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Eager To Share My Love For Athens With My Students, LifeLong Learners and My Family

Written by: Gustavo Fares (Faculty)

No place on earth reminds me more strongly of my native Buenos Aires than Athens. The busy streets, the people, the cafes, the noise, the buildings (especially around the port area), the sidewalks, that you need to carefully watch if you do not want to lose your step and fall, the smog and also the light, are so similar in both places.  After a day in Athens I feel I had also been visiting Buenos Aires for some hours. And, as with Buenos Aires, few places are closer to my heart than Athens.

I visited the city for the first time when I was 13, with my parents and my twin brother.  At the time we did not go to the islands, although we did venture to Cape Sounion, to witness the sunset. The clear waters, the sun, the food, the city, and of course the ruins and the culture, stayed with me and brought me back again and again.  One time with my brother, in a coming-of-age trip that took us throughout Europe where Corfu and Athens, once again, were the destinations of choice.  Some years later I spent a summer island-hopping, after staying in Athens to see some dear places.

Semester at Sea brought me back, this time with my family, who were in Athens for the first time.  As it can be imagined, I was eager to share with them my love for this city, and as we spent these last few days walking all over it, taking pictures, reading guide books, looking at art and seeing history come alive, it was as if I were seeing it all for the first time.  Because Athens offers us, travelers, that delicate gesture; it shows itself every time we come, it lets itself be discovered and enjoyed through the sights, the sun, the smells, the sea, the marbles, the statues, the neighborhoods, and the people.  It has been so with me for the last several decades, it has been so again this time; I have no doubt it has been so with the Semester at Sea participants as well.

With a group of students and life-long-learners, we visited the sights of modern Athens and the Acropolis, in an FDP I used for my literature and my drawing classes. The bus-load of SAS participants had the opportunity of visiting the most important sites of the city, and culminated that visit going to the Acropolis during the same Sunday when Hillary Clinton was in town, and visiting some of the same places herself.

And I know it will be again, when we, perhaps transformed by travels and life, return to this generous, gorgeous land, to see it again, and anew.

  • Arts
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  • Life at Sea

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