Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Athens, Greece Finally!

In this post I will attempt to write notes about all the pictures I post here and make comments regarding what we learned in Athens about their ancient civilization and their current state of affairs. To be fair I only write what I have observed or was told concerning current Athens - all or part may be true. You the reader can read online about current Athens. You are also welcome to make comments that may be pertinent to my remarks, etc.
We arose early in the morning (4 AM) in order to catch our shuttle to the Larnaka Airport to make our flight to Athens (Athena). I tried to sleep on the 1 hour and 10 minute flight, but to no avail. I was far too excited. There are currently four couples assigned to the Greece Athens Mission on the Island of Cyprus, we were all invited to go to Athens to meet with the other senior couples in Greece for a 'Senior Couples Conference'. Three couples stayed in the mission home, we were invited to stay with Elder and Sister Maxwell (pictured below) who far out in the suburbs of Athens. The Maxwell's are from Ireland and are an absolute delight to know. We are very thankful for all their kindnesses to us while they hosted us.
After we arrived at the Athens Airport we rode back to the Mission Home with Elder Clark and two of the other missionary couples. Elder and Sister Watson had arrived the same week to begin their mission and so they rode with President Freestone (our Mission President) so they could become better acquainted.
As we entered the City of Athens I began to take pictures out the van window:
As you can see in this photo there is graffiti on the fence - it is on almost every flat surface in the city, and they don't paint it off!
Our first view of the 1896 Athens Olympic Stadium while driving into Athens from the airport. I really felt a chill when I saw this - I have ever wanted to see it up close and personal. Let me tell you a short story about this stadium: It is built upon the original grounds of the first stadium, which was built in 776 BC - that's right BC! When the stadium was being built the contractors ran out of time before the Olympic games started, so they had to build wooden bleachers on one of the sections to accommodate the patrons. The stadium is all completely built of Pentelic Marble - that's right the whole place! Everything you walk on or sit on is MARBLE, except the track! This is the end of the first installment of this part of our trip. More tomorrow.

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