Dateline: Athens, Day 1 – Athens in 4 Hours

Athens, Greece
4 July 2009

With the assistance of last nights mid-voyage Internet connection, we were able to find what we thought would be a good chance at a bed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually book anything. After talking to Mom and Dad on Skype and explaining the 14 second audio delay because of the satellite connection I was using, we made out way to the hostel.

The downside of arriving anywhere past midnight is that there is no guarantee of a working metro system. Many places shut down their metros at midnight and also reduce bus service. Athens is one of those cities. We ended up sharing a cab with the American couple, since they were staying at a hotel near us. We paid €5/each and were on our way.

We got to the hostel and low and behold, they had one room left. So, the good news is that we had a bed. The bad news is that we had a bed, singular.

Whatever, we took it and went to bed.

Exploring Athens in 4 hours was pretty exiting. We had three goals: National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Parthenon, and catching our boat in Patros1.

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is quite amazing

18.0 mm || 1/50 || f/3.5 || ISO1000 || NIKON D70

18.0 mm || 1/80 || f/3.5 || ISO1000 || NIKON D70

70.0 mm || 1/20 || f/4.5 || ISO400 || NIKON D70

31.0 mm || 1/80 || f/4.0 || ISO800 || NIKON D70

18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/3.5 || ISO400 || NIKON D70

…and yes, that’s a guy giving himself a tittie twister2.

We grabbed a quite bit to eat before racing off to find the Parthenon. As we started to climb the steps leading to the Parthenon, the clouds began to roll in. Although I think it made for rather excellent lighting in the end…

18.0 mm || 1/5000 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Athens, Attica, Ελλάδα

18.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Athens, Attica, Ελλάδα

18.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Athens, Attica, Ελλάδα

18.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Athens, Attica, Ελλάδα

18.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Athens, Attica, Ελλάδα

31.0 mm || 1/100 || f/8.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Athens, Attica, Ελλάδα

As we were leaving the Parthenon, the drops started to fall. By time we made it down the small ridge the Parthenon was on, it was pouring down rain. We made a mad dash for the hostel were we grabbed our bags. Already running late, we hailed a cab (the second in as many days) and raced to the bus terminal. We made it with, I swear, only five minutes before the bus left. But we were on, and that’s what mattered at this point…even if we were soaking wet.

The bus ride, like all the bus rides before it, was uneventful.

50.0 mm || 1/50 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Aktaio, West Greece, Ελλάδα

We got to the bus terminal and ran to the ferry terminal, which sucked because we had to go all the way to the ticket counter on the far side of the terminal before going back to ferry. By time we got to the ferry, they had already started to pull up the car ramp…so we just barely made it.

This ferry, the Superfast Ferry, was quite a bit nicer than the other ferries we had been, which is saying something because the other ferries were pretty nice. I’d actually call this ferry more of an ocean linear.

We made our way to the foyer and sat down. It wasn’t long before I was scouting out a place for out “instant upgrade.” The place I selected was the airplane-style seats. It seemed to more or less be a free for all, and there were plenty of extra seats. I would suspect that less than half the people actually had tickets for the airplane-style seats. We managed to snag a couple and settled in for our night ride to Bari, Italy.

Around midnight, there was a commotion that aroused me from my sleep. We were being kicked out. We had just pulled out of port in Igoumenitsa and someone actually had a ticket for our seats! What luck!

We tried finding a place to sleep somewhere else, first in the foyer (no place to lie down), and then in the dining area. However, some official actually kicked us (a bunch of people actually) out because the area was for people who were eating. Problem was, the restaurant wasn’t open. I guess he didn’t care.

So it was back to the foyer. However, I was determined to get back to our plush aircraft-style seats. After waiting a bit, I made by way back in to the cabin and scouted our another spot. I found a guy sitting with two bags taking up two extra seats. I asked if he was using them, to which he prompt got up and left. So I took them. And all was good with the world again.

Happy Forth of July!

  1. Charlie figured out that it was faster/easier to catch the boat in Patros, rather than four hours later in Igoumenitsa. Not to mention that buying a ticket for Patros is easier… 

  2. Check that one off the list of words I didn’t think I would ever write on this blog 

Dad’s in Town

Dad called me today to let me know that I should print my boarding pass online when I fly back for Thanksgiving.

Then he wanted to know if I wanted to grab some food tomorrow. He’s in town!

Brian flies back tomorrow, Dad flies back Sunday, and I fly back Monday.

Poor Mom, she’s going to be driving to the airport a lot.


Guest Authoring at GottaBeMobile

Update: It’s up! Check it out: GottaBeAStudent and The Myth of Battery Life. Also a special thanks to Mom and Dad for A) proof reading it, and B) providing me with a title.

Starting later today, I’ll be doing a series of articles on that deals with tablet issues from a student perspective. We’ll, at least from my perspective (if you know me, you know that I can bring a unique perspective to anything).

GottaBeMobile is the site for Tablet PC information, so it’s a pretty big honor to write for them.

I also need to take a moment to point out the incredible irony that finds me, an engineer, writing in a situation like this. One of the reasons I went to Mines was to get away from all the writing that high school and humanities classes had. Yet, I find my self blogging several times a week on my personal site and writing articles for two outside sites.

In any event, it’s going to be more of an article based series, rather than the short and informative posting I do like to do at However, I think many will find them just as helpful.

I’ll post again when I put up the first article later today.

I’d also like to thank Rob for giving me (and STPC) a chance to expand my (our) audience and Tracy for letting me get away with it 😉 . Rob was also very helpful and kind in helping me make the decision to contribute to GBM, including helping me with a list of topics.


Boston: Day Two

Note: This actually took place 10/14/2007. I’m just super busy and haven’t been able to get it all typed up until now.

The following takes place between 6ampm and 2am, Boston Local Time:

Three hours of sleep is not near enough. Fortunately, it was race day and the adrenaline began rushing soon after the alarm went off. We were all out by 6:40am and had Colin dropped off around 7am.

We drove to the prime spectating spot and then found a Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast.

DSC_0835 It wasn’t long before Colin made his first appearance. I think he took us all by surprise since when had no idea where he was in the pack. Jeff, Tim, James, and Elizabeth were ready with Gatorade, goo, and change of clothes. I stood back a bit with the camera.

DSC_0847 Colin shed his hat and jacket and kept on running. It would be about an hour before we saw him again. Elizabeth, with some input for others, made a hilarious sign for Colin.

DSC_0865 The next time around, we were a bit more ready. Gatorade and goo hand off, plus a little bit of running along by Tim.

DSC_0852 As we later learned, Colin never notice the sign. Which is unfortunate because it’s awesome.

Once more around the loop for Colin. Tim and James when a couple miles down the way to prepare for jelly bean dispensing (pure sugar for a quick energy boost). Meanwhile, Jeff, Elizabeth, and I moved across the bridge for the third meeting.

DSC_0941 Colin was looking good. The last Gatorade and goo handoff when without a hitch and Colin was on his way. The three of us jumped into the van and drove to the finish line.

Traffic was hectic near the end. With streets blocked off, runnings in the road, and bridges closed, it was near impossible to get around. Jeff dropped Elizabeth and me off near the stadium where the finish line was. We started into the arena when I saw Colin passing me on my left.

Not wanting to miss him finishing, I took off in a dead sprint to beat him into the stadium. Unfortunately, I had no idea where I was going and was almost bear hugged by a volunteer to prevent me from racing onto the field.

DSC_0984 I back tracked a few paces, whipped out my camera and had plenty of time to capture Colin crossing the finish line.

DSC_1001Colin recovered pretty quickly. We doddled around the stadium for a while, took a group picture to commemorate Colin’s Boston Marathon Qualifying Time, and then headed back to BC.

I had a nap on the way back since I was dead tired.

We had dinner when we got back; which reminds me that BC has pretty fantastic dining service. It’s frustrating that Mines is locked into Aramark, because they do a pretty shitty job. This, however, is a topic for another day.

To cap of the day, Jeff and I went to Mass. I think I’ve only been to Mass once before, and that was for Stephanie’s High School Graduation. My Mom’s cousin was married this summer and they had a Catholic wedding, but no Mass (although we all bet heavy money that there would be one).


Boston: Day Zero

Fall break has come (and now gone) and I elected a rather long time ago to spend my four wonderful days of in Boston (or as I like to call it, Bah-ston).

The previous week had been a shit week, which I think is the typical feeling on Friday for many Miners. I hadn’t been feeling well as of late Thursday night and I now had a paint in my lower left ribcage that was coming and going throughout the day. To compound things, several exams had reared their ugly heads that I would need to spend a portion of my vacation studying for.

Feeling rather anxious (in a bad way), I packed my carry on with all the reference material I might need to study and Mom dropped me off at the airport just a little past 10:30pm.

Day 0: 11:35pm to 6:30am
jetBlue has a wonderful red eye flight at that takes off from Denver at 11:35pm local and lands in Boston at 5:15am local. Just enough time to get about three hours of sleep.

I was only able to get about an hour of sleep before arriving. I gathered my things, let Jeff know that I had landed, and starting walking toward the arrival area.

Perhaps the fun part about being up so early is that you can see all shops opening. I don’t why I like the feeling, but it feels good and exciting to see places opening for business…especially early in the morning. I feel part of the city at that point I guess.

There was also a man sleeping in a wheelchair. I couldn’t figure out if he was homeless or not…I should have taken a picture, but I didn’t.

Jeff and Tim picked me up (using James’ van). We made a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for some bagels, cream cheese, and a bag of coffee to be made later, then proceeded to the dorm unit to catch some more shuteye.

Photo copyright © by legge_e_mare, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic