I don’t expect anyone to believe this story, but here goes . . . Yesterday, I posted a blog thread about having my wallet stolen on an Athens Metro train on Thursday. The Athens Police indicated that there was a chance (snowball chance in Hell?) the wallet would be found and returned. They added, “Usually the cash is taken and the other stuff is left alone.” Guess what? I got my wallet back with all personal affects, including my Colorado Driver’s license, Visa credit card, credit union debit card and SCUBA Dive Certification card. Oh My God!
Many years ago, I use to play the “blame game” where I pointed a finger at some one, some place, or some thing, never noticing the 3 fingers pointed back at me. Consequently, I was mostly in victim mode, where I felt I was owed something for nothing. At around 30 or so, I began to wake up to the fact that the universe doesn’t owe me a thing and I better get my ass in gear and figure out how things do work on this ball or I was going to be stuck in that victimhood role forever. What’s all this have to do with this post? Well, yesterday I had my wallet stolen and although I am still processing many feelings, including anger, I am grateful for everything I have in my life. I am especially happy and grateful that I am living a life that allows me to be in Athens, Greece, where I have visited the Parthenon, SCUBA dived the Mediterranean Sea, and yes, even had my wallet pick-pocketted on an Athens Metro Train. As the title of this post suggests, life really comes down to those two choices, right? I can go with the flow and recognize that stuff occasionally happens and learn to accept it; or, I can spend negative energy on anger and resentment, which doesn’t resolve a damn thing and only ends up with me being frustrated. Yeah, I wish this hadn’t happened. My wish and 5 dollars might buy a cafe latte at Starbucks, but that’s it.
Lycabettus hill is Athen’s highest hill, offering a panoramic view of the city. Essentially, you have 3 ways to reach the top – by foot through the wooded pine trees; or, you can wuss out by taking a taxi or the funicular railway that ascends to the top via the end of Ploutarchou Street and Aristippou Street in the Kolonaki district (near the Evangelismos station). Me? I wanted to explore the hill, so I walked. However, while walking through the woods, I took the wrong direction and somehow ended up on the top of an adjacent peak – also part of Lycacbettus hill – which overlooks the amphitheather . . . And, boy was it windy! Unlike Lycabettus hill, which is also windy, this site has no protective rock walls to keep you from falling to your death. Gulp.
Yesterday, I decided to visit the National Archaeological Museum Of Athens and as is my habit, I like to take my time when I visit a museum. Since I don’t like to be rushed, I am more likely to be alone, then with a partner. I’m that guy that has to read most of the art and sculture captions. In my view, half the fun is finding out the background information on the stuff you are looking at.
Yesterday, I visited the Benaki Museum and the Monument (tomb) of the Unknown Soldier at Parliament. I was on “low” energy yesterday, so both of these sites were great places to visit, insofar as being out of the sun (the Museum) and not taking too long to visit (tomb). I also found a noon AA meeting and met quite a few people, some of whom made suggestions on other places in Greece to visit. I enjoyed that meeting so much, I returned for the evening meeting and was invited to join other members for coffee, but passed because I hadn’t ate dinner and needed to “fuel up” before I passed out. Ha.
Today, I visited the Temple of Zeus, the one remaining Athen’s ancient historical site I hadn’t yet seen since arriving here 4 days ago. I also went to the relatively new Acropolis Museum, constructed in 2009. The museum is exceptional and only cost 5 Euros, so it’s a very good deal. This post will be about those two sites, along with Kerameikos and Hadrian’s Library, both of which I visited in the last couple of days. I will also tell you a little bit about some silver jewelry I bought.
Who hasn’t wanted to visit the Acropolis? I remember as a kid, my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Gardner, a somewhat crusty old lady, who taught me an appreciation for California Native American history. I remember dragging my mom to this store which sold reproductions of arrow heads and other Native American historical artifacts. In short, I could tell you every little detail about Spanish who settled early California, Father Junipero Serra and the Missions he helped create along the California coastline. Yeah, I really loved California early history; but what really rocked my world was Greek Mythology and I owe that curiousity entirely to Mrs. Gardner. I read everything about mythology I could get my hands on, especially Edith Hamilton, who wrote several outstanding books about the subject. Continue reading
The “puddle jumper” prop plane that I boarded at Istanbul, Turkey to Athens, Greece was gratefully, short and uneventful. Upon exiting the plane, I was shocked to find our 20-30 passengers in line for Customs and Immigration and no one else. OK, sometimes that happens. Umm, yeah right. Maybe it happens in Timbuktu, Mali or some other backwater place. Athens? Wow! Upon exiting the Customs and Immigration area, it didn’t change. No one was around. Sheesh, had the economy gone that far south? Was this the result of austerity? No tourists? It was Sunday, but that didn’t explain the paucity of people in the airport. When I boarded the metro train to my hotel, it was the same thing – very few people. This didn’t change for at least 3-4 stops, then people – Greek people started boarding the train I was on. Granted, by the time I reached Syntagma Square (the main tourist area), the train was packed, but not with tourists. I felt like an alien on Mars. LOL.