I'm currently in Thira at a tiny internet cafe - not easy to find on this island, hence the m.i.a.-ness. I realize my goal of a daily update is impossible, so I will just post when I can...oh and there is no port in this computer for my card reader, so no photos today.
Athens ended up being incredibly productive. I met with Eleni Konstantinidi, who is in charge of the prehistoric collection at the National Archaeological Museum (EAM). She was great, and let me use their little (but impressive) library. I spent an hour or so strolling through the EAM, going in every room, not just the big exhibits, and this time I found that I found more wonder in the small things. The gold leaf as thin as paper, the miniature votive animals, the earrings - these were what impressed me this go around. Then I did some research in the library, and Eleni very generously gave me visitor statistics, past educational materials, and a book!
Our last day in the city I went to the American School of Classical Studies to meet Margaret Miles, a friend from grad school of my high school Latin teacher. I could immediately tell why they were friends - they both share immense knowledge and infectious enthusiasm about the classics.
SO, now we're on Santorini - our last full day, in fact. Yesterday was unbelievable. Amy and I rented an ATV in the morning from our new friend Vassilli, and we must have seen 90% of the island by nightfall. We nicknamed our orange vehicle "Argo," both as our adventurous vessel and as a pun on the greek "arga," meaning "slow"...apparently the orange ATV's are the ones they give to amateurs. I think our top speed was 50 km/h, and that was going downhill. Uphill was about 19 km/h. We set off first for Akrotiri. I knew the site was closed, since a roof fell in years ago, but I wanted to see what could be seen nonetheless.
After a trek to the southern point of the island, with a few stops to wade in the Aegean, admire views of the caldera, etc, we headed north and then east, to Kamari beach. We spent a few lovely hours swimming (and floating - because of the high salt content, floating is effortless) and sunning on the black sand (read: unbearably hot on the feet) beach, we climbed back on Argo and started up the mountain to Ancient Thira. Amy counted +20 switchbacks on the road to the site. I was concentrating on driving! The site had closed at 2:30, but we could read about it, and the views were worth the climb. There is no way to express in words or pictures how high up we were. We could see water on both sides, the wind was roaring, and the beach umbrellas we had just been under looked like pinpricks of light on the dark beach.
After the exciting/challenging drive down, we took the eastern coastal road north to Oia, because, why not - we had the atv all day! Not much of Oia visible from the road (its mostly on the side of the hill), but the roads there and back to Fira were stunning. We got to see much of the island, and could always see the water in at least one direction.
When we felt we had gotten our 25 euros worth of Argo, we sadly turned him back in, and retreated back to Villa Odyssey to shower off the salt and road dust, and get ready for dinner.
We decided to forgo our usual cheap eats and dine at the Sphynx, a nice restaurant in Fira looking over the caldera. We arrived at sunset and had an amazing meal. We then wandered through the busy, tourist-laden alleys of town and had some desert, and THEN were almost run over by a caravan of donkeys. It was magical.
Well, after a morning of the Prehistoric Museum, I'm off to find said donkeys, and then maybe some lunch and/or gelato. Till next time...and next computer.