The kids have been staying up until 11 PM and getting up around 10 AM all week long — what I call jet lag, the Greeks call summer. And I can’t seem to get drowsy much before 3 AM. I figured we should take advantage of this momentary noctunalness and do something with the kids at night. Monday the Athenians celebrated the full moon with various concerts and activities with free admission to the famed museums after 8 PM. We met up with my friend Ismenia and her family for dinner and revelry. Or about as much as we could handle on a hot and humid August night in a crowded city. We rode the train from the Embassy to the Plaka for an incredible dinner at Thanasis. We took a table outside, wisely sitting the four older kids together on one end, the two youngest on the other, and we adults in the middle. Khloe and Violet had so much fun sharing snacks and little toys, making them talk to each other and doing a fare job of leaving the adults to visit in peace.
Full of awesome kabobs and greek salad, we trundled our large group toward the Acropolis, stopping for gelato along the way. As we neared the museum, it became apparent that every other tourist in Athens had the same idea we did. Admission to the Acropolis museum is pretty damn cheap, so the long line for a free ticket wasn’t really worth it, especially with two little ones in strollers. So we pushed on up to Mars Hill for some night time views of the Acropolis and just maybe this full moon everyone had come out to see. As we walked along with the ever increasing darkness, we scanned the cloudless sky for the aforementioned white orb. No dice.
Unsurprisingly, Mars Hill was also jam-packed with tourists. I’d climbed up there about a year ago sans kids during the day, but I thought better of attempting the climb with two kids and a stroller while wearing flip flops. Plus, James had to work in the morning. Ismenia and her adventurous crew folded up the stroller and clamored up the steep staircase while we bid her farewell. As we walked back down to the Metro we spied the full moon rising low and heavy past a mountaintop…and suddenly I remembered there was a partial eclipse! How cool! I stopped to snap some ineffectual photos with my iphone.
An hour later or so later back at home, Liam and I traipsed up to the rooftop to see the moon, but the eclipse was over by then. So we just laid in the hammock and looked at the sky.
“Look! A shooting star,” he shouted. Sure enough, as I looked over I saw a tell-tale streak in the sky. We talked about meteors, craters on the moon and on earth, the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, how far away the stars are, and how light years work. After the kids finally went to bed, I texted Ismenia. She was bummed that she didn’t get to see the moon rising over the Acropolis from her vantage point on Mars Hill. It made me glad we’d skipped the hassle and come home early. Our night out with friends was great, but our little rooftop lie-about in the hammock was my favorite part of the evening.