Jan 11 11
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We were invited to Greece to celebrate the marriage of Bill and Artemis. This was our first experience of a Greek wedding and hence we were unsure what to expect, but it turned out to be a fabulous celebration and all had tremendous fun.

There was a relatively small party of around 10 english people at the wedding including Jim and Sophie (Jim is a caver); the majority of us lodged in Artemis’ house or next door at her brother’s house and hence we all witnessed the great preparation for the big day.

Saturday 8th January was the big day. The wedding was scheduled for 6 pm at Agios Konstaninou Church in Glyfada, a suburb of Athens. We spent the morning shopping for last minute (forgotten) items and socialising with Bill at the local coffee shop to allow Artemis time to prepare.

At 6 pm, the beautiful bride arrived at the church and was met by her groom outside the church, from where they walked down the aisle to the alter. The Greek Orthodox wedding was really lovely. A priest had been found who was able to conduct parts of the service in English and so we were able to understand the very moving sermon.

Bill and Artemis circling the altar (the Greek tradition is to perform many of the rituals 3 times, one of which is to circle the altar 3 times)

Following the service we celebrated the wedding by hurling a large quantity of multicoloured rice at the newlyweds! Richard had read that the priests often use their bibles to protect them from this ammunition, but on this occasion the priests had wisely chosen to stay indoors.

The newlywed couple being covered with rice outside the church

Outside the church

After photographs outside the church we arrived at the reception; a very nice hotel in Vouliagmeni. After drinks and banter we were treated to a fabulous celebratory meal. We soon realised that the Greeks have a very amusing tradition whereby the bride and groom can be made to kiss each time cutlery is rattled on the crockery! The english table tested the tradition on a number of occasions.

After dinner the wedding cake was cut and served. It was a delicious gateaux which was enjoyed even though we were full from dinner.

Bill and Artemis cutting the amazingly delicious cake

Richard and Rachel at the reception

The bride and groom soon took their first dance, which prompted further dancing throughout the evening. We enjoyed a fine mix of British disco music and Greek music. The latter of which was great to watch as the Greek wedding guests danced in circles whilst the children doused them in rose petals.

The bride dancing

Greek dancing

On Sunday, the English spent more time looking around Athens. We visited the Acropolis and also the Acropolis Museum. Both were very spectacular; you should all visit these places at some point!

Acropolis

Jim and Rachel at the Acropolis

On Monday we drove to another nearby ancient temple called Sounion. Visitors are not allowed to walk within the temple itself as in the past people have scratched their names into the columns of the monument. We can blame Lord Byron for this, as in 1810 he visited and scratched his name into one of the stone columns; we found his signature with Richard’s zoom lens.

Sounion

Byron's graffiti at Sounion

After this, we drove to Thorikos to see the ancient theatre that Richard’s Dad had recommended. It would have had a fabulous view overlooking the coast in the ancient times, but unfortunately a landfill site has since been placed on the opposite hillside. We attempted to test the acoustics of the theatre, but Richard’s whispering was drowned out by a tractor in the next field!

Richard at Thorikos theatre

We explored the area around the theatre and found an ancient silver mine!

Silver mine at Thorikos

We have one more place to visit before we head home, so we might have another update in a day or two.

Thanks to Artemis’ family for welcoming us so warmly and for providing us with a very comfortable place to stay. They have been exceptionally generous. We wish Bill and Artemis a long and happy future together.

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