First Impressions on Crete as a "Summer Research Lab" from Student Dan MacDonald

We arrived in Athens on June 13 and after a short rest in our hotel rooms we all walked to the Acropolis to take in the sights.  Even after a half day of flying across the planet, we all found the energy to sight see, in spite of the heat.  Over the weekend we enjoyed various sights on our own. 

We planning students and faculty in UC's

College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

 were given a tour of the 2004 Olympic facilities by John Frantzeskakis, professor emeritus at the National Technical University of Athens.  In many ways it seems as though the whole city is being rebuilt for the Olympic games. 

Late Monday night, the 16th of June, we boarded the ferry for our ride to Crete.  The trip lasted nearly 6 hours.

Over the next several days, Team Leader Michael Romanos, professor of planning, led meetings discussing what we would be doing while we were there.  He also had meetings with city officials to organize our start up. 

On Saturday the 21st, we all took the bus to the city of Iraklion to go to a flea market.  It was very interesting walking through the crowd hearing all of the people selling their wares.  Most of us could not understand a word.  Most of our group bought produce. 

On Monday the 23rd, studio classes began, and we are now beginning the work we came here to do. On Thursday the 26th, we met Hersonissos Mayor Spiros Danelis for the first time. Fellow student Tricia Martin and I presented him with the key to the city of Cincinnati. He was very pleased and told us how much he looked forward to the work we would be doing for the city.

Over the weekend many of us took small road trips to various parts of the island.  In spite of all the good times, we managed to get presentations ready for today, Monday the 30th.  Small groups covering different aspects of study gave their impressions on the status of previous research. 

Over the next two weeks, we will be putting in a lot of time, but on July 11, we will all take a long weekend break and go to the island of Santorini.  That will be great fun because it is one of the most beautiful places in all of Greece.

In general, it is a very different way of life here.  Things move slower.  People are not as frantic as they are in the States, except when behind the wheel of a car, and there, it has the feel of New York City.  Believe it or not, it's almost worse, and I speak from experience.

Just in case our families back home are wondering, we are eating quite
well.  Some nights we have pot luck, we all make a dish and have a big feast.  Other nights we go out and sample the local fare, which is very tasty.

There are a few sunburns and mosquito bites, but all in all it is fair to say we are having the time of our lives.

For background on this year's Crete research, go to http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.asp?id=570 

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