Hello! My name is Bob Spillman (Dr Bob). Join me as I travel to Greece to study Dolphins on an Earthwatch Expedition!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Field Site and Expedition Study

I want to share a few photos and thoughts about the trip experience.  It was a wonderfully organized trip and I believe all of the volunteers would share my appreciation of what Joan and Iva did to make the trip pleasant, productive and educational.  While the dolphin study was always the top priority, they always had our interests in mind when it came to food, sights and comfort.  If a fishing village was located along our dolphin route, we usually managed to be located in that vicinity during mid-day, so that we could enjoy a Greek lunch at a harborside outdoor cafe.  These meals were a very nice break and gave us a chance to converse, try the Greek breads and cheeses, and to observe the types of fishing boats at that location.  I wish I had some photos to share of these small villages that were typically located at the base of a mountain on the waterfront.  Wonderful!

The field site that served as our lodging is located in Vonitsa.  It is a second floor apartment that has been outfitted to provide sleeping and meal facilities that accommodate Joan and Iva as well as the 5 volunteers on this particular trip.  We took turns preparing meals and the staff was always excellent in obtaining the supplies.  Our meal area:

There is actually a third member of the staff that I've not mentioned yet.  He watches the apartment while we are traveling and also assists in meal cleanup.  His name is Poseidon and goes by the nickname Posi:

Posi is a great companion on the porch and he really enjoys his walks.  I really enjoyed early morning coffee on the porch while we watched the new day come.  Cool breezes, sounds of a town waking up, coffee, and a happy dog make an excellent environment for reflection.  It was a great energy builder for the day.

My travel to Vonitsa involved a flight from Boston to Athens, followed by a 5 hour bus trip to Vonitsa.  The schedules make a same-day connection nearly impossible, so I spent one night in Athens both coming and going.  A recommended Hotel was the Art Gallery Hotel, a very nice small hotel with some room options for saving money.  Two benefits I had not realized until I got there were 1) only 1 1/2 blocks from a subway terminal, and 2) located at the base of the Acropolis of Athens.  I checked in and immediately headed up the mountain to the Acropolis.  It was surreal to be in the middle of what most of us epitomize as the heart of ancient Greece.

The Parthenon was being renovated, but one is still transported back into ancient Greece and cast into awe that such structures could have possibly been built 500 - 600 years BC.  One portion of the site is constructed from 8,000 two-ton blocks of stone.  The columns and artwork from that period are amazing.

The Acropolis museum was a very good investment.  It documents the history of the  Acropolis and focuses particularly on the artwork.  The museum has tried to reassemble the actual artwork by purchasing the known pieces.  It has made plaster replicas of those pieces it cannot get. 

The Temple of Zeus is nearby the Acropolis.  Although there is little left, it still radiates the importance this god has in Greek mythology.

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