Posts Tagged With: Athens

What Was Your Favourite Part?

It has been some time since the last blog post, but I have been re-inspired since returning home by the number of people who have told me how much they enjoyed reading it. It’s funny to run into acquaintances, friends, and neighbours who have been reading along with our travels, because you never really know who’s out there while you’re actually writing. And when you see people for the first time, it really changes that initial conversation completely. You start in a totally different place.
People who have followed the blog ask about a specific place, or tell me how much they could relate to a certain post, or how much they laughed over me hiking in the Pyrenees in flip-flops, for example. Because they know where we were, they know which parts were good, and which were not so good. They understand the joy, or the frustration, of the experiences that moved me to write.
People who haven’t been following along ask me, “what was your favourite part?” And I am struggling to come up with an answer to that one. The girls have said the same thing – the experience seems so vast, that it is very difficult to come up with a favourite part. Or even a favourite place.
I don’t think there is anywhere I can honestly say I would never want to go again; almost every place we visited seemed to be cut too short, if anything. Even after spending several months in the UK, I feel like we only just scratched the surface. Some places were like appetizers; we spent such a short amount of time in them, and in a way, it would have been smarter to see less, but give ourselves more time in each place to really absorb the culture. On the other hand, even being exposed briefly to places like Cinque Terre and Santorini makes me want to come back for the main course some other time. Places as magical as those inspire you to plan future travel. And to be honest, some places are well worth a visit, but you wouldn’t want to stay longer than it takes to see the iconic sights. Venice, for example – a must see, but too busy and expensive to spend more than a day or two. And Athens – again, you are sort of obliged to go for its historical and cultural importance, but really, you wouldn’t want to stay! You really wouldn’t.
Anyway, I do have a lot more to say about this trip. There are still many unrecorded places and adventures. Sometimes, too much happened in the space of a few days to blog about it all. Sometimes, I didn’t have any Internet for a while, and when I finally did get it again, we had moved on. Sometimes, I didn’t have time. And sometimes I just couldn’t be bothered.
But it’s not over. And I look forward to writing about the missing bits. And the learning that no doubt will continue for a long time, despite the fact that we are home. Sort of. Actually, I wonder if it’s possible to seamlessly morph this roadschooling blog into a building-your-own-house blog.
I have a feeling there may be some interesting moments to come…
Cinque Terre

20130504-202123.jpg
Santorini

20130504-202236.jpg
Venice

20130504-202640.jpg
Athens
20130504-202815.jpg
And Athens

20130504-203002.jpg
Home

20130504-202349.jpg

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Archeology and Stuff

20121018-233600.jpg
So, I emailed the kids’ teachers today for the first time since we left. I wanted to check in to see how what we were doing compared with what they were doing. Because if I’m honest, I don’t feel like we’re doing much. Weeks where we are on the road, nothing really gets done, and even now we are settled in one place for a few weeks, it’s hard, somehow, to make the time to do “school”. Yes, I know travelling is an education in itself, but as I think I may have mentioned before, I don’t want them to return to school feeling lost in any way. Hence the need to check in.
One teacher got back to me almost immediately with a pretty detailed run-down of what they were doing, and he happened to mention that they were doing an archeological dig in class tomorrow using rice as soil, and with real artifacts supplied by Parks Canada so they can learn how we discover information about the past. Excellent idea – what an exciting hands on lesson for a grade five class!
It occurred to me as I finished reading the email that we had been to the “Dig” archeological museum in York where our own little students had a similar experience. They were able to dig up real artifacts from York’s Roman occupation, it’s Viking era, and it’s Tudor period. I was pleased to make the connection, so I started to tell the teacher about it in my response email. Then I remembered we had also been to the current Roman excavation of Vindalanda near Hadrian’s Wall. Then I thought about our brush with The Acropolis, our tour of The Roman Colosseum, and finally our visit to ancient Akrotiri in Santorini where we actually walked on the streets that had been buried in volcanic ash for the past 3,500 years.
Then I stopped writing the email because it sounded braggy. I just deleted it and said instead that she was familiar with archeology from our trip, so she should be ok for social studies.
The great revelation for me, though, was the fact that even when I think we aren’t doing any “school”, we are, of course, doing all kinds of it. It’s just not the kind where we are in a classroom or sitting at a table. I need to make sure I remember that more often. The experiences our kids have had with just that one topic in the past two months are more than many will have in a lifetime. It reminds me how lucky they are. How lucky we are. What an amazing gift to our family and to each other this year is, despite it’s ups and downs. In fact, there aren’t really any downs, are there?

20121018-233535.jpg

20121018-233616.jpg

20121018-233645.jpg

20121018-233709.jpg

20121018-233726.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What I Want to Say About Athens

What I want to say is that it is a horrible city. Dirty, unfriendly, scary, and covered in graffiti. Don’t go there.
But something holds me back.
I think about the state the country of Greece finds itself in, and know that a huge city like Athens will feel it more than other areas. I imagine how I would feel if my children studied for years only to face the prospect of long term unemployment. Would they go out and paint every available surface with angry graffiti if they had nothing better to do, and no hope for their future? How friendly would I be if my already meager income was being taxed again and again to compensate for a government who has borrowed from so many other countries it is on the verge of collapse? Or if after 35 years of working, my pension has suddenly disappeared? Or if I am now renting a home I might have previously owned. Perhaps I would feel bitter enough to want to destroy what’s left of my neglected city? I might even be a little intimidating or condescending to the tourists who come for a night and spend only a few euros en route to somewhere more glamorous. And maybe I don’t fix the air conditioning in my run down hotel, or re-hang the shower door, because I have other priorities for my money. Like food.
Or perhaps I might even rant and rave almost viciously about the state of my country to the family of five in the back of my taxi who has clearly just returned from vacationing on a Greek Island, and then rip them off for almost double the price of a more “official” cab…especially if I was 40ish with a young family and no way to make life better for them.
So, instead of saying don’t go to Athens, I feel like saying go, but go with your eyes wide open. Know what to expect, and give yourself a couple of days there in case your first attempt at seeing The Acropolis does not quite turn out as you planned. And get a good map.

20121006-223947.jpg

20121006-224111.jpg

20121006-224125.jpg

20121006-224139.jpg

20121006-224157.jpg

20121006-224216.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: