The Munich International Airport is fantastic. I say that with confidence, because I spent 9 hours there on the way to Greece, after a long chain of flight delays and missed connections. They provide free coffee, tea, and newspapers (English language!) for passengers, and amazingly generous gesture at a time when many (particularly American) airlines are cutting every corner they can to save money, without taking into consideration the comfort or convenience of their passengers.
Anyways…I finally arrived in Athens at 12:30 AM, 8 hours late and jetlagged beyond belief. I took a taxi to my hotel, where thanks to jetlag and a loud bar next door, I got about 2 hours of sleep before I had to meet up with a friend for our journey to the archaeological site. Athens is an interesting city…it's loud, dirty, for the most part really ugly, and during the summer it's unbearably hot. And yet it has a certain charm that's hard to explain. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city, and I even lived there for a short time, but this time around I saw no reason to spend more time there then I had to, especially in the middle of summer.
I was in Greece to work on an archaeological survey. For those of you unfamiliar with this, unlike excavation, which is when archaeologists dig in the ground, a survey is a type of research conducted purely on the surface. A chunk of land, in this case a triangular-shaped plateau that was once a Greek and Roman urban center, is divided into smaller areas. Archaeologists then systematically scan the surface of the ground for architectural remains and for artifacts, counting them and collecting some for analysis. Once many of these smaller areas have been surveyed, the distribution of artifacts and architecture can be plotted, which helps us to understand where people lived and worked in the past. For more information about this survey, have a look at the official website.
For the next few days I will be posting about my experiences in Greece this summer, about my travel, my work, daily life on an archaeological project, and hopefully Greek food as well. Stay tuned!
See the other installments in this series:
- Part 2: Greece (about the project)
- Part 3: A day in the life (daily life on the project)
- Part 4: Greek Wine, Rose Jam, and Pigs: Travel in the Peloponnese