The adventure continues!
If anyone tells you that touring is easy they lied. Touring Athens is hard core! This group was really moving it today.
We began early this morning leaving the hotel at 8:30 AM. We boarded the metro and met our tour guide for the Acropolis, Dionysos (who happens to be the god of wine). We got our student tickets and headed toward Socrates’ Prison. Then we moved on to the Ancient Deme of Koile (this is the ancient road that led from Athens to the harbor). After our initial introduction to the Greek world we headed toward the Acropolis. There are no words to describe the enormity of this ancient site. We hiked up hills and stopped frequently to admire the scenery around us. As we continued to climb we neared the ancient entrance. Before us stood columns centuries old that had seen and heard more history than one could begin to imagine. We moved with the masses (which was much like it would have been thousands of years ago) into the center of the ancient site to view the Parthenon and Erechtheion. From these heights we could see the Theatre of Dionysos, the Odeum of Herodes and the entire city of Athens. Feeling small is an understatement of what one experiences in the presence of these inspiring structures.
After this inspiring tour we moved on to the Ancient Agora. On our way we passed Mars Hill (Aeropagus Hill). Megan and I stayed behind as the rest of the group continued so could really take in this site. Mars Hill is where the Apostle Paul shared the story of Jesus Christ and His resurrection to the Council after sharing his testimony many times in the city center. This historical event is told in Acts 17 verses 16 through 34 :
16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33At that, Paul left the Council. 34A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
Megan and I caught up to the group as they were exploring the Ancient Agora. Here is where many philosophers met to converse, citizens met to vote, and people of all kinds would watch the Panathenaic procession. After this the group met up with Judy to get directions to other sites and shops we desired to visit during our free time.
The group I was a part of when straight to lunch. I ate a Greek Salad (original, I know) at Mousses, which is an outdoor restaurant/café near the Ancient Agora. Then it was off to find Keramikos (an ancient cemetery). Unfortuantley it was closed when we arrived. So the split group split again and it was off to the Archeological Museum.
After a not so great experience on the metro (I think everyone except us was playing sardines…) we continued on foot and finally, after asking for directions a few times, arrived at the museum. Our celebration was kept to a minimum and we quickly jumped into the many statues and artifacts held inside. Just a note, do not pose in the museum (you’ll get yelled at!) On our walk home we stopped at a Greek bakery and purchased a few treats which pulled us out of our tired and achy moods. When we arrived at the hotel most of the students were changing into swimsuits and hitting the roof for an evening of fun in the pool!
Dinner was delicious once again! Tonight we enjoyed cheese pie, salad and fried fish with potatoes and broccoli!