Sunday, August 16, 2015

Drive to Marathon

I'm sorry I haven't been able to post every day this week. I've been under the weather, and haven't been able to do a third of all the things I wish I could do. Shout out to Phil for being a wonderful caregiver, and not asking for a refund from the wife store. I am really racking up the IOUs to him. 

Living under a rock pillow.

Phil's coworker lent us his car again this weekend, so we took a drive over the hills to the town of Marathon yesterday. Phil visited this place a few weeks ago and took some beautiful pictures. Bella and I tagged along with him this time and took some okay pictures.

Bella hasn't gone on a car ride for two months. She's missed it.

The town of Marathon was the site of the battle of Marathon between the Greeks and the Persians. The Greeks were outnumbered, but creamed the Persians. The Persians decided they'd take a boat to Athens and conquer that city, while the Greek army was stuck in Marathon. While the Persians were yachting, the Greek army marched "double time" to Athens, and were there to greet the Persians when they landed. 

The town of Marathon (with a really nice beach in the background).

There is a legend that a Greek runner raced from Marathon to Athens to announce the Persians' defeat, then fell down dead, which seems like an appropriate response to running any distance. This poor, dead guy originated the role of a marathon runner, as well as the race itself. Every November, Greece hosts the "original" marathon race from Marathon to Athens. Before we moved here, I was thinking about thinking about training and running it. Then Phil did some more research. Something he read yesterday suggested that the story of the runner had actually been confused with the double time march of the Greek soldiers. So now I'm thinking that the true way to "run" a marathon is to dress in armor, and take a brisk 26.2 mile march over the hills. I can do that. Phil and I made it even easier on ourselves. We drove.

We briefly stopped at the beach during our drive. It was really crowded because August is vacation month in Greece. We hadn't brought our swim stuff, and Bella is a complete killjoy at the beach. Water terrifies her.

On our way into town, we drove over Marathon Dam, which is the water source for Athens. It's a one-way street over the dam, so you have to wait at a light, while cars coming the opposite direction come straight at you, and only veer off to a two-lane road when they're about five feet in front of your car. It's very thrilling.

In town, we drove past the field where the battle took place, and the burial mound where the Greek army buried their dead soldiers. I tried to take a picture, but I didn't try very hard.

On our way out of town, we drove past a marble quarry. It was really beautiful. I've missed the mountains a lot.

This is not a quarry, but it is a mountain.
I've missed mountains.

Before we left Virginia, I was lamenting the fact that I wouldn't get a chance to hear the cicadas this summer, in what was clearly a case of sentimental nonsense. Cicadas are obnoxious. As it turns out, Greece has 5.6 billion more cicadas than Virginia ever did. This is what it sounds like every time you step outside.

So peaceful. Want to know what these suckers look like?

Once, I slammed my hand against a tree and almost smashed one.
Twice, a cicada has flown off a tree and directly into my face.

One more fun Marathon fact you may not know: In Ancient Greek, "marathon" meant "fennel," like the herb. So the town of Marathon was likely a place where a lot of fennel grew. On the subject of herbs, I tried some of my basil the other day and it is fantastic. 

We hope you had a great week, and we hope you have a great week. 

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