Animal Encounters / Greece

‘Tis the Reason for the Off-Season

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We continue to research and plan our January 2012 stops on the RTW, and while we both enjoy the process, a little time off clears the head. Yesterday was a beautiful, cool day here and without much of a plan, we explored a part of Athens we hadn’t visited before. It’s always nice to discover things by accident, but much of the pleasure of this walk was the solitude. This is another confirmation why we’re in Greece in December, during the depths of the off-season. There are so few tourists around.

The neighborhood we visited is called Anafiotika, and it’s on the northern slope of the Acropolis hill. It feels a world apart from the noise and crowds of Athens. The streets are narrow, quiet, and it’s the perfect place to put away the map and just ramble. There are a few shops and restaurants, but much of the area is residential and is filled with lovely houses. This time of year, we’re always on the lookout for cool Christmas decorations, and we spotted this tiny, wonderful courtyard which we call “Ancient Greece meets 21st Century Natural”.

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Of course, around the Acropolis, you can’t throw a gyro without hitting some interesting ruins. This photo was taken at the Roman Agora (market), and is the Kyrristus Clock. It’s also know as the Tower of the Winds, a name derived from the carved figures on the eight sides which represent the wind directions. It’s from the 1st Century BC, and is in amazing condition. Another intriguing aspect is that it’s a water clock, but also had sundials on the sides. This may be the original pre-cursor to the analog/digital watch.

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And finally, no ruins in Athens are complete without the resident dog. We’ve posted quite a lot about these dogs, and how they’re cared for. And we continue to be amazed as we learn more. For instance, all the dogs have a collar with their name, and the collars are color coded: red for girls, blue for boys. In addition, there’s a phone number on the collar which can be called if the dog is in trouble … or is causing trouble. What we didn’t learn is how you should read the phone number if the dog is in the “causing trouble” category. Thanks to all the dog-lovers out there for your comments and interest.

Happy Trails,
James

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