Friday, November 19, 2010

Cardinal's Attire

On Saturday, November 20th, Pope Benedict XVI will officially name 24 new cardinals. They will be presented with their red hats at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica.
These new cardinals will have an opportunity to do some shopping while they are in Rome. I saw this window display near the Pantheon a couple days ago. It features items for a cardinal's wardrobe.

The store has everything from hats and rings for the new cardinals...

to Red Socks. (Note: The Boston baseball team is spelled Red Soxs.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Running from Marathon to Athens

On Sunday, October 31, Vincenzo joined 20,000 runners in the Athens Classic Marathon. This year marked 2500 years since the 42km distance was first covered by a Greek messenger running from Marathon to Athens to spread word of victory in battle.

This is Vincenzo finishing the race in the Panathinaiko Stadium, used for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 - the Games that saw the introduction of the competitive marathon race. (Vincenzo’s time was 3:47:10.)

Here are two versions of the “original” finish in 490 BC.
“The Soldier of Marathon Announcing the Victory.”
Marble sculpture by Jean-Pierre Corlot (1787-1843).

“We Have Won.”
Oil painting by Oliver Merson (1846-1920).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birdwalking in Athens

Athens is a wonderful city for birdwalking, meandering through a maze of streets and neighborhoods. These are images from our recent visit.

National Archeological Museum of Athens: Part 3

Jewelry from the Mycenae Chamber Tombs
14th-13th century BC

Safety Pins and jewelry have not changed much in over 3,000 years!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

National Archeological Museum of Athens: Part 2

Zeus or Poseidon
This two meter high bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon dates from about 460 BC and was found in 1928 at the bottom of the sea north of the Greek island of Euboea. The god is throwing either a thunderbolt or a trident, giving reason for the debate about who is depicted in the sculpture.

Artemisian Jockey
This two meter high bronze statue of a horse and a young jockey, made about 140 BC, was retrieved in pieces from in the sea in 1928 and 1937. It depicts a young jockey, probably African in origin, that would have held the reins of the galloping horse in his left hand and a whip in his right.

Perseus or Paris
Found in 1990 in an ancient shipwreck on the sea floor off Antikythera, south of Peloponnese, this Bronze statue of a youth (340-330 BC) has been identified either as Perseus, who would have been holding the head of Medusa, or, more probably, as Paris, with the “apple of Strife”, ready to award it to the most beautiful goddess, Aphrodite.

Marathon Boy
This bronze statue of a young athlete (340-330BC) was found in the sea off Marathon, Attica. The statue probably depicts the winner of a contest, as is suggested by the band on his head which ends in an upright leaf above the forehead.

National Archaeological Museum of Athens: Part 1

One of the first displays that a visitor sees at the National Archeological Museum are kouri.
The kouri are statues of naked youth that were made starting in the second half of the 7th century BC. These heroic statues, usually with the left leg forward and arms at the side, were often found at sacred sites as offerings to the gods and were found on graves as memorials of the dead, recalling the person’s past youthfulness of power.

Shopping for an Icon

Athens is filled with tourist shops.

On the first of numerous strolls through the neighborhood of Plaka we found a small shop with religious items.

The owner, Anastasios Vobirakis, spoke English and, in addition to sharing his merchandise, he shared many stories about his Christian faith. We wanted to return to the shop to obtain an icon, but it took us the rest of the week to find the store again. It was not until our last night in Athens that we spotted it, but the shop was already closed.

When we returned in the morning we saw the store owner with his prayer book in front of the shop. He was happy to see us, and shared even more stories about his merchandise and the miracles of the saints.

Here we are with Anastasios and our icon of St. Paul.

When you are in Athens be sure to stop in and visit Anastasios and his religious items shop. (29 Panorosou St. -Mitropolis.

Athens for the 2010 Marathon

We just returned from Athens where Vincenzo ran in the Athens Classic Marathon. It was his second full marathon race, and his time was 10 minutes better than his Rome Marathon in March, 2010.

Athens airport banner announcing the Marathon.

Vincenzo's race "prep notes"
estimating when he will arrive at check points.

Eating the traditional before race bowl of pasta.
(Larry had the delicious moussaka seen in the foreground.)

Vincenzo in the stadium (seventh runner from the left) approaching the finish.

After the race with balloon and flowers.