Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Athens, part 2

Originally we were to be assigned to Athens, but because the Greek government refused to issue visas to American citizens we were re-assigned to Cyprus. Therefore, having the opportunity to go to Athens, Greece is something neither of us ever even thought of, even before our mission call.
When we arrived in Athens it had been raining on and off and everything was quite wet, but we believed we would be able to enjoy the city/country even so, and we were not disappointed.
Driving into the city of Athens is really like driving into any metropolitan city in the world. Lots of people, lots of traffic, and lots of cars.
We left the airport in a van driven by Elder Clark who is a senior missionary from Canada. His wife was born/raised in Australia and works in the Athens Mission Office. Elder Clark is very humorous and outgoing, a delight to be with. Sister Clark is quick and sharp and knows everything about everything you need to know! Ha!
Elder Clark drove us to President and Sister Freestone's home in Athens where we met with all the other Greece Athens Senior Missionary Couples. A lovely buffet luncheon was served and we then convened for a meeting, which lasted the better part of the day. We then all piled into cars and met for supper at a local Athenian Restaurant call, "Three Pigs". The food is of course authentically Greek and very enjoyable.
After supper we departed with Elder and Sister Maxwell to go to their home which is very deep in the city of Athens. After we arrived we chatted for a bit and then went to our room and to bed. We were very tired because we had gotten up at 4 AM to make it to Larnaka in time for our 7:40 AM flight to Athens. (President and Sister Freestone (left) with Elder and Sister Christensen below.)
The next day we all met together to divide up couples in vehicles to go to Mars Hill for a special testimony meeting. Okay here I'm over my head in ways to describe my feelings of being on Mars Hill. Whilst we were bearing testimonies down below us were young people protesting the Greek government in a park. Their shouting was a little disturbing, but since we had nothing to fear we pressed on with our meeting. Just being on that rock where Paul once stood and testified of the Lord was so overwhelming.
(Ascending Mars Hill with the Acroppolis in the background.) And believe me, Mars Hill is just a BIG rock, and behind it is the Acroppolis rising above the entire city in splendor.
Seeing those ancient ruins from Mars Hill is something I shall never forget. After our testimony meeting we said goodbye to President Freestone (Sister Freestone did not come with us.) and pressed on up the hill to the Parthenon, et al.
To ascend the hill to the Acroppolis is a medium hard climb - and good walking shoes are a must. At each level of the Acroppolis there are sights which are unbelievable - the theatre being one of them. I don't remember how many it seats, but it's HUGE! (From above the theatre - senior couples to the right.)
It is still used upon occasion for concerts/plays, etc., even though it is thousands of years old. The stonework is still very beautiful. Although if I were to go there for an event I would definitely take a thick sittable cushion, cold stone and human backsides don't work well together. Ha!
Part 3 is next - stay tuned!

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