We began our day with the unsettling news that all forms of public transportation in Athens was on strike. Some of us had been wondering when the bus drivers would get on board with the strike because of how packed their buses were with lack of metro in the city. We ended up hailing cabs to the Benoki Museum, a private collection of ancient and Byzantine art. The ride down was exciting, with our cab drivers taking side streets and pedestrian walkways to avoid traffic.
When we made it safely there we learned a little about Alexander the Great with a backdrop of Hellenistic jewelry to fuel our imaginations. In the museum we also saw some rare tapestries that survived the tests of time. Greek traditional dress, based on Eastern influences and ornate in design was displayed to our awe. The museum had a lot of Christian idols, particularly the Virgin Mary and her son.
We then climbed up the 6400 steps to the summit of Mount Lakavitos, the highest peak in Athens. There we learned about the current anarchist movement, which has grown in response to rise of the Golden Dawn, which is the extreme right party in Greece. The street art throughout Athens reflects support for the anarchist movement and the arrest of people residing in Villa Amalias in December 2012. 10,000 people marched on the courthouse as well.
After a delicious lunch (which included Greek frozen yogurt- YUM!), we had an appointment with the archives of the American College. In Greece in order to excavate any sites, a country must set up a university to act as liaison with the National Archaeological Service. We got to see photographs of different sites by photographers from different points in time, which allowed us to compare how sites changed over time. We also saw original manuscripts of excavation journals and annotations, and the English adaptation for the movie “Z.”
We look forward to a late diner tonight (although 9 is just the beginning of the night for the Greeks) with live music to enjoy.
– Melissa and Katie