NMNH Cetacean Collection
NY Subways
Run the Chesapeake Bay Bridge 10K
Rebecca Kamen: Fundamental Forces

Greece: Icon Workshop

Today, we visited an icon workshop. They make all the icons by hand, and they showed us all the many steps involved. First, they start with blocks of wood, the type of wood depending on the icon.

Wood base

Wood base

The wood is hand carved.

Hand carved wood

Hand carved wood

If the icon will have metal on it, the metal is then shaped into the desired form.

Silver plate

Silver plate

All painting is done on canvas, so the canvas is then stretched.

Stretching the canvas

Stretching the canvas

The foil is then added.

Supplies including foil and brush for foil

Supplies including foil and brush for foil

Bright powder pigments are used for the paint, and duck egg and vinegar are other ingredients.

Powder pigments

Powder pigments

Powder pigments

Powder pigments

The icon is then hand painted.

Hand painting

Hand painting

An example of a beautiful final product.

Finished icon

Finished icon

Greece: Meteora Monasteries

While visiting the Meteora area, we visited two Eastern Orthodox monasteries, Varlaam and St. Stephen. Varlaam has much older structures than St. Stephen, and Varlaam has monks, and St. Stephens has nuns. They are both beautiful monasteries sitting on top of the rock towers, in seemingly precarious positions. Before electricity, they climbed and used net baskets to get to the monasteries. I can’t wrap my head around how they reached them in the past.

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen courtyard

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen courtyard

Candles at Holy Monastery of St. Stephen

Candles at Holy Monastery of St. Stephen

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen entrance

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen entrance

Holy Monastery of Varlaam wood ceiling

Holy Monastery of Varlaam wood ceiling

Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Old rope lift at Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Old rope lift at Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Lift at Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Lift at Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Wine barrel at Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Wine barrel at Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Greece: Meteora

Today we visited Meteora, an area in central Greece, of beautiful, amazing rock towers. They are composed of sedimentary rock, and the towers are for the most part bare rock. Portions of the towers have crevices that have been created from erosion. In the 9th century, monks sought refuge and solitude in the caves, and later, monasteries were built on top of several of the towers. Until the introduction of electricity, monks accessed the monasteries via ladders or a basket suspended via ropes, and evidently very strong will and stomachs. Now, those of us with not quite that strength, can visit the monasteries via roads and stairs.

Meteora

Meteora

Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora

Greece: Athena Pronaia at Delphi

Right next to the Delphi archaeological site is the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. It is a much smaller site, and I am not sure if it is technically considered to be part of the Delphi site. The main ruins at the site are those of the Thosos, which is a round building. A neat feature at the site is a mountain spring that flows onto the site and is channeled away in a small stone canal.

Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia with Delphi in the background

Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia with Delphi in the background

Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia

Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia

The Tholos

The Tholos

Lego pieces

Lego pieces

Mountain spring

Mountain spring

Channel for the spring at the site

Channel for the spring at the site

Greece: Delphi Museum

After we visited the archaeological Delphi site, we visited the museum next door. All the artifacts are from the site, and there are some amazing pieces in it. The pieces are amazing and masterfully made. I also can’t get over the detail into some of the pieces, especially ones that were supposed to be on top of structure and thus never seen up close.

Sphinx

Sphinx

Athenian column

Athenian column

Athenian column

Athenian column

chariot driver

chariot driver

cornice

cornice

frieze

frieze

frieze

frieze

lion head

lion head

Omphalos

Omphalos

Omphalos

Omphalos

The Twins

The Twins

Greece: Delphi

Today we visited the archaeological site of Delphi. Delphi is definitely one of the most amazing archaeological sites to which I have ever been. It is not the biggest. Olympia and the Athens Acropolis are probably bigger, and both of them are very impressive. I think what I found so awe-inspiring about Delphi was not just the ruins, which are impressive, but also the setting. It is nestled into the mountains, and it reminds me of Machu Picchu. As an engineer, I haven’t stop being impressed with the construction of these sites, and at Delphi, I found the Polygonal Wall to be just amazing. Polygonal Wall is built of carved stones set on top each other without any mortar.

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

View from Delphi

Delphi

Delphi

View from Delphi

Polygonal wall and Athenian Stoa

Polygonal wall and Athenian Stoa

Stadium

Stadium

Theater

Theater

Theater

Theater

Treasury of the Athenians

Treasury of the Athenians

Altar of Apollo

Altar of Apollo

Omphalos

Omphalos

Greece: Arachova

Today we traveled to Arachova, a mountainous village set at the foot of Mt. Parnassós in Viotia, Southern Greece. It is mainly a resort town in the winter for the nearby ski slopes. The town reminds of me of a ski village in Colorado but the architecture more reminds me of Europe. It is a cute little village with wonderful views.

Arachova

Arachova

Arachova

Arachova

View of Arachova

View of Arachova

Arachova main street

Arachova main street

Arachova main street

Arachova main street

Arachova steps

Arachova steps

Arachova main street

Arachova main street

Greece: Athens Turkish Baths

I visited the Turkish Baths in Plaka today. I found out about them in Lonely Planet. I don’t think many tourists visit them because when I walked in around 8:30 the man at the desk looked surprised to see a visitor and had to turn on the lights in the place. The baths are really well restored 17th-century public bathhouse and a remnant of the Ottoman times. The only criticism I have is that more signage as to what you are looking at would have been really nice. They had pictures projected onto some of the walls that did help a little.

Changing area

Changing area

Changing area

Changing area

Changing area

Changing area

Ceiling of changing area

Ceiling of changing area

Door to the bathing areas

Door to the bathing areas

Bathing area ceiling, the lights are from glass domes through the roof catching sunlight

Bathing area ceiling, the lights are from glass domes through the roof catching sunlight

Basin

Basin

Bathing area

Bathing area

Bathing area

Bathing area

Bathing area

Bathing area

Greek Financial Crisis Media

Yesterday, my tour group came back to Athens before heading out again today. While in Athens, I walked over to Parliament and Syntagma Square, which is directly in front of Parliament. I saw zero protestors, but maybe they came later. I did however see lots of media, or more descriptively, lots of bored looking media. Here are a few photos of the media gathered around reporting or looking bored.

IMG_4729

According to my camera’s GPS, this was taken outside the Greek Ministry of Economy and Finance

IMG_4725

Seems to be the vantage point for many media outlets

IMG_4727

Zoomed photo of balcony of Athens Plaza

IMG_4726

Zoomed photo of balcony of Athens Plaza

IMG_4728 IMG_4723 IMG_4722

Greece: Olympia

Today we visited the ancient site of Olympia where the original Olympic games were held. The site is huge, and they are still uncovering it. The gymnasium is only partially uncovered with something like 80% still left to dig up. There were two different areas where people were working to uncover remains while I was there. There were so many structures that I got confused at times what was what structure. Then of course there also pieces lying around in what I am sure is some logical method to the archaeologists, but to most of us, it looks like column, foundation, or undetermined piece of stone lying about everywhere with no clue as to which building it belongs. Then there is the stadium, which is unmistakable as it is a huge open area surrounded by sloped grassy areas, where I like most people, felt the need to traverse the distance just to say I walked across the ancient Olympic Stadium. Many others raced each other down the length of it. The entire site is just really neat to explore. I also really started examining the limestone that was used to make the structures. Some of the stone has eroded enough that I could examine the shells in it. Other limestone was being eroded by plants, lichen, and moss, who clearly had no respect for the history of the stone.

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Hera

Temple of Hera

Temple of Hera

Temple of Hera

Hera's Alter, where they light the Olympic torch for modern Olympics

Hera’s Alter, where they light the Olympic torch for modern Olympics

Propylon

Propylon

Propylon

Propylon

Philippeion

Philippeion

Stadium entrance

Stadium entrance

Stadium

Stadium

Leonidaion

Leonidaion

Leonidaion

Leonidaion

Column parts

Column parts

Ruins

Ruins

Seashells in limestone

Seashells in eroded limestone column

Moss and plant on limestone column

Moss and plant on limestone column