First, I am sorry that I don’t have my “big camera” (dSLR) with me, but I am extremely happy that I’m not carrying all that equipment around. It’s hot here, and with each step, anything you carry gains another pound. So, traveling light (which I love to do in the first place) is key in this city. (By the way, you may already have figured this out, all of my photos are straight from the camera with no editing. Most of the time I have the camera on full auto mode. I’m enjoying point and shoot tourism, rather than trying to play photographer while I’m here. Though, sometimes I do feel that is just an excuse to be lazy with the camera.)
Today was a free day, where eight of us decided to explore the Acropolis. The other four had to attend an all-day meeting, and we’re still waiting for number thirteen to arrive from New Zealand. Since we had our Games Credentials, which act as free passes for all public transportation for the duration of World Games, we ventured onto the Metro (subway) to get there. The Greek subway is not unlike that in New York and London. It’s very clean and somewhat efficient. It makes for an easy way to get around to the main points of the city.
The Acropolis was pretty cool. The hike to the top was a little challenging in that it was fairly steep, there were a lot of (slippery) marble steps, and there were a lot of people. A cruise ship was giving its tour while we were there, and it was insane to see how many people were moving up the path all at once. Six of us made it to the very top (two others stayed at the bottom due to knee issues). I was very surprised at my own knee for not giving way as well. In fact, all of the walking today felt really good. It’s so nice to be mobile.
They’re restoring parts of the Acropolis. It was neat to see some of the cranes at work, and some of the stones numbered and laid out ready for placement. It was a giant puzzle to be put together.
After hiking back down to paved streets, we met a group of protesters. I snapped a few photos before the group began marching. Then, we all realized that they were marching right towards us, and we scurried to get out of their way. One of our members wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe so that she could contribute to her collection of Hard Rock memorabilia. It’s located near Parliament, so we took the subway to another stop and ventured out again. More protest groups, signs and banners blanketed the area around there.
After lunch, we went back to the Acropolis so that we could wander through the Acropolis Museum. Unfortunately absolutely no photography was allowed in that museum. It was interesting to see a lot of the artifacts up close, but more importantly, that place had great air conditioning.
From the museum we tried to get into to see Zeus’ Temple, but it was closed. I snapped a couple pictures through the fence (sorry for the poor quality). We did a little tourist shopping, then made our way back to the hotel to meet the others for dinner. We also received our assignments for the next few days, and the beginning of the Games.
Our roles are not as hands on as originally thought. We are here in more of an observer/support role for the GMS operators at each sport venue. Basically, we’re here to troubleshoot if/when something goes wrong. Depending on how the competitions progress, our roles might evolve, but we’re going with observer/support for now. Tomorrow, our early wake up calls begin and it’s off to work. I’m assigned to the GOC Headquarters for the first few days, working to troubleshoot issues from there. A few of the more experienced committee members are assigned to venues, and will be working out in the field.
All in all, it was a very fun day. I had a great chance to bond with the team; all of them are great people and fun to be around. We were laughing the whole day. The meals I’ve had today have been excellent. There’s a little restaurant near our hotel that we have made our own, having dinner there the past two nights. It’s such a perfect little place: modern, very friendly service, and very fresh food. It felt very good to be out (I really like roaming this city) and moving around before I get stuck in front of a computer for the next few days.