Tag Archives: beach

Poseidon Blesses the Oceans Around Sounio

It’s hard to determine what is more useful to Athenians – olive trees or the sea. Both are everywhere in Greece. However, thousands of years ago, Athenians made their choice clear. In a battle over who would become patron of Athens, Athena offered the people an olive tree and Poseidon offered them ocean water. Athenians valued the olive tree’s wood, oil and food, but didn’t see much use for salt water. They chose Athena as their patron.

Although Poseidon was second to Athena, his importance as Greek god of the sea cannot be underestimated. He was credited for creating new islands and determining the temper of the ocean. The whims of his trident could either bring a ship back to harbor safely or cause fatality. To this day, the Greeks revere their oceans, as a source of food, a means of transport and their solution for leisure.

Today we decided to pay homage to Poseidon by visiting his temple at Sounio, on the tip of the Attica peninsula. We rented a car and made a day of enjoying the sea. Our first stop was an isolated strip of beach around the small coastal town of Saronida. The western Attica coast is full of sandy beaches and little coves and it only takes a bit of exploring to find a spot that is free of other beach bums.

A small marina was around the cove and the kids enjoyed playing the role of captain, as if guiding their little row-boat home.

The coast is dotted with little chapels. This particular one was locked, but the owner-less scooter outside provided plenty of fun for the kids as Sandeep and I sat back and watched the waters.

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounio juts out into the ocean, as if about to collapse into the very domain that Poseidon ruled. Its marble columns dates back to about 400 B.C. What’s left today is the platform and a line of massive white columns on two sides. I suspect that an olive tree in front of the temple. If so, I’d be highly annoyed if I were Poseidon. He had to play second fiddle to Athena due to the olive tree incident and today an olive tree stands at the foot of his shrine.

Our day ended watching sunset over Sounio, perhaps just as Poseidon did after ensuring the seas were just as he wished them to be. This evening the waters were clear and calm, but the skies were murky. Poseidon really should have been in better coordination with Zeus, god of the skies, to provide us the setting for a better picture.

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Celebrating the Olympic Flame Lighting in Greece

Ancient Olympia hosted the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. to honor Zeus, the king of Greek gods. The games were presided over by a flame that represented the endeavor of perfection. Using the rays of the sun and some good Greek olive oil, the 2012 Olympic Flame was lit today in Ancient Olympia. It will spend 8 days touring Greece before being taken to the U.K. for this year’s ceremonies.

In celebration of the event, our family did a little Olympic competition of our own. Ava and Kayan competed in a toddler triathlon. Their first stage was swimming. We spent a few hours at a remote beach, where Kayan encouraged Ava to jump higher over each wave and Ava edged Kayan to go deeper into the water. It was Kayan who won out as Ava’s desire to protect her hair was her downfall.

The second stage was running, where they raced each other for 3 kilometers back to our neighborhood. Kayan’s little legs combined with salt water filled diaper proved to be no match for Ava’s determined strides.

The final stage involved climbing up the steep hill to our building and then to the our second floor apartment. Ava ultimately won the battle, for no other reason than she elbowed her way through the apartment door in search of a brush. Instead of laurel wreaths or medals, the kids’ rewards were pine cones. They were happy with the competition and the reward, which just goes to show that they are true professionals and it is the spirit of the games that matters.

We will be in Africa during the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremonies. We’re not yet sure how we will be celebrating. 100 meter lion sprint or 50 meter shark freestyle?


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