Hawkeyes in Greece: Graham Blog

May 26, 2007

ATHENS, GREECE – – The Iowa women’s basketball team woke up early again Saturday morning for a long bus ride down to Athens. Although, the Hawkeyes didn’t arrive to their hotel in Athens until 11:15 p.m., the team had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery from today, as the team gazed upon some breathing landscape in the mountains of middle Greece. The Hawkeyes visited the monasteries of Metora, where the monasteries are built on top of picturesque cliffs. In fact, one of the monasteries was a filming location for the 1981 James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”.

Iowa took advantage of the two hours in Metora, learning about the history and the monasteries and taking plenty of pictures. Senior-to-be Jenee Graham documents today’s events in today’s blog below.

As always, daily photo galleries being uploaded to hawkeyesports.com, so for maximum and exclusive coverage of the Hawkeye women’s trip to Greece click on Greece Central to follow the team’s adventures. Video postcards from this weekend will be posted on Tuesday.

The audio and video clips are free, but all visitors to Hawkeye All-Access, the multi-media pages of hawkeyesports.com, need to register.

Hi Hawk fans!!!

Today was another gorgeous day in Greece. We woke up this morning and ate breakfast at the hotel and then we all checked out around 8:15 a.m. It is time for us to travel to Athens and prepare for the rest of our trip and our upcoming games.

After such a long day of sightseeing and shopping yesterday I think we were all tired this morning and not really looking forward to being on a bus all day. On the bus ride most of us slept, read, or listened to music. None of us could deny the beautiful country sights that we saw during the drive. I think everyone on the bus had their camera out. We saw several small farms and houses, a castle and Mount Olympus. It is probably one of the most breathtaking sights that I have ever seen. No picture really comes close to showing you how magnificent that mountain truly is. And the sad thing about that is that we weren’t even that close to the mountain.

After taking a gazillion pictures of the mountain we were able to stop and grab a bite to eat. Since the weather was so nice and warm we decided to eat outside. The restaurant we ate at served the food buffet style. We had several options for the entree with chicken, fish, a dish that looked like lasagna and some type of vegetarian plate. For the sides we were able to get potatoes or green beans. There were also Greek salads available. The food was very good and quite different then we are accustomed to back home. Mrs. Gnida had a salad that had octopus in it. I got the opportunity to taste it, and I can now say I have had octopus.

After lunch we had the opportunity to walk around on our own or just stand around and take pictures. The view of the mountains, cliffs and the town was incredible from where we were at. Shortly afterward our time to ourselves the bus took us up the mountain to the monasteries that we were touring. The long drive up gave us more opportunities to take pictures. When we got the top we were able to see just how high up we were. The first monastery that we visited, we had to climb 194 steps just to go in. After walking up those stairs I vowed never to complain about running Carver’s stairs again. Talk about a true workout. After getting up all those stairs we had the privilege of seeing where some monks and nuns live. Our tour guide discussed the dedication that these people have because they stay there the rest of their lives after becoming a monk or a nun. We even got to see a nun ring the prayer bell and the wake up bell. They get up everyday at 4 a.m. I thought I had it rough when I had to get up at 6 a.m. some days. The monastery also had many pictures and sights for us to see.

The second monastery was the Grand Meteoron and it was even further up the mountain. This time luckily there were only like five steps. At this monastery we also had an amazing view of the mountains and the town since we were some areas were more than 400 meters high. This monastery also had many beautiful pictures of the different Saint. After the tour we had an opportunity to use the restrooms, or the WC as they are labeled here in Greece. JoAnn and I heard that they were true European styled bathrooms so of course we had to go see for ourselves. Sure enough the bathrooms were nothing more than a hole in the ground.

After viewing the monasteries we were back on the road to Athens again. On the way to Athens, the team played a very fun and spirited game of “The Newlywed Game”. Nicole and I were winning until the end when Lisa and Dave Bluder won on the last question, which was stupid.

Anyways, after the long bus journey, we finally arrived in Athens at 11:15 p.m. We are very excited about playing our first game against the Greek National Team tomorrow night and exploring this ancient city.

Jenee Graham