Friday, December 16, 2022

Experiences in Athens

Familiar Signs of Athens- of the Institute, the Apartment, and the Red Lion

The last three months have passed quickly, working at the Institute and touring around Greece. As my time in Athens comes to a close, I would like to reflect on the different ventures that I experienced.

Being accepted into the intern position at the CIG, I was extremely excited, yet a little apprehensive. It was my first time travelling internationally, the first time away from my family for an extended period, lots of firsts. Arriving in Athens, it took about a week to settle in. The hustle and bustle of the city and craziness of the streets was both visibly and audibly evident, with mopeds and motor cycles weaving in and out of traffic, and always someone honking their horn! After walking from the apartment to the Institute for the first few days, I became acquainted with the atmosphere.

Drafts of Hellenistic Architecture by Dr. Frederick Winter Sorted by Chapter

At the Institute there was lots of work to be done for the Frederick E. Winter (FEW) Archive. The main task I was assigned included organizing and scanning the various notes and drafts that the Institute received from the Winter family. Organizing the items did not take long- it was the scanning that consumed most of my time. Page by page, I slowly made my way through the papers, keeping myself entertained by listening to music or podcasts. Looking back on all the work that I have completed during my time at the Institute, it is great to see the development of the FEW Archive and how it has taken shape.

View of the Acropolis from the Areopagus

With the open hours of the Institute being from nine until one, and my normal work hours from nine until two, afternoons were free to explore. I often found myself going for walks to the Acropolis and back or hiking up the Lykavitos hill. Having received a free entrance card for museums and archaeological sites from the Institute, many afternoons were filled with touring the local exhibits. My favourite museums that I visited were the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Cycladic Art.

The Lion Gate at Mycenae

During the weekend when there was more time for touring, I branched out from the city centre. I went out with the other intern and the fellow of the Institute and explored different areas. We went to Aegina for a beach day and floated in the sea. On the “ochi” day long weekend, we made a trip to Kalamata and toured the countryside visiting the Palace of Nestor. I also booked two guided tours, one went to Mycenae, Nafplio, and Epidaurus and the other to Delphi. At the Institute, working hours can be changed to accommodate plans during the week. So, I worked double hours one week, and took the next week off to visit with my parents and relatives in the Netherlands. Needless to say, my time in Greece has been full of travel and seeing new things.

Enjoying the Ambience of a Local Restaurant

One of the best things that goes hand in hand with travelling is the exposure to different food. I have grown to like the family style that most Greek restaurants serve their food in. Some of the best memories here were made in secluded Greek tavernas, enjoying the authentic music and food, just taking everything in. The foods that I thoroughly enjoyed were gyros, paidakia, dolmades, meatballs, and potatoes with tzatziki. Not only was the prepared food delicious, but also the fresh products that were for sale in the street markets. In particular, I appreciated the fresh olive oil, fruits, and vegetables that were grown by the locals.

Darts Night at the Red Lion

Working at the Institute, I became connected with the greater community of archaeologists in Athens. The main way that the different archaeological schools associate is through events. In particular, the Tuesday darts night linked a group of us mostly from the American, British, and Canadian schools. It was nice to meet students working in the field of classics and archaeology in a relaxed atmosphere and interesting to hear about research that they were conducting. Pairing this with some friendly competition in a game of darts, the evenings were enjoyable and great memories were made.

The opportunity to live in Athens and work at the Canadian Institute has been full of new experiences and lasting memories. I am thankful to have been welcomed into this community and for the work that I was able to accomplish during my three months here. Thank you for having me!

Aaron Westrik
University of Waterloo intern, autumn-winter 2022

No comments:

Post a Comment