Upon my arrival, I am now a Fulbright Fellow in Greece through The Fulbright Foundation in Greece on sabbatical from the College of Charleston working with the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. You could say I'm settled already, just a week arriving at ATH, the Athens International Airport, or Diethnis Aerolimenas Athinon Eleftherios.
This time is not my first in Greece. Or my second. However, this third time visiting will be for over four months. I arrived on Thursday, March 2, 2016, midday, two hours ahead of Grenwich Mean Time and seven hours ahead of my home in Charleston (noon in Athens is currently five am there, until the US East Coast Springs forward Sunday morning, March 13, 2016).
The flights from CHS to IAD (Dulles in D.C.) to Frankfurt to Athens were not too bad, and despite our airline troubles in the US, my United flights on Lufthansa starting at IAD were quite pleasant, with actual food and wine with snacks and lots of water and coffee all around. The spectacular views in the morning of March 2nd came into my starboard (right) window seat and included the snow-capped peaks of Austria, the cloud-shrowded country of Slovenia (literally at the country boundaries), Croatia with great expanses of plowed fields along the rivers, and finally Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia or Albania, FYROM, and the Greek airspace. Realizing we had come over the northern Aegean Sea from the unmistakable sight of the bulbous incursion of Pagasitikos Kolpos, the gulf at Volos, Thessaly, my sleepy eyes were peeled wide open as we were about to follow the coast across the study area!
Once I recognized Volos and the accompanying harbor, I knew we would fly right over the regions of Arkitsa and Theologis--Chalcis was a fun bonus, as the entirety of the gulf goes through a gut that is a few tens of meters wide and less than ten meters deep.
The study area is to the top left--the water just below the white clouds embraced by the point of land wrapping around the harbor to the point to the left of center.
Baggage claim was easy, and after a quick taxi ride to my front door (35euro), I hauled my bags up to elevator and found my way into my apartment for the next two months. The capitol of Greece, Athens is a full city. The green spaces are common, and in between the apartments, businesses, and buildings in general are stacked close together as in any major city. The rooftops are bedazzled by solar water heaters (which work VERY well), antennae, dishes, vegetation, and the like, but even so the view over the city is quite nice.
This blog is not an official Department of State website or blog, and that the views and information presented are their own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.