Thursday, May 19, 2011

Easter-Athens-Thessaloniki-Meteora

Kalimera! Te Kanes? Kala.

When I left you, it was Easter Sunday and I was on the island of Mykonos. It has taken me from the Peloponnese to Thessaloniki and Athens to another island (Naxos) before I could find the time to blog again. I suppose I should start from where I left off. Believe it or not, we've moved around so much that the chronology is sketchy to me too.

Easter on Mykonos was beautiful.


We gathered outside of St. George's church in Mykonos for the midnight service. The flame from the church was passed around the courtyard before the priest came outside with the Scriptures and proclaimed "Christos Anesti" that Christ had risen. It was a triumphant moment. Witnessing this so far from home reminds me of how vibrant and transcendent faith  can be when it is rooted in promise and hope.

After Mykonos, we returned to Athens for a 4 days. On the 27th, we visited the Sanctuaries of Eleusis and Epidavros in the Peloponnese.


Eleusis is an afterlife cult that was visited by Classical Greeks for the purpose of securing a more favorable share in death through the patronage of Demeter. The central temple was originally supposed to be completely dark to symbolize Hades. Promethean religion was fraught with confusion and fear of the unknown.


Epidavros was a healing sanctuary of the Cult of Asclepius. Hippocrates spent a significant amount of time here in the 5th c. BC. The most impressive part was the 30,000 capacity theatre they had there.


The next day, we had a tour of Roman era Athens which included the Roman Agora, Hadrian's Library, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus (pictured above). Prof. Fisher had received a phone call earlier in the day that gave us an exclusive invitation to tour the interior of the Parthenon. We trudged up the hill not knowing what would meet us. The only thing I can think to say is that is was spectacular.


This picture was taken on the top of a Byzantine bell-tower that remains next the west metope. We are very privileged students to say the least. Not only did we learn the extensive history of the Acropolis, but we got to witness the ground level of its extensive reconstruction. 

Two days later we took a 7 hour train into Thessaloniki. The train was beautiful. After dozens of long bus rides, it was great to have a straight shot and a smooth ride. We passed Mt. Olympus in the early afternoon while I listened to a podcast lecture from Peter Kreeft. Thessaloniki was refreshing. It wasn't a tourist hub and the food was as good as it was cheap. To finish off the classical course, we visited the sites relating to the birth of Hellenism: Pella (the capital of Macedon), The School of Aristotle, and Vergina (the burial of Philip II). After a presentation, a paper, and a final exam, we passed into the Byzantine Era. Our new Professor, John Karavas, is brilliant and insightful. It's great because Byzantium is a subject that is outrageously overlooked in history courses. Immediately, we started visiting churches. 


The Galerius Rotunda, later turned into a Byzantine Orthodox Church


The Church of Hagios Demetrios (4th c.AD), the main church of Thessaloniki


Acheiropoetus

Osios Loukas

On the road back from Thessaloniki, we stopped at Kalambaka for two nights to study the monastic sites of Meteora. We visited four monasteries there: Grand Meteora, Hagios Loukas, Varlaam, and Rousanou. They are all atop a beautiful rock range. The earliest monks lived in the crevasses of the mountains. The actual monasteries were built from the 7th-11th century.


After Meteora, we had  stretch of Byzantine courses in Athens before ending up here in Naxos. Our last stop on the course is in Sparta. It's been great revisiting the principle history of the church in late antiquity from the Orthodox perspective. It's easy to see providence at work through the ages. This history is astounding. If I wasn't so worn out from traveling, I'd try to explain it all. Sorry. Here's a nice picture of the Paros "doorway" instead.



It was also great to spend my birthday in Athens with the kids in the group. It was hard being away from home, but the guys took me out for dinner and made me feel very loved. 

I apologize for not keeping any of you well informed as to my whereabouts and goings on. This course is reasonably intensive by itself (we haven't had weekends and free days have been few and far between). Being constantly on the move and living out of a single suitcase eats away at any other luxury time. I really can't complain, though. I have yet to be without a roof or deprived of good food.

Speaking of which, I would recommend that all of you sample Souvlaki at some point. I personally prefer Kontosouvli, but fire roasted pork is less common than its aforementioned grilled skewer of a little-brother. Saganaki (fried feta cheese) is fantastic and you can easily get it in Chicago. Turkish coffee isn't half bad once you've become accustomed to it. The best cuisine I've encountered here has been the seafood. For a reasonable price on the islands, you can eat the freshest, most delicious seafood you could imaging. Octopus and mussels on Crete, catch of the day mullet and sardines in Pylos, and swordfish on Naxos were definite highlights. Stop in at my friend James's place, "Mama K's" on Grand across from Great America. He'll fix you up with a Gyro or Souvlaki if this has made you hungry. Dino over at Capt. Porkies on 41 and Wadsworth makes some pretty great Baklava, too. 

Anyway, I am doing well and will be home in 7 days. At that point I will be uploading the remainder of my photos because my 5 year old laptop is currently refusing to cooperate with Facebook. I'll post a full trip summary when I return to the States. I will continue this blog through the summer whenever I do something I feel worthy of posting.

Until then, 

Eddie



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Olympia and Delphi

I hope everyone had a reflective Good Friday. I am currently in Mykonos, an island in the northeast corner of the Cyclades by Delos.


The map doesn't do it justice. This place is gorgeous. We are here for six day, three of which are free of study, lectures, and homework. It's been a while since the group has been able to relax. Mykonos is the most tourist oriented place outside of Plaka that we have been to so far. The houses are all whitewashed with blue doors and shutters. The alley ways and shoreline are picturesque. There are old-fashioned windmills lining the port of the town, and a church named Panagia Paraportiani (pictured 3 below) that is absolutely beautiful.


Anyway, the place is beautiful and we get a chance to enjoy it on our own. I went to the Orthodox Good Friday procession last night. It was really special. A group of young locals kids led the procession with decorative banners, and a flowered altar was carried by the chapel's elders. There was about 300 people with every procession (each church has one) but the town was quiet and reverent. It was beautiful. We walked around the entire town before they ended up back at the chapel. When you study so much history and related studies, its easy to lose sight of what is really significant in all of time and pertinent to life itself.

"Even the very creation broke silence at His behest and, marvelous to relate, confessed with one voice before the cross, that monument of victory, that He Who suffered thereon in the body was not man only, but Son of God and Savior of all. The sun veiled his face, the earth quaked, the mountains were rent asunder, all men were stricken with awe. These things showed that Christ on the cross was God, and that all creation was His slave and was bearing witness by its fear to the presence of its Master."
-Athanasius, On the Incarnation

The Good Friday Gathering in Mykonos
The Processional Altar
I should take a minute to flash back to Olympia and Delphi. We had a short time back in Athens after Crete to finish some exams and write a term paper on Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology. After 3 days, we shipped off for the 5 hour drive to Olympia. We were there for 3 nights and worked at the site of the Panhellenic Sanctuary and Games. The gradual construction of the site was fascinating. The highlights were definitely the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Stadion (which we ran like brazen tourists), and Phidias' Workshop.

The Ruinous Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Olympic Stadion
Me at Phidias' Workshop
After Olympia, we went to Delphi for 2 days to visit the Temple of Apollo (where the Pythian Priestess delivered the oracles) and the surrounding sanctuary. Delphi was by far the most naturally beautiful site we've been to. It was built on the face of Mt. Parnassus during the Archaic Period (8th-5th century B.C.) and overlooks the bay of Corinth. We spent two days studying the site and the museum. We even hiked up a mountain adjacent to Parnassus. It was really spectacular. There was a stadion, several elaborate treasury buildings, a theatre, and a temple of Athena that were also quite impressive.

First view from Delphi
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi
The Theatre at Delphi
The Bay of Corinth

Everything has been going swimmingly, except for the cold I am currently suffering. Yes, it is indeed a horrible man-cold. I am still planning to head into town at around midnight for the Easter celebrations. I'll continue to down the tea. The next procrastination review will focus on the islands of Aegina and Delos, which made up the last 2 days of the trip. I've nearly caught you up, folks. I will also dedicate a part of that post to Greek food. Stay tuned.

Until then, Eddie




Monday, April 18, 2011

Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos Flashback

It's time to backtrack a bit. It's been a whirlwind two and a half weeks.

There are four locations that will be covered in this update:
Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos

Heraklion was 4 days and contained visits to Knossos, Malia, Phaestos, and Agia Triada. It was a small city, but definately the hub of modern Cretan tourism. We ate seafood (mostly octopus, mussels, and whitefish) every night there. Agios Nikolaos was smaller and quieter. We got to experience more extra-urban Greece. Less people spoke english and we had to take more primitive transportation. Staying a week on Crete was an excellent experience. We also got the chance to see a good amount of military activity (carrier and fighter planes as well as french soldiers on leave) in connection to the conflict in Libya.

In summary, after a mid-term exam in Athens two weeks ago, we took the green-line on the Athenian Metro to Piraeus (The port of Athens) to board a ferry bound for Crete. We would spend a week there. The Ferry was pretty fantastic.


The day after we reached Heraklion we started visiting ancient Minoan palaces. The first was Knossos, the Bronze Age Minoan palace where the myth of Minos, Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotaur supposedly took place. We learned all about Bronze Age Minoan architecture, artifacts, and religion.


The next day we visited two similar Bronze Age, Minoan Sites: The Phaestos Palace, and the Agia Triada Villa.

The Pheatos Palace was the only site located further inland on Crete. This is because it was centrally located in the most lush and fertile plain of the area. It was similar in size and construction of Knossos, but had slight variation due to the timeline of construction.


Agia Triada (named "Holy Trinity" for a nearby Byzantine Monastery) was a nice little village that had both Minoan construction and later mainland Mycenaean invasive buildings and storage for international olive-oil trade. There was a fascinating room dedicated solely  for male drinking and socializing. Ancient man cave.


We went to another comparable site called Malia. It was fascinating. I feel  bad skimming over these, but I'm pretty far behind.


Gournia was a full Minoan town surrounding a grand Bronze Age Villa. The view of the northeast coast of Greece was unparalleled the whole trip. I was quite pleased. Matthew, our instructor, led us to a place where sightings of un-excavated ship-sheds were reported. We uncovered 3 full foundations before the bus came. It was a beautiful day.


We had a final exam for Bronze Age Greece on our seventh day in Crete. Immediately after that, we headed back to port at Heraklion to go back to Athens in preparation for our next course. Stay tuned for the next flashback where I tell you about Olympia and Delphi.

At this point, I am desirous of a stable bed and a couple hours to myself. Ezra was counting how many rooms we have stayed in. I think he lost count at about 17 at Olympia a week ago. We're probably in the 20's by now. It's tough, considering I've lived my entire life in a single bedroom, surrounded  by my family who I miss to an exponential degree. I'm fine for now. This is both a wonderful and a refining experience. I can't complain about the chance to take an adventure. I may not be fighting dragons, but I'm certainly out of my element. From the food to the living conditions and the amount of work in a single subject we have, it is difficult to adjust. I can tough it out. My Grandpa came this far in a B-24 Liberator when he was little older than me. My Dad worked on the Illinois Tollway and braved traffic for 30 years to grant me this opportunity. It's time for me to buck up and conquer this adventure to full extent of benefit. After all...


"Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt


I have to give special thanks for letters from home. They help a lot with the feelings of disconnectedness (word?). Mom and Dad have been so supportive and encouraging. I'm also grateful for Arcade Fire, The Art of Manliness, Nikon Coolpix, Paperblanks and Mirado Black Warriors, Cambridge Professors with odd british-isms, apples, and Skype.

God Bless, Eddie


Monday, April 11, 2011

Too much to tell this tired.


It’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve posted. I know.

 March to May seems like a long time, but when you attempt to condense an entire country, culture, and nearly 2,400 years of classical tradition within that time frame, the schedule gets tight. After we got back from our Nafplion/Pylos trip, we took a midterm and almost immediately boarded our ferry to Crete. We arrived in Heraklion the next morning and were back to work at the Knossos Palace site the next day. Over the next few days, we visited Phaistos, Malia, Agia Triada, Kommos, and Gournia. Remember these names. I will revisit them in the next few days. Bronze Age Minoan history, archaeology, art, and architecture were fascinating. The complexity and variance from mainland Mycenae was intense and we worked very hard.

At one point we got to swim in the Med. It was my first time swimming in salt water. It was super relaxing. I also took a pretty high jump off of a cliff face into the water. This trip is a pretty big departure for me from my normal comfort zone. That wasn’t tough in comparison.

It was on the Crete trip that my evening readings brought me through the book of Daniel. Reading of spiritual triumph of young men in a foreign land was the best medicine for me. I can’t really explain how special that was.

After our week stay in Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos (accompanied by a final exam), we caught a ferry back to Athens to write a final paper and prepare for our next class. On Wednesday, we met Maria, our new professor, and went to the National Archaelogical Museum to see some statues (I will repost details and pictures). Thursday took us on a 5 hour ride to Olympia. Three days later and we are in Delphi. It’s a whirlwind of time, space, and glorious history.

I’ll be posting tomorrow. I am healthy, whole, and staying purposeful. I miss my family, but the internet (specifically Facebook and Skype) is a wonderful invention. I also have to thank Levon Helm, Sufjan Stevens, Mumford & Sons, and Nickel Creek (among other quality musicians) for accompanying me on long rides around Greece. We are visiting the classical site here in Delphi (Temples of Apollo and Athena- domain of the Pythia) tomorrow. The food and the weather is good.

I’m going to sleep. I apologize for my lackluster blog spirit. Give me some sleep and keep the internet strong and you won’t be able to hold me back. Thanks for reading. I’ll really bring it next time.

God Bless, 

Monday, March 28, 2011


Written (3.25.11) w/o internet:

Tou Evangelismou! Happy Greek Independence Day! I woke up early this morning, strolled through Plaka, had a coffee, quickly walked through the empty Agora, and headed to Syntagma to see the March 25th military procession. It was nice to do that alone. It has also been surprising pleasant to tour without a camera. Since I left my charger at home and had to have one shipped here, I have been forced to enjoy everything I see for its own value since my camera died a few days ago. Enough of my classmates take pictures to keep me from thinking that I won’t be able to see these images again. For now, I can just relax and take it all in.


Me under the Heraldic Lions (but more likely Griffins) Gate at Mycenae. 
Photo by Russell Pfeiffer

The Bay of Nafplion
Photo by Caroline Morse
The Argolid Plain-View from Mycenae
Photo by Russell Pfeiffer
The Excavations at Pylos
Photo by Russell Pfeiffer 

We rolled into Athens yesterday after our six day Peloponnesian Tour of Nafplion, Pylos, and the surrounding sites. The hostel we stay at in Athens has a coffee bar, and internet cafĂ©, and a laundromat. I had a cappuccino at about 5am and tried to connect to the internet for the rest of the evening. It’s wonderful to exchange emails from home. I don’t know if I could have done this trip twenty years ago. It’s nice to know what is going on in good old Illinois.

I think that the thing that separates me from most people abroad is that my ultimate goal is to make it home as a better person with more experience and knowledge. The consensus seems to be that you need to expand your horizons and leave simplicity behind. Odysseus needs to end up at home. The whole point of the adventure is that Bilbo can return to the Shire victorious and content.

The procession today was a great show. Every branch of Greek military was represented along with a full brass band for each group. They were all well dressed and carried American weapons. The Special Forces followed the Air Force, Army, Navy, and General Officers, and everyone carried their applicable gear. The following pictures are from last year. I still don't have my camera.

UPDATE- Took a ferry to crete 3.27.11-Update about that later. Everything is pretty fantastic at the moment. It's alot to take in. 

God Bless!!!

Eddie Kristan

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nestor's Place


Typed w/o internet on 3.23.11

When DaVinci said,

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." 

He had probably recently been abroad. As hard as it is to live out of a suitcase and a backpack for three months, its harder to manage anything more than that while catching busses, trams, trains, and daily hotel check-ins. I’m fairly happy with my five black tee-shirts, 3 over-shirts, jeans, khakis, shorts, toiletry bag, notebook, laptop, socks, and underwear. Anything I accumulate will push my sanity exponentially by virtue of its weight and ability to be lost or stolen. As long as I can wash myself, have relatively clean clothes, and contact home periodically, I’ll be just fine.

Anyway, we struck out for Pylos yesterday. Nafplion was great and it had been fantastic to tour the Argon Plain for 3 days, but we needed to keep moving in order to complete our tour of Bronze Age (3000-1200BC) ruins. Before heading to Crete. The ride took about four hours, and it was the classic movie scenerio where the native driver takes all the foreigners on the scariest mountain curved roads. Our driver has a cruel sense of humor.

The last week has been a grand succession of Bronze Age citadel ruins. Here is the breakdown.

Lerna: oldest formation (Early-Middle Helladic) & pre-Mycenaen. The House of Tiles was an impressive and well-excavated ruinous corridor house (communal government building). It also showed of era transition w/ an apsidal (individual house) in the back of the complex.

Tiryns: Cyclopean Walls fortifying a Mycenaean fortress. This complex was well contained so it was easy to close your eyes periodically to imagine in its heyday 3500 years ago. Also unfortunately excavated by Heinrich Schliemann.

Mycenae: Just plain awesome. Supposedly, it was Agamemnon’s domain. See last entry for further detail.

Pylos: Nestor’s Palace was extremely well preserved. Containing two megarons (grand throne rooms), a chariot workshop, a scribe-room, and a store of Linear B tablets among other things. Also, Nestor’s Bathtub was great (just google-image it, my camera charger is in Athens).

On a personal note, It’s a roller-coaster ride to experience wonder and fascination between bouts of homesickness and feeling out of the ordinary. It’s like I needed to find a happy medium between Greece and Gurnee. Canada, maybe? Nevermind.

Only joking. I’m very grateful for this experience. We’re going to a fish taverna tonight. Prof. Fisher made friends with the owner last night and he’s having us over for catch of the day. The Mediterranean is gorgeous. Our current housing looks out over the harbor of Pylos. Pretty fantastic.

Here’s a special shout out to my Grandma in Arizona. Thanks for all your support and encouragement. I think I got my travel skill from you. I’m getting pretty pro at finding my way around, ordering unknown food, and talking to locals. Hope all is well in AZ.

To all of you, please feel free to comment or ask questions.

I’ll be back in Athens tomorrow night.

God Bless,

Eddie Kristan

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mycenae- Citadel of "Agamemnon"

"Hell to ships, hell to men, hell to cities."
-Aeschylus (Agamemnon, 689)

It's humbling to study such a powerful nation in the knowledge of its total annihilation. Fascinating, but existentially terrifying.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
   he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.
-Psalm 46:7-8

For the last two rainy days we have been studying at the ancient ruins of Mycenae (fl. 1500-1200BC). 






































This is the ruin that Schliemann invaded and immediately began attributing graves, masks, and treasures to the house of Atreus. While a lot of people might criticize him for this, I think I might have done the same thing in his shoes. It's like when Roman and I were running around the creek when we were little. Every extraordinary little treasure had intrinsic value an an exponential scale of imagination. Therefore, the largest Tholos tomb belongs to Agamemnon's father Atreus:







































There are 9 total massive tholos (beehive) tombs. The most famous ones are attributed to Atreus, Clytaemnestra, and Aegisthus. The citadel and palace outsize the rest of all bronze age ruins (including our selection for the rest of the week: Lerna, Tiryns, Pylos, Heronaea). There are two fundamental grave circles from which we get a great deal of artifacts. There is a Megaron that overlooks the Argolid Plains and views the bay of Nafplio. There is a possible second Megaron and a stone carved cistern at the rear of the complex. It's pretty fantastic. This is where the "Mask of Agamemnon" was "found". The most exciting thing to see on the citidel is the "Lion's Gate"










































Taking notes in the fresh hilltop air of the Argolis has been fantastic. It feels like were standing over the plains of Rohan. Bronze Age History is never dull because of the lack of concrete evidence. Progress over time is shown through burial, architecture, and manufacturing practices, and all through insufficient archaeological evidence. It involves a great deal of inductive reasoning and comparisons with other sites.

Also, yesterday I tried Moussaka, which was delicious. It's essentially a casserole with eggplant, spiced lamb, potato, and cheese custard. We ate at a cafe called Noufara for dinner. For lunch we usually hit up a gyro stand or a bakery for tyrokopita (fillo cheese pie). You eat a lot of spiced meat, cheese, and oil here. Coke flows like water and the coffee is thick. 

Tomorrow, we are going to Pylos to visit good old Nestor's home. Every once in a while my mind returns to glorious days in a small white room at a church in Bristol, where a small handful of students were introduced to the further question and the idea that truth (in its absolute form) is a valuable and attainable pursuit. Through the works of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, and Plato we learned that we were created to glorify God with purposeful understanding of history, philosophy, beauty, and our place in the world God created. Thank you, Dr. RJ Snell, for taking the time to open the eyes of a bunch of kids to destiny through the development of character. Thank you. I miss my fellow Omnibus students and wish they could have this opportunity that each and every one of them deserves. Know that I am thinking of our time together and praying that we will reunite some time soon. 

Goodnight and God Bless, 

Eddie Kristan





Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week One Abroad

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for. -Socrates


After 7 days abroad in Greece, it is time for me to finally collect my thoughts and present them to you.

As you probably gathered from my last jet-laggy post from the 12th, I made it to Greece safe and sound. I flew Lufthansa because it was the cheapest tickets I could find 2 months in advance. It was interesting hearing all the PA's in German. I think it prepared me for culture shock. I flew over Ireland and hit my connection in Dusseldorf before arriving in Athens at 2:45pm. 

The shuttle bus took me to Syntagma (where Constitution Square is located) and I found my classmates at our temporary lodgings in Plaka, almost in the shadow of the Acropolis. Here was my first view of the Acropolis. 

3.13.11- The group woke me up at 10am for an independent tour of the acropolis since it is open for free on Sundays. The place is magnificent. The Parthenon, Erechtheon, and Temple of Athena Nike are so iconic and brilliantly built and preserved that it takes your breath away. When you walk through the park, there are no guards or eyesore barricades. All Greek sites of antiquity inspire their own respect. Temenos- Set apart. 


Here is a picture I took of the Temple of Athena Parthenos (The Parthenon). It's size is magnificent and its completeness is endearing. Two days later we visited the New Acropolis Museum that holds some of the statues, friezes, and various bids of pediment sculptures and architecture. However, at the start of the program we are only studying Bronze Age History, Architecture, Art, and Archaeology. When we get to Classical Greece, we will broaded the study and return to these sites. 
After a climb on the Areopagus we ventured into some of the more tourist areas of central Athens from the Plaka to Monastiraki for Gyros. 


There are stray dogs everywhere. This little guy was sleeping below the Parthenon on the Acropolis.

One of the many fantastic views from the Acropolis.

3.14.11- Breakfast at the hostel before a 7.30am walk to the Areopagus preceeding a trip the Benaki Art and Artifact Museum. Sitting on the rock, we could hear the Orthodox Chants from St. Paul's below. It struck me that his inspired words on that rock were the inspiration for that worship little more than 1940 years later. Powerful. The Benaki Museum was interesting and had artifacts spanning from Early Cycladic to Modern Greece. We met our library facilitators at the Canadian Institute afterwards. Jonathan and April are terrific and have availed their excellent library for our use. Dined for the evening at a Taverna. The food here is terrific, but takes some getting used to. I'll have a dedicated post regarding that later.

I had to document my first gyro. It was pretty good.


Everybody tries to make a couple euros in the Plaka. Some are better than others.


3.15. 11- This day we had our of the New Acropolis Museum. It's fantastic to see Phidias and Polykleitos works. Most of us have encountered these famous pieces in various studies, and it feels almost unreal to stand in front of them. Information/Amazement overload. Jonathan from the CI gave us a walking tour of Athens from Syntagma to Exarchia Square, which included a visit to the old parliament building, the Athens University, and the bypass of Omonia.

Evzoni Soldiers changing the guard at Constitution Square, Syntagma,

Plato at the Athenian University
Statue of Socrates at the Athenian University


3.16.11- Early meeting with our professor from Cambridge. We took the metro to the Canadian Institute during commute hours and experience Our brit professor is brilliant and uses enough slang to keep the lectures amusing. We were all assigned projects for the next few weeks. I chose to write about sea trade in the early bronze age. Afterwards we went to the National Archaeological Museum to see the treasure of Mycaenae. Agamemnon's Death Mask (most likely fabricated by Heinrich Schliemann the evil archaeologist of Troy, Mycaenae and Tiryns) was fun to see because of its prevalence and reputation. We weren't allowed to pose next to it because the Greek Government had to think about its reputation.



3.17.11- Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Matthew (our professor) took us to the Cycladic Museum in Syntagma to look at some of the Cycladic Figures. The Cycladic Museum, like the Benaki, was privately owned and beautiful, but suspicious in legality. Alot of their artifact have mysterious pasts and therefore are hard to study in connection to their geographic origins. We know that these are from the Cycladic Islands between Greece and Ionia and that they were made during the early Cycladic Era between 3000-2000BC.


We went to the James Joyce Irish Pub to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. They had two guys standing on the bar playing bodhran and guitar and the crowd was at about 300 people spilling into the street. It was a great time, but it was still hard not being home with my family.

3.18.11- First Archaeological Site @ Tiryns. Beautiful ruinous citidel, unfortunately excavated by Heinrich Schliemann. It was a pleasure to stand at the foundations of the megaron at the peak and try to image what the place looked like during its peak almost 3500 years ago. The history here is mindblowing, and we haven't even scratched the surface. We ended the day with a walk through the Palamede Fortress overlooking the bay of Nafplion were we are staying for the next three nights. The view of the bay is magnificent... truly magnificent. It was also cool to see the place where the freedom fighter Theodoros Kolokotroni was imprisoned in the mid 19th century.

3.19.11- Today we visited the ruins of Lerna, an early Helladic site that holds evidence of a transition from early to mid helladic buildings and burial practices. It was well excavated (unlike Tiryns) and therefore very informative. Later we hit a couple of minor sites on the Argive plain, which is pretty cool. Looking out across it you can see for miles. It looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. Very cool.

I guess that brings us up to today. I have to say that I am missing home. Skype is a lifesaver. I got to talk to both my folks this afternoon and I am glad they are doing well. I miss them like nothing else.



Heres to my friends back home, at CLC, Lake Forest, Trinity, or just hanging around. Here's to my family in Gurnee, Waukegan, Chanahon, Arizona, and Colorado. Here's to all those who are graciously following my journey.  You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am prepared to start posting more regularly in the near future.

God Bless,

Eddie Kristan