After the basketball game at the Olympic Hall two Saturdays ago, Papou took the kids and me to a pretty little monastery tucked into the side of Mount Imittos, one of the mountains that surrounds the city of Athens. We walked through the grounds of the monastery – seeing the 11th century church, the living quarters, the kitchen and the olive press room, where donkeys used to pull the large rock wheel that crushed the olives into oil. Then the boys climbed and rested in a huge sycamore just on the other side of the monastery wall. We had a drink in the little snack bar, the boys explored the woods around, and we came home.
Though the church was built in the 11th century, the site itself in ancient times is thought to have been a temple or other monument to Aphrodite. A gorgeous place for the fairest goddess.
Last Sunday, we took Demetri back there to hike the trails above the monastery. We had a nice cloud cover so it didn’t feel too hot and we wandered in the woods for 4 hours. The boys found 9 turtles along the way; they even fed one a full buffet of sumac (it looked like sumac) leaves. Through the city haze, the views of Lycabbetus Hill, the Acropolis and even the Pireaus port were spectacular. Athens looks huge – a sea of white buildings in the valley surrounded by the mountains.
After the hike, Thodoris and Mina met us for a late lunch in Zografou. We found a fun little park, with a vine-covered fence that hid the playground from the surrounding streets.
Demetri’s final trip to Spain was awesome. Based in Barcelona, the Race2Adventure crew saw Barcelona, Costa Brava, Game of Thrones’ Girona, Ibiza … and then he and two friends saw the F1 race in Barcelona. Demetri realized that he’s spent 25 of the last 40 days in Spain. Never a bad thing. He’s got fun pictures of his trip on his facebook page. Tomorrow, he’s off to Monte Carlo for more F1 and then to Mugello Italy for MotoGP with Thodoris and Vasillis.