Istanbul & Athens Trip Part 4: It’s All Greek to Me

Here we come to the fourth and final of my blog posts about my MBA class trip to Istanbul and Athens. It was a great trip – and I hope an interesting series of posts.  It’s a trip I would definitely re-visit if given the chance.

In Athens, as in Istanbul, I was interested in more than just the sights and artifacts of a foreign land.  I was interested in language and culture.  Call it a weakness.  Little did I know that plunging into Greek was going to give me a lesson in some of the particulars of linguistics that I’d read about in a theoretical sense but had yet to put into action.  (That said, I’m going to be getting into some funky-nerdy language details in this post.)

Greek, I soon realized, was going to be both easier and harder for me to pick up on than Turkish.  Easier because it is a European language that has heavily influenced English (we use all kinds of Greek prefixes and suffixes).  Harder because it uses an entirely different alphabet to the one I am used to using.  (It is perhaps worth noting, at this point, that the word alphabet itself we owe to Greek.  It’s a portmanteau of the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta.  But then you probably already knew that.) Continue reading

Istanbul & Athens Trip Part 3: Attack of the Acropolis

After our short stay in Istanbul, it was time to move on to Athens.

View from my hotel room in Athens

View from my hotel room; the hotel had a view of the Acropolis, but my room was on the 1st floor (i.e. 2nd floor in the US), and there was this school in the way; the view from the rooftop garden was pretty good, though. This was the last picture I took during the Colloquium trip before my camera died for good.

A decent-sized group of us arrived early on the Wednesday travel-day in Athens.  We touched down a little after noon, and after getting settled into our hotels it was about half-past one.  We were pretty hungry, so of course first on the itinerary was lunch.  I had spent almost the entire flight from Istanbul to Athens reading my guide-book on Athens and familiarizing myself with the lay of the land.  This proved fairly useful – especially since there were a couple restaurant recommendations in the area of our hotel.  The first one was a bust – closed despite their posted hours – but the second one turned out great.  Unbeknownst to us, the mysteriously closed restaurant was the first hint of a running theme for our Athens trip. Continue reading