Thursday, August 14, 2008

Arrival in Athens

We arrived in Athens a couple days ago (Tuesday). The flights were pretty standard. Except for once when we hit some turbulence and were jerked upwards out of our seats, then caught and returned by our seatbelts. A couple seconds and a couple screams later, everyone was fine. Also, Kirstie lost her luggage - the outcome of a baggage handlers' strike in Brussels. But it arrived the next morning.

Highlights of Tuesday: seeing the Sanners and meeting the youngest one Sofia. Sofia is a cute little 7-month-old girl... understandable with Kristin as her mother, but perplexing when you think of Brett. We'll throw some pictures of them on here later. So far we've had a blast hanging out with our good friends!!!... so far. They treated us to a Greek feast at a local outdoor restaurant on Tuesday night (picture below), and have been fun and generous hosts in every way. In the picture, Sofia is on the left drinking the 7up.

Wednesday we spent the afternoon at the beach. Apparently, every day in Athens is beautiful with sunny, clear skies. Exhibit A is below. We swam in the Meditteranean Sea and relaxed on the beach.

This was also the site of the first event in Brett's and my mano-a-mano heptathlon. Or pentathlon, perhaps... TBD. Anyway, in the spirit of this week's Olympics and being in the home of them, we decided we will take each other on in a few events. The first event was a 30-meter freestyle swim. A sprint for most; a marathon for us. I went all Lizak on Brett and rode his wave on the way down, saving my energy. He came hard out of the turn, but at about 20 meters, Brett was dog paddling and I had plenty left in the tank. As I glided past him, he tried to jump on my back and drag me down, but I don't know if he did this to cheat and try to win, or because he was almost drowning and hoping I would rescue him. Anyway, with about 5 meters to go I shed him off and slapped the hand at the finish line for the gold. Stay tuned for future events... we think they may be a 100-meter dash, some sort of middle-distance (400m or 800m) jog or speed-walk, a long jump, some sort of strength or throwing competition, and perhaps a couple more as we are inspired. To make excuses ahead of time, however, I injured my toe on a giant rock in the ocean during an exhibition race with one of Brett and Kristin's co-workers Carolyn.

Wednesday we also had some fun walking through Athens streets, riding the train/subway, and eating another gyro (delicious). This week, most people in Athens take vacations, so the Sanners tell us the city is relatively calm compared to its typical atmosphere. There are still a great number of tourists and we have crossed paths with a wide mix of people from countries around the world. In part, this is due to the high number of immigrants into Athens, but also just that it's a pretty sweet place to visit. Anyway, it's a good place for people-watching.

Here are a few pictures from today's tourist stops (most notably the Acropolis), with more pictures later accompanied with commentary on ancient and modern Greek culture and our personal reactions to these.

Sorry for the mid-riff exposure on this last one... we'll try to keep this blog a little more family-friendly in future posts.



Rick said...

Very nice blog and I am loving hearing your reaction to Athens and Greece.. But I vote for better and more pictures of my little Sofia.. Hee Hee!! Give her hugs and kisses from her grandma!
I hope you are having a great time and making lots of memories....

The Zimmerman's said...

Glad you made it and are having a great time!!! Looking forward to hearing more!


nhanson said...

So glad you made it ok. Yikes, turbulance!! The feast looks delicious and Athens looks like an absolutely beautiful place. It is so cool to see a picture of you actually there! All of the preggers in our office are really starting to show! It's amazing how quick they change. We are missing you!

Laura Anne Traastad said...

alex, i'm deeply offended by the midriff, please let kirstie choose the pictures from now on. also, i'm living vicariously through you as you play in greece and get ready to go to india, can't wait to keep reading more. stay safe!


Lisa. said...

Thanks for the email about the apt... and I'm excited to watch your adventure unfold via blog posts. :) Take care and continue to let us know how you are.

Kristen said...

awww, i miss the pences!! glad your adventure is off to a great start.

i ditto laura's comment.
and wow, lisa is a sophisticated blogger with a picture and everything

-kristen e.

Anonymous said...

i miss you pence family! enjoy your time in greece! it looks awesome!

Lief said...

please... more midriff Alex!

Lief and Emily

(we already miss you guys - I'm going to remember you by buying one scrambler with extra gravy every single week)

nauthiz693 said...

Without the potential for midriff.. I don't know if I can keep reading..