Date: April 27, 2004
Cities: Rio, Patras, Olympia

After a leisurely start, we had breakfast at the hotel. They had crêpes! There was also a wide variety of cake and pie options along with omlets with meat in them. Allan talked with Bob from Oregon for half an hour before Jane and Valary joined them. Allan greatly enjoyed breakfast here both mornings.

2004We started with a jaunt into Patras where we toured St. Andrew's church. The church is still under construction, as it was only started in the early 20th century. The church allowed photography inside, a rarity for a Greek Orthodox church. Allan witnessed a priest blessing two new taxi cabs outside the church. This may explain how the cabs can get away with driving as fast as they do through narrow streets.

The drive to Olympia was short, and we stopped for lunch at the Ambrosia Taverna. We got table service as one large group and by now everyone was accomplished at ordering their favorite Greek dishes.

2004Melissa made a presentation on Olympia for her group, and we all listened in before we went into the museum. She presented well, and covered much of what Kaity, the guide, covered later. The students all had to make presentations during the trip, since they were in Greece as part of their summer semester coursework.

The museum was really nice. The exhibit hall was recently renovated, and the museum as a whole was still being renovated on the side away from the main exhibits, including the WC area. The antiquities inside were in very good condition, including the two pediments from the Temple of Zeus.

In the archaeological site of Olympia you can walk up onto the floor of the Temple of Zeus and watch a restoration in progress of one of the pillars. The pillars were made of soft stone, so the conservators were cleaning and preserving as well as structurally strengthening the pillar as they go. The weather stayed nice all day, despite some threats of rain.

We saw both F4 and F16 fighter jets on patrol while we were on the day trip. Kaity complained that they interrupted her guiding, but as long as they were up there, she didn't fear the Turks. As Americans we find it amusing that Nato allies still regard each other with such suspicion.

When we got back to the hotel Eirini led a bunch of us in search of dinner at a nearby taverna. Allan accompanied while Jane napped. Eirini and the older folks went into a place where the menu was only in Greek. Carrie, Rachel, Liz, Katie, and Allan checked out a few other places which either didn't speak English or didn't have vegetarian options. One of the students is a vegetarian, and another ate fish but not other meats.

Allan and the students walked up a side street as far as the railroad station, but the local grocery store was sold out of all but a few loaves of bread and some boxed goods so we couldn't make up a picnic. Neither the grocer nor the taverna folks speak English away from the touristy waterfront. Many of the houses along the side street were empty, apparantly vacation homes awaiting the summer.

We had dinner with Rachel in the hotel and talked about college stuff. Elmira was almost too small for her with 1500 students, and definitely would be for us. At the University of Florida where we work, Allan's office sees at least 1800 new students every semester for undergraduate writing classes.

cookie by
Allan West and
Jane Dominguez