Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday in Athens

Today was our first full day experiencing Athens. It was an early rise, as our mornings tend to be, filled with tours, walks, and museums, as the beginnings of trips are starting to seem. We began our day with the Acropolis and a short climb to see the Parthenon looking over Zeus' Temple, as well as where the first Olympic games were held. It was surreal to stand on such historic ground, where countless world-changing events occurred.

After the Acropolis we walked through the Agora, which was sort of the town meeting place, where courts would be held, as well as music, competitions, poetry readings, and where Socrates would walk around and "pester" people. In the museum there we saw a lot of things that reminded me of familiar objects, such as the "water clock," which Ancient Greeks used as a timer similar to how we might use an hour glass.

Our one break in the day was used to have a short lunch where most got the famous gyro, but we vegetarians stuck with Greek salad. Straight from lunch we went to yet another museum, the New Acropolis Museum, which was filled with sculptures and other objects that once decorated the Parthenon.

After the museum some were able to walk around. I was fortunate enough to have time to myself to explore and take in the culture that you can't get in a museum or tour, but rather get a chance to see the everyday differences in life today. Those who were not able to walk around were inside preparing for History of Math presentations to be held today and tomorrow.

After class on the steps of that last museum we went to dinner with our university's former president, Dr. Hagerty, after which we were able to have the remaining evening to immerse ourselves in the nightlife of Athens. These breaks between structured activities are where I find I am getting most of my eye-opening experience. Getting lost, attempting to communicate, and soaking in the different lifestyles and cultures. So upon returning not only to Vienna but also to the United States I will have a totally different outlook on the way people in different parts of the world live, and I will better understand their actions and behavior from their perspective, something you could never capture in a classroom.

Cristina Tyris

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