Tag Archives: Athens

Mars Hill

Mars Hill, or the meeting place of the Areopagus.

Mars Hill, or the meeting place of the Areopagus, as viewed from the portico of the Acropolis.

I stood today on this very rock, Mars Hill, where St. Paul preached one of the Book of Acts’ most famous sermons.  This big ol’ rock, in this photo with lots of people standing on it, overlooks the ancient agora where Paul taught centuries after Socrates taught as well.

And as I stood there, I was overcome with deep, powerful emotion.


In Athens (Acts 17)

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

~New International Version

Final Athens dinner

At 9.45 p.m. local time, I’m back at my apartment, packing up.  But not before posting dinner photos first.

I returned this evening to Bairaktaris.  Sure, I could have higher-brow food, and could have had better ambience.  But sitting in the open night air, surrounded by throngs of happy locals and tourists, is not a bad thing at all for a last evening in Athens.

I ordered a Greek salad, and kabobs with yogurt sauce.  The host brought the usual on-the-house dessert, this time with what I thought was a small glass of water.

Nope.  That was pure ouzo.  Undiluted.  I almost tossed it back after the dessert, until I got a whiff of it.  Then I sipped.

And then there was that one last view of the Acropolis down a side street.

Monday in Athens

Labor Day in the USA.  I labored in Athena.

At 9 on Monday evening, my perch is at Ithaki Restaurant, just across the square from my  apartment. I’ve dined on chicken souvlaki with (gasp!) chips (as in fries). And a Greek salad.

Now let me just say: Greek salads here are so incredibly fresh, and undressed.  This is twice today that I’ve slathered olive oil and mild vinegar over sliced cucumbers, tomato, red onion, green pepper, olives, and a wedge of feta.  And twice that I’ve been delighted . . . avoiding the olives, of course.  I’m even eating fresh tomato and raw green pepper, so wonderful is this combination.

And then to use this coarse, dense Greek bread to soak up the leftover oil is, well, heaven on earth.

Several folks have asked me on Facebook and by email “What are you doing in Greece?”.

The answer is simple and complex: I am visiting our Athens and Vienna campuses this week to continue to build opportunities for current and new students in the Webster network.  Our Athens campus, under the previous administration, had a master’s program in music.  Can we get that program, or something similar, started again?  How can we broaden our work with the Webster Network of International Schools?  What are ways of increasing enrollment in music courses from students already attending this campus (once the Ministry of Education grants that all-important license)?  What new music courses would be appropriate for undergrads not majoring in music?  What can we do here to provide courses and a residency option for music majors?

These are the questions that are informing my visit and our conversations this week.  The end result should be increased opportunity for current students, and open opportunities for new students.

Meanwhile, I ended a day of meetings by standing on top of the Webster Ipitou building and marveling at the Acropolis, just a few blocks and an easy view away.

And then I spent time prepping for tomorrow, and dining on wonderful Greek food, and taking a brief nap before any of this occured…..

As I write this, I’m still at this table at this restaurant, enjoying a V&T, and loving the fact that Greeks eat so late in the evening.  And I just slurped up another slice of feta-laden cucumber.

Photos from today:

Yup. That's the Acropolis from the top deck of the Webster University Ipitou building in Athens.

Yup. That’s the Acropolis from the top deck of the Webster University Ipitou building in Athens.

Pastitsio for luncheon.

Patstisio for luncheon.

Looking left from the front gate of the Webster University cultural center.

Looking left from the front gate of the Webster University cultural center.


Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence around the 11th–7th millennium BC.[3] Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato‘sAcademy and Aristotle‘s Lyceum,[4][5] it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy,[6][7]largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent and in particular the Romans.[8] In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece.

And I am in Athens.

(Thanks, Wikipedia, for the first paragraph!)

I arrived at mid-afternoon after a choppy but pleasant crossing from Hyrda.  One of our Webster (University of Indianapolis) alums collected me in his taxi, and dropped me right at the door of the apartment building next to Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, the seat of the Orthodox Church here in Greece.  I was met by Tom, a US ex-pat who manages the facilities for our Athens outpost.

After unpacking, a quick rest, a bottle of water, and some email time, I set out by foot.  This is the city center after all.  And I immediately stepped into the very streets that I had walked here in 2009.

IMG_8731After wandering the market streets for a while, I ended up at my destination — Bairaktaris restaurant.  My delicious dinner included a lettuce and green onion salad, four magnificent housemade meatballs with rice, a bottle of Hellas (local beer).  And a surprise dessert of fresh peaches in yogurt and honey, with a side of something sticky and sweet and pastry-ish.  The manager sent out dessert free of charge!  This is one way to earn loyalty.  And all for €15.

At 8.30 p.m., I’m back at the apartment to stay.  Athens was very warm today at over 100°F.  I’m ready to call it a day.

Oh yes . . . the Acropolis is just three blocks from my apartment.  I’ll see the Parthenon later this week.