Hi from Rick: Back from Athens
I'm standing in a gleaming, futuristic subway station as dozens of tourists in wheelchairs spin past me. I race them into the bright sunshine and emerge on a leafy square filled with thriving cafes. From here, a cobbled street swirling with shoppers and the music of buskers leads downhill into a zone that's been a shopping mall for 2,500 years. Not far from here, a new elevator zips those on wheelchairs to the summit of a rocky couple of acres which hold more history than nearly any other site in Europe.
|Rick is just back from Greece - expanding ETBD's horizons.|
It's Athens. The Olympics are over and the city is packed for the Paralympic Games. Locals claim there are more people here for these "special Olympics" than the Olympics we all saw in TV.
As I'd hoped, getting dolled-up for the Olympics has made Athens better than ever for sightseers. Public transit is suddenly state-of-the-art, ancient sites and museums are spiffed-up, English signs are everywhere, and the city is no longer the polluted, noisy headache it once was. And a tangy souvlaki pita sandwich is still about $1.50.
Now I'm home (with a new Athens chapter finished and on the web) and confronted with an exciting new challenge: PBS is sending us to Europe in December to produce an hour-long TV special showing America how Europeans celebrate Christmas.
For a preview of our Christmas special (airing in December 2005), news about our latest TV series (13 episodes debuting this month), the complete Athens chapter, my picks for the best eats and sleeps on the Cinque Terre, essays from our readers on how travel has changed them forever...and much more...check out our October Travel News.
As our election nears, Europeans are almost getting religious on us...praying for an administration willing to rejoin the family of nations. With Russia ready to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the USA is now virtually alone in its opposition to this multi-national effort to stop global warming. For my thoughts on how global warming is affecting sightseeing in Europe, see this month's Travel News. To learn more about how and why the Euro-perspective on many issues differs so radically from our government's, see my oped feature in the upcoming October 14th issue of USA Today.
Somebody once said, "The world is changing and we are changing with it." As travelers engaged in exploring our world, we are at the center of that change. It's exciting...and important.