Greece- Land of Gods and Heroes Day 3

Monday, November 8, 2021

After two days of traveling our morning was relaxing! We didn’t need to set an alarm but we were still awake early. Below are pictures from our resort as we explored the grounds!

It is olive harvesting time in Greece!

Harvesting olives by our hotel.
Short Clip Harvesting Olives.

We attended a lecture on the relationships within the European Union and Greece. The talk was very informative and interesting. The lecturer gave a brief history of Greece (it’s official name is Helenic Republic or Hellas in Greek) and also discussed the education of the children. Greece has immigrants coming from the East: Syria, Pakistan, and some Turkish people.

Lecture on Relationships within EU and Greece

After the lecture we enjoyed relaxing in the chairs by the beach!

This afternoon we left the Kinetta Beach Hotel. Our first stop was the Acropolis. Our local guide for our time in Athens was a beautiful woman named Marina. She has been a guide for a very long time and was a wealth of information. It was wonderful at the Acropolis because it wasn’t packed with visitors. We did have to show our ID, vaccination card and have on our mask to get in with our ticket. It was comforting that individuals must be fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or a rapid test within 42 hours! The wind that was blowing dust over Athens from the Sahara Desert let up so we had a beautiful, clear sky.

Our first view of the Acropolis

The Acropolis is located on a rocky outcrop looking out at the city of Athens. The Parthenon is the most famous of the remains of the ancient buildings. It was a former temple built around 450 BC and stands about 490 feet above sea level and stands on the highest spot on the Acropolis. The Parthenon is the largest Doric temple in Greece and was a temple to Athena.

The Parthenon faces East to West and was completed in 9 years! Pheidias who was a master architect and sculptor supervised its building. The British Museum in London has many of the Parthenon’s sculptures and reliefs, the Acropolis museum has a few and others have just eroded away.

The Parthenon is also being renovated and this is an ongoing project. The Greeks are trying to save the Parthenon from the destruction caused by pollution and acid rain. They began this in 1976. When I was there in 1983, there was scaffolding! When the construction is finished the Parthenon won’t be rebuilt but a reinforced ruin.

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is located on the south side of the Acropolis slope has been rebuilt three different times, and was renovated in 1950. It was used for music concerts. It is still used today as the main venue of the Athens Festival!

The Erechtheion was constructed between 421 and 406 BC. It was named after the demi-god Erechtheus and was built from marble. On the south side was the Porch of the Caryatids which is its most famous feature. There were six Caryatids which were women and they acted as columns holding up the roof. This is also the spot where supposedly Athena and Poseidon fought for the rights to name the city.

The Propylaea serves as the entrance to the Acropolis and has a doric and classical architecture. Its construction began in 432 BC. It served as the grand gate to enter the Acropolis.

The last building we talked about was the Athena Nike. It was located on the southwest edge of the Acropolis and was a small temple of the Ionic style.

We looked down at the Theater of Dionysus. It was built on the southern slope of the Acropolis. It is considered to be the start of theater! The first orchestra terrace was built in the mid to late sixth century BC. By the 4th century BC it was finished and had a capacity of 17,000 with stone seats.

Located on the east end of the Acropolis stands the flag of Greece with great views of the city.

After our visit to the Acropolis we made a stop at the Panathenaic Stadium which can hold 60,000 and is located on the site of an ancient stadium. It is the only stadium in the world made of marble. It was built in the 6th century BC and was renovated in 1896. It hosted the first modern Olympic games. The stadium was used again as an Olympic venue in 2004 for archery and the finish for the marathon for both men and women.

We watched the changing of the guard in front of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is located outside of the Hellenic Parliament. It was fascinating to watch the guards precision and balance. Watch the video below to see a good portion of the ceremony.

Marina, our guide, took us down into the metro subway station. As the city excavated for the subway they found many artifacts. So at the Syntagma Station these amazing artifacts dating back to the 5th century BC are displayed in the station. It’s like a city below the city that has a museum of glass-filled cases! It was very interesting.

After our tour of Athens we headed back to Kinetta and our hotel.

Greece- Land of Gods and Heroes Day 1 & Day 2

Saturday, November 6th and Sunday, November 7th, 2021

This was our first International trip since the first week of March, 2020. We had to rethink what we would need and what documents we would need to have for our flights and for the government of Greece. If you thought that flying was a hassle since 2001, then you really don’t know what a hassle is, thanks to COVID! First, check with the airlines that you will be flying on and also the country(or countries) that you will be visiting. This is a must. You don’t want to get to the airport and not have the documentation, forms, etc… that you will need to fly! It isn’t just your passport and boarding pass to get on a flight.

We felt confident traveling with the Hilliard Chamber of Commerce. This is our fifth trip with them! They prepare us and the travel company lets us know what we will need. They require everyone to be fully vaccinated which for us was an important requirement. To get on the plane we needed our passport, vaccination card, and our Passenger Locator Form that Greece required!

We ordered waterproof card holders for our vaccination cards. Also, have with you a supply of face masks because you will need them! The face masks are mandatory for the plane, in the airports, and also inside all establishments! Our best advice is to be organized and be prepared.

Forty two hours before our flight we took a COVID-19 test to make sure we were negative.

We left Columbus, OH Saturday afternoon and flew to Atlanta. Our connection was only a little over a couple of hours. In Atlanta we boarded a flight for Paris, France. This was our overnight flight where we were to try to sleep. There were six of us in our “sub group” of the full chamber group.

Sunday morning we arrived in Paris, France for a very quick layover to board our plane for Athens. Paris TSA was nasty to many passengers on our flight! We won’t go into details but many of us were lucky to make our flight. When you are tired from a long flight with little sleep, this was not a good experience!

The Air France pilot pointed out the Alps when we flew over them. It was majestic to see these snow-covered mountains.

We arrived in Athens and met our tour director. We all went through customs, gathered our luggage, and boarded our bus to take us to our hotel in Kinetta, Greece. The hotel was located about an hour from Athens. The check-in process for the hotel was easy and we went to our room. It was great to freshen up, change clothes and head for the beach at the hotel.

Kinetta Beach Hotel was our home away from home while we explored Athens and the surrounding areas. It was an all inclusive hotel and because it was the end of the season, almost all of the guests were with the three Chambers of Commerce that were on this trip.