Thursday, June 17, 2010

Look for blogging from Athens starting Sunday

I'm spending a few days in Athens (yes, Greece) for a conference that starts Sunday, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Policy Studies and its International Urban Fellows program. I hope to do some live-blogging from the conference. The topic is "Memory" and its effects on how a city grows and develops. We'll tour the 2004 Olympics facilities, among other events.

My just-graduated from high school daughter (see last Saturday's op-ed on that emotional milestones) and I are here early, playing tourist so the scholarly and expert discussion about the city will have some meaning. We spent the hottest day of the year so far (at least 95 degrees, possibly hotter) touring the Acropolis, where there is very little shade and there were long lines for the water fountains. But it is a more stunning experience than I was prepared for.

Then we opted for the air-conditioned spendor of the new-last-year Acropolis Museum, which has a magnificent display of Greek antiquities from the Acropolis, especially the Parthenon. I won't launch into a travelogue here, but suffice to say that the display -- with plaster casts filling in for the sections of the carvings that Lord Elgin took away to England and which are now displayed at the British Museum -- makes painfully clear that those artworks deserve to come home and be reunited. There are sections where a rider's head is in London, and the rest of the body and the horse are in Athens. Or a leg is in one country, the body in the other. The artwork is too beautiful to have to endure, severed.

NPR did a piece today about the dearth of tourists in Greece. Here's a link. Having only arrived at noon today, I can't say whether the relatively deserted streets today (and "deserted" in Athens is about like a noonday weekday crowd at Trade and Tryon in Charlotte) were a result of a tourism slump, or the 95-degree heat, or the World Cup game in which Greece was playing (and beat) Nigeria. We heard TVs on in many homes we passed.


consultant said...

When did South Carolina go crazy?

Oh, hi Mary. Have a good time over there. Look forward to your reports.

South Carolina. Is it something someone said? Where does one start? Politics? The drinking water? Tics?

Why are they so different from NORTH Carolina? Why?