one last thank you.
It was a day of a lot of feelings, and some thinks. Impressive as Marathon, Thorikos, and Sounion were, our thoughts were consumed by tomorrow. While many of us are ready to say goodbye for now to Greece, we’re also daunted by how to readjust to normal schedules. More importantly, we’re trying to recall what it’s like not to live every waking second with 13 other people. Although it’ll be a welcome change in many respects, we’re bracing ourselves for the transition. What marked the rhythm of our days before 15-S? I’m struggling to remember.
Lisa St. Aubin de Terain famously stated that traveling is like flirting with life: “It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go. This is my station.’” The quote has since been grossly overused until it’s been stripped of meaning, but the words gain new life when I apply them to the last 76 days. We have flirted with Greece. We’ve also beaten and rejected it, cursed its name and the people who bore it. We even cheated on it with a Turkish love affair. But, for all its faults, we have all found something to love and call home in this land of goat-trampled hills and impossible sunsets. Now that we’re hopping off the train and going back to our stations, I find myself wondering how I’ll remember my 11-week journey. But I know the answer before the question leaves my tongue: I’ll think of this dysfunctional family of 14 people, and the home that I found in them.
Help, Chris licked me!
What? It’s in my nature
The map of Marathon
Cara explains the “hug of death”
Tumulus at Marathon
Hi hi hi!
Lectures are better on the steps of the first theater
And panoramas are even better
Ted Poatsy, Boy Scout Extraordinaire
Boys in the clouds
Frolicking in fields of prickly plants
Kings of the Rock
Always time for a selfie
Best friends forever and ever
Check out me and ma boneeeee
Pensive even in sleep
Our wayward adventurers
I feel like we wind up harvesting the plants with our leg hair -Sam
Definitely going to miss the views
It’s Vanna White
Look ma, I found north!
Time to swim?
We love classics
Final lectures leave us shocked
“This is a boys only picture.” “Screw the patriarchy.”
Good evening, wonderful blog readers, and welcome to this, our penultimate blog of the Greece FSP. That is a profoundly sad statement.
Not much happened today in our lives. We woke up and ate another Alexandros breakfast together, this time with crepes! Afterwards, we got to work. We have been typing and writing all day, working on our final papers, our personal statements for the end of the trip, and our final set of journals. This mountain of work caused a pretty grim scene for us at the hotel – FSPers huddled together, speaking in hushed whispers in our rooms for most of the day, typing and typing away as we shooed away housekeeping, who interrupted our creative flow to help us act like civilized humans.
Luckily, there was a brief time where we left the confines of our study dungeons! We emerged, blinking and squinting into the hot Athenian sun, and rode the rails all the way over to the Kerameikos, where we had begun our exploration of Athens all those many weeks before. We returned to the Museum of Traditional Ceramics to pick up our clay creations we made back before we left Athens for the islands. Star made a piggy, Ji made a cat, Sam made a really good pot, actually, Lucas made a crushed pomegranate (at the instructor’s urging), Thomas made a thing, Alec made an ash tray, Poatsy made a pot that fits well in his throwing hand, James made a tankard, Ann defied the Man and made a pot, Brendan made a ‘shroom mug, Chris made an animal, we think, Chad made a pot, Aki made a flower pot, Katherine made a pitcher and honestly it’s quite late, so if we’ve forgotten the exact shape of the pots it’s due to the lateness of the hour. No one made loutrophoroi, though. We’re certain of that. Archaeology jokes are the best jokes.
The group splintered, with each seeking and finding their own freedom. Some went for another final souvlaki at our favorite Greek establishment, Kalamaki Mou, some went to Veneti for smoothies and food, others ventured out to Avocado for smoothies, and Jim and Chad once again became the heroes of the day, finding fuel and ink to feed the monstrous, ravenous thing that is Chanel. We will not miss Chanel.
After we returned, various groups went off to get dinner all over the city, and came back to hunker down for the final sprint to the finish.
Up on Lykavitos in the morning
Chad found some nice flowers for his pot!
Star likes pigs! Ji likes cats! Wooo!
Ann attempts to work on her paper in the middle of Monastiraki
Sites visited: British School at Athens, Erechtheion, Parthenon
Group leaders: Chris, Lucas
Blog: Chad, James
If you could roll up all of our time on the FSP into a single day, it would probably look a lot like today. Another semi-early wake up call, but this time we were all enthusiastic and ready for the day. Today we were going to visit the Parthenon! And not just the Parthenon; we were going inside the Parthenon! With joy in our hearts we disembarked the subway at the Acropolis station and mounted the slopes of the high city. Suddenly dealing with guards was bearable, suddenly the crowds weren’t as obnoxious, suddenly we were walking with the heroes of Athens.
And then suddenly we weren’t. With shock and dismay we were told that our permits were wrong, and that the guards were only letting us go into the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. Classic FSP. To come so close to what we wanted, to the pinnacle of the trip, only to have the carrot smacked away with the harsh stick. Let this be a lesson for future FSPers: in Greece, Murphy’s Law is the rule not the exception. Downtrodden, angry, and beaten, we marched up the Acropolis and through the Propylaia. The Erechtheion was ok. Like kinda cool but you know that you wanted cookies and cream and your mom got you chocolate.
And then Rumor raced through the FSPers. Rumor, compared with whom no other is as swift. First limited by fear, she soon reaches into the sky, walks on the ground, and hides her head in the clouds. She flies screeching by night through the shadows between earth and sky, as tenacious of lies and evil. “We are going into the Parthenon,” she, devious of tongue, whispered. “The guards have decided to substitute the Temple of Nike for the Parthenon, built of Pericles.” Was if fact or fiction? We wondered…
FACTION! We entered the Parthenon, but just the porch. As we entered the Parthenon with great awe, the other tourists around us begged for entry, including a cheeky Australian and an 80-year-old couple who simply blended in with our group… they had a very youthful complexion. Then group photos, absurd selfies, and artsy instagram shots ensued.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law struck again, as it always does. In the timeless words of Matthew McCounaghey in Interstellar: “MURPH!!!” But it was too late… the tour guide dressed in Gucci sunglasses and handbag rushed in, apologized for her lateness, and began an elementary level lecture of the Parthenon. We smiled and nodded as redundant information passed into one ear and out the other as we made the best use of our little time in this sacred space and gazed upon the flawless construction of the Parthenon.
Sadly, our time ran out and we exited the ancient masterpiece and walked back into the present day and our present problems: Final Papers.
The only periptero in Greece that sells no water… literally just lemonade
We’re going in the Parthenon?!
Nope, this is the Erechtheion…
Looks like the architect messed up
Poseidon’s personal urinal
Katherine’s weapon of choice
A rare view into the Erechtheion
The OG olive tree
Aaaaaaand, now we go into the Parthenon!
The cranes add to the view
Spot the reconstructions
That porch life doe
The product is ready for delivery
The crushing process for the product
These hips don’t lie
BONES on FSP every Tuesday at 1:00 PM GST
Ichabod Crane c. 1200 BC
What passes for a professional microscope in Greece
Today began unlike most days… It began with a mistake. And by mistake, I mean the fact that we were on a ferry early in the morning and not in the afternoon, but hey, who needs to wait right? Anyway, we got on the boat. It was great. Lots of people, fewer seats, plenty of floor space. Yay, you know? Finally hours and hours later, we got off. And to be honest that was it, except… well to be honest, there are two significant parts to the day other than the action-packed ferry. A crew, and by crew, I mean four entirely separate groups made a trip to Avocado, the gem of hope in the charcoal stained city of Athens. The food was wonderful. Today at the end of the day, we got to chat with PCC. Skype. So we got to see him and hear his voice and listen to his quirky jokes and watch him make his funny facial expressions. You know the one… Just kidding.
Straight up now, besides the boat, Avocado, and PCC, today was pretty uneventful. But worry not, we did have a great day nonetheless. Because if we have any major takeaways from this FSP, it’s “Illegitimi non carborundum” and just keep persevering. We did it though. We made it through the wilderness. And now the end is in sight and though we are tired, we are strong. No one can tell us we are wrong. We certainly love this FSP, and if Pat Benatar has taught us anything, Love is a Battlefield. As you who keep in touch with what your kids are doing know, we have papers to write, places to see, and things to deal with. Not much else to say. Off to do our papers.
Blog video makers Note: The two of us have absolutely no video editing software on our computers… As a result, this has been made entirely with a sub-par video editing software. We did our best, but as Scar would say: “Be Prepaaaaaaared”
“Where is the ferry?”
FSPers play pattycake to pass the time
Ji hasn’t had this much fun since kindergarten
Ann is hard at work
Our lovely TA, Cara
Star crushes Candy Crush
Dr. Aki or just Draki
Chris has no friends other than Ann and Star
Ann wants Chris to make new friends
Draki showed up! Yay new friends!
Everyone loves Avocado
This was made entirely of vegetables! Editor’s note: Except for the conspicuous slab of cheese smack in the middle.
Aki holds on tight so she doesn’t fly away
Thomas considers sacrificing a bull to make Skype work
We found Paul!
Thomas enjoys the seat he was booked on the ferry… oh wait.
Aki enjoys the seat she was not booked on the ferry. Good thing no one kicked her out!
Today we went to a site where we were told Neanderthals had lived. Expecting to see live Neanderthals and pygmy hippos, we were thus disappointed when we found out not only were there no hippos, but there also were only some chip stones that look like regular rocks. Tristen Carter, aka Coops, showed us around his site even though we were confused because he didn’t look like a Neanderthal and he definitely wasn’t a hippo. He did later inform us however that he has 4% Neanderthal DNA and told us we could take it or leave it. We took it. Coops also owns the same fishing shirt as Sam and the same color hat and if he had been wearing Tevas, I would’ve forced them to take a picture together.
We started off with an extremely brutal, rapid, and steep climb to the top of the hill where we were able to see expensive beach homes of foreign hippies and Columbia professors, who don’t like archaeologists because we take their land (allegedly). Anyways, Coops then took us to see a seriously cool cave that had some Paleolithic tools in it and junk. Then we got to go to the active excavation site, which had many real live archaeologists doing real life archaeologist things in different holes in the ground. True to form, I cut my leg on the rusty dangerous fence we had to climb over to get into the site.
We then learned about how difficult it is sometimes to get real stratified layers of soil and saw a guy putting seemingly random small pieces of rocks into a bag. I could’ve sworn he was Indiana Jones, but then I blinked and he was just using a giant sifter. Our overbooked Greek bus driver showed up on time, anxious to pick us up and drop us off, so we had to leave Coops in a bit of a hurry. Some of us took the path down, and others blazed a trail, as usual.
JAH pitied us after the death march and bought us all ice cream, except for Poatsy, cuz he doesn’t like hanging out with us and wanted to recycle a can. I think the hippie people rubbed off on him. The ice cream store had Greek ice cream but also Ben & Jerry’s so some of us enjoyed classics like Phish Food and Cherry Garcia. As usual, there wasn’t a lack of conversation, especially when we were eagerly regaled with Chad’s exhaustive list of sport difficulty via ESPN because no one can leave information untested.
We were given the rest of the afternoon off to explore as we willed. Some people ate lunch, and other people walked around, and then people ate dinner. I wrote the blog too.
Eating a complete breakfast for mom!
This is my good side
News team, assemble!
We’ve been here literally the whole time
Come to the dark side, we have cookies
And bad hair
Guns out tongues out
Sam’s not so distant future self
Archaeology isn’t fun until someone gets hurt
Show me your best lecture poses
That’s it… he’s broken
Alec does epic.
Can you believe it? Brendan can’t.
Our archaeologist friends!
Aki is the opposite of the laughing woman eating a salad
Two worlds collide: crazy donkey and Chattahoochee River
Today was honestly pretty mellow. I was worried it would be a little overwhelming given the number of sites we went to but it ended up being very manageable and enjoyable. Honestly, it might well have been because the material was something other than just Bronze Age. Being an historian by nature, it was refreshing to experience some stuff that was after, well, prehistory.
At any rate, the day started with a trip to the Naxos Archaeological Museum. We were given a half-hour to explore the various rooms before gathering up to meet the bus back at the hotel. Our next stop after the museum was the temple of Demeter in the south/west/central part of the island. It was a bit of a drive, but the temple was really cool. It was constructed entirely of marble, and can be cited as a clear source of agricultural production on Naxos. It made me think back to two days ago when Dumas was talking about Naxos being an exception geographically due to its size. Obviously, it was also an exception agriculturally and may not have had to outsource as much for its food in the Bronze Age (although the temple to Demeter is obviously much later).
At any rate, we followed that temple up with another, this time to Dionysus. Although not particularly memorable, it was a good example of an Ionic temple with its own quirks (like its north-south orientation). There was also a really cool phase plan slider thing that made understanding the various temples that were built on top of one another much easier. Our last port of call before lunch was a site with two in-situ kouroi. The larger than life marble statues were both broken off somewhere around their legs and were never moved from the quarry area they were extracted from. It was a nice refresher of the conservative Archaic style of statuary that predated the naturalism of the Classical Period.
Then we got lunch in Aperanthos and went to the archaeological museum. It was a cute town with a cute museum and some great views. Following Aperanthos, we headed up to the northeast to see another enormous kouros in situ in an ancient quarry. It was roughed out and abandoned long before it would have even been moved from the quarry.
The emory sand beach was nice – some people swam, some people skipped stones, some people hiked around, and others just chilled out in the sun. We hopped back on the bus around 5:30pm after having gone hard for about 9 hours. Most of us slept on the hour and a half ride back. We finished up the day with some dinner, some paper writing, and for some of us, a movie. All in all, what could have been a super brutal day turned out to be quite nice.
Greeting from the archaeological museum in Naxos
I need a haircut!
A mini naiskos stele
Night and day
The Powerpuff Girls wait for the bus at the hotel
Katherine + hat versus the West Wind
The Archaic Temple of Demeter in all its reconstructed glory
Alec and Sam seek refuge from the sun
All aboard the FSP train
Brendan does not like the cone of shame
An abandoned, unfinished kouros
Star and Sam laugh at one of Teddy’s jokes… it must’ve been funny this time
Lucas has some big shoes to fill
Ann picks up a lovely marble rock from the quarry
Leaving our mark for future visitors
Wow. That’s a big statue
The feet are bigger than Aki!
Star flashes a beautiful smile while sitting on Dionysus’ (?) face