Just a few more days left in Athens and I can't wait to leave. Not that it hasn't been great here, but I miss the faces of home and the love I get from my family that you just don't quite get on the road, no matte how welcoming the Greek people have been.
One of the grandest moments of the Olympics for me so far came on Wednesday night. I was waiting in the mixed zone for Moravian College's Christian Scherwin to come in from the javelin competition (she's on the Denmark team) when Greece's Fani Halkia won the women's 400-meter hurdles. It sounded like Lincoln Financial Field when Donovan McNabb completed the fourth-and-24 pass against the Packers in the playoffs. Deafening is the proper word. And listening to the crowd chant "Hell-os, Hell-os," for Greece, which is called Hellas (hell-ahz) here gave me goose bumps.
One of the more frustrating tasks for me the past two days has been filing a lost report on the camera The Morning Call loaned to me, and now trying to file a police report to send back home to the photo department. The lost-and-found department for the Olympics took a report, but told me they are not allowed to forward it anywhere. I went to a police station near the OAKA complex, and they told me I could not file a stolen item report there, that I must do it in the area of the hotel where I am staying. I went to the police station near Syntagma Square and the policeman in front of the building wouldn't even allow me to set foot in the building, and told me I must file the report near OAKA. After much pleading, he told me I could come back after 5 p.m. (I guess that's when his shift ends, so I can go through the same dialogue with another policeman).
Which brings me to another complain here. I don't think the police and soldiers here who are carrying automatic weapons have ever been instructed about gun safety when walking near people. Many of them walk with the barrel of the gun raised, and when they turn to you, their weapon is pointed right at you. Keep in mind that earlier this week, one solider shot another in the head while they were fooling around near where the mountain bike racing will be staged.
This morning, I gut up early and walked all the way up Athens supposed highest point, Lycabettus Hill. It was a hike, I'll give you that, and the view from the top was almost as breathtaking as seeing Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. "Take a sandwich and water" one local told me. I took the water, not the sandwich, and did just fine, although I would not recommend the walk for anyone with circulation or weight problems. There is a funicular, an elevator sort of ride, to take to the top, which features a restaurant, but it was a fun walk once I found the right steps. For a while, I was off the beaten trail, walking through forested paths that were local shortcuts, but not very well directed.
Today I'm hoping to get to the women's soccer final with the U.S. taking on Brazil. Since most people I know won't be seeing this until Friday, I'd like to wish the Schnecksville U-10 soccer teams good luck in their tournaments this weekend.Copyright © 2015, CT Now