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I’m sure you thought you had the last word on Bouboulina–but NOOOOOOOO. Once more the indomitable David E. Corona steps up to the plate–errrr stove–and adds significantly to the lore of Bouboulina. Her is David’s recipe for Bouboulina pasta and sauce:

The Story of Bouboulini

(About which it cannot be said: “We’re not making this up!”)

 

By David E. Corona

 Alas, at this moment I am unable to upload the photo of

Pavel Strogonov’s Historic First Batch of Bouboulini Drying on his Istanbul Kitchen Table/

Photo courtesy of the Archives of the Imperial Russian Embassy–Istanbul

 

            Count Pavel Strogonov first met Laskarina Bouboulina in 1816 while negotiating on her behalf with the Turkish government.  He quickly became a friend and admirer of the Greek captain and freedom-fighter.  He is credited with the invention of Bouboulini pasta, creating it to honor her revolutionary spirit and dynamic leadership.  He intended it to be an accompaniment to his eponymous beef dish.  He and his chef always maintained that the unusual shape of Bouboulini was meant to reflect the Greek letter beta (β,) the first letter of her name. 

            While granting them that assertion, there are those who steadfastly countered that in fact the pasta shape was greatly similar to Bouboulina’s impressive décolletage, most especially on days when the wind was up and the salt spray turned her captain’s blouse into a translucent form-fitting outfit which did little to conceal the fact that her fetching form was, indeed, quite fitting.         

            When Bouboulini was first served at the Russian Orthodox Seminary it created quite a commotion of lascivious elbowings, giggles, winks and nods among the seminarians.  Scandalized, the Patriarchs and other Church Fathers took quick action.  Strogonov and his chef were dragged before the Russian Inquisition, where their protestations of innocence fell on unsympathetic ears.  Bouboulini was quickly banned by the Russian church as an extreme occasion of sin, both venial and mortal. Henceforth flat noodles were to be served with Beef Strogonov, as a reminder of peasants and villagers flattened under the hooves of Cossack horses.

Following the October Revolution the Supreme Soviet extended the ban on Bouboulini, considering it to be an example of the decadence and immorality of the dreaded West.  The flat noodles served with Beef Strogonov were now a warning to rebellious comrades to adhere to the party line, lest they be flattened themselves under the treads of Red Army tanks.

            Greek grandmothers on the island of Spetses remembered the shape however, and continued to fashion and cook Bouboulini.  They served it with a rich, red, vibrant tomato sauce, as a tribute to the dash, color and obvious sauciness of Captain Bouboulina herself.  It is their recipe which has survived to the present day.

No–I am not making this up. This will clarify the statue of a woman looking out to sea on the island of Spetses and also confirm the importance of pirates in Greece. Arrrrrrgos!!

Here’s the Corona explanation:

BouboulinaLaskarina_Bouboulina

By David E. Corona

  

                Laskarina Bouboulina was born May 11, 1771 in Constantinople.  She was the child of the sea Captian Stavrianos Pinotsis and his wife Skevo.  Her father was imprisoned by the Turks because he had played a part in the failed Orlof revolution of 1769-1770.  So apparently dislike of the Ottomans was woven into her DNA at conception. 

                Shortly after her birth, her father died on a Turkish prison.  Her mother moved back from Turkey to the island of Hydra.  In 1775 Skevo married Dimitrios Lazarou-Orlof.  The family relocated to the island of Spetses and grew considerably larger.  Bouboulina would eventually have eight half-siblings. 

                Laskarina would marry twice herself.  Her first husband was Dimitrios Yiannouzas, her second was Dimitrios Bouboulis.  (Apparently Bouboulina wouldn’t touch a Willie or a Sam.)  He was killed in a battle against Algerian pirates in 1811.

                On Dimitrios’ death Laskarina took over his shipping and trading business.  Using her own fortune she built a fleet of four ships, including one warship, the Agamemnon.  It became her flagship.

                In 1816 the Turks attempted to confiscate her property because of her husband’s revolutionary activities.  While the Turks had hoped to imprison her and take her property, at the intercession of the Russian Ambassador, Count Pavel Strogonov, she was merely exiled to the Crimea.  There she befriended the mother of the Turkish ruler, Mahmed II.  Mahmed’s mother convinced her son to leave Bouboulina and her property alone.  She returned to Spetses after three months in exile.

                Bouboulina was the only female member of the Filiki Etaireia, and underground group fostering revolution against and independence from the Turks.  She menaced Turkish shipping and was quite the swashbuckler.  Legend has it that she took lovers from among Turkish prisoners at swordpoint.  She used her fleet of ships to acquire guns and ammunition and transport them secretly to Spetses.  Her ship, Agamamnon, violated Turkish size and armament restrictions, but by bribery Bouboulina was able to keep it on operation.

                On March 13, 1821, Bauboulina raised her own Greek flag on her flagship and the now seven other ships in her command.  On April 3 Spetses revolted and her little fleet joined in a blockade of the Turkish outpost at Nauplion.  The Palamidi was taken on Nov. 13, 1833.  Bouboulina later took part in the blockades and captures of Monimvasa and Pylos.  Her son Yiannis Yiannouzas was killed at Argos.

                She fought successfully at Tripolis in September 1821, and there met the Gen. Theodoros Kolokotronis.  Her daughter Eleni would marry his son Panos.  During the slaughter of the Turkish garrison at Tripolis, Bouboulina saved the female members of the Turkish party—a gesture of repayment to the mother of Mahmed II.

                Following independence the Greeks became embroiled in their own civil war in 1824.  As an in-law of the Kolokotronis family Bouboulina was placed under arrest and her son-in-law killed.  She was exiled to Spetses, despite having expended her entire fortune in the fight for Greece against the Turks.

                Bouboulina was shot by an unknown assailant during a feud with Christodoulos Koutsis, her son Georgios’ father-in-law. 

                Bouboulina was posthumously awarded an Admiralty in the Russian Navy, and unheard of achievement for a woman of her era.  Her ship, the Agamemnon, was renamed the Spetses and became the flagship of the Greek fleet.  It was burned at Poros during the next Greek Civil War in 1831.  Bouboulina’s descendants still live on Spetses in her mansion there, now the Bouboulina Museum.  A statue of her now stands at the Spetses harbor, still scouring the seas for more Turks to torment and take.

We absolutely made the most of our final day in Athens. We started by taking the subway to Syntagma Square to see the fancy Sunday-go-to-meetin’ changing of the guard.

Changing of the Guard, Syntagma Square

Changing of the Guard, Syntagma SquareFirst the police came out and moved us all to one side of the square, and next you could hear the drummers in the band, and then a dog appeared leading the band and the guard down the street and into the square before the tomb of the unknown warrior. It was quite the pageant, and when they were all done, the dog led them back up the street to their barracks. I will post a shot video clip once we are home and I can see how it is done. At noon, we hopped on the subway and rode to the port of Piraeus to see the bronzes in their museum. I hope you can wait until Monday to see the pictures of the museum bronzes since it is 1:11 and I need to be coherent for my flight home. Just a teaser, this evening we went out for a Greek music and dance cabaret . . . and people you know will be pictured on the stage. As a final gesture of theatricality, the several of the more inventive girls on the trip donned hotel sheet greek himations and did a thoroughly convincing impersonation of Athena, Artemis, Demeter, and Aphrodite. More photos soon. For now, here's just one of our evening entertainment--Greek dancers

You know, I really shouldn’t work on a blog in the middle of the night. It makes for waaaaaay too many user errors–but the reality has been that those late hours have been the only ones that we haven’t filled with activities. So, please forgive the typing in a caption istead of on the blog. Who knows how that happened? Here are the missing pictures from “the last day in Greece.” I start out with Liz providing an anchor for the group at the Museum at Piraeus. Note the knee bandage. Ouch!! Next are random pictures from our celebratory meal with Bazuki (sp?) musicians, traditional Greek dancers, a vocalist, and a belly dancer . . . which I didn’t realize was a greek thing, but I’m trying to stay open to that as “art.” These pictures end with the grand finale at the hotel where the creativity of JTCC students spilled over into a late night symposium with Greek chiton and himation. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the group after it was joined by Elliott for sure and likely Collins and Jordan.
Here are the pictures, including a few in the lobby of the hotel; my sincere apologies for that grey haired lady whose head keeps blocking the pictures:
Lizzard toughing it out at the Archaeological Museum in Piraeus

Lizzard toughing it out at the Archaeological Museum in Piraeus

Lobby, Hotel Ionis Liz, Natalie, and Ginny

Lobby, Hotel Ionis Liz, Natalie, and Ginny

Ian and Amanda, predictably adorable

Ian and Amanda, predictably adorable

Pam, Collins, Liz, Katie B., and Elliott at Taverna Kalokerinos

Pam, Collins, Liz, Katie B., and Elliott at Taverna Kalokerinos

Tammy and Collins

Tammy and Collins

Katie and the BFG looking almost Greek!

Katie and the BFG looking almost Greek!

Kathryn, Carol, Ian, Amanda, and Catie J.

Kathryn, Carol, Ian, Amanda, and Catie J.

Ian, Amanda taking pictures, and Ginny and David Head in background

Ian, Amanda taking pictures, and Ginny and David Head in background

Yours truly having fun with gigantic Coca Cola!!

Yours truly having fun with gigantic Coca Cola!!

Catie and Lynn anticipating the start of the entertainment

Catie and Lynn anticipating the start of the entertainment

Jordan, Jenn, and Natalie--Opa!

Jordan, Jenn, and Natalie--Opa!

Martha, Kathy, and Mickie dissecting the mystery meat

Martha, Kathy, and Mickie dissecting the mystery meat

Kathryn, Carol, and Lisa featured in the Coca Cola ad. Royalties?

Kathryn, Carol, and Lisa featured in the Coca Cola ad. Royalties?

Amanda and Catie, the "Misses Congenialities"

Amanda and Catie, the "Misses Congenialities"

The Bazuki Band--very serious dudes

The Bazuki Band--very serious dudes

I don't know how this happened, but I owe my life to the BFG. Memo: Don't sit right in front of the stage in any cabaret situation.

I don't know how this happened, but I owe my life to the BFG. Memo: Don't sit right in front of the stage in any cabaret situation.

Handsome young Greek men dancing skillfully

Handsome young Greek men dancing skillfully

Greek ladies join the dance show

Greek ladies join the dance show

Elliot, Collins, and Ian are recruited by the belly dancer

Elliot, Collins, and Ian are recruited by the belly dancer

The BFG gets the footwork right! Opa!

The BFG gets the footwork right! Opa!

Drums, dancers, and men in skirts!!

Drums, dancers, and men in skirts!!

Folk dances

Folk dances

Catie and Natalie--natural performers!

Catie and Natalie--natural performers!

Pam and Katie B. at the beginning of the Zorba song

Pam and Katie B. at the beginning of the Zorba song

Katie B. channels Zorba!

Katie B. channels Zorba!

At the finale, the Greek dances of passion and love!!

At the finale, the Greek dances of passion and love!!

An assemby of the goddesses

An assemby of the goddesses

Happy 4th of July!!

We have been to the National Archaeological Museum–and now, by golly, it sounds like thunder and we may actually see rain in Athens. I will confirm or deny that later.

Hey–what’s up with Sarah Palin?

More later. It’s lunch time.

Yes, it certainly DID rain in Athens, forcing Corona and me to dash into a cafe in sight of the Hephaistion for lunch. We enjoyed the company of a nearby Australian couple who had been traveling in Europe for two months and were on their way to Egypt. In my mind, those Aussies have the right priorities. The woman was looking forward to being–perhaps–“surplussed” on her return home and she reckoned they could just use the “buy out” to travel to Africa. I told her about Mole National Park in Ghana but they were set on South Africa and a $3000 safari instead of my 75 cent one. A refreshing and distictively un-American perspective, huh?

OK. Back on task. Here’s the team on the steps of the National Archaeological Museum looking tan and swell. If anyone is wondering where Mickie Jones is, she is behind the camera.IMG_0484

Below, I will put some random wondrous objets d’art that your world travelers will be able to discuss intelligently upon their return home. Maybe give them a day to sleep off the flight home . . .
 
Zeus Artemesion

Zeus Artemesion

Horse and Jockey

Horse and Jockey

Man from Delos

Man from Delos

He’s looking right at you, isn’t he??
OK. These next photos came from Lisa Barber last night right before all the electricity on her floor went out. Now I’m not saying that Lisa had anything to do with that, but it does seem an awfully strange coincidence. I’m not sure what each one is, so I will just load it up and then try to tell who/what each one is. Here goes.
Dr. Head on an olive hunt in the Plaka

Dr. Head on an olive hunt in the Plaka

Hmmm.
This is Sabbas souvlaki restaurant in the Plaka and I think almost everyone is accounted for here–Elliott, Ginny, Pam, Liz, Catie, Corona, me, Natalie, Katie B., and Collins and Jordan hiding from the camera. Don’t worry, Amanda and Ian ate too and so did Carol, Jenn and the “North Carolina Ladies.” 

Jenn on the approach to Delphi

Jenn on the approach to Delphi

Jenn is filling her water bottle at the Castalian spring –well, right above it since the spring itself was cordoned off. I sincerely suspect that OSHHA has made inroads in Greece. So, the deal is that anyone who wanted to consult the oracle had to wash his hair–or if he had done something really bad that required cleansing from “blood pollution,” he had to bathe everything in the spring–and pay a bunch of tribute money–and wait his turn.
Carol and part of Apollo

Carol and part of Apollo

So, I’m not sure what Carol is up to here but Lisa sent me this photo to post and I’m doing it. Maybe all concerned parties will be able to work that out when she is safely back in Maryland.
Below right is Elliott doing something outdoorsy. He has the nicknmae BFG
for Big Friendly Giant. It fits. As you can see, he is the model of fitness for
the rest of us and keeps thoroughly hydrated and smiling.DSC01232
OK–let’s see what else is in the Lisa selection of photographs . . .
As you might imagine, I have no idea how to put these photos in the blog so they look journalistic.
Dinner at Mouragio on the first night at Paralio Astros

Dinner at Mouragio on the first night at Paralio Astros

Here we have the happy group on the first night in Paralio Astros. We are all tired from the long trip from Olympia via the Temple of Apollo Maleatas at Bassae–which is absolutely on the top of Greece.  There are the Davids, Lynn, Kathy, Kathryn, somebody litle and hidden, Liz, Micie, Martha, Carol, Katie B., the BFG, Tammy and no doubt everyone else back there somewhere amongst the Greek salads.
To the right are Katie and Amanda on the beach at Paralio Astros. Did
Beach at Paralio Astros

Beach at Paralio Astros

I mention that we only have a fifty yard stroll out of our hotel door before we reach the water. In the past five years, the beachfront has grown up a great deal with restaurants and straw umbrellas and lounge chairs and Greek boys who serve cold drinks with umbrellas and ice cream in them. Quite an improvement and one that agreed with 100% of us.
Miuckie and I are working hard on the blog!!

Miuckie and I are working hard on the blog!!

Fortunately, there is a safe place for me to work where I can “supervise” the academic endeavors of the younger students without getting a sunburn. Really, this has been such a tough teaching assignment. Note the glare of the water on my computer and the bunch of limonata that I must consume to keep up my blood sugar.
Here are Katie and Ian thinking about how dark the steps down into the sacred spring at Mycenae are. Yikes!!
Katie and Ian

Katie and Ian

LYNN EXHIBITING SANGUINITY

LYNN EXHIBITING SANGUINITY

Here is one of the famous North Carolina ladies at Epidauros in the theater.
And finally, for all of you who didn’t think it was possible for Dr. Head to run out of energy, here’s the evidence.

Dr. Head . . . he not dead
Dr. Head . . . he not dead

This photo was taken on the night we went to Hydra for the celebration of the Greek Independence Day. Leave it to Dr. Head to find a quiet, horizontal spot on the cruise ship and put it to good use. He was the rare individual who was full of pep the next day!!!!!!

Hi Homies!

We are in Athens. Thursday morning, we said goodbye to Faye, Paniotis, Elene, and George and their wonderful Hotel Crystal and headed north to the bustling, traffic-clogged, gritty and magical Athens. Along the way, we stopped to see the Corinthian CanalCorinthian Canal and shopped at the supermarket. Be ready for the olives and assorted other food items we will be bringing home. More than one person has bought a Greek cookbook and plans to continue enjoying the Greek cuisine and pace of dining that has become wonderfully familiar.

By noon, we reached at Eleusis where—mysteriously—our magic letter of introduction–for the very first time– failed to produce free admission. I recounted the abduction of Persephone by Hades and story of how the wandering and bereft Demeter was hospitably received at Eleusis. David and David introduced the few “facts” known about the Eleusinian mysteries, and then we set out to find the opening to Hades. Elliott was the only one able to enter the cleft in the earth and play Persephone before a guard in stiletto heels whistled him—and the rest of us—out.  The site of the initiation rites is HUGE-so there must have been quite a few initiates who knew this fragment from Sophocles: “Three times blest are those mortals who behold these rites (at Eleusis) before going down to the house of Hades. They alone have true life there; to the rest, everything there is misery.”  As you can see from the dearth of  photos, the remains of the site leave us with few satisfying photo ops and many questions. We checked in at the Ionis and after a two hour break in which many showered and rested, David C. took us on a shopping spree in the Plaka. Despite the charm and desperation of the shopkeepers, we were frugal shoppers focused primarily on Greek dresses for toddlers and shirts for the men. We dined in a taberna in the Plaka where—surprise!!—the owner was famous (“See my picture in the Lonely Planet Guide”) and anxious to give us free wine!!  Hoo hoo! Marlene and Wendy will be pleased to hear that my “geezer magnet” still works, though not as often or as selectively. Sigh.

Friday morning, we met early and took the subway to the new Acropolis Museum. It is, in my judgment, one of the finest museums in the world. Only the Guggenheim comes close and I believe the Brits will have to return the Elgin Marbles—or at least work out a compromise. The signage in the museum is exquisitely written; the exhibits follow the chronology of their holdings from the Bronze Age through the Hellenic period. The building has been constructed over an archaeological dig (a pretty good bet anywhere in Athens) so parts of the floor are transparent. I almost got dizzy from the sense that I was up way high and about to fall through the glass—oops—I digress. So what puts this museum in the same bucket with the Guggenheim, you ask? One reaches the top floor and faces an expansive window wall that looks directly out onto the Acropolis and the Parthenon. The exhibit itself on the top floor is a reconstruction of the four upper sections of the Parthenon, starting in the southwest (?) corner with the beginning of the Panathenaic frieze on an inner wall (as it wraps around the cella) and the metope sculptures on an outer and higher wall. When the visitor turns the corner in the Museum, s/he encounters yet another layer, the Pedimental sculptures on the western end, the metope sculptures on the wall behind, and the Panathenaic frieze on a slightly lower wall behind. It is possible to see all of the fragments in Greek possession merged with replicas of the missing marbles now in the British Museum . The “lost” parts are glaring and the reconstruction of the fragments is just exquisite. For the scholar or the casual observer, it is infinitely easy to see each part clearly—as was never possible when they were dirty and crumbling and 40 feet above your head– and to understand how they speak to each other in concert. With the return of the missing marbles, I expect a great deal of scholarship about the “narratives” in the three different sculptural elements and their relationships will occur.  

After the museum, we hopped on the bus with Paniotis for the last time and headed out to the Sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron. It was closed. We learned about the site from Natalie and David C. and were all sad not to be able to gambol in the woods like “little bears” as the girl children of wealthy
Athenians did many centuries ago. Think of it as a lengthy brownie scout outing so all the woodsy mossy-ness of the girls would be worked out before they married—at fourteen. Heaving a sigh, we wended our happy way to Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon.

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

After Sounion, we settled into a restaurant on the coast for an alledged “seafood” dinner. Just like the last trip, the “seafood” was an enormous pork chop. I had visions, and had shared them with the crew, of a swordfish steak just like the swordfish Elliott had three times in Paralio Astros. Oh well. As Kathy said, the appetizers in Greece (in this case, tsatziki, skinny tempura zucchini, saganaki, and Greek salad!!) always trump the entrée. The sunset on the Saronic Gulf

A view of the Saronic Gulf from the Temple of Poseidon

A view of the Saronic Gulf from the Temple of Poseidon

 and the good company more than compensated for the little piggy fish.

Tomorrow is our visit to the National Archaeological Museum in the morning and then shooping and some free time in Athens. I will report if there is anything notable to say. In the meantime, here are some words from Jenn and maybe someone else before I am too sleepy to continue.

“Hey there! Wanted to give a quick shout out to my fam and all my coworkers who may be reading this… not coming home so… wish me luck <3”   – – –   Jenn

Hey!  Im back in Athens safe and sound from the gypsy but the clubs are tempting haha. Talk to you soon! JB

Shrine of Aesclepios-Epidauros

Above is the Tempole of Zeus at nemea. It is being enthusiastically reconstructed and is also the site of one of the four Panhellenic games–the Nemean games.

David demonstrates the perfect acoustics at Epidauros' theater

Gee, these are random. this is a photo of the intrepid David Head singing the Oedipus Rex song (Tom Lear) from the altar stone of the theatre at Epidauros. In theory, one is able to hear words spoken (or sung) in an unamplified voice; in fact, there was a great deal of ambient noise in the theatre that day and we could not hear clearly–but in a hushed theatre, I am certain we would have heard it all. To compensate, David reprised the song on the bus home from Sounion last night.

30 June 2009 280

Here’s the group discussing the temple at Nemea.

30 June 2009 271

Here we are in the Sanctuary of Aesclepios (at Epidauros) being healed by the balmy air and good sleep.

Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae

Collins approaches the entrance to the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae.

Lion Gate Mycenae

The group heads up the paved entry ramp toward the Lion Gate at Mycenae.

30 June 2009 280

Hmmmm—more Nemean considerations.

Stadium tunnel at Nemea

Of course, we had to pass throught the Nemean vaulted passage to the stadium.

30 June 2009 226

What goes in the stadium must come back out.

Tholos at Epidauros-Aesclepion

David Corona speculates on the site at Nemea.

Mycenaean walls at Tiryns

Cyclopean walls fortifying Tiryns.

Tholos at Epidauros-Aesclepion

Tholos at Epidauros-Aesclepion

Re-Pete—

These little guys RULE the beach!

These little guys RULE the beach!

1 July 2009

Last night, we enjoyed two encore productions of the “essential” Greek tragedies. Tuesday night, David C. directed and performed in Agamemnon—including masks for the chorus and principal actors. Last night, we had scenes from the Bacchae and Medea—both featuring women behaving badly. It was entertaining and offered a clear endorsement for moderation—always the Greek way. The Davids and I met Judy and Tele Marcopoulos and went out for dinner. Tele regaled us with the story of his arranged marriage and Judy refreshed my memory of her early experiences with the “evil eye.” Many of you will see those evil eyes in the necklaces of your friends, children, and spouses. I will leave it to them to explain.

Today we went to the Acrocrinth and ancient Corinth. The acrocorinth is the fortified bastion 500 meters above Corinth and overlooking their seaport. It was notable for its Temple of Aphrodite and the 1000 priestesses of Aphrodite. Google will provide the colorful story of the duties those priestesses performed in service to the goddess of love. Tammy presented an introduction to Aphrodite and Natalie introduced Psyche. Think about this: “Love” is married to the God of the foundry, Hephaestos, but loves Ares, the god of war. Psyche, “soul,” is matched with Eros, the immature boy god of love. Tonight in our philosophy discussion, maybe we can figure out what this tells us about human nature. Sigh. Next, we went down to the site of ancient Corinth and considered how those monolithic columns on theTemple of Apollo were set in place. We remembered poor, vain, silly Glauce who thought it was swell to try on  a new dress and hat from the woman whose husband she had stolen (lesson: don’t). We walked through the site, noted the beme where St. Paul addressed the Corinthians, and explored the Roman forum built by Herod Atticus and rebuilt by Julius Caesar. After the museum—great frieze of the 12 labors of Herakles, Tammy introduced the hero Herakles. Finally, a late lunch in the town and a quiet bus back to Paralio Astros. The clouds did not keep us from the beach and I’m sure everyone is now preparing for the informal discussion of Greek philosophy—a Greek symposium that includes the womenfolk. Tonight we will all dine together and celebrate our last night in Paralio Astros. I promise to do my best to get everyone on the bus back to Athens in the morning. Almost everyone is asking if we really have to leave . . .

Below are the brightest and best thoughts of your beloved children, spouses, best pals, and coworkers about their time in Greece so far—and other random messages to you all back at home.

Our trip so far has been amazing – just when you think you’ve seen “the best thing” you see something else.    For those of you who know me, I will tell you that I have had the pleasure of seeing them place a block in the Acropolis; carefully working to rebuild columns from a yard full of carefully sorted fallen column pieces; seen ancient arches dating back to the Bronze Age and fortifications built on top of fortifications.  Fascinating stuff.  I am also pushing John Tyler to do a course in Roman civil engineering feats to be topped off with a trip to Italy to check them out – I’ll be among the first to sign up and will be urging you all to come along.  The scenery and beaches are fantastic.  The drivers are hair raising and we are having a wonderful time. –  Mickie Jones

It is hard to believe we are into the second (and, alas, last) week of this trip!  I have continued to seek the perfect red rock from the beach at Paralio Astros, and those of you who have not yet come to Greece but hope to do so on a future JTCC venture will be glad to know that my quest is not fulfilled.  If ever I find a perfect red rock, I will not have to return to Paralio Astros but, since there doesn’t seem to be one on the beach, I will have to keep coming back.  Darn!  —David Head

Moustache!  Just kidding – I’m not kidnapped, but I’m definitely staying here. I ate octopus and have even taken to such vegetation as eggplant and zucchini. I never would have guessed that that would happen! I love touring the sites and even got complimented on my Greek in Napflio (I’m amazing, I know). I miss you and love you all, and I can’t wait to see you when you make it out here for my house warming party. Xoxo – Natalie McGregor

Love it. Tall mountains, pretty beaches and awesome food. Cool people too. Can’t ask for much more! – El

Hello all! Greece is amazing…I am thoroughly enjoying every moment (except the throbbing knee pain ones, please please please someone find me a doctor’s appointment for Tuesday!!). I have been working hard on my tan and Pam declared it “ridiculous” ealant salad and stuffed grape leaves. Lots of walking, eating (especially yummy sweet bread & ice cream!!) and getting to know new people. I have seen lots and lots of really important rocks. Learning and laughing all through Greece. ~Pam (otherwise known as “Pamcakes”)

30 June 2009 180

Natalie, Catie, and Collins survey the bastion at Palamides Fortress, Nafplio.

28 June 2009

Oh nooooo-another no wireless day. Oi.  It certainly isn’t the dependable thing we are accustomed to in the US. So, I’m writing, but not blogging. Hope you liked the visual learner approach to blogging from yesterday. After some interesting negotiations with Homeric, we headed for Tolo and our evening cruise on Alkynois to Hydra and the celebration of the first strike in the Greek war of independence from the Turks. We sailed at 5 p.m. via Spetses to Hydra, arriving about 8:30. It is an island of about 1200 inhabitants—most of whom live in Hydra port. There are no vehicles (except garbage trucks) and no water except what is brought in periodically on tankers. In the harbor was a huge mock pirate ship—all black with a Turkish flag. The area around the harbor was set up with tables, a stage, a sound system, and throngs of people. We strolled up the hill in search of David’s silver shop. It had closed, but many other shops had taken its place. Around nine (we are very sophisticated, yes?) we chose a restaurant in an open square half way up the hill and were seated at a long table with a canvas awning overhead and abundant bougainvillea. David C., Mickie, Catie, Ian, Amanda, Carol, Lisa, and Kathryn were in our party; our dishes included stuffed eggplant, meatballs in red sauce, spanakopita, salads with unbelievably red, ripe, delicious tomatoes and cucumbers—umm green cucumbers, of course. Do you have any ripe tomatoes yet in Virginia; we’re not coming home until they are ripe J–and other swell stuff. The band of Greek rebels (I suspect the Turks would call them terrorists) came by as we were eating and received a rousing cheer. They were dressed as pirates—which seems to be a theme for this trip. Around 10, we began to hear the narrative for the celebration and rambled down the hill to the harbor. The celebration was a combination of music (Vangelis, Carl Orff, and new age synthesized bass heavy stuff), proud and sonorous words—eleuteheria e thanatos (Freedom or death!!!!) smoke, percussion, and fantastic fireworks unlike anything I have ever seen at Dogwood Dell. Check the pictures. More than a few of us were moved nearly to tears by the pride and seriousness of the evening. At 11:30 when we boarded the boat for home, we were all certain that the discomfort of the nearly four hour trip home was well compensated. Some of us found a space to sleep on the upper deck of the ship and almost all slept on the bus.

Today was leisurely and swell. After breakfast we bussed down to Nafplio for a look at the Norman/Venetian (and probably Mycenaean) fortress above the town, some brief commentary on the more recent history of Greece and its rocky start with Nafplio as its capital, then a leisurely lunch, some shopping, some gelato and then home to the beach, dinner in Paralio Astros and this failed attempt at blogging. Wendy—we saw Judy today and had our dinner with Apostoles. He has GREY hair and a grandchild! OK. One more whack at this unwired wireless before I call it quits.

Success at Nafplio. Wireless rules. We have concluded our adventures for the day. The 20-somethings are at the beach at Nafplio. For those who have been to Palamides fortress, it is the lovely crescent shaped beach that is visible from the lover’s leap. The other-somethings are shopping and eating ice cream. The indomitable Corona and I are sitting in a harbor side cafe–al fresco, of course–using unsecured wi-fi. I am having an iced green tea!!  Everything has made it to Gereece!!

Let’s see–where did I leave off in my last attempted post. . . hmm, I’ll guess since I only have 25 minutes. Yesterday, we had ourMycenaean day. First Tiryns. In the mere space of two years, a site that was essentially in the middle of a cornfield now has a gift shop and prisitne rest room facilities. Above, much of the lower bastion is being excavated. This fortress–which can be seen from the Palamides fortress– was probably the outpost for Mycenae. Signal fires no doubt could have been set and seen from that distance. This time–no spirit of Eurystheus or Herakles appeared to me in the lower gallery. . . this time. We had words of wisdom from Mickie and Kathryn about the origins and adventures of Perseus, founding king at Tiryns and ancestor of Herakles–who reported back to the ever cautious Eurytheus after each successful “labor.” At the next stop, Nemea, I told the story of the  Nemean lion and we checked the progress restoring the temple of Zeus. Also, this site of the Nemean games has a fascinating “bath” complex for the athletes and a very well preserved stadium. Pictures will follow tonight–assuming successful wi-fi-ness. As always, the big friendly giant won the foot race. We stopped at midday at Mycenae town for lunch–fantastic food!!!! The Davids, Jordan, Natalie, BFG, Katie Brown, Collins, Ginny, Kathryn, and Pam hoofed it up the hill to a great lunch. For Natalie, the highlight was the tzatziki. Katie regaled us with a version of “Hot-cross buns” on the drink bottles and then on to Mycenae. We passes through the Lion Gate without incident, wondered at grave circle A with its treasure trove of golden masks (on the 6 men only ???), weapons, signet rings, and votive objects. What a mighty and wealthy kingdom to have simply vanished in a puff of smoke. :( From there we hiked up–on the PAVED walk__to the megaron and out to the westernmost lookout. The sacred spring has at least a warning barrier. Some with flashlights and good knees went to the spring while others went only as far as the light of day allowed. On site, Catie introduced the Mycenaeans and their history–as well as the general plan of the site. David Corona did an elaborate debunking of the idea that Clytemnaestra was a heroine. Hummmph!!  In the evening, we did an abbreviated version of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. What a cast. . . then a group og fifteen bucked up the business at Apostoles’ cafe. Today Epidauros and the shrine of Aesclepios. More pictures and words later. Now–The other David and the bus is waiting !!! Kalimera!!

Because it is late, I am going to dump some photos here. It’s 11:15 and I still have to pack. Yikes.

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