Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The First Ascent of Lycabettus

            Today was our 5th day in Athens and the first Friday of our experience abroad and the day had started out sunny and warm, almost like a day in late May back home.  The day started out with our Greek language course, which today was the first class since the class time was changed to the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I hadn’t woken up before 9 a.m. in months and this was to learn Greek.  I knew I was going to be in for a rough class, but surprisingly, regardless of how groggy I was in the morning, class seemed to go by pretty smoothly. I never imagined that learning this language was going to be this difficult.  Languages have never been my forte, but this language, as hard as it may be; I seem to be picking it up fairly well.  Most likely due to just being in this country, I suspect is the reasoning behind that, but interestingly enough I am starting to enjoy learning it.   We were lucky enough to get out a few minutes early from class and eager to enjoy an hour and a half break before our first class with Professor Roth we headed back to the apartment. 
Seconds after leaving we received a text from Professor Roth telling us to meet him in the café for a couple minutes.  When we arrived at the café Professor Roth decided that for class today we would go for a hike up Lycabettus Hill.  He wanted us to meet him back at the University around 1:30 to begin the hike.  We rushed home to change and get ready for our hike to what is supposed to be one of the best views of the Acropolis throughout Athens. We met Professor Roth and Lily at Hellenic American Union and began our walk to the starting point of the trails.  The hike up the hill was filled with beautiful views of Athens. Ranging from views of the Acropolis threw small openings in between the trees.  We stopped about half way up to take a short break and take in the view, as well as discuss a reading we had done for our Rhetoric and Society course.  The article was written by Samuel Ijessling and its contents were about the conflicts between rhetoric and philosophy, specifically, between Plato and the sophists.  After the short discussion we continued our hike up the hill.  As we got closer to the top the weather had begun to change and became slightly cooler with gusts of wind that sent a chill right up your spine.  When we finally reached the top of the hill it was no more than an hour later from when we had begun our hike and lucky the weather hadn’t changed that much.
            At the top of the hill sat a quant 14th century Greek Orthodox Church that was still in perfect shape, as if it was brand new.  The white exterior of the church shined a bright white glow.  It looked like a picture you see of these small Greek villages in the islands.  Looking straight out from the front of the church was all of Athens.  Every nook and cranny of this enormous city was laid out before me.  From shimmering water of the Saronic Gulf to the empowering columns of the Pantheon that stand atop the Acropolis.  I had never seen any sight more astonishing than that of the Acropolis with the iridescent shine of the gulf in the background.  The columns of the Pantheon looked no taller than the ceilings in our new apartments.  I can only imagine what it would have felt like to see the Acropolis back in the times of Ancient Athens.  Walking through these rolling hills then as you come up over the top of one of these you see this powerful structure atop the Acropolis.
            We discussed at the top of the hill again for 30 or so minutes more on this war of ideas that Plato had with the sophists. We learned of how Plato and Socrates used rhetoric, all available means of persuasion, to supply them for their many heated discussions.  After our class we headed back down the hill and back to the apartment, where I ended up falling asleep. For dinner Hayley and Chryssie made chicken and mashed potatoes that were delicious, almost as good as how my mom makes it back home. 

Patrick Malone
Friday, February 8th, 2013
The First Ascent of Lycabettus

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