Reconstructing Athens

Athens has had its share of turmoil over the years. While we were there streets were closed for protests. Most recently they have had some terrible problems with their economy that required a bailout.
Fortunately, even with all the issues, they still make sure to preserve their ancient assets.
When we visited the Parthenon for our honeymoon in 2009. We saw the marvel of the Parthenon being carefully reconstructed to look as it once did.

Metal frames to hold restored and new stones in place.

Side before reconstruction

Notice the difference in color between the original and new stone. In time the difference will fade.

Other parts of the acropolis 

Newly wed couple. Not too far from this location I slipped on some rocks and fell hard on my rear end. Teenagers laughed loudly at me. Be careful around these rocks!

Great views from the acropolis.

Theatre of Dionysos

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Acropolis from below

More views

Later on we went by the Olympic stadium where olympics where last held in 2004.

I noticed these pretty Athens flowers all around.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus – notice the how the columns were formed.

Pretty Athens churches

Nice restaurant hideaway in Athens.

Turtle at the Roman Agora

Statues from the Ancient Agora.

Temple of Hephaestus

Garden Update : Late April

The ladies are back. They seem to like the grape vine for now. The lady above is wearing spots but the one below is in plain attire.

Muscadine grapes are starting to grow. Looks like we will have another good year for grapes. It looks like the little black bugs are back as well (see blurred leaf). They are there every year but appear to be harmless so I let them be.

One of the watermelon seeds germinated. I have yet to have a successful crop but I keep trying. I got these seeds from a watermelon purchased at whole foods a year or so ago.

We haven’t had much rain and days are getting hotter and longer. I am watering almost daily my seedlings. I hope they grow to a stable size soon so they won’t need as much attention.

Brazil: Salvador da Bahia

Our last stop in Brazil was in the fascinating city of Salvador.

We arrived just in time for the Pelourinho street party that happens every Tuesday night after 6:00pm mass. The streets are lined with stages and one can view various local acts. Dancing in the street is encouraged.

We were slightly worried about the crime in Salvador (not as much as in Rio) but we had no issue since we stayed in the “tourist” zones and never strayed outside those areas at night. We always made sure to know where we were at all times. People are pretty friendly here. We befriended one kid in particular who was helpful with advice. He wanted to continue to do favors for us, of course for some money. But even we really didn’t give him any money he still stuck around and greeted us whenever we ran into him again.

Old Portuguese style buildings.

Capoeira is huge in Salvador and it is a great place for viewing it. We had many opportunities to see it on the streets.

The importance of religion in the cities past is seen in the ornate churches seen around town.

The past of Salvador is evidenced in the architecture of the lavish homes of Portuguese plantation owners. Now some abandoned buildings lost in time between current dwellings. We witnessed quite a bit of activity in rebuilding some of these abandoned buildings.

Candomble is an afro-Brazilian cult. While in Salvador we were able to go to one of their ceremonies. They usually start in the evening and consist of song and dancing rituals to bring on a trance induced state where some are possessed by one of the many gods or goddesses of the religion. While in the trance, the person changes into costume and takes on the characteristics of that god. During the ceremony there was a break where afro-Brazilian food was shared with all. Due to the intimate nature of the event, we were unable to take photos. I recommend anyone with an open mind to go to one of these events as long as you respect their rituals.

Tuscany: Pisa

A short trip by train from Florence (1.5 hours) gets you to the university town of Pisa, Italy. The historic Italian town is famous for its leaning tower. It proved a great day trip from Florence.

The stairs are worn from usage.

Shadow of the tower

Halfway through the climb


Pisa Baptistry of St. John

Love the river cities

Great mountain views

Romulus and Remus fed by a wolf