All Around Turkey

This past weekend we were in Turkey which was amazing! We sailed from the Greek island of Samos to the Turkish port of Kusadasi. While in Kusadasi we went to the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Ephesus was really amazing because the Library of Celsus is a well known ruin but I never knew what it was or where it was before we went there. The ancient city was huge and only a small fraction of it has been excavated which is disappointing because what has been excavated is really amazing. The ruins in Turkey were better to visit that the ruins in Greece because you could get so much closer to them. There was not nearly as much stuff roped off in the Ephesus sites as there was at the Acropolis and there was much, much more to see in Ephesus than there is at the Acropolis.

Aside from visiting the ruins we also took a break from the ruins and went to a pottery shop and watched Turkish pottery being made and panited entirely by hand. Turkish pottery is very colorful and very pretty. Most of it is decorated with tulips and carnations because tulips represent love and carnations respect. Ashley was able to make her own small vase and she was allowed to bring it back with her.
After we left Kusadasi we drove to Izmir and spent the day wandering around the city with our trusty tour guide. He took us to the world’s largest market and took around the corner from where we had entered the market. Just walking around the corner took a half hour and there was every kind of shop imaginable in the tiny corner of the market that we saw. Pet shops, bridal stores, spice stores and butcher shops were all side by side in the market which made it very impressive and overwhelming all at the same time.
After our day in Izmir we flew to Istanbul. I think I saw more Turkish flags in the few days we were in Istanbul than I have seen American flags in my whole life. And every place we went into there was a picture of Ataturk, and he is on all of the money. Istanbul was okay but would have been better if it had not been raining for pretty much the entire time. I liked watching the runners in the Istanbul marathon finishing the race. The finish line was right outside the Blue Mosque which we went to visit. I had never been inside a mosque before and it was gorgeous. It was extremely ornate and lavish, or at least the part for the men was. The women were given a tiny space along the back wall to worship which was separated from the part where men are allowed to worship.
After the Blue Mosque we crossed the street to visit the Hagia Sophia which was a church and a mosque but was converted into a museum. The Blue Mosque was built to rival the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia was being renovated so it was difficult to see some things. It was okay but not the best museum. It is hard to call it a museum because basically we went to look at the building itself rather than things that had been added to it. It was still a neat site however. After the Hagia Sophia some of us tried to visit the Topkapi Palace which is absolutely enormous. We weren’t really all that interested in the museum here however because there were some parts that you had to pay extra admission in order to see and no photographs were allowed. And on top of this we were all drenched and cold from the pouring rain. So we wandered around a small portion of the palace and then left.
The next day we went to the Grand Bazaar and spent several hours there. The Turkish Bazaar was really awesome because there was so much stuff that was being sold and all of the shop keepers were friendly to talk to and were easy to haggle with. Some of them were extremely pushy though and were basically yelling at you to go into their shop and buy from them. And everyone in Turkey is your friend. They were always calling someone “my friend” which is very different from the Greek shops. In Greece the shop keepers usually won’t talk to you.
Overall I liked Turkey more that I like Greece. I think it has something to do with the fact that Turkey has grass and actually looked like people could live there. Greece just looks like dirt and rocks which is not as nice as greenery.
Yesterday we went to the New Acropolis Museum with Ioanna which is so new that nothing was really opened in the museum yet except for an exhibit that had just arrived from Italy that was all returned cultural treasures that had been illegally excavated and removed from Italy and Greece. The collection, though small was nevertheless impressive because there were some really beautiful pieces that were on display. I did not like that the museum had glass floors that allowed you to look down on ancient Roman ruins that looked like they were from a bath house. It is a really unique feature and a great idea but it was disorientating and I was afraid of falling through the glass and landing on the jagged Roman ruins below. And it was difficult to try to look down and walk and look at all of the surrounding things even if there weren’t many surrounding things to look at.

The Acropolis at Last!

This week we went to the National Archeological Museum and the Acropolis. The National Archeological Museum had a wide range of things, including weaponry, death masks, jewelry, and statues. The museum has the most famous death mask which was found by Heinrich Schliemann. Schliemann believed that the mask he found was the face of Agamemnon but this turns out was a false assumption. The museum also had several statues which were very familiar. I was surprised at how many statues there were in the museum that I recognized. Many of the familiar things I saw were smaller than I thought they would be but they were more impressive in real life that in pictures because pictures cannot capture the full depth of the different artifacts and the minute details. Two unique things that were in the museum were an ancient clock that had been found in pieces and then a model reconstructed based off of the ancient pieces, and a bronze statue that had been found in the sea which was new to the museum.
We went to the Acropolis on Wednesday. I think I was expecting there to be more buildings or something because there was not as much there as I thought there would be. There was scaffolding everywhere and much of the site is undergoing reconstruction so it was difficult to imagine the Acropolis as it was in ancient times because there was so much that was covered in scaffolding. And it was impossible to get very close to anything because all of the buildings were roped off. I think the best part of visiting the Acropolis was seeing the Erechtheion and seeing the Caryatids and hearing Ioanna tell us about the women that were the models for the statues. She said that the women came from her village which is near Sparta and the village had sided with the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War. Ioanna said there were two popular explanations as to why women were chosen as models from her village. The first one she explained was that the Athenians wanted these women to carry the burden of their shame for siding with the losing Spartans forever. The other explination, which is the one that the people in Ioanna’s village believe, is that the most beautiful women in the world lived in the village and that the Athenians wanted the most beautiful women to adorn their sacred buildings. Thursday we leave for Turkey for a long weekend.


A Seventh Island and Asia!

On Thursday morning our group embarked on our most recent trip.  From the airport in Athens we flew to the island of Samos, our seventh visited Greek island, where we spent the day as we waited for a fairy to Turkey.  From the top deck of the fairy, at sunset, we made our way from the European island of Samos to Asian Turkey, a port city called Kusadasi.  We spent two nights in Kusadasi, and used it as a base point for two of our major excursions: the ancient city of Ephesus and Smyrna, or modern day Izmir.

            Our first night in Kusadasi we just got some dinner, did a bit of exploring, and hung out around the hotel, as we knew that our next day was going to be very busy.  After a good nights sleep we got up early to set out on our trip to the ancient city of Ephesus.  This is one of the largest sites of ancient ruins in the world, and most of it is still underground, waiting to be excavated.  We spent a few hours in Ephesus, and still didn’t have enough time to fully see all of the excavated ruins.  This ancient city was home to some of the most magnificent things that I have ever seen, and a very funny and informative tour guide made it all the more enjoyable.  The highlight of the ruins, I would say was the remains of an ancient library, which, in its days was one of the largest in the world.  This building was nothing short of incredible, with its colossal size and double storied columns. We saw that gates for separate, different classes of people divided the city into sections.  On the sidewalks we saw carvings and etchings, which were evidence of early Christianity in the city.  All together this tour was like gazing upon and learning from ancient masterpieces of mammoth stature.  This was the most amazing site of ancient ruins that I have ever seen in my life.

            After leaving Ephesus we headed back to Kusadasi to try our luck in the bustle and bartering of the outdoor marketplace.  This type of marketplace, we have learned, is very common in Turkish cities.  We are currently in the end of the tourist and port season so all of the shopkeepers are ready to pack up for the winter.  In talking to one of them, their summer profits last them through the winter until the next season starts.  Because the season is drawing to a close all of the merchants are in a craze trying to get rid of their merchandise, at any price.  They try to pull you into their shops and show you things.  They offer you good prices and compliment you.  In short, they will do almost anything to get you to buy something.  They want to make sales in a way that I have never seen before.  This doesn’t sound like a very interesting observation, but trust me when I say that it is a fascinating condition to witness.  I found myself feeling for the people that were trying to force things on me.

            On our way out of the market we saw a sign for a karaoke bar.  Knowing that this was a port city, and therefore a city that catered to the English language, we thought that they might have English music, so we decided to go back later in the evening.  After a buffet of Turkish specialties (which, in my opinion, are the worst specialties I have ever eaten) we ventured out to check out the night scene in Kusadasi, and eventually made our way to the karaoke bar.  Here we had a blast, and engaged in much conversation with the Turkish bar-owner and workers.  They taught us a few Turkish phrases, and talked with us a bit about their customs and way of life.  The night ended in a quick nap before the next day’s adventures in Izmir.


Our tour guide through Izmir was born and raised in the city, thus making our tour all-the-more special.  He showed us old fortifications and some of the most beautiful mosques, along with a small portion of the worlds largest street market, but did it through a more intimate and personal perspective.  This city was fascinating, especially since I had just finished reading about the Greek and Armenian genocide in Izmir in 1922, which was titled: Smyrna 1922, The Destruction of a City.  From Smyrna we flew to Istanbul, Turkey, which we arrived in last night.


Today is our fist day here in Istanbul, but we are hotel ridden due to intense rain.  Hopefully we will be able to get out today, as our goal is to see a few ancient mosques and a famous palace.


Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

I was warned before arriving in turkey to dress very conservatively, to be careful of what I said, who I talked to, and where I went so much to the point where I started to feel a little nervous, but after being there I quickly realized that I was worrying too much. In fact I felt completely comfortable there. while yes there were some pretty pushy men, and shop keepers, and it was defiantly more than a good idea to have one of the boys with you if you went out at night, turkey was like any other place where there are always good things as well as bad.

We started off in Kusadesi where we stayed for two nights and while we were there went on a guided tour of the temple of Artemis and the ancient city of Ephasus. There wasn’t much left at the temple of Artemis but just being in the place where such a magnificent temple used to be was amazing. Ephasus was the exact opposite of the temple of Artemis. A good portion of the city is still being excavated but you would never be able to tell from the fact that it took us around two hours to get a brief tour of the place and explore what was left of the ancient library tunnels leading to secret brothels, and ancient toilets.

That night karaoke was the name of the game, “Fergalicious”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, "Total Eclipse of the heart" and having “Friends in Low Places” provided a lot of fun for everyone before heading off to Istanbul where despite the torrential down pour of rain we were able to see the blue mosque, the Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace. After the palace a group of us decided to get dinner at a traditional Turkish restaurant where they sat you down on pillows placed on the floor, played live music and a woman made the bread you ate right in front you. The food was delicious, the band taught me how to belly dance and even though no one else from our group would dance with me I seemed to be pretty good judging from the applause I got from the restaurant.

On our last day in turkey a group of us decided to go off on our own and see what it would be like to be bathed by someone. That is… we went to a Turkish bath, which was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

So if you ever get the chance to be put into a cocoon of bubbles and soap then be scrubbed thoroughly by an old Turkish woman I recommend you be the fist in line.
1. I have never felt so clean in my life
2. There is no two I will never be that clean or relaxed again in my life.

One of the boys in the group once told me that he wanted to find the place that he loved most and go back there someday, I feel like Turkey might be that place for me. Like I said there are ups and downs to any place, and for me I enjoyed it way more than I can describe despite the pushy shop keepers, and men.

Adventures of Turkey

We just arrived back in Athens from Turkey yesterday and it was one of the most memorable trips we have been on so far. We started our trip in Turkey where we traveled to see Ephesus on Friday. We spent the entire day going to both locations of Ephesus. (The first location was not as interesting as the second because pretty much everything there was ruined except for one pole in the middle of the field. The second location of Ephesus was filled with tons of ancient ruins to look at. They had the ancient bathrooms, the amphitheater, a money room where people would toss in offerings and on the outside of the building a carving of Medusa was over the doorway. We also saw a brothel building which had tunnels that led to the library so that the men could tell their wives they were going to the library, but really go to the brothel through the tunnels so their wives would never know! The library was the most breathtaking of all of the ruins we saw at Ephesus. It stood two stories high and was filled with incredible detail in the stone carvings of the entrance ways.

We also went to a potter place where we met the "master potter" and he showed us the older techniques of making pottery. Afterwords we went inside and saw how all of the artists made the designs on the pottery as well. All of their pieces were absolutely beautiful. The Turkish Indigo was my favorite of the colors they used on their pottery.

When we made it to Istanbul my favorite part of being there was the Turkish Baths. Once you get past the awkwardness of being naked in front of many women (and by naked I mean topless because you had the option of wearing bathing suit bottoms or not) it was quite relaxing. You lay down on a large heated marble slab while water from the ceiling drips down on you until you get hot. When you get hot you are able to get up and grab a bowl, fill it with water, and poor it over yourself to cool down a bit. Then the Turkish women call you over and make you lay at the end of the Marble slab on your stomach. They scrub you down with exfoliates and then flip you over and do the front side of your body. Then they pour water over you to rinse off all of the dead skin. After that you lay back down and the women take a pillow case drenched in water and soap, fill it up with air, and as they squeeze the air out of the pillow case tons of bubbles and soap come out and cover your body. The women then rub in all of the soap, scrubbing you down on both sides, and then rinse you off. After all of that they then bring you over to the fountain where they wash your hair and rinse you off for the last time. Then they bring you back to the hot marble slab where you can lay down for as long as you would like. It was the most relaxing thing I have ever done and beats a trip to a spa in America any day!

Turkey has been my favorite place I have been to yet and I would go back there in a heart beat!

Turkeeyy gobble gobble

Turkey was amazing! I definitely will go back sometime!

We were warned before going, and told to be fully dressed. Many girls have had problems with store owners trying to trick them in their back room, etc. The guys are definitely creepy, always trying to convince you to buy something, or using cheezy pickup lines. But, if you just pretend you're deaf and mute, it is an easy thing to get used to.

We had a grand old time.

We took a plane to our 7th Greek Island Samos, and then took a ferry into the Asian part of Turkey. We spent 2 nights there, in a hotel with a view overlooking the ocean. Swweeet!

They use the lira there, which is worth 1/2 the euro. So if something costs 30 lira, its only 15 euro! Cool right! They even accept half euro cash and half lira! Except we have been noticing on our online banks that they charge more to withdraw money, those darn Turks!

There were markets there and we thought that everything would be cheaper once we get outside of the tourist port, so we should have bought more than what we did. I did get a cool skirt with 10 euro's off, bargain! We looked at quite a few ruins crazy there too that I’m sure everyone else will blog extensively about.

From there we took a bus to Izmir, which used to be called Smyrna. We read a book about it for class, and in 1922 the Turks took over and massacred all of the Greeks and Armenians living there. The Turks refer to it as the Conquering of Smyrna! CRAZY!

There is the biggest market in the world there! But the tour guide brought us through a corner of it, twisting and turning, and it took around 35 minutes! To get through a corner!

Then we went to Istanbul. Massive beautiful mosques, sweet grand bazaar, and…

I am soooo clean!

Definitely recommended to all… although prepare for the workers to be pretty naked. Big breasts, bouncing everywhere, eeek!



Today we went to the Acropolis for the first time since we have lived here in Greece in our Athens Around the Ages class. I thought I was mentally prepared for what I was about to see once I climbed to the top since I had gazed upon it from the streets in passing, or from the rooftop of our apartment. I have seen thousands upon thousands of pictures of the Parthenon either online or in my textbooks throughout my high school and college career. How wrong I was. When we finally got to the top I was looking down for most of the time to be sure I didn't trip over any protruding rocks from the ground or slip and fall on the smoother rocks we were walking on. I heard our Professor start to go into the explanation of the Parthenon and then I looked up. It was absolutely incredible, intimidating, and breath-taking. I stood there staring for a good ten minutes not once taking my eyes off of it and suddenly I realized that my eyes were beginning to tear up a bit. I couldn't believe I was staring at this masterpiece that has been standing over all of Athens for thousands of years. I had flashbacks to when I was in my World Civilizations class in my sophomore year of high school where I looked at tiny pictures with captions underneath it and I thought that was enough. The pictures will never do the Parthenon justice. It towers over you in a way that you want to enter it and see whats inside but you are almost to nervous. The history that took place there just boggles my mind. Not once in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be standing in front of the Parthenon and there I was. Tears welled up and I was nothing but thankful that I was here, and that I was able to experience something so incredible.

Our professor asked us in her lecture what it was that we first thought of when we looked at the Parthenon. So many words came into my mind but none would give it justice. Suddenly a girl next to me blurted out "perfect." It seemed so simple of a word to use for such a complex architectural masterpiece, and yet it described every aspect of the Parthenon to a 't.' Our professor agreed with what she had said describing how the architects knew exactly what they were doing and knew exactly what tools to use and mathematical equations to give the Parthenon the illusion of perfection.

Although we didn't go to see the Acropolis until a month and a half into our stay here, it made the experience that much better because the anticipation mixed with all that we had learned about it in our classes made it much more fascinating and easier to truly understand and respect the significance of the ancient ruins and the culture of Greece today.For any person given the opportunity to travel or study abroad I strongly suggest coming to Greece and seeing the Parthenon because it will change your life.



Today we had our 20th Century final! Two finals down! Yay! Last night was a rather entertaining night, full of facebook creeping, gossiping about boys, and of course studying, at the Sina Street Apartment. Hopefully all of our hard work will pay off when Professor Marra grades our tests (hint, hint).

Tomorrow is Wednesday. Wednesdays in Greece have a very special meaning to us. I will forever remember the only time in my life that my teacher pays me when I arrive in class. Payday is wonderful! Afterwards there’s usually a trip to the market, and at night we all feast on our hearts delight.

The most interesting thing that happened to me this week was the rain on Sunday. Leanne and I were out for a stroll, and decided to try a delicious baked potato mixture with cheese sauce and tomatoes at a random restaurant. We had just completed our meal when it began to sprinkle. Then it began to rain hard. Then it went to a full out down pour. It was absolutely hilarious. The Greeks do not know what to do in the rain. They all huddled under the massive tarp/canopy covering the tables. Slowly the tarp began to fill up with massive pools of water, which began to drip! It was a great sight watching the waiters stand on chairs with broomsticks trying to push the water off the tarps. After about 45 minutes of watching this spectacle we decided that we were just going to pay and leave. So we paid, rolled up our pants, took of our flip flops, and to the amazement of all of the restaurant’s guests, ran into the rain! The looks on their faces, it was as though they were expecting for us to drown. We ran through the streets, laughing at all of the people huddled under any cover available. The streets in the markets were flooded, rivers of water were flowing down the streets; it was extremely entertaining. As we got closer to our apartment we were soaked entirely. Then, random street salesmen tried to convince us to buy umbrellas, we were already soaked! Why would we want an umbrella now?!? Those crazy Greeks! hahaha



This is close to the half way point of the trip. We still have a lot of places to go before we leave though. The weekend coming up we are going to Turkey to visit Izmir (Smyrna) and Istanbul (Constantinople) which I am excited for because we have been learning about Turkey and Greece’s histories together and it will be interesting to see the places that are still argued about as “should have been part of Greece.” There is also a lot more of Greece to see before we leave which I am excited for because it will take us out of the city.
Ry and I have finished up our own plans for Thanksgiving break in which we will be visiting seven different cities. We start of flying to Berlin a few hours after class gets out on Thursday the 20th and stay there until the 22nd. Then we fly to Budapest and stay there until the 23rd. After Budapest we fly to Paris and stay there until the 26th. We fly into Cologne, Germany on the 26th for a show by one of my favorite bands, Gogol Bordello, which should be an awesome time. Then on the 27th we fly to Prague for a night. On the 28th we fly out to Amsterdam for the rest of our trip into December 1st. It all sounds like a lot and I know we will probably be wiped out after it but I think it will be worth it. We also do not plan on sleeping that much, except on the planes, and having a lot of caffeine. We plan on seeing as many sites as we can. I even got a nice new 75 liter backpack that I can use as a carry on for the planes so that I do not have to check my any bags. Everything that we have left to do on this trip is exciting and I cannot wait for any of it.
Hello. My name is Myste and I have an addiction (step one...admitting you have a problem). Only after recent comments received from my comrades in the Study Abroad Army, however, have I acknowledged the full scope of my issue.

Now, before Patty and Dennis - aka Mom and Papa- pick up the phone to schedule me for an episode of Intervention in which I can be seen throwing Ramen noodles at my sister while she attempts to convince me that crack is indeed “wack”, please allow me to explain myself.

Most mornings as I mosey my way to our 10:30 am class a couple of blocks away at HAU, I am in possession of several things that have morphed into additional appendages on my body. First, in an attempt to shield my bleary, tired eyes from the taunting and sickeningly cheery rays of morning sunshine, I place my bright green Kanye-esque sunglasses on my face. These are accompanied by my headphones which I use to universally block out the world and escape to a place full of melodic and soothing musical bliss. A morning cigarette is a must, of course. Which leads us to the drug in my life more potent than nicotine or Stavros’ house wine. Caffeine. The morning stop to Kono-man for a double espresso aside, most days I clutch onto a can of Diet Coke as though I opened a Wonka Bar to peek at that shiny gold wrapper that will lead me to my sweet candy dreams come true.

Let me intercede here to correct myself. Diet Coke does not exist in Greece. Instead those glimmering delightful silver cans are labeled as Coca-Cola Light. The taste remains as quenching and refreshing as ever, yet the name now resonates a comforting and some what more sophisticated edge.

All this being said, it has now become my mission to find the cheapest can of Cola Light in Athens. The introduction of the kiosk into my life has propelled this mission into the “shock and awe” stages. Kiosks here in Athens are similar to Dunkin Donuts in New England. You honestly cannot finish your delicious Cola Light that was purchased at one kiosk before you run into another. Now every time a kiosk is passed, I glance into the cooler with the familiar red advertising to check prices even if my Cola fix has just been satisfied.

Different neighborhoods boast better prices than others. Forget about finding anything under 80 Euro cents in Monistraki or Kolanaki. Omonia not only is home to some of the most interesting derelicts in Athens but also to some of the cheapest Cola Light. It was not until last week, however that I hit the big time in the Cola Light department, and this religious realization did not even occur at a kiosk. I saw the bright lights of a 53 Euro cent can of Cola-light at our local grocery store. My hands immediately thrust into the cooler and grabbed as many as could be crammed into my purse. I joyfully skipped back to Sina St., feeling a completion in my life that was represented by several 330 ml cans of cold, dark, bubbly happiness. Life is good.

Ok. So maybe Patty should call Intervention…..

Guns, Dogs, and Beggars: A Stroll through Athens

            Lately we have been in the city and haven’t ventured on any excursions.  This has allowed me to once again get settled into a routine here in Athens bustle through the city a lot more.  I am again noticing many of the things that astounded me during my first few days in the city, and am noticing that I have a completely different perspective on them now.

            My first day in Athens, as we all lugged our luggage to our apartment, I embarked upon my first venture through the city’s streets.  I found myself, on this first walk, very frightened of the large, uniformed, Greek men with automatic weapons slung carelessly over their shoulders.  This is very common, and it is virtually impossible to walk from one place to another in Athens without spotting a man with a gun.  Though this was a very shocking thing for me to take in, it is much to my surprise that I don’t even really think about it anymore.  I have walked around enough and adjusted well enough that I simply smile and walk by the large armed men.

            As if the sight of these guns wasn’t enough this walk was host to another frightening Greek normality.  With the exception of the taxi driver from the airport my first Greek welcome to the city came from a pack of stray dogs, that I have now learned are the “sort of “ pets of the city.  As we all walked don the street with our bags a pack of dogs began to run at us barking.  If this happens in the U.S. one would get the feeling that they were about to be bitten, so it is apparent why I found this so frightening.  The dogs just barked at us as we continued walking and none of the other pedestrians even seemed to notice what was happening.  That is because this is a very normal occurrence in Athens, which is home to thousands of stray dogs and cats. 

            At first I was turned off by the idea of strays everywhere, but a rainy day (only the second we’ve had since we’ve been in Athens) today made me realize how much Athens’ pets have actually grown on me.  I sat and stared out the window wondering where the dogs were going to stay warm and dry.  This made me realize how the Athenians are ok with the large stray population.  The dogs find a warm spot inside of people and become a pleasure to pat on the street corned or feed at an outdoor taverna.

            Beggars, I did not run into until a few days into our abroad adventure.  They are one of the few things in the city that I still haven’t been able to get used to.  Every time I stumble onto a beggar sitting with his/her cup out, and often times empty, I think back to a question that arose in class early in the semester: What makes these people get up every morning and go back to their spot on the sidewalk?  It seems almost useless to the passerby who, when looking in the cup, sees a minimal amount of change at best.  I simply can’t shake the ill feeling I get when I think about a day in the shoes of one of these beggars.

            Reflecting on all of this, I am realizing that this city is becoming comfortable to me.  I don’t feel quite so foreign anymore, and the clarity of what was originally very scary and new to me has allowed me to get at a deeper level of my submersion into the semester abroad. 



A pretty quiet week

This week has been kind of slow and not much has been happening. Ioanna is travelling around Greece with students from Italy so we have not gone to any new museums. We had our final for Mythology so studying for that has taken up a chunk of time. Last weekend I went shopping in Monastiraki with Jill which was fun. I was especially happy that I was able to finish all of my Christmas shopping for my family when I went.
I think the biggest thing that happened this week was when Kaitlyn told us that she was flying home because she needed to be with her family. I miss her a lot because she was my roommate so my room feels really empty and quiet without her here. I have a really big bed now though which is nice. We have had several house meetings since she left to make sure that there is no break down of law and order in the house now that there is no enforcer to make sure that things get done.
Absentee ballots are starting to come in which is a really good thing. Everyone seems really excited when they get theirs in the mail. The people here in Greece really love Barack Obama and have strong words of criticism for President Bush. It is great to talk to the Greeks about American politics because most of them know more about American politics than most Americans do.


REM and the Cyclades Museum

Normally I do not like MTV but this past weekend they out did themselves with a free concert in the old Olympic stadium so they could launch MTV Gr which is the new MTV for Greece. The shows were all really awesome. There were four acts from around the world: the first act was Greek, the second was Australian, the was British, the last was REM, who are Americans. The beset act by far was probably the third one which was the Kaiser Chiefs and they were really intense. I watched the concert from the front row and he was climbing the stage scaffolding right in front of me.
REM was really great too. They did not play for as long as I expected that they would but it was still a good show. The worst part of the show was the vjays from the different European MTV stations be cause they were terrible at doing interviews so they were just kind of there. It was really cool to think that we were on live television in something like five countries all over Europe though.
The week was pretty dead after the excitement of the weekend. The most interesting thing that we did was go to the Cyclades Museum with Ioanna. We went to see an exhibit called “A Day in the Life of Athens” and it had a collection that was different from the other collections that we had seen before. It was really interesting and the movies that the museum had the reenacted scenes from daily life were interesting to because it was like watching history come to life in front of you.


The Plumber and the PM

Our apartment didn’t get functioning internet until late last week. Our text books, while shipped in the last week of August, and made it to Greece in the first week of September, did not arrive in our hands until September the 17th. And this after having paid hundreds of euros to get them out of customs. 

What may come off as a litany of complaints is intended to be anecdotal evidence: it is hard to get things done in Greece. For nearly a half a millennia, the country was under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, a government whose concept of civic culture revolved around patronage, nepotism, and bribery. When we think of the aftereffects of imperialism Greece does not quickly come to mind. Africa and India are some of the most obvious cases; in Africa, borders drawn with caprice have produced unsettled tribal rivalries, while the British civil service system in India left institutions and attitudes which bred and maintained the world’s largest democracy. 

The ghost of the Ottomans lingers in Greece, as the ideas of dutiful civil service and bureaucratic oversight have still refused to take hold. The other day I met a Greek named George, who, to my surprise and delight, felt like talking Greek and American politics to a foreign stranger (or strange foreigner?) for twenty minutes on the sidewalk. “You have probably already figured out how it is here,” he said, telling me that to get anything done in Greece, you either have to have personal connections or acute knowledge of tactful bribery. “If your package is stuck in customs, you can probably get it” if you hand the right person a twenty euro note. 

In America, bribery is far less widely accepted, but our corruption is of a different sort. Business interests dominate government, and lobbyists ghostwrite legislation; “rigged elections” (his words--n.b. George is an Obama supporter, who worries that the Republicans will try to rig the upcoming election in desperation, a scenario which he believes would prompt revolution--your author is more optimistic/na├»ve). “In Greece,” ruminates George, “everyone is corrupt, from the plumber to the prime minister.” 

That explains the leak in the floor. 


Music, Anarchists, and lots of "Cuddle Puddles"..I love Athens!

Time just keeps flying by in Athens! The past week has been fairly productive, yet remained full of adventures. The highlight, as you’ve seen by my classmates’ posts, was certainly last Sunday: REM and Kaiser Chiefs, live, free, in the Olympic Stadium. I don’t think that experience will be forgotten by any of the 50,000 fans present, especially not by our group.

As for the weekend preceding this event, I won’t go into much detail, but we had two birthdays to celebrate in such little time! We made it count, though, and I then needed nearly a week of recuperation.

Classes began Monday and we were a hot mess. I spent my afternoons meandering, working on The 420 Project. This project has turned out to be a fun idea; by having a purpose to walk around, we accomplish a goal, while exploring new areas and finding interesting places. This is how Dom found her beloved vegan store!

I also stumbled across the metro protest on Wednesday. Protestors carried a huge Greek flag, which was followed by a parade of hundreds of supporters, yelling through megaphones. I wish I knew what they were saying; I need to learn more Greek.

One afternoon, Fancy guided a few of us to a square that Ionna had showed her. Apparently, Anarchists congregate in this area. When we arrived, we found the square was currently displaying an artistic installation. Hanging from hemp rope were arrangements of photos of trash and destruction in Athens. Unfortunately, I couldn’t read the captions, but the purpose was clear: to raise awareness of the environmental and social problems present in this city. Hanging from the trees within the square were black trash bags. The photo that moved me the most was a shot of a box of dirty syringes. Another photo depicted the box dumped out on the red carpet. This exhibit gave me a new perspective on Athens.

Next, we noticed a beautiful shop, with dozens of fairies adorning the inside of the window. The bright colors and name, Strawberry, quickly drew us in. Before we got much of a chance to look around, the owner popped out of the back room. She instantly began talking to us as if we were old friends. Intrigued, we stayed and chatted with her. She told us a little of the country’s history, as well as her history, and then she shared some wisdom; “you can tell by someone’s eyes and lips if they have a kind soul.” Her eyes twinkled as she spoke and I felt suddenly connected to her. She said she knew were good people and hoped to see us soon. We left, promising to come back and pondering the humor and wisdom of this woman, Maria.

The following day, a brilliant vision came to Dom and I. To utilize the space in our room and our plethora of tapestries and craft supplies, we built a tent. More like a cave, though, where we now sleep, along with Fancy. It’s beautiful! It not only allows privacy and creates a chill ambience, it allowed us to build a connecting beauty station and changing area. We are quite the architects.

Why Are We All Here?


Why Are We All Here? (Meaning of life stuff)

Possibly a question only answerable with a myth. However, everyone on this trip probably had different reasons for wanting to come to Greece. My personal reasons were to experience the Greek culture and try to learn as much of the language as I can. In trying to learn the language I listened to lessons on CD then during that I made myself learn the Greek alphabet, which is quite different from the English one. I got a Greek dictionary before I left to help me out as well. All these things helped but actually being here where Greek is sometimes the only language people can speak to you makes things different and can be intimidating and made me realize that I wish I knew more. Myself and Misty were big on trying to learn the language so we asked our Greek teacher of Athens though the Ages to help us out with the language. So far we have only had one time where we have met but we plan on keeping it up as soon as she gets back from her trip. She is very helpful and able to teach us things that CDS and dictionaries cannot help us with.
The other thing that I had mentioned was experiencing the culture. This is big for me because my personal area of study is anthropology. This culture has much to offer in many ways. One of the ways is the food. Greece is big on their food from, gyros, spanakopita, saganaki (fried feta), baked feta, cheese pies, to tons of other delicious things, some of which I still have yet to try. Their dairy products here are a lot richer than they are in America. A lot of their culture is around food and people gather around tavernas or other types of restaurants for conversation and good food. Something else that I noticed that has nothing to do with food is the way they make their buildings. In America they are made mainly out of wood but here, as I look around at things being built, they are made of a concrete looking material. Recently, I have been making more Greek friends who help me to experience the culture even more which I am very happy about.


This past week I have finally found myself calming down. I believe my body needed a good healthy rest. I didn’t think that it was possible for everyone to get a cold without it actually being cold outside. It is just becoming sweatshirt weather, although it is still possible to be content outside in a t-shirt or even tank-top if the suns out. But, from what I hear about the colds going around at home – us in Greece were suffering from the same symptoms! Weird!

For the past week we have all been utilizing the toilet paper, and filling up those trash barrels with these darn runny noses. But slowly, I think the general consensus is that we are all recovering. During our collective sickness period we found some ways to entertain ourselves. Moves have been shared, watched, and re-watched. The website surfthechannel.com has also been appreciated to its fullest. Except when we watch too many hours of it and we get kicked off for a while. Or when it stops just before the epic end of a movie, for example, the Prince of Egypt.

On a more personal note: Leanne and I rearranged our rooms, again. We have decided to sacrifice our collective tapestries as well as extra sheets, for a good cause. We made a massive tent! Our supplies included many, many safety pins, close pins, and hemp. Throughout the days we have also edited and fixed certain sections to make the tent the best ever! We even have three mattresses to pad our behinds/for sleeping arrangements. I will rely on Leanne’s blogging skills to post pictures of our wonderful room contraption.

Meandering with a New Greek Friend

Ashley and I decided on Saturday to hop on the metro and then the team bus with the HAU soccer team, and ride with the players to watch their match in the suburbs of Athens.  The game was exciting though it didn’t end in the most desired fashion.  (Also, Ashley and I were subjected to the coolest weather that we have felt yet in Greece).

            Over the course of the ride home, then dinner, and finally the after-party we were able to socialize with some of the players and actually make friends with a couple of them.  Costas and Tony are there names.

            On Sunday morning Tony got a hold of Ron and I and we got together to hang out.  We went out for coffee, which takes about three hours at a Greek coffee shop.  Then we walked around chatting and moving in and out of the market.  Once we got hungry we stopped for souvlaki and a soda.  We continued on our walk talking about Tony’s history class and the different perspectives that he gets learning about things from Greece’s perspective until we stumbled into the student district in the city, Psiri.  Here we went to a little bar and ordered up the best cough remedy I have ever had.  I have been sick and so was Tony so he introduced me to this Greek remedy called rakomena.  This is a heated mixture of Cretan raki and honey.  Raki is like Cretan moonshine, and the warm mixture of it with honey did wonders for my cold.

            From here we continued walking outside listening to the array of Greek musicians inside of restaurants and on the streets until it was late and we were all tired.

            Six hours from the time I walked out the door I began the walk back to my apartment wondering, “what did I do with my day?”  After a few moments of thought I came to the realization that I was simply meandering all day.  I was walking around, like so many Greek students do, aimlessly looking for conversation and a good time.  I realized at this moment that I was one step closer to achieving one of my ultimate goals in Greece, which is to embrace myself in the culture of a Greek student and not simply be an American student who happens to be doing his studies in Greece. 

            On this trip I have come to realize that I am not a tourist, but rather a temporary resident of Athens.  Because of this I feel that meeting other Greeks my age and learning about them and their culture is essential when acquiring a well-rounded set of knowledge and experiences on this semester abroad. 

Grecian Revelations

I can’t lie we are a group of thirteen young adults and don’t like to be cooped up in an apartment all day. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that we like to go out explore, have dinner and go dancing. During these adventures we’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of people around Athens, unfortunately we havent met very many people our age. However this past weekend we had the opportunity to mingle with a few students who attend HAU with us. Saturday morning Shane and I took the metro, met up with the HAU soccer team and rode with them to their sixth game of the season. The team put out a lot of effort and ended the game with a tie but we had a lot of fun cheering and getting to know them. Afterwards we had the opportunity to meet more of the students from HAU at a kick off party that the school had arranged at a night club. I loved meeting new people but there is something that was said to me that is still lingering in my head. While on the bus to the game Shane and I were talking to the student activities coordinator and he asked us what our favorite and least favorite parts of being in Greece were…both of us just looked at him and were quite speechless, that is until i had this thought....

There are many things in Greece that I can honestly say I love, and I am continuing to fall in love with Athens every day…but to point out one particular thing, that seems almost inconceivable. I love that there is always a kiosk with everything I could ever need within walking distance of everywhere I go, being able to pop into a museum whenever I want, and of course there is all the shopping I could ever dream of in monastiraki... of the few things I hate… well I don’t hate. I strongly dislike almost being hit by motorcycles on sidewalks, and I miss real peanut butter, I also agree with Myste’s last post about the whole fitted sheets fiasco…

In all I think that we had such a hard time thinking about our favorite parts of Greece because to me, this trip isn’t about any particular moment, it’s really an experience that will affect the way I look at everything. I am starting to appreciate things a little more each day and I’m also finding things out about myself that I never knew I could handle. There are a lot of things I’ll miss when I come back to the U.S. and I’ll have a lot of individual memories but I don’t think there will be any favorites.


We've been in Athens a little over a month now. Despite the amazing experiences we've been having, with the awesome food, and the touching of celebrities, and volcano climbing, I have begun to feel some of the first pangs of homesickness. I have put together a comparative list of things that I especially miss from the good ol' US of A.

1. Dunkin Donuts. With the appeal of Gloria Jean's long gone for some of us, even a Kono-man double espresso complete with a free pastry cannot always quell the need for a medium iced regular, at a price that never breaks the bank.
2. Fitted Sheets. This has been an issue for me for sometime now. Waking up with my sheets wrapped around my body like a cotton cocoon and the scratchy mattress under me has been infinitely frustrating. Until yesterday I was under the impression that fitted sheets were simply a commodity that was completely unavailable here in Greece. Little did I know we were just being held out on. The boy's apartment is furnished with lovely sheeting of the fitted variety. Big fight.
3. Toilets that flush. Every time. No matter what is thrown in there. Having finally gotten used to reading signs at every public water closet saying Please no paper in toilet, when arriving back to the US, it's going to be lovely to not be concerned if I want to throw an entire newspaper in there if I feel the need to.
4. Not paying for bread and water at a restaurant. Although the bread here in Greece tastes as though the dough was rolled by Zeus himself, it will be a nice change of pace to eat as much bread as my little heart desires without worrying about what the damage to the final bill will be.
5. My dog. Despite the fact that Athens is home to plenty of stray pups, Reagan is one of a kind. Let me know when you find a dog here in Greece that does as beautiful a rendition of the Batman theme song as my Reagan does and I will give you a Euro.

Ok, I guess five little things that I miss about home isn't awful. In fact, if you ship me some Dunkins, fitted sheets, and my dog, I'll somehow manage with the toilets and bread and maybe I won't ever have to go home. They certainly know how to make an espresso here in Athens anyway.

A Home Away From Home

As I sit in my room trying to think about what I should write about for my blog I hear sirens going off outside my window and people laying on their horns every so often. It is then when I realized that these noises are something I have grown so used to in the past couple of weeks that it just boggles my mind. I am from a small town in Connecticut where my back yard consists of cows, alpacas, and chickens. The only sounds that I have grown accustomed to are the ones that come from those animals as well as the calming sound of crickets in the evening.

With this thought, I am surprised that I have gotten so used to everything so quickly, and that's when I realize that this place feels a little bit like a home away from home.
The things that used to scare me when I came to this city are now things I barely even notice. The street bike flying past me as I walk on the sidewalk, the cars going through streets that are one way streets only, and the people cursing and screaming at each other in Greek if one driver did something the other driver did not approve of. Even the riots, people shouting on the loud speakers in a language I only know so much of, and the occasional army groups walking just outside our apartment with machine guns dangling from their arms.

I find it incredible that I have lived here for only a few weeks and that inner feeling of being a tourist has been replaced with being a resident here in Athens. I know I am not Greek nor do I speak the language, but being out of my comfort zone I have found ways in order to survive here. How to handle myself as I am finding it difficult to communicate with the girl who makes my coffee--stay calm, don't get flustered or angry, and take it one step at a time. I have grown confident enough to be able to go up to a stranger and ask him or her for help if needed or to walk around this intimidating city by myself. My sense of direction has gotten better, I now know how to make it home on my own if I ever got lost. As for someone like myself who is a picky eater, I have found myself enjoying the new dishes that the Greeks have perfected and forcing myself to experience new and different things.

I have accepted the culture that is different from my own and have found myself growing more fond of it each and every day.
When starting on this trip there were so many things I had mentally prepared myself for; jet lag, culture shock, getting used to the new people that are on the trip with me, being open-minded to new things. The one thing I did not prepare myself for was feeling like I was home. That comfort feeling you get when you have been away for a few days and when you walk into the door of your home you feel calm and relaxed. The apartment on Sina Street and the people in it have made me feel that way. I could not have asked for a better situation or for better people to experience this with me.



Hello from Greece!

We spent our first weekend, in what seems like a long time, here in Athens! We celebrated the 20th Birthday of Caitie and the 22nd Birthday of Ron! I think its safe to say that we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

On Sunday we were lucky enough to go to a FREE concert in the Olympic Stadium. Thousands of people showed up, to watch Kaiser Chiefs and R.E.M. It was absolutely amazing. A few of us were even lucky enough to squeeze out front for a perfect view!

Time is definitely flying by here. I feel like I have known all of the people in the group forever. We are definitely all comfortable with each other. I am sure that slowly we are all becoming aware of each others flaws. Besides that, I am surprised that such a weird group of people get along so well! We are all so different!! Amazing!!

Today Leanne and I discovered something exciting. Leanne had a brilliant idea of taking pictures of the million “420” graffiti everywhere, and then turning it into an art project. So, we have been wandering aimlessly again, yet this time with some sort of a purpose! To find, and take pictures of all of the 420’s in sight! We have some motivation to explore again!

And, today on our explorations we were rewarded greatly! Because, we found a Natural Foods store. Complete with VEGGY BURGERS AND OTHER TOFU PRODUCTS!

A vegetarian in Greece’s heaven! Hallelujah!!!
I have been in Athens for a little over a month now, and I still haven't touched Michael Stipe. Aside from coming into physical contact with major celebrities, I have at least one other goal. I'm trying to learn as much Greek as possible. My major linguistic learning centers have been eateries: bakeries and, of course, Stavros'. Almost everyone here speaks a little English, enough to order a Greek salad or an Amstel, but that does not make for a good learning environment. Typically my cover is blown: I am American. Maybe it's the unkempt hair or the lackadaisical manner of dress or the pink sunglasses, but I usually end up with a "yes?" or a "hello." The absolute worst is when I still try to throw some Greek at them and get English back, but this phenomenon seems restricted to major tourist centers, where it is simply quicker and easier not to bother. 

If I can't get my point across, or if I'm asked an unfamiliar question, a catalavenate aglika (do you understand English?) is met with a "yes," and the matter is resolved. A couple of days ago, at a new-found bakery in the back of our neighborhood, Pangrati, my abilities were put to the test as my catalavenate... was met with a then catalaveno---I do not understand English. This was the first such response I had gotten: you don't understand English? Excellent! (This is generally a good sign) But how am I supposed to figure out what is inside that delicious looking pastry? So I mumble and point and shrug my shoulders. 

"Patata." (Educated guess: potato)

Okay, but in any food order there is one crucial question about which Ron and Dom are both familiar: 

Ohi kreas? I ask. (No meat?)

Ohi, I hear, followed by words too fast to catch and some smiles. I think this woman is wondering why I wanted to try English to begin with. I hear cala which means good or well. I'll just pretend she said I speak Greek well. I pay, proudly, and walk off with my delicious (thavmasio) potato (patata) pie (pita). 

Oh, and the most important Greek phrase I have learned so far: ena duplio espresso sketo,  parakalo (one double espresso no sugar, please).


I still can’t believe I’m in Greece. I can’t believe I’m in Greece at a free R.E.M concert. I can’t believe I’m in Greece, at an R.E.M concert, and in the front row. These thoughts repeatedly crossed my mind after I had made my way through the sea of people, dodged many elbows, and been pushed and pulled through the crowd until I was as far forward as I was going to get without being on the other side of the barricade myself. This prime location didn’t come without making some sacrifices, which meant I would subject myself to being squashed against other humans for the next hour and a half while we all joined together to sing and groove along with Michal Stipe.

Although this concert was the highlight of my weekend, two other kids from our group had reasons for this being a great weekend in Athens. On Thursday we celebrated Caitie’s 20th birthday, and the very next day we celebrated Ron’s 22nd. We took Caitie out for a night of fun and dancing at some local bars and clubs and the next night Ron’s birthday was celebrated at one of Athens’s classiest establishments. I have to admit I’m surprised we all made it to class this morning considering the toll this weekend must have taken on everyone’s liver and ability to function off of very little sleep. However, these are small prices to pay when the memories and fun to be had far exceeded this.

As R.E.M took their final bows and I made my way back through the crowd which I had hours earlier fought my way through, I felt reluctant to leave but immensely satisfied with the show that they performed. I never would have guessed that I would see one of my favorite groups up close in a foreign country. The night came to a close as a group of us made our way to our favorite taverna in order to rest our feet and satiate our hunger. Although it was a Sunday night and well after midnight, we knew we could count on Stavros to be open and greet us with the usual smiles and whatever delicious food was still left. As I looked around the table I noticed everyone’s tired faces and unusual lack of energy, and I knew this was the result of a great weekend.

Oh, and did I mention I got to touch Michael Stipe?

Birthday Festivities!

Birthday Gellato!!

This was one of the most entertaining weekends I have had here in Athens since we first moved in on Sina Street. Without any effort on my part to make sure that I had a great birthday weekend, everyone came together and made it absolutely incredible. The girls on Sina Street surprised me at exactly midnight of when my birthday began on October 2nd, with a gelato and a candle, singing me happy birthday! From that moment onward I knew this weekend was going to be great!

A group of us went searching for a tattoo place just to get estimates on certain ideas we had for what we wanted. When we got to the House of Tattoos a man greeted us with a thick Greek accent, eager to see what we had for ideas. The man was so excited and told me that he had only given one other American a tattoo. The picture I showed him was of the Greek Key meaning eternal life. The man began to say that he was so happy to see that I had wanted a tattoo of that because the key is a symbol of the Greek culture and what they live by and the fact that I, who am not Greek, come into their culture and accept what they stand by enough to get that symbol on my body forever.

Meanwhile at home the girls were scurrying around the house decorating the place with balloons and happy birthday signs all over the place. I walk into the apartment and everyone starts to yell surprise and put on the classic “It’s your birthday” by 50 cent. Then we all got ready for the evening to come.

Around 7pm everyone from the other apartment came over where we all enjoyed a chocolate covered vanilla cake with little chocolate pieces mixed into the vanilla. After cake was done we went out to one of my favorite pubs called James Joyce which is an Irish pub filled with loud music and a comfortable atmosphere. After James Joyce we all went dancing for a few hours and then finally came home where I unfortunately popped my knee and ended the night in tears. Despite the knee popping, which everyone in the house knew exactly what to do in order to help me out..props to the Sina girls, I had one of the funnest birthdays so far.

The weekend consisted or birthday celebrations for myself and Ron, and ended with an amazing night in the Olympic Stadium where MTV held its premier of MTV Greece by having a concert with R.E.M. for free. The concert was filled with thousands of people jumping, pushing, yelling, and singing all throughout the night. Thanks to everyone for making this weekend something I will never forget!!

1896 Stadium Gone 2007

If you were to walk out of the front door of our apartment building and take a left, walk about three blocks down and then look to your left you would see the Panathenaic Stadium.  This stadium is incredible for a number of reasons.  It was home to the 1896 summer Olympic games, and before that Panathenaic Games which were ancient games that were held in Athens.  Over the course of its existence the stadium has undergone numerous renovations, and is currently one of the only stadiums on the globe composed entirely of white marble.

            Walking by this stadium every day while taking in its beauty and meaning should be enough, but last night it became even more incredible.  R.E.M., The Kaiser Chiefs, and two other Greek bands but on a free show inside.  I have never been inside of it so having the first time be for an R.E.M. show was really awesome.  This event was the conclusion of R.E.M.’s Athens, Georgia. To Athens, Greece tour and celebrated the opening day of MTV, GR (MTV Greece). 

            The show was incredible as all four bands rocked out in front of a full stadium.  R.E.M. was the anchor band playing a set-list that lasted for over an hour and a half.  This was an incredible ending to a spectacular weekend back in Athens.

What a weekend!

Birthday Parties and Excellent Music
This past weekend was probably one of the best and craziest weekends I have ever had. First off, it was both my birthday and Caitie’s. Hers was on Thursday and mine was on Friday, so Thursday night we went the Irish Pub, The James Joyce. It was great time and we met a bunch of cool people there and had a few pints. The next day it was my turn and the party just did not stop until about 5am when we got back. I just want to thank everyone for making it a fun time on my birthday. It was fun to see everyone getting all dressed up for both of the birthdays.
Saturday was more of a relaxing day until about 8pm when it was decided to have a small get together at my apartment for some cards and music. Even with all the people around and cards and music it was still a relaxing night compared to the two nights prior. That night ended around 3am and we went to bed with the anticipation for the next day.
The morning came and Shane, Ry, and I planned to make a big breakfast for those who were interested. Ry made the eggs to order with the help of Myste. Shane made southern gravy that went with some bread. And I made a load of home fries. It was the best breakfast I have had while in Greece, mainly because they are not that big on breakfast here. After we ate all the food, a few of us just passed out for a good hour or so.
When we woke up we got ready for the grand finale of such an amazing weekend. REM and the Kaiser Chiefs were putting on a free show at the Olympic Stadium, which is a quarter of a mile down the road from my apartment. It was an amazing show and let me just say, you have not seen anything until you see the Kaiser Chiefs play “I predict a riot” live while the singer climbs up the poll of the stage. Also, REM is amazing and rocking out to them in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece is a hard thing to match. Fabulous weekend, and thanks to all that made it that way.