Thursday, May 29, 2008

Greece Day 4

Again I want to apologize about another later post . From the website of the hotel where we were staying last night, there was supposed to be Wi-Fi but there was none to be had!

Last night we had we stayed at a beautiful hotel with a wonderful swimming pool, gorgeous roses...a great setting. But we had problems with our room air conditioner---it couldn't keep up with the heat loadgthat came from a record hot day and a full hotel, so the room was hot all night. That added to the fact that Mike's feet hung off the bed meant a long night. After dinner, we sat around outside and visited. Breakfast this morning was sparce...bread, cheese, pressed ham, jams, hard boiled eggs, and Corn Flakes.

We boarded our bus and drove up the mountains to one of 6 monasteries (out of an original 24)that are situated on giant rocks that towered some 1100 feet above the valley below. They were built in the 1400's. We went inside only to learn that the women had to wear skirts...the proved wraparound skirts with elastic waists...and the men in shorts were not allowed to go in. There were some disappointed men in the group. The monestery tour concentrated on artifacts of the Greek Orthodox Church collected mostly around the time Turkey conquered Greece. One disappointing aspect of the tour was that we really didn't get to see how the monks and nuns actually lived. After the tour we boarded the bus and drove by the other monasteries so we could get pictures.

Then we drove back down the mountain to the village below and had lunch. Mike and I joined some of our bus buddies and ate lunch in an open air restaurant in the center of the village. Mike and I shared a Greek salad. We also sampled our table mate's chicken soulvika. I had water to drink and Mike had some iced tea(believe it or not).

A few things about The Greek Orth0dox Church. It split from the Catholic Church in the middle ages over the infallibility of the pope. The Greek Orthodox Church is very ritualistic. They light candles upon entering their church and kiss icons of people like Jesus, Mary, apostles, and make the sign of the cross while they are in the church. All Churches are identical in design. The priests are empltable mate's chicken souvlikayees of the national government and paid by it. Also, they have different rules about how life should be lived. For instance, they embrace the sanctay fo marriage, but make divorce quite easy.(A husband and wife must only live apart for 4 years to obtain a automatic divorce). Also, a person can be married 3 times and still enjoy the blessing of the church.

After lunch, we had a five hour bus ride down to Athens. Our tour guide shared Greek music with us as well as information about Greek politics, the Onassis family, the laziness of the Greek men…she is treasure-trove of information.

Our hotel in Athens, the Titania, is a lovely hotel with a working air conditioner and a delicious buffet for supper. They served a full salad bar along with quiche, pasta, steamed vegetables, beef and rice, beets, fish, potatoes as well as 3 wonderful desserts. One was flan with caramel sauce, another was a rolled pastry and the final one was an apple baklava type.
We’re hoping to get a good night’s sleep tonight before we have to have our luggage out in the hall at 7:00a.m.


Lynda said...

I can totally relate to your posting of the menus of each day. Ask those who have traveled with me and they will tell you that food is important to me. The proper fuel is important for a person's health. It is always interesting to learn what the traditional foods are in different cultures.

About the monasteries - - - - what were the roads like going up that rock? It seems like it would have been frightening. Your guide does sound like a wealth of information - - - but I wonder why you all weren't told about the dress code for the monastery. Then you would have then been able to experience the entire location. However it does sound like you are having a wonderful time.

I am looking forward to your next post! LibraryLynda

Mary Helen and Mike said...

Lynda- It was a good, but 2 lane road that was narrow and wound around the mountain with hairpin curves.
We're having a great time.
Mary Helen

Caribbean Cindy said...

The picture of the monastery on teh rock took my breath away - beautiful! Made me wonder how they got everything up there to build it. I love reading all this and knowing what you are experiencing. Blogs are wonderful and so are you!