10.11.2005

It was Like a Dream

(I'm going back and blogging about earlier parts of my trip now, when I have time. I'm predating these so they make sense and are in order and all that. Sorry for the historical revisionism. I hope no one has serious objections.)

Athens was like a dream. Seriously! I got on an airplane at around 5:45 pm on Sunday in New York, and got off around 11 am in Athens, Greece. I only slept three or four hours on the plane, I think. For one thing, they kept serving meals. Also, I just couldn't sleep. Even though I had two seats to myself, which is unheard of on most NY-Israel flights. (I guess Athens is a less popular destination, or I usually travel closer to the summer when there are more tourists.) From 11 am until around 10 pm, I did a whole bunch of cool stuff in Athens with my father, and then we got onto another airplane and flew to Israel.

After my father picked me up at the airport and we took the very nice commuter rail thing into Athens, we went to the Jewish Museum of Greece. It was very small, but nice. I learned a little bit about the history of the various Jewish communities in Greece (Athens, Salonika, Ioannina, and other places). The thing that I learned the most about, which I had known the least about before, was the Greek response to the Holocaust. Greece was the only country besides Denmark that did anything to try to stop the wholesale slaughter of Jews by the Nazis. In particular, there was one clergy member in Greece who spoke out against the Holocaust--I believe that he was the only Christian clergy member to do so. I'm sorry that I don't remember his name. I will try to look it up when I have more time and will edit this, or blog about it again.

Then we went to the Acropolis, where we saw the Temple of Athena Nike (about and photos--not mine, which haven't been developed yet), the Propylaia, and a few other assorted temples and things, as well as the Parthenon. The Parthenon was pretty impressive, despite being covered with scaffolding. Actually, the whole Acropolis was kind of impressive. It was huge. It was on a big hill in the middle of Athens and overlooking it. The museum there was also nice.

After that, we went to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, which had been redone since my father last visited in 1970. I enjoyed both museums, but the main thing I felt was joy that I do not live in ancient Greece. Given the theological problems I sometimes have with Judaism, which I largely believe to be a logical, smart, and good religion, imagine the problems I would have had with the ancient Greek gods! It was bad enough trying to sort out who was who in all of the statues in the museums...

After dinner with a friend of my father's from college and his wife, we went back to the airport. I couldn't really sleep in the airport until our 2 am flight, so I sat in a dazed stupor until we boarded the plane. Then I slept a bit, then we got to Israel! Then I finally went to bed, after saying "hi" to my sister, who was already up and about at 5 am, on her way to her army service.

Phew! So, really, it was like a dream. I can't believe I did all that stuff on so little sleep, and I can't believe I remember so much of it. It was really crazy--sightseeing in Greece sandwiched between two nights of very little sleep. If I did it again with another city (Rome? I'd love to see Rome), I think I would probably try to stay over for a night or two.

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