Athens Days one and two

We are doing a series of one day tours with G.O. Tours.  The tours so far have been fine,  the guides so far are two out of three to the good.  Athens day tour had us climbing the Acropolis again, by a shorter route than we had found for ourselves,  Carol elected to sit out out since the heat was/is oppressive. It had continued to stay above 90 and into the low 100s. It cools off to high 80s over night.

The afternoon tour was to Poseidon’s Temple at the southern tip of the peninsula. The guide was inarticulate in English and didn’t seem much interested in us or the subject matter.  Maybe the fact she was named Cassandra was part of the problem.

We dined in the hotel rooftop restaurant where the food was gone and the views even better.

Parthenon on top of the Acropolis
New Museum of the  Acropolis

Today,  day 2, we boarded the bus early,  that’s another story,  for Delphi,  a three hour ride each way. It was worth it.  Here are a couple of pan shots from half way up at the base of the theater. 

I don’t think words are necessary.  
We are showered freshend up and about to head out to see the scene and maybe get some dinner in the Plaka an old city area 10 minutes walk from the hotel.  As if anything in Athens is new. 

Athens arrival

The flights from Rochester to Kennedy to Vienna to Athens were uneventful save some hassles with security theater.  They got after Carol twice the in Vienna it was my turn. I failed to display my liquids separately,  bad boy, for that we will take everything out of the carry on to be sure you aren’t hiding something else.

At the airport in Vienna we saw the prefect carryon for the scooter fiend on your circle:

Arrival was a piece of cake.  No line up for immigration, no customs line and the luggage came up early and together.  Our driver was waiting at the exit with our name on a sign.  And there was no traffic on the way in to the hotel.  The temperature was 40 C. To save you converting,  37 C is normal body temperature.  
It took us about an hour to door of St up the room and we could see the Acropolis from the roof top restaurant of our hotel.  So what else could we do?  We walked two blocks to an entrance and state climbing, and climbing,  and climbing. This was made more interesting by heat and lack of sleep piled on top of our years. 
Here is a picture taken with my phone.  Haven’t set up transfer from the camera yet:
This is a very large theater on the slopes of the Acropolis.  There is another slighty smaller theater that had been fully restored like the one at Cesarea. 
Now we are cleaning up and thinking about dinner. 


The Boarding Passes are printed. The suitcases are 80% packed waiting only for the last  minute items we will use and then pack in the morning. I doubt we will sleep well tonight.

After a day of nervous energy spent and wasted on redoing our packing several times, you would think we would be old hands at this, but this is the first time we have left from our apartment after living so long on the coach and travel things just aren’t where we expect to find them. I’ve made three trips to the coach and still managed to leave things I think I would like to have. Done

We needed to get out of the apartment. We took a short walk in the golden hour just before sunset. Carol went back to get her new camera to try it out over a nearly empty river. Neither of us can remember it being this low since we moved downtown:

Looking North from Sister Cities Bridge

The ill fated fountain fully exposed

For those who don’t recognize it – Kodak Tower

Our apartment – easy to pick out 
It is the white trim just above the grey
Three large bays from the corner to the brick pillar
I too was messing with my camera. 


A week ago Carol and I went to Torah Study, the portion was Pinchas, I never miss since it is one of the few portions named for a person and somehow that is my Hebrew name. I say somehow because I have no idea where my parents came up with it other than it begins with P and they needed a Hebrew name beginning with P. But, as usual I digress. Rather than stay for services after the study we had another place to be. Keith Hoose, a wonderful man I worked with in the New England Life insurance office had died at age 89 and there was a memorial service for him at 11 AM. There are days when one thinks ahead and at least prepares oneself for what is to come. I was thinking Memorial Service like we do in the Jewish world, some appropriate prayers and a reasonable amount of eulogizing and off to either the cemetery or home unless you are a close friend or family in which case back to house after the burial for a meal and sharing stories. I had not quite gotten my head around a full Anglican Mass with too many people for a tiny church. Needless to say it was a bit of a jolt, especially on Shabbat.

The following night we went to Abilene to hear The Blind Owl Band. I am sure that the next oldest people in the crowd were the ages of our boys. The music was country, as promised. The band was from Saranac in the Adirondacks, hardly a likely place for a country band, but the bar environment certainly was consistent with their source. Saranac may have more bars than people in the winter. We enjoyed the music for most of the first set out on the patio in back of the club. Eventually the beginnings of a contact high convinced us it was time to leave. I saw a couple of bongs being passed and we decided enough was a bit too much.

To sort of round out the weekend we had dinner with Susan and Marty Denning. Marty had been the GA in the office through most of my time with New England. Our parting many years ago had not been the most cordial although we had worked together and liked each other for many years. Time has past and many of the agents we had worked with are now gone. It is never to late to return to a friendship. If you read this Marty, thank you for joining us for a very pleasant dinner.

Just to round out our rather weird week, on Thursday I was fitted with hearing aids and I have found a whole range of sounds that I had forgotten existed. Of course I got high tech aids with all kinds of capabilities which I am just exploring. They work better than any prior Bluetooth device I ever had for my phone 🙂 stereo hearing is really great. I can even listen to TV or radio at my preferred volume – much lower than it used to be – and let Carol listen at hers, or not even be bothered by the sound. I just wish this hadn’t come at the reduction of my own natural hearing ability, but such is life.

Friday night, late, there was the first night of a new festival – 2015 Street Light about 1 mile or so from our apartment. The night was glorious and warm and there was no rain so we walked over to see what it is about:

The artist had a camera tracking her face and using a variety of software packages was projecting this image on the wall, the software was tracking her and using that to render this image.

Okay, this was an inflated plastic surface with light projected on it and a passerby in the light path.
We got home late. after midnight, and slept in so we were ready to go to the Rochester Jewish Film Festival for a double feature with cousin Ellie. Sometimes I am not really sure what counts as humor, especially in an Israeli film. “Zero Motivation’s” humor is so black at time that the gorge rises. I laughed wholeheartedly at “You Must Be Joking” but others either did not see the humor or were so uncomfortable at the sources of the humor that they did not really enjoy it. I do get that having character who is in the midst of a civil trial for gay behavior, playing straight in a family Pesach scene is disconcerting, but I found it hilarious. Oh well to each his/her own taste. Or degustubus non disputandum.
That sort of wraps up where we are now with 9 days to go until lift off for Greece etc. 

Life at a slightly slower pace

Since the Jazz Festival we have tried to limit ourselves to one “event” a day. Sunday, immediately after the festival we did not stir from the apartment at all. Monday we had dinner out at a friends and we drove even though we would normally walk. Carol had made a dish that would have been an adventure to carry the 2 miles or so down East and Park to Barrington. We were with Barbara and Robert and Bobbi and George. It was a pleasant evening with a relatively early end (anything before midnight is early).  And so it went one event per day until Saturday when we went to Torah Study and had Lorraine and Don over for dinner and to walk over to the river to watch the fireworks over the river for the 4th.

And time keeps flying. A week later and I am just now making some time to write. Nothing significant has happened other than some wonderful get togethers with friends, old and new. That “old” refers to length of the friendship and is not meant as a comment on anyone’s age. Although if we have known these people for 30 or more years it does say something about their age 🙂 New is people new to the community, our Rabbi Peter Stein and wife Amy, and some people we just have never met to sit down and chat with even though we have been in the community all our lives.

We have taken some walks in the neighborhood and even came across a lovely “pocket park” we must have walked and driven by many times without giving it any notice:

This garden is located at the corner of Court Street and St Mary’s 
next to St Mary’s Church in the background
In the realm of nothing much, I went to Rochester Speech and Hearing Center at Julian’s suggestion (made a year ago after I told him my otolaryngologist thought I could use hearing aids!) and had a further evaluation of my hearing loss. I will be fitted with hearing aids this coming week and maybe will stop saying “huh?” or “what was that?” quite as often. Also I suspect our neighbors will no longer hear the TV 🙂 I seem to be joining a large number of people my age, now that I mostly don’t need glasses, replacing that need with hearing aids. 
I am rambling on a bit I know. Summer is here with Corn Hill Festival – we walked almost 5 miles yesterday to and through the Corn Hill neighborhood and Park Ave soon to follow, although we will be gone then. Our departure for Greece and OAT Crossroads of the Adriatic is closer than we think, 16 days actually – yikes! Hope we can still use Euros when we are there. 
A quick recap of our travel schedule may be in order here: We return to Rochester from the OAT tour on August 24 and we do not expect to leave until October 11ish. Our general route will take us to Charlottesville from the 12th until sometime after Corey’s Bar Mitzvah on the 24th. Then further south with a stop in Red Bay for anything we think might need service before turning west – or further south to see Carol’s brother and sister-in-law who Carol is visiting mid September. We expect to base ourselves in Jojoba Hills SKP Resort after our trek across the country with a stop in Las Cruces NM. From there we we will fly to New Zealand March 29 with further stops in Australia and Hawaii before returning to the coach mid May. We will stay in the area through July 2 for Avi’s Bar Mitzvah, the last of our boys! We are not sure where we will be to fly out to Ultimate Africa August 25. Maybe we will have made it to Rochester by late July and stay thrh toughe Holidays which are so late as to expose us to cold before we trek south and west again.