This one was on NBC News this morning (Greek time). I think it was sourced from Reuters.
I like it a lot.
|This really sets back women in acting, doesn't it?|
Congrats, Leo. And congrats to Reuters and NBC.
|This really sets back women in acting, doesn't it?|
|A peek inside the very-badly cared for pot reveals...|
|Grandma Dot's tomato soup!|
Poor Phil came home from Albania yesterday with a cold.
Dinner tonight was the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on my sourdough.
I didn't make the butter or the cheese.
Give me time.
|It's been a while since Bella's been featured on here. This is her "I won't look at the camera" face.|
|This is her "I'm still not going to look at the camera" face.|
|Aren't they so delightful? I'm really, really thrilled by them.|
I feel like I need to make a couple real-world disclosures, though:
First, they took me an incredibly long time to decorate. My entire afternoon was shot.
Second, the powdered sugar I used is not my favorite, so the icing wasn't fabulous.
Has anyone else had problems with the bulk powdered sugar from Costco?
|I'm proud of this starter. It's my first-ever. I used a recipe from my online recipe bible, Allrecipes.|
It's great, but you have to feed the starter regularly.
I've had mine for about a month and a half now, and it's just starting to get nice.
|Look at this. Will you just look at this? It's amazing.|
Maybe I'll give you the recipe in another post. Maybe I'll make you beg for it.
|I'm not kidding. I frosted the one, took a picture for my friend, and then plowed it down my face.|
I later frosted the rest, and systematically worked my way through them.
Maybe Phil had one.
|Makes about 14.|
|Here's the wall at present. We've lost a few, but we've gained a few.|
Oh, the anticipation.
|Nemea, which definitely sounds biblical, is the mythological site where Hercules slayed a lion, or some crap like that. According to historical records that don't mislead you into thinking that Greek mythological figures were actual ruling kings of Mycenae, Nemea was a site for the Panhellenic Games. One of the other sites, as I'm sure you'll remember, was Delphi. UC Berkeley has really led the charge on excavating and restoring Nemea. I wanted to post this particular photo for my Cal relatives to show them what their alumni support is doing overseas. Something you should know about Berkeley is that they rejected both Phil and me from their graduate school programs. We will never forgive, and we will never forget.|
|Here's the old site of the games. We were the only ones there. We might have been the only ones who visited all day. The lady in the ticket booth was really pleased to see us. Shortly after we left the second Nemea site, it started snowing. It's really, really nice to see all these sites during the off season.|
|This tunnel brought the athletes from the locker rooms to the stadium. In the early 2000s, a big chunk of the tunnel's ceiling fell down. Fortunately, there was no one in the tunnel at the time, so they shut it down for a few years to restore the whole thing. Phil and I did not know about the ceiling falling until we were reading the magazine the ticket lady gave us on our way out of the site. We sauntered through this tunnel slowly.|
|Here's the stadium! I'm about 70% sure that Phil is standing in front of the starting line. I don't want to make a declarative statement, because there's a chance that some of you might actually end up seeing this for yourselves, and I really hate being wrong. There were no seats found at this stadium. It's thought that the spectators sat on the hill to watch. There is a judges' bench. You can somewhat make it out about halfway down the stadium on the left-hand side. Right after I took this picture, Phil and I ran to the finish line. It was very painful.|
|Down the road from the old stadium is the Temple of Zeus (those sad-looking columns in the distance). It was used in connection with the games. There's an ancient bathhouse off to the left of the temple. In front of the temple is a little box structure thing with an ancient skeleton inside. I wonder how I'd feel about my bones being on display like that.|
|This is the Temple of Zeus up close. It's much more impressive from this angle. The three dirty columns on the left were the only ones that were standing when Berkeley came to town. Sometime around the low-hundred BCs, someone decided they'd had enough of pagan stuff, and started to tear down this temple. The big boulders in front of it are actually more column pieces. It's like a column graveyard there. Berkeley has gone through and tagged all the stones. They hope to erect more columns in the future, like they've done with the pretty-looking columns standing to the right. If they had admitted us to their grad school programs, we'd probably feel proud of them for their work.|
|Mycenae is a UNESCO world heritage site.|
The Greek history of the site dates to around 1600 BC, but it's probably been around a lot longer.
The site itself is not as nice as Delphi, but it is worth the trip. I'll show you why further down.
This is the Lion Gate. It is famous and well-preserved, and stuff.
Behind Phil is a big tour group of Greek high school kids.
We were all cold. It was a cold day.
|Mycenae is an old citadel and military stronghold on top of a hill. Because of this, it's called an acropolis. |
It's not the Acropolis, but it is an acropolis. Phil taught me this, when I was trying to figure out why some Spanish tourists in the Peloponnese were asking me where they could find the acropolis. At first I was like, "Get back in your car, and drive for an hour and a half into Athens," but then I was like, "Go climb that hill."
The views are gorgeous.
|In the summertime, this hill is probably crawling with tourists. We came on a very cold, wintery day, so there were not many people around. It's really nice, because you can climb on old castle walls, and no one yells at you. We felt a little bit like Justin Bieber with his recent Mayan ruins escapades in Mexico, except we didn't pull our pants down and moon anyone. We're not that juvenile. The size of these rocks is really impressive. It's hard to imagine how anyone would have been able to haul them up the hill. The Greeks explained it by saying they had been built by cyclopes.|
|In Greek mythology, Mycenae is the site of King Agamemnon's castle. I was not aware that King Agamemnon was mythological. There is so much biblical history here, tied up with so much Greek mythology, and wrapped in factually corroborated records, that it's hard to know historicity from allegory. Also, I guess I just don't read enough. King Agamemnon was involved in all sorts of adventures, and featured prominently in the Iliad by Homer. The ending of his story is what I like to focus on, though. He came home and caught his wife with a lover. They murdered him in his room. His son sought vengeance for Agamemnon's death, and killed his mother, the queen, before fleeing the city through the back gate.|
|Is this the back gate through which Agamemnon's son fled? I don't know. I really don't. I had a hard time following the map. I don't think it was, but it is a cool example of some of the earliest arches in building design. I'm not sure if you can see my winter style very well. It's absolutely atrocious. I was embarrassed to be seen with me, but I was also pretty comfortable.|
|Okay, this right here is why it's worth it to go to Mycenae. This is an old underground cistern that is tremendously well-preserved. You can actually walk down the stairs into the depths. You can't go all the way, but you can go far enough that you feel like your 8 euros was well spent. I also want to point out that even though it looks like Phil went down first, this is actually a photograph on the way out. I went first, and I terrified myself.|
|This is why I terrified myself. These are the stairs leading further down into the cistern that are blocked off, so you can't actually use them. They're pitch black. This is what they look like with flash photography. I walked down the cistern steps while Phil stayed at the top to take some pictures. I made it all the way up to the rope blocking off these stairs. It was dark and earthy smelling. I stood there, peering into the blackness, when I heard a noise coming from these stairs! It sounded like someone kicking a small rock on the steps. I freaked out and ran back to Phil. He had to walk down first after that, and I made him leave last.|
|Somewhere on the staircase down to the haunted cistern.|
|On the way out of the haunted cistern.|
|This is the last photo I took in Mycenae, but there are some videos that go along with it. I'll put those in a separate post, because we all know my track record with uploading videos. This photo is from inside a tomb. This is Agamemnon's wife's tomb, so who knows who it actually belonged to at the time. For this burial, they dug a giant, circular pit in the ground, then built a beehive structure over the top of it. The tomb was found during some routine looting by the local villagers sometime around the late 1800s or early 1900s. You'll have to fact check me on those dates, because I can't remember. They dug it out, and realized how cool it was. They probably still pulled a lot of neat crap from the inside of it, but at least they left the structure. It was really impressive, and is the second reason it's worth it to go see Mycenae. Agamemnon has a big one, too, just down the road from the citadel. The acoustics inside the tombs are amazing. This is looking up toward the ceiling.|
|We opened it unsuspectingly.|
|Wrapped Christmas presents!|
|Unwrapped Christmas presents!|
|This Moon Calendar is the coolest. It really is. It glows in the dark.|
|Delphi: considered the center of the world in Greek Mythology. |
Delphi was home to an oracle, a really rad woman who got high and gave advice.
|Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old stuff here dates from about 1400 B.C.|
Check out the ancient carvings on the blocks behind my face.
|This is the navel of the Earth. It has something to do with Zeus. Google it, I guess.|
|When the oracle gave advice that turned out well, grateful people built big temples and treasuries around her hillside.|
The buildings were packed full of statues, gold, and other expensive, nice things.
This is the Athenian Temple.
|This is the rock where the first oracle gave her advice.|
In mythology, Delphi is where Apollo slayed a dragon. He buried the carcass in a ravine.
The oracle would smoke or ingest something near the ravine, and make her pronouncements.
I think the dead dragon fumes had something to do with the prophecies.
Phil read about all of this beforehand. He should be the one writing the captions, darn it.
|This is the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle prophesied later.|
|Delphi also has a really well preserved theatre.|
|Delphi was the site of the Pythian Games. These games were one of the four Panhellenic Games.|
This photo is looking toward the entrance of the stadium. About halfway across is the judge's bench.
|This is the finish line.|
The winners in Delphi received laurel leaf wreaths. Hooray?
|This is a spring below the main site.|
People had to clean themselves before going to see the oracle.
I might be making all of this up. Phil? Help?
|For 9 euros you can walk along the archeological site, and go inside the museum.|
It's a great museum because, in Phil's words, "They have a lot of stuff, and it's short."
They don't let you pose with the statues, though. I'm still not sure why.
The very nice docent who told us not to do it explained that it's to show respect.
That doesn't make sense to me. It's been thousands of years since anyone felt a religious connection to these things.
I could understand if they were icons, but...I don't know. Is that a really American perspective?
|I mean, imagine the immature poses you could make with these.|
I thought about doing it anyway, but then I thought,
"What would Rick Steves do?"
|This is the sleeping baby Eros (a.k.a. Cupid). Now you know why your love life's been suffering.|
|This is The Charioteer. It's a famous bronze statue, according to Phil and the museum sign.|
Look at its eyes, though.
|Another famous Delphi thing. By this point, my legs were seizing.|
It's not a difficult hike around Delphi, I'm just unable to exert at my regular ability.
|We drove up to the ski resort on our way back to Athens. Look at all the snow!|
We think there was probably snow up higher. You'd have to hop the lift to get to it.
There were people up there in ski clothes. Unclear whether they were skiing or not.
A lot of them looked like they came to see snow...
|...and build little snowmen for their car. I wonder who started this trend? I wonder if we could monetize it?|
|This is a view of the ski town at the base of Mount Parnassus. It was like every other ski town in the world.|
The buildings were in the style of Medieval castle/villa/chalets, and there were multiple fur and wood furniture stores.
Seriously, what is it about skiing and wanted to buy dead animals and trees?
The streets were narrow, and stupid, stupid tourists were standing in the middle of the road.
We almost ran over a group of them because they refused to move.
Honest-to-goodness, we actually brushed a guy's coat sleeve with our side mirror because he refused to move.
I was still angry ten minutes later when we pulled off at an overlook to take this picture.