Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Narrowly Escaping Death Twice!

In the very first hours of York, we got to the hostel and unpacked. Having no idea what was in store for us. We needed some groceries so we went down the block to the store.
We were wandering around looking for some food when a tall, fully armed police officer came up to us and forcefully said, “You need to get out of this store there’s been a robbery.”
A ROBBERY??? We didn’t know that, how could we miss that??? We had to leave our cart and our groceries in the store. All the way to Sainsbury (the next store) we were talking about it. We had NO idea that a robbery could take place while we were in the store and us not know it , but maybe it was better that way.
On the way there we saw a young man who had been smashed against the police van with hand cuffs on. I bet he was the culprit. After Sainsbury we went home. That night me and Rhys stayed up later playing connect four, which wasn’t a good idea we found out because that night in the middle of the night the fire alarm went off. It was an ear piercing really annoying sound.
When I was dragged out of bed I was so tired and grumpy. I put on my sweater and followed Mom, who seemed to be the only one who knew it was a fire alarm. It seemed like a maze because we didn’t go out the way we usually do. The first door that led to the outside we couldn’t get out of because we couldn’t figure out how to open it. A lady said, “It’s a false alarm, just go back to bed.”
I didn’t know what was going on so, being so tired, I turned around and headed back to bed.
Mom came and shouted, ”Someone showed us how to open the door. Come on out, Julia!” When we got to the parking lot it was very cold. When we found out it was just a fluke we were very annoyed and relieved because it was 1:15 am and we were all tired. After 6 hours and 2 disasters should we even get out of bed?

When in Greece...

We are now in GREECE. (Small Celebration!!) The first day when we arrived, it was 36°C (HOT). Julia got it the worst, and she wasn’t drinking enough water, and almost blacked out. We went to the National archeological museum, and looked at the statues of ancient Greece. A lot of the statues were nude men, and certain important parts were missing… I saw one clothed female statue holding up a strange looking object beside a nude male statue missing something… Aanywaay, the next day we went for a 5 hour car ride to Kalambaka, with THIS ROCK ABOVE OUR HOTEL (picture) and way up with the balanced rocks, there were… monasteries!? Around 550 years ago, monks and nuns managed to get to the tops of these rocks and build monasteries. The monasteries themselves were sorta boring, and all the same, but the views were awesome! We just crashed into Delfi, I mean Delfoi, er Delphi??? In Greece they spell the name how it sounds, so navigating is tougher. in greek its usually spelt Δελφι. So far Greece rocks!

BUT, BEWARE… today, there was a slow truck on switchbacks going down a mountain. At the end there was a strait road with 3 cars (white, blue, and black from the truck to us) between us and the truck in a 1 lane road. The truck trudged to the shoulder to let us pass, and the white car started to pass. The blue car then decided to pass the passing white car because he wasn’t passing fast enough, then the black car decided that he was faster than all of them combined, and passed the truck (our shoulder), the white car (our lane), and the blue car (other lane) in the shoulder on the opposite side of the road. SO, that's four cars, from left to right:

black | blue ¦ white | truck ;

driving side by side on a one lane road.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We are now in Athens, Greece and boy is it hot! It is a huge change from the British climate. It must be in the 30’s. The saving grace is that our hostel is air conditioned! Wow! Imagine. The air conditioning comes on with our room key so when we leave the room, the air conditioning turns off. Kind of neat. So they have managed to improved the temperature issue in the past 20 years but apparently not the plumbing issue. You still have to throw your toilet paper into a waste basket instead of the toilet. Ewww.

We climbed up to the Acropolis yesterday afternoon in the blazing heat, dragging Julia all the way. She had imagined lying on the warm sands at a seaside resort with cool breezes and palm trees, not climbing stark rock hills to yet another stone monument. No amount of discussion could convince her that the Parthenon was one of the world’s greatest structures.

Heat aside, I still found it thrilling walking up the smooth marble steps between the ancient columns, imagining the great statue of Athena that must once have stood there. And then, as I rose up through the columns, there was the Parthenon. We stopped in the shade of the entryway and noted the lack of marbles gracing the pediment of the Parthenon. We had already seen those at the British Museum. The restoration was coming along. In the past 20 years, we could see the progress they had made. There was a lot of new stone and I kind of hope they don’t redo the whole thing. It would be cool to see the way it used to look but there is something quite enchanting about seeing the ruins.

We walked over to the Erectheon (not sure about the spelling). It is almost more romantic than the Parthenon to me. The structure was built for a king. When the citizens were trying to decide on a name for their city, Athena and Poseidon vied for the right to name it. Poseidon showed his great strength and generosity by blasting a hole in the Erectheon (you can see it in the ceiling) and down into the floor of the covered porch. He poured seawater into the hole as a gift to the people. Athena then planted an Olive tree nearby as her gift. The people decided that the tree was a better gift as there were more ways to use the olive. They named the city Athens in her honour. The picture is of the children standing next to the very tree Athena planted. Really. The marbles at the British Museum tell the story of the battle between Athena and Poseidon.

After we climbed down the hill, we had dinner at the Plaka at a restaurant overlooked by the Acropolis. The food wasn’t that great, except for Julia’s lamb in a clay pot meal that was exceptional. It didn’t really matter, though, because we are in Greece! We had to get up at 2:30am to get to Greece but we are here and it is wonderful.