As I write this it is now 10:15 in the evening, and I am ensconced in a room at the Hotel Erika in Alexandroupolis. After a hectic morning of writing up my field notes and packing, we managed to get on the 1 pm ferry back to the mainland. I am traveling this time with Michael, Susan, and Yong. In the morning, all 3 of them will take an early bird flight to Athens. From there, Michael and Susan will fly back to Atlanta, while Yong will fly back to NYC. I, on the other hand, will fly from Athens mid-morning, then catch an evening flight to Frankfurt (to which I had flown from ATL on July 9). Then on Saturday I will fly home. I’ve been gone a good long time and have a definite hankering for sweet tea and Chick Fil’A.

I thought I would write a bit more today about life at the excavation. It is just a couple of steps up from camping, with running water, electricity, and real beds. To say that living in the Xenia Hostel is like being at Montreat with an ocean and no rain might resonate with some of my Presbyterian friends (Montreat being the Presbyterian equivalent of Mecca). Here is a partial view of the Xenia; even the stone construction reminds me of Montreat.

Hostel Xenia, Paleopolis, Samothrace

Hostel Xenia, Paleopolis, Samothrace

We have the mountain views as at Montreat:

View from east side of front verandah, Hostel Xenia

View from east side of front verandah, Hostel Xenia

But then there is the Aegean Sea at our front door:

View from front verandah, Hostel Xenia

View from front verandah, Hostel Xenia

Here is a picture of my room, which I am fortunate to have to myself. I also have a half bath.

My room at the Hostel Xenia

My room at the Hostel Xenia

This is certainly modest, with no place to store clothes save the second bed or my suitcase. Nevertheless, it is sufficient.

Although in years past there have been caretakers who have cooked our meals, this year we have been sharing in the cooking of all breakfast and lunch, and most dinners. And for those who do not cook, there is always meal set-up and dish-washing. Here is a picture of Abi working in the kitchen.

Kitchen of the Hostel Xenia

Kitchen of the Hostel Xenia

One thing that I will miss the most has been dining al fresco. I have not eaten a meal inside in 2 weeks. Here is our table set for breakfast on our back porch:

Dining al fresco at Hostel Xenia

Dining al fresco at Hostel Xenia

One thing I won’t miss, however, is having to watch carefully as I make the twice daily trek between the hostel and the museum so as to not step in the goat droppings. I was going to take a picture of that last night, but I had no more battery power. I’ll bet you’re glad of that.

PS: Update on the battery situation. As I was packing up this morning, I discovered TWELVE (12) more dead batteries to add to the recycling bag.

I will write again next week when I return to the States. Until then…

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