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By Friday morning the Cristal had returned to Piraeus Harbour, at the south edge of Athens.
Our tour providers had a bus and our guide waiting for us as we disembarked.
We rode to the modern Olympics facilities for a comparison view to the older stadium we'd seen the Sunday before. These facilities had been used for the Greece-hosted games in 2008. An Olympic medallist spoke with us just before we were ushered into the open stadium to admire modern seating and sports architecture.
We also saw indoor basketball facilities and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. All was grand!
Next, we checked back in at Hotel Amelia and were free to spend the rest of our last day in Greece as we pleased. Several of us walked to the Plaka where we ate lunch outdoors.
I particularly enjoyed a horn band that played in the public square.
Next, I finally got to see a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Greek pageantry was very different from the American version of this honour guard I'd witnessed long ago at Arlington Cemetery near Washington D.C. I enjoyed the Greek version, with soldiers wearing traditional Greek skirts and stepping high.
Glenda and I walked next to the Benaki Museum, a museum of Greek History that had once been the private collection of Antonis Benakis (1873-1954). His home was converted into a public museum after his death.
Some of his collection reminded me of artifacts I'd seen at Rhodes and at Crete. However, this museum had some items unlike any other place I'd visited.
I found the textiles and Greek costumes shown at Benaki Museum of particular interest. There were also many Greek Orthodox religious symbols, musical instruments, fishing gear, a weaving loom, a wine press and distillation equipment. I enjoyed seeing the layout of the museum itself as an ex-home, including elaborate staircases, a deck and a lunchroom.
Several of our group enjoyed a final meal together at an indoor restaurant in the Plaka. I enjoyed lobster as my entrée.
We were bussed to the Athens Airport very early on Saturday morning, our 9th day of travel. The sun was rising as we boarded our airplane.
With a stop in Munich and a stop in Chicago, we followed the sun westward all day. It was a long day of travel, BUT we kept up with the arch of the sun, watching it set west of us as we landed, finally, in Kansas City.
I thoroughly enjoyed Greece and appreciated the work Washburn University faculty and staff made in planning and executing this travel opportunity.
Greece was #1 on my "bucket list." I have yet to dream up anything new to place at the top of my list.
Day 8 (Friday): Back in Athens
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